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Barcelona vs Real Madrid, La Liga: Final Score 1-3, Barça fall apart in second half, lose El Clásico - Barca Blaugranes
A painful defeat.
Barcelonas slow start to the La Liga season continues as the Blaugrana lost 3-1 to Real Madrid at Camp Nou in the first El Clásico of the season. Barça played well in the first half, feel apart in the second after a controversial penalty for Los Blancos and lost three points at home to their biggest rivals. FIRST HALF Barça made a very slow start to the game and paid for it just five minutes in, when a terrible defensive breakdown left Federico Valverde all alone inside the box to give Madrid the lead. Barça quick woke up after conceding and instantly equalized after a brilliant pass from Lionel Messi, and assist for Jordi Alba and a tap-in from Ansu Fati. After just eight minutes the game already had two goals, and the fun continued after that. Barça pressed very high up the pitch looking to recover the ball and create chances, and they had a big one on a counter attack that ended with Messi on a one-on-one situation with Thibaut Courtois, who made a brilliant save. In the very next play, Neto stopped Karim Benzema, and we came very close to a 2-2 score in the first 25 minutes. The game slowed down a bit after that in terms of chances, but both teams were intense and traded periods of dominance in attack, and the two sides were solid enough in defense to avoid any more trouble at the back. At halftime, a very entertaining game was all square and clearly up for grabs ahead of the final period. SECOND HALF The second half started very much like the first ended, with both teams doing a good job of stopping each other, though Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho had a couple of really good chances but couldnt hit the target. Fifteen minutes into the period, the controversy: Lenglet pulled Sergio Ramos shirt inside the box, Ramos threw himself to the ground to try and earn a penalty, and it was given after a VAR review. Ramos scored from the spot, and Madrid that the lead. Barça needed a response but couldnt create any danger, and Ronald Koeman refused to make any substitutions until the 80th minute when a trio of attacking players came on to try and score the equalizer. Nothing happened, desperation kicked as Neto had to make three amazing saves to keep Barça alive, and time was quickly running out. Then Luka Modric scored Madrids third, and the game was over. The final whistle came, and Barça have just seven points after five La Liga matches. And theyve lost El Clásico. My weekend is ruined. Yay. Barcelona: Neto; Dest, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba (Braithwaite 87); Busquets (Trincão 81), De Jong; Pedri (Dembélé 81), Messi, Coutinho; Fati (Griezmann 81) Goal: Fati (8) Real Madrid: Courtois; Nacho (Vázquez 43), Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Valverde (Modric 69), Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio (Rodrygo 81), Benzema, Vinicius Goals: Valverde (5), Ramos (62 pen.), Modric (90)
Argentina vs Ecuador, World Cup Qualifiers: Final Score 1-0, Messi scores winner in hard-fought battle - Barca Blaugranes
The captain is off and running in the Qualifiers
Argentina kicked off their South American Qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Ecuador at an empty La Bombonera, thanks to a first-half penalty from Lionel Messi. The game wasnt very fun to watch and Argentina werent even close to their best, but they earned three important points at home. FIRST HALF This was a classic South American World Cup Qualifier: lots of physicality, very little entertainment. Both teams kicked the living hell out of each other, there was no rythm to any attacks, and while Argentina had more of the ball and spent more time on Ecuadors half, it is hard to say they were the better team. But they took the lead early in the half after Lucas Ocampos was fouled inside the box and Lionel Messi buried the penalty kick with confidence. Messi was active and tried to link up with teammates, but apart from the goal he scored the captain couldnt really create any real danger. At halftime, Argentina had the lead but Ecuador were starting to threaten, and the game still looked up for grabs ahead of the second half. SECOND HALF The final period was more of the same, despite Argentina changing to a back three looking add more width to the attack, and that produced a couple of chances but nothing special. Ecuador tried to attack and look for an equalizer but clearly lacked the talent to do so, and Argentina simply looked to hang on for the win in the final minutes. The final whiste came to end a hard-fought battle and an important victory for the Albiceleste, and Messi is off and running in the Qualifiers. Up next for Argentina is a brutal road trip to face Bolivia in crazy altitude, a game they dont usually win. Lets see if theyre up to the challenge and how well Messi can deal with nearly inhuman circumstances. Argentina: Armani; Montiel (Foyth 84), M. Quarta, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Ocampos (Domínguez 84), De Paul, Paredes, Acuña (Salvio 66); Messi, Lautaro (Alario 76) Goal: Messi (13 pen.) Ecuador: Domínguez; Ferigra (Preciado 46), Arboleda, Arreaga, Estupiñán; Gruezo; Ibarra (Plata 64), Franco, Caicedo (Ibarra 79), Mena (Estrada 87); Valencia Goals: None
Barcelona’s Ramon Planes plays down Ousmane Dembele exit rumors - Barca Blaugranes
The Frenchman is generating plenty of headlines
Barcelona technical secretary Ramon Planes has played down rumors concerning Ousmane Dembeles future at the club. There is increasing speculation that Manchester United will try to bring in Dembele before the transfer window closes in Monday. However, Planes insisted that Barcelona are not in talks with the Premier League side and are counting on Dembele for 2020-21. Firstly, there is no negotiation. He is a player we can count on and as Ronald said, we know his potential and I am convinced that he will have a great year with us. However, speculation claims there are talks going on and that Paul Pogba is doing his best to convince Dembele to come to Manchester United. The Red Devils are said to prefer a loan but Barca want to sell. Planes also offered updates on several other players during the news conference to unveil Sergino Dest. He said its likely that Jean-Clair Todibo will leave and that Barca would look for the best solution for Samuel Umtiti.
Messi, Coutinho & Ansu magnificent as Barcelona cut down Celta - Barca Blaugranes
The Blaugranes on a roll
What a start to the season this is turning out to be. From the depths of despair against Bayern to a - whisper it quietly - sparkling new era under Ronald Koeman. Of course, were only two games into the 2020/21 campaign, so lets not get too carried away. However, hearing how Lionel Messi was plugged in according to Sergi Roberto, certainly offers hope that this season will be anything but what we expected three to four weeks ago. The win at Celta, our first at Balaidos since 2015, was well deserved too. Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images In monsoon like conditions at times, Barca played the better football, pressed harder and faster and generally looked as though theyd been playing Koemans 4-2-3-1 a lot longer than they have. Evidently, its a formation that suits them, albeit its a real departure from the 4-3-3 that culers have become used to. The system affords a freedom to Messi and Philippe Coutinho, and how different does the Brazilian look now that hes being played in his rightful position?! He has to go some way to start paying back the 160m, but at this point, Id rather dwell on the positives than looking back. Ansu Fati continues to impress and delight in equal measure too. If the Blaugranes can stay relatively injury free over the course of the next few weeks, theres no reason why a decent lead at the top of La Liga cant be built up. Real Madrid are stuttering through matches, ditto Atleti, and if Sevilla can be dispatched on Sunday, then a difficult opening trio of games will have been negotiated perfectly. Im not sure anyone wouldve predicted that. Away from on-pitch matters, the vote of no confidence appears likely to get to the second stage at least. Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images If a new president was to be elected in the next few weeks rather than in six months, it would be a brave man to remove Koeman if Barca are still as sprightly and aggressive as they have been in their opening two league games. There is certainly a form of respect there now for the Dutchman from Messi, even if its nothing more than a business arrangement. Thats vital as Barca look to go into the Champions League group stages in the best possible shape. A winner in the European competition last season, Coutinhos form could also be crucial in how deep into the competition the team could go this season. Therell be bumps along the way for this team, of that therell be no doubt, but Im willing to bet that this will end up being a season to savour.
FC Barcelona News: 28 September 2020; Barça dominate Villarreal, Alexander Isak becomes newest transfer target - Barca Blaugranes
A round-up of the latest Barcelona news and transfer rumors
FC Barcelona v Villarreal: Four-midable (4-0) - FC BarcelonaBarça started the first official match of Ronald Koemans tenure on the front foot, pegging Villarreal back at every opportunity. Ansu Fati, the 'MVP' of Barça's debut fixture in LaLiga 20/21 - FC BarcelonaAnsu Fati began the 20/21 LaLiga season with his goalscoring instincts intact. The young Barça forward, now a first-team player and wearing his new No.22, was key in FC Barcelona's victory against Villarreal (4-0). The week ahead... with two games - FC Barcelonan Thursday, Barça will travel to Vigo to face Celta (9.30pm CEST) at Balaídos, and on Sunday they will receive a visit from Sevilla at the Camp Nou (9.00pm CEST). Here is the full schedule for the week Ronald Koeman hints at key role for Ansu Fati in 2020-21 - Football EspanaBarcelona manager Ronald Koeman is confident Ansu Fati can play a key first team role this season, but called for calm over the 17-year olds development. Lionel Messi will stay at Barcelona if club win trophies this season - Sergi Roberto - Football EspanaLionel Messi may be persuaded to stay at Barcelona beyond this season if the club win trophies this campaign, believes Sergi Roberto. Arsenal's Aubameyang: Barcelona among clubs I rejected to sign new deal - ESPNPierre-Emerick Aubameyang has said he rejected multiple offers to leave Arsenal this summer, including one from Barcelona, but was convinced to stay by manager Mikel Arteta and his relationship with the club's supporters. Transfer Talk: Barcelona turn to Isak as Suarez replacement - ESPNBarcelona are looking to sign Real Sociedad forward Alexander Isak as coach Ronald Koeman works to strengthen in attack after longtime striker Luis Suarez made the high-profile move to Atletico Madrid, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Neymar and Cesc Fabregas support Lionel Messi’s Barcelona criticism - Barca Blaugranes
The captain has hit out after Luis Suarez departed
There are some hurt feelings when it comes to Luis Suarez and his transfer out of Barcelona. In particular, one Lionel Messi was pretty frustrated, to say the least, with his friends move to rival Atletico Madrid. That frustration boiled over in an Instagram post that had a bit of a message for the much maligned Josep Bartomeu and the board. Nothing surprises me anymore. Messi | Source There were some interesting comments on the post from old Barca players. Two in particular were Neymar and Cesc Fabregas. Neymar commented on the post saying Incredible how they do things. Cesc added some clapping emojis to show his agreement with Messi. Dani Alves joined the fray too. He wrote: Unfortunately, that is reality from a long time. It is only confirmed year after year! Its not about winning or losing, we know a lot about that, its about respect and they dont know that [about that]! Keep it up, somehow were there. Safe to say the frustration wont be easily calmed.
Goodbye, Suarez: Gone but never forgotten at Barcelona - Barca Blaugranes
Barcelona bids farewell to a true legend
The word legend is a word thats often overused in football. Many fans randomly throw that word out whenever a player excites them, or whenever a player stays at a club for a long time. The truth is a player can spend 20 years at a team and not be considered a legend; look at Chelsea, in 2018 their longest-serving player was a man who never made a first-team appearance in his career. Of course, it goes the other way too; David Villa, a man who inscribed his name in Barca history, only played in the Camp Nou for three years, and Pep Guardiola, arguably our best manager of all time, was only manager for four. There are many different qualifications and aspects which define a legend, and not all stars fit that description. Luis Suarez, though? He is a Barcelona legend, in every sense of the word. Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images Luisito - you joined us as an unknown, a gamble; to some, a risk not worth taking. Fresh off yet another disciplinary incident in the 2014 World Cup and a four-month ban, they said we were crazy to bring such a volatile player to the greatest club in the world. Those are probably the same ones who said Leo Messi was too small to make it in the big leagues. I will never forget your first match, having not played in months, playing out of position, and still getting an assist in your first-ever Clasico. I will never forget your first goal, that beautiful turn and finish against APOEL, something wed see so many more times. I will never forget your first Clasico goal, that incredible ball from Dani Alves, controlled and finished impeccably. I will never forget the time you sent David Luiz back to Benfica with those two Champions League goals, and the winner in the final. I will never forget the joy of watching the MSN play, the pure joy these three best friends brought to my heart. Long story short, I will never forget any of the memories you made here; the sharp turns and dribbles, the deceptive touch and inventiveness, the otherworldly volleys, the beast-like pressing, the link-up play with Messi and Neymar, the immaculate finishing, the list goes on. Photo by Marcus Brandt/picture alliance via Getty Images You never ceased to amaze, never ceased to inspire, and never seized to impress the Barcelona fans. Every time you stepped on the pitch, we all knew whatever happened, wed be entertained. Suarez leaves as the third top scorer in Barcelona history, with 198 goals and 109 assists in less than 300 matches, above a player like Laszlo Kubala. In just six years, he outscored legends who spent over a decade at the club. His goalscoring record is simply outstanding. Managing to win Golden Boot with both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in their prime is an underrated achievement, and he certainly wouldve won the Ballon dOr had he not played in the same era as both. Yes, his exit comes a few years too late, and yes, he is no longer the same self-sufficient beast he once was. But Suarez in his prime was a flat-out animal, a man who destroyed the opposition in so many different ways. Coming up against an attack spearheaded by the Uruguayan was a massive challenge for any defender, without even mentioning the rest of the team. When a man as big and strong as him can nutmeg a defender and score from outside the box into the top corner, pull off impossible volleys like its nothing, and still play as a target man with a predatory finishers instinct and create space for his teammates, what can you do? The simple answer is nothing. He was the ultimate complete striker, the greatest No. 9 of his generation. Even as his stamina and speed waned, he still maintained his goalscoring touch, bagging an impressive number of goals for a man who was on the decline. His consistency in front of goal, and in setting up chances for others, has been unmatched in recent Barca history (not counting Messi). Villa, Samuel Etoo, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, all such talented players, but Suarez was more reliable than them all. He should not have been starting the past few seasons, especially for a club with Champions League ambitions, and as we look towards youth he shouldnt be starting now either, but he always gave 100% to his team, that part is unquestionable. The point is, even though we know its the right move, it still hurts to see Suarez go. Why? For the same reason Xavis departure hurt. And Andres Iniestas. And Carles Puyols. Because it always hurts to lose a legend. Messi will probably be affected the most by Suarezs exit. Hell be peeved that they let the former Liverpool man leave but not him, but most of all hell be saddened by the loss of his best friend, his strike partner. Photo by Pablo Morano/MB Media/Getty Images In many ways, the manner of his departure hurts too, gone out the back door. Getting a 60-second phone call saying hes no longer being counted on, having his contract terminated, and leaving without a proper farewell. His last game for the club shouldnt have been the 8-2 humiliation, although he did at least score a nice goal. He shouldve been able to leave on his own terms, given a proper and beautiful sendoff, one that he absolutely deserved. But thats the reality of Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeus incompetence, as well as his boards, and the lack of respect towards the players has been well-documented. While there will be no standing ovation at a packed Camp Nou, the least we can do as fans is appreciate all that hes done for us. Suarez is a warrior, a champion, a hero, and a legend. Our Pistoler - we took a chance on you, and you took a chance on us. Its safe to say both gambles paid off. At the end of the day, all I can say is thank you. Thank you for your drive, your determination, your will to win, and most of all, thanks for being Luis Suarez, the dominant, all-around beast. I wish you the best of luck at Atletico Madrid, where I have no doubt you will thrive. When you return to the Camp Nou, you will be greeted by a massive round of applause (provided there are fans in the stadium), and you will always mean a lot to this historic club and fanbase. Next season, you will not be wearing the Blaugrana colors. But your legacy, that will live on forever. On behalf of Messi, Barcelona, and all Culers around the world, thank you so much and good luck Luisito, you will never be forgotten.
Carles Puyol reacts to Lionel Messi’s return to Barcelona - Barca Blaugranes
The legend is happy to see the captain sticking around for one more season
Lionel Messi is staying at Barcelona for one more season after initially announcing his intentions to leave but having a change of heart after learning he wouldnt be able to leave the club for free. The captain has returned to training and started his preseason under new manager Ronald Koeman, and while it remains to be seen what Messis attitude will be and how he will fit in Koemans plans, its undeniable that Barça will be a better team this season having the GOAT as part of the plans. And Barça legend Carles Puyol agrees, taking to Instagram to send a mesage of optimism to the team and to Culés everywhere. Happy to see you continue to defend Barcelonas shirt. I continue to trust these players and with Leo undoubtedly we are stronger, wrote Puyol. Barça will play their first preseason friendly under Koeman against Nàstic on Saturday.
Barcelona’s Francisco Trincao proud and happy after Portugal debut - Barca Blaugranes
The youngster was a substitute against Croatia
Francisco Trincao says hes happy and proud after making his Portugal debut in Saturdays 4-1 win over Croatia in the Nations League. The European champions were without Cristiano Ronaldo for the game but still put four past the World Cup finalists and hit the post three times in an impressive display. Trincao made his debut in the 78th minute, coming on for Bernardo Silva on what was a memorable night for the 20-year-old. He took to Instagram after the match with a post that read: Very happy for the debut. It is a great pride to be able to represent my country. First game, first win. Trincao will be hoping for more game time on Tuesday in Stockholm against Sweden and will then head back to Barcelona to continue pre-season training with his new club.
Frenkie de Jong very happy to hear Lionel Messi is staying at Barcelona - Barca Blaugranes
The Dutch midfielder has been talking about his captain
Frenkie de Jong was predictably asked about Lionel Messi after the Netherlands 1-0 win over Poland on Friday in the Nations League. The midfielder was understandably happy to hear the Barcelona captain has changed his mind about leaving the club and would be staying for the 2020-21 season. Yes, I read it. Personally I am very happy with it. He is the best player in the world. So if he stays, you are happy. I have not had any contact with people from Barcelona. It became known quite late and we were preparing for the game, but I am very happy with it. It was something between Messi and the club. I have no control over that and I was not in Barcelona, so it makes sense to follow it from a distance. Source | NOS De Jong put in another good showing on Friday for the national side. He played a role in the only goal of the game, scored by Steven Bergwijn, and also hit the post with a low shot. Frenkie de Jongs game by numbers vs. Poland: 100% long pass accuracy 100% ground duels won91% pass accuracy 5 fouls suffered 3/3 dribbles 2/2 tackles 2 key passes A perfect pass to create the goal too. pic.twitter.com/Od3bUVFCNt Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 4, 2020 It was the Netherlands first game since the departure of Koeman to Barcelona. Interim coach Dwight Lodeweges will take charge again for their next match on Monday against Italy.