Anatomy of a Goal: 12 Years On From Lionel Messi’s Stunning Solo GOAT Goal Against Getafe

?When a goal is voted the Greatest of All Time at any club, it is a big deal. When it is given the GOAT nod at Barcelona, it’s meteoric. It’s seismic. It’s United Nations-worthy. Unfortunately, the UN didn’t see it that way, so they palmed it off on a mere 500,000 fans worldwide. 

What did they select? This. 

April 18th, 2007. A date where the US Supreme Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in a 5-4 decision (not quite 5-2, is it?). A date where Princess Haya Bint Al Hamzah, Princess of Jordan and spouse of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (prime minister of the UAE, and overseer of 90% of modern football clubs) celebrated her 33rd birthday (or maybe not, Wikipedia have it down as May 3rd).

Copa del Rey Semi Final - Barcelona v Getafe

What we do know, definitely, is that this was the day that Lionel Messi shocked the world. 

April 18th 2007, and a fairly innocuous looking Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on the calendar for ?Barcelona against Getafe – that other team from Madrid. It is a goal against the capital lesser’s side, not their Clasico counterparts, which remains embedded in every Barca fan’s head all these years later. Not that this is about Getafe. Or La Blaugrana, for that matter. 

This is about Messi. 

I could tell you the context of the clash, the things that preceded and proceeded this gargantuan moment, but what’s the point? It has all faded into obscurity for a reason. Because there were only 13 significant touches of the ball that occurred during this game. 

Messi’s touches. 

He receives the ball from Xavi – probably Xavi, there seems to be a grainy number six on his back (again, it doesn’t matter) – a few metres inside his own half, on the right touchline. Despite his position in this fairly harmless part of the pitch, the Argentine still has two onrushing Getafans on him right away. 

One is more eager than the other, and flies into Messi with the kind of careless abandon of a player unaware that his opponent is a man who, in two years time, will begin a then-unprecedented run of four consecutive Ballon d’Or wins.

He’s dealt with quickly and ruthlessly. Messi gathers the ball with one exacting touch, and a split-second later his second touch has knocked it softly through the unknowing defender’s legs. His third completes the nutmeg, taking him barrelling – although Leo Messi doesn’t barrel, he glides – towards the halfway line. 

That second fella, having seen his mate get thoroughly embarrassed, doesn’t heed the warning; he barrels – and this time it’s definitely a barrel – towards the number 10 with vengeance in his heart and anger in his eyes. 

This was ill-advised. All too aware that this bitter foe is coming for him next, the magician readies his next trick. With a swift duck of his head, swivel of his hips and shift in direction, Leo has knocked it through another fool’s legs. That’s his fourth. He’s now over the halfway line.

The confidence with which ’13 touches’ was thrown out earlier was misplaced. The problem, or the beauty, of Messi’s dribbling skills is that there are occasions where you think he might’ve touched the ball – he must’ve, because it’s so tethered to his foot – but you can’t be completely sure. It’s either 13 or 14.

Leo Messi,Albin

In any case, his fifth, sixth, potentially ghost-seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth take him – with blistering speed – towards the final wave of defenders. In less than three seconds, he’s approaching the box. 

In all this time, neither of the nutmegged club members have given up. They are still in fevered pursuit, desperately trying to get a grasp of the blurring blaugrana shirt that has inflicted this humiliation. Even without the distraction of a ball at their feet, they never stood a chance. Eventually, the first victim relents. He knows his fate is sealed, why tempt it further? 

The second one? Not so much. He thinks he’s gathering speed, thinks he’s got an opportunity to stop history in its tracks. And so he leaps in to the rescue. The problem is, he has no awareness of his position on the pitch, and the presence of his left-sided centre back right in front of him. 

And so, instead of thwarting the move, he simply succeeds in obstructing his more defensively inclined friend from attempting a challenge. That’s where the 11th touch comes. With brisk dexterity, Messi taps it to the left, away from both, but right into the path of the right-sided centre back. 

Having seen all his good-for-nothing colleagues fail so dramatically, the right-sided centre back is in no mood for niceties. He’s been waiting for this opportunity. He jockeys, he jockeys, and then seeing his opportunity to let rip – the aforementioned 11th touch rolling towards him – he unleashes a Chopper Harris-style lunge.

Like this.

FC Barcelona's Argentine Leo Messi (C) v...

But it’s futile. The number 10 has seen him coming just like he’s seen everyone else, and after tapping it towards him with his left foot, he instantly reverses this with another left-footed tap, like an elongated flip flap. 

Having been steadily travelling diagonally inwards from the touchline all this time, this 12th touch has suddenly taken him square and, more importantly, into the penalty area. It’s just him, the goalkeeper and an awestruck Samuel Eto’o. 

With the ball still rolling, but always within his control, he takes a moment to steady himself. He slows the game down and then, with a sly feint of his head and feet, he feigns to shoot – sitting down the goalkeeper before tapping it around his felled body with his left foot and, in a final flourish, knocking the ball over a recovering defender and into the net with his right.

Samuel Etoo,Leo Messi

Masterful. 

Would it ruin it for you if I told you that this magnificent goal in this magnificent 5-2 win was in vain? If I told you that somehow, Getafe mustered a 4-0 win in the return leg to reach the final? 

No it wouldn’t. Because, in every way, ?Lionel Messi transcends the conventions of football.

Let’

Champions League: Magical Messi Silences Ronaldo

About 90min

90min is a global football media and technology company focused on the digital generation. 90min taps into the passion and dedication of the hyper-connected fan by powering the production of authentic, engaging and socially driven content distributed to a rapidly growing audience in 13 languages across web, mobile and social.

Let’

Twitter Reacts as David de Gea Howler Helps Barcelona Ease Past Man Utd at Camp Nou

?A dominant Barcelona met little resistance from Manchester United as they eased to a comfortable 3-0 victory at Camp Nou. 

Ahead of the game, United fans were quietly optimistic. The team had done the impossible to beat Paris Saint-Germain at this stage in the last round, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a good history of coming out on top at the Camp Nou.

It looked like ?United’s hopes of a dramatic win had been dashed as Barcelona were awarded a penalty after ten minutes following ?Fred’s challenge on? Ivan Rakitic, but the Video Assistant Referee came to save the day, and the referee ultimately overruled the decision.




However, just minutes later, ?Lionel Messi got his revenge. The Argentine shimmied away from United’s defenders before sending a low effort crashing past ?David de Gea and into the back of the United goal.

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, if Messi turns up, chances are you’re going to struggle.

??If the first goal was thanks to Messi’s skill, the second was the exact opposite. A tame effort from distance somehow found a way under De Gea, who certainly should have been able to keep it out. Mission Impossible just became a whole lot harder.

Unfortunately, Twitter was not too understanding towards the Spaniard, so hopefully he has his notifications turned off.



??


??There was nothing De Gea could have done about Barcelona’s third, as Philippe Coutinho unleashed a sublime curling effort from range which flew into the back of the net.

He celebrated by covering his ears, perhaps as a message to those fans who have criticised him this season. Barcelona saw his value when they signed him, and it was for moments like this.



Ultimately, Barcelona were more than good value for their victory, and they can now turn their attention to the semi-final for the first time in four seasons, where they will face either Porto or (most likely) ?Liverpool.



Let’

Barcelona 3-0 Man Utd (4-0 Agg): Report, Ratings & Reaction as Messi Masterclass Sees Off Red Devils

Barcelona eased into the Champions League semi-final with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Manchester United at the Camp Nou on Tuesday.

The first half was full of excitement, and even the Video Assistant Referee got in on the fun by overruling a penalty for Barcelona early on. However, Lionel Messi opened the scoring shortly after with a powerful drive from outside the box. 

Just minutes later, he tried a similar effort which looked to be easy for David de Gea, but the Spaniard somehow allowed the ball to squeeze through him and into the net to give Barcelona a 2-0 lead at the break.

FBL-EUR-C1-BARCELONA-MAN UTD

If the tie wasn’t already over, it was after the hour mark as Philippe Coutinho netted a stunning effort from range, before celebrating by covering his ears to silence the critics. United fought valiantly, and a late Alexis Sanchez header looked to have given United a consolation goal, only for Marc-Andre ter Stegen to pull of a sublime save to preserve the side’s clean sheet and see Barcelona through to the semi-final.

Check out 90min’s breakdown of the game below.


BARCELONA

Key Talking Point

Having been eliminated in the quarter-finals in the last three seasons, ?Barcelona were desperate to put an end to that unwanted run. All ten outfield players were rested in Saturday’s goalless draw with Huesca, and it was clear that Ernesto Valverde was not taking this lightly.

They may have dropped points in ?La Liga, but it all became worth it very quickly as they comfortably powered through to the semi-final.

??

?Real Madrid’s reign of terror in the ?Champions League is over, and Barcelona would love to be the ones to take their place on the throne. On this showing, there will be few teams who can stop them.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: ?Ter Stegen (6); Roberto (6), Pique (7), Lenglet (7), Alba (7); Busquets (6), Rakitic (7), Arthur (7); Messi (8*), Suarez (7), Coutinho (7).

Substitutes: Semedo (6), Vidal (6), Dembele (6).


STAR MAN – Lionel Messi

Surprise, surprise. ?Messi has spent years dominating at the Camp Nou, and he continued that trend with a typically excellent performance against United.

His first goal was a quality effort, and his second was a real gift from ?De Gea. However, his performance was much more than just goals, as Messi dropped deep to pull the strings for his side, spraying passes all over the pitch to keep them in the ascendancy.

He drew players out of position, forced foul after foul, and proved why many feel as though he is on another level. ?United are a good side, but Messi is far more than just good.


MANCHESTER UNITED

Key Talking Point

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have a good history of masterminding miracles at the Camp Nou, but even he was powerless to stop Barcelona’s brilliance. He set his team up well, pressing high and bursting forward on the counter, but conceding two quick goals, the second of which was so avoidable, simply sucked the life out of his team.

Few gave them much of a chance at the Camp Nou, and they fell to the superior team. Dropping out of the Champions League is never easy to take, but there is one positive to take from all this – at least the Red Devils can focus on the ?Premier League.

??

??

??

The race for a top-four finish is hotting up, and United need to be at their best to fight their way into Champions League qualification. They now have nothing else on their plate, so they can go all out in the Premier League. They need to qualify for next season’s tournament, and that is now the only way.


Player Ratings

Starting XI:? De Gea (4); Lindelof (6), Smalling (6), Jones (6), Young (5); McTominay (6), Fred (7*), Pogba (4), Lingard (6); Rashford (6), Martial (6).

Substitutes: Dalot (6), Lukaku (6), Sanchez (6).


STAR MAN – Fred

?Fred has picked up somewhat of a poor reputation since his move to the Premier League, but his showing at the Camp Nou should fill fans with confidence. 

It was by no means a perfect showing from the Brazilian, but his energy and pressing caused plenty of problems for Barcelona’s midfielders, who struggled with the lack of time and space being given to them by Fred.

It was the kind of performance which fans have come to expect from ?Ander Herrera. With the Spaniard potentially nearing the exit door at Old Trafford, Fred’s display should earn him plenty more opportunities going forward.


Looking Ahead

Barcelona host Real Sociedad on Saturday, but they will have one eye on Wednesday’s Champions League action as they will take on the winners of ?Liverpool and Porto’s tie in the semi-final.
United will look to bounce back from this devastating blow when they travel to ?Everton on Sunday, with a top-four finish now their sole aim.

Let’

Juventus Plot Move for Samuel Umtiti Amid Defender’s Concerns Over Game Time at Barcelona

?Juventus are keen on a summer move for Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti amid the defender’s concerns over his game time in Catalonia. 

The 24-year-old signed for Barca from Lyon in 2016, and after lifting the World Cup with France in the summer, he was expected to return to club duty and cement his status as one of the world’s best defenders. 

Alejandro Gallar,Samuel Umtiti

Fortune had other plans for him, however, and a debilitating knee injury picked up in September would put him on the shelf until February, save for a brief return in November where he would exacerbate the issue. 

Though he has had a clean injury record since featuring in the 4-2 victory over Sevilla on February 23rd, the burgeoning partnership between Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet has meant that Umtiti has been resigned to the bench recently; something ?Marca say has put his future up in the air. 

The claim is that he is now far enough down the pecking order that ?Barca may consider his sale this summer, and ?Juventus are poised to take advantage, with sporting director Fabio Paratici keen on luring him to Turin as a replacement for the retiring Andrea Barzagli.

Adding further intrigue to the situation is the saga surrounding Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt. He has long been linked with a move to Barca, with ?AS reporting that Juventus could compete for the 19-year-old’s signature. 

It is believed that he favours a move to ?La Liga alongside Frenkie de Jong, but if he does end up at one of Barca or Juve, it seems likely to have a big impact on Umtiti’s future. 

It doesn’t seem likely that the Spanish champions would be determined to hold onto the France defender should De Ligt further strengthen their defensive resources, while if Juve landed the latter, a move for Umtiti would seem similarly redundant. 

It’s certainly an interesting one to follow, and though we’re a long way from any resolution, it’s a story worth keeping an eye on throughout the remainder of the season.

Let’

20 New Football Stadiums to Look Forward to

For fans of state-of-the-art football stadiums, there’s never been a better time to be alive. 

Not only did Tottenham finally open their brand new ground (which it must be said is absolutely gorgeous), but on 2 April Real Madrid ?unveiled their renderings for the €525m renovation of the Santiago Bernabeu.?

However, Los Blancos aren’t the only side who have plans to improve their ground, with a host of clubs announcing their own renovation designs, or even plans to build new stadia altogether

We’ll cover all of them below – enjoy!


Real Madrid (Santiago Bernabeu)?

?

We begin with the aforementioned plans from Real Madrid to improve their famous home, which will cost between €525m and €575m to complete.

??With an estimated completion date of 2022, the new plans include a retractable roof, encasing the entire ground in stainless steel, and a new commercial space will help bring in €150m in additional annual revenue for the club.

See a full article on the ?Bernabeu’s redevelopment here.


Barcelona (Camp Nou)

?

Barcelona’s ambitious ‘Espai Barça’ redevelopment project will see Camp Nou’s capacity increase to 105,000 (which will make the venue the second biggest football stadium in the world), the addition of a roof, as well as the incorporation of 5g mobile technology (the first stadium in the world to do so).

[embedded content]

The remodelling – which will occur between 2020 and 2023 – will be done without Barcelona having to find a new home, and will incur an estimated cost of €360m.

See a full article on ?Camp Nou’s redevelopment here.


Everton (Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium)

?

Plans for Everton’s new 52,000 seater stadium were ‘leaked’ in February by Everton fan group Everton Aren’t We, who released the concept pictures after the supporter site received a PDF document with plans for the new ground.

The plans predict the Toffees will move into their new stadium in 2023 – finally saying goodbye to Goodison Park, their home ground since 1892 – though the club’s chief executive Robert Elstone said last year that the project will cost ‘significantly more’ than the initial £300m projected cost.


Crystal Palace (Selhurst Park)

?

The Eagles have already been granted the green light (in principle) to expand Selhurst Park’s capacity from 26,000 to over 34,000.

??However, the club are still in talks with Croydon Council and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, with approval from both needed before final planning permission is issued.

If that all goes to plan, then Palace will start work on the main stand this summer to have it ready by the beginning of the 2020/21 season.


Napoli (Stadio San Paolo)

?

When the owner of your club calls your stadium a ‘cesspool’, its probably time to find a new home. 

Such is the case for Napoli, with president Aurelio De Laurentiis currently looking at options to finance the building of a new stadium (including a McDonald’s backed venue as one possibility). Good thing too, since the third tier of the ground is currently off limits to the public.

SSC Napoli v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League

The Stadio San Paolo is currently going through a €23m redevelopment phase in preparation for the 2019 Universiade (international student and youth competition), but De Laurentiis is pushing hard for a new stadium altogether. However, obtaining building permits and financial investment from the city is proving difficult.


Feyenoord (Feyenoord Stadium)

?

We all love a stadium next to a body of water – they just look better. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at the renderings of Feyenoord’s new home in Rotterdam below.

Feyenoord’s ground – which will replace the historic but ageing Stadium de Kuip – will sit on the banks of the river Maas, and with a capacity of 63,000, will be the largest football ground in the Netherlands when it opens in 2023.


AS Roma (Stadio della Roma)

?

The Serie A giants will be moving into their new ground in 2022 (scheduled), saying goodbye to the Stadio Olimpico, which they currently share with rivals Lazio.

??The inspiration for the Stadio della Roma is the Colosseum, which will be reflected in the stone “scrim” that envelops the outside of the stadium. The seating capacity will be 52,000, though this can be extended to 60,000.

While the designs and concept of the new venue are amazing, construction hasn’t actually begun yet. In March, Football Italia reported that Marcello De Vito – President of Rome city council’s assembly – was arrested after he allegedly took bribes from Luca Parnasi, contractor for the Stadio della Roma before he was detained himself last year. Despite the news, the club have insisted that construction on the new ground will go ahead as planned.


Liverpool (Anfield)

?

In 2016 the Reds completed the expansion of the new Main Stand at their historic ground to increase Anfield’s capacity to just over 54,000. 

Liverpool v Leicester City - Premier League

But Liverpool aren’t quite finished tinkering just yet. In October, club chief executive Peter Moore revealed that the Merseyside outfit were considering adding a further 6,000 seats to the Anfield Road End, taking the ground’s total capacity to over 60,000.

However, the clock’s ticking, as Liverpool must submit detailed blueprints for the next stage of the expansion by September 2019 – yet Moore has indicated that the club are still reviewing their options and plans.


Celta Vigo (Abanca Balaídos)

?

O Celtiña have been in their home ground since 1982, and has undergone several redevelopments over the years – including in 2002/03 when the club qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history.

[embedded content]

Since 2015 Balaídos has been undergoing major renovations, which will become a fully covered stadium with capacity for 31,000 spectators (current capacity is 29,000), and, according to ?Marca, will include: 

“A new facade where images can be projected, the flights of stairs on the exterior will be removed and the press room and changing rooms will be relocated to the central part. In addition, the stands will be nearer to the pitch – eight metres away instead of 35.”


Inter Miami CF (Inter Miami CF Stadium)

?

David Beckham’s new MLS expansion team will kick off in 2020, with its permanent home due to open in Miami a season or two later (pending financial and location decisions).

Beckham’s ownership group negotiated a real estate deal with the city of Miami to redevelop the city’s only golf course into a 25,000 seat capacity ground, mall and office park.


Forest Green Rovers (Eco Park)

?

Forest Green Rovers of League Two are doing a solid for the planet by building a new venue which they claim will be the ‘greenest football stadium in the world’.

[embedded content]

A statement on the club’s website reads: “Designed by world renowned architects Zaha Hadid and made almost entirely out of wood, it’ll be the first of its kind in the world. With a capacity of 5,000, Eco Park, would be sited in parkland where some five hundred trees and 1.8km of new hedgerows would be planted.”

The plans for the stadium are yet to be approved by Stroud District Council, and fire safety might be an obvious concern, but if the Green do pull it off they will be playing in the most unique ground in world football (and one perfectly suited to their name).


Manchester United (Old Trafford)

?

The Theatre of Dreams is one of the most iconic grounds in sports, but club officials at United have decided Old Trafford needs a lick of paint and greater capacity.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

Plans have been drawn up three times in the last 10 years to expand the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand, which would take the stadium’s capacity to just over 80,000.

Those plans keep getting delayed, adjusted or cancelled because of the logistical issues with redeveloping Old Trafford (there’s a railway line behind the stadium with houses just beyond), as well as the cost (over £200m for around 10,000 extra seats with limited additional corporate facilities). Furthermore, the Red Devils would likely have to vacate the ground whilst work is being done, so it may be some time before Old Trafford gets redeveloped


AC Milan & Inter? (San Siro)

?

Reports earlier this year suggested that AC Milan were ‘fully embracing’ the idea of moving to a new stadium after almost 100 years at the San Siro.

Previews - UEFA Champions League Final

The news suggested that Milan are sold on the idea of investing €600m in a ‘new San Siro’ just a few hundred yards from their current location, and the only thing missing is confirmation from the city of Milan.

AC Milan v Arsenal - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: First Leg

It’s not clarified whether Inter are on board with the idea, but if plans go ahead, it’s expected that they will continue to share, as the report details plans for separate entrances for the two sides.

See a full article on ?AC Milan building a new stadium here.


Empoli (Stadio Carlo Castellani)

?

The fantastically named Stadio Carlo Castellani has been home to Empoli since 1965, but in 2018 the Serie A outfit announced that it would be launching a complete overhaul of the ground in a project financed through a public-private partnership – the first of its kind in Italy.

Empoli v Bologna FC - Serie A

The new ground – well, almost new (three of the four stands will be rebuilt) – will accommodate 20,000 fans, and Empoli have stated that the ground will be “be sustainable from a social, economic and environmental perspective thanks to a configuration that will make it a zero emissions facility.”


Valencia (Nou Mestalla)

?

If you thought Tottenham took a while to build and move into their new ground, you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on with Valencia.

Nou Mestalla stadium - Valencia

In 2007 – yes, 2007 – Valencia began construction on Nou Mestalla, a 54,000-seat stadium intended to replace Estadio Mestalla. Work carried on for two years, but was then halted for financial reasons, and Valencia has continued to play in their old ground since.

[embedded content]

However, Los Ches signed an agreement with Deloitte last year to help their transfer to the new ground, and the club are expected to finally move into their new home ahead of the 2020/21 La Liga season.


Bologna (Stadio Renato Dall’Ara)

?

In January this year Serie A outfit Bologna announced plans to completely redevelop the Dall’Ara, which first opened in 1927.


The work will involve reducing the stadium’s capacity to 27,000 (from 31,000), with room for expansion to 29,000, as well as the installation of a new roof and stands closer to the pitch. The project is expected to take five years to complete.


Real Sociedad (Anoeta Stadium)

?

La Real’s stadium has undergone significant work since 2017, which involved enlarging the ground and removing the running track around the pitch.


The first phase of redevelopment – including the removal of the track and a new south end stand – was finished just after the start of the 2018/19 season,

the removal of the track and insertion of lower rows of seats on the side stands, and a completely new south end stand. When work is finally completed on the north stand, the stadium will hold 42,300 spectators. 


Atalanta (Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia)

?

Atalanta will begin renovation work on their ancient stadium this year, after the club bought the ground from the local council for €11.2m.

The project will boost the stadium’s capacity from 21,300 to 24,000, and, according to the ?Stadium BusinessAtalanta has previously outlined that other key features of the initiative include, “‘squaring off’ the two end stands of the stadium to connect them with other sections of the venue, as well as building a commercial area in the underground part of the stadium.”


Fiorentina (Nuovo Stadio Fiorentina)

Fiorentina currently play their football at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, though the club have been looking to leave the ancient ground (opened in 1931) since 2008.

[embedded content]

Though construction has not yet begun on the ground – thanks to a corruption scandal and difficulties in securing a new site for the stadium – Florence’s mayor has said that the arena could be ready for use by 2023.

The stadium would be built on the Mercafir site in Florence, and would cost around €420m. And holy heck, if the video is anything to go by, it’s going to look absolutely stunning.


Raja Casablanca & Wydad Casablanca (Grand Stade de Casablanca)

?

This stadium was meant to be part of Morocco’s World Cup in 2010 (had they won the bid instead of South Africa), and then again for the 2026 tournament, but unsuccessful bids meant that it will just have to be used by the city’s two club sides, as well as the Moroccan national team.


Undeterred, Morocco now plan to use the stadium – which will have a capacity of 93,000 once it’s completed in 2025 – for the 2030 World Cup. Third time’s the charm lads


Let’

Predicting the Final 23-Player England Squad Phil Neville Will Name for 2019 Women’s World Cup

?England manager Phil Neville is set to name his 23-player squad for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the coming weeks as the eagerly awaited tournament fast approaches.

Ranked third in the world by FIFA and recent SheBelieves Cup champions, the Lionesses head to France as one of the favourites to lift the trophy.

Here’s a look at the 23 individuals who are likely to be in that final squad, as well a handful of players on the fringes who could still be in with a chance of making it.


Goalkeepers

Carly Telford

?Karen Bardsley (Man City): England’s number one goalkeeper at major tournaments since 2011 is assured of a place in the squad, although her role as a starter is under threat.

Carly Telford (Chelsea): Only lost the opportunity to further challenge Bardsley this month after withdrawing from the squad with concussion prior to facing Spain. (Pictured)

Mary Earps (Wolfsburg) – The former WSL Team of the Year goalkeeper is likely to get the nod as number three ahead of less experienced teenager Ellie Roebuck.

On Standby: Ellie Roebuck (Man City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Man Utd).


Defenders

Lucy Bronze

Lucy Bronze (Lyon) – Now plying her trade in France at club level, England’s star right-back is firmly among the best players in the world after a breakout World Cup in 2015. (Pictured)

Steph Houghton (Man City) – Minor recent injuries won’t keep the captain out of action. She will be a leader in both penalty areas and is a serious goal threat.

Millie Bright (Chelsea) – Back in the fold in April after missing the SheBelieves Cup through injury and could even start in the heart of defence alongside Houghton.

Abbie McManus (Man City) – A key player at club level for Manchester City where she regularly partners Houghton. That familiarity could be crucial in the starter battle with Bright.

Alex Greenwood (Man Utd) – Set to be the sole Manchester United player in the squad after dropping into the second tier to lead the new club’s promotion charge this season. (Pictured)

Alex Greenwood

Leah son (Arsenal) – Set for a first major international tournament at senior level after being a regular feature of recent Lionesses squads. Will be a back-up player in France.

Rachel Daly (Houston Dash) – Capable of playing virtually anywhere on the pitch, she will be an important squad asset, especially if Bronze moves into midfield again.

Demi Stokes (Man City) – Has played 50 times for England since making her senior debut in 2014 and was a surprise omission from the World Cup squad last time around.

On Standby: Gemma Bonner (Man City), Hannah Blundell (Chelsea).


Midfielders

Keira Walsh

Keira Walsh (Man City) – Has become a key England player and midfield linchpin over the last few months, despite only recently celebrating her 22nd birthday. (Pictured)

Karen Carney (Chelsea) – Made her tournament debut for England as a 17-year-old way back in 2005 and continues to be an important player for club and country.

Jade Moore (Reading) – Forced to miss the SheBelieves Cup though injury but was back in the squad for the Canada and Spain friendlies, creating the opening goal in the latter.

Georgia Stanway (Man City) – A top domestic season so far has seen the Manchester City youngster score 11 WSL goals and could be England’s breakout star. (Pictured)

Georgia Stanway,Alexia Putellas

Jill Scott (Man City) – Not necessarily a regular starter for the Lionesses, the veteran has more experience than most but might be under pressure if Izzy Christiansen returns to fitness.

Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham) – Deserving of a place, but another who may be under pressure if Christiansen can prove her fitness earlier than expected after undergoing ankle surgery.

On Standby: Fara s (Reading), Izzy Christiansen (Lyon).


Forwards

Fran Kirby

Nikita Parris (Man City) – 18 WSL goals and counting this season would have been a new league record had it not been for the even more prolific Dutch star Vivianne Miedema.

Fran Kirby (Chelsea) – Sat out the Canada and Spain games this month in order to manage her fitness after suffering from knee pain. Will be England’s chief creative force in France. (Pictured)

Ellen White (Birmingham) – Seemingly a firm favourite of Neville and a player who can always be relied on to give her all and perhaps score a crucial goal.

Beth Mead (Arsenal) – An increasingly important player in England’s attacking ranks after a flurry of recent international goals and a very strong season at club level for Arsenal. (Pictured)

Beth Mead

Toni Duggan (Barcelona) – Set for a first international tournament since moving overseas to play club football for Barcelona. Arguably a more rounded player as a result.

Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign) – Set to turn 33 years of age next month but still a proven international player. Finished Euro 2017 as tournament top scorer with five goals.

On Standby: Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride), Lauren Hemp (Man City), Melissa Lawley (Man City).


England will play two final warm up friendlies against Denmark (25 May) and New Zealand (1 June) – both games are to be broadcast live on BBC television – before kicking off their World Cup campaign for real against neighbours Scotland in Nice on 9 June.

Let’

Barcelona vs Manchester United Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Manchester United will travel to the Camp Nou on Tuesday to face Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

An own goal from Luke Shaw gifted Ernesto Valverde’s side a vital away goal coming into this game, meaning United have to score on Tuesday if they are to have any chance of survival.

Luis Suarez

Barcelona rested almost all of their star players in Saturday’s goalless draw with Huesca, meaning they will be up for the challenge. With the La Liga title almost wrapped up, the Champions League has become their priority, and they will do all they can to win it.

Check out 90min’s breakdown of the game below.


Where to Watch

?When Is Kick Off? ?Tuesday 16 April
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?20:00 (BST)
?Where Is it Played? ?Camp Nou
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?BT Sport 2
?Referee? ?Felix Brych

Team News

?Barcelona paid the price for fielding a heavily rotated side in Saturday’s draw with minnows Huesca. Only ?Marc-Andre ter Stegen kept his place from Wednesday’s game, whilst Philippe Coutinho, Arthur and Jordi Alba were all second-half substitutes.

The result may have been frustrating, but the Blaugrana took a major positive from the game as ?Ousmane Dembele managed 67 minutes of action on his return from a thigh injury, and now could be set to feature against ?United.

Ousmane Dembele,Moises Gomez

As for United, they will certainly be without ?Shaw, who is suspended after picking up his third yellow card of the competition in the first leg. However, they will hope to welcome back ?Nemanja Matic, ?Alexis Sanchez and ?Ander Herrera, who have all struggled with injury in recent weeks.


Predicted Lineups

?Barcelona Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Arthur, Rakitic; Messi, Suarez, Dembele?
Manchester United? ?De Gea; Dalot, Smalling, Lindelof, Young; Matic, Pogba, Fred; Martial, Lukaku, Rashford

Head to Head Record

Barcelona may not have been at their best in the first leg, but they still picked up a vital 1-0 win to give them a potentially decisive advantage heading into the second tie. United need to score at the Camp Nou, something they have only managed once in the past.

Boudewijn Zenden of Barcelona evades Roy Keane and Paul Scholes of Manchester United

?Back in 1998, the two sides played out a dramatic 3-3 draw in Spain, but Barcelona have a good track record when it comes to shutting out the Red Devils. On home soil, Barcelona have kept three clean sheets from four games against United, and they will be keen to add one more to that tally on Tuesday.


Recent Form

The ?La Liga giants have tasted defeat just once in 2019, although any momentum they built up from important wins against both United and ?Atletico Madrid may have been halted as a second-string Barcelona side were held by the division’s bottom side, Huesca.

Paul Pogba,Marcus Rashford

As for United, they bounced back from defeat in the first leg with a 2-1 win over ?West Ham United on Saturday, but they certainly relied on good fortune to emerge unscathed. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t care, as the win brought an end to their two-game losing streak.

Here’s how the two sides have performed in their last five fixtures:

?Barcelona Manchester United?
?SD Huesca 0-0 Barcelona (13/4) ?Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United (13/4)
?Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona (10/4) ?Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona (10/4)
?Barcelona 2-0 Atletico Madrid (6/4) ?Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Manchester United (2/4)
?Villarreal 4-4 Barcelona (2/4) ?Manchester United 2-1 Watford (30/3)
?Barcelona 2-0 Espanyol (30/3) ?Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Manchester United (16/3)

Prediction

United need a goal, so they have to go for this. The likes of ?Paul Pogba, ?Marcus Rashford and ?Romelu Lukaku need to be at their best for Solskjaer’s men to get the win here, and we have seen just how prolific they can be when United are on top form.

Unfortunately, they haven’t been on top form for weeks. Since that? first defeat to ?Wolverhampton Wanderers, United have looked lethargic, and the good results have been scarce. They were fortunate to beat West Ham, but coming out on top against Barcelona is another test.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-WEST HAM

Valverde’s side have looked dominant all season, and his key players will all be well-rested, meaning they should be ready to perform on Tuesday. They have lost just once at the Camp Nou this season, and they won’t want a second defeat on their hands.

Prediction: Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United

Let’

Takefusa Kubo Subject of Impending Transfer Battle Between Barcelona & Real Madrid

?Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to do battle in the race to sign Japanese prospect Takefusa Kubo from FC Tokyo.

The youngster was previously on the books in Catalonia and was one of the signings which Barca were punished by FIFA for over the transfers of underage players, as the player was not even a teenager at the time.

Takefusa Kubo

However, Kubo, who is known as ‘Take’, is set to turn 18 in June and that could pave the way for his return to Europe. As per ?Marca, ?Barcelona are already plotting his return to Camp Nou, though the La Liga champions with face competition for his signature from arch rivals ?Real Madrid.

It is said that PSG have also approached Take’s agent to register their interest in the attacker, who is able to play either as an attacking midfielder or as a forward.

However, after spending four years in Barcelona’s youth academy between 2011 and 2015, it is suggested that the Catalans hold an advantage over their rivals in a potential race to sign the youngster, as Take apparently has a ‘commitment’ to the Blaugrana should he return to Europe. 

Ernesto Valverde’s side are widely reported to be in the market for attacking reinforcements this summer, particularly with the need for a successor for 32-year-old ?Luis Suarez, though Take is recognised more as a playmaker than as a goalscorer.

Barcelona had recently believed that a deal to seal Take’s return to Catalonia had already been sealed, though certain ‘obstacles’ have since emerged which mean that there is still some work to be done.

Given that Take will only turn 18 in June, it is likely that he would be more closely involved with Barca’s youth setup should he complete his return to Spain, though Ernesto Valverde showed his willingness to integrate the club’s youngsters in Saturday’s game against SD Huesca.

Takefusa Kubo

The Spaniard handed academy graduate Riqui Puig among others his La Liga debut in the 0-0 draw, meaning that Take’s potential route into Barca’s first team may not prove too clouded.

Let’

Ernesto Valverde Reveals How ‘Circumstances Around the Game’ Cost Barcelona in Huesca Draw

?Ernesto Valverde insisted that he was ‘happy’ with his side’s performance on Saturday despite Barcelona being held to a 0-0 draw away to SD Huesca in La Liga.

The champions went into the game 11 points clear at the top of the table against the league’s bottom side, and Valverde opted to field a heavily rotated side which showed ten changes from the team which recently earned a 1-0 win in the Champions League over Manchester United.


With the second leg looming next week, ?Barca were clearly more focused on seeing that job through in the quarter final as the Catalans were held in an uneventful draw on Saturday. After the game, Valverde said via ?Goal: “We’re happy because it was a difficult match for us.

“A lot of new people came in, but they understood what they had to do. I did not want to play [Nelson] Semedo or [Jordi] Alba because they played the full game the other day. Sergi Roberto had muscle discomfort, too. 

“We were forced to play with Malcom on one wing and Wague on the other. It cost us a little at the beginning, but we’re happy because the players went above and beyond, and we had our options. It was tough, but I thought that’s what we needed to do.

Jordi Alba,Malcom Filipe Silva de Oliveira

“You have to understand the circumstances around the game. They were not normal debuts, like when a player debuts alongside the first-choice players.

“We changed a lot of players, the way to play and against a team that’s playing against relegation.”

Saturday’s draw saw the gap at the top of La Liga close to nine points after second-placed ?Atletico Madrid secured a 2-0 victory over Celta Vigo later the same day.


However, Barca’s immediate attention will now turn to the second leg of their Champions League quarter final as the Blaugrana prepare to welcome Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to Camp Nou, aiming to build on their 1-0 advantage from the first leg.

Let’