Alexia Putellas & Barcelona Teammates Break Attendance Record in Women’s Football

Alexia Putellas and her Barca teammates are celebrating an impressive record.

Barcelona broke the attendance record in women’s football for the second time in a month as 91,648 supporters watched them beat Wolfsburg 5-1 at Camp Nou in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.

Alexia Putellas & BarcelonaThe previous record crowd for a women’s game had only been set by Barca in March, when 91,553 people attended their quarterfinal against Real Madrid — 95 fewer than attended Friday’s game.

Prior to that, the women’s record had stood since 1999, when 90,185 fans watched the World Cup final between the United States and China at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

“It was spectacular, both today and a month ago against Madrid,” midfielder Patri Guijarro said in a news conference after the game. “We’re speechless, really. I’m sure as the days and years pass, we will become a bit more of what we have achieved. We’re still not completely aware of the magnitude of [the attendances].”

However, some estimates suggest 110,000 people attended Denmark’s win over Mexico at the Azteca Stadium in the 1971 World Cup final, a tournament that was not officially sanctioned.

Barca usually play their home games at the 6,000-seater Estadi Johan Cruyff at the club’s training ground, but their Champions League knockout games have been moved to Camp Nou to accommodate the bigger demand for tickets.

This was just their third competitive game at the 99,000-seater stadium. They played against Espanyol behind closed doors last season due to the pandemic, and then for the first time with fans against Madrid last month.

On the pitch, they were too good for Wolfsburg, blowing them away with four first-half goals from Aitana Bonmati, Caroline Graham Hansen, Jenni Hermoso and Alexia Putellas.

Jill Roord pulled one back for the German side after the break, but Ballon d’Or winner Putellas added her second from the penalty spot to seal Barca’s 45th successive win in all competitions, a run dating back to last June.

The teams will meet again in the second leg at the Volkswagen Arena next Saturday, with the winners facing Lyon or Paris Saint-Germain in the final in Turin on May 21.

Wolfsburg coach Tommy Stroot was pessimistic about his team’s chances of turning things around in the second leg.

“Barca fans can book their tickets for the final,” he said. “They were favourites before the tie and now they’re even bigger favourites.

“Our challenge is to try and win next week without losing touch with reality. Wanting to win 5-1 is difficult, but winning is possible, although we have to change certain things.”

Lionel Messi Wins Record-Extending Seventh Ballon d’Or

It’s Lucky No. 7 for Lionel Messi

The 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer and Paris Saint-Germain forward has been awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or for a record-extending seventh time in a ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

Lionel Messi

Messi, who led Argentina to Copa America success in Brazil in July for their first major trophy since 1993, spent the majority of 2020 at Barcelona before his 21-year stay at the club ended when he left as a free agent in August and joined PSG soon after.

He now has two more Ballon d’Or awards than Manchester United‘s Cristiano Ronaldo, whose tally of five is two more than anyone else.

Messi added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies with the announcement on Monday.

“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key,” Messi said. “It is a special year for me with this Copa America title. It meant a lot to win at the Maracana stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the people from Argentina.

“I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life, I’ve had a long career, but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”

Messi beat 29 other nominees for the award, including Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who was the favorite for last year’s prize before it was cancelled because of the lack of football during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Lewandowski was nominated for the award again this year after he broke late Bayern legend Gerd Muller‘s single-season Bundesliga goal record in May after he netted 41 league times last season, as well as winning the European Golden Shoe.

Although Lewandowski didn’t win the night’s biggest prize, he was named Striker of the Year at the ceremony and finished second to Messi on the final ballot.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho was also tipped for the award after winning last season’s Champions League with his club side before playing a crucial part in Italy’s triumph at Euro 2020.

 

Liverpool‘s Mohamed SalahReal Madrid‘s Karim Benzema and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were also nominated for the award.

AC Milan‘s Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was also a finalist for the Ballon d’Or best player, was named Goalkeeper of the Year.

Chelsea, whose men won the UEFA Champions League in 2021 and saw their women’s side win the Women’s Super League, were named Team of the Year, with managers Thomas Tuchel and Emma Hayes accepting the award remotely because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Ballon d’Or is awarded annually by France Football, with FIFA‘s The Best a separate honor handed out every year — Messi won that award for the first time in 2020.

Barca midfielder Pedri won the Kopa Trophy as Europe’s best young player, which comes just a week after he claimed the Golden Boy award.

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Lionel Messi Wins Record Sixth Ballon d’Or

Make that a whopping six for Lionel Messi

The 32-year-old Argentine soccer star became the first men’s footballer to win the Ballon d’Or award for a sixth time, taking the award for the world’s top men’s player on Monday at a Paris gala.

iLionel Messi

Messi scored 46 times for club and country in 2019 — including the only goal in FC Barcelona‘s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday. He also helped the Camp Nou side win La Liga.

Messi beat out Liverpooldefender Virgil van Dijk, who was instrumental in helping Liverpool win the Champions League, for the award voted on by a panel of international journalists.

“I am very lucky, I am blessed. I hope I will continue for a long time,” Messi told reporters. “I realize that I’m lucky even if one day it will be time to retire.

“It will be tough, but I still have some years ahead of me. Time flies, so I will enjoy football and my family.”

Messi also came out on top in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 and he is now one clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five.

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane finished fourth behind Ronaldo in the final voting.

“It was amazing,” Van Dijk said. “There are a couple of players like him [Messi] who are fantastic. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with Liverpool and Holland. It’s going to be tough [to win the award] when these guys are around.”

Messi’s and Ronaldo’s 10-year grip on the award organized by France Footballmagazine was ended last year by Luka Modric.

But Messi was back on top of his game over the past 12 months. He scored 36 times last season en route to a 10th Spanish La Liga title, and was the Champions League top scorer. His goals in La Liga also made him the top scorer in Europe’s biggest leagues, earning him the Golden Shoeaward.

“A few years ago, I received my first Ballon d’Or here in Paris,” Messi said. “I was 22 years old. It was something unthinkable at the time. Today is my sixth Ballon d’Or. As my wife used to say, you should never stop dreaming but always work to improve and continue to enjoy yourself.”

United States soccer star Megan Rapinoewon the Women’s Ballon d’Oraward after being voted the tournament’s best player and joint top scorer as the USWNTwon the 2019 World Cupin France.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was the first-ever recipient of the Yachine Trophy, given to the best goalkeeper. The 27-year-old Brazilian international beat out Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona and countryman Ederson of Manchester City.

Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt, a key player in Ajax Amsterdam‘s thrilling run to the Champions League semifinals and now at Juventus, won the Kopa Trophyfor the best under-21 male player in the world.

Lionel Messi Makes YouGov’s List of the World’s Most Admired Men

The world looks up to Lionel Messi

YouGov has released its annual study detailing which public figures the public looks up to, and the 32-year-old Argentine professional footballer has made the list.

Lionel Messi

Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or awards winner who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, comes in at No. 9 on YouGov’s World’s Most Admiredlist of men.

But Messi isn’t the only Latino to make the cut…

Pope Francis comes in at No. 15 on YouGov’s global list of the World’s Most Admired men.

But that’s not all. The 82-year-old Argentine pontiff, the head of the Catholic Churchand sovereign of the Vatican CityState, also appears on the list of America’s Most Admiredlist of men, coming in at No. 9.

He’s actually the only Latino in the Top 10 on the list America’s Most Admired men orwomen.

This year the study expanded to cover the views of people in 41 countries – the most ever – with more than 42,000 people being interviewed to compile the list.

YouGov's World's Most Admired
YouGov's America's Most Admired

Lionel Messi: The World’s Most Famous Latino Athlete

Lionel Messiis kickin’ it to the top of the popularity charts…

The 31-year-old Argentine soccer star is the top-ranking Latino on ESPN’s World Fame 100 list, which identifies the most famous athletes in the world.

Lionel Messi

Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner who plays for the Spanish club BarcelonaFC and the Argentina national team, comes in at No. 3 on this year’s list, behind soccer rival Cristiano Ronaldo and NBAsuperstar LeBron James. It’s the same position Messi held last year.

The World Fame 100 ranks athletes based on their Google search score, their endorsement dollars and social media followers.

Nipping at Messi’s heels… Neymar.

The 27-year-old Brazilian soccer star, who plays for the Brazil national team and French club Paris Saint-Germain, comes in at No. 4, the same position he held in 2018.

Also earning a spot in the Top 10… Rafael Nadal.

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis star comes in at No. 8, two spots behind his rival Roger Federer. Nadal held the same ranking last year.

In all, Latino athletes took up 23 spots on the list, the majority of them international soccer players like Andres Iniesta (Spain), James Rodriguez (Colombia), Alexis Sanchez (Chile) and Javier Hernandez (Mexico).

Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarezis the sole Latino boxer on the list, at No. 68, while Puerto Rican basketball player Carmelo Anthony, at No. 65, is the only Latino basketball player to make the grade.

There are no Latina athletes on this year’s list, which features tennis sensation Serena Williams as the top female athlete at No. 17.

Here’s a look at the Latinos who made the World Fame 100:

Rank, Name, Sport, Country, Search Score, Endorsements, Social Stats
No. 3, Lionel Messi, Soccer, Argentina, 54, $28m, 103.1 million
No. 4, Neymar, Soccer, Brazil, 55, $19m, 107.2 million
No. 8, Rafael Nadal, Tennis, Spain, 40, $29.3m, 15.6 million
No. 27, Andres Iniesta, Soccer, Spain, 8, $2.2m, 26.7 million
No. 29, James Rodriguez, Soccer, Colombia, 11, $4.8m, 40.5 million
No. 36, Luis Suarez, Soccer, Uruguay, 6, $7.4m, 31.2 million
No. 38, Sergio Ramos, Soccer, Spain, 13, $4m, 28.7 million
No. 44, Marcelo Vieira, Soccer, Brazil, 4, $3.2m, 33.8 million
No. 48, Radamel Falcao, Soccer, Brazil, 4, $4m, 16.9 million
No. 52, Sergio Aguero, Soccer, Argentina, 1, $6m, 28.7 million
No. 53, David De Gea, Soccer, Spain, 3, $7m, 11.8 million
No. 55, Paulo Dybala, Soccer, Argentina, 4, $4.03m, 24.7 million
No. 56, Dani Alves, Soccer, Brazil, 2, $8.75m, 21.5 million
No. 61, Philippe Coutinho, Soccer, Brazil, 15, $3.1m, 19.3 million
No. 62, David Luiz, Soccer, Brazil, 1, $1.3m, 24.9 million
No. 65, Carmelo Anthony, Basketball, USA, 6, $7m, 9.1 million
No. 66, Gerard Pique, Soccer, Spain, 5, $3.8m, 18.6 million
No. 68, Canelo Alvarez, Boxing, Mexico, 44, $2.5m, 4 million
No. 72, Alexis Sanchez, Soccer, Chile, 24, $3.8m, 9.6 million
No. 79, Cesc Fabregas, Soccer, Spain, 1, $5m, 10.3 million
No. 80, Gonzalo Higuain, Soccer, Argentina, 7, $6m, 6.8 million
No. 81, Isco, Soccer, Spain, 2, $5m, 16.4 million
No. 88, Javier Hernandez, Soccer, Mexico, 6, $9.9m, 5.1 million

Lionel Messi to Play for the Argentina National Team in March

Lionel Messi will be kickin’ it for his homeland…

The 31-year-old soccer star, a forward for Barcelona, will return to the Argentina national team for their March friendlies against Venezuela and Czech Republic, according to ESPN, ending his self-imposed exile from the squad.

Lionel Messi

Messi has not featured for Argentina since captaining the team at the World Cup, where they were knocked out by winners France.

Argentina take on Venezuela in Madrid on March 22 and the Czech Republic in Dresden, Germany, four days later, with the friendlies part of their preparations for the Copa Americain June.

Argentina coach Lionel Scalonisaid last week he had “a good feeling” the five-time Ballon d’Orwinner would return in March.

Asked about Messi’s possible return, Scaloni told reporters: “We will probably talk days before we provide the list for the FIFAMarch window.

“When the time comes, we will speak to him, and we have a good feeling. I hope he can be with us and be happy.”

Scaloni, who took charge of Argentina on a temporary basis after the World Cup before accepting the role full-time last month, said his only regret so far was not having had the chance to coach Messi.

Messi, who spent Christmasin his native Rosario, has yet to publicly speak about his national-team future.

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.

Lionel Messi Claims His Fourth European Golden Shoe Award

Lionel Messi is soccer’s Golden boy…

The 30-year-old soccer star received his fourth European Golden Shoe on Friday after netting 37 times in La Liga play during the 2016-17 season.

Lionel Messi

Messi beat out Sporting CP‘s Bas Dost (34 goals in Portugal‘s Primeira Liga) and Borussia Dortmund‘s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31 in the Bundesliga) in the top three to claim the prize, which is presented to Europe’s top goal scorer.

After also winning the award in 2012-13 (46 league goals), 2011-12 (50) and 2009-10 (34), Messi is tied with Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo for most regular winner of the Golden Shoe.

Messi’s 37 goals last season came in 34 Spanish top-flight appearances, but they were delivered as part of losing cause, as Real Madrid beat out Barca to the title.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has netted 12 goals in 12 games in the 2017-18 La Liga campaign.

He’s trailing Lazio‘s Ciro Immobile and Paris Saint-Germain‘s Edinson Cavani, who have netted 15 goals in Serie A and Ligue 1, respectively, in the race for this year’s Golden Shoe. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich‘s Robert Lewandowski, AS Monaco‘s Radamel Falcao and Inter Milan‘s Mauro Icardi have all netted 13 times.

Ronaldo, though, does not look like troubling the upper echelon of the European Golden Shoe rankings anytime soon, as he has netted just once in La Liga this season.

Messi will be looking to add to his tally on Sunday when top-of-the-table Barca travel to face second-place Valencia at the Mestalla.

Messi Scores Record-Breaking Hat Trick Against the Celtic

Lionel Messi is still making history…

The 29-year-old Argentine soccer star, the only futbalista in history to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or four times, scored a stunning hat-trick as his FC Barcelona team triumphed 7-0 over Celtic.

Lionel Messi

Aided ably by Neymar and Luis Suarez in a triumvirate that has been called the Holy Trinity after another stunning display, it turned out to be a record-breaking night for the Argentinian maestro.

Messi’s treble on Tuesday was his sixth in the Champions League, the most any player has scored in Europe’s elite club competition.

Luis Enrique says he believes Messi would be the best player in the world wherever he plays on the pitch after watching the Argentine score the 40th hat trick of his career in Barcelona’s big victory.

Messi: The Highest-Ranking Latino on Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid Athletes List

Lionel Messi is rolling in the deep dough…

The 27-year-old Argentine soccer star is the highest-ranking Latino on Forbes magazine’s 2015 list of the World’s Highest-Paid Athletes with $73.8 million in salary/winnings and endorsements.

Lionel Messi

Last year, FC Barcelona awarded their record four-time Ballon d’Or, FIFA’s Player of the Year, winner with a $9 million a year raise in his seventh contract since 2005 to bring his take home pay to $50 million a year through 2018.

Messi now holds the records for all-time all-game goals for Barcelona, most goals in La Liga competitions, most goals scored in a calendar year and most hat tricks scored.

Messi’s superhuman talent is why sponsor Samsung cast him as superhero Iron Man in their ad to promote the Avengers film. It’s also why his main sponsor Adidas launched a Messi icon line of shoes and apparel, which has exceeded company sales expectations, including in the U.S. In all, he earned $22 million in endorsements.

But Messi isn’t the only Latino athlete to make the list.

Fernando Alonso ranks No. 17 on Forbes’ world’s highest-paid athletes roster with combined earnings of $35.5 million.

The 33-year-old Spanish Formula One driver and a two-time World Champion secured another massive payday when he negotiated a return to McLaren-Honda, where he raced during the 2007 season. The two-year deal is worth more than $30 million annually.

Alonso finished second in the F1 standings in 2012 and 2013, but dropped to sixth last year in his final year with Ferrari. Alonso failed to secure a single point in the first five races of the 2015 F1 season. Alonso partnered with UAE sport investment firm Novo last year to establish a professional cycling team in the future.

Next on the list, Rafael Nadal, who comes in at No. 22 with earnings of $32.5 million.

The 29-year-old Spanish tennis star, who has struggled with injuries after a colossal 2013 season, saw his prize money drop by $10 million to $4.5 million in the latest 12 months.

He was the No. 1 player in the world as recently as June 2014, but sits at No. 10 a year later. He even lost at the French Open in the semifinals after winning 66 of his previous 67 matches and nine titles at Roland Garros.

Nadal did sign two new endorsements deals, with Tommy Hilfiger and Spanish communications giant Telefonica. Kia Motors also renewed its contract with Nadal in May for five years through 2020. They first partnered in 2004.

Nadal’s $73 million in career prize money ranks third all-time behind Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Other Latino athletes making the Top 30 on Forbes’ list are soccer phenom Neymar at No. 23, NBA star Carmelo Anthony at No. 25 and World Cup standout and Google god James Rodriguez at No. 27.

Here’s a look at the Latino athletes who made this year’s list:

No. 4 Lionel Messi, Soccer, Argentine, $73.8 Million
No. 17 Fernando Alonso, Racing, Spanish, $35.5 Million
No. 22 Rafael Nadal, Tennis, Spanish, #32.5 Million
No. 23 Neymar, Soccer, Brazilian, $31 Million
No. 25 Carmelo Anthony, Basketball, Half-Puerto Rican, $30.5 Million
No. 27 James Rodriguez, Soccer, Colombian, $29 Million
No. 30 Robinson Cano, Baseball, Dominican, $27.6 Million
No. 38 Radamel Falcao, Soccer, Colombian, $25.9 Million
No. 38 Albert Pujols, Baseball, Dominican, $25.9 Million
No. 43 Miguel Cabrera, Baseball, Venezuelan, $25.1 Million
No. 45 Sergio Aguero, Soccer, Argentine, $24.9 Million
No. 60 Felix Hernandez, Baseball, Venezuelan, $22.9 Million
No. 67 Tony Romo, Football, Mexican American, $22 Million
No. 69 Adrian Gonzalez, Baseball, Mexican American, $21.5 Million
No. 73 Luis Suarez, Soccer, Uruguayan, $21 Million
No. 79 Cesc Fabregas, Soccer, Spanish, $20.3 Million
No. 79 Hanley Ramirez, Baseball, Dominican, $20.3 Million
No. 87 David Ortiz, Baseball, Dominican, $19.7 Million

Click here for the complete list.