FC Barcelona Stepping Up Efforts to Bring Neymar Back Into the Fold

Will Neymar return to Spain?

Futbol Club Barcelona will reportedly step up the team’s efforts to sign the 27-year-old Brazilian professional footballer next summer, according to ESPN.

Neymar

The Barca hierarchy believes that Neymar is the natural replacement for Lionel Messi. The club believe it’ll be easier to bring Neymar back to Camp Nouonce Messi is gone, given that Neymar has already played there and there aren’t too many players at his level.

The Brazil international retains a good relationship with Barca despite his acrimonious exit to Paris Saint-Germainfor a world-record €222 million fee.

Mundo Deportivo‘s front page earlier this week said Barca will attempt to sign the forward depending on his performances during the second half of the season, when PSG will look to finally win the Champions League.

Neymar has a tense relationship with the French champions, who refused to let him join Barca last summer despite the club’s best efforts.

PSG’s owners continue to make things difficult for Barca, which could go to FIFAto decide a fee, given the player has been at the club for three years and has no release clause.

Lionel Messi Signs New Contract with Barcelona Until 2021

Lionel Messi isn’t going anywhere…

The 30-year-old Argentine soccer star has ended speculation about his future by signing a new contract with Futbol Club Barcelona until 2021.

Lionel Messi

Messi’s previous deal was due to expire at the end of the season, but this is the ninth professional contract the Argentina international has signed since he moved to Camp Nou and commits him to the club until he is 34.

Barca announced the news in an official club statement, which read: “FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the Club through the 2020/21 season.

“The buyout clause was set at €700m. Thus, by the time the new deal expires, Messi will have spent 17 years with the first team.”

On his official Twitter account, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “We are in luck with the Barça players. We continue to enjoy the best player in the history of football.”

Messi avoided the chance to clear up the doubts about his Barcelona contract situation as he accepted the European Golden Shoe award on Friday.

Barcelona had already announced that Messi had agreed to a new deal until 2021 in July but the forward had not yet signed the contract himself.

There had been some concern over his future as Barca allowed him to edge closer to the end of his deal.

At various points throughout the last year he was linked with a move away from Catalonia, with a number of clubs reported to be monitoring the situation, including Manchester City.

However, Barca always remained optimistic that he would renew, telling ESPN FC in November that they were confident he would pen a new deal.

Messi joined Barca in 2001 from Newell’s Old Boys, made his first-team debut against Espanyol in 2004 and has since gone on to win 30 trophies with the club, including eight La Ligas and four Champions Leagues.

Messi scored the first of his club record 523 goals — they have come in just 602 matches — against Albacete in May 2005 and has since claimed the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, more than any other player.

Mascherano Renews Contract with Barcelona

Javier Mascherano is staying put…

The 32-year-old Argentine soccer player has renewed his contract with Futbol Club Barcelona until June 30, 2019, according to officials from the Catalan club.

Javier Mascherano
Mascherano has established himself in recent years in the heart of the defense alongside Gerard Pique, making together an irreplaceable duo.

This summer, however, Barcelona has signed French Samuel Umtiti to generate more competition in this defensive point.

Mascherano, according to the club’s official website, will be entering his seventh season at Barça in 2016/17. Signed from Liverpool in 2010, the defender has gained the adoration of the fans for his leadership and effort.

In his time at Barça, Mascherano has always played over 40 matches per season, 282 in total, and has picked up 16 titles along the way.

Neymar Appears on Front Cover of Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 Game

It’s game on for Neymar

The 27-year-old Brazilian soccer sensation, a forward for Futbol Club Barcelona and the Brazil national team, has been selected to appear on the front cover of PES 2017, the 16th installment in the Pro Evolution Soccer series.

Neymar

Neymar is joined by fellow Barcelona players Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the cover of the game.

Komani, the publishers of the annual football video game Pro Evolution Soccer, has also unveiled the La Liga champions as an official partner ahead of the title’s release later this year.

 

Messi has appeared on the front cover of FIFA games for the past four years, but the official partnership looks to have coerced an allegiance switch, while Neymar starred solo on PES 2016 cover.PES 2017 is slated for release on September 15, 2016.

Suárez Among Contendors For This Year’s UEFA Best Player in Europe Award

Luis Suárez is getting a second chance to take down his teammate…

The 29-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer, a striker for Futbol Club Barcelona, has made it to the shortlist for Union of European Football AssociationsBest Player in Europe Award.

Luis Suárez

Suárez, the winner of Europe’s Golden Boot after his 40-goal season in La Liga, finished in second place for the coveted UEFA award last year, losing to fellow teammate Lionel Messi.

This year, Suárez was also Barça‘s top scorer in the Champions League, even though the teamcouldn’t get past the quarterfinals, losing to the eventual runner-up, Atlético Madrid.

Messi, the only player in history to have won the award twice, first in 2011 and then in 2015, is up for the award again this year.

But Suárez and Messi aren’t the only Latino players to make the 10-man list.

Real Madrid’s Pepe has made the cut for the second the year in a row. The 33-year-old Brazilian soccer star, a defender for Portugal, is included after a season in which he won the Champions League with Los Blancos before winning Euro 2016 with Portugal.

In addition to Suárez, Messi and Pepe, the shortlist is compiled using votes from journalists across UEFA‘s 55 member associations and includes Gareth Bale, Gianluigi Buffon, Antoine Griezmann, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Cristian Ronaldo.

The winner will be announced at the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on August 25.

Messi Nominated for FIFA Puskas Award for the Most Beautiful Goal of the Year

Could the fourth time be the charm for Lionel Messi?

The 28-year-old Argentine soccer superstar is among the 10 nominees for FIFA‘s Puskas Award, which celebrates the “most beautiful” goal of the year.

Lionel Messi

The award is named after legendary Real Madrid and Hungary striker Ferenc Puskas and the period for this year’s prize is from September 27, 2014 to September 23, 2015.

Messi, who was previously nominated for the prize in 2010, 2011 and 2012, was shortlisted for the Puskas Award for beating four defenders before scoring Barcelona‘s first goal against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final.

Here’s a look at this year’s Puskas Award nominees:

2015 Puskas Award nominations
David Ball – Fleetwood v Preston, League One
Gonzalo Castro – Real Sociedad v Deportivo, La Liga
Alessandro Florenzi – Roma v Barcelona, Champions League
Wendell Lira – Goianesia v Atletico, Brazil Football League
Carli Lloyd – USA v Japan, Women’s World Cup
Lionel Messi – Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao, Copa del Rey
Philippe Mexes – AC Milan v Inter Milan, friendly
Marcel Ndjeng – SC Paderborn v Bolton, friendly
Esteban Ramirez – Herediano v Deportivo Saprissa, Costa Rica
Carlos Tevez – Juventus v Parma Calcio, Serie A

The award was won by Colombia’s James Rodriguez last year for his goal against Uruguay in the World Cup.

Shakira Releases Official Video for the World Cup Anthem “La La La (Brazil 2014)”

Shakira is having a World (Cup) of fun in her latest music video…

The 37-year-old Colombian superstar has released the official music video for “La La La (Brazil 2014)“, her new 2014 FIFA World Cup anthem.

Shakira

In the video, Shakira shows off her energetic dance moves in a black floor-length dress while a bunch of people play soccer.

To help her get the world moving, Shakira recruited some big names in soccer, including her boyfriend Gerard Pique, to make cameo appearances.

The “Hips Don’t Lie” singer’s beau flashes a big grin in the clip, happily singing a little part of the song alongside his Futbol Club Barcelona teammates including Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi and Neymar.

But Shakira’s son with Pique, Milan, steals the show with his apperance.

“La La La (Brazil 2014)”, featuring Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown, is a World Cup-themed rework of her track called “Dare (La La La)” which appears in her recently released self-titled album Shakira.

Shakira partnered with Activia for the new version, saying, “With ‘La La La (Brazil 2014)’ we want to make a small contribution so that everybody knows about the outstanding work the World Food Programme is doing to fight hunger.”

Shakira previously recorded “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Messi’s Hat-Trick Leads Barcelona to a 4-3 Win Over Real Madrid

It’s a clasico moment for Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates…

Futbol Club Barcelona is now within one point of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga as the team came from behind twice thanks to a hat-trick from the 26-year-old Argentine soccer star.

Lionel Messi

Messi miraculous play helped Barcelona to a thrilling El Clasico win at the Santiago Bernabeu by a final score of 4-3.

Both sides went in tied at 2-2 at halftime as a record 19th goal against Madrid from Messi cancelled out Karim Benzema‘s double after Andres Iniesta had put Barca in front.

Cristiano Ronaldo then put Madrid back in front from the penalty spot, but the hosts were reduced to 10-men when Sergio Ramos pulled down Neymar inside the box 10 minutes later and Messi leveled once more from the spot.

And the Argentine won the game with another penalty seven minutes from time after Iniesta had been felled by Xabi Alonso.

A first defeat for Real in 32 games means Atletico Madrid remains atop the standings thanks to their better head-to-head record against Los Blancos with Barca still in third.

“The league starts a new now,” said Barca boss Gerardo Martino.
”More than the mathematical distance we were behind, the impression was people wrote us off. Atletico Madrid were always in the fight and I think that after this result we are too. We knew if we didn’t win tonight it was over for us. We still don’t have matters in our own hands, but we’ll now fight till the end.”

Messi Breaks Barcelona’s All-Time All-Game Goals Record

Lionel Messi is the ultimate goal man…

The 26-year-old Argentine footballer, a record-setting four-time Ballon d’Or winner, broke Futbol Club Barcelona’s all-time all-game goals count with a hat trick in the team’s 7-0 La Liga rout of Osasuna.

Lionel Messi

The previous tally of 369 goals had managed to stand for 87 years, and been held by Philippines-born striker Paulino Alcantara, who scored 142 official goals and 227 in friendly games in an era before the Spanish league had been formally established.

Messi’s latest feat raised his count to 371 goals [344 in official games and 27 in friendlies], at just 26 years of age and in less than nine years as a first-team player.

Monday’s local newspapers celebrated the achievement, with Mundo Deportivo going with a simple ‘Legend — 371 goals’ on its front page. Sport’s cover read ‘Historic Hat trick — Messi 371’, while inside the Catalan paper had a graphic breaking down both players’ goal-scoring feats.

Messi himself told Catalan station TV3 after the game that he had been well aware that the record was about to fall.

“I had heard everywhere that I was closing in on [Alcantara],” the Argentine said. “When you see you are close you want to do it, for what it means in the history of a club this big. A lot of years have passed since it was reached. Many more years will pass before it is overcome again.”

But he maintained that the three points, with Alexis Sanchez, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez and Christian Tello also getting on the scoresheet, had been the day’s most important development.

“The important thing is that the team keeps winning, we have come from doing impressive things, and winning everything, and we deserve to keep going like this,” Messi said. “I am very happy for the game we played, we came in from another good one against [Manchester] City and we had to improve the image from the last time. Since the game against Valladolid we received a lot of harsh criticism. We know that we were not good, but this gives us confidence again.”

Messi also said that he now felt fully over his recent injury issues, and dismissed recent speculation which had suggested he was considering a transfer this summer.

“I feel good, in the last two weeks each time I feel better, I hope I can keep going like this,” Messi said. “The injury is passed now and forgotten, I am picking up rhythm and confidence. As long as the people want I will stay here. My intention is to retire with this Barca jersey. I am happy here.”

Iniesta told Canal Plus pitchside reporter that there was little left to say about a player unique in football history.

“It has all been more than said,” the midfielder said. “All the adjectives come up short. You must congratulate him and congratulate Barca for having a unique player.”

Next for Messi could be the all-time ‘clasico’ goalscoring mark held by Real Madrid’s Alfredo Di Stefano [19], which will fall if he scores at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu next Sunday. Also within range is the Champions League tally currently held by another former Blancos hero Raul Gonzalez [71], which Messi needs just four more goals to match.

Soccer Star Iniesta to Make Film Debut in the Comedy “Who Killed Bambi?”

He may be known for bending it like David Beckham, but Andrés Iniesta will be kickin’ it in a different role in the very near future…

The 29-year-old Spanish soccer star, who scored the winning goal that ensured Spain the World Cup title in 2010, will make his film debut with a cameo appearance alongside Ernesto Alterio in Santi Amodeo‘s comedy Who Killed Bambi?

Andrés Iniesta

The film, produced by Rodar y Rodar, will be distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing Spain and tells the story of two friends who must find a way to return the president of their company to his home safe and sound after discovering him half-naked in the trunk of their car.

Iniesta, who plays for Futbol Club Barcelona when not sporting the national team’s jersey, is considered Spain’s most beloved player, not only for his famous winning goal, but for his soft-spoken, good-sportsman-like manner.

In soccer-crazed Spain, Iniesta is one of the few players that the whole country supports.

Further details about Iniesta’s cameo aren’t immediately clear yet.

Bambi is scheduled for release in Spain on November 15.