Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti has heaped praise on the qualities of Lionel Messi ahead of the club’s Champions League encounter against Barcelona in midweek. The Argentina international has been absent for the past three matches with an arm injury but he is expected to make a comeback during the upcoming European meeting at San Siro.
Speaking in a news conference, Spalletti hailed Messi as the world’s best and praised the player’s quick transition of play when in possession of the ball, he said: “Messi’s shirt is the one wanted by every child who dreams of becoming a footballer. He plays that game at another speed. He is the best.”
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde was disappointed to see his team only get a 1-1 draw with Valencia during the weekend. The result has extended at the club’s winless run in the league to an incredible four matches. Lionel Messi was able to come up with a crucial equaliser that helped Barcelona pick up at least point. It took only two minutes for Valencia to score in the match but it was Messi who came up with the equaliser in the first half. Even though Barcelona were unable to find a winner in the game, they were able to look at Real Madrid also drop points during the weekend.
Valverde is coming under immense pressure on already and one of the few joys for Barcelona came in the Champions League where they have picked up back-to-back wins. The summer witnessed several changes in the Barcelona setup and they seem to have missed the magic that made them champions last season. The failure to win the recent matches has been characterised by a lack of creativity and Barcelona are now behind Sevilla going into the international break. Valverde lamented Valencia scoring from one of the few mistakes that Barcelona committed in the match and he is confident of the team recovering back to their best in the near future.
Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong has revealed that he would like to play alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona in the future. The Netherlands international was the subject of two failed bids from the Spanish champions during the summer and reports have suggested that the Blaugrana could make a renewed attempt at the turn of the year.
Speaking to Ajax’s television channel, De Jong hinted that he would like to make the switch to a bigger club in the future whilst highlighting his preference to play alongside Barcelona legend Messi, he said:”If you end up at a superior club, you will play with world class players all over the pitch. But for me, honestly, I would like to play with Messi one day.”
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has branded Lionel Messi as a ‘genius’ after the Argentine starred during the club’s 3-0 win over Alaves in the season opener. Messi had a rather frustrating World Cup with Argentina over the summer but he managed to shed the disappointment with a brace to kick-start the league campaign.
Speaking after the game, Valverde was full of praise for the attacker, who scored Barcelona’s 6000th La Liga goal with a lovely free-kick which was intentionally placed underneath the opposition wall, he said: “Messi is a genius. We’re lucky to be able to see him every day. We’re lucky to be involved in football during the era in which he is playing — we want him to pull a rabbit from the hat every day. There’s still room for Messi to surprise us. He always surprises you — he never ceases to amaze me, honestly. You have to be ready to expect anything from Messi because he sees what no one else sees.”
Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama has warned Yerry Mina from making the move to the Premier League with Everton. The Barcelona centre-back has been widely tipped to pursue a fresh challenge during the ongoing transfer window with Marco Silva’s side deemed as favourites to sign the former Palmeiras man.
Speaking to Radio Caracol, Valderrama has raised concerns over the potential move and believes Mina would better off joining Galatasaray than Everton with the promise of Champions League football, he said: “The Premier League is attractive but for me the Champions League is the most prestigious. I don’t think Yerry should join a mid-table team like Everton. Fatih Terim has a great record of developing players. If it were me, I would pick Galatasaray.”
Barcelona’s new summer signing Arthur has revealed that he is delighted to be compared with club legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta. The Brazilian became the Blaugrana’s first signing of the summer transfer window after arriving from Gremio and he has penned a six-year contract with the reigning Spanish champions.
Speaking in a news conference, Arthur said: “
I am really happy that they say I have Barca DNA. To come here is fantastic for me, it has always been my dream. I know there will be tough moments but I will try to learn from those moments.Being compared with Xavi and Iniesta is fantastic. I don’t hide my passion for them. I will always admire them. I couldn’t say which one I have more in common with, though.”
Argentina legend Javier Zanetti believes Lionel Messi is under more pressure to deliver for the national side after witnessing them lose in the finals of the previous three major tournaments. The Barcelona star has won everything within reach at club level but he has yet to taste any form of glory with the Albiceleste.
Speaking to Mediaset, Zanetti admitted that Messi will once more be the focus of Argentina’s World Cup campaign and feels the burden will only increase on him, should the nation reach the final stages of the tournament, he said: “There is a lot of pressure on him, but not only in this competition but also in the past. Everyone expects it to be his World Cup and that Argentina can win, but it will be difficult because I see other more equipped national teams. The defeats in the two Copa America and World Cup finals further increases pressures on him and the team from the press. We expect a lot. It [the World Cup] stops all the country, there is great enthusiasm and passion for this national team and we hope to get to the end of the competition.”
Barcelona director Javier Bordas believes Neymar is not entirely happy with his stay with Paris Saint-Germain but he would not fancy the prospect of watching the attacker in the colours of Real Madrid. The 26-year-old made the world-record switch from Camp Nou to Parc des Princes last summer but this has not ceased the speculation over his future.
Speaking to reporters, Bordas suggested that Neymar may have not settled following his record move to the French capital, but he would still not want him to join arch-rivals Real Madrid in the near future. He said: “Neymar can sign for anyone. For me, personally, I’m not dreaming of Neymar signing for Real Madrid. It seems as if he’s not happy in Paris, we figured as much. In Barcelona he was doing well and Neymar regrets having left [for PSG]. I saw the Europa League final.”
We are tired of this debate. When things like these happen, it prompts the debate all over.
Then there is a period of peace before the hostilities resume. Let us indulge today.
As Madrid continue their unparalleled dominance on the continent, the final is Cardiff dubbed ‘Bale Final’ quickly turned into another show by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star dominated the final unlike the other times he won it. This was the third time he lifted the Champions League title in four years.
Ahead of the final, Ronaldo was on a brilliant run that saw him score 16 goals in ten matches. The potential Ballon d’Or winner scored a brace that sunk a previously very hopeful Juve team. Max Allegri built a solid team that stopped everyone – they did not concede four goals all through the season until they met Ronaldo.
Ronaldo is the greatest goalscorer of all times. His consistency is unparalleled. He keeps adjusting and reinventing his style of play best suited to goalscoring. The Messi-Ronaldo debate will continue until the end of time but on the Art of Goalscoring, not many would side with the diminutive Argentine. Messi has not changed his fundamentals much – he is that brilliant whizkid from La Masia. Continue reading
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are two of the best players in the world right now, at least in terms of statistics. However, former Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk says that he would make Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben over these duo any time. Robben has mixed success when it comes to club and international football over the last decade. He has won several major titles, but he has also been on the end of several losses at the final stage. His failure to win a World Cup title despite having come close is one such example.
Van Marwijk is a manager who knows the 31-year-old extremely well. For all his disappointing qualities like selfishness and simulation, Van Marwijk believes that Robben has the all-round ability that will be the difference between winning and losing. He says that Messi and Ronaldo have become too individualistic and this is undermining the team as a whole. Ronaldo is the favourite to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for 2014 after having won the Champions League. He also scored 17 goals, which is a new record, during the last season’s European run. Despite such statistics, Van Marwijk says that he would nominate Robben as the best player right now.
Robben reached the semifinals of the Champions League, while he finished third at the World Cup 2014 with Netherlands. However, he won the German Bundesliga title for a third consecutive season in record fashion. “If I’m a coach and I could choose Messi, Ronaldo or Robben, I’d choose Robben. Out of the three players, he’s the most complete. Robben ahead of Ronaldo and Messi in that regard but not everyone sees that. The focus is on goals and attacking. I get the idea that this is the thinking for individual prizes like the Ballon d’Or.”