Daily Archives: November 27, 2017

Lionel Messi extends contract with FC Barcelona to 2021

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Lionel Messi has ended speculation of a move away from FC Barcelona by extending his contract with the club through to the summer of 2021.

The Catalan club also announced that the Argentina forward has had a 700 million Euro buy-out clause inserted into his contract, indicating that he will finish his career at the Camp Nou in all likelihood.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who described Messi as “the best player in football history”, said the new contract, with a significantly higher buyout clause, was “more in line with the current situation in the ever-changing world of football”.

“The buyout clause had to be modified,” Bartomeu added. “and it has gone from 300m euros to 700m euros. It fills me with pride to see him with us renewing his love for the club.”

“The objective is to continue achieving things and making history,” Messi said after signing his new contract. “We’ve been lucky enough to have won a great many things and I hope there will be more in the future. I’m happy to continue with the club, which is my home. My dream was to finish my career at Barca and we are moving down that path.”

Initially, a renewal had been agreed in principle between player and club in back July but it is only now that Messi has put pen to paper on the contract.

Messi, who joined Barca as a 13-year old made his senior debut as a 16-year-old in a friendly against Porto, has eight La Liga titles, four Champions League wins and five Copa del Rey successes under his belt during his time with the Catalan club.

He then made his first competitive appearance against Espanyol as a 17-year-old before coming to score the first of his club record 523 goals — which have come in 602 matches — against Albacete in May 2005, and has since claimed the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, more than any other player.

On his contract extension ceremony on Friday, Messi was presented with his fourth Golden Shoe award for being the top scorer in Europe, while his 30 trophies put him alongside his team-mate Andres Iniesta as the most anyone has won in club history.

Late goal by Raheem Sterling completes City rally at Huddersfield

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said his had side “competed amazingly” as Raheem Sterling scored to rally from 1-0 down at half-time to win at Huddersfield.

Manchester City have won their past 11 away matches in all competitions — a record for a top-flight club in English football history, and also equal a club record of 11 successive Premier League victories.

“If you want to win the title you cannot expect easy games,” said Guardiola. “We have to live these kinds of situations and we spoke at half-time about how we are going to react. We spoke about not giving up, to keep going.”

“It is impossible to win every game easily, this league is so tough,” he added. “The guys competed amazingly, which is why we won.”

Huddersfield had the luck of getting their first goal through their opponent’s own doing, with City defender Nicolas Otamendi inadvertently turning the ball past Ederson, his own keeper inside the six-yard area.

However, Raheem Sterling won a penalty after half-time following a tangle with Scott Malone that ended with him on the floor.

It was the correct decision as Malone had his arms around his opponent as Sterling tried to break free, and Sergio Aguero converted the ensuing penalty through a precise finish from 12 yards, with over three quarters of an hour to play with stoppage-time factored in.

The winning goal then came 6 minutes from time for City, as a shot from Gabriel Jesus came back off Huddersfield keeper Jonas Lossl before striking Sterling on the knee and then looping in.

Despite tempers fraying at the final whistle with Huddersfield forward Rajiv van la Parra sent off following a clash with Leroy Sane, this was the first time City have come from behind at half-time to win a Premier League away match since April 1995.

City have also now accumulated 37 points from their opening 13 Premier League fixtures, a record of excellence stretching back seven months which also see them remain unbeaten for 26 games.

Barcelona v Valencia: La Liga pinnacle battle ends in stalemate

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FC Barcelona midfielder Jordi Alba’s late stunning equalizer against his former club Valencia concludes an encounter between the two sides at the summit of the La Liga table with a draw.

It was an eventful game that also saw Valencia’s goalscorer Rodrigo don a wig in celebration while Barca’s star striker Lionel Messi had a clear goal disallowed.

Messi thought he had opened the scoring in the 30th minute when his tame strike from just outside the area was fumbled by the Valencia goalkeeper Neto and apparently crossed the line before it was cleared, and the Argentine had already started celebrating before being cut short as the goal was not to be given.

Replays too showed that it was a legal goal by any means, but without the benefit of goaline technology the referee Ignacio Iglesias did not award it as such and waved play on— much to Barca’s fury and Valencia’s relief. The latter, who paused momentarily, quickly raced up the other end of the pitch, where nine-goal Simone Zaza struck wide.

With the ball going out of play, the Catalan team angrily surrounded and confronted Villanueva at the mistake, but their appeals fell to deaf ears.

With spring in their steps after escaping such a clear disadvantage, Valencia proceeded to pile more misery upon their visitors when Rodrigo fired them into a 60th-minute lead, with the Spanish forward pouncing from close range following Jose Luis Gaya’s low cross.

It was a heartwarming moment for Valencia celebrated by Rodrigo wearing a curly, orange wig given to him by a fan, a nod to ex-club president Jaume Orti’s celebrations when Valencia won their last two La Liga titles after the former official passed away on Friday.

Defeat would have been harsh on Barca — who have not been beaten in La Liga this season — but a late and exquisite finish from Jordi Alba on Messi’s pass eventually rescued a point for Ernesto Valverde’s side, keeping them four clear of Valencia and unbeaten.

Still, there was a heartstopping moment before relief came for Barca as Valencia could have snatched all three points in the dying moments but Simone Zaza fired over from a great position.