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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Real Madrid News Roundup: Club identify replacement for outgoing star, massive update on Sergio Ramos’ future, and more — 10th February 2021



Real Madrid returned to winning ways with an impressive 2-0 win at home to Getafe, with Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy getting on the scoresheet. The defending LaLiga Santander champions went into the game with up to eight players unavailable but came out on top to keep the pressure on runaway league leaders Atletico Madrid.Ahead of Valencia’s visit to the capital city in four days’ time, here is some of the latest Real Madrid news.Real Madrid could consider Martin Odegaard’s permanent saleReal Madrid could be open to selling Martin Odegaard to Arsenal on a permanent basis come summer, as per reports from SPORT. The Norway international left for Arsenal on a half-season loan in the winter (with no option to purchase) after being disgruntled due to a lack of playing time in Madrid.The report suggests that Odegaard has no intention of returning to his parent club in the summer if Zinedine Zidane is still at the helm. With Arsenal’s need for a creative midfielder and Odegaard’s barren spell in Spain, Real Madrid could reportedly consider a permanent sale should they receive a suitable offer for Odegaard. The 22-year-old was in sublime form for Real Sociedad in his previous loan spell but failed to accumulate minutes upon his return to Los Blancos.Real Madrid eye move for Dani OlmoZinedine Zidane has identified Dani Olmo as a readymade replacement for Lucas Vazquez, as per reports. The La Fabrica product is into the final months of his current deal and is yet to agree an extension, allowing him to depart on a free transfer should the situation persist.

In the event that Vazquez does leave, Real Madrid will look to replace him with RB Leipzig’s Olmo. The former La Masia player has had superb spells in both Zagreb and Leipzigig and could be in line for a return to his homeland. The report also adds that Real Madrid maintain good relations with his agent, Juanma Lopez, but because he is contracted to Die Roten Bullen until 2024, they might have to part with a fee of €30m for Olmo.Sergio Ramos set to reject Blancos’ contract offersReal Madrid legend Sergio Ramos appears to be edging towards an unceremonious exit from the club as he is set to reject further advances from the Blancos, as per reports in Spain. The Spanish champions now face a realistic possibility of losing the centre-back, regarded as one of the finest players of his generation, for free in the summer.

🥴 Sergio Ramos has scored more league goals (13) than Antoine Griezmann (12) since the beginning of last season 😯 Man City are monitoring his future at Madrid, per @ESPNFC pic.twitter.com/QgGLm4y2z3— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 4, 2021Ramos is believed to be holding out for a two-year extension with no pay-cut, while Real Madrid are only able to offer him a one-year deal with a 10% reduction on his annual €12m net salary. There is no shortage of potential suitors for Ramos either, with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain showing great interest in signing the Real Madrid icon.Also read: Blancos superstar could be set for summer exit, Eden Hazard’s shocking admission, and more
Published 10 Feb 2021, 18:25 IST

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Real Madrid 2-0 Getafe: Los Blancos player ratings as Zinedine Zidane’s men cut Atletico Madrid’s lead to 5 points | La Liga 2020-21



Real Madrid saw off Getafe on home soil, with second-half goals from Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy propelling them to a 2-0 victory.The hosts were largely frustrated in the first half as a combination of dogged defending, plus an inspired David Soaria, kept them at bay.Karim Benzema and Luka Modric forced the Getafe goalkeeper into fine saves in the first half, while Marcelo also saw a goal-bound shot blocked in the box.Real Madrid upped the ante in the second half and went ahead through Benzema, who headed home a cross by Vinicius Junior on the hour mark.Their lead was doubled just six minutes later when Ferland Mendy started and ended an attacking move by poking a right-footed shot past Soria.The victory moves Los Blancos three points clear of Barcelona into second and five points behind Atletico Madrid, having played two games more.Here is how each Real Madrid player fared in the game.Real Madrid player ratings against Getafe Thibaut Courtois was untested in the Real Madrid goal

Thibaut Courtois – 6/10The Belgian shot-stopper was a relative spectator for most of the game, as Getafe offered nothing in an attacking sense.Thibaut Courtois did not have a single save to make but was on hand to deal with the few crosses that came into his box.Marcelo – 9/10Marcelo made his first La Liga start since December and gave a performance that underlined his immense ability. The 32-year-old was unhinged without having to worry too much about defensive duties, and he proved to be a menace for the Getafe defence.He ended the night having made more key passes than anybody else on the field and provided the assist for the second goal.Ferland Mendy 8.5/10Ferland Mendy started in an unorthodox position as the left-sided defender in a back three. The 25-year-old discharged his defensive duties effectively, with three interceptions and one clearance made.His attacking impetus, however, came to the fore on several occasions and his bursting run forward in the second half saw him combine brilliantly with Marcelo before putting Real Madrid two goals up.Raphael Varane – 7/10Raphael Varane was a steady and calming presence at the heart of defence in the absence of Sergio Ramos. The France international recorded a shot off target in the game, in addition to one interception and two clearances.

Nacho Fernandes – 6.5/10It was another assured performance from Nacho Fernandes. The absence of Ramos and Eder Militao has given the Spain international an extended run in the first team, and he took advantage with another solid display.Marvin Park – 6/10Marvin Park had a solid if uneventful first La Liga start for Real Madrid. The 20-year-old was fielded in an unfamiliar position as a right-wing back and contributed more in defence than attack before making way in the 55th minute.Casemiro – 7/10Casemiro discharged his duties effectively to ensure that the Getafe attack did not progress beyond midfield. He also had some notable moments in front of goal and should have gotten on the scoresheet in the first half.Luka Modric – 8/10Luka Modric has gotten back to his brilliant best in recent weeks as he put in another controlled display for Real Madrid. The Croatia international forced Soria into a save in the first half and generally dictated the tempo of the game.Vinicius Junior – 7/10

Vinicius Junior was the brightest spark for Real Madrid. He combined well with Marcelo in the first half but was let down by his now-trademark poor final ball.A switch to the right flank enabled him to produce a pristine cross for Karim Benzema to open the scoring in the second half.Marco Asensio – 6/10Marco Asensio was the weakest link in the Real Madrid attack as he failed to make his impact felt. The Spain international got into good positions throughout the game but did not make the most of them. He was substituted for Isco with 15 minutes to go. Karim Benzema opened the scoring for Real MadridKarim Benzema – 8.5/10Karim Benzema continues to lead the line with aplomb for Real Madrid. Having missed a good chance in the first half, he made amends with a well-taken header to open the scoring in the second.The goal was his 11th of the La Liga campaign. This means he has now been involved in 15 goals in his last 19 league games against Getafe.Real Madrid substitutesSergio Arribas – 5.5/10Sergio Arribas was brought on to add creativity to the hosts and played his part with a solid performance.Isco – 6/10

The Spain international came on for Marco Asensio with 15 minutes to go. He completed one dribble and one tackle. He also had a passing accuracy of 100% from his nine attempted passes.Victor Chust – N/AThe 20-year-old had just five minutes of action and did not get enough minutes to warrant a rating.
Published 10 Feb 2021, 06:32 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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Real Madrid could sell Raphael Varane if he doesn’t renew contract – Reports


Real Madrid are reportedly planning to sell Raphael Varane if the centre-back decides against renewing his current contract with the club. Varane’s present deal with Los Blancos is set to expire in the summer of 2022.According to Marca, Real Madrid believe the Frenchman is not planning to extend his stay at the club and could have his heart set on a move away from the Bernabeu.Club captain Sergio Ramos has also been linked with a move away from Real Madrid in recent months. The defender’s contract with the Spanish champions is set to expire at the end of the season, meaning he can begin negotiations with potential suitors.However, Real Madrid are confident about Ramos penning a new deal before the end of the 2020-21 campaign. As a result, Los Blancos must now switch their focus towards Ramos’ defensive partner, Raphael Varane.Varane, who joined Real Madrid from Lens in the summer of 2011, has developed into one of the best centre-backs in world football. The French World Cup winner has played an instrumental role behind Real Madrid winning four Champions Leagues, three league titles, and a Copa Del Rey among other honors.However, Real Madrid may be forced to part ways with Varane, who has been linked with Manchester United and Juventus in recent years, this summer or risk losing him on a free transfer next year.Given their current financial condition, Real Madrid are unlikely to run the risk of losing one of their prized assets for free.Raphael Varane to Manchester United? Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane has been linked with a move to Manchester United in the past. The Red Devils are currently in the market for a new centre-back to partner Harry Maguire as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lacks faith in Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.Real Madrid will try to sell Raphaël Varane if he doesn’t renew his contract before the summer transfer window. Madrid know that #mufc and PSG have followed him for some time, with Chelsea and Juventus also interested. Any fee around €50m would be welcome #mulive [marca]— utdreport (@utdreport) February 8, 2021Varane is currently one of the best defenders in the world, and at 27, is at the peak of his game. A move to the Premier League could be an enticing opton for the Frenchman.
Published 09 Feb 2021, 12:36 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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“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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