Football Back Pages: Barcelona's Suarez Blow
What's making headlines from around Europe's top leagues.
BARCA LOSE SUAREZ FOR FOUR MONTHS
Injuries and speculation about the manager’s future could yet conspire to unravel Barcelona’s season.
Tied at the top of La Liga table, Barcelona has possibly lost Luis Suarez for the season after knee surgery to correct a problem the striker has carried for months.
Compounding that is speculation manager Ernesto Valverde may lose his job, talk again generated by Barcelona’s defeat to Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the Supercopa de Espana.
CAVANI WANTED BY CHELSEA AND MAN UNITED
Relegated to fifth choice among PSG’s attacking stars, Edinson Cavani has no shortage of options as he prepares to leave the club, preferably in January. But with Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal reportedly pitching bids for the striker, PSG may keep Cavani as cover until the summer.
DIEGO SIMEONE DEFENDS NEW SUPERCOPA
Some have publicly declared the new format and location of the Supercopa de Espana to simply be about generating revenue. But Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone is more basic in his view, regarding the four-team tournament in Saudi Arabia as an important competition:
I just know that winning matters. When I was a kid I was taught every competition is important, and it is the same here.
Privately, Simeone may have a slightly different outlook, but Atletico’s results - beating Barcelona before losing to Real Madrid on penalties - says otherwise.
MILAN STRIKER PIATEK BEING SHOPPED AROUND
The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic might only be for six months, but AC Milan is still prepared to sell Krzysztof Piatek amid reported interest from several clubs.
Bought from Genoa for €38 million 12 months ago, Piatek scored 30 goals in 42 appearances last season but has just four in 18 this campaign.
VALVERDE GIVES NOTHING AWAY ON VIDAL
Perhaps more important to Barcelona than some realise, Arturo Vidal has been the subject of transfer talks for several months.
With several clubs - particularly Inter Milan - interested in the midfielder, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde is giving nothing away about Vidal’s future, an indication he may stay at Camp Nou:
We don't think about other clubs' players, and we are not concerned with other clubs thinking about our players. Our players are with us, and that's it.
Since moving from Bayern Munich in August 2018, Vidal has made 74 appearances for Barcelona, including 21 this season.
MARIO GOTZE POISED TO LEAVE DORTMUND
Not guaranteed a place in the Borussia Dortmund starting line-up, Mario Gotze has reached a crucial point of his career.
So much so, there is talk the 27-year-old attacker may seek a move in the summer, hoping to get re-established elsewhere next season.
ASHLEY YOUNG ON WAY TO INTER MILAN
Pushed to the fringes at Manchester United, veteran Ashley Young is wanted by Inter Milan but perhaps needed by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to stay as cover for injuries:
Well, that's a discussion that me and Ash will have if something comes up.
Although Young has made 12 Premier League appearances for United this season, only three have come since early November.