Match 19
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Saudi Arabia
Match 18
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LIVE 51'
Match 20
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12:00 PM UTC Jun 21, 2018
Match 21
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3:00 PM UTC Jun 21, 2018
Match 22
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6:00 PM UTC Jun 21, 2018
Match 23
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Transfer Rater: Mertens to Chelsea

Football Whispers

Galatasaray eyeing move for Ahmed Musa


'No doubt' Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta will stay at Barcelona - Fernandez

Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez is convinced Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta will sign new deals in the coming months, but doesn't expect the club to be busy in the transfer market this summer.

Both Messi and Iniesta are out of contract in less than 18 months, and the fact they have not penned new deals yet has led to some doubts over their futures.

The Premier League's biggest sides have been regularly linked as possible destinations for Messi should he leave, while Iniesta suggested last week he would not remain at Camp Nou if he didn't feel important.

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However, Fernandez has allayed fears that either player, both so integral to the Blaugrana's success over the last decade, could walk away from the club when their deals expire in 2018.

"Messi will renew, I have always said that," Fernandez said on Monday in an interview with Cadena SER. "Leo is happy in Barcelona, really happy here, and in a magnificent team. I have no doubts that he will renew.

"Iniesta will, too. He will renew at the moment he chooses. Andres deserves the best. He grew here as a player and he's given everything for the club.

"He's special in every sense, a person that's well-loved. I can't imagine a Barcelona without him and he can't either."

Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi have yet to sign new deals with the club.

However, while the Catalan side are looking to tie down their best players to new contracts, there will be limited activity in terms of signings this year.

Barca brought in six new players last summer and Fernandez added: "I predict very few signings in comparison to last season, when we did a lot of business. This summer will not be the same."

However, that does not mean Barca's sporting director will not be busy as he looks to appoint a replacement for Luis Enrique, who announced earlier this month he will leave the club when his contract expires in June.

Fernandez says he is personally responsible for choosing the next coach and ruled out reports of an approach being made for Juventus' Massimiliano Allegri.

But he he did little to cool speculation that Enrique's No. 2, Juan Carlos Unzue, and Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde are the leading contenders.

"The new manager will be chosen by me; that's the reality of it," he said. "Of course I will sit down with the president [Josep Maria Bartomeu] and some of the directors and we will talk about what's the best option for the team, but I will make the decision.

"Juan Carlos is a person that knows the club, the players and the system well. He's well-prepared and he's demonstrated that for many years. He is a good option.

"I wouldn't say that the success of this season would condition [his chances]. Both he and the team should be relaxed because they're doing a magnificent job.

"And I spent two years with Valverde at Barcelona and the truth is he's doing a great job at Athletic -- as he has done at the clubs he has coached. He's a serious person, with good knowledge of the game and he's a great manager."

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.


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