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How Barcelona new signings fared in debuts against Tottenham

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Arthur Melo celebrate goal with Rafinha
It was a game filled with fun at the Rose Bowl when Barcelona kicked off their 2018-2019 season in a preseason friendly against Tottenham Hotspurs. Goals from Munir El Haddadi and new signing Arthur Melo gave Barca a 2-0 halftime lead but the Catalans conceded twice in the second half without scoring. However, they ended up winning the tie 5-3 on penalties.

Coach Ernesto Valverde handed all three summer signings their debuts with defender Clement Lenglet and midfielder Arthur Melo in the starting lineup and attacker Malcom coming in as a substitute. All three players impressed in their debuts and showed a good sign of things to come this season.

Clement Lenglet - 7/10: The central defender didn't have a lot to do in his 45 minutes in the pitch but was solid when called upon. His passes weren't bad either but he somewhat was too simple and predictable. He improved as the game went on and ended up putting a fine display.

Arthur Melo - 9/10: Oh man! Arthur was something else in his debut. He won the midfield battle against Erikson and company during his time on the pitch. His movement, touches, passes and understanding of the game was outstanding and he capped it all with a fantastic debut goal, a bullet from outside the box. A fantastic display from the young Brazilian.

Malcom - 7.5/10: Was introduced at halftime and he really did have a good game. Was very active and played both on the right flank and the left which shows his versatility. The Brazilian winger created problems for the Tottenham defense on many occasions and had a nice shot saved. He scored the winning spot kicks for Barca.

Tottenham 2-2 Barcelona: Arthur nets as Barca win first preseason on penalties

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Barcelona celebrate against Tottenham
After much wait and anticipation, FC Barcelona finally returned to action in the early hours of Sunday morning as they played out a 2-2 draw against English Giants Tottenham Hotspurs in their first game of their 2018 US Tour for the International Champions Cup. The Catalan went on to win on penalties after a magnificent display throughout the entire 90 minutes.

Coach Ernesto Valverde started new signings Arthur Melo and Clement Lenglet and the Catalan Giants started great despite Spurs early press but then midfielder Arthur Melo took control of the game in the first half and Barca had a magnificent performance in the first half with goals from Munir El Haddadi and Arthur himself giving the Blaugranas a comfortable 2-0 lead at halftime.

A beautiful pass from Sergi Roberto set up Rafinha who headed a pass down for Munir to tap in the opener in 15 minutes. But then Arthur got a debut goal and the goal of the game 15 minutes later as he scored a screamer from outside the box to make it 2-0. A beautiful pass from young left back Juan Miranda set up Rafinha on the wing and the Brazilian set up his fellow countryman to fire in a bullet from outside the box to put Barca 2-0 ahead at Halftime. A dominating display.

All 10 outfield players were taken off in the second half with Valverde introducing 10 youths and new signings Malcom who had a very lively display. Tottenham had a better performance in the second half but the Barcelona kids left by midfield maestro Riqui Puig took control of the game. However, two poor defensive mistakes meant Spurs would score twice in two minutes to make it 2-2 as Son and Nkoudou found the back of the net.

Spurs looked the more dangerous team but Barca held on to the 2-2 and it finally went to penalty shootout. All five Barca players scored their spot kicks with Malcom getting the winner while Jasper Cillessen made a save to give Barca the 5-3 penalty win. It's a good start to the 2018-2019 season.

Who will be Barcelona's next signing?

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Arthur Melo during training
After a section of the Barcelona fan base complained of the club not being active in the transfer window and making mediocre purchases in recent years, the club have sprung into life and have been one of the most active big clubs so far signing three stars in Arthur Melo, Clement Lenglet and Malcom. The club have also seen a couple of names leave with the biggests being the departure of club legend Andres Iniesta and also midfielder Paulinho.

In fact, more departures are imminent with the likes of Paco Alcacer, Andre Gomes, Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina and Denis Suarez rumoured to be on their way out. But the big question is: Who will Barcelona sign next?

It's a certainty the club is not done adding players to their ranks and they've made it clear they need more strength in the midfield. A couple of names have been mentioned with PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot the major target, however the deal seems to be difficult to pull and new reports have emerged that the club are targeting Sevilla midfielder Steven N'zonzi as an alternative.

Also, it is very clear that the club is interested in Ajax young gem Frenkie De Jong as they see him as a star of the future. The deal seems very difficult as Ajax do not want to let such a talent leave their shores just yet but Barcelona are proposing to get a deal for him next season.

Other names have been rumoured targets, Juventus star Miralem Pjanic is one but it's very unlikely to happen as the player recently came out to say he's staying in Turin next season. Valencia's Dani Parejo is another hot one, reports claim Valverde is a huge admirer of the player but he's aged and probably not the kind of player Barca should be going for if they're to build for the future with Iniesta gone and Sergio Busquets in his 30s.

However the outcome, Barca look determined to add to their midfield which is a very good thing. However, they should get the right profile that's all that matters.

Lucas Digne set to join Everton

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Lucas Digne set to join Everton
FC Barcelona left back Lucas Digne is on the verge of joining English outfits Everton FC according to reports in Spain and England.

The defender joined FC Barcelona two seasons ago for a fee of 16.5 million Euros but looks set to be on his way out after he found a hard time competing with Jordi Alba for a place in the first team. According to Catalan outlet Mundo Deportivo, the French left-back will move to Merseyside to join Everton FC for a fee believes to be around 20 million Euros.

According to the reports everything between player and clubs have been agreed on but one factor is slowing negotiations down. The reason the deal is yet to be finalised is because Everton are also interested in the services of another Barca player in defender Yerry Mina and would want it to be a double swoop.

Everything is set to be over by next week and Digne could be the latest Barcelona star that will be leaving the gates of Camp Nou after defender Douglas Pereira joined Sivasspor.

Umtiti and Dembele help France win World Cup

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Samuel Umtiti celebrates World Cup win with France
After one month of electrifying battles and mind-blowing performances, the winner of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia finally emerges and it is none other than a team who were regarded as one of the favourites at the beginning of the tournament in Les Bleu of France who defeated first time finalists Croatia 4-2 to win their second World Cup ever and their first in foreign soil and since 1998.

Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic thought he was shooting in the opposition's goal when he put the ball into his own net after 18 minutes. The forward then played a crucial role for his teams equaliser by winning an aerial duel that then allowed for winger Ivan Perisic to bag in the equaliser ten minutes later thanks to a Vida assist.

Croatia were the better side for the entirety of the game and didn't allow France a single shot on target in the first half except for Antoine Griezmann's penalty. The Atletico Madrid striker converted from the spot on 38 minutes after Ivan Perisic went from hero to villain in 10 minutes by handling the ball in the 18 yard box. It ended that way in the first half, 2-1 in favour of France.

The French started the second half much better than they did in the first and got their third goal courtesy of a beauty from Paul Pogba 15 minutes into the second half giving his side a 2-goal lead before Kyliann Mbappe made it 4-1. Hugo Lloris then pulled off a stuff of clowns as he tried to nutmeg Mandzukic but failed miserably and allowed the forward the simplest goal of the tournament to make it 4-2. The game ended that way and France went all the way to win their second title ever.

Samuel Umtiti played a major role in the win as he was solid and composed at the back all through the game. Sadly, Ousmanne Dembele didn't feature but he too will boast of a World Cup winners medal nonetheless. Ivan Rakitic was at the losing side after being one of Croatia's outstanding performers of not only the game but also the tournament.

Now with the World Cup over, club football will be back soon as FC Barcelona will look to strengthen their squad this transfer window in a bid to have another successful season.

It's Rakitic vs Dembele and Umtiti in the World Cup final

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Umtiti celebrates winner against Belgium
Barcelona centre back Samuel Umtiti was Man of the Match for France in their World Cup semifinal win over Belgium as he scored the only goal of the game to take his country to their first World Cup final since the 2006 loss against Italy.

After defeating Uruguay almost easily in the quarterfinal, France were destined to face a much more difficult task after it was confirmed they'd face Belgium, a team that knocked out Brazil, one of the main favourites. The game was even with both teams getting chances but no goal, until Samuel Umtiti showed up, beating Marounne Fellaini to head home from a Griezmann corner, a goal that ended up being the only goal of the game.

The second semifinal promised an even more interesting game as Ivan Rakitic's Croatia took on England. The Three Lions got an early lead through a Kieran Trippier direct free kick goal on the 5th minute but Ivan Perisic netted the equaliser in the second half before Mario Mandzukic scored the all-important winner in the second half of extra time with 10 minutes remaining. Croatia held on for the win and will take on France in the final on Sunday.

Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele both have the chance to win a World Cup but will have to go through Ivan Rakitic's mentally-strong Croatia team. Thomas Vermaelen will also be looking for a win against England to get a third place medal. Anyway, a winners medal as well as a runner-up medal will come to Barcelona and possibly a third place medal.
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