TOP 5 Barca: Iniesta to China in doubt, Ballon d'Or apology, U19 Champions League, Pinto, Marcos Alonso

Iniesta's people deny that his move to China has hit a snag | Sport

On Thursday the website of Spanish newspaper Marca said there were problems with Iniesta's move and that "a financial agreement with China cannot be reached".

Sources close to Iniesta consulted by Sport, however, have denied that these problems exist and insist that everything is fine. In any case, they say that everything remains as planned, with Iniesta holding a farewell press conference on Friday to announce his departure.

Why did Barcelona excel in Copa del Rey yet fail miserably in the Champions League? | The Barcelona Podcast

Francesc and Dan welcome the brilliant Rik Sharma of Sport-English to discuss Barcelona's Copa del Rey victory vs Sevilla, the legacy of Iniesta, the UEFA Youth League and more. Your hosts are then joined by Joe Dixon of Penya Barcelonista San Francisco, Will Hass of FC Barcelona Penya Austin and Trishal Varma of Barca Dallas in the second edition of our Penya Roundtable.

France Football formally apologise to Andres Iniesta for never awarding him the Ballon d’Or | Squawka

“He is the best facilitator of play of all time. The majority of his contemporaries make their lives complicated, but he has enjoyed himself on the pitch for 15 years, making everything simple. Without any vanity, he only thinks about bringing the play to life,” Ferre said.

“Iniesta’s talent is to invent for others” he added. “Without him, Messi would have grown tired much more quickly at Barça. His altruism has deprived him of getting even more recognition. Of all the absences on the list of Ballon d’Or winners, his is very painful,”

Pinto: ‘I’m worried that the Cup and the League are not seen as valuable’ |

"I'm worried that the Cup and League are not seen as worthwhile. It seems that winning the League doesn't have the value it should, when it is the competition that shows which team is the best and most regular throughout the season," he explained. He also noted that suffering in the Champions League shouldn't take away any merit from other competitions."

About Lionel Messi, with whom he enjoys a good friendship, Pinto said: "I'm not surprised how it's going. I think he still has so much more to give. This is just the beginning of Messi." He also spoke about Andrés Iniesta: "When I think of Andrés, I think of Don Andrés. Technically, I won’t find anything knew, and I can only say that he is a lord with the ball.”

Barcelona U19s win UEFA Youth League: Five players to watch | ESPN

For the second time in the tournament's five-year existence, Barca won the UEFA Youth League, beating Chelsea 3-0 on Monday. They had beaten another English side, Manchester City, in a nine-goal thriller on Friday to make the final, before an Alejandro Marques brace and a late Abel Ruiz effort propelled them to the trophy over the Blues.

Perhaps the most talked about player coming through Barca's academy at the moment, Ruiz isn't actually a regular with the U-19 team. Instead, he's already playing week in, week out for Gerard's B team. However, he travelled to Nyon this week to boost Barca's chances of winning the cup.

Barcelona eyeing Chelsea star Alonso as long-term Pique replacement | Goal

Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso is being considered by Barcelona as a possible long-term replacement for Gerard Pique, Goal understands. The World Cup winner at Camp Nou is set to turn 32 in February 2019 and the Blaugrana believe a man currently at Stamford Bridge is capable of one day filling a void at the heart of their defence.

The versatile Alonso does have experience of playing as a centre-back from his time at Serie A side Fiorentina, but he has never operated there under Antonio Conte at Chelsea since completing a £23 million move in August 2016.