Barcelona: Super Messi extends contract with the Blaugrana

Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with Barcelona.  The Argentine penned a two year extension with the Catalan giants and is contracted to the club until 2018.

“I’m very happy at Barcelona, I have always said so. It’s a great day…I don’t know how I will be when I reach 31. I just go forward day by day and try to enjoy playing football here.”

He follows both fellow Barcelona youth graduates Puyol and Xavi in extending their deals.

Messi won his fourth consecutive FIFA World Player of the Year award on the back of a monumental season with Barcelona where the 25 year old bagged 73 goals in all competitions and scored an astonishing 91 goals in the full calendar year, breaking former Bayern Munich striker Gerd Müller’s record of 85 goals 40 years ago.

However, Messi would go on to say he wouldn’t rule out seeing out his playing days back in his native homeland.

“I said it before – in Europe I’d like to end my career at Barca. I wouldn’t consider moving to another European club. With that said, I’m not ruling out ending my playing career in Argentina.”

Barcelona left back Jordi Alba has hailed his teammate and said: “I can’t imagine what Messi will be like in 2018, but it’s great news for Barça fans that he’s staying. He is the best player in the world and as long as nothing happens, he’ll be the best ever. We’ll try to make him feel as comfortable here as we can.”

For both parties its a positive deal. Messi will remain one of the worlds best paid players and it’s good news for Barcelona, who can expect to see Messi continue glittering the world with his exclusive talent.

 

Written by Farhan Daw

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Feature: Best Players of the First Month of 2013

Many international football fans and supporters decided that the top 5 football players of January and of this year so far come from three different leagues with La Liga as the prevailing one. The list was compiled according to the independent fans voting FootballTop.com.

 

FIFTH place of that list takes a glorious player and one of the best goalkeepers of the century, Gianluigi Buffon.

 

His actions were evaluated this year according to an increasing level of stability of Gianluigi, the captain of Juventus for many years, who was one of those to bring Juve to their current position never conceding more than one goal in a Serie A match except for the recent game against Sampdoria where Juve suffered a 1-2 away loss.

Stability of the keeper was confirmed by a new one year deal that Buffon signed with his club.

 

FOURTH place goes to Steven Gerrard, another leader, another irreplaceable man in his club.

 

Gerrard, aged 33, is still capable of delivering world class football. Gerrard isn’t already as fast and as he was during the Champions League final in Istanbul, he can’t play all possible and impossible positions on the field performing as a forward in one game and a flank defender in the next one as he did before.

In spite of that he decided to settle in defensive midfield in Brendan Rodgers’s tactical schemes to play on showing his best abilities splendidly assisting his teammates and fooling the defenders of the rivals.

 

THIRD place is taken by Iker Casillas, another one goalkeeper and captain that can’t be ever replaced by any other top footballer.

Yes, Jose Mourinho, this man can’t be substituted by any other world class goalkeeper be it Buffon or Cech because Iker Casillas=Real Madrid, and Real Madrid=Iker Casillas.

The statistics shows: owing to this very man Real Madrid conceded only one goal in past 5 games. The sad moment in Iker’s career is his recent injury. He broke an arm in a recent game against Valencia which required surgery.

The injury makes Iker miss the Copa del Rey semi-finals clash against Barcelona and the Champions League 1/8 finals fixture against Manchester United which signboard seems to have lost a pinch of its glance without Real Madrid’s captain.

 

This month Lionel Messi comes SECOND.

 

Regardless of the fact that Barcelona is top of La Liga the closes chasers are within an enormous distance away from the Catalan club both on the league table and in the quality of play Messi was still brilliant but not as brilliant as Ronaldo.

The effect of the fourth Ballon d’Or award makes itself felt when you understand that everything is accomplished and you can relax a bit and remain the second for just a while. Barcelona has a sensible advantage over Atlético Madrid and there is some time to relax and prepare for the Champions League challenge.

 

And finally, FIRST place goes to Cristiano Ronaldo who is and has always been outstanding.

 

Fast runner, stunning dribbler, splendid finisher, marvelous diver (who said that diving isn’t a profession?) – this player is good at everything.

But this month was exceptional for one reason. Cristiano has officially proved that he is a key element of Real Madrid’s striking force and that without his talent Mourinho’s attacking machine does not work properly.

A clear evidence of that fact was a game against Osasuna where Mourinho decided not to place Cristiano in the starting line-up and this move resulted in a boring 0-0 draw at Osasuna.

 

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La Liga: Best XI for the First Half of the Season

The Ballon d’Or awards were announced on Monday and it proved to be a clean sweep for Spanish football; Lionel Messi lifted his fourth player of the year award in succession, Vicente Del Bosque was named coach of the year and the team of the year were all based in the Primera Division. It is a reflection of Barcelona and Real Madrid’s dominance that all but one of the eleven played for them.

However, whilst some of these players have been boosted by their national notoriety too, other league based players have excelled. It is therefore time to reflect on the first half of the league season in Spain and pick out the most in form eleven players:

 

Goalkeeper

 

Willy Caballero (Malaga CF)

Many fans and pundits alike were worried for Malaga before the season began but they have surprised all with their performances. One key facet to their success has been their defence and Caballero has been outstanding in goal.

 

Defenders

 

Jordi Alba (Barcelona)

It seems like he has never been away. His understanding of the way Barca play is fantastic and already he has made the position his own. Following on from a tremendous European Championships Alba looks set for more glory in 2013.

 

Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Despite all the shenanigans at Real Madrid at the moment Ramos has been a rock in defence at times. The gifted, ball playing centre half is still only 26 but seems to have been around forever.

 

Martin Demichelis (Malaga)

Having conceded the fewest goals in the league so far Demichelis has drawn on all his experience to be the fulcrum at the centre of their defence.

 

Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)

It has been great to see Atletico doing so well this season and Filipe Luis has been an integral part of their success. The Brazilian sustained an injury shortly before the end of the year but will be crucial in Los Rojiblancos chase for Champions League qualification and their defence of the Europa League.

 

Midfield

 

Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)

Busquets gets better and better with every passing year. The ability to receive the ball and play the correct pass almost every time while at the same time protecting the defence makes him the leading exponent of the defensive midfielder role in world football.

 

Oscar Gonzalez (Valladolid)

Last season Oscar contributed 13 goals and six assists in Valladolid’s promotion to the Primera. He has carried on where he left off and already has seven goals and four assists to his name this season. He will be vital to the club for the remainder of the season.

 

Isco (Malaga)

Isco’s incredible displays in 2012 have alerted all the major clubs to his potential. A player with incredible technique and a unique ability to beat opponents with ease have reminded many of a young Andres Iniesta, high praise indeed.

 

Forwards

 

Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)

The Colombian striker has 17 goals in 16 games so far this season; a record that would make him top scorer in almost every other league in Europe. Whether he has to chip, head or volley the ball at goal it is done with remarkable skill and precision. So far this season he has proved he is a truly world class performer.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

It has been a funny few months in Madrid but the goals just keep on coming. His record in Spain since he arrived is staggering (171 goals in 171 games) and his performances just keep getting better and better. At 27 he is now around his peak, if only it wasn’t for an Argentine he must think…..

 

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

What more is there to say? The superlatives you can offer simply cannot do justice to the man anymore. Simply the best and the fact that he seems to enjoy it so much only makes everyone like him more.

 

Written by Andy Hunter

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