Match Day Update - Mar 13 15:00 EST
Champions League Starting XI confirmed for Barça vs Milan.
Valdés; Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Alves; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Villa & Pedro.
Abiatti; Abate, Mexes, Zapata, Constant; Ambrosini; Montolivo, Boateng, Flamini, Niang; & El Shaarawy.
FC Barcelona will be looking to overturn a two-goal deficit when they entertain AC Milan in what promises to be a hotly-contested UEFA Champions League Round of 16 stage second leg at Camp Nou on Tuesday.
1) Lionel Messi has played approximately 790 minutes of normal time against Italian teams in his career so far, whereas Ronaldo has played a bit more than 1020 minutes up to now.
2) Messi and Ronaldo both faced Italian teams for the first time in the Champions League in 2005. Although he did not score a goal or made an assist, the then-Barcelona starlet enjoyed a 4-1 win over Udinese; while the Manchester United performer underwent a 1-0 loss against Milan, with only 1 shot in the game. Both players were substituted in their respective games minutes after the hour mark.
3) Messi’s first goal against an Italian team came in his sixth meeting, when he entered the scoring sheet against AC Milan on 23 November 2011. More impressively though, Ronaldo’s first goal against an Italian team came in his fourth meeting—against AS Roma on 10 April 2007. The Portuguese star scored a double in that game, as Manchester United won 7-1.
Bad injuries in the 2005/06 and 2007/08 seasons did not allow Messi to get the best out of the Round of 16. Blows against Chelsea and Celtic respectively restricted the player’s contributions to his team’s operation in the knockout phase of the Champions League.
Nonetheless, the Guardiola era gave the Argentine a new path to follow; one that would let him showcase his abilities and rip rewards without setbacks. In the next lines, we look at 10 moments in which La Pulga dazzled in the Champions League’s Round of 16.
1) Messi vs Celtic (18’) – 20/2/2008
After Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink daringly stole the lead on 16 minutes at Celtic Park through a powerful header, Lionel Messi ensured his side was back on level terms 2 minutes later – netting his very first goal in the UEFA Champions League’s last 16.
The first El Clasico of 2013 between rival clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will be played today in Madrid with a local kick-off time 9:00PM (3:00 PM NY Time). This vital Spanish Cup match will be viewed by millions of soccer fans world-wide. Sports broadcasters are welcoming this extraordinary clash, sure to capture the imagination of the sports world.
Ten of FIFA's 11 best footballers play for these clubs, including player of the year Lionel Messi and runner-up Cristiano Ronaldo. Both are in stunning form leading up to El Clasico with over 50 La Liga goals scored between them already, seven alone in just the last 90 minutes.
The Copa del Rey has become an even more important tournament this year, since it will likely be the only domestic silverware Madrid can win. Many believed that Barcelona could not continue their successful form after the departure of Pep Guardiola at the end of last season, but surprisingly new coach Tito Vilanova has taken the Blaugrana to new heights.
Meanwhile, Valdes has been quick to retort as he told the media according to Tribal Football:
“I want to make it clear that I have not declared anything about my future. When it is time I will.”
However, agent Gines Carvajal was keen to give out more details on this transfer-related matter. Explaining the situation to reporters, he stated:
“We have not sat down to speak to Barca about the future of Victor Valdes. We have talked a couple of times to Zubizarreta and we have let him know that we would like to talk to them about Victor's renovation, but there has been nothing more.
Team News & Analysis
There were doubles for Alexis Sanchez and David Villa on Thursday in Barca’s 5-0 win over Cordoba. Yet, the two forwards could miss the challenge against Los Boquerones for fitness reasons. Following the full availability of newly-crowned Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Pedro – who were all absent in the Copa del Rey this week – the manager is expected to rearrange his front again.
The return of these superstars in Vilanova’s team should alleviate concerns caused by the absence of Sergi Roberto. The central midfielder is expected to miss four weeks of action after picking up a hamstring injury against Cordoba.
Barcelona are widely considered as the best club football team in history having won a record 14 titles out of a possible 19 during the last four years. In fact, the current generation of players is the fruit of the Catalans’ famous academy, La Masia.
Lionel Messi grabbed his fourth Ballon d’Or award on Monday, January 7, 2012. The Argentine is portrayed as the symbol of FC Barcelona's pride.
Messi's unprecedented fourth Ballon d'Or triumph strengthened Barcelona's authority in the chart as the team with the most Ballon d’Or awards. The Blaugrana have produced 10 Ballon d’Or wins compared to Milan and Juventus (8), Real Madrid (6) and Bayern Munchen (5).
In this article, we look at 10 historical and statistical facts, which underline Messi’s greatness in world football.
1) The talisman has scored 303 goals for FC Barcelona overall in official matches and club friendlies as well.
2) The Argentinian star has a total of 319 official goals for both Barca and Argentina.
3) Leo scored a record 73 goals in the 2011/12 season.
4) The 25-year-old is the only player who has topped the UEFA Champions League’s goalscoring chart for 4 consecutive years.
5) Messi is also the youngest player to reach the 200-goal mark – officially breaking that barrier at the age of 24.
El Clasico 2012 is taking place on April 21st at 2:00PM EST. It is likely to be the most watched league football match of modern times with an estimated 400 million viewers expected to tune in around the world.
The stakes have never been higher for a La Liga Clasico match as both teams have almost everything on the line in this Spanish derby, not to mention their pride.
Barcelona have the most to lose without a positive result, which for them can only be a home win. The Catalan side have made it a habit recenty by finding ways to beat the Madrid rivals no matter where the venue, but at home at the Camp Nou, Barça reign supreme.
For Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho, a draw will not hurt their La Liga title ambition. The Portuguese tactician has surely made his calculations that maintaining a 4 point lead will do just fine with only 4 fixtures remaining in the league.
Both Spanish giants come from mid-week European Champions League semi-finals defeats. Barcelona lost to Chelsea 1-0 in London, whereas Madrid lost to Bayern Munich 2-1 away from home. Both Barca and Madrid will be looking to return to winning ways on Saturday.
This article is for the January 18 ad January 25th Clasico Matches from the Copa Del Rey.
Visit Barcelona vs Real… Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - the Champions League semi-final second leg brings us another tense affair as the worlds biggest clubs face off for a chance to play in the Champions League Final. All… Wednesday, April 27, 2011 will be marked in history books as the third Clasico of 2011 and the First of of two of the most anticipated Champions League Semi-Finals to take place. Global… The 2010-11 Copa Del Rey Final - Barcelona vs Real Madrid 2011 After 18 long waiting years, Real Madrid will once again challenge for the Copa del Rey Trophy. Winning the first trophy with a new club is best done as soon as possible so the team can get used to winning ways and silverware. This is a well known strategy Jose Mourinho has now successfully achieved with former clubs FC Porto, Chelsea FC and Inter Milan. This year, Jose Mourinho has found a formidable opponent who stand in his way of all available silverware, not just the Copa Del Rey. Madrid will face Barcelona for the 2nd time in less than a week, but this time it´s not just about avoiding humiliation, there is alot more at stake here. The outcome of the Copa Del Rey Final will set the tone for 2 more Clasicos as both clubs have a date with destiny in the Champions League Semi-final.
Pedro opened the scoring for Barcelona, before Marcelo fired home an equalizer for Los Blancos. Real tried desperately to make the aggregate score closer but spent long spells chasing possession as Barcelona closed out the win n style.
Real started the game strongly with Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo looking particularly threatening. Lionel Messi threatened at the other end for Barca and as the game went on Xavi and Andres Iniesta began to keep possession in familiar fashion.
The 2010-11 UEFA Champions League Clasico - Semi-Final between Barcelona-Madrid Live.
The first 75 minutes of the first leg were largely notable for nothing more than niggling fouls and heated debate. At half-time a brawl as the teams entered the tunnel resulted in Barcelona backup goalkeeper Jose Pinto being shown a red card.
In the second half Real defender Pepe received his marching orders for a lunging foul on Dani Alves. Mourinho was sent to the stands for his furious reaction, and gave a scathing press conference claiming he was “disgusted at the world we live in,” and claimed he would like to see Guardiola win “one clean Champions League.”
The 2010-11 UEFA Champions League Clasico - Semi-Final between Real Madrid vs Barcelona Live.
“I am very happy,” he told Barca TV. “It is the best way to start the New Year and great news for everyone.
“I am feeling full of positive sensations. I am still young, I’m only 22, and I look forward to a career full of success. I am at the best club in the world, and I just hope that the years to come will be like those I have had here so far.”
Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - the Champions League semi-final second leg brings us another tense affair as the worlds biggest clubs face off for a chance to play in the Champions League Final.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 will be marked in history books as the third Clasico of 2011 and the First of of two of the most anticipated Champions League Semi-Finals to take place.
The 2010-11 Copa Del Rey Final - Barcelona vs Real Madrid 2011
After 18 long waiting years, Real Madrid will once again challenge for the Copa del Rey Trophy. Winning the first trophy with a new club is best done as soon as possible so the team can get used to winning ways and silverware. This is a well known strategy Jose Mourinho has now successfully achieved with former clubs FC Porto, Chelsea FC and Inter Milan.
This year, Jose Mourinho has found a formidable opponent who stand in his way of all available silverware, not just the Copa Del Rey. Madrid will face Barcelona for the 2nd time in less than a week, but this time it´s not just about avoiding humiliation, there is alot more at stake here. The outcome of the Copa Del Rey Final will set the tone for 2 more Clasicos as both clubs have a date with destiny in the Champions League Semi-final.