Lionel Messi promises to end career with Barcelona

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has said that  would remain with the Catalan club until the end of his career.

“It’s what I always dreamed and what I always wanted,” he said.

The Argentina international joined Barcelona at 13, and debuted  at 17. And since then, has amassed a record of more than 500 goals for the club.

He has won the La Liga title eight times  with the club, the Champions League four times, and Ballon d’Or world player of the year title five times.

Barcelona were second in La Liga last season, three points behind champions Real Madrid and lost 3-0 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-finals to eventual beaten finalists Juventus.

Ex-Manager Luis Enrique announced in March that he would leave the club in the summer after three years in charge and his final match saw Barca capture the Copa del Rey trophy.

Messi scored the opening goal as they beat Alaves 3-0 to win the competition for a third successive season.

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Barcelona agrees terms with Hector Bellerin

Barcelona have struck a deal with Arsenal star Hector Bellerin according to reports.

The Blaugrana allowed Dani Alves to leave in 2016 and were made to regret the decision after the Brazilian’s incredible form for Juventus on the way to the Champions League final.

A graduate from La Masia, Bellerin has long been speculated to return to Barcelona and is now seen as a priority signing for new manager Ernesto Valverde. Valverde left his former club to replace Luis Enrique, who left Camp Nuo at the end of the campaign.

Bellerin will have talks to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger next week about a potential return to Barcelona six years after arriving at the Emirates as a youth prospect.

Barcelona 7-1 Osasuna. La Liga. Messi Maintain Lead, Osasuna Relegated.

Lionel Messi scored twice maintaining Barcelona’s top position in the La Liga title race, effectively relegating Osasuna.

Defending La Liga Champions Barcelona are level on points with Real Madrid, who beat Deportivo la Coruna 6-2 later on Wednesday and have a game in hand.

Messi’s 501st Barca goal opened the scoring, before Andre Gomes followed up with a goal of his own.

Osasuna’s Roberto Torres gave their side hope, but Barca’s offense was too much for them to handle, with additional srikes by Gomes and Messi, two from Paco Alcacer and Javier Mascherano’s first Barca goal followed.

Leganes beat Las Palmas later on Wednesday to confirm bottom side Osasuna’s relegation.

Argentina forward Messi has now scored 49 goals this season in all competitions, from 48 games.

Mascherano’s first goal in 319 games for Barca was thumped home from the penalty spot after Messi had been withdrawn.

As he ran up to take it, the Barca bench watched on in excitement, with Luis Suarez – rested for the match – barely able to contain his glee.

“At first I tried to get out of it but under pressure from my team-mates and the crowd I decided to take it on,” Mascherano said.

“It would have been a fun moment to remember in years to come had I missed it. I wasn’t sure about it at all but it was difficult to say no to my team-mates.”

It was the 32-year-old’s third goal in senior club football, having scored twice during three years at previous club Liverpool – who he left for Barca in 2010.

“The fans behind the goal were chanting for Mascherano to take it,” manager Luis Enrique said. “I am happy for him – he is a key player for the club and he has shown that down the years.”

Scoreline

Barcelona
Messi (12′ minutes, 61′ minutes)
André Gomes (30′ minutes, 57′ minutes)
Alcácer (64′ minutes, 86′ minutes)
Mascherano (67′ minutes pen)
Osasuna
Torres (48′ minutes)

Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona. El Clasico, La Liga.

Lionel Messi scored the winner, and his 500th Barcelona goal sending the Catalans to the top of the La Liga Table

Casemiro started the scoreline before Messi and Ivan Rakitic responded with goals of their own, which gave Barcelona the lead.

Sergio Ramos was shown a red card for a wild lunge.

Substitute James Rodriguez earns the equalizer for Madrid late on.

But Messi, blazed through and fired from the edge of the area to give Barcelona the win.

This puts Barcelona level on points with Real Madrid, but has a better head-to-head record.

Barcelona have redeemed themselves with this match, having lost their Champions League quarter-finals against Juventus and their abysmal performance against Malaga recently.

What the Managers said:

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique: “We are first now but Madrid have an extra game. It will be tight until the end. We got the result we came here for.

“This is a season that weighs on us like five. So many things have happened, good things, not so good things, things I’ve already forgotten.

“The 2-2 goal was a terrible blow but players were able to come back in the last breath – the happy ending that we all wanted at Barcelona.”

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane: “Nothing changes now. Maybe after today the league will be more open. But we still depend on ourselves.”
Scoreline

Real Madrid
Casemiro (28′ minutes)
Ramos (Dismissed at 77′ minutes)
Rodríguez (85′ minutes)

Barcelona
Messi (33′ minutes, 90’+2 minutes)
Rakitic (73′ minutes)

Barcelona 0-0 Juventus. Champions League, Barca Out

Juventus held their ground and produced an impressive defensive performance, to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. Not giving Barcelona any room to score at the Nou Camp.

With an Aggregate of 3-0 from the first leg, Barca braced themselves for another hard fought match, but they failed to repeat their last-16 heroics when they overturned a first-leg 4-0 deficit to beat Paris St-Germain.

Lionel Messi, who had earlier been denied by Gianluigi Buffon, haphazardly took a shot over the bar while Luis Suarez and Neymar also wasted chances.
Juve’s Gonzalo Higuain fired tamely at Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Juan Cuadrado missed another chance but the final whistle was celebrated wildly by the champions of Italy, who have not conceded a single goal from open play in this season’s Champions League.

Juventus will join Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Monaco in Friday’s last-four draw (from 11:00 BST).

Manager Luis Enrique will leave his position at Barcelona this summer, failing to reach the semi-finals for a second successive season.

They will face Real Madrid in El Clasico on Sunday (19:45 BST) their defeat will leave them six points behind Madrid.

Barca are also in the final of the Copa del Rey but even if his side beat Alaves on 27th May, they know that it will be a scant consolation if they fail to win La Liga following another disappointing European campaign.

Juventus 3-0 Barcelona. Champions League Quarter Finals. Dybala Lead the Charge

Paulo Dybala scored twice as Juventus dominated their Champions League quarter-final tie with Barcelona.

Dybala was able to score his two goals before the break, setting the momentum for Juve which left Barca unable to catch up.

Giorgio Chiellini steered home a header from a corner, ending the scoreline.

Recent games have showed us that Barca’s defensive weaknesses, as they were in losing 4-0 to Paris St-Germain in the first leg of their last-16 tie – must come back from a heavy away defeat to progress.

However, after their record-breaking achievement to overturn that deficit against PSG, they will retain hope heading into the return leg at the Nou Camp on 19 April.

The win means Juve, who have won their last 32 Serie A home games, are now undefeated in 18 European games in Turin.

With the second-best defence of any side in Europe’s top-five leagues and having gone 441 Champions League minutes without conceding, the Italians are well-equipped to avoid wilting under second-leg pressure in Spain.

What the managers said:

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri: “I want to congratulate the lads because, as a team, they did great.

“It isn’t easy overcoming a team like Barcelona, but we also dug deep to keep a clean sheet. That was fundamental for us.

“But we have to remain humble, keep our heads down and keep working. PSG scored four, and look what happened.

“In Barcelona, it will be different and we have to try and score a goal.”

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique: “We basically gifted two goals to Juventus in the opening half. As coach, for me it’s inexplicable how they were so much better than us.

“It’s like a nightmare. We’ve had very little luck of late, and now I can only hope that from tomorrow we get back on our feet.

“In the first half the players were determined, but we made the same mistakes from Paris, and that’s a problem. Our second half was much better. But I still have the opening half in my head, like a nightmare.

“Maybe it wasn’t [a repeat of] Paris, but it was like the third half from Paris.

“I’m an optimistic person. But I take responsibility for this. I’m the coach and the buck stops at me.

“If we play as well as we can, we can score fourgoals against anyone.”

Scoreline:

Juventus

Dybala (7′ minutes, 22′ minutes)
Chiellini (55′ minutes)

Barcelona

Granada 1-4 Barcelona, Spanish La Liga.

Barcelona overcame the absence of playmaker Lionel Messi to cut Real Madrid’s La Liga lead to two points with a comfortable win at Granada.

Luis Suarez’s exquisite lob just before half-time opened the scoring before on-loan Chelsea midfielder Jeremie Boga equalised with a composed finish.

Paco Alcacer restored Barca’s lead before Uche Agbo was sent off for two yellow cards.

Ivan Rakitic’s deflected finish made it 3-1 before Neymar scored the fourth.

There was pressure on Luis Enrique’s side to deliver without the services of La Liga’s 25-goal leading scorer Messi, who was serving a one-match ban.

Real’s 3-0 win over Alaves earlier in the day meant Barca started the game five points behind the leaders.