Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Messi ends 2012 with 91 goals

Messi i Tello, aquest dissabte a Valladolid / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCBBarça’s win at the José Zorrilla (1-3) has produced a number of curiosities, and here is a selection of the best:
- Barça’s spectacular start to the season continues. They have a total of 49 points from a possible 51, from 16 wins and 1 draw with an average of 3.35 goals scored per game.
- With two games yet to play before the halfway stage, Barça have already secured the honorary ‘winter’ title for the nineteenth time. On 11 of the previous 18 times that they have done this, they have gone on to become league champions.
- FC Barcelona have made 2012 their record breaking year. They have set Liga records for the most wins (49) and the most goals (175).
- Messi has set the world record for a goals in a single calendar year, with a grand total of 91, beating the previous all-time best set in 1972 by Germany and Bayern’s Gert Müller, who got 85. The Argentinian got 79 goals for Barça and another 12 for his national team.
- Saturday was the first time in this edition of La Liga that Leo Messi has got one goal and one goal only. That continues his remarkable record of 26 goals in 17 games so far.
- The Argentinian striker has scored in seven consecutive Liga matches. That means he is one away from equalling his personal best of eight in a row.
- Xavi, with five goals, is the team’s fifth highest scorer, after Messi, Villa, Adriano and Cesc. He got Barça’s third and final goal against Valladolid.
- Under Jordi Roura, the team enjoyed 66% of the possession and had 11 shots on goal, five of which were on target. Pedro and Messi hit the woodwork twice.

Treat Me Like Messi Or I Quit

Cristiano Ronaldo still intends to leave the Bernabeu in the summer unless he gets the full Messi treatment.

Lionel Messi signed a new contract extension this week that will keep him at Barcelona until 2018, beyond his 31st birthday.

The deal is expected to be structured so that it increases yearly, rising to £12.5million (net) a year before bonuses.

Deal me in: Cristiano Ronaldo could be heading for the Bernabeu exit

But according to Spanish newspaper Marca, Ronaldo still feels angry with the club and upset, believing he deserves the special treatment of superstars like Lionel Messi.

While Messi has renewed his contract six times during his spell at Barcelona, Ronaldo has not been offered an improved deal since his £80m move from Old Trafford in 2009.

The Portuguese winger was offered - and signed - multiple improved deals during his time under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Although Ronaldo has scored an amazing 170 goals in 169 games for Real, it is Messi who has stolen the plaudits this year.

The 25-year-old had already surpassed Gerd Muller's 40-year-old record of 85 goals in a calendar year.

The pair are both in contention for the FIFA Ballon d'Or crown, alongside Messi's team-mate at Barcelona Andres Iniesta

Record-breaking Barcelona can be happy

Barcelona caretaker coach Jordi Roura was pleased his side continued with business as usual in La Liga on Saturday.
Goals from Xavi Hernandez, Lionel Messi and Cristian Tello helped the Catalan giants to a 3-1 win over Real Valladolid as they continued their best ever start to a La Liga season.

The match was overshadowed by the ill health of Barcelona's head coach Tito Vilanova.

Vilanova had a cancerous tumour removed from his saliva gland during his time as Pep Guardiola's assistant last season, and it was announced this week he required further surgery after a reoccurrence of the issue was diagnosed.

The 44-year-old was operated on and discharged from hospital hours before the match, and will spend the next six weeks undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Barcelona could easily have been distracted by Vilanova's situation, but they put in a professional performance at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorilla.

"It is true that today the game was a bit special because of the situation surrounding us," Vilanova's assistant Roura said.

"But if we just talk about sport, it was just another match and three more points. The game was a bit difficult but we managed to finally win it. I think that in the first part, we dominated the game and we had our chances.

"They had some as well, they could have scored as well, but they didn't. We were lucky when we scored the first goal. That fact gave us confidence and in the second part I think we could even scored more."

The result meant Barcelona entered the winter break having won 16 of a possible 17 league encounters this season, with the other result a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid.

And Roura was delighted the club's terrific momentum continued right up until their last match of 2012.

"As I said before it can't be more grateful for our record this season," he said.

"We've played 17 games and we've won 16 of them. We have just drawn one. I think this is a really positive thing. We have ended the year very well so we can take the winter break with a good feeling. I think we can be very happy."

Messi's strike against Real Valladolid meant he finished the calendar year with an incredible 91 goals, 79 of which came for Barcelona.

Of those 79, 59 were scored in La Liga and 13 in the UEFA Champions League. He also scored five in the Copa del Rey and two in the Spanish Super Cup. His other 12 goals were scored for Argentina.

Barca hegemony worries Cruyff

Ex-Barcelona star Johan Cruyff has claimed the 16-point gap between his former club and Real Madrid is dangerous for Spanish football.
Barcelona have enjoyed a record-breaking start to the La Liga season under Tito Vilanova, winning 16 of their opening 17 games, while third-placed Real have been in poor form with the reigning champions having already lost four matches this campaign.

Cruyff believes the league suffers if 'the suspense is over' and the 65-year-old Dutchman is convinced the title is already decided even though there are 21 rounds still to be played after the mid-season break.

"It's too much, it's a terrible gap," Cruyff told Le Buteur. 

"The truth is that it's not good for La Liga.

"Perhaps Barcelona supporters are happy but a championship is valued by the tension and excitement it creates.

"Here (in Spain) the suspense is over."

Barcelona return to action with a local derby against Espanyol on January 5, while Real will host Real Sociedad the day after.

Atletico Madrid sit second in La Liga, nine points behind Barcelona and seven ahead of their city rivals, and their first game after the break will be away to Mallorca.

Nigeria omission hurts Nsofor

Nigerian striker Obinna Nsofor is disappointed to have missed out on selection for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Locomotiv Moscow forward Nsofor was an integral part of Nigeria's team under Samson Siasia's tenure but has been left on the outer by current coach Stephen Keshi.

"I must confess that I am disappointed that I am not going to South Africa with the team," Nsofor said.

"It would have been my wish to go to South Africa and see how we can win the trophy for the third time.

"I was part of the team that played the last game against Guinea before the last Cup of Nations and the memories of missing out right at the National Stadium in Abuja is still fresh on my mind.

"I scored the first goal in that game but we could not qualify for the tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon."

Nsofor added that he is eager to return to the national team and is confident his chance to play under Keshi for the first time will come.

"Yes, I am still waiting for my chance to play under the coach. And I know the opportunity will soon come for me," he said.

The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations starts January 19 in Johannesburg.

"It is going to be one step at a time. But I am confident that the present crop of players are capable of doing the nation proud in South Africa.

"There is this urge to show Africans that the fact that we did not qualify for the last edition is not a reason why any country should underrate Nigeria.

"Coach Stephen Keshi has done well and the team can go ahead to win the trophy in South Africa."

Michu gets spain call-up

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque plans to hand an international call-up to Swansea forward Michu.
The 26-year-old Michu has scored an impressive 13 goals in 18 league games since moving to the Liberty Stadium from Real Vallecano in July.

Del Bosque says the Premier League's top scorer, as well as Celtic Vigo striker Iago Aspas, who has been linked with a January move to Swansea, will make his next squad.

"Iago Aspas and Michu will appear," the World Cup-winning boss told Spanish television.

Both players will be given their first Spain call-ups in a friendly against Uruguay in Doha on February 6.

The confirmation comes after Del Bosque heaped praise on Swansea's prolific close-season signing for performing so highly at one of the Premier League's less-fancied clubs.

"Michu deserves to be credited for his superb season," Del Bosque said earlier in December.

"The way he has stood out in the league at a club like Swansea, which is not one of the top clubs, is exceptional.

"He's not an out-and-out striker and has been scoring a lot of goals like he did for Rayo Vallecano."