Category: La Liga

Patrick Kluivert: Champions League title better than domestic double

FC Barcelona legend Patrick Kluivert has said that Real Madrid will have had a better season than Barca if they can clinch a third successive Champions League.

The former Dutch international striker said that a Champions League win would eclipse Barca’s domestic double ahead of El Clasico.

He had previously won Europe’s premier club competition with Ajax in 1995 and said that it is the biggest achievement in football.

“The Champions League is the biggest award any club can win but it is very hard,” Kluivert said. “Winning a double is good as well but winning the Champions League is better. I would prefer to play a UCL final and win it because if you lose it and you don’t have a double, it is not good either.”

“Real Madrid are playing well and they always do what they have to do. The Champions League is the most important title, but if Real Madrid don’t win it, it will be much harder next season.”

Ahead of El Clasico, Kluivert also spoke about the two teams and their star players.

“First of all, Messi is the best for me but he can’t do it all alone; let me think about it because I don’t want to say anything I could regret! Barcelona is Barcelona and Madrid is Madrid, one can win UCL and the other has a double, all of them play for victories.”

 

“Messi and Ronaldo are different players, both in the highest level and each one deserves good words from everyone. But Messi was born with an impressive talent; Ronaldo did too, but he had to work harder to reach that level.”

Lionel Messi trains ahead of Sevilla game despite injury doubt

Lionel Messi remains a doubt for Barcelona’s La Liga trip to Sevilla on Saturday after he joined training but was unable to play a full part in the session.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde suggested that Messi could be a doubt for Saturday’s La Liga game at Sevilla while adding that the Argentine star would require a fitness test on his return from international duty.

The Catalan club had also since confirmed in a statement that Messi trained on Thursday, but only for part of the session.

“The session took place on the Tito Vilanova pitch, with Leo Messi working with the group for part of the session and Barca B’s [Carles] Alena making up the numbers,” the club said.

In the past week, Messi had missed both of Argentina’s friendlies during the international break due to a minor hamstring issue.

While the nation fared well against Italy in a 2-0 victory on Friday, a match up against fellow World Cup hopefuls Spain in Madrid on Tuesday resulted in humiliating 6-1 loss.

It is an entirely different story for Messi on club level, however, as FC Barcelona holds an 11 point edge on Atletico Madrid in the La Liga table heading into Saturday’s match and a very busy two weeks upcoming, the team may play it safe with their talisman.

Still, they face a challenging series of fixtures after the visit to Sevilla, Barca return home to face Roma in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie Wednesday. That is followed by a match against Leganes on Saturday at the Camp Nou and then the second leg of the tie with Roma on the next Tuesday.

Messi and Suarez score late to help Barca overcome Alaves

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez struck late to rally FC Barcelona a 2-1 win over Alaves while keeping the Catalans 11 points clear at the top of La Liga and preserving their unbeaten record in the league.

Alaves, who had 2 wins and a draw in their last 3 Liga games were the only team to win at the Camp Nou in the league last season.

Indeed, they looked set for the same upset against the Catalan team again when the Sweden striker John Guidetti gave them a shock lead in the 23rd minute, falling over as he lashed the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Messi then had a free-kick hit the bar while Paulinho had another chance hooked off the line and Coutinho, a £142m signing from Liverpool, had a shot deflected wide.

Even as wave after wave of attacks from Barca came and a handful of impressive saves from the visiting goalkeeper, Fernando Pacheco was neede, Alaves were lively throughout and could have added a second goal soon after going ahead, Ruben Sobrino seeing a chance clawed away, while Ruben Duarte was denied by Gerard Pique’s block.

It was long after half-time that Luis Suarez finally levelled for Barca in the 72nd minute as the Uruguayan striker scored for the eighth league game in a row.

The equaliser already maintained Barcelona’s status as the only unbeaten team in Europe’s top five leagues before Messi then gave them a seventh consecutive Liga win by curling a spectacular free-kick beyond the reach of the former Pacheco in the 84th minute.

The result meant that Barcelona top the standings with 57 points, 11 ahead of their nearest challengers, Atletico Madrid, and 19 ahead of the champions, Real Madrid.

Atletico team had to overcome the absence of their injured striker Diego Costa to beat Las Palmas 3-0 while Sevilla were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Getafe after a controversial equaliser in injury time.