Messi scores 600 Club goal

Lionel Messi has reached another milestone in his legendary career, hitting his 600th goal for Barcelona with a wonderful free-kick against Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday.

Messi scored number 599 earlier in the match, pouncing on a rebound from a Luis Suarez shot and walking the ball in, before curling home a lovely strike for his 600th moments later. 

The Argentine becomes just the seventh player in history to reach the 600-goal mark at the club level, though he was beaten to the milestone by eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Ronaldo and Messi, who have dominated world football for the last decade, are joined on the exclusive list by Brazilian legends Pele and Romario, Germany’s Gerd Muller, Slavia Prague hero Josef Bican and Hungarian Ferenc Puskas. 

Messi’s first goal for Barcelona came exactly 14 years ago, on May 1, 2005, against Albacete . He has since grown into arguably the biggest star in the game, having won the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions. 

At 31, Messi is also a five-time winner of the European Golden Shoe and claimed the World Cup Golden Ball at the 2014 tournament in Brazil. 

His performance on Wednesday leaves Barcelona in prime position to add to that remarkable haul. 

The club have already won La Liga this season and reached the Copa del Rey final, while a 3-0 result against Liverpool leaves them on the verge of reaching the Champions League final, though a trip to Anfield for the second leg remains. 

It also continues a trend for Messi of dominance over English teams in European play. 

The Barcelona star has netted 26 times in just 33 matches against Premier League clubs in the Champions League, the best haul for any one player against any country in the competition, though he does share that record with Ronaldo, who has netted 26 times against German clubs. 

Barcelona will travel to Liverpool next Tuesday for the return leg, and should they progress they will face either Ajax or Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1.

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Jose Mourinho speaks on who is better between Ronaldo and Messi

Jose Mourinho is now in the unfamiliar role of a TV pundit, and he is already making waves. Just a month after being sacked as Manchester United manager, the Portuguese has now weighed in on the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo debate.

 

Mourinho spoke to beIN Sports about who the better player was between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and his words do indeed make a lot of sense.

 

“I think it’s unfair to both of them when somebody [says] this one is better than the other one. I think they are just different,” Jose mentioned.

 

 

 

“When you go to Messi and Ronaldo, I think it’s just unfair to compare the players. The only thing I can say is that when I had Ronaldo on my side, I was a very happy man.

 

“And when I had to play against Messi – and also against Ronaldo because I played against Ronaldo a few times – I had to think a lot to try and help my team have chances to succeed.

 

“The thing that is really to be admired is the number of years that they stay at the top. I always say the same – even with managers – to win once, it can happen. To win and win and win is much more difficult.”

 

Mourinho made some controversial comments about his Manchester United departure as well, and also mentioned that he plans to return to coaching soon.

Barcelona qualify for Copa Del Rey Quarter Final

Barcelona overturned a first leg defeat to beat Levante in the Copa del Rey on Thursday but could yet be thrown out of the competition after being accused of fielding an ineligible player.

Barca won 3-0 at the Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi setting up two Ousmane Dembele goals and then scoring himself to seal a 4-2 victory on aggregate.

Their place in the quarter-finals, however, is under threat after Levante president Francisco Javier Catalan confirmed shortly before kick-off that the club would lodge a complaint to the Spanish Football Federation on Friday.

Levante claim Barcelona defender Juan Brandariz ‘Chumi’ played illegally in the first leg as he should have been serving a suspension.

“Whatever happens on the field of play today, Levante are going to take this situation to the Federation tomorrow,” Catalan said earlier on Thursday.

“We feel that there is a solid enough precedent to back up the club’s decision to do so.”

Chumi was banned after he received a yellow card playing for Barcelona’s B team in the Segunda B division.

Barcelona, however, insisted a change in the rules in November means the suspension does not carry over into the Copa del Rey.

“There were never any doubts about Chumi, none,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said. “We did everything right. Tomorrow we will be in the draw, we have no doubts, not before and not now.”

Levante may feel precedent is on their side after Real Madrid were disqualified from the Copa del Rey in 2015 for fielding Denis Cheryshev, despite the player being suspended.

Madrid had overlooked Cheryshev receiving three yellow cards while playing for Villarreal in the competition the previous season.

“I tried to focus on the game,” Levante coach Paco Lopez said. “I understand that the club does what it thinks is right. There are rules we all have to follow.”

Barcelona were certainly worthy winners on the pitch at the Camp Nou and, as it stands, will join Real Madrid, Sevilla, Real Betis, Valencia, Girona, Getafe and Espanyol in the last eight of a tournament they won, as well as La Liga, last year.

That domestic double arguably took its toll in Europe, however, and Valverde has been under pressure to afford his key players more rest this season. Barca play Lyon in the Champions League last 16 next month.

Messi started, along with fellow regulars like Jordi Alba, Clement Lenglet, Ivan Rakitic and Arthur. Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Marc Andre ter Stegen all began on the bench.

Barcelona were dominant from the outset, as a curling Messi free-kick was pushed wide and Philippe Coutinho, excellent again, shot over.

Messi and Arturo Vidal both went close and finally in the 30th minute, Dembele made the breakthrough, latching onto Messi’s pass before bundling the ball into the net.

A minute later, the Frenchman had a second. Coutinho found Messi on the break and he slipped free the sprinting Dembele, who ran round Aitor Fernandez and scuffed the ball home off the goalkeeper’s outstretched leg.

Levante were still only a goal away from extra-time but Messi ended any hopes of a comeback. Dembele freed Nelson Semedo down the right and he found the Argentinian in the middle. A chipped finish was all it needed.