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Pochettino says Barca are favourites for the Champions League title

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has said that Barcelona are favourites to secure the Champions League title this term as they possess the mesmerising talents of Lionel Messi in their ranks. The Argentina international has another fine season with the Blaugrana where he has contributed 46 goals and 16 assists, and the club head into the semi-final stage of the Champions League as the favourites to win the elite competition.

Speaking to Goal.com, Pochettino indicated that there are generally no favourites to win the competition after witnessing the surprise results at the quarter-final stage. However, he added that the Blaugrana hold the advantage over the rest due to the presence of Messi, he said: “For me there is no favourite if we see what happened in the quarters. But personally, the favourite is the one that has Lionel Messi, and that one is Barca. If it were not like that, there would be 25 per cent chance for each semi-finalist.”
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Ernesto Valverde sees no point in resting Lionel Messi

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has said that there is no point of resting Lionel Messi ahead of the forthcoming congested schedule for the club. The Catalan giants are set to face Villarreal on the road on Tuesday night and thereafter, they have matches against Atletico Madrid and Manchester United in La Liga and Champions League respectively.

Due to this, there have been suggestions that Messi could be offered a rest for the Villarreal game to keep himself fresh for the forthcoming challenges but Valverde does not believe the same would be worthwhile at the moment. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Valverde said that the upcoming away trip to Villarreal remains of great importance for the club, given a defeat could offer Atletico with the hope of re-entering the title race.
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Angel di Maria keen to win a trophy with Argentina

Paris Saint-Germain star Angel di Maria has said that he is determined to win something with Argentina after returning to the national team fold. The winger had been ignored by manager Lionel Scaloni following the 2018 World Cup but he has made his comeback to the squad alongside several players including Lionel Messi.

Speaking to Libero, Di Maria admitted that he has always wanted to ply his trade for the national side and he is prepared to give his best for the team. He added to express his desire to win silverware with the South American nation with the Copa America scheduled for the summer, he said: “I always wanted to be (in the Argentina team), I always wanted to stay with the group. Now I have the chance and I want to fight back, to fight and to do my best. Hopefully I get the opportunity to win something once and for all with the Argentina national team.
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ARGENTINA HAVE A LOT TO LOSE IF MESSI DOESNOT PLAY AGAINST MOROCCO

According to reports making the rounds, Moroccan football governing body the  Royal Moroccan Football Federation ( FRMF ) has allegedly proposed to pay the Argentine Football Association £850,000 for an Argentina-Morocco friendly, if and only if  Lionel Messi plays. The Atlas lions of Morocco n will face off with Argentina in a friendly match on March 26 at Tangier’s grand stadium.

According to Moroccan daily Al Ahdath Al Maghribia, if Messi doesn’t play in the match  Morocco will allegedly pay the Argentine Football Association only £465,000.going by current happenings Messi has not played international football since Argentina were knocked out of the World Cup by France last June,  is unlikely to feature in the tie. Argentina head coach  has not yet confirmed his squad but the hope in Buenos Aires is that Messi will play against the Venezuela in Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
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Gianfranco Zola backs Gonzalo Higuain to become an instant hint with Chelsea

Chelsea assistant Gianfranco Zola believes Gonzalo Higuain can become an instant hint with the Blues despite arriving at the midway stage of the season. The Argentine completed his much-awaited loan move from Juventus on Wednesday but he could not feature in the League Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham Hotspur after he was registered following the cut-off time.

However, Higuain remains in line to make his debut during the FA Cup fourth round tie against Sheffield Wednesday this weekend and Zola believes the Argentine should hit the ground running from the off, he said: “There are players who need to be rested and it could be an opportunity. We’re talking about a player who has scored not only in Italy but everywhere, also in the Champions League.
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Heinze believes United will recover

Former Argentina and Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze believes that his former team will recover after their poor start to the season. Indeed the Red Devils have been beaten by both Brighton and Tottenham Hotspurs since the start of the season.

Gabriel Heinze believes that the team should be given some time and that they will definitely recover from this bad period. He said that Jose Mourinho is an experienced manager and that he will find a solution to this problem.
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Heinze on Argentina

Former Argentina international Gabriel Heinze believes that the national team can do well in Russia for the World Cup. He said that they have inherited a relatively easy group stage and that it will become more interesting at the knock-out stage.

He said that this will be the last chance of a generation of players such as Lionel Messi to win the tournament and that he is sure that they will be giving their best to lift the trophy.

However, he admitted that this will not be easy as there are so many teams that have some good squad. He said that Germany, Brazil, and Spain are among the favorites to lift the tournament and that Argentina will have to be at their best if they want to win this trophy.

Gabriel Heinze said that he has so many friends in the national team and he knows that they are preparing themselves well for this tournament. He said that the qualifying campaign has been hard for them but he feels that the team has improved a lot since then.

He believes that the tough qualifying campaign has been a blessing in disguise and that the players have since then raised the level of their game.

He said that Argentina has some good players and that they can have a good tournament in Russia if they believe in themselves. He said that it all depends on how the players arrived at the tournament as they will be coming out of a strenuous season.

Gabriel Heinze said that very often it is not the best side that wins the World Cup but the one that brings in the fitter players. Personally, he believes that Germany will win the tournament as they have not only the best players but also the experience.

MESSI WANTS HIGUAIN TO RETURN TO ARGENTINA SQUAD

Lionel Messi has asked that Gonzalo Higuain be recalled to the Argentina national team, according to reports. The Argentina national team skipper made a case for the striker to rejoin the team as they need the best legs ahead of the World Cup 2018.

The boss of the Argentine Football Association Claudio Tapia had asked that Coach Jorge Sampaoli reach out to Higuain after the team’s embarrassing loss to African giants Nigeria. The Super Eagles replied Argentina with four goals after the South Americans had gone ahead twice. Sergio Aguero was pulled out and the attack collapsed in the absence of Messi.
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