Archive for March, 2012

Sixth win on the run for FC Barcelona

PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
With the victory in Santander, Barça chalked up their sixth win on the run – four in the league against Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Sporting Gijón and Racing and the two Champions League wins over Bayer Leverkusen
Here are some facts and figures arising from the game:

• Over the six game winning run, Barça have scored 2 goals and conceded just 5.

• It was the fourth season on the run that Barça had won at the Sardinero – Guardiola has thus won every game in charge there.

• The last time Barça lost in Santander was in the 2003/04 season, when they were beaten 3-0

• The win was the first in which Valdes has kept a lean sheet since the goalless draw with Villarreal on January 28th.

• Valdés had one of the quietest games of the season on Sunday, as Racing only had one shot  – and that wasn’t on target.

• In contrast, Barça had 23 shots, 8 of which were on target.

• Alves and Mascherano were the Barça players who won back most possession – each making 17 interventions.

Messi‘s penalty was his 50th goal of the season . 22 have come in the first half and 28 in the second.

Cesc Fàbregas: “In modern football nothing is easy”

Cesc Fàbregas està content amb el partit contra el Racing / FOTO: Miguel Ruiz - FCB
Andrés Iniesta highlighted the team’s effort against Racing: “we played a great game in a difficult stadium”

Alves explained that the team’s objective is to “continue improving”

Cesc Fábregas was pleased with the result against Racing Santander (0-2). “We put in a complete performance, always trying to play easy [balls], generating goalscoring chances and controlling the game. There is nothing easy in modern football,” said the Barça midfielder.

Cesc praises Messi

Cesc only had words of praise for Leo Messi: “he’s a different from any other player in the world, it’s a pleasure to play with him, having him in the team, because he gives you that extra confidence that a title winning side needs.” The Catalan player also talked about Messi’s personal side: “he’s a humble player, hard working, he loves football. He deserves everything that’s happening to him.”

Here are some of the best statements made by the FC Barcelona players after the match:

Andrés Iniesta

“We played a great game in a difficult stadium

“Sometimes the team gets in a rhythm, and this is a good one, we’ll try to keep it up until the end of the season

“The most important thing is winning games, that’s what we try to do

“We’re entering the decisive part of the season and we’re on form, there’s still a lot up for grabs”

Dani Alves

“Our objective is to win matches

“It’s very difficult to maintain this level. Each year you have to improve something to reach the objectives

“We want to go out and enjoy football and the beauty of this sport, knowing that we represent the best football club

“The team is doing well, we’re maintaining the equilibrium that we had in previous years, this is what keeps you on form in the competition”

Cristian Tello

“This is always a complicated stadium to play in, they pressure you a lot here

“The team put in a very complete performance, we passed the ball from one end to the other, looking for spaces

“We look to win the three points each week, we’re not focused on the advantage that Real Madrid have over us. We take it one game at a time

“I’ve very pleased with the support people are giving me, I’m living a dream and I’m very thankful for the confidence the boss has shown in me”

Guardiola: “It was a complete performance”

Guardiola during the match at El Sardinero / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Barça manager highlighted the team’s attitude and form after today’s match at El Sardinero. Guardiola also said that the game was “a bit complicated” because the pitch was not in optimal conditions

Even though, in general terms, Barça dominated the match against Racing Santander, Josep Guardiola said that the game required his players to “play a very serious match.” According to the manager, his players had to put in a strong effort to take the three points seeing that the pitch at El Sardinero was not in good condition.

Guardiola highlighted the good work put in by his team seeing that Barça has a long list of “injured players.” A factor that “obligated” some of the players to “work harder” in order to accomplish the goal of finishing the season as well as possible. “We’ve been on form for a while. We have two and a half months left [in La Liga] and we’ll strive to have good performances in all of our matches,” he said.

“The penalty wasn’t decisive”

Once again, Lionel Messi, with two goals, one of them from a penalty, was the man of the match. When asked about Messi’s penalty, Guardiola said that his team “controlled the entire match,” the penalty “wasn’t decisive.”

The Barça manager also highlighted Pedro’s performance: “he’s an important player. He has been, is and will continue to be important for this Club. He needs to do the work that he did today, he was perfect in every regard. Scoring goals is a matter of time.” He also talked about the good defensive work put in by the team, singling out Sergio Busquets, Valdés and Puyol. “Without the work of the whole team it’s impossible to keep a clean sheet,” said Guardiola.

The Champions League draw on the horizon

When asked about the Champions League draw, which will take place this Friday, Guardiola said that to get to the final in Munich “you have to play against the best teams. All teams have their strong and weak points.” He also said that he would prefer to avoid AC Milan in the quarter-final draw, “because we have already played against them” in the group stages. “In the end the draw will decide” who we play against, said Guardiola.

Messi, a limitless goalscoring machine

Messi celebrates one of his goals in Santander / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Leo Messi has already scored 50 goals this season, 30 of them in La Liga. With 230 goals in official matches, he’s only 5 adrift of the record set by Barça legend César Rodríguez

FC Barcelona’s Argentinian genius is only three goals away from breaking his personal goalscoring record, which he set last year, of 53 goals

Furthermore, with today’s win at El Sardinero, Messi reached his 150 victory in the Liga wearing the Barça strip

The Argentinian genius continues to score goals. He grabbed a hat-trick in his last match for Argentina. He netted five times in the Champions League match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Tonight, he scored a brace at El Sardinero. With today’s two goals, Lionel Messi has reached 50 goals this season, 30 of which have been scored in the Liga.

On the verge of breaking his personal record…

Messi is only three goals away from equalling his personal best record of goals scored in one season, which currently stands at 53. The Argentine, in all likelihood, keeping in mind that the end of the season is three months away, will break his own record.

In the Liga, Messi scored 34 goals in the 2009/10 season, his personal best in the domestic competition. This year, while still in the running for the Golden Boot award, he already has 30.

…very close to breaking César Rodríguez’s record

Every time Messi steps onto a football pitch he edges closer to FC Barcelona’s all-time top goalscorer record. César scored 235 official goals for Barça and Messi in only 5 adrift of the Barça legend with 230. This goalscoring machine just doesn’t stop and he’s only 24-years-old!

The best player in the world

It’s worth taking a look at Messi’s stats to put things into perspective.

- Messi is the player that has needed the fewest games (202) to reach 150 victories in La Liga. Madrid’s Santamaría needed 208.

- Messi is the second player to ever score 50 or more goals in two consecutive seasons. Müller, with Bayern, scored 50 in the 1971/22 season, and 55 the next year.

- In the five big European leagues, Messi is the player the has passed the ball the most in the last third of the pitch (911). Xavi is second with 844.

- Messi has scored 16 goals in his last 6 games (including his match with Argentina). Last season he managed to score in 10 consecutive matches.

Racing – FC Barcelona: Messi stamps his mark on El Sardinero (0-2)

PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Leo Messi was again on target against Racing de Santander tonight, scoring both goals as the team extended its winning run to six games with a 0-2 win

A goal in each half from the Argentinean was enough to give Barça the points and their sixth win on the run in a game they dominated from the off. Barça controlled possession and showed clinical finishing up front with Leo Messi adding to his five goals in midweek with two more that take him even closer to the Club’s all time leading scorer Cesar, who he now trails by just five goals.

The win leaves Barça 10 points off the leader going into a week where they have no game until next Saturday’s trip to the Sanchez Pizjuan to face Seville.

Only one team attacking

Guardiola showed his attacking intentions with his team selection, lining up with a three man defence made up of Alves, Mascherano and the fit again Puyol, and with Racing sitting deep and hoping to hold out for a goalless draw, Barça were soon in charge, commanding possession and controlling the game. It looked to be simply a matter of when rather than if the first goal would come.

Messi and Cesc link up

Pedro had the first good chance, with a drive that just shaved the post before Iniesta rattled the woodwork and Cesc was only denied by the busy Mario in the Racing goal. The resistance could only last so long though, and when Xavi set up Cesc on the right, his pinpoint cross gave Messi a simple tap in to open the scoring.

Messi marks his half century

Racing now went even further back into their shell, which simply allowed Barça more time on the ball to find a way through the hosts’ packed defence and when Cisma brought down Cesc in the box after the break, Messi made no mistake from the spot for his 50th goal of the season.

With the game done and dusted, Guardiola rang the changes and gave Tello, Keita and Adriano a run out, with Cuenca, Xavi and Pedro coming off.

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