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La Liga: Messi Shuts the Door on Barca Return

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Lionel Messi just announced his decision to not come back to Catalunya, shutting down any possibility that he’ll play another La Liga game, much to the dismay of the majority of Barcelona’s ardent supporters.

He has been a hot topic since his camp announced that he will no longer stay at PSG beyond this season following an up-and-down campaign in Paris, and now he finds himself embarking on a new challenge.

Following this decision, Barcelona will have to focus on their other transfer targets, as Xavi indicated that they will continue to retool their team this summer.

Meanwhile in Madrid, Real just landed their newest Galactico, although they’re still searching for a new striker, while their city rivals, Atleti, are not expected to do much this offseason.

Check out the latest La Liga 2023 updates here at SBOTOP.

International Friendly
Germany
Ukraine
1X2 Draw @ 4.90
Germany Asian Handicap -1.25 @ 1.77
Over 3.00 @ 1.92
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

What’s next for Barcelona after the Messi saga?

With or without Messi, Xavi knows for a fact that Barcelona still have a long way to go in order to become the world beaters that they once were when he was still playing for them.

He deserves his flowers for ending the Blaugrana’s four-year La Liga title drought, and the top management should continue to back him by fulfilling his wishlist this offseason.

Xavi has called on the club to reinforce their midfield to replace their captain, Sergio Busquets, who’s been linked with a move to join Messi at Inter Miami.

Barcelona already have the likes of Gavi, Pedri, and Frenkie de Jong, but Xavi wants an additional playmaker who will improve their depth. This is the main reason why they’re eyeing the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Ruben Neves, and Joshua Kimmich. 

Gundogan’s contract with Manchester City is due to expire this month, and no new deal has been agreed. He’s had many talismanic performances for the Sky Blues this campaign, including his brace against Manchester United most recently in the FA Cup final.

Barcelona are also taking a look at Gundogan’s Manchester City teammate, Bernardo Silva.

Neves is reportedly involved in a possible swap deal with Ansu Fati. Although Xavi isn’t a huge fan of the Portuguese, Neves can definitely carve out a role with the Blaugrana.

Kimmich, on the other hand, is reportedly becoming unsettled in Germany. It’ll be much harder to pry him away from the Allianz Arena, as he still has two years left on his contract and because of his high market valuation.


Real Madrid confirm new additions and striker interest

Will Jude Bellingham be the next La Liga superstar?
Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham celebrates after their Bundesliga match against Gladbach

Real Madrid had been longing for Bellingham since the start of this year with the intention of refreshing their midfield options because Toni Kroos (33) and Luka Modric (37) aren’t getting any younger, and Casemiro left for Manchester United this season.

And after months of speculation, Los Blancos finally got their wish of landing Bellingham, reportedly paying Borussia Dortmund €103 million with add-ons.

The 19-year-old English international no longer needs to be introduced at Real Madrid, as he’s already recognised as one of the best midfielders in the world today, and his arrival will certainly boost Los Blancos’ La Liga 2023 odds. He has played in 42 games for Borussia Dortmund this season, scoring 14 goals and notching seven assists.

Brahim Diaz, meanwhile, was given a two-year extension by Real Madrid following his successful loan spell at AC Milan. The 23-year-old forward was I Rossoneri’s third-leading scorer with seven goals, and he has registered eight assists.

Fran Garcia will be returning to Real Madrid three years after he left the club to play for Rayo Vallecano. Real Madrid only had to pay €5 million to trigger his buy-back clause.

Furthermore, Los Blancos are looking for a new No. 9 following the departure of Karim Benzema, and reports claim that they’re keeping tabs on Kai Havertz and Harry Kane.


Atletico Madrid preparing for “silent” window

Unlike Barcelona and Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid are planning to play it smart, as Diego Simeone admitted that they won’t be very active in the summer transfer window.

Atleti will welcome a raft of loanees back this offseason, such as Joao Felix from Chelsea and Matheus Cunha from Wolves, and it remains to be seen where they will be in Simeone’s pecking order next season.

Felix has been one of the bright spots for Chelsea in their miserable 2022-23 campaign, emerging as their third-leading scorer with four goals. In contrast, Cunha didn’t make much of an impact at Wolves.

Atletico Madrid’s most notable addition so far is Caglar Soyuncu, who will arrive on a free this summer following Leicester City’s relegation to the Championship.


 

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