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


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!!!"

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."

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 

  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    Messi and Ronaldo close in on Raul's record

    Messi and Ronaldo close in on Raul's record

    Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are closing in on Raul's UEFA Champions League goalscoring record of 71.

    Raul's record of 71 UEFA Champions League goals is unlikely to stand for too much longer as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo close in on that tally. Featuring videos of their finest European moments, we look at the careers of two of the game's greats and wonder who'll get there first...

    With Barcelona and Real Madrid once again among the favourites for Champions League glory and El Clasico coming up this weekend, the rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shows no signs of abating. There's even a game between Argentina and Portugal in London next month.

    That honour is currently held by Raul, the former Real Madrid hero, who scored 71 goals in the competition between 1995 and 2011. But with Ronaldo and Messi now both on 69 after the latter's goal against Ajax on Tuesday the deadly duo are closing in on the record…

    Where it began – The first goal

    Messi's first Champions League goal
    Messi got off the mark in the Champions League in November 2005 with Barcelona’s third goal in a 5-0 win over Panathinaikos. While the Greek side’s defending was less than impressive, the goal had many of the hallmarks of Messi’s game – a mazy dribble, real resilience to win the ball back and then a deliciously delicate touch to lift the ball over the goalkeeper. It was the start of a special campaign for player and club as Barcelona won the Champions League that season.

    Ronaldo's first Champions League goal
    Despite being two years older than his great rival, Ronaldo had to wait until late in the following season before scoring his first Champions League goal. It was a night to remember for Manchester United as they crushed Roma 7-1 in the second leg of their April 2007 quarter final. Ronaldo’s moment came when Ryan Giggs found him on the right and he drove at the defender before unleashing a now-trademark shot low into the corner of the net.

    The best bits – The top five goals

    Messi: Five of the very best
    When Messi started out at Barcelona his speciality was cutting in from the right, dancing past challenges and stroking the ball into the far corner – a thing of beauty. But he’s been adding to his repertoire ever since. There are those deft chips lobbed over the goalkeeper, using all the dimensions available. There’s that deceptively powerful shot for a man of his size. And there’s always the dribbling. Messi can inject pace into a game at will, suddenly driving at a defence such as the way he did to see off Real Madrid in the Bernabeu in their 2011 semi-final.

    Ronaldo: Five of the very best
    Once Ronaldo got going, Champions League opponents found stopping him near impossible. In part that is due to his ability to score all kinds of goals – towering headers such as the one that did for Patrice Evra when playing against his old club United, left-footed strikes like the fierce finish against Galatasaray and wonderful team goals that highlight his one-touch link-up play with his colleagues. But it’s his ball-striking that really hits home in the highlights packages - the free-kick that made Arsenal’s Manuel Almunia look foolish and that rocket against Porto from all of 40 yards.

    The glory – The Champions League wins

    Messi: Champions League wins
    For all the goals, the career of a true great is about winning trophies and Messi has plenty of them to his name. The Argentine missed the 2006 triumph over Arsenal through injury but made up for that three years later when he headed the ball past Edwin van der Sar to score in a 2-0 win over Manchester United in Rome. As the star of Pep Guardiola’s wonderful team, Messi was on target in another victory against the same opponents in 2011, firing home what turned out to be the crucial second goal in a 3-1 win at Wembley.

    Ronaldo: Champions League wins
    While Messi has two final appearances and three medals, Ronaldo has three final appearances and two medals. It’s been a mixed bag for the Portuguese star in club football’s biggest game. He scored the opening goal for Manchester United in their 2008 triumph over Chelsea, although there was the trauma of seeing his penalty saved in the shootout. Ronaldo was denied by Messi’s Barcelona the following year, but had his glory moment as part of Real Madrid’s tenth European Cup win in 2014 – stroking home a penalty to cap a dramatic turnaround win over rivals Atletico.

    Given that one of the two men has been the Champions League top scorer in each of the past seven campaigns, it seems inevitable that Raul’s record will be broken this season. All that’s up for debate is who will get there first. Ronaldo will have two opportunities against Liverpool to take the record but should he not manage it, Messi will have his chance in Amsterdam in the return game against Ajax… For these two great rivals, the race goes on…

    Saturday, September 27, 2014

    Lionel Messi attacked by Malaga's Welington

    Barcelona dropped points for the first time this season with a 0-0 draw at Malaga. The night`s frustrations boiled over late in the match when Malaga defender Weligton squeezed Lionel Messi`s cheeks like a grandmother angered by a child`s cuteness and pushed his head away, prompting Messi to theatrically fall to the ground.

    Weligton was only shown a yellow card for the offense. According to AS, he said Messi called him a "son of a b****." Which seems like a phrase that would be tossed around a lot during a match.

    Surely Messi only called him that after politely inviting Weligton to play Legos with him later and having the Brazilian rudely decline by saying that Legos are stupid. Messi will let you say what you want about him, but disrespect Lego and he will call you out.


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