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Barcelona defender won't make Man City move

Pep Guardiola and Gerard Pique know each other well. Credit: PA

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has ruled out any chance of him following Pep Guardiola to Manchester City this summer due to his "love" for United.

Guardiola will take over at City this summer and there has already been plenty of speculation about which stars the current Bayern Munich coach might try to bring to the Etihad Stadium.

One player who insists he will not be re-joining his former Barcelona boss though is ex-United defender Pique, who admits he wants to play abroad again before the end of his career but has no intention of representing the blue half of Manchester.

My love for Manchester United is too great for me to sign for City, even though Pep is a great coach.

I'm very happy in Barcelona. United are my second club, but my future is at Barca. I'm very proud to play at Barcelona. I think it's the best club in the world.

I would like to try a different league when I've got a few years to go before retiring. I don't know if it will be Colombia, I'd like that for Shakira, but nobody can predict the future.

– Gerard Pique

Enrique refutes claims defender got himself booked

Gerard Pique took down Danny Welbeck. Credit: Reuters

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has rejected claims Gerard Pique picked up a deliberate booking at the Emirates forcing him to miss the second leg at the Nou Camp.

The centre-back cynically fouled Danny Welbeck late on, earning him a caution and a suspension but Enrique has defended Pique.

It wasn't deliberate. Gerard Pique, if you saw the fault (foul), he had to do it, it wasn't deliberate at all.

Everyone who knows about football knows you need a first half like this in order to have a second like the one we had. Arsenal are very good at helping each other collectively and we needed a lot of possession of the ball.

My players individually performed perfectly. But there is nothing decided yet, we will have to perform very well in the (second leg).

– Luis Enrique


Arsenal recall their fully-rested big names for Champions League clash with Barcelona

Arsenal will recall their big-hitters for Tuesday night's Champions League first knock-out round tie against holders Barcelona.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger rested a number of his key men for the FA Cup fifth-round draw with Hull on Saturday with the first-leg against the Catalan outfit in mind.

Ramsey, Cech and Ozil are all set to return against Barcelona Credit: Reuters

But, while the likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech will return to the squad, Jack Wilshere (leg), Gabriel (hamstring), Santi Cazorla (knee) and Tomas Rosicky (thigh) are all still missing.

Provisional squad: Cech, Ospina, Monreal, Gibbs, Koscielny, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Chambers, Ramsey, Elneny, Coquelin, Flamini, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott, Welbeck, Giroud.


Messi wins player of the month for the first time ever

Lionel Messi has been named Spain's La Liga player of the month for January - the first time he has ever won the award.

La Liga player of the month has been given out since the beginning of the 2013-14 Primera Division season, but the five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner had not won it until now.

Messi has never been named as player of the month in La Liga until now. Credit: PA

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner finally won the award at the 23rd time of asking after scoring six goals in as many league games in January.

The 28-year-old struck a hat-trick against Granada as well as scoring in victories over Athletic Bilbao, Malaga and Atletico Madrid to take his total of league goals for the season to 12.

Messi is only the second Barcelona player to win the award following Neymar's success in November.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award twice since it began in September 2013.

Man Utd want Mourinho and Neymar to fight Man City

Man United want Mourinho and Neymar in the summer. Credit: PA

Reports in Portugal claim that Manchester United have agreed to hand Jose Mourinho the manager's job, and they want him to sign Barcelona superstar Neymar in the summer.

The Old Trafford board see Mourinho's appointment, together with a world record bid for Neymar as the best response to Pep Guardiola's imminent arrival at Manchester City.

According to O Record, United's directors believe that communication will be a critical factor in the Old Trafford dressing room, which is why they've chosen Mourinho ahead of Diego Simeone or Antonio Conte, since he has a much better grasp of the English language.

Mourinho is also fluent in Portuguese and it's felt he would be the most suitable candidate to persuade Portuguese-speaking Neymar into leaving Barcelona for the Red Devils.

The 24 year-old's father has also confirmed that United are willing to meet his buyout clause at Barcelona, and he has been quoted in the Portuguese media this week saying:

"Manchester United is the side that offered €190m (£144m) for Neymar. He has still two years left on his contract but you all can be calm as my son is so happy here."

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