BARCELONA, Oct 7:  Lionel Messi scored his first goal of the season as Barcelona beat Sevilla 4-0 on Sunday to climb into second place in the La Liga standings behind Real Madrid but ended the game with nine men as Ousmane Dembele and debutant Ronald Araujo were sent off.

BARCELONA, Oct 3: Lionel Messi showed Barcelona what they have been missing with his repeated injuries this season by producing a stunning and decisive assist in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over Inter Milan which kick-started their Champions League campaign.

PORTUGAL, Sept 18: Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo said he deserves to end his soccer career with more Ballon d’Or awards than Barcelona counterpart Lionel Messi and hopes to establish himself as the greatest player of all time.

BARCELONA, Sept 14: Lionel Messi will miss Barcelona’s La Liga showdown with Valencia on Saturday and is also a doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Dortmund as he has yet to recover from the calf injury he picked up in August, coach Ernesto Valverde said.

NYON, August 15: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil Van Dijk have been shortlisted for the UEFA Player of the Year award, the sport’s European governing body said on Thursday.

ASUNCION, July 24: Argentina captain Lionel Messi has been banned for one game and fined $1,500 after being sent off against Chile in the Copa America third-place playoff and levelling accusations of “corruption” at South American soccer chiefs.

SAO PAOLO, July 7: Lionel Messi was sent off before halftime and then angrily hit out at “corrupt” tournament organisers after Argentina beat Chile 2-1 to win a bad-tempered third-place playoff at the Copa America on Saturday.

BELO HORIZONTE, July 3: Lionel Messi finally showed signs of life at the Copa America on Tuesday as Argentina battled Brazil for a place in the final but once again he failed to inspire the side when it mattered most and his long wait for an international trophy goes on.

BELO HORIZONTE, July 3: Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero lashed out at the officiating after their 2-0 Copa America semi-final defeat to Brazil on Tuesday and questioned why video technology was not consulted in two penalty appeals that were waved away.

BELO HORIZONTE, June 30: Lionel Messi has not been at his best at the Copa America but Brazil defender Thiago Silva says his side will not take their eyes off the Argentina captain for a minute in their semi-final on Tuesday.

PORTO ALEGRE, June 24: An early goal from Lautaro Martinez and a late second from Sergio Aguero gave Argentina a 2-0 win over Qatar on Sunday, a deserved victory that takes them into the Copa America quarter-finals to face Venezuela.

BELO HORIZONTE, June 20: Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot to salvage a 1-1 draw for Argentina against Paraguay in the Copa America on Wednesday as his side rode their luck to cling on to hope of reaching the quarter-finals.

Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi dethroned five-division boxing world champion Floyd Mayweather as the highest paid athlete over the past year, according to the annual list published by business magazine Forbes on Tuesday.

June 11: Lionel Messi has long craved a suitable strike partner so that he can win a major trophy with Argentina and the return of his friend Sergio Aguero has given the nation renewed hope of winning the Copa America.

LIVERPOOL, May 8: Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool wrote one of the most amazing chapters in the history of the club’s European triumphs with a 4-0 victory over Lionel Messi’s Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday that stunned the world of football.

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BARCELONA, May 2: Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said his team could not have played much better despite their 3-0 loss to a Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first leg at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

BARCELONA, May 2:  After Lionel Messi mapped out Barcelona’s path to the Champions League final with a vintage display in a 3-0 win over Liverpool in Wednesday’s semi-final first leg, few could say he is not delivering on his promise to return his side to European glory.

BARCELONA, May 2: Lionel Messi put Barcelona on the verge of the Champions League final with a devastating double in a 3-0 home win over Liverpool in the first leg of their last-four clash on Wednesday, taking his goal tally for the Catalans to 600.

BARCELONA, April 28: Lionel Messi fittingly sealed Barcelona’s 26th La Liga title on Saturday by coming off the bench to score the goal in a 1-0 win over Levante in front of a jubilant Nou Camp crowd, who celebrated a remarkable eighth league crown in 11 years.

BARCELONA, April 21: Barcelona closed in on the La Liga title on Saturday after earning a hard-fought 2-1 win over Real Sociedad at the Nou Camp, with goals from defenders Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba restoring their nine-point lead at the top of the table.

BARCELONA, April 17: Lionel Messi produced another masterful Champions League performance to knock out Manchester United and fire Barcelona into the semi-finals for the first time in four years, scoring twice in a 3-0 home win on Tuesday.

BARCELONA, April 7: Barcelona closed in on the La Liga title after beating 10-man Atletico Madrid 2-0 in Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown at the Nou Camp as late strikes by Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi gave the Catalans an 11-point lead at the top of the table.

VILA-REAL, April 3: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi came off the bench in his side’s hour of need to inspire the Liga leaders to battle back from 4-2 down in stoppage time to snatch a remarkable 4-4 draw at struggling Villarreal on Tuesday.

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SEVILLE, March 18: Lionel Messi was lauded by opposition supporters on Sunday after he scored an outstanding hat-trick in Barcelona’s 4-1 win at Real Betis, which put the Catalans 10 points clear at the top of La Liga with 10 games remaining.

NYON, March 16: Barcelona will meet Manchester United in the Champions League last eight in a repeat of the 2009 and 2011 finals which were both won by the Catalans, with the help of goals from Lionel Messi.

BARCELONA, March 14: Lionel Messi lead the way with two goals and two assists as Barcelona reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League in style by thrashing Olympique Lyonnais 5-1 at home on Wednesday and advancing by the same scoreline on aggregate.

SEVILLE, Feb 24: Lionel Messi said Barcelona were back to their best following a mid-season slump after he scored a remarkable 50th career hat-trick in a rousing 4-2 win at Sevilla in La Liga on Saturday.

Barcelona are waiting on a late fitness test to see if Lionel Messi will be fit to feature in Wednesday's Copa del Rey clash with Real Madrid.

Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli believes victory at Barcelona would be among their best results yet.

MADRID, Dec 16: Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric has criticized Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for choosing not to attend this month’s ceremony where he was given the award, saying their decision was unfair to fellow players and voters.

MADRID, Dec 9: Lionel Messi scored two spectacular free kicks as Barcelona thrashed local rivals Espanyol 4-0 in Saturday’s Catalan derby to move three points clear at the top of La Liga.

AFGHANISTAN, Dec 8: An Afghan boy who shot to international fame for his devotion to the footballer Lionel Messi has been forced to flee his home for a second time amid the threat of militant attack - leaving behind his prized signed jersey and football.

MADRID, Dec 5: Lionel Messi’s fifth-place finish in this year’s Ballon d’Or vote was absurd, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said of the Spanish champions’ Argentina forward on Tuesday.

PARIS, Dec 4: Real Madrid’s Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was named winner of the 2018 Ballon d’Or on Monday, breaking Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Lionel Messi’s decade-long hold on the prestigious award.

BARCELONA, Nov 12: Lionel Messi scored twice on his eagerly-awaited return but La Liga leaders Barcelona were still left shell-shocked by a scintillating Real Betis side, who beat them at their own game of possession football to win 4-3 at the Nou Camp on Sunday.

Barcelona Coach Ernesto Valverde said yesterday that captain Lionel Messi could feature against Inter Milan in the Champions League tonight, little more than two weeks after breaking his arm.

BARCELONA, Oct 28: Barcelona’s Brazilian midfielder Rafinha was chosen in place of the injured Lionel Messi for Sunday’s ‘Clasico’ against arch-rivals Real Madrid, as coach Ernesto Valverde kept faith with the same players who beat Inter Milan 2-0.

BARCELONA, Oct 25: Barcelona came through their first test without the injured Lionel Messi, earning a convincing 2-0 win at home to Inter Milan to take control of Champions League Group B on Wednesday.

BARCELONA, Oct 22: Lionel Messi will miss Barcelona’s El Clasico showdown with Real Madrid next weekend after fracturing his arm in his team’s 4-2 La Liga win over Sevilla on Saturday.

Argentina great Diego Maradona has hit out at his countryman Lionel Messi, saying the forward is not a leader on the pitch and should not be considered a footballing God.

PARIS: Luka Modric and Kylian Mbappe are in the running to break Lionel Messi’s and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 10-year dominance of the Ballon d’Or.

BARCELONA, Sept 19: Lionel Messi scored a record eighth Champions League hat-trick as Barcelona kick-started their campaign with a 4-0 home win over PSV Eindhoven, although they had defender Samuel Umtiti sent off late in the second half on Tuesday.

Sept 3: The Argentinian reached another milestone in the Spanish domestic league with his exploits against Huesca.