Last week seemed all doom and gloom around Barça, with the sacking of the Sporting Director, Carles Puyol quitting as his deputy, talk of Luis Enrique being given an ultimatum and reports of Leo Messi’s imminent departure from the club.
While no doubt some of those undercurrents will continue to rumble on, the squad delivered on Sunday night when they faced Atletico Madrid in what was always going to be one of the big tests of the season. Going into the weekend the two clubs were on equal points and just a single point behind Real Madrid, who still have a game in hand. This weekend at least saw Barça create another gap with the current league title holders.
Despite the cloud hanging over FC Barcelona, the players went into the match looking intent on a win. Strong on the attack from the start, it didn’t take long for Neymar to score the opener from a Messi assist. Atletico often get pretty rough when things aren’t going their way and after going a goal down play started getting pretty physical, resulting in Neymar requiring attention after a particularly hard tackle. After recovering he came close to adding to his goal tally, but it was Messi who again provided the assist for Barcelona’s second goal, scored by Suarez.
Back on after the break a penalty was awarded to the visitors for a foul by Messi, which was kicked home by Mandzukic. And as the end of the match drew nearer both teams applied more pressure resulting in a spate of fouls. In the end it was Messi who scored the final goal of the match in the last few minutes of the game with an assist from Rakitic, sealing the win for Barça and another three points.
1-0 Neymar (min 11)
2-0 Suárez (min 34)
2-1 Mandzukic (min 56)
3-1 Messi (min 86)
With Messi, Neymar and Suarez all starting last night’s match it looked like Luis Enrique was going in with all guns blazing with the aim, if the reports are true, of saving his managerial career at Barça.
However, despite fielding Barcelona’s heavyweights it took a long time for the Catalans to get into the game and for the first half an hour seemed it wouldn’t be going anywhere. This was Barcelona at their worst, with no real opportunities and uninteresting to watch. However, Neymar changed all that at the 34th minute, when suddenly the team stepped up a couple of notches and this first goal prompted more. Suarez scored five minutes after the Neymar opener, and then Messi from the penalty spot after Neymar was brought down to go into the break 3-0; just 15 minutes earlier it was looking like it was going to be deadlock.
Back on after the break Barcelona kept the pressure up and more goals came. First Messi set up Jordi Alba to score Barça’s fourth, and Neymar finished with Barcelona’s fifth goal of the night. Despite a poor start, Barcelona really got into the match and go into the return leg with the clear advantage.
1-0 Neymar (min 34)
2-0 Suárez (min 39)
3-0 Messi (min 45)
4-0 Jordi Alba (min 54)
5-0 Neymar (min 57)
Barcelona’s last match of 2014 took place at the Nou Camp on Saturday and despite going ahead in the first minute thanks to a goal from Pedro, for much of the match Barça looked uninspired despite their normal high possession.
After Pedro’s opener, assisted by Rakitic, there were a number of chances for the hosts but despite that the first half ended with just that single goal.
Seven minutes into the second half and Suarez put Barça further in the lead with his first league goal for the Catalans. However, it was the closing minutes of the game that the match really got going with Pique scoring 11 minutes fromn the final whistle, followed by Messi justa couple of minutes later. The final goal of the match came during injury time, when Messi scored his second of the match and FC Barcelona ended winning 5-0.
1-0 Pedro (min 1)
2-0 Suárez (min 52)
3-0 Piqué (min 79)
4-0 Messi (min 81)
5-0 Messi (min 90)
Barça goalie Claudio Bravo told Fox Sports recently that he can’t imagine the club without Lionel Messi as a player. That’s a sentiment probably felt by the majority of Barça fans, although no club should rely on just a single player for its results. While Barcelona does have some depth, all too often when Messi is injured the squad just doesn’t perform.
Bravo says that Messi still has age on his side and doesn’t see him leaving soon, whatever rumours are doing the rounds at the moment.Source: Inside Spanish Football
FC Barcelona is on top of Group F after winning their match against Paris Saint-Germain last night at the Nou Camp thanks to goals from Messi, Neymar and Suarez.
The visitors were the first to score with ex-Barça player Ibrahimovic putting the ball past Ter Stegen inside 15 minutes, but Messi equalised soon after set up by Mascherano and Suarez. That goal was Messi’s 75th in the Champions League. Although possession was tipped in Barcelona’s favour, both teams had opportunities but it wasn’t until the closing minutes of the first half that Neymar put the ball into the visitor’s net.
Back on for the second half and with Xavi and Ratikic brought on by Luis Enrique. It wasn’t until the 76th minute that the next goal came. Neymar shot at the PSG goal and Suarez scored off the rebound to effectively seal the win for Barcelona. Both teams came close to scoring again, but the score was to end 3-1 to Barcelona and a very welcome victory.
0-1 Ibrahimovic (min 14)
1-1 Messi (min 18)
2-1 Neymar (min 40)
3-1 Suárez (min 76)
FC Barcelona beat RCD Espanyol 5-1 last night in the city derby that saw Lionel Messi score his third hat-trick in four matches and taking his career goal tally to more than 400.
The visitors were first to score when Sergio Garcia managed to put the ball out of the reach of Claudio Bravo. Barça were caught unaware when they looked to the ref for an apparent foul on Busquets, while Espanyol closed in on the Barça goal to score.
Stunned to go down, Barcelona was soon attacking the Espanyol goal, although not making the play count. Espanyol came close to scoring a second, only to be saved by Bravo but just as it looked as though Barça would go into the break behind, Suarez and Xavi set up the ball for Messi to put inside the post and equalize seconds before the half time whistle.
Back in after the break, it didn’t take long for Messi to put Barcelona in the lead with his second of the night and minutes later Pique made it 3-1. With a win almost assured the home side settled back a little but in the 77th minute things came together with Alba’s long pass to Pedro who scored goal number four for Barça and if the job wasn’t already done, three minutes later Messi scored his third of the night off a Pedro assist.
0-1 Sergio Garcia (min 12)
1-1 Messi (min 45)
2-1 Messi (min 49)
3-1 Pique (min 52)
4-1 Pedro (min 76)
5-1 Messi (min 80)
Following the incident last Sunday when Leo Messi was struck by a bottle thrown by a Valencia supporter and slightly injured, the Argentine striker was shown a yellow card for wasting time by the referee. The ref wasn’t aware of the incident and so Barça appealed the decision.
It seems a bit harsh that it wasn’t overturned in the end. What do you think?Source: Irish Times
FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer have all been nominated for this year’s Ballon d’Or award by FIFA. Messi won the award three years straight between 2010 and 2012 with Ronaldo in second place in the two latter years, while Ronaldo took the trophy for himself in 2013, relgating Messi into second place.
The 2014 award will be anniounced in Zurich on 12th January 2015 and streamed online via the FIFA website.Source: FIFA
The daughter of Telmo Zarra, who was the top scoring player in the Spanish League until Leo Messi broke it last weekend, has disputed Messi’s record as he required more games than her father to exceed him. She says he father scored 251 goals in 278 games while Messi scored 289 games to get to the same figure and so his record stands.
It’s a little sad when things get to this stage. We’re counting the total goals scored, not average goals per match. Messi’s achievement doesn’t lessen that of Zarra, but it doesn’t paint his daughter in a particularly good light. The comments were made on Cope radio which is right wing and Catholic.Source: Soccar Laduma