Barcelona In Copa Del Rey Final After 1-1 Draw With Valencia

Barcelona_DeporSpanish giant, Barcelona FC have cruised to the Final of the Copa del Rey after forcing Valencia to 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.

Barcelona’s defence was wiped out by a long pass as Alvaro Negredo raced onto it, one-on-one with Marc-Andre ter-Stegen to net the ball in the 37th minute.

However, Wilfrid Kaptoum scored the equalising goal minutes after coming on the pitch in the 84th minute.

Last week, Barcelona had beaten Valencia at Camp Nou 7-0 in the first leg before securing a draw at the Mestalla Stadium.

On a 7-1 aggregate, Barcelona go through to the Final of the Copa del Rey.

Real Madrid Sack Rafa Benitez, Appoint Zidane

benitezSpanish giant, Real Madrid have sacked their manager, Rafa Benitez after six months in charge.

He has been replaced by former player Zinedine Zidane.

The Club’s President, Florentino Perez, reportedly dismissed the Spaniard after an emergency board meeting on Monday and made the announcement at a press conference at the Bernabeu later in the evening.

“The board has taken a difficult decision – especially for me, to sack Rafael Benítez – a great professional and a magnificent person,” he said

Confirming that Zinedine Zidane would be taking over, he said “I’m very proud because I know that for Zidane, the word ‘impossible’ doesn’t exist.”

Zinedine Zidane, immediately after the announcement, made a short speech as Real Madrid’s new head coach.

“I thank the club and the president for giving me the opportunity to train the club. It’s the best club in the world and the best fanbase.

“I want to do my very best to ensure the club has a trophy at the end of the season. Tomorrow is when the work starts.

“It’s an emotional day, even more emotional than the day I signed for the club,” he said.

Benitez took over the Real Madrid job from Carlo Ancelotti in June 2015 but they are third in the standings, four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, after suffering three league defeats this season, including a 4-0 home loss to arch-rivals Barcelona.

The team showed great fighting spirit to earn a 2-2 draw away to Valencia on Sunday despite being reduced to 10-men and that added little to their fortune on the table.

The former Chelsea and Liverpool coach endured a tough time since taking over in June.

Benítez also took part of the blame for Madrid’s expulsion from the Copa del Rey after fielding an ineligible player against Cadiz as the club lost the chance for a major silverware.

Rafael Benítez is the 11th coach to have been dismissed by Florentino Perez, who is currently in his second term at the Bernabeu.

Frenchman Zidane, asides being a Madrid legend, has also been the coach of Real Madrid’s reserve team, Castilla.

Real have been European champions 10 times and have been constantly rated the most valuable club in the world.

Barcelona Are World Club Champions

BarcelonaBarcelona are the 2015 World Champions, defeating River Plate 3-0 on Sunday night in Japan.

Luis Enrique’s men cruised to victory in the final of FIFA Club World Cup competition, adding the gong to their La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Champions League and Uefa Super Cup successes.

It was a spectacle by the ‘MSN’ trio. Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez scored with big contributions from Neymar, and after a tough first half.

Lionel Messi had opened the scoring in the 35th minute with a sublime strike to help the champions’ confidence against a determined River Plate team.

Dani Alves found Neymar in the box, and the Brazilian passed the ball to Messi, who got away with a little handball and finally found the opening goal with his left foot.

Luis Suarez netted a superb second half double to help the Spanish giants emerge as the world’s best football club in 2015.

River Platehad come into the second half seeking an equalizer that seemed highly possible but they left gaps which Barça took advantage of.

Less than five minutes in, Sergio Busquets stole a ball and ignited a counter-attack with a beautiful through ball to Luis Suárez, who calmly finished to score the second goal.

In the 68th minute, Neymar’s beautiful cross found Suárez in the box, and the Uruguayan headed away from the keeper to get the third.

Barcelona have now equaled the record of Egypt’s Ahly, reaching the 20th international title after winning the Club World Cup title.

Messi Out Of Barca Squad For Copa Del Rey Clash

MessiBarcelona’s Lionel Messi will miss Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash against Villanovense at Camp Nou.

Messi returned from injury as a second half substitute against Real Madrid in November and has since played from the start in wins over Roma and Real Sociedad.

However, Enrique has decided to rest the Argentina international against the third division side, following his two-month injury lay-off.

Suarez and Neymar could feature after being included in the 16-man squad.

Messi, Barcelona Dominate La Liga Awards

MessiLionel Messi was named La Liga’s best striker and best player in the 2014-15 season at the LFP (Spanish Football League) Gala Awards Ceremony on Monday.

He helped Barcelona to claim five prizes to better rival club Real Madrid’s three.

Having guided Barca to the treble in his debut season in charge the club, Barca boss, Luis Enrique bagged the best coach award, while Claudio Bravo won best goalkeeper and Neymar was nominated best American player.

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos picked up best defender,  took the best midfielder title and Cristiano Ronaldo was nominated as the ‘fans’ five-star player’.

Messi, 28, scored 43 La Liga goals last campaign as Barca won the league title as well as the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

“It is a source of pride for me to receive this award [Best Player] ahead of so many important players in the league, I’m very happy,” said Messi.

“This award, in particular, I want to dedicate to my son Thiago, even if he does not fully understand yet.”

It is the sixth time the Argentina international has won the prizes, with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo beating him in 2013-14.

On the same day both Messi and Ronaldo were named on the Ballon d’Or shortlist, along with Neymar.

The award has been dominated by Ronaldo and Messi over the past seven years, with the Real Madrid man bagging the trophy three times and the Argentine taking the honour home on four occasions.

Cristiano Ronaldo Premieres Portrait Film

RonaldoFIFA World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo, has premiered his personal portrait film “Ronaldo” in London.

Ronaldo reunited with his former Manchester United Manager, Alex Ferguson, on the red carpet, which also saw a late arrival from embattled Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho who managed Ronaldo during his three year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Posing with a line of fans, Ronaldo sought to break a selfie record upon arrival and was also awarded certificates for other Guinness World Records he had, including “most ‘liked’ person on Facebook”.

His agent, and close friend, Jorge Mendes also said that the documentary film was for Ronaldo’s millions of fans who will now get a chance to see the “real Cristiano”.

Ronaldo is also captain of Portugal’s national team, which in October secured its spot for Euro 2016 in France.

Asked if after his soccer playing career he might eye a position as head of FIFA or UEFA, the Real Madrid striker responded with a joke.

The film, made by the team behind documentaries on Racing driver, Ayrton Senna and singer, Amy Winehouse, looks at his professional side as well as shows tender moments between Ronaldo and his young son.

UCL: Ronaldo Breaks Club Goals Record As Madrid Beats Malmo

RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo scored twice to pass the 500 goal mark and equalled an all-time club record as Real Madrid beat Malmo 2-0 in the Champions League.

The Portugal international, who had drawn blanks against Granada, Athletic Club and Malaga in recent weeks, finally hit the milestone in the 29th minute of Wednesday’s Group A clash with the Swedish champions.

He doubled his tally to equal Raul’s all-time record of 323 goals for the club, diverting home Lucas Vazquez’s right-wing cross in the final minute of the match.

The victory means Madrid have won both of their Group A matches, a record matched by Paris St-Germain, who were 3-0 winners at Shakhtar Donetsk.

 

Messi Named Best Player In Europe

messiBarcelona’s Lionel Messi has won the UEFA best player in Europe award, after beating Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize.

The 28-year-old shone in the second half of last season as he inspired Barcelona to the treble, with the club lifting the Champions League, Copa del Rey and La Liga.

Messi finished level on goals with Real Madrid star, Ronaldo and Barcelona team-mate Neymar in Europe in 2014/2015 – as all three men found the back of the net 10 times.

Meanwhile, in the grouping for the UEFA Champions League, Paris Saint Germain will play in Group A along with Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo.

Manchester United, who returned to the competition after a season absence, will confront PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg in Group B.

Group C has Benfica, Atletico Madrid, Galatasaray and Astana.

In Group D are Juventus, Manchester City, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Defending champions, Barcelona are in Group E with Bayer Leverkusen, A.S. Roma and Bate Borisov.

Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb are in Group F.

Chelsea, FC Porto, Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel-Aviv make up Group G.

Zenit Saint Petersburg, Valencia, Olympique Lyon and Kaa Gent filled up Group H.

Ronaldo Makes History With 300 Goals For Real Madrid

RonaldoWith his five goals against Granada, Cristiano Ronaldo reached 300 as a Real Madrid player, making him the third Whites player to reach the figure after Raúl and Di Stéfano.

According to realmadrid.com, the Portuguese has hit the tally in 287 appearances and only has Raúl and Di Stéfano ahead of him. His scoring rate is impressive, and betters that of the two Madrid legends.

Raúl netted 323 times in 741 matches, with Di Stéfano picking up 308 in 396.

In his time at the Santiago Bernabéu, Cristiano Ronaldo has so far scored 214 goals in La Liga, 60 in the Champions League, 21 in the Copa del Rey, 3 in the Spanish Super Cup and 2 in the European Super Cup.

Hat-trick in eight minutes

The Real Madrid man notched an astonishing eight-minute hat-trick against Granada. He made it 2-0 on 30 minutes, before adding his team’s third with a close-range finish six minutes later and grabbing another for 4-0 with 38 on the clock.

In the second half, he capped his performance with two more goals. It’s the 28th time that Ronaldo has found the net three or more times in a match with Real Madrid, level with Di Stéfano.

Among La Liga’s historic goalscorers

Ronaldo continues to climb the scoring rankings in the competition, and has now moved to eighth on 214 goals, having overtaken Pahíño (211).

The Portuguese has taken 191 games to get to the figure, while the Galician forward played 278 for Celta, Real Madrid and Deportivo.

Quini (219 goals) is next in his sights in the list of all-time La Liga marksmen.

Cristiano Ronaldo Celebrates Ballon d’Or with the Bernabéu Fans

RonaldoPortuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo, celebrated his third Ballon d’Or with the Santiago Bernabéu fans ahead of the Copa del Rey clash with Atlético on Thursday.

Joined by James, Kroos and Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid’s other award-winners at the FIFA Gala, Ronaldo offered the trophy, which confirms his status as the best player in the world to the fans who have supported the team to glory.

James paraded his Puskas Award for the best goal in 2014, while Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos exhibited their accolades as members of the FIFA FIFPro World XI alongside Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo claimed his third Ballon d’Or in Zurich on Monday beating the two other finalists Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer to win the coveted prize.

Colombian, James Rodriguez, beat Robin van Persie and Ireland’s Stephanie Roche to win Goal of the Year.

The Copa del Rey clash, however, did not have a happy ending on the night.

Ramos and Ronaldo scored for the Whites, who tried everything they could to turn the knockout stage of the Copa del Rey around.

However, two early goals in either halves of the match from rejuvenated Fernando Torres condemned the Bernebeau stars to a 2-2 draw which ensured they bowed out on a 4-2 aggregate loss.

The defending champions had lost the first leg 2-0.

La Liga: Barcelona Prepare To Face Sevilla

Barcelona aim to catch Atletico in La Liga when they play Sevilla on Sunday, February 9, as they are three points behind the leaders.

Coach Gerardo Martino sees the match as key.

“This is probably one of the most important away matches we have got left. They are a very intense team, they have worked hard and they are strong. It was very difficult to win in the first game. They are strong at home, their strategy is good. So this match is key,” he told reporters at a news conference on Saturday, January 8.

Atletico Madrid took advantage of Barcelona’s loss at home to Valencia last week to go top of La Liga with a 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad as Real Madrid also drew 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao.

The “Colchoneros” are now on top with 57 points, a number that could increase on Saturday when they play Almeria, and Barcelona and Real Madrid are behind with 54.

But Spain’s two biggest clubs are on course for a Copa del Rey final showdown after recording convincing home wins in their semi-final first legs on Wednesday, February 5.

Real thumped holders Atletico Madrid 3-0 at the Bernabeu, gaining a measure of revenge for the 2-1 defeat in last year’s final at the same stadium, while Barca beat 10-man Real Sociedad 2-0 at the Nou Camp.

Asked whether the coming ten days are key for Barca’s future in both national and international tournaments, Martino said:

“Regarding the Copa del Rey – yes. We are 90 minutes away from a final. Regarding the Champions League also, yes. We are starting the part where one of us goes one and the other one doesn’t. But regarding La Liga, I think there is still a long way to go.”

Barca play Real Sociedad in the cup second leg on Tuesday, February 11 and Manchester City in the Champions League last 16 on February 18.

“I don’t want to talk about extremely dramatic circumstances or extremely positive circumstances. What we have to do is focus on our side and get strong, knowing there are going to be a lot of comments regarding our performance after each match.” the Argentine added.

Messi wins Excellence Sports Award

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has won the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award (ESPY) for Best International Athlete.

The diminutive Barcelona star ended the 2011-12 season with a club record 73 goals, and helped his side to victories in the Spanish Supercopa, European Super Cup, the Club World Cup and the Copa del Rey.

The Argentinean skipper was fit throughout the season and that is the reason why he has managed to give out 63 appearances for both club and country. During these appearances, the Argentinean star has managed to score 80 goals and gave out 25 assists as well.

He played almost all the matches during this season and furthermore took part in the World Cup qualifying matches and the friendly games which the Argentinean national team played.

He also won the European golden boot, scoring 72 goals for the Spanish giants, Barcelona.

Though Messi could not help Barcelona win the Champions League or the Spanish La Liga, he was still the top scorer in both competitions. He was able to score 50 goals in the league, and scored 14 in the Champions League to be crowned as the golden boot for both tournaments.

Messi won the award for ‘Excellence in Sports Performance’, an award which was started back in the year 1993 after fans voted him of ahead of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and reigning US and Australian Open tennis champion Novak Djokovic and female golfer Yani Tseng to the prestigious honour, presented by sports broadcaster ESPN

Messi is the latest in a long line of sporting greats to receive the ward, including the likes of Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Usain Bolt.