Tag Archives: messi

Since Ronaldo left Madrid, Messi hasn’t score a goal in El Clasico


After drawing another blank on Saturday, Lionel Messi has now failed to score against Real Madrid in each of his last seven games against them. Ansu Fati scored Barcelona’s only goal as they were beaten 3-1 in the Clasico at the Camp Nou.

The last time Messi found the net against Los Blancos was during the 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou on Matchday 36 of the 2017/18 LaLiga Santander season. That means the Argentine is yet to score against Real Madrid since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. This season, Messi has scored just one goal in LaLiga Santader – during Barcelona’s opening game against Villarreal. Since then, he’s failed to score or make an assist in four league matches. You have to go back to 2014 to find a similarly poor run from the forward.

Messi’s slow start to the new campaign comes after a rocky summer at Barcelona. After surrendering the LaLiga Santander title to Real Madrid and suffering the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in August, the 33-year-old handed in a transfer request, which was rejected by the club. Away from his club duties, Messi has scored once in two games for Argentina in the 2020/21 season – against Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier in October.


From Camp Nou to ‘Messi’; Could this really come to pass?


Gerard Pique has been equally outspoken in his defence of Lionel Messi and his criticism of the Barcelona board. The Argentine is now into the final year of his contract at the Camp Nou having been denied a move away from the club in the summer.

Messi’s future was a hot topic of debate over the summer, particularly after he handed in a transfer request following Barcelona’s humiliating defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. After a dispute with Josep Maria Bartomeu’s board, the captain ended up staying.

During his first public interview since his transfer request, Messi claimed that Bartomeu had broken promises he’d made to the forward in the past. Now, the president faces a vote of no confidence at the club.

“Leo deserves everything,” Pique told La Vanguardia. “The new stadium should be named after him. We must preserve our past and present legends and not discredit them.”

Should Barcelona take Pique’s advice and name their redevelopment Camp Nou after Messi, it would be the first time in history the club’s stadium has been named after a person.


Over the course of their past, Barcelona have played at the Velodrome de la Bonanova (1899-1900), the Hotel Casanovas pitch (1901-05), the pitch on Calle Muntaner (1905-09), the Campo de la Calle Industria (1909-22) and Les Corts (1922-57).

Barcelona first started playing at the Camp Nou in 1957, when its capacity was 90,000. Today, it can hold up to 99,354 fans, making it the biggest stadium in Europe.

Forgotten legacies
“We must preserve our past and present legends and not discredit them,” Pique said, dismayed at the fact that club figures like Pep Guardiola, Carles Puyol, Xavi and Victor Valdes weren’t involved at the Camp Nou these days.

“Something’s not right,” Pique continued. “You always have to keep these people around; they are part of the club’s history. They have made it great. They should be here, contributing.”


Messi hopes Ronaldo will be able to Play in UCL clash


Lionel Messi is hopeful his old foe Cristiano Ronaldo will be able to take part in Barcelona’s Champions League clash against Juventus despite testing positive for coronavirus.

The 35-year-old forward has so often lead the way for the Turin giants and continued to defy his age, but may be absent from the mouthwatering clash due to returning a second positive test for the disease.

Juventus are scrambling to ensure that Ronaldo will be available for selection should one final test come back negative – and Messi also appears keen to face off against him again in another ‘special’ match-up.

He told DAZN: ‘Obviously when Cristiano played for Real Madrid the games were special. Matches against them always are [special], but with Cristiano on the pitch they took on a particular significance.’

Ronaldo was doubtful despite initially contracting the virus while on international duty on October 13.


He immediately began a mandatory period of quarantine, and was forced to miss Juventus’ fixtures against Crotone and Dynamo Kiev while completing the quarantine.

Andrea Pirlo’s side host Barcelona next Wednesday, and Ronaldo took a second test in the hope that he would be cleared to return and add another thrilling chapter to his encounters with Messi.

The former Manchester United man soon discovered he still had Covid-19, however, placing his spot in the game in serious jeopardy.

When questioned over his rivalry with Ronaldo during his trophy-laden days in Madrid, Messi added: ‘That is now in the past and we look forward to today’s challenges.

‘Wednesday there could be this challenge and we hope Cristiano can be there and will soon recover from Covid.

‘The ones with Cristiano were and are a special duel which will remain forever. They last many years and it is not easy to maintain those levels for such a long time.


Our teams were also very demanding: Real Madrid and Barcelona, the two strongest clubs in the world.

‘Competing as equals for so many years is something that will remain forever. The duel between me and Cristiano was very good on a personal level and I think people enjoyed it.

‘The fans of Real, Barca, but in general all football fans, have seen a great show. We hope to give them even more emotions [on Wednesday].’

The fierce debate over which of the two superstars can claim the title of the best player in the world, and perhaps in history, continues to rage on.

Both have won 11 Ballon d’Or awards between them, although Messi narrowly leads the way with a record amount of six.

Juventus are hoping UEFA will grant them permission to test Ronaldo once again 48 hours before the European tie. The organisation’s protocols means that the player should have tested negative a week before the game in order to take part.

But his club have filed a medical report to UEFA that argues Ronaldo’s test showed a low viral load which, provided his test result on Friday is negative, should allow him to play.


Court Instructs Newspaper to pay fine to Lionel Messi


Spanish daily newspaper, ABC, has been instructed by the courts to pay a fine of 7,142 euros to the Leo Messi Foundation, as a result of publishing false information about the Argentine’s charity.

The publication detailed a new scandal which suggested Messi was involved in further tax fraud, however that was proven to be false information and libellous.

“The information published is not true, but the sentence can be appealed,” the court stated.

“The headlines and words have been used to try and make the reader believe there has been a possible tax crime committed by the foundation.”

Barcelona, on the other hand, have decided against taking legal action against the same newspaper after an unsavoury incident occurred on Tuesday with writer, Salvador Sostres, said: “Ansu Fati in full flight has something of a gazelle about him, of a very young, black street seller that you suddenly see running along [Paseo de Gracia] when someone shouting ‘water, water’ [to warn other street sellers] announced that the local police have arrived.”


Shocking: Messi wants to join Chelsea


A remarkable claim by Gianluca Di Marzio on Sky Sports suggests that a FaceTime call was held between Lionel Messi and Jose Mourinho, back in the manager’s second stint at Stamford Bridge in 2014.

Chelsea were ready to pay the Argentine’s €700million release clause and the pair spoke on the phone to determine the suitability of the move. Messi was impressed by Mourinho, says the Italian journalist.

But Deco informed Messi’s father and agent Jorge of the call, which was facilitated by someone else entirely, and the entire deal collapsed.


‘It is gonna be Very difficult year for Messi’ – Insua


Emiliano Insua described what makes his old Argentina team mate Lionel Messi so special but can see potential difficulties arising at Barcelona this season.

Lionel Messi’s issues at Barcelona before the season started could affect him later in the campaign, his former Argentina team mate Emiliano Insua fears.

It has been a tumultuous period for Messi, starting with Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last month. Following that humbling experience, Messi shocked the footballing world by requesting to leave Camp Nou and stating he believed a clause in his contract allowed him to leave on a free transfer.

Both Barca and LaLiga disputed his interpretation of the clause, though, saying any team wishing to sign Messi would have to pay his €700million release fee or negotiate a transfer.

Messi ultimately opted to stay this season as he did not want to drag the issue through the courts but he hit out at president Josep Maria Bartomeu in the aftermath of the saga.


The 33-year-old struck a more conciliatory and uniting tone in an interview with SPORT this week and LA Galaxy defender Insua spoke about Messi’s enduring qualities, which he hopes he can continue to display after a tough period.

“I think he has everything, he was born like this, the quality he has is amazing, everything he does and has been doing is natural,” Insua told Stats Perform News.

“The time I was training with him you can see that. He doesn’t train too much, he doesn’t need to train too much…[because] this fitness situation he has, he’s really quick, really strong.

“Hopefully he can keep showing this because this summer he had a lot of problems in Barcelona, they didn’t finish maybe so well in the Champions League.

“Hopefully this year he can be at the same level because I think it will be difficult for him this year.”

For a long time it was rumoured Messi may have a new and familiar Camp Nou team-mate in the form of Argentina striker Lautaro Martinez, who was heavily linked with a move from Inter to Barca.

This week it was suggested Barca will no longer pursue a deal after being put off by a €98.5million fee, meaning Martinez is set to continue his promising development at Inter where he has scored 21 Serie A goals in 63 games since joining from Argentine side Racing Club ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.


Martinez has struck up a particularly good understanding with Romelu Lukaku in San Siro and Insua has high hopes he will become one of the best strikers in the world.

“He showed in Argentina that he’s a really good striker and he’s showing it at Inter,” Insua added.

“Maybe everyone expected that he needs time to set up in the Italian league, but he was really fast in the adaptation in the way he was playing.

“The partnership with Lukaku was really good also up front, so they help each other.

“He showed last year he can be one of the best strikers in the world and everyone also said that maybe he’s going to Barcelona, now nobody knows anything [on that], hopefully he can keep showing that [form].”


Messi in search of ‘New Duo’


The start of the new season signals the beginning of a new era for Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

The Argentine is back in competitive action on Sunday for the first time since the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich which prompted his transfer request.

What’s more, Messi will be without his partner in crime – Luis Suarez – for the first time since the Uruguayan joined Barcelona in 2014.

Suarez was the latest in a long line of teammates to strike a bond with Messi at the Camp Nou after Ronaldinho, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Samuel Eto’o, David Villa, Pedro and Neymar, to name a few.


Suarez’s departure to Atletico Madrid leaves Messi to play alongside Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho in attack.

There’s also Ansu Fati, the great hope of the academy, plus Martin Braithwaite and Francisco Trincao as options going forward.

In midfield, Frenkie de Jong and Miralem Pjanic will look to feed the ball into Messi and his attacking associates.

In what could be his final campaign as a Blaugrana player, the mythical No.10 will want to go out with a bang.


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Neymar joins Messi in critisicing FC Barcelona


Neymar joined Lionel Messi in questioning Barcelona’s decision to let Luis Suarez go during the current transfer window.

Messi’s Instagram post criticising the Catalan club drew reactions from teammates, past and present, as well as a number of other figures in football.

Neymar, who played alongside Messi and Suarez in the MSN front three at the Camp Nou, couldn’t help but wade in on the action.

“It’s incredible how they do things,” the Brazilian commented on Messi’s post, referring to Barcelona.


Messi is still the best player in the world – Unai Emery


Unai Emery is under no illusions how tough Sunday’s match against Barcelona will be for his Villarreal side.

The game, due to be held at the Camp Nou, will be Barcelona’s first in LaLiga Santander this season, whereas Villarreal have already played two.

When looking ahead to Sunday’s meeting, Emery picked out the possible threats facing Villarreal, including that of Lionel Messi.

“Messi is going to have his connections on the pitch and his individual chances to score,” Emery admitted.

“Whether that’s with shots or his combinations with [Jordi] Alba, Sergi Roberto, [Antoine] Griezmann or just himself.


“He’s a player who always causes problems and that’s going to be the case for the whole 90 minutes.

“He’s still a very tricky player [to face] – a player that we think has been and continues being the best in the world.”

Under Emery, Villarreal will be looking to push on after their fifth place finish in LaLiga Santander last season.

“We’re excited and optimistic coming into this,” the Villarreal boss added.

“The league is always open, but you first have to remember that Real Madrid ended last season strongly and that Barcelona still have great players, which is why [those two] are the favourites [to win the title].

“Then you have Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and the teams that want to take our place.

“We have to go up a level, we want to keep climbing and Sunday is a good test to see how we’ll respond.”


‘I couldn’t, I just couldn’t watch the best player in the world leave’ – Bartomeu on Messi


Having refused to grant Lionel Messi’s wish to leave Barcelona last month, president Josep Maria Bartomeu is keen to move on.

Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted he had no interest in continuing a public spat with Lionel Messi despite the Barcelona captain’s criticism of his presidency.

Messi stunned the world last month when he informed Barça of his intention to depart the LaLiga giants, with the 33-year-old intending to trigger a clause in his contract to walk away on a free at the end of last season.

However, the validity of such a stipulation was murky due to the campaign being extended by the coronavirus pandemic, and Messi ultimately opted to remain in Catalonia rather than challenge Barcelona in a legal battle.

That did not prevent him from taking aim at Bartomeu in an interview with Goal, though, as he accused the president of reneging on his wish to leave and presiding over a club that had “no project or anything for a long time”.

“As president, I will not enter into any conflict with Messi,” Bartomeu told TV3. Messi is our captain, our leader. The issue is parked. What has been said has been said.


“I couldn’t allow to let the best player in the world go. The team needs him, he guarantees success. Things have to be discussed at home. You have to support the team and the players.

“We have to congratulate ourselves that Messi is still with us. He is excited about [coach Ronald] Koeman’s project. The important thing is he plays for Barca, at his home. We want him to retire at the club.”

Messi’s contract expires at the end of the 2020-21 season anyway, though by that point Barcelona will have a different president as there are elections to replace Bartomeu next March.

However, Bartomeu, unpopular with some Barcelona fans due to his role in the Messi saga, may be forced out before then if he faces a vote of no confidence on the back of a motion to remove him, which has so far gathered more than 20,000 votes.

“Right now, no-one is considering resigning,” Bartomeu added. The club is not going to stop. I think everyone was surprised by the number of signatures but we respect democracy and the club’s laws.”


Shocking: Messi joins Argentina team for WC qualifiers


Argentina kick-off their World Cup qualifying campaign against Ecuador in Buenos Aires on 8 October before travelling to Bolivia five days later.

Lionel Messi headlines Argentina’s preliminary 30-man squad for next month’s CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Bolivia. World Cup qualifying for the 2022 showpiece in Qatar was due to begin in March, but the coronavirus pandemic forced a delay until October.

Now, Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina – who have not played since November – will kick-off their campaign against Ecuador in Buenos Aires on 8 October before travelling to Bolivia five days later.


Dybala and Lautaro join Messi
Argentina and Barcelona captain Messi is joined in the preliminary squad by Juventus star Paulo Dybala and Inter forward Lautaro Martínez. Uncapped pair Facundo Medina and Nehuen Pérez have also been included, while former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez could make his debut after completing a move to Aston Villa.

Agustin Marchesin (Porto), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Juan Musso (Udinese); Marcos Acuna (Sevilla), Leonardo Balerdi (Marseille), Juan Foyth (Tottenham), Walter Kannemann (Gremio), Facundo Medina (Lens), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Nehuen Perez (Atletico Madrid), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Renzo Saravia (Internacional), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax); Joaquin Correa (Lazio), Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese), Nicolas Dominguez (Stuttgart), Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta), Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis); Lucas Alario (Bayer Leverkusen), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristian Pavon (LA Galaxy), Giovanni Simeone (Cagliari).


Leo Messi makes his first appearance since dramatic transfer U-turn


Lionel Messi has made his return for Barcelona for the first time since his dramatic transfer U-turn after starting the Catalan club’s pre-season friendly against Gimnastic de Tarragona.

The brilliant Argentine only returned to pre-season training on Monday this week after his very public fall-out with the club but Ronald Koeman asked Messi to play as the coach looks to dampen the furore that has surrounded their talisman.

Barcelona went into meltdown when Messi announced he had made up his mind to leave following a hugely disappointing end to last season.

He told Barca that he wanted to exercise a clause in his contract which allowed him to leave for free only for the club to insist it had lapsed at the end of what would have been the regular season pre-Covid. He was told his buy out clause or legal action was the only way to leave the club he had grown up with and, reluctant to sue them, relented, though not before taking a swipe at president Josep Bartomeu saying he had broken promises.


‘The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he didn’t end up keeping his word,’ Messi said.

‘And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club… because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700-million-euro release clause.

‘This is impossible, and then the other way was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.’

More than 7,500 Barcelona members have since signed a censure motion aiming to oust Bartomeu in a vote of no confidence following the saga.


Messi, however, returned last week and assured fans: ‘My attitude won’t change because I wanted to leave. I will give my all.’

As if to underline his commitment, he arrived an and a half before his first session on Monday, was the first to arrive On Tuesday and Wednesday and on Thursday, the team’s day off, went in to train again.

Now he has pulled on a Barca shirt again tonight at the Johan Cruyff Stadium.

Koeman, for his part, had prepared for Messi’s departure but will now seek to integrate him into a new-look side.

He has been tasked with overhauling an ageing squad that will see the likes of Luis Suarez moved on. He wants Lyon’s Memphis Depay and Liverpool’s Gini Wijnaldum to join him but Barcelona are struggling financially, especially as they face the prospect of paying up several contracts.


Shocking: Messi deliberately hands over penalty to Griezmann, Friendship Begins?


In the 17th minute of Barcelona’s pre-season friendly match against Nastic, the Blaugrana won a penalty and it was scored by Antoine Griezmann to make it 2-0 at the time.

While most might have expected Lionel Messi to take the spot kick, the Argentine gave the ball to the Frenchman.

Griezmann scored to make it two French goals, after Ousmane Dembele had netted the opener.


‘Messi’s attitude can’t be questioned’ – Valdes


Victor Valdes has defended his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi in the face of criticism about his attitude.

Valdes, now coaching Horta in Spain’s fourth tier, believes the Argentine has been unfairly targeted, but is glad to see him staying in Catalonia for another season.

“No one can question Messi’s attitude,” Valdes told RAC1.

“I’ve been very sad to see some of the comments about him, but I’m happy he’s staying and I hope he can continue to bring happiness to Barcelona, as the club need it.”

Valdes, who was briefly in charge of Barcelona’s Under-19 side in 2019, also gave his view on that spell.


“Barcelona is a club with a very rigid philosophy, whereas I’m a very dynamic coach,” he said.

“I like to adapt to the players I have and give them freedom.

“At Barcelona, I just found people unwilling to change.”


Just In: Messi trains at Barcelona training day off


Lionel Messi turned up at Barcelona’s training complex on Thursday for a workout, even as the rest of the squad enjoyed a day of holiday.

The Argentine has been well cocooned since reporting back for training on Monday as he looks to get back to fitness, having to train individually at first due to LaLiga’s coronavirus protocols and then not completing the double sessions held later in the week.

Keen to make up for lost time, Messi has often been the first player to arrive at the training ground and this Thursday he was there alone.

Friday will see the Catalan side train again as a group as they look ahead to Saturday’s friendly with Gimnastic de Tarragona, a game in which Messi could take part.


Coutinho has to repay Messi’s favour this season


Philippe Coutinho’s time at Barcelona may finally have come, almost two years after he joined from Liverpool as the Catalan club’s most expensive ever player.

There are three reasons for the wind-change in his favour:

Watching him contribute to Bayern Munich’s Treble served as a reminder of what attracted Barcelona to him when they signed him for a deal totalling £145million in 2018.

His role in Bayern’s clean sweep probably shouldn’t be exaggerated. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: ‘With his creativity and excellent technical ability he has helped drive the team’s play in a year when we have won the Treble.’ But the German team had not seen enough to want to negotiate buying him permanently.

And it’s also true that his role in the Champions League success was as a substitute, enjoying, in particular, the disaster minutes against Barcelona when they just wanted the final whistle to be blown. But he still had to take advantage of the opportunity and he certainly did that with two goals against his parent club.


And the lasting image is of him celebrating in Lisbon, smiling broadly on the tickertape-strewn pitch with his hands on the European Cup.

He walks back into the Barcelona dressing room a lot taller than if he had returned from Bayern without a medal.

Koeman has made all the right noises about his return. He wants to use him and with the squad chronically top-heavy (eight players for three attacking berths) he sees an opening in midfield.

Barcelona cannot make big signings this summer. Lost in the haze of them keeping Messi has been their dire financial predicament. Even Koeman’s fairly modest requests for Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay depend on players being shifted out for transfer fees first.

Part of Koeman’s remit is to do something about that embarrassing €400m (£367m) trio of Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann.

He needs to make them the success stories they were at Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid. He is determined to do that and, in particular with Coutinho and Griezmann, he believes changing their positions slightly will help him achieve it.


Coutinho was sold to Barcelona as a long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta so this is not so much plan B as going back to plan A.

When Koeman plays a 4-3-3 he will employ a holding midfielder and a powerful runner who can drop in alongside the holder when Barcelona don’t have the ball, and then spring out when they do. And that leaves a third spot for a more creative spirit.

One obstacle to it being a success is the lack of warmth for Coutinho from the supporters – many of whom would rather see homegrown talent Riqui Puig get his break.

But the global pandemic has emptied stadiums across Europe and in Spain there are no suggestions that any spectators will be able to get back inside grounds at least before next February.

Coutinho probably still thinks from time to time about his brilliant goal against Manchester United in his second season when his top-corner curler ought to have won hearts and minds at the Nou Camp.

Instead of celebrating with joy he chose to use the moment to show his displeasure standing still in the middle of the pitch, closing his eyes and sticking his fingers in his ears.

‘Great goal, ugly celebration’ was the headline in Barcelona paper ‘Diario Sport’ the next day and they cited lip readers claiming he said: ‘Vai a tomar no cu’ as he put his fingers in his ears – a Portuguese phrase tantamount to ‘f*** you’.


Not celebrating that goal with supporters no matter that there had been some whistles for him in previous games was a mistake. The empty arena might not be the worst of all worlds as the 28-year-old returns.

Lionel Messi stood up for Coutinho in one post-match interview when he had been jeered: ‘We have to be together. It is not the moment to criticise anybody,’ he said when asked about whistles for Coutinho.

He added: ‘It is ugly that they give a team-mate that sort of treatment.’

Messi is still at the club to welcome him back and will be out to form new understandings now that the telepathic one he had with Luis Suarez has gone.

Alongside Messi, in an empty Nou Camp, with Koeman committed to making him a Barcelona success, and with the Champions League winners medal safely in the trophy cabinet, Coutinho must sense that his moment to really arrive at Barcelona has finally come.