Week 38: Best 11 Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

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La Liga has ended for another season. As we knew weeks ago Barcelona are champions and Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid made up  2nd and 3rd places respectively. Valencia grabbed the final Champions League spot from Getafe and Girona joined Huesca and Rayo Vallecano back to the Segunda division.

We take a look below at the final best team of the Spanish league season, who performed the best and were they in your team?

Formation 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Jaume- Valencia

A couple of shot stoppers got the required 7 points but we will give this to Juame since his efforts more than helped Valencia reach the Champions League position by finishing in 4th place. It was also Valencia’s 3rd win in a row.

Defender: Daniel Wass- Valencia

Keeping with Valencia, Wass was part of a defence that kept a clean sheet with a 2-0 win over Valladolid ensuring Champions League football. Wass made some very important interceptions.

Defender: Roberto Rosales-Espanyol

Roberto Rosales picked up a fantastic 9 points at the weekend as he scored Espanyol’s opening game and helped keep a clean sheet. The result gave Espanyol the final spot in the Europa League too.

Defender: Martin Mantovani- Huesca

Huesca are relegated but Martin Mantovani had a weekend to remember. Huesca beat Leganes 2-1 and Mantovani came off the bench to get 2 goals and win the game for his club, that’s no mean feat for a defender who hadn’t been in good form.

Defender: Marc Bartra- Real Betis

Real Betis stunned Real Madrid at the Bernabeu as they beat them 2-0 in the final game of the season. Bartra kept  a clean sheet which is rare away to Madrid and should be applauded and did fantastically well.

Midfielder: Adri Embarba- Rayo Vallecano

Adri Embarba has made a few team of the weeks and that is good going for a player that plays for the bottom club. They drew 2-2 against Celta Vigo with Embarba getting the first goal and then assisting in the second.

Midfielder: Carlos Soler- Valencia

Carlos Soler earned 6 points as he scored the first goal as Valencia beat Valladolid 2-0 to finish in 4th place. Soler has 31 points overall from 27 games played and that was just his 2nd goal of the season.

Midfielder: Victor Sanchez- Espanyol

Espanyol made it to the final Europa League spot on the final day of the season and some of that success was down to Sanchez who assisted in both goals in their 2-0 victory, to earn 5 points.

Midfielder: Daniel Parejo-Valencia

Parejo has been one of the stalwarts and make up of Valencia’s team for some time and he was able to earn 4 points at the weekend and squeeze into the team of the weekend as Valencia beat off Getafe to finish in 4th place.

Striker: Iago Aspas- Celta Vigo

Iago Aspas is the 5th best striker in fantasy la liga and he scored both of Celta Vigo’s goals when they drew 2-2 with Vallecano. What was impressive is that they were 2-0 down with just ten minutes to play.

Striker: Lionel Messi- Barcelona

Of course it’s that man again, the one and only Lionel Messi who rounds off the best players of the weekend on the final day of the season. Messi scored another 2 goals as Barcelona drew their final game away to Eibar finishing 2-2. It was Messi’s 36th goal of the season.

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Why successful Ernesto Valverde has to leave Barcelona

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For almost any other club there would be no question that Ernesto Valverde would be staying with them- after all if Barcelona win the Copa del Rey this weekend then in 2 seasons he would have won 2 doubles, and 5 trophies, that is more than fantastic. And yet if Barcelona do sack Valverde whatever the outcome of the Spanish cup final there should be no surprises.

The reason is simple enough, under his guidance Barcelona have not been able to win the Champions League and it is the trophy alongside La Liga that teams such as Barcelona crave for each season.

Barcelona have not won the Champions League since 2015, which for most clubs wouldn’t be a problem, be for Barca they are not most clubs and each one of those 4 defeats since has hurt. Two of them were under the watch of Valverde and that is a huge reason why he could be given his marching orders at the end of this month.

Last season in the quarter finals of the Champions League Barcelona were paired with Roma and there wasn’t expected to be any problems. The first leg in Spain confirmed that as Barca beat Roma 4-1. But in Italy the players froze once Roma scored first and the Italians went on to claim a 3-0 victory and go through to the semi-finals on away goals. It was a huge shock, not so much to be beaten by Roma, but the way that it had happened. On top of that Roma were then knocked out by Liverpool a team who understand how European football works. Liverpool didn’t just beat Roma, mind. They pulverised them, much like Barcelona fans thought this is what Lionel Messi and co would do to Roma. Liverpool scored 7 against them en route to the final.

This season Barcelona had reached the semi-finals and were now paired with Liverpool, Roma’s conqueror’s from the season before. While Liverpool played well in the first leg of Spain some Messi magic ensured that Barcelona won that game 3-0. All is well, well no it wasn’t, had Valverde not learned to motivate his team differently? He was taking his side to Anfield one of the most difficult grounds and atmospheres for teams to go to. When Liverpool scored early the game seemed to drift away from Barcelona and of course we know the rest, Liverpool came back, won 4-0 and sent Barcelona and Valverde shockingly out again. Not the teams, the result, rinse and repeat.

Valverde is a really good coach, you don’t get the job at Barca if you are not. However he keeps coming up short when the games really matter in Europe. And so if he is sent packing it shouldn’t come as a shock. If nothing else Barcelona need a new face, a freshen up, and they could be set to get that this summer.

Week 36: Best 11 Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

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It was a weekend in La Liga where Barcelona lost only their 3rd game of the season as coach Ernesto Valverde rightly rested the majority of his team ahead of the clubs 2nd leg semi final Champions League match against Liverpool. Barcelona have already won the league and Celta Vigo defeated the club 2-0 which in turn boosted their survival hopes for this season.

Atletico Madrid also lost but they will finish in 2nd place as Real Madrid will not be able to catch them. The real amazing story to emerge from Spain is Getafe who are still on course to finish in the top 4 and make the Champions League. Below we take a look at the best 11 players from this past weekend in La Liga- were they in your team?

Goalkeeper: Ruben Blanco- Celta Vigo

A few goalkeepers picked up 7 points but a lot of credit needs to go to Celta Vigo’s Ruben Blanco who was able to keep a clean sheet against the mighty Barcelona. Barca did not play their strongest team but even their second string is good enough for a top  4 place and Blanco did very well as his club won 2-0.

Defender: Dimitri Foulquier- Getafe

Getafe kept up their top 4 hopes and Champions League qualification dreams by beating Girona 2-0 at home. Foulquier assisted in the first goal and was part of a strong defence that also kept a clean sheet to earn 7 points. The player is valued at just 3.5m and is 11th in the rankings for defenders.

Defender: Jose Angel- Eibar

Jose Angel has just 25 points this season but 8 have been earned this past weekend as Eibar earned a 1-0 win against Real Betis. It was the clubs 2nd successive clean sheet of the season.

Defender: Damian Suarez- Getafe

Damian Suarez is part of Getafe’s defence who did so well to help his team keep yet another clean sheet and give them a 3 point gap to their rivals. It was a fantastic display. Suarez has earned 46 points this season and is valued at 7.5m.

Defender: Bruno- Getafe

Another Getafe defender, Bruno was amongst the best and earned 6 points this past weekend. He has 41 points and is valued at 6m and was simply a rock in defence.

Midfielder: Jose Campana- Levante

What a weekend for Jose Campana who earned 7 points but it could have been much more as his team won 4-1. He opened the scoring and assisted in 2 more goals, but failure for a clean sheet and then getting booked brought down his points. Still one of the players of the weekend in La Liga.

Midfielder: Enis Bardhi- Levante

Incredibly the midfielders of the league did not score many points to get into this team. Bardhi highlights this case with just 4 points earned as Levante won 4-1 at the weekend. Bardhi scored the fourth and last goal of his clubs vital victory and he can be bought for 7.5m.

Midfielder: Ryad Boudebouz- Celta Vigo

Veteran player Ryad Boudebouz was able to celebrate a very rare victory over Barcelona as Celta Vigo beat the champions. Boudebouz assisted in the opening goal and from there on in there was only ever going to be one winner. The player has amassed 18 points this season from 12 starts.

Midfielder: Gonzalo Melero- Huesca

Gonzalo Melero earned 4 points this past weekend as Huesca were destroyed at home 6-2 against Valencia. The only bright moment for the player is that he came off the bench and within minutes had scored for his club to give the home fans something to cheer about. Melero is valued at 6m.

Striker: Santi Mina- Valencia

Santi Mina was a sheer delight at the weekend and picked up a brilliant 12 points as Valencia beat bottom club Huesca 6-2 away from home. Mina scored 2 and then assisted in 2 and had pretty much the perfect game. Mina is valued at 7m and has scored 6 times this season, but recent form has been devastating.

Striker: Mariano- Real Madrid

The 25 year old Mariano started just his 5th game for Real Madrid as they beat Villarreal 3-2 and the player justified his selection by Zinedine Zidane by scoring two goals and helping Real to all three points. He is valued at 9m.

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Zidane offers a new lifeline for Real Madrid after chaotic season

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Zinedine Zidane’s return to Real Madrid as coach has been well documented but once the dust has settled, the press conferences taken place and the excitement dissipated what Madrid fans needed and owner Florentino Perez was a reaction from what has been on the large part a dismal season for Los Blancos. That reaction came at the weekend after a solid 2-0 win at home to Celta Vigo.

It was a relief win because anything else would have felt like a comedown after the high of Zidane returning or even worse a continuation of Santiago Solari’s leadership. In truth Solari was offered a dream job and took it but was in no position to take it up, and he shouldn’t be completely blamed for what has been a forgettable season.

So what will be Zidane’s objective until the end of the season? First and foremost his job will be to install a winning mentality again, that of invincibility and it is obvious that his players are thrilled that he is back in the dug out. Giving Zidane those 10 matches or so until the end of the season was a smart choice from Perez as it gives Zidane a feel for the role again before more serious issues of having a smooth pre season and then a serious next one.

But the issue of this season will be trying to finish in 2nd place and the runners up spot to Barcelona. With Atletico Madrid losing 2-0 at Bilbao at the weekend Madrid have been able to close the gap on Diego Simeone’s side to just 2 points and it is clear that with Zidane stepping in Real now has the drive to progress.

Neither Atletico or Real will be catching Barcelona this season who have taken a 10 point lead at the top with 10 games remaining. In theory it’s up for grabs but the way that Barcelona have been playing they would have to suffer one of the biggest meltdowns in their history and that seems simply too unlikely.

But who can get 2nd place? And make no mistake 2nd place is important to Real Madrid in a season when if they finish 3rd simply seems odd. Atletico still have some very tough matches including having to play Barcelona away from home and it seems that these two who have been in many battles before are about to under go another one, albeit one which is less glamourous.

Week 28: Best 11 Players in Fantasy La Liga

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Week 28 in La Liga saw Barcelona extend their lead at the top of the standings to 10 points after they destroyed Real Betis 4-1 whilst Atletico Madrid lost at Athletic Bilbao. Zinedine Zidane’s spectacular return to Real Madrid saw the club win 2-0 as their objective will be to finish as runners up. Below we take a look at the best 11 players who performed over this past weekend.

Goalkeeper: Iago Herrerin

Athletic Bilbao’s Iago Herrerin gets the vote for best goalkeeper of the weekend not only picking up 7pts but because the opposition was Atletico Madrid who are in 2nd place and this was the first time that they could not score a goal in over a month with Herrerin keeping a clean sheet. Herrerin is 4th in the goalkeeper standings and can be bought for just 5m.

Defender: Marcelo

Marcelo has been the forgotten player at Real Madrid starting just 13 games this season. But with the return of Zidane, he is back and got the most points for a defender this week with 7. Not only did he help keep a clean sheet in Real Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Celta Vigo but he assisted in Gareth Bale’s goal. Marcelo can be brought into your team for 8m and could well return as a regular under Zidane’s wing.

Defender: Sergio Ramos

Ramos was disciplined for Real Madrid’s latest victory and needed to be as yellow cards and reds has frequently lost him points. But he put in a solid mature display and picked up 5pts at the weekend. He is valued at 9m and is 3rd in the defender rankings.

Defender: Vitorino Antunes

Antunes was one of the best defenders in La Liga for week 28 and picked up 5pts with his club Getafe who drew 0-0 with Valencia. It was  a massive result as it kept Getafe in 4th place. He has been solid all season and is just 6m to buy.

Defender: Damian Suarez

The reason that Getafe have conceded just 24 goals this season is mostly down to Suarez’s leadership at the back. And he earned 5pts by keeping Valencia quiet. The player can be brought into your team for 8.5m.

Midfielder: Portu

Portu, the Girona midfielder had a weekend to remember as he scored both goals in his teams 2-0 win over Leganes. He earned a whopping 10pts at the weekend by doing so and his team kept a clean sheet. He is 9th in the rankings for midfielders and can be brought in for 8.5m which looks a bargain.

Midfielder: Mario Suarez

Mario Suarez scored Rayo Vallecano’s only goal to earn 4pts at the weekend despite his team losing 3-1 to Villarreal. At the same time Suarez earned amongst the most points of midfielders at the weekend  as he scored his first goal of the season. He is valued at 3m.

Midfielder: Borja

Borja saw his team Girona win 2-0 and move up the table. He has been reliable this season and has scored a few goals with some assists. He could be a shrewd transfer and comes in at 7m.

Midfielder: Adrian Januzaj

Januzaj scored the opening goal for Real Sociedad which ended up earning his team a point and moving into 10th spot. He is valued at 6.5m and assists more (3 this season) than scores, and this was his first goal of the season. But with 4pts he has made the team of the week.

Striker: Lionel Messi

No player even comes close to the great Lionel Messi this week as he scored a fantastic hattrick against Real Betis to earn a whopping 14pts. He now has 143pts in Fantasy La Liga standings and is 60pts ahead of 2nd placed Luis Suarez. If you can afford him Messi will unsurprisingly set you back 20m.

Striker: Karl Toko Ekambi

Villarreal have struggled this season but perhaps Ekambi has found his scoring boots as the forward scored twice at the weekend against Vallecano. His goals could save the club from relegation. He has 6 goals this season and can be snapped up for 6m.

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Week 27: Best 11 Fantasy Players in La Liga

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Week 27 of Span’s La Liga season didn’t see much movement at the top as all of the top 4 sides won their respective games. Only Atletico Madrid have a chance of catching Barcelona now and they are still 7 points adrift of Lionel Messi and co. Below we take a look at the players that performed the best over the weekend.

Goalkeeper: Sergio Asenjo

Villarreal’s 2-0 win over Levante away from home at the weekend was huge as it lifted the team out of the relegation zone. Asenjo made some critical saves and kept a clean sheet to get into this team. He is ranked as the 9th best keeper this season in la liga fantasy even though his team are 17th which says a lot about his overall value to the team and perhaps he is a snip to keep up his form at 7m.

Defender: Victor Ruiz

Ruiz has not performed so well this season but was part of a Villarreal team that needed to win at the weekend and held firm to keep a clean sheet and earn 5pts. He is valued at 7m.

Defender: Santiago Arias

Santiago Arias makes our cut again as he was part of an Atletico Madrid side who claimed a clean sheet at home against Leganes. Arias has been one of the best defenders in La Liga this season and is currently ranked in 3rd place, his value is 8.5m

Defender: Aissa Mandi

Mandi has been solid for Real Betis at the back for the past few seasons and the youngster who used to play for Reims was part of  a defence that kept  a clean sheet against Celta Vigo to earn 5pts in La Liga fantasy he is currently just outside the top 10 standings.

Defender: Juan Torres

Torres led the line for Atletico once again and remains an integral part of the squad. Goalkeeper Jan Oblak has become very reliant on him as his team once again kept  a clean sheet to put the pressure on Barcelona. Torres is just 5m if you want to add him to your squad and earned another 5pts at the weekend.

Midfielder: Luka Modric

The Real Madrid and world player of the year shot into life v Rayo Valladolid and his team needed him as they romped home 4-1. Modric got on the score sheet to earn himself 4pts and his confidence took a major boost. He is valued at 8m.

Midfielder: Sarabia

There is no better midfielder in Spain than Sarabia who heads our La Liga midfielder fantasy points and he added another 4pts as he scored for Sevilla in their fantastic 5-2 win over Real Sociedad to keep the club in the hunt for a European finish. He is valued at 7m which looks like a bargain and is a massive 14pts ahead of 2nd place.

Midfielder: Daniel Parejo

The Valencia stalwart sits in 2nd place in the fantasy La Liga standings and earned 4pts at the weekend with his club as they beat Girona in a classic 3-2 match. He is valued at 8.5m.

Midfielder: Santiago Carzola

Carzola assisted the vital goal which helped his club Villarreal to a win and climbed out of the danger zone also. Carzola is 8th in the standings and valued at just 5.5m which looks like a good buy.

Striker: Wissam Ben Yedder

We don’t have to look further than Ben Yedder for our striker of the week after the forward scored a magical hat trick against Real Sociedad in the clubs 5-2 win and earned a massive 14pts in the process. He is ranked 3rd in La Liga fantasy striker and just 3pts behind Luis Suarez. Ben Yedder’s value is 7m.

Striker: Karim Benzema

The Real Madrid forward needed a game like this after a bad couple of weeks for his side. Madrid beat Vallecano 4-1 and Benzema looked back to his best scoring 2 goals and then assisting for Modric to score the 4th and final goal. He is valued at 10m and earned 10pts.

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Best 11 fantasy players in La Liga over the weekend

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It was another competitive weekend in Spain’s La Liga which saw Barcelona win El Clasico over Real Madrid and stretch their lead over them. Below we take a look at the top performing players in Spain and how they affected, the European Fantasy League La Liga points tables over the weekend.

Formation 4-4-2

Goalkeeper- Marc ter Stegen- Barcelona

ter Stegen gets the vote as goalkeeper of the week as he made some crucial saves in the biggest game in Europe to keep a clean sheet away to Real Madrid a Barcelona went 7 points clear at the top of La Liga. In the process ter Stegen earned 7 points.

Defender- Diego Godin – Atletico Madrid

At 33 years old Diego Godin is one of the best defenders in the league and with 6 points earned last weekend he gained the most points of any one in the back four. Atletico won their match 2-0 and he was part of a team that kept a clean sheet ensuring his club remain in 2nd place and look more secure for a Champions League place now.

Defender- Gerard Pique – Barcelona

Gerard Pique again was a rock in the Barcelona defence who were collectively very impressive when they played their great rival Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. And he earned 5 points in the process to be amongst the best defenders of the weekend.

Defender – Jordi Alba- Barcelona

A defender who isn’t afraid to come forward and Alba of course was part of the Barcelona team to keep yet another clean sheet. Always rock solid at the weekend and earning 5 points just like his teammate Pique.

Defender- Santiago Arias – Atletico Madrid

Arias earned the same points as some of the best defenders in La Liga and he put in a storming display as part of the Atletico back four, earning 5 points and keeping a clean sheet as his team beat Real Sociedad away from home 2-0. Arias at 27 is making his debut season for the club but has now become a regular.

Midfielder- Ivan Rakitic- Barcelona

Ivan Rakitic scored the goal that sealed Barcelona’s win over Real Madrid and the player in the process earned 6 points which gave him the most points for a midfielder this weekend in the fantasy league. He is currently in 12th position overall with 32 points.

Midfielder- Santiago Carzola- Villarreal

Carzola has proved yet again at the weekend why he is 9th overall in the fantasy standings for a midfielder. Despite Villarreal losing 2-1 to Alaves, Cazorla scored a penalty and earned vital points.

Midfielder- Sergi Roberto- Barcelona

Some are saying it was tactical brilliance from Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde to switch his players up and put Sergi Roberto in for the match v Real Madrid. It held the ball up very well and was part of a team that kept Madrid without a goal and linked up play well assisting Ivan Rakitic for the only goal of the game was the icing on top.

Midfielder- Takashi Inui- Alaves

Inui was superb as Alaves beat Villarreal 2-1 at the weekend and it was the Japanese midfielder who got the winner and earned 4 points at the weekend to be included in the best 11 performers.

Forward- Christian Stuani- Girona

Christian Stuani is 5th in the overall standings with a fantasy transfer value of 8.5m and he earned amongst the top points at the weekend with 8. He scored both goals as Girona beat Vallecano 2-0 away from home.

Forward- Alvaro Morata- Atletico Madrid

Along with Christian Stuani, Alvaro Morata was the highest performing forward of the weekend with 8 points. Morata has quickly settled into his loan deal from Chelsea, is valued at 8m and he scored 2 goals in the space of 3 minutes to give his team the win.

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Pound for Pound are Real Betis the best team in La Liga this season?

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It’s been very routine for clubs such as Real Betis to have a few good games and then fade away, but this season the team from the south seem to have more staying power and have made a real impact on La Liga this season.

La Liga has been very exciting this season, mostly because Barcelona and Real Madrid have not had it all their own way. While Barcelona do lead the league they only do so by 3 points over Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid have had their own problems with the sacking of Julen Lopetegui after a nightmare start to the season. Santiago Solari was drafted in but the team don’t feel like classic, solid and reliable Madrid the team we have come to know over the past five years. That is because Zinedine Zidane left the club last summer and so did Cristiano Ronaldo. Real are in 4th place and there is a chance that they could miss out on automatic qualification for next seasons Champions League, that is unless they win the competition for an historic 4th time in a row.

But back to Betis who are in 6th place and just three points behind Madrid and while a title challenge is beyond them the club will be trying to reach a European place finish. Currently they are already there and set for Europa League football next season but if they could finish in the top 4 that would be good enough for Champions League football and they are just one win from achieving that. Of course there is a long time to go and we are not even at the halfway stage yet in Spain but this season Betis seem like a different beast from last.

Before the Christmas break Betis stunned Barcelona by becoming the first team to beat them in the league at the Nou Camp for 2 years and they are currently on a 4 game unbeaten streak with 3 of those matches being wins. To understand why Betis have changed for the better this season we must look at their coach Quique Setien.

Setien joined the club last season and has won 31 of his 65 games in charge so far to give him a 47.6% win rate. Whilst it is true that Setien has never won any managerial honours in his 17 years as a boss he has also never had the opportunities mostly coaching teams in La Liga 2.

One wonders how far he can take Betis, a European finish which is currently on and a deep run in the Copa del Rey would be a successful season for the club who usually fade away in the second half of the season, this is something that Setien will be determined to change in 2019.

Awards forgotten man Lionel Messi receives Europe’s golden boot

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It has been a rather odd year for Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Despite winning another Spanish league, scoring fantastic goals and winning the domestic double, Messi surely still the worlds best football player was overlooked for all the major awards this year. This culminated in the Ballon d’Or award where he placed only 5th, in what had to be seen as quite laughable.

Still some things were put right for the Argentinian play maker who picked up his 5th golden shoe this week, in celebration for his 34 goals in La Liga last season. He fended off Liverpool’s Mohamad Salah who scored just 2 less last season in the Premier League.

In winning the award Messi had this to say: “I love football, but when I started I didn’t expect all this. My dream was to be a professional player. This is thanks to the hard work and effort I have put in, and above all to my teammates. I have the best players in the world at their positions playing beside me.” Messi again was evidently very humble in receiving the award and of course it didn’t go unnoticed that he has now pulled one clear of golden boots from Cristiano Ronaldo who is now plying his trade at Juventus.

This award would have been a satisfying conclusion to 2018 where Messi was disregarded for awards over other players such as Luka Modric who won every gong going. It is true that Modric won the Champions League and reached the World Cup final with Croatia where Messi failed in both competitions. And whilst nobody is saying that Messi should have been accepted as the world’s best player it still felt odd not even recognising his greatness with a top 3 spot.

It should be noted that after yet another hattrick at the weekend Messi now has 14 goals in 14 games and in all competitions he has already scored 20 goals. It seems that Messi wants the very best awards in 2019 and he is certainly going about it the right way. Barcelona look on course to win the league where they have sprinted 5 points clear of great rival Real Madrid, as Messi looks to win his 10th Spanish title. He has also voiced his opinion over the Champions League and will be looking to win that competition for the 5th time in his career after wins in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015.

What should be for sure is that if Messi continues at this rate no awards will be able to shun his greatness next year.

 

Umtiti’s selfishness could cost Barca

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Samuel Umtiti is going to have ‘conservative’ treatment on his persistent knee problems in a bid to cure them, rather than resorting to surgery.

The Barcelona centre-back has clearly been short of his best this season, and one can deduce that it’s due in no small part to those ongoing issues.

To that end, it’s surprising that the French World Cup winner, when the problem first became apparent, didn’t immediately go under the knife and ensure the problem was resolved once and for all. Continue reading