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Tuesday, December 22, 2009
A video compilation of Messi's performance mostly in 2009 will be updated once I found it out! :)
Wonderful year with for Messi crowned with another award
Madrid - A wonderful year for Barcelona's Lionel Messi was crowned on Monday with the FIFA World Player of the Year award, which is based on the votes of the managers and captains of the world's national teams.
Messi, 22, came second in the voting in 2007 and 2008 but this time has managed to finish ahead of Real Madrid stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, as well as Spaniards Xavi and Andres Iniesta, the previous winners.
Few people would dispute his position as Planet Football's leading play right now.
Rarely in the history of football has one player achieved so much in one calendar year.
Messi began 2009 in excellent form, helping Barcelona to stay top of La Liga with his mazy dribbles and devastating left-foot drives - as Osasuna found out to their coast in January.
In March he helped Barca to cruise past Bayern Munich into the semi-finals of the Champions league, where they would edge out Chelsea.
Messi has described May 2009 as 'the most satisfying month of my career' - and for good reason.
First he masterminded Barca's memorable 6-2 win away to Real Madrid - a win which virtually guaranteed the Catalans the league title - with two goals and a virtuoso performance of dribbles, faints, passes and shots.
Then he helped Barca to win the King's Cup final, scoring the second goal in a 4-1 destruction of Athletic Bilbao.
And he crowned a golden month by heading in the second goal in the 2-0 defeat of Manchester United in the Champions League final.
Coach Josep Guardiola confused United by taking Messi away from his habitual position on the right wing and giving him a free role behind the other two strikers - to excellent effect.
Messi started this season by helping Barca to win the Spanish and European Supercups.
However, he was soon hit by two problems. He struggled to reproduce his Barca form for Argentina and looked uncomfortable having to play for volatile national manager Diego Maradona, with whom he has frequently been compared.
No sooner had Messi helped Argentina to qualify for the World Cup finals than he was slowed up by a series of muscle injuries.
He has been plagued with such minor injuries since starting out in the youth team of Newell's Old Boys, in his native city of Rorio.
His family emigrated to Spain in 2000 and Messi entered the Barcelona youth sections as a tiny, skinny 13 year-old. Barca put him on a special hormone treatment to help him grow, and this is often cited as the source of his muscle problems.
Despite his muscle injuries, Messi won the European Footballer of the Year award in November, by a record margin over 2008 winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
He was desperate to show the world that he deserved the award by helping Barca to win December's Club World Cup tournament. However, he arrived in Abu Dhabi with a twisted right ankle and it was doubtful if he would be able to play.
The end of this story reads more like a fairy tale than a sports chronicle.
Messi came off the subs' bench during the semi-final against Mexican side Atlante, with the score at 1-1 - and scored a handsome goal within three minutes.
In the final, against Argentine team Estudiantes, he was again given a free, roving role by Guardiola. He had a relatively quiet match by his high standards.
But cometh the hour, cometh the man.
With 10 minutes of extra-time left to play, with the score 1-1 and with a penalty shootout looming, Messi gave Barca the world crown and their sixth trophy of the year by making it 2-1 with his chest, diving to turn in a clever centre from Dani Alves.
The scrawny little kid from Roario was now truly on top of the world, where he intends to stay for many years.
Messi and Marta on top of the world
FC Barcelona's Messi wins World Player of the Year
ZURICH: Lionel Messi claimed the World Player of the Year award on Monday to nearly complete his collection of football's greatest honors.
All that eludes the 22-year-old Argentine now is a World Cup title.
"It is beautiful to achieve a year that cannot possibly be improved," Messi said through a translator.
He called the award "the icing on the cake." Messi, who was runner-up the last two years, received 1,047 points in voting.
Ronaldo was second with 352 points, followed by Xavi with 196 points.
Messi scored 38 goals in 51 matches in all competitions during 2008-2009 season, and has continued with 15 goals in 22 games this campaign as Barcelona have surged to the top of La Liga and back to the Champions League knockout phase.
Messi about more than just trophies -ESPN soccernet blogs
But most impressive of all is that when you strip away all the facts and figures Messi still stands out an artist amongst draughtsmen.
The image of the diminutive forward cutting in from the left-flank and slaloming through an impossible amount of defenders on his way to goal is one of the greatest in football. When the Argentinian has the ball at his feet there is an air of expectation and apprehension that very few footballers, and no amount of statistics, can invoke.
Winning FIFA World Player of the Year is not the end, it is just the BEGINNING. Winning the World Cup is my next aim, no doubt. :)
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Will blog about Barcelona games this weekend. Cheers!
Check out www.messilegend.blogspot.com if there is no updates here. Thanks :)
Check out www.messilegend.blogspot.com if there is no updates here. Thanks :)
Monday, October 26, 2009
Barcelona thrashes Zaragoza to go clear at the top
MADRID (AP) - Barcelona thrashed Zaragoza 6-1 to move three points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the Spanish league on Sunday, helped by a Seydou Keita hat trick and two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Catalans shrugged off their surprise loss to Rubin Kazan in the Champions League midweek and produced a dominant display. Three early goals put the European Champion out of reach by halftime.
Barcelona is now on 22 points, three ahead of Real Madrid, which failed to bounce back from its midweek loss to AC Milan in drawing with Sporting Gijon 0-0 on Saturday. Sevilla is third on 16 points.
"We have proved that Barcelona is a big team," said Keita after the game. "I'm happy but I am not a goal scorer. If (Leo) Messi or Ibrahimovic scores, it's better for the team."
Ibrahimovic and Messi, who led the attack with Andres Iniesta, were a constant threat for Barcelona.
With five minutes played, Xavi Hernandez found Messi in space but the Argentina winger shot just wide. A long pass from Xavi in the 12th found Ibrahimovic, who headed down for Messi - but his low shot was pushed round the post by keeper Juan Pablo Carrizo.
Barcelona finally took the lead in the 24th minute when Messi took a short pass from a corner and his cross connected with the head of the diving Keita to make it 1-0. Five minutes later Carrizo got both hands to a rocketing shot from Ibrahimovic but couldn't keep it out.
Ibrahimovic was twice ruled offside after finding the net from a Messi assist. In the 41st Ibrahimovic was the provider when he cut in from the left and Keita swept his cross into the net.
The Swede combined with Keita moments later, flicking the Malian's cross with the outside of his boot into the net for his second of the night.
A rare lapse by Barcelona allowed Jorge Lopez to burst through in the 78th and beat goalkeeper Victor Valdes with a stinging shot.
Messi struck back two minutes later, gathering a pass from Iniesta on the edge of the area and lobbing Carrizo to make it 5-1 and Keita scored his third when he headed in from a corner.
Goals from David Villa, Pablo Hernandez and Juan Manuel Mata gave Valencia a 3-0 win over 10-man Almeria on Sunday, taking the side up to fourth place in the standings.
Spain striker Villa returned to the starting line-up after spending most of the midweek Europa League game against Slavia Prague on the bench. He scored his seventh of the season when he rose to head in Hernandez's delicate cross in the 53rd minute.
Just after the hour, Almeria was reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Diego Alves was sent off for a rash challenge on Hernandez. In the 74th minute, Hernandez saw substitute 'keeper Andres Esteban off his line and his long-range lob found the net. Juan Manuel Mata made it 3-0 with a low drive in the 86th minute.
Valencia is level with Deportivo La Coruna on 15 points.
Earlier, Villarreal beat Malaga 2-1 to win its first game of the season and move off the bottom of the table.
Villarreal looked unsettled after seven league games without a win, but Nilmar da Silva calmed nerves with a goal in the 27th minute.
Malaga's Albert Luque equalized just before halftime, but Joan Capdevila's low free kick put the hosts ahead again in the 52nd. "We've suffered a lot, but when you are way down there in the standings that's how it is," said Villarreal coach Ernesto Valverde after the game. "The win is very good, even though we had to suffer. We won without playing the way we wanted."
The result left Malaga bottom in the standings.
Also Sunday, Valladolid beat Deportivo La Coruna 4-0, Getafe defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-0, Osasuna drew 1-1 with Racing Santander and Tenerife edged Xerez 1-0.
On Saturday, nine-man Mallorca held Atletico Madrid to 1-1 and Sevilla drew 0-0 against Espanyol.