Arturo Vidal Insists Barcelona are Still in La Liga Title Race

Arturo Vidal
Arturo Vidal’s goal earned Barcelona a win over Real Valladolid | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal believes that his side are still in the La Liga title race following their scrappy 1-0 win over Real Valladolid on Saturday.

La Blaugrana have already dropped points three times since football’s return and needed an early goal from Vidal to ensure they didn’t make it four against Valladolid.

They now sit one point behind leaders Real Madrid, who will have the chance to extend their lead back to four points when they travel to Granada on Monday evening. Speaking after the Valladolid game (via Goal), Vidal warned Real that Barça will not give up in their pursuit of the trophy.

“We know it depends. We just have to win all the games that we have remaining,” Vidal said. “It doesn’t depend on us. We just have to do what we have to do and see what the other teams around us do.”

Barcelona have just two games left to play – at home to Osasuna on Thursday and away to Alavés on Sunday – and they know that they simply cannot afford to drop more points if they are to catch prevent Real from winning their first league title since 2016/17.

Quique SetienQuique Setien
Quique Setien’s side need a miracle if they are to win the title | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Quique Sétien’s side can reach a maximum of 85 points, but Real will be on 83 if they can beat Granada on Monday and would then need a total of three points from meetings with Villarreal and relegation-threatened Leganés.

Real could have won the title on Monday if Barcelona had dropped points in Valladolid. Despite Vidal’s opening goal, it looked like that could be the case as the home side managed plenty of great opportunities to equalise and even win the game.

Antoine Griezmann missed a gilt-edged opportunity to seal the win, and goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen’s usual heroics were needed to keep Barcelona’s slim hopes alive

“We had our chances and didn’t take them and we knew they’d have theirs,” Vidal said. “We have to improve going forward and take our chances. The important thing is we’ve done what we came here to do and we’ve got three points.”

For more from ?Tom Gott, follow him on ?Twitter!


Antoine Griezmann Doubtful for Osasuna Clash After Suffering Leg Injury

Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann has been diagnosed with a muscle injury | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona may be forced to face Osasuna on Thursday without French forward Antoine Griezmann after the club confirmed he has been diagnosed with a quadriceps injury in his right leg.

Griezmann started Saturday’s 1-0 win over Real Valladolid but endured a tricky evening. He missed an amazing chance to find the back off the net and was then forced off at half-time after picking up the injury.

Barça took to their official website to confirm that Griezmann has been removed from training as a result of the injury, but they stopped short of officially ruling him out of contention for the Osasuna game.

“Tests this morning have shown that first-team player Antoine Griezmann has a muscle injury in the quadriceps of his right leg,” a statement read. “He is therefore not available for selection at the present time and the evolution of the injury will condition his availability.

“The French player participated in Barça’s victory this Saturday against Valladolid (0-1), playing the first half before being replaced at half time by Luis Suárez.”

Antoine Griezmann, Eder Sarabia, Riqui PuigAntoine Griezmann, Eder Sarabia, Riqui Puig
Griezmann managed just 45 minutes against Real Valladolid | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

For Griezmann, this news will come as a real blow. His debut season at Camp Nou has been thoroughly frustrating for all involved, and he has just played his way back into Quique Sétien’s starting lineup after two games on the bench.

The Frenchman managed just nine minutes against Celta Vigo before seeing just one minute in the 2-2 draw with Atlético Madrid, which left Atléti boss Diego Simeone stunned and prompted rumours about Griezmann’s future at the club.

He held crunch talks with Camp Nou officials to figure out what was going on, in which it was quickly established that Griezmann didn’t want to leave and Barcelona didn’t want to let him go.

Luis SuarezLuis Suarez
Luis Suarez was brought on to replace Griezmann | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

The 29-year-old returned to the lineup and scored in the 4-1 win over Villarreal but now faces the possibility of missing Barcelona’s last two games of the season.

Should Griezmann fail to recover in time, Suárez is about as good of a replacement as you’re ever likely to find, while the enigmatic Martin Braithwaite could also be given the nod if needed.

For more from ?Tom Gott, follow him on ?Twitter!


Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona: Arturo Vidal Strike Keeps La Liga Title Race Alive

Lionel Messi, Arturo Vidal
Arturo Vidal scored the only goal as Barcelona laboured to victory over Valladolid | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona laboured to a 1-0 victory over Valladolid on Saturday, a result that sees them move within a point of leaders Real Madrid, who have a game in hand.

Los Blancos next play on Monday, where they know victory will move them four points clear with just two rounds of fixtures remaining, but their seemingly inevitable title coronation was put on hold for another week at least courtesy of Arturo Vidal’s emphatic strike.

Lionel Messi fed the Chilean in the box after some early pressure on the hosts, and Vidal made no mistake with a thumping low drive that went in via the inside of the far post.

It appeared as though the Blaugrana would push on from there, but their attacking play deteriorated from the moment that the goal went in, with the duo of Antoine Griezmann and Messi struggling for service against their gritty hosts.

Valladolid came within a whisker of drawing level in the first half through Kike Perez, but the forward got his legs tangled up when clean through on goal and struck the turf instead of the ball with the goal at his mercy.

The match followed a similar path in the second half, as Barcelona were saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen who kept out Enes Ünal’s header. Messi had a free kick tipped over later on, but it remained Valladolid who looked the more likely scorers with some intricate play in Barça’s half.

Gerard Pique, Antonio Mateu LahozGerard Pique, Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Gerard Pique put in a fine display to ensure Barcelona finished the game with a clean sheet | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

For all their endeavour they could not find a way past Ter Stegen, but in particular man-of-the-match Gerard Pique, who was outstanding in the heart of defence and instrumental in Quique Setien’s side claiming all the spoils.

Barça are next in action on Thursday when they host Osasuna, but cannot afford to drop any points if they are to steal the title away from Zinedine Zidane’s men, who look on course to secure their first La Liga title in three years.

For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!


Inter Reduce Asking Price for Barcelona Target Lautaro Martinez to €90m

Inter have reduced Martinez's asking price to €90m
Inter have reduced Martinez’s asking price to €90m | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Inter have lowered their asking price for Lautaro Martinez to €90m, with Barcelona in hot pursuit of the Argentinian striker.

Martinez is one of Barcelona’s top summer targets, and is being lined up as the long term replacement for Luis Suarez at Camp Nou.

The forward had previously been available had his €111m release clause been met, however this expired on 7 July.

Lautaro MartinezLautaro Martinez
Martinez is a long-term target of Barcelona’s | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

The expiration of the release clause means that an alternative fee for Martinez could now be accepted, and according to Italian news outlet Corriere della Sera, Inter have lowered the 22-year-old’s asking price by around €21m.

However, due to the financial uncertainty triggered by the coronavirus, this figure could still be beyond the Barcelona budget.

The Catalan giants recently sold Arthur to Inter’s Serie A rivals Juventus for €72m, but with Miralem Pjanic heading in the opposite direction, Barcelona only turned a profit of €10m from the deal.

The club orchestrated the Arthur-Pjanic deal as a short-term solution for their current financial troubles following years of wage mismanagement.

Arthur MeloArthur Melo
Barcelona’s sale of Arthur demonstrates the financial struggles at the club | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona are desperately trying to offload Philippe Coutinho, who has spent the past two seasons out on loan following his £105m move from Liverpool, and whether they can afford a move for Martinez could hinge on the success they have in finding a buyer for the Brazilian.

The club have been exploring another potential swap deal in order to secure the signing of Martinez, with Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo both linked with an move to Inter.

Martinez has scored 17 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions for Antonio Conte’s side this season, but has struggled somewhat since Serie A returned in June.

The striker has only found the net once since the Italian top flight returned, and is without a goal in his last five appearances having missed a penalty during Inter’s recent defeat to Bologna.


90min’s Definitive European Player Power Rankings: Week 28 – Russian Doll Special

Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood has starred for United | Pool/Getty Images

Manchester United are good and Tottenham are not good. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the last week.

Away from those two contrasting fortunes, there has been plenty of football to digest, and that means it’s Player Power Ranking time.

This week, it’s time for a helping hand from Russian Doll.

Mohamed SalahMohamed Salah
Salah tore Brighton apart | Robin Jones/Getty Images

“It’s my bad attitude that keeps me young.”

Is Salah selfish? Graeme Souness seems to think so.

If he keeps on scoring goal after goal after goal, Liverpool fans really won’t care.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Muenchen - DFB Cup FinalBayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Muenchen - DFB Cup Final
Havertz is wanted by Chelsea this summer | Pool/Getty Images

“You are serial-killer calm.”

If Havertz has played his final game for Bayer Leverkusen, bagging a penalty against Bayern Munich in the last minute of the cup final isn’t the worst way to go.

Just a shame they didn’t win, but y’know, it’s Bayern.

Juventus v Torino FC - Serie AJuventus v Torino FC - Serie A
Dybala has five goals in his last five games | Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

“Go with purpose. Triggers people’s curiosity.”

Dybala is playing with purpose these days.

He has found the back of the net in each of his last five appearances, but took a day off in the 4-2 loss to AC Milan because of a little suspension.

Pierre-Emerick AubameyangPierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang was on the score sheet again against Leicester | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

“The universe is trying to f**k with me. And I refuse to engage.”

Aubameyang was definitely leaving Arsenal a few months ago. They were rubbish.

Aubameyang might not be leaving Arsenal now. They’re much less rubbish.

And while that’s all going on, he continues to score goals.

Kevin De BruyneKevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne is on the verge of history | Visionhaus/Getty Images

“Routine is an incredible thing. We become what we repeatedly do.”

18 assists. Two more to tie Thierry Henry’s single-season record. Just keep on going.

Bruno FernandesBruno Fernandes
Fernandes has been the catalyst for United’s revival | Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

“Sometimes Hail Marys are the best Marys we’ve got.”

Manchester United went into January looking for literally anything positive.

They didn’t care that Sporting CP had mugged them off all summer. They stood firm and did all they could to sign Fernandes, and just look at United now.

Romelu Lukaku, Antonio ConteRomelu Lukaku, Antonio Conte
Inter have made a tough time of things this week | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

“Nothing in this world is easy, except pissing in the shower.”

He might have made scoring look easy this season, but Lukaku came back down to earth this week.

His goal against Bologna wasn’t enough to help Inter avoid defeat, and then he drew a blank against Verona.

Ciro ImmobileCiro Immobile
Immobile is still on to be named Serie A top scorer | Chris Ricco/Getty Images

“Look, I got bigger fish to fry, okay? I got to figure out how to get down the stairs.”

Having spent all season looking like one of the scariest strikers in the entire world, Immobile decided to give himself a little break.

A suspension in a 3-0 loss to Milan was followed by a goalless outing in a surprise 2-1 loss to Lecce.

It’s like Atalanta are the only side who actually want to stop Juventus.

Mason Greenwood, John McGinnMason Greenwood, John McGinn
Greenwood has enjoyed a record-breaking breakthrough season | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

“Thank you for changing my life. Lives are hard to change.”

Unless you have a bazillion posters of Greenwood in your bedroom now, you’re not a real United fan.

Crystal Palace could do with someone like Sorloth this season | DANIEL MIHAILESCU/Getty Images

“Life is like a box of timelines, you feel me?”

We’re currently living in a timeline in which Sørloth is actually good. Mad ting.

He took his tally for the season to 29 in all competitions with a goal against Galatasaray. Parent club Crystal Palace have managed 30 in the league – if only Chelsea could have stopped them from scoring twice, this would have been so much funnier.

Christian PulisicChristian Pulisic
Pulisic impressed against Crystal Palace | Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

“You’re supposed to ask people about their kids. Okay? It’s polite. It gives everybody a moment to pretend there’s gonna be a future.”

The post-Eden Hazard future looked like it could be pretty gloomy for Chelsea, but Pulisic has made all those fears go away.

Anthony MartialAnthony Martial
Martial now has 20 goals in all competitions | Pool/Getty Images

“I feel like f**king Rocky right now.”

This is the Martial United fans want to see.

He has really got going since Fernandes’ arrival, and he doesn’t look like he can be stopped.

Lionel MessiLionel Messi
Messi has been vital to Barcelona’s title push | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

“Fun is for suckers. Staring down the barrel of my own mortality always beats fun.”

Remember when Messi used to have fun playing football? Nowadays, he spends all his time sparing Barcelona’s blushes.

He’s now contributed to 23 of Barça’s last 28 La Liga goals, and even that hasn’t been enough to stop Real Madrid from pulling away.

Cristiano RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo finally scored a free kick this week | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

“You can eat anything, take anything, do anything. It’s impossible to destroy you. You will never die.”

The freak of nature that is Ronaldo managed two more goals and another assist over this past week.

He even scored his first free kick since before the dawn of time! Huzzah!

Robert LewandowskiRobert Lewandowski
Lewandowski has been unstoppable all year | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

“Hey, bartendress! Hello. Uh, more drunk please.”

It’s job done for Lewandowski. Two goals in the cup final was the perfect end to a perfect year. Time to party.

He ended the season with 51 goals in just 43 games. Thems is Ballon d’Or numbers, if you ask me.

For more from ?Tom Gott, follow him on ?Twitter!


Champions League Restart: Draws for the 2019/20 Quarter & Semi Finals

UEFA had made the draws for the Champions League quarter and semi finals as competitions nears August restart | VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

The draws for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the 2019 Champions League have been made ahead of the delayed competition’s scheduled restart in early August.

The explosion of the coronavirus crisis in March forced UEFA to put the competition on hold while some last 16 ties were still to be completed. But the date for resumption is now nearing.

Only Atletico Madrid, who knocked out holders Liverpool in the last 16, Atalanta, RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain are currently assured of their place in the quarter-finals.

Atletico Madrid knocked out Liverpool at Anfield in the last 16Atletico Madrid knocked out Liverpool at Anfield in the last 16
Atletico Madrid knocked out Liverpool at Anfield in the last 16 | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Bayern Munich are well placed to qualify because of their commanding 3-0 last 16 aggregate lead over Chelsea, but it is still all to play for in the incomplete ties between Real Madrid and Manchester City, Barcelona and Napoli, and Juventus and Lyon.

Manchester City or Real Madrid vs Juventus or Lyon

RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid

Barcelona or Napoli vs Chelsea or Bayern Munich

Atalanta vs Paris Saint-Germain

Man City or Real Madrid / Juventus or Lyon vs Barcelona or Napoli / Chelsea or Bayern Munich

RB Leipzig / Atletico Madrid vs Atalanta / Paris Saint-Germain

Owing to the delays, this season’s Champions League will now be completed as a straight knockout mini-tournament in Lisbon over a 12-day period next month, with the 2020 final to be played at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz in the Portuguese capital on Sunday 23 August.

Sporting CP’s Estadio Jose Alvalade nearby will serve as a secondary venue for the competition.

(FILES) Aerial view taken 04 December 20(FILES) Aerial view taken 04 December 20
Benfica’s Estadio da Luz will host the final on 23 August | STR/Getty Images

The remaining last 16 legs will be concluded a few days earlier on 7-8 August, with UEFA confirming this week that they will take place at the original intended home stadium of the teams involved.

The quarter-finals will be played between 12-15 August, with semi-finals on 18 and 19 August.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!


Remaining Champions & Europa League Last-16 Games to Be Played at Home Venues

The Adidas Champions League Match Ball
UEFA have confirmed that all remaining Champions League Last-16 ties will take place at their originally planned venues | Visionhaus/Getty Images

The second legs of all remaining Champions League and Europa League last-16 games will be played at home stadiums, as opposed to at neutral venues.

The competitions are set to get back underway again on 7 August, having been suspended back in March due to COVID-19.

The specifics of the return are still being decided but the UEFA have confirmed that all remaining last-16 ties will be played at their originally planned stadiums. There had been discussion of moving games to neutral territory due to safety concerns but that has now been dismissed.

“Consistent with the principle of sporting fairness and considering that current conditions – all clubs due to play at home the return leg of the Round of 16 are currently playing the remaining matches of their domestic leagues in their own stadiums and that travelling is possible without restrictions for the visiting clubs – the UEFA Executive Committee decided that the remaining UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League Round of 16 second-leg matches will be played at the home teams’ stadiums,” a statement read.

“As already communicated in June, the ties FC Internazionale Milano v Getafe CF and Sevilla FC v AS Roma, whose first leg was also postponed, will be played as a single leg in Germany.

The Adidas Champions League Match BallThe Adidas Champions League Match Ball
Manchester City and Chelsea are still in the Champions League | Visionhaus/Getty Images

“UEFA will continue to monitor the situation and reserves the right to reassign any such matches to the venues of the final tournament of the relevant competition should new events occur that would make it impossible to play one or more matches at the original venues.”

The news will be welcomed by Manchester City and Juventus in particular. Both sides will be aiming to win the competition this season and stood to lose crucial home advantage if games were moved to neutral arenas.

A full fixture list will be revealed after the Champions League and Europa League draws – which take place on Friday.

The remaining last 16 fixtures for the Champions League are as follows:

Champions League

Manchester City (2) vs (1) Real Madrid

Barcelona (1) vs (1) Napoli

Bayern Munich (3) vs (0) Chelsea

Juventus (0) vs (1) Lyon

And here are the remaining Europa League ties:

Europa League Second Legs

Wolves (1) vs (1) Olympiacos

Leverkusen (3) vs (1) Rangers

Shakhtar Donetsk (2) vs (1) Wolfsburg

Copenhagen (0) vs (1) ?stanbul Ba?ak?ehir

Basel (3) vs (0) Eintracht Frankfurt

Manchester United (5) vs (0) LASK

Europa League One-Off Ties

Inter vs Getafe

Sevilla vs Roma


90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings: Week 28 – Russian Doll Special

Joshua Kimmich
Bayern clinched the double at the weekend | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Following a week in which:

– Bayern Munich CONTINUED to win trophies.

– Atalanta CONTINUED to score bazillions of goals.

– Liverpool players CONTINUED to neck vodka by the gallon in celebration of their league title.

– Mason Greenwood CONTINUED to strike a football purer than anyone else in the universe despite being about four days old.

We at 90min, using quotes from Netflix original series ‘Russian Doll’, rank the 15 best teams in Europe – this time, on a Thursday. What a concept.

Lautaro MartinezLautaro Martinez
Inter suffered yet another shock defeat | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

“The universe is trying to f**k with me and I refuse to engage.”

The universe is trying to f**k with Interisti at the moment and they should refuse to engage.

Because better times are just round the corner.

Lautaro Martinez is staying, Achraf Hakimi is signing and your world class midfield trio will be back to full fitness in no time.

It’ll be all gravy soon. Trust me.

Jose MourinhoJose Mourinho
Mourinho’s side won 1-0 on Monday | Pool/Getty Images

“This is not good or bad. It’s just a bug. It’s like if a program keeps crashing, you know? The crashing is just a symptom of a bug in the code. If the deaths are us crashing, then that moment is the bug that we need to go and fix.”

Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Everton wasn’t good or bad – it was both.

Winning game was good (obviously) but the performance was bad. Really bad.

So bad in fact that it’s explicitly obvious that there is something seriously wrong at the club that Jose Mourinho and co. need to go into the transfer market and fix – ASAP.

Diego Pablo SimeoneDiego Pablo Simeone
Atleti are unbeaten since the restart | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

“Fun is for suckers”

Let’s face it, no one enjoys watching Atletico Madrid.

It’s not fun.

Never has been. Never will be.

But who cares about fun when you’re unbeaten in your last 15 games? Not Diego Simeone, that’s for sure.

Nick PopeNick Pope
Pope has been in great form of late | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

“Sometimes Hail Marys are the best Marys we got.”

In recent week’s Sean Dyche’s tactics have reverted from ‘hoof it long and hope the ball bounces off someone’s noggin’ and into the net‘ to ‘ehhh…let’s just let Nick Pope do all the work.’

And that tactical change hasn’t been a bad idea at all, because Pope has been in inspired form since the restart.

Barca relegated Espanyol in midweek | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

“I’m not fine.”

Two wins on the bounce, one point of league leaders Real Madrid, and just relegated your inner-city rivals. All good at Barcelona then?

No, no, not at all. And here’s semi-regular DEPR contributor Chris Deeley to tell you why.

Genoa CFC v SSC Napoli - Serie AGenoa CFC v SSC Napoli - Serie A
Napoli returned to form in recent weeks | Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

“Life is a box of timelines, ya feel me?”

In some alternative timeline SSC Napoli pipped Juventus to the Scudetto in 2018, Maurizio Sarri is still their coach, and they’re on for their third consecutive double.

But in the timeline we’re currently living through, Napoli, well, aren’t. And while that sucks – for obvious reasons – I Partenopei is a still a pretty damn good football team, having won the Coppa Italia this season. Ya feel me?

Man City beat Newcastle 5-0 | OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

“A very tough lady, who looked like if Andrew Dice Clay and the girl from Brave had a baby.”

On their day, Manchester City look like the team that would be spawned if Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan and Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona had a baby.


Other times however, they look like the team that would be spawned if Unai Emery’s Arsenal and Zdenek Zeman’s Roma had a baby. And it’s this inconsistency that has cost them their Premier League title this season.

Leonardo BonucciLeonardo Bonucci
Juve struggled at San Siro | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

“Humanity…a little bit overrated, no?”

Juventus’ defence…a little bit overrated, no?

Without Matthijs de Ligt at the back in midweek, Juve’s defence was, no exaggeration, ABSOLUTELY HOPELESS.

Despite his age and relative inexperience, it’s now clear that La Vecchia Signora’s defensive fortunes rest solely on the shoulders of a big baby-face man-child from the Netherlands. Without him, they are ABSOLUTELY HOPELESS.

Olivier Giroud, Willian, Ross Barkley, Reece JamesOlivier Giroud, Willian, Ross Barkley, Reece James
Chelsea bounced back from their defeat to West Ham | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

“I feel like f**king Rocky right now.”

Chelsea are the Premier League’s answer to Rocky.

‘They’re the lil underdog that could?’

No, no, no.

They have absolutely no defence, never stop moving forward, and every single one of their matches is must-watch tv.

Ante RebicAnte Rebic
Milan might be back… | Claudio Villa./Getty Images

“Thank you for changing my life. Lives are hard to change.”

AC Milan are…good…?

Putting four past Juventus and three past Lazio in the space of a week seems to suggest that they are.

These results were made possible by Stefano Pioli, who has done a superb job unifying a club that have been – in no uncertain terms – a complete shambles for the last decade.

So how have the club thanked Pioli for changing their fortunes?

Well, by giving his job to someone else…obviously….

Mason GreenwoodMason Greenwood
Greenwood was exceptional at the weekend | Pool/Getty Images

“You can eat anything, take anything, do anything. It’s impossible to destroy you.”

Mason Greenwood can score any type of goal, dribble past any defender, do anything. He is impossibly good, and Man Utd look damn near unbeatable when he’s in the starting XI.

Believe the hype.

Sergio RamosSergio Ramos
Ramos led Real Madrid to another 1-0 win | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

“It’s my bad attitude that keeps me young.”

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Sergio Ramos is one of the greatest centre backs of all time.

And although he’s in his mid-30s, the Real Madrid captain doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon – bagging his tenth (yes, tenth. Yes, he’s a centre back. Yes, it’s mad) league goal of the season to earn Los Blancos another 1-0 win in mid-week.

Virgil van DijkVirgil van Dijk
Liverpool bounced back from their hangover this week | Robin Jones/Getty Images

“Hey, bartendress! Hello. Uh, more drunk please.”

Despite being on the bender to end all benders since they won the league title, being completely smashed/hungover/both hasn’t really affected Liverpool’s performances.

Sure, they lost to Man City, but they’ve won both games since, and the fact that they are able to win while using the ‘water breaks’ as ‘Jaeger bomb breaks’ is mightily impressive.

Robert LewandowskiRobert Lewandowski
Lewandowski has scored a trillion goals for Bayern this season | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

“Nothing in this world is easy, except pissing in the shower.”

Nothing in this world is easy, except for beating Bayer Leverkusen in a cup final.

That is easy.

Gian Piero GasperiniGian Piero Gasperini
Gian Piero Gasperini has worked wonders at Atalanta | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

“Go with purpose. Triggers other people’s curiosity.”

For months, we at DEPR have flirted with putting Atalanta at the top of the Definitive European Power Rankings.

We’ve put them fifth, fourth, third and second in the rankings and now, FINALLY, after 10 long months the little club from Bergamo – with a budget the size of a mid-table Championship club – have made it to the very top.

And it’s no more than they deserve.

Simply put, Atalanta have been the best team in Europe since football’s restart.

They’ve won every single game (six wins in six), bagged a whopping 14 goals, and could now feasibly win the Scudetto – providing they beat Juventus at the weekend.


Pep Guardiola Responds to Barcelona Interest in Eric Garcia

Eric Garcia, Josep Guardiola
Manchester City v Burton Albion – Carabao Cup Semi Final: First Leg | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are confident young Spaniard Eric Garcia will remain at the club this summer despite reported interest from Barcelona.

Garcia left La Masia for Manchester in the summer of 2017 for a £1.5m fee and after making his first team debut in the EFL Cup last season, he’s become a fixture in the Citizens defence following the Premier League’s resumption last month.

Eric García, Sadio ManeEric García, Sadio Mane
Eric Garcia has started three games since the Premier League’s resumption | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

His impressive form alongside Aymeric Laporte at the heart of the City backline has caught the eye of former club Barcelona – with reports in Spain even suggesting the 19-year-old is in favour of a return to Catalonia and has already agreed personal terms.

It would be a flagrant breach of FIFA rules, however, if Garcia has agreed to terms with the Catalans, as there has been no approach to City and the Sky Blues are set to offer the talented teenager a bumper new deal in a bid to keep him at the club.

Guardiola, meanwhile, is confident Garcia will remain in Manchester for the long-haul.

“I am confident he will stay but at the end, it is his decision. He knows we want him but it is the same with Leroy [Sane],” he said, as quoted by Manchester Evening News.

“We want him but if he doesn’t want to stay we cannot do anything else. He knows, his agent knows, his family knows that we want him.”

Garcia has just one year left on his current City deal and if he does indicate that he wants to leave, City would be forced to sell to avoid losing him on a free – it’s a similar situation to Sane, who recently departed the Etihad for Bayern Munich in a £54.8m deal with just a year remaining on his contract at City.

And speaking about any potential Barcelona interest, Guardiola added: “If they want him they must call him and we are going to try to convince him to stay here for many, many, many years.”


The Best Right-Wingers of All Time

Brazilian forward Jairzinho is carried by fans aft
Brazilian forward Jairzinho is one of the players included on 90min’s greatest right wingers of all time | STAFF/Getty Images

Right wingers come in all shapes and sizes. For every scheming, diminutive trickster there is a sprinter-turned-footballer who relies on speed to get past their man.

Then there’s the wide playmakers…or the fat bloke in your Sunday League team who’s partial to a cheeky step over – but not much else.

No matter what your favourite genre of right winger is, they’re likely to be represented in this list. Well, maybe not the last one actually. This is the cream of the crop you see.

Garrincha was one of the best dribblers in footballing history | Central Press/Getty Images

Garrincha means little bird in Portuguese and it is not the only nickname that Manuel Francisco dos Santos went by during his illustrious career.

The Brazilian icon was also called Alegria do Povo (People’s Joy) and Anjo de Pernas Tortas (Bent-Legged Angel), the latter a reference to the spinal condition that meant he had one leg shorter than the other.

Despite this disability, Garrincha would cement his place as the best dribbler in footballing history during the 1950s and 1960s. He starred for Brazil as they lifted both the 1958 and 1962 World Cups, leaving a trail of humiliated defenders in his wake during both tournaments.

George Best transcended the right-wing position just as he transcended football as a whole, becoming one of the most famous men on the planet during his heyday.

Freakishly talented and ruggedly handsome, Best had conquered the world by his early 20s. As part of Manchester United’s fabled Holy Trinity alongside Denis Law and Bobby Charlton, the Northern Irishman had won a host of domestic titles and a European Cup by the time he was 22.

Plenty more success came afterwards as well with Best’s ludicrously precise close control and goosebump inducing runs keeping fans on the edge of their seats throughout the 1970s.

Jairzinho starred at the 1970 World Cup for BrazilJairzinho starred at the 1970 World Cup for Brazil
Jairzinho starred at the 1970 World Cup for Brazil | VI-Images/Getty Images

When Garrincha retired in 1966, Brazil lost a national treasure but the void left by his departure would soon be filled by a precocious youngster.

Jairzinho burst onto the scene during the 1970 World Cup, becoming the first player to score in each round of the competition. That particular Brazilian team, featuring the likes of Carlos Alberto, Rivellino and Pelé is regarded as one of the best in history, thanks in part to the astonishing ability of the side’s right winger.

Jairzinho was less flashy than some of his attacking counterparts but he was no less effective. A fearsome combination of intelligence and speed made him the most effective forward of his generation.

Stanley MatthewsStanley Matthews
Stanley Matthews played until the age of 50 | Ian McLennan/Getty Images

In a storied career that spanned no less than four decades, Sir Stanley Matthews carved out an unmatched footballing legacy.

Loyal, talented and evergreen, Matthews played for just three clubs during his 33 years in the game – Stoke City, Blackpool and Toronto City.

He was the gentleman footballer and the archetypal British winger. Blessed with a box of tricks to beat any defender his crossing ability and comb-over were second to none.

Luis Figo crossed the Clásico footballing divide during his careerLuis Figo crossed the Clásico footballing divide during his career
Luis Figo crossed the Clásico footballing divide during his career | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Portuguese footballing culture seriously values a tricky winger and none fit the national profile more closely than Luis Figo.

Hugging the touchline as though it was pulling him in with a magnetic field, his career peaked when he won the 2000 Ballon d’Or following a superb run of form with Barcelona.

In fact, he was so good that their Clásico rivals Real Madrid made him the most expensive footballer in the world, leading Figo becoming public enemy number one in Catalonia. Coins, lighters and…a pig’s head were all thrown at him on his return to the Camp Nou.

The strength of feeling at Figo’s betrayal is a clear indication of his world class talent.

Arjen Robben recently announced he was coming out of retirement to play for Groningen | CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images

It really it remarkable that Arjen Robben scored so many of the exact same type of goal in his career.

You know the one. He picks the ball up on the right, does a few of those baby touches while leaning over the ball like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, before unleashing an unstoppable left-footed shot right into the stanchion.

He did it for over a decade and nobody ever found a way to stop it.

He may have been a one trick pony but it was a pretty good trick which helped him win multiple Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga titles as well as a Champions League.

Champions League Final 2018Champions League Final 2018
Gareth Bale scored an incredible goal in the 2018 Champions League Final | Tom Jenkins/Getty Images

In one of the best character arcs in recent sporting history, a rough around the edges left-back who waited over a year for his first Tottenham win developed into one of the best right wingers in the world, seemingly overnight.

During his Premier League heyday, Gareth Bale almost single handedly transformed Spurs into European contenders and he continued to post staggeringly good numbers after moving to Real Madrid.

His Los Blancos career hasn’t always been rosy but even the most golf adverse of Real fans will never forget when he shook the world with a stunning overhead kick against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final.

David BeckhamDavid Beckham
David Beckham is regarded as one the greatest England players in history | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Blessed with the most beautiful technique in English footballing history, David Beckham embodied the old-fashioned winger that is so revered on the British Isles.

Capable of dropping any cross on a sixpence, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid man was also wicked over a set piece, securing England’s qualification to the 2002 World Cup with a fine free kick against Greece.

Though he probably did not achieve all he wanted on the international stage, Beckham won a great deal a club level. He was part of United’s 1999 Treble winning side and was a runner-up in the Ballon d’Or the same year.

Allan SimonsenAllan Simonsen
Allan Simonsen won a host of honours with Borussia Monchengladbach in the 1970s | Getty Images/Getty Images

Standing at just 5 ft 5 in, Allan Simonsen more than made up for what in lacked in stature with more feints and stepovers than any defender could handle.

The winger rose to prominence while starring for Borussia Monchengladbach in the 1970s. The German side reached their pinnacle in 1977 when they were narrowly beaten by Liverpool in the European Cup final.

Simonsen would win the Ballon d’Or the same year, earning his dream move to Barcelona 24 months later where he continued to impress. He retired as one of Denmark’s most decorated footballers of all time.

Celtic v SL Benfica - UEFA Champions LeagueCeltic v SL Benfica - UEFA Champions League
Jimmy Johnstone is much loved at Celtic | EuroFootball/Getty Images

With a nickname like ‘Jinky’, it does not take a genius to work out what sort of player Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone was.

Dancing past defenders during the 1960s and 1970s, the Scotsman spent 13 years at Parkhead and is one of the most beloved players in the club’s history.

Most notably, he was part of the Lisbon Lions who won the European Cup against all odds in 1967. Johnstone was recognised for his hell-raising performances during the Bhoys route to the final by placing third in the Ballon d’Or that year.