• Friday, December 19, 2014

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Freedom in the air

Barcelona

Barca face expulsion

Barcelona would not be allowed to play in La Liga if Catalonia broke away from Spain, the country's football league chief Javier Tebas said as tensions mounted in the region over the possibility of an independence referendum next month. Politics have been interwoven with the football club almost since it was formed and is summed up by the team's motto: 'more than a club'. Barca's role in pushing the Catalan nationalist cause varies depending on the board in power, but it...

Messi to face tax evasion trial

Messi to face tax evasion trial

Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi is to face trial for alleged tax evasion, a Spanish judge has ruled. The judge rejected a prosecution recommendation to drop the charges on the grounds the player's father was responsible for his finances. Messi and his father Jorge are accused of defrauding the authorities of more than 4m...

Neymar double secures victory for Barcelona

Neymar double secures victory for Barcelona

Neymar came off the bench to score twice as Barcelona defeated a stubborn Athletic Bilbao to maintain their 100 percent start to the La Liga season. The Brazilian, making his second Barca appearance since injuring his back at the World Cup, came on in the 63rd minute for a struggling home side. He quickly made...

Luis Suarez bite: Ban upheld but striker allowed to train

Luis Suarez bite: Ban upheld but striker allowed to train

Luis Suarez's four-month biting ban has been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the Uruguay striker can now train with new club Barcelona. A full explanation of the ruling will not be published until a later date. Suarez's lawyers argued world governing body Fifa's decision to suspend him from all "football-related activity"...

Liverpool agree to sell Suarez to Barcelona

Liverpool agree to sell Suarez to Barcelona

Liverpool have agreed to sell striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona for a fee thought to be about £75m. The Uruguayan, 27, who is serving a four-month ban for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup, will sign a five-year deal. Suarez, who scored 31 league goals last season, will travel to the Spanish club...

It's Messi v Robben

The Netherlands are one win away from a second straight World Cup final while opponents Argentina head into Wednesday's last-four clash looking to end their 24-year wait for a place in the biggest game of all. Two teams with a rich tradition and an abundance of motivation should produce a close game, characterised by tight marking, disciplined defence and threats on the break as they bid to reach the July 13 final at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana. But for all the...

Higuain fires Argentina into semis

Higuain fires Argentina into semis

Gonzalo Higuain smashed home an early goal as Argentina dashed the World Cup dreams of much-fancied Belgium with a 1-0 win in the quarterfinals in Brasilia on Saturday. Higuain struck in the eighth minute at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium to send Argentina into the last four for the first time since 1990 and...

Argentina not a one-man team

So it is developing into a World Cup about individuals. Lionel Messi and Neymar are taking the weight and the responsibility, and have put their countries a couple of games away from a final. It will not be easy for the Belgium players who will be trying to deal with Messi in their quarterfinal on Saturday because Axel Witsel, Marouane Fellaini, Vincent Kompany and Daniel van Buyten are tall players and it will be hard for them, with that...

End of the road?

Stunned by their heroes' 5-1 humiliation by the Netherlands, Spaniards are already bemoaning the end of a glorious era and fearing the worst in La Roja's life-or-death World Cup clash on Wednesday with Chile. Diego Maradona put the challenge in a nutshell. "So how are Spain going to recovery from this massive blow? Spain isn't used to letting in five goals," the Argentine legend told Latin American television station Telesur. After a historic triple -- Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup...

Messi magic lights up Maracana

Messi magic lights up Maracana

The pressure is on Lionel Messi to make this his World Cup, and he could not have started in better fashion than conjuring the marvellous strike that sealed Argentina's 2-1 win against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday. The game at the mythical Maracana in Rio de Janeiro was 65 minutes old when Messi collected possession just...

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