Barcelona has delayed Sergio Roberto’s contract extension following their La Liga defeat to Almeria on Sunday (26 February), Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo has reported.
The Blaugrana were handed a shock 1-0 defeat at the Power Horse Stadium on Sunday night. El Bilal Toure dispatched a stunning half-volley in the 24th minute to put the hosts in front.
The Blaugrana pushed hard to make a comeback in the second half but failed to breach Almeria’s resistance. The defeat came merely three days after their Europa League exit at the hands of Manchester United.
According to the aforementioned report, Robert’s one-year contract extension was set to be signed on 1 March. However, in light of their recent performances, Barcelona has pushed the event back. It has been claimed that the deal will now be announced later this week or the following one.
It can be assumed that Barcelona wishes to announce Roberto’s extension under brighter conditions. The opportunity could arise if they get the better of their bitterest rivals Real Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final clash on Thursday night (2 March).
Roberto, 31, can not only play as a right-back, but he is also capable of operating as a central or defensive midfielder. He has thus far played 22 games for Xavi’s side in all competitions this season, scoring thrice and claiming three assists.
Xavi furious after Almeria defeat, calls it Barcelona’s “worst game of the season”
La Liga leaders Barca failed to impose their authority on 15th-placed Almeria on Sunday night. The Catalans struggled to move the ball around, failed to make the most of the four big chances they created, and often failed to match Almeria’s intensity.
Speaking to the press after Barcelona’s 1-0 defeat to Almeria, Xavi expressed his anger over his men’s display. He said (via Mid-day):
“I’m very angry because I think we played our worst game of the season. Above all in the first half, we couldn’t move the ball around, we lacked intensity, speed, on a day where we couldn’t mess up.”
“We did not show the passion [we needed] to win the game. In the second half, yes, but they defended well.”
Had Barca won at Almeria, they would have gone 10 points clear of second-placed Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga standings. Los Blancos drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid on Saturday to hand Barcelona a gilt-edged opportunity to run away with the title.