Lionel Messi has once again been lauded as the ‘greatest player of all time’ after scoring his 599th and 600th career goal in the 3-0 win over Liverpool on Wednesday night. The Argentine talisman doubled Barcelona’s lead in the second half after collecting a lucky rebound off the crossbar with his chest before curling in a sublime 35-yard free kick (above) to leave Liverpool with it all to do in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final. The goal remarkably came 14 years to the day since his first goal for Barcelona (inset right) and sent watching BT Sport duo Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand wild as they watched at the Nou Camp. Ferdinand led the praise of the brilliant Messi after the match.
BARCA 3-0 LIVERPOOL – MARTIN SAMUEL AT THE NOU CAMP: Lionel Messi. Always a privilege to be in his presence, of course, but boy does he ruin the night for those who dare to dream.
Coutinho has struggled to meet expectations since moving from Liverpool in a £146million deal back in January 2018 and contributed little on Wednesday night against his former club.
Rio Ferdinand believes Liverpool will be haunted by the chances they missed at the Nou Camp during their heavy 3-0 first leg Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona on Wednesday.
‘All under control here, a big scare but everything is intact. Thank you very much for the messages and affection,’ he wrote on Twitter. Casillas was taken to hospital on Wednesday after the heart attack.
As Jordi Alba sent in a defence-splitting cross, Suarez timed his run perfectly to nip in and steer it past Alisson in the Liverpool goal – but Wenger insists Van Dijk should have done more.
IAN LADYMAN AT THE NOU CAMP: It was the speed of the reaction that caught Virgil van Dijk out. As the ball came back of the crossbar, he was on his heels and Lionel Messi was not.
Lionel Messi insists Barcelona still have work to do at Anfield despite his heroics securing a 3-0 first-leg win in the Champions League semi-final.
When it mattered most, Barcelona were ruthless while Liverpool were toothless. All the statistics favoured the Reds apart from the goals category.
Liverpool did not deserve this scoreline. For long periods, they looked at home at the Nou Camp. Jurgen Klopp watched his side dominate.
Lionel Messi may well have secured Barcelona’s place in the Champions League final with two crucial goals against Liverpool but not everything he did on Wednesday night was worthy of eulogy. The Argentine grabbed his 599th and 600th career goals against the Merseysiders, the second of which was a stunning 35-yard free-kick to all-but end the tie – bar a miracle at Anfield. But supporters were left with a sour taste in their mouths when the diminutive playmaker took a tumble after a challenge from James Milner, channeling his inner-Neymar with a pirouette and spin after hitting the turf.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was in the stands to watch title rivals Liverpool suffer a disappointing defeat to Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night. Jurgen Klopp’s side are locked in one of the most fiercely contested Premier League title races of all time but the Reds had to put domestic concerns aside to take on the might of Guardiola’s former employers.
DOMINIC KING AT NOU CAMP: Liverpool need to summon a miraculous comeback to stay in Europe after Lionel Messi played like a man on mission to win the Champions League.
PETE JENSON AT THE NOU CAMP: Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the first half before Messi stole the show to ensure the Catalans will take a three-goal advantage to Anfield.
DOMINIC KING AT THE NOU CAMP: It is always the way when old friends are reunited. Some act like nothing has ever changed and carry on as they did before; others are awkward and reserved.
INTERVIEW BY PETE JENSON: Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista will never forget the moment he knew he’d arrived in English football. It was his Arsenal debut against Everton. ‘I was up against Romelu Lukaku and there was a 50-50 early on,’ he says. ‘I went into this challenge hard, down on the ground and came away with the ball and suddenly the noise in the Emirates, it was as if I had scored.’ He went on to play 64 times for the club and when they sold him — for only £10million — it seemed his career had peaked. The kid from the Sao Paulo favela had overcome a harrowing childhood to reach the Premier League and it had ended inside two years.
Ramsey was hopeful of recovering from his hamstring injury in time for a potential Europa League final come the end of May but Emery revealed that his Arsenal career is now sadly over.
MATT LAWTON: While it is understood he has not so far been prepared to meet Roman Abramovich’s valuation for the club, Ratcliffe hinted he is still interested in acquiring the Premier League side.
MATT BARLOW: Marcelino’s coaching career has evolved more slowly than others but there is a growing sense that his next opportunity could take him to a big club in Spain or overseas.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal side go into Thursday’s game against Valencia having lost their last three Premier League matches as they struggle to secure a return to the top-four.
Maurizio Sarri has admitted Chelsea are ‘in trouble’ for their Europa League semi-final first leg at Eintracht Frankfurt after Gary Cahill sustained an Achilles injury.
Boss Adi Hutter has revealed that Frankfurt will look to put two men on the Blues’ Belgium superstar at all times during the Commerzbank Arena clash.
Adam Johnson (left), 31, has been making regular visits to ex-girlfriend Stacey Flounder’s home in the north east (right) despite her vow not to take him back after his conviction for child sex crimes. The former footballer, who served half of a six-year jail sentence at HMP Moorland in Doncaster, has been ‘staying overnight’ at the property where his four-year-old daughter Ayla lives with her mother (his car inset at the house). Sources suggest Johnson and Miss Flounders (inset top), 29, are ‘taking things slowly’ and have been ‘spending quality time together’. Johnson last month released a statement declaring his remorse for his actions and apologised to his friends and family.
Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita suffered a groin injury that caused him to be substituted in the first leg of his side’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.
The 30-year-old German playmaker is the highest-paid player in the history of Arsenal but has been dropped several times this season by manager Unai Emery.
David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have all been backed in transfer markets with varied success since Sir Alex Ferguson departed the club in 2013. Manchester United, under the stewardship of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, have squandered close to £700million since David Moyes walked through the door at Old Trafford. Here, Sportsmail rates all 26 players who have joined the club post-Ferguson.
Images of Manchester United’s new home kit for the 2019-20 season have surfaced after Sports Direct accidentally put it up for sale. The new strip, which pays tribute to their famous treble-winning season from 1999, briefly appeared on the sports-goods retailer’s website before they later removed it. The Adidas kit has almost certainly been themed around Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s return to the club, as it was his injury time goal which gave United the Champions League win in that unforgettable season.
Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has revealed that he is ‘feeling ok’ after suffering a head injury in the first leg of his side’s Champions League semi-final against Ajax.
DR BARRY O’DRISCOLL – EXCLUSIVE: Do the powers that be in football do enough about concussion? Or do we have to wait for a catastrophe before something changes?
Tottenham centre back Jan Vertonghen will see a neurologist on Thursday to determine whether he suffered concussion against Ajax on Tuesday night. He had a series of tests on Wednesday
Players past and present have wished Iker Casillas well after the Porto goalkeeper suffered a heart attack while training. The footballing world sent him messages of support on social media.
GRAHAM THOMAS AT LIBERTY STADIUM: Frank Lampard’s route to a rapid return to the Premier League in his first season as Derby manager was rammed off the road by Wayne Routledge. Former Chelsea star Lampard saw his skipper Richard Keogh plant one foot in the pay-offs when he scored with a first half header.
Frank Lampard expressed his delight that Derby’s play-off destiny is in their own hands heading into the final round of fixtures. Derby were held to a 1-1 draw at Swansea
Real Madrid are eyeing a move for Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen but may wait until 2020 to sign him for free. The Spurs midfielder has been one of his side’s stand-out players.
Graeme Souness has raged against those who ‘talk bull about tactics and formations and too much football science’. The Scotland legend was discussing the Champions League semi-final between Tottenham and Ajax on Virgin Media Sport in Ireland on Tuesday night. And he didn’t hold back when passionately arguing that the tactical intricacies of football shouldn’t outweigh good old-fashioned commitment and determination.
Tottenham will travel to Amsterdam as underdogs next week after losing 1-0 to Ajax in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final in London. But Pochettino’s team should not be written off.
Scholes’s son Arron, 19, launched a withering attack on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on Twitter at half time during Ajax’s 1-0 win over Tottenham on Tuesday night.
Having triumphed over Tottenham at their brand new, 62,000-seater stadium on Tuesday night, Ajax could be found training the next day at the home of Bostik Premier Division side Bishop’s Stortford. The Dutch side fitted in a quick training session in Hertfordshire after winning their Champions League semi-final first leg thanks to Donny van Beek’s early goal. Bishop’s Stortford are currently seventh in their division, sitting a full 130 places below Tottenham.
Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe is determined to sell the club after promotion and step down from his role but is fighting to prevent co-owner Prince Abdullah from seizing control.
McClean, whose pro-Irish republican views have made him a target for abuse in the past, posted pictures of the card on Twitter along with the caption: ‘No words needed.’
French car-maker Bugatti has confirmed it found a buyer for its La Voiture Noire sports car (top) and reports in Spanish newspapers suggest the owner is Cristiano Ronaldo (bottom right). The Juventus and Portugal star is known for his taste in expensive cars, and already owns at least one other Bugatti – a £1.7million Veyron (pictured bottom left and centre) – along with models by Lamborghini, Aston Martin, McLaren and Bentley. Bugatti’s latest model is a one-off styled after the the classic Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic, only four of which were ever built, and can reach speeds of 260mph.
Only Huddersfield conceded more goals in the month of April than PSG. The first side to be relegated from the Premier League this season, Huddersfield conceded 15 goals last month.
Joey Barton has been banned from driving for six months after twice being caught speeding. The Fleetwood Town manager, 36, exceeded the limit first on the M56 and then on the A5080.
Manchester City star Benjamin Mendy appeared to enjoy Lionel Messi’s masterclass against Liverpool on Wednesday night just as much as the Barcelona fans. The Frenchman was filmed celebrating wildly as one of the three goals went in, having been invited to watch the Champions League semi-final at the Nou Camp by Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti. And in an indication of how ferocious this season’s Premier League title race is, Mendy appeared to be giving Liverpool the finger as their European hopes faded.