Tag Archives: Lionel Messi

Revealed: what Messi said to half-time to inspire Argentina against Nigeria

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Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi helped to inspire Argentina to a famous win against Nigeria when he delivered the half-time team talk, a teammate has revealed.

Marcos Rojo – who scored the winner to take Argentina into the knockout stages – said that it was Messi, rather than coach Jorge Sampioli who gave the team talk and that it helped inspire the players.

Messi had let by example in the pitch in the first half with an expertly taken goal. But off the pitch at half-time he also showed his leadership qualities.

“Messi came up to us and told us to calm down and not be stressed,” Rojo said. “We felt nervous and that message helped us a lot and gave me personally a huge confidence boost. Messi is our captain and he is the best captain in the world.”

Rojo added that he had urged the team forward and not to surrender and save their country’s honour.

TV pictures also picked up Sampioli apparently asking Messi if he was to bring on Sergio Aguero after he walked past the technical area to deliver a message to an official.

Rojo added that Messi had told him to run forward from the back. “He told everyone to attack no matter what,” he said. “He truly read the game and the risks. He’s a leader. The best.”

The players are also said to have gone over Sampioli’s head and ditched the 3-5-2 system that failed against Croatia and revert to a 4-3-3 against Nigeria, which appeared to suit the players better.

All the factz on Croatia v Iceland and Nigeria v Argentina in group D

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The final matches take place in group D tonight, with only Croatia assured of a place in the last 16. The matches kick off at 7pm BST and are live on BBC1 (Nigeria v Argentina) and BBC4 (Croatia v Iceland). Here are the factz you need to know:

Iceland v Croatia

* Croatia are already through to the knockout phase as group winners.
* Iceland need to win to have any chance of progressing. Even if they do, they are relying on Nigeria failing to beat Argentina. If Nigeria draw, Iceland need to score twice (and win).
* The sides were drawn together in qualifying for this World Cup. The games ended in a win apiece, but Iceland topped the group.
* Luca Modric has scored twice for Croatia so far – with his only two shots on target.
* If they progress, Iceland will be the first debutants to get out of their group since Slovakia in 2010.

Nigeria v Argentina

* If Nigeria win, they will be through to the knockout stage. A draw will be enough if Iceland fail to beat Croatia. A loss and they will be out.
* Argentina need to win to through. Anything else and they are out.
* Lionel Messi has scored just 5 goals in 4 World Cups – as many goals as Harry Kane has scored at this World Cup.
* This is the 9th meeting between the sides. Of the previous 8, Argentina have won 5 to Nigeria’s 2.
* Ahmed Musa is the top scorer in Nigeria’s squad with 15 goals in 72 appearances.

All the factz on Argentina v Croatia in World Cup group D, including which TV channel its on

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A fascinating match-up in group D tonight, with Argentina having something to prove after only drawing their first match, while Croatia know a win will see them into the knockout stage. The match kicks off at 7pm BST and it is live on BBC1. Here are the factz you need to know:

• If Croatia win, they are through to the knockout stage. A draw, and they will need a win against Iceland to be sure. Lose, and they will definitely need to win their final match.
• For Argentina, a loss will mean they could struggle to qualify – but this would depend on the result of Iceland v Nigeria.
• If Croatia win, it will be the first time the nation has made it out of the group stage since 1998 – when they came third.
• Croatia are down to 22 players after Nicola Kalinic was sent home – he refused to come on as a substitute against Nigeria citing a back problem. This evidently didn’t wash with the manager who promptly sent him packing.
• This is the fifth meeting between the sides. Argentina have won two of the previous 4, including at the 1998 World Cup in France. Croatia have won 1.
• Lionel Messi scored his first ever goal for Argentina against Croatia in 2006.
• Argentina’s forward line today – Messi and Sergio Aguero – have 102 international goals between them (Messi 64, Aguero 38).
• Vedran Chorluka of Croatia will be making his 100th appearance if he gets onto the pitch.
• Croatia have won 6 of their last 11 international matches, losing 3.
• Argentina have won 4 of their last 10 internationals, losing 2 – although one of those was a 6-1 thrashing against Spain.

All the factz on Argentina v Iceland at the FIFA World Cup, including which TV channel its on

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Argentina, spearheaded by Lionel Messi, take on World Cup debutants Iceland in Group D. The match kicks off at 4pm BST and it is live on ITV. Here are the factz you need to know:

* Iceland are the smallest nation by population to reach the World Cup finals – just 334,000 live there.
* This is the first time the two sides have met.
* This is the 12th World Cup finals Argentina have reached in a row. They have played in 17 in all, out of 21.
* Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson was Iceland’s top scorer in qualifying with 4 goals.
* Iceland topped their qualifying group ahead of Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey. They won 7 of their 10 matches.
* Argentina came third in the South American qualifying group with 28 points – just 2 points ahead of Chile who finished 6th and missed out on qualification. They lost 4 of their 18 matches.
* Lionel Messi top scored for Argentina in the qualifiers with 7 goals. Only Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani scored more.
* This is Iceland’s second major tournament in a row. They got to the quarterfinals of Euro 2016.
* Messi has scored 64 goals in 124 international matches for Argentina. But he is yet to win a major honour with them.
* Sigurdsson is the top scorer in the Iceland squad with 19 goals. He is 7 behind all-time top scorer Eidur Gudjonsson.

Lionel Messi overtakes Cristiano Ronaldo as world’s top-earning footballer, Neymar third

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Barcelona star Lionel Messi earnt an eye-watering $111 million (£82.7 million) last year, and in doing so overtook his Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo ($108 million (£80.5 million)) as the world’s top earner in football.

The pair are also the second and third top earners in the world in any sport. Only boxer Floyd Mayweather Jnr earnt more; he trousered an astonishing $285 million last year after his fight with Conor McGregor. The latter was fourth on the list with earnings of $99 million.

However, the latest figures, compiled by US business magazine Forbes, will come as bad news to Ronaldo, who has been the world’s top earning sports star for the past two years.

Paris St-Germain and Brazil striker Neymar was fifth on the list, with earnings of $90 million.

The three stars – arguably the best players in the world – are also the most bankable. While all are on contracts worth well in excess of £300,000 per week, they also make millions from their image rights. Ronaldo and Messi also have burgeoning business empires to capitalize on their trademarked names.

Indeed, Messi made $27 million from endorsements, while Ronaldo pocketed $47 million. Interestingly, Messi’s salary/winnings, at $84 million, was $23 million more than Ronaldo made.

The highest paid British footballer was Gareth Bale, who ranked 35th, with earnings of $34.6 million, ahead of Wayne Rooney, who was in 58th place with $27 million.

Only three athletes have topped Forbes’ annual list of the top 100 best paid sportsmen and women in the past 18 years, Mayweather, Ronaldo and golfer Tiger Woods, who finished 16th on this year’s list.

In all, nine footballers appeared in Forbes’ list. Apart from the five mentioned the others were: Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero, Oscar and Paul Pogba.