Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has revealed that he cannot wait to face Sergio Aguero once again in the Champions League. Both these Argentine superstars are known as great friends and they already came up against each other in this prestigious competition last season. Barcelona came out on top back then, but City have improved in the last 12 months. They seem to have put behind their European misery after managing victories over Bayern Munich and Roma in difficult circumstances. However, failure to top the group saw City paired up against Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Messi has joked that he always manages to get the better out of Aguero when it comes to football on video games. The first match will be at Etihad stadium followed by the return leg at the Camp Nou just like last season. Apart from Aguero, Messi will also be coming up against his international teammates like Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta. Messi has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award four times, which is a record, but he is out of the running for this year’s competition despite the accolades from his own teammates. He failed to win any major trophy with Barcelona or Argentina last season, but he will be keen to put his record behind him.
“Excited about the Champions League tie.It will be nice to come up against my friend ‘Kun’. I always beat him at Fifa, but we will see what happens out on the field,” said Messi on his social media account after the draw for this years’ last 16 round of the Champions League was made in Nyon. It has also been heavily rumoured that Messi is a target for Manchester City, who are one of the few clubs who can afford his mammoth transfer fee and wages.
Everton defender Leighton Baines has expressed his delight at the club being able to progress to the next stage of the Europa League with relative ease.
Everton returned to this Premier competition in Roberto Martinez’ first season in charge. They almost qualified for the Champions League after a spectacular run of form towards the end of the season. This season, they may be struggling much more than expected, but Everton’s performances in the Europa League have been impressive nonetheless. From this season onwards, winners of the Europa League will get a place in the next season’s Champions League.
This is a huge bonus and incentive for Everton to try and win the competition, which will feature the likes of Liverpool going into the knockout stages. Everton’s league form may not be consistent, but Baines says that the club are already looking forward to playing in the knockout stages of the European competition. The Merseyside outfit will be coming up against Young Boys of Switzerland. Their opposition have not been doing well in the Swiss league and currently trail leaders FC Basel by a whopping eight points. A big advantage for the Swiss team will be the winter break, which will provide them some much needed time to get the squad together.
“We’ve qualified for Europe and done well thus far.We’re excited to go into next year and do as well as we can in the Europa League. It’s a competition that we have embraced. I’ve got three children and we still have a great time. When you’re sitting around the dinner table and your parents and partner are having drink, you sort of have to draw the line there. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. We come in, train for a few hours on Christmas morning and go back to our families,” said Baines about the Europa league and Christmas schedule in England.