Zone Blitz: Are Barcelona doing the right thing by trying to re-sign Neymar?

By George Davis, Mariah Ramharack&Lance Whittaker July 18, 2019

It's said you should never go back to your ex but Barcelona and Neymar could be a re-marriage made in heaven.

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  • Martinez eager to play for Inter amid Madrid & Barca links – Marotta Martinez eager to play for Inter amid Madrid & Barca links – Marotta

    Real Madrid and Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez is eager to play for Inter, insisted club CEO Giuseppe Marotta.

    Martinez continues to be linked with a move away from Serie A side Inter – LaLiga giants Madrid and Barca as well as Manchester United and Manchester City reportedly interested.

    LaLiga holders Barca have been linked to Martinez as they eye a long-term replacement for veteran forward Luis Suarez.

    Marotta was asked about Martinez prior to Sunday's 2-1 loss to Scudetto rivals Lazio in Rome.

    "Lautaro is improving, he is a very young lad who I think is above all eager to wear this glorious jersey and grow professionally," Marotta told Sky Sport Italia.

    "As I always say, players only leave Inter when they point towards that exit."

    Martinez has taken centre stage alongside Romelu Lukaku since Mauro Icardi's initial loan move to French champions Paris Saint-Germain at the start of the season.

    The 22-year-old has scored 16 goals across all competitions for Inter, who are third and three points behind leaders Juventus in Serie A.

    Argentina international Martinez has netted 25 goals in total since arriving from Racing Club in 2018.

  • Messi is 'the man, the history' of Barcelona, says Brazil great Cafu Messi is 'the man, the history' of Barcelona, says Brazil great Cafu

    Lionel Messi cannot diminish his reputation by leaving Barcelona because "he is the history" of the club, according to two-time World Cup winner Cafu.

    Former Milan and Roma star Cafu, who is Brazil's most-capped player of all-time, says Messi "will always be Messi", regardless of which club he represents.

    Speculation surrounding Messi's Barcelona future has intensified in recent weeks, amid suspicions he might consider a late-career move.

    Messi reacted angrily to comments from Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal, who questioned the commitment of players during Ernesto Valverde's reign at Camp Nou.

    The situation appears to have been defused for now, and Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni recently said he has no concerns about the future of his international captain.

    Messi, 32, is a six-time Ballon d'Or winner and there could be a scramble among the world's richest clubs for his services if he decided he wished to seek another challenge.

    Cafu admits he does not know what choice Messi will make.

    "Nobody knows. It is difficult to say whether Messi will continue at Barcelona or if he will change teams," the former Champions League winner told Omnisport.

    "Messi today is the man of Barcelona, he is the history of Barcelona. But if by his choice he decides to change the team, he will always be Messi and we will always be rooting for him."

    Messi is Barcelona's record scorer, having netted over 650 times for the Spanish giants - more than twice as many goals as any other player.

    He has racked up scores of individual records and accolades during a dazzling professional career, which has been spent in its entirety with Barcelona.

    Cafu was speaking in Berlin ahead of Monday's Laureus World Sports Awards, at which Messi is a nominee for the Sportsman of the Year prize.

    "If Messi was named Sportsman of the Year it is because he deserved it all year through football," said Cafu. "Playing ball, bringing joy, having fun and making Barcelona bigger and bigger."

    Cafu savours his own role as a member of the award voting panel and academy at Laureus, which aims to improve the lives of young people around the world, saying: "It is an honour to be part of an institution as serious as Laureus."

  • Messi and Liverpool among the big-name nominees at Laureus World Sports Awards Messi and Liverpool among the big-name nominees at Laureus World Sports Awards

    Lionel Messi and Liverpool are among the front-runners for prizes at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday.

    Liverpool are up for two gongs after a wonderful year, as they won the 2018-19 Champions League and took a massive leap towards a first top-flight title in 30 years.

    Jurgen Klopp's side look set to break a host of records this season, as they have dropped points in just one of their 25 matches and hold a remarkable 22-point lead over defending champions Manchester City in second.

    The Reds are in the running for two prizes in the Laureus Sports Awards' 20th anniversary gala – World Team of the Year and Comeback of the Year, the latter on account of their astonishing Champions League semi-final turnaround at the expense of Barcelona.

    Among those challenging Liverpool for the former are the United States' Women's football team and the Toronto Raptors, who became the first Canadian franchise win an NBA championship.

    A selection of sporting superstars are up for the Sportsman of the Year award, with Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi among them following his record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or.

    Also in the running is Eliud Kipchoge after the Kenyan became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours last October, covering the 26.2 miles in one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds in Vienna.

    Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Megan Rapinoe is among those in the hunt for the Sportswoman of the Year gong, although gymnast Simone Biles also has a compelling case.

    The 22-year-old last year won five gold medals at the World Championships to become the most decorated gymnast in the event's history, and has won this award twice before, in 2019 and 2017.

    The event will take place at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Monday. Below is a complete list of the awards up for grabs and the athletes nominated.

    Sportsman of the Year

    Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics
    Lewis Hamilton – Formula One
    Lionel Messi – Football
    Marc Marquez – MotoGP
    Rafael Nadal – Tennis
    Tiger Woods – Golf

    Sportswoman of the Year

    Allyson Felix – Athletics
    Megan Rapinoe – Football
    Mikaela Shiffrin – Skiing
    Naomi Osaka – Tennis
    Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – Athletics
    Simone Biles – Gymnastics

     

    Team of the Year

    Liverpool – Football
    Mercedes-AMG – Formula One
    South Africa – Rugby Union
    Spain – Basketball
    Toronto Raptors – Basketball
    United States Women – Football

    Breakthrough of the Year

    Andy Ruiz – Boxing
    Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
    Coco Gauff – Tennis
    Egan Bernal – Cycling
    Japan – Rugby Union
    Regan Smith – Swimming

     

    Comeback of the Year

    Andy Murray – Tennis
    Christian Lealiifano – Rugby Union
    Kawhi Leonard – Basketball
    Liverpool – Football
    Nathan Adrian – Swimming
    Sophia Florsch – Formula Three

    Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

    Alice Tai – Swimming
    Diede de Groot – Wheelchair Tennis
    Jetze Plat – Triathlon
    Manuela Schar – Wheelchair Racing
    Oksana Masters – Cross Country Skiing
    Omara Durand – Athletics

     

    Action Sportsperson of the year

    Carissa Moore – Surfing
    Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
    Italo Ferreira – Surfing
    Mark McMorris – Snowboarding
    Nyjah Huston – Skateboarding
    Rayssa Leal – Skateboarding

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