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Barcelona star Lionel Messi is expected to make his return this weekend against Real Betis in the La Liga. The Argentinehas been out of action for three weeks after fracturing his arm against Sevilla. He has had to sit out five games, including the high profile El Clasico clash against Real Madrid and the Champions League game against Inter Milan on Tuesday.

Messi wanted to force a return midweek but the coach Ernesto Valverde had to plead with him to reconsider as Barca were doing great without him and were almost certain of qualifying from the group. Nonetheless Messi trained and even travelled with his teammates to Italy for the clash.

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Angel di Maria speaks on his future with Argentina

Paris Saint-Germain star Angel di Maria has stressed that he is not concerned about his position with the Argentine national team after he was excluded from the upcoming run of fixtures. Interim boss Lionel Scaloni recently indicated that he had picked the team with the means of testing the upcoming prospects but Di Maria remains hopeful of returning to the setup.

Speaking to reporters, Di Maria admitted that he is not bothered about the current selection from Scaloni, and he is looking forward to earning a recall for the Copa America and World Cup qualifier games coming up in the future.He said: “That there’s no permanent coaching staff picked doesn’t bother me. Scaloni is capable of doing this job. Walter Samuel’s arrival is very important. You have to be calm and know what’s left for the Copa America. We have these friendly matches left, after that in March there are qualifiers and when the World Cup gets here, we’ll see what will happen.”
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Messi Set Too High A Standard

Lionel Messi sets such a high standard for himself that even if he has a decent season, people start saying that he is struggling.

For Messi, every season has got to be a top season because he is a superman of the soccer world.

If somebody has a look at Messi’s numbers in the previous season, he would find out that they are actually not that bad.

The 26-year old forward had 28 strikes to his name in the Spanish top tier. Yes, 28 goals. Still, there were murmurs that his game was coming down.

Of course, with Messi, you always expect more, but, people must realize that he is a human being after all. He might be miraculously talented, but, he is also bound to make mistakes, he is also bound to have off seasons.

The thing with Messi in 2013-14 was that he sustained an injury early in the season and that just happened to break his flow.

This season has not started too differently for the Argentinean either as he has again had an injury blow. It is reported to be just a minor blow, but, an injury always sort of disturbs you a little bit, even if it’s a minor one. Coming back is always difficult.

There is a lot of responsibility on Messi this season. He has to win back the La Liga for his team and also, he has to win back the Ballon d’or. In short, he has to prove again he is the best in the business in every mean.

He has not gone to feature for his country in the friendly against Germany keeping his niggle in mind. He doesn’t want to risk it. He himself would be very keen to make this season his own anyhow. His fans should just hope that his fitness doesn’t let him down again.

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Vidic Continues To Perform

Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic recently completed a free transfer to Inter Milan after eight years in the Premier league. Even though he was faced with numerous injury troubles last season, he continues to be one of the top defenders in world football. The 32-year-old is still capable of playing at the top for a couple of more years, which explains the reason for Inter to waste no time in securing his signing. Vidic signed the contract with Inter several months ago. He has been part of the club’s pre-season training.

The 32-year-old need not wait a long time to come up against his former club, as Inter will be playing against Manchester United in a pre-season friendly match. Ahead of this encounter, Vidic has spoken about his memories with the Premier League giant. Due to his long association with the club, he refused the chance to move to another Premier league club despite several names showing interest in him. He has accepted the fact that Inter are no longer the top dog in world football. They have slipped down from their levels achieved in 2010 when they won three major titles in one season.

Vidic says that Inter are club in transition, but he is confident that they will recover.

“I had a lot of offers from different countries, even from England. With Inter, the club are in transition, trying to improve but I like the project. Inter will get bigger and bigger and I hope I can help them achieve their aims. If you look at club now, United is in transition. New players coming in, we (United) have changed managers, with first David Moyes and now Louis van Gaal and also the directors last year when David Gill left (and Ed Woodward was promoted),” said Vidic ahead of the pre-season friendly against United.

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Messi Under Fire

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has come in for tremendous criticism for his recent poor performances in three different matches. Coincidently, Barcelona have lost all these three matches and as a result will be facing a summer of criticism. This is because the club have been knocked out of three different competitions in the space of a week. First was the Champions League exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid.

It was followed by a league defeat against Granada, which has put them four points behind the leaders Atletico. This has now been followed by a 2-1 defeat against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

In all these matches, Messi has been looking disinterested and has refused to run much over the course of the 90 minutes. There have been various suggestions for this poor performance from the 26-year-old, who has become used to scoring more than a goal per game in the last few years. Some have suggested that Messi is sad because of not being offered a new contract by the club despite his good performances. However, former club captain Juan Manuel Asensi has rejected such solutions since he recalled that Messi signed a new contract only 12 months ago.

He says that there is something else wrong with the player, but it is difficult to find out.

“I’m surprised and concerned. Something must have happened because Messi has always been committed to the most difficult games. Something’s happened and it must be big because Messi’s attitude hasn’t been right in recent games. He must be going through something powerful. There’s something wrong with Messi. Something deep must be going on with him. I see the sad face and I’ve never seen him like this,” said the former club captain.

Messi has 38 goals in all competitions this campaign.

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Messi equal with Pele & Maradona

Messi seems to have earned another fan – this time its Jupp Heynckes, the coach of Bayern Munich, who feels that the Argentine star can placed in equal honor with Pele & Maradona.

Hailed as one among the greatest of soccer players of the world, the Barcelona hero has impressed everybody with amazing performances over the years, earning a good lot of fans down the line. However, the new name in his fan list surely catapults the star’s glam quotient given his esteemed presence in the soccer world and the high respect he holds for the young player.

The 26 year old Barcelona player was one of the most consistent Ballon d’Or trophy winners for 4 times. Unfortunately, he missed out on his 5th turn this year by losing the trophy to very charismatic Christian Ronaldo from real Madrid. However, that couldn’t suppress the famous coach’s high feeling for the Argentine & the Bayern Munich man is of the firm belief that Messi truly deserves to be placed in simultaneous stature with the greatest of soccer legends.

“Messi was the most consistent winner of Ballon d’Or trophy for the pat few years”, noted the 68 year old fan. He is surely a genius & definitely deserves to be compare with Pele & Maradona.

Added to Messi, Heynckes was in full praise for Christiano Ronaldo as well. “The very way Ronaldo plays the ball, is just incredible. He is so strong physically & is really dangerous before goal- he is another unique player”, remarked Heynckes about the dapper Portugal star.

Heynckes also spoke high about Franck Ribery, especially highlighting on his rising performance & sense of team ethics. Ribery came 3rd in Ballon d’Or FIFA 2013 race, behind Christiano Ronaldo & Messi.

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Rumors involving the possible exit of Lionel Messi from Barcelona began to emerge as the club denied the Argentinean’s wishes of renewing and making an improved contract. It is believed that Messi wants an improved salary to match Neymar’s and C.Ronaldo’s of Real Madrid.

Since his wishes were rejected from the head chiefs of Barcelona, rumors began spreading stating that Messi could leave the club since he was not being satisfied but the vice president of the Catalan club stepped up and shut down those rumors as they insisted that Messi will not be leaving the club anytime soon.

“At the moment, no,” Javier Faus told reporters when asked if there were discussions over a new deal, before adding: “While I am president, I think it would be extremely difficult for Messi to leave the club, if not impossible.”

Even though there are some teams that can actually afford the 250 million-euro buy-out clause of Lionel Messi, it would not mean anything if the head chiefs in charge of Barcelona will not even allow the star player to leave.

Sergio Aguero was one of the top targets of Real Madrid and still remains being a player has attracted the attention of many top clubs but more significantly is Lionel Messi. The 4 times winner of the Ballon d’Or has wanted Barcelona to make a move for Aguero years ago but Manchester City are not willing to let go one of their most influential players.

The star of Manchester City has already renewed his contract with the Premier League club but Aguero has already stated his desire to play in Spain. Fiorentino Perez wants to get ahead of Barcelona in signing Aguero as they initially wanted to secure Neymar but had to settle with their 2nd option Gareth Bale and Perez does not want that to happen again.

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Barcelona’s director Toni Freixa has stated that he is confident that the club can overcome the absence of Lionel Messi for the next few weeks and continue getting their results. The club has once again made a great start to the season, which has seen them open up a lead over Real Madrid despite the season being just a handful of games old. Lionel Messi has been crucial to his good start for the club, although the Argentine has been struggling for goals in recent matches. This was due to the constant injury problems that he has faced this season.

Messi is already one of the top scorers in the la Liga season, but he’s already several behind the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa. His latest injury will mean that Barcelona will be without him for up to 8 weeks, but Freixa reckons that this is something that the club should not worry about in the short-term. The Spanish giants are indeed extremely strong in this area of the pitch, but they will definitely miss one of the greatest players in the world. Messi holds the FIFA Ballon d’Or award given in the last four seasons, but he is set to be overtaken by either Ronaldo or Ribery.

The Argentine could return to first-team action by January.

“The team is always ‘Messi-dependent’ because it’s impossible not to be with the best player in the world. People talk about it like it’s something bad but it’s a good thing. We’ve improved this weakness now. The team have other resources and it is performing at a great level,” said Freixa. He will be hoping that players like Neymar, who have been brought to the club for huge fees, will be able to step up to the mark during this period.

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Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has claimed that there are no problems between him and new signing Neymar. The Brazilian was brought to the club for a fee of £ 48 million and he is seen as the next superstar. He has already achieved a lot in football unlike Messi, who came to prominence only after coming to Barcelona. The Argentine, though, has managed to win the last four FIFA Ballon d’Or awards and he is seen as early as the player to beat in to win this award. There have been several reports of Neymar clashing with Messi, but the 26-year-old has rejected such rumours.

He has said that the two have been playing together only for a few matches and he hopes to get a better understanding of the 21-year-old as they play more matches. After Neymar was signed by the club, Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff even suggested that the club should not consider selling Messi because there cannot be two super stars in one team. The two players combined to devastating effect in the recent friendly match against the Thai national team. Barcelona managed to win the match 7-1 and it was a few days after the 8-0 drubbing of Brazilian club Santos.

“There’s no problem between us; these are things that come out of the press. We get on with each other on and off the pitch and we’re getting to know each other little by little. We haven’t played much together. But he’ll bring a lot of joy to the club, to us and to the people,” said Messi.

Messi scored 46 goals in the league alone for Barcelona last season. This helped the club win the title, which they are hoping to retain despite the threat from Real Madrid. Barcelona finished 15 points ahead of their arch rivals last season.

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Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova believes that Lionel Messi can inspire the club to victory in the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich. The Catalan club trail the German club 4-0 on aggregate, but the result could have easily been in favour of Barcelona had there been better refereeing decisions. Barcelona were also suffering from the presence of a Lionel Messi, who has not fully fit to play. Yet, Vilanova took the decision to include Messi on the pitch. It was a gamble that backfired massively, as the Argentine star was unable to make any impact on the game.

However, he is expected to have sufficiently recovered from the hamstring problem by the time the second leg starts at the camp Nou. As a result, Vilanova is feeling confident about achieving a comeback, which many have ruled out even after this stage in the tie. The former assistant manager has recalled how Barcelona have been able to produce stunning comebacks in the second leg. A lot rests on the fitness of Messi, who has been quite incredible so far this campaign. There has, however, been criticism of Barcelona that they are too reliant on Messi, as they would have not progressed to the stage of the competition had it not been for the Argentine’s brilliance in the quarter-finals.

“We believe we can fight back. It is our obligation and we are convinced that retaliating is possible.  We know that it will be very difficult, but we are Barca and we can never give up on a tie, especially when we still have 90 minutes to play at home. “The more in form he is, the better our chances of getting to the final. A player as good as Messi, at this point in the competition, will have things to say in the match against Bayern,” said Vilanova.