La Liga

  • Messi: Man City and PSG are Champions Le...

    Lionel Messi believes Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are the strongest teams in Europe this season and the favourites to win the Champions League. Led by Messi's former coach Pep Guardiola, City are sailing at the top of the Premier League with 34 points, eight more tha...

    Messi: Man City and PSG are Champions League favourites

    Lionel Messi believes Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are the strongest teams in Europe this season and the favourites to win the Champions League. Led by Messi's former coach Pep Guardiola, City are sailing at the top of the Premier League with 34 points, eight more than nearest rivals Manchester United, while they have a perfect record in Europe. PSG are also five wins from five games in the premier club competition and are looking strong at the top of Ligue 1 with Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe in attack. Messi sees those two as the biggest dangers to Barcelona's hopes of winning the Champions League this season. "City is one of the strongest teams at the moment together with PSG," he told Marca. "So far, they have been the two teams that have shown themselves to be favourites, but this is a very long and tough competition." Barca are in fine form themselves and sit top of La Liga with a 10-point gap over main competitors Real Madrid. Although Zinedine Zidane's side have won just two of their last five games, Messi expects them to bounce back and make things difficult for his side in the league and Champions League. "I never rule out Real Madrid because although they're not having the results that everyone expects, I have no doubt that in the end they will be fighting for everything, as they do every year. "Bayern is another big team that will also be there at the end, but it's true that today City and PSG are the best." The 30-year-old was awarded the European Golden Shoe on Friday after scoring 37 goals in the league last season and remains at the top of his game,  As an elite athlete, he has to stick to a strict diet, and he admits there is one thing he misses eating. "Chocolate, it's the hardest thing for me, even now," he said. "I occasionally sin with chocolate."

  • Gabriel: I deserved more chances at Arse...

    Gabriel Paulista says he faced undeserved criticism during his time at Arsenal and should have been given more chances in the first-team. The defender joined the Gunners from Villarreal in January 2015, but spent spells on the sidelines and started 37 of his 46 Premier League ap...

    Gabriel: I deserved more chances at Arsenal

    Gabriel Paulista says he faced undeserved criticism during his time at Arsenal and should have been given more chances in the first-team. The defender joined the Gunners from Villarreal in January 2015, but spent spells on the sidelines and started 37 of his 46 Premier League appearances for the club before being sold to Valencia in August this year. Valencia 3/1 to beat Barcelona The Brazilian has become a first-team regular in Spain once again, but feels he barely had the opportunity to cement his place in Arsene Wenger's starting XI. "I deserved more of an opportunity. Sometimes I played because my team-mates were injured. I did play and sometimes even after playing well, I'd go home sad, given that I was only playing because my team-mate was injured," he told Sky Sports.  "I don't think I deserved that. I think I had the ability to play and to start games because I deserved to do so, or because I did well in training, but that didn't happen. "Sometimes I'd play three or four games and if Arsenal lost, I'd be dropped and everyone on the outside would say: 'It's Gabriel's fault'. "That wasn't good for me. People thought: 'When that guy plays, Arsenal always lose.' When [Hector] Bellerin got injured, I played at right-back and Arsenal started to lose. "I think I played in four or five games en route to the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City and I played brilliantly in that game. I played really well and I received plenty of praise. Then I think we faced Tottenham away and lost, I gave away a penalty in that game and lost my place in the team. I didn't play again. "I played in the last Premier League game because everyone was injured, all the centre-backs were out…I was quite down about how it went because of these reasons and it didn't sit well with me." Gabriel, 26, signed a five-year contract with Valencia and has made nine appearances in all competitions for the current second-place team in La Liga.  His side welcome league leaders Barcelona to the Mestalla on Sunday.

  • Bale & Ramos ruled out of Real Madri...

    Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale will not feature in Real Madrid's match against Malaga on Saturday despite returning to training. Ramos, who suffered a broken nose in the draw against Atletico Madrid, took part in Madrid's Friday session wearing a protective mask but has not been i...

    Bale & Ramos ruled out of Real Madrid's clash with Malaga

    Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale will not feature in Real Madrid's match against Malaga on Saturday despite returning to training. Ramos, who suffered a broken nose in the draw against Atletico Madrid, took part in Madrid's Friday session wearing a protective mask but has not been included on Zinedine Zidane's squad list. Ronaldo 6/4 first goalscorer And Bale will be given more time to return to match fitness having made his comeback to training on the same day after a thigh injury. Zidane has Keylor Navas and Mateo Kovacic at his disposal, though, after the goalkeeper and midfielder recovered from groin injuries. Marco Asensio will not be risked due to a minor problem and Madrid will also be without the suspended Nacho. Bale has made just five appearances in La Liga this season having suffered his thigh injury shortly after recovering from a calf ailment that kept him out for approximately six weeks. "We know what [Bale] can give us," Zidane told the media on Friday. "He’s very strong, powerful and technically good. "He’s worked hard and has done very well in the matches he has played with this club. There's a lot of talk that he's injured, that he has spent a lot of time out, playing three games and then missing one. "But he’s very important for us. He knows that, I know it and everyone else does. "I don’t know when he’ll play. Today he's trained with us, he's in fine shape physically and not in pain. We'll see when he's going to play." He added: "I prefer to have Gareth available, obviously. He can give us his strength, he’s very good, fast, he's a crosser and works hard. He brings a lot to the team. "The important thing for everyone and for his mood is that he is with us and that he starts playing. That can take away the negative things that could be around him." Madrid are 10 points behind league leaders Barcelona and six behind second-place Valencia, who meet at Mestalla on Sunday. This is our 19-man squad for Saturday's LaLiga match against @MalagaCF_en. #RMLiga | #RMMovistar pic.twitter.com/lrxYtYXPPH — Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) November 24, 2017 That will give the defending champions a chance to make up ground on at least one of the teams above them if they can win against 18th-place Malaga. "One of the two will drop points," Zidane said of the Valencia-Barcelona match. "I’m interested in our match, get the three points and then see what happens on Sunday in that game. "Something will happen for sure. I didn’t imagine being 10 points behind. Every match is decisive. We're on the right track, we have a lot of energy and we’re positive. "We have a disadvantage, but these games are going to be important."

  • Messi hails Barcelona team-mates after E...

    Lionel Messi paid tribute to his Barcelona team-mates after collecting a fourth European Golden Shoe award. The Argentina star scored 37 La Liga goals last season to clinch the honour and move level with Cristiano Ronaldo as a four-time winner, having previously topped Europe's ...

    Messi hails Barcelona team-mates after European Golden Shoe triumph

    Lionel Messi paid tribute to his Barcelona team-mates after collecting a fourth European Golden Shoe award. The Argentina star scored 37 La Liga goals last season to clinch the honour and move level with Cristiano Ronaldo as a four-time winner, having previously topped Europe's scoring charts in 2010, 2012 and 2013. UCL top scorer odds: Messi 7/1 But Messi was quick to point out he could not have found the net on such an outstandingly consistent basis without the help of his fellow players at Camp Nou. "I've always said the individual prizes are won by the team," he said. "If the team is doing well then we have the fortune to be able to pick up these awards. "It is true that this prize belongs to everybody. Without them I wouldn't have scored all the goals I did last season. It is for the whole group." Scarily for opponents across the continent, Messi feels he is getting better with age as he again leads the way for goals in La Liga this season, with 12 to his name from as many matches. "I always said I don't consider myself a striker," the 30-year-old said. "I have been lucky to score a lot of goals. "I think I have grown on and off the field. On it, I have been getting better, adding things to my game and every day I enjoy being a footballer more."

  • Zidane will not blame injuries for Real ...

    Zinedine Zidane is refusing to blame injuries for Real Madrid falling 10 points behind Barcelona at the summit of La Liga.  Gareth Bale has missed almost two months with calf and adductor injuries, while Keylor Navas and Mateo Kovacic have both endured spells on the sidelines in...

    Zidane will not blame injuries for Real Madrid's La Liga gap to Barcelona

    Zinedine Zidane is refusing to blame injuries for Real Madrid falling 10 points behind Barcelona at the summit of La Liga.  Gareth Bale has missed almost two months with calf and adductor injuries, while Keylor Navas and Mateo Kovacic have both endured spells on the sidelines in recent months.   Madrid 4/1 for La Liga title Sergio Ramos could join all three in missing Saturday's clash with Malaga after suffering a broken nose in last weekend's draw with Atletico Madrid and the club confirmed on Friday that midfielder Marco Asensio had sustained an obturator injury.  Zidane, though, admits that there are a number of factors behind his side's struggles this season and the gap between themselves and Ernesto Valverde's side cannot solely be attributed to a lengthy injury list.  "I am not going to look for excuses," he said. "The 10 points are not due to injuries – that can happen in football.  @SergioRamos The Captain behind The Mask: Work hard, dream big!#HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/vYKosUmLv5 — Real Madrid C.F.

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