Messi not certain about future at Camp Nou

Ronald Koeman and Leo Messi had a face to face meeting in Barcelona this evening to discuss the superstar’s future at the club.

Leo explained that he still had doubts about staying at Barça after the crushing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich.

Koeman’s main task now is winning over the club icon and convincing him that he’s the man to turn the ship in the right direction.

Koeman understands Messi’s problems – and they are very real. It’s the first time that Messi has genuinely felt like it might be time to call an end to his time at the club.

It shows how important Leo is to any project at Barça that less than 24 hours after he signed his contract, Koeman was meeting with Messi to explain his plans for the team going forward.

Messi has been on holiday with his family in La Cerdanya when he received a phone call from the club. He didn’t need too long to think about it before he was in his car to meet with Koeman and discuss his feelings. Leo knows that as captain of the team, it’s important he plays a positive role in the changes the club wants to make.

Koeman is a huge fan of the Argentina international footballer and wants to know as much about the man as possible in order to get him back on side. The meeting was said to have gone well and that both parties are open to future talks about the status of the proposed changes.

Time to reflect

Despite the meeting going better than expected, at least better than it started, Leo still wants some time to consider his future plans. He’s got a year left on his current contract and Barça are hopeful he’ll extend his contract for at least another year. Despite those doubts, Leo has never told Barça he wants to leave, only that he has doubts about the current direction of the club.

Barça know it’s vital that Messi is on board with Koeman otherwise this experiment will go south quickly. No one wants to be the coach who Messi didn’t believe in. There’s also hope that one Leo is back training and sees Koeman’s methods, he will be won over. Barça must do everything possible to turn this situation around and to do that, they need Messi to be pulling in the same direction.

Ronaldo ready to play for Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly been offered to Barcelona in a shock move to link-up with Ballon d’Or rival Lionel Messi.

Despite a record-breaking campaign in front of goal and another Serie A title, the Juventus superstar’s season ultimately ended in disappointment.

Defeats in the Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia final were compounded by crashing out of the Champions League to Lyon on Friday.

The shock European exit cost Maurizio Sarri his job while Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport claim that Ronaldo was also considering his future.

The 35-year-old, who has two years left on his Juve deal, has reportedly been offered the chance to conquer France alongside Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain.

Yet Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has sensationally claimed that a return to LaLiga with Barcelona is another option for Ronaldo.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “The reason why Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked to PSG is not so much that PSG are thinking of getting him, it is because Jorge Mendes has been given instructions to find a team for Ronaldo.

“We’ve seen this in the last six months, he was linked to Real Madrid.

“They said no chance, he’s not coming back.

“And there’s been talks about the MLS because Juventus want to get rid of that wage.

“It is as drastic as that. He’s been offered everywhere, including Barcelona.

“I’m not sure if they can get rid of him easily [because] with the kind of money he still earns – 23 million euros net – that he was earning at Real Madrid and I think he equaled those wages when he went to Juventus.

“Who is going to pay that kind of money?”

Argentinian superstar Messi has been battling his Portuguese counterpart Ronaldo for the crown of the world’s best player for over a decade.

The pair have never played together but Brazil legend Rivaldo recently claimed it was football agents’ dream for the two icons to link up.

Ronaldo has previously admitted it would interest him to feature in the same colours as Messi but true to form added he’d still get more goals.

According to AS, Ronaldo’s camp have denied claims he has been offered to Barca and insist he is focused on fulfilling his Juve contract.

Barcelona boss reveals plan to keep Messi at the club

With the LaLiga title seemingly slipping from their grasp, FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has being doing his best to put ‘out another fire’ after it emerged that Leo Messi ordered his father to put a hold on negotiations with the club over a contract renewal.

The news broke via Cadena SER last week with the network claiming that the Argentine was contemplating on not renewing his deal which expires on 30 June (2021).

“I can’t go into detail but Messi will end his career at Barça. I can’t reveal any more as our priority is to focus on the final stretch of the season. We’re currently in a negotiation process with a series of players but Messi has stated that he wishes to stay and we’ll be able to have him playing for us for quite some time”, stated Josep Maria Bartomeu on Movistar.

The Barça was adamant that there were obstacles in the way regarding the renewal process but was anxious to transmit a message of calm for supporters who are confident that the Argentine will pen his ninth renewal contract with the Catalan cub.

Messi’s current FC Barcelona deal runs out next summer when the player will be 34 years-old and his release clause is currently set at 700 million euros.

Messi most likely to start training on Monday

Lionel Messi will continue to follow his personalised plan to be in perfect shape for the return of LaLiga, with Barcelona taking on Mallorca at Son Moix on June 13.

Barcelona’s medical staff decided that it was best not to force himself in training this week, so he will return to the pitch with his teammates on Monday.

With eight days to go until Mallorca, Messi has time to do specific work in the gym on certain muscle areas before getting back to full training next week.

Messi has no major problem, so his presence when LaLiga returns is not in doubt.

Information from FC Barcelona

“Barça captain Leo Messi has a minor right quadriceps injury and trained in isolation, doing specific exercises to avoid unnecessary risks with just eight days remaining before Barça finally get back to playing matches,” the Catalan club said on Friday. “He should be able to rejoin his team-mates in a few days’ time.”

Therefore, the club are calm about the problem and believe he will soon be back working under coach Quique Setien.

Tests

Messi felt some discomfort in training on Tuesday and on Wednesday underwent tests to rule out anything serious.

On Thursday, the whole squad had the day off, and on Friday he worked in the gym.

On Monday 8 June, he will return to full training.

Why Rooney thinks Messi is better than Ronaldo

Wayne Rooney has waded into football’s greatest debate by picking Lionel Messi as the game’s best player in a surprising snub to ex-Manchester United pal Cristiano Ronaldo.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo has battled it out with his Barcelona rival Messi as the sport’s premier stars for the best part of the last 15 years.

Incredibly only once in the last 12 years has the game’s most coveted prize – the Ballon d’Or – NOT gone to one of the Portuguese or the Argentine.

Rooney starred alongside Ronaldo during the first of his five Player of the Year awards at Old Trafford and the two formed a formidable partnership and remained close since.

Wayne Rooney

Image: Wayne Rooney

Yet despite that, the former England captain opted for Messi when tasked with picking a winner because of the different things to the Barca icon’s play.

He wrote in the Times: “Ronaldo wasn’t as focused on goals when we started playing together but you could see that all he wanted was to be the best player in the world.

“Cristiano has become an incredible scorer and he and Messi are arguably the best two players the game has seen. But despite my friendship with Cristiano, I’d go for Messi.

“He [Ronaldo] practised and practised and began to produce.

“But despite my friendship with Cristiano, I’d go for Messi. It’s for the same reason I loved watching Xavi and Scholes: it’s the different things in Messi’s game.

“I’ve talked about composure and I can’t remember seeing Messi score when he has hit the ball as hard as he could. He just rolls them in, makes it so easy.

“Ronaldo is ruthless in the box, a killer. But Messi will torture you before he kills you. With Messi you just get the impression he is having more fun.

“Those two have completely changed the game in terms of goalscoring numbers and I don’t think they’ll ever be matched.”

Rooney’s verdict follows in another of United’s legends in snubbing Ronaldo for Messi after David Beckham gave his assessment of the two.

Pundits and fans have been hard-pushed to split them in the GOAT debate, even players who have played with both of the record-breaking pair have found it tough to do so.

However, supporters were denied the chance to see Messi and Ronaldo line-up together following the news that United initially preferred to sell their star asset to Madrid’s El Clasico rivals Barcelona in 2009.

Mascherano: Neymar has to play for Barcelona

Javier Mascherano, the former Barcelona player who currently plays at Estudiantes de la Plata, has given his opinion on Neymar’s football career.

The Argentine football icon spoke about Neymar, Lionel Messi and many other issues in an interview with RAC1.

Javier Mascherano and Neymar

Image: Javier Mascherano and Neymar

Talking about Neymar, Mascherano said he would love to see Neymar in Barcelona colors again, adding that this 2019/20 season would have been the best moment.

In his words: “I hope Neymar can return to Barcelona and that they can play together again (Messi, Suarez and Neymar). It would be great for the club, they’re three really good players and it would also be good for all of us, those that could enjoy them on television again.”

Neymar rejects new contract from PSG

Neymar, Barcelona’s prodigal son at PSG

Barca and PSG to complete Neymar deal next summer

Mascherano also described Lionel Messi as exceptional, adding that it was a lifetime opportunity to play alongside the goal-scoring machine.

“I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy him [Messi]. He is incomparable, and having him on your side offers so many guarantees in any competition, against any side, in any game… He’s been spectacular throughout his football career.”

When asked about what critics think of Messi, he said the football legend doesn’t need to demonstrate anything.

“He [Messi] has already done so for 12, 13 years,” Mascherano explained. “He’s the best player in the world by a distance. He has maintained his level for so much time, something no other player’s achieved.

Is Barcelona’s move for Neymar a plot to satisfy Messi?

“Whether he wins a title or not with his country won’t change the fact he’s the best.”

Both Barça and Madrid will fight for the league, if it restarts. Both have dropped more points than they’re used to and for that reason, it’s so close.

“Barça has everything they need to fight for La Liga and the Champions League,” Mascherano added.

Messi not happy with reports linking him to Inter Milan

FC Barcelona captain Leo Messi came out on Thursday to lash out at fake news about his future.

Messi claimed reports he could leave for Inter Milan or Newell’s Old Boys are ‘fake news’. The forward has been linked for moves away from Barcelona but is not having it.

TNT Sports, an Argentine portal, said he could go and Messi took a screenshot, posted it to Instagram and branded the content ‘fake news’ and ‘lies’.

“This is fake news and the same is true for the media reports about Newell’s. Both are false,” Messi wrote. “Luckily nobody believes them.”

Lionel Messi’s advice on the coronavirus

Lionel Messi published a post on Instagram to tell people what to do during the coronavirus crisis. This is his message.

“These are complicated days for the whole world. We are living worried about what is happening and we want to help by putting ourselves in the place of those who are suffering the worst, either because they have been directly affected, or their family and friends, or because they’re working in the front line to fight it in hospitals and health centres. I want to send a lot of strength to all of them.

“Health should always be the important thing. It’s an extraordinary moment and you have to follow the indications from health organisations like the public authority. Only like this can we fight it in an effective way.

“It’s the moment to be responsible and stay at home, we can also enjoy this time with our family that we don’t always have. A hug, and I hope we can turn the situation around as soon as possible.

“#QuedateEnCasa #StayAtHome ”

 

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Son días complicados para todo el mundo. Vivimos preocupados por lo que está ocurriendo y queremos ayudar poniéndonos en el lugar de aquellos que peor lo están pasando, o bien porque les afectó directamente a ellos o sus familiares y amigos, o porque están trabajando en primera línea para combatirlo en hospitales y centros de salud. Quiero enviarles mucha fuerza a todos ellos. La salud debe ser siempre lo primero. Es un momento excepcional y hay que seguir las indicaciones tanto de las organizaciones sanitarias como de las autoridades públicas. Sólo así podremos combatirlo de manera efectiva. Es el momento de ser responsable y quedarse en casa, además es perfecto para disfrutar ese tiempo con los tuyos que no siempre se puede tener. Un abrazo y ojalá consigamos darle vuelta a esta situación cuanto antes. #QuedateEnCasa #StayAtHome

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#nosquedamosencasa 🙋🏽‍♀️

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Messi and Benzema leading La Liga goalscoring charts

Lionel Messi was once again the difference maker as Real Sociedad made life difficult for the LaLiga leaders at the Camp Nou. It wasn’t a moment of genius from Leo this time, but rather his ice-cold blood to put away a late penalty and ensure all three points went to Barça.

VAR awarded a spot kick to the home side after Robin Le Normand was judged to have handled the ball. The only person on the pitch who saw this in real time was Gerard Pique. After a lengthy check, VAR gave the penalty.

Messi stepped up and beat Alex Remiro from 12 yards, taking his total to 19 goals in LaLiga this season. After missing the opening six matches, it means Leo has 19 goals in 21 matches.

This extended Messi’s lead over second-placed Karim Benzema to six. Luis Suarez, who might not play again until the final few weeks of the season, remains in third place.

With 11 matches to go, 12 for Real Madrid, it appears difficult to see anybody but Leo claiming his 7th Pichichi trophy. This would see him move ahead of Telmo Zarra and be the outright record holder. They are currently tied on six.

Pique draws a line between Messi and Maradona, and his argument is agreeable

Gerard Pique, as expected, sided with Lionel Messi when asked to choose between his Barcelona teammate and Diego Maradona.

Maradona and Messi

The debate about who’s the best of the two Argentines has resurfaced this week with Barça due to play Napoli in the Champions League, the Italian side for whom Maradona produced some of his best football.

“Maradona’s a unique player in the history of football who will be remembered forever,” Pique said. “He gave a lot to the sport and played for both Barça and Napoli.

“But if you’re asking me to pick between Diego and Leo, I would go with the consistency and the magic that Leo produces every day.”

Pique was also asked if he could see Messi ending his career in Naples: “Never say never in football, but I imagine it’s difficult. But Leo’s in charge of his own future. I hope he retires here… in Barcelona.”

Quique Setien will make his debut in the Champions League on Tuesday when Barcelona take on Napoli in Italy in the last 16 of the competition.

Lionel Messi has now stepped foot inside the Temple of Diego Maradona, the San Paolo, where the ex-Argentine forward spent six successful years as a player. It was a moment immortalised by passage of photographers and television cameras.

Hundreds of journalists were waiting for Messi to arrive at Napoli’s stadium and he was the last of the Barça players to head out for training on Monday.

He did so seriously, focused and aware of the importance of the occasions. He also did so very naturally. He then joined up with his teammates, where he shared a joke with Gerard Pique.

Messi’s arrival in Naples has been highly anticipated. It’s the first time he’s been there for an official game with Barça and the Maradona comparisons have been non-stop.

Barça were training ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game against Napoli, the first leg of their last 16 tie.

Barcelona players are frustrated

Barcelona’s list of frustrated players is increasing everyday.

Off the pitch events in recent weeks, compared with the Barcelona squad arriving at a key moment of the season lacking resources has seen various players express their anger.

Lionel Messi was the first and then Gerard Pique appeared before the Napoli game and, after the 1-1 draw in Italy, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic spoke out.

While the result was OK — and came after Barça returned to the top of La Liga at the weekend — the players are no longer hiding their feelings about the poor squad planning.

Coach Quique Setien has just 16 first team players available at the moment, including backup goalkeeper Neto, injured Gerard Pique and new signing Martin Braithwaite, as well as Ansu Fati, the B team winger.

At this stage of the season, it seems no one in the dressing room is holding anything back, excluding Setien, who is enjoying the biggest opportunity of his sporting career. The attitude in training? Questionable methods of the former coach’ Perfect. And the design of the squad? And the decisions in terms of incomings and outgoings in January…’

With that context, Busquets, named man of the match in Naples, sent a message: “[Nelson] Semedo and I were one booking away from a ban so we were always running that risk [of suspension]. We hope Pique’s injury is nothing serious but we will take on the second leg with what we have. We don’t have a deep squad because, unfortunately, that’s how it was planned.”

The midfielder added: “We have a small squad, we don’t have players of that profile (wingers) to attack, so we have to reinvent ourselves.” The exit of Carles Perez and the injury to Ousmane Dembele are two examples.

Rakitic, one of the players suffering and inconsistent season, agreed: “We have a short squad but those that are in charge knew that. The solution is what it is. Those that are available will have work really hard because we have an important match in the second leg.”

The reaction of these two veterans of the dressing room, directly questioning the club’s planning, united with Pique criticising the environment surrounding the club and the players and Messi’s recent comments asking for respect and denying that players are involved in picking coaches.

Barcelona plays against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Messi, aka Mr Assist, takes credit for Barcelona’s success

Lionel Messi set up goals for Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets and Clement Lenglet as Barca beat Betis 3-2 on Sunday. He now has 11 assists this season, four more than Luis Suarez, Valencia’s Rodrigo and Real Sociedad’s Portu, who have seven each.

This was Messi’s fourth hat-trick of assists.

The Argentina international player did it before against Levante in the cup in 2014, against Getafe in La Liga in 2016 and against Paraguay in the 2015 Copa America for Argentina.

Messi now just needs to find his shooting boots. He’s gone three league games without scoring, also missing the target against Athletic in the Copa del Rey. His last league goal was Jan 19, against Granada.

Quique Setien is very satisfied with the scoreline, having explained that he thinks it’s a crucial victory for Barcelona.

“The reality is that it was very difficult, but we never gave up, not when Betis went in front or at 2-1,” said Setien. He wanted to highlight “what the win and the game are worth. We came from a tough blow in Bilbao, where we were very good and deserved victory, but they knocked us out.”

Setien added that Barca “deserved the win. Without a doubt we can do things better but I’m very happy with the attitude, coming back twice and then holding on to win.”

On his return to the Villamarin, he added: “I left a few months ago and wish Betis the best possible, it was an emotional return. I’m grateful to this club for the chance they gave me, they were two marvellous years. The end was a bit tough but I’m delighted with my time here.”

Why Ronaldo missed the 2019 Ballon d’Or gala

Cristiano Ronaldo was the most notable absentee at Monday’s Ballon d’Or awards ceremony, where his great rival Lionel Messi scooped his sixth trophy to put him one ahead of the Juventus star.

Ronaldo eventually finished third behind Messi and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk in the 2019 nominations list, but according to his agent Jorge Mendes, there remains no doubt about who is world’s greatest ever footballer.

While the rest of the world’s footballing royalty were in Paris to see Messi, Megan Rapinoe, Alisson Becker and Matthijs de Ligt lift the four Ballon d’Or accolades, Ronaldo had travelled to Milan to pick the award for Serie A’s best player at the Gala del Calcio.

At the event held at the Megawatt di Milano, the Portuguese striker was accompanied by his partner Georgina Rodriguez and his agent Mendes, who was asked about Cristiano’s absence from the Ballon d’Or gala.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is the best ever and you know it,” Mendes told reporters.

Juventus sports director, Fabio Paratici, also praised Ronaldo at the Serie A awards ceremony, saying the Bianconeri striker “deserved the Ballon d’Or”.

He added: “We’ve always said it. The rankings for these awards are always debatable.”

Messi relishes winning a record sixth Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi has tipped Cristiano Ronaldo to become the outright Ballon d’Or record holder, after the Barcelona star secured his sixth nomination for the France Football accolade.

Lionel Messi scooped a record sixth Ballon d’Or trophy in Paris on Monday night.

The Barcelona striker was nominated ahead of Virgil van Dijk in second, with Cristiano Ronaldo coming in third and Sadio Mané in fourth.

The 32-year-old is now the outright Ballon d’Or record holder having claimed one more than Ronaldo, who has won the trophy on five occasions.

The top five Ballon d’Or winners list is completed by Michel Platini, Johan Cryuff and Marco van Basten, all of whom won the award on three occasions.

Messi’s win, which came one day after he scored the sole winning goal for Barcelona against Atlético Madrid on Sunday, means the trophy has now gone to a LaLiga representative for 11 consecutive years.

Real Madrid’s Luka Modric became the first player to end the ten-year Messi-Ronaldo monopoly after his nomination last year following two consecutive nominations for Ronaldo in 2016 and 2017.

And the Croatian midfielder was present on stage to hand the trophy back to Messi, who takes  the award home for the first time since 2015.

In his acceptance speech, Messi gave thanks to “the journalists [who choose the award winner] and my team mates with whom I win and lose”.

He added: “I remember my first Golden Ball in Paris, when I arrived with my brothers, now I pick up the sixth, this was absolutely unthinkable.

“I have never stopped dreaming and enjoying football like when I was a child. I hope I have more years to enjoy, although I am aware of how old I am. Everything happens very quickly and I know that the time to retire is approaching.”

Thiago Silva slams Messi for being petty against Brazil

Brazil captain Thiago Silva criticized Lionel Messi after Argentina beat his country 1-0 on Friday in a friendly in Saudi Arabia.

“He wanted to rule over the game,” said Silva. “He kicked two people and the referee did nothing. I argued with the ref and he kept laughing. You have to put admiration to one side,” said the defender.

“He always looks to force the referee to give them free-kicks in dangerous areas, he always acts in that way. We spoke with some players who play in Spain and the same thing happens, he looks to control the game and the referee’s decisions.

“In the Champions League he doesn’t have that advantage because the referees are tougher. You don’t see him trying to rule so much. There are referees that, because of their admiration for him, start to weigh in on his side. That we didn’t have Neymar on our side was a disadvantage.”

Messi told Brazil coach Tite to shut it.