David Villa names Barcelona’s UCL final goal as the best in his career

David Villa names Barcelona's UCL final goal as the best in his career

Remember Barcelona’s third and final goal against Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final? It was the goal that broke millions of hearts as United fans witnessed Lionel Messi and co. lift their fourth European title – and now, David Villa has named it as the most favourite goal of his entire career.

The Spanish legend, who announced earlier this week that he will retire at the end of the ongoing 2019-20 season, revealed in a recent interview with Cadena SER, that the above goal which helped Barcelona win the 2010-11 Champions League, is his most favourite of all time.

Watch the video of the goal right here:

“Because of how important it is, and also, because some choose the most beautiful or most difficult goal… in the end, if you have to find a goal that is both beautiful and very important because of the situation, it has to be the one in the Champions League Final in Wembley,” Villa was quoted as saying.

He further added: “Because of all that it is: a Champions League Final, a rival like Manchester United, a stadium like Wembley, and it was also a really beautiful goal, no?”

“And it gave us a sense of calm. Barcelona were up 2-1, and it was the 3-1 to seal the Champions League trophy. It’s a goal that combines a bit of everything.”

Lionel Messi scored more free-kicks in one game than Cristiano Ronaldo in nearly two years

Lionel Messi scored more free-kicks in one game than Cristiano Ronaldo in nearly two years

Barcelona legend Lionel Messi loves proving why millions of fans consider him the Greatest Of All Time in world football. He did it yet again on Saturday, as he scored two free-kick goals in a single game in the La Liga.

The Argentine talisman scored another goal apart from the two free-kicks, and thereby also equalled ex-Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for LaLiga hat-tricks. Both players have 34 La Liga hat-tricks till date.

Messi scored his 51st and 52nd free-kick goals en-route to his 34th La Liga hat-trick. That further highlights the fact that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is also one of the best free-kick takers in the world, if not the absolute best among them all.

One thing is for sure, however – he is slightly better than Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to free-kicks, as indicated by a rather humorous statistic that emerged after Barcelona’s clash against Celta Vigo.

Take a look at the following tweet:

Apparently, the 32-year-old has scored more free-kick goals in a single game (2) than what the Portuguese legend has managed to score in the last 694 days. o at the Camp Nou – that is nearly two years.

Ronaldo is still looking to score his first free-kick for Juventus since joining them in 2018 July – and he was close to scoring one this week, but Aaron Ramsey interfered just before the ball crossed the goal-line, and by rule, the goal became Ramsey’s and not his.

Shocking – is all that I am able to say at this stage.

Barcelona handed major blow as star player gets ruled out for five weeks following injury

Barcelona handed major blow as star player gets ruled out for five weeks following injury

Barcelona right-back Nelson Semedo became the latest player in the club to pick up an injury, as he suffered a calf problem and got substituted during their clash against Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

Semedo lasted only 23 minutes during the game, before he was replaced by Sergio Busquets.

Barcelona have since confirmed that Semedo has been ruled out for as many as five weeks following his calf injury, after medical tests determined how severe his problem was.

“Tests carried out on the first team player Nelson Semedo have confirmed that he has a calf injury in his left leg and will be out for around 5 weeks,” the club’s official statement read.

It further added: “The Barcelona right-back was in the starting XI but was replaced on 23 minutes in the 4-1 win against Celta in the league game at Camp Nou. The defender made way for Sergio Busquets who scored the final goal in the victory.”

Semedo has played 16 games for the Blaugranas this season – 12 of those appearances coming in the La Liga and four in the Champions League.

In September, the Portuguese star was injured during the international break, but returned to the Catalans’ first team quite quickly before cementing his place under manager Ernesto Valverde.

His latest injury may force him to pull out of Barcelona’s squads against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, and against Atletico Madrid in the La Liga. Both matches will be held later this month.

Fans suspect trouble at Barcelona as Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele fail to greet each other

Fans suspect trouble at Barcelona as Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele fail to greet each other

Barcelona fans are beginning to suspect trouble within the club, as a recently-released video seems to show that Lionel Messi snubbed Ousmane Dembele altogether, while greeting his teammates in the dressing room after a recent Champions League game.

Watch the video shared below, to see how Messi and Dembele failed to greet each other within the dressing room:

After sharing a high five and a hug with the likes of Sergio Busquets and a few members of Barcelona’s backroom staff, Messi can be seen entering the dressing room and walking towards Dembele and Samuel Umtiti who were sitting together. While Umtiti rose and greeted the Argentine legend, Dembele did not move and appeared to be wiping his face with a towel as the 32-year-old walked past him.

At the same time, Messi can also be seen sharing a hug with Antoine Griezmann who smiled at the sight of his illustrious teammate – indicating that rumours of an ongoing rift between him and Messi are false. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner then proceeded to greet Sergio Roberto as well, as it can be seen in the video above.

With Messi’s hug with Griezmann seemingly assuring everyone that there was no problem between both of them, it is his reaction to Dembele that has now attracted the attention of the fans – as they feel that something must be wrong within the club.

Only time will tell if the fans were right to have suspected trouble between Messi and Dembele.

Meanwhile, Barcelona raced to a 4-1 win against Celta Vigo in the La Liga on Saturday, thereby regaining their place at the top of the table. Arch-rivals Real Madrid are in second place, with only a two-goal difference separating both teams.

Bayern Munich 2-0 Olympiacos: Robert Lewandowski, Ivan Perisic secure last-16 berth as post-Niko Kovac era begins

Bayern Munich are headed to the Champions League last 16 after earning a 2-0 win over a lacklustre Olympiacos in Group B

Robert Lewandowski and Ivan Perisic were on target as Bayern Munich started the post Niko Kovac era with a 2-0 win over Olympiacos that secured qualification for the Champions League last 16.

A humiliating 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday brought an end to Kovac’s 16-month tenure and caretaker boss Hansi Flick saw his side frustrated for large parts by Jose Sa.

The visiting goalkeeper made several sharp stops and Benjamin Pavard hit the post, but Lewandowski’s sixth goal of the group stage broke the away side’s resolve.

Substitute Perisic made sure of the points late on meaning Bayern are guaranteed to progress from Group B, leaving Flick to now prepare Bayern for a crucial Bundesliga clash with Borussia Dortmund.

Thomas Muller saw a couple of half shouts for penalties turned down either side of Sa reacting sharply to a low Leon Goretzka drive as Bayern started brightly.

David Alaba’s untimely stumble allowed Olympiacos a rare sight at goal but Lazar Randjelovic dragged wide of the right post.

Lewandowski headed Pavard’s pin-point cross straight at Sa, who was also alert to deny Kingsley Coman’s improvised toe poke after a mazy run.

Pavard’s awkward effort off his chest struck the post at the end of the half and Sa made a fine save from Goretzka’s point-blank header shortly after the restart.

Sa was called into action again by Coman’s stinging effort, but he was finally beaten in the 69th minute when the France winger’s teasing low delivery from the right was cutely steered home by Lewandowski at the front post.

A more deserved-looking scoreline arrived in the final minute when Perisic rifled high into the roof of the goal after Coman’s deflected cross fell into his path.

What does it mean? Bayern show much-needed resolve

After the Frankfurt humiliation, Bayern needed a reply and – while it was not the most fluent performance – they were good value for a fourth win in as many Group B games. It was a decent show of resilience, but the club will be keen to have a new permanent boss at the helm soon.

You were Sa unlucky to be on the losing side, Jose

Olympiacos offered little going forward and were content to try and contain Bayern’s heavyweight attack. But had it not been for Sa the scoreline would have been much more comfortable, with the away goalkeeper unlucky to finally be beaten by Lewandowski, who has scored 31 group-stage goals since joining Bayern in 2014 – no player has more in the same time (Lionel Messi also has 31).

Negative Martins pays the price

With Bayern still reeling from their Frankfurt horror show and Olympiacos on just one point with nothing to lose, it was a bit of a surprise to see visiting boss Pedro Martins go with three defensive-minded midfielders. It led to a drab showing from the away side, who perhaps missed a chance to have a real go at the wounded hosts.

Key Opta facts

– Perisic’s goal 33 seconds after entering the pitch is the quickest Champions League goal by a substitute since April 2017, when Valere Germain netted for Monaco against Borussia Dortmund after 23 seconds.
– Manuel Neuer made his 104th Champions League appearance during this win, surpassing Oliver Kahn (103) to take the record for the most appearances by a German goalkeeper in the competition.
– Lewandowski became the third player to score in eight consecutive Champions League group stage appearances, after Cristiano Ronaldo (nine, 2012 to 2014) and Lionel Messi (eight, 2015 to 2017).
– Bayern’s four wins from four games against Olympiacos in the Champions League is their joint-best 100 per cent winning record against a single side, also triumphing in each of their four matches in the competition against CSKA Moscow and Besiktas.
– Olympiacos have now lost each of their past six away Champions League matches, their longest such run in the competition since a run of eight defeats between 2001 and 2003.

What’s next?

Bayern now switch focus to a crucial Klassiker as Dortmund travel to Munich on Saturday, while their next Champions League assignment is at Red Star Belgrade on November 26. Olympiacos welcome Atromitos on Sunday.

Tottenham can still go all the way in Champions League – Harry Kane

Harry Kane celebrates a Tottenham goal

Tottenham face a tricky trip to Red Star in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Tottenham captain Harry Kane is confident his side can still achieve success in the Champions League, even if they have started poorly in the 2019-20 campaign.

Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs reached the 2019 Champions League final but sit 11th in the Premier League table with just three wins from their first 11 matches this season.

Spurs are second in Group B of the Champions League ahead of a trip to Red Star Belgrade and Kane knows that if Tottenham win on Wednesday, they could be as much as four points ahead of the third-placed Serbian champions, if, as expected, leaders Bayern Munich beat Olympiacos in Germany.

Kane is fit and raring to go for the match, after missing Sunday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Everton due to a virus.

“We are struggling to get wins over the line. Even on Sunday, we were 1-0 up, trying to hold on, it could have been a big away win and we obviously conceded,” Kane was quoted as saying in The Daily Star.

“We can’t quite get there, we can’t quite get over the line at the moment. It’s nothing to do with the fight in the squad. It’s just one of those spells. All we can do is try and put it right.

“Obviously, the Champions League campaign last year was so good for us. We got further than a lot of people thought we would.

“We’ve got to try to find a way of consistently winning games. We’re here to win trophies. If we can win one of the trophies we are still in, we will see that as a success.

“Can we still go all the way? I think so. You look at where we started in the group stage last year and where we got to, we proved a lot of people wrong. We’re in a better position now.”

Tottenham beat Red Star 5-0 in London last month, Kane scoring twice, but the striker knows facing the side in Serbia – where they beat European champions Liverpool last season – will be a much sterner test.

“I’ve been told by a few people who have played there and been there that it will be a real hostile game, a real hostile atmosphere against us but that’s what European nights are about,” he added.

Kane has netted four goals in three Champions League appearances this season.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker ‘annoyed’ at lack of clean sheets

Alisson has demanded more focus from his Liverpool team-mates after failing to keep a clean sheet in four games since returning from injury

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson is annoyed at the amount of “stupid” goals Liverpool have conceded this season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have amassed three clean sheets in 18 matches this term and are without a shutout in their past seven games in all competitions.

Aston Villa’s Trezeguet became the latest player to breach Liverpool’s defence after being left completely unmarked to steer home John McGinn’s free-kick on Saturday.

The European champions recovered from that setback to win 2-1 at Villa Park, but Alisson is frustrated his side are having to do things the hard way.

 

“It annoys me always when we concede,” he told reporters. “Stupid goals! When we concede that way, it annoys me and the team.

“We always have a common goal to win the game and keep a clean sheet. You are closer to the victory with a clean sheet and you always have a draw.

“When you concede, the games become more difficult. We need to work better than that if we want to do great things.”

Alisson has failed to keep a clean sheet in all four matches since returning from a 10-week lay-off due to a calf injury, including in last month’s 4-1 Champions League win against Genk.

 

The Belgian club travel to Anfield on Tuesday and Alisson demanded an improvement from his team-mates.

“We can do better in our concentration. Against Genk we conceded late on, so this annoyed me and the team. We need to keep our focus,” he said.

“We need to learn from these moments to make sure it does not happen again.”

Liverpool boss Klopp can understand Alisson’s frustrations, adding at Monday’s pre-match news conference: “For me, it is more important the other team don’t create.

“If a team score with one shot, it is not nice but it is something we can’t work on. Ali is annoyed without clean sheets, but he is happy as everyone when we win games. We have to score goals.”

Reports: Real Madrid set to launch €130million offer for Liverpool’s Champions League hero

Reports: Real Madrid set to launch €130million offer for Liverpool's Champions League hero

According to reports, Real Madrid are interested in signing Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah, and have tabled an offer of €130million for the star winger.

It is Don Balon – who reports via Goal – that Gareth Bale is apparently all set to leave Real Madrid in January, which is why Salah is being monitored as his potential replacement.

The Egyptian winger has scored five goals in 10 Premier League matches so far this season, and another three goals in three appearances in the 2019-20 Champions League as well. It goes without saying that he was also a key component in the Liverpool side that lifted the Champions League last season – Salah also scored one of Liverpool’s goals in the final against Tottenham Hotspur.

Currently aged 27, the former Chelsea and AS Roma star has four more years left in his current contract at Anfield, which is why he has a fairly high market value right now. Gareth Bale, on the other hand, has three more years left in his Real Madrid contract – but manager Zinedine Zidane appears keen to offload him as doing so would free up a sizeable portion of the club’s wage budget.

However, it remains to be seen whether Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will allow the transfer of one of his most important players. Previously, he had made it clear that he hopes to keep Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk until the end of their current contracts with the club.

Marcelo slams former Real Madrid manager for disrespecting him before 2018 Champions League final

Marcelo slams former Real Madrid manager for disrespecting him before 2018 UCL final

In a recent interview with The Players’ Tribune, Real Madrid star Marcelo spoke about various aspects of playing for one of the biggest footballing teams in the world – and he also mentioned how Real Madrid’s former manager and player Jorge Valdano disrespected him prior to the 2018 Champions League final.

Marcelo lifted his third successive Champions League trophy in 2018, as Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev. It was also Los Blancos‘ 13th UCL win overall.

Even though the 31-year-old left-back played an important role in his side’s victory, he was apparently not considered as a good player by Valdano, who went on to make some disrespectful claims against him, as per the Brazilian himself.

The following are his exact words:

“A few days before the final, a former Real Madrid player had said something about me on TV that stuck in my head. He’d been asked what he thought about the final, and he said, ‘I think Marcelo should buy a poster of Mohamed Salah, put it up on his wall, and pray to it every night.’

“After 12 years and 3 Champions League trophies, he disrespected me like this on live TV. This comment was meant to sink me. But it gave me so much motivation.”

The words on Marcelo and Salah are reported to have been Valdano’s, as he was keen to praise the Reds forward while mocking Marcelo.

It turns out the Brazilian had the last laugh, as he lifted his fourth Champions League trophy later that night.

Sergio Ramos’ goal in Lisbon may have changed history of European football – Luka Modric

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos celebrates

Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid in extra time of the 2014 Champions League final and Luka Modric claimed it changed the club’s mindset.

Sergio Ramos’ late goal in Real Madrid’s Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid in 2014 may have altered the history of European football, according to Luka Modric.

Madrid trailed to Diego Godin’s opener when Ramos forced extra time with a dramatic 93rd-minute header at Estadio da Luz.

Gareth Bale put Carlo Ancelotti’s side in front and further goals followed from Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo to seal a 4-1 victory in Lisbon.

It was Madrid’s 10th European Cup – known as ‘La Decima’ – but their first in 12 years after a series of near misses.

 

The Spanish giants have since added three more Champions Leagues to their collection, but Modric is unsure whether it would have been possible if not for Ramos’ famous goal.

“It’s difficult to make such judgements. I don’t know,” he told Club del Deportista. “It may be the case that this goal changed the history of European football. Real Madrid had already won a lot of trophies, but they hadn’t lifted the Champions League trophy for 12 years.

“This goal changed something, the mentality changed. From that moment we started to be very strong in Europe and teams were afraid of us again. That shows how important mentality is in football.

“People had spent 12 years talking about La Decima and it became a mental thing. [Jose] Mourinho went to three semi-finals and it was hard to overcome this mental barrier.

“When we reached the final and to win it with that goal, it still gives me goosebumps, we showed such strong character and never gave up.”

 

Modric broke Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or stranglehold by winning football’s most prestigious individual accolade in 2018.

It capped a memorable year that saw him win his third successive Champions League with Madrid and help Croatia to a first World Cup final, where they were beaten by France.

“That was a recognition of my entire career, but a very special year in particular,” Modric said of winning the award.

“I was lucky enough to win the Champions League again, which isn’t easy, and I also reached the World Cup final with a country like Croatia, which for us is something that words just can’t describe.

“I don’t like to talk about myself, but I think that, in the individual sense, I played a very good season and the footballing people have recognised that. It’s no coincidence when so many people vote for you.”

Lionel Messi selects his favourite goal of all time

Lionel Messi selects his favourite goal of all time

Barcelona legend Lionel Messi picked his header goal against Manchester United, scored in the 2009 Champions League final – as his favourite goal of all time, among more than the 600 times he has scored in his club career.

In a recent interview with TyC Sports, Messi described how the looping headed effort over United’s then-goalkeeper Edwin van der Saar at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, helped Barcelona “close the circle” as they clinched a La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble for the first time ever.

“My favourite goals are more than just attractive; they are important,” he said, before adding:

“It was in the Champions League final and helped us to close the circle with Guardiola and win the triplete, which we had never done before.”

“That goal rounded up a spectacular game.”

You can watch the goal here:

Quite recently, the 32-year-old also netted in a 2-1 win over Slavia Praha in the ongoing 2019-20 edition of the Champions League, and he spoke of his knowledge of when to become involved in Barcelona’s attacking play.

“It’s not that I live in front of goal,” he said.

“I like to come from behind, be in touch with the ball and be creative, but also arrive and score goals.”

“I have learned to regulate myself inside the game and find the moment. There are moments when I do not have to enter the game or do not have to participate and I wait for the arrival moment where I think it is more suitable.”

“I have grown and I learned to read the games better, knowing what time and where to be effective and decisive, and little by little I gained that over time,” Messi signed off.

Quotes via Sportstar.

WATCH: Lionel Messi’s unbelievable miss from three yards out during Barcelona’s UCL win against Slavia Praha

WATCH: Lionel Messi's unbelievable miss from three yards out during Barcelona's UCL win against Slavia Praha

Barcelona ace Lionel Messi missed out on a brilliant, very easy chance to score his second goal for his side against Slavia Praha in the Champions League on Tuesday. His shot from three yards away got saved by the goalkeeper before it went out of the field.

Watch the videos below, to see how Messi missed his chance to score:

With the scorecard reading 2-1, and with Slavia Praha looking for a late equalizer, Messi could have made sure of Barcelona’s victory, had his effort gone in.

But he failed to convert an excellent Jordi Alba cross with the goal at his mercy, as you can see in the videos above.

Luckily, the score remained 2-1 in the Catalans’favour until full-time, much to the relief of Ernesto Valverde and co.

Earlier, it was Messi himself who scored the opening goal of the game, right in the third minute.

However, Slavia Praha equalized just five minutes into the second half through Jan Boril, although Barcelona’s anxiety was alleviated to an extent by Peter Olayinka, whose own goal saw the visitors regain the lead in the 57th minute itself.

The final twenty minutes were quite nervy, and it was Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s heroics in front of goal that saved the defending La Liga champions from yet another embarrassment this season.

Fans want Manchester United to sign UCL record breaker over Mario Mandzukic

Fans want Manchester United to sign UCL record breaker over Mario Mandzukic

Manchester United fans have demanded manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to sign RB Salzburg’s rising star Erling Haaland in January, instead of giving more of a preference to Juventus’ veteran Mario Mandzukic.

Haaland’s claim to fame has been the 21 goals which he scored across various competitions so far, in the ongoing 2019-2o season. Six of those goals came in the Champions League, including a hat-trick against Genk and a brace against Napoli.

The 19-year-old is also the only footballer in the history of the competition to score as many as six goals in his first three appearances. In the Austrian Bundesliga, his tally reads 15 goals in 10 matches.

Meanwhile, Mandzukic has been a target for Manchester United for a long time, and they are finally close to signing him next January. The Red Devils are currently devoid of a recognised No 9, with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial adopting the role of wingers. The 2018 FIFA World Cup finalist is also no longer a first-team player at Juventus, as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala are above him in the pecking order under Maurizio Sarri.

However, Haaland’s numbers have impressed thousands of Manchester United fans, and they want then club to sign him instead of the 33-year-old during the winter transfer window.

Check out some of the fan reactions below:

@ChrisFletch_UK posted: “Haaland would be my choice for a new striker. I’m sick of hearing about “quick fix” Mandzukic. Get Haaland in as part of a long term plan FFS before his value goes crazy high…”

@OrohitO wrote: “I’d LOVE Haaland at @ManUtd. Proper potential player. Imagine him, Martial, Rashford and James.”

@Guttano tweeted: “Guys @ManUtd, tell Ed to sign Haaland! #mufc”

@DavidDarlinXC said: “Forget Harry Kane, we must sign Haaland #ManUtd”

@theriazosman posted: “Erling #Haaland just cannot stop scoring. This man is a goal machine! I hope you are seeing this @Mike_Phelan_1 @ManUtd. SIGN HIM UP!!”

Tweet excerpts via Daily Mail.

Reports: Barcelona star racially abused during UCL game, UEFA to investigate

Reports: Barcelona star racially abused during UCL game, UEFA to investigate

It has been reported that Nelson Semedo became a victim of racial abuse during the Champions League game between Barcelona and Slavia Praha on Wednesday.

Spanish journalist Marcelo Bechler claimed that Slavia Praha fans aimed racially abusive chants at the Barcelona right-back during the match. The Czech side were eventually defeated 2-1 by the Catalans, but the match-result will now take a back seat thanks to the above-mentioned claim from Bechler.

The journalist, who works as a correspondent for Interactive SportRadio Itatiaia and Lancenet, was present at the game which was held at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague-Vrsovice, Czech Republic – home of Slavia Praha. As per his tweet shared below, fans aimed racist monkey chants towards Semedo whenever the Barca star went forward to attack.

On Thursday, Don Balon further reported that UEFA are all set to begin an investigation on the situation. Should the claims prove to be true, it will be interesting to see the stance taken by UEFA towards Slavia fans, as they look to kick racism out of football once and for all.

Speaking about the game, Lionel Messi handed Barcelona a vital lead as early as the third minute after kick-off, but Jan Boril equalized for the hosts in the 50th minute. Seven minutes later, Peter Olayinka’s unfortunate own-goal gave the lead to Barca once again, and the Catalans held on to it until the referee blew his full-time whistle.