Hit by injuries, Barca turns again to youth factory
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — With its top scorers hit by injuries, Barcelona has returned to basics.
Gone are the days when Barcelona's youth training academy produced star after star, churning...
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — One year after publicly rejecting an offer to join Barcelona, France forward Antoine Griezmann put on his new blue-and-burgundy shirt and thanked the Spanish champions for...
MADRID (AP) — Spain's National Court has ruled that soccer player Gerard Pique must pay Spain's Tax Office 2.1 million euros (2.3 million dollars) in back taxes and fines.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — When Barcelona hosts Manchester United on Tuesday, it will field three players who helped the Spanish team beat the English side in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League...
Messi rests for Man United as Barca draws 0-0 at Huesca
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — With Lionel Messi and most of his regular fellow starters resting up for Manchester United, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde tried to get a glimpse of the club's...
Messi to sit out league match ahead of ManU visit
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has left forward Lionel Messi off his squad for this weekend's Spanish league match, giving him more rest before the visit of Manchester...
Costa banned 8 games for allegedly insulting referee
MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has been suspended for eight games for allegedly insulting a referee, meaning he will not play the rest of the season.
MADRID (AP) — The changes in the Davis Cup go beyond its revamped format.
In addition to a new playing formula that will bring nations together for a weeklong tournament in a single venue,...
Catalonia beats Venezuela 2-1 in friendly in Spain
GIRONA, Spain (AP) — Venezuela followed its win over Lionel Messi's Argentina by losing to Catalonia 2-1 in a friendly on Monday.
Javi Puado scored in the 88th minute to give the hosts the...
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — A new generation of Manchester United players will have to get through Barcelona to win the Champions League.
Messi helps Barcelona beat Lyon 5-1 to reach CL quarters
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Just when the Camp Nou crowd was getting nervous, Lionel Messi turned a close game into a complete rout.
Messi scored two goals before setting up two more for...
MADRID (AP) — More than a year after arriving as one of Barcelona's most expensive signings, Philippe Coutinho is still struggling to play up to expectations.
Spanish court summons Shakira to answer tax evasion charges
MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court investigating Shakira for possibly evading 14.5 million euros ($16.4 million) in taxes has called on the pop music star to testify in mid-June.
Barcelona-Madrid rivalry moves to the basketball court
MADRID (AP) — The rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid goes far beyond the soccer field.
A highly disputed basketball final between the Spanish clubs on Sunday is still sparking...
Defending champion Croatia to face Spain in new Davis Cup
MADRID (AP) — Defending champion Croatia will meet Rafael Nadal's Spain in the first edition of the revamped Davis Cup Finals in November.
Russia also was drawn into the same three-nation group for the inaugural 18-team tournament that will be played in Madrid.
Spanish soccer league to sponsor new Davis Cup Finals
MADRID (AP) — The Spanish soccer league will sponsor the new Davis Cup Finals organized by a group founded by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.
La Liga says it will promote the tennis competition through its international broadcasts in Europe, Asia, Africa, the United States and Latin America.
The league says the campaign will air during matches in October. The overhauled Davis Cup Finals will be played from Nov. 18-24. The first two editions are taking place in Madrid.
Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt slams Davis Cup changes
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt is not happy about the new format beginning this year for the Davis Cup.
Hewitt called the new setup "ridiculous" on Tuesday and ripped into former Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique, whose Kosmos investment group has been involved with the revamp.
Hewitt says "now we're getting run by a Spanish football player, which is like me come out and asking to change things for the Champions League. He knows nothing about tennis."
Without Messi, Barcelona loses to Levante in Copa del Rey
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona could not overcome the absence of Lionel Messi and other regular starters on Thursday, losing 2-1 at Levante in the first leg of the Copa del Rey's round of 16.
Barcelona's second-stringers struggled from the start in Valencia, escaping an even greater defeat only because Levante's forwards squandered some clear scoring chances.
Gerard Pique’s investment group buys tiny club FC Andorra
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The investment group headed by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has purchased FC Andorra, a soccer club in the small country of Andorra that plays in Spain's lower leagues.
Pique said in a statement Saturday that investment group Kosmos has taken over after club members approved the sale.
FC Andorra, founded in 1942, currently plays in Spain's fifth tier against clubs in Catalonia. It played in the third division in the 1980s and '90s.
Barcelona acquires defender Murillo on loan from Valencia
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona has acquired Colombia center back Jeison Murillo on loan from Valencia to help patch up its injury-hit defense.
Murillo, 26, will join the club after passing a medical exam, Barcelona says. The loan, for the remainder of the season, gives Barcelona the option to buy Murillo for 25 million euros (28.6 million dollars).
He has only played three matches for Valencia this season and played for Inter Milan for two years before leaving at the start of last season.
Barcelona’s Vermaelen out for 1 month with leg injury
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona says defender Thomas Vermaelen has injured a muscle in his right leg and will be sidelined for a month.
Vermaelen injured his leg during Barcelona's 5-0 win at Levante on Sunday.
That leaves Barcelona with Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as its only center backs, with Samuel Umtiti also sidelined while recovering from a left-knee injury.
Barcelona hosts Celta Vigo on Saturday in the Spanish league before a two-week winter break.
Messi-powered Barcelona looking like a true champion
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — With a hat trick and two assists, Lionel Messi showed again this weekend why Barcelona is favored by many to successfully defend its Spanish league title.
Sevilla and Atletico Madrid may be only three points behind as the season approaches the midway mark, but neither challenger can count on the unrivaled talent of Messi to single-handedly turn competitive matches into blowouts.
Spanish prosecutors file tax evasion charges against Shakira
MADRID (AP) — Spanish prosecutors have charged pop music star Shakira with tax evasion, alleging she failed to pay more than 14.5 million euros ($16.3 million) between 2012 and 2014. The Colombian singer denied the charges.
The charges published Friday allege that Shakira listed the Bahamas as her official residence for tax purposes during those years but was in fact living in Spain with her partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique.
Tax rates are much lower in the Bahamas than in Spain.
Barcelona retakes lead of Spanish league after Sevilla slips
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona retook the lead of the Spanish league on Sunday after beating Villarreal 2-0 while Sevilla was held to a draw at Alaves.
Barcelona's first win in three rounds left it one point above second-placed Sevilla, which rallied to a 1-1 draw at fourth-placed Alaves.
Injury-depleted Barcelona got goals from Gerard Pique and rarely used reserve player Carles Alena in each half at Camp Nou.
Gerard Pique fined for driving with suspended license
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Gerard Pique has been fined nearly 50,000 euros ($56,700) for driving with a suspended license.
The Barcelona defender appeared before a judge on Monday and was ordered to pay the fine for the incident that happened in August.
Pique's license was not valid when he was stopped by police during a random check in Barcelona. It had been suspended because of an excessive number of traffic infractions.
ITF president says Davis Cup, ATP Cup could ‘work together’
LILLE, France (AP) — ITF president David Haggerty is confident he can find a deal with the ATP to make sure their two team competitions do not clash on an already busy calendar.
Speaking in France at the final of the last Davis Cup played in its traditional format, Haggerty said he had "very positive" conversations with tennis stakeholders last week after the men's tennis tour announced the debut of the ATP Cup for January 2020, six weeks after the Davis Cup final.
The Davis Cup and the Laver Cup are getting a new companion
LONDON (AP) — The Davis Cup and the Laver Cup are getting a new team-competition companion.
The men's tennis tour said Thursday the debut of the ATP Cup will take place in January 2020, just a week before the start of the Australian Open.
Barcelona left back Jordi Alba back in Spain squad
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona left back Jordi Alba was recalled by Spain on Thursday for the UEFA Nations League match against Croatia.
Coach Luis Enrique has been heavily criticized for not including Alba in his first two squads since he took charge of Spain following a disappointing World Cup in July. Former Spain defender and Alba's clubmate, Gerard Pique, recently called on the coach to pick Alba.
Suarez scores 2 as Barca rallies late to beat Rayo 3-2
MADRID (AP) — Luis Suarez netted his second goal of a 3-2 comeback win at Rayo Vallecano in the 90th minute on Saturday, extending his scoring run with Lionel Messi injured.
Rayo was winning the Spanish league match 2-1 until the 87th when substitute Ousmane Dembele drilled in a headed back pass by defender Gerard Pique, who joined the attack.
Suarez then scored his second goal to complete the fightback when he was left unmarked to stab in Sergi Roberto's cross at the far post.
Gerard Pique juggles business with soccer at Barcelona
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — With his plan to revamp tennis' Davis Cup, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is laying the groundwork for a life after soccer.
Barcelona, however, needs its budding entrepreneur more now than ever to help stop a slump in the Spanish league.
Pique says Rafael Nadal to play in new Davis Cup format
MADRID (AP) — Gerard Pique is not worried about the possible absence of some top players in the revamped Davis Cup, especially since Rafael Nadal has said he will play in the new-look competition when it debuts next year.
The Barcelona defender, who spearheads the company behind the new format of the Davis Cup, said Wednesday that Nadal has told him he will play as long as he is not injured.
Barcelona shocked by last-place Leganes in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) — Last-place Leganes stunned Barcelona with a 2-1 win in the Spanish league on Wednesday, handing the defending champions their second straight setback.
The result gives Real Madrid a chance to take over the league lead with a draw at Sevilla later Wednesday.
Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring early, but the host rallied with goals two minutes apart in the second half to earn its first win in six league games this season.
Messi sets another record in Spain as Barcelona loses points
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi set the record for the most Spanish league appearances by a non-Spanish player on Sunday, but the Argentine's goal couldn't prevent 10-man Barcelona from dropping its first points of the season in a 2-2 draw with Girona.
Messi, the league's all-time leading scorer, overtook former teammate Dani Alves of Brazil by appearing in his 423nd game.
Messi gave Barcelona the lead before Clement Lenglet was given a red card in the first half.
Pique confirms retirement from Spain national team
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona defender Gerard Pique confirmed Saturday he has retired from Spain's national team.
The 31-year-old Pique says he has told new Spain coach Luis Enrique that the World Cup was his last tournament with "La Roja."
Pique said "the decision had already been made a long time ago and it was well thought out."
Pique had announced before the World Cup that he did not plan on returning to the national team after the tournament in Russia.
MOSCOW (AP) — Penalties. Love them or hate them, they dominated Sunday's knockout matches at the World Cup, and not just because both games ended in shootouts. Russia might not have been able to hang in with Spain were it not for Gerard Pique flinging his arm at a header in the area, drawing a penalty that Artem Dzyuba converted to make it 1-1. Luka Modric has had a masterful tournament for Croatia but was bested by Danish 'keeper Kasper Schmeichel in the dying moments of injury time when he could have won it from the spot.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals by beating Spain in a penalty shootout on Sunday.
Here's a look at how the shootout unfolded at the Luzhniki Stadium:
Andres Iniesta scored with his last shot at a World Cup to give Spain the lead. The midfielder sent Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev the wrong way and put the ball in the right side of the net.
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Win or lose, Spain's outspoken central defenders aren't wary of controversy. Not even at the World Cup.
Two matches into the tournament, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique have already attracted headlines for their unguarded comments in Russia.
Ramos had a spat with Diego Maradona and with Iran coach Carlos Queiroz. Pique was at odds with Barcelona, his club back in Spain.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted because of a leg injury at halftime in Real Madrid's 2-2 draw at Barcelona on Sunday.
But Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is confident that Ronaldo will play against Liverpool in the Champions League final on May 26.
"He doesn't feel good now, but I don't think it is anything serious," Zidane said. "We will have him ready (to play)."
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Roma made the already daunting task of beating Barcelona that much harder after scoring two own goals to help the Spanish side secure a 4-1 victory in the opening leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday.
The pair of own goals by Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas plus some sloppy defending that allowed Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez to also score left Roma on the verge of elimination before next week's return leg in Rome.
Argentina coach says Messi fit to play Spain in Madrid
MADRID (AP) — Lionel Messi has recovered from his adductor muscle problems and will play against Spain in a friendly on Tuesday.
Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said on Monday that "yesterday and today (Messi) trained and he was fine ... I don't think he will have any problem playing."
A minor muscular problem in an unspecified leg kept Messi on the bench last Friday during Argentina's 2-0 win over Italy in a friendly in Manchester, England.
Barca tries to leave Pique controversy behind with Copa
MADRID (AP) — After hearing nonstop talk about Gerard Pique and his provocative celebration against Espanyol, Barcelona will be trying to get its focus back on Thursday's Copa del Rey semifinal.
Barcelona plays at Valencia, defending a 1-0 lead from the first leg as it bids to reach its fifth straight Copa final.
Barcelona’s Pique scores late to silence Espanyol crowd
MADRID (AP) — Jeered from his first touch of the ball, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique found a way to silence Espanyol fans in Sunday's Catalan derby.
Pique scored a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw as the Spanish league leader narrowly avoided losing to its crosstown rival for the second time in less than three weeks.
The outspoken Pique celebrated by putting a finger in front of his mouth as if to tell the crowd to be quite.
Spain launches evasion probe of singer Shakira’s taxes
MADRID (AP) — Pop music star Shakira is under investigation in Spain for possible tax evasion during the three years before she officially moved to Barcelona, Spanish authorities said Tuesday.
Shakira switched residences in 2015 from the Bahamas to Barcelona, where she lives with her partner, Barca soccer player Gerard Pique, and the couple's two sons.
Defender Umtiti fit for Barcelona after 7 weeks out injured
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has been cleared to play after recovering from a leg injury that sidelined him for seven weeks.
Umtiti hasn't played since damaging a muscle in his right thigh during a 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Dec. 2.
Barcelona, however, hasn't missed the 24-year-old French center back, who had become the first-choice partner for Gerard Pique since arriving 1 ½ years ago.
Barcelona renewing Gerard Pique’s contract until 2022
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona says it has reached a deal to renew Gerard Pique's contract until 2022, adding a buyout clause of 500 million euros ($611 million).
The club says the deal will be formalized in the coming days. His current contract was to expire later this year.
Pique, who will turn 31 in February, began playing with Barcelona in 1997 when he was 10. He joined Manchester United in 2004 and returned to Barcelona in 2008 under coach Pep Guardiola.
Spain to make changes for final qualifier against Israel
MADRID (AP) — Coach Julen Lopetegui will have to make changes for Spain's final World Cup qualifier against Israel on Monday with three regular starters unavailable.
With a World Cup berth already secured, Spain will play Israel in Jerusalem without Gerard Pique, David Silva and Thiago Alcantara.
Pique and Silva are suspended, and Alcantara has a knee injury.
Lopetegui did not say if he plans other changes to observe players who haven't regularly featured in Spain's qualifying campaign.
Spain makes it to World Cup; Serbia unable to clinch a spot
Spain secured its 11th straight World Cup appearance aided by Italy's home draw against Macedonia on Friday, while Serbia blew a chance to make it to next year's finals in Russia after a loss at Austria.
Spain comfortably defeated Albania 3-0 in a match in which defender Gerard Pique, an outspoken defender of Catalonia who had been harassed by Spanish fans during the week, received a mixed reaction from the home supporters.
Spain clinches World Cup spot with win against Albania
MADRID (AP) — Spain easily defeated Albania 3-0 to secure a World Cup berth as outspoken defender Gerard Pique received a mixed reaction from home fans every time he touched the ball on Friday.
Rodrigo, Isco, and Thiago Alcantara scored first-half goals to give Spain an insurmountable five-point lead over Italy with one round to go in Group G of European qualifying.
Catalonia independence dispute reaches Spain’s national team
MADRID (AP) — The divisive dispute over Catalonia's push for independence has spilled into Spain's national team.
"La Roja" has been unable to sidestep the nation's most serious crisis in decades. The team now faces two decisive World Cup qualifiers while engulfed by unwanted talks about politics.
At the center of it all is veteran defender Gerard Pique, the outspoken Barcelona player who has strongly defended the Catalans.
Lopetegui wants focus on soccer after Pique jeered by fans
MADRID (AP) — Spain coach Julen Lopetegui praised Gerard Pique's commitment to the national team and called on the squad to be focused only on soccer despite the crisis involving Catalonia's push for independence.
A day after Pique was harassed by fans, Lopetegui's first action before practice on Tuesday was to get all the players together for a chat and make sure everyone was on the same page.