Arab Ballon d’Or Magic Bougherra and Nadir Belhadj On Barcelona’s Wishlist?
I would like to start by congratulating Magic Bougherra for claiming the 2009 Arab Ballon d’or. The France-born Algerian defender won 158 votes from journalists from 17 Arab countries, pipping Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh in the process. Bougherra joins Antar Yahia who was voted best arab player by pan-arab tv channel MBC viewers last year.
“I’m very happy to be named the top player, because there are so many quality players in there,”said Bougherra.
“It’s an individual honour but I could not win it without my team-mates, so it is the work of Rangers and Algeria players. I would like to thank all of them.”
Whether playing for the Glasgow Rangers or for Algeria, central defender Madgid Bougherra has been, and still is, impressive. He is the kind of player that can make the difference in a game and big clubs have taken notice, so much so that it has been reported he is on a list of possible targets drawn up by the La Liga leader’s director of football Txiki Begiristain. Barcelona, holders of the Spanish league title, Champions League, Super Cup, Club World Cup and the Spanish Super Cup, have already a number of first class defenders so there will probably need to be some changes as to make room for him too.
Barcelona isn’t the only major football club interested in Bougherra, Sevilla is also reported to be interested in the Algerian star player. Bougherra admits he is powerless to prevent the speculation and that his future will become clearer in the summer.
“As for my future I’m a Rangers player and am under contract,” he told skysports.com.
“We want to become champions again and we will see at the end of the season.
“You cannot stop speculation. It shows I’m doing well for my club and country.”
However Mr Smith, Ranger’s manager, has refused to read too much into recent reports and insists the defender is focused on his current role.
“There seems to have been speculation surrounding him since he came here more or less,” he said.
“We had it last summer and in other transfer windows and he remains here. Hopefully that will be the case next year as well.”
“From any player’s point of view it would be nice to be linked with Barcelona and top Spanish teams. However accurate or inaccurate that is, I don’t know.”
“But the only thing that concerns us is that he stays here and plays his football and he has been doing that very well for us.
“He has actually missed quite a number of games this season through injury and then being away at the ACN
“It’s good to have him back and hopefully he can stay injury-free and play for us in the manner in which he has done. He has been excellent since he came to us.”
Madjid Bougherra might not be the only Algerian player on Barcelona’s summer transfer wishlist, Nadir Belhadj has also been reported to be a possible target.
Spain star Xavi said versatile Algerian Belhadj and Rangers’ Madjid Bougherra caught his eye during the African Nations Cup and says he could play for Barcelona.
Xavi said: “I was surprised by the work of Belhadj and Bougherra. They practice a game that we play under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona. It’s nice as a player to hear praise for your work.”
Belhadj, who could be on his way out of crisis club Portsmouth, was already a target for Benfica in January.
Belhadj is flattered by Xavi’s praise and concedes that he would be open to a move to Camp Nou.
“Who would not want to play for them?” he said in the Daily Express.
“It is a real honour for a world-class player such as Xavi to say good things about me.”
Again, well done boys! I look forward seeing you play for mighty Barca.
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