Barcelona went 2-1 in two matches over the past week. They defeated Granada 4-1 on April 2nd in a close match that saw a Messi-less Barcelona score twice in the final ten minutes or so after a Granada player was sent off. There was controversy after Ivan Rakitic shouted insults at an opposing player. On the 5th, they defeated Sevilla 3-0 thanks to a strong attack led by Messi. However, the sloppy play in the second half could prove to be an issue against a team like Juventus in the upcoming Champions League quarterfinal. On Saturday the 8th, the club dropped a 2-0 match against Malaga. Missed chances, sloppy play, and a lack of discipline proved to be their downfall, especially with Neymar’s red card with 25 minutes left. The loss hinders Barcelona’s chances at the La Liga title after they could have drawn even with Real Madrid, who now sits three points ahead. The rumor mill was alive this past week, including potential interest from Barcelona in Antoine Griezmann. While they could use the scoring help, they are just one of many clubs with interest in Griezmann, so nothing is certain. Juventus forward Paulo Dybala is yearning to join Barcelona and Lionel Messi, with a report that he wants a special clause in his new contract that will allow Barcelona to buy him for a set price. Rumors arose that Thiago could return to Camp Nou, but it appears he will sign a hefty contract extension to stay with Bayern. Marc Cucurella has expressed interest in staying in Spain, but Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund, and most recently Everton are ready to pounce since he has yet to discuss his future with the club. Finally, Barcelona is expanding their global soccer schools. Tryouts for their new school in Austin, Texas, announced in early March, will take place at the end of April. Hundreds of children ages 6-16 are expected to attend to attempt to get into the 10 month program beginning in August. The club is also opening another new school in Northern Virginia for children ages 6-18. The program, expected to start later this year, aims to offer superior training for a lesser cost than local soccer schools. Barcelona’s own youth academy, La Masia, is considered to be one of the best in the world. Former Barcelona player Sergi Barjuan, who came up through Las Masia, is expected to be present for evaluations at the new program. Looking forward, Barcelona has two matches this coming week, beginning on Tuesday with the Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Juventus and a La Liga match against Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Neymar received a red card during the match in Malaga on Saturday, April 8th. Credit: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty images