Lionel Messi ‘Didn’t Turn Up’ as Barcelona Exit Prompts Ernesto Valverde Apology

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Lionel Messi has been criticised in the wake of Barcelona’s shock 3-0 defeat at the hands of Roma on Tuesday, while Barca manager Ernesto Valverde and president Josep Maria Bartomeu have apologised to supporters.
The Giallorossi produced an outstanding performance at the Stadio Olimpico to overturn a 4-1 deficit from the first leg, ensuring the Blaugrana’s exit at the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League for the third season running.
Barca’s players have come in for a great deal of criticism for their showing in Rome, and Messi is no exception.
AS‘ Juan Jimenez described the Argentinian as being “anonymous” and said he had “gone out there to watch the time go by,” concluding that he “simply didn’t turn up.”

Messi and Luis Suarez were also singled out by BT Sport pundit Michael Owen, who believed they did not do enough to help out defensively.

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“I’m not sure you can not concede when you’ve got two strikers that don’t put anything into defending,” he said, per MailOnline’s Robert Summerscales. “They are basically defending with eight outfield players against 11, and I’m not sure you can do that at the highest level.”
Neither of the pair had a night to remember in a match in which a single Barcelona goal would have all-but guaranteed their progression, and with Radja Nainggolan, Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman often overwhelming the visitors’ midfield, the extra bodies could have lightened their team-mates’ load.
Jimenez’s criticism of Messi is perhaps a little unfair, though, as he was involved throughout—according to Summerscales he had 61 touches of the ball, just six fewer than the commanding De Rossi managed, per Squawka Football—and frequently had to drop deeper to create for the team with Andres Iniesta struggling to do so himself.
Grup 14’s Rafael Hernandez believes the Argentinian was let down by his team-mates, a sentiment echoed by ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan:
Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117 The only thing holding back Lionel Messi is Barcelona. Unbelievable.
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan Point about Messi not scoring whenever Barca go out of CL not that he never does it on big occasion – more that if he doesnt step up then nobody else has.
Barcelona’s decline in recent years has often been masked by their impressive ability to continue to pick up silverware each season—something Messi should take plenty of credit for—but they’re perhaps no longer the force they once were on the pitch and rely too heavily on their talisman.

Their failure to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League since their win in 2015 demonstrates as much, and prompted apologies from both Bartomeu and Valverde.
Per Sport‘s Victor Vallespir, the former said it was a “sad day” for the club and added: “The message is that we’re sorry for all Barca fans around the world.”
According to Ivan San Antonio of the same outlet, Valverde had a similar message: “We’re sorry for them, for the disappointment.”
The coach also lay the failure at his own feet: “Absolutely. The coach is the one who has to take responsibility. [The coach] chooses the team, the changes, he plans the game, the season. So I am absolutely responsible for everything.”
ESPN’s David Cartlidge also believed Valverde made mistakes in his approach:
David Cartlidge @davidjaca Think Valverde is a magnificent coach and sacking him would be absurd, but he’s got caught in the headlights tonight. Had a panic. Or as it is sometimes known, an Emery, and resorted to negativity/caution over taking initiative.
He has done an excellent job overall at the Camp Nou; his side—despite being far from a vintage outfit—are in the Copa del Rey final and are seven matches away from going the season unbeaten in La Liga, which they’re set to win comfortably.
His lack of top-level experience showed on Tuesday, though, and the team’s European hopes will therefore have to be put on hold for another year at least.

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via Bleacher Report – Front Page https://ift.tt/yO6Sgr
April 11, 2018 at 01:12AM

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Two Roma football fans charged over attack on Liverpool fan that left him fighting for life — The Sun

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TWO Roma football fans have been charged over an attack on a Liverpool fan that left him fighting for life. Merseyside Police confirm that two Italian men were charged following an incident in Anfield on Tuesday, 24 April in which a 53-year-old man was seriously injured. 20-year-old Filippo Lombardi was charged with violent disorder and wounding/inflict…

TWO Roma football fans have been charged over an attack on a Liverpool fan that left him fighting for life.

Merseyside Police confirm that two Italian men were charged following an incident in Anfield on Tuesday, 24 April in which a 53-year-old man was seriously injured.
20-year-old Filippo Lombardi was charged with violent disorder and wounding/inflict grievous bodily harm.
29-year-old Daniele Sciusco was charged with violent disorder.
Both men have been kept in custody to appear at South Sefton Magistrates Court this morning, Thursday 26 April.
The victim remains in hospital in a critical condition at Walton Neurological Centre.

More to follow…

For the latest news on this story keep checking back at Sun Online.

Thesun.co.uk is your go to destination for the best celebrity news, football news, real-life stories, jaw-dropping pictures and must-see video.

via Two Roma football fans charged over attack on Liverpool fan that left him fighting for life — The Sun

Steven Gerrard: Salah is better than Messi and Ronaldo right now — INKLING LEAGUE

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25 April Steven Gerrard has covered Mo Salah in praise for another decisive performance for Liverpool. The Egyptian star has taken his seasonal goal tally to 43 goals in 47 games in all competitions with a two-goal, two-assist performance against former club Roma. While the ex-Giallorossi refused to celebrate against the Lupa, he has put them […]

Steven Gerrard has covered Mo Salah in praise for another decisive performance for Liverpool. 

The Egyptian star has taken his seasonal goal tally to 43 goals in 47 games in all competitions with a two-goal, two-assist performance against former club Roma.

While the ex-Giallorossi refused to celebrate against the Lupa, he has put them on the brink of Champions League elimination. According to Steven Gerrard, however, the real debate is a different one: to the former Anfield mainstay, Salah is the best player in the world at the moment.

“It’s difficult to compare him to your Ronaldo’s and Messi’s because they’ve done it for so long and consistently year in year out,” he said on BT Sport, where he is a pundit.

“But without a shadow of a doubt he’s the best player on the planet right now.”

“Wow. I’m running out of words really.

“Two exquisite finishes. The first one, the accuracy in terms of knocking the stanchion off.

“And the second one, the double run at first to kid Juan Jesus the left centre-back.

“And then to get in and sit the keeper down with the calmness.”

 

via Steven Gerrard: Salah is better than Messi and Ronaldo right now — INKLING LEAGUE

Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah hugs Roma players in tunnel before stunning Champions League display — The Sun

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MO SALAH shared a touching hug with his former Roma team-mates before he went on to put them to the sword in the Champions League semi-finals. The Liverpool winger, 25, has netted 43 goals in all competitions this season and continued a run of form that is simply out of this world. Mo Salah greets…

MO SALAH shared a touching hug with his former Roma team-mates before he went on to put them to the sword in the Champions League semi-finals.

The Liverpool winger, 25, has netted 43 goals in all competitions this season and continued a run of form that is simply out of this world.

But part of what makes him such a special player is his humble nature and the fact that he does not forget old friends.

And there was no chance he would forget his pals at former club Roma, as he embraced Radja Nainggolan and what appears to be one of Roma’s directors.

All the niceties ended there though, as Salah ran riot against his former team-mates, cutting in from the left after 36 minutes to bend an effort off the far post and inside for a stunning goal.

He then scored another, racing on to a through ball to dink the ball over Giallorossi keeper Alisson as it rolled over the line for 2-0.

In the second half it did not get any easier for the former Chelsea and Fiorentina man, as he turned supplier for goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

The Italian media have this morning reacted with surprise that Roma sold Salah for so cheap after his display.


DAVE KIDD As for Mo Salah, no Egyptian has screwed the Romans like that since Cleopatra


Sporting director Monchi admitted he had to flog the Egyptian for £34.4million, while the fee could eventually rise to £44.4m, but he was constrained by Financial Fair Play.

LIVERPOOL NEWS

“It’s true, I gave up Salah, but forced by Uefa constraints.

“Last year we were forced to sell by June 30th and if we had not done it that day we would not be in the Champions League semi-finals.

“Our accounts were under strict control from Uefa and when I arriived there was an offer of [£26m], then with the bonuses it went up to [£44m].”

 

via Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah hugs Roma players in tunnel before stunning Champions League display — The Sun