Guardiola, Torres, Terry and more reaction from Barcelona

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After the game, there wasn’t much rehashing of Tuesday night’s match. Few were talking red cards, style, or missed chances. Instead, the main actors hit on the overarching stories: Chelsea’s improbably win, Barcelona having to accept defeat, and what the future holds for each club.

Here is a sampling of the reactions from Barcelona after Chelsea ousted UEFA Champions League’s holders:

  • “When you lose both centre-halves it’s going to be hard. We all believed, not that many people did believe but we as a group of players did. It was hard to defend in those circumstances but we defended as a team, and got a little lucky maybe. ” – Ashley Cole, via UEFA
  • “First feeling? An immense sadness. Congrats to Chelsea for the great job they did.” – Pep Guardiola, via @Barcastuff
  • “It is one of the finest moments I’ve felt in the Chelsea shirt. What a performance. I know people want to see beautiful football and great play but it can’t always be that way. What spirit we showed out there. ” – Frank Lampard, via UEFA
  • “I’m 24 years old, and I’ve never seen the Camp Nou reacted like this after a defeat. This is a great team, we’ll be back next year.” – Cesc Fabregas, via @BarcaStuff
  • “Three months ago no one thought we had a chance. We would always believe and we knew we were good enough to be here. You can’t beat the fight and desire that we showed out there today. ” – Cole, via UEFA
  • “We’re all ecstatic. We’ve achieved our goal. We had to sacrifice a lot but we were confident before the game. We are on a decent run right now and we’re looking forward to the final. Personally I would prefer to face Real Madrid in the final but we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow. ” – Juan Mata, via UEFA
  • “The second half wasn’t much about tactics, it was about passion, pride, desire to get to the final. We were 45 minutes away and that was what it was about. It is an incredible achievement by this group of players.” – Roberto Di Matteo, via UEFA
  • “All seemed lost with the red card, but we got that goal back from Ramires. It was not beautiful, and we were playing the best team in the world, but Barcelona did not take their chances and, in the end, it worked for us.” – Fernando Torres, via UEFA
  • “I’m delighted for the lads, to play the way they did and get that result. I want to apologise to the lads and the fans [for the sending off]. I feel like I’ve let the lads down. It is a great football club and to get to the final it is what this football club deserves.” – John Terry, via UEFA
  • “It does look bad on the replay. But hopefully teh people out there who know me, know me I am not that type of player.” – Terry, via BBC
  • “That’s football; the best team or the favourites don’t always win. We have so much respect for Barcelona as they are the best team in the world. We didn’t try to take them on at their own game as we knew that wouldn’t work. ” – Torres, via UEFA
  • “We’ve shown that we can win, and now it’s the time to show that we can lose too.” – Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, via @Barcastuff
  • “I continue to think this Barça is the best team in the world. We worked hard and had the luck we needed.” – Di Matteo, via @Barcastuff
  • “It has been a hard blow, but you can only congratulate Chelsea. You should be able to accept defeat.” – Rosell, via @BarcaStuff
  • “A lot of people have written us off but we showed the character these players have. We didn’t expect to play with ten men so it was even more difficult than expected.” – Di Matteo, via UEFA
  • “My future? I’ll make a decision in the coming days.” – Guardiola, via @BarcaStuff

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.