Lionel Messi's first-half goal was to score against the 34th team, surpassing the mark he shared with Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul.HighlightsBarcelona reached round 16 as a winner in Group FMessi scored and set up goals for Suarez and GriezmannBarcelona top the standings with 11 points in five games Lionel Messi scored in his 700th match for Barcelona and set up goals for Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann as the Catalans beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 on Wednesday to secure a place in the Champions League knockout stages as a winner of the group F.Messi organized Barcelona's lead in the entire Camp Nou in the 29th minute before Uruguay restored courtesy to Argentina to set another Champions League record on his landmark night four minutes later.Messi's left foot strike he scored against the 34th different team in the Champions League, beating the mark he shared with Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul."Messi is moving very well between the lines and when he receives the ball he is almost unstoppable," said Dortmund coach Lucien Favre, whose side scored late through substitute Jadon Sancho."Sometimes, all you can do is try to fool him because he is very explosive. He's also deadly every time he makes a final ball."Substitute Griezmann finished with a pass from Messi separating his defense to extend Barcelona's advantage in the 67th minute, a goal desperately needed for Frenchman's confidence after not scoring in the previous six games of the club.Griezmann was left out of the starting line-up but reached in the middle of the first half when Ousmane Dembele, was forced to sign off due to a muscle problem.Dortmund England's striker also started the game on the bench, but he had an impact when he appeared after the first half, firing a painful blow to the Germans in the 77th minute after throwing a loose ball inside the area.The 19-year-old has forced Barcelona goalkeeper Mark Andre Ter Stegen to turn a powerful shot on to the crossbar in a strong finish from the German side, whose coach Favre is under pressure because of poor national results.But he did not spoil what was a therapeutic victory for Barcelona, which has been harshly criticized for its recent weak performance against Leganes, Levante and Slavia Prague, despite the fact that they are the best in the La Liga and the Champions League group.Ernesto Valverde tops the standings with 11 points in five games, Inter Milan are second on seven, Dortmund is third same on seven and Slavia bottom with two.
Copa del Rey has Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao, Granada, and second-division club Mirandes as its four semi-finalists, after both Real Madrid and Barcelona failed to make it to the last four in a decade.The new edition of the Copa del Rey claimed the largest number of casualties on Thursday, and Real Madrid and Barcelona were eliminated in the last eight.Real Madrid lost 4-3 to Real Sociedad at home, before Barcelona scored a late goal to lose 1-0 against Athletic Bilbao on the most surprising night in a competition filled with surprises.Valencia also lost the defending champions on Tuesday and Villarreal were excluded on Wednesday. Sevilla and Atletico Madrid had already been sent off in previous rounds.The semifinals will only be played in two stages this season, giving smaller clubs more chances to beat larger teams.The last four surprises will also include Granada and the second division club Mirandes. This is the first time in ten years that neither Madrid nor Barcelona have reached the last four cup games, as at least one of the Spanish powers reached the final each year since the 2009-10 season when Seville won the title. Barcelona reached the final in the past six years in a row."This is the new Copa," said Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets. "We are playing a game, away from home, and in one play you are eliminated."Real Sociedad finished a series of unbeaten matches in Madrid 21 by beating Santiago Bernabeu to reach the semi-finals for the first time in six years.Athletic beat Barcelona thanks to the winner of Inaki Williams three minutes after the end of the second half, adding to the difficulties faced by the club since coach Ernesto Valverde expelled him and replaced him with Kick Sitan.Barcelona has not yet been affected by the new coach, and the players and managers of the club have disagreed recently."I think we have taken a step forward. We are playing better than our opponent," Setien said. "Everything went well, except for the result."Barcelona dominated during the second half and was on the verge of breaking the deadlock with clear potentials for Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi. But it was Athletic who found the late winner when Williams threw a header in the far corner after the Ibai Gomez crossing.Athletic, the second most successful club in the cup with 23 championships, behind Barcelona, needed a penalty shootout to advance against second division clubs in the previous two rounds.Messi appeared in its seventy-fifth session in the Cup, in keeping with Joseph Samiter's record in Barcelona since 1932.Real Sociedad's victory stopped a series of eight wins in Madrid and gave the club its first defeat in all competitions since October.He also ended Madrid's hopes of winning the cup competition for the first time since 2014.Real Sociedad, semi-finals in 2014, will seek to win the third Copa del Rey Cup, the first since 1987."Our fans deserve a prize like this," said Real Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil. "This victory means a lot, it comes in full Bernabeu, against a team like Real Madrid, with our team playing well." You can imagine how we feel now. "Visitors dominated most of the match, but Madrid was about to return after scoring goals in the second half."We did everything we had in the end, but it was too late," said Madrid defender Marcelo. "It is difficult to come back after receiving four goals at home. It is disappointing, but we still have other competitions."Madrid was partly dominant thanks to their strong defense, having only received 13 goals in 22 Spanish league matches.The young Norwegian playmaker Martin Odegaard, who played for Real Sociedad on loan from Madrid, did not celebrate after he opened the scoring in the 22nd minute of the match after being saved by Madrid goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.Young Swedish striker Alexander Issac joined the lead two minutes into the second half, a shot in the 54th and a shot in the top corner in the 56thIsaac, 20 years old, has scored in five consecutive games, already scored an offside goal after reviewing the video just a few minutes after the break.Marcelo approached Madrid with a low shot from inside the area in 59th, but Mikel Merino again increased the advantage for visitors at close range in 69th.Rodrygo scored second in Madrid in 81st, two minutes after Vinicius Jr.'s goal was canceled by the video review. The third came through ahead from Nacho Ramos three minutes after the time of detention.Real Sociedad defender, Andoni Gorosabel, was sent off before the final whistle.
At least 3 players in Barcelona rebelled: Arthur Melo, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic against Lionel Messi before the Champions League showdown.Things have not been easy in Barcelona recently. The Catalant giants, suffering on the field and losing the La Liga title to Real Madrid, also suffered from controversy in the dressing room throughout the season. Recent reports claim that Barcelona players rebelled against captain Lionel Messi before the Champions League match against Napoli.Three Barcelona midfielders revolt against Lionel MessiSpanish media publication Diario Gol claims that at least three Barcelona midfielders have clashed with Messi and are therefore looking for a way out of the club to trade elsewhere. There will be a minimal break between the conclusion of the UEFA Champions League and the start of the 2020-21 season. Therefore, players are cautious about participating in the competition by citing frantic UCL matches.At least three midfielders: Arthur Melo, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic were looking for an easy exit without playing in UCL matches. Arthur, who had already agreed to an exchange agreement with Juventus, was reported to have refused to return to Barcelona's training to prepare for the match against Napoli. Instead, he wants to leave for Italy earlier.Arthur, Vidal, Rakitic are not satisfied with Lionel MessiArturo Vidal is not happy with his playing time and youth manager's preference for Riqui Puig. Also, the arrival of Miralem Pjanic from Juventus next season will simply affect his place on the team. Therefore, the Chilean international is looking to find a way out as soon as the current season ends, as Inter Milan is the favorite to sign the midfielder.Finally, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has not had the best relationship with Messi. The Croatian midfielder is not happy with his situation and believes the club and Lionel Messi are synonymous. He saw a steady decline in his playing time, losing his place in the starting squad. So Rakitic is looking for another club.Lionel Messi transfer reports appearMeanwhile, Messi has also seen a decline in his relationship with the Barcelona Council and with training staff for the past two seasons. Several reports of Messi's transfer have gained importance in recent days with Serie A giants Inter Milan looking to sign the six times Golden Ball Award winner, and these reports have been supplemented by rumors that his father is seeking a home in the Italian capital.Also Read: LaLiga Virtual Stand | LaLiga will use "virtual stand" and fans sound for broadcasting
Barcelona decided to split from coach Quique Setien after ending the 2019/20 season without titles. Barcelona announced the sacking of its coach, Quique Setien, on Monday, three days after losing to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.Setien, 61, was named in January after the two-time league winners Ernesto Valverde were sent off despite his team leading the La Liga standings on goal difference.Under his leadership, Barcelona finished the 2019/20 La Liga season in second place, five points behind champions Real Madrid. They also lost to Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.Barcelona ended their season without a title on Friday after being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League, thanks to a disgraceful 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich."This is the first decision within a broader restructuring of the first team to be agreed upon between the current technical secretary and the new manager, which will be announced in the coming days," the club's statement said.According to The Guardian, current Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman will be appointed as the manager at the Camp Nou next week.The statement, released more than nine hours after President Josep Maria Bartomeu and the directors kicked off the board meeting, also said that the club's hierarchy had decided not to call for an impending election in the wake of the Bayern Munich defeat."The directive understands that an immediate call for elections is not possible, given that the league season will start at the end of the week on September 12, 2020, and the situation resulting from the COVID-19 crisis is economic and social," he added.Accordingly, the club will continue to implement the plan to reverse the sporting and economic situation, based on profound changes in the first team, in addition to resetting the budget to confront the new situation caused by COVID-19, before the end of the current term.As in the case of Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna, Barcelona presidents are elected by the club's members.Bartomeu won the last elections, which were held in 2015, but was barred from running in the next round of elections because he had already served two consecutive terms, having been named president in 2014 after Sandro Roussel resigned.Victor Font is the favorite in the election, while former President Joan Laporta has announced his intention to run.Also Read: Time to move forward: Willian confirms departure from Chelsea after seven years
Barcelona defender Jordi Alba scored another goal to make a 2-1 comeback at Real Sociedad, depriving the Basque country of the top of the Spanish League on Wednesday.Alba canceled Luilian Jose's first goal with a kick in the 32nd minute. The left-back helped the home side advance one minute before half-time when he sent across to Frenkie de Jong to score.The result changed the standings of Sociedad, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, all tied at the top of the table and only the goal difference separated them. Atletico is now in first, Sociedad in second, and Madrid in third.Barcelona's victory increased their chances of joining the title race. Lionel Messi's team moved up to fifth, six points behind the leaders. Atletico has three outstanding matches, Barcelona two and Madrid one, as far as the association is concerned."I think this was the best game for us this season," Alba said. "It's difficult to play without fans (due to COVID-19 restrictions), but playing against a great team was more than enough motivation. Our position tonight was great. We saw Barcelona fight for every ball as if it was the last."While contributing as Barcelona's main playmaker, Messi was unable to seriously threaten to score and twice failed to find teammates promising counter-attacks.His fellow strikers Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite also lost the final touch.However, the team maintained intense pressure on defense on the field and moved the ball quickly in attack to continue creating opportunities.“Our team's behavior was very good, especially when we didn't have the ball.” Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said, “The team has taken a giant step forward in pressing to regain control.” This is the game we want to play. This is the team I want to see. Every player took his turn. "Koeman may also have found a new combination of central defense with Gerard Pique injured. Coman gave rest to the heart of Clement Lenglet's defense and chose to form an inexperienced midfield with Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingus. They both performed well against one of the fastest and most talented attacks in the league.His only mistake came late in the match when Mengoiza failed to intercept a long ball from substitute striker Alexandre Isaacs, but Pedro "Pedri" Gonzalez ran to block his shot before hitting the post. Pedri was substituted after the heavy blow but left the field.The community was without David Silva and the main target, Mikel Uyarzabal, both of whom had minor injuries.However, with Spanish midfielder Mikel Merino leading his attack, Sociedad still has enough talent to deploy a catchy attack that makes him a potential contender for the title.Willian Jose finished a free-kick to open the scoring at 28. Robin Law Norman brought Portuguese Christian "Porto" to the area, squaring the ball for the Brazilian striker to touch the goal.Alba responded with a precise right-footed shot after Pedri redirected a pass from Griezmann near the edge of the area.Barcelona continued to press for the lead that Alba climbed when he sent a low cross that hit the defender slightly before hitting De Jong.La Sociedad recovered late and forced Barcelona to rely on Marc-Andre ter Stegen to protect his favor. The German crouched to enter back-to-back and repel Willian Jose and Issac five minutes before the end."It has been a long time since we saw Barcelona playing with this level of aggressiveness, and this speaks of the respect they have for us," said Emanuel El Guile, the association's coach. "We weren't as clinical as we should be. We have to shift our chances."COPA DEL REYValencia needed extra time to beat Terrassa 4-2 in the first round of the Copa del Rey with first-division teams.Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Levante, Alaves and Elche scored comfortable victories.Also Read: BRAZIL BEATS URUGUAY 2-0 TO STAY TOP OF QUALIFYING GROUP
Lionel Messi finally signed his long-awaited contract with PSG on Tuesday night to complete the move and confirm the end of a long-term relationship with FC. Barcelona sends Paris Saint-Germain into a new era.Paris Saint-Germain said in a statement that the 34-year-old Argentine star had signed a two-year contract with the option for a third season. "I am excited to start a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain," said Messi. "Everything at the club matches my football ambitions. I know how talented the team and the coaching staff are here. I am determined to help build something special for the club and the fans, and I can't wait to stepping out onto the pitch at the parc des princes. Salary details were not disclosed, but a person familiar with the negotiations previously told The Associated Press that Messi will receive about 35 million euros ($ 41 million) from his net worth annually. The person said on condition of anonymity before signing the contract. "I am delighted that Lionel Messi has chosen to join Paris Saint-Germain and we are proud to welcome him and his family to Paris," said Nasser Al-Khelaifi president of Paris Saint-Germain. "He has made no secret of his desire to continue competing at the highest level and winning titles, and of course our ambition as a team is to do the same."Crowds of Paris Saint-Germain fans gathered at Paris Le Bourget airport to greet Messi, who wore a jersey with the slogan "Ici c'est Paris" ("This is Paris").The words are a longtime familiar refrain from a favored fan chant at Parc des Princes stadium, where Messi is to be presented to them before kickoff of Saturday night's game against Strasbourg. So excited was his arrival that police had to push him to prevent the airport's metal barriers from falling down as fans rushed forward to get a better view. He then traveled to Paris, escorted by a police escort, which included several officers on motorcycles, all dressed in black at the rear. When the disbelief of relegation to one of the greatest footballers of all time became a sensation, many gathered to catch a glimpse of Messi on the field. They got their wish when the smiling star briefly greeted them before undergoing a medical examination. Earlier, Messi's father and agent, Jorge, also confirmed that his son was moving to Paris Saint-Germain in a brief exchange with reporters at Josep Taradillas Barcelona's El Prat airport, before boarding his flight in afternoon.Messi arrived with his wife and his three children and boarded a private jet."With all that, towards a new adventure. All five together," said Antonella Roccuzzo on Instagram with a photo of her with her husband on the plane.PSG supporters have witnessed their club's transformation over the past decade since the arrival of sovereign investments from Qatar tied to the emir. Once Messi's contract with Barcelona expired and the Catalan club couldn't retain him, Paris Saint-Germain was one of the few clubs that was able to finance a deal to sign the world's best player six times.Messi's arrival gives Paris Saint-Germain massive attacking options, as he is linked with World Cup winner Kylian Mbappé and Brazilian forward Neymar.Neymar posted on Instagram a video of the two hugging and playing for Barcelona: "back together."While PSG had to pay 222 million euros (then $261 million) to sign Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, there was no transfer fee for Messi. Messi has become the most desiered free agent in football history after his attempts to stay at Barcelona were rejected last week by the Spanish League because his salary did not meet financial regulations, with the Catalan club heavily in debt. 1.2 billion euros (1.4 million dollars) And soon, Mauricio Pochettino, coach of Paris Saint-Germain, got in touch with his Argentine after Barcelona announced last Thursday that Messi would be leaving the club, he joined at age 13. Messi won every major title with Barcelona and was granted a emotional press conference on Sunday to mark the end of an era.Only Cristiano Ronaldo in the current era challenges Messi's status as the greatest of all time. Paris Saint-Germain is hoping not only that Messi will help the team regain the French title it lost to Lille last season, but that it will ultimately win the Champions League.If Pochettino used the 4-3-3 method, the three in front could see Messi on the right. What should be less demanding is Paris Saint-Germain's compliance with the UEFA Financial Fair Play Rules. Some flexibility in the rules has been provided due to the pandemic and the changes are due to the system that is designed to stop losses. Paris Saint-Germain President Al-Khelaifi,as President of the Association of European Clubs and a member of the UEFA Executive Committee, is involved in the process of discussing a broader update of the FFP that could once again allow a spending without control. Also Read- Olympics: Rowers Arjun and Arvind finish eleventh in lightweight Double sculls in Tokyo
La Liga may be shorn of its biggest name in Lionel Messi who left FC Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain but former Real Madrid player Fernando Morientes feels the Spanish league would not be "weakened" by the exit of the Argentine maestro.Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain's club last month is not the only high-profile exit from La Liga. In the last five seasons, players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Sergio Ramos have left Real Madrid or Barcelona."La Liga throughout its history has lost players, just like any other league... It is nothing new. Cristiano left, Neymar left, Messi and Ramos have also left," Morientes, who is also the La Liga ambassador, said during a virtual media interaction."Footballers will eventually leave, but clubs will stay. La Liga doesn't sell itself through a single player. La Liga is never going to have a problem to sell itself as a competition"."La Liga has done a spectacular job attempting to attract the best players to make it as competitive as always been."Morientes said it's an opportunity for the Spanish clubs to prove themselves at the marquee Champions League.“I would like to see a Spanish final in fact, because there are many people who think that Messi's departure has weakened the league. We have to show that this is not the case.Also Read- Lionel Messi signs two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Barcelona"In the last 10-15 years, La Liga teams have always been very competitive in all European competitions. And I'm convinced this coming season the Spanish teams will demonstrate their true potential in this competition," said the former Spanish center-forward.The 45-year-old said it was the responsibility of the clubs to change, adapt and sign great players."La Liga will continue to be a really attractive league that will bring in new players and I'm sure there are great players who will want to play here," said Morientes, who played 183 games for Real Madrid between 1997 and 2005."The Spanish league is strong enough to be attractive to everyone. I am convinced that you in India will continue to follow the league and continue to follow our teams as fans and not just as individual players."On the prospect of 'El Clasico' without Messi and Ronaldo, he said: "Real Madrid and Barcelona at the end of the day are much more than just two players. It's true that both Cristiano and Messi have made history in Spanish football."Obviously we would like to have players of this level. But we must remember that the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona goes back many years, and Messi and Ronaldo are not always at the club." Also Read- Cristiano Ronaldo becomes all-time highest goalscorer in international football with brace against Ireland
Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi has confirmed that he will return to Barcelona with his family once his spell at Paris Saint-Germain ends, and he wants to help the LaLiga club in the role of technical director. The star admitted that he "misses everything" about the Catalan capital where he spent more than two decades. Messi ended a two-decade stay at the cash-strapped Spanish club, where he is their record scorer with 672 goals, in the off-season and messi transfer to psg on a two-year deal. "I don't know if that'll happen when my PSG contract is up. What's almost confirmed and certain is that we'll return to Barcelona to live and our lives will be there," Messi told Spanish outlet SPORT. "That's what my wife and I want. I don't know what'll happen when my PSG contract ends, but we'll go back to live in Barcelona."I've always said I'd love to be able to help the club do well in any way that I can be useful. I'd love to be a technical director at some point. "I don't know if that'll be at Barcelona or if it might work out differently. "If the option is there, I'd love to contribute again in any way that I can because it's the club that I love and I'd love it to keep doing well, growing and remain one of the best in the world." Messi was injured in Paris St Germain's 2-1 win over champion Lille on Friday, but coach Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful he will be available for this week's psg in champions league game at RB Leipzig.Also Read- T20 World Cup: How can India still hope to qualify for the semi final