Tag Archives: FC Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo wins fifth Ballon d’Or award

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Cristiano Ronaldo won the fifth Ballon d’Or of his career yesterday, matching Lionel Messi as the most-awarded winner of one of football top individual honours.

Ronaldo, 32, won the award for the second consecutive time, after a year that saw him help Real Madrid to a third Champions League crown in four seasons and a first La Liga title in five years, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup.

The Portuguese captain also scored twice as Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 in the Champions League final in June, while also finishing top scorer in the competition with 12 goals.

Upon accepting his latest honour in a ceremony held at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Ronaldo said: “I feel very happy, it’s a fantastic moment in my career, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

“This year has been great, we won the Champions League and La Liga and, on a personal level, I was a top scorer in the Champions League. Trophies help win these awards and we have to thank my colleagues from Madrid and Portugal, it was very important for me.”

FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi was the runner-up in votes for the award, now conducted by a global panel of journalists and organised by France Football magazine after a split from a partnership with FIFA that ran from 2010-15. Ronaldo had also won FIFA’s top award in October when he was named FIFA Best Men’s Player for the second consecutive year.

This year also marked the seventh straight year that both Messi and Ronaldo have finished in the top two for the Ballon d’Or — no one else has won the title since AC Milan midfielder Kaka did in 2007, when Ronaldo was second and Messi third.

Neymar, who moved from Barca to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, finished third for the second time in his career, while Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was fourth.

Two of Ronaldo’s Real Madrid teammates were also in the top-ten of the Ballon d’Or final standings, with Luka Modric fifth and Sergio Ramos sixth as the top defender on the list.

City did not offer €100m signing-on bonus to Lionel Messi -Guardiola

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Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has said that the club did not offer FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi a €100m signing-on fee to leave the La Liga giants last summer.

Messi, 30, agreed fresh terms last week to extend his contract with the Catalan club until 2021, amidst a separate report in Spain claiming that City tried to lure the Argentinian to England with the €100m fee plus a €50m a-year salary.

When asked about the reputed offer, Guardiola summarily denied the rumours.

“It’s not true. Lionel Messi has signed a contract one week ago,” he said. “This was never going to happen; Messi started his career there and he’s going to finish it there. If he wanted to leave he wouldn’t have signed the contract.”

City will be playing against Shakhtar Donetsk in Kharkiv on Wednesday night in the final round of Champions League group fixtures although the Blues are already through as group winners. If they win Guardiola will be the club’s first manager to win all six group games.

“We are doing well but that doesn’t mean you will achieve the title,” he said. “In this competition one bad 45 minutes and you are out. That means you can win the title but go out if you are doing well. I’m not concerned if we are playing the best football.”

Guardiola also has an eye on Sunday’s showdown against Premier League and City rivals Manchester United, with team playmaker David Silva becoming a doubt through injury.

“David had a little bit of a problem in the last minutes [against West Ham United on Sunday],” he said. “We made a test after the game and I don’t know if he is able to play on Sunday so that’s why he stayed there, to recover in Manchester.”

Barcelona draws but Valencia’s defeat widens gap on top of La Liga

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FC Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw against Juan Carlos Unzue’s Celta Vigo, but saw their lead on top of La Liga widened against Valencia after Los Che succumbed to 10-man Getafe.

This was the second game in a row that Barca dropped points, but was given a helping hand in their La Liga campaign thanks to Getafe’s 1-0 win over title challengers Valencia.

Their own game at home saw Celta striker Iago Aspas silencing the Camp Nou by giving Celta the lead in the 20th minute, knocking in on the rebound after splitting the home defence with a darting run through the middle.

But Barca star Lionel Messi quickly replied by clinically finishing a sweeping team move two minutes later to score for the first time in six games in all competitions. Messi then set up what looked to be the winning goal for Luis Suarez in the 62nd minute as the striker thrashed home a Jordi Alba cutback, but his team was denied victory by Maxi Gomez, who slotted in from close range after another brilliant run by Aspas.

Gerard Pique missed a chance and hit the woodwork from close range, while Messi, who also saw an earlier effort in the game found the post, sent a free kick just wide deep in stoppage time.

However, second-placed Valencia could not close their gap against the leaders after they lost for the first time in La Liga this season as Getafe beat them to leave Barcelona five points clear at the top.

Getafe, who move up to eighth in the table thanks to their 1-0 victory, had to play 65 minutes with 10 men after Mauro Arambarri was sent off for a second booking.

Markel Bergara scored the only goal of the game when his 25-yard strike deflecting in off Gabriel Paulista.

Valencia, who could have overtook Barca with a win, instead saw striker Simone Zaza — who is the joint second top scorer in the league — missed a glorious chance to equalise deep into injury time, when he headed over from close range.

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.