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Messi the best in history : Puyol

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London: Barca defeated Manchester United comprehensively in the Champions League quarter-finals with Messi scoring twice in the second leg at Camp Nou. He is top scorer in the competition this season with 10 goals and also tops the scoring charts in La Liga, where Barca are virtually assured of a second consecutive title.

Puyol, the ex-Barca captain who won three Champions League titles, praises Messi as a true leader in Ernesto Valverde’s side.

“He is playing at an incredible level,” Puyol told Goal at the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour Presented by Heineken in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

“For me, he is the best ever player in the history of the game.

“He has shown that season after season and you can see how his game has evolved, all the things he now does. And you can see he’s improving every year with new attributes he has brought to his game.

“He has improved in every way and he is taking a step forward on a personal level. He has always been a leader on the field but now, you can see that he is a leader on and off the pitch.

“He is an introverted person but now you can see that he is leading from the front as the captain of Barcelona.”

Messi has scored an incredible 45 goals in 42 games in all competitions for Barca this season, and has added another 21 assists. They are nine points clear of Atletico Madrid in the league, with only 18 left to play for, and are now favourites to add another Champions League to their collection with a double header against Liverpool in the semi-finals to come.

“It’s been very good in the Champions League and also in all the other competitions,” said Puyol.

“They’re playing really good football and they have the chance of winning everything. Right now it’s great because the best is yet to come this season.

“Barcelona are one of the favourites for the Champions League because there are only four teams left.


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Team India relishing the experience

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Mumbai : India’s ASC Boys Sports School from Bengaluru are gearing up to play the FC Bayern Munich Youth Cup 2019 World Finals at the Allianz Arena in Munich.
Drawn alongside Thailand, FC Bayern Kids Club and China in Group B, the Indian side will have their first taste of competition in two friendlies against two of Group A opponents Singapore and Nigeria at the Bayern Munich training grounds on the eve of the event.
The boys have so far enjoyed the priviledge of training under the expetise of FC Bayern youth coaches.
Following a complete session with the boys, Bayern Munich coach Christopher Loch told Goal , “They are a good bunch of players with really good technique. They play together, which is very important because football is a team sport.
“I’m really excited to see them play on Sunday. I hope they go through.”
Speaking on the road ahead for these players, Loch commented, “It’s a long way. You have to train nearly everyday and work hard on even individual things. Then you need luck, like have the right coach who brings you to the first team.”
“I am very excited to be here. The most interesting thing is to see (meet) the coaches, see the Bayern Munich training grounds and learn more about football,” The Indian team’s captain C. Ronald Singh said in an interview with Bayern TV.
the teams were also involved in the Munich freestyle tour where each side were required to perform the ‘around the world’, the head stall and the header challenge.
Tondon Meitei, who then participated in the freestyle play-offs, enthralled the assembled crowd at the Marienplatz in Munich and was thereafter crowned the Freestyle King.
At the intercultural party that was held at the team hotel, the boys performed a Manipuri dance and entertained all while the other teams staged their own performances.
An unique opportunity to catch the live action of the Bundesliga’s title deciding clash between FC Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Allianz Arena also awaits the participants.

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World Cup winner to get Rs 28cr prize money

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LONDON: The winners of the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup will earn a cash award of Rs 28.12cr ($4 million), the highest prize money on offer in the history of the tournament. The winners of the 10-team tournament will also get a trophy that they will lift at the historic Lord’s on July 16. The total prize pot of Rs 70.31cr ($10 million) will see the runners-up take home Rs 14.06cr ($2 million) and the losing semifinalists $800,000 each at the end of the 46-day tournament being played across 11 venues in the UK from May 30. There are prizes for each league match won, in what promises to be a competitive tournament with the world’s best teams playing each other in a round-robin format.

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Hope to play under a big coach like Igor Stimac soon: Gahlot

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Mumbai :Narender Gahlot is among the finest young defenders in Indian football at the moment. The young centre-back was an integral part of Floyd Pinto’s Indian Arrows side in the 2018-19 season of the I-League.
The young boy who grew up playing cricket took up football as a serious sport much later. Belonging to a family which encourages sports, Gahlot’s uncle inspired him to pursue a career in football.
Speaking to Goal about his inclination towards sports, Narender said, “I used to play cricket earlier. My uncle used to play cricket and he was a sports fanatic. So he wanted me to play a sport. Then after some time I grew an interest in football and started playing. My uncle was my biggest support and inspiration.”
The youngster informed that he used to play as a midfielder initially and idolised Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia but later on taking advice from a local coach, he decided to change his position.
“I was a very big fan of Bhaichung Bhutia as a child. I used to play in midfield but later one of our local coaches asked me if I could play as a defender and I agreed to change my position. Among international players, I am a big fan of Sergio Ramos,” said Narender.
The Indian Arrows star joined the Chandigarh Football Academy at age of 15 before moving to Sports Authority of India (SAI) Dehradun. It was during his stay at SAI that he caught the attention of then India U16 coach Nicolai Adam.
“With SAI I had played against the India U16 team at that time which was coached by Nicolai Adams. After that match, I got a call from the India U16 side.
“Unfortunately I could not take part in the U17 World Cup as I was injured. I suffered an ACL injury a few months prior to the World Cup when we were in Brazil.
“After the World Cup Abhishek (Yadav) Sir told me that they are making a team (Indian Arrows) and then he had called me for trails there. Luis Norton de Matos liked me and kept me in the side,” said the 18-year-old player on his journey so far.

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