David Villa Reveals Reason Behind Barcelona Exit and Admits Return to Former Clubs Is Unlikely

Former Barcelona and Spain striker ?David Villa has revealed why he left Camp Nou in 2013, and has also described Lionel Messi as ‘much better’ than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Villa, who recently retired from professional football aged 37, spent three seasons in Catalunya in which he helped his side win the Champions League and two La Liga titles by scoring 48 goals. 

David Villa

The forward’s departure from the club was rumoured to have come as a result of his deteriorating relationship with ?Lionel Messi, however the World Cup winner revealed in an exclusive interview with ?12up that his exit had nothing to do with this. 

“Nothing happened with Messi. At the time it was said a lot, but the truth is that if I had continued being [a starter] I would have stayed at ?Barcelona,” Villa claimed.

“The truth is that I began to lose prominence. I was always on the bench and after much thought I told the team manager that I wanted to leave.”

Lionel Messi,David Villa

In the interview, the Spaniard also gave his opinion on an age-old debate: who’s better, Messi or Ronaldo? 

Messi is much better than ?Cristiano. I had the chance to play with him and it is something I will never see in my life. He is the best player in the world. Cristiano is a machine, but Messi is one level higher,” he revealed

Villa also spoke about the motivations behind his retirement, with the former Valencia man saying that he wanted more time to focus on business projects.

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One of these projects is Queensboro FC, who are the United Soccer League team that Villa will assist in running when they join the league in a few years time. In that particular enterprise, the ex-Barca man will largely be working in an off-field capacity but he refused to rule out a coaching role in the future.

You can’t say no to anything, but right now I want to dedicate myself to my academies, Queensboro FC and personal things that I have pending,” Villa stated. “All the teams I played on have told me that I have the door open, but for now I don’t see myself. We’ll see what happens.”

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Looking at the Positives & Negatives From Barcelona’s Season So Far

?Despite some wayward performances in the early months of 2019/20, Barcelona currently top both La Liga and their Champions League group.

The club have endured a difficult period as protests in Catalunya rumble on, yet Ernesto Valverde and his recruits have done enough to keep their season on track, with the treble still a very real possibility for La Blaugrana.

Here’s a look at what’s been good and what’s been bad at Camp Nou so far this year.


Positive – Ansu Fati’s Emergence

Ansu Fati

At the beginning of the campaign, the name Ansu Fati would have been unfamiliar to almost anyone outside of La Masia. Aside from his coaches and the well-informed, no one knew what the 17-year-old was capable of this term.

Valverde handed him a debut as the teenager came on for a brief cameo against Real Betis in August, before he was introduced at half time during ?Barça’s 2-2 draw at Osasuna the following game.

Fati made an instant impact when he nodded home a delightful leveller in Pamploma, and has never looked back. He’s now made ten appearances for the Spanish champions, collecting two goals and an assist in a thrilling beginning to his senior career.

Unsurprisingly, Valverde and his seniors in Catalonia have high hopes for this fearless forward.


Negative – Lack of Consistency

Lionel Messi

La Blaugrana can go from the sublime to the ridiculous within a matter of minutes, and the aforementioned clash with Osasuna highlights this.

The visitors were dire in the opening 45 at El Sadar, yet a devastating start to the second half saw them turn the game on its head after Roberto Torres had given Los Rojillos the lead.

Then, Barcelona went and shot themselves in the foot as foolish defending from Gerard Piqué let Osasuna equalise in the dying embers of the match. Such erratic displays have defined the side this season.

They have the ability to crush quality teams like Sevilla, who they beat 4-0 in October. They came back from an early setback to defeat an impressive ?Inter outfit in the ?Champions League. And yet, they can also draw at home to Slavia Prague or go down 3-1 at Levante.


Positive – Strength in Adversity

FC Barcelona v Slavia Praha: Group F - UEFA Champions League

As we’ve just discussed, Valverde has failed to coax consistent performances out of his recruits. That’s clearly an area that needs to be worked on, though it’s important to remember the turmoil surrounding the club at present.

El Clasico was ?delayed due to the riots going on in Catalunya over the region’s independence from Spain, with tensions reaching new heights over the course of 2019. 

The significance of the fact Barcelona are still in the hunt for silverware should not be overlooked. Their campaign could have been ruined by the situation, but they have instead shown they can rise above their problems – for the most part, at least.


Negative – Strange Decisions by Ernesto Valverde

Ernesto Valverde, head coach of

Valverde has been a divisive figure at Camp Nou for the entirety of his tenure, and this year has demonstrated why he is rapidly losing the good graces of the Barça fanbase.

There have been some truly perplexing decisions from the man in charge, who has been ?excluding summer signing Junior Firpo from many of his squads, despite the loss of first-choice left-back Jordi Alba to injury.

It’s hard to understand why he’s so averse to playing the €30m Brazilian, which has worsened what was already a strained relationship with the Blaugrana hierarchy. 

This is just the latest in a long line of bizarre actions from Valverde, whose time at the helm is surely coming to an end in the next 12 months.


Positive – Midfield Unit

Frenkie De Jong

Forking out €75m for Ajax playmaker Frenkie de Jong was a small risk for Barcelona to take, but a risk nonetheless. It’s proved a savvy purchase for leaders of ?La Liga.

The Dutchman has been a standout in the heart of the midfield, forging an excellent partnership with Arthur and Sergio Busquets. 

One-time fan favourite Ivan Rakiti? has been peripheral, such has been the form of de Jong and his counterparts. 

The youngster and Arthur are blossoming together and look to be the long-term successors to Xavi and Andrés Iniesta. They may never reach the levels of that delightful duo, but the future of Barcelona’s midfield is no doubt a bright one.


Negative – Weak Underbelly

Gerard Pique

Clément Lenglet was impeccable for much of the 2018/19 campaign, yet his second season on the east coast has seen the Frenchman struggle for form.

He has not filled teammates with confidence, further destabilising a fragile backline. Throw in the defensively suspect Nelson Semedo and an ageing Piqué, and you have a weak underbelly for opponents to expose.

Fortunately for Valverde, Samuel Umtiti has returned from injury this month and Alba is not far off full fitness. Nevertheless, the boss needs to address the issues in his defence soon, or they will once again fall short in the Champions League.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter!

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Brazil Manager Tite Reveals Content of Argument With Lionel Messi During Loss to Argentina

?Brazil manager Tite has revealed that Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi told him to ‘shut his mouth’ during his side’s 1-0 win defeat to Argentina on Friday.

Messi made his return to the national side after serving a three-month suspension for his claims during the Copa America. The 32-year-old netted the all-important goal in the 14th minute to ensure Argentina claimed the bragging rights in Saudi Arabia.

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Messi burst into the area and went to ground following a tackle by ?Juventus’ Alex Sandro, with the referee deeming it a foul. The Barcelona man stepped up to take the penalty and tucked home the rebound after it was initially saved by ?Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson. 

However, Brazil boss Tite was left far from impressed by the Argentine’s actions, complaining to the referee. ?Messi responded to the 58-year-old’s attempts to get the referee’s attention by putting his finger to his mouth, signalling for him to be quiet – while he was also seen gesturing towards the manager.

After the final whistle, Tite opened up on his discussion with the player during the match.

“I complained because he [Messi] should have been shown a yellow card and he told me to shut my mouth and I told him to shut his mouth,” he revealed, as ?quoted by the Mirror.


“I don’t want to answer anymore on it. You need a strong referee because he’ll swallow you…it should have been a card, I was right to complain.”

The forward’s strike came moments after Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus ?fired wide from the penalty spot, squandering the chance to give his side the lead. 

Brazil managed just the solitary shot on target during the match and further to this, Friday’s defeat means they have now gone five matches without a win, leaving Tite with plenty to think about before his team take on South Korea on Tuesday. 

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Spain 7-0 Malta: Report, Ratings & Reaction as La Roja Cruise to Dominant Victory

Spain recorded their biggest victory of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign so far, storming to a 7-0 win over minnows Malta.?

As expected, Spain dominated possession for the majority of the game, but it took them 23 minutes to find a way through the stubborn Maltese defence thanks to a scrappy finish from Álvaro Morata. Gerard Moreno had a goal ruled out for offside soon after, but Spain did get their second shortly before the break as Santi Cazorla finished off an excellent passing move.

Gerard Moreno,Jurgen Pisani,Rowen Muscat

It could have been three before the hour mark, only for a fantastic goal-line clearance from Jonathan Caruana to deny Pablo Sarabia. However, young debutant Pau Torres did make it three with his first touch in a Spain shirt, tapping in from a corner. 

Before fans had even sat down, it was four when Sarabia’s composed finish from towards the edge of the area flew into the top corner. Debutant Dani Olmo made it five by rounding the goalkeeper, before Moreno tapped home from close range for the sixth goal.

Jesús Navas saved the best until last though, bending a long-range effort over the goalkeeper and into the top corner to cap off what was an overwhelmingly comfortable victory for La Roja.


SPAIN

Key Talking Point

Dani Olmo

For Spain, it was a job well done. They were always heavy favourites to win this one, and they did not disappoint. They grew better as the game progressed, and some of the credit has to go to Moreno’s substitutions.

This game was a routine one for Spain, but it gave Moreno the chance to turn to his youngsters. Goalkeeper Pau López was almost forgotten about, while defender Pau Torres and midfielder Dani Olmo were given their senior debuts for La Roja. Pau netted with his first touch of the ball, while Olmo needed a few more to get himself off the mark.

The two youngsters are seen as part of the future for Spain, and they were given the best possible introduction to life in the senior setup. They were composed and impressive in their respective positions, and fans should be incredibly excited about the future.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: López (6); Navas (8), Albiol (6), Ramos (6), Bernat (6); Thiago (7), Rodri (6), Cazorla (7); Moreno (7), Morata (7), Sarabia (8*).

Substitutes: Alcácer (6), Pau (7), Olmo (7).


STAR MAN – Pablo Sarabia

Pablo Sarabia

Sarabia has struggled to make a real impact on Moreno’s side, but he certainly made the most of his first international start.

A constant threat down the right side of the field, the Paris Saint-Germain winger was electric throughout. He showcased his impressive composure to net a fantastic first-time finish, but could have had five or six.

He faced very little opposition here, but he did exactly what was asked of him. The 27-year-old might not hold down a permanent place in the team, but he will have given his boss something to think about.


MALTA

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Bonello (6); Corbalan (3), J. Caruana (5), Agius (4), Z. Muscat (4), Pisani (5); Paiber (4), Vella (4), R. Muscat (5), Mbong (6); Nwoko (4).

Substitutes: Micallef (5), T. Caruana (5), Grech (5).


Looking Ahead

Spain will finish off their European qualification campaign when Romania visit the Wanda Metropolitano on Monday.

On the same day, Malta will hope to halt a run of eight consecutive defeats when they host Norway.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings: Week 13 – Peep Show Special

Following a week in which: 

– Chelsea won AGAIN.

– Bayern Munich crushed Borussia Dortmund’s hopes and dreams AGAIN.

– Cristiano Ronaldo threw his toys out of his pram despite being a 34-year-old man AGAIN. 

We, using quotes from Peep Show, while listening to Kanye West’s new album ‘JESUS IS KING’ and wondering how under God someone can make music this bad, we rank the 15 best teams in Europe. AGAIN.


15) Sheffield United (Re-Entry)

George Baldock,John Lundstram,David McGoldrick,Lys Mousset

“Tonight is going, if a bit weird, extremely f**king well for us.”

It’s a bit weird, but things are going extremely f**king well for ?Sheffield United. 

It’s going so well, in fact, that the Blades are fifth in the Premier League table, above Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham. 

Bit weird.


14) Hoffenheim (New Entry)

Sebastian Rudy

“This may be the best day of my life! War with Sophie is over, and Johnson’s given me a promotion! I’ve only got my own bloody little office.”

This may be the best run in Hoffenheim’s largely unsuccessful history, as since reverting to a back three Die Kraichgauer have been on an absolute tear. 

They’ve won their last five, and with games against Mainz and Fortuna coming up after the international break, that run doesn’t look set to end anytime soon. 


13) Cagliari (New Entry) 

Fabio Pisacane

“Love’s hard mate. F**king hard. Doesn’t work…breaks. But you’ve got to give it a go. Norwich are never going to win the league, but they still turn up every week don’t they? The pricks.”

Football’s hard mate. F**king hard. 

But Cagliari are giving it a go. Last weekend they absolutely thumped Fiorentina 5-2, largely thanks to a masterclass from Radja Nainggolan, and the weekend before that they beat everyone’s favourite Italian football team (Atalanta) 2-0.

Sure, Cagliari may very well be the Norwich City of Serie A, and no they are never going to win the league, but they still turn up every week and do their best. That’s all that counts. 


12) Barcelona (Up 2) 

Lionel Messi

“You are the best of men. The truest, kindest, most generous of men.”

Lionel Messi’s 2019/20 La Liga stats: 

Played: 7

Goals Scored: 8

Goals Assisted: 4

It’s not Robert Lewandowski good, but it’s still pretty good.


11) Manchester City (Down 8)

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“A new boiler. Surely the least enjoyable way to spend a thousand pounds. At least throwing the money out of the window you’d see the scrabbling mass, the hate-filled faces. I have spent a cool grand on acquiring the resumption of an equitable temperature.”

A new defender. Surely the least enjoyable way to spend £80m. At least throwing the money out of the window you’d see the scrabbling mass, the hate-filled faces. 

But you know what? While it’s boring, like spending £1,000 on a new boiler, spending £80m on a central defender to compete with Liverpool was/is necessary.


10) Real Madrid (-)

Karim Benzema

“I’m in my element. Older people are still people. They’re just people who think when they open a new window on the computer the previous window has disappeared for good.”

The likes of Fede Valverde and Rodrygo are five-year-olds who have been exceptional in recent weeks, but the real stars of the show at ?Real Madrid are the old people:

Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos. 

They’ve been in their element this season, scoring goals for fun (yes, a defender scores goals for fun). 


9) Lazio (New Entry)

Ciro Immobile

No teas for the beastmaster, thanks. He feasts on the blood of his prey.”

Ciro Immobile’s 2019/20 Serie A stats: 

Played: 12

Goals Scored: 14

Goals Assisted: 5

It’s not Robert Lewandowski good, but it’s still really, really good. 


8) Bayern Munich (Up 7)

Robert Lewandowski

“Four naan, Jeremy? Four? That’s insane.”

Four goals, ?Bayern? 

Four? 

Against your biggest rivals and straight after sacking your manager?

That’s insane.


7) Chelsea (Up 5)

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-CRYSTAL PALACE

“I like you. Is that such a crime? Should I be hounded to the ends of the earth, just for liking you? I like you, and if you can’t handle it, you can just, you know, f*** off.”

Oh no. 

No, no, no, no, no. 

It’s happening, isn’t it? 

It’s really happening.

Oh please God no. 

?Chelsea are…

…likeable.

They’re the most entertaining team to watch in the Premier League at the moment, and they’re relying on young players – which every FM fan loves. 

Chelsea are actually likeable.

I need to lie down. 


6) Inter (Up 3)

Antonio Conte

For the worst thing that could possibly happen, this is actually going extremely well.”

For a team enduring the worst injury crisis of all time that’s in dire need of new players because the current ones are sh*t (this is basically what Antonio Conte said), things are going extremely well for ?Inter.

I Nerazzurri are unbeaten in their last five league games, and are just one point adrift of Juventus atop of Serie A.

See, things are going extremely well. Cheer up Conte. 


5) Borussia Monchengladbach (-)

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“It’s good to know who you are”

Borussia Monchengladbach are now four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table. 

‘Four points, Gladbach? Four?’

No, we’ve already used that one. We can’t use it again. 

‘Oh, ok…’

For Borussia Monchengladbach we’re using ‘it’s good to know who you are’, because after weeks of waiting for them to collapse and fall back into 4-6 obscurity we’ve finally come to the conclusion that such a collapse isn’t forthcoming.

So now we know exactly who they are: they are the real deal. 


4) Leicester City (Up 3)

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“Now I know how whatshisname felt when he finished the Mona Lisa…knackered.”

Big Brendy baps and ?Leicester City’s Premier League campaign, thus far, can be hyperbolically described as follows:

A masterpiece.

They sit second in the table after 12 games, having won their last four games on the bounce. 

But can this incredible run last? 

Only time will tell, but all this masterpiece…ing must be knackering. 


3) RB Leipzig (Up 1)

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-HERTHA BERLIN-LEIPZIG

“Super Hans says he’s come up with a bass loop for our new track that is so good, that when he tried turning it off…he literally couldn’t…he actually physically couldn’t do it.”

RB Leipzig have a striker that is so prolific, that even when he doesn’t need to score, when his team are already winning comfortably…he scores anyways…Timo Werner actually physically can’t stop scoring goals.


2) Juventus (-)

Paulo Dybala

“Socks before or after trousers, but never socks before pants. That’s the rule. Makes a man look scary, like a chicken.”

Beat AC Milan, but not before you give them hope that they can beat you. 

That’s the rule. 


?1) Liverpool (-)

Fabinho

“Like when they fed all the cows to the other cows in the ’90s and we got what was it? Super-burgers?”

?Liverpool are a super-team. 

They are indestructible. 

They are unstoppable. 

They are undeniable. 

And last weekend, they proved it by humbling their nearest and greatest rivals at Anfield. 

TOO. GOOD. 


Let’

Reliving David Villa’s Greatest Moments as Spain Legend Announces Retirement

?There’s a general election on the horizon. Liverpool might actually win the Premier League. One of the most underrated forwards ever is about to retire. We live in changing times, and not all of it is for the better. 

While the first two points have been debated beyond tedium, though, nowhere near enough has been made of the situation we have on our hands with David Villa. 

So, with the energy of ?Neymar on the receiving end of an innocuous challenge, let’s make an absolute meal of it, and recount the Spanish legend’s greatest hits. 


Scoring Four Goals Against Sevilla in 2004

Zaragoza's players David Villa (2-L), Ca

Trying to find some sort of YouTube record of this for visual reference has proved trying, but rest assured, it did actually happen. 

At this junction in his career, a 23-year-old Villa was beginning to really make a name for himself, having spent a couple of increasingly fruitful seasons at Sporting Gijón prior to signing for Real Zaragoza. 

He’d net a stellar 21 goals in 46 appearances in his debut season for the Aragon-based side, then mid-table in ?La Liga, with four of those remarkably coming in one unplayable display against Sevilla. Unfortunately his side’s defence weren’t quite up to snuff; despite Villa dragging them back from the dead to give them a 4-2 lead, they ended up drawing 4-4.


Lobbing the Deportivo de La Coruña Keeper From the Halfway Line

Valencia's David Villa celebrates after

There’s no doubt Villa will be best-remembered for the headline achievements that come later in the list, but the early part of his career had more than its fair share of highlights – as evidenced by the painfully low-quality footage of him ?lobbing Deportivo keeper José Francisco Molina from near-enough the halfway line. 

The goal came midway through the first half, and was the only notable incident in an otherwise routine win for Valencia. Fortunately enough, then, it was more than worth the admission on its own. 


Five-Minute Hat-trick vs Athletic Club 

Valencia?s  David Villa (C) vies with At

The 2005/06 season ended in underwhelming fashion for Valencia, dropping points in each of their last three to lose out to Real Madrid in the race for second place. 

There’s one player who can take very little blame for that plight, however; the man who scored seven goals in six games to see the season out, and the man on whom this entire list is predicated. 

In amongst that mad goalscoring streak was a rapid five-minute hat-trick that started in the 80th minute and concluded in the 85th, to secure a 3-0 victory over Athletic Club.


Winning the Euro 2008 Golden Boot Despite Missing the Final With Injury

Pepe Reina,David Villa

By 2008, Villa was hitting the peak of his powers, and had taken over the mantle of his country’s talisman from the immortal Raúl – with more than a little help from an emerging Fernando Torres. 

He rattled in six goals in qualifying, and as Spain went on to establish themselves as the country to beat over the next four years, the Euro 2008 finals saw him add a further six to his burgeoning international tally. 

That’s despite him picking up a thigh-injury in the semi-final win over Russia and subsequently missing the final, in which Spain beat Germany thanks to a solitary strike from Torres. 


Winning the World Cup 2010 Silver Boot Despite Not Missing the Final 

Spain's defender Sergio Ramos (L) hands

Ok, so silver isn’t quite as good, but it’s fair to say Villa built on the reputation he’d crafted out for himself two years earlier, as his five goals helped carry his side – who managed just eight throughout the entire tournament – to a first ever World Cup trophy. 

Netting against Honduras, Chile, Portugal and Paraguay, he finished on the same goals tally as Thomas Müller, but fewer assists meant he had to settle for just a silver boot and a gold medal for his efforts. 


Sealing the 2011 Champions League final

Barcelona's Spanish forward David Villa

Switching back to club duties for a beat, his trophy-laden tenure with ?Barcelona has been done a disservice so far, so let’s ramp up to the climax with a trip down memory lane to the 2011 Champions League final. 

Remembered as one of the games that defined Pep Guardiola’s Barça side, they ran out ?comfortable 3-1 winners over ?Manchester United despite Wayne Rooney cancelling out Pedro’s opener, with a marvellous low effort from Lionel Messi in the second half giving them the initiative. 

The game was then put beyond any semblance of doubt when Villa, receiving a Sergio Busquets pass on the edge of the D, trapped the ball dead, before placing it directly into the top corner with absolutely zero back-lift. It gets better every time you watch it. 


Netting His 50th International Goal

David Villa,Carles Puyol

The Euro 2012 qualifying campaign would prove to ultimately be Villa’s last triumph as a Spain player, going on to miss the finals with injury, while the 2014 World Cup would prove to be a disaster for more reasons than one. 

Still, it was quite the memorable campaign, 2012. He’d overtake Raúl to become his country’s all-time top scorer, and netting in a 3-1 win over Scotland, would also becoming the first and only Spaniard to date to surpass 50 goals. 

He finished with a remarkable 59, and that’s a record which should stand for the foreseeable, considering David Silva (35) and Sergio Ramos (21) are the only other active players in the top ten.


For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!

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Germany vs Belarus Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Germany lock horns with Belarus at Borussia Park in Mönchengladbach as Die Mannschaft aim to seal qualification for Euro 2020. 

Germany are currently level on points with the Netherlands but sit second in their group due to an inferior head-to-head with the Dutch.owever, they will be able to qualify with a win if Northern Ireland fail to come away with a result in their next match against Ronald Koeman’s side. 

Meanwhile Belarus occupy fourth place on four points after winning only one, drawing one and losing five of their opening seven games.

FBL-EURO-2020-GER-QUALIFIER-PRESSER

Joachim Löw will view this as a crucial game for his German side in terms of booking their place at Euro 2020 and will be hoping to achieve qualification from Group C as soon as possible. 

With that said, here is 90mins preview for Saturday’s fixture. 


Where to Watch

?When Is Kick Off? ?Saturday 16 November
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?19:45 (GMT)
?Where Is It Played? ?Borussia-Park
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?Sky Sports Football HD
?Referee? ?Orel Grinfeld (ISR)

Team News

Löw will have a number of absentees as Julian Draxler (match fitness), Marcel Halstenberg (thigh), Kai Havertz (thigh), Thilo Kehrer (foot), Marco Reus (ankle), Antonio Rüdiger (groin), Kevin Trapp (shoulder) Leroy Sane & Niklas Süle (both knee) and Emre Can (suspended) all remain unavailable. 

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Belarus manager Mikhail Markhel only has one injury concern to worry about, with Ivan Bakhar sustaining an unspecified injury that rules him out of Saturday’s game. 

UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier group C"Belarus v The Netherlands"


Predicted Lineups

?Germany: Neuer; Klostermann, Ginter, Tah, Schulz; Kimmich, Kroos, Goretzka; Gnabry, Brandt, Werner ?
?Belarus: ?Gutor; Veretilo, Martynovich, Naumov, Polyakov; Yablonski, Kovalev; Dragun, Maevski, Stasevich; Laptev

Head-to-Head Record

This will be the third meeting between the two sides, with Germany winning two of those three fixtures as both sides also drew 2-2 in an international friendly back in May 2008. 

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Germany won the reverse fixture 2-0 in Borisov back in June with Sané and Reus scoring the goals, meaning DFB hold an aggregate score of 4-2 over their Belarusian counterparts. 


Recent Form

Despite losing 4-2 at the hands of the Netherlands in early September, Germany are the in-form side in Group C, winning 11 of their last 13 European qualifiers dating back to 2014. Moreover, Germany have won five of their last seven (1D 1L) in all competitions. 

Germany have scored two or more goals in nine of their last ten games – scoring 28 in total – and have kept four clean sheets in their last six matches. 

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Contrastingly, Belarus have lost six of their last eight games, conceding 13 goals in the process. Things are not much better at the other end of the pitch, as the White Wings have scored a measly four goals in their last eight games. 

The eastern European side have a poor away record in the Euro 2020 qualifiers (L2 W1) and currently sit 81st in the FIFA World Rankings, 68 places behind their opponents in 13th. 

Here is how both teams have fared in their previous five fixtures.

Germany? ?Belarus
?Estonia 0-3 Germany (13/10) ?Belarus 1-2 Netherlands (13/10)
?N. Ireland 0-2 Germany (09/10) ?Belarus 0-0 Estonia (10/10)
?Germany 2-4 Netherlands (06/09) Estonia 1-2 Belarus (06/09)
?Germany 8-0 Estonia (11/06) ?Belarus 0-1 N. Ireland (11/06)
?Belarus 0-2 Germany (08/06) ?Belarus 0-2 Germany (08/06)

Prediction

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Given the superiority of the German side in terms of points and personnel, this should be a relatively straightforward game for Löw and co. 

A win is imperative for Germany as they look to achieve qualification from Group C in the smoothest manner possible, meanwhile Belarus will be hoping they do not finish rock bottom of Group C as they hold a three-point lead over Estonia who remain in fifth. 

All in all a comfortable win should be on the cards for Germany, who should ease past Belarus in their penultimate game of the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Prediction: Germany 4-0 Belarus


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Didier Deschamps Insists Antoine Griezmann’s Spell at Barcelona Has Been ‘Far From Catastrophic’

?France manager Didier Deschamps has defended Antoine Griezmann’s start to life at Barcelona, hinting that a change of position has harmed his development at Camp Nou.

Griezmann joined Barça from Atletico Madrid during the summer following a long and drawn-out transfer saga, and was thrown in at the deep end straight away as injuries to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez stopped Ernesto Valverde from being able to start his three illustrious forwards together.

Antoine Griezmann

The former Real Sociedad forward has four goals and three assists in his 11 La Liga appearances so far this season and is yet to find the net in the ?Champions League for his new side, but Deschamps has come out in support of his World Cup winner regardless.

He said ahead of France’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Moldova, as quoted by ?ESPN: “Things could be better, but I watch each match, and things are far from catastrophic. It is also a question of how he is used. He was in his best role with ?Atletico Madrid.

“Perhaps he is less decisive [with ?Barcelona] than he is with us. However, he knows his importance to us and my confidence in him.”

Griezmann is without a goal for Les Bleus in his last six international fixtures, last scoring for his national team back in June during the 2-0 victory over Bolivia.

A positive result against Moldova will see France qualify for Euro 2020 ahead of their last game of the year, a trip to Albania.

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Speaking on the game, Deschamps added: “Being prudent does not mean being fearful. It is always good to be careful or vigilant. 

“The reality is that we have not qualified – that is a fact. We will do everything to reach our goal. We must not believe that we have already qualified. We must ensure our qualification here. This is no trap.”

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Jordan Henderson Claims He Was Ready to ‘Kill’ Luis Suárez After Liverpool Training Bust Up

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has shed light on an incident in training between himself and Luis Suárez back when the Barcelona striker played for the Reds. 

The pair spent three seasons together and although both Henderson and Suárez enjoyed some inspiring moments on the pitch – such as coming close to winning the Premier League back in the 2013/2014 season – it is apparent that there were some tense moments shared between the two at Liverpool’s Melwood ?training ground.

Jordan Henderson,Luis Suarez

?Henderson has revealed that the two didn’t always see eye-to-eye, telling The Greatest Game Podcast (via ?HITC) that he wanted to kill ?Suárez in training due to the high demands of the Uruguayan. 

At the time I was trying to do the best I could do and it comes as a footballer, the criticism and people doubting you,” Henderson said. “At the time I was a young player and there was one or two things Luis did in training that I didn’t like and it made me feel like I wasn’t good enough to be in the same team.”

“The arms would go up, it was like ‘what’s he doing’, as if I shouldn’t be there. It really hurt and frustrated me. He did it one, two, three times and then I exploded and I was ready to kill him!

Luis Suarez,Jordan Henderson

“But from that point I had a really good relationship with Luis, I actually set him up the game after that.”

Henderson has now featured 339 times for ?Liverpool and become a mainstay in Jürgen Klopp’s side, who currently sit eight points clear at the top of the ?Premier League table. 

Meanwhile, Suárez departed for ?Barcelona in the summer of 2014, and has since found the net 185 times in 260 games for the Catalan giants. 

After the international break, Liverpool face ?Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, before a crucial Champions League group stage fixture against Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli at Anfield. 

Meanwhile, Suárez and Barcelona travel to the Estadio Municipal de Butarque to face Leganes in the league, and face ?Borussia Dortmund at Camp Nou four days later. 

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Uruguay Teammate Nicolas Lodeiro Insists Luis Suarez ‘Wants to Come to MLS’

?Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is plotting a transfer to Major League Soccer once he departs Camp Nou, according to Uruguayan international teammate Nicolas Lodeiro

With his current contract set to expire in 2021, Suarez is already considering his next career move and supposedly open to achieving his American dream after conquering Catalonia. 

Luis Suarez

Sooner or later he’ll come to MLS. Well, hopefully” Seattle Sounders defender Lodeiro revealed, adding that: “He likes the league. He’s always asking me things about it.

I think you need to convince Barcelona. He wants to come to MLS”, Lodeiro added, in an interview with Major League Soccer‘s official website.

?Suarez may be approaching his 33rd birthday, but his finishing ability has shown no signs of diminishing in the 2019/20 season so far. The Uruguayan has helped himself to six goals in ten La Liga appearances and two strikes in three Champions League fixtures, taking his Blaugrana tally to 185 goals in 260 appearances. 

As Lodeiro puts it himself: “His dream was to play for Barcelona. He’s playing at a great level and he feels comfortable there.” But perhaps Suarez is ready for a new challenge, with his contract winding down and the twilight of his career on the horizon.

While Lodeiro is hopeful that Suarez might join him in the Emerald City, LA Galaxy, New York City FC and David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF have been touted as likely ?MLS destinations. 

This news has cranked the rumour mill up a few notches in recent days, with some reports implying that ?Barcelona would prefer to cash-in before Suarez’s contract expires and recoup a portion of the £65m paid to Liverpool in 2014. 

With Barcelona leading a tight La Liga title race and currently top of their Champions League group, perhaps there’s time for Suarez to add to his 13-trophy haul for the Catalan giants.

  

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