By DAN KARELL
For the eleventh time in club history, Barcelona have won the Spanish Super Cup.
The Catalan club on Wednesday played ten-man Atletico Madrid to a scoreless draw at the Camp Nou, winning the title on away goals after a 1-1 result in the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid. The match marked the first time as well that Lionel Messi started alongside Neymar since Barcelona acquired the Brazilian this summer.
Messi nearly gave the hosts the lead in the ninth minute when Sergio Busquets played a beautiful ball into his stride, but Atletico Madrid’s Felipe Luis made a goal-saving sliding tackle to help his goalkeeper collect the ball. The visitors had a solid chance on goal as well in the 34th minute when Arda Turan got around Gerard Pique and fired a shot on goal that was saved by Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
Felipe Luis was sent off ten minutes from time, making their efforts to win the cup even more difficult. They were shown a bit of luck when, even after conceding a penalty in the 88th minute, Messi hammered his penalty kick off the crossbar. Despite the miss, Barcelona held on to the scoreline to give Gerardo “Tata” Martino his first title in charge of the club.
Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:
SCHWEINSTEIGER COULD MISS UEFA SUPER CUP
Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola could be without one of his key cogs in central midfield come Friday’s UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea in Prague, Czech Republic.
Bastian Schweinsteiger limped off in the 79th minute of Bayern’s 1-1 draw on Monday at SC Freiburg with an ankle injury, and it’s unknown whether he’ll be fully fit to face the Blues. The club have said that it’s only a sprained ankle and that he will travel to Prague, but Guardiola might not want to risk further injury by playing him against Chelsea.
The annual cup match between the winners of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League this season pits Bayern Munich against Chelsea, with Guardiola facing his old rival Jose Mourinho from their days at Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.
ETO’O TO REPORTEDLY JOIN CHELSEA
Samuel Eto’o is set to reunite himself with former boss Jose Mourinho.
The striker is nearing a move on a free transfer to Chelsea, according to reports in England, ready to sign a one-year deal with the London club. Eto’o was previously the highest-paid soccer player in the world at Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, earning what Forbes reported was nearly $29 million.
Since the start of August, the management at Anzhi have had a change of heart and they’ve decided to dramatically slash the payroll and roster, meaning that highly paid players like Eto’o or the other new Chelsea signing, Willian, would be on their way out of the club.
Eto’o was one of the stars on Mourinho’s 2010 UEFA Champions League winning Inter Milan team. That season, the former African Player of the Year scored 16 times on their way to winning Europe’s crown. In 2011, Eto’o moved to Anzhi from Inter, which he had joined in 2009 from Barcelona.
ERIKSEN NEARING TOTTENHAM MOVE
While the Gareth Bale move to Real Madrid has stalled over the course of the summer, it hasn’t stopped Tottenham from bringing in replacements and improving the squad in all areas.
The latest player to be on his way to White Hart Lane is Ajax attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen, who is reportedly discussing personal terms with the London club. According to reports in Holland, Ajax and Tottenham have already agreed a transfer fee. The reports also state that due to Tottenham’s financial power, they can offer him a contract worth three times as much as Ajax could offer, making it an easy decision for the Danish international to leave.
Sky Italia is reporting that the three latest players to be signing with Spurs, Erik Lamela of AS Roma, Vlad Chiriches of Steaua Bucureste, and Eriksen will all undergo medicals in London on Thursday before they complete their deals.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger received some bad news on Thursday that winger/forward Lukas Podolski would most likely miss eight to ten weeks with his hamstring injury. (REPORT)
17-year-old PSV starlet Zakaria Bakkali has been selected to the Belgium squad to face Scotland on September 6. If he features, he’ll be tied to Belgium for the rest of his career, despite having a Moroccan passport as well. (REPORT)
Celtic FC are about to sign Israel U-21 captain Nir Biton from FC Ashdod. (REPORT)
Schalke 04 have been given encouraging news that new signing Adam Szalai has only suffered bruising in his right hand and that there is no fracture. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Were you left disappointed by Barcelona’s lack of scoring on Wednesday? How much of an impact will Schweinsteiger’s loss be if he can’t play? Do you see Chelsea starting Eto’o or is he more of a depth signing? What does this mean for Demba Ba and Fernando Torres?
Share your thoughts below.