Barcelona

Valverde calls on Barca to maintain current success

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Barca boss Valverde jokes he hopes Messi reaches 200 goals in Europe

Lionel Messi netted his 100th goal in European competition as 10-man Barcelona stayed perfect in Group D. Lionel Messi reached another milestone in his storied career with his 100th goal in European competition. BARCELONA — Ernesto Valverde joked he hoped to see Lionel Messi score 200 goals after Barcelona’s talisman chalked up another milestone as he scored for the 100th time in European competition from a second-half free kick in a 3-1 win against Olympiakos in the Champions League on Wednesday. Messi also set up the third goal for Lucas Digne with a brilliant piece of skill as Barca fought off thunder and lightning at a soaking wet Camp Nou to make it three wins from three in Europe this season. Dimitrios Nikolaou opened the scoring with an own goal — the fifth Barca h...

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi scores 100th goal in European competition

Lionel Messi has become the second player in history to reach 100 goals in European competition. Lionel Messi scored his 100th goal in European competition on Wednesday when he netted the second in Barcelona’s 3-1 Champions League win against Olympiakos. Messi became just the second player to reach the landmark after Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo brought up a century of goals in UEFA competitions earlier this year. The Barca forward came into the game in at Camp Nou on 99 goals, with 96 of them having come in the Champions League and the other three in the European Super Cup. His first ever European goal for the Blaugrana came against another Greek side, Panathinaikos, in 2005 while he was still just a teenager. Goals in two finals against Manchester United, four goals in one...

Jordi Alba out for Barcelona against Olympiakos after picking up knock

The FC crew agree Barcelona are still in control in La Liga after fighting back for a draw against Atletico Madrid. Jordi Alba will miss Barcelona’s Champions League game with Olympiakos after picking up an injury in training on Tuesday. Barca say the left-back has a thigh muscle problem but are unable to confirm for how long he will be out of action. Alba will definitely miss Wednesday’s match against Olympiakos but a decision on Saturday’s league meeting with Malaga will be made closer to the time. Paco Alcacer has been called up to take Alba’s place in the squad, but Lucas Digne is most likely to take his place in Ernesto Valverde’s starting lineup. The French international has started just one game so far this season, the 6-1 league triumph against Eibar. ...

Paulinho: It’s a privilege to help Lionel Messi be the world’s best player

The FC crew agree Barcelona are still in control in La Liga after fighting back for a draw against Atletico Madrid. BARCELONA — Paulinho says it’s a “privilege” to serve the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, and thanked the Argentine for helping him settle into life at Barcelona quickly following his summer move from Guangzhou Evergrande. Despite the doubts which clouded his €40 million arrival, Paulinho has managed to hit the ground running at Camp Nou, proving a lot of people wrong with two goals in his first nine appearances. That, in part, has been down to his relationship with Messi on the pitch, with his winning goal against Getafe last month set up by the forward’s through ball. “Playing alongside Messi is special for me,” Paulinho sai...

Barcelona, Man City keeping eye on Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl

Julian Weigl could be the subject of a bidding war between Barcelona and Manchester City this summer. Julian Weigl may have signed a new contract with Borussia Dortmund in December, but that hasn’t stopped two European giants from keeping a watchful eye on the young midfielder. According to AS, Barcelona and Manchester City are both monitoring the 22-year-old, whose new deal continues through 2021. Barca believe that Weigl could fit their style of play and be a long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets as the cornerstone of their midfield, the report states. Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola has told director of football Txiki Begiristain to make Weigl a priority next summer with Fernandinho and Yaya Toure both out of contract. It’s not the first time that Weigl, who has made five appea...

Ernesto Valverde’s new ideas are improving Barcelona – ter Stegen

The FC crew agree Barcelona are still in control in La Liga after fighting back for a draw against Atletico Madrid. Barcelona are getting better and better because of the new approaches brought to the club by coach Ernesto Valverde, goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen says. Former Athletic Bilbao boss Valverde replaced Luis Enrique at the start of the summer and has overseen a 10-game unbeaten run since the Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid in August. Barca have dropped points just once in La Liga — Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid — and have won both of their Champions League games going into Wednesday’s match against Olympiakos. “Our manager has a different point of view and we have to support him,” ter Stegen said in an interview with UEFA. &...

La Liga rights holders want Barcelona to stay regardless of Catalan vote

The FC crew agree Barcelona are still in control in La Liga after fighting back for a draw against Atletico Madrid. Barcelona’s place in La Liga should not be affected by any moves toward Catalan independence, according to Jaume Roures of Mediapro, current international rights holders for the Spanish league. With recent events having seriously focused minds on the possibility of Catalonia breaking away from Spain, the issue of where Catalan teams, including Barca’s fellow Primera Division peers Espanyol and Girona, would then play their football has been hotly debated. La Liga president Javier Tebas has said that these clubs would no longer be able to play in the Spanish league should a new independent Catalan state be established. However Catalonia-based Roures told the World ...

Barcelona’s Ernesto Valverde to face appreciative Olympiakos side

The FC crew agree Barcelona are still in control in La Liga after fighting back for a draw against Atletico Madrid. Craig Burley and Alexis Nunes predict the outcomes of this week’s UCL fixtures, headlined by Real Madrid versus Tottenham. Managers don’t hang around at Olympiakos. The Greek side arrived in Barcelona for Wednesday’s Champions League game with Takis Lemonis in charge, but he has only been in the job for 22 days. He replaced Besnik Hasi, who was sacked in September after a derby defeat against AEK Athens. Hasi had only been given the job in the summer, when he was chosen to replace caretaker coach Vassilis Vouzas, who had just won the Greek title. Vouzas came in on a temporary basis in March after former Portugal coach Paulo Bento’s 37-game spell in cha...

Barcelona’s Ernesto Valverde: Lionel Messi tired, but he always responds

Ernesto Valverde praises Lionel Messi’s hard work for Barcelona at Atletico after a busy week with Argentina. Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has said Lionel Messi was suffering from “wear and tear” in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid. Messi had a late chance to win the match, which brought an end to Barca’s perfect Liga record, but fired a free kick straight at home goalkeeper Jan Oblak. The Argentina international’s midweek hat trick had ensured that his side qualified for next summer’s World Cup. And Valverde said: “It’s true that Leo had some wear and tear because of the tension of the matches he has had to play, but we know that he always responds in any situation. “He gave us a lot of effort and it was clear that, w...

Valverde appreciates effort of ‘exhausted’ Messi

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Barcelona boss Valverde hopes Suarez goal helps him come out of ‘shadows’

Barcelona’s perfect start in La Liga ended at Atletico, but Luis Suarez’s late header earned the visitors a draw. MADRID — Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde hopes Luis Suarez’s late equaliser against Atletico Madrid on Saturday can kickstart the Uruguayan international’s season. Suarez had scored just twice in eight appearances going into the 1-1 draw with Atleti at the Wanda Metropolitano and his form has come in for criticism. In addition, there remains uncertainty over his fitness. Barca have denied reports which surfaced suggesting the striker needs to have immediate surgery on a cyst on his knee, but Valverde has admitted he’s had a small problem since preseason. “I thought he looked good, regardless of the goal,” Valverde said in a new...

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