Lionel Messi leads the Team of the Week in La Liga after his outstanding performance for Barcelona in the 5-1 win against Alaves.After being rested for the previous league match against Betis, Messi (10) was restored to the starting XI for league action versus Alaves, and he looked dangerous from pretty much the opening whistle.He would score two and set-up another in the game, with his first coming via a whipped strike in off the post from 25 yards.It would have taken a lot to better his opening goal, but he managed it, with an absolutely beautiful curled effort into the top left corner from around the same distance.Messi’s assist would be for Francisco Trincao, but he also played a huge part in the fifth and final goal, too, as it was his delightful scooped pass over the top of the Alaves defence which was met by Antoine Griezmann to assist Junior Firpo.Trincao (8.8) makes the Team of the Week too after his first ever double for the Blaugrana.Leading the line is Celta’s Santi Mina (8.7) who scored two to end his team’s run of six without a win with victory versus Elche.Making up the front four is Alex Berenguer (9.1), who also scored two goals, this time for Athletic Bilbao in an impressive 4-0 away win at Cadiz.Toni Kroos (9.5) kept things ticking over in midfield for Real Madrid as he usually, does, completing 101/107 passes and enjoying 115 touches of the ball. He did, however, also play a part in both goals in the 2-0 win against Valencia with a goal of his own plus an assist.Sergio Canales (8.3) joins him in midfield following a solid outing for Betis.Firpo (7.7) makes it in at left-back following his goal for Barcelona, while he also misplaced just four out of 57 attempted passes.Nobody had more touches of the ball or completed more passes this weekend than Clement Lenglet (7.5) with tallies of 121 and 106.Lucas Vazquez (8.2) is the only substitute in the Team of the Week, as he replaced Dani Carvajal in the first half for Real Madrid to go on and earn himself an assist for Kroos.Diego Carlos (7.6) makes up the back four.Osasuna earned a potentially vital 1-0 win away at Levante, and have goalkeeper Sergio Herrera (8.4) to thank after his four saves to earn his clean sheet.LA LIGA TEAM OF THE WEEK
Lionel Messi scored two goals of the highest quality in La Liga this weekend to take his tally to 15 for the season.Both of the Argentine’s goals were scored from outside the box in superb fashion, as he helped Barcelona on their way to a 5-1 win against Alaves.Messi may now make our leaderboard, but he is still some way off reaching the runaway leader, Robert Lewandowski.The Bayern striker scored again on Monday in the German side’s rearranged Bundesliga match versus Arminia Bielefeld which was moved due to their Club World Cup exploits over the weekend.Lewandowski now has 25 goals and 50 points.His nearest rival for the Golden Shoe is fellow Bundesliga striker Andre Silva, who has now scored 18 for the season.Liverpool may have lost against Leicester, but Mohamed Salah still scored a lovely goal to take his tally to 17.Georgios Giakoumakis of Venlo has scored an impressive 22 goals and is the highest player on our list who doesn’t feature within one of Europe’s top five leagues.A talented group on 16 goals for the campaign includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, and Luis Suarez.2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE STANDINGS 2020/21 European Golden ShoeA reminder: The five elite leagues – Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 – all carry a weighting of 2, meaning that a player will be awarded two points for every goal they score in these competitions. For the leagues ranked sixth to 30 in Uefa’s coefficients rankings goals scored are given a weighting of 1.5, and goals scored in a league outwith the top 30, goals are given a weighting of 1. Ciro Immobile won the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, scoring 36 goals for Lazio in a tremendous Serie A season. 2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE (Summer Leagues) 2020 European Golden ShoePlayerTeamGoalsPointsKasper JunkerBomo/Glimt2740.5Amahl PellegrinoKristiansund2537.5Philip ZinckernagelBodo/Glimt1928.5Christoffer NymanNorrköping1827Rauno SappinenFlora Tallinn2626Veton BerishaViking1624Astrit SelmaniVerbergs1522.5Mushaga BakengaOdds BK1522.5Moses OgbuMjallby1421Anders ChristiansenMalmo1319.5Leke JamesMolde1219.5Maksim SkavyshBATE Borisov1919This is the 2020/21 European Golden Shoe race. If you want to see the final standing for the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, follow this link.
Over the years Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been compared by every attacking metric possible.From trophy hauls, to goals, to assists, their careers have been intrinsically linked since hitting the world stage in the noughties.When it comes to being fouled, though, Messi receives more rough treatment than Ronaldo, at least in most recent years.In the 2020/21 campaign in La Liga, Messi is fouled 2.8 times per game, while in Serie A Ronaldo is fouled just 1.4 times per game.One other statistic that needs to be looked at with this is how often the players dribble during a game, as this is usually what leads to fouls being committed by opposition players.In the Spanish top flight this season, Messi completes 4.5 dribbles per game while Ronaldo only completes 1.8, so we can hypothesise that the Argentine is directly involved in more fast-paced confrontations with opponents than Ronaldo, and so is more likely to be involved in a situation to actually be fouled. Messi v Ronaldo – FoulsMessiRonaldoMinutes played16721542Fouled P902.81.4Dribbles P904.51.8Duels Involved P9014.48.4Neither player is particularly close to being the most fouled player in their respective leagues, either.Nabil Fekir is the most fouled player in La Liga from players who have played 500 minutes or more with 3.6, while Josip Ilicic is the most fouled player in Serie A, earning 4.4 free-kicks per game.From the above table, we can also see that Messi is involved in a lot more duels than Ronaldo with 14.4 per game compared to 8.4 and so in every match he is involved more in situations where a foul could be possible.This could be attributed to Messi’s tendency to come deep in his latter years to see more of the ball, while Ronaldo usually opts to stay away from build-up play for the most part to play as a penalty box striker.
Barcelona versus PSG currently means more than just on-field matters, but their round of 16 tie in the Champions League is certainly the pick of the bunch. Both sides come into the tie on the back of a topsy turvy first half of their domestic seasons and with eyes on the ultimate prize having both reached at least the semi-finals last season. Barca have demons to avenge in Europe after losing 8-2 to Bayern in their semi, while PSG will still be burning from final defeat to the German Champions in the Portuguese bubble. Coming into this clash, former Southampton managers Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino both have an extensive injury list that will force a reshuffle in their respective lineups. Barca are wounded at the back with Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto out for the long-term, while Ronald Araujo is likely to miss out again.Sergino Dest should come in at right-back alongside Oscar Mingueza and Clement Lenglet in the centre, with Jordi Alba on the left. PSG have only Juan Bernat out in defence, so should be able to field a strong back four of Alessandro Florenzio, Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe and Mitchel Bakker. Frenkie de Jong has been one of Barcelona’s best players this season and should take his place in midfield alongside Sergio Busquets and Pedri, who may be forced into the middle with a lack of alternative options. Pochettino will be sweating on the fitness of Marco Verratti for his midfield, with Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gueye in place if the Italian can’t get himself ready. Les Parisiens are heavily depleted by injuries to Neymar and Angel Di Maria, but both Julian Draxler and Moises Kean scored over the weekend and should earn another start alongside Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi. For Barca, Messi and Antoine Griezmann have continued to grow in form, with 14 goals and nine assists between them in their last 10 matches respectively. Ousmane Dembele is likely to come back into the XI after spending most of the weekend’s 5-1 win over Alaves on the bench. All is set for the first leg at the Nou Camp ahead of a mouth-watering tie, and one that could define both clubs’ seasons as they chase as much silverware as possible.
Former Manchester City Pablo Zabaleta believes that the Cityzens would offer Lionel Messi the best possible environment for him to thrive outside Barcelona. The Premier League giants are considered to be one of the top suitors for Messi’s signature, especially with Pep Guardiola still at the club.When Lionel Messi submitted a transfer request over the summer window, Manchester City were amongst the top clubs in the running for the 33-year-old’s signature. However, while the Barcelona legend opted to stay at the club for the current season, he has yet to sign a new contract at the Camp Nou and is thus in the final six months of his current deal. That has seen Messi linked to some of Europe’s biggest clubs despite reports indicating that no move has been made for him.However, with Barcelona struggling, financially, the Argentine could still leave the Camp Nou within the next few months and Pablo Zabaleta believes that Manchester City is the best place for him. The former Cityzens full-back revealed, in an interview, that while there is little doubt the Premier League will interest him, City offer Messi “perfect conditions” to thrive. He further added that leaving Barcelona will be a “big decision” and moving to a club with people he knows, will help.“If Lionel Messi decides to leave Barcelona and he wants to play in the best league then he has to experience the Premier League for himself,” Zabaleta told the Mirror. It is something that will interest him because every player I know always asks me what the Premier League is like. Leo has been in La Liga for so many years and I think it would be a huge attraction for him to experience English football,” Zabaleta said, reported Goal.“And Manchester City offer the perfect conditions. He knows Pep very well, he knows [sporting director] Txiki Begiristain and [chief executive] Ferran Soriano and also [Sergio] Aguero. It would be a big decision if Leo leaves Barcelona. But if that’s what he wants then it would be a good thing for him to go to a club that has people already there who can help him to settle”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Barcelona enjoyed an impressive night as they thumped Alavés 5-1 in La Liga on Saturday.Lionel Messi was the star of the show, earning a perfect 10 FC Rating with a stunning performance.Barca forward Messi made his 505th league appearance in the match to ensure he equalled the club record held by the great Xavi.Barcelona 5-1 Alaves: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player StatsAs a result, his performance and record captured much of the attention.However, it was also a hugely positive night for Trincão in his first La Liga start. Let’s take a look at the details.📷 Trincao: Match Snapshot⚽ GOAL ⏱️ 29′ Trincão put Barcelona ahead just before the half-hour mark, lashing in with his left foot after an intelligent cut-back from Ilaix Moriba.Messi had a goal disallowed for a questionable offside against Antoine Griezmann before he netted a wonderful long-range strike that did stand on the stroke of half-time.Luis Rioja scored for visitors Alavés, but Trincão ended the match as a contest.⚽ GOAL ⏱️ 74′ Messi raced through on goal and was challenged by goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco. The ball fell into the path of the onrushing Trincão, who delivered a cool left-footed finish on the rebound.Messi scored another wonderful goal a minute later and Firpo soon made it five.Trincão thought he had a famous hat-trick late on when he scored after being slipped through by Messi, but an offside flag denied him.A €31 million signing from Braga, Trincão completed two dribbles in the match, tied for the game high. The 21-year-old also had four shots, three of which were on target, and five touches in the opposition box, behind only Messi and Griezmann (both 7).〽️ Trincao: Rating Week-on-Week✔️ IMPROVEMENTThis was easily the best performance from Trincão in a Barca shirt, as he finished with an impressive 8.8 FC Rating. Only Messi was ranked higher.That was a big improvement on the 7.2 FC Rating he got against Real Betis in his last appearance, though he also scored and impressed in that game as a substitute.”It was a question of confidence,” head coach Ronald Koeman said of Trincão after the Alavés match.”You also have to give him the benefit of the doubt while he adapts. He is quick and he can go past people.”🗝️ Key StatsTrincao: What Next?Barcelona will see their season reach a pivotal point on Tuesday when they face PSG at Camp Nou in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.Despite his fine display here and the fact he started in four of the group-stage games, you would suspect Trincão is unlikely to play a prominent role in that one.However, he should be right in the mix for the league matches against Cadiz, Elche and Sevilla that follow the PSG game.With Koeman still waiting for key players to return from injury and rotating his squad amid a hectic fixture list, the display against Alavés must have pushed Trincão up the pecking order.Barcelona 5-1 Alaves: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman will likely recall defender Clement Lenglet into his starting XI for this weekend’s La Liga fixture versus Alaves.Lenglet was surprisingly left out of the line-up for the Copa del Rey match against Sevilla during the week, with Samuel Umtiti preferred in the centre-of the defence alongside Oscar Mingueza.Barcelona would go on to lose the first leg of the semi-final 2-0, with no member of the four-man backline covering themselves in glory.Junior Firpo started that game at right-back due to injuries to Sergi Roberto and Sergino Dest, but the latter completed full training on Thursday so he could be rushed back to start as Koeman runs out of options at full-back.Jordi Alba will likely start on the left again.The midfield three of Sergio Busquets, Pedro, and Frenkie de Jong all all scored a 6.0 FC Rating for their performances against Sevilla, but with Miralem Pjanic likely to be absent for the Alaves match, the trio will probably start again despite their ineffectual outing during the week.Koeman isn’t blessed with options in the forward areas, either, which will mean starts for Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Ousmane Dembele.Martin Braithwaite could be available, but probably wouldn’t have started anyway.Should Koeman opt to make any changes to his midfield or forward line, the only two players pushing for minutes are Riqui Puig and Francisco Trincao.In terms of other injuries, Barcelona remain without Ansu Fati, Gerard Pique, Philippe Coutinho, and Ronald Araujo.Barcelona predicted XI against Alaves
Ivan Rakitic offered Barcelona a reminder of what they let go last summer as he helped Sevilla carve out a 2-0 aggregate lead over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.The Croatia international departed Camp Nou in September, bringing an end to a trophy-laden six-year stay that him win four La Liga titles, four Copas del Rey and the Champions League.That paved the way for an emotional return to the south of Spain where he won the Europa League over a three-year period prior to his Barca move.But Rakitic returned to haunt his old club on Wednesday evening in a first leg of a Copa del Rey semi-final at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.The 32-year-old grabbed the hosts’ second as they claimed a 2-0 win that puts them in pole position to reach the final against either Athletic or Levante.He also produced an impressive all-round performance to earn himself a Football Critic rating of 7.4 on the night.Rakitic completed the third highest amount of passes (68) of any player on the night, just behind Sergio Busquets (70) and Oscar Mingueza (72).Sevilla 2-0 Barcelona: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player StatsHe was also third highest in terms of touches (86) and influence on the match behind Jordan (87) and, unsurprisingly, Lionel Messi (92).Messi was also the only man to take more shots (7) than Rakitic (4), with three of them being blocked and the other finding the back of the net.Most importantly, however, the Croatia internationl severely damaged Barca’s trophy hopes this season while giving Sevilla hope of a first Copa del Rey win since 2010.
Bayern won 1-0 versus Hertha at the weekend with the only goal of the game being scored by Kingsley Coman.Robert Lewandowski actually missed a penalty in that one and so failed to take the opportunity to add to his goalscoring tally for the season, which currently stands at 24.Even though he still holds a commanding lead, others were able to close the gap slightly, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, and Luis Suarez all getting on the scoresheet for their respective sides.Silva has now scored 17 for Eintracht Frankfurt this campaign, and currently represents the biggest threat to Lewandowski as the leader, even if the Portuguese forward is seven goals adrift.Genk’s Paul Onuachu still finds himself high in the standings despite the disadvantage of the competition weighting.Ronaldo, Suarez, and Kylian Mbappe have all scored 16 goals so far this season and are on 32 points.There is a talented group on 28 points which includes Erling Haaland, Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ciro Immobile, and Wout Weghorst.Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s only goal of the game in the defeat versus Man City, and moves on to 15 strikes for the season.2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE STANDINGS 2020/21 European Golden ShoeAt this stage of the season, the leagues that run on the calendar year – ie 2020 – inevitably get a head start but these days with the league weightings, very few are still there by the end of the traditional 2020/21 campaign. A reminder: The five elite leagues – Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 – all carry a weighting of 2, meaning that a player will be awarded two points for every goal they score in these competitions. For the leagues ranked sixth to 30 in Uefa’s coefficients rankings goals scored are given a weighting of 1.5, and goals scored in a league outwith the top 30, goals are given a weighting of 1. Ciro Immobile won the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, scoring 36 goals for Lazio in a tremendous Serie A season. 2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE (Summer Leagues) 2020 European Golden ShoePlayerTeamGoalsPointsKasper JunkerBomo/Glimt2740.5Amahl PellegrinoKristiansund2537.5Philip ZinckernagelBodo/Glimt1928.5Christoffer NymanNorrköping1827Rauno SappinenFlora Tallinn2626Veton BerishaViking1624Jasur YakhshiboevPakhtakor Tashkent1624Astrit SelmaniVerbergs1522.5Mushaga BakengaOdds BK1522.5Moses OgbuMjallby1421Anders ChristiansenMalmo1319.5Leke JamesMolde1219.5Maksim SkavyshBATE Borisov1919This is the 2020/21 European Golden Shoe race. If you want to see the final standing for the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, follow this link.
Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman will restore Lionel Messi to his starting XI when the Catalan side take on Sevilla in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.Messi was rested from the starting line-up for the weekend La Liga fixture versus, but his services were required off the bench.With Barcelona trailing Betis 1-0, the Argentine came on in the 57th minute and scored within two minutes to make it 1-1.He was inspirational after coming on, and helped Barca to a narrow 3-2 away victory.It displayed, once again, how desperately ineffective the Blaugrana can be without their star man, which makes it a certainty he will start against Sevilla bar any injury suffered between now and kick off.There will be a likely change at the back with Sergino Dest coming in to replace Oscar Mingueza at right-back.Ronald Araujo picked up an ankle injury versus Betis and is set to miss a month of action, which could mean a return to the starting XI for Samuel Umtiti, although Koeman opted against using him as Araujo’s immediate replacement at the weekend.Frenkie de Jong had a superb 100% pass completion rate after coming on in that game, and will be welcomed back in from the start, possibly at the expense of Miralem Pjanic.Pedri could come in for Riqui Puig, too.Up top, Martin Braithwaite will be the player to make way for Messi, with Antoine Griezmann on the left and Ousmane Dembele on the right.Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, and Philippe Coutinho remain long-term absentees.Barcelona predicted XI against Sevilla