Tag Archives: catalan

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

|

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.

Sandro Rosell slams Manchester City for trying to lure Barcelona staff

Barca warning for Man City over luring stars: They want to fish here but there are no fish left!

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

11:42 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:47 GMT, 15 January 2013

Offended: Sandro Rosell slammed Manchester City

Offended: Sandro Rosell slammed Manchester City

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has claimed Manchester City have tried to lure a number of people to the Etihad Stadium from the Nou Camp.

Rosell says the Barclays Premier League champions have not only tried to sign players from all levels of the club's structure, but also other employees of the Catalan giants.

Former Barcelona directors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain are now at City as chief executive and director of football respectively.

Rosell, speaking to RAC1 and quoted
in Marca, said: 'There have been some offensive approaches from City, at
all levels of the structure of the club, but no one wants to go.

'They wanted to fish here, but there
were no fish left. We're talking about people at all levels of the Barca
structure, not just players. Their attempts have been unsuccessful,
though, as our employees are happy here.

Star of the show: Lionel Messi is Barca's prized asset

Star of the show: Lionel Messi is Barca's prized asset

City slickers: Txiki Begiristain (left) and Ferran Soriano left Barca for the Etihad

City slickers: Txiki Begiristain (left) and Ferran Soriano left Barca for the Etihad

'There have been contacts, but we have a fantastic group of people and nobody wants to go.'

He added: 'I had hoped that he (Begiristain) would not use the information he gathered about Barcelona during his time here to help another club become bigger, but he seems to disagree with me.

'I would like it if the relationship between both clubs was a bit better and more transparent.'

Barcelona to play in Catalan colours next season as region pushes for independence

Barcelona to play in Catalan colours next season as region pushes for independence

|

UPDATED:

10:25 GMT, 17 December 2012

Barcelona are to wear the colours of the Senyera, the Catalan flag, on their away kit next season.

It comes as political parties in favour of Catalonia becoming an independent state gain an ever greater influence in the region's parliament as they push for a referendum in 2014.

The gold and red striped strip for the 2013-2014 season is already reportedly in mass production and will be popularly received by many supporters.

Of course, the new home shirt will be the traditional blue and red stripes.

Kitted out: Proposed designs for the 2013-2014 Barcelona home and away shirts. The away one is in the colours of the Catalan flag

Kitted out: Proposed designs for the 2013-2014 Barcelona home and away shirts. The away one is in the colours of the Catalan flag

Both feature a different corporate sponsor – Qatar Airways – after the club signed a five-year, 125m deal with Qatar Sports Investments.

The decision angered some fans as the club has only previously carried the logos of charities, such as UNICEF.

The news that Barcelona, who are nine points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga after beating them 4-1 on Sunday, would wear the colours was announced on La Diada, the Catalan national day on September 11.

Charitable: The current kit, worn here by Lionel Messi, features the logo of the Qatar Foundation

Charitable: The current kit, worn here by Lionel Messi, features the logo of the Qatar Foundation

Identity: Catalan flags and pro-independence banners are a common site at the Nou Camp

Identity: Catalan flags and pro-independence banners are a common site at the Nou Camp

And now kit manufacturers have unveiled the first designs, which have been warmly received by players, fans and politicians as Barcelona has always been a powerful symbol of the region's identity.

Following a snap election last month, Catalan President Artur Mas promised that the people would be consulted on independence within the next four years.

His centre-right CiU party lost seats but remain the largest bloc in the parliament, while the left-wing separatist ERC party won 21 seats.

Both are in favour of independence, but there are doubts whether the two can work together.

VIDEO: The Catalan flag is formed in a mosaic at the Nou Camp

Lionel Messi scores two but Radamel Falcao shows Chelsea his class as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid

Messi double takes him up to 90 – that's more than Liverpool in all of 2012 – after Falcao stunner showed Chelsea his class

|

UPDATED:

22:44 GMT, 16 December 2012

Lionel Messi scored two goals for the seventh consecutive match he has started to help Barcelona strike a potentially decisive blow in the La Liga title race.

The Catalan giants romped to a 4-1 victory at home to second-placed Atletico Madrid to move nine points clear at the top.

Defending champions Real Madrid are 13 points behind after they were surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw at home by lowly Espanyol.

Magic: Lionel Messi once again left everyone else in the shade as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid

Magic: Lionel Messi once again left everyone else in the shade as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid

Magic: Lionel Messi once again left everyone else in the shade as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid

Tito Vilanova's unbeaten leaders fought back after Radamel Falcao gave Atletico a deserved lead with the cutest of finishes.

It was the least the visitors deserved for an impressive start in which they caused problems on the break, an approach which yielded the opener, the Colombian's 17th of the season.

Five minutes later, Barca were back in the game thanks to a thunderous shot from Adriano, who cut in from the right flank and fired in off the underside of the crossbar.

Atletico were struggling to break out of the area before halftime, and when they failed to clear a corner, Busquets calmly stroked home the second.

Touch of class: Radamel Falcao shoeed Chelsea fans what they could enjoy with a stunning chipped finish

Touch of class: Radamel Falcao shoeed Chelsea fans what they could enjoy with a stunning chipped finish

Touch of class: Radamel Falcao shoeed Chelsea fans what they could enjoy with a stunning chipped finish

After the break, Messi slotted a third into the corner and then pounced on an error at the end for his 25th in La Liga and 90th for club and country in 2012.

Earlier, Espanyol substitute Juan Albin stunned Real with an 88th-minute equaliser as the Barcelona-based side grabbed an unlikely draw at the Bernabeu.

The Uruguayan forward bundled the ball in after Real failed to clear a corner, and whistles rang around the ground as the teams filed off the pitch at the end.

Karim Benzema was left in the stands with an ankle injury, and Cristiano Ronaldo started in the centre-forward position, but for all their possession Real struggled in the first half.

Feeling the heat: Cristiano Ronaldo scored again for Real Madrid, but they let slip late on against Espanyol

Feeling the heat: Cristiano Ronaldo scored again for Real Madrid, but they let slip late on against Espanyol

Visiting striker Sergio Garcia, a Euro 2008 winner with Spain, sprinted clear to net past Iker Casillas in the 31st minute.

Luka Modric crashed a shot against the post, but just as the Bernabeu was getting restless Sami Khedira crossed and Ronaldo stuck out a foot to level in the 45th minute.

Ronaldo's reverse pass picked out Fabio Coentrao's driving run, and the Portugal defender put Real ahead with his first league goal for the club, soon after the re-start.

A fingertip save and the woodwork prevented a quick third for Real, but Espanyol continued to threaten and Albin made them pay for failing to finish off the job.

Elton John told Celtic boss Neil Lennon he is a world beater for beating Barcelona

Lenny and the Jets! Lennon reveals Elton John called to congratulated him after his Celtic team took down Lionel Messi's Barca

|

UPDATED:

16:48 GMT, 9 November 2012

Neil Lennon has revealed that Celtic’s famous victory over Barcelona on Wednesday night prompted a surprise phone call from Sir Elton John.

Celtic fan Rod Stewart was captured by the cameras crying in the stand after the Hoops had beaten the Catalan giants 2-1 in their Champions League Group G encounter at Parkhead.

However, a result which reverberated around the world led to the Celtic boss being contacted by another pop icon.

Scroll down for video
Key to the door: Sir Elton John at Vicarage Road, Watford, in 1986, where he was opening a new stand

Key to the door: Sir Elton John at Vicarage Road, Watford, in 1986, where he was opening a new stand.

...maybe Lennon might get a new stand named after him following Celtic's win against Barcelona

…maybe Lennon should get a new stand named after him following Celtic's win against Barcelona

'I had a lot of texts from people in the game which was
fantastic but I got a call yesterday from left field from Sir Elton John
believe it or not, congratulating me,' said the Northern Irishman.

'I thought my missus was winding me up but it just shows you the interest it has generated among a lot of people.

'I
don’t think he was as emotional as Rod but he did tell me when he was
chairman of Watford and they got to the 1984 FA Cup final he was so
emotional that he did cry before the game.

Lennon poses at the Celtic training ground yesterday. The team who beat Barcelona play St Johnstone next

Lennon poses at the Celtic training ground yesterday. The team who beat Barcelona play St Johnstone next

Elton with Watford manager Graham Taylor in 1987

Elton with Watford manager Graham Taylor in 1987

'He was very
knowledgeable about the game and knew a lot about myself and it was
great that he took time out to call me, as he is going to Australia on
tour.”

Despite Stewart being arguably Celtic’s most famous supporter, Lennon admitted he had yet to meet him.

He said: 'Do you know, I have never met Rod. I didn’t get the chance to see him after the game.

Elton (left), with fellow football fan Rod Stewart (right). Elton's manager Bob Halley is in the centre.

Elton (left), with fellow football fan Rod Stewart (right). Elton's manager Bob Halley is in the centre.

'He does e-mail me from time to time so I hope to get to meet him soon.

'He
is a wonderful ambassador for the club, he loves the club and for
someone who has such a status in life to be such an avid supporter is
fantastic for our reputation as well.'

WHEN BENNIE WAS ON THE BALL
First recorded in France, Bennie and the Jets was included in the 1973 album, Goodbye Yellow Brick RoadAxl Rose of Guns and Roses says it was this son that inspired him to take up musicIt was number in the US single chart in 1974 and had sold 2.8million copies by 1976. It was Elton John's first US hitGuitarist Davey Johnstone said: 'Bennie and the Jets is one of the oddest songs we ever recorded'It is one of his most popular songs when performed live and Sir Elton will often vary the start – and the finish, while playing the piano.

Paul Wood loses testicle after Grand Final defeat with Warrington

Warrington prop Wood loses testicle after playing through pain in Grand Final defeat

|

UPDATED:

12:32 GMT, 7 October 2012

Paul Wood lost so much more than the Super League Grand Final on Saturday after confirming he had to have a testicle removed.

Warrington prop Wood ruptured the testicle early in the second half as his side crashed 26-18 to Leeds.

Ouch: Paul Wood (left) ruptured and testicle and had to have it removed

Ouch: Paul Wood (left) ruptured and testicle and had to have it removed

Wood managed to play on and made no reference to the horrific injury in post-match interviews.

But confirmed the news on Sunday and tweeted Leon Pryce, the Catalan Dragons stand-off and former Great Britain team-mate, to say: 'No Mad Monday, gutted. 'Need to wear a box.'

Leeds Rhinos" Danny McGuire banned for one game

McGuire banned for Leeds' semi-final with Wigan after reckless tackle

|

UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 25 September 2012

Leeds Rhinos’ hopes of reaching a second successive Grand Final have been dealt a body blow with the loss of record-breaker Danny McGuire through suspension.

The 29-year-old half-back has been handed a one-match ban, and a 300 fine, after being found guilty by the Rugby Football League’s disciplinary committee of a reckless high tackle.

It means that McGuire, who was put on report for the tackle on Louis Anderson during the champions’ 27-20 win over Catalan Dragons last Friday, will miss Friday’s play-off semi-final against Wigan at the DW Stadium, although Leeds may appeal.

Banned: Danny McGuire will miss Leeds' games with Wigan

Banned: Danny McGuire will miss Leeds' games with Wigan

A Rhinos spokesman said McGuire, who pleaded not guilty, would make a decision in the morning on whether to appeal.

McGuire could have been handed a two-match ban after being charged by the RFL’s match-review panel with a grade B offence so he will be available for the final if Leeds win at the DW Stadium.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott, who spoke on behalf of his player at the hearing, claimed it was a careless act and an 'open-handed tackle' in an effort to prevent an offload by Anderson.

Although McGuire hit Anderson’s head, McDermott argued that he was aiming for the ball and his arm would have made contact with the ball but for his opponent falling in the tackle.

The committee, chaired by high court judge Peter Charlesworth, ruled that the offence was at the lower end of reckless but merited a ban because direct contact was made with the head of the opponent.

McGuire, who served a one-match ban earlier this season for a dangerous tackle, broke former team-mate Keith Senior’s all-time Super League record with his 200th try in the opening play-off win over Wakefield.

And he further demonstrated his importance to the Rhinos with the crucial try against the Catalans before clinching the win with a late drop goal.

Wigan choose Leeds in Super League semi-final

Wigan choose Leeds in Super League semi-final… leaving Warrington for St Helens

|

UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 23 September 2012

Wigan have chosen to play reigning Super League champions Leeds in Friday’s semi-final at the DW Stadium.

The Warriors had the right to pick their opponents under the controversial Clubcall rule and opted to avoid Challenge Cup winners Warrington, the only other choice open to them, when they announced their decision at lunchtime on Sunday.

The double-chasing Wolves, therefore, will play St Helens in the second semi-final at Langtree Park on Saturday.

Can we play you this week Leeds were picked by Wigan

Can we play you this week Leeds were picked by Wigan

Warrington, who beat Hull 24-12 in Saturday’s preliminary semi-final, suffered a 28-6 home defeat by Saints in the opening round of the play-offs and as a consequence lost home advantage at the last-four stage.

Leeds, who were chosen by Warrington in last year’s semi-finals, are aiming to win the title once more from fifth place and have started to look in ominous form with impressive wins over Wakefield and Catalan Dragons so far.

Table-toppers Wigan have done the double over the Rhinos this year and will have the chance to avenge their surprise 39-28 Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Brian McDermott’s men, who went on to lose to Warrington at Wembley.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott says his side’s Cup defeat will count for little on Friday.

'It may count more for Wigan in terms of motivation but we won’t ready much into it,' he said. 'They beat us twice in the league and it wasn’t a great day for us at home when they put 50 points past us.'

Catalan Dragons 20 Leeds 27

Catalan Dragons 20 Leeds 27: Rhinos edge towards final

|

UPDATED:

21:01 GMT, 21 September 2012

Danny McGuire kept alive Leeds's hopes of a second Grand Final appearance from fifth place and killed Catalan's Old Trafford dreams.

The Rhinos rewrote the record books last year when they became the first team to claim the Super League title from outside the top three.

And they are closing in on a seventh Grand Final in nine years after McGuire scored the vital try and kicked a late drop goal.

Star man: McGuire scored the vital try and kicked a late drop goal

Star man: McGuire scored the vital try and kicked a late drop goal

Leeds had led 12-4 just before half-time, but Damien Blanch scored a 90-metre interception to narrow the gap and then crossed again from Scott Dureau's kick early in the second half.

Blanch's heroics had the Rhinos rocking, but Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield sent Carl Ablett over from a close-range kick.

Then Ryan Bailey went through three defenders from the restart before feeding McGuire to put the visitors 10 points clear.

The home side looked to be cruising, but Thomas Bosc's reply and Leon Pryce's introduction from the bench set up a tense finish.

Clint Greenshields had given the hosts an early lead when he squeezed under Jamie Peacock's attempted tackle.

But Rhinos' substitute Stevie Ward dislodged the ball from Jamal Fakir in a tackle, then charged on to Shaun Lunt's pass to edge Leeds ahead.

When Lunt supported Jamie Jones-Buchanan's break two minutes later, the Rhinos looked comfortable before Blanch's long-range effort.

Leeds will play either Wigan or St Helens in the semi-final next week, depending on who Wigan choose.

Bradford Bulls new manager is Francis Cummins

Bullish! Cummins handed the reins at troubled Bradford on Potter recommendation

|

UPDATED:

13:40 GMT, 17 September 2012

Bradford have appointed former Leeds winger Francis Cummins as their new head coach on a three-year contract.

Cummins, who was recommended for the job by his predecessor Mick Potter after he opted to return to Australia, was unveiled on Monday morning at Odsal hosted by new owner Omar Khan and honorary chairman Gerry Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe said: 'We had no hesitation in taking Mick's recommendation to offer the job to Francis and we are delighted he has accepted our offer.'

New man: Bradford Bulls have confirmed Francis Cummins as their coach

New man: Bradford Bulls have confirmed Francis Cummins as their coach

It will be Cummins' first role as a head coach and, at 35, he will be the youngest in Super League when he takes charge of his first match in February.

Catalan Dragons' Australian boss Trent Robinson is nine months younger but he is leaving at the end of the season to take charge of Sydney Roosters.

Cummins enjoyed a one-club career with Leeds, for whom he made 356 appearances from 1993 to 2005, and also won three caps for Great Britain.

The former Ireland international cut his coaching teeth as an assistant at Leeds before being appointed as Potter's number two at the start of the 2010 season.

Along with Potter, Cummins worked without pay for the last three months of the season after being made redundant by the administrator amid the club's financial problems in early July.