Tag Archives: FC Barcelona

Diego Simeone praises Lionel Messi after La Liga draw

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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has showered praise upon FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi after the forward starred in a draw with Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Although Saul Niguez and Luis Suarez were on the scoresheet as Atletico Madrid took on Barca in the 1-1 draw, Messi had great influence in the game — first striking the post in the second half and then playing a role in building Barca’s momentum ahead of Suarez’s late equaliser after Saul unleashed an unstoppable attempt beyond him from 25 yards in the 21st minute.

After the game, Simeone singled out his compatriot — who also fired Argentina to the 2018 World Cup with a hat-trick against Ecuador earlier — for particular praise as he revelled in the occasion at Wanda Metropolitano.

“The stadium was wonderful, we had another night of brilliant football, and with the impressive Messi — extraordinary,” Simeone said. “Messi was the only one who you could see where, every time he touched the ball, something different could happen.”

“He was certainly not as tired as many expected after the trip [from international duty in South America] because he played a tremendous match.”

Meanwhile, French forward Antoine Griezmann failed to find the net at the Wanda for the first time for Atleti, but Simeone believed this was his best performance at the stadium yet.

Indeed, Griezmann had to be denied twice by Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, first by a fine one-handed save at his near post after Andrés Iniesta gave away the ball again, this time with his left leg, after the Frenchman had driven into the box by nutmegging Gerard Pique.

“For me, this was the best game that Griezmann has had at home,” he said. “He twice worked the goalkeeper, he countered with [Angel] Correa and he held the ball up well.”

“It was a great game between two teams with different characteristics. Our first half was very good, the goalkeeper [ter Stegen] was key. From the 60th minute, Barca attacked with more clarity due to their need to score.”

Ousmane Dembele: new Barca signing set to miss out for four months

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FC Barcelona has announced that their new signing, forward Ousmane Dembele, could miss up to four months worth of fixtures after sustaining his injury to his thigh.

The French international will also miss France’s final two World Cup qualifiers away to Bulgaria and at home to Belarus in October, as Les Blues look to hold on their top spot on group A of the UEFA qualifiers — which guarantees their automatic qualification into the World Cup finals in Russia next summer.

Dembele, 20, who became the second most expensive player in the world after Neymar when he joined the Catalan side from Borussia Dortmund this summer, sustained the injury on his full La Liga debut against Getafe on Saturday.

Barca have since issued an statement on their official website, saying: “The tests have come back and show that Ousmane Dembele has ruptured the tendon in his femoral bicep in his left thigh.”

“The player will be operated on by Dr Sakari Orava in Finland this week. He is expected to be out for between three and a half months and four months.”

Dembele was making his first league start for Barcelona and his third overall, after coming on as a substitute in a 5-0 league win over Espanyol, started the 3-0 Champions League victory over Juventus on Tuesday and lasted 29 minutes against Getafe.

Getafe led early on through a wonder goal from Japanese International, and Barca, after losing Dembele, was forced to rescue the game through two second-half substitutes, with Denis Suarez levelling around the hour before Paulinho won the game late on.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said that the game was proof Barca could subvert pressure amidst difficult circumstances, and was happy to see two substitutes make such a vital contribution.

“The opposition put us under pressure but this comeback reinforces our belief that we are indeed capable of reacting to difficulty,” he said. “It is important for them as individuals, it gives them both confidence, whilst also showing that our squad is deep and we have many players who can help us.”

Sadio Mane regrets Ederson incident but will not change play style

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Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has expressed regrets for injuring Ederson’s face at Manchester City, but insisted he would not change his playing style despite being handed a straight red for the incident.

The red card also meant that Mane will miss Liverpool’s next three domestic matches, after an appeal against the length of his suspension rejected by the Football Association.

The Senegalese International will not be available for selection in Liverpool’s Saturday’s home game against Burnley plus two trips to Leicester City, in the Carabao Cup and league next week.

Mane had since apologised to the City goalkeeper for what he says was an accidental collision, one that forced Ederson off on a stretcher after eight minutes of treatment and also required eight stitches to a gruesome facial injury, but was clear in that he would not back off in the case of another challenge against an opposing goalkeeper.

“I think the next time I will get the ball before him, I will do my best,” Mane said. “My intention was not to hurt the goalkeeper. It was bad and I wish him the recovery to come back healthy. I am happy for him that he could play again [against Feyenoord on Wednesday] and help his team.”

“It is not what I wish. I think it was a challenge for the ball. I made contact and it was not what I wanted to do so I apologised to him. It is part of football and I cannot change anything. I don’t have his number so I just posted messages for him and I think he has seen them.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool may just be able to fill the void left by Mane with the returning Philippe Coutinho, who made his first Liverpool appearance in this season against Sevilla mid-week since Pushing for a move to FC Barcelona.

“It is always nice to welcome him back because he is one of our best players,” Mane said of Coutinho. “He will not only help my game but I think he is a very important player for Liverpool and he will help us to get better and better.”


Liverpool (3) — (1) Burnley

Messi brace gives Barca perfect Champions League start

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Lionel Messi scored a brace against Juventus in a 3-0 win over last season’s Champions League finalists for a perfect start to FC Barcelona’s European campaign.

Messi opened the scoring on the last minute before the interval.With the ball clipped towards summer signing Ousmane Dembele who, back to goal, controlled and turned away from his markers. The pitch opened up before him and finding Messi to his left, Argentinian exchanged passes with Luis Suarez on the edge of the area before guiding the ball into the far corner.

Ivan Rakitic then scored Barca’s second after Messi’s shot was cleared off the line, with the Argentine then wrapping up victory with a superb left-footed goal from 20 yards.

It was not to be a night for Juve’s veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon, who, despite equalling the Champions League record for most appearances by an Italian player with 109 (level with Paolo Maldini) had to suffer the ignominy of finally conceding against Messi, whom he held three clean sheets against.

This also marks a continuous perfect start for Barca to their new season, who now have won all four games played without conceding.

There was also icing to their cake as Juventus had been the team that knocked them out of Europe last season with a 3-0 aggregate score in the quarter finals, although the Italians were without six of the men who defeated them last season.

On top of that the Serie A champions had to play an injury depleted squad, with Giorgio Chiellini, Sami Khedira, Mario Mandzukic, Benedikt Howedes and Claudio Marchisio were all missing through injury.

Other key players such as Juan Cuadrado was suspended, and right-back De Sciglio was forced off with an injury in the first half, leaving Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri with a very mismatched side.

Still, there is much for Allegri to look ahead as Juve could back themselves to have too much for Olympiacos and Sporting Club in their upcoming group games, while they’ll also fancy their chances at home to Barca. After all, it’s only been barely half a year since Juventus so convincingly beat the Blaugrana en route to the final last season.