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Barcelona have been handed yet another difficult Champions League last 16 tie after they paired up against Manchester City, who are the reigning Premier league champions. Manager Luis Enrique has accepted that this is the most difficult opponents that they could have received, which is disappointing considering that they won the group.
However, he is confident that Barcelona will come out on the successful side just as they did last season. City were the opponents for Barcelona at this stage last season as well, but they secured a comfortable victory on aggregate over the two legs.
City have definitely improved in the last 12 months and Enrique has been quick to acknowledge this. He says that he does not want to discuss the game in detail right now since it takes place only in February. City are going through a tough spell when it comes to injuries. A number of their important players like Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero, and Edin Dzeko have been sidelined with injuries in the last few matches. City boss Manuel Pellegrini is likely to welcome them back in the middle of January, which gives the Premier League club enough time to get them back to full fitness in time for the match against Barcelona late in February.
“I am sure it’ll be a very hard match. The important thing in games like these is for us to be in good condition. If we’re on form, we are good enough to cope with any competition … I always think positively, and I know we are quite capable of getting through the round against Manchester City. He’s [Aguero] probably up there in the top ten or so players. But for me the number one is Leo Messi. Everyone else comes after him,” said the Barcelona boss after the draw was made for the last 16 rounds.
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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have a rivalry that was born ever since the Portuguese midfielder won his 1st Ballon d’Or award back in 2008 with Lionel Messi coming in 2nd place. This was during the time when C.Ronaldo was a player of Manchester United, even though he was still not playing in the Spanish League with Messi there still existed a sense of competition between both players.
The rivalry reached new scales after C.Ronaldo made his way to Real Madrid and got the chance to compete with Lionel Messi on a more direct level as they had to see each other during the Spanish League matches on 2 different periods of time throughout a season.
Whenever those players are compared a debate is usually brought up as fans can never actually agree on which one is the better overall performer. C.Ronaldo is generally considered to be the more complete player as he has a physical presence which allows him to take headers fairly easy as well as being capable of plowing right through defenders just because of his sheer strength meanwhile Messi is generally labeled as the most naturally skillful player as he can slip his way past everyone by flicks and dribbles.
For the longest time, the media has propelled a series of rumors stating that C.Ronaldo and Lionel Messi do not have a healthy relationship due to all of the fierce competition that exists between them but the Portuguese star of Real Madrid has spoken to the press and shut down those rumors.
“It’s not at all true that we have a bad relationship. We are colleagues and have a professional relationship. We don’t have a relationship outside of football like I have with some other players. He tries to do his best for his club and national team and I do the same. There is a certain rivalry where we are each doing our utmost for our teams. This rivalry is part of my life. It is only normal that people compare us’’ C.Ronaldo told reporters as he responded to a series of questions and rumors that involved him and Messi not having a good relationship.
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Chelsea boss José Mourinho has revealed that he tried to get Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric a few months ago. The Croatian international moved to Madrid for £ 35 million from Tottenham only two years ago. After a first season of numerous troubles, Modric has established himself as one of the first-team regulars at Madrid. He is vital in the counter-attacking style of football employed by manager Carlo Ancelotti. It was Mourinho who brought Modric to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Interestingly, Chelsea tried to get Modric even when he was at Tottenham. Before moving to Madrid, Chelsea are believed to have made a £ 40 million offer for the midfielder. After rejecting this transfer, Mourinho was able to get the player for £ 35 million next summer. Modric would have been the perfect replacement for Frank Lampard, but Mourinho says that he respects the decision of the 27-year-old. It is now understood that Modric has been the first choice to replace Lampard, but since the player wanted to stay at Madrid, Chelsea went on and signed Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona.
The 27-year-old comes from Barcelona for just £ 28 million and it has all the makes a great transfer. Fabregas, just like Modric, is well experienced when it comes to playing in the Premier League. “I called Modric only privately but he doesn’t want [to join] Chelsea. You know I really appreciate Luka Modric and his qualities. But he stays in Real Madrid,” said Mourinho. After moving to Madrid, the Croatian international has won several major trophies including the Champions League last season. It is understood that he will remain a key part of Carlo Ancelotti’s plan even after the Spanish club brought in the likes of Toni Kroos.
James Rodriguez has also been signed for more than £ 70 million.
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