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‘My Love For Barcelona Will Never Change’ – Lionel Messi Announces He Will Stay At Barcelona

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'My Love For Barcelona Will Never Change' - Lionel Messi Announces He Will Stay At Barcelona Pointloaded

Barcelona forward and captain, Lionel Messi has underlined his commitment to the club, saying he is not going to leave the club again, despite his attempt to force an exit from the club this summer.

Messi, 33, wanted to activate a clause that would allow him opt out of his contract, but after a meeting between his father and the club, he has now reversed course and committed his future to Barcelona.

In a Friday  September 4 interview with Goal, Messi admitted he felt frustrated after a season that saw Barcelona go trophyless and finished with a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final.

He said he wants the best for the club and always wants to win with the club.

“I will continue at Barca and my attitude will not change no matter how much I have wanted to go,”  “I will do my best.

“I always want to win, I’m competitive and I don’t like to lose anything. I always want the best for the club, for the dressing room and for myself.”

Barcelona’s Champions League failure has now reached five seasons, with club legend, Ronald Koeman brought in to bring back the glory days.

“I said it at the time that we were not given the support to win the Champions League,” the Argentine added.

“Actually, now I don’t know what will happen. There is a new coach and new ideas.

“That’s good, but then we have to see how the team responds and whether or not it will give us to compete at the top level. What I can say is that I’m staying and I’m going to give my best for Barcelona.”

Messi has admitted that he was hurt by those questioning his commitment to a club he has called home for 20 years.

“I didn’t feel alone,” the six-time Ballon d’Or winner said.
“Not alone. There are those who have always been by my side. That is enough for me and strengthens me.

“But I did feel hurt by things that I heard from people, from journalists, from people questioning my commitment to Barcelona and saying things that I think I didn’t deserve. It also helped me to see the truth in people.

“This world of football is very difficult and there are many fake people. This happening has helped me to recognise many fake people. It hurt me when my love for this club was questioned.

“No matter how much I go or stay, my love for Barca will never change.”

After Messi officially declared his intention to leave Barca last week, the club appeared intent on challenging Messi in court.

Messi’s legal team said a clause allowed him to leave after the season for free, but the season’s end date changed due to the Coronavirus break.

But Messi says he never wanted to take Barca to court

“It has hurt me a lot that things are published against me and above all, that false things are published,” Messi said.

“Or that they came to think that I could go to trial against Barca in order to benefit myself.

“I would never do such a thing. I repeat, I wanted to go and it was entirely my right, because the contract said that I could be released. And it is not, ‘I’m leaving and that’s it’. I was leaving and it cost me a lot.

“I wanted to go because I thought about living my last years of football happily. Lately I have not found happiness within the club.”

Messi also admitted that he has had chances to leave Barca in the past.

“I always put the club before anything else. I had the possibility of leaving Barca many times,” Messi said.

“Every year I could have left and earned more money than at Barcelona. I always said that this was my home and it was what I felt and feel.”

“To decide there was somewhere better than here was difficult. I felt that I needed a change and new goals, new things”.

“As usual, I am going to give my best, we will do my best to fight for all the objectives and hopefully I can dedicate myself to the people who have had a bad time,” Messi said.

“I had a bad time this year, but it is hypocritical to say that if you compare it with people who have really had a bad time with the coronavirus, with people who have lost relatives and who have lost many things.

“Hopefully I can give my best and dedicate victories to all those people who accompany us and their families, to be able to dedicate the best to those people who are having a bad time and that we can overcome once and for all we can overcome this virus and return to normality.”

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La Liga: Dembele’s Late Winner Pushes Barca Closer To Atletico

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La Liga: Dembele’s Late Winner Pushes Barca Closer To Atletico Pointloaded

Ousmane Dembele volleyed in a 90th-minute winner against Real Valladolid on Monday to fire Barcelona to within a point of Atletico Madrid ahead of next weekend’s Clasico in La Liga.

Barca looked set for a damaging stalemate at Camp Nou after Atletico’s defeat by Sevilla on Saturday but Valladolid had Oscar Plano harshly sent off with 12 minutes left and Dembele snatched a 1-0 victory.

His strike could prove a crucial moment in the Spanish title race, with Barca now breathing down Atletico’s necks ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Real Madrid, who are three points off the top.

If Ronald Koeman’s men win at Valdebebas, they will claim first place for 24 hours at least, before a depleted and deflated Atletico play away at Real Betis on Sunday.

They will have to play better after being frustrated by a determined Valladolid side, with Lionel Messi delivering some firm words to his team-mates in the tunnel at half-time.

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“We have to step it up a gear, we have to play with more rhythm,” Messi said. “If not it’s going to get complicated for us.”

It might have been more complicated had Plano not been shown a red card in the 78th minute, his hack on Dembele from behind giving Barca a crucial advantage for the final stages.

Victory makes it six in a row for them in La Liga, another win – particularly after an unconvincing performance – enhancing the sense that momentum now lies with Atletico’s rivals.

Defeat also compounded what Valladolid coach Sergio admitted on Sunday had already been a “sh**ty week” after five of his players tested positive for Covid-19, leaving him without 12 players, with six others injured and one more suspended.

To mark Messi breaking Xavi Hernandez’s appearance record for the club, he was presented with a framed shirt before kick-off, which he accepted with his family on the pitch. Messi passed Xavi’s previous record of 767 appearances last month, with this his 769th.

Valladolid were not just able to compete in the first half, they were probably the better side and could have led when Kenan Kodro’s early header struck the bar.

Dembele broke through and dragged back for Messi, whose shot was blocked, while Pedri’s long-range effort fizzed through and came back off the post.

But Barcelona were flat, their passing predictable and there was concern in Messi’s voice when he told his teammates to find a different gear in the second half.

Valladolid were almost undone by a Messi through ball for Dembele, who held his run but could not finish before the leaping Antoine Griezmann headed the rebound wide.

Barcelona looked more dangerous on the break than in possession and they were lucky to escape a penalty when Oscar Plano poked the ball onto the outstretched hand of Jordi Alba.

Koeman made three changes shortly after, Martin Braithwaite, Francisco Trincao and Ronald Araujo replacing Griezmann, Sergio Busquets and Oscar Mingueza.

But Barca’s biggest boost came 12 minutes from the end, when Plano was sent off for chasing Dembele back and tripping the Frenchman from behind. A yellow card seemed the more obvious decision.

Trincao went close and the winner came in the last minute as Frenkie de Jong’s cross was flicked to the back post by Ronald Aruajo. Dembele was free and lashed into the corner.

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Osimhen Returns To Naples After Nasty Head Knock

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Osimhen Returns To Naples After Nasty Head Knock Pointloaded

Victor Osimhen is expected back in Naples on Monday evening despite the Napoli forward having to be hospitalised after banging his head on the ground during his side’s Serie A defeat at Atalanta.

Nigeria striker Osimhen was stretchered off the pitch unconscious towards the end of Sunday’s 4-2 loss in Bergamo after hitting his head following a clash with Cristian Romero.

The 22-year-old came round as he was transported to a hospital in the northern Italian city where tests revealed head trauma, and Napoli said in a statement that he would be returning south.

“Victor Osimhen is due to return to Naples on Monday evening after staying in Bergamo overnight as a precaution… The player will undergo further assessment on Tuesday.”

Osimhen joined Napoli for a club-record fee from Lille last summer, and returned to action last month after being sidelined for over two months with a shoulder injury and coronavirus.

Despite a promising start to the season he has scored just two goals for the club.

Napoli fell to their third defeat in five league games as Atalanta warmed-up for their Champions League clash with Real Madrid to move fourth in Serie A.

Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli are seventh, three points off the Champions League places, with pressure on the coach after his team lost the first leg of their Europa League tie with Granada 2-0 last week.

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Arsenal Boss Arteta Hails Man City As ‘Best In Europe’

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Arsenal Boss Arteta Hails Man City As ‘Best In Europe’ Pointloaded

Mikel Arteta believes his Arsenal team will be facing the best side in Europe when they take on Premier League leaders Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

City have won a club-record 17 successive games across all competitions and are 10 points ahead of local rivals Manchester United at the summit of the English top-flight heading into this weekend’s round of fixtures.

Arteta knows City well after working under manager Pep Guardiola in Manchester for three years before returning to manage Arsenal, having previously played for the Gunners.

“I think they are the best team in Europe at the moment,” Arteta said of City. “The way they are performing, the football they are playing and the consistency of the results, take all that it and it makes them the best team.

“So we have a big but, as well, a very exciting challenge ahead of us on Sunday.”

City made an uncertain start to the season but are now hot favourites to win a third Premier League title in four years

Arteta said he was impressed by how they had regained their form.

“What they have done is react to a difficult moment,” the Spanish boss explained. “They reacted in a really convincing way, all united and doing what they do best — being very consistent and winning games very comfortably.”

The former Everton and Arsenal midfielder added: “They have weaknesses like every team but at the moment teams have struggled a lot to find any of that because I think first of all defensively they have been really, really strong.”

Arsenal head into the match after a 1-1 draw against Benfica in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 clash in Rome on Thursday.

Next week’s second leg, being played in Athens because of coronavirus restrictions, is followed by a daunting run of fixtures that includes matches against Leicester, Tottenham, West Ham and Liverpool, all above Arsenal in the Premier League.

“We know the margin for error is minimal with the season that we have had in previous months, so we need to kick on,” he said.

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