Zinedine Zidane’s side are arguably involved in the tie of the round against the Parisians, with the European champions coming up against a side which bolsters Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria.
Ernesto Valverde claims “we all saw” Barcelona’s ghost goal at Valencia go in but admits his side “recently benefitted” from a controversial finish.
Lionel Messi’s shot was wrongly disallowed on Sunday, despite the ball clearly going over the line, but while Valverde suggested the decision cost his side the win, he was wary of criticising the match officials too much as the ball had gone out before Gerard Deulofeu gave Barca the lead against Malaga last month.
“We agree that it was so clear…” the Coach said after the 1-1 draw.
Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that Real Madrid could make signings in January but ruled out any departures.
Madrid’s decision not to replace the likes of Pepe, James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata with experienced personnel has been put forward as a reason for their sluggish start to the season, and they were unconvincing once more in their 3-2 win against Malaga on Saturday.
“We started the game well and scored the first goal quickly, which was important,” the Coach said after the game.
“However, we began losing the ball and everything changed. The second half was very difficult, so we’re happy with the result.
First came the Lionel Messi ghost goal, then came the sight of Rodrigo Moreno ghosting in front of Thomas Vermaelen to score, and then came Jordi Alba’s dramatic equaliser.
La Liga’s top of the table game had everything from orange-wig celebrations, to dreadful mistakes from match officials, to a sublime assist from Messi for the Barça leveler.
Cristiano Ronaldo finally scored his second league goal of the season, getting the winner in Real Madrid’s 3-2 win over Malaga.
The victory moved Real Madrid to within three points of second-placed Valencia and seven points behind leaders Barcelona. Those two play on Sunday. But this was a sloppy performance against La Liga strugglers and will do little to boost confidence in the league.
Madrid were ahead on nine minutes. Marcelo hung a deep cross up at the back post. Ronaldo hung in the area to head goalwards. And when the ball came back off the crossbar, Benzema – hanging around just inside the penalty area – reacted more quickly than any of Malaga’s defender charging in to nod the loose ball over the line.
Lionel Messi has ended months of speculation about his future by signing a new four-year contract at Barcelona worth €558,000 a week, extending his stay at the Nou Camp until 2021.
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, the 30-year-old striker will have spent 17 years with the first team.”
Who can still qualify?
AEK Athens, Astana, Athletic Club, Austria Wien, BATE, Crvena zvezda, İstanbul Başakşehir, København, Köln, Konyaspor, Lokomotiv Moskva, Ludogorets, Marseille, Sheriff, Slavia Praha, Vitória SC, Zorya Luhansk
No surprise to see that the 50-man shortlist for UEFA’s team of the year is dominated by players from La Liga and European champions Real Madrid, who boast 11 nominees, including Cristiano Ronaldo, who is included for a record 14th time. Italian champions Juventus, who were beaten by Real in the Champions League final last season, have the next most with seven.
Tottenham stars Harry Kane and Dele Alli are joined by teammates Christian Eriksen and Davinson Sanchez on the shortlist, and are among 12 Premier League players nominated.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had failed to win any of his seven previous trips to Spain as a Coach, but Roberto Firmino’s brace and a Sadio Mane header inside the opening half-hour seemed to have put the Reds out of sight.
Nonetheless, a spirited Sevilla turnaround saw Wissam Ben Yedder bag a brace, before Guido Pizarro scrambled home a corner deep in stoppage time.
The result evoked comparisons of their opponents’ famous win against Milan in the 2005 Champions League Final, with some describing it ‘Sevillstanbul’ on Twitter.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane hailed a “perfect” evening after Tuesday’s 6-0 Champions League Group H win at Apoel Nicosia sealed the defending champions’ place in this season’s round of 16 with a second-place finish.
Luka Modric’s 20-yard volley put Madrid ahead midway through the first half, then a lovely team move was finished by Karim Benzema, before Nacho’s close-range prod and Benzema soon converted again to make it 4-0 by half-time. After the break Cristiano Ronaldo added a header and a smart finish, taking him to 18 Champions League goals in calendar year 2017 and 100 goals with Madrid in UEFA competitions.