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Messi: I was targeted by doping control

Messi: I was targeted by doping control

The Argentine superstar says he came under particular scrutiny when officers visited Barcelona on Monday
Lionel Messi has claimed he was subjected to more rigorous anti-doping controls than his Barcelona team-mates ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Officers from AETSAD (Spanish Agency for Protection of Health in Sport), who work in conjunction with Uefa, visited Barcelona and conducted tests on five players - Messi, Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Claudio Bravo and Jordi Alba - prior to Monday morning's training session.

Afterwards Messi took to his Instagram account to reveal he came under particular scrutiny. “Doping control. Of the five chosen, I was the only one who had to give urine and blood samples... bit strange isn’t it?" he wrote.

On Saturday, Messi grabbed another hat-trick - his 21st in La Liga - as Barca thrashed city rovals Espanyol 5-1. 

The Argentina forward has scored 13 goals in 14 La Liga appearances this term, while netting an additional seven goals in five Champions League appearances. 

On Wednesday, Barca have the chance to secure top spot in Champions League Group F by beating PSG at Camp Nou.

Louis van Gaal snaps back at Gary Neville for suggesting Man United are like a 'pub side'

Louis van Gaal admitted his side were lucky to move into the top three but warned Sky pundit Gary Neville: ‘Watch what you say about Manchester United’.
The Reds boss accepted Robin van Persie, who struck twice against Southampton for their fifth win in a row, had bailed his team out. But Van Gaal took exception to Gary Neville’s claim that Sunday’s game against Liverpool will be “the Dog and Duck against the Red Lion”.
The prickly Dutchman snapped: “He can say everything because he’s an ex-legend. But as an ex-legend, you have to know what you’re saying.”
Pressed further, the United boss appeared to imply Neville should be more respectful to his former club. He said: “You can interpret that (as you like). It’s not difficult when I say he has to pay attention to his words.”

No more Invincibles

Newcastle United 2-1 Chelsea 

Substitute Papiss Cisse struck twice as Newcastle United secured a 2-1 win to end Chelsea's 23-match unbeaten run in all competitions and inflict their first Barclays Premier League defeat of the season.

The Senegal international scored four minutes after coming on in the second half before adding what proved to be a decisive second goal with 12 minutes to play, ensuring Jose Mourinho has still never masterminded a league win at St James' Park.

Chelsea dominated the first half but failed to find a way through, with Willian and Cesc Fabregas both passing up presentable chances.

They were made to pay after 57 minutes, as Cisse netted his sixth BPL goal of the season by tapping in Sammy Ameobi's cross.

Cisse then doubled Newcastle's advantage, and although Didier Drogba pulled a goal back after Steven Taylor had been sent off for a second bookable offence, for the second time in the space of a week Chelsea dropped points in the north-east.

Defeat enables Manchester City to close the gap to just three points if they beat Everton later on Saturday.

Newcastle were able to celebrate a shock victory in which goalkeeper Jak Alnwick made some vital saves after coming on to make his debut at half-time following an injury to Rob Elliot.

Alan Pardew rang the changes after Newcastle's draw at Burnley on Tuesday, with Fabricio Coloccini and Remy Cabella two of five players coming in.

Chelsea welcomed back leading scorer Diego Costa from suspension at the expense of Drogba, while John Obi Mikel replaced the suspended Nemanja Matic in midfield.

The visitors dominated possession in the first half and had their first sight of goal after 10 minutes, when Willian fired narrowly wide of Elliot's goal after good work from Costa and Eden Hazard.

Chances continued to come for Chelsea but Willian again missed with a curling effort 18 minutes in, before Fabregas saw a low shot deflected wide.

Having soaked up plenty of pressure, Newcastle eventually began to pose more of an attacking threat and Thibaut Courtois had be alert to deny Jack Colback in the 31st minute, the midfielder collecting an Ayoze Perez pass inside the penalty area only to be denied by the Belgium goalkeeper.

Newcastle's goalkeeping problems worsened at half-time as Elliot, in for the injured Tim Krul, limped off and was replaced by 21-year-old Alnwick.

The debutant commanded his area well and having weathered another spell of Chelsea pressure, Newcastle opened the scoring.

Ameobi made good ground down the left, Cahill failed to deal with his low cross and Cisse had the simple job of tapping home from close range.

Mourinho introduced Andre Schurrle and Drogba from the bench and Chelsea began to lay siege on the Newcastle goal.

Valiant defending from Coloccini and Taylor denied Costa on the turn, and Hazard saw a low shot hit the post.

Newcastle then punished the leaders on the counter attack as Colback found Moussa Sissoko, who was unable to finish but when the ball rolled to Cisse the striker made no mistake.

Taylor was then dismissed for a second bookable offence after committing a foul on Schurrle and Drogba headed in Fabregas’s 83rd-minute free-kick moments later, setting up a tense finale.

Alnwick came to Newcastle's rescue in the closing minutes with saves to deny Costa and Filipe Luis and Newcastle held on for all three points.

Matthaus: Reus should join Bayern Munich

Matthaus: Reus should join Bayern Munich

The Bundesliga champions have riled their rivals with their public pursuit of the 25-year-old but the World Cup-winner feels the Germany international should move
Lothar Matthaus is hoping that Marco Reus becomes the latest Borussia Dortmund star to end up at Bayern Munich, arguing that it would be the best outcome for both the player and German football.

Relations between the two Bundelsiga sides have become increasingly strained in recent seasons, with Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski both having left Signal Iduna Park for the Allianz Arena over the past 18 months.

Dortmund have now been enraged by Bayern's public pursuit of Reus, whose contract, which expires in 2017, allegedly contains a buy-out clause that will drop to €25 million next year.

But Matthaus feels his former club's interest in the 25-year-old attacker is wholly understandable given the advancing years of some of their star players, and admitted that he would like to see the Germany international move to Bavaria.

"The important thing is he stays in the Bundesliga," the 59-year-old told reporters at a media event hosted bySky. "It would be a pity if he left for Spain or England.

"Uli Hoeness once said that it was Bayern's duty to buy every German national team player. That's why I was amazed by the sale of Toni Kroos [to Real Madrid] to buy Xabi Alonso, who is nine years older. For the future, Kroos might have been the better choice. 

"Bayern Munich has to think about the future and they're doing that: Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben – all of their performance levels will drop a little bit in the next two or three years, so stability can get lost. 

"I am therefore convinced that Bayern has to look for younger players to fill the voids these players will leave someday.

"If I was in charge at Bayern I would think about [signing Reus]. With Reus this is not about economic reasons; this is about the chance to win titles. 

"Maybe success in Dortmund is more emotional. But, at the end of the day, nobody is ever asked which title was more emotional."

While reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern are riding high at the top of the table once again, Dortmund are rock bottom after a dismal start to the season.

The loss of last season's top scorer, Lewandowski, has hit BVB particularly hard, with summer signings Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos having thus far failed to prove adequate replacements for the prolific Pole.

It has also been claimed that Dortmund are suffering from something of a World Cup hangover but Matthaus feels that their poor form is more down to their poor dealings in the transfer market and an ensuing lack of confidence.

"Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos can't replace Robert Lewandowksi; that's clear," the former Germany captain stated.

"Dortmund invested a lot of money. They're saying, 'The new players are good; they only need time.' But you don't have time in football. 

"I was a fan of Dortmund's style in recent years, but now you can barely compare it. The confidence is missing; the joy. But it will come back.

"Nobody in Dortmund wants sympathy. Borussia has gotten into an avalanche which they thought they could stop any week. 

"But the players could not stop it. I am convinced they will win some points soon. 

"The World Cup can't be the problem. Of course it was exhausting and the holidays were shorter. But the player's success should have been a huge motivation for them. 

"I experienced it myself, in 1990. My best year was the one after the World Cup - despite the short holidays. 

"It was like coming into the stadium as a gladiator to destroy the opponents. That's why I think the World Cup is only an easy explanation. 

"Dortmund did not expect a situation like this. Neither the bosses or the players. Now they are confronted with something there were not prepared for. That's why they are craving the winter break."

Indeed, Matthaus is in no doubt that Jurgen Klopp's men can turn their season around in the new year.

"They can use the winter break to work on things, mentally, and then get out of the relegation zone," he added.

"A place in the top nine is possible; a spot in Europa League, too. 

"Except for Bayern, no team [in the Bundesliga] is stable. If they have a good spring, European football is a realistic target."

Messi yellow card rescinded

Messi yellow card rescinded

The player was booked despite being struck by a bottle in Sunday's win over Valencia and the Spanish Football Federation have taken it off his record
Messi then complained to referee Fernandez Borbalan that he had been hit, but was booked, with the official stating in his match report that Messi had: "Delayed his return to the pitch after the goal was scored, in order to waste time".
The incident drew a quick response from Valencia, who vowed to identify the supporter and issue them with a lifetime ban.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) would keep the card on the 2014 Ballon d'Or nominee's record, but the club have appealed against it and the governing body have rescinded the booking.
Though the booking would not have caused Messi to miss any game time, it has nevertheless been withdrawn by the RFEF.

Messi is Magical not Ronaldo- Ronaldino

Messi is magical, Ronaldo isn't - Ronaldinho

The ex-Brazil star admits the Real Madrid talisman is a "very complete player" but feels his former Barcelona team-mate is the better of the two
Ronaldinho has praised Cristiano Ronaldo, saying he is a "complete" player, but says "magic" Lionel Messi is better.

The Barcelona star and Real Madrid talisman have both been named in the final three for the 2014 Ballon d'Or alongside Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

And Messi's former Barca team-mate insists that the Argentina captain is the better of La Liga's superstars.

"We players asked [then Barca coach] Frank Rijkaard to bring Messi into the first team’s training sessions," he told El Enganche. 

"Cristiano Ronaldo is a very complete player, but Messi is better because he has magic."

The former Brazil star revealed that he almost joined Manchester United, but it was former president Sandro Rosell who convinced him to join the Camp Nou side.
"Everything was beautiful and happened fast. A great friend of mine was about to become a part of the Barcelona board: Sandro Rosell.

"Before the offers came, he had asked me if I would play in Barcelona when they won the election and became the presidents, and I had said 'Yes'.
"I was almost on my way to Manchester United and only the details needed to be put onto that deal. But in the last minute Rosell called me to tell me they would win the election. That made everything happen fast.

"I wanted to play in Barcelona. When I signed, I didn’t feel pressure, I felt joy. I had the chance that all of the players wanted, to play in a great club like Barcelona.
"I had the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of my idols. I was proud to play where Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo had played and I had the chance to be Barcelona’s new 'R'. I loved that."