MADRID (AP) — Spain coach Luis Enrique will not be with the squad for Tuesday's European Championship qualifying match at Malta because of personal reasons.
MADRID (AP) — Francisco "Isco" Alarcon has been left out of the Spain squad, paying the price for not playing often enough for Real Madrid under coach Santiago Solari.
Valverde agrees to coach Barcelona for another season
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Ernesto Valverde has agreed to stay on as Barcelona coach for at least one more season.
Valverde will exercise the option in his contract to continue, the defending Spanish champions said on Friday. They added Valverde also agreed to add the possibility of coaching for the 2020-21 season.
The 55-year-old Valverde joined Barcelona from Athletic Bilbao in mid-2017 to replace Luis Enrique.
Spain beats Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 in friendly
LAS PALMAS, Spain (AP) — Spain ended the year with a narrow 1-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina in a friendly game on Sunday.
Newcomer Brais Mendez scored a second-half winner just hours after England had beaten Croatia 2-1 to ruin Spain's hopes of making it to the final four in the UEFA Nations League tournament.
Following consecutive losses to England and Croatia, Spain needed its rivals to draw at Wembley to stay alive in Europe's newest competition.
Spain doubted again after consecutive Nations League losses
MADRID (AP) — The hype surrounding Luis Enrique and his Spain team didn't last very long.
Disappointing performances in the UEFA Nations League have left "La Roja" under scrutiny after what had been a promising start under the new coach.
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.
Spain gets reality check after good start under Luis Enrique
MADRID (AP) — It took less than a half to bring Spain back to reality.
Three goals before the break in a 3-2 loss to England were enough to turn all the hype into concern, and to prompt the first wave of criticism against coach Luis Enrique.
Portugal keeps winning in Nations League without Ronaldo
MADRID (AP) — No Cristiano Ronaldo, no problem.
European champion Portugal sparkled on Thursday despite the absence of its star forward, defeating Poland to move a step closer to the last four of the UEFA Nations League.
In two friendly games, Kylian Mbappe scored late to salvage a 2-2 draw for the world champions at home to Iceland, while two-goal Paco Alcacer helped Spain rout Wales 4-1 in Cardiff as the team claimed a third win in a row under new coach Luis Enrique.
Betis veteran posts joke video about Spain omission
MADRID (AP) — Real Betis veteran Joaquin Sanchez posted a joke Instagram video on Thursday, asking Spain coach Luis Enrique why he had not been included in the national squad.
The 37-year-old midfielder has won more than 50 caps, but has not played for his country since 2007.
"I have two missed calls here and I don't know if they are from you or not?" Sanchez asked. "Please call me. I'm worried."
Spain depleted for UEFA Nations League game against England
MADRID (AP) — Spain will be without some key players when it hosts England in the UEFA Nations League, including Francisco "Isco" Alarcon, Dani Carvajal, and Diego Costa.
Spain coach Luis Enrique left all three off on Thursday because of injuries. Sergi Roberto and Inigo Martinez are also out hurt.
From unused sub to scorer, Saul redefines Spanish midfielder
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — After patiently waiting his turn, Saul Niguez is doing more than just making the most of it. The 23-year-old Atletico Madrid player is revolutionizing what it means to be a Spanish midfielder.
Saul didn't play a single minute for Spain at the World Cup. Instead, he watched his country manage only one win in three group matches before losing to host Russia in the round of 16.
Change in attitude key for Luis Enrique’s revamped Spain
MADRID (AP) — After only two matches, Luis Enrique already knows the key to his early success as coach of Spain's national team.
Enrique said the team's approach in the impressive wins over England and Croatia in the UEFA Nations League is what made the difference for a revamped squad since he took over.
Luis Enrique’s Spain routs Croatia 6-0 in Nations League
MADRID (AP) — Luis Enrique couldn't have asked for a much better start as coach of Spain's national team. Two matches, two convincing wins against top opponents in the UEFA Nations League.
Spain followed its gritty 2-1 win against England at Wembley Stadium last week with a 6-0 rout of World Cup runner-up Croatia on Tuesday, keeping Enrique perfect since taking over as La Roja's coach.
Alba, Aspas respond to Spain slight with goals in Liga wins
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Within 48 hours of being dropped by new Spain coach Luis Enrique, Jordi Alba and Iago Aspas responded on the field by scoring in standout wins for their teams in the Spanish league.
Alba scored once, provoked an own-goal and set up two more goals to fuel Barcelona's 8-2 demolition of Huesca on Sunday, a day after Aspas ensured Celta Vigo surprised Atletico Madrid by sealing a 2-0 victory.
Luis Enrique leaves out Koke, Alba and Aspas in 1st call-up
MADRID (AP) — Luis Enrique had some surprises in naming his first squad as Spain's coach on Friday, leaving out regulars such as Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion, Jordi Alba and Iago Aspas.
Enrique called up 24 players for the team's matches against England and Croatia in the Nations League.
"I'm not trying to revolutionize, only to improve," Enrique said. "We shouldn't make comparisons to the previous squad. We are not inferior to any other national team, but we still have things to improve."
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.
Valverde has Barcelona flying high as Liga near midway point
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — There is a clear winner of the Spanish league as it approaches the midway point.
Four months into his first season as Barcelona's coach, Valverde has helped the team to recover from the shock exit of Brazil star Neymar and take a commanding lead of the Spanish league.
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona picked one of its own to improve its winning ways.
Former player Ernesto Valverde was hired as the new coach, the club confirmed on Monday.
The longtime Athletic Bilbao manager will replace Luis Enrique, who ended his three-year stint after winning the Copa del Rey on Saturday.
Valverde received a two-year contract, with an option for a third.
The expected announcement was made by Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu after a club board meeting.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — When you get to manage Lionel Messi, it sounds silly to talk about challenges awaiting Barcelona's coach-to-be.
But new coach Ernesto Valverde will not just be handed a star-studded team led by one of the best players in the world.
He will also inherit a handful of small but serious flaws, whose handling will determine whether he is a success or failure.
Celta hires Barcelona assistant Unzue as manager
MADRID (AP) — Spanish club Celta Vigo says Barcelona assistant coach Juan Carlos Unzue will be its manager for the next two seasons.
Unzue was an assistant coach for Celta under manager Luis Enrique during the 2013-14 season. He then followed Luis Enrique to Barcelona, where he acted as his assistant. Both Luis Enrique and Unzue stepped down from Barcelona at the end of this season.
The 50-year-old Unzue played as a goalkeeper for several teams, including Barcelona and Sevilla.
MADRID (AP) — Luis Enrique leaves Barcelona with no regrets and the feeling of mission accomplished.
The coach capped his three-year stint with the Catalan club by winning the Copa del Rey title with a 3-1 win over Alaves on Saturday.
Now it's time to enjoy some much-needed time off after three "intense" seasons, and let the club move on under fresh leadership.
MADRID (AP) — The Luis Enrique era in Barcelona came to an end with the coach lifting one last trophy.
The coach raised the Copa del Rey after Barcelona defeated Alaves 3-1 in the final on Saturday.
Lionel Messi, Neymar and Paco Alcacer scored in the first half as Barcelona won its third straight copa and 29th all-time.
Luis Enrique capped his three-year stint with the club with his ninth title out of a possible 13.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona right back Aleix Vidal has been cleared to play 3 1/2 months after a gruesome displacement of his right ankle.
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique included Vidal in his squad on Saturday for the final of the Copa del Rey against Alaves.
It was at Alaves on Feb. 11 when Vidal injured his leg after a sliding challenge from Theo Hernandez. He hasn't played since.
MADRID (AP) — Luis Enrique is finally saying goodbye to Barcelona, with one last chance at a trophy.
The Luis Enrique era in Barcelona ends after the Copa del Rey final against Alaves on Saturday, when the coach could cap his three-year stint with a ninth trophy out of a possible 13.
It would be a fitting farewell for him nearly three months after his surprise announcement that he was leaving.
Valverde dismisses deal to coach Barcelona
MADRID (AP) — Departing Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde has been avoiding talk about a possible move to Barcelona, saying he has not entered into negotiations with any club.
Valverde did not confirm reports that he has already reached a deal to coach Barcelona next season, and did not dismiss taking a year off after four seasons at Athletic.
MADRID (AP) — Athletic Bilbao says Ernesto Valverde will not remain as the team's coach next season, clearing the way for his expected move to Barcelona.
Athletic said Tuesday that the coach will give more details about his departure in a news conference on Wednesday.
The Mundo Deportivo newspaper reported that Valverde has already reached a deal with Barcelona to replace Luis Enrique, who announced earlier this year that he would not continue with the Catalan club.
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona has Neymar back from a suspension but captain Andres Iniesta is in doubt for the local derby against Espanyol this weekend in the Spanish league.
Iniesta is bothered by a right leg muscle injury, and did not practice on Friday. He was rested in the 7-1 win over Osasuna on Wednesday, three days after he played from the start in the 3-2 win in the clasico against Madrid.
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said he will wait as long as possible to try and field the midfielder.
Barcelona still campaigning for Neymar to play clasico
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona will campaign for as long as possible to get the suspended Neymar playing against Real Madrid on Sunday in a clasico that will go a long way to deciding the Spanish league.
Spain's sports tribunal said on Saturday that while it had not yet had the opportunity to consider the appeal Barcelona lodged to challenge Neymar's suspension, that did not mean the striker was cleared to play.
MADRID (AP) — There were no boos or jeers at the Camp Nou after Barcelona's elimination to Juventus in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Instead, the crowd of more than 96,000 chanted loudly in appreciation for the team's effort in trying to overturn a 3-0 first-leg loss.
Players and coach Luis Enrique also had more praise than criticism after Wednesday's 0-0 draw kept Barcelona from reaching the semifinals.
MADRID (AP) — The last time Barcelona played at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium it gave Real Madrid a 4-0 thrashing that left the hosts in crisis and set the Catalan club on track to winning its second straight Spanish league title.
That stunning result eventually led to the replacement of coach Rafa Benitez by Zinedine Zidane, the former Madrid and France great who had never held a head-coaching job.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona has already pulled off a seemingly impossible comeback to stay alive in the Champions League.
Now it must do it all over again.
Barcelona hosts Juventus on Wednesday, needing to overturn a 3-0 defeat from the first leg to advance to the semifinals of Europe's top-tier tournament. If Juventus scores first, Barcelona will find itself needing five goals.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The next nine days will determine Barcelona's season, and how well Luis Enrique will be farewelled.
Luis Enrique has had an incredibly successful managerial stint at Barcelona. A Champions League title, two Liga crowns, and two Copa del Rey trophies give him enough to compare with club great Pep Guardiola.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Neymar dealt a self-inflicted blow to Barcelona's Spanish league title defense when he was sent off with 25 minutes left in its 2-0 loss at Malaga on Saturday.
Barcelona failed to take advantage of the opportunity Atletico Madrid gave it to pull level with leader Real Madrid, where Antoine Griezmann's late equalizer grabbed a 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu hours earlier.
MADRID (AP) — Spanish police investigating match-fixing said Tuesday they have detained the coach and two players of a third-division club that lost 12-0 to Barcelona's "B'' team over the weekend.
MADRID (AP) — Lionel Messi is back, and just in time.
Fully rested after the international break and a yellow-card suspension, Messi returns to Barcelona's team for the decisive Spanish league match against Sevilla on Wednesday.
Messi will be playing his first game in nearly two weeks when Barcelona resumes its pursuit of league leader Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. Barcelona is two points behind Madrid, which plays at Leganes later Wednesday.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Luis Suarez filled in for the suspended Lionel Messi by scoring one goal and participating in three more to keep Barcelona close to Spanish leader Real Madrid on Sunday.
Barcelona's 4-1 victory at 10-man Granada left the defending champions two points behind Madrid, which won 3-0 at home against Alaves earlier in the day. Madrid still has a game in hand.
Messi nets 40th, 41st goals this season in Barcelona win
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored his 40th and 41st goals in all competitions this season to lead Barcelona to a 4-2 victory over 10-man Valencia in the Spanish league on Sunday.
MADRID (AP) — How quickly things can change in Spanish soccer.
It wasn't long ago that Barcelona was in crisis, trailing Real Madrid by six points in the Spanish league and facing almost certain elimination from the Champions League. The team was struggling on the field and being jeered by fans. Coach Luis Enrique had just announced his upcoming departure, leaving the club mired in uncertainty.
What to watch out for in the leading soccer competitions in Europe this weekend:
After the spectacular Champions League comeback against Paris Saint-Germain, it's back to the Spanish title defense for Barcelona.
New system could give Barcelona a chance against PSG
MADRID (AP) — It was a subtle change by Luis Enrique that helped turn things around for Barcelona.
The outgoing coach switched the team's setup from the traditional 4-3-3 scheme to a 3-4-3 not long after a demoralizing 4-0 first-leg loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
Barcelona is now back on track and giving fans reason to believe it can be the first team to overcome a four-goal deficit in the Champions League when it hosts PSG in the second leg on Wednesday at the Camp Nou.
MADRID (AP) — There is still hope for Barcelona in the Champions League.
With Lionel Messi at his best and leading an attack that has been scoring at will, Barcelona takes on Paris Saint-Germain with reason to believe it can reverse the 4-0 loss in the first leg of the competition's Round of 16.
Barcelona has scored at least five goals in its last two matches, and Messi has been virtually unstoppable since the defeat in Paris, scoring six goals in four games.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi and Neymar scored three spectacular goals to keep Barcelona atop the Spanish league after routing Celta Vigo 5-0 on Saturday.
The flashes of brilliance from Barcelona's best may give pause to anyone who thinks Paris Saint-Germain's 4-0 cushion is surely insurmountable come Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie.
Luis Enrique ‘relieved’ to be leaving Barcelona
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Freed from fretting about the future, Luis Enrique wants to put a happy ending to his three years in charge at Barcelona.
The coach said Friday he was "relieved" to be stepping down after the season, two days after he made the surprising announcement.
MADRID (AP) — Luis Enrique's surprise announcement has left Barcelona surrounded by uncertainty.
Although the coach had been under pressure and many expected him to be replaced next season, few anticipated he would reveal his intention to leave with three months left and with the team still contending for titles.
What to watch out for in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
Barcelona moved into first place just as the club was plunged into a period of uncertainty with coach Luis Enrique announcing he's leaving at the end of the season.
On Saturday, the two-time defending champions play Celta Vigo, the last team that defeated them in the league before embarking on an 18-game unbeaten run.
MADRID (AP) — The Luis Enrique era at Barcelona will end this season.
The coach said Wednesday he will leave the Spanish champions to get some rest after three years in charge.
He made the surprise announcement following the team's 6-1 win over Sporting Gijon in the Spanish league.
"I need to rest," Luis Enrique told the post-match news conference. "I won't be the coach of Barcelona next season.
MADRID (AP) — On a night marked by the surprise announcement that coach Luis Enrique will leave Barcelona at the end of the season, his team routed relegation-threatened Sporting Gijon 6-1 to return to the top of the Spanish league on Wednesday.
Lionel Messi scored his league-leading 21st goal less than 10 minutes into the match at the Camp Nou to help Barcelona earn a comfortable victory.
Barca under pressure from fans after mediocre performances
MADRID (AP) — Lionel Messi's 90th-minute winner against promoted Leganes did little to ease tensions at Barcelona, which finds itself in the unusual position of having to make peace with its fans.
Messi’s 90th minute penalty give Barcelona win over Leganes
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored a 90th-minute penalty for his second goal of the night to give Barcelona a 2-1 win over lowly Leganes in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Messi's spot-kick, following a questionable penalty after Neymar tumbled in the area, saved Barcelona from a second demoralizing result this week after a 4-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday.