Valencia to host Barca in La Liga’s biggest game

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Nov 2017 10:26:13



VALENCIA coach Marcelino Garcia says, he wants to take the “thorn from his side” when the team hosts FC Barcelona in the Mestalla Stadium on Sunday.
The Valencia boss has never beaten Barcelona during all of his years as coach in the Primera Liga and Sunday would be a good time to start in what is arguably the biggest game of the Spanish season to date, reports Xinhua news agency.
Barcelona travel to Valencia as league leaders with 34 points from a possible 36, while Valencia are second just four points behind after winning their last eight games and have a 6-point cushion over Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

A win for Marcelino’s side would take them to within just one point of the top of the table and establish them as genuine title contenders, while at the same time giving Real and Atletico the chance to close the gap on Barca if they can win their respective matches.

Marcelino will have to watch the game from the stands after being sent off for protesting during Valencia’s 2-0 win away to Espanyol last weekend, but the advantage of having had all week to prepare for the game, whereas Barca played away to Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde took the brave step of resting Leo Messi and Jordi Alba for that match, but he will have to
replace the suspended Gerard Pique and the injured Javier Mascherano for Sunday night, with Thomas Vermaelen likely to make his first league appearance of the campaign in central defense. Valencia meanwhile have to decide whether to risk top-scorer Simone Zaza’s knee after revelations he has damaged his meniscus ligament, or to continue with Santi Mina in attack, while Jason Murillo is likely to miss out through injury.

Messi extends Barcelona contract until 2021


LIONEL Messi ended months of speculation when finally putting pen to paper on Saturday to extend his contract with Barcelona until 2021, the club announced, making official an agreement reached in July.
The Spanish giants had announced in the summer that Messi, 30, had committed his future to the club but the Argentine had not signed the new deal.
With his previous contract set to expire in 2018, Messi could have left Barca for free next summer had he not extended his deal.

“FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed today morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the club through the 2020/21 season,” read a club statement.
“The buyout clause was set at 700 million euros ($835 million).”

The steep rise in the five-time World Player of the Year’s buyout clause from 300 million euros in his previous contract is designed to avoid any repeat of Paris Saint-Germain’s capture of Neymar from Barcelona by paying the Brazilian’s 222 million euro buyout clause in August.