Lionel Messi looks to have dominated the debate of his greatness as compared to the rest of football legends following his heroics in the Champions League in midweek.
This article titled “Yet another starry-eyed tribute to Messi” was written by Jacob Steinberg, for theguardian.com on Thursday 7th May 2015 14.52 UTC
PEP SO ABYSMAL?
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The greatness of the world’s leading (and only!) tea-timely satirical football email means that it knows what it is like to be Lionel Messi, a feeling that is presumably mutual. Last night the Barcelona forward declared all-out war on language; his starring performance in the 3-0 shellacking of Pep “Kevin Keegan” Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in their Big Cup semi-final leaving the world’s breathless superlatives reserves at a record low. That sound? It’s a combination of Dr Johnson turning in his grave and wordicians worshipping at the alter of world-class word-fancier, Peter Mark Roget, in the hope that he might bestow upon them the fortitude to embark upon yet another starry-eyed tribute to Messi. The best anyone can do at the moment is: “Messi … he’s not bad … is he?”
Messi, though. That really was a spectacular second goal; his change of direction to beat Jérôme Boateng leaving the Bayern man in a confused heap on the turf, bottom lip quivering, eyes welling up. Boateng was thoroughly ready to catch the next flight back to Munich. He looked like someone had just crouched behind him in the playground style and waited for him to take a step backwards, before tumbling over and leaving the path clear for Messi to skip around him and scoop the ball over poor old Manuel Neuer.
Speaking of which, following a heavy defeat at the hands of Spanish opposition for the second successive season at this stage, critics of Guardiola have been saying that Bayern have taken a step or two backwards since he pitched up two years ago. Their Big Cup hopes are hanging by a thread and it was certainly hard to work out whether Guardiola’s decision to start the match with Bayern carrying on like clowns at the circus was an act of bravery or simply the work of a manager who had received a severe blow to the noggin shortly before kick-off. “Messi is unstoppable,” Guardiola sighed. The Fiver cannot wait to hear what José Mourinho has to say on the matter. LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE TONIGHT
Join John Ashdown from 8pm BST for MBM coverage of Sevilla 1-1 Fiorentina. Warning: may feature hot League One play-off action . QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I still think I’m the best coach in the Premier League. That’s what I think” – if you will ask Newcastle boss John Carver the question . AN OFFER YOU CAN REFUSE
16 January 2004: “Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men” – Sepp Blatter’s infamous plan to boost women’s football .
7 May 2015: “I consider myself a little bit as a godfather of the organisation of women’s football ” – of course you do Sepp . RECOMMENDED LISTENING
There’s a packed pod for Football Weekly Extra today , with AC Jimbo joined by Barry Glendenning, Jacob Steinberg, Iain Macintosh, James Horncastle and Sid Lowe.
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As expected, Manchester United have beaten Liverpool to the signing of Memphis Depay after agreeing a fee with PSV for the Dutch international . “We are very proud of this upcoming transfer,” trousered PSV suit Marcel Brands. “I always say: dream, believe, achieve,” parped the player himself.
Massimo Cellino says he’s disappointed with the way Nasty Leeds has been run during his DISQUALIFICATION FROM BEING AN OWNER OF A FOOTBALL CLUB. “Nothing has been sorted out and instead there is just $hit,” he fumed . “When I left, everyone was looking after their own skin rather than what was good for the club. Everything needs sorting out for next season – the sponsors, ground, lights, even pre-season. They told me we were booked for the pre-season. Then I find out the Liverpool U-17s are booked at the same place and there is only one training pitch. Amateurs.”
Saudi outfit Al-Nassr have come down hard on Fabián Estoyanoff for attacking Lekhwiya’s Nam Tae-hee after their 3-1 home defeat in Asian Big Cup. “50% will be deducted from [his] salary until the end of the season due to assaulting a player from the guest team,” huffed the club. “Such behaviour shall never be tolerated.”
There’s only a 10% chance of Yaya Touré staying at Manchester City beyond this season, reckons his Mr 15% Dimitri Seluk .
Jimmy Greaves is out of intensive care and able to sit up in bed after his severe stroke on Sunday. “While he is by no means out of the woods there is room for cautious optimism,” read a family statement .
The Enfield Town haunting .
And our sport picture of the day , courtesy of Atlético Mineiro’s Copa Libertadores tie with Internacional. Tidy. Photograph: Pedro Vilela/Getty Images STILL WANT MORE?
“Messi scored two brilliant goals, made a third and at times yawned his way around champion opponents like a man tactfully avoiding a gaggle of overheated toddlers in a high street coffee shop” – Barney Ronay on a genius at work .
With tweets, gifs and Vines of Jérôme Boateng doing his best Del Boy impression, the internet reacted with a little more hyperbole to Messi’s performance .
Ian McCourt took time out of his busy schedule of listening to Herb Alper t to join forces with Andy Hunter and write this on Rafa Benítez , Napoli and tonight’s Big Vase semi-final first leg against Dnipro.
Slow-mo rabonas, own-goal howlers and a 95th-minute bicycle-kick equaliser in the Conference North semi-final play-offs all feature in this week’s Classic YouTube .
Florida isn’t just full of gators, Keybilly Island Ale and voting scandals, it could also one day claim to be the capital state of soccerball, reports Simon Veness .
David Hytner got cosy with Swindon and Australia’s Massimo Luongo prior to the Wiltshire club’s flamin’ League One play-offs.
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