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Barcelona vs. Celtic: Messi To Miss Champions League Clash With Hamstring Injury

Barcelona will be without Lionel Messi as the club seeks to avoid another upset against Celtic in the Champions League on Tuesday. Last November, Neil Lennon’s men sprung a huge shock at Read More

Barcelona vs. Celtic: Messi To Miss Champions League Clash With Hamstring Injury


Barcelona will be without Lionel Messi as the club seeks to avoid another upset against Celtic in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Last November, Neil Lennon’s men sprung a huge shock at Celtic Park when goals from Victor Wanyama and rookie striker Tony Watt secured a famous 2-1 triumph over the four-time European champion.

Messi pulled a late goal back for Barca that night but the Argentinian is set for at least two weeks on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring in Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Almeria.

His absence is a major blow for the Catalans, with Messi having helped himself to a hat trick as Barca brushed Ajax aside 4-0 in the Group H opener a fortnight ago to move ahead of Mario Gomez and Filippo Inzaghi by becoming the first player to score four trebles in the competition.

However, coach Gerardo Martino has more than enough in reserve to ensure that Barca will still be the favorite.

Spain international Pedro matched his illustrious teammate’s efforts when he took home the match ball as Rayo Vallecano was dispatched 4-0 a week ago.

Messi scored again on Saturday as the Catalan club claimed a seventh win from as many Liga matches this term against Almeria, but was then withdrawn.

Meanwhile, Celtic warmed up for the clash in the best possible manner on Saturday when the club bounced back from a shock defeat to Morton in the Scottish League Cup with victory at Kilmarnock.

The Scottish champion survived a fightback from the home side before prevailing 5-2 as Georgios Samaras fired in a hat trick.

Barcelona will once again be without left back Jordi Alba due to a hamstring problem, while fellow defender Carles Puyol and playmaker Isaac Cuenca are recovering from knee surgery.

Celtic is missing close-season arrival Steven Mouyokolo, who ruptured his Achilles in training before the Milan clash.

Lionel Messi appears in Spanish court over tax fraud


The 26-year-old Argentine, four times Fifa World Player of the Year, and his father Jorge Messi are accused of defrauding the authorities of more than 4m euros ($5.4m; £3.4m).

The two men were questioned separately at the court in Gava, near Barcelona.

Both father and son deny the allegations. The Messis’ lawyer said he wanted to resolve the matter.

The footballer and his father are suspected of using companies abroad – in Belize and Uruguay – to sell the rights to use Lionel Messi’s image, thereby circumventing tax obligations in Spain. The allegations date back to 2007-9.

The income related to Mr Messi’s image rights included contracts with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Proctor and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company.

‘Tougher line’
After Friday’s hearing, which was a closed-court session, the state prosecutor’s spokesman told the BBC that no agreement had been reached with the two men and their lawyers.

The spokesman said that the defence’s strategy had been to pin blame on Jorge Messi, insisting on the innocence of the star striker.

In August, Jorge Messi made a payment of 5m euros to the tax authorities – the 4.16m euros of the alleged unpaid tax plus interest.

The BBC’s Tom Burridge in Madrid says that Spanish tax authorities are taking a much tougher line on tax infringements due to the country’s economic crisis, which is why they are continuing to pursue the case despite this payment.

Lionel Messi has previously stated that he and and his father “have never committed any infringement. We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations”.

Mr Messi’s net salary from Barcelona is said to be about 16m euros a year, making him one of the world’s most highly paid sportspeople.

He has also signed multi-million-dollar endorsements with commercial sponsors around the world.

Mr Messi’s achievements on the field have made him one of the most marketable in the business.

He came from a modest background and has overcome a serious health issue, joining Barcelona as a 13-year-old in 2000 and making his first-team debut only three years later.

But the allegations are a big blow to the prestige of the player, who has long been seen as a more humble figure than most top-class footballers.

Barca’s Messi suffers muscle injury

messi miss barcelona opener

Lionel Messi has been substituted after scoring in Barcelona’s match at Almeria on Saturday following an apparent injury.

Messi was replaced soon after opening the scoring in the 21st minute with his 11th goal of the season in all competitions, with Barca subsequently confirming he had suffered an injury to his right thigh.

The four-time world footballer of the year will undergo further tests on Sunday to determine the extent of the problem and how long he might be out for. Barca are back in action on Wednesday when they take on Celtic in the Champions League.

Adriano, who scored Barca’s second goal against Almeria as the Catalan giants claimed a club-record seventh successive Primera Division win to start the season, said in AS: “Hopefully it’s nothing and he’s with us for the coming games because he’s a very important player.

“With him, it’s a different team.”

Barca coach Gerardo Marino added of Messi’s injury: “Apparently Messi picked up small muscle strain in the back of his right leg when he scored. It’s hard to say anything else until he undergoes additional tests.”

Lionel Messi, Neymar lead Barcelona past Real Sociedad

at Camp Nou on September 24, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.

(CNN) — When Brazilian ace Neymar signed with Barcelona in May, observers wondered if he could develop a potent partnership with four-time player of the year Lionel Messi.
So far, so good for the tandem.
Neymar scored his first league goal and set up Messi as Barcelona defeated Champions League side Real Sociedad 4-1 to maintain its perfect record in Spain’s La Liga through six matches.
Neymar has now logged at least one assist in four straight league games — and three times Messi has been the grateful beneficiary.
Read: Neymar pledges to back Messi
Messi particularly likes playing against Sociedad, too, netting every time he has faced them at the Camp Nou since Sociedad earned promotion in 2010.

And a few days after Barcelona had less possession than the opposition for the first time in more than five years, order was restored — Gerardo Martino’s men enjoyed 71 percent of the ball.
Real Sociedad, now winless in the league since the opening weekend, struck the crossbar in the second minute but it was mostly one-way traffic at the other end thereafter.
Neymar bundled home the opener in the fifth minute, taking advantage of some indecision by keeper Claudio Bravo, and Messi’s diving header from Neymar’s floated cross doubled the advantage in the eighth minute.
Messi could have had a hat-trick within 40 minutes but he hit the crossbar from close range — holding midfielder Sergio Busquets scored from outside the box seconds later for only his fifth league goal in five years — and failed to connect cleanly after Barcelona cut open the Sociedad defense.
Messi then almost scored from another Neymar pass but saw his effort blocked.
The Argentine, following a typically driving run, pulled his jersey over his head after he blazed over the bar in the 52nd.
Alberto de la Bella pulled a goal back in the 64th minute but defender Marc Bartra — replacing the injured Javier Mascherano — restored the three-goal lead in the 77th with Messi’s help.
Difficult for Dortmund
It hasn’t been the best of weeks for Borussia Dortmund. The Champions League finalist lost its opener in the European competition to Napoli last Wednesday and dropped its first points in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
And Dortmund needed extra time to see off second-tier 1860 Munich 2-0 in the German Cup on Tuesday despite fielding a starting lineup that included Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Henrik Mkhitaryan.
Dortmund, mind you, did register almost 40 shots, compared to 1860′s two in Munich, and struck the bar four times.
Substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored from the penalty spot — Dominik Stahl fouled Reus and was sent off — before fellow summer signing Mkhitaryan made it 2-0 to book Dortmund’s spot in the last 16.

Ronaldo vs Messi: The rivalry in numbers

messi vs cristiano oro

There hasn’t been a closer player battle in football for decades. Ronaldo and Messi, may be different aesthetically — one better than the other. Some people will judge them on that — how they play the game. Some, however, will judge them just on numbers and if it’s statistics we’re talking about, then Messi edges Ronaldo. But sometimes you just feel the Portuguese is a more dangerous player when he on song. Their techniques differ, positions differ and attitudes to the game differ. However, their numbers are too close to call. Season after season, since Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid in 2009, the comparison has been mind-boggling. Here are a few numbers to show just how close they are: 2009/10 Ronaldo: In his first season in Spain, Ronaldo played 35 matches and scored 33 times. This includes 26 in 29 league matches and seven in six Champions League matches. He also set up seven goals. Messi: Messi scored 47 times in 53 matches. This includes 34 in 35 La Liga matches, eight in 11 Champions League games and five in seven cup games. He also got 11 assists. Major difference: Purely on goals to games ratio, Ronaldo is better. This mathematical calculation shows that Ronaldo’s goals were also slightly more important than Messi’s. The most mind-boggling rivalry ever?

Ronaldo: 53 goals, 54 appearances. Out of these, 40 were in the league, six in Europe and seven in cup matches. Also, he got 13 assists. Messi: Like for like — 53 goals, 55 matches. Out of these, 31 in the La Liga, 12 in Europe and 10 in cup games. Add to this 24 assists. Major difference: Messi was more clinical in the Champions League, scoring 12 in 13 compared to Ronaldo’s six in 12. In the league though, Messi got 31 in 33 while Ronaldo’s 40 strikes came in just 34 matches. However, Messi is clearly setting up more goals. 2011/12 Ronaldo: 60 goals in 54 overall appearances — 46 in the league, 10 in the UCL and four in cup games. He also sets up 15 goals. Scores 14 penalties and seven hat-tricks. Messi: 73 goals in 59 matches — 50 in 37 Liga matches, 14 in the UCL and nine in cup games. He also racks up 28 assists. Scores 14 penalties and 10 hat-tricks. Major difference: Ronaldo is getting stronger, but Messi betters him with a phenomenal strike-rate. This is the year he was unstoppable (calendar year where his form carried on to the next season). In the league, he is just slightly better than Ronaldo, but Messi dominates Europe and the assists tally. It also has a lot to do with Barcelona’s playing style, but hey, numbers are numbers. 2012/13 Ronaldo: 55 goals in 55 matches — 34 in 34 league games, 12 in 12 UCL games and nine in nine cup games, Ronaldo maintains a staggering uniformity. He also gets 12 assists. It’s hard to think Messi would still beat his mark. Scores seven penalties and five hat-tricks. Messi: 60 in 50 — Messi is in the prime of his life and breaks Gerd Muller’s record of goals in a single year. He has 46 in 32 Liga matches, helping Barcelona cruise to the title. He also gets eight in 11 UCL matches and six in seven cup games. He sets up another 16 goals. Scores five penalties and two hat-tricks. Major difference: Tito Vilanova takes over from Pep Guardiola but Messi doesn’t stop scoring. Both teams were poised for an El Clasico Champions League final but fell to German teams Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. 2013/14 Ronaldo: Five in five, with two assists. A hat-trick in the UCL already. Messi: Nine in six, with one assist. A hat-trick in the UCL already. Major difference: Too close to call as yet. CONCLUSION These two players divide people like no other. The Messi camp suggests that his genius is unparalleled — the arguments being that his numbers can never be replicated by anyone in the world — his precision simply unmatched by anyone who has kicked a ball. The Ronaldo camp has a few arguments against the greatness of Messi — he doesn’t play in a team surrounded by the best passers in the world, he is a player who can win you a match alone and he has proven himself in the English Premier League too. As mentioned earlier, this research gives Ronaldo a thin edge over the Argentine in terms of the importance of what he does. These parameters include when he scores, against whom and how it affects the league table. In this ESPN article, it’s concluded that while Ronaldo’s edges Messi in terms of important contributions (scoring when you are 0-1 down is considered more important than scoring three goals when your team is already 2-0 up) in the league, Messi pips him in the Champions League. Even in the El Clasico, Ronaldo has 12 goals (six consecutive) in 12 matches and Messi has 18 in 18 — not really conclusive. In the Messi vs Ronaldo debate, nothing is conclusive. This debate has no end, at least not for now.