Messi: PSG want Champions League title after drawing Madrid

By Sports Desk December 14, 2021

Lionel Messi insisted Paris Saint-Germain's objective is to win the Champions League after being paired with Real Madrid in the round of 16.

LaLiga leaders Madrid stand in the way of PSG and the quarter-finals following a chaotic redraw due to a technical glitch on Monday.

PSG – initially drawn against Manchester United – were Champions League runners-up in 2019-20, however, the French giants have never conquered Europe.

As former Barcelona superstar Messi prepares to reunite with Madrid – the first leg will be held on February 15 – the Ballon d'Or winner reinforced PSG's ultimate pursuit.

"The objective for PSG is to win the Champions League, that's everyone's aim," Messi said at the Dubai Expo 2020 via Marca.

"The team has been very close before. It's an essential competition for all teams. We'll try to win it."

Messi swapped Barca for PSG in a blockbuster switch ahead of the 2021-22 season.

The 34-year-old was set to sign a new deal with Barca, but left Camp Nou after the Catalan giants announced that "financial and structural obstacles" had left them unable to retain his services.

Messi has scored one goal in 10 Ligue 1 appearances this season, while he has managed five goals in as many Champions League games.

"It was a very big change after so much time in the same place, so it wasn't easy," Messi said.

"But, we're all doing well in what is a spectacular city and at one of the best teams in the world."

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  • Addo finds no comfort in Uruguay woe as Ghana's rivals join them in World Cup exit Addo finds no comfort in Uruguay woe as Ghana's rivals join them in World Cup exit

    Otto Addo insists Ghana took no comfort from seeing rivals Uruguay join them in making an early exit from the World Cup after Friday's dramatic Group H finale.

    Ghana and Uruguay both harboured hopes of reaching the last 16 ahead of Friday's game, which represented the teams' first meeting since La Celeste claimed a famous World Cup quarter-final win in 2010, when Asamoah Gyan missed a penalty after Luis Suarez saw red for a goal-line handball.

    Giorgian de Arrascaeta's brace helped Uruguay to a 2-0 victory, but South Korea's last-gasp 2-1 win over Portugal in the group's other game ensured Paulo Bento's team clinched second place.

    After the match, Daniel Amartey suggested to reporters that Ghana became determined to take Uruguay out of the tournament with them once South Korea went ahead. 

    Addo, however, insisted any animosity between the teams did not influence Ghana's approach, saying: "I don't know who said it, but nobody told them what the [South Korea] score was.

    "I don't know how they would know. For us, it was about trying to score. As a coach for more than 12 years, I have had games where we led 3-0 and lost 4-3. Anything can happen. 

    "I don't think anyone was thinking about this, but I definitely wasn't. Everyone saw wild games with goals in the last minutes. We just wanted to equalise, which would have gotten us through."

    Asked whether his players were motivated by a desire to avenge the 2010 defeat, Addo responded: "What hurts the most is that we're out. 

    "I know the public sought revenge but I don't think this way, and I told the players they should not as well. 

    "I am a strong believer that if you do not seek revenge, you will get more blessings. If it was not Uruguay, we would have tried against another team. 

    "It was not important. We were prepared, but today the luck was not on our side. We could have prevented both goals, this is where we have to learn.

    "Sometimes you are so close to taking one step further, but then you concede and it gets into your mind. To come back out of this is very difficult. 

    "We did it against South Korea but today we couldn't do it, the second goal came way too early. 

    "We created a lot of chances, at the end we could have conceded a third goal. I believed until the end that we could score."

    While Ghana have failed to progress beyond the group stage at their last two World Cups (2014 and 2022), Uruguay have fallen at the first hurdle for the first time since doing so in 2002.

  • Ronaldo insists there is no controversy over substitution in South Korea loss Ronaldo insists there is no controversy over substitution in South Korea loss

    Cristiano Ronaldo appeared dissatisfied when he was substituted in Portugal's World Cup defeat to South Korea, though he indicated it had more do with the actions of an opponent than Fernando Santos' decision.

    Ronaldo was withdrawn in the 65th minute and replaced by Andre Silva with the scores level at 1-1 in the Group H finale.

    Hwang Hee-chan's injury-time winner gave South Korea a 2-1 win to seal their progression to the last 16 alongside Portugal.

    With Ronaldo having long since exited the stage, Portugal were unable to rescue anything from the game, with the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star urging his team-mates to learn from their poor performance.

    He said of his reaction while leaving the field: "What happened was that before my departure, [a] Korean player told me to leave quickly. I told him to shut up.

    "He is not the authority, he does not have to give his opinion, he would speed up the step if he were the referee. But there doesn't have to be any controversy.

    "It's the heat of the game. Regardless of what happened, things stay on the field. We have to be united, we are in the next phase. All Portuguese have to be confident because we really want to progress.

    "We knew in advance that we were qualified, there had to be almost a miracle for us not to progress [in] first. But I don't want to justify myself with that.

    "We have to learn from these lessons when we don't play well. I hope we can learn from this defeat and we have to win the next game."

    Santos added of Portugal's showing: "It's a disappointment. We did good things, but then we alternated with the least good. But it can be a warning. It can be a warning."

    Portugal will face the runners-up of Group G in the last 16 next Tuesday.

  • Addo predicts bright future for Ghana but steps down following World Cup exit Addo predicts bright future for Ghana but steps down following World Cup exit

    Otto Addo confirmed he is leaving his role as Ghana coach as he predicted the team will continue to improve after a promising World Cup campaign.

    Addo was appointed as interim boss of the Black Stars in February, but has been juggling the role with his job as a talent coach for Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.

    Ghana would have progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar with a win over Uruguay at Al Janoub Stadium on Friday, but ultimately finished bottom of Group H after a 2-0 defeat.

    Andre Ayew missed a first-half penalty, with Giorgian de Arrascaeta's quickfire double putting Uruguay in control, albeit the win was not enough to send Diego Alonso's team into the knockout round.

    In his post-match news conference, Addo announced he would be stepping down.

    "When I started as an assistant coach in October last year, it was clear I would stop after the World Cup," he said.

    "At the moment, me and my family see our future in Germany, I like my role at Dortmund, we are very happy there.

    "I would be leaving even if we were world champions, this is a decision for the family. This is my decision."

    Ghana's squad was the youngest at the tournament, and Addo sees a bright future for the team.

    He said: "This is football, sometimes football is beautiful, sometimes really ugly, unfortunately for us it was not a happy day.

    "There's not one player who has not missed a penalty, their goalkeeper was really good today.

    "We had a lot of chances, but had to do better in defence. Allowing two chances against world-class strikers is two too much. We have a young squad, have to learn, sure it has a bright future.

    "We have to believe in ourselves. The greatest players are great because they have experience. That comes from doing things wrong. 

    "They have to work on all of these things. They will grow from this experience and will do better next time."

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