FC Barcelona
European Golden Shoe 2020/21: Messi on the leaderboard but Lewandowski scores again
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Lionel Messi scored two goals of the highest quality in La Liga this weekend to take his tally to 15 for the season.Both of the Argentine's goals were scored from outside the box in superb fashion, as he helped Barcelona on their way to a 5-1 win against Alaves.Messi may now make our leaderboard, but he is still some way off reaching the runaway leader, Robert Lewandowski.The Bayern striker scored again on Monday in the German side's rearranged Bundesliga match versus Arminia Bielefeld which was moved due to their Club World Cup exploits over the weekend.Lewandowski now has 25 goals and 50 points.His nearest rival for the Golden Shoe is fellow Bundesliga striker Andre Silva, who has now scored 18 for the season.Liverpool may have lost against Leicester, but Mohamed Salah still scored a lovely goal to take his tally to 17.Georgios Giakoumakis of Venlo has scored an impressive 22 goals and is the highest player on our list who doesn't feature within one of Europe's top five leagues.A talented group on 16 goals for the campaign includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, and Luis Suarez.2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE STANDINGS 2020/21 European Golden ShoeA reminder: The five elite leagues - Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 - all carry a weighting of 2, meaning that a player will be awarded two points for every goal they score in these competitions. For the leagues ranked sixth to 30 in Uefa's coefficients rankings goals scored are given a weighting of 1.5, and goals scored in a league outwith the top 30, goals are given a weighting of 1. Ciro Immobile won the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, scoring 36 goals for Lazio in a tremendous Serie A season. 2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE (Summer Leagues) 2020 European Golden ShoePlayerTeamGoalsPointsKasper JunkerBomo/Glimt2740.5Amahl PellegrinoKristiansund2537.5Philip ZinckernagelBodo/Glimt1928.5Christoffer NymanNorrköping1827Rauno SappinenFlora Tallinn2626Veton BerishaViking1624Astrit SelmaniVerbergs1522.5Mushaga BakengaOdds BK1522.5Moses OgbuMjallby1421Anders ChristiansenMalmo1319.5Leke JamesMolde1219.5Maksim SkavyshBATE Borisov1919This is the 2020/21 European Golden Shoe race. If you want to see the final standing for the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, follow this link. .
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Who is fouled more – Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
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Over the years Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been compared by every attacking metric possible.From trophy hauls, to goals, to assists, their careers have been intrinsically linked since hitting the world stage in the noughties.When it comes to being fouled, though, Messi receives more rough treatment than Ronaldo, at least in most recent years.In the 2020/21 campaign in La Liga, Messi is fouled 2.8 times per game, while in Serie A Ronaldo is fouled just 1.4 times per game.One other statistic that needs to be looked at with this is how often the players dribble during a game, as this is usually what leads to fouls being committed by opposition players.In the Spanish top flight this season, Messi completes 4.5 dribbles per game while Ronaldo only completes 1.8, so we can hypothesise that the Argentine is directly involved in more fast-paced confrontations with opponents than Ronaldo, and so is more likely to be involved in a situation to actually be fouled. Messi v Ronaldo - FoulsMessiRonaldoMinutes played16721542Fouled P902.81.4Dribbles P904.51.8Duels Involved P9014.48.4Neither player is particularly close to being the most fouled player in their respective leagues, either.Nabil Fekir is the most fouled player in La Liga from players who have played 500 minutes or more with 3.6, while Josip Ilicic is the most fouled player in Serie A, earning 4.4 free-kicks per game.From the above table, we can also see that Messi is involved in a lot more duels than Ronaldo with 14.4 per game compared to 8.4 and so in every match he is involved more in situations where a foul could be possible.This could be attributed to Messi's tendency to come deep in his latter years to see more of the ball, while Ronaldo usually opts to stay away from build-up play for the most part to play as a penalty box striker. .
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Messi to start against future club? – How Barcelona and PSG could line up
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Barcelona versus PSG currently means more than just on-field matters, but their round of 16 tie in the Champions League is certainly the pick of the bunch. Both sides come into the tie on the back of a topsy turvy first half of their domestic seasons and with eyes on the ultimate prize having both reached at least the semi-finals last season. Barca have demons to avenge in Europe after losing 8-2 to Bayern in their semi, while PSG will still be burning from final defeat to the German Champions in the Portuguese bubble. Coming into this clash, former Southampton managers Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino both have an extensive injury list that will force a reshuffle in their respective lineups. Barca are wounded at the back with Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto out for the long-term, while Ronald Araujo is likely to miss out again.Sergino Dest should come in at right-back alongside Oscar Mingueza and Clement Lenglet in the centre, with Jordi Alba on the left. PSG have only Juan Bernat out in defence, so should be able to field a strong back four of Alessandro Florenzio, Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe and Mitchel Bakker. Frenkie de Jong has been one of Barcelona’s best players this season and should take his place in midfield alongside Sergio Busquets and Pedri, who may be forced into the middle with a lack of alternative options. Pochettino will be sweating on the fitness of Marco Verratti for his midfield, with Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gueye in place if the Italian can’t get himself ready. Les Parisiens are heavily depleted by injuries to Neymar and Angel Di Maria, but both Julian Draxler and Moises Kean scored over the weekend and should earn another start alongside Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi. For Barca, Messi and Antoine Griezmann have continued to grow in form, with 14 goals and nine assists between them in their last 10 matches respectively. Ousmane Dembele is likely to come back into the XI after spending most of the weekend’s 5-1 win over Alaves on the bench. All is set for the first leg at the Nou Camp ahead of a mouth-watering tie, and one that could define both clubs’ seasons as they chase as much silverware as possible. .
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Rakitic comes back to haunt Barcelona as Sevilla take Copa del Rey lead
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Ivan Rakitic offered Barcelona a reminder of what they let go last summer as he helped Sevilla carve out a 2-0 aggregate lead over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.The Croatia international departed Camp Nou in September, bringing an end to a trophy-laden six-year stay that him win four La Liga titles, four Copas del Rey and the Champions League.That paved the way for an emotional return to the south of Spain where he won the Europa League over a three-year period prior to his Barca move.But Rakitic returned to haunt his old club on Wednesday evening in a first leg of a Copa del Rey semi-final at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.The 32-year-old grabbed the hosts' second as they claimed a 2-0 win that puts them in pole position to reach the final against either Athletic or Levante.He also produced an impressive all-round performance to earn himself a Football Critic rating of 7.4 on the night.Rakitic completed the third highest amount of passes (68) of any player on the night, just behind Sergio Busquets (70) and Oscar Mingueza (72).Sevilla 2-0 Barcelona: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player StatsHe was also third highest in terms of touches (86) and influence on the match behind Jordan (87) and, unsurprisingly, Lionel Messi (92).Messi was also the only man to take more shots (7) than Rakitic (4), with three of them being blocked and the other finding the back of the net.Most importantly, however, the Croatia internationl severely damaged Barca's trophy hopes this season while giving Sevilla hope of a first Copa del Rey win since 2010. .
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European Golden Shoe 2020/21: Ronaldo, Suarez, and Silva gain ground on Lewandowski
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Bayern won 1-0 versus Hertha at the weekend with the only goal of the game being scored by Kingsley Coman.Robert Lewandowski actually missed a penalty in that one and so failed to take the opportunity to add to his goalscoring tally for the season, which currently stands at 24.Even though he still holds a commanding lead, others were able to close the gap slightly, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, and Luis Suarez all getting on the scoresheet for their respective sides.Silva has now scored 17 for Eintracht Frankfurt this campaign, and currently represents the biggest threat to Lewandowski as the leader, even if the Portuguese forward is seven goals adrift.Genk's Paul Onuachu still finds himself high in the standings despite the disadvantage of the competition weighting.Ronaldo, Suarez, and Kylian Mbappe have all scored 16 goals so far this season and are on 32 points.There is a talented group on 28 points which includes Erling Haaland, Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ciro Immobile, and Wout Weghorst.Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool's only goal of the game in the defeat versus Man City, and moves on to 15 strikes for the season.2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE STANDINGS 2020/21 European Golden ShoeAt this stage of the season, the leagues that run on the calendar year - ie 2020 - inevitably get a head start but these days with the league weightings, very few are still there by the end of the traditional 2020/21 campaign. A reminder: The five elite leagues - Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 - all carry a weighting of 2, meaning that a player will be awarded two points for every goal they score in these competitions. For the leagues ranked sixth to 30 in Uefa's coefficients rankings goals scored are given a weighting of 1.5, and goals scored in a league outwith the top 30, goals are given a weighting of 1. Ciro Immobile won the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, scoring 36 goals for Lazio in a tremendous Serie A season. 2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE (Summer Leagues) 2020 European Golden ShoePlayerTeamGoalsPointsKasper JunkerBomo/Glimt2740.5Amahl PellegrinoKristiansund2537.5Philip ZinckernagelBodo/Glimt1928.5Christoffer NymanNorrköping1827Rauno SappinenFlora Tallinn2626Veton BerishaViking1624Jasur YakhshiboevPakhtakor Tashkent1624Astrit SelmaniVerbergs1522.5Mushaga BakengaOdds BK1522.5Moses OgbuMjallby1421Anders ChristiansenMalmo1319.5Leke JamesMolde1219.5Maksim SkavyshBATE Borisov1919This is the 2020/21 European Golden Shoe race. If you want to see the final standing for the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, follow this link. .
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European Assists King 2020/21: Grealish on par with De Bruyne
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Tottenham striker Harry Kane continues to lead the charts for the most goals assisted in Europe's top five league's but now has a group in behind that includes the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish.Kane is now on 11 for the season, but actually hasn't recorded an assist in five games, which has allowed others to bridge the gap.Grealish earned an assist against West Ham last midweek, while Thomas Muller set up Kingsley Coman's winner for Bayern versus Hertha at the weekend.Kevin De Bruyne is still on contention, though is set to drift down the leaderboard in the coming weeks due to being absent with injury.Bruno Fernandes set up two goals in the huge win over Southampton a week ago to take his tally to nine for the campaign, just two behind the leader.Hakan Calhanoglu, Angel Di Maria, and Jonathan Bamba have made it on to the leaderboard with eight.There are no entries from La Liga on the leaderboard, as the top tallies from that league are just six assists, held by Iago Aspas, Nabil Fekir, Angel Correa, Marcos Llorente, and Jorge de Frutos.MOST ASSISTS, TOP FIVE LEAGUES 2020/21 2020/21 European Assist KingsPlayerTeamAssistsHarry KaneTottenham11Kevin De BruyneMan City10Jack GrealishAston Villa10Thomas MullerBayern10Joshua KimmichBayern10Bruno FernandesMan Utd9Kingsley ComanBayern9Henrikh MkhitaryanRoma8Hakan CalhanogluMilan8Jonas HofmannGladbach8Angel Di MariaPSG8Jonathan BambaLille8To calculate the 2020/21 European Assist King, we will focus on the top five leagues to keep things simple (for now) and track which players have provided the most assists in each respective league. There will be no coefficients or scales used - just ranking the most goals created by each player in the top five leagues condensed into a single table. Premier League assists + full statsSerie A assists + full statsLa Liga assists + full statsLigue 1 assists + full statsBundesliga assists + full stats .
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Messi back in the starting XI – How Barcelona could line up against Sevilla
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Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman will restore Lionel Messi to his starting XI when the Catalan side take on Sevilla in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.Messi was rested from the starting line-up for the weekend La Liga fixture versus, but his services were required off the bench.With Barcelona trailing Betis 1-0, the Argentine came on in the 57th minute and scored within two minutes to make it 1-1.He was inspirational after coming on, and helped Barca to a narrow 3-2 away victory.It displayed, once again, how desperately ineffective the Blaugrana can be without their star man, which makes it a certainty he will start against Sevilla bar any injury suffered between now and kick off.There will be a likely change at the back with Sergino Dest coming in to replace Oscar Mingueza at right-back.Ronald Araujo picked up an ankle injury versus Betis and is set to miss a month of action, which could mean a return to the starting XI for Samuel Umtiti, although Koeman opted against using him as Araujo's immediate replacement at the weekend.Frenkie de Jong had a superb 100% pass completion rate after coming on in that game, and will be welcomed back in from the start, possibly at the expense of Miralem Pjanic.Pedri could come in for Riqui Puig, too.Up top, Martin Braithwaite will be the player to make way for Messi, with Antoine Griezmann on the left and Ousmane Dembele on the right.Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, and Philippe Coutinho remain long-term absentees.Barcelona predicted XI against Sevilla .
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Luis Suarez: Player Rating and performance versus Celta
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Atletico Madrid took a small step towards the Primera Division title on Monday as they draw 2-2 at home to Celta thanks to a double from Luis Suarez.It was very nearly typical clinical performance from Diego Simeone's men, who had former Barcelona and Liverpool striker Suarez at his best as they moved to within a hair of the win as he scored either side of half-time after Santi Mina had put the visitors into the lead.Celta, however, hit back late on to give Barcelona and Real Madrid a glimmer of hope in the title race.Here's how Suarez's game panned out.Atletico Madrid 2-1 Celta Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats📷 Luis Suarez: Match SnapshotIt was a frustrating start to the game for Atletico Madrid as they struggled to make inroads after Santi Mina dived to head the visiting side into the lead. As half-time approached, they had not even managed a shot on target...⚽ ⏱️ 45' Marcos Llorente finds space on the right and delivers a wonderful pass towards Luis Suarez. Rushing towards the visiting goal, he slides to covert with his right foot. It's a big turning point in the game.⚽ ⏱️ 50' This time the danger comes from the left. Geoffrey Kondogbia finds Lodi, whose low cross along the six-yard box is met by the unmarked Suarez.Even his efforts, though, were not enough to stop Celta snatching a late leveller through Facundo Ferreyra.〽️ Luis Suarez: Rating Week-on-Week✔️ IMPROVEMENTSuarez is currently one of the most in-form strikers in the world game, yet his 8.3 FC Rating is still the best he has managed in 2021. Seven goals in his last four games and 11 strikes in his last nine outings means that he is consistently scoring well, though.🗝️ Key Stats Luis Suarez match statsStatisticValueNotesFC Rating8.1Man of the MatchMins Played90Goals2Shots2Rank #1Shots on Target2Rank #1Touches in the box6Rank #1Suarez: What Next?Suarez's form can scarcely get any better and is one of the chief reasons that Atletico Madrid are eight points clear at the top of La Liga. Trips to Granada and Levante follow next week, with the side from Valencia visiting the capital three days later after the midweek match. All Suarez can do is work to maintain this incredible scoring streak.Luis Suarez: Player Statistics, Career Stats and PositionAtletico Madrid 2-1 Celta Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats .
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Real Madrid are Europe’s quickest starters with early goals scored
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Real Madrid and fellow La Liga side Villarreal have scored the most goals within the first 15 minutes of matches in Europe's top five leagues in the 2020/21 campaign.The Spanish sides have tallied up more early goals than every other team in La Liga, the Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1, and the Bundesliga.Real Madrid have played 21 times in the league so far, while Villarreal have played one more on 22, but both have managed to find the back of the net nine times within the first 15 minutes of matches to put their opposition on the back foot.The reigning champions in Spain may be struggling this season down in third in La Liga, off the pace of leaders Atletico Madrid, but Zinedine Zidane's men can't be accused of taking too long to get into games, as proven by their record of scoring early.Which team scores the most late goals?Real Madrid and Villarreal lead the standings on nine goals each.There are six teams within Europe's top five leagues that are just behind, having scored on eight occasions within the first 15 minutes - Tottenham, Aston Villa, Leverkusen, Union Berlin, Roma, and Lazio. Goals within the first 15 minutes in Europe's Big 5 LeaguesThere are a flurry of teams who have scored within the first 15 minutes seven times in their respective leagues - Man City, Crystal Palace, Sevilla, Monaco, Reims, and Freiburg.The league with the least successful sides at scoring late on is Ligue 1, as they have no teams that can match the leading tallies of eight and nine so far.The highest is seven, which has been scored by Monaco and Reims.FootballCritic previously looked at which clubs scored the most goals in injury time within the top five leagues, which you can read here .
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Real Betis 2-3 Barcelona Player Ratings: Brilliant Messi cameo saves Barca
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Lionel Messi came off the bench to provide a scintillating 30-minute cameo and change the game for Barcelona, who triumphed at Real Betis 3-2. He immediately equalised just after coming on, then played a key role in forcing Victor Ruiz to score an own goal. The defender levelled things us but another sub, Trincao, fired a brilliant winner to keep Barcelona in the title race, but only just. Real Betis - Barcelona: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player StatsBut which players stood out in the match?✔️ GOOD PERFORMANCELionel Messi: 7.5Lionel Messi didn't even come onto the pitch until the 57th minute. By the 59th minute, he had equalised. Barca looked completely toothless prior to his arrival, creating virtually nothing, but the Argentine collected the ball on the edge of the area and smashed into the bottom corner with his trusty left foot. And five minutes after that his glorious reverse pass through to Jordi Alba allowed the full-back to force an own goal from Victor Ruiz. Even in cameos, Messi is a standout performer. ❌ POOR PERFORMANCEOscar Mingueza: 6.0Mingueza has been preferred at right-back in recent weeks but lacks the defensive nous and the attacking verve to perform a proper role in Barcelona's system. He doesn't offer enough in the final third to provide the type of attacking creativity Barca teams have so often had, while defensively he had a difficult time dealing with Betis' mobile forward players. All in all, Mingueza has been fortunate to be promoted into the first team, and performances such as this question how long he will remain there. ⭐ STAR MANOusmane Dembele: 7.5Dembele just needs to make more of a direct impact on scorelines and prove his worth, because most of his all-round play is getting better with each passing week. Here he had the chance to score in the second half, but his lobbed effort forced a great save from Joel Robles. He provided quite a straightforward assist to Messi at the edge of the area, but his blistering pace gave Betis a difficult evening throughout. He completed a huge five dribbles and had seven touches inside the area. If Dembele's decision-making improves, the rest of his game seems to be in place. He just needs things to fall, find his confidence and grow into the player Barca paid so much money for. Real Betis - Barcelona: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats .
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