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Bernardo Silva: Pep Guardiola says Manchester City midfielder ‘likes Barcelona a lot’ amid transfer speculation

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Pep Guardiola says he is keen to hold onto Manchester City ace Bernardo Silva but conceded the player ‘likes Barcelona a lot’ amid transfer reports linking the Portuguese with a move to the Catalan club.

Silva played 65 minutes of a friendly between City and Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night and afterwards Guardiola spoke about the midfielder’s future.

Guardiola insisted he was keen to keep hold of the 28-year-old, who has won four Premier League titles at City, and underlined that no offer had been made from Barcelona for the player, despite reports outlining the Spanish side’s interest in him over the past two summers.

However, he accepted Bernardo has an affection for Guardiola’s former side.

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“I’m no one to tell Barca to forget about (signing) Bernardo,” Guardiola told reporters after the friendly contest finished 3-3.

“We want him to stay with us, but I don’t want anyone who’s not happy. The first thing would be for the clubs to come to an agreement, but there has been no offer for him in these last two years.
“I don’t want him to go, he’s a superlative player and a great person… and there are only seven or eight days left (in the window) and we would have to turn to the transfer market. I want him to stay. That said, it is true Bernardo likes Barcelona a lot.”

Barcelona manager Xavi, who was sitting besides Guardiola in the news conference, said any move would “depend on City”.

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City help Barca raise money for ALS research
There were 91,062 fans at the Camp Nou for the midweek fixture, which was organised to raise money for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) research at Luzón Foundation, in support of former Barcelona goalkeeper and coach Juan Carlos Unzue, who was diagnosed with the incurable degenerative neurological condition in 2020.

In the game, Julian Alvarez opened the scoring before goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Frenkie de Jong – two players interesting Premier League clubs – put Barcelona ahead.

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City youngster Cole Palmer levelled the match and after Memphis Depay – who has been linked with a return to Manchester United – scored a third for Barcelona, Riyad Mahrez grabbed an injury-time equaliser.
“I would like to thank Barcelona and Manchester City for their commitment and sensitivity to our cause,” said Unzue. “I also want to thank everyone who bought a ticket, and everyone who donated via the row zero initiative. I would like you to know that everyone from the ALS team – here on the pitch with me – want to keep living and enjoying life.”

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Boniface named among Bundesliga’s most skilful stars

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Bayer Leverkusen star Victor Boniface has secured a nomination among the most skilful players in the ongoing 2023/24 Bundesliga campaign so far.

After his move from Union SG last July, the Super Eagles striker wasted no time making an impact under the guidance of manager Xabi Alonso.

Boniface’s initial burst in Germany was nothing short of impressive, netting ten goals in 16 league matches.

However, his promising run hit an abrupt halt due to a groin injury, forcing him to miss the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations held in Ivory Coast.

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Despite his current injury setback, the striker’s noteworthy performances have not gone unnoticed.

The spotlight now shines on a particular display of individual brilliance during Leverkusen’s Bundesliga clash against RB Leipzig at the Bay Arena in August 2023.

In that game, Boniface executed a cunning feint, deceiving his marker into anticipating a right-footed shot, only to cleverly pass the ball with his left foot. Although he didn’t find the net, Leverkusen emerged victorious with a 3-2 scoreline.

Boniface shares the skills spotlight with four other notable players: Andrej Kramaric, Jadon Sancho, Felix Nmecha, and Xavi Simons.

To participate in the voting process, fans can visit the Bundesliga’s official website and select their choice among the nominated players.

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At the time of this report, Jadon Sancho leads the polls with an impressive 75% of the votes. Xavi Simons secures the second position with 17%, while Boniface currently holds 5%. Hoffenheim’s Kramaric and Dortmund’s Nmecha trail behind with 1% and 2% of the votes, respectively.

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BREAKING: Bayern Munich to part ways with Tuchel

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German giants Bayern Munich will be parting ways with its manager, Thomas Tuchel, at the end of the season, Sky Germany reports.

Theheute reports that Tuchel will leave Bayern after both sides had “fair and positive discussions” and came to an agreement.

An official announcement is set to be made in the coming days by Bayern.

The Bundesliga champions have also reportedly started a search for a new coach with Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp among the top contenders.

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Details later…

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Osimhen May Miss Napoli’s Champions League Clash with Barcelona

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Napoli could be without Victor Osimhen when they host Barcelona in the Champions League last 16 after the striker missed their last-gasp 1-1 home draw with Genoa in Serie A yesterday due to fatigue.

Osimhen returned to his Italian club after helping Nigeria reach the Africa Cup of Nations final which they lost 2-1 to hosts Côte d’Ivoire last Sunday.

“According to him and the doctors, the boy is at his lowest,” coach Walter Mazzarri told DAZN.

“Coming back from the Africa Cup of Nations it wouldn’t have been the best choice to risk it and let him play for a quarter of an hour to 20 minutes, so the doctor told me.”

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The tournament took its toll on Osimhen, who suffered stomach pains ahead of the semi-final against South Africa and was only cleared to play the day before the match.

The 25-year-old scored one goal in the tournament but his performances played an important role as Nigeria reached the final for the eighth time.

“Today (Saturday) he had an anti-fatigue training, tomorrow (Sunday) he will train. We hope to have him ready for Barcelona (but) his presence will not be certain,” Mazzarri said.

“Since I arrived I’ve never had him. He was injured, I had to recover him gradually. Then there was the Africa Cup of Nations,” the Napoli gaffer concluded.

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