Cristiano Ronaldo competes for holders Portugal in World Cup 2018 Russia Qualifiers


World Cup 2018 Russia is only 15 months away and the latest round of qualifying games are just around the corner. Titan teams expected to challenge for the coveted trophy in Russia are Brazil, Germany, France, and Belgium. Argentina’s fate is less certain due to their superstar striker Lionel Messi’s four match ban.

Brazil are top of the South American qualifying round, having been rejuvenated under manager Tite’s leadership with Argentina in fifth with a key game against Chile coming up on Thursday. Spain, France, Poland, Republic of Ireland and Croatia sit atop their groups. DR Congo, Nigeria and Egypt are on top with six points from their opening games. Meanwhile Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Japan are top of their gourps.  

World Cup Russia 2018 is the last chance for Lionel Messi to be crowned the undisputed king of football, as Maradona was in Mexico in 1986  The match against Chile on Thursday in Buenos Aires on the Road to World Cup Russia; it is a must-win for Messi’s national team. Argentina’s new head coach Edgardo Bauza decided to keep players Tata Martino and Alejandro Sabella who did not play in the past six years. Footballers Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel Di María, Sergio Agüero, Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi have a good chance to become world champions after losing three major finals in the past three years (Brazil 2014, Copa Américai Chile 2015, and US 2016).

With four rounds of World Cup Qualifiers fixtures remaining in the South American qualifying competition, Brazil are in first place with 33 points, followed by Colombia (24), Uruguay and Chile (23). Argentina (22) are in fifth place, thereby earning a two-leg play-off against the top-ranked Oceania region side.

Brazil became the first team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup Russia, maintaining their amazing record as the tournament’s only side to have qualified to play in every World Cup Tournament in history. The five-times champs beat Paraguay 3-0 for their eighth successive win in the South American qualifying competition. Peru’s surprise 2-1 win over Uruguay in a later game guaranteed Brazil a top-four finish. Uruguay and Argentina still have to face each other which means it is impossible for both teams to overtake Brazil.

In Brazil’s crucial win, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho curled in a low opener for Brazil and Barcelona forward Neymar capped an exciting evening with a goal in the second half and Marcelo added a third goal late in São Paulo.

“My greatest joy is sharing joy,” Brazil manager Tite said. “When you look at the face of your family, when you see the players happy, when you see a happy little child, sharing joy is my greatest satisfaction. More pleasure.”

Neymar captained his side against the Paraguay defenders.

“I always think of overcoming my limits,” Neymar said. “First of all I want to help my team, always, and then I think about pushing the limits, reaching the marks of games and goals. I am very happy for this moment, not only mine, but also my team-mates. We are achieving our goals, which is to win and reach the World Cup as well.”

Paraguay coach, Juan Carlos Arce, was critical of the referee, Victor Carrillo, after the game. “The refereeing was bad today,” he said. “It is a shame, Brazil does not need it.”

Meanwhile Argentina dropped down to fifth in the standings after losing 2-0 away to Bolivia at high altitude in La Paz without Messi as he began his four-match ban. Five-times world player of the year Messi was suspended less than six hours before kick-off for swearing at an assistant linesman in the previous match that Argentina won 1-0 win against Chile. Messi will be available only for the last of Argentina’s games in Ecuador. Messi has appealed the severity of the ban.

Russia supporters are at risk of missing their own World Cup while Russian networks struggle to agree deal with Fifa. TV networks are struggling to reach a deal to secure the rights to show World Cup 2018. The country has invested around $11bn in preparation to host the 2018 tournament, but with only 14 months to go until the World Cup finals kick off, governing body Fifa are still looking for a broadcaster to show the games in Russia after state-run TV channels firmly turned down Fifa’s price of $120m for the rights to show the tournament. Fifa are being unreasonable in their financial demands.

World Cup Draw

The draw for the 2018 World Cup Russia is set to take place in the Kremlin on Friday, December 1. A Unesco World Heritage site, the Kremlin is a fortified complex in the heart of Moscow that contains several cathedrals and palaces, one of which is the official residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The draw itself will be staged in the State Kremlin Palace, a building intended to house meetings of the Soviet Union's Communist Party but now used as a concert hall. This famous venue has a capacity of 6,000. This summer's dress rehearsal is the Confederations Cup which takes place between June 17 and July 2, will feature Russia, 2014 World Cup winners Germany and the six reigning champions of world football's confederations: Australia, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal and the winners of the on-going Africa Cup of Nations.


World Cup Russia 2018 Tickets and Qualifiers Fixtures

JUN 9 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Sweden v France Tickets Friends Arena - Solna, Sweden
JUN 10 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Scotland v England Tickets 
Hampden Park - Glasgow, United Kingdom
JUN 9 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Netherlands v Luxembourg Tickets Feyenoord Stadium - De Kuip - Rotterdam, Netherlands
JUN 10 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Germany v San Marino Tickets Frankenstadion - Nuremberg, Germany
JUN 11 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Italy v Liechtenstein Tickets Stadio Friuli - Udine, Italy
AUG 31 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers France v Netherlands Tickets Stade de France - Paris, France
AUG 31 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers France v Netherlands Tickets Stade de France - Paris, France
AUG 31 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Portugal v Faroe Islands Tickets TBD - PORTUGAL - , Portugal
AUG 31 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Switzerland v Andorra Tickets TBD - SWITZERLAND - , Switzerland
SEP 2 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Spain v Italy Tickets TBD - SPAIN - TBD, Spain
SEP 2 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Spain v Italy Tickets TBD - SPAIN - TBD, Spain
SEP 3 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers France v Luxembourg Tickets Stade de France - Paris, France
SEP 3 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Netherlands v Bulgaria Tickets TBD - NETHERLANDS - Amsterdam, Netherlands
SEP 4 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers England v Slovakia Tickets Wembley Stadium - London, United Kingdom
SEP 4 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Germany v Norway Tickets TBD - GERMANY - Berlin, Germany
SEP 5 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Italy v Israel Tickets TBD - ITALY - Rome, Italy
OCT 5 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers England v Slovenia Tickets Wembley Stadium - London, United Kingdom
OCT 5 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Northern Ireland v Germany Tickets Windsor Park - Belfast, Northern Ireland
OCT 6 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Italy v FYR Macedonia Tickets TBD - ITALY - Rome, Italy
OCT 6 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Spain v Albania Tickets TBD - SPAIN - TBD, Spain
OCT 7 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Switzerland v Hungary Tickets TBD - SWITZERLAND - , Switzerland
OCT 8 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Germany v Azerbaijan Tickets TBD - GERMANY - Berlin, Germany
OCT 10 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers France v Belarus Tickets Stade de France - Paris, France
OCT 10 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Netherlands v Sweden Tickets TBD - NETHERLANDS - Amsterdam, Netherlands
OCT 10 2017 World Cup 2018 Qualifiers Portugal v Switzerland Tickets TBD - PORTUGAL -  Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo speaks during the ceremony at Madeira Airport in Portugal to rename it Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in Santa Cruz, Madeira Portugal


Lionel Messi scores hat trick against Man City in Champions League

Lionel Messi, Barcelona FC scores against Manchester City


Champions League Manchester City v Barcelona

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Tuesday, November 1, 2015
UEFA Champions League Group C
Managers: Pep Guardiola, Manchester City; Luis Enrique, Barcelona
Etihad Stadium

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Match Report

Barcelona 4-0 Manchester City

Lionel Messi 17' min
Lionel Messi 61' min
Lionel Messi 69' min
Junior Neymar 89' min

Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City side could not stop Barcelona superstar striker Lionel Messi as he scored a hat trick in Barca’s Group C Champions League battle at Camp Nou before 96,290 fans. Junion Neymar added the fourth near the end of the match. Man City's Argentine manager Guardiola, who was boss at Barca for four years, did not enjoy his difficult homecoming battle with his former side. Messi’s hat-trick off his dangerous left foot earned him a total of  an amazing 16 goals in 15 games against English clubs. This was Messi’s 37th career hat-trick. Barca goalie Marc-Andre Ter Stegen earned a clean sheet, while Claudio Bravo earned a red card and was sent off. Sergio Aguero watched the game from the bench.

Former Barca goalkeeper, Chilean Claudio Bravo who stepped up as Guardiola’s #1 after Joe Hart left for Torino on loan, did not enjoy his first match back in Catalunya as he was sent to the dressing room in the 53r'  minute for handling outside of his area.

Leo Messi revelled in his full 90 minutes return from a groin injury with a stunning triple. Messi marked his return to the Barca starting line-up with a hat-trick as Barca’s 4-0 win over a 10-man Man City continued a perfect 100% start to Luis Enrique’s side's Champions League campaign.

The La Liga champions were already safely established five points above City at the Group C summit when a late Neymar penalty shot added the fourth.

Sergio Aguero remained sitting on the visitors' bench throughout the entire match.

Claudio Bravo, Manchester City goalie, is shown a red card

For the third time in a row Manchester City’s visits to the Nou Camp have ended in their defeat. This visit, Lionel Messi treated his former manager, Pep Guardiola to his magic scoring a hat-trick on Pep’s first return to Catalonia with his new club, Man City. Guardiola was Barca’s esteemed coach between 2008 and 2012. Guardiola previously returned for the first time as manager of Bayern Munich 18 months ago suffering a 3-0 defeat.

Guardiola left Kun Aguero on the bench. “I want more midfielders”, said Guardiola. City’s all-time leading Champions League scorer Sergio Aguero was benched in favor of a three-man front-line of Kevin De Bruyne, Nolito and Raheem Sterling who were unable to score a single goal in the fiesty match.

Messi’s hat trick was an example of the Argentine striker's brilliance that led to him being named again to the Balloon D’Or 30 man shortlist for the 2016 award.

Luis Enrique’s Barca dominated throughout the match but Man City’s Fernandinho, Aleksandar Kolarov, John Stones, Sterling and Claudio Bravo all were careless leading to the defeat as well.



Ter Stegen; Umtiti, Mascherano, Pique, Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitic; Messi, Suarez, Neymar. Subs: Masip, Arda, Digne, Alcacer, Rafinha, Mathieu, Andre Gomes.

Manchester City

Bravo; Zabaleta, Otamendi, Stones, Kolarov; Fernandinho; Sterling, Gundogan, Silva, Nolito; De Bruyne. Subs: Caballero, Fernando, Aguero, Maffeo, Clichy, Sane, Navas.


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October 29 FC Barcelona v Granada CF Tickets Camp Nou
 1 Champions League Man City v Barcelona Tickets
 23 Champions League Celtic v FC Barcelona Tickets
3 FC Barcelona v Real Madrid Tickets Camp Nou
 6 Champions League Barcelona v Borussia Monchengladbach Tickets
 23 Real Madrid v FC Barcelona Tickets Santiago Bernabeu

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, FC Barcelona


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Champions League Match Week 3 Fixtures

Tuesday, November 2

Manchester City v Barcelona

Wednesday, November 2

Monaco v CSKA

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer Leverkusen

Bor Dortmundd v Sporting

Legia War v Real Madrid

FC Copenhagen v Leicester

FC Porto v Club Brugge

Juventus v Lyon

Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb


Here are the UEFA Champions League group standings going into Week 3, with Arsenal, Napoli, Barca, Bayern Munchen, Monaco, Real Madrid, Leicester City and Liverpool sitting in first place in their groups.

Group A: 1. Arsenal (ENG), 2. Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) 3. Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL), 3. Basel (SUI)
Group B:
 1. Napoli (ITA), 2. Beşiktaş (TUR), 3. Benfica (POR), 4. Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)

Group C: 1. Barcelona (ESP), 2. Manchester City (ENG), 3. Borussia Mönchengladbach (GER), 4. Celtic (SCO)
Group D: 1. Bayern München (GER), 2. Atlético Madrid (ESP), 3. PSV Eindhoven (NED), 4. Rostov (RUS)
Group E: 1. Monaco (FRA), 2. Tottenham Hotspur (ENG), 3. Bayer Leverkusen (GER), 4. CSKA Moskva (RUS)
Group F:
 1. Real Madrid (ESP, holders), 2. Borussia Dortmund (GER), 3. Sporting CP (POR), 4. Legia Warszawa (POL)

Group G: 1. Leicester City (ENG), 2. FC København (DEN), 3. Porto (POR), 4. Club Brugge (BEL),
Group H: 1. Juventus (ITA), 2. Sevilla (ESP), 3. Lyon (FRA), 4. Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Sergio Aguero, Man City and Lionel Messi, Barca

Lionel Messi, Barcelona FC scores against Man City


November 2016 Champions League Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer Leverkusen Tickets Wembley Stadium - London, United Kingdom

November 23 2016 Champions League Celtic v FC Barcelona Tickets Celtic Park - Glasgow, United Kingdom

December 2016 Champions League Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund Tickets Santiago Bernabeu - Madrid, Spain

Read more about 2016 - 2017 Champions League tickets!

Neymar scores fourth goal for Barca

Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester City and Neymar, Barcelona


Neymar and Lionel Messi, Barcelona


2016 Ballon d’Or 30 Man Shortlist

The winner will be revealed by France Football on December 13, 2016.

The 30 Ballon d'Or nominees are as follows:

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli/Juventus), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Pepe (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Juventus/Manchester United), Rui Patricio (Sporting), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich)

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Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar, Barcelona

Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

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2013 Ballon d'Or Awards Shortlist:Messi,Ronaldo,Ribery

Lionel Messi Santa

Lionel Messi, FC Barcelons

2013 Ballon d'Or Awards Shortlist  : Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Frank Ribery

Franck Ribery, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the three final contenders for the 2013 Ballon d'Or.

Lionel Messi has won the award for four years in a row, and led Barcelona's charge to the Spanish La Liga title last season with 46 goals.

Ribery enjoyed the best season of his career, helping Bayern Munich to an unprecedented treble with outstanding performances in the Bundesliga, and Champions League.

Ronaldo will end 2013 without silverware, but has started the current campaign in the form of his life for club and country, scoring 28 goals for Real Madrid and Portugal and setting a world record for Champions League goals to date.

The 28-year-old last won the award back in 2008 thanks to his performances for Manchester United but is currently the favorite to scoop the prize after ensuring the Seleccao will go to the 2014 World Cup with a superb hat trick against Sweden in the playoff round.

Voting for the Ballon d'Or closed on Nov. 29 after the original period was extended. The winner will be announced Jan. 13 in Zurich.

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Lionel Messi Welcomes Neymar to FC Barcelona - Barcelona Tickets

Messi and Neymar

Lionel Messi and Neymar, FC Barcelona

Lionel Messi Welcomes Neymar to FC Barcelona - Barcelona Tickets

Messi is sure that Neymar will have a positive impact at Camp Nou in the upcoming 2013-14 season. El Caliente Messi believes the Brazil star will adjust well at the titan club despite the hype surrounding his arrival.

Twenty-one-year-old Neymar completed a €57 million transfer to Camp Nou in June - after months of speculation surrounding his future. 

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"He is a great player and he will have no problems adapting. He'll have no trouble off the pitch either. He's a good lad," Messi said on Wednesday. "He will give a lot to the team. In one-on-ones, he is very dominant and is going to make a great difference."

Durning the summer transfer window, Thiago Alcantara joined Bayern Munich and David Villa signed with Atletico Madrid. 

"Thiago? It was a personal decision, he thought he'd play more there," Messi explained. "Villa is a great signing for Atletico, he's a top goalscorer."

In a shocking defeat, Barcelona suffered a 7-0 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in last season's Champions League semi-final.

"The Champions League defeat from last season is an extra motivation for this year. It's another challenge," Messi said. "Bayern already had a great team and with Guardiola they'll be even stronger. In La Liga, Real Madrid will be a tough opponent, as always."

Messi was hit with tax fraud claims earlier in the summer, with the Argentina captain and his father reportedly owing around €4m in unpaid tax bills. 

"I'm calm. We'll see how things go. I don't understand much about tax issues, that's why we have advisers and they are dealing with the issue, we trust them."