Marchisio misery & the Dutch Ronaldo

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi had gone a month without scoring for Barcelona before his goal against Valencia

Lionel Messi’s 500th career goal brought little reason to celebrate for a Barcelona side whose La Liga title challenge is in trouble.

Barca suffered their third successive league defeat in losing 2-1 at home to Valencia on Sunday after closest challengers Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid both won.

Borussia Dortmund recovered from their extraordinary Europa League defeat by Liverpool to beat Hamburg in the Bundesliga, although they are unlikely to deny Bayern Munich the title.

As for the rest of the European football weekend, here is a round-up of stories you may have missed.

Marchisio to miss Euro 2016?

Juventus continued their march to a fifth straight Italian title with a comfortable 4-0 win against Palermo on Sunday, but it was not all good news for the Serie A leaders.

Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio will miss the run-in – and almost certainly Euro 2016 – after being taken off on a stretcher in the first half.

Juventus confirmed that the 30-year-old had torn his anterior cruciate ligament.

A philosophical Marchisio wrote on social media: “The news from the test results inevitably hurt me, but these are the risks of the job. I have a great deal of strength and desire to get back as soon as possible.”


Marchisio, who scored for Italy against England at the 2014 World Cup, has won 54 caps for the Azzurri

The hottest property in Europe?

A quick quiz question: who is the leading scorer in European football’s top 10 leagues this year?

Cristiano Ronaldo? Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Sergio Aguero? No, no and no. The answer is Vincent Janssen.

The AZ Alkmaar striker, 21, netted four goals in Saturday’s 5-1 thumping of PEC Zwolle, taking him above all those illustrious names in the 2016 scoring charts.


Vincent Janssen is the son of former Olympic swimmer Annemarie Verstappen, who won three medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics

Janssen, who scored against England on his Netherlands debut last month, is the Dutch Eredivisie’s top scorer with 25 goals.

AZ are still in the hunt for European qualification after beating Zwolle to climb into fourth spot, six points behind third-placed Feyenoord.

Eto’s goal show is no turkey


Samuel Eto’o had a spell as interim player-manager at Antalyaspor this season

Samuel Eto’o, it appears, just keeps rolling on.

The former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker is now 35 but his goalscoring instincts must be as sharp as ever.

Eto’o, who also played in the Premier League for Chelsea and Everton, is now at Turkish Super League club Antalyaspor.

By scoring twice in a 4-2 win over Galatasaray on Saturday, the ex-Cameroon international took his tally to 21 league goals this season.

That puts him second in the league’s scoring charts behind Germany international Mario Gomez, 30, who is on loan at Besiktas from Fiorentina.

A quick look further down the list throws up some more interesting names, including ex-Wigan and Fulham striker Hugo Rodallega, who has bagged 16 league goals for Akhisar.

Robin van Persie, now of Fenerbahce, and Galatasaray’s Lukas Podolski have scored 10 each.

Bayern’s women are human after all


Defenders Nora Holstad and Leonie Maier wonder if the Bayern’s men’s back four are a bit static

Bayern Munich’s men are on course for a treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and domestic cup this season, and the women’s team have been every bit as impressive – until this weekend.

Thomas Worle’s side had gone 40 matches without defeat in the Frauen-Bundesliga, a run stretching back almost two years, only to see that unbeaten sequence ended on Sunday.

Bayern’s women could have clinched a second successive league title if results had gone their way, but they must wait at least another week after a 1-0 defeat at home to Frankfurt.

Saskia Bartusiak’s first-half header for Frankfurt, last season’s Women’s Champions League winners, was enough to send Bayern to a first league defeat since 1 June, 2014.

It is unlikely to deny Worle’s team the title, though – they are nine points ahead of second-placed Wolfsburg with four games left.

Astra motoring towards first title


Valerica Gaman scored the first of two penalties that gave Astra victory over Steaua Bucharest

Unless you’re a fan of West Ham, Celtic or Inverness Caledonian Thistle, you probably haven’t heard of Astra Giurgiu. But the little-known Romanian side, who have played the three British clubs in the Europa League recently, might become more familiar next season.

Astra stayed firmly on course for a maiden Romanian title triumph – and a place in the Champions League – after a 2-0 home win over champions Steaua Bucharest.

The victory at the Marin Anastasovici Stadium in Giurgiu, a town on the banks of the Danube, stretched Astra’s lead over second-placed Steaua to six points with three games remaining.

And it’s fair to say Gici Becali, the flamboyant owner of 26-time Romanian champions Steaua, is not taking it well.

“I’m quitting football, I’m done with that,” he said after Saturday’s loss. “I don’t want to be here anymore.”

Peeters finally earns reward


Before managing Charlton, Bob Peeters played as a striker for Millwall between 2003 and 2005

Managerial life has been tough for former Charlton manager Bob Peeters in recent seasons – but his fortunes finally appear to have changed.

The Belgian did not find the English Championship easy to master, lasting 25 matches before being sacked by the Addicks in January 2015.

Shortly after, he was given the opportunity to rebuild his career in his homeland with Lokeren. However, he managed only three victories in 12 league matches – leading to another dismissal.

But the 42-year-old appears to have found a club willing to give him time.

After helping Westerlo preserve their place in the Belgian top flight, Peeters has been rewarded with a new two-year contract.

comments powered by Disqus