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Lionel Messi is a God but the current mess Barcelona are in shows even he may be running out of miracles

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lionel messi is a god but the current mess barcelona are in shows even he may be running out of miracles

THINGS are bound to look better after a 4-0 victory.

I’m not talking about West Ham’s against Wolves, although that certainly brightened our start to the season.

LIonel Messi decided to stick around at Barcelona - but it might just be for one more season

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LIonel Messi decided to stick around at Barcelona – but it might just be for one more seasonCredit: AFP or licensors

No, it was Barcelona’s against Villarreal.

In Catalonia at least, Barca are regarded as the biggest club in the world, the best-supported club in the world — with the best player in the world.

The fact they failed to win LaLiga last season, they haven’t won the Champions’ League in five years, lost a fortune and two managers in a few months and that Lionel Messi was set to go elsewhere a few weeks ago is considered by millions of supporters to be temporary and misleading.

That may well be. But even the current Barca are regarded by the owners as a mess brought about by the policies of the people who voted them onto the board.

Because, as you may well know, the club is owned by the fans.

This is both a strength and a weakness.

Strength is the democratic connection between supporters and the club; weakness can be in overall management structure.

No fewer than 11 of 21 directors have left in recent times.

KH SPORT GRAPHIC LIONEL MESSI TROPHY v4
Ronald Koeman is the new man in the Barca dugout

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Ronald Koeman is the new man in the Barca dugoutCredit: Reuters

In the immediate post-Pep Guardiola years, the team maintained their success rate, winning LaLiga repeatedly and the treble in 2014-15.

This was quite a feat for Josep Maria Bartomeu, who was appointed emergency president in 2014 before being elected two years later.

Neymar’s sale to Paris Saint-Germain in the same year coincided with a change in fortunes.

Soon the erosion was to become a landslide.

And there is no doubt that the ageing team was badly mishandled. Led by Messi, the veteran players oozed power.

Managers came and went — Gerardo Martino, Luis Enrique, Ernesto Valverde, Quique Setien.

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Messi is sticking aorund for another year, then tipped to join Manchester City

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Messi is sticking aorund for another year, then tipped to join Manchester CityCredit: AFP or licensors

Players did the same and nearly £1billion was spent on no fewer than 28 of them.

Neymar broke away from the famous MSN formation, departing for a world-record £200m, and now Luis Suarez has gone to Atletico Madrid, leaving only the unhappy Messi.

Most of us would be happy on a reputed £600,000-a-week but the great Argentinian knows a slump when he plays in it.

He already seems determined to leave at the end of his contract next year and he will re-start his career at 34, possibly with mentor Guardiola at Manchester City.

Like Sir Alex Ferguson, Guardiola has the ability to re-create champions.

Bartomeu said he will not stand for re-election next year, deserting new boss Ronald Koeman, once renowned as a free-kick scorer during six seasons at Barca.

RR SPORTS GRAPHIC BARCA v5

As a manager of nine clubs, including Southampton and Everton, free kicks are about all his teams have won.

And this Barcelona is no free kick of a job. He has been chosen, I suspect, to be the tough guy Bartomeu requires.

The haste and lack of appreciation with which Suarez was hustled away to Atletico is Koeman’s statement.

Messi was so upset he claimed his mate was ‘thrown out.’

Messi is a God in Catalonia but he is running short of football miracles.

Barcelona’s dependence on him may have become a deadweight and it is certainly possible that a new president will have a clearer view once he goes.

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Arsenal vs Dundalk LIVE: Stream free, TV channel, score – Pepe, Nketiah and Willock put Gunners in charge

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arsenal vs dundalk live stream free tv channel score pepe nketiah and willock put gunners in charge
BLOG Arsenal v Dundalk 3 0

ARSENAL have broken Dundalk’s stubborn resistance with a goal from Eddie Nketiah.

The striker took advantage of an error from 39-year-old goalkeeper Gary Rogers to bundle the ball home from a corner.

And a minute later Joe Willock added the second as he fired into the roof of the net.

Nicolas Pepe then scored a third just after the break.

  • Arsenal vs Dundalk is live on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport Ultimate.
  • To stream the game live, head to the BT Sport website or app.
  • While EE customers can get a FREE three-month trial to BT Sport mobile by texting SPORT to 150.
  • Arsenal XI: Runarsson; Cedric, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles; Willock, Elneny, Xhaka; Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson.
  • Dundalk XI: Rogers, Gartland, Boyle, Cleary, Mountney, Murray, Shields, McEleney, Dummigan, Hoban, Duffy.

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Hoddle admits it is getting difficult for Alli after he was hauled off at half-time at Antwerp

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hoddle admits it is getting difficult for alli after he was hauled off at half time at antwerp

Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle says it is getting difficult for Dele Alli after he was hauled off at half-time of Tottenham’s defeat at Antwerp. 

Dele Alli was among those handed a start in Belgium, but a poor first-half display saw them trail to Lior Refaelov’s 29th-minute strike.

Mourinho did not like what he saw and Alli was one of four men hauled off at the break, the second time in three starts this season he has not made it out for the second half. 

Dele Alli was hauled off at half-time of Tottenham's defeat at Antwerp on Thursday night

Dele Alli was hauled off at half-time of Tottenham's defeat at Antwerp on Thursday night

Dele Alli was hauled off at half-time of Tottenham’s defeat at Antwerp on Thursday night

Hoddle told BT Sport: ‘I think it is (getting difficult for Alli). This was his opportunity and Jose put him and and said ‘put it (a good performance) between my eyes. But it just didn’t happen for him. 

‘In his overall game, he’s giving the ball away too much at times. His options are there and he’s trying his best but it’s not happening for him. Sloppy play is not going to get him back in the team.’

Owen Hargreaves added: ‘He (Alli)’s lacking in confidence and he’s making mistakes. He knows he’s being watched like a hawk by Mourinho, but when your confidence is low you play safe. 

Alli was among those handed a start in Belgium but he was clearly lacking in confidence

Alli was among those handed a start in Belgium but he was clearly lacking in confidence

Alli was among those handed a start in Belgium but he was clearly lacking in confidence

‘He was just stopping the ball deal instead of keeping it moving. He’s not trying to make mistakes. He needs to get that freedom (which we saw) when he was outrageous a few years ago.’  

Jose Mourinho resorted to bringing Harry Kane on, with in-form Son Heung-min one of those already having been sent into action.

Even that duo, who have been in deadly form so far this season, could not spare Tottenham’s blushes as they were beaten for the first time in 10 games.

Antwerp, leaders of the Belgian Pro League, were well worthy of their win, which could have been more handsome, and they remain unbeaten at home in 14 months, taking an early lead in Group J,

Jose Mourinho did not like what he saw and Alli was one of four men hauled off at the break

Jose Mourinho did not like what he saw and Alli was one of four men hauled off at the break

Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle says it is getting difficult for Alli after his latest setback

Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle says it is getting difficult for Alli after his latest setback

Glenn Hoddle says it is getting difficult for Alli after he was hauled off at half-time by Mourinho

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Mauricio Pochettino ‘looking’ at Man Utd job, hints Jan Vertonghen as he discusses ‘impatient’ ex-boss

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mauricio pochettino looking at man utd job hints jan vertonghen as he discusses impatient ex boss scaled

MAURICIO POCHETTINO is ‘looking’ at a Premier League job, with Manchester United firmly in the frame, according to his former Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen.

Belgian ace Vertonghen, 33, reckons his ex-manager is ‘impatient’ after sitting on the sidelines for 12 months since getting the boot from Daniel Levy at Tottenham.

Mauricio Pochettino is lining up a Prem job according to Jan Vertonghen

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Mauricio Pochettino is lining up a Prem job according to Jan VertonghenCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Poch, 48 has long been linked with the Old Trafford hot seat and the Argentine coach’s name was bandied around again in the aftermath of United’s 6-1 demolition by Spurs with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feeling the heat.

Although Benfica centre-back Vertonghen did not mention the Red Devils by name – out of respect for current bosses – his criteria for a ‘big team’ matches up perfectly with United.

He told CBS Soccer’s Que Golazo podcast: “I can imagine he’s impatient.



“I think the English league suits him very well as he’s a manager that prioritises fitness levels and the physicality of the game.

“I think managing in the Premier League is probably the best thing he can do.

“He will always want to coach a big team I guess, so you have to look at the biggest teams in the league and there are only two or three you can really look at I think at this point.

“I won’t name them out of respect for the other managers, but I think that’s what he’s looking at as well and he wants that big team to confirm him what he’s been doing with Tottenham and what he did very well.

“If I was him I would be impatient because he really loved his job and you want to continue that.”

GL GRAPHIC top 10 manager wages v2

Vertonghen left Spurs at the end of last season when his contract expired and signed for Portuguese side Benfica on a three-year deal.

Pochettino remains the bookies’ favourite to be the next permanent boss at Old Trafford.

He was recently linked with a move to take over at Russian side Zenit St Petersburg but his former charge Vertonghen believes he would prefer a move back to England.

Agbonlahor says Man Utd should sack ‘soft’ Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and replace him with ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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