Arturo Vidal’s Importance to Barcelona Highlighted by Remarkable Unbeaten Streak

?Barcelona have some fantastic players. The likes of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and recent signing Frenkie de Jong often attract all the praise, but one player who tends to fly under the radar is Arturo Vidal.

After joining in 2018, Vidal quickly established himself as a fan favourite, thanks to his undying determination and work rate. When called upon, the 32-year-old always knows how to get the job done.

Arturo Vidal

He was handed his first start of the season during Sunday’s meeting with Sevilla, and ?Vidal made the most of his chance by firing home the opening goal of the game. He was impressive in midfield, and the stats prove that it wasn’t just a one-off.

As noted by ?Opta, ?Barcelona have never lost a ?La Liga game with Vidal in the starting lineup. The Chilean has now inspired them to 15 wins and eight draws in his 23 starts, which proves why he is one of Ernesto Valverde’s most dependable options.

Unfortunately for Vidal, first-team opportunities aren’t always easy to come by. The arrival of De Jong has only added to the competition in Barcelona’s midfield, with Sergio Busquets, ?Ivan Rakitic, Arthur and young Carles Alena all battling for minutes.

As a result, Vidal has often been forced to settle for opportunities as a substitute, and that’s not just in La Liga. He regularly plays the role of backup in cup competitions as well, but still manages to influence games during his brief outings.

In his 59 appearances for La Blaugrana, Vidal has managed five goals and eight assists, which is a fantastic return for a player who does not often get the minutes he perhaps deserves.

Lionel Messi,Arturo Vidal

Because of the competition for places, Vidal has regularly been linked with a move away from Camp Nou. He has two years remaining on his contract, but his value to the Barcelona squad is clear to see.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

Victor Valdés Sacked as Barcelona Under-19 Coach Just 3 Months After Being Appointed

?Victor Valdés has officially been relieved of his duties as Barcelona’s Under-19 manager, after a reported disagreement with head of youth Patrick Kluivert over tactics.

Valdés return to the club back in July was a celebrated one, as the 37-year-old – who won six ?La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues between the sticks at Camp Nou – took up a role with the club for the first time since leaving in 2014.

It’s been a bumpy road ever since, however, with reports from Spain (?SPORT) recently ramping up talk of a fall-out with Kluivert, who insisted on Valdés implementing a 4-3-3 system – something the former keeper was against.

Victor Valdes

The club had been transparent about the situation, and while they didn’t detail the nature of the disagreement between Valdés and the club, it had been clear there from the official word from ?Barca that there was some animosity. ?Previous statements confirmed simply that Valdés would not be travelling to a game against Gimnastic de Tarragona, and that a meeting would be held to discuss his future. 

And now, the club have confirmed his departure officially, in a brief announcement that named Under-19s B team coach Artiga Franc as his immediate replacement. 

“FC Barcelona has told Víctor Valdés that he is no longer the coach of Juvenil A and belonging to the club,” ?the statement reads. “Artiga Franc, until now coach of Juvenil B and in the Masia since 2010, becomes the coach of Juvenil A.”

While the youth ranks are in a state of coaching turmoil, further up the ladder, the Blaugrana first team finally seems to be getting it right.

After a dismal start to the season that had them embroiled in a state of crisis, they won a fourth game on the bounce when they ?hammered Sevilla 4-0 at the weekend – albeit a win punctuated with a couple of red cards to the debuting Ronald Araujo and the impressive Ousmane Dembele. 


For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

Barcelona 4-0 Sevilla: Report, Ratings and Reaction as Sensational Luis Suarez Strike Starts Rout

Barcelona reduced the gap between themselves and La Liga leaders Real Madrid to two points with a 4-0 rout of Sevilla on Sunday night in a game which also included red cards for Ronald Araujo and Ousmane Dembele.

?Barca started the stronger of the two sides, but required a world class stop from Marc-Andre ter Stegen to deny Luuk de Jong the opening goal, the German defying science to get down to his left and stop the striker’s effort from nestling in the bottom corner. 

The Dutchman was misfiring, and could have had another two before ?Barca went to town. Moments after De Jong’s header skidded off the turf and veered over the bar, Suarez was on hand to convert Nelson Semedo’s cross with a spectacular overhead kick. 


After taking a beat to settle into the game, Barcelona were well and truly at their best, and even  Ernesto Valverde looked surprised at the quality of show his men were putting on. Some scintillating football freed Arthur to cross invitingly for Arturo Vidal to poke home, and then Dembele took it upon himself to end Diego Carlos’ professional career with a fake shot before cutting inside to stroke home number three.

The three goals came across a frantic eight-minute spell that left Sevilla reeling, and Julen Lopetegui’s men had no answer to a vintage Barcelona performance, although De Jong missed another good chance to pull one back early in the second half. 

Lionel Messi, uncharacteristically quiet in a rampant first half, was keen to get himself back among the goals, and came within a Tomas Vaclik fingertip of doing just that after a mazy dribble along the edge of the Sevilla area.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-SEVILLA

There was no such bad luck as the game edged towards the final ten minutes, however, as the Argentine curled a 25-yard free-kick up and over the wall to make it four. 

Things then went a bit nuts when both Araujo and Dembele – the former making his debut from the bench – saw red for individual moments of madness, but there would be no further consolation for Sevilla, as the score stayed at 4-0. 


BARCELONA

Key Talking Point?

After a wobbly start to the season had the club firmly embedded in a state of crisis, things were finally starting to look up for Ernesto Valverde ahead of this one. They had won three on the bounce since that damaging defeat at Granada two weeks ago, and a Champions League win over Inter during the week put some momentum behind them ahead of this one.

Valverde was forced into one change as Jean-Clair Tobido came in for the suspended Clement Lenglet, but he opted for another two, resting Sergio Busquets and Antoine Griezmann in favour of Vidal and Dembele. And while the personnel changes raised an eyebrow or two, both were justified shortly after the half-hour mark with a clinical double-salvo that put them out of sight. 

The quality of the goals scored by Barca was, quite frankly, frightening. Suarez’s inch-perfect acrobatic effort set the tone, but the tiki-taka build-up for Vidal’s strike – while it wasn’t the cleanest of finishes – put you in mind of the great Guardiola side of ten years ago.

Ousmane Dembele

The game was put to bed by half-time after Dembele sold Diego Carlos down the river and nonchalantly passed the ball into the far corner, but that didn’t stop Messi getting his name on the scoresheet with a free-kick that continued the trend. 

The remit for Valverde’s side was a win against one of the toughest opponents La Liga had to offer to keep the pressure on Real at the top, and any win would have done. What we got,  however, went far beyond that, as La Blaugrana turned in a display that suggested their early-season crisis may have been no more than a false dawn.

Red cards for the debuting Araujo and Dembele, as well as a booking for Semedo that will see  him suspended for their next match, were less than ideal. But that won’t take the shine off what was an emphatic victory for the defending champions.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ter Stegen (7); Roberto (6), Tobido (7), Pique (6), Semedo (8); Arthur (7), De Jong (6), Vidal (7); Messi (6), Suarez (8), Dembele (8).

Substitutes: Busquets (7), Rakitic (6), Araujo (6).


STAR PLAYER – In the absence of Jordi Alba, it wasn’t abundantly clear who would answer Barcelona’s left-back problems. With a solid display there during the week and a devastating attacking performance this time out, it looks as if Nelson Semedo has done that. 

The Portugal international was involved in everything going forward, linking up with Dembele in a left-wing overload that froze Messi out the game during the first half. He crossed for Suarez’s ridiculous opener, and it was his bit of skill on the touch line – showing Jesus Navas the door with a drag-back before taking off towards the area – that kick-started play for the third. 


SEVILLA 

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Vaclik (6); Navas (6), Carlos (4), Carrico (6), Reguilon (5);  Banega (5), Fernando  (6), Torres (5); Ocampos (6), De Jong (4), Nolito (5).

Substitutes: Munir (6), Jordan (5), Hernandez (5).


Looking Ahead

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-SEVILLA

There is nothing on the immediate horizon for either club with an international break coming up, but Barca resume service away to SD Eibar in a fortnight, with a trip to Slavia Prague in the Champions League four days later. 

Sevilla, meanwhile, will host Levante in two weeks time, before resuming their Europa League campaign against Luxembourg champions F91 Dudelange.

Let’

Barcelona vs Sevilla: 8 Key Facts & Stats to Impress Your Mates Ahead of La Liga Clash

?Hola Spanish football friends! If there’s one thing that gets the pulse racing before a huge La Liga clash, it’s a selection of carefully chosen mouth-watering statistics to bury your head in. 

Barcelona and Sevilla are both sitting on 13 points after seven matches, and the two sides go mano-a-mano on Sunday evening in a massive Camp Nou battle. 

Lionel Messi

Ernesto Valverde’s side come into this game off the back of a hard-fought Champions League victory over Italian side ?Inter, whilst Sevilla defeated APOEL 1-0 in their Europa League commitments. 

Both teams have proved to be a little hit and miss during their domestic duties, and they’ll be desperate to get one over their rivals on Sunday evening. 

So whilst you’re enjoying a pint of Estrella and tucking into some pre-match tapas, have a look at our pre-match stats brought to you by the wonderful ?Opta, so you can impress your amigos before the big kick-off. 


Barcelona Beatings 

Yeah, this fixture doesn’t bode well for Sevilla supporters really. As far as head-to-head records go, the Andalusian side have been forced into eating Barcelona’s dust.

Luis suarez

?Barcelona have defeated Sevilla 82 times in La Liga history, more than any other team has beaten them in the competition.

Yikes. 


Sevilla-ly Struggling 

The away side’s poor record against Lionel Messi’s men extends to the recent past too, where Sevilla have won just one of their last 24 La Liga games against Barcelona (D5 L18) – a 2-1 victory in October 2015 – keeping a clean sheet in just one of those 24 matches.

Francisco Alcacer Garcia,Paco Alcacer,Jesus Navas Gonzalez of Sevilla FC

Could it be two in 25 after Sunday evening? (I doubt it).

To magnify that horrific stat slightly more, Sevilla have not won any of their last 16 La Liga trips to Camp Nou (D2 L14), conceding 44 goals in total (2.8 per game). 

17th time’s the charm, right? 


Home Is Where the Three Points Are 

If it’s any consolation to Sevilla fans, it’s not just their team that has nightmares of Camp Nou. Barcelona have only lost one of their last 58 league games at Camp Nou (W48 D9), losing against Real Betis in November 2018.

Sevilla will be hoping to replicate the heroics of their local rivals, but history and common sense suggest it’s unlikely. 


Messi’s Playground 

Oh man, if there’s one person who you don’t want to take a shine to your team, it’s ?Leo Messi. The man toys with every side he faces, but earning the title as Messi’s favourite opposition – well, you might as well stay at home and avoid the humiliation. ?

Barcelona’s Messi has scored 36 goals against Sevilla in all competitions, his favourite opponent. 21 of those 36 goals have been scored at Camp Nou.

The Argentine magician has put Sevilla to the sword regularly in recent meetings and has been involved in at least one goal in 20 of his last 21 matches against Sevilla in all competitions (23 goals and 14 assists).

Close your eyes and hope for the best Sevilla fans. 


Griezy Does it for Antoine 

Messi is not the only Barça star who has a jolly old time against their upcoming opponents, as new signing Antoine Griezmann also tends to have a field-day against Julen Lopetegui’s men. 

Maxime Gonalons,Antoine Griezmann

The Frenchman has scored in four of his last five La Liga games against Sevilla (six goals in total), including a hat-trick in February 2018 for ?Atlético Madrid

If Messi don’t get ya, Griezmann will. 


Ernesto Goalfest-o 

?Ernesto Valverde is a man constantly under pressure at Barca, but his form over Sevilla has probably kept him in a job over recent years. La Blaugrana might have some difficulties on the road under the Spaniard, but Fort Knox is easier to penetrate than Camp Nou. 

FBL-EUR-C1-BARCELONA-INTER

Not to mention, Valverde has had home success over Sevilla wherever he’s managed and has seen his teams score in all 11 home La Liga matches against Sevilla (W9 L2) during his managerial career.

Gulp. 


Fear Munir

?

Sevilla do possess a secret weapon in the form of forward Munir El Haddadi, who has scored in two of his three games against Barcelona in La Liga, doing so with Valencia in the 2016/17 season.

Munir

The ex-Barcelona man has been a thorn in the side of his former club in recent times, and Lopetegui will unleash their goalscoring beast as they attempt to topple the Catalan giants for the first time in a long time. 


Luc Out! Ocampos Is About 

Another man in form for the away side is Lucas Ocampos, and he’ll be keen to continue his current rich vein of form. The Argentine forward joined Los Hispalenses from Marseille this summer and has hit the ground running for his new club. 

Lucas Ocampos

Ocampos has been directly involved in three of Sevilla’s last five goals in La Liga (two goals and one assist). A glimmer of hope for Sevilla? 

Let’

Predicting Barcelona’s Starting XI for Crucial Sevilla Clash

Following an important win over Inter in the Champions League in midweek, Barcelona return to action in La Liga where they will be taking on Sevilla. 

La Blaugrana have made an underwhelming start to the new campaign, having already suffered two defeats and, as a result, currently find themselves fourth in the table. 

The last clash between the two in the league was a gripping one, with the score ending 4-2 in favour of Ernesto Valverde’s men on that occasion – a certain Lionel Messi popping up with a hat-trick to help see his team over the line. 

Here’s the Barca predicted starting XI for Sunday’s clash.


Goalkeeper & Defenders

Gerard Pique

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (GK) – Although there is a growing dispute over Ter Stegen’s role in the Germany national team, there are no such issues when it comes to his role at his club. The shot-stopper has been in inspired form this season once again and will be looking to pick up a clean sheet in the final match before the international break. As a result of his fine form, the ‘keeper will have the chance to impress his national coach, with Joachim Low confirming that he will start his country’s match against Argentina. 

Sergi Roberto (RB) – Sergi Roberto fell down the pecking order under Valverde this season, with Nelson Semedo appearing to be the coach’s first choice. However, the injury to Jordi Alba has paved the way for Roberto to gain some valuable minutes. And the 27-year-old’s experience and reading of the game will be crucial in the upcoming clash with Sevilla. 

Gerard Pique (CB) – A fixture in the side. Pique is one of the best defenders of this generation and although ?there has been some friction between himself and the board of directors, it appears as though this is now past them. To that end, his role in the team cannot be understated and he will have to be at his best on Sunday evening. 

Jean-Clair Todibo (CB) – With Clement Lenglet getting sent off in the last game, and Samuel Umtiti still injured, Todibo could be set to make his second appearance of the season in La Liga. Sunday’s match is an opportunity for the 19-year-old to showcase his talent once more and prove that he is worthy of greater game time. 

Nelson Semedo (LB) – Summer signing Junior Firpo was the obvious choice to fill the void left by the injured Jordi Alba, but he is yet to fully settle at his new home. Valverde appears to trust Semedo more at this moment in time, despite the defender considering himself as a right-back. Nonetheless, Valverde won’t have to make a decision for the upcoming clash, as Junior has been ruled out. 


Midfielders

Frenkie De Jong

Sergio Busquets (CM) – Some have questioned whether Busquets is able to influence a game as much as he once did, but there is no denying his continued importance to the squad. The 31-year-old is a leader in the dressing room and although he was replaced by Arturo Vidal in midweek, we expect him to retain his place in the team as La Blaugrana are sure to need his services in a crunch clash.

Frenkie de Jong (CM) – Frenkie de Jong has wasted no time whatsoever in settling into life at Barcelona, dictating the midfield with consummate ease. The 22-year-old has featured in every game for the Spanish giants this term and has even chipped in with a goal, reaffirming his importance to the team. 

Arthur (CM) – Arthur is creative and direct in his play, with his stats this term backing this up. Two goals and one assist from four appearances in La Liga is an impressive return for a central midfielder and Valverde will be hoping he can maintain this form throughout the season. 


Forwards

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (RW) – One of the GOAT’s of the game. The Argentine proved his fitness in midweek and finally appears to be over his injury troubles, which will come as a huge relief to Valverde. To put it simply, if ?Messi is fit, he plays. He showcased his sheer magic in the win over Inter, helping spur his team on with his intricate ball control and precise passing. 

Antoine Griezmann (LW) – Griezmann has shown his quality sporadically this season, but fans are waiting to see the Frenchman put in more consistent displays. With Messi back from injury, there is a hope that the front three will be able to forge an understanding of each others games that will propel La Blaugrana to the title. 

Luis Suarez (ST) – ?Suarez has faced a lot of criticism this season, with the footballing world scrutinising his sub-par performances. However, the striker was anything but on Wednesday, bagging two world-class goals to rescue his side. He will be full of confidence and that spells trouble for Sevilla. 

Let’

Video: Barcelona Release Trailer for Their Upcoming Behind the Scenes ‘Matchday’ Documentary

?Barcelona have released a trailer for their upcoming behind the scenes documentary, ‘Matchday’, which includes never-seen-before footage of the entire squad.

Made alongside sponsor Rakuten, ‘Matchday’ will consist of eight 45-minute episodes that are based around Barcelona’s key games from the 2018/19 season – including both legs of their Champions League semi-final against Liverpool.

Having released the trailer for the documentary on Friday, Barcelona also made a statement underneath the ‘Matchday’ trailer which confirmed actor John Malkovich would be providing the narration.

[embedded content]

The statement read: “Among the key events of the past season covered throughout the different episodes is El Clásico, the subject of two episodes showing how players prepare for the match, how they handle the pressure of this important event and their experience of the 90 minutes on the field of play. 

“Specifically, the series covers the game at the Camp Nou won 5-1 by Barça, as well as the Copa del Rey match at the Santiago Bernabéu that ended 0-3.”

But it’s not just on the pitch that ‘Matchday’ will cover, as Barcelona have confirmed that fans will be given an insight into the private lives of some of their star players, including Luis SuárezGerard Piqué and Lionel Messi.

Matchday will also feature contributions from different people who, through personal experiences, have become part of Barça,” the statement continued.

“Examples of these are Rafa, the firefighter who, despite having lost his sight in an explosion, continues to attend the Camp Nou when the club plays, and Andrey, a fan from Russia who follows FC Barcelona wherever they go.”

Let’

Victor Valdes Set for Barcelona Exit as Club Confirm Meeting With Youth Coach Next Week

?Barcelona have confirmed that youth coach Víctor Valdés will be called in for a meeting over his future next week after appearing to fall out with fellow club legend Patrick Kluivert, who’s in charge of the club’s academy.

Kluivert was brought in during the summer as part of a shakeup behind the scenes at Barcelona, but the former Netherlands international apparently doesn’t see eye to eye with Valdés over the direction of the club’s infamous La Masia academy.

Victor Valdes

Catalunya Radio (via AS) claim that Valdés has already told his players that he doesn’t know if he’ll be kept on, and Barcelona have already confirmed that the former goalkeeper will not be on the sidelines this weekend.

Víctor Valdés, coach of Juvenil A, will not travel to the game, which will be played against Gimnastic de Tarragona at the Municipal Camp de la Pobla de Mafumet,” a statement on Barcelona’s official website read.

The reigning league champions also confirmed that they’ve planned to hold a meeting next week to discuss Valdés’ position at the club, with it already expected that Barcelona will decide to change their academy coach.

Valdés, who graduated from Barcelona’s academy almost 20 years ago, has previously worked as a youth coach at ED Moratalaz before returning to Catalonia earlier this year.

He made over 500 appearances for Barcelona as a player where he won 21 major honours before going on to end his career with spells in England and Belgium, while Valdés also became a World Cup winner and European Champions with Spain.

Let’

Luis Suarez: The Uruguayan Heel Who Never Bit Off More Than He Could Chew

Luis Suarez is number 6 in 90min’s Top 20 Greatest Footballers of the Decade series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next two weeks.?


Of course, we had to start this with a biting joke. Where else would we begin? It’s the not-so-ignored, and Apple logo-esque (you know, with a chunk out of it) elephant in the room. 

Luis Suarez bites people. On a football field. With fairly regular occurrence. And the tales of these terrifying teeth marks get told with similar constancy. And, with each re-telling, the teeth get sharper, the snarling pre-meditation more deviant, the demonic grin wider. 

Combine this with the widely reported incident of Suarez headbutting a referee when he was just 15, and a not-so-pretty picture is formed. Stories like this are how a legend is born, a narrative crafted and then reinforced time and again.

Hector Moreno (D) de Pumas de la Univers

In the meantime, though, the Uruguayan was crafting a legend of his own. And it’s undeniable. 

There are so many places at which you could start to tell this story – from the fierce streets of Uruguay to the gothic grounds of Groningen to the strawberry fields of Liverpool and beyond – but how about this very week? 

For, on display in Barcelona’s midweek Champions League clash with Inter, was everything you need to know about Suarez as a footballer. The relentless desire, the inch-perfect technique, the irrepressible intelligence – all still working in perfect harmony, even after 32 long years of life.

That latter part is not something many focus on. No one can deny the desire, the relentlessness of his pursuit, but the brain behind all that effort can be overlooked.

Thankfully, after showing all the technique with that leaping opener of a volley, he provided yet another instance of the intelligence with his touch to set-up the second, crafting a path to goal that few could see, let alone execute.

Luis suarez,Diego Godin

Normally, these articles are about career trajectory – how a player came to be who he is today, and how they came to define the decade in that time. And Suarez’s arc is an entertaining as anyone’s, from his eruption as a force in South America with Nacional to his honing in the Netherlands, his arrival in the Premier League – by the end of which he was, in my humble opinion, the best player in the world – and his legacy affirming trophy procession in Catalonia.

But those achievements and statistics can’t properly define ?Suarez. It’s a smattering of special moments that do so.

And, seeing as by this point we know those storied scenes such as the hat-trick against Norwich or the de facto Champions League final winner all too well, it’s a couple dredged up away from the beaten path that might best explain his unique presence.

It should be said, both of these are situations in which I was actively rooting against the Uruguayan.


We’ll start in west London.

On a cold night in December 2012, I saw the greatest individual performance I’ve ever been witnessed live in the flesh. The stadium was Loftus Road (now admirably known as the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium), the opposing team something resembling Queens Park Rangers. 

Now, sure, this QPR side was quintessential relegation fodder, but this was not the Liverpool of 2013/14. This was the Liverpool that had just been beaten by Stoke, that were languishing in ninth, and that would finish seventh. 

In any case, two days before the start of 2013, in the depths of winter – you know, when fairweather South Americans are SuPposED tO STrugGle!! – Suarez shone brighter than any North Star I’d ever seen. 

With 10 minutes gone, he picked up the ball about 10 metres from the D, with five opponents closer to him than any teammates, but spotted a 62-year-old Clint Hill backtracking in-front of him, and spliced right through the rearguard, slotting it into the bottom left corner just as the three covering defenders converged on him.

FBL-ENG-PR-QPR-LIVERPOOL

Six minutes later, he’d latched onto a Stewart Downing – yep, this is the quality we’re talking about – ball down the flank, sped into the area, delivered the cross, had that cross blocked, maintained his run and spanked it into the net himself. 

In video, this amounts to two impressive, but not particularly memorable, goals in a routine 3-0 win against utter sh*te. But in person, it was spellbinding. That is the power of Suarez. He is a visceral experience. In times of quiet, his high-pitched screeches and whines puncture the air, his persistent petulance everywhere you look.

He’s an absolute pest. And it enrages and infuriates you – as a Liverpool-hating Chelsea fan, I was in the home end with a Rangers-supporting friend – just as much as it enraptures you. But enrapture it does. 

The next encapsulation of Suarez essence comes from a game in which my desire to beat him was infused with Stella and jingoistic fervour.

Uruguayan Nacional's fans cheer in suppo

It’s the 2014 World Cup – five days before Suarez’s gnashers would come out to play once again.

A bedraggled-but-still-promising England up against the wily Uruguayans. And seeing as I wasn’t in Brazil, this is less about the visceral nature of the man, the myth, the legend up close and personal, and more the profound way in which he wears his heart on his sleeve, those close and personal emotions there for all to see. 

Upon scoring the game’s first goal in the 39th time, after peeling off the back of Phil Jagielka (Jesus wept) and cutely nodding the header over Joe Hart’s (…) outstretched hand, he wheels away with trademark delight. The three kisses are enacted. Everyone is ecstatic.

But Suarez is overwhelmed. His face is taught with joy, his fists clenched indefinitely, and as his teammates encircle him with hugs, he’s visibly close to tears. 

It means that much. 

It always did. 

Luis Suarez

And, of course, he’d have me in a similar state with five minutes left to go in the game, anticipating a misjudged header from Steven Gerrard far quicker than anyone else and lashing in the resulting chance. 

This time, the emotion is instant, etched all over his body as he spreads his arms in both disbelief and relief, just as I stare at the screen through blearly eyes, head in hands, despondent beyond belief.

But those reserves of emotion are what make Suarez Suarez. They are what separate him from the other preeminent – and non-Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo – striker of his generation: Robert Lewandowski. 

Where the Pole is all freakish efficiency, eastern European stoicism and mechanical majesty – yes, in this case ladies and gents, the international stereotypes really do ring true – Suarez is pent up South American passion.

Luis suarez

Sometimes it’s controlled, sometimes it overflows with dire consequences, but it’s always there, pumping his blood, pervading his being, providing his motivation, pushing his talent to the edge.

It’s why he’s here. And it’s why he’ll stand the test of time.


Number 20 – Arjen Robben: The Flying Dutchman Who Became a Modern Legend at Bayern Munich

Number 19 – Mohamed Salah: The Humble King Who Conquered Rome and Took Liverpool By Storm

Number 18 – Sergio Aguero: The Man Who Painted Manchester Blue With One Kick of a Football

Number 17 – Manuel Neuer: The Bayern Munich & Germany Legend Who Revolutionised Goalkeeeping

Number 16 – Eden Hazard: The Brilliant Belgian Who Mesmerised Fans Across the World

Number 15 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The Man Who Needs No Introduction

Number 14 – Toni Kroos: The Underrated Jahrhunderttalent Who Was There for the Biggest Occasions

Number 13 – Giorgio Chiellini: The Juventus Who Has Always Found a Way to Win

Number 12 – Marcelo: From Favela Kickabouts Under Grandad’s Watch to 4 Champions League Win

Number 11 – Robert Lewandowski: Bayern Munich’s Best Foreign Player & Europe’s Most Underrated Star in History

Number 10 – Neymar Jr: Brazil’s Generational Talent Who Dictated the Greatest Champions League Night in History

Number 9 – Gareth Bale: The Cursed Talent Who Went on to Conquer Europe Four Times

?Number 8 – Dani Alves: The Maverick Who’s Just Too Good to Be Copied

?Number 7 – Franck Ribery: The Serial Entertainer Who Was Born to Win


Let’

90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings – Week 7: Champions League Special

Following a week in which: 

– Bayern Munich absolutely THUMPED Tottenham Hotspur 7-2.

– Leicester City absolutely THUMPED Newcastle United 5-0. 

– Every football journalist known to man absolutely THUMPED Manchester United with a bombardment of ‘Manchester United haven’t had a shot on target since Father Ted kicked Bishop Brennan up the arse’ stats. 

We at 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings headquarters, while listening to Danny Brown’s ‘uknowhatimsayin¿’, use quotes from Sharon Horgan & Rob Delaney’s ‘Catastrophe’ to rank the 15 best teams in Europe.


15) RB Leipzig (Down 11) 

FBL-EUR-C1-LEIPZIG-LYON

“No. I mean, I do think about dying but in a kind of abstract way. You know, like, sometimes I imagine a meteor hitting the house and killing me and the kids.”

This past week not just one, but two, meteors hit RB Leipzig, killing all optimism around their potential BuLi title challenge. 

The first came on Saturday, when Schalke 04 thumped them 3-1.

And the second came on Wednesday, when a fairly average Olympique Lyonnais side beat them 2-0 in the Champions League. 

Two meteors = a meteoric drop from fourth to 15th in the DEPPR. 


14) Atletico Madrid (Re-Entry) 

Lokomotiv Moskva v Atletico Madrid: Group D - UEFA Champions League

“I was angry at how much I missed you.”

After a few weeks outside of 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings, Atletico Madrid are back; largely because of Joao Felix. 

The seven-year-old (he looks about seven) was the star of the show on Tuesday night as Atleti steamed past Lokomotiv Moscow like a freight train (I’m here all week) in the UEFA Champions League.


13) Club Brugge (New Entry) 

SOCCER CL GROUP STAGE A REAL MADRID VS CLUB BRUGGE

“Does Tina from R&D know? Because she was unnecessarily vocal when I ate all those hot cross buns that she brought in that her daughter baked one time. I didn’t know they were home-made. Because they were terrible.”

“Why did you eat them all if they were terrible?”

“That’s not the point.”

Let’s face it, overall, Club Brugge are a pretty terrible football team. Before this week, you couldn’t have named a single player currently on their books…don’t lie, we know you couldn’t. We couldn’t.

But, we at 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings don’t care if you’re, overall, pretty terrible. What we care about is results; and on Wednesday, Brugge got one. 

A REALLY BIG ONE. 

Courtesy of a brace from Emmanuel Bonventure Dennis, the Belgian minnows earned the most unlikeliest of points at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League.

A fairytale result for a fairytale town.


12) Borussia Dortmund (Down 1) 

Marco Reus

Did you know that you can actually message people from inside eBay?…I will always answer one of those.”

So things aren’t going well for Borussia Dortmund at the moment. 

– They’re eighth in the Bundesliga. 

– They’ve bottled two leads in two consecutive weeks to draw two consecutive games (consecutively) 2-2. (and breathe)

– Their CEO embarrassed himself (again) by calling out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the same way an idiot ‘influencer’ would call someone out for the sake of ‘clout’. 

BUT, in spite of all this, BVB are still really fun to watch. They’re still box office – albeit for possibly the wrong reasons. And if they’re on tv, I will always watch them. 


11) Famalicão (Up 1) 

Diogo Goncalves

Let’s make our new anniversary the date we first met.”

The first day we met Famalicão was 27th September 2019. 

We had a lovely time together. We ate Arroz De Pato, drank a couple of Sagres, and watched Sebastian Coates score an absolutely fantastic own goal. 

It all went so well in fact, that we mutually decided that ‘we should do this again sometime’. 

Now, one week on, we are. 

Famalicão and 90min are back at it again, eating Arroz De Prato, drinking Sagres, and – this time – watching Anderson score a brace against Beleneses to ensure Vila Nova stay top of the league table. 


10) Chelsea (Re-Entry) 

Mason Mount

“Now you’re talkin’.” 

Mason Mount, the under and over statements: 

Understatement: Mason Mount is pretty good. 

Overstatement: Mason Mount is the second coming of Kaka. The patron saint of goalscoring midfielders who will win Chelsea the World Cup. 

The truth is somewhere in between. 


9) Ajax (Re-Entry) 

Hakim Ziyech

“I was really touched seeing you go apesh*t at someone for me.”

Not many players decided to stay at Ajax during the summer, but those who did, went absolutely apesh*t against Valencia this past week. 

Hakim Ziyech and Donny van de Beek were particularly impressive, proving that despite the constant links with moves elsewhere, Ajax’s star men still care and are still willing to give their all for the club. Really touching stuff. 


8) Inter (Down 3) 

FBL-EUR-C1-BARCELONA-INTER

“Fran’s seeing someone. I’m…95% sure.”

“Why are you so sure?”

“She told me…But I figured there’s a 5% chance she’s lying just to piss me off.”

We’re 95% sure Antonio Conte’s Inter are a great team. 

95% sure. 

However, due to how disastrously pathetic Inter have been for the majority of the past decade, there’s 5% of doubt still lingering. On Sunday night, in the Derby d’Italia, they have the opportunity to dispel this 5% of doubt and make everyone in Europe 100% certain they are the real deal. 


7) Leicester City (Up 3) 

Jamie Vardy

I think I’ve been assaulted.”

Big Brendy baps and the third best team in England assaulted Steve Bruce and the worst team in England on Sunday. Nice one Brendy. 


6) Barcelona (Re-Entry) 

Luis suarez

Just imagine a nice enough guy taking a sh*t and reading about Hitler and that’s my husband.”

The current ?Barcelona team is by no means – in any way, shape or form – one of the best assembled in the club’s history. If they were, they’d be top of 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings each and every week. 

Despite this, as the win over Inter proved, they’re still nice enough; nice enough to make, at least, the semi finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League. 


5) Paris Saint-Germain (Up 3) 

Neymar Jr

“We’re not currently attending any public engagements together…Barometrically, we combine to create an atmosphere that is somewhat sh*tty.”

Yes, the results have been ok, but the atmosphere at Paris Saint-Germain is, well, somewhat sh*tty at the moment. That’s largely because of the mutual resentment between Neymar Jr and pretty much everyone else associated with the club.


4) Juventus (Up 3) 

Gonzalo Higuain,Maurizio Sarri

“I thought he was someone special.”

“I am special!”

After 12 months of being told he’s ‘fat’, ‘past it’, ‘the worst footballer to ever wear Chelsea’s number nine’, Gonzalo Higuain have proved all his h8rs wrong. 

For Gonzalo Higuain is a special goalscorer. 

A special asset to ?Juventus.

A special talent that can fire Juve to Champions League glory. 


3) Manchester City (-)

Pep Guardiola

“Take it or leave it. It’s like bald guys…Women and gay guys don’t give a sh*t if a guy is bald if he’s like, I’m a man, I’m fucking bald and that’s how it is”

His best midfielder is injured. His best defender is injured. He’s lost all his hair. 

But, you know what? Pep Guardiola doesn’t give a sh*t. He’s still winning football games week in, week out. 


2) Liverpool (-) 

Roberto Firmino - Soccer Player

Like how? Tell me how.”

How? 

How are ?Liverpool this good? 

On paper, is there team that much better than Tottenham’s? 

Yet, they’re a million times better than ?Tottenham; so how does that work? 

Please tweet me some answers to the aforementioned questions. 


1) Bayern Munich (-)

Robert Lewandowski,Serge Gnabry

“Well, I saw you switch the big bottle in the water cooler yesterday and it might as well have been a pillow.”

?Bayern Munich are the best team in Europe for one simple reason: they make everything look easy. 

Beat Tottenham Hotspur 7-2? Yeah, no problem. 

Score said seven goals with an xG of 2.1? No sweat pal. 

Make Philippe Coutinho one of the best players in Europe again? Done, done, and done. 

Easy work. 


For more from ?Jack Gallagher, follow him on ?Twitter! 

Let’

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

?Barcelona host Sevilla on Sunday, with both teams sitting on 13 points – two points off La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

Barca managed to steal a win in the Champions League against a good Inter on Wednesday, so they should be full of confidence.

Javier Hernandez

Sevilla also beat APOEL Nicosia 1-0 in the Europa League on Thursday, so both sides should have the wind in their sails.

Here is 90min’s preview of the game.


Where to Watch

?

When Is Kick Off? Sunday 6 October
What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Camp Nou
TV Channel/Live Stream? Premier Sports 1
Referee? Antonio Mateu Lahoz 

Team News

?Barcelona have a set of injuries to deal with against Sevilla, with Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti and Junior Firpo all absent. Clement Lenglet is also out of the game through suspension, after being sent off last week.

The good news is that Ansu Fati is back from injury and will be back in the squad.?

Jordi Alba

Sevilla have just one problem, with centre back Daniel Carrico out through injury.


Potential Lineups

?

Barcelona Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Todibo, Semedo; Busquets, De Jong, Arthur; Messi, Suarez, Griezmann.
Sevilla Vaclik; Navas, Kounde, Carlos, Reguilon; Jordan, Fernando, Banega; Ocampos, De Jong, Nolito.

Head to Head Record

The sides have taken each other on 61 times, with Barca leading with 36 wins to Sevilla’s 12. 13 draws have also been played out between the sides.

Sevilla will be looking to add another win to this record, which is heavily in favour of the Ernesto Valverde’s men.?

Jordi Alba,Lionel Messi,Luis Suarez,Ousmane Dembele

The last time they played against each other, it ended with an impressive 4-2 away victory to Barcelona, led by a ?Lionel Messi hat-trick.


Recent Form

Despite the recent win in the Champions League, Barca have started the season unconvincingly, and will want a win here to put any doubters to bed…for now.

Sevilla will be delighted with their form at the start of the season, and know a result here could suddenly make them title challengers in a La Liga lacking in quality.?

Javier Hernandez

Here’s how each side have fared in their last five fixtures.

Barcelona Sevilla
Barcelona 2-1 Inter (2/10) Sevilla 1-0 APOEL Nicosia (3/10)
Getafe 0-2 Barcelona (28/9) Sevilla 3-2 Real Sociedad (29/9)
Barcelona 2-1 Villarreal (24/9) Eibar 3-2 Sevilla (26/9)
Granada 2-0 Barcelona (21/9) Sevilla 0-1 Real Madrid (22/9)
Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona (17/9) Qarabag 0-1 Sevilla (19/9)

Prediction

This should be an exciting affair between two good teams, but the one deciding factor could simply be Messi. Had this game been played whilst the little magician was injured, Sevilla would have fancied an upset against a team with no cutting edge.

However, Messi makes Barca a much better team, and that should be enough for them to come out victors.

Prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Sevilla?

Let’