Another timeless record for Barcelona’s Leo Messi

It seems inconceivable to football fans that within 2-3 years we may never see Lionel Messi kick a football again professionally.

The Argentinian might be coming towards the end of a career that mere mortals can only dream about, but that hasn’t stopped him continuing to defy the ravages of time.

Against Valladolid on Saturday, he set another record that may never be beaten. Continue reading

It can still be a successful season for Barcelona

The doom and gloom merchants at the Camp Nou have well and truly been out in force these past few days.

It seems that the way in which Barca squeaked past Espanyol was enough to justify the naysayers’ view that the Blaugrana simply aren’t good enough.

Forget the fact that the Periquitos had at least nine men behind the ball for the most part and were intent on playing on the occasional counter-attack. Continue reading

Griezmann’s dream Barca move has turned into a nightmare

Poor old Antoine Griezmann. What on the face of it was a dream move to Barcelona, has turned into a nightmare.

Against his old club, Atletico Madrid, earlier this week, the €120m man didn’t even get on the pitch until injury time.

That followed a cursory five minutes extra during the previous game against Celta Vigo, a period in which he was at fault for Celta’s late equaliser. Continue reading

Have Barcelona just conceded the La Liga title to Real Madrid?

Real Madrid are now the odds on favourites to win La Liga after Barcelona drew 2-2 at home against Atletico Madrid in an entertaining match.

Barcelona are looking at a hat trick of titles but their fierce rivals Real look like they will stop them. Barca have dominated in Spain of late winning 4 of the last five, in the last decade they have won 7 titles alone.

Whilst Real Madrid have dominated on the European scene in the last decade winning 4 Champions Leagues, including three in a row they have failed mostly on the domestic front. Though in 2017 they broke the Barca stranglehold by winning the title which is, up to this point, coach Zinedine Zidane’s only managerial league title.

At the beginning of the season with Zidane coming back and the soap opera of Gareth Bale will he won’t he leave it was thought that Real were going to experience a season of transition, however they look stun to set everyone if they can wrap up the title this season. It could well go amongst Zidane’s very best achievements of his glittering career given that many thought Madrid could be playing second fiddle to not only Barcelona but Atletico Madrid also.

As it stands Real are top by just one point but they have a game extra to play which takes place on Thursday, July 2nd. It is a home game against Getafe which they will be expected to win with ease.

Win that and they will go 4 points clear with just five games left to play. Barca have been a mess lately where they have drawn 3 of their last four games and dropped vital points. In the game against Atletico there was 3 penalties, one for Lionel Messi but Saul converted 2 goals from the spot for Atletico and that was enough to take 2 points from Barcelona. Indeed Atletico then had a chance to win the game and put even more misery on Barca.

If another clasico remained between the two clubs then the league would not feel as over as it does now. At least then Barca could stake their claim and give it one last try. But the two teams have already met each other. Real’s remaining games all look winnable and yet of course you never quite know what will happen. Lose to Getafe tomorrow and everything changes again. But for now it looks like Real are in the driving seat to win their 34th Spanish title.

 

 

Has Samuel Umtiti played his last game for Barcelona?

Unless Barcelona suffer a spate of injuries in the centre of defence over the next couple of games, it’s hard to see where Samuel Umtiti gets a look in after his horrific performance against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

The Frenchman was once an undisputed starter for the Catalans but hasn’t been the same since sustaining a knee injury which he decided to treat holistically rather than allowing Barca’s club doctors to sort the problem out. Continue reading

What now for PSG star Neymar after the fall out of Covid-19 has hit football?

Neymar has returned to Paris for training and played on a football pitch for the first time in 3 months. And seeing images of him brings up the story of what exactly will happen to Neymar post Covid-19?

Had the pandemic never happened many people believe that this was going to be Neymar’s last season with PSG. It was inevitable that after he would rejoin Barcelona. There have been many rumours that the Brazilian is craving to go back to his former job and hook up with the likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

Whilst Neymar has been a success at PSG he has also missed some key games due to injury and there is a feeling of unfinished business in Paris. After all PSG didn’t make Neymar the world’s most expensive player at over 200 million euros just to win a series of Ligue 1 titles? they were doing that well before he joined.

For PSG recruiting Neymar, much like what Juventus have done with Cristiano Ronaldo was supposed to be the key, the final puzzle and the missing link in winning the Champions League. In that PSG have been unlucky given Neymar’s usual injury flare ups have come at a time when they have been playing in the quarter finals of the competition only to be missing him and getting dumped out of it.

This year seems very different. Many expected Borussia Dortmund to get the better of PSG, not so and PSG were able to knock the German team out and reach the last 8 of the competition. Now all eyes are on PSG, and yet that is when the Covid-19 really struck.

The good news is that football is back and the Champions League will resume in Lisbon, with all games played there in August. And what about PSG and Neymar, they have had lots of time off, can Neymar provide PSG with what they really want and need? What a send off it would be, if Neymar is to leave the club. But no win and he might find himself playing another season in Paris. Win and it is possible to think that PSG and Barcelona could come to an arrangement.

Forget about Barcelona breaking the bank to get him, that won’t happen. And football will be financially affected for years. True big money purchases are still going to be made between the big clubs, but we can and should expect transfers to drop significantly.

Right now Neymar seems a happy person and in a happy frame of mind, that couldn’t be said at the beginning of the season. What we do know is that the next two months will be dedicated to PSG. He has two cup finals to play and then the return of the Champions League- will the fire still be in his eyes?

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com 

Quique Setien isn’t passing his Barcelona audition

There can’t be too many coaches that are given the sack when their team is top of the league, but that’s precisely what happened to Ernesto Valverde earlier this season.

Barcelona’s demanding fan base had been calling for his head for at least 12 months, and the board finally caved into the pressure – at the worst possible moment.

Their choice to replace Valverde was Quique Setien. Continue reading

Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig deserve their chance at Sevilla

Two games, two wins and no goals conceded. The restarted La Liga has gone as well as it could have for Barcelona, but one of their stiffest tests awaits them this Friday night.

Although recent results at Sevilla’s Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan have been favourable to the Catalans, it nonetheless remains one of the more difficult away trips.

If the Blaugranes are able to successfully negotiate that hurdle, with Real Madrid potentially dropping points against Valencia or Real Sociedad either side of Barca’s fixture, it will go some way to determining the destination of the league trophy Continue reading

Martin Braithwaite is the key for Barcelona against Leganes

When Martin Braithwaite signed for Barcelona on an emergency basis earlier in the year, it’s fair to say that a few eyebrows were raised.

A player who had, with respect, a fairly nondescript career to the point before the Catalans had shown an interest in his services, the move for him appeared to be one of desperation.

But the Danish international quickly shut a few mouths. Continue reading

La Liga is back and will kick off with the grand derby when Sevilla take on Real Betis

It’s taken 3 months but La Liga is finally returning after Covid-19 and the first match will take place this Thursday when bitter rivals Sevilla take on Real Betis.

The match between the two teams is called ‘The Grand Derby’ and it is sure to be a good encounter. Of course the edge will be taken off the game given that the league will play out the season behind closed doors with no fans. However the Bundesliga has proved that even without fans games have still been intense. For example goals are still being scored, with plenty of attacks and players are still being booked and cautioned. Of course without the fans it will never be the same, but at the end of the day many fans will be watching the games on television and getting back into the drama of football.

Currently Sevilla are in 3rd place with 47 points and whilst a top two position looks out of reach the club will have to continue to win games to qualify for next seasons Champions League. There is just 2 points between Sevilla in 3rd and Atletico Madrid in 6th position and it is clear that Sevilla have no given right to a top 4 place. As for Real Betis they are in 12th place with 33 points and 9 points behind a Europa League place and losing pace so they will probably need something from this game.

Betis come into the match with mixed form with just 1 win from their last five games although they did win their last match before the pandemic put an end to proceedings. However that victory was a fantastic 2-1 win over Real Madrid. As for Sevilla they are on a 4 game unbeaten run and have lost just two games at home this season.

And who will win La Liga? Only Barcelona and Real Madrid can win the title now and Barcelona have 58 points whilst Madrid are just two points behind on 56. At the weekend Barcelona will be away to Real Mallorca whilst Madrid will take on Eibar at home. Of course both teams will be favourites to pick up all three points but they could also be rusty. However what has been impressive in Germany has been Bayern Munich who have actually looked sharp and fantastic as if the break had never occurred so it will be interesting to see how the two giants in Spanish football react.

The first games back in La Liga will be spread over four days starting on June 11th until Sunday June 14th. The league has another 11 games left to play.