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UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 – Key Matches, Preview & Predictions

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UEFA Champions League Round Of 16

UEFA Champions League Round Of 16: The wait is over as the Champions League returns. We have now entered the knockout stages of the most prestigious tournament in club football. With the clubs setting their sights on the coveted title, Round of 16 is now officially underway.

The remaining sixteen teams will now contest across two legs to book their quarterfinal spots. Let’s take a closer look at some key matches and predict the teams that will advance to the quarterfinal stage of this year’s competition.

Manchester United vs Paris St Germain

Manchester United vs Paris St Germain

Manchester will look to carry their recent domestic form to the Champions League as they face the mighty PSG. Manchester United are on an 11-match unbeaten run under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Manchester United seems like a very different side than they were a few months back under Jose Mourinho. With key players like Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford showing what they can do, Manchester United look like an extraordinary side like they were once under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Just like every year, Paris St Germain will look to win the competition having failed to make it beyond the knockout rounds in the previous seasons. Their domestic form looks superb as they seem destined to win yet another Ligue 1 title. With Neymar out with a metatarsal injury and Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier taking knocks during the weekend they will be without their key players. Kylian Mbappe will once again look to lead the attack. The French Player of the Year is on hot form since the start of the season having already won the World Cup with France in the Summer.

1st Leg Prediction: Manchester United to win 1-0

Bayern Munich vs Liverpool

Bayern Munich vs Liverpool

Liverpool got back to winning ways this weekend after two consecutive draws in the Premier League. They will now shift their focus towards the Champions League as they face a talented Bayern side.

Liverpool’s fantastic attacking trio will be looking to be on top form when they face the Bavarians at the Allianz Arena in Munich. Liverpool’s front three have already chipped in 43 goals this season in all competitions and might look to add to that tally during the midweek.

The difference to the Liverpool side this season has however been Virgil Van Dijk. The Netherlands international has been rock solid in defense all season and will look to continue his good form.

Bayern meanwhile is currently second in the Bundesliga, five points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund. After a torrid start to the season, Niko Kovač’s side has now found their feet. With their captain and prolific shot-stopper, Manuel Neuer returning from injury Bayern would look to give Liverpool a for their money. Robert Lewandowski would also look to add to his tally of 21 goals this season. He currently also holds the best minutes per goal ratio in the team. With a talent like this on display, it surely would be a game to watch.

1st Leg Prediction: Liverpool to win 1-2

Juventus vs Atletico Madrid

Juventus vs Atletico Madrid

After PSG lost to Lyon this month, Juventus are the only unbeaten team across Europe’s top 5 leagues. Cristiano Ronaldo has settled into life at Turin in style. His goal scoring record speaks for itself as he has now scored at least 20 goals (all competitions) in all the last 13 seasons (1 Juventus, 9 Real Madrid, 3 Man United). They comfortably lead the race for Serie A title by 11 points already. With players like Ronaldo, Mandzukic & Dybala in their ranks Juventus surely are strong contenders for the Champions League crown.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid will look to turn their recent run of bad results as they face another stern test. Having faced Ronaldo during his time at Real Madrid, they surely know what to expect. Top scorer Antoine Griezmann would look to give the Juventus defense some major problems. He has scored 15 goals and assisted 9 times this season. Stopping him would be no easy task.

1st Leg Prediction: Juventus to win 3-0

Harish is a part-time content writer and a full-time football enthusiast who loves to write down anything and everything about sports. Currently pursuing Mechanical Engineering at Pune University, he dreams to be a Pilot and Travel vlogger one day.

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FIFA announces The Best FIFA Football Awards, Messi bags Best Men’s Player of the Year

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FIFA announces The Best FIFA Football Awards, Messi

The Best FIFA Football Awards 2019 took place on 23 September 2019 at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi won the Best Player Award in men’s category as he left behind Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk who failed to win the top prize.

Best FIFA Football Awards,

It is also the sixth title for Messi at these awards as he previously won this award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

Messi performed brilliantly this year for which he was duly rewarded at this ceremony. His nearest competitor for this award was van Dijk and it was also surprising to some fans as well that Messi was chosen over him. The Argentinian helped Barcelona win La Liga and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

https://www.headlinesoftoday.com/headlines/lionel-messi-top-5-hattricks.html

Lionel Messi | Credits: Twitter

One of the biggest competitors for Lionel Messi has always been Cristiano Ronaldo but this time it was not the case. One of the biggest reasons behind it can be his transfer to Juventus from Real Madrid. He was also not even present at the award ceremony and his absence became one of the talking points of this event as well.

Here is the complete list of all the award winners of The Best FIFA Football Award:

The Best FIFA Men’s Player: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

The Best FIFA Women’s Player: Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC)

The Best FIFA Men’s Coach: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)

The Best FIFA Women’s Coach: Jill Ellis (USWNT)

The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper: Alisson (Liverpool)

The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper: Sari van Veenendaal (Arsenal / Atlético Madrid)

FIFA Puskas Award: Daniel Zsori (Debrecen FC vs Ferencvaros TC)

Apart from awarding the best performers, there was also a team formed of 11 players that consisted of the performers. Here is the Fifa Fifpro Men’s Team of the Year:

Goalkeeper- Alisson (Liverpool/Brazil)

Defenders- Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax and Juventus/Netherlands), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool/Netherlands), Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil).

Midfielders- Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia), Frenkie de Jong (Ajax and Barcelona/Netherlands), Eden Hazard (Chelsea and Real Madrid/Belgium)

Forwards- Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain/France), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Portugal), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)

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Ballon d’Or 2019: Three Probable Players who can lift the Award

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The Ballon d’Or is believed to be the greatest individual award in football which is entitled to the greatest player every year and it remains as a dream for many great players but sometimes they are unable to win the silverware. From the past few years, it was just the duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi who were constantly winning this until last year where Croatian skipper Luka Modric broke it to claim the title.

Just like every year, it remains really difficult to select the ultimate winner of this award as there are numerous wonderful performances witnessed so far. There are names who can easily beat the three players mentioned above to take the title home as apart from Messi, the other two names are missing from the list of top three contenders at this point of time.

Let’s look at all the three players who are there in this list of contenders with the maximum chances of this prestigious award.

#3 Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona FC)

Lionel Messi (Image Courtesy: Standard Media)

As expected, the number one player to feature in this list has to be Argentinian striker Lionel Messi but his name at the third spot shows that there have been performances in this year which are even better than his.

Messi ended his La Liga campaign with a total of 36 goals which helped him win his third consecutive ‘Golden Shoe’ title for which he won the Pichichi Award. These statistics also helped his team win their eighth overall title in this League. This puts him ahead of many other footballers in the list of contenders who can win the Ballon d’Or.

#2 Kylian Mbappe (France, Paris Saint-Germain)

Kylian Mbappe (Image Courtesy: Getty Images)

This year has been one of the best years in the career of the French forward as he scored 33 goals in the La Liga which was just Lionel Messi. Apart from this, Mbappe has scored a total of 39 goals and 17 assists which puts him way ahead amongst the other footballers.

Apart from the number of goals, the 20-year old also helped his team in winning the Ligue 1 title and that too in the absence of one of their biggest players Neymar. The only thing that could not take place for Mbappe was winning the French League title as his team lost in the ultimate match. But this does not makes us shy away from the fact that he has played wonderful football and has a great chance of winning the award.

#1 Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands, Liverpool)

Virgil van Dijk (Image Courtesy: PA Wire)

The player who has the maximum number of chances of winning the Ballon d’Or has to be no one but Virgil van Dijk from the Liverpool FC. The Dutch player is currently one of the most utility defenders in the world during the current scenario.

This can easily be witnessed as Liverpool has conceded only 22 goals in the current Premier League season and have also qualified for the finals. If his side manages to pull off the ultimate game, his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or will almost get assured.

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Football News: Lionel Messi banned for three months from International Football; Let’s Know Why?

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Ace Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi has been handed over a ban of three months by the chiefs of the South American Soccer Organisation CONMEBOL during the ongoing Copa America League. Apart from the ban, Messi has also been penalized for a fine $50,000.

This ban is imposed on him because he is accused of corruption charges during the Copa America 2019 only. This came after his comments post the match against Chile in which Argentina emerged as the winners by 2-1 in the month of July during the third place match of the League.

Till now, no official statement or any sort of comments have come up neither from the Argentina Football Team nor Messi himself. But both the parties still have a chance of raising their voices against this decision as a window is still open for this.

This ban will stop the striker from playing four friendlies in the upcoming time which include two encounters in September and the other two in October. Argentina is lined up to play against Chile and Mexico which will be followed by Germany and one another clash in the following month.

If the ban does not get lifted, it will be a huge loss for Argentina as Messi is not only just their captain but also one of their best players as well and his presence in the side play a very crucial role.

All this got started after Messi spoke against the officials and went a step further to say that the officials are biased towards Brasil. He got booked for this statement and it would be interesting to see how this matter is further taken by him and his national team.

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La Liga History: Top 5 Greatest Players

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La Liga History: Top 5 Greatest Players

The La Liga is definitely one of the best football leagues all around the world at the moment where the quality of the game that is being offered is absolutely phenomenal. Over the years as well, this league has been able to produce some great performances from both players as well as teams.

This league has witnessed some of the all-time great players participating in it. This thing is still carried by players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo taking part with their respective clubs which makes it one of the most watched sporting leagues all over the world.

Here are five possible greatest players to play in this league who are selected on the basis of their La Liga numbers only and the kind of impact that they had on their clubs while playing.

La Liga Top 5 Greatest Players

#5 Andres Iniesta

One of the smartest footballers in the history of the game is Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta and features in this list at number five. Iniesta has so far won eight La Liga titles and 29 overall trophies.

He is one of the best Spanish players as well as he creates a great contact with his teammates while on the field which plays a crucial role in setting up the stage for the striker to score the goal.

#4 Xavi Hernandez

Another player from Barcelona features in this list and it’s their another all-time great midfielder Xavi Hernandez. He is also one of the greatest midfielders in the history of La Liga and hence, appears in this list at four.

So far, Xavi has won eight La Liga titles and besides that, he has almost all possible club titles to his name that a football team can achieve. Also, it’s quite astonishing to believe that Xavi made around 180 successful assistances with Barcelona FC.

#3 Cristiano Ronaldo

It’s quite hard to believe that Ronaldo won just a single La Liga title in his entire career so far. This doesn’t do justice at all to the second highest goal scorer in the history of La Liga.

The Portuguese star made 252 appearances for La Liga in which he managed to net the ball for 274 times which makes him the only player to have a goal scoring ratio of more than 1 amongst the players with a minimum of 100 goals.

#2 Lionel Messi

The Barcelona players continue to rule this list as this time it’s one of the greatest players football has ever produced, Lionel Messi. With already 28 trophies in his cabinet, Messi is undoubtedly one of the best players of this generation.

The Argentinian is also the highest goal scorers of La Liga and has also won the award for Best Player for a staggering six times. He also has eight La Liga titles alongside Iniesta and Xavi.

#1 Francisco Gento

Francisco Gento is one of the fastest players in the history of football and it was almost a treat to watch him play on the field with the ball. He kept everyone awestruck on the field and is truly a legend of the game.

Gento has a staggering 12 titles to his name and not just that, he also captained Real Madrid to nine La Liga titles which definitely makes him the greatest La Liga players of all-time.

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La Liga 2019/20: Top 3 Golden Boot probables

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Laliga

Every edition of La Liga is full of excitement, thrill and some great display of skills by the players involved in it. There are speculations made even before the start of the tournament regarding the teams and players who can do well and those who can’t do well. The three big names names that are always there on everyone’s positive list are Barcelona FC, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.

These three teams went a step ahead in strengthening their attack as they added a few more powerpack players u their respective lineups. The likes of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Rodrygo Goes, Joao Felix, and Antoine Griezmann have joined these teams respectively for this season of La Liga which will these sides to increase their supremacy.

The ‘Golden Boot’ award is given to the player that has the most number of goals at the end of a particular and this was given to Barcelona’s ace player Lionel Messi (34 goals) in the previous season for netting the ball 15 times more than the player succeeding him. Here are the three possible contenders that can win this award at the end of the Spanish championship.

Top 3 Golden Boot probables

#3 Luis Suarez (Barcelona FC)

Luis Suarez (Image Courtesy: Barcelona FC Website)

The first player to appear in the forward from Barcelona, Luis Suarez who has been in red-hot form since his transfer to this team. He has scored 31 goals in this edition of La Liga so far and that too after missing out from playing the matches during the first six weeks.

Suarez moved to Barcelona in 2014 after his wonderful display of skills at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The club already had Messi as one of their forward players and there were chances of him being overlooked but that was never the case as the Uruguayan continued to impress all throughout his journey so far

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#2 Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Karim Benzema (Image Courtesy: MARCA)

It’s quite surprising to see the name of Karim Benzema in this list as this player was overshadowed when Cristiano Ronaldo was a part of Real Madrid a few time back. After Ronaldo got shifted to Juventus and Madrid’s another important striker Gareth Bale struggling with injuries, Benzema shone at the very right moment.

Benzema was brilliant last year as well where he was at the second spot in the list of most goals scored by a player, just behind Lionel Messi. This year he has great chance of bettering that record and finishing at the pole position.

#1 Lionel Messi (Barcelona FC)

Lionel Messi (Image Courtesy: AFP)

The number one position in this list has to definitely go to Lionel Messi who topped this list last year as well and it’s not surprising to see him here. Since Messi’s debut, no other player has been able to score more goals and assists than the Argentinian which makes him arguably one of the best players of all time.

Messi staggered 36 goals in the last season which was 15 more than the second placed Benzema who is his biggest competitor in this edition as well. There is no doubt in saying that Messi has the maximum number of chances in topping the list this year as well.

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Top 10 Football Stadiums

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Top 10 Football Stadiums

Football matches never fail to pull spectators as there are always some star attraction involved to it and the kind of fan following attached to this sport is quite massive. It is undoubted to say that football is definitely one of the most followed sports all around the world with its viewership breaking all kinds of records every year.

Watching a football match or any other sporting event live in the stadium is a different ball game altogether which cannot be achieved by watching it on TV sets. Here we will talk about the 10 best football stadiums where the experience of watching a game is better than watching it at any other stadium.

#10 First National Bank Stadium: Johannesburg, South Africa

Opened in 1989, First National Bank Stadium is one of the largest stadiums in Africa and has also hosted the final match of 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Host Teams- Kaizer Chiefs, South African National Football Team

Inaugural: 1989

Capacity: 94,736

#9 Estadio Azteca: Mexico City

This is one of the largest stadiums in the world and is famous for hosting the FIFA World Cup finals in the years 1970 and 1986. Diego Maradona’s infamous “Hand of God” goal also came at this ground only.

Host Teams- Club America FC, Mexican National Football Team

Inaugural- 1966

Capacity- 105,064

#8 Stadio Giuseppe Meazza: Milan, Italy

This stadium is also known as the San Siro and is famous for hosting notable fixtures like 1965 and 1970 European Cup finals and 2002 Champions League final.

Host Teams- AC Milan, Internazionale

Inaugural- 1926

Capacity- 80,018

#7 Signal Iduna Park: Dortmund, Germany

Home to Borussia Dortmund, Signal Iduna Park is quite a massive stadium and was also to host the matches during the group stage of 1974 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup matches.

Host Teams- Borussia Dortmund

Inaugural- 1974

Capacity- 80,645

#6 Allianz Arena: Munich

This is one of the most beautiful stadiums all over the world but the capacity is a bit less as compared to a lot of other stadiums. This ground hosted the final match of 2012 Champions League.

Host Teams- Bayern Munich, 1860 Munich

Inaugural- 2005

Capacity- 71,437

#5 The Maracana: Rio de Janeiro

This stadium hosted one of the most classical matches ever played in the history of football that was played between Brazil and Uruguay during 1950 FIFA World Cup and a record attendance of 1,99,854 was present at the stadium at that time.

Host Teams Brazilian National Football Team

Inaugural- 1950

Capacity- 78,838

#4 Old Trafford: Manchester, England

This iconic stadium is also popularly known as ‘The Theatre of Dreams’ which is a home ground to The Red Devils and is located in the heart of Manchester City.

Host Teams- Manchester United

Inaugural- 1910

Capacity- 75,631

#3 Santiago Bernabeu: Madrid

It is home to one of the most successful clubs of Europe, Real Madrid which has some great players Ferenc Puskas, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and Cristiano Ronaldo. This also hosted massive games like 1957, 1969 and 1980 European Cup finals, 2010 Champions League final and 1982 World Cup final.

Host Teams- Real Madrid, Spanish National Football Team

Inaugural- 1947

Capacity- 85,454

#2 Camp Nou: Barcelona, Spain

Camp Nou is definitely one of the most iconic stadiums in the history of football and there is a long, detailed history attached to it. This stadium also hosted the 1989 European Cup final and 1999 Champions League final.

Host Teams- FC Barcelona

Inaugural- 1957

Capacity- 98,757

#1 Wembley Stadium: London

The number one stadium to appear in this list is the Wembley Stadium in London which is without any doubt deserves to be at this spot. This iconic stadium is also popular for hosting the 2011 and 2013 Champions League finals and 2012 Olympic football final.

Host Teams- England National Football Team

Inaugural- 2007

Capacity- 90,000

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Football History: Top 5 Free Transfers of All-time

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Top 5 Free Transfers of All-time

Player transfers in football never fail to make headlines as there is a lot of controversy and money involved in them. Players are even transferred for a fee of millions of euros and the record of the most expensive transfer in the history of football is currently with Neymar as the Brazilian shifted from Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain for a whopping amount of €222.

There are some transfers that even take place without any money behind it as they occur for free of cost. Here, we will talk about five biggest transfers that took place for free.

#5 Sol Campbell (Spurs to Arsenal)

The transfer of Sol Campbell is one of the best ever transfers that took place so far. He moved to Arsenal in 2001 and helped them in winning two Premier League titles after that. He ended his career with 195 appearances for them and helped in laying their success map.

#4 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain to Manchester United)

Who could have ever believed that a player like Zlatan Imbrahimovic will be transferred for free to any football club. This incident took place in 2016 and before that, Imbrahimovic had a great time with PSG where he scored 113 goals in just 122 matches. Zlatan played with United till 2018 before shifting to LA Galaxy.

#3 Paul Pogba (Manchester United to Juventus)

Paul Pogba is one of the best footballers who is currently playing at the moment. Pogba made around 125 appearances for Juventus and also helped them in making to the finals of 2015 UEFA Champions League. Also, it is interesting to note that Manchester United signed back Pogba for a whopping £89 million after letting him go for free.

#2 Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan to Juventus)

Juventus is quite famous when it comes to grabbing great players for free at the trading window. Pirlo joined Pogba and they helped Juventus to form one of the best midfielders at that time. During his reign with The Old Lady, they won four Serie-A titles, a Coppa Italia and two Italian Super Cups.

#1 Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich)

The number one player transfer to feature in this list is of Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich in 2014 which took all by surprise. After his transfer, Munich were successful in winning two Bundesliga titles, one DFB Pokal and a Supercup and that too in just two years.

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Barcelona’s History: 3 Most Expensive Buys

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Barcelona

Barcelona FC never fails to make headlines as far as making expensive buys and transfers are concerned. Recently also they did so after ace French forward Antoine Griezmann came into their side after leaving his previous side Atletico Madrid. A lot of speculations were made regarding this deal and finally it got closed for a whopping €120 million.

Griezmann is undoubtedly one of the best footballers at the moment and was also a part of the France National Football Team that won the FIFA World Cup in 2018. Infact, Griezmann won the ‘Player of the Match’ award in the final match for his tremendous performance where he also scored a goal.

Griezmann was playing for Spanish football club Atletico Madrid for which he made 180 appearances and managed to score 94 goals in them. His such brilliant performance was a result of him fetching such a huge amount.

Here, we will talk about other such instances where Barcelona FC bagged players after paying hefty amounts.

#3 Luis Suarez (From Liverpool) in 2014 for £75 million

Luis Suarez (Image Courtesy: FC Barcelona Website)

Suarez started gaining both success and popularly till the end of FIFA World Cup 2014 where he performed decently and his this performance got rewarded as earned a transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona for a whopping amount of £75 million.

Since then, the Uruguayan has continued to be one of the biggest assets of his team as he has featured in as many as 163 games in which he has successfully netted the ball 131 times. This puts him at the fifth place in all-time highest goal scorers for Barcelona FC.

#2 Ousmane Dembele (From Dortmund) in 2017 for £97 million

Ousmane Dembele (Image Courtesy 90min.com)

After transferring Neymar Jr. for a record breaking amount to PSG, Barcelona needed a player for his backup. So, they decided to bring in another Brazilian into their side. They brought in Ousmane Dembele in the same year from Dortmund for a hefty amount of £97 million.

His performance for Barcelona has not been much impressive as the 22-year old has managed to score just 11 goals in the 46 matches that he has played so far. Young Dembele was also a part of the France Team in 2018 just like Griezmann that won the FIFA World Cup.

#1 Philippe Coutinho (From Liverpool) in 2018 for £146 million

Philippe Coutinho (Image Courtesy: Goal.com)

In 2018, Barcelona made their most expensive buy in the history after chipping in Philippe Coutinho in the side. This is also the third most expensive transfer ever in club football. The midfielder was brought into the team as a successor for Andres Iniesta as the veteran was about to call off from the club.

Coutinho has failed to impress till now as he has just 51 goals in 13 games that he played for Barca and there are some rumours started spreading that the Brazilian will soon be transferred to another football team in which PSG is emerging as a top name.

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Five Football records that are almost impossible to break

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Football is one of the most famous sports which is being played from years and we have seen many ace players come and go. Football was first played in the mid nineteenth century in England and till date it is played with a lot of passion and dedication towards the game.

There are records in every sport out of which some can be broken while the other ones are almost impossible to recreate. For instance, if we take cricket, Sachin Tendulkar’s record of scoring 100 international centuries is almost unimaginable to break. Here we will talk about five such records that are almost impossible to break in Football.

#1 Most Goals scored a Goalkeeper

This is one of the greatest records to possess for any goalkeeper out there as their primary job is to save goals but if they get to score goals as well, that is an absolute blessing for a team. This rare record is scored by the Brazilian player Rogério Ceni as he netted the ball 129 times for his side.

#2 Most Goals by any Player

Everyone knows that this record is held by the all-time great footballer Pele. It’s not surprising that this record is also held by a Brazilian which definitely makes it one of the best sides around the globe.

If we go as per the official data, then Pele has smashed 1,281 goals in his lifetime but if we consider the unofficial numbers, then it’s Josef Bican , a Czech-Austrian footballer who has 1,468 goals to his name. Considering both the records, they are almost unbreakable.

#3 Most spectators recorded in a Football Match

Football matches never fail to attract audiences but it is almost impossible to believe that there were around 1,73,850 people at the Maracana Stadium watching the 1950 FIFA World Cup final match between Brazil and Uruguay. This number increases furthermore if we go as per unofficial date, this number increases massively to 1,99,854.

#4 Most Goals scored in a Match

It is almost impossible to digest the fact that the most number of goals scored in a match are 149. The scoreline after the match between Stade Olympique L’Emyrne and AS Adema FC and it’s quite obvious that this scoreline will never be achieved again.

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Lionel Messi: The Best Football Player 

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Lionel Messi

Born on June 24, 1987, footballer Lionel Messi of Argentina has mesmerized his fans since the onset of his football career. He is the captain of his country, Argentina, and his Spanish club, FC Barcelona. Unlike well-built modern day footballers, Messi is slightly built and is 170 cms in height but his impressive performance on the football field has made him one of the best football players of all time in the cutthroat industry of football.  

Early Life 

Lionel Messi, at the age of thirteen, moved to Spain and joined FC Barcelona and by the age of seventeen, he has already made his competitive debut. He had a rough start to his career as he was prone to injuries but all he knew was to grin and bear it. He made a quick progression and soon came to be counted among the best players of the club and by the time he turned 21, he had established himself as Barca’s key player.  

Though he ended up being the finalist of both Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of The Year awards in the year 2008, it was in the year 2009, at the age of 22, he made his first spectacular achievement as he bagged both the titles. His streak continued as he won the former title for four consecutive seasons, that is from 2009 to 2012.   

One of the high points of his career was when he led Argentina to gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics beating Nigeria. In the season of 2011-12, hscored the highest number of goals in the La Liga League and the World and thus was the top goal scorer for both his teams, FC Barcelona and Argentina. That year turned out to be glorious for him as for the first time he lifted the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup it was followed by another successful year with Lionel Messi laying his hands on fifth La Liga title. 

Years passed by and Lionel Messi continued to achieve lots of success in his career. With Five FIFA World Player of The Year awards, eight Spanish La Liga titles and four Champion League wins with Barcelonamade Lionel Messi stand amongst the top ranked footballers in the world. Lionel Messi’s s spectacular achievements even overshadowed the achievement of players like Ronaldo And Neymar 

Lionel Messi -Ronaldo Rivalry 

The football fan base is divided into Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi camps. Be it a football fan or not, the Ronaldo-Messi rivalry is known to all. They are not only counted among the best players of this generation but among the greatest that the game of football has seen.  

They are neck and neck so far as their sporting achievements are concerned. Both have won the 

FIFA Best Player of the Year Award 5 times. They are among football’s most successful and decorated players ever with a total of 63 titles to their credit. While Messi has won 34 titles, Ronaldo is not far behind with 29. Both have broken the “50 goals in a single season” barrier on regular basis. They are among a handful of players who have scored more than 500 career goals. Ronaldo is ranked 5th in the list of all-time highest goal scorers and Messi is ranked 6th.  This rivalry is no ordinary sports rivalry, well to be honest, it is one of the biggest in the history of sportsIt has been compared to Federer-Nadal, McEnroe-Bjorn Borg, Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier rivalries. Sports journalists and pundits keep debating the individual merits of the two players but they are unable to conclude as to who is the better of the two. 

Retirement Decision 

In the year 2016, Lionel Messi called it quits after Argentina, led by him, was defeated by Chile in Copa America Finals. The Argentinian fans were left bewildered as they wanted Lionel Messi to continue playing for their country. But Messi was understandably downcast as Argentina lost a fourth major final in nine years. All this led to his retirement decision which was later reversed by him. He returned to the team, as he thought that various issues have to be resolved, to make the team stronger and he preferred to help the team from within instead of criticizing it from outside. 

In the year 2018, with Andres Iniesta gone, Barca made Lionel Messi its new captain and he lifted his first trophy as a skipper the same year. Today Lionel Messi is known as the best footballer in the world and he continues to entertain the world with his wonderful play.    

 

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