Is Lionel Messi’s career coming to an abrupt end at Barcelona?

It all started in December when Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was sacked, seemingly the decision had fallen to Eric Abidal an ex Barcelona player and now part of the set up at the Catalan giants. The handling was pardon the pun ‘messy’ and it has led to one of the all time great players in football and Barcelona legend Lionel Messi speaking out about the decision.

Abidal has claimed that the players were not playing their best under Valverde (even though they were 1st in the league and had only lost one game at home in 18 months). He then reportedly blamed the players saying that they wanted Valverde out. That was the final straw and Messi snapped. The same Messi who doesn’t snap, who does diplomacy and to be frank it has surprised many in the game.

He wants Abidal to name names if it is true that some players within the squad wanted Valverde out. There has been an ongoing joke that Messi has run the club for the past decade, deciding which coach the club should hire and which players should come in. But it is clear that even if he did have an influence he didn’t here and it is also clear that he very much liked Valverde.

Since Valverde was sacked and replaced by Quique Setien there has clearly been a drop in performance from Barca who have narrowly won games against Granada 1-0 and Levante 2-1 and lost to Valencia. In midweek they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the quarter final stage to Athletic Bilbao. This was deemed a shock although it was softened slightly as Real Madrid stole the headlines by losing at home 4-3 to Real Sociedad.

Now Messi has spoken out the media believe that this could be the beginning of the end for his one time career at Barcelona. Could he really move in the summer? Or will this all blow over? Could Eric Abidal be replaced to ease tensions? Most think that this could be the likely outcome.

Of course Messi has been linked to Manchester City on the one basis that his former coach Pep Guardiola is there. But the fact is Guardiola may not be at the club for more than a few seasons, what would Messi do then? It would be a bold and exciting move though, but Guardiola himself quashed that idea and insisted that Messi belongs in Barcelona and should end his career there.

Surely this can die down and Barcelona can get on with winning trophies? Though there is a chance that they could end the season empty handed. The fall out of the Abidal-Messi argument comes on the eve of the knock out stages of the Champions League starting up again. Also since Valverde was sacked Barcelona have lost top spot to Real Madrid with Zinedine Zidane’s team going three points clear, and of course Barca are out of the Spanish cup.

Can Setien get back control and steer the ship or will he be made to jump? The circus sadly for Barcelona and their fans seems like it is just beginning.

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Fantasy LaLiga picks for this weekend’s action – Madrid derby takes centre stage

This weekend sees another full list of LaLiga clashes as Madrid prepares for the derby when Real host Atleti on Saturday afternoon.

It’s time to look ahead to the upcoming games as you decide on what changes, if any, to make in fantasy LaLiga.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy LaLiga team this weekend.

Goalkeeper – Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao) – 5.5 million

Unai Simon is the third-highest scoring goalkeeper in fantasy LaLiga so far this season but far cheaper than Thibaut Courtois and Jan Oblak. Simon is on 55 points.

Defender – Yuri (Athletic Bilbao) – 3.0 million

The highest-scoring defender is another incredible bargain at just 3.0 million. Yuri is another Athletic Bilbao player.

Defender – Yeray (Athletic Bilbao) – 2.0 million

A good cheap defender and another Athletic Bilbao bargain! Yeray is a great choice for many fantasy LaLiga managers.

Defender – Daniel Carvajal (Real Madrid) – 7.0 million

Daniel Carvajal is enjoying some consistency at right-back this season for Real Madrid and is one of Los Blancos’ cheaper options.

Defender – Diego Carlos (Sevilla) – 6.0 million

Sevilla’s Brazilian centre-half is enjoying a strong season so far with Sevilla.

Midfielder – Daniel Parejo (Valencia) – 8.5 million

Parejo, the Spanish playmaker, having another fine season at the Mestalla.

Midfielder – Ruben Garcia (Osasuna) – 4.5 million

Five goals and one assist from Osasuna’s midfield makes Ruben Garcia one of the surprise packages of the LaLiga campaign so far.

Midfielder – Santiago Cazorla (Villarreal) – 5.5 million

Veteran midfielder Santi Cazorla only returned from long-term injury last season. He has been in great form for Villarreal.

Midfielder – Martin Odegaard (Real Sociedad) – 5.0 million

The 20-year-old Norwegian star who is still owned by Real Madrid has a huge future in the game. Martin Odegaard has performed brilliantly this season.

Forward – Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 20.0 million

Lionel Messi won his sixth Ballon d’Or last week. The Argentine wizard missed the first few weeks of Barcelona’s season. Messi looked to be coming back to his best with two goals in the Copa del Rey during the week.

Forward – Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) – 10.0 million

Karim Benzema is ensuring no-one forgets about him in Zinedine Zidane’s new-ish Real Madrid squad.

Team in full (4-4-2): Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao); Yuri (Athletic Bilbao), Yeray (Athletic Bilbao), Daniel Carvajal (Real Madrid), Diego Carlos (Sevilla); Daniel Parejo (Valencia), Ruben Garcia (Osasuna), Santiago Cazorla (Villarreal), Martin Odegaard (Real Sociedad); Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Total cost: 77.0 million

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Top fantasy LaLiga picks as Barcelona prepare for tough tussle at Valencia

This weekend sees another full list of La Liga clashes as Spanish football’s top flight settles in for the second half of the season.

It’s time to look ahead to the upcoming games as you decide on what changes, if any, to make in fantasy LaLiga.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy LaLiga team this weekend.

Continue reading

Top fantasy La Liga picks for this weekend’s action in Spain

We have another full schedule of LaLiga games coming up in Spain this weekend.

It’s time to look ahead to the upcoming games as you decide on what changes, if any, to make in fantasy LaLiga.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy LaLiga team this weekend.

Continue reading

Fantasy LaLiga picks for this weekend – Messi has to be in

We have another full schedule of LaLiga games coming up in Spain this weekend.

It’s time to look ahead to the upcoming games as you decide on what changes, if any, to make in fantasy LaLiga.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy LaLiga team this weekend.

Goalkeeper – Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao) – 5.5 million Continue reading

Fantasy LaLiga picks for the upcoming weekend’s games

We have another full schedule of LaLiga games coming up in Spain this weekend.

It’s time to look ahead to the upcoming games as you decide on what changes, if any, to make in fantasy LaLiga.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy LaLiga team this weekend.

Continue reading

This weekend’s fantasy LaLiga suggestions

Two rounds in, thirty-six to go. What tales has LaLiga in store for us between now and next May?

It’s time to look ahead to the upcoming games in Spanish football’s top tier as you decide on what changes, if any, to make in fantasy LaLiga.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy LaLiga team this weekend.

Goalkeeper – Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid) – 11.0 million

Always a great choice, Jan Oblak will be confident of another clean sheet against Eibar. Continue reading

Fantasy LaLiga picks for this weekend’s matches

How did your LaLiga fantasy team get on over the opening weekend?

I’m sure, like all of us, you’ll need to make some changes throughout the squad. Well, that’s what we’re here for.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy LaLiga team this weekend.

Goalkeeper – Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao) – 5.5 million

A good budget option, Unai Simon is only half the price of last week’s pick, Jan Oblak. Simon managed a clean sheet against Barcelona so another one is very possible away to Getafe. Continue reading

Barcelona need Messi back as they lose first game of La Liga season against Bilbao

Barcelona don’t usually lose too many games and in recent seasons they have gone 4 or 5 months into the season without a defeat but they opened up their La Liga campaign with a 1-0 loss against Athletic Bilbao last night.

Barca were expected to cruise as ever to a win and pick up three points and though they were the better team having a lot of attacking intent, there was always a feeling with the clock running down and the match still at 0-0 that Bilbao would get their one good chance to put this game to bed, and they did.

It happened in the 88th minute and it wasn’t just any old scrappy goal. No this was a thing of beauty and it was scored by Artiz Aduriz. That the winning goal would go to him was extra special given that he is a legend at Bilbao and he is 38 and probably playing his last season with the club. Nobody beforehand could have written the script and believed that Aduriz would be the matchwinner. For Bilbao the party went into the night and this will be a very special result for them.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid who are expected to challenge Barca this year for the title would have been looking on at that result- could this be one of those seasons where the football doesn’t click for Barca?

Well Lionel Messi wasn’t playing and it is fair to say that at least with his club he is THAT good that when he doesn’t play he is missed. Messi currently has a calf strain and could miss all of the games this month, which is terrible news for the current La Liga champions.

This is when new signing Antoine Griezmann is expected to step up but that didn’t happen and the club will now be focusing on returning back to the Nou Camp, the question though in everyone’s minds afterwards is is this is a one off blip or is it a sign of things to come?

As usual Barca had the more possession bringing in over 70% but at the end of the day they only had 2 shots on target, that simply isn’t good enough.

Barcelona will play Real Betis next weekend at home and that will gage for us just how strong this team will be, they usually score a few goals against them, but Betis have bought well this season including getting in Nabil Fekir who has been brilliant with Lyon for several seasons.

What is clear is that the pressure is now immediately on Barcelona not to drop any more points in the next few months, that is how consistent it can be in Spain, and they will be praying that Messi can come back sooner rather than later.

Top LaLiga Goalkeepers in 2018/19 – Iago Herrerin

Iago Herrerin

Iago Herrerin may not exactly be a household name but Athletic Bilbao’s stopper managed to make it into our top four highest-scoring goalkeepers in LaLiga during 2018/19.

The 31-year-old cost just 5.0 million in fantasy LaLiga and managed to score a total of 49 points throughout the full campaign.

Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona) and David Soria (Getafe) were the only three goalkeepers in all of the Spanish top division to score more LaLiga fantasy points than Herrerin last season. Continue reading