Tag Archives: benfica

Hatem Ben Arfa to return for Newcastle against Sunderland

Ben Arfa could return to bench for Benfica… and is set to take on Sunderland in derby

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

09:30 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

23:04 GMT, 9 April 2013

Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa could make a shock return to the bench for tomorrow's Europa League tie with Benfica.

The France midfielder, who has missed the last month with a recurrence of the hamstring injury which has hampered most of his season, was originally ruled out for the rest of the campaign by manager Alan Pardew.

But Ben Arfa, who suffered the injury in Moscow last month, has given Pardew a welcome boost as the Toon boss contemplates whether to field his strongest side for the European quarter-final, which Portuguese league leaders Benfica lead 3-1 from last week's first leg at the Stadium of Light, or for Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby at St James's Park.

Swagger: Hatem Ben Arfa is Newcastle's most talented player

Swagger: Hatem Ben Arfa is Newcastle's most talented player

Captain Fabricio Coloccini and France
international defender Mathieu Debuchy are also in line for comebacks
from injury in Sunday's North East while Yohan Cabaye, who suffered a
foot injury in Sunday's win over Fulham, is unlikely to be risked
against Benfica so he will be fit to face Sunderland.

Ben Arfa had a short run-out at St
James' on Sunday ahead of the Fulham clash and has made excellent
progress under the watchful eye of Pardew's medical team, and a
consultant from France.

Pardew said: 'He thinks he is now 100
per cent and we are treating him as that. He is running and there could
be a cameo against Sunderland.

'He has a week's work and if he gets through that he could be involved.'

With a sell-out expected at St James'
tomorrow night, the Newcastle boss has warned supporters they will need
to be patient to help the team through a testing night.

Alan Pardew

Paolo Di Canio

Touchline passion: Both Alan Pardew and Paolo Di Canio will be targeting three points on Sunday

Benfica, who lead Porto in their
domestic league, are unbeaten in 30 games but face a Newcastle side who
have not in 13 European home games – 24 if the Intertoto Cup defeat to
Deportivo La Coruna more than 10 years ago is discounted.

Pardew added: 'We just need to get
ourselves in a good position. If we can get a goal with 20 minutes to go
we can do it. That's the agenda for me.

'Our fans need to understand we go
gung-ho for two goals we are just going to get killed. They have real
quality on the break and we have got to be very intelligent and
patient.'

Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio
has no fresh injury worries for the weekend, although he must find a
central midfield replacement for Craig Gardner who is suspended after
picking up his 10th booking at Chelsea on Sunday.

The former Birmingham City midfielder blamed former Newcastle striker Demba Ba for his caution.

'It was not a yellow card,' Gardner said of the challenge which many felt could have earned a red.

'He just rolled around and forced the booking.'

David Luiz pictured in his youth

Can you work out which Premier League star this is from his childhood snaps

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

12:09 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

01:05 GMT, 4 April 2013

Scroll down for the answer

Who is this

Clue: Look at the hair in the first picture

Improvement: David Luiz has impressed this season after making several mistakes last term

Improvement: David Luiz has impressed this season after making several mistakes last term

Yes, it's Chelsea defender David Luiz!

The
Brazilian centre back posted this picture on his Instagram account on
Wednesday morning, a digital collage of images from his youth in
Diadema, Sao Paulo.

He was released by Sao Paulo FC at the age of 14 and signed for Vitoria, helping them achieve promotion to the second division.

In January 2007 he moved to Benfica and, four years later, signed for Chelsea.

Joker in the pack: David Luiz (left) larks around with Eden Hazard during Chelsea training on Wednesday

Joker in the pack: David Luiz (left) larks around with Eden Hazard during Chelsea training on Wednesday

His time in England has been tumultuous to say the least, but this season he has cut the glaring errors of last season out and impressed both in defence and in a midfield role.

Barcelona have been linked with a summer move for him, although at 25 years old, Chelsea would be loathe to sell him.

Luiz captained Brazil during their recent friendly against Italy and has been touted as a potential successor to John Terry as Chelsea skipper.

Spring cheer: 'I met some inspirational friends at the hospital today @GreatOrmondSt support these kids if you can they touched my heart #life #perspective.' Luiz said on Instagram

Spring cheer: 'I met some inspirational friends at the hospital today @GreatOrmondSt support these kids if you can they touched my heart #life #perspective.' Luiz said on Instagram

Alan Pardew trains Newcastle players at Stadium of Light

Hang on a minute! What is Newcastle boss Pardew doing at the Stadium of Light

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

19:27 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

19:27 GMT, 3 April 2013

I thought Paolo Di Canio was the new Sunderland manager! So why was it Newcastle boss Alan Pardew who was on the pitch at the Stadium of Light this afternoon

So too were his Newcastle players as they prepared for their Europa League quarter-final clash against Portuguese giants Benfica tomorrow night.

But fear not, Sunderland fans. It wasn't the Wearside Stadium of Light, but Benfica's fortress, named – in Portuguese, of course – the Estadio da Luz.

Preparations: Newcastle manager was on the pitch at Benfica's Estadio da Luz this afternoon

Preparations: Newcastle manager was on the pitch at Benfica's Estadio da Luz this afternoon

Pardew and Co are hoping to set themselves on course to a semi-final berth to add some gloss to an otherwise hapless season.

Despite being 15th in the Premier
League and by no means safe from relegation, Pardew says his side will
not let up in the European competition.

Pardew has even tapped up Celtic counterpart Neil Lennon for advice on how to get past the Portuguese side.

Speaking in Lisbon, Pardew said: 'We
have good contacts regarding this team. I know this city quite well and I
have some contacts here who know Benfica well.

'There is also Neil Lennon who we have been in contact with. I think it is important to get as much information as you can – as I'm sure Benfica have done with us.'

James Perch (L) Jonas Gutierrez (R) and Mike Williamson

Yohan Cabaye and Gael Bigirimana (R)

Game for a laugh: Yohan Cabaye and Gael Bigirimana (far right) share a joke, so too does James Perch (left)

Big ask: Mike Williamson is gearing up to keep the stars of Benfica at bay tomorrow night

Big ask: Mike Williamson is gearing up to keep the stars of Benfica at bay tomorrow night

Manchester United scouts watch Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay

EXCLUSIVE: The new Vidic Man Utd watch 15m-rated Benfica defender Garay again

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

13:14 GMT, 16 January 2013

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UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 16 January 2013

Manchester United have again sent scouts to Portugal to check on Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has identified the Argentina centre half as a possible new signing as he looks for long-term replacements for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

On the radar: Manchester United scouts have been keeping tabs on Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay

On the radar: Manchester United scouts have been keeping tabs on Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay

Sportsmail recently revealed that United had scouted Garay at games against Sporting Lisbon and Olhanense this season and it is understood that a United representative was back again at the weekend as Benfica drew 2-2 with Porto at the weekend.

Benfica are currently three points clear at the top of the Portuguese Liga but are under financial pressure to sell the 26-year-old this summer as they can’ t afford to continue paying his wages. Rated at about 15m, the South American is also being tracked by Juventus and other European clubs.

Garay’s former club Real Madrid are entitled to half of whatever fee he is eventually sold for. He has eleven caps for his country.

Nemanja Vidic

Rio Ferdinand

Long-term vision: Manchester United are busy identifying prospective replacements for Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand

Seamus Coleman signs new Everton contract

Coleman seals new Everton deal which keeps him at Goodison until 2018

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UPDATED:

11:36 GMT, 31 December 2012

Everton defender Seamus Coleman has signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract with the club.

It means the 24-year-old Republic of Ireland international has extended his stay at Goodison Park until the summer of 2018.

'I'm over the moon. I'm glad to get it all done and to sign for so long at a club like Everton is a great achievement – I want to be here for as long as possible,' he told evertontv.

Long term: Seamus Coleman has committed his future to Everton

Long term: Seamus Coleman has committed his future to Everton

'Signing a contract here is fantastic and I'm really looking forward to the next couple of years.

'I'm going to keep working as hard as I have done since day one and keep improving every day in training to impress the manager.

'I'm really happy to have signed for the length of time that I have.'

Loyal: Coleman says he wants to stay with the club for as long as possible

Loyal: Coleman says he wants to stay with the club for as long as possible

Coleman has missed the last three games through injury but has proved to be an increasingly useful addition on the right-hand side.

Having joined from Sligo Rovers in January 2009 for just 60,000 he made his debut against Benfica in October that year and later went on loan to Blackpool in their promotion-winning year.

He was rewarded with a new three-year contract in May 2010 and signed an improved four-and-a-half-year deal in January 2011 in a season in which he made 24 Premier League starts, his best to date.

Manager David Moyes found a place for him on the right of midfield for many of those early first-team appearances but has since slotted him back into the side on the right of defence.

Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand set for Manchester United exit

End of an era! Scholes, Giggs and Ferdinand heading for Manchester United exit

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UPDATED:

22:04 GMT, 20 December 2012

Paul Scholes plans to retire once and for all at the end of this season as Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson prepares for another summer shake-up at Old Trafford.

United midfielder Scholes has told friends that he intends to bow out in May and that this time he will not be back.

Ferguson is also facing up to the probability that another veteran, Ryan Giggs, will leave his one and only club this summer, and the manager is aware that defender Rio Ferdinand has yet to indicate publicly whether he wishes to extend his contract.

Trio: Giggs, Scholes and Feridnand could leave Old Trafford at the end of the season

Trio: Giggs, Scholes and Feridnand could leave Old Trafford at the end of the season

With captain Nemanja Vidic also struggling of late with knee problems, Ferguson has already started to look at ways of freshening up his squad.

Recently, for example, Ferguson sent scouts to watch 15million-rated Argentinian defender Ezequiel Garay play for Portuguese club Benfica in games against Sporting Lisbon and Olhanense.

He has also been looking closely at Molde's Norwegian international centre back Vegard Forren.

Head boy: Garay (left) has been watched by Old Trafford scouts

Head boy: Garay (left) has been watched by Old Trafford scouts

Formerly of Real Madrid, Garay has to be sold by Benfica next summer since they are struggling to pay his wages. His former club in Spain are entitled to half of whatever fee he is sold for.

Garay has 11 caps for his country and has also been tracked by Juventus.

As for Scholes, he quit the game at the end of the 2010-11 season but famously returned to United in January of this year.

He was later persuaded by Ferguson to stay on for this season as well and has played 13 times so far.

Moving on: Scholes is poised to retire for a second time

Moving on: Scholes is poised to retire for a second time

However, the 38-year-old believes that his influence on the field is waning and has said privately in recent weeks that he may have given as much as he can.

It remains to be seen if Ferguson attempts to persuade one of his most trusted players to soldier on for another season.

Welshman Giggs is a year older than Scholes and is also on a one-year contract. He has played only eight times in the Barclays Premier League this season and has also seen his influence on the field drop off significantly in recent months.

Rio Ferdinand

Ryan Giggs

Suit you, sir: Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs could call time on their United careers

Giggs has not made his own mind up yet but said recently: 'When I do finish playing, I'll try to find the next best thing. Management does interest me. The nearer I get to finishing, the more I think about it. All I can do is prepare myself as best I can for when I do finish.

'I've been doing my coaching courses with Nev (Gary Neville) – levels one, two, A-Licence. We're starting the Pro-Licence next year.'

Giggs hopes to compete in a couple of triathlons and Scholes may be handed a coaching role at Old Trafford.

Neil Lennon relishing Celtic v Juventus in Champions League

Lennon looks back on Juve thriller as Celtic draw Italian giants in Champions League

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UPDATED:

12:32 GMT, 20 December 2012

The draw for the Champions League has brought back fond memories for Celtic boss Neil Lennon after pairing the Hoops with Juventus.

Lennon played against the Italian giants twice in 2001-02 but it is the home game at Celtic Park he will look to draw inspiration from.

Martin O'Neill's side won a thrilling match 4-3 and Lennon, after the draw for this season's last 16 set him up for the first leg at home in February, tweeted: 'Boooooom…..absolute beauty of a tie…very tough but then they all potentially were..brings back great memories.'

Bring it on: Neil Lennon (right) watches the Champions League draw with Garry Parker (left) and Danny McGrain

Bring it on: Neil Lennon (right) watches the Champions League draw with Garry Parker (left) and Danny McGrain

That night over a decade ago was a glorious failure for the Scottish side as they just failed to qualify from their group, but it was another European cracker at Celtic Park.

The SPL leaders qualified behind Barcelona, unbeaten at home after drawing with Benfica and seeing off the Catalans and Spartak Moscow.

Hoops dreams: Chris Sutton (2nd left) scored twice as Celtic beat Juventus 4-3 in Glasgow in 2001

Hoops dreams: Chris Sutton (2nd left) scored twice as Celtic beat Juventus 4-3 in Glasgow in 2001

Lennon said: 'The home game is pivotal. We’ll have to take some sort of advantage to Turin. Celtic Park is a very special arena and I’m sure the fans will raise the roof again.

'In terms of glamour it's a beauty. Juventus are one of the great traditional European teams. They're current Italian champions and finished the group stage very strongly. So in terms of glamour it's great, in terms of qualification it is going to very tough, but it could have been any of the other teams and it would have been just as tough.

No fear: Celtic got the better of Barcelona in Glasgow during the group stage of the Champions League

No fear: Celtic got the better of Barcelona in Glasgow during the group stage of the Champions League

'We believe over two games anything is possible. Juventus are littered with world-class stars and have been very consistent over the last 18 months and have got a great winning mentality, but so have we.

'To come through the group as impressively as we did, you just never know where you'll be in a month or two's time in terms of fitness and form.'

John Greechan – chief sports writer at the Scottish Daily Mail says…

This is a draw suffused with history and laden with potential.

Neil Lennon’s memories of playing against Juve 11 years ago – when a blatant dive by Nicola Amoruso saw Celtic robbed in Turin, then a remarkably dramatic 4-3 win back in Glasgow couldn’t prevent elimination in the group stages – will certainly drive the manager on.

Believe it or not, Lennon cheekily quizzed legendary Juve boss Marcello Lippi about that infamous Amoruso tumble when the Italian was delivering a Hampden lecture recently; the Irishman is not one to forgive and forget.

But this draw is as much about the present as the past. And what an opportunity this presents for a Celtic team to test themselves against one of the most glamorous clubs in the game, the current Serie A champions and leaders.

Veteran midfield magician Andrea Pirlo, who apparently has covered more ground than any other player in the Champions League this season, up against monstrous man mountain Victor Wanyama – plus the terrier-like Scott Brown – stands out as a key confrontation already.

England goalkeeper Fraser Forster’s boyhood hero was Gigi Buffon, so the big Geordie was grinning from ear to ear after the draw, which left the Celtic squad dreaming of making their own history.

Watch video highlights of Celtic 4 Juventus 3

Lionel Messi beats Muller"s goalscoring record as 86th strike of 2012 opens scoring for Barcelona at Real Betis

EIGHT SIX goals in ONE year… and he's not done yet! Messi breaks Muller record with early double strike against Betis

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UPDATED:

21:25 GMT, 9 December 2012

MESSI SPECIAL

Click here for Sportmail's month-by-month, goal-by-goal video, picture and stats special to mark Messi's achievement

Lionel Messi has surpassed Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals for club and country in a calendar year after scoring twice in the opening 25 minutes for Barcelona against Real Betis.

The Argentinian, who started the match on 84 goals, required just 15 minutes to break the deadlock and equal the record.

Collecting the ball on the inside right channel, he drove diagonally into the penalty area, beating three defenders before picking out the bottom corner.

His 86th arrived ten minutes later in a move he started and finished before firing the ball into the same corner.

Messi has also become Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer in La Liga, with his tally now standing on 192, two ahead of Cesar Rodriguez.

Messi has been in hot pursuit of Muller's record, set in 1972 when he scored 85 goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in all competitions.

Record breaker: Lionel Messi needed just 25 minutes to get the two goals he needed to break Gerd Muller's calendar year goalscoring record

Record breaker: Lionel Messi needed just 25 minutes to get the two goals he needed to break Gerd Muller's calendar year goalscoring record

Double trouble: Messi scored the two goals after 15 and 25 minutes as Barcelona seized control of their match at Real Betis

Double trouble: Messi scored the two goals after 15 and 25 minutes as Barcelona seized control of their match at Real Betis

Teamwork: Messi is congratulated by his Barcelona teammates after breaking the record

Teamwork: Messi is congratulated by his Barcelona teammates after breaking the record

There had been some doubt about
whether Messi would make the team after bruising his left knee in the
midweek Champions League draw with Benfica.

But he was able to train with his
teammates on Saturday after making a swift recovery and coach Tito
Vilanova passed him fit to make the journey to Seville.

Barcelona can establish a six-point lead at the top of La Liga if they beat fifth-place Betis.

Clash of eras: Messi (top) has broken the record set by Bayern Munich and West Germany striker Gerd Muller set in 1972 (bottom)

Clash of eras: Messi (top) has broken the record set by Bayern Munich and West Germany striker Gerd Muller set in 1972 (bottom)

Liverpool want Georgios Samaras from Celtic

Liverpool plot 5m swoop for Samaras after hjs Champions League heroics

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UPDATED:

12:18 GMT, 8 December 2012

Liverpool are planning to make a 5million swoop for Celtic striker Georgios Samaras.

The Greece international has impressed during the Scottish side's run to the last 16 of the Champions League, scoring against Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow.

And Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers sees him as the solution to his attacking problems, with only Luis Suarez proving potent up front.

Target: Georgios Samaras is wanted by Liverpool in a 5m deal

Target: Georgios Samaras is wanted by Liverpool in a 5m deal

Samaras had a spell with Manchester City earlier in his career but scored just 12 goals in 65 appearances.

He is under contract at Celtic until 2014 but is eager to prove himself in the Premier League, according to The Sun.

Rodgers is also expected to launch a January bid for Chelsea frontman Daniel Sturridge.

The ex-Swansea boss is so stretched for strikers that Jonjo Shelvey will lead the line against West Ham tomorrow.

Leading the line: Jonjo Shelvey will be Liverpool's main attacking option

Leading the line: Jonjo Shelvey will be Liverpool's main attacking option

Rodgers has been a huge advocate
of the 20-year-old since he became Liverpool manager and is adamant that
his side have enough threat to cope with the enforced absence of
Suarez.

‘I saw an
interesting stat that we have had 15 different goalscorers this season,’
said Rodgers, who will also be able to call on Steven Gerrard after he
missed the midweek trip to Italy with sickness.

‘We
are only three goalscorers behind the record for the club in a season,
which is 18. There are goals there. Jonjo is an attack-minded player, he
has an instinct for a goal, and we have worked that way before.’

Lionel Messi will miss two Barcelona training sessions as he bids to break Gerd Muller record

Messi: 'I thought it would be the last time I'd touch the ball for a long time.' Barcelona star reveals fears over long-term knee injury

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UPDATED:

17:44 GMT, 6 December 2012

Lionel Messi will sit out Barcelona's next two training sessions after suffering a painful knee injury against Benfica, but he has revealed the knock is healing far quicker than expected.

Messi has 84 goals this calendar year – just one behind Gerd Muller's 1972 record of 85 – and Barcelona will need him on Sunday having won only one of their last 10 visits to Betis' Benito Villarmarin stadium.

The Argentine has a bruised bone in his left knee after a collision with goalkeeper Artur and will stay in the gym while his team-mates prepare for Sunday's game against Betis.

Stricken: Lionel Messi was injured after coming off the bench against Benfica

Stricken: Lionel Messi was injured after coming off the bench against Benfica

Record: The injury to Messi has put his attempts to beat Gerd Muller's 40-year calendar year goalscoring record in doubt

Record: The injury to Messi has put his attempts to beat Gerd Muller's 40-year calendar year goalscoring record in doubt

Despair: Both Messi and the Barcelona trainers knew something was wrong as soon as the player went down

Despair: Both Messi and the Barcelona trainers knew something was wrong as soon as the player went down

FOUR GAMES TO GRAB THE RECORD

December 9 – Real Betis (A)

December 12 – Cordoba (A) Copa del Rey last 16, first leg

December 16 – Atletico Madrid (H)

December 22 – Valladolid (A)

Speaking on Thursday at the launch of a new advert for Turkish Airlines in which he stars alongside NBA star Kobe Bryant, Messi said: 'I was in pain after the knock, so I thought it was really bad. Luckily, it was just that, a knock.

'I’m fine, better than yesterday already. I don’t know if I’ll be ready for Sunday’s game, will depend on evolution.

'What happened yesterday, can happen on training too. Every time you’re out on the pitch, there’s a risk to get injured. The truth is I did not think about
anything because all I could feel was the pain. But in a moment I
thought the worst. When it was shown it was not a severe injury I was
calmer.

'I sincerely thought it was the last ball I would be touching for a long time because of the pain. I tried to go ahead and shoot but I didn't have the strength.

'I am not obsessed with breaking records. It will be nice because (Muller's record) has stood for so long and if I break it then i hope my record stands for as long.'

Club doctor Richard Pruna will decide, along with the player and his coach Tito Vilanova, if he can
train normally on Saturday and then travel to Seville for Sunday night's
match with fourth placed Betis.

The Nou Camp were calling for Messi
just before the half time whistle of last night's draw with Benfica and
Villanova gave in to their demands early in the second half only for
the No 10 to go down holding the back of his knee five minutes from
time.

In-flight entertainment: NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and Messi star in an advert for Turkish Airlines

In-flight entertainment: NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and Messi star in an advert for Turkish Airlines

Worried: Messi left the field on a stretcher after receiving treatment on the pitch

Worried: Messi left the field on a stretcher after receiving treatment on the pitch

Unprecedented: Messi, who has 84 goals so far this year, needs two more to break Muller's record

Unprecedented: Messi, who has 84 goals so far this year, needs two more to break Muller's record

Drama was heightened when the player
was carted to the far corner of the ground, because the electronic car
carrying his stretcher wouldn't fit down the tunnel, and whisked away
for tests.

Messi suffered several long-term
injuries at the start of his Barcelona career but has not broken down
since March 2008 when he injured a thigh muscle against Celtic keeping
him out for six weeks.

His four years under Pep Guardiola
were almost injury-free with the then Barcelona coaching bringing in
podiatrists and dieticians to help prevent injuries.

Ouch: Messi was injured during a Barcelona attack late in the game

Ouch: Messi was injured during a Barcelona attack late in the game

In the wars: Messi was fouled on a number of occasions during the game with Benfica

In the wars: Messi was fouled on a number of occasions during the game with Benfica

Lionel Messi of Barcelona lines up a free kick during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between FC Barcelona and SL Benfica at the Camp Nou stadium

One of the doctors used by Guardiola
Xavier Gasso was important in linking the player's frequent muscle
injuries with his feet and remedying the situation by adusting the sole
inserts in his boots.

Last night Barcelona fans feared the
old problems had returned but a medical report issued at half-past
midnight local time calmed those concerns.

The good news also got coach Vilanova
off the hook with critics ready to blame him for bringing Messi on in
what was a dead rubber game for Barca.

He said: 'I would not do anything differently. We had spoken before about the possibility of him playing for 30 minutes.

'He is a player who always wants to
play, and not because he is about to break a record – something which
everybody else is talking about but that he never mentions.

'If we were concerned about the record then I would have played him and all the other first team players from the start.'