Messi deserves the Ballon d´Or every year – Suarez

Luis Suarez believes his Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi deserves to win the Ballon d’Or every single year.

Messi has won the award – which is voted for by international managers and captains, as well as journalists – five times over the course of his career, more than any other player.

But three of the last four have been clinched by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, taking the Portugal star to within one of Messi in what has become arguably the greatest player rivalry in football history.

Suarez, though, is under no illusion as to which of the pair he thinks is the best.

“All players dream of winning [the Ballon d’Or],” the Uruguayan told France Football.

3 – La Liga players with most goals in 2017 (all comps):

Lionel Messi 15

Luis Suárez 12

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN 10

Prince. https://t.co/UZpjRbluB7

— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 5, 2017

“But today, there is one player who deserves to win it every year, and it is Leo [Messi].

“Then, if there is another who aspires to win it, it is Neymar. He has the qualities to win it.”

Individually Barca possess many of the world’s best players, but as a team they find themselves in a tricky situation.

Luis Enrique’s men host Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie on Wednesday trailing 4-0 on aggregate, but Suarez is not giving up hope, insisting that if anyone can come back from such a score, it is Barca.

“There is a return leg to play,” Suarez said. “We will do everything to put across a different perception of Barca and show people what the real Barcelona is .

“It will be difficult to reverse the situation, but not impossible. If any team can overthrow such a score, it is Barca. We have the qualities and the character to get out of this complicated situation.”

Arsenal 1 Bayern Munich 5 (2-10- agg): Sorry Gunners humiliated to compound Wenger´s misery

Bayern Munich matched their 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal last month to inflict a 10-2 aggregate pummelling upon embattled boss Arsene Wenger at Emirates Stadium.

It meant a seventh consecutive last-16 exit for Arsenal, who had Laurent Koscielny sent off after Theo Walcott rewardrd a spirited first-half display with the opening goal.

Robert Lewandowski won and converted a 55th minute penalty as Koscielny was dismissed and, as at the Allianz Arena, Arsenal collapsed in the absence of the French defender to suffer the heaviest aggregate defeat inflicted upon an English team in Champions League history.

Wenger was the subject of fan protests asking him to step down both outside the ground and at the site of Arsenal’s former Highbury home before kick-off and the sight of Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa picking off his feeble defensive line before Arturo Vidal added a late brace heightened the sense that his race is run.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern are still in contention to repeat their 2013 treble, standing in stark contrast to Arsenal and Wenger as they stagger from one disappointment to another.

OH WHAT A NIGHT!!! Quarterfinals, here we come! #UCL #ARSFCB 1-5 (2-10)

pic.twitter.com/z3M5dap7xq

— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) March 7, 2017

Alexis Sanchez returned to the hosts’ starting line-up three days after being benched for the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool amid widespread reports of a training-ground row.

The Chile star was set to line up at centre-forward but Danny Welbeck was taken ill during the warm-up, meaning a reshuffle with Olivier Giroud coming in to lead the line.

Sanchez’s commitments to his hastily assigned defensive duties on the left was tenuous at best during the opening stages as Bayern found joy down that flank – albeit after the action was delayed by the away fans throwing vast amounts of toilet roll on the field.

Visiting goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was out to thwart Walcott after the England winger sprung the offside trap, while Giroud grappled with Mats Hummels to glance wide in the 13th minute.

But Neuer was caught out by a rasping Walcott strike that he could only punch into the roof of his net.

Xabi Alonso was fortunate not to be punished for an ill-judged challenge on the goalscorer before the 27-year-old attempted to repeat his earlier finish by thrashing Shkodran Mustafi’s throughball into the side-netting.

Lewandowski should have restored Bayern’s four-goal aggregate advantage but pulled Robben’s chipped pass wide on the volley and they went in behind at the break.

That’s exactly the start we needed@theowalcott races through and fires into the roof of the net#AFCvFCB 1-0 (21) pic.twitter.com/tZX2EaxgNa

— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 7, 2017

Early in the second period, Mustafi fizzed another fine low pass towards the Bayern box, although Giroud could not get over Aaron Ramsey’s chipped cross and headed beyond the crossbar.

Faint hopes of the improbable we extinguished when Koscielny pushed Lewandowski to the floor 10 yards from goal and the additional assistant official advised Anastasios Sidiropoulos to upgrade his initial yellow card to a red.

The Poland international kept his calm to drill home the spot kick, sending David Ospina the wrong way, and he almost had a second on the end of a slick one-two with Vidal – Bayern turning on the style in front of their buoyant travelling support.

Robben gave them the lead on the night, intercepting a poor Ospina clearance and capitalising on the resulting disarray to slot into the corner.

Lewandowski then hit the post and the leggy 10-man hosts did not welcome a fresh Costa coming on to gallop towards goal from the right and make it three in the 78th minute.

Douglas Costa #UCL pic.twitter.com/ibuO3AwOQh

— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague)

March 7, 2017

Vidal’s classily chipped fourth as the Arsenal defence crumbled terribly demonstrated the swagger of a side still chasing glory in three competitions and the Chile international had the brace his compatriot Sanchez might have hoped for five minutes from time, accepting Costa’s pass with Ospina once again horribly exposed.

FOOTBALL FIXED MATCHES

match schedule- 2017-03-07

💥 UEFA Champions League
– *Napoli vs Real Madrid* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

– *Arsenal vs Bayern Munich* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

💥 Scottish League One

– *Livingston vs Albion Rovers* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

💥 English League Championship

– *Birmingham City vs Wigan Athletic* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

– *Blackburn Rovers vs Cardiff City* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

– *Bristol City vs Norwich City* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

– *Derby County vs Preston North End* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

– *Fulham vs Leeds United* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

– *Huddersfield Town vs Aston Villa* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT
– *Ipswich Town vs Wolverhampton Wanderers* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

– *Nottingham Forest vs Brentford* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

– *Queens Park Rangers vs Barnsley* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT
– *Rotherham United vs Brighton & Hove Albion* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT
– *Sheffield Wednesday vs Burton Albion* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

💥 English League One
– *Walsall vs Chesterfield* – 🕐 Mar 07, 08:45 PM WAT

Craig Shakespeare set to be named Leicester City manager

Leicester City are set to confirm that Craig Shakespeare has been given the manager’s job for the remainder of the season. Claudio Ranieri’s former No2 was in put in charge in the wake of the Italian’s sacking and has convinced Leicester’s owners that he is the right man to steer the club to safety after overseeing back-to-back Premier League wins overLiverpoolandHull City.
Shakespeare is currently in Dubai with Leicester for their warm-weathertraining camp and it is understood that the 53-year-old has held talks with Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the chairman, and Aiyawatt, his son, whoalso travelled to the United Arab Emirates. Leicester’s owners are now prepared to hand over the manager’s reins for the rest of the campaign to Shakespeare.Although the Premier League champions have sounded out a number of potential managers, including Roy Hodgson, in the wake ofRanieri’s sacking, the instant turnaround under Shakespeare has impressed everyone at the club. Shakespeare has the backing of the players, as well as the supporters, who sang his name duringSaturday’s 3-1 win over Hull, and is highly regarded by Jon Rudkin, Leicester’s director of football.His only objective between now and the end of the season will be to deliver Premier League survival, which is firmly within Leicester’s grasp. Two victories in the space of a week has lifted the club out of the bottom three and up to 15th in the table, transforming the mood at the King Power Stadium, where supporters chanted on Saturday: “We’ve got our Leicester back”.Shakespeare’s next match is not until 14 March, when Leicester face Sevilla at homein arguably the biggest game in their 133-year history.Trailing 2-1 from the first legof their Champions last-16 tie, Leicesterknow that a 1-0 win would be enough to secure a place in the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club competition.

BREAKING NEWS!! Man United Striker Ibrahimovic Slapped With Three Match BanAfter Elbowing Incident (Read)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has accepted a three-match ban for violent conduct for elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.The Manchester United striker will miss Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Chelsea and Premier League games against Middlesbrough and West Brom.Mings was also charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.But Bournemouth have said they will appeal against the defender’s charge.Ibrahimovic, who is United’s leading scorer this season with 26 goals, is eligible to play in the Europa League tie against Rostov in Russia on Thursday.Mings, 23, landed on the United forward’s head with his studs before Ibrahimovic, 35, caught his rival in the face with his elbow at a corner.The players were given until 18:00 GMT on Tuesday to respond to the charge.Deliberate elbowing and stamping are both red card offences. However, the FA suggested Mings could face an increased ban for his offence.An FA statement said: “The FA has submitted a claim that the standard punishment that would otherwise apply for the misconduct committed by the Bournemouth defender is ‘clearly insufficient’.”“Off-the-ball incidents which are not seen at the time by the match officials are referred to a panel of three former elite referees.“Each referee panel member will review the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they consider it a sending-off offence. For retrospective action to be taken, and an FA charge to follow, the decision of the panel must be unanimous.”

Real Madrid boss Zidane unmoved by Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema questions

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is relaxed over criticism of star forward collective Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 clash with Napoli.

Madrid’s form has stuttered of late, with desperate comebacks required to beat Villarreal and draw with Las Palmas after a loss at Valencia last month.

Bale and Ronaldo missed out through suspension and injury respectively as Eibar were dispatched in a restorative 4-1 triumph on Saturday, where Benzema made light of his form struggles this season with a brace.

It prompted further questions over what Zidane’s most effective attacking line-up is, although the likes of Lucas Vazquez and Alvaro Morata are likely to look on from the bench with the much-vaunted “BBC” reunited at Stadio San Paolo.

“Everyone is here with an opinion every week. People change their opinion every week,” Zidane said when asked about the trio’s form at a pre-match news conference.

“I’m happy to have all my squad available except two or three that we’ve left at home. We’re all here and I’m happy for that.

“Everyone is free to have an opinion and decide who they think should play but it doesn’t bother me too much.”

Training in the in !#RMUCL

pic.twitter.com/8haFmFuCXk

— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) March 6, 2017

Zidane is familiar with the cauldron-like atmosphere at San Paolo from his playing days at Juventus and expects a typically high-intensity approach from Maurizio Sarri’s side, who are nursing a 3-1 deficit from the first leg.

“I’ve lived this atmosphere here as a player. It’s never been an easy place to come,” he said. “It’s a stadium where the fans really get behind their side, they are really involved in the game.

“But at the same time it is very nice. I like atmospheres like that when the fans get behind the team. It’s nice for their side but it is nice for the rival as well. It’s an extra motivation.

“I think it will be very intense and quick from the start. They have to score.

“They are a team who can play in two different ways. They can pressure you or they can try and do something different by playing quickly on the counter attack

“We know they’re a good side. They can do great damage to the rival.”

A Dries Mertens brace saw Napoli to a vital 2-1 win at similarly high-flying Roma in Serie A on Saturday and Zidane added: “When you beat the side in second away from home it gives you a lot of confidence. It gives them a lot of energy, I’m sure, that win.”

Federer, Messi and Ronaldo not the best? Nastase wary of GOAT label

Roger Federer has a strong claim to being the greatest tennis player of all time, but Ilie Nastase feels we are too quick to hail sport’s dominant contemporary stars as the best ever.

Swiss master Federer claimed his 18th grand slam singles crown at the Australian Open in January to hold four more major titles than Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal.

Nastase, though, who won the US Open in 1972 and the French Open a year later, is not sure the popular 35-year-old’s standing at the pinnacle will remain unchallenged.

“We have to wait [to see if Roger Federer is the greatest of all time], I don’t want to compare because it’s not fair for other players before like [Rod] Laver, [Pete] Sampras,” he told Omnisport.

“Now people just look at the players at the top now. All sports are the same. Maybe after [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo, there will be other guys in 10 years,” he said, referring to the most famous active football players.

“I do not want to compare because all of them are great champions and all played at their best.”

Federer triumphed against the odds at Rod Laver Arena, beating Rafael Nadal in a nostalgic final despite being seeded 17th.

He had fellow Swiss Severin Luthi and Croatian Ivan Ljubicic by his side throughout the tournament, but Nastase questioned how much influence he was able to impart.

“You cannot coach it,” he said.

“Each player gets coaches but they play the way they feel and can play. A coach can tell you to do [something] and you cannot do it maybe. But Federer can do everything, so I think to be the coach of Federer is just to have somebody there watching.

“I remember that I played my best tennis when I didn’t have a coach, I had a beautiful girl sitting there. Because once you go on the court your coach cannot do much if you cannot play.”

Nastase also backed Novak Djokovic to rediscover his best form, the previously dominant Serb having struggled for consistency since a shock early exit from Wimbledon last year.

“I think he’s going to be back,” he said.

“He can’t just play from Monday to Sunday and start fresh on Monday like others. People don’t understand that.

“There’s just pressure for him to win week by week and you get tired and you cannot concentrate for so long.

“Maybe the other guys play well, that’s also possible. But Djokovic is a great champion and you have to count on him coming back, that’s for sure. He’s a fighter.”

Pogba not the finished article – Lampard urges improvement from Manchester United star

Frank Lampard does not believe Frank Lampard has been the game-changer Manchester United needed when they paid a world-record fee for the player.

France international Pogba returned to Old Trafford from Juventus for £89.3million last August and he has been a fixture in Jose Mourinho’s side fighting for honours on four fronts this season.

However, he put in a below-par performance as a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired United beat Southampton in the EFL Cup final last month and debate continues to swirl over whether Pogba is better deployed in a central midfield two or three.

Pogba has four goals and three assists in 25 Premier League appearances this season, with none of those coming against the current top six.

Former West Ham, Chelsea and Manchester City player Lampard is the top scoring midfielder in the competition’s history with 177 and believes United are entitled to expect more from their investment.

“It was a signal of their intentions to spend £90m on a player who I wouldn’t say is the finished article,” Lampard told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

“He’s got fantastic attributes – he’s strong, great feet, he’s bigger than you and quicker than you as a midfield player.

“But when you have a £90m price tag on your shoulders we analyse more and we wonder more.

“When you look at him at this stage of the season I’m still wondering what is his best position? What kind of player is he? What does he want to be?

“I feel like he’s falling a little bit in between everything. When you pay £90m you want to see those results and he hasn’t quite delivered.

“He’s young and he possibly will do but, as it stands, he hasn’t been the game-changer.”

Lampard added: “We do need to give him time and flip forward to next season and see if he’s improving. At £90m he has to be that dominant midfielder and I do believe that’s in him.”

Title under Mourinho helps Chelsea players – Matic

Nemanja Matic thinks Chelsea hold an advantage in this season’s Premier League title race due to their past experience of being crowned champions.

Chelsea won the league in 2015 under Jose Mourinho and are seven points clear of nearest challengers Tottenham going into Monday’s away match against West Ham.

Matic thinks that will help Chelsea as they bid to hold off the likes of Spurs, Manchester City and Liverpool to win their sixth top-flight title.

“We have more experience now from that season when we were champions,” he said to Sky Sports.

“The experience of 2015 does help. We know to be champions you have to play every game like it is your last.

“You have to give your best because you can drop any points at any time in the Premier League. We will try our best to win games.”

Some great goals scored in training this week!

pic.twitter.com/P3wbVwcxHu

— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 5, 2017

But midfielder Matic stressed Chelsea’s final 12 matches will not be straightforward and sympathised with how hard defending champions Leicester City have found this season after his own side struggled with that status in 2015-16.

The 28-year-old continued: “As you can see from our last game against Swansea, we were much better and played good football but they scored from the one chance they got. It was 1-1 and it was hard until the end.

“I know how Leicester feel. Last season, everything was going well and this season is completely different.

“Also, their opponents have more motivation to show they can win against the champions – it is very hard for them. It is harder to play when you are champions.”

Antonio Conte’s men have only lost three times in in 26 league matches this season, but did suffer defeat to West Ham in the EFL Cup last October on their first visit to London Stadium.

I want to win Champions League with PSG – Verratti reaffirms commitment to Ligue 1 champs

Marco Verratti reiterated his desire to remain with Paris Saint-Germain as the star midfielder dreams of Champions League glory in the French capital.

Verratti’s future in Paris has continued to dominate headlines amid reported interest from Serie A duo Juventus and Inter, and other European giants.

The 24-year-old, who signed a five-year deal last August, has repeatedly denied speculation he wants to leave PSG and the Italy international did so again ahead of Wednesday’s return leg against Barcelona in the Champions League last 16.

“I want to stay,” Verratti told Stade 2, with PSG leading Barca 4-0 following the first leg in Paris.

“I am part of a project and there are not many like this one in Europe.

“My dream is to win the Champions League here with PSG.”

Verratti continued: “I must thank the coach because he always made me confident enough to play – that was the only way I was going to get back into the swing of things.

“Now I feel good and I can play three matches in a week without physical problems or fatigue. In modern football, the most important thing is to be physically fit.”