FC Barcelona have some work to do in the second leg of their Copa del Rey round of 32 tie with Villanovense after the plucky third tier side managed to hold them to a surprise 0-0 draw on Wednesday night. Luis Enrique opted for a very different starting line-up to the Barça team we are used to, with Douglas at right back and Masip in goal getting their first starts of the season. The promising young Cameroonian Wilfrid Kaptoum made his first team debut in midfield in partnership with Gumbau and Samper, while Adriano was fielded in an unfamiliar attacking role alongside Sandro Ramírez and Munir.
FC Barcelona's played to a scoreless draw in their visit to Villanovense in the first leg of the last 32 of the Copa del Rey. Despite the tie, starting goalkeeper Jordi Masip said that the team "was very serious. We created chances but we have to congratulate Villanovense for their game." He put a lot of value in not conceding a goal: "The most positive was not giving anything up. I think we played well defensively."
Luis Enrique used the first Copa del Rey match of the season to debut a pair of youngsters from Barça B — Wilfrid Kaptoum and Aitor Cantalapiedra. Kaptoum, a midfielder from Cameroon, played 63 minutes, and was one of the game's pleasant surprises. He was later replaced by Aitor, the Catalan forward. In seeing action on Wednesday, the pair became the eighth and ninth players since Luis Enrique's arrival to make the leap to the first team, joining Masip, Sandro, Munir, Gumbau, Samper, Halilovic and Edgar Ié, who had already made their debuts.
Barça returned to training on Thursday with so news of the loss of Douglas, who, tests have shown, fractured the scaphoid tarsal in his right foot. He is expected to be out for 8 weeks.
It was Tuesday 29 October 2002, thirteen years ago today, that Andrés Iniesta made his first team debut for FC Barcelona in a Champions League match against Bruges. And the rest, as they say, is history. The 18-year-old would go on to be one of the artifices of the greatest Barça team ever assembled, as well as being one of the finest players ever to wear the Spanish national jersey. First team captain following the retirement of his long-term colleague in midfield, Xavi Hernandez, it was Iniesta who lifted the last of many trophies that he was won over the years – the European Super Cup in Tbilisi.
The Sao Paulo star of the seventies also described how he himself encouraged his former charge Neymar Jr to join Barça. "His father asked me what the best options were" he reveals. "And I said he should go to Barça because they play a similar kind of football here to what he was used to back home. And I think he made the right choice". Two seasons later, and Ramalho is still convinced that "one day he’ll be regarded as the best player in the world. He’s being patient. He’s getting himself ready and there’s a whole structure behind him to ensure that he becomes the future leader of FC Barcelona".
Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano told a court on Thursday that he did not properly pay his taxes in Spain after moving from Liverpool. The Argentine player admitted at a Barcelona court that he failed to pay nearly 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) in taxes owed for 2011 and 2012. Mascherano, who has played for Barcelona since 2010, was accused by Spain's tax office of concealing part of what he earned in image rights during those two years.
The agent of Cristian Tello has made it clear the attacker does not want to return to Barcelona, but would prefer to stay at Porto instead. Cristian Tello's representative Jose Maria Orobitg has stressed that the attacker is not interested in a return to Barcelona once his loan spell with Porto finishes at the end of the season.
The France midfielder Paul Pogba could still join Barcelona from Juventus, according to his agent. The 22-year-old was strongly linked with the Catalan club over the summer but no deal was agreed. Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, now says there is still the possibility of the move happening, but that Juve would want €100m (£71.8m) for the player.