Luis Suárez the derby expert

Luis Suárez celebrating a goal with Liverpool
The Uruguayan scored plenty of goals in the derby for Liverpool against Everton as he faces his first Catalan derby versus Espanyol this Sunday

The Catalan derby on Sunday between Barça and Espanyol will be the first for many, coach and players included. Barça’s busy summer in the transfer market means that many blaugranes will be making their debuts in the fixture. However, for one new signing, Luis Suárez, the derby would be the perfect scenario for him to open his league account for Barça, after all he has previous when it comes to finding the net in this type of encounter.

Merseyside derby

Luis Suárez spent three and a half seasons at Liverpool between 2010 and 2014 and in that time he featured in no less than six local derbies against city rivals Everton. The Uruguayan was unbeaten against ‘the Toffees’ in his time at Liverpool, winning on four occasions and drawing twice. He not only started all six matches but also played a big part in ‘the Reds’ excellent recent record in the Merseyside derby. The current Barça number 7 scored 5 goals in those 6 derbies, only failing to find the net in one encounter between the two clubs from the city of Liverpool.

Goals against Everton

In his second season at Anfield he faced Everton on no fewer than three occasions. On his Merseyside derby debut he helped Liverpool to a two-nil victory at Goodison Park by scoring the second. Just a few months later in the return league fixture at Anfield, he found the net again with the home side cantering to a 3-0 victory. In April of 2012, the FA Cup draw brought Liverpool and Everton together in the semi finals. The match was played at Wembley and Luis Suárez helped his side to a 2-1 come from behind victory with the equaliser to take Kenny Dalglish’s team through to the final.

In his third and fourth year at Liverpool he played three more times in the Merseyside derby, scoring in each one. In the season 2012/13 Suárez scored in the 2-2 draw away at Everton and the following season, his final at the club, he notched up strikes in the 3-3 draw away and the 4-0 victory at home on his way to league leading total of 31 goals come the end of the season.

Luis Suárez in his career only scored more goals against Wigan, Stoke, Sunderland and Norwich than Everton during his career as a ‘red’, a sure sign that local derbies are a happy hunting ground for the Uruguayan striker.

Watch the trailer for the forthcoming Messi movie

The movie follows Leo Messi's journey from childhood to superstar
Directed by Álex de la Iglesia and scripted by Jorge Valdano, the film includes guest apperances from Piqué, Iniesta and Mascherano

It will be released in Spain on January 1, but here’s your chance for a sneak preview

Messi, the non-fictional movie about the Argentinian superstar, directed by Álex de la Iglesia with a script by Jorge Valdano, comes out on New Year’s Day.

The official trailer, which you can watch here, offers a glimpse of the many special guests that appear in the full-length version, including some of the biggest names in world football, including Johan Cruyff, César Luis Menotti, Jorge Valdano and Alejandro Sabella, as well as current FC Barcelona players like Gerard Piqué, Andrés Iniesta and Javier Mascherano..

The film was presented for the first time in Río de Janeiro during the Brazil 2014 World Cup, and has also been screened at the Venice Film Festival.

Leo Messi is presented as one of the biggest icons in the history of football and sport in general. Since the movie was made, he has gone on to further his legend by surpassing Telmo Zarra as the highest goalscorer in La Liga history, and then did likewise in the Champions League by topping the record held by Raúl González. And in both cases, he did the job in style by scoring hat-tricks.   

Messi combines archive footage with interviews and unpublished family recordings. And by recreating moments from the player’s past, Álex de la Iglesia particularly focuses on the player’s childhood and adolescence. Produced by Mediapro it is being distributed in Spanish cinemas by Avalon.

First team prepares for the derby

Luis Suárez and Munir were among the players that trained on Friday / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
All available members of the squad were at the Ciutat Esportiva after taking Thursday off

The FC Barcelona first team trained on Friday morning for the first time since the 4-0 win at Huesca. Luis Enrique gathered the players on pitch 1 at the Ciutat Esportiva to begin preparations for Sunday’s derby at home to Espanyol (5.00 PM CET).

All of the available squad members were present, as was Munir of Barça B. Vermaelen is still recovering from his hamstring operation in Finland.

There is another training session scheduled for Saturday morning at 11.00 AM CET, once again at the Ciutat Esportiva.

Appeals Committee withdraws Messi yellow

Leo Messi was yellow carded against Sevilla / PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA - FCB
The club’s appeal was accepted after the Competition Committee had previously refused to cancel out the yellow card shown to the Argentinian at Mestalla

The Appeals Committee has accepted FC Barcelona’s appeal presented on Thursday to have the yellow card shown to Leo Messi against Valencia rescinded. The club originally appealed to the Competition Committee on Wednesday to no avail.

Messi was booked at the end of Sunday’s game in Mestalla by referee Fernández Borbalán after he was hit by a flying object thrown while celebrating Sergio Busquets’ goal. According to the match official, “he delayed his return to the field, following the goal, with intent to waste time.”

Sunday brings the eighth derby between Sergio and Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique and Sergio will meet again at the Camp Nou / PHOTOS: FCB & RCDESPANYOL.COM)
The Espanyol and FC Barcelona managers are about to meet again, 13 years after they last faced each other as players

Between 1998 and 2001, FCB won three games and there were four draws

Luis Enrique and Sergio González are going into their first ever city derby as managers, although the fixture is nothing new to either of them. In fact, they opposed each other no fewer than eight times as players in games between Barça and Espanyol, with Barça winning three meetings and the other four all ending in draws.  

When they met between 1997/98 and 1999/00, Barça won both home fixtures (3-0 and 4-2) and drew their away matches (1-1), which in those days were contested at the Olympic Stadium.

The clubs also met in the Spanish Cup in 2000/01. Barça won 2-1 away before a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou was enough to ensure they progressed to the next round.

Luis Enrique and Sergio last met as players on May 5, 2001, a game that ended in yet another draw at Montjuic, this time 0-0.

In direct encounters, the current managers got one goal each, although Luis Enrique actually scored a total three times against Espanyol while wearing a Barça shirt.

Other meetings

That might have been their last derby meeting, but it was not the last time that Luis Enrique and Sergio opposed each other. The current Espanyol boss left for Deportivo, where he’d face Luis Enrique four more times between 2001 and 2004. And this time the record worked in his favour: three wins for Depor and just one for FCB.

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