Boeing 777 makes emergency landing in Moscow after engine warning


A Boeing 777 airliner was forced to make an emergency landing in Moscow on Friday, after reporting engine problems.

The emergency landing comes just days after another model showered engine debris on a flight path over the United States.

State-owned Rossiya airline said the crew had registered the “incorrect operation of the engine control sensor” on a cargo flight from Hong Kong to Madrid and “decided to make an emergency landing in Moscow.”

Online flight trackers confirmed the flight was carried out with a Boeing 777.

The airline said the unscheduled landing went ahead without incident and that no one was injured. The plane was due to continue its onward journey to Madrid after a delay of several hours, it added.

RELATED: Boeing 777s grounded after Denver engine failure

Rossiya told AFP later Friday that the Boeing 777 that made the emergency landing in Moscow was fitted with a different make of engine to the plane that shed engine parts in the United States last week.

General Electric, which manufactured the engine on the jet, said it was working with the carrier.

“At GE Aviation, safety is our first priority,” a company spokesperson told AFP.

“Our technical support teams are working closely with the airline, which has returned the aircraft to service.” Boeing referred questions to Rossiya.

The incident came just days after Boeing confirmed that dozens of its 777 aircraft were grounded globally resulting from the engine of a United Airlines plane catching fire and scattering debris over a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

No one was injured in the Denver incident.

However, the 777 planes removed from service were constructed with different engines made by Pratt & Whitney.

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered inspections of all 777 planes made with similar Pratt & Whitney engines.

Malfunctions in engines are not uncommon and most airplanes are designed to be able to fly for several hours on one engine until crew identify and land at the nearest available airport.

Investigators have attributed the Denver incident to a fan blade that broke off soon after takeoff due to metal fatigue and apparently breached the engine cover, known as a cowling.

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Atletico Madrid 0-1 Chelsea: Olivier Giroud scores winner in Champions League last 16 first leg


Chelsea are aiming to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14

Olivier Giroud’s spectacular overhead kick gave Chelsea an outstanding victory against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16 first leg in Bucharest.

Giroud’s superb moment of improvisation not only delivered the win and a vital away goal but also continued new manager Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start at Chelsea and put them in pole position to reach the quarter-finals.

In a tie played in Romania instead of Spain because of Covid-19 restrictions, Giroud demonstrated athleticism and technique to send an acrobatic effort beyond Atletico keeper Jan Oblak in the 68th minute. The goal was originally ruled out for offside before a video assistant referee review revealed the ball had bounced off Atletico defender Mario Hermoso.

It was reward for Chelsea’s more progressive style in the face of the usual attritional approach from Diego Simeone’s Atletico. They rarely troubled Tuchel’s side who comfortably kept the in-form but increasingly frustrated Luis Suarez at bay.

Chelsea have now gone eight matches unbeaten since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard while Giroud is emerging as their Champions League talisman after scoring all four goals in the group-phase victory against Sevilla and a last-minute winner away to Rennes.

Tuchel was quick to praise the impact of 34-year-old World Cup winner Giroud and said: “If you see him on a daily basis, you cannot be surprised. He is totally fit, his body is in shape and his physicality is on top level.

“He trains like a 20-year-old, like a 24-year-old. He is a guy who has a good mixture of serious and joy in training. He is always positive and it is a big factor for the group.”

Tuchel’s biggest statement yet

Tuchel’s Chelsea have been efficient rather than spectacular since the German coach was appointed following Lampard’s departure in January – but there will be no complaints after the most impressive result of his brief time in charge.

Chelsea were regarded as underdogs in this last-16 tie against the La Liga leaders but apart from a couple of early scares – keeper Edouard Mendy miscontrolled early in the game before Suarez flashed the ball across the face of goal – they were in charge.

They showed more ambition than a strangely lethargic and even more cautious than usual Atletico.

It will increase Chelsea’s confidence that they have appointed a coach who is comfortable operating at the highest levels after reaching the Champions League final with Paris St-Germain last season and impressing at Borussia Dortmund.

And once again Giroud proved what an intelligent and talented player he is with a piece of ingenuity that settled a tight game to give Chelsea high hopes going into the second leg.

Giroud has proved time and again he is invaluable to Chelsea’s cause, demonstrating what a bargain buy he was at £18m from Arsenal in January 2018.

It was also a good night for young England forward Callum Hudson-Odoi, who performed creditably after the debate surrounding his substitution after coming on as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Southampton.

Hudson-Odoi was replaced again after 79 minutes in Bucharest but this was after a performance full of energy and hard work that will have delighted taskmaster Tuchel on a highly satisfying night for Chelsea.

Atletico still pose a threat – but this was poor

This was a dismal showing from an Atletico Madrid side who have been excellent domestically in heading Real Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona.

Atletico adopted a more conservative approach than Chelsea despite this being their ‘home’ leg, albeit on neutral territory, and the old streetfighter Suarez was reduced to familiar moments of gamesmanship in a bid to unsettle his opponents. It was all to no avail as the Premier League side held firm.

It was a game that pointed to Chelsea building the platform for progress in the second leg but Atletico’s resilience, ability to fight the odds and love of being the underdog still makes them a threat.

Simeone will need to inspire a big performance from his players in the second leg but they can never be written off, as Liverpool – rampant in the Premier League at the time – painfully discovered when they were eliminated by Atletico over two legs at this stage last season, completed by a 3-2 win at Anfield after coming from 2-0 down.

Chelsea achieved a superb result and their destiny is now in their own hands but Tuchel will not, and cannot, allow for any complacency against an Atletico team who may just revel in the task facing them in the second leg.

Another Champions League goal for Giroud – the stats

  • Thomas Tuchel became the third Chelsea manager to win his first Champions League game in charge when the game took place in the knockout stage after Roberto Di Matteo and Guus Hiddink.
  • Atletico Madrid failed to have a shot on target against Chelsea – the first time they had failed to register a shot on target in a Champions League game since March 2019 v Juventus.
  • Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has scored six Champions League goals this season, his best return in a single campaign in the competition.
  • Giroud (34 years and 146 days) became the oldest player to score a Champions League knockout goal for Chelsea.
  • Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy has kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in the Champions League this season (five).
  • Mason Mount’s yellow card after 55 seconds was the quickest card shown in the Champions League this season.
  • Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea and PSG) became only the second manager in the history of the Champions League to manage two different clubs in the competition within a single season after Ronald Koeman in 2007-08 (PSV and Valencia).

‘A big reward’ – what they said

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel told BT Sport: “Fantastic result, fantastic goal. Well deserved.

“We wanted to dominate in the opponents’ half, to never lose concentration, not to do any easy mistakes and always be aware of quick counter-attacks for all their quality.

“It was a very disciplined performance – a deserved shut-out. This is the hard work, a team effort – the basis for a big win.

“We knew they were ready to suffer with eight people in the box. The intention was to keep the intensity high. This is what we did very good. We never let them breathe or come out for counter-attacks. We have a big reward with this result.

“This is one of the toughest challenges to open a defence like Atletico.”

Player of the match

GiroudOlivier Giroud

Atlético Madrid

  1. Squad number13Player nameOblak

  2. Squad number15Player nameSavic

  3. Squad number7Player nameJoão Félix

  4. Squad number18Player nameFelipe

  5. Squad number6Player nameKoke

  6. Squad number8Player nameSaúl

  7. Squad number14Player nameMarcos Llorente

  8. Squad number10Player nameCorrea

  9. Squad number11Player nameLemar

  10. Squad number22Player nameHermoso

  11. Squad number9Player nameSuárez

  12. Squad number19Player nameDembele

  13. Squad number20Player nameVitolo

  14. Squad number12Player nameRenan Lodi

  15. Squad number5Player nameTorreira

Chelsea

  1. Squad number18Player nameGiroud

  2. Squad number19Player nameMount

  3. Squad number7Player nameKanté

  4. Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta

  5. Squad number11Player nameWerner

  6. Squad number20Player nameHudson-Odoi

  7. Squad number4Player nameChristensen

  8. Squad number3Player nameAlonso

  9. Squad number17Player nameKovacic

  10. Squad number2Player nameRüdiger

  11. Squad number5Player nameJorginho

  12. Squad number24Player nameJames

  13. Squad number10Player namePulisic

  14. Squad number16Player nameMendy

  15. Squad number22Player nameZiyech

  16. Squad number29Player nameHavertz

Line-ups

Atl Madrid

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 13Oblak
  • 15Savic
  • 18Felipe
  • 22HermosoSubstituted forMachín Pérezat 84′minutes
  • 14LlorenteBooked at 63mins
  • 6Koke
  • 8SaúlSubstituted forTorreiraat 82′minutes
  • 11LemarBooked at 90mins
  • 10CorreaSubstituted forDembeleat 82′minutes
  • 7SequeiraSubstituted forLodi dos Santosat 82′minutes
  • 9Suárez

Substitutes

  • 1Grbic
  • 4Kondogbia
  • 5Torreira
  • 12Lodi dos Santos
  • 19Dembele
  • 20Machín Pérez
  • 27Camello
  • 28García
  • 29Sánchez
  • 31San Román

Chelsea

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 16Mendy
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 4Christensen
  • 2Rüdiger
  • 20Hudson-OdoiSubstituted forJamesat 80′minutes
  • 5JorginhoBooked at 64mins
  • 17KovacicSubstituted forZiyechat 74′minutes
  • 3Alonso
  • 19MountBooked at 1minsSubstituted forKantéat 74′minutes
  • 11WernerSubstituted forPulisicat 87′minutes
  • 18GiroudSubstituted forHavertzat 87′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 7Kanté
  • 9Abraham
  • 10Pulisic
  • 13Caballero
  • 15Zouma
  • 21Chilwell
  • 22Ziyech
  • 23Gilmour
  • 24James
  • 29Havertz
  • 33Emerson

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Deaths Reported After Explosion Hits Building in Central Madrid



At least two people died and several were injured after an explosion destroyed at least four floors of a building in central Madrid, Spain, on January 20, local reports said. This footage, posted to Twitter, shows smoke rising from the site of the blast. The explosion hit a building located between a school and a senior center near the city’s iconic Puerta de Toledo monument, RTVE reported. Credit: @naia_belz via Storyful

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Madrid Is Buried Under Heaviest Snowfall in 50 Years


The heaviest snowfall in five decades has blanketed Madrid over the past few days, after a giant storm hit southern and central Spain, causing at least three deaths and prompting the authorities to activate a red alert in the capital.

Madrid was brought to a standstill as Storm Filomena covered the city and surrounding areas in more than a foot and a half of snow from Friday to Saturday, the most snow the city has seen since 1971, according to the Spanish national weather agency.

The storm also battered the Canary Islands, off the coast of North Africa, and other regions in the south of Spain with strong winds and heavy rains. The town of Estepona, on the Costa del Sol, and surrounding areas saw more than 60 percent of their average annual rainfall arrive in three days, the newspaper Diario Sur reported.

Filomena “exceeded the most pessimistic forecasts we had,” José Luis Ábalos, the Spanish transport minister, said on Saturday.

The storm has claimed at least three lives: A man was frozen to death in Madrid, and two people were found in a car that was swept away by floods after a river burst its banks in southern Spain.

Blizzards halted nearly all transport over the weekend, including forcing the closure of Madrid-Barajas Airport. Rail services in the areas worst affected were suspended, and 12,500 miles of roads were closed or suffered serious disruption. The emergency services have rescued about 2,500 people from snowbound vehicles, the news agency Agence France-Presse reported.

Madrid was placed on red alert on Friday, along with the surrounding provinces of Guadalajara, Cuenca, Albacete and Toledo, the first time that the highest level of weather warning has been used in these central Spanish areas since the system was introduced in 2007.

Christopher Bjork, a Norwegian who has lived in Madrid for 20 years, said he was used to plenty of snow in his home country but had never seen his adopted city covered so completely. “This is a unique situation for Madrid,” he said. “I don’t know to what extent they are prepared for this,” he added, acknowledging the difficulties for the authorities.

There were small signs on Monday of progress in clearing the effects of the storm. Madrid-Barajas Airport was gradually resuming flights, and Spain’s national train operator, Renfe, said it hoped to offer about three quarters of its normal service, according to local reports. Soldiers have been called in to clear hundreds of roads, and more than 3,500 tons of salt is expected to arrive in Madrid to help de-ice the roads and sidewalks, local news outlets reported.

Spurred by the unusual downfall, a giant snowball fight broke out on Gran Vía, one of Madrid’s main thoroughfares, and skiers and snowboarders turned out across the city center. But under the weather warning and with the coronavirus still raging across Spain, the government has urged people to stay at home and avoid nonessential travel. The authorities have also asked residents not to use their cars to leave the roads clear for emergency vehicles.

Madrid’s subway system, the only part of its public transport network to operate without interruption since the storm struck, reported a spike of 21 percent in the number of passengers on Monday, compared with a week earlier.

Schools, colleges and universities in Madrid and in the central region of Castilla-La Mancha were closed until at least Wednesday.

There have also been warnings of further hazards this week as the snow turns to ice and a further cold snap is expected. “We have difficult days ahead,” the interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, said at a news conference on Monday.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez wrote on Twitter on Monday, “We cannot lower our guard.”

“Stay alert and prepared” for the cold, he added.

The snowstorm has presented the Spanish government, still struggling with a rising coronavirus caseload, with another battlefront. Spain’s Covid-19 death toll, more than 51,000, is one of the highest in Europe.

As well as the temptation for people to mix outside, there were fears that the snow could spell disaster for the distribution of a shipment of about 300,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine to regional health authorities. But Mr. Grande-Marlaska, the interior minister, said on Monday that the vaccine had arrived safely and promised that the distribution would go ahead “without incident.”

The storm is also a further challenge for health workers in the region, with videos on social media showing doctors and nurses going to extreme lengths to trek through the snow to work.

“The commitment being shown by all health workers is an example of solidarity and dedication,” the Spanish health minister, Salvador Illa, said on Sunday.

Raphael Minder and Mark A. Walsh contributed reporting.



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Snowstorm hits Spain, Madrid braces for heaviest snowfall in decades



FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a statue of Spanish painter Diego Velazquez outside the Prado Museum during a snowfall in Madrid, Spain January 7, 2021. REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo

January 8, 2021

MADRID (Reuters) – Heavy snowfall brought by Storm Filomena put parts of Spain including the capital Madrid on high alert on Friday, causing traffic congestion and forcing authorities in some regions to deploy the military to clear access to villages.

With up to 20 cm (nearly 8 inches) of snow forecast in 24 hours and temperatures expected to hover around zero centigrade for much of the day, the south of the Madrid region, including the capital, is on its highest level of alert for the first time since the system was created in 2007.

Such events are rare in the region and tend to be disruptive to daily life and mobility, coming at a time when people are returning home after Christmas and New Year holidays. This year, however, there is less traffic than usual due to restrictions to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Large parks in Madrid, including the famous Retiro next to the Prado museum, were closed as a precaution.

Ruben del Campo, a spokesman for the State Meteorological Agency, said the city was probably facing the heaviest snowfall at least so far in the 21st century.

“Perhaps we would have to go back to the snowfall of February 1984 or to that of March 1971 to find similar precedents if the forecasts we are expecting are correct,” he added.

Castilla-La Mancha, one of the three regions put on high alert on Friday along with Madrid and eastern Valencia, closed schools, and troops were called in to clear access to some villages.

With hundreds of roads affected by the snow, trucks were banned from several important highways and authorities asked citizens to avoid non-essential travel.

Airport operator Aena urged passengers to use the subway to get to Madrid airport, and train operator Renfe cancelled some routes.

On Wednesday Spain registered the lowest temperature ever recorded on the Iberian peninsula, of -34.1C, in the Pyrenees in the north.

The storm first hit the Canary Islands with strong winds and rain. In Gran Canaria, a ferry with 59 passengers and 17 crew ran aground on Thursday night due to the strong winds when entering the port of Agaete.

On Friday the coastguard rescued the passengers, who were unharmed, but the ferry remained stranded.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Cristina Sanchez, editing by Andrei Khalip and Gareth Jones)



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Kieran Trippier’s ban for breaking gambling rules put on hold amid Atletico Madrid appeal


Kieran Trippier’s 10-week ban for breaking FA rules on gambling has been put on hold.

World governing body FIFA have contacted Atletico Madrid to tell them Trippier is free to play until the Spanish club’s appeal against the suspension is heard.

Trippier got the ban and a £70,000 fine from the Football Association last month after the England full back was found guilty of providing information on his £20m move from Tottenham to Atletico in July 2019 in a group WhatsApp chat with friends.

Atletico right back Trippier has now been cleared to play while the appeal is ongoing but he missed their game on Sunday with Alaves because he has not trained this week as he did not expect to play.



Trippier on England duty in November

FIFA issued a statement which read: “Following the appeal and, specifically, the request for provisional measures lodged by the club Atletico Madrid, the FIFA Appeal Committee has approved to stay the extension of the suspension against Kieran Trippier until the procedure is over before the FIFA Appeal Committee.”

Trippier has always pleaded his innocence, insisted he made no profit and anything said was purely conversation with friends and family. Atletico have appealed to FIFA and are also prepared to take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

But the appeal has been driven by Atletico with boss Diego Simeone calling the punishment “completely unjust” as it would rule Trippier out of 14 games, including their last 16 tie with Chelsea next month.

Atletico chief executive Miguel Ángel Gil Marín has launched a passionate defence of Trippier and also remarkable attack on the FA’s process. He said: “Personally, I think it’s a suspension that is disproportionate for the player and totally unjust for Atlético.

“How can it be possible that the party that is most negatively effected by this is Atlético, which hasn’t played any part in the process? If the player has committed an infraction that does not have any effect on the competition, how can it be Atlético is the one punished by this?

“The fact that the FA has punished the player by preventing him from playing against Chelsea, and that the ban just happens to finish just as the England national team is scheduled to play a competitive game, makes you think all sorts of things about the integrity of the competition and the ethics of a football association with a long history.”





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Athletic Madrid: Diego Costa agrees to end contract early


Costa has scored two goals this season

Spain striker Diego Costa has agreed an early end to his Atletico Madrid contract, paving the way for a possible Premier League return.

The 32-year-old, whose deal was due to expire next summer, fell out of favour at the Spanish club.

He has made only three appearances, all as a substitute, since mid-October.

“The striker asked to leave the club for personal reasons a few days ago and on Tuesday signed the termination of his contract,” said Atletico.

“The club thanks Diego Costa for his dedication during these years and wishes him well in the next stage of his professional career.”

Luis Suarez and Joao Felix have been preferred to Costa up front this season.

Arsenalexternal-link and Wolvesexternal-link have been linked with moves for Costa, who won two Premier League titles during his three-season stint with Chelsea.

Costa scored 59 goals in 120 games for Chelsea, but his spell ended in acrimony after then manager Antonio Conte told him via text message that he was not part of his plans for the following season.

Costa refused to return to Chelsea from his home in Brazil after being told to train with the reserves.

In September 2017 he was sold to Atletico, the club where he made his name as La Liga’s top scorer in their 2013-14 title win.

Atletico are top of La Liga, ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference with two games in hand.



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Real Sociedad 0-2 Atletico Madrid: Visitors move three points clear at top of La Liga


Marcos Llorente’s goal was his fifth of the season for Atletico

Atletico Madrid moved three points clear at the top of La Liga thanks to victory at third-placed Real Sociedad.

Mario Hermoso’s header broke the deadlock early in the second half before Marcos Llorente’s cool finish sealed victory for Diego Simeone’s men.

Atletico, who have conceded just five goals in 13 league games this term, comfortably kept an eighth clean sheet.

Real Madrid could draw level on points if they beat Granada on Wednesday but will have played two games more.

Zinedine Zidane’s Real are the only side to have inflicted a domestic defeat on Atletico this season and Sociedad rarely looked like becoming the second.

Their only shot on target came late on and Atletico keeper Jan Oblak was equal to Martin Merquelanz’s strike from just outside the box to preserve the visitors’ impressive defensive record.

Central defender Hermoso went close with a first-half header before nodding Atletico ahead from Yannick Carrasco’s cross after the break for his first league goal for the club.

Llorente then fired home left-footed strike to extend Sociedad’s winless run to six games after a promising start to their season.

Line-ups

Real Sociedad

  • 1Remiro
  • 18GorosabelSubstituted forElustondoat 74′minutesBooked at 80mins
  • 24Le NormandBooked at 29mins
  • 5Zubeldia
  • 20Monreal
  • 8Merino
  • 36Zubimendi
  • 7Portugués ManzaneraSubstituted forBautistaat 74′minutes
  • 21SilvaSubstituted forLópezat 75′minutes
  • 22BarrenetxeaSubstituted forMerquelanzat 66′minutes
  • 9Da SilvaSubstituted forIsakat 66′minutesBooked at 86mins

Substitutes

  • 6Elustondo
  • 12Muñoz
  • 14Guridi
  • 15Sagnan
  • 16Guevara
  • 17Merquelanz
  • 19Isak
  • 25Bautista
  • 28López
  • 29Navarro
  • 34Ayesa
  • 37Gonzalez

Atl Madrid

  • 13Oblak
  • 15SavicBooked at 16mins
  • 18Felipe
  • 22HermosoBooked at 29mins
  • 23Trippier
  • 14Llorente
  • 6Koke
  • 21CarrascoSubstituted forLodi dos Santosat 87′minutes
  • 10CorreaSubstituted forSaúlat 59′minutesBooked at 66mins
  • 11LemarSubstituted forKondogbiaat 72′minutes
  • 9SuárezSubstituted forDiego Costaat 87′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Sánchez
  • 4Kondogbia
  • 5Torreira
  • 8Saúl
  • 12Lodi dos Santos
  • 17Saponjic
  • 19Diego Costa
  • 20Machín Pérez
  • 24Vrsaljko
  • 31San Román

Referee:
Guillermo Cuadra Fernández

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Barcelona presidential candidate sends Real Madrid message with poster outside Bernabeu


Joan Laporta’s latest message to Barcelona fans is a simple one: “Looking forward to seeing you again”.

The man in charge at Camp Nou between 2003 and 2010 is eyeing a return to the hot seat in January’s presidential election.

And Laporta sent a clear message to Madrid-based Barcelona fans with a huge poster only a stone’s throw from Santiago Bernabeu – the home of bitter rivals Real Madrid.

The 1000 square metre banner hung on a building less than 200 metres from the stadium is sure to reignite the El Clasico rivalry.

But Laporta insists the stunt is about securing the vote of Barca fans in the Spanish capital.



The enormous electoral poster has been hung next to the Bernabeu

“We hope to reach all the fans understanding the rivalry in a sympathetic and well-understood way, while we want to reach all football fans trying to get a smile on one side and the other,” said Laporta.

“Currently, Barcelona has 110,635 members with voting rights, 4 per cent of which are distributed throughout the Spanish territory and Laporta wanted to step on the ground and greet the Barca fans in Madrid, the people who love Barcelona.”

The enormous banner bearing the “Looking forward to seeing you again” motto is 20 metres wide and 50 metres long, as Laporta searches for an edge over his rivals ahead of voting on 24 January 2021.



Laporta is eyeing re-election after overseeing a glittering spell for the Catalans in the 2000s



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Other candidates include Victor Font, Jordi Farre, Toni Freixa, Agusti Benedito and Lluis Fernandez.

Laporta, formerly an MP in Catalonia’s parliament, has outlined his intention to keep Lionel Messi at Camp Nou beyond the expiry of his contract next summer.

He told Sport : “You could argue many reasons for him staying. I prefer to think about what Leo generates, which is a lot – certainly more than his salary may cost.

“I’m not just talking about the sporting level, which is already well known. I consider him the best footballer in history. Leo is so much more than just that.



The presidential hopeful is desparate for Messi to stay at Camp Nou

Should Lionel Messi sign a new contract with Barcelona or search for a new challenge? Have your say here.

“In my opinion all players, when they win many titles and generate so much for the club, deserve to be valued accordingly.

“At least that’s how I’ll try to make it happen. Leo is, I repeat, the best player in the world and possibly in the history of football. What you have to keep in mind is that he loves Barca and has shown that repeatedly.

“He is a club man and is comfortable at Barcelona and in the city. That is another factor that leads us to think the best thing for us is for the Messi-Barcelona relationship to continue.

“You have to be imaginative [to get him to stay]. Knowing Messi is not guided by money, and I assure you that is the case, we must make a proposal that can convince him Barca has a team capable of winning the Champions League.

“That is essential. It is what will be more valuable to Leo when deciding his future at the end of the season. I am convinced of that.

“Leo and I have a relationship of mutual affection. He knows that whenever I have made him a proposal, it has been fulfilled. Leo knows it and has told me personally he valued that very much. He should finish his career at Barca.”

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Real Madrid lose to Shakhtar, group standings, results


Zinedine Zidane rubbished suggestions he could walk away from Real Madrid and said the Spanish giants did not deserve to lose after going down 2-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, their second defeat by the Ukrainians in this season’s Champions League leaving their hopes of reaching the last 16 in the balance.

Substitutes Dentinho and Manor Solomon both scored second-half goals in Kiev as Shakhtar stunned the 13-time European champions again, having already won 3-2 in Madrid in October.

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Shakhtar had lost their last two Group B matches against Borussia Moenchengladbach by an aggregate score of 10-0, but this victory allowed them to move above Real into second place in the group with one game remaining.

Gladbach top the section by a point, while Shakhtar now have the upper hand on Real thanks to their superior head-to-head record.

However, Inter Milan’s 3-2 win away to Gladbach not only kept the Italians alive, but also limited the damage for Real, who now know a win at home to the Germans next week will take them through, regardless of how Shakhtar fare in their last game.

Madrid have made it out of their group in every year since 1997 and so failure to qualify would be seen as a disaster, but Zidane said he would not leave the club he has so far led to three Champions League triumphs and two La Liga titles over two spells as coach.

“I am not going to resign, not at all,” said Zidane. “We are always going to have difficult moments, and we are on a bad run, but we need to keep going.”

“I have the strength needed to turn the situation around and I am going to give everything to do that, so are the players,” added the Frenchman, whose team also lost at the weekend, going down 2-1 at home to Alaves in La Liga.

“We played well and we deserved more. We just need to lift our heads up and think about the next game.”

Real were returning to the scene of their victory over Liverpool in the 2018 final, but they looked a shadow of their former selves in the cold and the snow in Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, and the result further underlined how much they miss defensive talisman Sergio Ramos when he is not there.

This was Real’s seventh defeat in the last nine Champions League matches they have played without Ramos, who is currently injured.

Perhaps this game would have turned out differently had Marco Asensio scored in the fifth minute rather than turn Karim Benzema’s cross onto the post, but they went on to slump to a third defeat in their last five matches in all competitions.

Dentinho had replaced the injured Junior Moraes in the first half and the Brazilian got the opening goal just before the hour mark.

Ferland Mendy intercepted a Viktor Kovalenko ball into the box but only succeeded in laying it on a plate for Dentinho to tuck past Thibaut Courtois and in.

The Ukrainian champions then made sure of their victory on the counter-attack with eight minutes remaining as Israeli international Solomon picked up the ball on halfway and advanced unchallenged before picking his spot.

The Galacticos are on the brink of elimination from the Champions League after the 13-time winners went down 2-0 in Ukraine.



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