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    Ronaldinho’s son Joao Mendes, 17, signs for Barcelona as he follows in legendary dad’s footsteps

    THE son of Barcelona legend Ronaldinho has followed in his father’s footsteps and signed for the club. Joao de Assis Moreira, known as Joao Mendes, has joined the Catalan giants after being on trial since January.
    Joao Mendes has joined Barcelona, where his father Ronaldinho starredCredit: Instagram
    Ronaldinho’s son is a strikerCredit: Instagram
    Ronaldinho is a legend at Barca and says he’ll now be ‘more present than ever’Credit: AP:Associated Press
    The 17-year-old was previously at Brazilian side Cruzerio before his contract was terminated.
    He supposedly possesses some of the same silky skills his dad was famous for, but he is a striker rather than an attacking midfielder.
    On his son’s move, Ronaldinho said via Marca: “Yes he is coming now.
    “I’m never out of the club. Barcelona is part of life. Wherever I go I take Barcelona with me.
    “With the arrival of my son at Barca I’ll be more present than ever.”
    Mendes will now join the iconic La Masia academy, which is responsible for nurturing talent like Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Gavi and current manager Xavi.
    Ronaldinho currently works as an ambassador for the club
    The 42-year-old has legendary status at the Nou Camp after an incredible five season stay.
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    Ronaldinho played 207 times, netting 94 goals and registering 70 assists.
    The Brazil icon helped the team win two LaLiga titles and one Champions League trophy.
    He was also crowned the 2005 Ballon d’Or winner while at Barca. More

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    Man Utd keeping transfer tabs on Yannick Carrasco with 29-year-old’s contract running down at Atletico Madrid

    MANCHESTER UNITED are keeping tabs on Atletico Madrid star Yannick Carrasco, according to reports.The Belgian is out of contract at the end of next season.
    Manchester United are monitoring Yannick CarrascoCredit: Getty
    And Atletico are open to letting the Belgian leave, sparking interest from the Red Devils.
    But they could miss out on Carrasco as Barcelona reportedly have a £17million agreement in place to sign the winger, according to AS.
    The same report outlines United’s interest, claiming they are keeping an eye on his situation.
    Barcelona could decide not to complete Carrasco’s signing, in which case Atletico would be open to Premier League offers.
    Tottenham are believed to be interested in the Belgian with Antonio Conte a big fan.
    While United were also offered the chance to sign him in January following the injury to Christian Eriksen.
    The club instead opted for Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, who arrived on loan.
    Newcastle were also linked to Carrasco last summer but his price tag deterred Toon making a bid.
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    United are set for a busy summer and have reportedly listed three stars for sale – Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial and Alex Telles.
    The Red Devils could try to sign Declan Rice but David Moyes has warned it will take a British record transfer fee to let him go. More

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    Frenkie de Jong’s girlfriend hilariously trolls Man Utd fans over failed transfer ahead of Barcelona Europa League clash

    FRENKIE DE JONG’S girlfriend had a hilarious response for Manchester United fans desperate to get an update on the Barcelona midfielder. De Jong was at the centre of a long-running transfer saga in the summer as the Red Devils desperately tried to spring him from the Nou Camp.
    Mikky Kiemeney is the glamorous girlfriend of Barca midfielder de JongCredit: Instagram / @mikkykiemeney
    But the deal could not be done and the star now faces playing United twice in the Europa League this month.
    Girlfriend of de Jong, Mikky Kiemeney, couldn’t help but have fun with United fans still pining over a potential move.
    One asked her on Instagram: “when’s Frenkie coming to Manchester?”
    Kiemeney replied by uploading a picture of Barcelona’s upcoming fixtures, pinpointing the European second-leg at Old Trafford on February 23, before a deadpan response of: “23-2 I guess.”
    Despite the transfer speculation and a row over wages, de Jong has settled back into the Barca team and appeared in all but two league games this season.
    He is fighting to get into a talented midfield which includes young Spain stars Pedri and Gavi and veteran Sergio Busquets, who went off injured in the weekend win over Sevilla.
    Barcelona are a side fit and firing at the moment as they look to win their first league title under Xavi.
    Real Madrid’s loss at Mallorca over the weekend means the Catalan club now have an eight point lead in the La Liga race.
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    It should be a titanic Europa League tussle with a Man United side who are in devastating form of their own.
    Erik ten Hag’s team have only lost one of their last 15 games and have won 12 home matches on the bounce in all competitions.
    With de Jong not joining, United instead swooped for Christian Eriksen and Casemiro who have both boosted the club’s midfield.
    But Eriksen is set to be out until April with injury while Casemiro will be suspended for United’s next three domestic games.
    Marcel Sabitzer was also recruited on transfer deadline day and made his debut off the bench in Saturday’s win over Crystal Palace. More

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    Real Madrid star Thibaut Courtois in race against time to be fit to face Liverpool after suffering groin injury

    REAL MADRID goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois faces a race against time to be fit for their Champions League tie with Liverpool. Courtois picked up an adductor injury during the warm-up before Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat to Mallorca on Sunday.
    Thibaut Courtois was injured during the warm-up before Real Madrid’s loss to MallorcaCredit: Getty
    Courtois now faces a race to be fit for the Champions League clash with LiverpoolCredit: Alamy
    The Real Madrid No1 underwent medical tests on Monday morning.
    And, while Madrid were relieved to discover the Belgian’s injury is not serious, he remains a doubt for Los Blancos’ latest Champions League showdown with Liverpool.
    Courtois, 30, will miss Madrid’s Club World Cup Campaign which gets underway on Wednesday against Egyptian side Al Ahly.
    But he has 15 days to recover for the last-16 first-leg clash against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds at Anfield on February 21.
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    The return leg between last season’s two finalists will take place in the Spanish capital on March 15.
    Real Madrid will have their fingers crossed as they already have major fitness doubt over Karim Benzema and Eder Militao.
    It is the second injury of the season for Courtois who was voted the best keeper in the world last year.
    Back-up Andriy Lunin stepped in for the shock loss to Mallorca, which allowed Barcelona to open up an eight-point lead at the top of LaLiga.
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    Boss Carlo Ancelotti said: “It’s a defeat that hurts a lot.
    “But it was the game we expected and we prepared for it, a difficult game with a lot of fouls, a lot of stoppages.
    “We didn’t play badly, especially in the second half. Conceding early affected us a lot, and we missed a penalty.” More

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    Barcelona star Jules Kounde issues statement apologising for ‘exaggerated’ celebration against Sevilla

    JULES KOUNDE apologised for his “exaggerated” celebration against Sevilla.The Barcelona star, 24, played at right-back in Sunday’s 3-0 win over his former team.
    Jules Kounde, right, joined in the wild celebrations against SevillaCredit: Getty
    The defender spent three years at Sevilla before joining BarcelonaCredit: Getty
    And the ace could not resist his jubilant reaction when Jordi Alba opened the scoring just before the hour mark at the Nou Camp.
    Kounde – who left Sevilla for Barcelona in a £46million transfer last summer after his Chelsea move collapsed – let out all the emotions after his new side eventually broke down a steely Sevilla defence.
    But he took to Twitter with a short statement to say sorry to his former employers and their fans, after making 133 appearances across his three seasons at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.
    Frenchman Kounde wrote: “I was always grateful for the opportunity to wear the red and white jersey and for the love I received during my time there.
    “That is why I wanted to apologise for the goal celebration which, in a moment of euphoria, was exaggerated on my part.
    “I wish you the best, always.”
    Gavi and Raphinha added goals to secure a 3-0 win, which extended Barcelona’s lead at the top of LaLiga to eight points following Real Madrid’s shock defeat at Mallorca.
    It also ensured an incredible 15th clean sheet in 20 league games so far this season.
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    Xavi’s men have conceded just seven times – three of which came in the defeat at Real Madrid.
    The only player to score against Barcelona in their last six matches, ironically, is Kounde.
    He accidentally bundled into his own net at the back post in last Wednesday’s 2-1 win at Real Betis.
    The French ace has been part of the phenomenal defensive unit at the Nou CampCredit: Getty
    Kounde also congratulated Gavi on making it 2-0Credit: Getty More

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    Barcelona ‘confirm LaLiga title’ as they achieve feat Real Madrid ‘can never overcome’ with win over Sevilla

    BARCELONA have “confirmed the LaLiga title.”That’s by opening up a massive eight-point gap over rivals Real Madrid as they go in search of their first crown since 2019.
    Barcelona have opened up an eight-point gap over Real Madrid in LaLigaCredit: Getty
    Xavi Hernandez’s men made light work of Sevilla on Sunday, cruising to a 3-0 win at the Nou Camp.
    And, after Real lost 1-0 at Mallorca earlier in the day, Barca extended their lead at the top of the LaLiga table to eight points.
    Social media stats giant MisterChip say Barcelona have NEVER thrown away a title race after going eight points clear.
    And to make matters worse for Real, they have never clawed back that same gap for a late leapfrog.
    In fact, Los Blancos themselves have history of throwing away an eight-point lead when they lost the LaLiga title race to Valencia.
    In 2016, Real were 12 points behind Barcelona before hiring Zinedine Zidane.
    And although the Catalans went on to win the title, Real closed to gap down to just one point.
    Despite that, Barcelona fans have been celebrating their barnstorming lead loudly on social media, with many convinced this season’s title race is a done deal.
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    One said: “Madrid doesn’t play anything while Barcelona’s game is spectacular.”
    Another declared: “Wrap up a lot these days. In Madrid they are at minus eight.”
    One laughed: “Everything was more than ready for Xavi’s Barcelona to win some big titles.”
    But another warned: “It is Real Madrid and they can come back even when 99 per cent probability says no.” More

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    Real Madrid ‘accept Jude Bellingham will join Premier League with Man City and Liverpool battling over transfer’

    REAL MADRID have reportedly accepted that transfer target Jude Bellingham’s next move will be to the Premier League.Bellingham, 19, is one of the most in-demand teenagers in world football after his exploits at the World Cup and for Borussia Dortmund.
    Jude Bellingham has a host of clubs chasing his signatureCredit: Getty
    Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have all been linked with the ex-Birmingham City midfield ace.
    We reported last week how Newcastle had now joined the transfer chase, while Real Madrid also hold a heavy interest in signing the teenage sensation.
    Los Blancos have been trying to work on a deal for some time with their chief scout Juni Calafat already “taking care of relations” with Bellingham’s father, Mark, who manages his son’s career.
    However, The Athletic have stated that with Liverpool and City both “pushing hard”, Real Madrid “are becoming resigned to the fact that the financial muscle of the Premier League is almost unbeatable”.
    The LaLiga giants and Champions League holders will still put up a big fight to secure Bellingham.
    However, they accept that any financial package they offer will be below those available from England.

    Dortmund are also desperate to try and keep hold of the youngster.
    The know Premier league clubs are “in pole position” to snap-up their talisman but they still hope to convince him to sign an extension to his current deal which ends in 2025.
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    Bellingham is continuing his World Cup form back at club Dortmund following the winter break.
    He has scored ten goals across all competitions this season.
    And he has also captained the side on numerous occasions throughout the campaign. More

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    Watch Atletico Madrid star celebrate on BENCH as he’s subbed off after disallowed goal – only for VAR to overturn it

    ANGEL CORREA will never have a more bewildering goal celebration.The winger was mobbed on the bench by Atletico Madrid after being taken off – as VAR eventually awarded him a goal that had been ruled out.

    Atletico winger Angel Correa is overjoyed as he gets off the bench to share his goal joy with fellow home playersCredit: BeIN sports
    Atletico players rushed into celebrate sub Angel Correa after his strike was eventually adjudged a goal by VARCredit: Rex
    Correa brilliantly thumped home a rebound opener on the hour in Saturday’s 1-1 home LaLiga draw with Getafe.
    But it was erased for offside and the Argentinian was promptly replaced by Yannick Carrasco.
    Correa put on a jacket as he settled back on the bench, while referee Antonio Mateu waited for a replay amid confusion and a lengthy delay on the pitch.
    Mateu at last overturned his no-goal verdict – sending Atletico players racing off the pitch to bury the seated Correa in a sea of hugs.
    The 27-year-old finally scrambled up to take the cheers of the crowd and rejoice in a more conventional way on the touchline.
    And fans on social media were as stunned as Diego Simeone’s men by the bemusing incident.
    One said: “It’s the wildest thing I’ve seen since a pen was awarded to Sevilla in a play that originally ended in a Real Madrid goal two seasons ago.”
    That was a slightly-incorrect reference to ex-Barcelona hero Ivan Rakitic notching a spot-kick in May 2021 to help ruin Real Madrid’s title dream that season.
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    Real striker Karim Benzema was set to win a penalty after being pulled down by Yassine Bounou.
    But replays rolled play back to the other end to spot a handball from Eder Militao in his own box as Sevilla went on to earn a 2-2 draw.
    It also sparked bemusement as some observers made points like: “I thought substitution was not allowed during VAR review.”
    But one fan responded: “He got subbed THEN the VAR guys let the ref know ‘hey we may need to check this out’.
    “Correa was already in his jacket getting warm by the time they decided to review it. While it was live it didn’t look like they were going to review it.”
    Correa had earlier missed a sitter as fourth-placed Atletico struggled to break second-bottom Getafe down.
    And the visitors snatched a shock point on 83 minutes when Saul Niguez handled, enabling Enes Unal  to level from the spot.
    Atletico chief Simeone said: “We went ahead after a huge effort, against a team that defended well and shut off the avenues to goal.
    “We tried in every way, we played the game we wanted to play, we couldn’t get the second goal which allows you to be more calm and then something happened that can happen in a game, an isolated move, a penalty where there wasn’t any danger.”
    Correa, right, was eventually ruled onside when he crashed the opening goal, only for lowly Getafe to rescue a surprise pointCredit: BeIN sports
    Argentina ace Correa was well settled on the bench when his goal was givenCredit: BeIN sports
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