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Michel Platini says 2022 World Cup in Qatar must be staged in winter

Qatar World Cup must be staged in the winter to protect players and fans, says Platini

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

11:49 GMT, 2 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 2 March 2013

Michel Platini says the 2022 World Cup in Qatar must be held during the winter to protect the players and fans from the searing desert heat.

Temperatures can exceed 40 degrees in the summer in the middle-eastern country, compared to a more comfortable 17 degrees in the winter.

The finals were controversially awarded to Qatar two years ago with Platini, the UEFA president, one of those who voted in their favour.

Winter World Cup: UEFA President Michel Platini says the 2022 tournament in Qatar must be staged in the winter months to protect players and fans from 40C temperatures

Winter World Cup: UEFA President Michel Platini says the 2022 tournament in Qatar must be staged in the winter months to protect players and fans from 40C temperatures

'I am in favour of Qatar under two conditions,' the former French star told Bild newspaper. 'Because of the heat the World Cup will need to be held in the winter.

'With over 40 degrees, playing football is impossible and for fans it would also be unbearable.

'Also, the neighbouring emirates must be included so that the World Cup is staged throughout the entire region.'

Grand designs: The proposed Al-Rayyan football stadium in Doha, to be built for the 2022 World Cup

Grand designs: The proposed Al-Rayyan football stadium in Doha, to be built for the 2022 World Cup

Spectacular: The Qatar University Stadium in Doha, another one of the proposed venues

Spectacular: The Qatar University Stadium in Doha, another one of the proposed venues

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait are among the neighbouring countries that could be considered.

Platini's proposals will cause chaos to the regular football calendar, with six or seven weeks of disruption to domestic leagues.

England U21 4 Sweden U21 0 match report

England U21 4 Sweden U21 0: Ince scores twice as young guns shine in Walsall

– is an ideal
way to start the calendar year for coach Stuart Pearce, who will be
gunning for success at June's Euro 2013 finals in Israel, with talks
over his own future put on hold until after the tournament.

Injuries robbed Pearce of Raheem
Sterling, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw but it was still a strong line-up
which took to the field, skippered by Henderson – on Sunday voted Under
21s Player of the Year.

Liverpool team-mate Shelvey blazed
over a good chance early on after a lively burst from Ince before
Henderson himself planted a free header wide.

Double: Jonjo Shelvey scored England's second goal in the 30th minute

Double: Jonjo Shelvey scored England's second goal in the 30th minute

Relieved: Shelvey missed a header from two yards out just before scoring

Relieved: Shelvey missed a header from two yards out just before scoring

It was no surprise when a dominant England opened the scoring after 10 minutes.

Shelvey found marauding right-back
Smith with a delightful ball and he in turn sent a teasing low cross
into the box which was slotted home by Ince.

England were in complete control and
it should have been 2-0 after 18 minutes as the impressive Shelvey
somehow headed wide Henderson's cross with the goal at his mercy.

Cruising: Shelvey celebrates his goal with Josh McEachran

Cruising: Shelvey celebrates his goal with Josh McEachran

But Shelvey soon made amends as he
doubled the hosts' advantage, slotting home Ince's miscued shot off the
underside off the crossbar at the far post after Smith had again been
found in space down the right.

It was 3-0 just before half-time as
Sweden centre-back Filip Helander brought down Ince in the area, Josh
McEachran saw his penalty saved by keeper Andreas Linde but Ince swept
home the rebound.

With his side already in the driving seat at the break, Pearce introduced Wickham, Will Hughes and Henri Lansbury.

Rebound: McEachran had a first-half penalty saved before Ince followed up to score

Rebound: McEachran had a first-half penalty saved before Ince followed up to score

Rebound: McEachran had a first-half penalty saved before Ince followed up to score

Ince was denied his hat-trick on the hour mark following a great save from close range by replacement stopper August Stromberg.

Goalscoring opportunities dried up
after the break as both managers made a host of changes although the
Young Lions remained comfortable, with goalkeeper Jason Steele still to
make a meaningful save of note.

But the home side did register a fourth in the 77th minute, Wickham heading home Lansbury's deep cross.

Wickham was denied a fifth by Stromberg but England still ran out easy winners in front of a healthy sell-out crowd of 9,758.

Rout: Connor Wickham rises to head in England's fourth goal

Rout: Connor Wickham rises to head in England's fourth goal

Impressive: Stuart Pearce's side were dominant

Impressive: Stuart Pearce's side were dominant

Spurned: Derby's Will Hughes rues a missed chance

Spurned: Derby's Will Hughes rues a missed chance

The ultimate guide to ALL of this weekend"s FA Cup third round fixtures

The ultimate guide to ALL of this weekend's FA Cup third round fixtures

PUBLISHED:

10:09 GMT, 4 January 2013

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UPDATED:

13:58 GMT, 4 January 2013

It may only be the start of January but the weekend of the FA Cup third round remains one of the most famous occasions in the football calendar.

The world’s oldest football competition often offers lowly minnows a chance to fight with some of the biggest teams in the game and this weekend is no different with a number of eye-catching ties.

With 32 matches to be played, Sportsmail has teamed up with statistic giants Opta to bring you the ultimate guide to all of this weekend’s fixtures.

Road to Wembley: The FA Cup third round sees teams from the Premier League and the Championship enter the competition

Road to Wembley: The FA Cup third round sees teams from the Premier League and the Championship enter the competition

Brighton v Newcastle (Saturday 12.30pm – live on ITV1)
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will be
without Papiss Cisse and Fabricio Coloccini for tomorrow's clash with Brighton after both picked up slight knocks.

Midfielder Cheick Tiote is also unavailable, as the Ivory Coast international left for
the African Nations Cup after Wednesday night's 2-1 Barclays Premier
League defeat by Everton. Potential replacement Gael Bigirimana is
battling a dead leg.

Striker Demba Ba's transfer to
Chelsea has left a vacancy in attack, and while central defender Steven
Taylor (hamstring) and midfielder Yohan Cabaye (groin) are back in
training, they remain unavailable.

Full-back Ryan Taylor
(knee) and midfielders Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring), Jonas Gutierrez, Dan
Gosling and Haris Vuckic (all knee) are also out.

Brighton may be tempted to start Kazenga Lua Lua for the third consecutive game against his former club.

The winger spent five years at St James' Park before leaving in November 2011 having made 15 appearances.

Will Buckley's deflected strike
helped the Seagulls to a win against Newcastle last season in the FA
Cup, but the winger is likely to be ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Will history repeat Will Buckley celebrates Mike Williamson's own goal that helped Brighton defeat Newcastle 1-0 in the FA Cup fourth round last season

Will history repeat Will Buckley celebrates Mike Williamson's own goal that helped Brighton defeat Newcastle 1-0 in the FA Cup fourth round last season

Brighton and Newcastle have met four times before in the FA Cup; the Magpies progressed in the first meeting in 1930, but the Seagulls have since won the last three ties including in Round 4 last season.

Brighton have won three of their last five FA Cup games against higher-ranked sides, including that victory over the Magpies last term.

The Seagulls have only lost one of their last 12 FA Cup games on home soil, and have not been eliminated from the competition at home since 2008.

Newcastle have not won an away game in the FA Cup since January 2006, when they won 2-0 at fourth tier Cheltenham Town.

Newcastle squad: Krul, Elliot, Harper, Santon, Ferguson, Tavernier, Williamson, Perch, Streete, Bigirimana, Anita, Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Obertan, Abeid, Shola Ameobi, Ranger.

Aldershot v Rotherham (Saturday, 3pm)
Aldershot Town have met Rotherham once before in the FA Cup since their reformation in 1992, winning 3-0 away from home in a replay after a 1-1 draw in Round 1 of the 2009 competition.

Rotherham have not made the fourth round of the FA Cup since 2002, when they eliminated top-flight Southampton at this stage before losing to Crewe.

This is Aldershot’s first appearance in Round 3 since 2007; the Shots have not made the fourth round since 1987, when they lost to Barnsley.

Aldershot have won their last three home games in this competition, and have only lost one of their last eight.

Aston Villa v Ipswich (Saturday, 3pm)
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is
hoping to have a trio of players – including Darren Bent – back in
contention for tomorrow's FA Cup third-round clash with Ipswich.

Bent (hamstring), fellow striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (thigh) and winger
Charles N'Zogbia (knee) are all poised to return to training today and
will then be assessed by Lambert.

Midfielder Ashley Westwood has been ruled out after suffering an ankle
injury during the 2-2 draw at Swansea. Defenders Ron Vlaar (calf),
Nathan Baker (hamstring) and Richard Dunne (knee) remain sidelined.

Back in business: Villa striker Darren Bent could return to face his former side, Ipswich at Villa Park

Back in business: Villa striker Darren Bent could return to face his former side, Ipswich at Villa Park

Mick McCarthy has just 16 players
with significant Championship experience to call upon tomorrow when his
side travel to Villa.

The likes of Stephen Henderson,
Bradley Orr (ineligible due to loans), Tyrone Mings (cup-tied) and Andy
Drury (illness) are unavailable, while Danny Higginbotham and DJ
Campbell have seen their loan deals expire.

In addition, McCarthy wants to rest a
number of his players who have featured during a spell of
four games in 11 over the Christmas period.

Patrick Kisnorbo is available for the Tractor Boys though, with the defender having completed his one-month loan deal from Leeds on Thursday.

Villa and Ipswich have met four times
before in the FA Cup, winning two ties apiece with the Villans winning
the last clash back in 1996.

Aston Villa have won their last five FA Cup games at Villa Park, scoring exactly three times in each one.

The Midlands side have progressed through each of their last nine ties against lower ranked sides, with Sheffield United the last to eliminated them back in 2005.

Ipswich have lost their last 10 FA Cup games against teams from a higher division, and have only won one of their last 25 (23 ties).

Aston Villa squad: Guzan, Given, Lowton, Herd, Clark, Lichaj, Stevens,
Bennett, Ireland, N'Zogbia, Bannan, Delph, Albrighton, Holman, Benteke,
Bent, Agbonlahor, Bowery, Weimann, Burke, Johnson, Williams, Carruthers.

Barnsley v Burnley (Saturday, 3pm)
This will be the first FA Cup meeting between Barnsley and Burnley since 1911, when the Clarets won a Round 2 match 2-0 on home soil.

Barnsley have lost their last four FA Cup round 3 games and haven’t picked up a victory since their run to the semi-finals back in 2008.

Burnley have only won one of their last 11 away FA Cup games, conceding nine in total in their last two.

The Clarets have only mustered one clean sheet in their last 15 outings in the FA Cup (conceding 30 in total).

Macclesfield v Cardiff (Saturday, 3pm)
This will be the first meeting between these sides in the FA Cup, though their most recent meeting came in the League Cup in 2005, when the Welsh side prevailed 2-1.

Cardiff have won 11 and drawn three of their last of their last 14 FA Cup games against lower ranked sides, and have not lost against a team from a lower league since 1995, when they eliminated by Enfield.

After three away wins on the way to the final in 2008, Cardiff have failed to win any of their ensuing five on the road in the FA Cup, drawing two and losing three.

The Silkmen have only lost one of their last 11 on home soil in the FA Cup proper, and that was against Everton in 2009.

Blackburn v Bristol City (Saturday, 3pm)
This will only be the second FA Cup meeting between Blackburn and Bristol City; the Robins won the first back at this stage of the 1951 competition (2-1).

Rovers have won 12 and lost just one of their last 16 FA Cup games at Ewood Park, scoring at least once in each of their last 14.

The Robins have only made it past the third round once in the last 10 years, reaching Round 4 back in 2007.

City have only scored one goal in their last six FA Cup games combined.

Bolton v Sunderland (Saturday, 3pm)
Bolton have won just one of their six previous FA Cup ties against Sunderland, with that win coming at this stage of the 1980 competition.

Interestingly, five of the previous six FA Cup ties between the Trotters and the Black Cats have come in Round 3, with Sunderland winning the last 2-1 in 2009.

This will be Bolton’s first FA Cup game against a team from a higher division since the 2000 Final against Aston Villa, where they lost on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

The Black Cats are unbeaten in three FA Cup away games after a run of five consecutive defeats on the road between 2005 and 2010.

Charlton v Huddersfield (Saturday, 3pm)
Charlton defender Leon Cort (hamstring) and full-back Lawrie Wilson (broken nose) are major doubts for the clash against Huddersfield.

The Addicks are also without loanees Dan Seabourne, Rob Hulse and Emmanuel Frimpong who have returned to their clubs.

Jermaine Beckford is available again for Huddersfield after the striker was ineligible for the 6-1 loss at parent club Leicester.

Beckford has scored six goals in his last four FA Cup appearances.

Winger Adam Hammill has not been given permission to play by his club Wolves, but James Vaughan is available.

Charlton and Huddersfield have an equal head-to-head record in the FA Cup; Huddersfield eliminated Charlton from the 1926 competition before the Addicks got revenge in 1958 after a replay.

The Addicks have only lost one of their last 12 FA Cup games at the Valley, winning seven and drawing four.

Huddersfield have scored exactly once in 14 of their last 19 FA Cup away games, though they have netted more than once on only one occasion in this run.

The Terriers are without a win in 10 games in all competitions, drawing five and losing five.

Crawley v Reading (Saturday, 3pm)
Reading manager Brian McDermott has
indicated that new signing Daniel Carrico is unlikely to make his debut
in tomorrow's FA Cup tie against Crawley.

Jason Roberts has returned to training after recovering from a hip problem while Nicky Shorey has overcome a virus.

McDermott is likely to make several changes after playing three Barclays Premier League matches in a week.

On the mend: Jason Roberts (left) is pushing for his first Reading appearance in over a month ahead of the Royal's trip to Crawley

On the mend: Jason Roberts (left) is pushing for his first Reading appearance in over a month ahead of the Royal's trip to Crawley

This will be the first competitive meeting between Crawley and Reading.

Crawley Town have lost both of their previous FA Cup meetings with top flight opponents.

Reading
have won four of their last five FA Cup ties against sides from lower
divisions. However, they were eliminated in the third round last season
by third-tier Stevenage.

The Red Devils have won four and lost just one of their last six home games in the FA Cup.

Reading squad:
Federici, Taylor, Gunter, Cummings, Gorkss, Pearce, Morrison, Mariappa,
Shorey, Harte, McAnuff, Tabb, Karacan, Kebe, McCleary, Robson-Kanu, Le
Fondre, Hunt, Roberts, Pogrebnyak.

Crystal Palace v Stoke (Saturday, 3pm)
Stoke boss Tony Pulis will make changes
for tomorrow's FA Cup third-round clash with Crystal Palace, which could
include a first start in the club's colours for Michael Owen.

The former England striker has made four
substitute appearances since joining the Potters in September, the last
coming in October before he suffered a hamstring injury.

Midfielder Steven Nzonzi is available
after the red card he received in last weekend's 3-3 draw with
Southampton was rescinded while full-back Marc Wilson could return in a
fortnight from a broken leg.

False start: Michael Owen's Stoke career has been ravaged by injury

False start: Michael Owen's Stoke career has been ravaged by injury

The one previous FA Cup clash between the Eagles and the Potters saw Stoke claim a 1-0 home win in Round 3 in 1989.

Crystal Palace have won just one of their last six FA Cup games, including suffering defeat in each of the last three.

After progressing beyond the third round just once from 1995-2005, Stoke City have gone beyond this stage five times in the last seven years.

The Potters have conceded just three goals in their last six away matches in the FA Cup, keeping four clean sheets in that time.

Provisional squad: Begovic, Shotton, Shawcross, Cameron, Huth, Upson, Wilkinson, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters, Kightly, Etherington, Jones, Sorensen, Whitehead, Crouch, Jerome, Adam, Palacios, Owen.

Derby v Tranmere (Saturday, 3pm)
The last nine meetings between Derby and Tranmere, all in the Football League, have seen 44 goals scored – an average of 4.89 per game.

Derby County have managed just nine goals in their last nine home games in the FA Cup, scoring exactly one goal on seven occasions.

Rovers have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight FA Cup clashes with opponents from higher divisions.

The Rams have won just one of their last seven FA Cup matches (W1 D4 L2) against teams from lower divisions.

Fulham v Blackpool (Saturday, 3pm)
Martin Jol plans to
name a strong Fulham line-up in tomorrow's FA Cup third-round tie with
Blackpool, but will have to do without several key players.

Mladen Petric, Damien Duff and Mahamadou Diarra are still injured so will be unable to feature for the west Londoners.

Mark Schwarzer is also sidelined due to a neck problem, while Stephen Kelly (knee) and John Arne Riise (shin) are also missing.

Hitman: Fulham boss, Martin Jol hinted he plans to unleash top scorer Dimitar Berbatov against Championship side Blackpool

Hitman: Fulham boss, Martin Jol hinted he plans to unleash top scorer Dimitar Berbatov against Championship side Blackpool

After winning their first ever FA Cup tie against Blackpool in 1936, the Whites have lost their ensuing three against the Tangerines, with the latest coming back in 1957.

Fulham have lost just three of one last 15 matches in the FA Cup third round (W9 D5 L1). They have won their last four in a row.

Blackpool have progressed past the third round just twice in their last 13 appearances at this stage of the FA Cup.

The Whites have kept five clean sheets in their last seven home games in the FA Cup.

Fulham squad: Stockdale, Somogyi, Etheridge, Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Senderos, Briggs, Dejagah, Baird, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kacaniklic, Frei, Richardson, Kasami, Ruiz, Rodallega, Berbatov.

Hull v Leyton Orient (Saturday, 3pm)
Hull and Leyton Orient have met once before in the FA Cup, at this stage of the 1963 competition; The O’s progressed after a replay thanks to a 2-0 away win.

Hull City have won five and lost one of their last six FA Cup ties with lower-league opposition.

Leyton Orient have won seven and lost just two of their last 12 games in the FA Cup.

The O’s have progressed on three of the last four occasions they have reached the FA Cup third round.

Leeds United v Birmingham (Saturday, 3pm)
This will be the fifth FA Cup meeting between Leeds and Birmingham; Leeds have won three of the previous four, including the 1972 semi-final, but did lose the last clash (0-3 in 2005).

Birmingham have already won at Elland Road this season in the league. Leroy Lita scored the only game of the game back in October.

Birmingham have lost five and won just one of their last six FA Cup clashes with sides in the same division.

Since beating Manchester United 1-0 at this stage of the competition in 2010, Leeds have won none of their FA Cup games (D2 L3).

Leicester v Burton Albion (Saturday, 3pm)
Both previous clashes (all competitions) between these midlands rivals have been won by the away team, with the Foxes winning the one FA Cup clash 1-0 in 1985.

The Brewers have already eliminated Leicester from the Capital One Cup this term, winning 4-2 at the King Power Stadium back in August.

Burton Albion have won two and lost five of their last nine FA Cup clashes with teams from higher divisions.

The Foxes have progressed in each of their last five FA Cup ties against lower league opposition, conceding just four goals in six games.

Luton v Wolves (Saturday, 3pm)
Wolves have won both of their previous two FA Cup ties against Luton, winning 2-1 in Round 3 in 1932 and 4-1 in Round 5 in 1960.

Wolves have won both of their FA Cup matches against non-league opponents since November 1986 when they were eliminated by Chorley thanks to a second replay.

Luton have won just three of their last 14 games against teams from a higher division in the FA Cup (W3 D4 L7).

Both teams have scored in six of Luton’s last eight home FA Cup games; with 31 goals being scored in those eight matches.

Manchester City v Watford (Saturday, 3pm)
Manchester City
striker Sergio Aguero (hamstring) will miss this weekend's FA Cup
third-round tie against Watford but controversial forward Mario Balotelli is available after recovering from a virus.

Manager Roberto Mancini, who has been pictured grappling with Balotelli
in a training-ground bust-up, has said the 22-year-old could be on the
bench but forward Samir Nasri is suspended and Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure
and Abdul Razak are on international duty.

Defenders Aleksandar Kolarov and Maicon (both knee) are not yet ready to
return while right-back Micah Richards (knee) and midfielder Jack
Rodwell (hamstring) are longer-term casualties.

Water under the bridge: Despite being involved in a training ground bust-up on Thursday, Mario Balotelli is set to be included in the Manchester City squad

Water under the bridge: Despite being involved in a training ground bust-up on Thursday, Mario Balotelli is set to be included in the Manchester City squad

The Citizens and the Hornets have met twice before in the FA Cup; Watford progressed after two replays in 1986 while City won a fourth round game 4-1 at home back in 1997.

Manchester City have won 13 and lost just two of their last 19 FA Cup clashes with sides from the second tier of English football.

Matej Vydra has scored four goals in his last two starts for Watford in all competitions.

Yaya Toure has scored three goals in his last four FA Cup appearances, including the winner in 2011 FA Cup final.

Manchester City squad: Hart, Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Kompany,
Nastasic, Clichy, Rekik, Milner, Sinclair, Barry, Garcia, Silva, Tevez,
Dzeko, Balotelli, Evans, Suarez.

Middlesbrough v Hastings Utd (Saturday, 3pm)
Hastings keeper Matt Armstrong-Ford, who has been struggling with a persistent knee problem, is a doubt for the FA Cup clash at Middlesbrough.

Player-manager, Sean Ray has turned his attention to bringing in Jak Alnwick on loan from Newcastle as a replacement.

Otherwise, Ray has no other fitness concerns heading into the game.

Hastings United are making their third appearance in the FA Cup third round but are yet to make it to the next stage; they lost 0-3 to Norwich in a replay in 1954 and 1-2 against Sheffield Wednesday in 1955.

Hastings have never kept a clean sheet against a league side in the FA Cup.

Middlesbrough have not lost to non-league opposition in the FA Cup since February 1912 when they were beaten by West Ham United. In that time, they have won 12 matches and drawn six.

Boro have won three and lost three of their last six home games in the FA Cup.

Millwall v Preston (Saturday, 3pm)
Milwall and Preston have met twice before in the FA Cup, but not since 1948. Preston won that third round tie 2-1 after the Lions had won in Round 2 in the 1903 competition.

The Lions have won their last 12 clashes against opponents from lower divisions, although the last two have gone to replays.

Preston have won three of their last four away games in the FA Cup.
Darius Henderson has struck four times in his last three FA Cup games for Millwall.

Nottingham Forest v Oldham (Saturday, 3pm)
Oldham won their one previous FA Cup clash with Forest 5-1 back in 1913, only in four different FA Cup games have the Latics scored more goals.

Nottingham Forest haven’t scored against Olham in any of their last five meetings in all competitions.

Oldham have won four and lost just one of their last six FA Cup matches.

Three of Forest’s last five FA Cup ties have gone to replays, winning one and losing one of the other two.

Oxford Utd v Sheff Utd (Saturday, 3pm)
Oxford United and Sheffield United are meeting for the second successive FA Cup competition; last season, the Blades won 3-0 on home soil in Round 1.

Oxford have won just one of their last seven FA Cup clashes against teams from higher divisions (W1 D1 L5).

Sheffield United have won their last six games in the FA Cup when the higher ranked team.

The Blades have kept just one clean sheet in their last 15 FA Cup matches.

Back between the sticks: Declan Rudd is poised to make just his second Norwich appearance this season

Back between the sticks: Declan Rudd is poised to make just his second Norwich appearance this season

Peterborough v Norwich (Saturday, 3pm)
Declan Rudd is set to get his chance in goal as Norwich manager Chris Hughton prepares to ring the changes in the FA Cup third-round tie with Peterborough.

Norwich are without injured strikers Grant Holt (hamstring) and Steve Morison (thigh), plus defender Steven Whittaker (hip).

Midfielder Andrew Surman (knee) is back training but unlikely to feature, while Jonny Howson has recovered from a knock suffered against West Ham.

Elliott Ward, Simon Lappin and Jacob Butterfield have all returned from loan spells.

These sides have only met in the League Cup in 1986, when the Canaries advanced in a tight two-legged tie.

Posh have won two and lost four of their last eight FA Cup games.
The Canaries have kept just one clean sheet in their last 18 FA Cup games.

Norwich squad:
Rudd, R Martin, Bassong, Barnett, Garrido, Howson, Snodgrass, Johnson, E
Bennett, Kane, Bunn, Turner, Jackson, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Fox,
Tierney, Tettey, R Bennett, Ward, Lappin, Smith, Butterfield, Steer.

QPR v West Brom (Saturday, 3pm)
QPR striker DJ Campbell has returned from his loan spell at Ipswich and will feature in tomorrow's FA Cup tie against West Brom.

Midfielder Samba Diakite has departed for African Nations Cup duty with Mali and forward Junior Hoilett is out with a hamstring problem.

Strikers Andrew Johnson (knee) and Bobby Zamora (hip) are sidelined with long-term injuries.

Rare sight: DJ Campbell has scored just one goal since joining QPR from Blackpool in the summer of 2011

Rare sight: DJ Campbell has scored just one goal since joining QPR from Blackpool in the summer of 2011

West Brom head coach Steve Clarke will
check on the fitness of five players ahead of the Loftus Road trip.

Clarke confirmed defenders Jonas Olsson (groin), Steven Reid (ankle) and
Goran Popov (hamstring) plus midfielder Claudio Yacob (hamstring) are
again ruled out.

But he said five other unnamed players were rated doubtful. Midfielder
Youssouf Mulumbu will play his final game before linking up with DR
Congo for the African Nations Cup.

QPR and West Brom have an even head-to-head in the FA Cup; the R’s won a semi-final clash in 1982 before the Baggies won a third round game a year later.

QPR have won none of their last 13 matches in the FA Cup third round (excluding replays) (W0 D8 L5).

When drawn against teams from the same division in the FA Cup, QPR have been eliminated on each of the last nine occasions.

West Brom have won six and lost just two of their last 11 away matches in the FA Cup.

QPR squad: Green, Cesar, Murphy,
Cerny, Onuoha, Hill, Nelsen, Ferdinand, Mbia, Park, Fabio, Traore,
Derry, Granero, Taarabt, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips, Ephraim, Mackie,
Cisse, Campbell.

West Brom squad: Foster, Myhill, Daniels, Jones, Jara Reyes, McAuley, Tamas, Dawson, Ridgewell, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Thorne, Brunt, Morrison, Gera, Odemwingie, Fortune, Long, Lukaku, Rosenberg, El Ghanassy.

Sheff Wed v MK Dons (Saturday, 3pm)
Both sides have found the net in all six previous clashes between Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons.

MK Dons have never beaten Sheffield Wednesday in all competitions (D4 L2).

Sheffield Wednesday have won their last five FA Cup matches against lower league opposition, scoring 15 goals along the way.

The Owls have reached the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in the last two years, after failing to get beyond the Third Round at any time from 2002-2010.

Southampton v Chelsea (Saturday, 3pm)
Adam Lallana will again miss out when Southampton face Chelsea in the FA Cup tomorrow.

The Saints captain is unavailable for the third-round tie with a knee injury, although right-back Nathaniel Clyne could feature at St Mary's after a knee complaint of his own.

Gaston Ramirez is available to feature despite sustaining a dead leg against Arsenal on New Year's Day.

Zambia international Emmanuel Mayuka leaves for the African Nations Cup after the game.

Three of the four previous FA Cup clashes between the Saints and the Blues have gone to a replay, with Southampton winning all four ties including a Round 3 victory in 1981.

Southampton have lost 14 of their last 18 FA Cup matches against sides in the top flight.

Juan Mata scored four and assisted four goals for Chelsea in the FA Cup last year (from seven appearances).

Frank Lampard has been involved in nine goals (scored five, assisted four) in his last eight FA Cup appearances for Chelsea.

Southampton squad: K Davis, Gazzaniga,
Boruc, Richardson, Stephens, Clyne, Fox, Shaw, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fonte,
Reeves, Ward-Prowse, Do Prado, Cork, Chaplow, De Ridder, Ramirez,
Schneiderlin, S Davis, Puncheon, Lee, Lambert, Rodriguez, Mayuka.

Southend v Brentford (Saturday, 3pm)
The one previous FA Cup clash between the Shrimpers and the Bees came back in 1929, when Southend won a first round game 1-0 on home soil.

Southend have already eliminated Brentford from the JP Trophy this season; winning 2-1 on December 4th 2012.

Five of Southend’s last seven FA Cup ties have gone to a replay.
Brentford have conceded just two goals in their last three FA Cup games away from home.

Long time coming: Benoit Assou-Ekotto hasn't featured for Tottenham since the start of September

Long time coming: Benoit Assou-Ekotto hasn't featured for Tottenham since the start of September

Tottenham v Coventry (Saturday, 3pm)
Left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto has
overcome his knee injury and looks set to make his first Tottenham
appearance in four months tomorrow against Coventry in the FA Cup.

Midfielder Scott Parker is likely to
make his first start of the season and goalkeeper Brad Friedel could
play as manager Andre Villas-Boas looks to rotate his squad following a
tiring festive period.

Winger Gareth Bale is available
following his one-match suspension but defender William Gallas (calf) is
unlikely to feature and Younes Kaboul is out until mid-to-late February
with his knee problem.

This will only be the second FA Cup meeting between Tottenham and Coventry since the famous 1987 Final, when Gary Mabbutt’s own goal earned the Sky Blues a dramatic extra-time win.

Spurs have won both of the other FA Cup ties between these sides, winning 3-1 in 1981 and 2-0 in 2002.

Coventry City have lost eight and won just two of their 13 clashes with top flight sides in the FA Cup.

Jermain Defoe has scored five times in his last six starts in the FA Cup.

Tottenham squad: Lloris, Friedel, Gomes,
Walker, Naughton, Dawson, Vertonghen, Caulker, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto,
Lennon, Sigurdsson, Falque, Townsend, Livermore, Carroll, Mason,
Huddlestone, Parker, Sandro, Dembele, Bale, Defoe, Adebayor.

Wigan v Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm)
Bournemouth have
little to worry about on the injury front ahead of their trip to Wigan.

The only real selection
dilemma for boss Eddie Howe is which goalkeeper he will select.

Former Peterborough keeper Shwan Jalal played in their victories over
Dagenham and Carlisle in the earlier rounds, but has played second
fiddle to the Cherries' current number one David James in the League.

The one previous FA Cup game between Wigan and Bournemouth was at this stage of the 1986 competition and ended 3-0 to the Latics.

Bournemouth have qualified for the fourth round on three of the last four occasions that they have reached this stage of the competition. However, this is their first appearance in the Third Round since 2005.

Wigan haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last six games against lower league opposition in the FA Cup.

Matt Tubbs has scored five goals in his last three FA Cup appearances.

West Ham v Man Utd (Saturday, 5.15pm – live on ITV1)
Sam Allardyce could be tempted to start Joe Cole for
tomorrow's FA Cup third-round tie against Manchester United at Upton
Park after the midfielder rejoined West Ham from Liverpool on a free transfer on Friday.

Captain Kevin
Nolan and defender James Collins are back from a one-match suspension.

Defender Joey O'Brien is a doubt with a hamstring problem while striker Andy Carroll (knee) and midfielder Mohamed Diame (hamstring) continue their rehabilitation.

Running riot: Ruud van Nistelrooy scores Manchester United's fifth goal in a 6-0 win over West Ham when the sides last met in the FA Cup 10 years ago

Running riot: Ruud van Nistelrooy scores Manchester United's fifth goal in a 6-0 win over West Ham when the sides last met in the FA Cup 10 years ago

Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic are set to bolster Manchester United's defence.

Jones has missed three games with a minor injury while Vidic was rested for the New Year's Day trip to Wigan.

Wayne Rooney (knee) has been ruled out for a further two weeks while Nani (hamstring) will not be considered despite returning to training this morning.

This will be the eighth FA Cup tie between West Ham United and Manchester United, who met in the 1964 semi-finals. West Ham lead the head-to-head 4-3.

The last FA Cup clash between these sides in 2003, however, saw the Red Devils win 6-0 at Old Trafford.

West Ham have won eight and lost just two of their last 13 home games in the FA Cup.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have won four of their last six matches in the FA Cup when away to fellow Premier League teams.

West Ham squad:
Jaaskelainen, Demel, O'Brien, O'Neil, Reid, Tomkins, Vaz Te, Maiga,
Noble, Jarvis, Spence, Joe Cole, Taylor, Collison, Carlton Cole, Lletget, Diarra, Spiegel,
Lee.

Manchester United squad: Lindegaard, De Gea,
Jones, Smalling, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evans, Buttner, Evra, Cleverley,
Giggs, Fletcher, Scholes, Carrick, Kagawa, Young, Hernandez, Welbeck,
Van Persie.

Swansea v Arsenal (Sunday, 1.30pm – live on ESPN)
Arsenal reported no fresh injury problems ahead of Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie at Swansea.

Reserve goalkeeper Vito Mannone has been struggling with a virus, as has midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong, back from his loan spell at Charlton.

Midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) and defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) are back in training, but not yet match fit.

This will be the fourth FA Cup tie between Swansea and Arsenal, but the first since 1968.

Swansea won the first meeting between the sides in 1926 but have since lost the last two.

The Jacks have won their last two Premier League matches against Arsenal, 2-0 at the Emirates in December and 3-2 at the Liberty Stadium last January.

In 19 previous FA Cup ties with teams from the same division, Swansea have progressed just four times and on neither occasion in the last three years.

Arsenal haven’t failed to make the Fourth Round of the FA Cup since 1996.

Arsenal Squad: Szczesny, Gibbs,
Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Sagna, Podolski, Cazorla, Wilshere,
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arteta, Walcott, Mannone, Giroud, Ramsey, Gervinho,
Koscielny, Rosicky, Coquelin, Martinez, Arshavin, Jenkinson.

Mansfield v Liverpool (Sunday, 4pm – live on ESPN)
This is only the second time Liverpool and Mansfield have been drawn together in any competition; Liverpool eliminated Mansfield from the 1970/71 League Cup in the other.

Liverpool last faced non-league opposition in this tournament in 2008, when the Reds were forced to come from behind twice in a 5-2 defeat of Havant & Waterlooville.

The Stags have lost just one game in their last 12 in all competitions, winning five and drawing six.

In Daniel Sturridge’s last seven starts in the FA Cup for Chelsea, the forward bagged himself seven goals.

The future: Young Everton prospect, Ross Barkley may be given a chance to impress at Cheltenham

The future: Young Everton prospect, Ross Barkley may be given a chance to impress at Cheltenham

Cheltenham v Everton
(Monday, 7.45pm – live on ESPN)
Everton manager David Moyes will try to
freshen up his side for Monday's FA Cup third-round tie at npower League
Two club Cheltenham.

Left-back Leighton Baines could be in line for a rest as Bryan Oviedo
may be given a run out while midfielders Thomas Hitzlsperger and Ross
Barkley may come into contention for a start.

Forward Kevin Mirallas and defender Seamus Coleman (both hamstring) are
still sidelined, as are Tony Hibbert (calf) and Darron Gibson (thigh).

This will be the first ever competitive meeting between Cheltenham and Everton.

Everton have won three and lost none of their last five FA Cup games on the road.

Cheltenham have progressed just once in their last eight draws against teams from higher divisions; and never against a top flight side (from three ties).

Only once since 1912 have Everton been eliminated by a team from the fourth tier or below. It was by Shrewsbury in 2003 at this stage of the competition.

Everton squad: Howard, Jagielka, Distin, Heitinga, Baines, Oviedo, Naismith, Hitzlsperger, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic, Mucha, Duffy, Barkley, Neville, Anichebe, Vellios, Francisco.

2013 golden ticket: The main sporting events of the year

The 2013 golden ticket: Which sporting event are you looking forward to most next year

PUBLISHED:

15:36 GMT, 31 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 31 December 2012

The year 2012 will arguably go down as the greatest 12 months in British sporting history, but the drama does not end there as we roll into 2013. We asked our team of writers which main event they are looking forward to the most over the next 12 months, and here's what they told us…

**Scroll down for a full calendar of all the big sporting events in 2013

Year to remember: The London 2012 Olympic Games lit up a fantastic 12 months for British sport

Year to remember: The London 2012 Olympic Games lit up a fantastic 12 months for British sport

The Masters

April 11 to April 14

Derek Lawrenson

From the wider sporting world, it is hard to beat the magic of the first day of an Ashes Test series, with all its promise of a summer of cricketing splendour.

In golf, even after attending every one since 1985, the lure of the Masters remains. Will Rory claim his first green jacket Will Tiger finally rediscover the scent of the Golden Bear Will an Englishman end the major drought As ever, the event offers a myriad of exciting possibilities.

Three's the charm: Rory McIlroy will be looking to add the Masters to his Major haul in April

Three's the charm: Rory McIlroy will be looking to add the Masters to his Major haul in April

Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler

May/June – no official date yet confirmed

Martin Domin

In what could be a year of rematches for the Cobra, this unification showdown promises to be the highlight. While victory over undisputed super-middleweight king Andre Ward would be the best of his career, Froch’s meeting with his Danish rival is already a Fight of the Year candidate.

Kessler won a unanimous decision when they two clashed in the Super Six tournament in 2010 and recently won the WBA title from Brian Magee, while Froch holds the IBF belt after his stunning demolition of Canadian Lucian Bute. With a 4million pot to be shared by the protagonists, expect fireworks from the first bell… and a tight victory for Nottingham’s finest.

The Cobra: Carl Froch is set to take on Mikkel Kessler at the beginning of the summer

The Cobra: Carl Froch is set to take on Mikkel Kessler at the beginning of the summer

British and Irish Lions tour of Australia

June 1 to July 6

Chris Foy

No need to look beyond my own sport here, as any Lions tour is a wonderful, unique event, generating even greater public interest and debate than a World Cup.

This year’s edition sees a return to Australia, where the Lions last visited in 2001, culminating in an agonising 2-1 Test series defeat. This time, if injuries don’t brutally undermine his plans, head coach Warren Gatland should have a staggering array of British and Irish rugby talent at his disposal.

There is a very real prospect of a first series success since 1997 and with the fabled ‘red army’ expected to number 40,000 for the crusade Down Under, it will be an enthralling, colourful sporting highlight of the year.

Drought: The Lions were last victorious in a series back in 1997 against South Africa

Drought: The Lions were last victorious in a series back in 1997 against South Africa

Chris Cutmore

Nothing else in sport can match the intensity, brutality and white-knuckle tension of British and Irish Lions tours. Four years ago in South Africa they were heroic in defeat. But, as Jim Telfer famously once said, to win for the Lions is the ultimate. Australia await in June – can Warren Gatland inspire a first series victory since 1997 This is your Everest, boys.

Lee Clayton

My golden ticket would be The British
and Irish Lions tour, as a punter. I’ve always wanted to take my dad,
who is a massive rugby fan. The atmosphere and the social side of the
trip would be magnificent, as well as the sporting excellence.

The boss: Warren Gatland takes the 2013 touring party to Australia in June

The boss: Warren Gatland takes the 2013 touring party to Australia in June

The Champions League Final, back at Wembley, should be another wonderful sporting occasion, as should Carl Froch defending his world title at the 02 Arena in London (see Jeff Powell’s latest boxing column). Froch is a warrior fighter. And I might have more chance of making that than getting Down Under… this time. But the saving starts here for the next tour.

I am lucky enough to be going to the first day of the Oval Test against Australia on August 21. So here’s to dry weather and lots of English dominance.

Who said it was all quiet in London post-Olympics in 2013

Happy memories: England clinched the 2009 Ashes series at the Oval

Happy memories: England clinched the 2009 Ashes series at the Oval

Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Jeff Powell

Hopefully, prayerfully and if it actually happens almost unbelievably… Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao.

Never mind that the PacMan was knocked out by mini-Terminator Juan Manuel Marquez, this is still the No 1 pound-for-pounder which all boxing and much of the outside world wants to see. And with both men edging into decline – Mayweather’s legs were less spry against Miguel Cotto and it is not inconceivable he too could hit the deck soon – if the $200 million mega-bucks fight doesn’t happen this year it probably never will.

Will they, won't they The boxing world is still waiting for Mayweather (pictured) to take on Pacquiao

Will they, won't they The boxing world is still waiting for Mayweather (pictured) to take on Pacquiao

Wimbledon

June 24 to July 7

Mike Dickson

Normally, in the event of England hosting Australia in the Ashes, the golden ticket would be for the Lord’s Test match, or any other for that matter. But between June and January 2014 England will play their old foe at least 26 times in all forms of cricket, including ten Tests, which somewhat devalues the currency.

Therefore in a non-international football tournament summer the golden ticket has to be the men’s singles final at Wimbledon, preferably between Andy Murray and a fully fit and restored Rafael Nadal.

Old rivals: Murray and Nadal (right) have played out some epic matches in the past

Old rivals: Murray and Nadal (right) have played out some epic matches in the past

Laurie Whitwell

Sunday, July 7. The day when a British man reigns triumphant at Wimbledon to end a 77-year wait for a singles champion.

That singular man is Andy Murray, who has coped with prolonged national expectation and four Grand Slam final defeats to emerge this country's finest tennis player since Fred Perry. He did the improbable by winning the US Open to banish one enduring statistic of Perry's and on Centre Court on men's finals day 2013 he will get rid of another.

A ticket to see Murray ascend the heights set by Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would be 24 carat.

Historic moment: Murray sinks to the ground as he beats Novak Djokovic in the US Open final

Historic moment: Murray sinks to the ground as he beats Novak Djokovic in the US Open final

Sam Cunningham

Andy Murray did two things last year that suggest he is finally capable of ending a 77-year wait for a male British Wimbledon champion – he won a Grand Slam and won a major competition on Centre Court.

There wasn't much in 2012 that Britain didn't achieve in sport, but having a winner at Wimbledon was one of them. Every time the nerves kick in Murray can look at the Olympic gold medal in his locker to remind him of beating Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who beat Murray in last year's Wimbledon final, in front of a packed crowd at SW19.

If he goes all the way it will produce another two weeks of sport that will capture the nation's attention and would be likely to bump him up two places to win Sports Personality of the Year. I can't wait to watch it.

Sealed with a kiss: Murray will be hoping to add another Grand Slam to his trophy cabinet at Wimbledon

Sealed with a kiss: Murray will be hoping to add another Grand Slam to his trophy cabinet at Wimbledon

The Ashes in England

July 10 to August 25

Neil Moxley

I'm most looking forward to beating Australia. It helps if it is a mainstream sport. Therefore, victories in the Ashes and for the British Lions would be my idea of sporting heaven.

To be honest, any sporting victory over Australia is to be celebrated. Tiddlywinks, running for the bus, sheep-shearing. All of it would bring a smile to my face. Why am I like this I'm no xenophobe. But I just know how much they hate losing and how hard they try whenever they face any team from these shores, especially England.

And, having grown up in a cricketing era where we were routinely humiliated by the likes of Steve Waugh, (my cricketing hero) Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, we haven't yet inflicted the sort of pain upon them to nullify that inflicted upon us by the thrashings of the late 80s and 90s.

Arch rivals: England and Australia have some titanic clashed lined up this year

Arch rivals: England and Australia have some titanic clashes lined up this year

World Athletics Championships in Moscow

August 10 to 18

Laura Williamson

There is no excuse for a post-Olympics lull in track and field with the World Championships just eight months away and it promises to be an exciting competition from a British perspective.

Jessica Ennis wants her world heptathlon title back after silver in 2011, Mo Farah will eye another long-distance double and Greg Rutherford is out to prove his Olympic long jump gold was not a one-off. Then, of course, there’s Usain Bolt, who has already targeted breaking his own world records in 2013…

Main event: Usain Bolt will be looking to add World Championship gold to his Olympic crown

Main event: Usain Bolt will be looking to add World Championship gold to his Olympic crown

Other key dates in 2013:

FA Cup final, Wembley, May 11

Champions League final, Wembley, May 25

Tour de France, June 29 – July 21

The Open, Muirfield, July 18 – 21

Rugby League World Cup, October 26 – November 30

The Ashes in Australia

November 21 to January 7, 2014

Ian Ladyman

My plane ticket for the Adelaide Ashes Test in November is already booked so I am growing steadily excited about that. The last one in 2010 was remarkable and anything approaching that would be more than acceptable for me.

With England and Australia meeting in back-to-back series this year, the cricket authorities should be wary of overkill but we will see how that pans out.

There is also a Rugby League World Cup to look forward to this year – with the final at Old Trafford – while the conclusion to the Barclays Premier League will not be dull.

The Ashes home and away

Barmy army: England's travelling support are sure to be in full voice in Australia

Barmy army: England's travelling support are sure to be in full voice in Australia

January to June

July - December

Leyton Orient first match called off as weather wreaks havoc with sport

More frustration for Orient as they're first to fall foul off the wet weather across England

|

UPDATED:

19:07 GMT, 25 December 2012

Leyton Orient led the way with the first weather postponement of the Boxing Day fixture programme as the forecast of more heavy rain threatened further disruption.

The League One side called off their home clash with Swindon at lunchtime on Christmas Day after downpours in London overnight.

Raining on our parade: The sports calendar has been affected by the weather

Raining on our parade: The sports calendar has been affected by the weather

It has been a frustrating week for Orient boss Russell Slade, who took his team to Notts County last weekend only to have the game controversially called off, even though both managers and the players felt the pitch was playable.

That match was one of 13 League fixtures which fell foul of heavy rain and clubs will be hoping there is no repeat at a time of the year which is traditionally lucrative in terms of attracting fans.

There was also a major casualty in racing, with Thursday's Welsh Grand National at Chepstow succumbing after six inches of rain fell in the area.

The race, which was due to be the BBC’s farewell, has been re-arranged for January 5 and will be screened by Channel 4.

Gael Clichy strips for French rugby calendar

Oh la la! Manchester City's Clichy strips for French rugby calendar

|

UPDATED:

13:19 GMT, 21 December 2012

The annual nude calender of French rugby club Stade Francais has gained a cult status in France for its images of toned, muscular rugby players pulling revealing poses.

But the 2013 edition is sure to raise a few eyebrows this side of the Channel, too.

Manchester City and France star Gael Clichy has agreed to bare all in the calendar, which gives new meaning to the club’s anthem ‘Blue Moon’.

Calendar boys: City full-back Gael Clichy poses for Stade Francais's rugby shoot

Calendar boys: City full-back Gael Clichy poses for Stade Francais's rugby shoot

On the ball: Back-rower James Haskell, now at Wasps, fronted the Stade calendar in 2010

On the ball: Back-rower James Haskell, now at Wasps, fronted the Stade calendar in 2010

Gael force: Clichy leaps to evade a tackle from Danny Simpson (left) during City's 3-1 defeat of Newcastle last weekend

Gael force: Clichy leaps to evade a tackle from Danny Simpson (left) during City's 3-1 defeat of Newcastle last weekend

He is joined by France team-mate and Lille star Rio Mavuba as the only other footballer to appear in the calendar.

England rugby stars James Haskell and Tom Palmer have also appeared in the calender, with Haskell even appearing on the cover in 2010, covering his delicates with only a rugby ball.

Scott Lavalla

Rio Mavuba

Cover stars: Stade's American lock Scott Lavalla (left) fronts this year's offering while Lille footballer Rio Mavuba (right) also appears in the collection

Other French rugby stars include Clermont’s Wesley Fofana and Morgan Parra, Jonny Wilkinson’s team-mates at Toulon Maxime Mermoz and Alexis Palisson.

The calender includes more than 40 photos in both black and white and colour. This year’s includes players from other clubs in the Top 14, as well as hockey players, boxers and athletes from a range of other sports.

Morgan Parra

Wesley Fofana

Djibril Camara

Parra-dise: France scrum half Morgan Parra (left), Wesley Fofana (centre) and Djibril Camara (right). Former England lock Tom Palmer (below, right), who still plays for Stade, posed for the 2011 calendar

Stade Francais calendar

Stade Francais calendar

Tom Palmer

Meanwhile, City manager Roberto Mancini has told Clichy's team-mate Mario Balotelli that he needed to show respect for himself and his responsibilities by accepting a 340,000 punishment from the club.

Earlier this week Balotelli dropped his fight against the fine for breaches of discipline, deciding not to take City to a Premier League tribunal ‘as a sign of respect for Roberto Mancini, the supporters and the club’, according to a club statement.

Wrestle mania: Stade stars arm wrestle in one of the calendar's coulour pictures

Wrestle mania: Stade stars arm wrestle in one of the calendar's coulour pictures

Pants: A rare shot with the rugby players wearing trousers features in the 2011 calendar

Pants: A rare shot with the rugby players wearing trousers features in the 2011 calendar

But Mancini believes that above all the controversial striker owed it to himself to admit he was wrong after Balotelli was banned for a fifth of City’s games last season.

'It’s normal that when someone makes a mistake he should take his responsibilities and Mario did this,’ said Mancini. ‘He respected himself, not me because it’s important for him to respect himself, very important.’

Godfrey Chitalu, not Lionel Messi holds goal scoring record, say Zambia FA

Messi DOES NOT hold goal record, Chitalu does! Zambian FA try to ratify hitman's 107-goal season

|

UPDATED:

23:23 GMT, 19 December 2012

The Zambian FA is planning an official challenge to Lionel Messi's astonishing record of 90 goals – and counting – in a calendar year, claiming the feat does not beat Godfrey Chitalu's haul of 107 in 1972.

As the Barcelona forward continues to strive past Gerd Muller's officially recognised 40-year-old record of 85 goals, Zaf chiefs are hoping to ratify the achievements of the Kabwe Warriors striker.

FIFA do not recognise Chitalu's goals, but they say they have evidence to prove his scoring feat.

Whisked away Lionel Messi broke Gerd Muller's official scoring record - but not Godfrey Chitalu's

Whisked away Lionel Messi broke Gerd Muller's official scoring record – but not Godfrey Chitalu's

Faz spokesman Eric Mwanza told the BBC: 'We want to make it very clear that it is not a question of authenticating, or trying to verify or see if he actually scored the goals – that is not in question.'

'What is in question now is why has he not been recognised, and that is what we are looking at now.

'We are sending communication to the Secretary General of Fifa, Mr Jerome Valcke, to look again into the matter of Godfrey Chitalu.'

Chitalu, who won Zambia's
player of the year award five times, went on to coach the national team
and died alongside 29 others in the tragic plane crash in 1993 as the
team travelled to a World Cup qualifier in Senegal.

Gerd Muller praises Lionel Messi for breaking his goalscoring record

Messi has just one defect… he should play for Bayern! Muller lavishes praise on Barca star after having his goal record nicked

|

UPDATED:

15:06 GMT, 10 December 2012

Gerd Muller hailed Lionel Messi as 'an incredible player' after the Barcelona star broke his record for the most goals in a calendar year.

Muller grabbed 85 goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972 and the mark stood for 40 years until last night when Messi netted his 85th and 86th goals of an incredible 2012 in Barca’s 2-1 win at Real Betis.

Muller led the tributes today, telling Sport1.de: 'My record stood for 40 years – 85 goals in 60 games – and now the best player in the world has broken it, and I’m delighted for him.

Out of this world: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his 86th goal of 2012

Beaten: Gerd Muller scored 85 goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972

Out of this world: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his 86th goal of 2012 breaking the record of Gerd Muller's 85

'He is an incredible player, gigantic.'

Muller, whose record as Germany’s all-time top goalscorer is also under threat from Miroslav Klose, now hopes Messi will add to his tally before the end of the year.

'He’s such a nice and modest professional and I hope he gets one or two more goals in 2012 and that he can then hold onto the record for the next 40 years,' he added.

'He’s fantastic. He only has one defect and that is that he doesn’t play for Bayern Munich!'

Messi’s Barca team-mates were also in awe of his achievement.

Hitting the back of the net: Messi scores the opening goal against Real Betis

Hitting the back of the net: Messi scores the opening goal against Real Betis

Spain defender Gerard Pique told El Mundo Deportivo: 'Leo is supernatural, he has no limits and we always have to remember everything that he’s given us.

'We have to enjoy him every single minute that we have him now.'

Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets added of Messi: 'He is the best in the world and I’m very happy he’s broken that record and I hope he gets more.'

A host of other Barca players also took to Twitter to offer their congratulations to Messi, including Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Victor Valdes, Javier Mascherano, Thiago and Jose Pinto.

Unbelievable achievement: Messi is congratulated by his teammates including Gerard Pique

Unbelievable achievement: Messi is congratulated by his teammates including Gerard Pique

As well as passing Muller, Messi’s double against Betis sent him clear of Cesar Rodriguez as Barca’s all-time leading league goalscorer after they had been level on 192 before the match.

Earlier this year Messi became Barca’s record scorer after moving past the tally of 232 official goals set by Rodriguez during the 1940s and 50s.

The Argentina captain has also claimed a host of other individual records during a remarkable career that looks certain to include many more memorable moments in the future.

Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta believes the magnitude of Messi’s achievements may not fully sink in until further down the line.

In a league of his own: Messi looks to the skies as he celebrates his achievement

In a league of his own: Messi looks to the skies as he celebrates his achievement

'I’m sure that we will really appreciate Leo’s records over time. They happen so quickly that they seem to be just one more thing. It all seems very simple but it’s very difficult to describe it,' he told Canal Plus.

The man himself was typically modest and insisted he derived more pleasure from helping Barca preserve their six-point advantage at the top of the Primera Division standings than he did claiming another personal landmark.

'The record is great for what it means, but the most important thing is that the team won and that we maintained the distance with the teams behind us,' Messi told the club’s website.

'When the year starts the objective is to win it all with the team, personal records are secondary.'

But he added: 'I’ll try to score more goals to make it more difficult for the next player that tries to break it.'

Lionel Messi"s record-breaking 2012 – month by month, game by game

Month by month, goal by goal… The diary of Messi's extraordinary record-breaking year

|

UPDATED:

21:27 GMT, 9 December 2012

He's done it! Lionel Messi needed just 25 minutes of Barcelona's match at Real Betis to surpass Gerd Muller's long-standing record for goalscoring in a calendar year.

The Argentine magician needed to reach the magic number of 86 strikes for club and country and he wasted little time in achieving it.

In this Sportsmail special, we take a look back at a wonderful year for the little wizard.

Record breaker! Messi celebrates scoring against Real Betis, on the night he beat Gerd Muller's 40-year-old goalscoring record

Record breaker! Messi celebrates scoring against Real Betis, on the night he beat Gerd Muller's 40-year-old goalscoring record

JANUARY

Goals for Barcelona – 7

With 27 club goals already under his belt in the first half of the season, Ballon D’Or winner Messi entered 2012 in irresistible form and officially the best player in the world. And he wasted little time in finding the net in the New Year, with a double against Osasuna in the Copa Del Rey.

Barcelona weren't exactly struggling to make an impact in the tie, but Messi was introduced for Pedro on the hour. The tempo was cranked up and up after his introduction and he scored first with a header after ghosting into the six yard box and then with a left-foot curler from just inside the box.

He scored five times in La Liga during the month as Barca kept snapping at the heels of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, but didn’t manage to net in the two-legged Cup Clasico.

ACCOLADE! Messi collected the Ballon D'Or for the third consecutive year at the start of the year.

Officially the best: Lionel Messi started 2012 on a high after being voted the FIFA Ballon D'Or winner for the third consecutive year. Here, he parades the trophy before the Copa Del Rey match with Real Madrid at the Nou Camp

Officially the best: Lionel Messi started 2012 on a high after being voted the FIFA Ballon D'Or winner for the third consecutive year. Here, he parades the trophy before the Copa Del Rey match with Real Madrid at the Nou Camp

JANUARY GOALS AND APPEARANCES

4th – Two goals vs. Osasuna in Copa Del Rey (4-0)

8th – vs. Espanyol (1-1)

12th – vs. Osasuna in Copa Del Rey (2-1)

15th – Two goals vs. Real Betis (4-2)

18th – vs. Real Madrid in Copa Del Rey (2-1)

22nd – Three goals vs. Malaga (4-1)

25th – vs. Real Madrid in Copa Del Rey (2-2)

28th – vs. Villarreal (0-0)

FEBRUARY

Goals for Barcelona – 7 Goals for Argentina – 3 Running total – 17

Another prolific month, which saw ten goals for club and country. The highlights included a four-goal haul in a 5-1 win over Valencia and a hat-trick for Argentina in a friendly match against Switzerland.

His quartet against Valencia was masterful – first, he squeezed the ball in from a seemingly impossible angle to bring Barca level, then a couple of poacher's finishes delivered him a hat-trick. The best, however, was saved until last with a burst clear and delicious chip.

LANDMARK! The 5-1 win over Valencia was Messi's 200th La Liga appearance.

The match against Switzerland showed that Messi is equally adept in front of goal for his country as for his club. He created and finished his first goal, running diagonally towards the penalty area, exchanging passes, and then finding the bottom corner.

The second saw Messi drive at the heart of the Swiss defence, work a shooting position and chip in off the crossbar, with the third a perfect penalty.

Four-some! Messi celebrates one of his quartet of goals in the La Liga match against Valencia

Four-some! Messi celebrates one of his quartet of goals in the La Liga match against Valencia

FEBRUARY GOALS AND APPEARANCES

1st – vs. Valencia in Copa Del Rey (1-1)

4th – One goal vs. Real Sociedad (2-1)

8th – vs. Valencia in Copa Del Rey (2-0)

11th – vs. Osasuna (2-3)

14th – One goal vs. Bayer Leverkusen in Champions League second round, first leg (3-1)

19th – Four goals vs. Valencia (5-1)

26th – One goal vs. Atletico Madrid (2-1)

29th – Three goals vs. Switzerland (3-1)

MARCH

Goals for Barcelona – 13 Running total – 30

Messi started March in magnificent style, scoring five goals in the second leg of Barcelona’s Champions League second round match with Bayer Leverkusen as part of a 7-1 rout.

Two of his goals were sumptuous chips which left the Bayer goalkeeper red-faced, while the last of his five was a great blast into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

RECORD! The feat meant he was the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match since the tournament’s re-branding in 1992.

Five stars: Messi destroyed Bayer Leverkusen with five goals in the second leg of their Champions League meeting in March

Five stars: Messi destroyed Bayer Leverkusen with five goals in the second leg of their Champions League meeting in March

It was a phenomenally prolific month in La Liga too, as Barcelona tries to keep pace with Real – he scored eight goals in just five matches and the only time he failed to hit the target was in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final in Milan.

MARCH GOALS AND APPEARANCES

7th – Five goals vs. Bayer Leverkusen in Champions League second round, second leg (7-1)

11th – Two goals vs. Racing Santander (2-0)

17th – One goal vs. Seville (2-0)

20th – Three goals vs. Granada (5-3)

24th – One goal vs. Real Mallorca (2-0)

28th – vs. AC Milan in the Champions League quarter-final, first leg (0-0)

31st – One goal vs. Athletic Bilbao (2-0)


APRIL

Goals for Barcelona – 9 Running total – 39

He made amends for the blank in the first leg by scoring a double at the Nou Camp as Barcelona reached the last four 3-1 on aggregate.

His first was a testament to perseverance, initially stealing the ball to sprint clear on goal and then turning sharply to win a penalty, which he converted. The reasons for the second spot-kick were less clear but again Messi made no mistake.

RECORD! This took his Champions League tally to 14 goals in the season, enough to make him the competition’s top goalscorer for a fourth consecutive season.

Low point: Barcelona's hopes of retaining the Champions League ended in April when they were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Chelsea

Low point: Barcelona's hopes of retaining the Champions League ended in April when they were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Chelsea

He didn’t, however, score in either leg against Chelsea, who dumped Barcelona out 3-2 on aggregate to reach the final with Bayern Munich.

As the league season reached crunch time, Messi netted seven goals but, importantly, he didn’t convert any chances in the 2-1 home defeat by Real which practically handed Jose Mourinho’s side the title on April 21.

APRIL GOALS AND APPEARANCES

3rd – Two goals vs. AC Milan in the Champions League quarter-final, second leg (3-1)

7th – Two goals vs. Real Zaragoza (4-1)

10th – One goal vs. Getafe (4-0)

14th – Two goals vs. Levante (2-1)

18th – vs. Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final, first leg (0-1)

21st – vs. Real Madrid (1-2)

24th – vs. Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final, second leg (2-2)

29th – Two goals vs. Rayo Vallecano (7-0)

MAY

Goals for Barcelona – 8 Running total – 47

The last month of the 2011-2012 saw another sackful of goals and records, but just one trophy to add to the 13 he already had in the Pep Guardiola era – the Copa Del Rey. Barcelona didn't do enough however to prevent Real Madrid winning the La Liga title.

RECORD! His hat-trick against Malaga on May 2
meant Messi surpassed Gerd Muller’s single season goalscoring record
from 1972-1973 with three matches left to play.

Muller scored 67 in that campaign for Bayern Munich, while Messi now had 68. In doing so, he became the highest goalscorer in a European season in history.

End of an era: Pep Guardiola left Barcelona in May, having won 14 honours in four years at the club

End of an era: Pep Guardiola left Barcelona in May, having won 14 honours in four years at the club

RECORD! This then became a world best when a remarkable four goals in the Catalan derby with Espanyol took his tally to 72 and leapfrogged Archie Stark, who scored 70 for Bethlehem Steel in the 1924-1925 American Soccer League.

He showed his set-piece prowess in this one, converting two penalties and a 25-yard free-kick.

TROPHY! His goal in the 3-0 Copa Del Rey final win over Athletic Bilbao helped deliver Barcelona the Cup for the 26th time.

TOTAL! In the 2011-2012 season, Messi managed 73 goals and 29 assists in all competitions. This included 50 goals in La Liga, making him the Golden Boot winner. He was also the league's second highest provider of assists with 16, one shy of Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil.

MAY GOALS AND APPEARANCES

2nd – Three goals vs. Malaga (4-1)

5th – Four goals vs. Espanyol (4-0)

12th – vs. Real Betis (2-2)

25th – One goal vs. Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey final (3-0)

JUNE

Goals for Argentina – 4 Running total – 51

The club season may have finished but Messi was still in the goalscoring groove for Argentina – and June also brought great personal news.

BABY! When he scored in the 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Ecuador, his 23 rd goal for Argentina, he celebrated by placing the ball up his shirt, suggesting his girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo was pregnant.

She later confirmed the news on Twitter.

International class: June was a month in which Messi showed his class for Argentina

International class: June was a month in which Messi showed his class for Argentina

A week later, Messi's season ended in trademark superlative style with a hat-trick in a friendly thriller with Brazil, capped with an outstanding curling shot into the top corner.

JUNE GOALS AND APPEARANCES

2nd – One goal vs. Ecuador in World Cup qualifier (4-0)

9th – Three goals vs. Brazil (4-3)

AUGUST

Goals for Barcelona – 6 Goals for Argentina – 1 Running total – 58

If anyone thought Messi's predatory instincts had been dulled by a couple of months off, they were very much mistaken.

He started the 2012-2013 season in the same red hot form as before, scoring two against Real Sociedad on the opening weekend, two at Osasuna in the second game and another two across the legs of the Super Cup contest with Real Madrid.

Against Sociedad, he wasted little time getting started afresh, scoring on 11 and 16 minutes, but against Osasuna, he was required to score twice late on to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Barca brothers: Messi celebrates with Alexis Sanchez after scoring against Real Madrid in the Super Cup, first leg at the Nou Camp

Barca brothers: Messi celebrates with Alexis Sanchez after scoring against Real Madrid in the Super Cup, first leg at the Nou Camp

RECORD! Messi's goal in a losing cause in the Super Cup second leg with Real made him Barcelona's all-time top scorer in Clasico matches. In the overall contest, he is behind only Alfredo Di Stefano.

AUGUST GOALS AND APPEARANCES

15th – One goal vs. Germany (3-1)

19th – Two goals vs. Real Sociedad (5-1)

23rd – One goal vs. Real Madrid in the Super Cup (3-2)

26th – Two goals vs. Osasuna (2-1)

29th – One goal vs. Real Madrid in the Super Cup (1-2)

SEPTEMBER

Goals for Barcelona – 4 Goals for Argentina – 1 Running total – 63

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From Russia with Love: Messi scored twice against Spartak Moscow on matchday one of the Champions league group stage

SEPTEMBER GOALS AND APPEARANCES

2nd – vs. Valencia (1-0)

8th – One goal vs. Paraguay in World Cup qualifier (3-1)

12th – vs. Peru in World Cup qualifier (1-1)

15th – Two goals vs. Getafe (4-1)

19th – Two goals vs. Spartak Moscow in the Champions League (3-2)

22nd – vs. Granada (2-0)

29th – vs. Seville (3-2)

OCTOBER

Goals for Barcelona – 7 Goals for Argentina – 3 Running total – 73

October was a barnstorming month for Messi, who scored seven goals for his club and three for his country, and was the crucial difference in some thrilling games.

On the 7th, the sixth Clasico of the year, ended in a personal duel between Messi and his nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo. Honours finished even, with both superstars scoring twice in a 2-2 draw.

Nemesis: Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been engaged in a personal duel to be the best player in the world all year

Nemesis: Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been engaged in a personal duel to be the best player in the world all year

Biggest stage: Messi scored twice in the sixth El Clasico of the year, as Barcelona and Real drew 2-2 in La Liga at the Nou Camp

Biggest stage: Messi scored twice in the sixth El Clasico of the year, as Barcelona and Real drew 2-2 in La Liga at the Nou Camp

Then, after his three strikes against Uruguay and Chile helped Argentina a little further along the path to Brazil 2014, he shrugged off the jetlag to bag a hat-trick in a 5-4 rollercoaster with Deportivo.

Barcelona were 3-0 and cruising at the Riazor, but Deportivo fought back to within one goal. Messi then took control, his goals negating the dismissal of Javier Mascherano and ultimately proving the difference.

OCTOBER GOALS AND APPEARANCES

2nd – vs. Benfica in the Champions League group stage (2-0)

7th – Two goals vs. Real Madrid (2-2)

13th – Two goals vs. Uruguay in World Cup qualifier (3-0)

17th – One goal vs. Chile in World Cup qualifier (2-1)

20th – Three goals vs. Deportivo La Coruna (5-4)

23rd – vs. Celtic in the Champions League group stage (2-1)

27th – Two goals vs. Rayo Vallecano (5-0)

NOVEMBER

Goals for Barcelona – 9 Running total – 82

BABY! The month started with another moment of joy for Messi, presumably far greater than any of his goals, as his girlfriend gave birth to baby Thiago on November 2.

And Leo clearly wasn't suffering from too much lost sleep as he continued to bang in the goals at a rate of knots.

RECORD! On the 11th, his double against Real Mallorca took him past Pele's long-standing benchmark of 75 goals in a calendar year set in 1958.

The goals came two-by-two for the rest of the month as he closed in on Muller's world record of 85 goals within 12 months.

NOVEMBER GOALS AND APPEARANCES

3rd – vs. Celta Vigo (3-1)

7th – One goal vs. Celtic in the Champions League (1-2)

11th – Two goals vs. Real Mallorca (4-2)

14th – vs. Saudi Arabia (0-0)

17th – Two goals vs. Real Zaragoza (3-1)

20th – Two goals vs. Spartak Moscow in the Champions League (3-0)

25th – Two goals vs. Levante (4-0)

DECEMBER

Goals for Barcelona – 4 Running total – 86

So, with 82 goals in the calendar year and Muller's record tantalisingly close, Messi made the perfect start to December with another double in the 5-1 home win over Bilbao on Saturday.

RECORD! His two goals also drew Messi level with Cesar Rodriguez as Barcelona's all-time leading league goalscorer.

Closer and closer: Messi moved to within one of Gerd Muller's record with two goals in the 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at the weekend

Closer and closer: Messi moved to within one of Gerd Muller's record with two goals in the 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at the weekend

STAT ATTACK! Messi has 21 La Liga goals already this season, which would have been enough to give him the Golden Boot in 2001/2002 (Tristan, 21), 1990/1991 (Butragueno, 19) and 1984/1985 (Hugo Sanchez, 19). It also means he has personally outscored 16 of the 19 La Liga teams this season.

RECORDS! His goals against Real Betis on December 9 meant Messi surpassed Gerd Muller's record for goals in a calendar year and he also became Barcelona's leading all-time goalscorer in La Liga, moving ahead of Cesar Rodriguez.

DECEMBER GOALS AND APPEARANCES

1st – Two goals vs. Athletic Bilbao (5-1)

9th – Two goals vs. Real Betis

THE MAN MESSI HAS BEATEN

Gerd Muller scored 85 goals in 60 matches for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972 – a record for the highest number of goals scored in a calendar year that has stood for 40 years.

This is how Muller's record breaks down:

BAYERN MUNICH

Bundesliga: 42 in 34 games

European Cup: 10 in 4

Cup Winners Cup: 1 in 2

DfB Pokal: 7 in 6

DfB Ligapokal: 12 in 5

GERMANY

Euro 72: 5 in 4

Friendlies: 8 in 3

Best scoring run: 16 in 8

Longest drought: 3 games


Swarmed: West Germany's Gerd Muller trying to find a way through the Holland defence during the 1974 World Cup final

Swarmed: West Germany's Gerd Muller trying to find a way through the Holland defence during the 1974 World Cup final

Lionel Messi passed fit to play Real Betis as he attempts to break Gerd Muller scoring record

Messi passed fit for Betis match as he attempts to break Muller's goalscoring record

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UPDATED:

12:48 GMT, 9 December 2012

Lionel Messi has been passed fit to play for Barcelona against Real Betis tonight, as he attempts to break Gerd Muller's long-standing calendar year goalscoring record.

The Argentinian needs two more goals to surpass Muller's record of 85 for the highest number of goals scored in a 12 month period for club and country, set while playing for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972.

But his attempt appeared in jeopardy on Wednesday night when he was stretchered off with a bruised knee during Barcelona's 0-0 Champions League draw with Benfica.

Ready to play: Lionel Messi pictured at Barcelona airport en route to Seville this morning

Ready to play: Lionel Messi pictured at Barcelona airport en route to Seville this morning

Injury concern: Messi suffered a bruised knee in Barcelona's 0-0 Champions League draw with Benfica on Wednesday night

Injury concern: Messi suffered a bruised knee in Barcelona's 0-0 Champions League draw with Benfica on Wednesday night

Recovery: Despite being stretchered off, Messi has been passed fit to face Real Betis in La Liga tonight

Recovery: Despite being stretchered off, Messi has been passed fit to face Real Betis in La Liga tonight

However, club officials confirmed on Sunday morning that the damage wasn't as bad as first feared and Messi was included in the party that flew to Seville on Sunday morning.

Manager Tito Vilanova and his coaching team will make a final decision just before kick-off on whether to play Messi from the start or keep him on the bench.

Messi trained with the rest of the squad on Saturday, and Vilanova was confident he would make tonight's match.

He said: 'If there was even the smallest risk then Messi would not travel with the rest of the team.

'This means he has recovered and is ready to play. However, we will assess his conditions tomorrow (Sunday) and then decide whether he can play 90 minutes or not.'

Confident: Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova was sure Messi would be available to him for the trip to fifth-placed Betis

Confident: Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova was sure Messi would be available to him for the trip to fifth-placed Betis

The match with fifth-placed Betis is one of four opportunities Messi has to grab the required goals before the New Year.

In midweek, Barca travel to second division Cordoba in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.

Next Sunday, they host Atletico Madrid in the league and then travel to Valladolid a week later.

Healed: Despite his injuries, Messi was able to attend a promotional event on Thursday and trained with Barcelona on Saturday

Healed: Despite his injuries, Messi was able to attend a promotional event on Thursday and trained with Barcelona on Saturday

Messi has scored 84 times in 2012 – including 72 goals in 56 matches for Barcelona across all competitions and 12 goals in nine games for Argentina.

In 1972, Muller scored 72 goals in 53 games for Bayern and 13 in seven games for West Germany.

Messi is also on the brink of becoming Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer in La Liga – he is currently tied on 190 with Cesar Rodriguez.

Barcelona can move nine points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid with a win.