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Report: Barcelona make Marcus Rashford main target

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Marcus Rashford is a local lad who is living his best life by being Manchester United’s main man right now.

[ MORE: Chelsea hit with transfer ban

The 21-year-old is yet to sign a new contract with the Red Devils though, and reports suggest some of Europe’s biggest clubs are sniffing around the United academy product.

A report from Mundo Deportivo says that Barcelona have made Rashford their “dream” target, as the Catalan club look to replace the brilliant but ageing Luis Suarez.

Per the report, it is believed it would cost Barca over $135 million to sign Rashford. If he does sign a new long-term contract over the next few weeks (expected to be worth over $250,000 per week), then we expect that transfer fee to push closer to $200 million.

All in all, this move seems unlikely for Rashford and United. Right now.

Selling the crown jewel from your academy and a local hero who is finally getting a run of games as a central striker and has improved his output under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would cause huge uproar among United’s fans. He has scored 42 goals in 155 appearances for United since making his debut under Louis Van Gaal in 2016. Under Jose Mourinho he was often played out wide and used as a sub, but Solskjaer has rejuvenated the English striker in recent months and he’s taken Romelu Lukaku‘s place in the lineup.

That said, if Rashford does stall on signing a new contract then this could turn into a bit of a saga as his current contract runs out next summer but he has the option to extend it for another year.

Rashford’s searing pace and ability to cut inside and finish from wide positions is clear and under Solskjaer he has become more clinical and has added end product to his game with some wonderful crosses for teammates to score.

His ability as a star of the future for Man United and England is undoubted, and although Barcelona would love to pry Rashford away from his hometown club it is unlikely that is going to happen.

File this rumor under “if it happens, I’ll eat my hat.”

Lyon strong at home, hold Barcelona to 0-0 draw (video)

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Barcelona were always comfortable, but rarely imposing, en route to a 0-0 draw away to Lyon in the first leg of the two sides’ UEFA Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Spain revamps Super Cup (and others should follow suit) ]

Lyon were organized and determined in defense, never once offering the heavily-favored Barca a clean look at goal. They’ll have a mountain to climb in the second leg at the Camp Nou, but the Blaugrana are far from through to the quarterfinals.

Lionel Messi and Co., were the nonstop aggressors, taking the game to the home side with wave after wave of possession and build-up. Despite peppering Lyon’s penalty area with 13 first-half shots, though — many of which were little more than hopeful efforts from long-distance — Barca managed to put just two on target, both of which were quite comfortably saved by Anthony Lopes.

It was actually Lyon who were first to truly threaten an early breakthrough, forcing Marc-Andre ter Stegen into a pair of superb saves inside the game’s opening 10 minutes. First, it was Houssem Aouar who fired low and hard for bottom-90 to Ter Stegen’s left, but the big German goalkeeper was quick to get down and make the save. Then, just three minutes later, Martin Terrier unleashed a rocket from nearly 25 yards out, but Ter Stegen was perfectly positioned and sprang to the rescue in the nick of time, reaching up to tip the ball onto the crossbar and collect the ricochet.

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Barcelona’s first great scoring chance didn’t arrive until the 70th minute, and even then Luis Suarez couldn’t redirect Philippe Coutinho‘s cross on target. The Uruguayan uncorked and un-savable, left-footed strike from 15 yards out, but didn’t get his foot quite far enough around the ball and pushed it just wide of Lopes’ right-hand post.

Barcelona nearly stole a late winner through Sergio Busquets’ 86th-minute strike from the edge of the penalty area, but Lopes saw the ball through a sea of bodies to push the ball over the bar and keep the well-earned clean sheet intact.

UCL last 16, LIVE – Bayern visits Liverpool; Barca hosts Lyon

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Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah are the superstars in action as Liverpool and Barcelona start their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Liverpool looks for a first leg advantage despite the absence of its suspended all-world defender Virgil Van Dijk as well as injured Joe Gomez and unlikely-to-feature Joe Gomez.

The collective injuries could be a bridge-too-far even with the backing of Anfield, as Bayern is capable of bagging goals by the bunch.

Bayern is without Thomas Muller to a suspension, and also is waiting on the fitness of Leon Goretzka.

In the other match, tricky Lyon will look to score a notable upset of Barcelona.

Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay, and Moussa Dembele are amongst the many weapons Lyon will need beginning at 3 p.m. ET with the first leg in France.

Champions League preview: Bayern visit Anfield; Lyon v. Barcelona

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Liverpool and Bayern Munich are set to battle for 180 minutes beginning on Tuesday, when last season’s UEFA Champions League finalists host the reigning Bundesliga champions at Anfield, and Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is as anxious as anyone to watch the drama unfold.

[ FA CUP: Paul Pogba scores, assists as Man Utd bounce Chelsea (video) ]

“It’s another one of those games I’m really happy to be involved in, and if I wasn’t involved, I would try and buy tickets,” Liverpool’s German manager said this week. “It’s a tough one against a really strong, experienced team, but we are strong as well. Only more stress [facing Bayern], because all the people wanted 600 extra interviews with German news.”

Liverpool will be fully prepared and well drilled after having no game during the most recent FA Cup weekend. By the time the referee’s whistle blows for kickoff at 3 p.m. ET, 10 days will have passed since the Reds thrashed Bournemouth in PL play.

Liverpool will definitely be without the trio of Virgil Van Dijk (suspension), Joe Gomez (leg) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), while Roberto Firmino (illness), Dejan Lovren (hamstring) and Xherdan Shaqiri (abdominal strain) are questionable to varying degrees. Central midfielder Fabinho could be forced into central defense as a result. On the other side, Niko Kovac’s side will be without the services of Thomas Mueller (suspended), Jerome Boateng (illness), Corentin Tolisso (knee ligaments) and Arjen Robben (thigh). Kingsley Coman (ankle) is expected to be available for selection after picking up an injury over the weekend.

[ FA CUP DRAW: Man City, Man United avoid derby showdown ]

Elsewhere in Europe, runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona will visit Ligue 1’s third-place side, Lyon. Though Lionel Messi and Co., head into Tuesday’s first leg as heavy favorites to reach the quarterfinals, Ernesto Valverde’s side has won just one of its last four games (all competitions).

They have, however, been nearly infallible in Europe competition this season, as they waltzed to the top spot in Group B, finishing a full six points clear of Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan. Even Messi has seen his form dip ever so slightly in recent weeks, as the Argentine magician has scored just once in his last three appearances (two starts). Those relative struggles comes on the heels of a nine-game goal streak which saw the 31-year-old score a dozen times. He has been his usually brilliant self this season, and will cause Lyon all kinds of problems from the outset.

Lyon will be without star attacker Nabil Fekir (suspension), which could prove a further crippling blow to their chances.

La Liga: Barcelona restores 7-point lead, Atletico moves second

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Barcelona restored its seven-point lead at the top of the La Liga table with a casual 1-0 victory over Real Valladolid. They held the visitors to zero shots on target at the Camp Nou and Lionel Messi did the job on the other end.

Goalless through the majority of the first half, Messi opened the scoring in the 40th minute by slotting home a controversial penalty given after Gerard Pique was awarded a foul inside the area under pressure from Valladolid defender Michel who stepped in the back of Pique’s legs, but still the Barcelona defender crumpled into a heap quite easily. The referee pointed to the spot, and Messi buried his low effort into the bottom-right past a diving Jordi Masip who guessed correctly but could not reach the shot.

Atletico Madrid also found itself on the right end of a 1-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano as Antoine Griezmann put the visitors through in the 74th minute, scoring a deflected strike served up by Alvaro Morata. The game also marked the return of an injured Diego Costa from two months on the sidelines, coming on for the final half-hour. The win pushed Atletico up to second, above Real Madrid by two with Los Blancos set to play tomorrow.

Real Sociedad moved into seventh with a convincing 3-0 win over Leganes behind a brace from Mikel Oyarzabal. The game was scoreless at halftime but the 21-year-old put the hosts up for good in the 50th minute, with Adnan Januzaj delivering a cross that Oyarzabal headed in. He doubled the lead nine minutes later for his eighth league goal of the season, and Willian Jose added the cherry on top 15 minutes from full-time.

Levante hammered 10-man Celta Vigo 4-1, already 2-0 up when the hosts lost Ryad Boudebouz to a straight red card for a truly absurd tackle, massively late and with his studs showing all the way up near the groin of Borja Mayoral. With Celta Vigo reduced to 10, Jose Luis Morales scored his second of the game just after the hour mark, and Mayoral grabbed one late to finish the scoreline. The result is disappointing for Celta Vigo who have slipped into the relegation battle with seven losses and just one win in their last nine matches.