Valverde banks on debutant Dembele to make instant impact against EspanyolIMAGE: Ousmane Dembele with Lionel Messi. Photograph: Barcelona FC/Twitter Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde will be banking on new signing Ousmane Dembele to fill the gap left by Neymar's departure as he looks to overcome off-pitch difficulties when the Catalans take on Espanyol on Saturday. Barcelona have enjoyed a winning start in La Liga and despite all the off-field drama, Valverde is determined that they make it three wins out of three when they face his former club. Valverde had a two-year spell as an Espanyol player between 1986 and 1988, reaching the 1988 UEFA Cup final, and later guided Barcelona's city rivals to the 2007 UEFA Cup final, where they also lost on penalties, during a two-year tenure as coach.So fond are Espanyol of their former striker that he has a gate named after him at their stadium but on Saturday they will be hoping to take advantage of institutional instability at … [Read more...] about Will Dembele make instant impact at Barcelona?
IMAGE: Head coach Diego Pablo Simeone of Atletico de Madrid gives instructions during a La Liga game. Photograph: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images Atletico Madrid's players will not allow praise to go to their heads even though they are level on points with Barcelona at the top of La Liga, coach Diego Simeone has said. "When people talk well of your work it is good to help you keep improving," Simeone told a news conference. "When you get too much praise then you can start to think that it all happens naturally but it isn't like that. It is down to work and we realise that."When you are sure of yourself you are not nervous about a criticism or a comment. Everything is logical. When we were playing badly there was criticism and now there is praise. It is important for us continue with our work." Simeone's side broke the stranglehold of Barca and Real Madrid at home by winning the championship in 2014, as well as reaching the Champions League final where they were beaten by Real. … [Read more...] about ‘We aim to improve each year, praise will not go to our heads’
IMAGE: Barcelona's Neymar celebrates scoring the third goal with team mates Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters A Neymar double, a spectacular volley from Luis Suarez and a goal for Lionel Messi saw top of the table Barcelona's unstoppable strike force sweep aside Real Sociedad 4-0 in La Liga on Saturday.An early goal from the in-form Antoine Griezmann gave Atletico Madrid a 1-0 victory over Espanyol that keeps them four points behind Barca. Neymar slotted home a Dani Alves cross after 22 minutes and Alves was again the provider for Suarez who acrobatically beat Real keeper Geronimo Rulli before halftime to take his tally to 11 goals in seven games. La Liga's top scorer Neymar took his total to 14 this season as he knocked in a Jeremy Mathieu cross after 53 minutes and in injury time he set up Messi to score from close range. Barca have 33 points from 13 games with Atletico Madrid on 29. Real Madrid, who were hammered 4-0 by Barca last weekend and are now … [Read more...] about La Liga: Neymar double as Barca’s rampant strikers sink Sociedad
Barcelona star Lionel Messi will not make the trip to the San Siro for Tuesday’s final Champions League group game, but Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte still expects a tough test as his side bids to reach the last 16. Barcelona are already through to the knockout rounds after six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi scored in a convincing 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund last time out. The Argentine has been left out of the 20-man squad along with midfielder Sergi Roberto. Coach Ernesto Valverde’s side will also be without injured the Ousmane Dembele, Jordi Alba, Nelson Semedo and Gerard Pique.The Spaniards are assured of finishing top of Group F as they have 11 points from five games. Inter are second, level on seven points with Borussia Dortmund who host Slavia Prague, but the Italians will qualify if the two clubs finish on the same number of points due to their superior head-to-head goal difference.“We’re talking about Barcelona, one of the strongest teams … [Read more...] about Lionel Messi out of Champions League fixture against Inter Milan
New Delhi: Though the world of sports has seen brilliant performances by many persons and teams over the year, controversies played their part to mar sports persons and officials. Narsingh Yadav controversy The entire Indian wrestling fraternity was stunned when Narsingh Yadav failed a dope test just 10 days before the Rio Olympics in August. The 28-year-old grappler was tested positive for Methadienone – an anabolic steroid which triggers muscle growth. Narsingh denied any consumption of such illegal substance. He claimed that his food was tampered with anabolic substance, making him a victim of sabotage. However, Narsingh wrestled to Rio after National Anti-Doping Agency handed him clean sheet but its prime governing body World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) denied participation and banned the wrestler for 4 years. Narsingh Yadav won a bronze medal in 2015 in World Championship, eventually earning a quota for India in 74kg category free style Wrestling. BCCI vs Lodha panel … [Read more...] about Year Ender: Controversies that rocked sports world in 2016