Neymar is 23: Happy birthday!

#Neymar23 (ESP)
The Brazilian striker celebrates his 23rd birthday in the middle of a great season

Follow FC Barcelona on social networks and help the player celebrate the day with the hashtag #Neymar23

Neymar celebrates his 23rd birthday today in tip top form after scoring five goals in his last three matches, against Atlético in the Cup and against Elche and Villarreal in the league. FC Barcelona want to celebrate this special day with exclusive content that will be shared on the Club’s social networks at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine.

Fans can follow the hashtag #Neymar23 to enjoy the special content and use the same hashtag to leave a birthday message for the Barça number 11.

Get to know the Barça star a little better:

[+] Player Profile and Statistics  

[+] All the news about Neymar

[+] Barça Fans exclusive wallpaper

VIDEOS

[+] Some of Neymar’s best moments at Barça

Happy birthday, Neymar Jr! por fcbarcelona

[+] Send Neymar a message on social networks using the hashtag #Neymar23

Piqué says team are high on confidence and have grand expectations

Neymar and Gerard Piqué in Doha at the presentation of the new advert. PHOTO: FCB
The centre half and Neymar spoke about the blaugranes current form at the presentation of the new Qatar Airways advert

Vice president Javier Faus defends the Board’s management of the Club on a sporting and financial level

Gerard Piqué and Neymar, two of the stars of the new advert for Qatar Airways, answered question about the blaugranes’ current situation in Doha where they were attending the presentation of the new video. “We have been in good shape in the last seven or eight matches, we are in good form in the league and the Cup, we have won a lot of games and generates expectation and confidence,” said the Barça centre back.

Piqué was excited about what remains of the season: “Now the Champions League is coming up, the fixture list is tough but we are looking forward to it and I think we have the chance to do something big this season. We just have to keep the same level, keep getting results and get through the semi-finals of the Cup and in the league try to put pressure on [Real] Madrid, the leaders, so they drop points. We have to keep picking up three points.”

Neymar, for his part, also touched upon the good form of the team and his own excellent form at the moment. “I feel very happy,” he revealed, before commenting on his partnership with Leo Messi: “It’s easy playing alongside him, for he is a great hero. Our understanding is getter better and better on the field.”

On another subject, Piqué gave his opinion as a player on institutional matters at the Club. “I know that the more stable the Club is, the better it is for everyone. We have a responsibility and we know that is we get good results as a team then that will make life better for the Club,” he declared.

Faus defends running of the Club

The first vice president of FC Barcelona, Javier Faus, explained that “Qatar understood very well that in sporting sense it was not the best time” to play the friendly match that had been arranged for this Wednesday, and he thanked Qatar for their understanding in the matter. Elsewhere, Faus reminded everyone at the Qatar Airways video presentation in Doha: “We are the world’s leading club over the last 10 years thanks to various presidents, coaches and players. When you are so successful, it is only normal that there are things that don’t go down well.”

The Barça vice president defended the management of the Club in recent years: “We are very happy with what the team has done in the last five years and the economic situation in which we find ourselves. He ended by saying that the Club had turned around a “delicate” economic situation and that calm was required as in the end “on these matters the truth will end up coming out.”

Messi and Neymar – double trouble

Neymar and Messi are both scoring freely. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
The two are enjoying a goal-filled start to 2015, with 17 strikes between them

Leo Messi and  Neymar Jr have made a great start to 2015 with the Argentinean bagging nine goals so far, one more than his Brazilian striking partner. With the able support of Luis Suarez and the rest of the squad’s strike force, Messi and Neymar have proved the most effective combination in Spanish football since the year began

It’s not just the number of goals that Messi and Neymar are scoring that makes such an impression, it’s the regularity with which the two have been banging them in together. In 12 of the 22 games that the two have played together this season, they have both made it onto the scoresheet  – most recently against Villarreal, Elche and Atlético Madrid

Goals, goals and more goals

Leo Messi has now scored a total of 23 goals this season – a figure only bettered at this stage by the 40 he claimed in the 2012/13 campaign – and is the league’s second highest scorer with 22 goals, six behind Cristiano Ronaldo and the Champions League’s second highest with eight, one behind Shaktar Donetsk’s Luiz Adriano.

In his 26 games played, Neymar has scored 22 goals so far this campaign, beating last season’s total of 15 in 41 games and with 15 league goals he sits in third spot in the goalscorer’s table.

12 of the 32 goals that Leo Messi has scored this season have come from his 'other' foot, his best tally ever

Messi has never scored such a high percentage of goals (37%) with his right foot / FCB
12 of the 32 goals that the Argentinian has scored this season have come from his right foot, his best tally ever

The Argentinian‘s right-footed goals

12 goals 2014/15
5 goals 2013/14
7 goals 2012/13
8 goals 2011/12
7 goals 2010/11
10 goals 2009/10
7 goals 2008/09
1 goal 2007/08
3 goals 2006/07
1 goal 2005/06

Leo Messi has never been so two-footed. This season, 12 of his 32 goals have been scored with his supposedly weaker foot. That’s already more than his previous best, ten in the 2009/10 season, and there are still four months of the campaign left to play.

His first right-footed goal of the current season came away to Levante. He has since repeated the trick against Granada, Sevilla, APOEL, Espanyol, PSG, Cordoba and Villarreal. Especially memorable moments were his hat-trick in Nicosia and braces against Espanyol and Cordoba.

Oddly enough, ten of the twelve goals were scored in the second half of matches, and eight of them at the Camp Nou.  

Leo Messi has scored a total of 386 goals for Barça. Of those, 61, in other words a relatively low percentage of 16%, were scored with his right foot. But this year the figure has risen to 37%, which clearly shows that this is an aspect of his game that he has been working to wonderful effect.

Info sheet of Leo Messi

Ter Stegen: We have a chance in all three competitions

Ter Stegen during the interview with fcbarcelona.com / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
“In the league we have to wait for Real Madrid to slip up, which will surely happen. In the Cup and Champions League luck comes into it and we have to make our own”, says the German keeper

Settling in Barcelona the city

Have you been able to get to know Barcelona?

“I think my family and friends have seen more than I have. I’ve only been able to do a little bit of exploring. My family and friends love coming into town. They know more about it than me.”

Have you been to the beach?

I’ve been to the beach but I haven’t been in the water. I’ve been there with my dog.

Have you discovered a particular dish that you like in particular?

“I need to think about it. There are plenty of things I like that I’ve never tried. Now that I’ve been here a little while I can say that I like shellfish, fish and any seafood, really. It’s served fresh here, which doesn’t happen in Germany.”

Marc-André ter Stegen was one of the first new faces at Barça for the 2014/15 season. With the season having reached the half way point, the German keeper talks to fcbacelona.com about how he is settling in at the club, his own particular style of play and the number 1 spot in between the posts at the Club.

You move to Barça was made official in May and in July you started preseason. That was seven months ago now, so how have you settled in at the club?

“Yes, everything’s a little different than in Mönchengladbach; both the team and the circumstances, but people have seen how I play and what I do. I think everything’s going pretty well.”

For you the language was a key issue. How is your Spanish and Catalan?

“I’m doing lots of hours of Spanish class,but it’s tough to hold a conversation because a lot of people use Catalan, which is a very difficult language. When people speak I can follow the conversation, but if they speak directly to me it’s much more difficult. But anyway, I’m happy with how things are going and I’m going to step things up heading into the summer.”

How have you settled into the dressing room?

“I don’t know. So far I think the team’s comfortable with me.It definitely needs time. At first people didn’t know how I played and the team didn’t really know me very much. I think we keep playing better and we’re growing together as a team.”

Amongst your qualities, your ability with the ball at your feet is what stands out with both your right and left foot.

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve tried to play that way and I train hard to work on ball control. That’s my game, I’ve always said it. A lot of people might be surprised to see how I play.”

Are you two-footed?

“Yes”.

How do you decide to play with one foot or the other?

“It depends on the situation. There are lots of things that can have an impact. Being able to play with my right or left foot helps me a lot playing here. It’s clear that not every pass is great, but the idea is to solve a given situation in the game.”

Did your time as an outfield player when you started playing help you in that aspect?

“That was a long time ago, but I think it helped in my early days as a goalkeeper. Maybe now I see game situations differently than if I hadn’t been an outfield player.”

You seem a very relaxed person as criticism or praise does not seem to affect you. Is this true?

“I don’t dwell too much on whether I receive criticism or praise. For me it’s important to look at the games, regardless of whether I’ve played well or not. In the end what matters is feeling. I put a lot of stock into what people close to me say and who look at my games such as goalkeeping coach De la Fuente so I can draw my own conclusions.”

The team is performing spectacularly in defence, what is the secret to its success?

“I think it’s about how well we set up. We play way up, we’re quick to put on pressure and we try to do it as a unit, including the goalkeeper. I think that’s our formula and it’s worked, even though we gave up two goals against Atlético. We’ve also shown that we can be tough on defence if necessary. I think if we keep playing well defensively, we have a shot at succeeding in all three competitions.”

Up until now Claudio Bravo has been the number one choice in the league and you in the Champions League and the Cup. What do you make of that?

“It’s a tough situation. I’ve always given 100% and that still remains my goal.
Bravo is doing a great job in the league and that’s a decision that has to be respected, but I’m going to keep trying.”

During your time here, you will have seen how terrible everything is when you lose and how brilliant when you win. Does everything get taken to these extremes in Germany?

“Definitely. I’ve never seen a single game judged based on half measures. You either play well or you don’t. I can get used to this situation. That’s the way it is here. I draw my own conclusions about the games I play in.”

Tell me about Barça’s chances in the league, Champions League and the Spanish Cup.

“We have to stay focused. In the league we hope Madrid stumble, which they surely will do. To stay in the title race we have to keep winning our games. In the Spanish Cup and the Champions League, luck certainly is a factor; we have to make our own luck. And we’re trying.”

You have two tough ties coming up against Villarreal and Manchester City. How do you approach those games?

“I think we have a shot. We just have to keep doing what we do every day. If we play good football and are solid on defence, we’ll have a good opportunity to get past Villarreal and Manchester City.”

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