Success for FC Barcelona at the LFP Gala Awards

Bravo, Messi and Neymar Jr at LFP Gala / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Barça the most successful club with Luis Enrique, Claudio Bravo, Neymar and Leo Messi all winners

FC Barcelona were the stars of the show at the LFP (Spanish Football League) Gala Awards Ceremony for 2014/15 which was held on Monday. The event took place at the International Convention Centre in Barcelona where Luis Enrique, Claudio Bravo, Neymar and Leo Messi all claimed awards, the Argentine taking two accolades, to complement the League Championship claimed last season. All this coming on the same day FIFA announced Messi and Neymar on the shortlist of three for the Ballon d’Or 2015 with Luis Enrique also nominated on the shortlist for Best Coach of the Year.

Four winners and five awards

A quartet of Barça figures were recognised at the ceremony for the role in the 2014/15 league season. The winners in each category were voted for by the captains from each club in the Spanish First Division.

Claudio Bravo won the award for best goalkeeper for a season in which he won the Zamora Trophy, conceding just 19 goals for Barça. The prize was handed to him by his team mate Neymar and the Chilean said in his winner’s speech “being here is an enormous privilege and receiving this award is a dream come true.” The Brazilian striker returned to the stage to receive his award as best player from the Americas, chosen by voters at the league’s official website “I am really happy to have won the award. I thank my team mates for all they do,” said Neymar.

Leo Messi picked up the award for best striker and the Argentine generously thanked others for their help in achieving this latest feat. “I share this with my team mates, especially Luis Suárez who was also nominated,” said the Barça number 10. Following that Messi also crowned best player and the Ballon d’Or nominee dedicated the prize to his son Thiago before adding “it is a proud moment to receive this award with so many great players in the league.”

Strong Barça presence

The category of best coach was scooped up by Luis Enrique and the award was collected on his behalf by Barça director Jordi Mestre. The vice president responsible for the Sporting Area said: “We are sure that Luis Enrique wants to share the prize with all the coaching staff and the players. We are delighted to have him at the Club and hope he stays for many years.” Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu was also present and received the award of League Champions for 2014/15. Coach of the Barça Women’s team Xavi Llorens was also present as was player Marta Unzué who presented the award for best midfielder in the Second Division to Valladolid’s Óscar González. Former Barça captains Xavi Hernández (in a video) and Carles Puyol (presenting an award) also took part in the Gala.

Messi and Neymar finalists for the Ballon d’Or

Messi, left, and Neymar will be vying for the 2015 Ballon d'Or. / FCB GRAPHIC DESIGN
The two FC Barcelona players will face off with Cristiano Ronaldo for the award for world’s best player in 2015.

Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. have been named as two of three finalists for the 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or. On Monday, FIFA announced the names of three finalists from among 23 semi-finalists who had been previously announced. The other Barça semi-finalists were Luis Suárez, Andrés Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Javier Mascherano. The winner will be announced on 11 January at a gala to be held in Monaco.

In 2015, Messi and Neymar were the main drivers of FC Barcelona’s success, forming the so-called trident alongside Suárez. The pair led Barça to the second treble in club history after winning the League the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

Ninth podium for Messi

Leo Messi’s four Ballons d’Or are the most in history, which he won consecutively from 2009 to 2012. Messi has now made the final three nine times. Since 2007, when he was third, he has never been left off the podium.

In 2015, Messi played 48 games across all competitions, starting 45 of them, and scoring a total of 44 goals to go along with 21 assists.

Neymar’s first shot

In his third season at FC Barcelona, Neymar has made the Ballon d’Or podium for the first time, making him among the three best players in the world, according to FIFA. He is the first Brazilian finalist since Kaká won it in 2007.

Neymar earned this recognition after an impeccable 2015, during which he played 50 games — in the League, the Copa del Rey and Champions League — starting 49 of them and scoring 41 goals to go along with 12 assists.

Luis Enrique candidate for FIFA Best Coach of the Year

Luis Enrique after the final of the Champions League in Berlin  / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The FC Barcelona coach, after winning the treble and the European Super Cup in his first season is contender along with Pep Guardiola and Jorge Sampaoli

Not just Leo Messi and Neymar will be vying for award the FIFA Gala in the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco as best FIFA players of the year. On 11 January 2016, Luis Enrique Martínez is also in the mix after he was named alongside Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich) and Jorge Sampaoli (Chile) as one of three candidates for FIFA Best coach of the year.

Luis Enrique won the league, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League in his first season as coach at FC Barcelona. Furthermore, he also won the European Super Cup against Sevilla in the month of August. At the moment, Barça lead the Spanish league with 33 points after a perfect November and they are already through to the last 16 of this season’s Champions League as group winners.

2015 in numbers

The Asturian coach has led the side in a total of 58 matches so far in 2015. His statistics include the treble and the European Super Cup and are without doubt highly impressive. In total he has won 47 games, 5  draws and suffered just 6 defeats, a record that has rewarded him with a nomination for the FIFA award for the best coach of the calendar year. During his 58 games in charge, Barça have scored 160 goals and conceded 49.















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Leo Messi candidate for the Puskas Award for best goal of 2015

Messi celebrating his goal in the Copa del Rey final / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The goal the Argentine scored in the final of the Copa del Rey against Athletic places him amongst the three contenders for the prize

Leo Messi, as well as being nominated as a candidate for the Ballon d’Or for the ninth time in his career, has also been named on a short list of three for the FIFA Puskas Award, which goes to the player who has scored the best goal of the year.

The Argentine has been included thanks to his wonderful goal against Athletic Club in the final of the Copa del Rey last season at Camp Nou. The other nominees are Brazilian striker Wendell Lira for his goal whilst playing for Goianésia back in March and Italian Alessandro Florenzi for his goal playing for AS Roma against FC Barcelona in this season’s Champions League.

Vote for LEO MESSI

FC Barcelona’s first game of 2016 kick off time confirmed

Gerard Piqué in action against Espanyol last season / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Catalan derby against Espanyol will be played at the Power8 Stadium on Saturday 2 January at 4.00pm CET

FC Barcelona will begin 2016 with the Catalan derby and the Spanish Football League has announced the kick off time for the clash. The game against Espanyol in the Power 8 Stadium in Barcelona will be played on 2 January at 4.00pm CET and it will be the first game for Luis Enrique’s team of 2016.

The fixture against their city rivals comes just three days after their final game of 2015 against Betis at Camp Nou on 30 December at 8.30pm CET.

FC Barcelona run the table in November

Barça have scored twenty goals in their last five games, all wins. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The team went five for five while taking over top spot in La Liga and winning Champions League Group E

Neymar and Suárez led the team with seven goals each in the last 30 days

FC Barcelona have had a November for the ages, winning all four games played at Camp Nou, and routing arch-rivals Real Madrid at the Bernabéu in the only away game of the month. That’s five wins between La Liga and Champions League play that have sent the Catalans to a four-point lead in the domestic table and have handed them Group E of the annual continental tournament.

Five straight routs

During their November run, it should be noted that the win over Villarreal put Barça into first place, while the win over Real Madrid — besides being Messi’s first game back after two months out with injury — allowed them to extend their lead.

Here’s a look at Barça’s big month of November:

11-4 Barça – BATE (Champions League) 3-0 Neymar (31′). Suárez (60′). Neymar (83)
11-8 Barça – Villarreal (La Liga) 3-0 Neymar (60′). Suárez (70′). Neymar (85)
11-21 Real Madrid – Barça (La Liga) 4-0 Suárez (11′). Neymar (39′). Iniesta (53′). Suárez (74′)
11-24 Barça – Roma (Champions League) 6-1 Suárez (15′). Messi (18′). Suárez (44′). Piqué (56′). Messi (60′). Adriano (77′)
11-28 Barça – Real Sociedad (La Liga) 4-0 Neymar (22′). Suárez (41′). Neymar (53′). Messi (91′)

The trident, in top form

FC Barcelona scored 20 goals during the month of November while only giving up one. Neymar and Suárez scored seven each, while Messi chipped in with three. The others came from Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué and Adriano Correia.

Petition to the anti-violence commission regarding the justifications by ex-players Sanchís and Rincón of the aggress

Neymar during the game at Bernabéu / Tom Griffith - FCB
The tackle on Barça’s Brazilian player resulted in the dismissal of the Real Madrid player Isco

The Legal Services of FC Barcelona have filed a request this morning with the Anti-violence Commission, an organization affiliated with the Sports Council, the Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD), to open proceedings against former football players and current football commentators, ‘Manolo’ Sanchís and ‘Poli’ Rincón, for having publicly and repeatedly justified the act of aggression that the Real Madrid player Isco committed against the FC Barcelona player Neymar in the last match played between the two teams, on Saturday, 21 November at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, an aggression which resulted in a straight red card for the Real Madrid player.

On the day of the game, speaking into the microphones of the Spanish radio network, La Cadena COPE, both Sanchís and Rincón justified Isco’s aggression on Neymar and, this past Sunday, they repeated said justifications, although Paco González, the host of the COPE program, called Tiempo de Juego, gave them several opportunities to rectify their statements. But rather than make a retraction or apologise, Sanchís doubled down on his words from the day of the match, when he said that “Neymar is going over the line, he isn’t getting [hit] enough.” Rincón did the same, assuring that “If I am there, I hit him, there should be no doubt that I hit him; me and anyone else.”

FC Barcelona considers these statements to be an invitation to violence and therefore asks the Anti-violence Commission to act.

FC Barcelona are back to work after a day off

Sergio Busquets trains on Monday at the Ciutat Esportiva. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The players trained at the Ciutat Esportiva following the win over Real Sociedad and before Wednesday’s visit from Villanovense

Derby date set

The Barcelona derby between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona at Cornellà-El Prat has been set for Saturday, 2 January at 4.00pm CET, the LFP announced on Monday.

After Sunday’s rest day, Barça returned to work to begin preparations for Wednesday’s 8.00pm match against Villanovense in the second leg of the Copa del Rey last 32.

Luis Enrique led Monday’s training session on Tito Vilanova Field at the Joan Gamper Ciutat Esportiva. After the beating Real Sociedad 4–0 at Camp Nou, the team continues to lead with a four-point edge over Atlético Madrid in the La Liga standings.

The team will return to training on Tuesday, in what will be the last session before Wednesday’s game against Villanovense at Camp Nou. The winner will advance to the last 16.

Hans Krankl: The trident is marvellous and Messi a little footballing god

Hans Krankl talking to  Barça TV / GERMAN PARGA - FCB
The former striker who played for Barça between 1978 and 1980 was at the game between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad and gave his opinions on the team’s devastating attacking trio

Hansi Krankl, an FC Barcelona player between 1978 and 1980, scoring 64 goals in 88 games in a Barça shirt, was present on Saturday for Barça’s 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad at Camp Nou. Talking to Barça TV and, the Austrian described Luis Suárez as “a striker who works really hard, he is fearless, he’s a goalscorer, a very interesting player.” Furthermore, he added that the attacking trio is “amazing, I am speechless.” “The trident is marvellous and I always say that Messi is a little footballing god,” he concluded.