Lionel Messi is “happy and excited” at Barcelona, says Ronald Koeman 


Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has come out and praised Lionel Messi, after the Argentinian superstar played a starring role in the 5-1 victory over Alaves.Speaking to reporters after the game, Koeman said:”Well, we know that Leo is a decisive player, he has been for many years, he is very concentrated. He’s excited, he’s happy and he’s been very effective in front of goal.”He’s someone that when we make passes between the lines to find him it gives a load of depth for the rest of the players and makes them even easier for him,” Koeman continued.”He has a great vision of play, so of course if we want to try and go through or aspire to win trophies having Messi at his best is vital, but we need also everyone else at the best. That’s very important,” he finished.Lionel Messi scored a brace and had a hand in two other goals as Barcelona defeated Alaves 5-1 to go second in the La Liga table.The game saw him equal Xavi Hernandez for the club’s highest appearances in La Liga and he celebrated the milestone with his 15th league goal of the season.Barcelona’s attention will now turn to Tuesday’s showdown with PSG in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.Barcelona banking on Lionel Messi to make the difference in Europe

Barcelona will square off with PSG in the UEFA Champions LeagueBarcelona’s chances of achieving success on the domestic scene hang in the balance. The UEFA Champions League represents Blaugrana’s best opportunity to end the season with a trophy.The Catalans have been paired with Paris Saint-Germain in the UCL Round of 16, with the first leg due to take place at Camp Nou on Tuesday.Barcelona’s chances have been buoyed by the absence of former player Neymar, as the Brazilian has been ruled out with injury.

Despite their talisman’s absence, PSG still have enough high-quality players to get the win and Barcelona will be banking on their skipper to lead from the frontThe Camp Nou outfit have not lifted the UEFA Champions League since 2015 and are desperate to get their hands on the ‘Big Ears’ once more.The quality of both clubs means the tie appears evenly matched. But if Lionel Messi can perform at his usual elite level, Barcelona will fancy their chances of progressing to the quarterfinals.
Published 14 Feb 2021, 18:28 IST

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Barcelona News Roundup: Manchester City draw up new plan to sign Lionel Messi, Reason why Junior Firpo wasn’t sold in January revealed and more – 9 February 2021


Barcelona will need to fend off a handful of potential suitors if they’re to keep Lionel Messi. And it won’t be easy.It looks like Barcelona are going through a phase of revival under Ronald Koeman after a series of positive results. The club has a very important game coming up against Sevilla in the Copa Del Rey and there is a lot going on off the pitch as well with the presidential elections coming up.Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top stories involving Barcelona from 9 February 2021.Ivan Rakitic says he would never celebrate against Barcelona FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC – La Liga SantanderCroatian international Ivan Rakitic enjoyed a great spell at Barcelona before swapping the red and blue kit for the white one at Sevilla this past summer. In the buildup to the midweek Copa Del Rey semi-final game against Barcelona, the 32-year-old revealed in an interview with AS that he wouldn’t ever celebrate against his former side. Rakitic said:“I wouldn’t celebrate a goal against Barcelona. I will always carry them with me. “Things that were discussed were not fulfilled with me, but there I have lived many beautiful moments. My little daughter was born in Barcelona, I have many friends in the city and a lot of affection from the fans, which is mutual.”

Barcelona rejected AC Milan’s and Arsenal’s moves for Junior Firpo Cornella v FC Barcelona – Copa del ReyJunior Firpo was tipped to leave Barcelona in the January transfer window after he was gauged to not be up to the standards expected of someone who’s supposed to take over from Jordi Alba.But now Fabrizio Romano has revealed via Calciomercato.com that Barcelona rejected two offers for Junior Firpo this winter transfer window. Both Arsenal and AC Milan were interested in signing him on an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy.

However, Firpo did not want to leave the club in the winter for personal reasons and Barcelona could not afford to let him leave as they could not find a replacement.Manchester City draw up new plan to sign Lionel Messi Granada v Barcelona – Copa del ReyLionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain rumors have been gaining momentum but Manchester City are not ready to bow out of the race to secure the Argentine’s services just yet. According to ESPN, they are set to make a fresh attempt to convince the Argentine to join the Etihad outfit over the next couple of months.Manchester City have taken note of Barcelona’s frustration with Paris Saint-Germain’s public pursuit of Messi and are willing to go about their business in a more patient manner. Manchester City will take a much less aggressive approach and try to continue to maintain a good rapport with Lionel Messi’s camp.
Published 09 Feb 2021, 18:37 IST

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Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Best male footballer of the decade announced



Lionel Messi has been named the best male footballer of the last decade by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), ahead of fellow superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are regarded as two of the best footballers to have played the game, and debates rage as to who is the better player.Lionel Messi has enjoyed a stellar career with Barcelona so far; the Argentina international made his debut for the club in 2004 and has made 757 appearances in all competitions, scoring 651 goals.Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo has also achieved incredible sporting success, with clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.Lionel Messi was announced as the Player of the Decade by IFFHS, with Cristiano Ronaldo a close second. Andres Iniesta, Neymar and Sergio Ramos round off the top five.Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi linked with moves away Lionel Messi has been named the Player of the Decade by IFFHSCristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018 for a club-record fee of €100 million, and has arguably been their most important player since then.The 36-year old has made 113 appearances in all competitions and scored 88 goals, but was linked with a move away in recent months.

A return to Manchester United was mooted for Cristiano Ronaldo, while Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain were also said to be interested in signing the Portugal international.Those rumours have since died down, and Cristiano Ronaldo looks settled at Juventus for the time being.The future of Lionel Messi, on the other hand, is up in the air. The 33-year old announced last summer that he wanted to leave Barcelona, but a move failed to materialise.With his contract expiring this summer, Lionel Messi can leave Barcelona on a free transfer, and there have been no signs from him or his camp about wanting to sign a new deal with the club.Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have been heavily linked with Lionel Messi, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus have also been suggested as a potential destination.The two players recently played against each other when Juventus faced Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League group stage.Three active players have now scored 500+ career club goals:✅ Cristiano Ronaldo✅ Lionel Messi✅ Zlatan IbrahimovićWe’re living in an era of goal-scoring greatness. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/OzCRQveent— William Hill (@WilliamHill) February 7, 2021Also Read: Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract a source of worry for Juventus: Reports
Published 08 Feb 2021, 12:23 IST

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Twitter erupts as super-sub Lionel Messi inspires Barcelona to 3-2 comeback victory


Barcelona came from behind to register an impressive 3-2 victory against Real Betis at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, with Lionel Messi delivering the goods as a second-half substitute after Ronald Koeman had opted to give him a much-needed breather. The Barcelona skipper canceled out Borja Iglesias’ first-half opener in the 59th minute and made the pass that led to Victor Ruiz’s own goal, as he turned the game on its head after coming on with 30 minutes to spare. Lionel Messi rescues Barcelona yet again Ruiz, however, made amends for Real Betis, as he restored parity on the night with a header from Nabil Fekir’s cross. Fransisco Trincao proved to be the unlikely matchwinner for his side, with the Portuguese winger scoring the odd goal in five late in the game.Lionel Messi once again came to Barcelona’s rescue when his side needed him, as he kept the Catalan giants in title contention after inspiring them to a crucial victory. On that note, here are the best tweets from an entertaining La Liga encounter.Lionel Messi plays a different game, or truly in a different world where the notions of time and space are distorted. He sees things a second before the others and executes them with extreme precision.Impossible to have a bigger impact in 10 minutes.— Single Pivot (@thesinglepivot) February 7, 2021

Barcelona have now played 32 games this season:- First 16 games: 0 remontadas.- Last 16 games: 6 remontadas— adil (@Barca19stats) February 7, 2021

That’s six wins in a row for Barcelona and another one after trailing by a goal. Lots of matches coming up and once more, this team showed some fighting spirit. Lost their best defender Araujo early in the match but Messi the difference maker. Dembele did very well too.— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) February 7, 2021Martin Braithwaite is really the no 9 of FC Barcelona in 2021 uno— ً (@xOluwaseyi) February 7, 2021What a cameo from Messi off the bench to save Barcelona. Down 1-0, he comes on in the 57th, scores 2 mins later, and 10 mins after that a magical pass sets up the 2nd.Brilliant.— EiF (@EiFSoccer) February 7, 2021

Lionel Messi vs Real Betis 📊• 33 minutes played• 1 Goal• 2 Total Shots• 1 shot on Target• 3 dribbles succeeded• 32 touches• 18 accurate passes• 86% passing accuracy• 1 accurate cross• 1 accurate long ball• 2 chances created• 5 ground duels won🐐 🐐 pic.twitter.com/02H7HFgPrE— Harvey (@LaPulga__10) February 7, 2021
Published 08 Feb 2021, 04:15 IST

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“Lionel Messi is charging what Barcelona have been willing to pay him” – Rafael Nadal 


Tennis great Rafael Nadal has weighed in on the ongoing furor surrounding Lionel Messi’s contractual situation with Barcelona.Nadal is a self-professed football fan, with Real Madrid the club of his heart. But he took time to express his thoughts on the Argentine’s future, as he continues to be linked with a transfer. “In the end there is a player who is undoubtedly one of the best in history and he charges what the club has been willing to pay him. From there there is no debate I think.”The club has considered that Messi is just deserving to collect this and the club is the one that will have to deal with its finances and its future is with Leo or not.”Nadal has enjoyed great success in his chosen field, with 20 Grand Slams won in his career. He is also known as the ‘King of Clay’ owing to his unprecedented dominance at Rolland Garros.He has, however, expressed his admiration for football and revealed that he once harbored thoughts of playing football professionally.What next for Lionel Messi and Barcelona after contract leak? Lionel Messi has spent 20 years with BarcelonaThe dust has slowly begun to settle after the ground-breaking revelation of Lionel Messi’s contract which showed what he truly earned at Barcelona. Many consider it to have been a leak from the Catalans in a bid to place the blame for the club’s disastrous financial position on Lionel Messi.

Barcelona have since come out to absolve themselves of any blame and threatened to take legal action against the newspaper that published the leak.Nevertheless, it is highly unlikely that Lionel Messi will continue his 20-year association with the Blaugrana at the expiration of his current deal.The upcoming presidential elections might factor in his decision to remain at the club. However, from a financial perspective, it is highly untenable for Barcelona to continue offsetting their captain’s hefty salary.In hindsight, it might have been more feasible for the Catalans to have counted their losses and let him leave last summer. But having failed to do so, the new man elected to steady the ship must go about the arduous task of planning for life post-Messi.A perfect send-off would have seen Barcelona winning a couple of trophies to bid Lionel Messi farewell. However, the club’s current situation means that there is no guarantee that any trophy would be won this season.
Published 07 Feb 2021, 18:22 IST

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Manchester City suffer setback in race to sign Barcelona ace Lionel Messi – Reports


Manchester City were the favorites to sign Barcelona ace Lionel Messi once his current contract expires in the summer, but the Premier League side might no longer have a free run at the Argentinean.According to Mirror, Paris Saint-Germain have offered the Barcelona skipper a blockbuster contract, which could see the Ligue 1 side leapfrog Manchester City for the player’s signature. Lionel Messi looks certain to leave the Camp Nou in the upcoming summer.The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has been a revelation since breaking into the Barcelona first team as a teenager. Lionel Messi has become the epitome of excellence over the years and has set the benchmark in the beautiful game by consistently delivered the goods on the pitch. Even at 33 years of age, the Argentinean continues to churn up the impossible on regular basis. The Blaugrana owe their success in the last decade and a half to his genius, but it looks increasingly likely that their bond is coming to an end.However, few clubs can afford Lionel Messi astronomical wages, which gives him limited options to choose from for his next destination. Manchester City are among the ones with the financial muscle to host the Argentinean, and a reunion with Pep Guardiola was expected to be the cherry on the top for the Barcelona skipper. However, PSG are ready to pour water over the Premier League side’s dreams.🎯 Lionel Messi has scored more direct free-kicks (7) than the other 97 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺𝘀 in Europe’s top five leagues since the start of last season pic.twitter.com/Z20VY57Zzb— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 1, 2021The Ligue 1 giants have apparently tabled an offer that will be very hard for Lionel Messi to refuse. PSG are offering the Argentinean a weekly salary of £800,000 and will also give him a £40m signing-on bonus. Manchester City do not have the resources to compete with PSG’s offerings but will be hoping that the chance to link up with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola will tilt the tide in their favor.Barcelona irritated with PSG’s open pursuit of Manchester City target Lionel Messi Lionel Messi

Barcelona are irritated with PSG’s open courting of Lionel Messi, so the latest reports will only add to their woes ahead of the upcoming UEFA Champions League clash between the two sides. It would now be interesting to see whether the Ligue 1 side’s efforts force Manchester City to table an offer of their own for the Argentinean.Manchester City’s links with MLS side New York City could also play a part in their pursuit of Lionel Messi, with the Barcelona skipper eager to finish his career in America.
Published 07 Feb 2021, 17:46 IST

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Barcelona’s Martin Braithwaite reveals Luis Suarez’s advice for playing with Lionel Messi


Barcelona striker Martin Braithwaite has revealed that Luis Suarez advised him on how to play alongside Lionel Messi. The Uruguayan apparently told the Danish striker that it was quite easy to play with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.Luis Suarez joined Barcelona in the summer of 2014 and immediately forged an unbreakable bond with fellow South America Lionel Messi. Together, the two of them ran riot through the opposition defense and became a symbol of friendship on and off the pitch. Suarez ultimately left the Camp Nou for Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2020, but by then he had appeared 283 times for the Blaugrana, scoring 198 goals.Speaking to ESPN, Braithwaite spoke about wanting to strike up a similar partnership with the Barcelona skipper. The Dane had approached Suarez to understand how to play alongside Lionel Messi. And Braithwaite has now revealed the advice he received from the Uruguayan.“[Lionel] Messi’s so good at setting himself up, setting his teammates up. When I first arrived [at Barcelona] I studied him and [Luis] Suarez. They’re amazing and even as a fan, I loved how they played together.”“I was so delighted to get to play with Luis before he left. I studied their movement and tried to analyze the combination of running behind, playing the one-twos, and everything. Eventually, I did ask Luis for guidance on how they developed that bond. [He told me] ‘Messi’s a big team player. OK, he scores goals, but he also provides a lot of assists for his team. It’s not difficult playing with a guy like that.’” 🤤 Lionel Messi is the only player to complete at least 10 dribbles in more than one match in Europe’s top five leagues this season 1️⃣2️⃣ completed vs Alaves1️⃣1️⃣ completed vs Athletic Club pic.twitter.com/NFmFvDpMDd— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 1, 2021Lionel Messi central to Barcelona’s recent turn in fortunes Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez had telepathic understanding during their time together at BarcelonaBarcelona are ten points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid at the moment. However, the Catalans are currently on a fantastic run of form, having won eight of their last ten games in the league. Lionel Messi, as expected, has been central to their revival, but Braithwaite’s recent performances have also helped the club’s causes.Opta: “Lionel Messi has scored his 650th goal for FC Barcelona in all competitions (456 in La Liga), 49 of them have been direct free-kick goals (38 in La Liga). Celestial.” pic.twitter.com/nbWYzGx4zj— Quotes on Messi 💬 (@MessiQuote) January 31, 2021

The Danish striker has credited Barcelona assistant manager Henrik Larsson for his improvement. The Swedish international has been working in close quarters with Braithwaite this season, which has seen the Dane score six goals from 26 games so far. He has also shown signs of a budding partnership with Lionel Messi, but Braithwaite will have to go a long way to emulate Luis Suarez at the Camp Nou. However, his efforts on the pitch have given fans plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
Published 06 Feb 2021, 23:39 IST

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