Tag Archives: FC Barcelona

Messi hat-trick seals La Liga title for Barca

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Barcelona were crowned La Liga champions for the 25th time after beating Deportivo La Coruna 4-2 with the help of a hat-trick from Lionel Messi.

Barca needed only a draw to clinch the title and complete an eighth domestic double after winning the King’s Cup last week and they marched into a 2-0 lead with goals from their record signing, Philippe Coutinho, and top scorer, Messi, in the first half. The result also relegated Deportivo.

However, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde praised their consistency he acknowledged they have “lacked brilliance” at times.

“When you chase it all season you say finally ‘the league is very long’” Valverde said. It is not decided only in a match. From the beginning we have been in the lead. In the end we were the best. The hard part is winning and winning.”

Ousmane Dembele, the first player Barça bought after selling Neymar last summer, drove forward before playing in Luis Suarez, who clipped a cross with the outside of his foot that Messi met with a sidefooted volley.

Lucas Perez pulled one back five minutes before half-time and the Turkish midfielder Emre Colak levelled for the Galicians from Celso Borges’ cross in the 64th minute.

They then came close to finding a winner and becoming the first team to beat Barca in the league this season but Messi had other ideas. The Argentinian ace restored Barca’s lead from close range in the 82nd minute before completing his treble with his 32nd league goal of the season.

Valverde’s side have 86 points from 34 games, 11 clear of second-placed Atlético Madrid, who have three games to play.

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.

Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool will be back at their best against Roma

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Virgil van Dijk has admitted Liverpool let their standards slip against West Bromwich Albion but insisted that their home game against Roma will prove a welcome and contrasting proposition.

Liverpool squandered a two-goal lead on their visit to West Brom after struggling to cope with set pieces late on but Van Dijk is confident they will rise to the occasion in the semi-final first leg.

“We need to do better,” he said. “You have to tell each other the truth you cannot be nice and happy when we want to achieve so much as a team and a club. A draw is not good enough but there is no reason to panic. There is no need to stress.”

“I don’t worry at all. They [West Brom] are fighting for their lives so in the end they are very direct, balls into the channel, work hard, trying to get fouls and free-kicks and we didn’t cope with that how we should have. To concede two goals from set pieces as well where we have always the same roles to do and we didn’t do that. So it is disappointing but I am not worried at all.”

After witnessing Roma’s extraordinary comeback against FC Barcelona to advance from the quarter-finals on away goals, Liverpool, who will hold their pre-match team meeting on Monday, will not be taking anything for granted against the Serie A side.

“It will be hard work and we need to be ready for anything and then obviously the tough game in Rome,” Van Dijk added. “That will be a hard one as well, but we need to enjoy that because not many players, teams come to this stage and have the chance of getting to a final. We will prepare as well as we can and see what happens.”

“I have not played against Dzeko before but everyone knows the result against Barcelona. They are a very good team and we have to be ready. I don’t fear anyone. We play a different style to Roma. It will be a different game to this one. The system we played at the end today won’t be the same.”

Barca one win away from title after Atletico collapse at Real Sociedad

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FC Barcelona are one win away from a 25th Spanish La Liga title after Atletico Madrid lost by 3-0 at Real Sociedad.

Diego Simeone’s side team second best throughout and fell behind when Willian Jose turned home a cutback by winger Adnan Januzaj, while substitute Juanmi made it 2-0 late on when he drove in before getting his second in stoppage time with a chip.

Barcelona will win the La Liga title with victory at Deportivo La Coruna on 29 April, after finishing second last season, three points behind rivals Real Madrid.

Atletico hosts fifth-placed Real Betis on Sunday with the chance to close the gap to Barca back to nine points, but only if Barca does not win.

Second-placed Atletico, who are now 12 points behind Barcelona with five games remaining, would travel to Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on 26 April but carry a concerning streak in regards to away games, as demonstrated by their rout at Real Sociedad, with Simeone putting the blame on concentration issues.

“We have to take a good look at our away form and be more alert and attentive because we are letting ourselves down on the road,” Simeone said after the game.

“Today we did not play a good first half. We improved at the start of the second half, but we did not have the consistency to get closer on the scoreboard.”

“We have to look at what happened, but congratulate Real Sociedad on their deserved win.”