La Liga 2018-19 : Week 25 Round Up | Barcelona 7 points clear at top

La Liga 2018-19 : Week 25 Round Up | Barcelona still seven points clear at the top

The 25th match-week of Spanish La Liga 2018-19 brought with it some wonderful displays on the field, exciting goals and the usual dose of thrills and excitement. 


Match-week 25 of La Liga 2018-19 came to a conclusion on Sunday. The match-days witnessed plenty of excitement and emotions. Real Madrid, returned to their winning ways after a hard-fought victory over Levante, while it was a comfortable week for teams like Barcelona and Atletico Madrid too, who secured all three points. Here are some results from the week gone by, and some of the key talking points.

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Villarreal

Alvaro Morata scored his first goal for Atletico Madrid in a 2-0 win at home to Villarreal on Sunday. Asenjo was beaten by the former Chelsea man, scoring through a sumptuous volley into the back of the net. It took Morata five matches since joining the UEFA Europa League title holder during the winter transfer window, on a year-and-a-half loan deal from England’s Chelsea, to open his account with the Spanish club. Saul Niguez added a late second for Atletico. The win for Atleti means they cut Barcelona’s lead at the top of the table to seven points, whilst the visitors remain in the bottom three.

Levante 1-2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid beat Levante 2-1 thanks to VAR. Karim Benzema stepped up to score the opener after Luka Modric’s cross hit the arms of Enis Bardhi, but Roger Marti deservedly equalized, having hit the post twice in the first half. Real got another penalty for a Cheick Doukoure foul on Casemiro, which substitute Bale scored. The visitors had defender Nacho sent off late on for two bookings. Levante midfielder Ruben Rochina was dismissed from the bench with two minutes left after protesting against a refereeing decision.

Sevilla 2-4 Barcelona

Lionel Messi’s match-winning display blew the hosts away who went from leading 2-1 approaching the final 20 minutes to lose 4-2 courtesy of the Argentine’s hat-trick. Jesus Navas opened the scoring in the 22nd minute as Barca were hit on the break before a sensational Messi volley saw them draw level. Gabriel Mercado then restored the lead for the home team but Messi canceled it out again with a sublime curler with his weaker foot. La Liga’s leading scorer then put the visitors ahead when Carles Alena’s deflected pass fell kindly into his path and he lifted it over the keeper before setting up Luis Suarez for a fourth goal to kill off the tie.

Also Read: Messi scores 50th career Hat-Trick

Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Eibar

Athletic Bilbao continued their good form by beating Eibar 1-0 on Saturday evening at San Mames. Both Athletic Club and Eibar have been in good form of late and sat mid-table in the La Liga standings and that continued after the result but saw them swap places. Raul Garcia scored the opening goal of the game and it proved to be the only one, netting inside the first minute. This victory allows Bilbao to beat Eibar in the standings, and to occupy the 10th position with 33 points. Eibar now holds the eleventh place with 31 points.

La Liga: Match-Week 23 Round Up | Madrid close gap with Barcelona

La Liga 2018-19 : Match-Week 23 Round Up | Real Madrid close gap with arch-rivals Barcelona

The 23rd match-week of Spanish La Liga 2018-19 brought with it some incredible actions on the field, last minute goals and the usual dose of thrills and excitement. 


Match-week 23 of La Liga 2018-19 came to a conclusion on Sunday. The match-days witnessed plenty of thrills, spills, and emotions. Atletico Madrid suddenly found the going tough after suffering a serious setback against Real Madrid, while spoils were shared by Sevilla, Barcelona, and Valencia. Real Madrid scored thrice in their match against Atletico. Here are some results from the matches gone by, and some of the key talking points.

Atletico Madrid 1-3 Real Madrid

Real Madrid moved up to 2nd place in the Spanish La Liga, after beating their city rivals Atletico Madrid 3-1 at the Wanda Metropolitano. Los Blancos got on the score-sheet after 16 minutes of play, with a great scissor kick by Casemiro. Antoine Griezmann grabbed the equalizer with a low shot from inside the box, in the 25th minute. The European champions took the lead as captain Sergio Ramos scored from the spot, just before the break. Gareth Bale secured the 3 points for Real, after scoring his 100th goal for Los Blancos in the 74th minute, 3-1 the final score.

Also Read: Madrid Derby – As it happened

Valencia 0-0 Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad came away with a point from Mestalla, but the home side had a number of good goalscoring chances  In the first half, Sociedad dominance was clear while Valencia were backing themselves on the counter. Januzaj was close to breaking the deadlock but his shot failed to test the goalkeeper. In the second half, the hosts looked dangerous every time they attacked but the goal did not arrive. The away side tried to defend themselves against Valencia, who failed to get the opening goal. In the final minutes, Theo put Sandro on the goal. However, the play was not easy and the ball hit an opponent.

Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Barcelona

Barcelona were held to a goalless draw at Athletic Bilbao as they went six points clear at the top of La Liga. Lionel Messi had Barca’s best chance as his lob from outside the box hit the top of the crossbar. The hosts were the better team and Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen pulled off excellent saves to deny Markel Susaeta and Inaki Williams. Athletic ended with 10 men when Oscar de Marcos was shown a second yellow card in injury time for handball. Champions Barcelona, who are unbeaten in 11 league games are now six points above second-placed Real Madrid.

Sevilla 2-2 Eibar

Sevilla came back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw at home to Eibar on Sunday, and down to 10 men. Eibar appeared to be completely in charge after Fabian Orellana and Charles scored goals and Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega earned a second booking for a foul in the 84th minute. But forward Wissam Ben Yedder sparked the comeback with a goal two minutes from stoppage time to give the home side hope. Sevilla midfielder Pablo Sarabia then slid in from close range to equalize in stoppage time and provoke wild celebrations at the Sanchez Pizjuan. This draw took Sevilla to 37 points, two ahead of fifth-placed Getafe.

Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid: 5 key talking points

Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid: 5 key talking points

Barcelona winger Malcom’s second-half strike secured a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid to leave the Copa del Rey semi-final evenly poised on Wednesday after the first leg at the Nou Camp. 


Real went ahead through Lucas Vazquez in the sixth minute following a brilliant assist from Karim Benzema. Messi came off the Barca bench on 63 minutes but, despite plenty of threat, could not help his side find a winner. Malcom, who started in place of Lionel Messi, curled home in the 58th minute to pull Barcelona level in the high-profile clash.

Here are the five key talking points…

The El Clasico was disappointing

Image Credit: Twitter (Real Madrid)

Yes, this Clasico was disappointing. But does this result guarantee a good return match? With this draw 1-1, Barcelona will be forced to make a result in Santiago Bernabeu to obtain a qualification, and it is safe to bet that Valverde will field his first team to carry out this mission. And that’s all we ask. Because without a real offensive leader, the Blaugrana seemed lost. Upon entering the field in the 63rd minute, Lionel Messi took things in hand and could have scored twice (on a free kick, then from a shot in a closed corner, the 68th minute and 82nd minute. This result promises suspense for the return match, and Clasicos with intensity are often the best. Highly on February 27th!

Coutinho, the torture continues

Image Credit: Twitter (Barcelona)

It is now absolute transparent that Philippe Coutinho is not at his best. In the absence of Ousmane Dembele, it was Coutinho who accompanied Malcom and Suarez on the front of the attack of Barcelona. Positioned on the left side, the impact of the Brazilian international was totally erased by Real right-back Dani Carvajal. It must also be said that Coutinho did not do much to show himself. Author of an insipid first half, the former Liverpool player timidly tried to worry Navas thereafter, without much success. With this kind of performance from his counterpart, Dembele should quickly regain his position in the team upon his return from injury.

Vinicius shone in his first Clasico

Image Credit: Twitter (Real Madrid)

In the first El Clasico of his football career, Vinicius Junior did not disappoint. Very striking on his left side, the Brazilian alternated between speed and technicality. In the origin of the Madrid goal, he distilled the centre that allowed Benzema to serve Lucas Vazquez (6th minute). Excluding some inaccuracies, he could, have done even better. However, he managed to show that he was a potential threat to be reckoned with. A Real rough diamond, Vinicius should continue to polish in a Madrid workforce where he finds more and more his place alongside Karim Benzema.

Also Read: The next superstar of Real Madrid

Barca without Messi, a dull story

Image Credit: Twitter (Barcelona)

Ahead of the classic game, All the talk was over whether Lionel Messi would make it or not. The Argentine eventually appeared from the bench in the 63rd minute and this was the first time he has faced Madrid this season, having been injured for the 5-1 win over them here in October. Once he came on, Madrid played differently, knowing they had to limit the Argentine threat, and this will be a far greater indication of what the second leg will look like. Barcelona fans roared so loudly when Messi entered the fray it sounded like the team had scored, and to tell the truth, his presence is usually worth at least a goal. But without their talisman, Barcelona was a dull prospect all around the field. At that time Madrid’s backline also held pretty comfortably as the home side repeatedly fell short of an incisive final pass.

Marcelo, far from his best

Image Credit: Getty Images

Now relegated to the bench for the La Liga matches by Santiago Solari, Marcelo had not played a big game for a long time. On Wednesday, we understood why. Nelson Semedo and Malcom made a mouthful of the Brazilian, using speed and splitting for 75 minutes. All the hot chances of Barcelona were from Marcelo’s side in this match. From the 19th minute, when Malcom was on his back for a missed face-off against Keylor Navas, and until the 82nd minute, when Arturo Vidal served Nelson Semedo, and a dangerous strike from Lionel Messi, Marcelo was off-colour. In short, he did everything wrong in defence, and it was not better in the attack also. Renowned for his offensive impact, the lateral did not bring anything. Let’s hope Real that it is Sergio Reguilon who plays the return match.

El Clasico: A rivalry that goes far beyond football

El Clasico: A rivalry that goes far beyond football

If there is a football event that immobilizes the world of sports, it is the El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona, monopolizing the attention of more than 650 million viewers worldwide, proving that it is much more than just a football game. 


When German striker Udo Steinberg scored the first two goals of Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Real Madrid on May 13, 1902, at the Hipodromo Stadium in Madrid he did not know he was writing the first chapter of one of the biggest rivalries in world football. The game with 2 thousand fans was for the semi-finals of the Coronation Cup (predecessor of the Copa Del Rey of Spain). More than a century later, Barcelona and Real Madrid, who face each other on Thursday at the same tournament, monopolize the attention of football fans. Spain is divided in front of this classic and nobody is indifferent.

The story begins

Image Credit: Archivo de El Nacional

Barcelona was born first, on the initiative of the Swiss athlete Joan Gamper, who arrived on Spanish soil for professional reasons. Months later, Gamper put an ad in a sports magazine to invite all the foreign legion of the city, to be part of a new project. The plan on November 29th, 1899 was baptized with the name of Futbol Club Barcelona.

The city of Madrid would also have its equipment. In February 1900 the Madrid Football Club was constituted, and on 6th of March of 1902 is established officially like Real Madrid. By that time, both clubs played and did not go beyond the normal rivalry between the two teams. In fact, the first time they played officially in 1902, the Catalan team won in the semi-final of the Coronation Cup.

The first controversial transfer

Image Credit: Ispania.Gr

Striker Josep Samitier Vilalta played an important role in the history between both teams. He is the third top scorer in the history of Barca (333), behind Paulino Alcantara (369), and Argentine Lionel Messi (404), current Blaugrana player. He was one of the great figures and emblem of the Catalan box in which he played for 17 years until he signed for Real Madrid in 1933. The event increased the hostility between the two clubs. With the political situation that surrounded, where a change in regime led to a civil war, the country went through a military dictatorship that reinforced the image of FC Barcelona as a figure of Catalan identity that opposed the Spanish government.

Political problems and 11-1

Image Credit: SportsNam

In the 1930s, the political situation in Spain became complicated after a regime change that would impose a military dictatorship. Barcelona would reinforce its image as a Catalan identity against the Spanish government that banned all languages except Castilian.

During the dictatorship, a Real Madrid vs Barcelona in the semifinal of the Copa del Rey would be played, the Catalans would win at home 3-0, in a match with insults in the stands against Real Madrid. The return, played in Madrid had the bulging Real Madrid victory 11-1, however, before the match, the Spanish army and police went to the dressing room of the Catalan team to intimidate them.

Fernando de Argila, Barcelona’s goalkeeper, said afterwards that the referee told him,

“Look how the stand is. We cannot allow something to happen here. You already know what you have to do.”

Help of Franco to Real Madrid

Image Credit: revistamirall.com

HIRING DI STEFANO

One of the greatest players in history, the Argentine was hired at the same time by Barcelona and Real Madrid. It was not clear which club was the owner of the South American footballer’s rights. The Spanish court ruled that for four years Di Stefano would play each one season in each club. Barcelona refused, considering the absurd decision, and the Argentine turned idol of Madrid.

CONSTRUCTION OF STADIUM

Santiago Bernabeu, a Francoist soldier, was president of the club at the time of the construction of the monumental stadium (Estadio Santiago Bernabeu) in the Spanish capital in 1947. The country lived a post-war period and Real Madrid was out of money. Even so, the work ended in less than three years, possibly with the help of the central government, done in a hidden way.

RELATIONSHIP WITH REFEREES

Finally, the rivalry still exposes what would be a rather suspicious relationship between the club and the football referees. The wives of the referees received gifts from Real Madrid. The growth of the Madrid club would be a project of Franco to become a propaganda agent of the regime in the rest of the world.

Impact of Johan Cruyff and Michael Laudrup

Image Credit: fantasista10.co.uk

On February 17, 1974, Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid 0-5 in their own backyard. Johan Cruyff silenced the Bernabeu with his football being decisive of that historical marker. That Barca would win the League again 14 years later.

20 years after the win at the Bernabeu, Johan Cruyff would repeat another 5-0 as Barca coach. The coach changed the philosophy of the club by winning 4 consecutive leagues and the coveted European Cup in Wembley (1992). The “Manita” achieved in the 1993-1994 season was the culmination of a glorious stage with the benches.

A year and a day later, Real Madrid returned the “Manita” in 1994-95. Zamorano, Luis Enrique and Amavisca scored on a historic night that ended with Cruyff’s “Dream Team”. It was the first year of Michael Laudrup in white, who took revenge on his former team. The Whites recovered the League after 4 consecutive League wins of the Catalans.

Luis Enrique and the historic transfer of Luis Figo

Image Credit: Getty Images

In the summer of 1996, Luis Enrique signed with Barcelona. The Spaniard had not triumphed in the Real house but he managed perfectly with the Barca feeling. As soon as he arrived in Barcelona, he reneged on his Madrid past and was inflated to score goals against his ex-club.

Luis Figo took the opposite path in the year 2000. Florentino Perez reached an agreement with the captain of Barcelona and won the presidential elections of Real Madrid holding the Portuguese hand. The whites paid the clause of 60 million euros to get the star of their biggest rival. In October, Madrid visited Camp Nou and Figo received the “boo” of the century. The fans call him Judas, they threw tickets with his picture.

In 2002 Figo returned to the Camp Nou but this time he decided not to be impressed. The atmosphere was very hostile again and every time he got close to taking the corner, objects of all kinds rained down on him. Among them, a bottle of whiskey and a head of suckling pig. The game was interrupted for a few minutes but it resumed despite the hostility. The score of 0-0 was practically anecdotal.

The Present Era

Image Credit: India.Com

Since the turn of the century, the two Spanish giants have won nine of the 17 Champions League titles. They’ve also soaked up all but three La Liga titles since 2001 as the duopoly sinks its hooks deeper into the coffers of Spanish soccer. As two of the dominant sides in Europe, Real and Barcelona have become destinations for the world’s greatest players. Since Figo’s transfer between the two El Clasico rivals in 2000, five of the past six latest world-record transfer fees in the new century have involved players either moving to or from a Spanish club.

There was nothing that guaranteed El Clasico would turn into the biggest rivalry game in the world. Most rivalries in soccer around the globe are predicated on proximity; Barcelona and Madrid are more than 300 miles apart. But they’ve both been good regularly, and at the same time, and that certainly helps build bad blood between two teams.

The combination of a long history of competition against one another, the politics that inevitably come to shape the evolution of particular clubs and fan bases and the fact that the two clubs have historically been perennial contenders have all played a role in developing the rivalry we now know as El Clasico. Keep that in mind when you see the two teams square away in the next edition of a legendary duel.

The Superstars

Image Credit: thefirstnewspaper.com

El Clasico has always been memorable for the quality of players on display. The likes of Di Stefano, Emilio Butrageuno, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldinho, and of modern times Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, have all graced Clasicos down the years. It is a shame, therefore, that the modern-day Clasico has often been overshadowed by play-acting and simulation from both sides. The soccer seems to have taken a back seat, with the amount of yellow and red cards being the more important statistic. But whilst these two great teams remain rivals, El Clasico, the second-most watched soccer match in the world, will continue to be a spectacle for all.

Also Read: Lesser known fact about Messi

La Liga 2018-19 : Week 22 Round Up | Real Madrid close gap with arch-rivals Barcelona

La Liga 2018-19 : Week 22 Round Up | Real Madrid close gap with arch-rivals Barcelona

The 22nd match-week of Spanish La Liga 2018-19 brought with it some wonderful goals, some incredible actions on the field, and the usual dose of excitement and exhilaration. 


Match-week 22 of La Liga 2018-19 came to a conclusion on Sunday. The match-days witnessed plenty of thrills, spills and emotions. Atletico Madrid and Sevilla suddenly found the going tough after suffering serious setbacks, while spoils were shared by Barcelona and Valencia. Real Madrid scored thrice in their match against Alaves. Here are some results from the matches gone by, and some of the key talking points.

Real Madrid 3-0 Alaves

Karim Benzema continued his scoring streak as he netted for the sixth time in four games to help Real Madrid cruise to a 3-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves on Sunday. The Frenchman struck after 30 minutes of a one-sided contest at Santiago Bernabeu where Gareth Bale made his first start overcoming a calf injury but Vinicius Junior stole the show, including scoring his side’s second. Real are now only two points behind city rivals Atletico Madrid, who suffered a 1-0 defeat at Real Betis earlier on Sunday. They have also closed the gap to arch-rivals Barcelona to eight points. The two Spanish giants face each other in the first leg of Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday.

Celta Vigo 1-0 Sevilla

Celta Vigo broke their losing streak on Saturday with a narrow win 1-0 in Balaidos against Sevilla in an even game. Sevilla remain in fourth place after this surprising defeat against Celta, as Okay Yokuslu scored the only goal of the game to move Celta out of the relegation zone. Sevilla had several chances to open the scoring, but Frenchman Ben Yedder was not successful. In the 57th minute, he failed, the only shot of the visitors throughout the game. In the 69th, Sevilla again hit the post. Fourth in the standings, the Andalusians have won one game in the last six La Liga games.

Real Betis 1-0 Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid fell to their first La Liga defeat in five months, second of the season, as they were beaten 1-0 at Real Betis on Sunday, They also missed the opportunity to close the gap with leaders Barcelona and slipping six points adrift of the Catalans. Alvaro Morata started his first game for Atletico since moving on loan from Chelsea, but Sergio Canales scored from the penalty spot after a handball by left-back Filipe Luis. Oblak went the right way but Canales’ strike was too powerful for the Slovenia international. The visitors responded as talisman Griezmann came close to scoring a wonder goal but his effort crashed the woodwork. Atletico could not find an equaliser and will be disappointed not to cut the gap at the top.

Barcelona 2-2 Valencia

Lionel Messi struck twice as Barcelona fought back against Valencia, but it still wasn’t enough to give the Liga leaders all three points as they had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Valencia, who hit the woodwork in the second minute, went ahead in the 24th with a well-taken finish from French forward Kevin Gameiro and doubled their lead with a powerful penalty from Dani Parejo in the 32nd. Messi halved the deficit seven minutes later by scoring for the ninth consecutive game in all competitions, converting from the spot after having a goal chalked off as the referee had already blown his whistle to award the penalty. Barca’s extra-ordinary captain equalised in the 64th with an unstoppable curling strike from outside the area, averting a first league loss for the league leaders since November and taking them on to 50 points from 22 games.

Also Read: Is Barcelona too much dependent on Messi

Lionel Messi’s double saves Barcelona against Valencia

Lionel Messi’s double saves Barcelona against Valencia

Barcelona had to heavily rely on Lionel Messi to bring back a point against Valencia (2-2) on Saturday. The Argentine genius, who scored twice, was the most vibrant Blaugrana against a very formidable Valencia team. 


In the standings, Barca still remains comfortably in the lead but can see Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid come closer to the top of the table after Sunday.

At Camp Nou, the captain of Barcelona scored his 20th and 21st goal of the La Liga, this season. Messi scored first from a penalty in the 39th minute, and then from a clear shot outside the box in the 64th minute. Earlier, the Frenchman Kevin Gameiro (24th minute) and captain Dani Parejo (32nd minute) gave the advantage to the Valencians.

Messi, who chained a ninth consecutive game with at least one goal scored, nevertheless remained on the sidelines for a long time to have his right thigh treated before re-entering the game to add relief to the Barca die-hards. In the standings of La Liga, this draw does not do the huge business for Barca (1st, 50 pts), but could see back on his heels Atletico Madrid (2nd, 44 pts), facing Real Betis on Sunday, and Real Madrid (3rd, 39 pts), who welcome Alaves on the same date.

But all of Catalonia is likely to worry for the next few hours for the physical state of Lionel Messi before a crucial month. The Argentine was hit in the thigh at the worst time, before facing Real Madrid on Wednesday. Barca’s schedule includes three successive (February 6th and 27th, March 2nd) and the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League in Lyon on February 19th.

Barcelona took high risks

Barcelona left Camp Nou with great frustration and with a large expenditure of energy. The opponents led 2-0 after half an hour of play. The opportunists Valencians took the advantage thanks to two counter-attacks. First, a breakthrough of the amazing Rodrigo, saluted by Gameiro (24th minute), author of his first goal since November before being forced to leave the field due to a head-to-head collision with Gerard Pique. As time ticked on, Daniel Wass was shoved in the box by Sergi Roberto. A logical penalty, transformed by Dani Parejo (32nd minute), and immediately a defensive curtain unfolded in front of the Valencia goal.

Also Read: The next superstar of Real Madrid

Untenable Messi 

As often in these cases, it was Messi who pulled his team out of the hole. The Argentinian first smoothly converted a penalty earned by Nelson Semedo just before the break (39th minute), which gave hope to Camp Nou. After the entry of his best partner, Jordi Alba at the break, Messi was untenable and ended up being rewarded from a pin-point shot sent from just outside the area to the back of the net in the 64th minute.

Camp Nou worried for Leo 

In the last half an hour, Barca tried to snatch the victory, and all three points, but all of Camp Nou held his breath in a cathedral when Messi left the field in the 70th minute to have a long massage in the right thigh. The Blaugrana captain eventually resumed his place, signalling that everything was fine, but the concern is likely to seize Barcelona. Especially, since La Liga race could get tighter after Sunday night if Atletico and Real win their respective matches.

6 interesting unknown facts about Lionel Messi

5 interesting unknown facts about Lionel Messi

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi is one of the best footballers in the world at the moment. 


The Barcelona magician often compared to football legends like Pele and Maradona and it won’t be a surprise if he overtakes them in near future. Here are 6 interesting unknown facts about Lionel Messi.

Diagnosed With A Growth Hormone Deficiency

5 interesting unknown facts about Lionel Messi
Image Credit: Youtube

Messi’s amazing rise to become one of the all-time greats is against the odds, as when he was 11 he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency which stopped him from growing at a normal rate. His parents struggled to afford the payments for treatment, but after impressing in a trial for Barcelona, the team offered to pay for his treatment in Spain. Messi moved from Argentina to Spain with his father to join the youth academy. The treatment took three years, and although it did work, Messi remains one of the smaller players around the world at 5’6″.

 

Recruited by Barcelona after juggling with an orange

5 interesting unknown facts about Lionel Messi
Image Credit: Scoopnest

Leo Messi made many efforts to convince the leaders of Barcelona to offer him a chance. Legend says that oranges are at the origin of the love story between Barca and the Argentinean! Fabian Soldini, the player’s agent at the time, said:

“I went to see Lionel and I gave him a kilo of oranges and a few tennis balls.” I told him: “You train to juggle that and in a week and I will record you.”

“A week later, Leo mastered his subject. He juggled 113 times with an orange and 120 times with a tennis ball. I sent it all to Barcelona who told me to bring him in quickly.”

 

Messi dedicates his goals to his grandmother

5 interesting unknown facts about Lionel Messi
Image Credit: CNN International

When Lionel Messi scores a goal, the Argentinean points towards the sky but is not to thank God. He actually is thanking his deceased grandmother Celia. She was the one who drove her to Rosario training, she who convinced the coaches to play the little guy with the big boys. Alzheimer patient, she died when Leo was 10 years old. He still talks a lot and dedicates his goals by pointing his index to the sky.

“I miss her so much. I would have wanted her to see what I became. It is for this reason that I dedicate my goals to him because I like to tell myself that she sees me from where she is.”

Messi speaks Catalan only when he is drunk!

5 interesting unknown facts about Lionel Messi
Image Credit: Coub

In 2000, the entire Messi family settled with Leo in Barcelona. But after a few months, to overcome homesickness, his mother, sister, and brother Matias return to Rosario. In 2008, Messi told La Capital, the Rosario newspaper:

“When my sister Maria Sol went to school, we spoke to her in Catalan, she suffered, she felt rejected. That’s why my mother decided to go back to Rosario with her so that she could continue her schooling there.”

Messi understands Catalan but hardly ever speaks it, he the banner of a club that claims the nationalism. Finally, one evening of celebration of a Barca title, he took the megaphone, went on top of the bus, and shouted:

“Visca el Barca, visca Catalunya y aguante Argentina, the concha de su madre!” Translation: “Long live Barca, long live Catalonia, and go Argentina, the whore of his mother!”

Messi had a scarf around his head. He was drunk.

 

Messi became Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer at 24

Image Credit: Pinterest

In 2012, a 24-year-old Messi became the all-time leading scorer for Barcelona in all club competitions. He achieved this astonishing feat in impressive fashion, as he bagged himself a hat-trick in a 5-3 win over Granada. When you consider the history and success of Barcelona, this makes you realize just how prolific and talented Messi really is. He achieved this in just under 8 seasons, where the previous record was held by Cesar Rodriguez who had scored 232 goals (this took him 13 seasons and the record stood for 57 years). Messi is now out of sight in terms of goals scored, and by the time he is finished, it seems unlikely that anyone will ever topple his grand total.

 

“Inmessionante”: The word that entered the dictionary

Image Credit: Inside World Soccer

Lionel Messi had the right to become a common name. The Santillana dictionary has incorporated the adjective “inmessionante” whose definition is as follows:

“Adjective qualifier that refers to Lionel Messi, his perfect way of playing football, his unlimited ability to surpass himself. Describes the best footballer of all time.”

It is said that Messi deserves it. His way of dribbling, the ball sticking to the outside of his left foot, is unique. Guardiola believes he is the only footballer to “run faster with the ball than without”. Messi explains it like this:

“When I was a kid, I played on rotten wastelands, in the street, in my house. My driving of ball adapted to these conditions of play. With the outside, inevitably, because it is easier to hold the balloon … “

La Liga 2018-19 : Week 20 Round Up | Barcelona still five points clear at the top

2018-19 La Liga: Week 20 Round Up | Barcelona still five points clear at the top

The 20th match-week of Spanish La Liga 2018-19 brought with it some incredible goals, some wonderful actions on the field, and the usual dose of thrills and drama. 


For the top half of the table, except Sevilla, it was a comfortable week for most of the teams as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid all secured three points. Here are some results from the week gone by, and some of the key talking points.

Celta Vigo 1-2 Valencia

Valencia confirmed their recovery with a very important victory in Balaidos, after coming back with goals from Ferran and Rodrigo, against Celta de Vigo, who sank in the standings after chaining its fourth straight defeat. Nestor Araujo made it 1-0 for Celta Vigo in the 39th minute of the first half heading it in. Dani Parejo had the last kick of the half which was saved by Ruben Blanco in the 45th minute of the match. Valencia came out in the second half to level things up in the second half. Ezequiel Garay had two chances but it was Ferran Torres who equalised with a great left-footed shot, after chesting the ball down and firing it into the bottom left corner on the half volley after a great cross from Gaya. Rodrigo Moreno completed the fight-back with a delightful combination between Dani Parejo, Kevin Gameiro who squared into Rodrigo Moreno who pushed it in with six minutes of normal time to play.

Real Madrid 2-0 Sevilla

Real Madrid recorded a convincing 2-0 victory over Sevilla to get back into the Spanish league’s top three. Casemiro was on target with a superb long-range shot before Luka Modric added a late second goal. The win moved Madrid into the top three for the first time since September and eased the pressure on coach Santiago Solari. Madrid went above Sevilla in the standings and moved within seven points of leader Barcelona, which hosts Leganes on Sunday. Solari’s men are five points adrift of second-place Atletico Madrid, which won 3-0 at bottom club Huesca. Sevilla, winless in four consecutive league matches, dropped three points behind Real Madrid after 20 matches.

Also Read: Top 5 moments of the weekend

Barcelona 3-1 Leganes

La Liga leaders Barcelona restored their five-point lead at the top with a 3-1 win over Leganes at the Camp Nou on Sunday. Ousmane Dembele opened the scoring after 32 minutes. The France international went past Oscar Rodriguez, exchanged passes with Jordi Alba and then slotted home a low shot in off the post. The hosts dominated the game but were shocked after the break when Leganes levelled. Youssef En-Nesyri played in a low cross for Martin Braithwaite to tap home. Lionel Messi quickly provided the spark Barca needed by firing a venomous shot from the outside the area which was too powerful for goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar to hold, and Luis Suarez pounced to stab home on the rebound in the 71st minute after a lengthy video assistant referee (VAR) review. The Argentine later scored his 18th goal of the season in Spain’s top flight, taking leaders Barca on to 46 points, five clear of nearest challengers Atletico Madrid, after 20 games.

Huesca 0-3 Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid returned to the winning ways after their midweek Copa del Rey exit to Girona by registering to a 3-0 win against Huesca on Saturday, maintaining pressure on La Liga leaders Barcelona. France defender Lucas Hernandez scored in his first league appearance for over a month, to put Atletico ahead in Huesca’s El Alcoraz stadium in the 31st minute. Huesca came close to opening the scoring when Jorge Pulido struck the post with a bicycle kick. However, Atletico tightened their grip on the game early in the second half as Colombian right-back Santiago Arias volleyed in a chipped pass from Antoine Griezmann. The French came close to netting for the seventh game in a row when he headed against the crossbar, but his teammate Koke pounced on the rebound to make the scoreline 3-0.

2018-19 La Liga: Week 19 Round Up | Barcelona maintains top spot

2018-19 La Liga: Week 19 Round Up | Barcelona maintains top spot

The 19th match-week of Spanish La Liga 2018-19 brought with it some wonderful goals, some late drama, and the usual dose of thrills and drama. 


It was a good week for most of the teams in the top half of the table, as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid all registered wins. Here are some results from the week gone by, and some of the key talking points.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Levante

French striker Antoine Griezmann proved to be Atletico Madrid’s savior yet again as he struck the only goal in a 1-0 win at home to Levante on Sunday which kept Diego Simeone’s side in the touching distance behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. Griezmann smashed home from the spot in the 57th minute to score for the fifth consecutive game in all competitions after Levante midfielder Nikola Vukcevic was penalized for handball in the area.

Real Betis 1-2 Real Madrid

Dani Ceballos scored a late winning free-kick against his old club as Real Madrid battled to a 2-1 LaLiga victory at Real Betis. Madrid had taken an early lead at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday thanks to a fine drive scored by Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric. But Sergio Canales hit back with a goal that survived a lengthy VAR review to seemingly claim a point for Quique Setien’s side. Former Betis star Ceballos had other ideas, though, coming off the bench to net a 20-yard free-kick with two minutes to go to move Madrid up to fourth.

Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Sevilla

Two goals from Inaki Williams gave Athletic Bilbao a 2-0 win over Sevilla in LaLiga on Sunday evening. Sevilla were hoping to get closer to runaway leaders FC Barcelona, whilst Bilbao needed the victory as well to avoid slumping into a relegation battle. Inaki Williams finished off a well-worked counterattack with a blistering top corner finish after cutting in front the right side of the penalty area on 22nd minutes. Willams sealed the victory with another impressive effort in the 82nd minute, knocking the ball beyond a defender and then dribbling around the goalkeeper before tapping in.

Barcelona 3-0 Eibar

Luis Suarez scored two goals and Lionel Messi added another to lead league toppers Barcelona to a 3-0 win over Eibar and stay five points ahead of Atletico Madrid as the Spanish league reached its midway point on Sunday. Messi scored his 400th league goal and leads the competition this season with 17 through 19 rounds. Suarez is next with 14 goals. Eibar is 16th after a sixth consecutive round without a win.

Also Read: Messi scored 400th league goals

Valencia 1-1 Real Valladolid

Valencia were held by Real Valladolid to a 1-1 draw in a La Liga contest at the Mestalla stadium. Dani Parejo’s goal had set Valencia on course for three points but a late free-kick from Ruben Alcaraz earned a point for the visiting side. Valencia have now drawn 11 of their 19 LaLiga games this season, winning just four outings.

2018-19 La Liga: Week 16 Round Up | Barcelona tops the Table

2018-19 La Liga: Week 16 Round Up | Barcelona tops the Table

Round 16 of Spanish La Liga 2018-19 came to a conclusion on Monday. 


The match-days witnessed plenty of thrills, spills and emotions, and another hat-trick from Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi along with the usual dose of entertainment and drama. Here are the results of the La Liga matches, and some of the key talking points.

Reigning champions Barcelona continued their fiery form as they routed Levante 5-0. Lionel Messi once again was at his very best scoring a hat-trick. Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique were the other scorers. Real Madrid too recorded a victory with a 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano. Karim Benzema was on target to guide the Los Blancos to glory in the absence of Gareth Bale.

 

Barcelona 5-0 Levante

Barcelona remains three points clear at the top of the La Liga table with a truly dominant victory on the road against Levante. After a tough beginning to the game, Barca saw Lionel Messi take over, score a hat-trick and lead his team to a big victory and ensure Barca will finish the year as league leaders.

 

Real Madrid 1-0 Rayo Vallecano

Karim Benzema got the winner for Real Madrid with a confident 13th-minute finish for just his second goal in 13 La Liga games. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made two injury-time saves as Real Madrid earned an important 3 points to remain fourth in the La Liga race. Real still continue to be a long way away from being their best, but it was a step in the right direction for the whites.

 

Valladolid 2-3 Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid earned a hard-fought win as Antoine Griezmann struck the decisive goal for the red and white side in a thrilling 3-2 win at Real Valladolid on Saturday, after they had thrown away a two-goal lead, taking them level on points with Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

 

Sevilla 2-0 Girona

Sevilla pulled level on points with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of the Spanish league after beating Girona 2-0 at home on Sunday. Ever Banega converted a penalty kick in the 56th minute after Andre Silva was tripped by Juan Ramirez. Pablo Sarabia led a clever move to get the second goal in the 64th.

 

Eibar 1-1 Valencia

Eibar held Valencia at home, thanks to some defensive heroics. The hosts opened the scoring in the duel in the 29th minute thanks to the striker Rodrigo’s ball but failed to keep the advantage. An accurate kick from the forward Charles from the penalty spot in the 56th minute allowed Eibar to escape from defeat.

 

Celta Vigo 0-0 Leganes

Leganes survived a late Celta Vigo onslaught to earn a point in a goalless LaLiga draw. Celta were chasing a third straight LaLiga victory and must have thought they would get it when, in the 87th minute, Brais Mendez turned the ball towards the bottom corner of the net from six yards out but Ivan Cuellar made a superb save. Leganes are now unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions.

 

Getafe 1-0 Real Sociedad

Jorge Molina scored the only goal of the game as Getafe beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. In the 3rd minute, former Real Betis striker Molina took full advantage of a Miguel Angel Moya mistake and profited from an assist from Gaku – to give his side all three points.

 

Real Betis 3-1 Espanyol

Real Betis registered a 3-1 win over Espanyol to extend their La Liga winning streak to three matches while handing their opponent their fifth defeat in a row. After the win, Real Betis holds the fifth spot in La Liga standings with 25 points, while Espanyol sits in the 11th spot with 21 points.

 

Huesca 2-2 Villareal

Villarreal, who had a difficult first half of the season, missed a chance to get some air in the relegation zone on Sunday, conceding a 2-2 draw with Huesca. Villarreal is only one point ahead of the relegation zone, while Huesca are now in the bottom of the La Liga standings.

 

Alaves 0-0 Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao remained in the relegation zone of the Spanish league after being held at Alaves to 0-0 on Monday. Bilbao is in 18th place of the 20-team league and level on points with Villarreal, which is the last team in safety. Bilbao, which only has players from the northern Basque Country or neighboring areas, has never been relegated to the second division.