Tag Archives: carles

Barcelona: Cesc Fabregas hat-trick Eric Abidal returns after transplant

Fabregas scores hat-trick but Abidal gets Nou Camp ovation on emotional return

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 6 April 2013

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UPDATED:

08:45 GMT, 7 April 2013

Cesc Fabregas scored the first hat-trick of his career as Barcelona moved closer to the Primera Division title with a 5-0 victory over Real Mallorca, but the main story was the return to action of Eric Abidal after a year out following liver surgery.

The home side were also inspired by
head coach Tito Vilanova, who was on the Nou Camp touchline for the
first time since January after undergoing treatment for cancer.

Abidal's appearance brought the crowd
to their feet, with the Frenchman given a standing ovation when he
replaced Gerard Pique in the 70th minute.

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

Happy return: Eric Abidal

The 33-year-old former France
defender, who was passed fit to return to training with his team mates
last month, is a huge favourite with the Barca fans.

In a pitch-side television interview with Spanish broadcaster Canal Plus, Abidal thanked the cousin who provided part of his liver for the procedure.

'It was a very special moment for me after a year out,' said Abidal, wearing a shirt with 'Merci mon cousin' on the front.

Tribute: Abidal shows a shirt to thank his cousin who donated his liver

Tribute: Abidal shows a shirt to thank his cousin who donated his liver

'I want to thank my cousin as without him I would not be here today. It is a unique moment,' he added.

Abidal's return is well timed as Barca centre backs Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano and full back Adriano are all out injured at a critical stage of the season.

In the game itself, it was Fabregas who commanded the spotlight. In the injury-enforced absence of Lionel Messi, he scored three and
set up two for Alexis Sanchez as Barcelona romped home.

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Mallorca held their own but it was no surprise when Barcelona made the breakthrough with two goals in two minutes.

Fabregas carried the ball from midfield and played a one-two with Alexis before steadying himself and coolly slotting the ball home across goalkeeper Dudu Aouate.

Mallorca's heads went down and in the 22nd minute they found themselves 2-0 adrift. This time Fabregas cut inside on the left of the area before unleashing a shot which Aouate pushed away from goal only for Alexis to follow up and fire home.

On the scoresheet: Alexis Sanchez was also on target in Barcelona's facile victory

On the scoresheet: Alexis Sanchez was also on target in Barcelona's facile victory

In the 37th minute an intricate passing move ended with Fabregas laying a first-time ball off to Alexis on the right of the area which he reciprocated for Fabregas to drill home.

The former Arsenal captain was involved everywhere and a minute later he provided a superb pass over the top for Alexis, who had got between two defenders, controlling the ball with his right before slotting home with his left.

Fabregas wrapped up his hat-trick seconds after the restart when he collected Iniesta's threaded ball and checked inside the defender before slotting home from close range.

Chelsea"s David Luiz a summer target for Barcelona

Barcelona keen to sign Luiz but face battle as Chelsea want to keep their boy from Brazil

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

22:31 GMT, 13 February 2013

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UPDATED:

23:49 GMT, 13 February 2013

Barcelona are keen to revive interest in Chelsea defender David Luiz in the summer.

The Brazil international has struggled for consistency at Stamford Bridge this season.

And Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova is keen to strengthen his defence, despite club captain Carles Puyol only recent signing a new deal at the Nou Camp.

Wanted man: Barcelona are keen to sign David Luiz in the summer

Wanted man: Barcelona are keen to sign David Luiz in the summer

Vilanova met with sporting director
Andoni Zubizarreta, technical secretary Albert Valentn and football co-ordinator Narcis Juli in New York this week where a number of targets were discussed.

Fellow Brazilian Neymar was also on his list, which would allow David Villa to leave.

If he does make the move in the summer
then Luiz could team up with a couple of former Premier League players
in Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas.

Boy from Brazil: Luiz captained the Samba boys against England last week

Boy from Brazil: Luiz captained the Samba boys against England last week

According to Portuguese paper A Bola, Chelsea would be reluctant to sell one of their assets to their European rivals.

But they also suggest that if they were to let him go to Spain, then they would want to recoup a sizeable amount of the 21m transfer fee they forked out for him in 2011.

Another target: Neymar is wanted by Barca

Another target: Neymar is wanted by Barca

Chelsea are third in the Premier League and Luiz and his team-mates face a battle to secure Champions League football next season as they are only one point ahead of fellow London rivals Spurs, and Arsenal an additional four points behind them.

Lionel Messi signs new contract with Barcelona until 2018

Messi follows example of Xavi and Puyol by committing to Barcelona until 2018

PUBLISHED:

16:27 GMT, 7 February 2013

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UPDATED:

18:17 GMT, 7 February 2013

Lionel Messi has signed his two-year contract extension with Barcelona.

The Argentina superstar put pen to paper on his new deal at the Nou Camp this afternoon and is now tied to the Catalan giants until June 30, 2018.

Messi follows in the footsteps of fellow club stalwarts Xavi and Carles Puyol, both of whom signed their extensions last month.

Pen to paper: The four-time Ballon d'Or winner signed a new deal with Barcelona this afternoon

Pen to paper: The four-time Ballon d'Or winner signed a new deal with Barcelona this afternoon

Job done: Barcelona's president Sandro Rosell shakes hands with the Argentina international after he pledged his future to the Catalan club until 2018

Job done: Barcelona's president Sandro Rosell shakes hands with the Argentina international after he pledged his future to the Catalan club until 2018

Barca announced in December they had agreed new contracts with the trio.

It's
little wonder Barcelona are keen to tie down Messi's future for as long
as possible – the Argentina international has scored 45 goals in 34
appearances this season so far.

And that comes off the back of an incredible 91 goals during the 2012 calendar year.

Lionel Messi arrives at the Camp Nou Stadium to sign a new contract lasting until 2018

Lionel Messi arrives at the Camp Nou Stadium to sign a new contract with Barcelona

Sign on the dotted line: Messi arrives at the Camp Nou Stadium this afternoon to sign a new two-year contract extension with Barcelona, which will see him through until 2018. While Messi may again be surging ahead in the goalscoring charts, he is hardly inspiring many with his choice of jacket.

Lionel Messi arrives at the Camp Nou Stadium to sign his new two-year contract extension

Lionel Messi arrives at the Camp Nou Stadium to sign his new two-year contract extension

The news was welcomed by Messi's teammate Jordi Alba, who said: 'I can't imagine what Messi will be like in 2018, but it's great news for Barca fans that he's staying.

'He is the best player in the world and as long as nothing happens, he'll be the best ever. We'll try to make him feel as comfortable here as we can.'

Dotty: Messi wore an eye-catching tuxedo to pick up his latest Ballon D'Or award last month

Dotty: Messi wore an eye-catching tuxedo to pick up his latest Ballon D'Or award last month

Golden balls: Lionel Messi with his FIFA Ballon D'Or collection. He's won the accolade, for the best player in world football, for the last four years

Golden balls: Lionel Messi with his FIFA Ballon D'Or collection. He's won the accolade, for the best player in world football, for the last four years

The former Valencia player added: 'I was once unlucky enough to have to face him as an opponent, but now I'm here I'm delighted to have him as a teammate.

'I have never seen anybody capable of doing the things he can do.'

Messi, 25, came up through the youth ranks at Barca before making his competitive debut against Espanyol in 2004 at the age of 17.

Since then he has established himself as one of the best players in history, breaking numerous records in the process.

Delighted: Messi's teammate Jordi Alba (right) was pleased with news of the new contract

Delighted: Messi's teammate Jordi Alba (right) was pleased with news of the new contract

He won his fourth straight FIFA World Player of the Year award last month following a remarkable 2012 in which he scored 91 goals – smashing the world record of 85 in a calendar year set by Bayern Munich and West Germany striker Gerd Muller in 1972.

While setting that record, Messi became the first man to score five times in a Champions League game as Barca crushed Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 last March.

Three weeks after that he became Barca's all-time leading goalscorer after a brace against Granada moved him on to 233 official goals, one more than the previous record set by Cesar Rodriguez during the 1940s and 50s.

Familiar: The sight of Lionel Messi celebrating another goal for Barcelona has become a familiar one - he scored an all-time record 91 goals in the 2012 calendar year

Familiar: The sight of Lionel Messi celebrating another goal for Barcelona has become a familiar one – he scored an all-time record 91 goals in the 2012 calendar year

He has been in similarly stunning form in 2013 and his goal in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Valencia was a league-record 12th consecutive game in which he found the net.

During his time at the Nou Camp, Messi has also helped Barca win a host of silverware, including five Primera Division titles, three Champions Leagues, two Copa del Rey crowns and two FIFA Club World Cups.

Steven Gerrard, Ryan Giggs and now Lionel Messi: Sportsmail tribute to one-club men

As Messi and Xavi join Gerrard, Giggs, Armfield and Le Tissier, we pay tribute to football's one-club men

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UPDATED:

15:46 GMT, 18 December 2012

Barcelona stars Lionel Messi, Xavi and Carles Puyol have signed contract extensions that will keep them at the Nou Camp for the rest of their glittering careers.

They are the ultimate one-club men, having progressed from Barca’s fabled La Masia Academy.

Barcelona boy: Lionel Messi has signed a new deal with the Catalans - Xavi and Carles Puyol are also staying

Barcelona boy: Lionel Messi has signed a new deal with the Catalans – Xavi and Carles Puyol are also staying

Messi, Xavi and Puyol, though, are not alone in dedicating their careers to a single team.

Here Sportsmail pays tribute to 10 men who epitomise football loyalty.

TONY ADAMS (Arsenal 1983 – 2002)

How Arsenal could do with someone like him now. A no-nonsense defender, who inspired all around him, Adams became club captain in his early 20s and led the Gunners through one of the greatest periods in their history. In total he played 668 games and collected 13 major honours.

Top Gunner: Tony Adams will always be a legend to the Arsenal supporters

Top Gunner: Tony Adams will always be a legend to the Arsenal supporters

RYAN GIGGS (Manchester United 1991 – present)

Some day in the future, Giggs will call time on the most remarkable career and when he goes, the Barclays Premier League will have a gap that cannot be filled. He has made 921 appearances, scored 165 goals and won all there is to win twice over. The moniker ‘legend’ fits easily alongside him.

PAUL SCHOLES (Manchester United 1995 – present)

He
has been described by many, including Xavi, as the finest English
midfielder of the last two decades and it is hard to pick holes in that
argument. Blessed with wonderful passing and a keen eye for goal,
Scholes has eschewed the trappings of fame. All he has wanted to do is
play for United.

Old heads: Ryan Giggs (left) and Paul Scholes are still turning it on for Manchester United

Old heads: Ryan Giggs (left) and Paul Scholes are still turning it on for Manchester United

MATTHEW LE TISSIER (Southampton 1986 – 2002)

If
ever there was a talent who did not get his full rewards, it was Le
Tissier. A mercurial playmaker, who scored phenomenal goals and barely
missed a penalty, he kept Southampton in the Premier League almost
single-handedly at times. But he never won a major honour and was only
capped eight times by England.

A real Saint: Matt Le Tissier spent his entire playing career with Southampton

A real Saint: Matt Le Tissier spent his entire playing career with Southampton

JAMIE CARRAGHER (Liverpool 1997 – present)

It wasn’t easy for Carragher when he first broke into Liverpool’s team as a teenager but, through sheer force of will and talent, he has had an outstanding career. You don’t play for Liverpool 716 times if you haven’t got something special and the defender has earned every accolade.

STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool 1998 – present)

Though it is true Gerrard twice came close to leaving Liverpool, his commitment to the club and efforts through three decades are indisputable. He has just passed 600 appearances at Anfield and boasts a trophy cabinet in keeping with his standing as one of the best midfielders of his generation.

Conquering Europe: Jamie Carragher (left) and Steven Gerrard won the Champions League in 2005

Conquering Europe: Jamie Carragher (left) and Steven Gerrard won the Champions League in 2005

LEON OSMAN (Everton 2002 – present)

Osman might not have a burgeoning trophy cabinet nor is he a name that will be discussed frequently up and down the land but he represents old-fashioned values and Everton are all the better for it. He, along with Tony Hibbert, fought his way through the youth ranks and kept trying to force his way into David Moyes’ team. A decade’s efforts were rewarded last month when he was capped by England.

Sticking with the Toffees: Leon Osman has worked his way through the ranks at Goodison Park

Sticking with the Toffees: Leon Osman has worked his way through the ranks at Goodison Park

DEREK FAZACKERLEY (Blackburn Rovers 1969 – 1987)

If his coaching career has been nomadic – see spells at Newcastle, Manchester City, Birmingham, Huddersfield and England, amongst others – Fazackerley’s playing days were spent solely at Ewood Park. He made a record-breaking 671 appearances for Blackburn and that total will never be passed.

JIMMY ARMFIELD (Blackpool 1954 – 1971)

To many he will be the softly-spoken expert analyst on Radio Five Live but as a player Armfield was the archetypal one-club man. Loyal, professional, conscientious and talented, Armfield was a classy right-back who made 627 appearances for Blackpool. He also won the World Cup in 1966.

I do like to be beside the seaside: Jimmy Armfield is Blackpool through and through

I do like to be beside the seaside: Jimmy Armfield is Blackpool through and through

And one from abroad we can't ignore… PAOLO MALDINI (AC Milan 1985 – 2009)

From the moment Maldini made his debut as a 16-year-old against Udinese,
he was destined for greatness. His name will stand the test of time, a
defender who oozed class, skill and dedication. His 902 appearances for Il
Rossoneri and five Champions League winners’ medals are extraordinary
statistics.

Milan man: Paolo Maldini (right) won the European Cup five times with the Italian giants

Milan man: Paolo Maldini (right) won the European Cup five times with the Italian giants

Sexy Barcelona calendar for 2013

Barcelona are already the sexiest team to watch on the planet… and you should see their new calendar!

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UPDATED:

15:15 GMT, 27 November 2012

It's a widely held belief that Barcelona play the sexiest football around. So why not make a calendar to match

That must have been the thinking at the Penya Lombarda Barcelona fan club in Italy, who are releasing the calendar below.

My, how you've changed Lionel: These chicas seem to be the face of the Barcelona calendar rather than Messi or Xavi

My, how you've changed Lionel: These chicas seem to be the face of the Barcelona calendar rather than Messi or Xavi

Barca girls

Barca girls

The 2013 calendar features two young ladies who seem to have left their replica shirts behind.

It is easy to imagine the teenagers of Catalonia (and maybe even Madrid for that matter) putting this on their lists for Santa.

Waking up with these two in your stocking would certainly be a Christmas to remember.

It takes a lot to move superstar Lionel Messi from centre-stage but this pair have just about succeeded.

Eye (not) on the ball: The calendar is sure to be a best seller with these two marketing it

Eye (not) on the ball: The calendar is sure to be a best seller with these two marketing it

Then again, there's no way of knowing what's inside the calender – this may all be sneaky marketing.

When the boys rub their hands in glee and rip open the packaging they may be disappointed to find inside the rugged faces of Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano.

Most football teams end up with star men on the pages of their calendars, but then Barca do claim they are 'mes que un club'.

The signs are promising and this looks like it could well be a better purchase than the official calendar. The fan club is 'not for profit' and the money goes to charity.

Barcelona make sexy calendar for 2013

Barcelona are already the sexiest team to watch on the planet… and you should see their new calendar!

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UPDATED:

11:36 GMT, 27 November 2012

It's a widely held belief that Barcelona play the sexiest football around. So why not make a calendar to match

That must have been the thinking in the merchandise department of the Nou Camp at least.

My, how you've changed Lionel: These chicas seem to be the face of the Barcelona calendar rather than Messi or Xavi

My, how you've changed Lionel: These chicas seem to be the face of the Barcelona calendar rather than Messi or Xavi

Barca girls

Barca girls

Barcelona's 2013 calendar features two young ladies who seem to have left their replica shirts behind.

It is easy to imagine the teenagers of Catalonia (and maybe even Madrid for that matter) putting this on their lists for Santa.

Waking up with these two in your stocking would certainly be a Christmas to remember.

It takes a lot to move superstar Lionel Messi from centre-stage but this pair have just about succeeded.

Eye (not) on the ball: The calendar is sure to be a best seller with these two marketing it

Eye (not) on the ball: The calendar is sure to be a best seller with these two marketing it

Then again, there's no way of knowing what's inside the calender – this may all be sneaky marketing.

When the boys rub their hands in glee and rip open the packaging they may be disappointed to find inside the rugged faces of Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano.

Most football teams do put their star men on the pages of their calendars, but then Barca do claim they are 'mes que un club'.

Maybe they'll just have to take the risk and buy it.

Barcelona 2 Real Madrid 2 – match report

Barcelona 2 Real Madrid 2: Anything you can do… Messi and Ronaldo share the goals in Clasico thriller

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UPDATED:

19:59 GMT, 7 October 2012

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo matched each other blow for blow at the Nou Camp, bagging two goals apiece as Barcelona and Real Madrid battled out an entertaining draw in the first Clasico of the Primera Division season.

Tito Vilanova's Barca headed into the game eight points clear of their arch rivals and boasting a 100 per cent record from their first six matches, but found themselves trailing midway through the first half when Ronaldo netted for the sixth straight Clasico.

Anything you can do: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi shared four goals as Real Madrid and Barcelona drew

Anything you can do: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi shared four goals as Real Madrid and Barcelona drew

Anything you can do: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi shared four goals as Real Madrid and Barcelona drew

MATCH FACTS

BARCELONA: Valdes; Alves (Montoya 28), Mascherano, Adriano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Fabregas (Sanchez 64), Messi, Pedro. Subs not used: Pinto, Bartra, Song, Roberto, Villa

Goals: Messi 31, 61

Booked: Pedro, Busquets

REAL MADRID: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Khedira, Alonso; Ronaldo, Ozil (Kaka 81), Di Maria; Benzema (Higuain 62). Subs not used: Adan, Albiol, Coentrao, Essien, Modric, Higuain

Goals: Ronaldo 23, 66

Booked: Alonso, Khedira, Pepe

But Messi equalised with a scrappy
goal soon after and then put the hosts ahead with a stunning free-kick
on the hour, only for Ronaldo to capitalise on sloppy defending midway
through the second half to ensure honours ended even.

Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta was
handed his first start since the Supercopa aggregate defeat against Real
in August, while Adriano partnered Javier Mascherano at centre-back
with Gerard Pique (foot) and Carles Puyol (dislocated elbow) sidelined.

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho made three
changes from the team that won 4-1 at Ajax in the Champions League on
Wednesday, with Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria replacing
Michael Essien, Kaka and Jose Callejon.

The visitors began brightly and created the better of the early chances.

First blood: Ronaldo struck the first blow when he unleashed a fierce drive inside the near post

First blood: Ronaldo struck the first blow when he unleashed a fierce drive inside the near post

First blood: Ronaldo struck the first blow when he unleashed a fierce drive inside the near post

Ronaldo – scorer of a midweek
hat-trick in Amsterdam, and the winner in this corresponding fixture
last term to virtually assure Madrid the title – crossed from the right
for Karim Benzema, who miscued his volley horribly wide from 12 yards
when left unmarked in the 13th minute.

Six minutes later, Ozil sent over a
corner and Sergio Ramos leapt above the Barca defence only to direct his
header inches wide of Victor Valdes' goal.

The warning signs had been there but
Barca failed to heed them and the opener duly arrived midway through the
first half. Benzema turned neatly on the edge of the box and fed
Ronaldo, who lashed home a low left-footed finish which beat Valdes at
his near post.

Back on terms: It didn't take long for Messi to haul his side back on level terms from close range...

Back on terms: It didn't take long for Messi to haul his side back on level terms from close range…

Back on terms: It didn't take long for Messi to haul his side back on level terms from close range...

...but Real Madrid cried foul after Pepe ended up on his backside in the build up to the equaliser

…but Real Madrid cried foul after Pepe ended up on his backside in the build up to the equaliser

It could have been 2-0 moments later
when Khedira burst down the right before feeding Benzema. The Frenchman
spooned his effort against the post, though, and Di Maria sent the
rebound wide with the goal at his mercy.

The home team suffered a further blow
when Dani Alves' involvement ended in the game after 28 minutes, the
Brazilian replaced by Martin Montoya.

Big claim: There were several penalty shouts waved away, notably when Andres Iniesta hit the deck after the break

Big claim: There were several penalty shouts waved away, notably when Andres Iniesta hit the deck after the break

However, two minutes later they were
level. Madrid failed to clear their lines from Pedro Rodriguez's cross
and, after bobbling around in the area the ball fell kindly to Messi in
the six-yard box and he lashed past a helpless Iker Casillas and into
the roof of the net.

Both sides had decent penalty shouts
turned down at the start of the second half, Ozil going down after
contact with Mascherano before Iniesta appeared to be clipped by Pepe.

Vilanova's team took the lead in
spectacular style on the hour mark, Messi picking himself up after being
fouled by Xabi Alonso and despatching a brilliant left-footed free-kick
up over the wall and curling away from the diving Casillas.

Stunning: Messi produced the goal of the night when he shaped a glorious freekick up and into the net

Stunning: Messi produced the goal of the night when he shaped a glorious freekick up and into the net

Stunning: Messi produced the goal of the night when he shaped a glorious freekick up and into the net

Stunning: Messi produced the goal of the night when he shaped a glorious freekick up and into the net

Whatever Messi could do, though,
Ronaldo could do too, and swiftly matched the Argentina forward's eight
goals in La Liga this term six minutes later.

Ozil slotted a slick pass through to
the Portuguese, who had been played onside by Adriano and coolly slotted
past Valdes to get Madrid back on level terms.

The final quarter was end-to-end stuff, although Mourinho's men were seemingly the more content with the point.

Right place: Ronaldo showed his class again after springing the offside trap, despite Victor Valdes' protests

Right place: Ronaldo showed his class again after springing the offside trap, despite Victor Valdes' protests

Right place: Ronaldo showed his class again after springing the offside trap, despite Victor Valdes' protests

Messi floated a shot high and wide from Jordi Alba's cut-back, with Iniesta's cross scrambled clear by Marcelo soon after.

Gonzalo Higuain, a 62nd-minute
replacement for Benzema, saw his cross deflected to safety by Mascherano
before the final few minutes were played out almost entirely in
Madrid's defensive third.

Montoya was almost an unlikely
match-winner on 88 minutes but his right-footed attempt from the edge of
the box crashed back off the bar, before Pedro burst through in
stoppage time and unleashed a left-footed shot which flew just wide.

Special occasion: Barcelona fans used the match as a chance to call for independence for Catalunya

Special occasion: Barcelona fans used the match as a chance to call for independence for Catalunya

Special occasion: Barcelona fans used the match as a chance to call for independence for Catalunya

Champions League round-up: Bayern beaten, Barcelona win

Bayern stunned by high-flying BATE Borisov as Barca's victory comes at a cost

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UPDATED:

21:38 GMT, 2 October 2012

BATE Borisov claimed one of the biggest scalps in their history after stunning in-form Bayern Munich 3-1 at the Dinamo Stadion to open up a three-point lead at the top of Champions League Group F.

Goals Alexander Pavlov and Vitaly Rodionov put the Belarusian champions in charge and although Bayern pulled one back in stoppage time through Franck Ribery, BATE added a third through Renan Bressan to seal their first ever home win in the competition.

Goals either side of half-time by Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas
helped Barcelona maintain their perfect start to the season after a 2-0
win at Benfica.

Party time: Bate Borisov celebrate beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League

Party time: Bate Borisov celebrate beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League

However, the Catalans' night was soured towards the end when captain
Carles Puyol was carried off on a stretcher with what appeared to be a
broken arm after he landed awkwardly when attacking a corner, before
Sergio Busquets was shown a straight red card two minutes from time.

Also in Group G, Georgios Samaras' late header earned Celtic a 3-2 victory over 10-man Spartak Moscow in the Luzhniki Stadium.

Blow: Barcelona's Carles Puyol is taken off the pitch on a stretcher

Blow: Barcelona's Carles Puyol is taken off the pitch on a stretcher

The victory means unfancied BATE have now won both their group matches having previously downed Lille 3-1 away, while for Bayern the defeat ends their nine-match winning streak at the start of the season and leaves them on three points in Group F.

Valencia got their Champions League campaign up and running as two goals from Jonas sealed a 2-0 win over Lille.

On their way: Jonas of Valencia scores against Lille in the Champions League

On their way: Jonas of Valencia scores against Lille in the Champions League

Chelsea top Group E after Juventus were surprisingly held to a 1-1 home draw against Shakhtar Donetsk. It took a thunderbolt from defender Leonardo Bonucci to guarantee a share of the spoils after Alex Teixeira had put the Ukrainians ahead on the counter-attack.

In Group H, Galatasary were made to pay for poor finishing as a 27th-minute goal from Ruben Micael and a last-gasp effort from Alan gave Braga a smash-and-grab 2-0 win.

Carles Puyol ruled out for six weeks with knee injury

Veteran Barcelona captain Puyol ruled out for six weeks with knee injury

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UPDATED:

12:22 GMT, 16 September 2012

Crocked: Puyol could be out for six weeks

Crocked: Puyol could be out for six weeks

Barcelona have been dealt a blow with the news that their captain Carles Puyol has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a knee injury.

The veteran defender missed Spain's Euro 2012 triumph with a similar problem and he has been ruled out again after coming off injured in the 4-1 win over Getafe on Saturday.

Puyol, 34, has strained the posterior cruciate ligament in his left leg and will undergo further test in Sunday to determine the extent of the damage.

Barca boss Tito Vilanova said: 'It’s always a problem when you lose players like him. We know how important Puyol is to the team.

'He played well throughout the match, he brings a lot to the team. Hopefully we can get him back soon.'

Puyol is certain to miss Barca's Champions League opener against Spartak Moscow on Wednesday night, while he could also be ruled out of next month's league clash against rivals Real Madrid.

Favorite one-club players: Sportsmail"s verdict

The Saturday debate: Who are the greatest one-club players

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UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 14 September 2012

With Paul Scholes about to clock up 700 games for Manchester United, Sportsmail asked a selection of its writers for their favourite one-club player.

Derek Lawrenson

Golf Correspondent

STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool, 1998- )

Gerrard has played all his career for one club during an era where money rules and nearly all the best players gravitate to the few clubs with the wherewithal to win the Premier League. Given all his gifts and all the offers to move, his is a singular act of loyalty.

Leader: Steven Gerrard has been at Liverpool his whole carrer

Leader: Steven Gerrard has been at Liverpool his whole carrer

Laura Williamson

Football Writer

JOHN McDERMOTT (Grimsby Town, 1987-2007)

'Macca' spent 21 seasons at right back, playing 754 games. Through the highs of two Wembley wins in 1998 and the lows of tumbling down the divisions he seemed like the one constant: nippy, keen to get forward and dependable. I just enjoyed watching him.

Ian Ladyman

Northern Football Correspondent

CARLES PUYOL (Barcelona, 1999- )

If your daughter brought him home for tea your instinct might be to throw him out. Puyol looks like trouble. If he played for your team, though, you would fall in love with him. Versatile, ruthless and loyal, the 34-year-old defender has played more than 500 times for Barca over the last 13 years.

Barca boy: Carles Puyol has been at Barcelona through their recent glory period

Barca boy: Carles Puyol has been at Barcelona through their recent glory period

RALPH ELLIS

Football Writer

TONY ADAMS (Arsenal, 1983-2002)

The big, imposing centre half was at the heart of football’s meanest defence under George Graham, when ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ was a Highbury anthem. He later blossomed into a footballing centre half under Arsene Wenger’s influence.

Chris Wheeler

Football Writer

MATT LE TISSIER (Southampton, 1986-2002)

Mercurial forward Le Tissier stayed loyal for 16 barren years when he could have picked up trophies, more money and more caps by moving. Chelsea and Tottenham both tried to sign him but ‘Le God’, as Southampton’s fans call him, kept faith with the Saints.

True Saint: Matt Le Tissier stayed loyal to Southampton

True Saint: Matt Le Tissier stayed loyal to Southampton

Colin Young

Football Writer

FRANCO BARESI (AC Milan, 1977-97)

Quite simply, Baresi was one of the greatest defenders ever. He glided round the pitch, made the brutal work of a defender look like art and was one of the coolest footballers ever. He played in some very good Milan and Italy teams and won the lot.