Ronaldo very first to 125: top rated UEFA club scorers – UEFA Europa League – News

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the best scorers in UEFA’s club competitions by a large distance: celebrates European competition’s 50+ forwards.

Players who have scored 50 goals or far more in UEFA club competitors*

goals127: Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus)109: Lionel Messi (ARG, Barcelona)77: Raúl González (ESP, Real Madrid, Schalke)70: Filippo Inzaghi (ITA, Parma, Juventus, AC Milan)67: Andriy Shevchenko (UKR, Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea)62: Ruud van Nistelrooy (NED, Heerenveen, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Hamburg)62: Gerd Müller (GER, Bayern München)61: Karim Benzema (FRA, Lyon, Real Madrid)60: Robert Lewandowski (POL, Lech Poznań, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern München)59: Thierry Henry (FRA, Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona)59: Henrik Larsson (SWE, Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona, Manchester United, Helsingborg)58: Sergio Agüero (ARG, Atlético Madrid, Manchester City)56: Zlatan Ibrahimović (SWE, Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale Milano, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United)56: Eusébio (POR, Benfica)54: Alessandro Del Piero (ITA, Juventus)54: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (NED, Heerenveen, Ajax, AC Milan, Schalke)50: Didier Drogba (CIV, Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray)50: Alfredo di Stéfano (ARG/ESP, Real Madrid)*UEFA club competitions indicates European Winner Clubs’ Cup/UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, European/South American Cup, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Intertoto Cup

Live Football Scores


Barcelona remain silent on Messi injury ahead of Copa tie

Barcelona have remained silent on the health and fitness of Lionel Messi in advance of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey tie.

Messi did not show up at training for Barcelona on Monday early morning soon after suffering an injuries against Valencia at the weekend and reviews claimed that he would give a conclusion on his inclusion in the aspect for the game against Los Blancos on Tuesday.

The Argentine picked up a knock in the 2-2 draw and was mentioned to be going through checks with club medical practitioners on Tuesday, but no news has followed – leaving Barca fans in question and Madrid fans doubtful whether or not they will face the 5-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Ernesto Valverde chose to make a number of alterations to his starting off eleven against Valencia at the weekend and that provided leaving Jordi Alba on the bench, although Sergio Busquets was missing.

Los Che started the game fantastically very well and tested Barca’s defence, which provided Thomas Vermaelen and it was the site visitors who opened the scoring when Rodrigo Moreno broke on the counter attack and performed in his strike partner – Kevin Gameiro, who completed very well.

Barca then pressed for an equaliser, but it was the site visitors who scored the 2nd goal of the game when Sergi Roberto hauled down Denis Cheryshev and Dani Parejo scored a outstanding location kick previous Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Valverde’s men then pushed for a goal just before the split and it arrived when Nelson Semedo was fouled in the area and Lionel Messi was on hand to score previous Neto.

Neto then proved very important for the site visitors, denying Philippe Coutinho and Messi on quite a few events but it could do absolutely nothing to end the latter from finding an equaliser in the next fifty percent.

The game stayed that way until eventually the final whistle although as Valencia stayed robust and held on to an spectacular point.

La Liga Live Scores


El clasico without Messi and Ronaldo will be a low point for La Liga

The Real Madrid and the Barcelona will play the first El Clasico in eleven years without having Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in their squad this weekend. People who have a great love for football are divided into two sides, those who love Messi and those who love Ronaldo. These two players are just like God to many people. They have given a lot of moments to the fans and these moments are so great that people would not forget them for a long, long time.
There have been many fights on social media and other platforms deciding which player is the best. These two players are compared time to time and it is not yet decided who the best player is. El Clasico is an event where two football teams fight against each other as the biggest rivals. This match has been of great significance for a very long time. But this time Ronaldo had left Real Madrid and Messi is injured. So, it is a very low point for La Liga. La Liga always got great attention from the fans because of this match. There have been many talks going on related to this match. But one thing that is certain is that El Clasico is not the same anymore. There will not be any fight deciding which player is the best and there will not be Messi VS Ronaldo fights as well.
El Clasico will catch the attention of those who think that it isn’t about Messi or Ronaldo, but it is about the teams they are supporting. So, it depends pretty much on the fans how they enjoy this game.
The Barcelona is at the top of the La Liga even though going 4 league games without having a win before the previous Saturday, but the Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui is stressed with his squad in 7th position.
For over a period it has been Messi v Ronaldo? Is this one going to be worth it without them?
This is first Clasico for Julen Lopetegui’s as the coach of the Real Madrid, and if he fails, it will perhaps be his last El Clasico as well. Is that enough excitement for you?
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be really missed but the probability of it being the match that picks Lopetegui’s upcoming will mean it might be one of the energetic for years.
What will be the important contest?
Sergio Ramos counter to Luis Suarez is the choice of the matchups. Luis Suarez has just scored 4 this season but he has 6 assists also, and that does not contain those 2 no touch assists against the Spurs when his forms assisted Lionel Messi to score two goals.
Sergio Ramos desires to protect the job of Lopetegui, he is the one who suggested Ramos to the Real Madrid after all. However, it can be tough to captain the squad from the back. Jump into attacks or control the forward and fairly be the inspirational captain marvel you might finish up as the problem. Luis Suarez will try to get fouls, Sergio Ramos will assist him – these 2 make flawless superior opponents.
If it comes down to goalkeepers who are in the greatest form?
Marc Andre Ter Stegen has been in excellent form for his team against the Sevilla and the Real Sociedad previously in the season. Thibaut Courtois is, however, to give a certainly big show though he was decent in the Real Madrid match.
Who is going to be Lionel Messi for a day for Barcelona?
Rafinha acquired Messi’s position in the squad on Wednesday against the Inter but there are no sureties he will begin at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona had expected that Philippe Coutinho might step up but he was one of the squad’s minor lights against the Inter. Possibly it will be a mid-field expert presentation from Arthur that ensures it. Lionel Messi will express ‘I told you so,’ he admired the Brazilian mid-fielder in a conference last month.
Who is going to be Cristiano Ronaldo for a day for Real Madrid?
Bale scored a great goal at the Nou Camp previous season and he has owing one more goal. He has entirely of Ronaldo’s qualities but absences his reliability.
If he can change it on Sunday then Real Madrid will have a far improved chance to win.
The lineups of the Real Madrid and Barcelona
In his 4 gatherings with the Real Madrid Valverde has played 4-4-2 in 3 of them.
The choice of 4 mid-fielders after Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez is affected by the nonappearance of Lionel Messi but it might be that Coutinho plays nearby to Luis Suarez and Sergi Roberto lines Sergio Busquets, Arthur and Ivan Rakitic in the midfield.
There is no Dani Carvajal, therefore, Nacho will possibly play in at right back. Marcelo seems like being right to play the left back with Sergio Ramos associating Raphael Varane. It will then be the Toni Kroos and Modric in the midfield with Casemiro and Isco and Asensio struggling for the position together with Benzema and Bale.
What would a victory mean for the Barcelona?
They might be 7 points clear of Real Madrid leaving their opponents struggling in mid-table and perhaps looking for some new coach.
What would a victory mean for the Real Madrid?
They might close the crack to one point and the Lopetegui might get certain merited breathing area to begin building his own Real Madrid.
Who is going to win it?
A bad-tempered draw would not amaze. A draw for the reason that Messi’s nonappearance takes Barcelona’s level down to an under average Real Madrid’s and bad-tempered as there is so much at risk for Real Madrid.
Previous season Sergi Roberto and Dani Carvajal were rather doubtful sending offs. This season it might be the normal respondents getting involved. Sergio Ramos, Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal if he shows apart.

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Barcelona’s Lionel Messi: Real Madrid ‘less good’ immediately after Cristiano Ronaldo exit

Lionel Messi was stunned by Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to go away Real Madrid for Juventus and claims the European champions will not likely be as solid a team immediately after dropping the Portuguese ahead.

Ronaldo, 33, joined Juve in July for €100 million immediately after investing the ideal aspect of the final nine decades competing with Barcelona’s Messi for collective and particular person glory in Spain.

Devoid of Ronaldo, Madrid dropped the European Tremendous Cup to Atletico Madrid whilst they have made a solid start to the new league season, profitable their very first a few games easily below new coach Julen Lopetegui.

Even so, Messi thinks they’re a poorer side devoid of Ronaldo and expects Juve to significantly profit from the deal in Europe this season.

Real Madrid are a person of the ideal groups in the world and they have a excellent squad [but] it’s evident that the absence of Ronaldo makes them fewer great and makes Juventus [a person of the] clear favourites to win the Champions League,” Messi informed Catalunya Radio.

“It stunned me [when he left]. I didn’t think about him leaving Madrid or joining Juventus. There were a large amount of groups that required him. It stunned me, but he has absent to a quite great team.”

Ronaldo has received the Champions League in four of the final 5 decades as a Madrid player, but Messi hopes his operate will come to an stop in Italy immediately after earning European good results Barca’s leading precedence this season.

“It can be time [to win it all over again],” extra Messi, who has received the competitors four times with Barca, but not considering the fact that 2015.

“We have been knocked out in the quarterfinals in the final a few seasons. Last season’s result in Rome harm specifically, but we have a amazing squad and we can battle for it [this season].”

Barca’s squad has been boosted by the arrival of four new signings — Arthur Melo, Clement Lenglet, Malcom and Arturo Vidal — and Messi has been specifically impressed with Brazilian midfielder Arthur, who reminds him of Xavi Hernandez.

“I didn’t know much about Arthur just before [he joined], but he is seriously similar to Xavi,” he explained.

“He’s seriously safe and sound and trustworthy [on the ball]. He has the design and style of a player that’s come by La Masia. He performs very well in excess of brief distances, he won’t lose the ball… He’s obtained to grips seriously speedily with the team’s dynamic.”

Messi also spoke about the modifying landscape of football, with Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City capable to crack into the elite in latest decades many thanks to international financial investment.

PSG made a large assertion final summer time when they snatched Neymar from Barca in a world record €222 million deal and Messi thinks the finances concerned in the game these times have altered how players act.

“There are clubs now with a large amount of funds and players move for that reason,” he explained. “Every time the most funds is, that’s exactly where they stop up going. Factors have altered and now the owners of clubs are multi-millionaires.

“Just before, everyone required to play for Barca or Madrid, who were the ideal, but now everything’s tighter and there is certainly not much of a big difference between the groups in Manchester, PSG, Madrid, us, Bayern [Munich], the Italians…”

Messi has experienced plenty of beneficial presents to go away Barca in the previous, but stressed that he is joyful exactly where he is having signed a new four-12 months deal at Camp Nou in 2021, when he will be 34.

“I am just contemplating about the decades that I can continue to keep participating in,” he explained when requested about what strategies he has for retirement.

“When the minute will come, I will determine. I want to complete the deal I have and then we will see if I continue on or not. It won’t get worried me suitable now. [But] the club can be relaxed [when I am absent] if they continue to keep bringing players by the academy and earning great signings.”


Enduring Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben on a par with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Arjen Robben. 1 of the most reliable and electrifying performers of his technology, albeit just one of the most underneath appreciated.
The stats communicate for themselves. On Matchday 1 of the 2018/19 Bundesliga marketing campaign – Robben’s 10th in Germany – the 34-year-old stepped off the bench to convey up his 96th goal, on his one hundred and ninetieth visual appeal, as Bayern Munich kicked of their title defence with a 3-1 win about Hoffenheim. With each other with his sixty eight assists, he has now had a direct hand in a goal each individual eighty two minutes that he is performed in the Bundesliga.

It can be a intellect-boggling ratio: streaks forward of English Leading League upstarts Eden Hazard (120 minutes) and Kevin De Bruyne (142 minutes), and only bettered at league stage – of his fellow thirty-one thing contemporaries – by Lionel Messi (61 minutes) and Cristiano Ronaldo (74 minutes).

Hindered by a chequered personal injury historical past, Robben doesn’t get the very same stage of acclaim as world football‘s top two – but he surely warrants it.

Considering the fact that making his experienced debut for hometown club Groningen in 2000/01, Robben has racked up 682 appearances in all competitions for club and state. He has gained, amid some others, the Eredivisie, two English Leading League titles, La Liga and is a 7-time Bundesliga winner.

Even further bespangling a embellished resumé, the Dutch Destroyer also landed Bayern their fifth European crown with the profitable goal in the last of the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium, and collected a runners-up medal at the FIFA 2010 World Cup and bronze in 2014.

“Arjen is a best case in point of how an more mature player can however master and develop, and refuse to be glad with what he is now obtained,” former Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer stated in 2014, the 12 months Robben concluded third behind Ronaldo and Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the UEFA Finest Player in Europe stakes.

“He is world class. I can only stimulate each individual younger player to view and master from him.”

Robben made a telling contribution as Bayern gained a Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup treble in 2013.

Seem assistance. Even with only breaking the thirty-game barrier in just one of his 18 campaigns to day thanks to personal injury – hamstring troubles, for the most section – Robben is a player who has continuously defied expectation. He has come to be a lot quicker with age and far more fatal.

His 2016/17 return is a key case in point. Mostly personal injury-totally free, the Bedum-born ace scored 13 times and created twelve assists, with only Robert Lewandowski proving far more helpful in front of goal in a Bayern shirt.

Quite the tally for a midfielder, albeit very little out-of-the-common for Robben, who has strike at the very least 15 goals and assists merged in all but a few of his nine comprehensive Bundesliga seasons to day.

“I however come to feel really good and want to be at the top as extended as achievable,” the former PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea and Real Madrid broad man stated immediately after asserting his retirement from worldwide football in October 2017 on the back of the Netherlands’ failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

“I am taking part in at a top club in Europe and I want to focus on it now. The man of glass has lasted the longest.”

Joking aside, Robben was an impeccable servant for his state – 37 goals and thirty assists in ninety six senior caps – and arguably the last genuinely world-class Dutch footballer. His final decision to go the baton at his classic peak underlines the astute intellect behind the enduring body a combination that Bayern rewarded with a just one-12 months contract extension in summer season 2018.

“I might listened to a good deal about him, but he has surpassed all my expectations and then some,” stated Bayern head coach Niko Kovac of Robben, a veteran of about 290 appearances in all competitions in his nine years at the Allianz Arena.

“The function he puts in each individual working day is fascinating. He is a real case in point to younger players. He is however world-class and a definitely crucial player for us.”

Robben captained the Netherlands for a few years, just before hanging up his worldwide boots in October 2017.

The numbers scarcely do Robben’s affect justice, but 241 goals, a hundred ninety assists and 32 trophies is a laudable return for a player – 35 in January! – whose occupation has been interrupted by personal injury.

Possibly in the foreseeable future, Robben – the quintessential inverted winger, whose signature angled run and curled remaining-footed complete continues to be as feared by opposition defenders today as it was 19 years back – will get the credit score he warrants.


Deportivo La Coruña vs. Barcelona – Football Match Report – April 29, 2018

Lionel Messi set the icing on the cake as Barcelona clinched the La Liga title with a 4-2 victory more than Deportivo La Coruna, who ended up relegated.

Barca went into the match knowing a point would be ample to see them get back the trophy with 4 matches however to play.

They did not have items all their way against a spirited Depor, who fought back to the stage by means of Lucas Perez and Emre Colak after Philippe Coutinho and Messi experienced set Barca 2- up.

Depor ended up pressured to force ahead knowing only victory would be ample to preserve their survival hopes alive and they paid out the rate as Messi included two late goals to comprehensive the 46th hat trick of his vocation.

The on-pitch celebrations ended up muted, probably out of regard for their dejected opponents, but Barca, who keep on being unbeaten in the league, can’t be denied a seventh title in 10 seasons.

The Depor players gave them a guard of honour as the groups took to the pitch, with Ernesto Valverde’s men possessing received the Copa del Rey previous weekend before switching their focus to wrapping up the league.

It took only seven minutes for the people to choose the direct as Ousmane Dembele set up Coutinho for a pleasant clip into the top corner.

But if Barca considered this was going to be a procession, they ended up mistaken. Depor has proven an improved form of late and they experienced the ball in the net in the seventeenth minute only for it to be dominated out.

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen pushed absent Raul Albentosa’s header and Perez tapped in but, after a lengthy hold-off and with Depor celebrating, the officers resolved Fabian Schar experienced interfered from an offside position by leaping in front of the keeper.

Former Barca keeper Ruben experienced to be at his best in the thirtieth minute to preserve out a Messi free-kick after he experienced been fouled by Schar, who was a contact lucky not to decide up a next yellow card.

Dembele and Coutinho then pretty much mixed for a next, the Brazilian sending a shot just extensive. But Barca ended up far significantly less convincing at the back and Depor experienced two excellent likelihood to equalise.

1st Borja Valle acquired among two defenders to fulfil a Colak cross but could only poke the ball extensively, and then Schar headed more than from 6 yards when he should really have scored.

And they paid out for individuals misses in the 38th minute when Barca netted a luxurious next. Dembele drove ahead before actively playing in Luis Suarez, who clipped a cross with the outside of his foot that Messi met with a side-foot volley.

Nevertheless, they ended up pegged back only two minutes later as Depor acquired the goal they deserved, Guilherme’s cross properly concluded by Perez.

Immediately after half-likelihood for both equal sides in the early phases of the next half, Depor surprised Barca by obtaining an equaliser. Borja Valle did brilliantly to hold on to the ball after breaking absent down the appropriate before crossing for Celso Borges, whose pull-back was tucked in by Colak.

For the next 10 minutes, Barca ended up rocking but they regained their composure and commenced pushing really hard for the winner.

The quick passing in and all around the box that has been their trademark gained them the breakthrough, with substitute Suarez seriously associated not the moment but twice as Messi supplied the ending touches.

That proved the suitable minute for the introduction of Andres Iniesta at the conclude of 7 days exactly where he emotionally announced he would be leaving the club.

Antoine Griezmann will be perfect for Lionel Messi – Henry

In the words of Sky Sports pundit and former Barcelona star Thierry Henry, Barcelona target, Antione Griezmann will be a major boost to the attacking firepower of Barca and would form a perfect partnership with a superstar, Lionel Messi.

Reports keep linking the French forward with a move away from Atletico Madrid and Barcelona are one of the major contenders for his signature. Attackers, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, who both scored in the Clasico victory over Real Madrid today, and summer signing, Ousmane Dembele, who is not far away from returning from injury, would most likely be competing with Griezmann for the attacking three spots in Barcelona’s 4:3:3 formations.

But Arsenal Legend, Henry believes it would allow Valverde to rotate his squad, keep the squad competitive, and have them in the best condition possible.

“He can fit in perfectly,” Henry said of Griezmann.

“You want big players in big teams.

“If you had the option of, for example, today we said they were a bit short on the bench, I’m not saying he would be on the bench or Dembele would be on the bench, but if you can alternate, rotate at times and give those guys (a rest).

“I think Griezmann can fit into any team in the world at the minute.

“What I’m saying is you want big players in big teams.

“And so, if he goes there, I’m sure the Barcelona guys will welcome him.”

Neymar flays Ronaldo and Messi in top 10 athletes with most Instagram story views in 2017

Neymar flays Ronaldo and Messi in top 10 athletes with most Instagram story views in 2017

Christiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly the most influential footballer on social media as his Instagram page is monitored by over 116 million followers. But the Portuguese captain is not entirely untouchable on Instagram.

In less than 12 months, Ronaldo’s Instagram page got 30 million new following however rather surprisingly he does not lead the way in the most viewed story.

Instagram stories work in such a way that it is only accessed and viewed on its mobile app, it captures the day of the individual in snapshots which cannot be seen on the main page.

Controversial boxer, Floyd Mayweather, and NBA superstar LeBron James expectedly made the cut although the list is dominated by footballers.

Neymar’s countryman and Paris Saint-Germain teammate, Dani Alves is featured and there were places for Karim Benzema, James Rodriquez, as well as Paul Pogba in the top 10 with Lionel Messi shockingly missing out.


Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic: I’d prefer it if Neymar was still at the Camp Nou

Ale Moreno weighs in on Lionel Messi‘s assertions that Barca are better balanced and stronger defensively without Neymar.
Ernesto Valverde says that he is happy with the spirit that his Barcelona side showed after coming from behind to draw 1-1 against Valencia.

Ivan Rakitic has told Mundo Deportivo he would bring Neymar back to Barcelona if he had a magic wand.

Brazil forward Neymar left to join Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record move during the summer window.

Although Barcelona are four points clear at the top of La Liga and unbeaten in 19 matches in all competitions without him, some critics have described their performances as boring.

And Rakitic said Neymar’s exit could be the reason for that criticism, adding: “We had a bit more ‘show’ when Ney was here — maybe we lack that a little bit now.

“That was brought by Ney himself. I would prefer him to be here. If I had a magic wand, I would have him by my side.

“We’ve spoken about Ney a lot, though, but he’s not here any more and we’re doing really well.

“With the change of system, everything changes a little. We are more balanced now, more of a unit, whether that’s in attack or defence. But we still have a lot to improve.”

Neymar has remained a major talking point in the Catalan press, with reports last month suggesting he had regrets about his decision to leave after he made several trips back to Barcelona.

Rakitic said it was normal for Neymar to miss the friends he made while in Catalonia for four years.

And asked whether he felt the attacker also missed the club, he said: “What Barcelona give you, no other club or city in the world can.

“I miss him, too, not just on the pitch but in the dressing room. It’s been the same for me before. When I left Germany for Sevilla, I missed everyone. Then when I came here, I was going back to Seville whenever I could.

“Later, you get used to your new surroundings and teammates.

“The strength of this team is in its values in the dressing room. We miss Ney. Whether he regrets leaving or not, you’d have to ask him.”

Neymar has scored 14 goals in 15 games for Barcelona and created eight more and Rakitic added: “If he’s playing like he is while sad, then watch him go when he’s happy… so I’m sure he’s not doing that badly.”

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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Messi, Neymar & Ronaldo on the Final Draw

  • Messi imagining potential opponents
  • Ronaldo relaxed and focused on victory
  • Neymar will be making popcorn

As excitement grows in anticipation of the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, have you ever wondered what the experience is like for the players watching at home? put this very question to three of world football’s biggest stars. You can find out how they feel about the upcoming draw in the above video.

“I’m relaxed because, although some teams are stronger than others, all the groups will be balanced. I’m calm because I know that, when the time comes, the team will be ready,” explained a laid-back Cristiano Ronaldo. “Whoever we’re drawn against, we have to win, no matter what,” he added with characteristic determination.

“I’ll be following it, so long as we don’t have training or a match,” confirmed Lionel Messi, who also confessed that he was already imagining who Argentina’s potential opponents might be.

Like Ronaldo, Neymar was in relaxed mood. “I believe that we’re ready to take on anyone.”

But the Brazilian also admitted that this Friday would not be just another day, and that he already had plans for the draw. “We’re going to put some popcorn in the microwave, and call family and friends. Everyone will have a keen eye on the television.”

How about you? Does popcorn sound like a good plan to you?

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Messi advised Argentina FA to play Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Argentina star Lionel Messi

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Oct 30, 2017. 17:00

Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his Argentine teammates convinced the Argentine Football Association to play Nigeria instead of Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

News circulating in Nigeria reveal that senior national team players, led by Messi have advised AFA to settle for a friendly game against the Super Eagles.

It is reported that AFA were in talks with Azerbaijan and also engaged Ukraine for a friendly after securing a high profile friendly against the hosts of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russia.

Nigeria were originally looking for a game against Argentina next year, but the plan was brought forward after senior players in the team decided on facing the Super Eagles ahead of Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

”It’s normal for the FA to speak with the coach, who will then inform the players through the captain about any friendly game and venue,” said South American Tim Martin

“It’s so in Argentina because most of the players have to travel long miles because of their location.”

The two nations will meet in an international friendly in Russia on November 14.

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Argentina include Lionel Messi for Nigeria clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Barcelona star Lionel Messi

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Oct 23, 2017. 19:00

The Super Eagles of Nigeria are set to test their strength against Argentina in a friendly next month and the South Americans have announced their squad.

The La Albiceleste manager Jorge Sampaoli has released the list of foreign based players who are expected to line up in a friendly set for Russia.

Sampaoli has included skipper and Barcelona star Lionel Messi, Juventus‘ Paolo Dybala, Inter-Milan captain Mauro Icardi and Paris St. Germain’s Angel Di Maria.

Although the squad is yet to be complete as Sampaoli still has to announce local-based players, the encounter is set to be a thriller.

The Argentine squad:

Goalkeepers: Romero, Guzman, Marchesin.

Defenders: Marchesin, Fazio, Mercado, Otamendi, Pezzella; Salvio.

Midfielders: Biglia, Banega, Acuna, Paredes, Emiliano Rigoni, Kranevitter, Papu, Perotti.

Forwards: Messi, Aguero, Icardi, Di Maria, Dybala

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Andres Iniesta gets 7/10, but Luis Suarez struggles with 5/10 in Barca win

Gerard Deulofeu scored his first goal for Barcelona in a victory over Malaga at Camp Nou.
Gerard Deulofeu scored his first goal for Barcelona in a victory over Malaga at Camp Nou.
Gerard Deulofeu scored his first goal for Barcelona in a 2-0 victory over Malaga at Camp Nou.

Barcelona extended their unbeaten start to the La Liga season to nine games with a 2-0 win against Malaga at Camp Nou on Saturday. 

Gerard Deulofeu opened the scoring in the second minute, although the goal came in controversial circumstances, with the ball having gone out of play prior to Lucas Digne delivering the assist. 

Malaga, who are bottom of the table with a solitary point, never really threatened to get back into the game and the three points were sealed when Andres Iniesta’s deflected effort beat Andres Prieto in the second half. 


Ernesto Valverde has spoken about the need for Deulofeu to play with confidence and his first ever goal for the club, on the back of a good performance in midweek, should help in that regard. There were also good performances from Javier Mascherano and Samuel Umtiti in defence, while Sergi Roberto impressed once he moved into midfield. 


Luis Suarez remains short of the form which has seen him score so many goals since joining the club from Liverpool in 2014. The Uruguayan missed a sitter in the second half and was taken off inside the final 10 minutes. Although he will have been grateful with the support he received from the home fans as he trotted off the pitch, his performances remain a cause for concern and the extent of his knee injury is still a mystery. 

Manager rating out of 10

7 — Valverde’s Barca haven’t been particularly exciting but they have been very effective, as evidenced by results. Once again, they were rarely troubled at the back and the players know their roles. However, there’s still work to be done in the final third, where Barca are a little predictable at times. 

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 6 — A quiet evening for the German, who was busier with his feet than his gloves.  

DF Sergi Roberto, 7 — A second successive start at right-back for the midfielder, who is keeping Nelson Semedo out of the team. But it was once he moved into midfield in the second half that he really stood out. Made some brilliant runs with the ball and created a great chance for Suarez. 

DF Javier Mascherano, 8 — Been stuck on the sidelines for large parts of the season but showed he’s still got a big role to play for Barca. As well as making a number of brilliant interceptions and reading the game exquisitely from the back, he broke the lines with a brilliant pass in the build-up to Iniesta’s goal. 

DF Samuel Umtiti, 8 — The French defender is Barcelona’s best centre-back by a distance at the moment. Reads the game well, composed on the ball and an early contender for the player-of-the-season-not-named-Messi award.  

DF Lucas Digne, 7 — Followed up his goal in midweek with the assist for Deulofeu’s opener, although the ball had already gone out of play when he crossed it. Unlikely to trouble Jordi Alba’s place in the team when the Spain international returns, but has shown himself to be a reliable deputy in the last two matches. 

MF Sergio Busquets, 6 — A couple of lapses in concentration almost saw him get caught in the first half, but he recovered well. Taken off for Paulinho with 15 minutes to play. 

MF Ivan Rakitic, 5 — Restored to the team after being rested against Olympiakos, but once again struggled to convince. With competition for places in midfield heating up, the Croatian is going to have to do more to keep his place in the team. 

Barcelona again weren’t exciting but they were effective, picking up a 2-0 win vs. Malaga.

MF Andres Iniesta, 7 — Sets the pace for Valverde’s side, along with Messi. Scored the insurance goal, too, which was his first goal in La Liga since he scored against Real Madrid in  Nov. 2015. 

FW Gerard Deulofeu, 7 — Followed up his lively 45 minutes against Olympiakos with the game’s opening goal here, netting from close range after just two minutes. Wasn’t overly involved other that, but his decision making seemed improved in comparison to recent outings. 

FW Luis Suarez, 5 — Looked sharper in the first 20 minutes but this quickly unraveled into another disappointing performance for the striker on the day it was confirmed he’ll miss Uruguay’s friendly in November to rest his knee. Missed a sitter in the second half and was eventually replaced by Paco Alcacer. 

FW Lionel Messi, 7 — Failed to add to his tally for the season but was central to everything Barca did. Created Iniesta’s goal and had one of his own ruled out for offside. 


DF Nelson Semedo, 6 — Barca looked better with the Portugal right-back on the pitch and Sergi Roberto pushed on into midfield. 

MF Paulinho, 7 — Another energetic cameo, complete with an ever-improving understanding with Messi. Quickly becoming a cult hero at Camp Nou and was giving a rousing reception when he was brought on. 

FW Paco Alcacer, NR — A first appearance since the end of August suggests the former forward could still have a part to play under Valverde. 

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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Messi, Ronaldo and others happy to see penalty expert Diego Alves depart

Diego Alves had a 47 percent success rate in Spain.

There will have been sighs of relief from La Liga’s biggest stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, when it was confirmed this weekend that penalty-saving superstar Diego Alves was leaving Valencia and returning home to Brazil to join Flamengo.

The goalkeeper’s penalty record during his decade in Spain (four years at Almeria and six seasons at Valencia) was spectacular. He has saved almost half the penalties he has faced in his career, denying high-profile spot kick takers including Ronaldo, Messi, Griezmann, Diego Costa, Carlos Vela, Ivan Rakitic, Fernando Llorente and Carlos Bacca, all the way back to his first stop from then-Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute back in April 2008.

Last September, the Brazil international broke the longstanding La Liga record of 17 penalty saves, set by former Spain, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, when he parried away an effort from Leganes’ Alexander Szymanowski.

Alves moved the Primera Division’s all-time record to 22 by denying Ronaldo again in a 2-2 draw at Madrid last April. The Portuguese now has scored just one of the four spot kicks taken against Alves over the course of their careers.

That Bernabeu effort also meant Alves saved six of the nine spot-kicks he faced in La Liga last term — setting another new record and sealing his reputation as one of the best penalty savers of all time, anywhere.

Since arriving in Spain, Alves has stopped 24 of the 50 penalties he faced — with one going wide and another hitting the crossbar.

His 47 percent success record is way, way ahead of anyone else in La Liga history. The closest is former Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao keeper Vicente Biurrun (coincidentally another Brazilian) who had a 28 percent ratio, closely followed by ex-Sevilla stopper Andres Palop with 27 percent.

Such success understandably led to many questions over the years about how he does it, but the quietly spoken Brazilian was never keen to give away any secrets. While he had clearly done his research on the technique of opposition players, as time went on it seemed his success was principally due to clever use of his “unbeatable” reputation as he got in the mind of his opponent.

In October 2014, after saving easily from Atletico’s Guilherme Siqueira (who had previously scored 11 of 12 in La Liga), he gave a rare insight to Spanish radio show El Larguero about what he called a “psychological war” between penalty taker and keeper.

“It is a bit about intuition,” Alves said. “I always see it as a psychological war. There is no specific work for it. It is a moment in the game when nerves come into it. You have to try and win that war.”

Strangely, Alves’ excellence in this area has not yet translated into significant recognition on the international stage. He made his debut for Brazil back in October 2011, during Mano Menezes’ time in charge, but has so far only won a total of 10 caps and not appeared at any international tournament.

Messi has been one to miss against Alves and won’t want to see him at the World Cup.

Most unfortunately, he was selected for the 2013 Copa America by then coach Dunga, but had to pull out due to injury. Inevitably Brazil exited to Paraguay on penalties at the quarterfinal stage, losing 4-3 in the shootout.

Critics have maintained that other elements of Alves’ game do not match his penalty saving expertise, and his height at 6-foot-1 is on the short side for a goalkeeper. He is not usually one for coming into traffic to deal with crosses, preferring to stay on his goal-line and rely on his reflexes.

Valencia had spent the last couple of transfer windows trying to offload a player whose contract was signed back in 2014 when Singapore businessman Peter Lim was in a generous mood during his early days as a club owner. While there were rumours of interest from bigger clubs in Europe, the only real bidder in recent weeks seemed to be perennial strugglers Deportivo La Coruna, and the reported fee as he returns to Brazil is just €300,000.

A summary of Alves’ up and downtime in Spain came in the La Liga game against Atletico Madrid last October — when he saved penalties from both Griezmann and Gabi, but his team still lost 2-0 at home.

“I don’t care about the saves,” he said on Spanish TV after that game. “I always say when penalties saved help the team to win I’m happy, but not when we lose.”

Still just 32, Alves will hope that his career arc will rise again back at home. Current national coach Tite gave him a chance in last June’s 4-0 friendly win against Australia, and you would think the Selecao could do with a penalty-expert on the bench at least at the 2018 World Cup.

If Brazil face a penalty shootout against Argentina and Messi, or Portugal and Ronaldo, at some point in the knockout stages in Russia next summer, having Alves in between the posts would certainly make a difference.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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