Welcome to today’s Barcelona blog. Niall and the rest of the Sport360 team will be with you throughout the day with the latest news, rumours and insights from the Camp Nou.
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19:01 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino not keen on La Liga games being staged abroad
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has voiced his objection to leagues playing competitive games abroad, an idea long considered by Premier League clubs and now planned by La Liga.
As part of a 15-year deal signed with entertainment and sports group Relevent in August, the Spanish top-flight wants to play at least one regular-season game a year in North America.
La Liga and Relevent hope that the first of those will be Girona’s ‘home’ game against Barcelona in Miami on January 26 but the plan has provoked controversy ever since it first emerged.
Read more on this story here.
17:54 – Barcelona president praises Lionel Messi for changing after taking captaincy
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says Lionel Messi is “very happy” at the club and has praised the star for changing after taking the captaincy.
Bartomeu said he had seen a change in the Argentina international, 31, who was named Barca skipper in August after Andres Iniesta’s departure from the Camp Nou.
Read the fill story here.
16:52 – Man United reportedly open talks with Barcelona target Lucas Paqueta
Manchester United have reportedly opened talks over the transfer of Flamengo midfielder Lucas Paqueta, who is also a target for other top European clubs – including Barcelona.
Read more on this here.
13:55 – Seven hours until kick-off
11:00 – Special night for Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho is desperate to make up for lost time as Barcelona prepare to launch their latest bid for Champions League glory.
The 26-year-old Brazil international made his £142million move from Liverpool to the Nou Camp in January having already played for the Premier League club in the competition and was a frustrated by-stander as they went out to Roma in the quarter-finals.
He could finally get his chance when Barca entertain Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven as Group B gets under way tonight, and he admits he cannot wait.
Coutinho told a press conference: “It will be a special, important night for me. I’m looking forward to this because I couldn’t play in this competition for Barca last season.
09:00 – Squad for tonight’s game against PSV
Arthur has been included in the Barcelona squad to take on PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League opener tonight (23:00).
The Brazilian midfielder arrived at the Camp Nou in July, but is yet to start a La Liga game and he missed out on the match day squad against Real Sociedad at the weekend.
Meanwhile, his compatriot Philippe Coutinho will finally make his competition debut for the Catalan giants, and the 26-year-old might just be the missing piece to Ernesto Valverde’s puzzle as the Blaugrana attempt to conquer Europe again.
Thomas Vermaelen and Denis Suarez were not included due to injury.
Sergi Samper and Malcom also miss out through injury, while Munir El Haddadi is installed.
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