In his first year as Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi has carried his side and plowed his way into the club's first Champions League semifinal since 2015.
Stamping out inappropriate fan behavior before it has a chance to boil over – like the NBA did with Russell Westbrook's Utah incident – would go a long way toward helping soccer curtail its problem.
Real Madrid’s failure to grow or adapt post-Cristiano Ronaldo cost it dearly in Sunday’s El Clasico. BARCELONA — After days of consistent rain, the heavens parted and the sun shone through ahead of Sunday’s kickoff on a crisp Sunday in Barcelona. The change in weather appeared to be a signal from the heavens to welcome a fresh look, after both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would not feature in the rivalry match for the first time since Ronaldo arrived in the Spanish capital in 2009.
El Clasico is never just another match, of course, but Sunday’s El Clasico is the first $8 billion match in the history of sport. Sunday’s 177th league El Clasico features Real Madrid valued at $4.088 billion and Barcelona valued at $4.064 billion, good enough for the fourth- and third-most valuable sports franchises, respectively — behind only Manchester United and the Dallas Cowboys per Forbes’ 2018 valuations. No match in any sport has featured two clubs valued at a combined $8 billion, and unlike the recent state of the Cowboys and United, Barcelona and Real Madrid have continued to succeed in the field of play and in the financial arena.
Lionel Messi is still, incredibly quietly, the best player on the planet and, probably, the greatest player of all time. Barcelona to win the Champions League always seems like a smart bet at the start of a campaign, but the current run for Messi with Barcelona is greater than simply winning 4-0 on Tuesday night at Camp Nou. For starters, Real Madrid hoarding Champions League trophies with Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo speaks for itself, but Barcelona was still clearly the best team in Spain last season, not Madrid.
The 2018-19 Premier League season is upon us. To get you set for the planet’s most enthralling 38-game soccer circuit, Yahoo Sports’ Premier League XI will delve into the 11 most compelling questions ahead of the coming campaign. Next up is Liverpool’s expensive but ambitious quest to reclaim the English top flight.
Belgium may go on to win the World Cup, but the biggest winner of the 2018 World Cup is England — more accurately, the Premier League. Nine of the 11 starters Belgium picked out to beat Brazil in the quarterfinals ply their trade in the Premier League, and Belgium’s squad is, in many ways, a Premier League All-Star team. The front line picked to face Brazil by Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, who made his bones as an England top-flight manager, was stacked with Premier League stars: Manchester United’s $100 million striker Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea’s three-time Player of the Year Eden Hazard and the Premier League’s 2018 Playmaker of the Year Kevin De Bruyne.
On a turnover of possession, Andres Guadado takes possession of the ball and immediately searches for and finds Carlos Vela. Vela uses his La Liga and Arsenal pedigree, combined with his familiarity with playing as a central playmaker, to skillfully hold and advance the ball to Miguel Layun on the right wing. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, centrally, and Hirving “Chucky” Lozano from the opposite wing attack the box as Layun plays the final ball in or drops his shoulder to take the chance himself.
Winning the 2018 World Cup for Cristiano Ronaldo is a luxury and a dream. For Lionel Messi, it is a necessity. Anything short of making it a reality would be devastating to the Argentine's psyche.
Brazil in 2018 is better without Neymar than Brazil in 2014 was with Neymar. Neymar may not have worn the captain’s armband, but he was Brazil in 2014. Consequently, a break in Neymar’s vertebrae fractured Brazil.
In Arabic, “Salah” means “righteousness,” “goodness” and “peace,” and Mohamed Salah has brought the peace, goodness and righteousness out of football fans across the United Kingdom and instantly become an Egyptian and Muslim icon in Great Britain. In English, “Salah” refers to the Muslim prayer, which is fitting considering the Liverpool forward unapologetically drops to his knees and bows in the style of the Muslim prayer after every goal —even the ones he did not celebrate against his former club, Roma. In all, Salah scored 32 goals in the Premier League, which set a new record for a 38-match season in the most famous league on the planet, but his impact this season has spread far beyond the pitches in England or the red half of the city that celebrates the Egyptian’s striking speed and educated finishing.
Andres Iniesta de la Mancha lived out a reality that seems like a hallucination. The silverware is easy to point to as a marker, but Iniesta meant far more to the sport and to the club than the shiny objects the club celebrated at the end of seemingly every season he served. In many ways, Iniesta kept Barcelona in Spain.
Jose Mourinho is one of the greatest managers to ever take residence on a sideline. At Manchester United, Mourinho is struggling to accomplish something, frankly, he has never done before: maintain stability. More than simply winning the Premier League, Champions League or collecting noteworthy silverware, the Portuguese is tasked with returning the glory, glory to Manchester United.
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City is off to a record start looking worthy of joining Manchester United as the only Premier League team to win the European Treble
Barcelona vs Juventus kicks off the 2017-18 Champions League group stages with an early test for 2 of Europe's giant clubs at the Camp Nou on Sept 12, 2017
Real Madrid has grown into the planet’s most dominant side, and it’s been at the expense of Barcelona. Real Madrid and Barcelona have flipped roles, and all it took was Zinedine Zidane. Real Madrid has become the best team on the planet and only looks to be stronger than ever at the start of a new season, highlighted by a 5-1 aggregate beatdown of Barcelona using a mix of weakened lineups that featured 23-year-old Mateo Kovacic in both legs, received only about 25 minutes of Cristiano Ronaldo and witnessed Gareth Bale, Casemiro and Isco left out of the starting XI of the second leg.
Pep Guardiola and Manchester City have spent about a half a billion dollars in 13 months, and their goal appears to be the assembly of world class talents in the hopes to build a dynasty that can rule the Premier League and legitimately challenge in the Champions League.
Romelu Lukaku is a $100 million striker. The Premier League is currently stuffed fat with money from television contracts, and that money is shared by all the clubs in a non-salary cap world — though the teams that finish closer to the top get more of that hearty money pie. In short, these ridiculous transfer fees seem to be getting to a stage where all the clubs share in such riches that buying a talent from a club like Everton is, well, expensive, considering a top player under contract will end up costing so much when courted by the third-most valuable sports club on the planet, Manchester United.
Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm retire on an emotional day at the Allianz Arena following Bayern Munich's 4-1 win over SC Freiburg.
Liverpool moved back to third place with a convincing 4-0 victory at West Ham United, putting the Reds in prime position to return to the Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick in the semi-finals of the Champions League put Atletico Madrid on life support and also served as a reminder that he's far from finished at age 32.
Barcelona beat Espanyol in front of a hostile crowd on Saturday night to regain its slender lead over Real Madrid in La Liga
Lionel Messi scored a brace to lead Barcelona to a 7-1 victory over Osasuna, while Javier Mascherano scored his first ever goal for FC Barcelona