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The process is only open to members and tickets must be requested before Monday 30 at 7.00pm CET via the Club's website
On Friday 27 March, from 10.00am CET until Monday 30 at 7.00pm CET the process to request tickets will open for the Champions League quarter-final first leg between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona which will be played at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday 15 April.
The process if for Club members only and requests must be made via a form that is available at the Club’s official website www.fcbarcelona.com. Each member can only request one ticket but there is the chance for each form to contain four member requests if they wish to travel together.
For the game FC Barcelona will have a total of 2,000 tickets available at 75 Euros each. As is usual, 85% of the allocation will be divided amongst members (1,360) and Supporters’ Clubs (340). The rest are destined for sporting and institutional commitments at the club and for sponsors.
Possible draw on 31 March
All request will be dealt with when the once the window for application is closed. In the case that there are more requests than tickets available, on 31 March there will be a draw in the presence of a notary. Immediately after, between 31 March and 1 April, the Club will contact those who have been successful about how to pay for and collect the tickets.
Remember that members under the age of six cannot request tickets for a match away from home. Furthermore, it is possible to order a maximum of eight tickets with any one credit card. It is worth remembering that ticket must be collected in person by the member who has requested them. If this is not possible then members should consult the collection conditions that will be contained in the e-mail from the Club.
With 536 games, the midfielder moves above Valdés and is now only behind Migueli, Puyol and Xavi
The vice-captain of the first team has now become the player with the fourth most appearances for the FC Barcelona first team. After featuring in the Clásico, Iniesta, who joined the club when he was just 12 years old, has now played more official matches than former goalkeeper Valdés and is only topped by Xavi, Puyol and Migueli.
Debut under Van Gaal
Iniesta made his debut in a Champions League game away to FC Bruges on 29 October 2002. He was 18 at the time and had the number 34 on his back when Louis Van Gaal picked him in the team against the Belgians. He has gone on to play 103 more games in the UCL, plus 354 in La Liga, 58 in the Spanish Cup, 10 in the Spanish Super Cup, 2 in the European Super Cup, 5 in the Clubs World Cup and 3 in the UEFA Cup.
Iniesta has scored 53 goals in these games, the most memorable of which has to be the one against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to qualify the team for the 2009 Champions League Final. In total, he’s scored ten UCL goals, plus 33 in La Liga, one against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup and nine in the Spanish Cup.
The former Barça striker nets hat trick and leads Parisians into first place
After FC Barcelona eliminated UEFA Champions League last-16 rivals Manchester City last Wednesday, Friday's quarter-final draw in Nyon, Switzerland handed the Catalans a new challenge — Paris Saint-Germain. Thus, Rival Watch begins a new chapter.
It is worth noting that Barça and PSG faced off twice this season already — in Group F of the Champions League round-robin stage. The French won 3–2 in Paris while the Catalans were victorious 3–1 in Barcelona. Barça won the group.
Paris Saint-Germain move into first
After being the first ball chosen from the bowl at Friday morning's draw and then seeing themselves paired with group-stage nemesis FC Barcelona, PSG went out and dominated Ligue One's first match of the weekend on Friday night, beating Lorient 3–1 at Parc des Princes.
Former Barça player Zlatan Ibrahimovic — who will miss the first leg against FC Barcelona while serving a one-game suspension — was the star of the game, netting all three goals.
The victory gave the Parisians the provisional lead in the French first division. On Saturday, however, it became official as Olympique Lyonnais fell 2–1 at home to Nice on Saturday afternoon, giving PSG a one-point advantage in the standings.
The French side led by Laurent Blanc seek to conquer the quarter-finals for the first time against Group F nemesis Barça
- Paris Saint-Germain are in the quarter-finals after knocking out Chelsea, who had harboured title aspirations of their own, in the last 16. The French made it through on away goals after a 3–3 aggregate score over both legs.
- The Parisians boast three ex-FC Barcelona players who have experience facing their old club: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Motta and Maxwell Scherrer. Skipper Laurent Blanc played for Barça too, back in 1996/97.
- PSG will be without two of their top players for the first leg in Paris. Both Ibrahimovic, who was red-carded in the last-16 return leg versus Chelsea, and Marco Verratti are suspended. For Barça, Dani Alves, like Verratti, will also be out for accumulation of yellow cards.
- Barça and PSG already battled this season in Group F of the Champions League. Barça fell 3–2 in the first leg in Paris, but won the rematch 3–1 at Camp Nou on goals from Leo Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez. The two sides also clashed in the quarter-finals two seasons ago, with Barça moving into the semis.
- Perhaps the most memorable moment in the history of Barça–PSG matchups came in the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup when the Catalans beat the Parisians in Rotterdam on a lone penalty kick from Ronaldo. That Barça side was coached by Bobby Robson and featured players Luis Enrique and Laurent Blanc, the current coaches of both teams.
- PSG have played eight matches in this year’s Champions League. They have won four, drawn three and lost just once, to Barça.
- Laurent Blanc’s squad have scored 13 goals and given up 10. Edinson Cavani leads the team with six goals.
- This is PSG’s third trip to the quarter-finals, coming all in a row in the last three seasons. They’ve never made it to the semi-finals.
- In their history in the UEFA Champions League, PSG have played 68 matches, with a record of 36 wins, 14 losses and 18 ties.
- In Ligue 1, the French first division, PSG are currently second with 56 points, two behind leaders Olympique Lyonnais. The Parisians face Lorient on Friday and could become the provisional leaders.
A summary of reactions and tweets following the PSG and Barça being paired in the quarter-finals
The Barça coach speaks to fcbarcelona.com about the quarter-final matchup
FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique spoke with www.fcbarcelona.com about his squad's quarter-final tie with Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League. Luis Enrique praised Laurent Blanc's side: "They're very dangerous and we have a lot of respect for them. We have experience from the group stage, with a win and a defeat. After beating Chelsea they showed they're a strong candidate to win the competition."
For the first leg Barça will be without the suspended Dani Alves, while PSG will miss two of their top players. "The absence of Ibrahimovic and Verratti is important but they have other players who are equally dangerous," stressed Luis Enrique, who was also happy with the order of the matches. "Having the return leg at home is big. It's important to get a good result in Paris and try to qualify for the semi-finals in front of our fans.
From 12.00pm CET on Monday members without season tickets will be able to buy tickets and from Tuesday other members and the general public
On 23 March from 12.00pm CET, members without Camp Nou season tickets will have priority with regards to the purchase of available tickets for the second leg of the Champions League quart-final between FC Barcelona and PSG which will be played on Tuesday 21 April at 8.45pm CET.
The tickets can be bought via the Club’s official website, fcbarcelona.com and at Ticketmaster, and also at the Club’s ticket offices. Each member can purchase up to a maximum of six tickets with a 5% discount on the first ticket. The sale of tickets will continue whilst availability lasts.
Tuesday 24, tickets for all members and the general public
On Tuesday 24 March at 12.00pm, a second window for ticket sales for the rest of FC Barcelona members and the general public with availability coming from the Seient Lliure scheme. Once the tickets have sold out then the window will close and then reopen once more available tickets go on sale in the days running up to the game. The tickets can be bought via the Club’s official website, fcbarcelona.com and at Ticketmaster, and also at the Club’s ticket offices.
A maximum of six tickets can be bought by each member and there is a discount of 5% on the first ticket.
The two teams, who know each other well from this year's Group F, were the first pair to be drawn
On Friday at 12.00pm CET in Nyon, Switzerland, the very first pairing for the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals was announced: Paris-Saint Germain v FC Barcelona.
The two sides will play for the third and fourth times this season, after two previous meetings in group F. In their group-stage matchups, PSG won the first match in Paris 3–2, but Barça were victorious in the return at Camp Nou, winning 3–1 to top the group, leaving PSG in second.
The first match will be without a few big players. Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti, and Barça's Dani Alves will all be serving suspensions.
Demanding month of April
The Champions League tie with PSG falls in the middle of a tough month for Luis Enrique's team. Barça play at Sevilla beforehand, then host Valencia in the middle, and finish off April by playing at Espanyol after the quarter-finals.
The other quarter-final matchups are: Atlético de Madrid v Real Madrid, Porto v Bayern Munich and Juventus v Mónaco.
Mestre gives analysis
FC Barcelona Sports Area Vice-President Jordi Mestre, who led the blaugrana expedition to the draw in Nyon, said that it would be a "difficult tie, because PSG added some big-time players this year." He feels that Barça know their next opponent well due to the two group stage clashes earlier this year. Nevertheless, "those two matches won't have any bearing. The first leg is the only game we need to focus on right now," he added.
The goalkeeper's second half save from Aguero ensured Barça kept another clean sheet against Manchester City on Wednesday night - here's how the Camp Nou fans saw it.
Barça had 23 shots during the game, with City's astounding keeper Joe Hart stopping 10 and two rattling the woodwork
- The win against City means Barça have won every one of their home games in this season’s Champions League, having seen off. Apoel (1-0), Ajax (3-1) and PSG (3-1)
- This was Barça’s eighth European knock out tie against an English team since the 2008/09 season and they have now won seven of them, with just one elimination.
- FC Barcelona will be in the draw for the last eight of the Champions League for the eighth successive season - the last time they missed out was in the 2006/7 season, when they were beaten by Liverpool on the away goals rule (2-2).
- Ter Stegan made his first penalty save for the Club - the first in the competition since Víctor Valdés saved one against Ajax in the 4-0 win in September 2013.
- Ivan Rakitic’s goal was his first in the Champions League and his third in a Barça shirt at the Camp Nou, following his strikes against Granada (6-0) and Sevilla (5-1).
- The left side of Barça’s defence won back most possession against City with Jordi Alba and Jérémy Mathieuboth wining 11 balls during the game
- Andrés Iniesta marked 535 games for the Club against City and is now joint fourth with Víctor Valdés in the all-time list of most appearances.
- Barça had 23 efforts, with just one goal, two shots against the woodwork, seven shots off target, three blocked and ten stops by keeper Joe Hart. The chart below shows the team’s goal attempts, with on-target efforts marked in green and off-target in red.
Click on the image for all the stats from the FC Barcelona - Manchester City game
There was plenty of reaction on social media to FC Barcelona's qualification for their eighth successive appearance in the last eight of the Champions League
The Barça coach lauds City keeper Joe Hart, says squad struggled a bit near the end
Luis Enrique talked after the game about reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Here are the highlights of what he said:
On the final score:
"The score could have been a rout. Hart was incredible but we weren’t really on towards the end."
"We had a lot of chances, which is not normal in this type of game.”
"We deserved to win by a bigger goal difference."
About the game against Manchester City:
"It was a special night, very positive for the team and for the fans."
"We achieved our objective, which was to win the game and move into the next round.”
"When a team like City are down and decide to take risks, and have just three back on defence against a team like ours, we have to close out the game."
"Everything would have been much tougher if Ter Stegen had not stopped the penalty kick."
"I applaud all the players who played and all those who didn’t. It is a day that Barça fans should celebrate."
"I feel like we’re in good form and in as good a position as we can be, which is in first place.”
Messi's brilliance, Ter Stegan's penalty stop and plenty of missed chances at the heart of Wednesday night's result
Pressure and possession. City started positively and came out to chase Barça down in their own half and fight to control possession. With a high defensive line, Pellegrini’s side pressed up the pitch to make it hard for Barça to bring the ball out from the back, but their early tactics waned and by the end of the first half, Barça were enjoying a 56%-44% advantage in possession – though this was considerably less than the 38%-62% in the first leg.
Messi put on a show. As if the 90 minutes in Manchester weren’t impressive enough, on Wednesday night Leo Messi showed City, and the rest of the world, just what a sublime force he is, popping up all over the pitch, bamboozling defenders and setting up Ratikic with an inch perfect pass. Just as in the first leg, the only thing missing was a goal.
Ter Stegen proves crucial. The German stopper put in another fine performance against City, with the incident when he lost the ball to Aguero outside his box the only blot on his copybook. His save from the Argentinean’s penalty, correctly guessing which way the attempt would go and parrying it wide, was crucial to avoid any nervous moments late on.
A result to deceive. If 1-0 looks like a narrow win, the truth is Barça could and perhaps should have had a hatful more of goals. Without two attempts hitting the woodwork, a disallowed Jordi Alba effort and City keeper Joe Hart playing out of his skin to pull off some astonishing saves, the visitors could have been on the end of a real hiding.
Alves suspended. The Barça wing-back was the only player on a yellow card and his second half booking for a foul on Silva means he’ll miss the first leg of the quarter finals, but return with a clean slate for the return game.
Left out are Masip, Montoya and Douglas along with the injured Vermaelen and Busquets
Luis Enrique has called up 18 players for tonight’s Champions League game against Manchester City, with Masip, Montoya and Douglas missing out, alongside the injured Vermaelen and Sergio Busquets.
The full squad for the game is: Ter Stegen, Bravo, Alves, Piqué, Bartra, Alba, Mathieu, Mascherano, Adriano, Iniesta, Sergi Roberto, Xavi, Rakitic, Rafinha, Pedro, Neymar Jr, Messi and Suárez.
Don't miss any of the preparations for Wednesday's Champions League clash
Training and press conferences from the inside with the build up to FC Barcelona v Manchester City
FC Barcelona may have won the first leg in Manchester, but the first team manager knows there is still a difficult job to be done on Wednesday night
In his press conference before the Champions League game with Manchester City, manager Luis Enrique sent out a message of confidence in his players, although he is very wary that the job is still only half done.
2-1 may have been the perfect result at the Etihad, but “we are taking nothing for granted against City. We’ll treat it as we did the first leg and try to go out and win the match. It was be very dangerous to think we can settle for a draw.”
He is also confirmed that Sergio Busquets will play no part in Wednesday’s match.
The following is a selection of other comments made by the first team coach on Tuesday:
On winning the game
“Possession is one of our objectives in every game. That gives us a better chance of controlling the situation”.
“I expect a similar game to the first leg. Last year they also came here after a negative result from the first leg and they caused us a lot of problems”.
“We’re playing against one of the favourites to win this competition. We’re only 50% through the round and you only have to look at their players to see how much potential they have”.
“City don’t look tired to me. I think they have every chance of turning this tie around and I’m sure they’ll be clinging onto that hope”.
“They are missing Clichy, but have a key player back in Touré. They’ll play with two forwards and depending on their approach, we’ll work out how we can cause them damage”.
No talk of Clásico
“There is only one game for us and that’s the one tomorrow. Nothing else matters to me right now”.
“Tomorrow’s game is sweet enough for me. It’s all I need for now”.
“I sense that we are playing for a place in the quarter finals and that’s nice. We’ll be playing at home, in front of our fans, we’re in fine form and we hope to get a great result”.
“We need our fans to get us through moments of doubt”.
“City have the players to turn this game around” said the FC Barcelona midfielder in his pre-match press conference
Andrés Iniesta knows that the team needs to be fully focused on Wednesday’s game with Manchester City, and that there will be plenty of time to think about the Clásico against Real Madrid once the game with the Premiership champions is over.
“We feel confident about these two games but we also know we’ll be playing against two very difficult opponents” he said after the final training session before the match. “Perhaps tomorrow’s game is more important. And what better way to prepare for a game like Sunday’s than with a win against City? On Thursday we’ll start preparing for Sunday.”
He adds that “City have the kind of players who can turn this tie around … We have to go out with the same intentions as we did for the first leg and show that we are a team that is intent on qualifying for the next round.”
On how to beat Man City
“They have players, especially in attack, who can change a game at any time. We can’t make the mistake of thinking that winning 2-1 in the first leg was enough. We need to control the game, get the ball rolling and make them run”.
“Every tiny detail matters in the Champions League, and the only thing we’re worried about right now is beating City”
“City are even more dangerous with Touré in the team. His physical strength is a very important quality and makes them more decisive. We hope we can minimise his virtues.”
On the good morale
“The team has been in good shape for some time. But the hardest part is upon us and we’ll need to have our wits about us more than ever.”
“We know how the team is performing, how each player is performing, and what are chances are. We know that if we do what we have to do, then we have every chance of winning the different titles.”
“He’s a very important player. Not just because of his goals and assists. I don’t interpret such gestures as a lack of respect. Each person deals with things in their own special way. The most important thing about this team is the mutual respect that we have for each other.”
On Sergio Busquets
“He has been an essential member of the team for some time because of all that he contributes to the side. It’s a shame he’ll be missing but we have other players that are quite capable of taking over from him in that position, as they have already shown in other games.”
The Ivory Coast midfielder and the Chilean coach have given their opinions on the second leg of their last 16 tie against Barça
It will be difficult, but they have a chance. That is both how Manuel Pellegrini and Touré Yaya view Manchester City’s chances of making the quarter–finals the day before the second leg of their tie against Barça. The coach and midfielder are aware tha the 2-1 win for the blaugranes in the first leg puts them in the driving seat but at the same time they highlighted the possibility of making it through if they can make put in a good performance at Camp Nou. Touré Yaya also remembered his time at FC Barcelona and admitted that “it’s always special coming back to play against Barça.”
“It’s always good to have Touré Yaya because he is important for us, but we have shown that we can win without him.”
“Against Barça it will be important to control possession but we know that we are up against the best side in that aspect. What we have to try and do is not lose the ball when we have it because it will be difficult to get it back.”
“We have to repeat the good minutes that we had in the three games against them. If we can then we have a chance.”
“It will be a tough game because Barça are one of the best sides in Europe. We will do everything to get through to the quarter-finals.”
“Going back to play against Barça is always special. I have great memories, but for the whole team it will be a very important game.”
“Barça are in good form, especially Messi. But we have to watch all their players. We have to try to not concede a goal and get the first quickly. If we want to get to the quarter-finals we will have to beat Barça by two goals, it will be difficult but we have a chance.”
The UK media has its eyes firmly set on the second leg of the last 16 tie between the blaugranes and the current Premier League champions
As many as 70 British journalists from 36 different media oulets will be at Camp Nou on Wednesday to cover the second leg of the last 16 Champions League tie between FC Barcelona and Manchester City. The clash between the two of the biggest clubs in Europe is creating great expectancy not just in the United Kingdom and Spain but also all around the world.
The journalists Graham Hunter (Sky Sports Champions League), Andy Mitten (‘Four Four Two’), Richard Martin (‘Daily Telegraph’) and Sam Marsden (‘Daily Mirror’) analyse Wednesday’s game for Barça TV and fcbarcelona.com.
All of the available players were present as the first team fine-tumed its preparations for the Champions League showdown
The first team have trained for the last time before their Wednesday night Champions League fixture with Manchester City at the Camp Nou. The venue was the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, where they fine tuned preparations for the defence of their 2-1 lead from the first leg England.
Luis Enrique had all of the available players with him for the session, including Munir of the reserves and Martin Montoya, who suffered a fractured cheekbone at the weekend against Eibar.
Test your footballing knowledge by linking a Barça player with a Manchester City players in 6 connections or less
Check out how to play below and then try our example of Joe Hart to Claudio Bravo using the hashtag #6degreesFCB on Twitter
You may have heard of the popular concept that everyone one in the world is connected by a maximum of six steps. Here at fcbarcelona.com we are intrigued by the idea and we thought it would be interesting to try and link members of the current Barça Champions League squad and the current Manchester City Champions League squad in six steps or less.
Just as in football, however, there needs to be rules to maintain order and stop us descending into anarchy. So here they are:
1. A connection between players is made when they have been at the same team (club or national team) at the same time. e.g. Joe Hart (City) played for Birmingham City in 2009/10 with Spanish midfielder Míchel.
2. Direct connections between current players from both squads are not allowed e.g. you cannot link Claudio Bravo with Dani Alves because they both currently play for Barça, or Pablo Zabaleta and Leo Messi because one currently plays for Manchester City and the other for Barça.
3. Connections can only be made between players (active or retired), not coaches, managers etc
4. In the days running up to the second leg between the two clubs we will give you the names of a Barça player and a Manchester City player and you have to try and connect those two players via six other players or less and post your solution on twitter using the hashtag #6degreesFCB
5. There is no one ‘correct’ solution. There are an infinite number of ways to connect two players and as long as you take into account rules 1-4, then you’re answer will be valid.
Example to get you started
To help you on your way we have prepared an example for you right here.
To connect Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart and Barça keeper Claudio Bravo:
Joe Hart (City) played for Birmingham City in 2009/10 with Spanish midfielder Míchel, who played at Getafe in 2011/12 with Pedro León, who played for Real Madrid in 2010/11 with Mesüt Özil, who currently plays for Arsenal with Alexis Sánchez, who plays for the current Chile national side with Claudio Bravo.
Here there are four degrees of separation between Joe Hart and Bravo (Míchel, Pedro Léon, Ózil and Alexis Sánchez)
Not impressed? See if you can do better.
We will challenge you with more players to connect via the club’s social media channels in the next few days and the most interesting and unusual solutions will be published on the Club’s social channels on the day of the game.
Make sure you're well prepared for the 2nd leg of Barça's last 16 tie against Manchester City with our quiz
Our guide to the kick-off times and broadcasters showing the clash between the Premiership and Liga champions
The Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City is being shown in different countries and on different channels. But don’t worry if it’s not available in your country, because you can always listen to our live English commentary on Radio Barça. You can also follow our minute by minute coverage as well as the team and player stats on Barça's official website. Twitter users can follow @FCBarcelona for live updates as the action unfolds.
Wednesday 18 March 2015
Los Angeles – 12:45 PM (WST) / New York – 3:45 PM (EST)
Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Soccer Plus, SiriusXM FC, WATCH ESPN, ESPN Deportes, Fox Sports 1 USA, Fox Sports GO
Brazil – 4:45 PM (Brasília)
ESPN + Sur, ESPN Play Latin America, ESPN Cono Norte, ESPN + Andina
South America – Buenos Aires 4:45 PM / Santiago Chile 4:45 PM / Mexico DF 1:45 PM
ESPN + Andina, ESPN + Sur, ESPN Play Latin America, ESPN Play Argentina, ESPN Cono Norte, ESPN HD Latin, ESPN Mexico, Canal 5 Televisa
United Kingdom – 7:45 PM
Sky Go, Sky Go Extra, Sky Sports 5/HD, NOW TV
France – 8:45 PM (CET)
beIN SPORTS CONNECT, beIN Sports 1
Barcelona – 8:45 PM (CET)
C+ Liga de Campeones / HD
Arab Countries – 10:45 PM (Mecca Time)
Russia – 10:45 PM (MSK)
NTV Russia, NTV+ Football, NTV+ Sport Online, Sport Plus
Thursday 19 March 2015
India – 1:15 AM (IST)
Ten Action, TEN Sports LIVE, Ten HD
Indonesia – 2:45 AM (WIB)
China – 3:45 AM (CST)
CCTV 5+ VIP, CNTV Sports, CCTV-5, Sina Sports, PPLive
FC Barcelona: Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo and www.fcbarcelona.cn
Japón – 4:45 AM (JST)
SKY PerfecTV LIVE, Sukachan 1
Australia – 6:45 AM (Sydney)
*Source: Live Soccer.tv
We take a look back at what went on behind the scenes of the 2–1 win in Manchester
FC Barcelona and Manchester City are set to face off on Wednesday night at Camp Nou for the return leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. Kick off is scheduled for 8.45pm CET. Luis Enrique's squad won the first leg, 2–1, at the Etihad Stadium, back on 24 February. Check out this exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at that wonderful night in Manchester.
Real Madrid top Levante to keep pace with Barça; Atlético Madrid draw at Espanyol as Valencia enter picture in La Liga
Wednesday's Champions League opponents Manchester City suffer disappointing Premier League setback
While FC Barcelona were able to win on the road at Eibar on Saturday afternoon, the Catalans' closest rivals in the Spanish First Division and their current opponents in the UEFA Champions League ended the weekend with mixed results in domestic-league action.
Madrid keep pace
Real Madrid, which coughed up first place in La Liga after falling to Athletic Club at the new San Mamés last weekend, managed to keep pace with new leaders Barça by dispatching Levante 2–0 on Sunday night at the Santiago Bernabéu. Madrid started the game four points behind the Catalans following Barça's victory over Eibar, but got three of them back to maintain a one-point deficit in the standings.
Although Real were able to keep pace in the standings, their top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, was held scoreless by Levante and fell behind Leo Messi, the league's leading goalscorer. Ronaldo had led the league in scoring virtually all season long, with Messi a full ten goals back as recently as mid-January. Messi then launched an all-out assault on the top spot, finally drawing even last weekend with three goals in 12 minutes versus Rayo Vallecano. The Barça striker moved ahead of his Madrid counterpart 32–30 after Saturday's brace at Ipurua.
Both the team and the individual battles are on a collision course, as this season's second El Clásico between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid is set for Sunday 22 March at 9.00pm CET at Camp Nou. Real Madrid beat Barça 3–1 back in October, but this meeting, whatever the result, promises to be pivotal, as both teams come charging down the home stretch of the league season.
Just before the Eibar–Barça battle kicked off at Ipurua in the Basque Country on Saturday afternoon, reigning La Liga champions Atlético de Madrid were wrapping up their encounter on the outskirts of Barcelona, where they played to a lacklustre 0–0 draw with RCD Espanyol at Cornellà-El Prat. Atlético — third in La Liga heading into the weekend — actually began Saturday's match in fourth place after Valencia beat Deportivo 2–0 at Mestalla on Friday night to provisionally leapfrog Cholo Simeone's squad in the league standings.
Atlético, nevertheless, could have jumped right back into the top three with a win, but saw their hopes dashed just before halftime when central defender Miranda was duly shown a straight red card for throwing a reckless elbow into Abraham's head. Despite playing down a man the entire second half, Atlético managed to keep Espanyol from scoring. The tie, however, left them in fourth place with 56 points, one point behind surging Valencia.
Manchester City fall
In English Premier League action, Manchester City lost 1–0 on the road at Burnley on Saturday night. The frustrating defeat leaves City six points behind leaders Chelsea, who, just as disappointingly, could only manage a 1–1 draw with Southampton on Sunday — their second straight stalemate at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea's first home draw of the week, 2–2 to ten-man Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night, eliminated José Mourinhos's team from Champions League play on away goals.
Manchester City hope to avoid a similar fate versus Barça on Wednesday night, when they visit Camp Nou for the return leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. Kick off is scheduled for 8.45pm CET. Luis Enrique's squad won the first leg, 2–1, at the Etihad Stadium, back on 24 February.
FC Barcelona have two massive games this week. The Premiership champions are in town on Wednesday, and Sunday brings the Clásico
FC Barcelona have a real red-letter week ahead of them. Manchester City will be at the Camp Nou on Wednesday at 8.45pm* for the return leg of the UEFA Champions League last 16. The first leg ended in a 2-1 win for the Catalans at the Eithad Stadium.
Then, on Sunday at 9.00pm, the Camp Nou will open its doors once again for the Clásico against Real Madrid, a game sure to have a huge bearing on the eventual outcome of this year’s Liga championship.
This week’s schedule:
11.00am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper
11.00am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper
8.45pm: FC Barcelona v Manchester City, UEFA Champions League last-16 return leg
11.00am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper
11.00am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper
11.00am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper
9.00pm: FC Barcelona v Real Madrid, in La Liga
*All times CET
Luis Enrique's team have scored 124 goals, with just 27 conceded so far this season
Barça’s current sweet moment of form sees them Cup finalists, atop the Spanish League and with a 1-2 lead going into the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Manchester City. Key to their success so far has been their impressive goal scoring record – 124 goals – and their solid defence, which has conceded just 27 in the 41 games played - an average of more than 3 goals a game and a goal difference of 97.
Unstoppable front three
Of the 124 goals scored so far, Barça’s front three of Messi, Neymar and Suárez have accounted for nearly two thirds, with 80 in all. Messi has passed the 40 goal mark for the sixth successive season and is currently on 41, whilst Neymar has 26 and Suárez 13.
That attacking trio are the clearly the most dangerous in Europe right now, with no other side coming close to their scoring figures. Real Madrid are second behind Barça in the goal scoring table with 115, 72 of them from the front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema. Bayern Munich (98) and Chelsea (93) come next with Robben, Lewandowski and Müller accounting for 51 of Pep Guardiola’s side’s goals and Diego Costa, Hazard and Oscar bagging 39 for the London team. Italian league leaders Juventus are back in fifth with 71, with Tévez, Morata and Llorente scoring 37 goals between them.
Barça also have impressive figures at the back too, having conceded just 27 goals (0.65 a game), only bettered by Bayern who’ve conceded 19 at an average of 0.52 and Juventus with 24, but with an average of 0.66 goals a game. Real Madrid are back in fifth with 37 goals conceded at 0.90 a game and Chelsea just ahead of them with 36 at 0.83 a game.
Impressive stats that illuminate Luis Enrique’s team’s strengths at both ends of the pitch!
The Brazilian explained the squad are treating the Madrid game as if it were a final
Neymar took part in the presentation in Barcelona on Wednesday of this year’s MIC international youth tournament – a competition he himself played in back in 2008 and took the opportunity to stress the great atmosphere in the team at the moment: “We are training hard and the way we get on together really helps. There’s a great atmosphere, we are playing better every match and we are looking strong”.
Looking to this month’s Madrid game, the Brazilian explained how important the match is: “We’re going into it like a final. It’s a tough game and they have a very good team, but we are just thinking about a win. We’ll do everything to win; we want the three titles this season”.
The MIC Tournament is celebrating its fifteenth edition this year, with more than 200 teams from 36 different companies taking part from 31 March to 5 April on the Costa Brava. FC Barcelona have three teams in the tournament – the U19 A team along with the U14 and U12 teams.
The Argentinian has scored 18 goals in all competitions this year, and has broken the Liga record for career hat-tricks (24)
The year has got off to a wonderful start for Leo Messi. The Barça striker has scored 18 goals in 16 games, and average of 1.1 a game. And that was after 2015 had begun with defeat at Anoeta and the Argentinian ten goals adrift of Cristiano Ronaldo in the goalscoring chart. But everything has changed in the two months that followed, with the duo now tied on 30 Liga goals each. And Messi has also broken yet another record, this time for the most career hat-tricks in Liga. He’s scored three times in 24 different games to top Athletic Bilbao legend Telmo Zarra’s tally of 23.
His three against Rayo Vallecano in just 12 minutes was also the fastest of his career and meant that for the sixth consecutive season he has scored at least 40 goals in all competitions.
Barça have won 14 of their 16 fixtures so far this year, scoring 56 goals and conceding just 13. These results have put the side back at the top of the Liga table, into the Spanish Cup Final and also in a fine position to make it into the last eight of the Champions League following a 2-1 win away to Man City.
Messi has also continued to provide plenty of assists – no fewer than eleven since January started, and he has played a role in 52% of Barça’s goals
Tickets can be purchased from www.fcbarcelona.com, Ticketmaster, the club ticket offices and other authorised outlets. The general public can buy tickets from Friday 13
This Thursday at 10.00am CET, non-season ticket holding members will be able to buy tickets for the game against Manchester City at the Camp Nou on March 18 at 8.45pm CET. They will be available from www.fcbarcelona.com, Ticketmaster, the club ticket offices and other authorised outlets, such as FCB official stores, the Barcelona Tourist Office, and Carrefour and FNAC stores in Spain. Up to six tickets may be purchased per person.
General public from Friday 13
Tickets will go on sale to other FC Barcelona and the general public from 10.00am on Friday 13. Sales will remain open until the day of the match, with availability changing as members free their seats using the Seient Lliure system.
Please note that due to UEFA regulations, these tickets cannot be sold to nationals of the United Kingdom.
City beat bottom club Leicester 2-0 to stay five points behind Chelsea in second spot in the Premier
Two goals late in each half from David Silva and James Milner gave Manchester City the points at the Etihad against bottom club Leicester City on Wednesday night. Manuel Pellegrini took the decision to rest captain Vincent Kompany , Pablo Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko for the game, which the Sky Blues desperately needed to win after defeats to Barça and Liverpool last week explaining “we had to freshen up the team mentally and physically after two difficult games”.
The win keeps City five points adrift of Chelsea – who have a game in hand – and four ahead of Arsenal after both London teams also won on Wednesday night.
Barça's Champions League rivals suffered their second defeat in a week when Liverpool beat them 2-1 on Sunday
City are five points behind leaders Chelsea who have a game in hand
After losing 1-2 to Barça in midweek, Manchester City went down 2-1 to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday in the Premier League – a result that leaves them five points off leaders Chelsea, who have played a game less.
Two great goals from The Reds
A brilliant tenth minute opener from Jordan Henderson gave Liverpool the lead, but City fought back and after Aguero had hit the woodwork, Dzeko gratefully accepted an assist from the Argentinean to draw the teams level on 25 minutes.
City pegged their hosts back after the break, but Brendan Rodgers young side stunned City with another excellent goal, with Coutinho firing home from distance in front of an ecstatic Kop and set Pellegrini another headache before their trip to the Camp Nou on March 18th.
The team beat Chelsea by the same score in the first leg in 2005 and then went on to win the competition
Barça will take a 2-1 lead into the second leg of their Champions League tie against Manchester City next month – a result that should give them plenty of confidence – along with the stats that show they’ve always won through in Europe with a similar first leg score.
Barça have won the away first leg of a European tie 1-2 on four previous occasions and each time they have gone on to win the tie, seeing off Basle (Fairs Cup, 1958-60), Spartak Prague (European Cup, 1985-86), Fram Reykjavik (Cup Winners Cup, 1990-91) and Chelsea (Champions, 2005/06). In the case of the Fairs Cup and Champions League wins, the team went on to win the competition that season.
The Argentine was the foundation upon which the victory in the Etihad was built
Lionel Messi put in a complete performance against Manchester City. Aside from the penalty, an excellent save by Joe Hart, the Argentine showed that even though he is the all time top scorer in the Champions League and is second top scorer this season with eight goals, he not only shines in this area of the game. He played an important role in both Luis Suárez’s goals and was a constant threat to the home side’s defence.
The statistics from the game only serve to back this up:
- 69 complete passes from 76 attempted, a success rate of 91%
-10 successful dribbles from 13 attempted
- He was involved on 114 occasions (Only beaten by Iniesta with 117)
-He won the ball 7 times (only beaten by Piqué, Sergio and Dani Alves)
-In defence he cleared the ball 5 times (only beaten the four defenders and Sergio)
The Uruguayan is the team's second highest scorer in Europe this season, with four goals from four appearances
- Luis Suárez scored two in a game for the first time since he joined the Club
- The Uruguayan has now bagged 4 goals in the Champions League this season, second only to Messi who has scored eight. Suarez also scored against Apoel (0-4) and Paris Saint Germain (3-1).
- Suárez is becoming a bit of a nightmare for City’s Joe Hart – his two goals on Tuesday followed up the brace he got for Uruguay against Hart’s England in last year’s World Cup.
- Although he played for Liverpool in the Premier for three and half years, Tuesday night was the first time he’d scored at the City of Manchester Stadium.
- The win against City was FC Barcelona’s fifth win on the trot in the Champions League.
- Barça dominated the game and chalked up 62% of total possession.
- Andrés Iniesta made most passes for Barça, with 99, whilst Messi had the highest percentage of completed passes – 90%
- Gerard Piqué was the top defender, winning the ball back 14 times.
- Keeper Marc-André ter Stegen again showed his footballing skills, making 15 passes – all of them successful.
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