Spanish Super Cup: Sergio Busquets admits Barcelona need to strengthen squad after Real Madrid defeat
Barcelona have to strengthen a squad depleted by the departure of Neymar, influential midfielder Sergio Busquets admitted after the Catalans suffered a 3-1 home defeat to rivals Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.
Barcelona: Barcelona have to strengthen a squad depleted by the departure of Neymar, influential midfielder Sergio Busquets admitted after the Catalans suffered a 3-1 home defeat to rivals Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.
Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month for a world record €222 million fee, but Barca's attempts to replace the Brazilian have so far fallen short.
"It is a question of renewal and always trying to get better. We have to (sign) whatever happens." Busquets told Spanish TV station Telecinco.
Cristiano Ronaldo was at the heart of the action at the Camp Nou despite only appearing as a second-half substitute, scoring a sensational goal and being controversially sent off.
Lionel Messi's penalty had cancelled out Gerard Pique's own goal early in the second-half to give Madrid the lead.
Ronaldo then curled into the top corner 10 minutes from time, but was booked for taking his shirt off in celebration.
And that proved costly two minutes later when he saw a second yellow card after being adjudged to have dived when trying to win a penalty.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Madrid extended their lead late on when Marco Asensio fired home in style from the edge of the box.
"It will be difficult to turn it around," added Busquets ahead of the second leg at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
"They have made it difficult, almost impossible."
Barca have been heavily linked with moves for Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund and coach Ernesto Valverde.
And after the disappointment of defeat in his first game in charge, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde said his aim was to have the best team possible by the time the transfer window closes on August 31.
"We are Barca and we want the best possible team," he said.
"Until 31 August, like every other team, the market is open to us."
By contrast, Ronaldo's 10th red card of his career was the only negative of the night for Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane as he closes in on a seventh trophy in less than two years in charge.
"What annoys me is the sending off for Cristiano," said the Frenchman.
"Even if it is not a penalty, the card is harsh."
Yet, Ronaldo could be slapped with more than a one-game suspension as he lighty pushed referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea in his frustration at being dismissed.
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply
What to watch in European football this weekend: Lionel Messi-led Barcelona at Sevilla; Porto hope to stop runaway leaders Sporting and an 'Olympico'
Sevilla and Barcelona clash at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday, with fourth-placed Julen Lopetegui side two points behind third-placed Barca while boasting a game in hand.
Barcelona looked dead and buried a few weeks ago but this was their ninth win out of 10 in LaLiga, a surge that has put them back in contention.
Barcelona are coming off their first season without a trophy since 2007-08 and have a debt of more than 1.1 billion euros, largely because of the coronavirus crisis.