Barcelona said sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta was negotiating with the player's agent in the Catalan capital on Thursday. Spanish media put the price tag for the Chilean international at —26 million ($37 million) with bonuses possibly taking the deal near —40 million ($57 million).
Messi's Barcelona teammate dismissed claims the Argentina forward cannot operate without his presence in midfield. "Like all football players, Messi depends on the collective. I depend on Messi and Messi on me and all of his teammates. We are lucky to have an extraordinary collective," Xavi said Wednesday. "People are very glum and like to blame the world's best player."
The Argentines’ surprising quarterfinal exit from Copa America could mean that Lionel Messi, the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, will join his Barcelona teammates in Miami on Aug. 3 and play in the exhibition match against Mexico’s Chivas Guadalajara at Sun Life Stadium. Messi is spending time with family in Rosario, and is expected to fly to Washington, D.C., at the end of July to meet Barca teammates for a White House visit with President Obama. When the MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids visited the White house, they presented Obama with a No. 10 jersey, and he made reference to Messi, a player he said he admires.
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is expected to get his wish of being left out of the party that departs for a German training camp on Thursday as he looks to force a move. Fabregas has made it known to Wenger that he wants to leave the Emirates this summer to rejoin boyhood club Barcelona.
Real Madrid continued their fine pre-season form as they eased to a 3-0 win over Mexican side Chivas. Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed all three goals as he picked up from where he left off last season in La Liga. After a goalless first half, Ronaldo came to life after the break and scored his hat-trick in a dazzling nine-minute spell.
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