Fantasy Hot or Not - Can Messi's Barca return to winning ways?

By Sports Desk February 13, 2019

Lionel Messi will be aiming to avoid a run of four consecutive draws for the first time in his career, when Barcelona take on Real Valladolid.

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    There could be a fight to prise Fabian Ruiz from Napoli.

    Fabian has established himself as one of Europe's premier midfielders and the Spaniard is reportedly attracting interest.

    Two LaLiga giants and the Champions League holders are said to be eyeing Fabian.

     

    TOP STORY - THREE-WAY BATTLE FOR FABIAN

    Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool are chasing Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to the Daily Mail.

    Fabian swapped Real Betis for Napoli in 2018 and the Spain international has quickly become one of Europe's most sought-after midfielders.

    Now three of the biggest clubs in the world are reportedly eyeing the 23-year-old.

    ROUND-UP

    - The Sun reports Manchester United are preparing a January move for Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson. The Red Devils have limited options up front following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. Wilson, who has already scored three goals this season, fits the bill at Old Trafford as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes talented English players.

    Juventus, Liverpool and Manchester City are all interested in Real Madrid playmaker Isco, claims Calciomercato.

    Barcelona are set to offer 16-year-old sensation Ansu Fati a new five-year deal to fend off interest from European rivals, claims the Daily Mail.

    - League One side Southend United want to hire former Celtic, Barca and Manchester United striker Henrik Larsson as their manager, says the Daily Mail. Southend are second bottom in the league after eight games, while Larsson was last in charge of Helsingborg before quitting in August.

    - According to Globo Esporte, Flamengo are negotiating to bring Fredy Guarin to the club. The 33-year-old former Inter midfielder is a free agent after leaving Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.

  • Messi done enough in Barcelona return – Valverde Messi done enough in Barcelona return – Valverde

    Lionel Messi "done enough" in his return as Barcelona drew 0-0 with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, insisted head coach Ernesto Valverde.

    Messi made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a calf injury in Barca's goalless draw away to Dortmund in their Group F opener on Tuesday.

    The Barca captain had been sidelined up until his second-half introduction against Dortmund, though Messi was a peripheral figure for the visitors.

    "He's like any player who hasn't had a pre-season," Valverde said.

    "He's had to play in a game at an incredible pace, which had already started, all without preparation.

    "It's his first 30 minutes. He's done enough. It was also the first full game for Luis Suarez."

    Barca had goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for securing a point after the German star saved Marco Reus' second-half penalty.

    Ter Stegen thwarted Dortmund on more than one occasion in the second 45 minutes and Valverde hailed the Germany international.

    "In LaLiga [Santander] we were saying that opponents score against us," Valverde added. "But tonight, he was very good. We have a great goalkeeper and we benefit from that."

    On denying Reus from the penalty spot, Ter Stegen said:  It's hard to study, Reus always changes. It was a feeling I had [going to his left] and I'm glad that I could save it."

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