On a busy day in Catalonia, FC Barcelona have signed 26-year-old wing-back Juan Pablo Sorín from Brazilian side Cruzeiro EC, as well as confirming the appointment of Radomir Antic as coach until the end of the season.
Antic, who would only say he was "very happy" to take the Barça job, will be presented to the Spanish press on Sunday, followed 24 hours later by Sorín. The Argentinian international had spent the first half of this season with S.S. Lazio, but was allowed to leave after the Italian club decided not to pay the remainder of the transfer fee owing to Cruzeiro.
Consequently, Barcelona negotiated directly with Cruzeiro to complete the deal, and the club agreed personal terms with Sorín today after he passed a medical at the Asepeyo hospital in Sant Cugat. The former Juventus FC and CA River Plate defender did not feature in the plans of Lazio coach Roberto Mancini - who preferred the Brazilian Cesar - and made only six appearances.
Barcelona have been keen to find a top-class replacement for Sergi Barjuán, who left the club last summer to join Club Atlético de Madrid. Sorín seems to have filled that gap after becoming their only signing of the winter transfer window. He has been capped 38 times by Argentina and played at last summer's FIFA World Cup finals.
Barcelona are just three points above the Primera División relegation zone and fully 20 points adrift of league leaders Real Sociedad - a situation which prompted coach Louis van Gaal to end his second spell at Camp Nou this week, despite their fine form in the UEFA Champions League.
Cup tied in Europe
Having played in the UEFA Cup with Lazio, Sorín will be ineligible for Barcelona's remaining Champions League matches, but will figure in Antic's plans as the new coach bids to avoid missing out on a place in Europe next season for the first time in the Catalans' history.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.