Tag Archives: Argentina

Lionel Messi: Argentinian ace registers himself as trademark

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Lionel Messi has won a seven-year fight to be able to trademark his name in an European court.

His original application had been challenged by the Spanish cycling brand, Massi, which argued that the names were too similar and would cause confusion — but the EU’s General Court ruled that the footballer was too well known for confusion to arise.

The ruling comes days after France Football magazine reported Mr Messi had overtaken Cristiano Ronaldo as the highest earner in football, with an income of €126m (£108m) compared to Ronaldo’s €94m.

Messi’s application to trademark his name was made to the European Union Office for Intellectual Property (EUIPO) in 2011, but the court ruled against the footballer, saying the names were similar, because their dominant elements, “consisting of the terms ‘Massi’ and ‘Messi’, are almost identical visually and phonetically”.

EUIPO said that only some people would be aware the two were different.

But the General Court, the EU’s second highest court, disagreed.

It said on Thursday: “The football player’s fame counteracts the visual and phonetic similarities” with Massi.”

“Mr Messi is, in fact, a well-known public figure who can be seen on television and who is regularly discussed on television or on the radio,” the court added.

Widely considered one of the world’s greatest soccer players, Messi, 30, scored his 600th professional goal last month and is the all-time highest scorer for both FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team.

Sampaoli: Argentina coach claims Messi is hurt by World Cup pressure

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Argentina national team coach Jorge Sampaoli feels that Lionel Messi is unable to enjoy outings for his country with expectations so high, with the World Cup become “a revolver put to his head” and placeing unnecessary damaging pressure upon his shoulders.

Messi is yet to claim major silverware at senior international level has only been able to reach finals of the Copa America and World Cup, although he will have another opportunity to get his hands on the most elusive of prizes in Russia this summer.

Sampaoli believes expectation levels placed upon Messi, are already spiralling out of control in his book to be published in April, which “Viva”, Clarin’s Sunday magazine has been running snippets.

“Messi has a revolver put to his head called the World Cup and if he doesn’t win it, he’s shot and killed,” one of the snippets read. “As a result, he can’t enjoy his talent. What I find is that the negativity surrounding international football damages Messi.”

Still, Sampaoli concedes that he is working with a special talent.

“At this moment, I feel that I’m coaching the best player in history,” he added. “This is a guy who has stayed as the best in the world for 10 years. It’s difficult to assume a level of control when your leader knows he’s better than you, he executes things like nobody else.”

The former Sevilla coach has previously suggested that football owes Messi a World Cup win — given all that he has done for the game — but he is also aware that it will take a collective effort in Russia if Argentina are to emerge victorious.

“You have to find the best players and put them in their best position,” he said. “Leo has to play like he does for his club, to put him into another structure is madness.”

“Against Ecuador I was a bit strong in my tone suggesting that football owed Messi a World Cup, however I knew he was going to appear for us at the vital moments.”

Messi, who is suffering from muscle fatigue in a hamstring and adductor muscle at the moment, would miss Argentina’s game against Spain after the injury already ruled him out of the 2-0 win over Italy last Friday night.

Buffon hits out at critics as veteran returns to international squad

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Gianluigi Buffon has hit out at his critics as he arrived in England to add to his 175 record cap tally with Italy.

Buffon, 40, had previously announced his retirement from international football after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup last November but later reversed his decision, and was retained as captain by the caretaker coach Luigi Di Biagio who will lead the side out in friendlies against Argentina in Manchester on Friday and England at Wembley next Tuesday.

The Juventus keeper’s decision has attracted some criticism but the Juventus No 1 insists he is still the best man for the job, saying: “I’ve nothing to add to what has been said. Everyone knows the truth. My role in the squad has always been positive and I’ve always brought people together. I’ve always put us before me.”

“I’m not here to showcase, to show myself off. I can still be useful. I might be 40 but I’m the goalkeeper of Juventus. Italy is a funny country where people enjoy controversy but any controversy about me is just sensationalism. After a while all this controversy will just fall away.”

Buffon had also previously hinted that this season could be his last but he does not appear to have any retirement plans yet.

Speaking at a press conference at the Etihad Stadium, Buffon added: “I don’t know if my last match will be with Juventus or an international but it will be low key and sober, normal. I arrived at my first game on a scooter and the only car I have is the one that Juventus make available for me.”

Di Biagio, who has stepped up from duties with the Under-21 side, hopes the four friendlies in the remainder of the season can help Italy move on from their World Cup nightmare. Russia 2018 will be the first finals to take place without four-time world champions Italy for 60 years.

The games also provide a chance for Di Biagio to stake a claim for the job full-time but he insists that is not his focus. “Everything around the team has changed. We need a new start,” he said.

“We have a small world championship in these four matches. It is a chance to test new players. We need patience and consistency, regardless of who is going to be in the driving seat.”

Higuain recalled but Dybala and Icardi snubbed from Argentina squad

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Argentina national coach Jorge Sampaoli has recalled Gonzalo Higuain to the Argentina squad for this month’s friendlies against Italy and Spain but has snubbed Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi.

Higuain, 30, is sidelined with an ankle problem and is a doubt for Juventus’ vital Champions League clash with Tottenham next week. However, his 14 Serie A goals this season is enough to persuade Sampaoli to select the striker for the first time since September.

On the other hand, Higuain’s Juve team-mate Dybala misses out alongside Icardi, the Inter captain who has only scored once since the turn of the year.

Dybala has only made a pair of substitute appearances recently since returning from a hamstring injury.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has been, like Higuain, dropped earlier this season — reflecting the considerable strength Sampaoli enjoys in forward positions, but his prolific recent run for Manchester City made the 29-year-old a safe selection this time around.

As yet uncapped Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero, 36, has been called up alongside Sergio Romero and Nahuel Guzman.

Argentina squad in full: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Nahuel Guzman (Tigres), Willy Caballero (Chelsea); Javier Mascherano (Hebei China Fortune), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Federico Fazio (Roma), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla) Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton), Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica) Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax); Lucas Biglia (AC Milan), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Leandro Paredes (Zenit), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain) Manuel Lanzini (West Ham), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain); Diego Perotti (Roma) Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus)