Kevin-Prince Boateng: Messi is the best

The 31-year-old new Barcelona loan Kevin-Prince Boateng has spoken highly of former Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid itself, but he backtracked in his Barcelona unveiling.

During his official presentation, it looks like Boateng hasn’t missed the opportunity to dismiss allegiance to Real Madrid by lauding Lionel as the best player “in this world and every world” whatever the part “every world” meant.

Boateng underwent a shock move to Barcelona on Monday, coming from Sassuolo on a loan deal until the end of a season which would include €8million purchase option. He will represent a left-field option for the Catalan club, but he reportedly hasn’t talked to the coach about the details, although he said that he will not be playing in the first line “because there are incredible players in the team”.

One thing is sure. And that is that when Ernesto Valverde warned on Sunday that people won’t be seeing Messi longer than a half an hour per match, he wasn’t lying.

This Tuesday, Valverde put actions behind those words by leaving his No. 10 out of the squad for one of Barcelona’s most important games so far, meaning that his team will play the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final without Messi.

Wednesday’s game against Sevilla will be the fourth match that Barcelona is playing without its most important player, as a direct decision made by the coach.

As for La Liga, Argentinian player became the first player to score 400 goals in the Spanish league as he scored one in Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Eibar at Camp Nou on January 13.

On Sunday, January 20, Lionel scored one goal as well against Leganes in the overtime of the second half, leading to result of the match being 3-1 in the 92nd minute.

Messi has been La Liga’s all-time top goal scorer since November 2014, overtaking second best Telmo Zarra who had held the record since 1950 with 251 goals. Therefore, it is not hard to understand Barcelona’s manager’s praise for having him in the team, who also added that “the numbers are stratospheric, incredible. Messi is an extraordinary player from another galaxy.”

Atletico Madrid vs Valencia- a clash that we’ve enjoyed watching

With this win, Atletico Madrid made it even harder for Real Madrid to catch up with them. With a 3-2 result in Atletico – Valencia, the “other” big club from Spain’s capital is now 6 points ahead of their bitter city rivals, and as we approach the season’s end, it looks more and more as if Atletico is set to win the second place in La Liga.

And we cannot say that this wouldn’t be justified- against Valencia, they opened up and played very well. The first goal came early- in the 9th minute, when Alvaro Morata converted Juanfran’s cross, scoring from close range. This is the exact type of goals Morata should score as a striker, something he failed to do in Chelsea. On the other hand, it looks as if he started to get the hang of it in his new club, and we expect to see more from him.

Valencia provided us with a good display of skill and determination, during the whole game they fought and played their best. Their work was materialized as the half time approached, with Kevin Gameiro scoring a goal from the center of the box. 

Antoine Griezmann helped his team regain the lead, with a beautiful header from the center of the box. This just goes on to prove that Griezmann is a complete striker, someone who can score from any position, with both feet and head. The cross came from Thomas Lemar.

But Valencia was determined to get back into the match, and their numerous chances finally yielded results. Saul touched the ball with his hand in the box, and after a long pause, the referee with his VAR assistants decided that Valencia is to be awarded a penalty, which was converted in the 77th minute by Daniel Parejo.

Finally, neither Atletico wanted to give up, and soon after the conceded penalty, Angel Correa scored a beautiful winner from outside the box. This didn’t exactly come as a surprises ac Correa had some chances previously but failed to convert them.

Luka Jovic signs for Real Madrid

It seems as if Real Madrid entered an impulsive shopping spree that will end with astronomic fees. One of the first to arrive during this season’s shopping spree was Luka Jovic, 21-year old Serbian, who until recently played for Eintracht Frankfurt. Even Frankfurt’s official expressed their frustration with the lack of financial fair play. Frankfurt’s Fredi Bobic, Sporting Director, stated that there was clearly a “financial pain threshold”.

Biggest losers in this game of unfair offers are probably Benfica, as the Portuguese side will only receive 10 million euros- they recently sold Luka Jovic to Frankfurt, which is probably one of the biggest financial blunders since Pogba’s (first) departure from Manchester United.

Real Madrid paid about 60 million euros for the young Serbian, and the striker will have to work hard to prove his worth. However, Jovic thrills at almost all aspects of attacking game- he can score with both feet, and is quite good in the air- Karim Benzema will have to be very careful!  On the other hand, this season was one of the best in Benzema’s career, the first one in which he scored 30+ goals since the 2011/12 season.

Along with Vinicius Jr. and Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic could form the new Real Madrid’s forward trio. That is if Zinedine Zidane sticks to his preferred 4-3-3. Vinicius Junior is the most inexperienced and questionable of the three, and he struggled to provide consistent performances this season. Frankly, injuries and scarce playing time precluded him from providing better performances, and we will have to wait and see how his next season fares.