Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Henry and Toure leave Barcelona

Barcelona have confirmed Thierry Henry and Yaya Toure are to leave the club.

Both players were widely expected to leave the Nou Camp this summer, with Henry tipped to move to Major League Soccer in America and Toure thought to be on the verge of a switch to Manchester City.

A statement on Barcelona's official website read: "Barcelona director general Joan Oliver has said that the club has agreed the exits of Yaya Toure and Thierry Henry, but that at the moment the final moves are in their hands."

Henry, a member of the France World Cup squad which endured a disastrous campaign in South Africa, joined the Catalans from Arsenal in 2007 but, despite winning the Champions League in 2009 and two La Liga titles, he has not been able to replicate the form he showed in London.

The 32-year-old, who started 15 times in the league for Barca last term, scoring four goals, is expected to follow David Beckham in crossing the Atlantic to play in MLS.

Toure, whose World Cup campaign with Ivory Coast also came to an end at the group stage, should start the new season at Manchester City.

The Barcelona website added: "In case of Toure, Oliver has recognised an understanding between the club interested in the midfielder, Manchester City, and Barca, but the transfer cannot be made official yet."

Toure will seal a move to Eastlands in the next few days, according to his agent.

New Barca chief Sandro Rosell takes over from outgoing president Joan Laporta on Thursday and the move should be finalised shortly after that.

"I think we will have a solution this week. In fact, I would say that (it will be done) on the first or second of July - maybe on the second because the first will be a very busy day at Barca with the change of president," agent Dimitri Seluk told Barcelona-based daily newspaper Sport.

Seluk revealed he will speak to Rosell, but insisted his player's mind is made up to leave Barca and join City.

"Yes we have to talk, but of course the reality is not going to change in one moment," he said.

"Yaya wants to play the important games and he knows that he will be an important player at Manchester City.

"It is not a money problem, as I have said 1,000 times, but a problem of (the lack of) confidence (that Barca have in him)."

Oliver also revealed that sporting director Txiki Begiristain will be leaving the club.

Begiristain revealed, with Laporta leaving, it was the right time for him to leave the club as well.

"It is a good moment to do it," he told the club's official website.

"Laporta is the person that has most trusted in me and given me most support and I believe that is the moment to leave.

"I wanted to finish in a good moment, in which the Barca functioned well."

Begiristain admitted he would find it difficult to have the same relationship with the incoming Rosell.

"I need a lot of complicity with the president. I needed confidence and with him (Laporta) I have had it to the maximum," he said.

"And I see this complicity very difficult to find now. It is a good moment for the new president to find that confidence in a new person and be able to build something similar to what president Laporta and I built."