Showing posts with label Lionel Messi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lionel Messi. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

#WC2018: Argentina is in ! Messi, Rojo rescue Argentina from humiliating early exit


Argentina, a team that looked like it had no chance of moving on from the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, is back from the dead after securing a late 2-1 win over Nigeria, combined with a Croatia win over Iceland. Thanks to the two results, the South American giants finish second in Group D in what Lionel Messi and Argentina fans will remember as a small miracle. 
It wasn't a sharp showing from Argentina in a tournament where it has been very poor, but the team overcome a penalty kick equalizer from Nigeria to get a late winner from Marcos Rojo.

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) — Marcus Rojo's stunning finish four minutes from time kept Lionel Messi and Argentina's World Cup hopes alive to see off Nigeria 2-1 on Tuesday and set up a last 16 meeting with France.

Messi's first goal of the tournament got the two-time winners off to a perfect start in Saint Petersburg, but Victor Moses's 51st minute penalty had Jorge Sampaoli's men headed for a humiliating group stage exit until Rojo's late intervention.

The Manchester United defender, who had escaped conceding a second Nigerian penalty moments earlier after a controversial VAR review, thundered home Gabriel Mercado's cross to send the under-fire Sampaoli running down the sidelines amid wild scenes of celebration.

Messi missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Iceland and was largely bypassed in a 3-0 thrashing by Croatia that saw calls for Sampaoli to be sacked before their final group game.

However, Argentina avoided the abyss by the skin of their teeth to fight another day against the highly-fancied French in Kazan on Saturday.

Sampaoli made five changes from the Croatia game, with veterans of the Albiceleste's run to the final four years ago Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria returning, but it was the recall of Ever Banega in midfield that provided the launchpad for Messi.

The Sevilla playmaker was restored to bring some order to an Argentine midfield overrun by Croatia's Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric and proved his worth inside 15 minutes.


Banega's brilliant pass over the top of the Nigerian defence picked out Messi's run perfectly and, after cushioning the ball on his thigh, the five-time world player of the year erased the frustrations of his World Cup so far with an arrowed right-foot finish into the far corner.

Modric claimed Croatia "cut off Messi" in Nizhny Novgorod five nights ago, but he was back to close to his Barcelona best at the heart of all Argentina's best moves in a positive first 45 minutes.

Higuain just couldn't flick the ball beyond the onrushing Francis Uzoho from a defence splitting pass before Uzoho then tipped a Messi free-kick onto the post.

Argentina escaped just before the break when no penalty was given for Rojo's high challenge on Kelechi Iheanacho.

Nigeria felt that injustice was rectified just five minutes after the break, though, when this time Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir did point to the spot when Javier Mascherano tangled with Oghenekaro Etebo at a corner.

Moses confidently stepped up to send Franco Armani the wrong way on his international debut and Argentina back to square one.

Messi produced a magical performance in Argentina's final qualifier with a hat-trick in Ecuador just to get his country to Russia.

But he couldn't recreate those heroics as Nigerian defenders swarmed around him everytime he was hopefully shovelled the ball by Argentine team-mates.

There was further VAR controversy when Nigeria were denied a second penalty when Rojo headed onto his own arm before substitute Odion Ighalo fired wide.

Ighalo missed another glorious chance when he shot too close to Armani and Nigeria were made to pay for their profligacy from the most unlikely source.

Sergio Aguero had been thrown on from the bench to join Messi and Higuain in attack, but it was Rojo who produced a striker's finish on his weaker right foot to spark delirious scenes of celebration among the tens of thousands of Argentines in the stands.

Chief among them was legendary 1986 World Cup winning captain Diego Maradona who reacted by raising the middle finger of both hands in just his latest controversial moment as a spectator in Russia.

Monday, January 8, 2018

MESSI WELCOMES PHIL TO BARCELONA ! ROLLS OUT THE RED CARPET FOR COUTINHO

The Argentine put on another super show as Ernesto Valverde's side returned to 4-3-3 and gave their new record signing a taste of what is to come.

Philippe Coutinho will have to wait for his Barcelona debut, but the Catalan club's record signing was given a glimpse of what is to come on Sunday.
The Brazilian completed a €160 million move to Barca from Liverpool on Saturday  and is expected to undergo a thorough medical examination on Monday, with a return to action later this month as he recovers from a minor injury.
The 25-year-old was not at Camp Nou as Barca beat Levante 3-0, but he will have been watching his new team on television - and he will have been impressed with what he saw.
Barca clicked quickly back into gear following the winter break, having rested most of their first-team players for the Copa del Rey clash away to Celta Vigo on Thursday night.
For this one, Ernesto Valverde picked a strong side, with Ousmane Dembele back in the line-up for his first start since September, alongside both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
It was Messi's link-up with Jordi Alba, an impressive feature of Barca's play this season, which brought the first goal as the Argentine attacker volleyed in off the post with a typically fine finish.

Messi broke the lines time and again with his passing, some of his deliveries delicious in their execution. He may be scoring at a slightly lower rate than in times gone by, but he is so complete these days and Coutinho must be purring at the prospect of playing alongside the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
A return to form for Suarez is also good news for Barca. The Uruguayan missed a clear chance in the first half as he smashed a shot onto the top of the bar when it appeared simpler to score, but later netted with an acrobatic effort to continue his recent improvement.
Suarez has now scored in six of his last seven league games for Barcelona (with eight goals in those matches), having only found the net in two of his previous seven. The South American striker, a former team-mate of Coutinho at Liverpool and also a friend of the Brazilian, looks likely to benefit from the arrival of Phil, as well as the return to 4-3-3 after Valverde's use of 4-4-2 while Dembele was out injured.

Dembele had his moments too and showed silky skills on occasions, while he also tested Levante's former Barca goalkeeper Oier Olazabal with a fierce drive from the edge of the area. At the age of 20, however, he is still not the finished article and will need time to reach his best after a lengthy layoff.


Coutinho is much more advanced at 25 and although he cannot play for Barca in the Champions League this season after already featuring for Liverpool in the competition, he will provide strength in depth and allow Valverde to rest Andres Iniesta in midfield in the second half of the campaign.
The Brazilian's arrival could also free Messi to spend more time further forward, just as he did on Sunday when he created havoc in the Levante area by evading several defenders before somehow managing to tee up Ivan Rakitic for a shot that sailed just wide.
And right at the end, more Messi magic in the box freed space for Paulinho to score a third as Barca picked up where they left off in La Liga following the winter break. The Blaugrana start 2018 in commanding form and Coutinho can only make them even stronger still.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Messi magic as FC Barcelona beat Deportivo Alaves to retain Copa del Rey - 3rd in 3 Years


FC Barcelona’s Copa del Rey triumph -- beating Deportivo Alaves -- means coach Luis Enrique could bow out after three seasons in charge with nine trophies against his name.


A Lionel Messi masterclass salvaged some silverware to end FC Barcelona’s season and gave coach Luis Enrique a victorious send-off as the Catalans retained the Copa del Rey with a 3-1 win over Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring for FC Barcelona then helped tee up Neymar and Paco Alcacer to lead Barca to a record 29th Cup triumph after Theo Hernandez’s brilliant free-kick had briefly brought Deportivo Alaves level.
Victory means Enrique bows out after three seasons in charge with nine trophies to his name, including the Cup in every year of his reign.
However, once again it was Messi who inspired Barca to bounceback from the disappointment of losing their La Liga title to Real Madrid last weekend with a stunning individual display.
“He is the number one as he shows in his performances and it has been a true pleasure.”

Alaves boss Mauricio Pellegrino was equally in awe of the five-time World Player of the Year.
“He is an out of the ordinary player,” said Pellegrino.
“He has the ability to create goals as well as score them with the precision of his passing.”
Barca were without the suspended Luis Suarez and Sergi Roberto and Enrique was forced into another reshuffle just 11 minutes in as Javier Mascherano was forced off with a head injury.
Yet, while Barca’s depth has been much-criticised this season, Andre Gomes deputised ably at right-back after replacing Mascherano and Alcacer took his chance on a rare start on the big stage in Suarez’s absence.
In stark contrast to Barca’s glorious run of six finals in seven years, Alaves were appearing in Spanish football’s showpiece for the first time.
The Basques were roared on by the more enthusiastic support at a far from full Vicente Calderon in its last competitive fixture before Atletico Madrid move home next season.
And Alaves were left wondering what might have been had they gone ahead when Ibai Gomez’s effort came back off the post, ricocheted off the back of Barca ‘keeper Jasper Cillessen but somehow squirmed along the goal line and not into the net on 27 minutes.
Three minutes later Messi kicked off a thrilling four-goal spell in the final 15 minutes of the half as he exchanged passes with Neymar before curling his 54th goal of the season.
owever, Barca’s initial lead only lasted three minutes.
On-loan Atletico left-back Hernandez has been courted by Barcelona, but looks set to become the first player to cross the Madrid divide since 2000 by signing for Real Madrid in the coming weeks.
And the 19-year-old showed why he is in such demand by bending a sumptuous free-kick into the top corner.
Messi saw a free-kick of his own beaten away by Fernando Pacheco, whilst Ivan Rakitic drilled a low shot just wide as Barca immediately reacted to conceding.
Fittingly, Messi was involved once more when Barca did regain the lead as he received Neymar’s pass before playing in Gomes and the Portuguese’s low cross was tapped home by Neymar at the back post as he scored for the third consecutive season in the Cup final.
Barca then put the game to bed in first-half stoppage time when Messi again pulled the Alaves defence apart and his reverse pass freed Alcacer to smash the ball beyond Pacheco into the far corner.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

#Don'tGoLeo - "Don't give up, Leo!" 100,000 fans sign up for Messi support rally

The Obelisco in downtown Buenos Aires is the planned venue for a mass demonstration in favour of the captain staying on, after he retired following Copa America defeat
Fans of Lionel Messi in Argentina have called for a massive march in the centre of Buenos Aires to persuade their hero to carry on in the national team. 

Over 100,000 people have so far expressed interest in the rally, which has been publicised on Facebook and has as a venue the Obelisco monument. 

The Obelisco is traditionally where fans gather to celebrate titles for either local clubs or the national team, but those going on Saturday plan to protest against their captain's international retirement. 


"This Saturday June 2 at 6pm (10pm BST) we are all going to the Obelisco to show him our affection and our hopes he will continue wearing the Argentina shirt," the event page states. 
"Come on Messi, don't give up on us!!!"


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Arsenal vs Barcelona: 12 match facts - Champions League Crunch Match

Match facts

  1. Arsenal, who finished second in Group F behind Bayern Munich, are the only team alongside Real Madrid to have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League every season since the new format in 2003/04. They have however been knocked out in the last 16 in each of the last five seasons.
  2. Barcelona, who finished top of Group E ahead of Roma, have made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 12th consecutive campaign. They have reached the semi-finals in seven of the last eight campaigns. The only exception was in 2013/14 season, when they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid.
  3. Barcelona have won the Champions League in four of the last 10 seasons. No other team has won it more than once in the same period. They could become the first team since AC Milan to win back-to-back European Cup/Champions League titles. The Rossoneri did it in 1989 & 1990.
  4. Barcelona have come out on top in each of their three previous Champions League home & away knockout encounters with Arsenal: 2006 final (2-1), 2009/10 quarter-final (6-3 on agg.) and 2010/11 Last 16 (4-3 on agg.).
  5. Arsenal and Barcelona’s seven previous Champions League encounters have produced 27 goals, an average of 3.86 per game.
  6. Arsenal have lost their Last 16 home tie in each of the previous three seasons, every time by a two goal margin (v Bayern Munich in 2012/13 and 2013/14, v Monaco in 2014/15).
  7. Arsenal have scored in their last 13 Champions League games, their best run since their 21 games in a row from October 2003 to November 2005.
  8. Barcelona have won 15 of their 19 Champions League games since last season (D2 L2). They’ve also never failed to score in those 19 games.
  9. Barcelona are one of two clubs still unbeaten in the Champions League this season, the other being Real Madrid.
  10. Alexis Sanchez has been directly involved in 58.3% of Arsenal’s Champions League goals this season, scoring three times and delivering four assists.
  11. Neymar has scored seven goals in his last five Champions League knockout games.
  12. Lionel Messi has scored six goals in four Champions League games against Arsenal. However, he has yet to score at the Emirates with Barcelona.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ronaldo to leave Real Madrid?

The end is in sight for Ronaldo at Real Madrid..


The Portuguese picked up his third Pichichi prize at an event in the capital on Monday, but admitted he doesn't know how long he will remain at the Santiago Bernabeu

Another award for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese picked up the prestigious Pichichi prize for the third time on Monday, but hinted he may not be at Real Madrid beyond the expiration of his current contract in 2018. "Two more years and then we'll see," he said.

Since moving from Manchester United to Madrid in 2009, he has already gone on to become the club's all-time top goalscorer. That honour arrived earlier this season as he overcame Raul's record of 323 strikes and he was celebrating his ability to put the ball in the net again on Monday.

Leading figures from the football world were present at Madrid's Teatro Goya to see Ronaldo receive his third Pichichi prize for finishing as La Liga's top scorer in 2014-15 - the 48 goals in 35 games he hit last season his best return yet in the Primera Division.

So Cristiano has now won the award as many times as Barcelona's Lionel Messi. This term, however, he has competition from several other players. Ronaldo (19) is level with club colleague Karim Benzema and one behind Barca's Luis Suarez (20), with Neymar (16) not far back. Messi, meanwhile, has 12 after spending almost two months on the sidelines between September and November.

And even if Ronaldo retains the trophy this time next year, it is unclear how many he can win. The Portuguese is out of contract in 2018 and said on Monday: "I will stay for two more years and then we'll see."

Coach Zinedine Zidane dismissed doubts over Cristiano's future recently when he said: "As long as I am here, he'll be here as well." That, however, is no guarantee of longevity because Madrid coaches rarely get more than two or three seasons - especially under current club chief Florentino Perez.

Carlo Ancelotti is the best example of that and the Italian coach was present at the MARCA ceremony on Monday to pick up an award for his success as coach last year - even though a failure to claim a major trophy in the second part of the campaign ultimately cost him his job.

Ronaldo and Ancelotti embraced affectionately outside the theatre, the two men still close after leading Real to La Decima in 2013-14. But the Italian is now part of the club's past - and the Portuguese may no longer represent the long-term future for Madrid either.

Ronaldo's remarkable record in front of goal has continued this term, with 30 goals in 29 matches so far in 2015-16. But a failure to convert against top teams like Barcelona, Atletico, Paris Saint-Germain and more, plus an inability to influence outside the area and a noticeable decline physically show quite clearly that he is no longer the player he was in his early years at the Bernabeu.

Madrid, of course, are now banned from signing players for two transfer windows. With the sanction suspended during the appeal process, Real should be allowed to complete deals in the summer, but they will be unable to strengthen their squad again after that until January 2018.

And by then, replacing Ronaldo is likely to be top of their list of priorities. Because he is already slightly past his physical peak and at the age of 33, the time may just be right for the two parties to go their separate ways. In addition, failure to add more collective trophies to his underwhelming total of seven since 2009 could also hasten his departure.

So while Cristiano has been brilliant by and large for Madrid these past seven seasons and Monday's award was another reminder of his extraordinary goalscoring skills, it now appears the end may be in sight for the prolific Portuguese at Real. And much like the player himself, his club will surely be thinking along similar lines. "Two more years and then we'll see."

GOAL

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Messi: I would never play for another European club




Europe's top clubs need not bother with any bids for Barcelona's Lionel Messi, as the Argentinian has declared he wouldn't consider playing for any other team on the continent.


Messi, coming off his fifth Ballon d'Or win, told France Football he plans to stay at Barcelona for the rest of his career, but didn't rule out a move back home to his native Argentina to close out his career.
"I'd never play for another European club," said the 28-year-old, courtesy of Sky Sports

"Barcelona is my home and I want to retire here. However, it's possible I could end my career in Argentina. Anything could happen in the future, but I want to stay here."

Rumours have intimated that Messi could make the jump to the Premier League, specifically Manchester City, if and when former boss Pep Guardiola takes the bench there. 

Messi has also been linked with Inter Milan in the past, with former Argentina teammate Juan Sebastian Veron revealing that Messi had previously thought about joining the Nerazzurri.

A return to Newell's Old Boys - where Messi began his career as a youth before joining Barcelona as a 13-year-old - is also a possibility.

Right now, though, the reigning world player of the year is comfortable in familiar surroundings. He said he feels better than he had in previous years, putting any injury worries behind him.

"I had injuries in 2013 and 2014 that meant I wasn't at the top of my game, whereas now I am. I feel I'm back at the level I was at three or four seasons ago," he said.

"If another Ballon d'Or comes along then great, but if I don't win any more, it's no big deal."
TheScore​



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

FIFA Ballon d'Or award Gala - Messi #5 and mesmerizing Photo Gallery



  • Lionel Messi claims fifth Ballon d'Or award after beating finalists Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar to 2015 gong 
  • Barcelona star said: 'It's an incredibly special moment. It's more than anything I ever dreamed of as a kid'
  • Messi received 41.33 per cent of the votes, Ronaldo earned 27.76 per cent with Neymar amassing 7.86 per cent
  • Wendell Lira won the Puskas award for team goal of the year after finishing team move for Goianesia in Brazil
  • Barcelona manager Luis Enrique was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Catalan club to five titles 
  • USA's Carli Lloyd claimed the Women's Player of the Year award while Jill Ellis won the Coach of the Year gong 
















  • Lionel Messi crowned world's best player ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr - FIFA Ballon d'Or award 2015

    Lionel Messi moved brilliance to another level as he was presented with the Ballon d’Or for the fifth time in his extraordinary career.
    The greatest player of this generation was recognised by international captains, managers and journalists for his outstanding performances during 2015, when Barcelona became the first team to complete the treble of league, cup and Champions League for the second time.
    Messi’s performances were, at times, mesmerising and his highlights from the past 12 months include his goal against Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, when he chipped Manuel Neuer from six yards, and his solo run against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final. 


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...