‘Neymar was asking for trouble!’ – Amavi blames PSG star for injury

The Brazilian forward is facing up to a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a broken bone during a feisty Ligue 1 encounter with Marseille

Neymar has been accused of “looking for things” during Paris Saint-Germain’s clash with Marseille, with his actions ultimately resulting in a broken metatarsal.

The Brazilian forward was forced from the field in tears on Sunday as Ligue 1 leaders PSG sought to see out a 3-0 victory over arch-rivals.

He had been subjected to eight fouls during an outing cut short 10 minutes from the end, with the 26-year-old having already entered the contest as the most fouled performer in Europe’s top divisions.

While there is no suggestion that anybody has ever intended to cause Neymar harm with the rough treatment, Marseille defender Jordan Amavi has suggested that the South American often asks for trouble.

He told RMC following a feisty encounter with PSG: “We played normally against Neymar. I found him looking for things [fouls].

“I am just telling you what I saw on the pitch. He waited for us to press and then released the ball at the last minute.

“What did he expect? Personally, I do not know, I think he was looking for things though. He reaped a little of what he sows.

“Everybody knows that he has the talent, but he waited for us to press before releasing the ball.”

It has already been reported that certain Marseille players warned the match officials during the game that they were growing tired of Neymar’s antics.

It was eventually a rather innocuous coming together with Bouna Sarr which did for the talented forward , though, leaving him writhing on the deck and awaiting a stretcher.

Post-game analysis determined that a broken bone had been suffered , although PSG head coach Unai Emery has denied his star player needs surgery, as was first feared.

Quite how long Neymar will be sidelined for remains to be seen, but it seems likely he will miss important fixtures in an ongoing Ligue 1 title bid and the second leg of a Champions League last-16 encounter with Real Madrid .

Source: www.goal.com

Coutinho enjoying special union with ‘best in the world’ Messi

The Brazil international feels privileged to be playing alongside the five time Ballon d’Or winner and hopes to win silverware with the global star

Philippe Coutinho considers playing alongside Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi “very special” as he believes the Argentine to be the best in the world.

Coutinho joined Barca from Liverpool in January after a protracted transfer saga and has settled in quickly, impressing with his early performances.

The Brazilian was strongly linked with a move to Camp Nou in pre-season and was reportedly upset when it did not go through.

But after finally getting his dream switch to Barca, Coutinho has the chance to play alongside Messi every week, with the Argentina star, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta making a strong impression on the 25-year-old.

“It’s something very special [to play with Messi],” Coutinho told Mundo Deportivo. “Not everyone has the opportunity to play with the best player in the world. This makes me very happy.

“[Messi and Suarez] received me very well. They are two great idols and being part of the team with them is a very good feeling.

“But not only with them, also with Andres and with the rest. For me it’s very special to live with this squad. For me, it’s a great experience and a great opportunity to be in this club.”

Coutinho’s transfer fee of €120million, potentially rising to €160m, makes him the most expensive signing in the club’s history, but he insists that is not a cause of pressure.

“No, for me it’s an honour and gives me pride,” Coutinho added. “But it’s something I have to set aside, so I can dedicate myself to playing football and doing it the way I always did.

“I have to improve and do well on the field to help the team achieve the things that they hired me for.

“Being here gives you the opportunity to play with the best and the opportunity to win titles, which is something that motivates me a lot.

“So I am very motivated to train every day to improve and learn so that everything goes well and in the end the titles arrive.”

Source: www.goal.com

Bale not leaving Real Madrid for Man Utd, says Giggs

The attacker has struggled with injury in recent years, but the Wales manager insists he still has a lot to offer the European champions

Ryan Giggs believes a move to Manchester United would be a good option for Gareth Bale, but the Wales manager insists the attacker has no desire to leave Real Madrid.

The 28-year-old winger has been heavily linked to Old Trafford in recent years, and his trouble with injuries in recent seasons has enhanced talk of him leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ex-United and Wales star Giggs, however, insists Bale still has a lot to offer the Champions League holders, as well as his national team, and expects him to stay put for the time being.

“Bale is a great player, one of the best, and for us, as has been demonstrated in recent months, he is fundamental,” he told Marca.

“It’s clear that the team comes first, but in that team we need the best players and Bale is the best.

“Gareth is a player who unbalances opponents. When he has been able to demonstrate his quality at Real Madrid, he has shown that his style of football is fundamental to winning games.

“He’s happy at Real Madrid, he wants to stay, there’s no doubt. He knows that the coach and the club respect him, and he wants to show the fans what he is capable of.

“I don’t know [if United want to sign him], but Bale has no intention of leaving and Real Madrid won’t sell the player. It’s clear that United would’ve been very good for him, but I don’t think that’s an option at the moment, he’s not going to leave Real Madrid.”

Since his then-world-record move from Tottenham in 2013, Bale has won the league once, the Champions League three times and two Club World Cups at Madrid.

And, although Giggs feels he may be below the level of team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona star Lionel Messi, he sees him as potentially one of the best players around.

“Gareth works hard to be the best. I think that today Messi and Ronaldo are above the rest, as they have been demonstrating for the last 10 years.

“I think he has no limits because he’s at a great club and, if he can play regularly, he can reach the top.”

[Source: www.goal.com]


John Guidetti had Alaves heading towards a famous win at Camp Nou before Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi brought them crashing back to reality.

Lionel Messi assumed the familiar role of hero as Barcelona averted a Camp Nou scare to beat struggling Alaves 2-1 in LaLiga.

Atletico Madrid’s 3-0 win over Las Palmas earlier on Sunday placed a modicum of pressure on Ernesto Valverde’s runaway leaders and it seemed to weigh upon them in a ragged first-half showing.

Philippe Coutinho made his full debut, but it was a more unheralded January signing, Alaves’ Celta Vigo loanee John Guidetti, who threatened the upset with a fortuitous 23rd-minute opener.

Abelardo Fernandez’s side remain two points above the drop zone and were left to rue missed chances by the time Luis Suarez netted for the eighth top-flight match in succession with 18 minutes to play.

Typically, it fell to Messi to apply the coup de grace as he curled a delightful free-kick home in the 84th minute to spark raucous celebrations.

Barcelona remain undefeated and 11 points clear on their apparent procession to LaLiga glory.

Coutinho was lively in the opening stages but looked on as Barca’s old guard fashioned an opening in the 15th minute – Messi dropping deep and exchanging slick passes with Andres Iniesta and Suarez before forcing a clearance behind.

Alaves sprung forward from the corner and Marc-Andre ter Stegen was out sharply to deny Ibai Gomez. It was a warning Barca did not heed.

Fernando Pacheco saved low down from Suarez a few moments before Alaves streamed into a vacant Barcelona half on the counter-attack.

Guidetti bore down on Ter Stegen and enjoyed a touch of fortune as he lost his footing and kicked the ball against his other boot, the result leaving the Germany goalkeeper with no chance.

Ter Stegen arched his back to brilliantly keep out a header from Ruben Sobrino, who then ran out of steam having dribbled from halfway into the Barca box to get a shot away.

Coutinho almost found a response when his 32nd-minute effort was deflected wide, while Messi saw an angled free-kick pushed over before Pacheco tipped his next dead-ball attempt against the post to preserve Alaves’ unlikely advantage at the interval.

Seven minutes into the second half, Valverde opted to replace his full-backs, with Jordi Alba and Sergio Roberto on in place of the largely ineffective Lucas Digne and Nelson Semedo.

Their introduction added another dimension to Barca’s attacking play, but Messi was crowded out when he looked to convert Alba’s cutback from the byline.

Ibai should have given Valverde’s men a mountain to climb after the hour when he broke through on goal, only to cut back on himself and play in full-back Ruben Duarte, whose rasping shot was deflected behind by Gerard Pique.

Paco Alcacer replaced Coutinho in the hosts’ final change and Pacheco judged his angles perfectly in the 68th minute, standing up to thwart Suarez after Messi threaded a delightful pass through Duarte’s legs.

Paulinho was unable to bundle in when a roaming Pique caused havoc in the Alaves box, but the pressure eventually told.

Iniesta rolled back the years, embarking on a jinking run before sending a searching cross to the back post, where Suarez’s volley took a pair of deflections to spin beyond a helpless Pacheco.

Mubarak Wakaso clattered into Alcacer on the edge of the box, leaving a sense of inevitability when Messi stood over the consequent set-piece six minutes from time, though that did not make his decisive strike any less exquisite.

Alaves felt aggrieved when handball claims against Samuel Umtiti were rejected following a late raid into the area, but, for all the visitors’ gallant efforts, earlier wasted opportunities meant they only had themselves to blame.


Another record has fallen to the Argentine, whose goal against Real Sociedad saw him surpass a historic mark set by the German

Lionel Messi has broken Gerd Muller’s long-standing record for the most league goals scored for the same club in Europe’s top five divisions.

The Barcelona superstar, who equalled the tally while making his 400th LaLiga appearance for the Calatan giants against Levante last weekend, netted his 366th goal in Spain’s top flight during the 4-2 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Messi’s left-footed free-kick from 25 yards saw him overtake Muller’s haul of 365 Bundesliga strikes for Bayern Munich.

Germany great Muller set the previous record while representing Bayern between 1964 and 1979, scoring his 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches.

Messi has been in irresistible form for Barca this season, scoring 16 goals and providing eight assists in LaLiga as the club have surged to the top of the table.

Barca’s win over Sociedad took them nine points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, and 19 clear of eternal rivals Real.

Messi and his team-mates have yet to lose in the league this season, despite being shorn of Neymar in the summer – the Brazilian joining PSG for a world-record €222 million fee.

Barcelona 5-0 Celta Vigo (6-1 agg): Messi scores twice as Catalan giants cruise into Copa del Rey quarter-finals


Barcelona cruised into the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 5-0 demolition of Celta Vigo.

Celta held Barca to a 1-1 draw a week ago but had no answer to their illustrious opponents at the Nou Camp.

The hosts were 2-0 up inside 15 minutes with the outstanding Lionel Messi adding two more to his tally.

Jordi Alba picked out the Argentine for both goals as Barca took control of the tie.

Messi then returned the favour, finding Alba with a delightful through ball and the full-back did the rest.

It was 4-0 before the half hour mark as Luis Suarez lashed one in to settle the tie.

Celta held firm after the break as Barca took their foot off the gas but there was still time for Ivan Rakitic to head home late on.

Barcelona: Cillessen, Semedo, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Iniesta, Sergio Roberto, Gomes, Messi, Suárez

Subs: Ter Stegen, Dembele, Paulinho, Digne, Vermaelen, Sergi Roberto, Arnaiz.

Celta Vigo: Sergio, Mallo, Sergi Gomez, Fontas, Jonny, Lobotka, Wass, Jozabed, Aspas, Mor, Sisto

Subs: Ruben, Radoja, Tucu Hdez, Gomez, Cabral, Roncaglia, Mendez.