Messi Back to his Argentina National Team

Argentinians received Thursday the news on the return of Lionel Messi, who, commanded by coach Lionel Scaloni, will play in two friendlies with the national football team.

The new head coach of the Argentinean national team convoked Messi, nicknamed 'The Flea' and other national team stars, for matches against Venezuela (March 22) and Morocco (march 26). The list of convoked players included Domingo Blanco (midfielder) and Matias Suarez (forward).

Some other players premiereing in the Argentine national team, are Ivan Marcone (Boca Juniors), Gonzalo Montiel (River), Juan Musso (Udinese, Italy), Matias Zaracho (Racing) and Lisandro Martinez (Defensa y Justicia).

The match against Venezuela will be on March 22 at the Wanda Metropolitan Stadium while the one on March 26 will be in Rafat.

List of Players:

Goalkeepers: Archers: Franco Armani , Esteban Andrada , Juan Musso and Agustin Marchesin.

Defenders: Gabriel Mercado , Renzo Saravia , Gonzalo Montiel, German Pezzella, Lisandro Martinez Juan Foyth, Nicolas Otamendi , Walter Kannemann, Nicolas Tagliafico and Marcos Acuña .

Midfielders: Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes , Ivan Marcone, Guido Rodriguez , Matias Zaracho , Manuel Lanzini.

Forwards: Lionel Messi , Paulo Dybala , Lautaro Martinez , Matias Suarez , Gonzalo Martinez ,and Angel Correa.

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Messi Eyed by Argentina's Coach to Play Cup America

Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi, at present member of Spanish team Barcelona, could be part of the national selection, from which he was excluded for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

It was known through sources close to the whiteblue team that the coach, Lionel Scaloni had Messi in mind to play Argentina's friendly match against Venezuela scheduled for March 22.

If the news is confirmed, would dress the whiteblue shirt with the higher aim of the year's main goal, the Cup América that will be based in Brazil from June 14 to July 7.

Messi would not be the only one of those established to be called by Scaloni, as Paris Saint Germain midfielder Angel Di Maria, Manchester City striker Sergio 'Kun' Agüero, as well as his teammate Nicolás Otamendi, are included in the options he values the strategist facing the shock.

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Cuban Soccer Confirms Presence in Caribbean Tournament

The president of the Cuban Football Association (AFC), Luis Hernandez, confirmed the presence of a team from the island in the second edition of the Caribbean Club Shield tournament, qualifier for the Concacaf League.

The Cuban representative in the contest, which will be based in Curaçao from April 5 to 15, will be the squad of the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, winner of version 103 of the National League.

Hernandez told Prensa Latina that the inscription in that competition 'was a yearning for many years of the AFC' and constitutes 'a stimulus that we had to achieve for the national championship.'

The contest will gather the 13 winners of the amateur leagues of the Caribbean region in 2018, which were already divided into three groups during the draw held in the city of Miami on January 9 last.

'This will be a hard experience, but we want to keep it from now on. This year's champion will also be registered for the next edition, 'announced the head of soccer in Cuba.

He also appreciated that it is a great opportunity for the provincial teams and their players, since they can not only aspire to integrate the national team, but also to represent their territory in this tournament. '

Regarding the conformation of the squad, he said that 'the idea is that Santiago de Cuba is only with the reinforcements that helped them win.'

'We want to respect the provincial player, who surrendered, who sweated, not to make a national team,' said the also member of the FIFA Council.

He also clarified that it was already agreed in the meeting of technical directors prior to the current national championship, that the matches of Santiago de Cuba that coincide with the Caribbean fair will be postponed for a later date.

The director clarified that the AFC will assume a part of the expenses, but Concacaf will provide a financing for the tickets.

'If the team keeps advancing, the economic part could become more complicated, but it is not like before, when Cuba had to assume the expenses in full,' he explained.

Similarly, he acknowledged that in the end there should be a cash prize for the winner, although the main reward is being included in the CONCACAF tournament, 'where it would be played against professional teams from more developed countries.'

Hernandez recalled that Cuba already has other experiences of this kind, when in 1979 and 1980, the national champion Pinar del Río, advanced until they were eliminated before the respective monarchs of those years America and Pumas, both of Mexico.

'After we enrolled again around 2005, also with Pinar del Río, but there the results were not good because they eliminated us in the first phase,' he recalled.

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Jhoen Lefont Ends 2018 with Two New Records

A yearend at full speed for Jhoen Lefont. He returned to his spot at the Swimming Pool Complex Baraguá, home when he was still a member of the national water polo team and he gave two world records for ball control lovers who gathered to see him.

These are two modalities associated to displacement: first he covered the 50 meters of the Olympic pool in 1:16.44 minutes, and then he covered that same pool 325 meters.

That was his gift for the 325th anniversary of the foundation of Matanzas, his home province, to the day of physical culture and sports, to the 499th anniversary of the village San Cristobal of Havana.

These are his fourth and fifth records in 2018, numbers 14 and 15 since he began this unique modality in 2010, and a new surge of energy and motives.

“This means a lot to me. It’s the first time that I attempt five records and achieved them in one year. A hard year, because they were five different modalities therefore I am very happy.

I was well prepared, mainly for the second record. The first one was short, less than a minute and half. The second was very well prepared, each detail: the turn, the touch against the wall of the pool, the estimated time… I was really comfortable, actually.”

“The complexities now were the turn, the touch against the wall. At the Marina that day there was a lot of wind hitting the channel. We didn't know if we would make it. It was a difficult record. Now I practiced more the control, I have attained certain mastery in the kick and control.

This is a competitive scenario where neither the sun neither or air are hindrances, that’s good. It’s like being home because here I always get ready for each new record. I wanted to pay homage to Matanzas in October, but I still wasn’t at my best. Just the same the objective was fulfilled. The second is for the 500th years of Havana in 2019 I want to present the city with 500 touches at some point in the Bay of my second city.”

Attaining four Guinness Records. What sensations does it bring?

“Super Happy. Achieving a Guinness is not simple. You must meet many requirements to make it good. They are very strict and you must be careful when gathering and sending all the information that is prove of truth of the attempt.”

Those were the words of the dolphin of soccer. His coach, Jorge del Valle who works also as water polo trainer for the women team was satisfied and said:

“Lefont has exceptional skills in the water. We focused in the physical work, the aerobic capacities, to polish his turning technique with the ball on his forehead, many simulations without timing them. It was a distance modality. The strengthening of the upper body was decisive.

Right now he can even attempt a record on solid ground, because he is fit for it. Douglas taught him well in that sense, and so far he hasn’t disappointed.

More records from the head of this son of Matanzas. Year 2018 is drawing to an end and one of the best images is that kiss to the Telstar-18, signing that new records were achieved with just subtle touches.

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Cuba-Brazil: Agreement in Developing Soccer in Cuba

The national soccer federations of Cuba and Brazil signed an agreement today for collaboration with the sponsoring of the International Soccer Associations Federation (FIFA).

Walter Fieldman, president of the governing body of football in Brazil, Jair Bertoni, director for FIFA of member federations for the Americas and Jesus Pereira, Secretary General of the Cuban entity, made the agreement official, initially for four years.

Prior to the signing, Bertoni highlighted the importance of this project for the development of football in Cuba, and stressed that it is the first between two federations under the auspices of FIFA.

The strategy consists of the transmission of knowledge by a country with a huge tradition like Brazil to support the growth of the discipline in Cuba and a first course for coaches of the lower categories is already being offered with the objective of starting training from the basic starts.

Fieldman was optimistic with the concretion of this idea, in which he sees a promising future both for Cuba in order to improve his football, and for Brazil in the transmission of experiences and good practices.

Bertoni, FIFA executive, today assured a positive future for Cuban football as part of the signing of a collaboration agreement.

'Training the sphere of arbitration, which is constantly evolving, training coaches and athletes at all levels from the experience of Brazil, as well as encouraging the exchange of players and coaches, are the main objectives within this project.

'In the same way, we will establish deadlines that allow us to evaluate compliance in order to make feasible the efforts and resources used in these actions,' he said.

Finally he was happy to visit Cuba, and recognized the links of brotherhood between Argentina and the island.

'I am honored and happy to be here, in this land where there was also a great Argentine, Che. I thank Cuba for the opportunity to help and I will be here as a friend and as a federative of FIFA to support them in everything that is at our reach,' he stated.

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Messi Promises to Do His Best to Win Champions League

Barcelona, Spain, Ago 15 (Prensa Latina) Argentine striker playing for FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi, assured Wednesday that he would do his best for his team to win the 2018 edition of the Champions League this season.

As the new FC Barcelona captain, Messi highlighted the positive things the team did last season and expressed his personal insatisfaction because of being eliminated of the competition.

Talking about FC Barcelona fans, Messi stated it was an honor to be appointed as captain of a soccer team with so many triumphs and history, and promised he would not dissapoint Barça Fans.

Messi mentioned the first title of the season, when they beat Spanish Sevilla at the SuperCup competition, and considered this victory to be just a good start.

In the presentation ceremony of the Catalonian team, the director or head coach Ernesto Valverde also addressed the fans with words of encouragement and commitment.

Players as the Brazilians Arthur and Malcom, in addition to French Clement Lenglet, received notable ovations, but without a doubt, Chilean Arturo Vidal was the one who was most applauded by Barça fans.

At the end of the presentation, Barcelona will match Boca Juniors in the Joan Gamper Trophy, the usual pre-season competition for Barcelona.

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“When he is not in front of the PC, he is playing soccer. And I love baseball much more than soccer, since I was a kid!”

There is a baseball field near my house. And kids were playing….soccer! The FIFA World Cup is being played now and it means passion!

“Everyone dreams of being Messi or Ronaldo,” my neighbor said. I do not want to thwart their dreams. However, if they check the statistics, there are no Cuban players at any top league around the world.”

  Well, perhaps these boys can change the future. Perhaps one      of them is the next Maradona —I said.

  Yes, sure —my neighbor tried to ridicule me—. We have “lots of great pitches here, lots of balls, and trainers. The future is ours.”

I shrugged my shoulders and I did not know how to answer. A lady was passing by and stopped where the teenagers were playing.

  Do you see the kid with the yellow jersey? That’s my son! When he is not in front of the PC, he is playing soccer. But if you give him a baseball bat, he does not know what to do with it. He has never learned how to play baseball.

  Have you ever tried to teach him? —my neighbor asked.

  I tried to teach him myself. I know how to play baseball. My father taught me. My team is Industriales no matter who the manager is.

  What’s your boy’s favorite team?

  Real Madrid!

  Well, perhaps he has a future in soccer —I said.

  Look, the best thing he can do is to study hard and get into college. He can be an engineer in Cuba since he will not go anywhere as a soccer player. Do you know anyone famous here?

My neighbor agreed.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

We may have seen Ronaldo & Messi at the World Cup for the last time – Schmeichel

Russia 2018 may be the World Cup swansong for Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, according to Peter Schmeichel, after both players exited on the same day at the last 16 stage.

Ronaldo and Messi are the two players who have defined their generation, breaking record after record and vying for the title of the world’s best player year after year.

However, the pair have again failed to add an elusive World Cup to their trophy-laden cabinets, after Messi’s Argentina were defeated 4-3 by France in the last 16 in Russia on Saturday, followed shortly after by Ronaldo’s Portugal, who suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Uruguay.

Goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel, who is an RT World Cup guest host, says both players looked jaded judging by their performances in the last 16 – and raised doubts over whether fans would ever see the pair on football’s biggest stage again.

“We’re now speculating, was this the last time we saw Ronaldo and Messi at the World Cup?” Schmeichel asked.

“By the look of their performances today, they looked tired. Ronaldo’s looked OK [at the World Cup], but I don’t think Messi has.”

Ronaldo is 33, and while he says he feels like a 23-year-old, even his obsessive desire to succeed and meticulous approach to staying in shape will not dispel doubts as to whether he appears at Qatar in four years’ time. Messi is two years younger than his great rival, having turned 31 during this World Cup, but doubts will be even more fervent over his international future after such a bitterly disappointing campaign in which he scored a solitary goal and cut such a peripheral figure in Argentina’s defeat to France.

Ronaldo’s World Cup exit is down in large part to the talents of Uruguayan strike duo Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani – the latter of whom scored a stunning double in Sochi.

READ MORE: France 4-3 Argentina: Mbappe fires Les Blues into World Cup quarter-finals as Messi crashes out

Schmeichel was full of praise for an attacking duo he had warned about before the game.

“Cavani was brilliant, he got injured which is a bit of a worry, but he didn’t look to be in too much discomfort, but it’s a worry.”

“He’s very important to Uruguay… There’s no doubt about the quality of Suarez, but for me Cavani is the big star for the team.”

The attacking pair linked up perfectly for Uruguay’s open, which saw Cavani send a sweeping cross-field ball to Suarez, before sprinting half the length of the pitch to turn the return ball home.   

“This is a perfect ball in, to a striker who’s very good in the heading department, and he doesn’t miss from there,” said Schmeichel.

Portugal showed more urgency after going behind, equalizing through Pepe in the second half, although Schmeichel said the game saw the best and worst of the former Real Madrid defender.

“Pepe slipped in with a really good header,” Schmeichel said of the defender’s 55th-minute goal, before finding fault with the 35-year-old for the goal which saw Uruguay re-take the lead.

“But when you have someone like Pepe in the team, he pops up and scores goals, but he also makes stupid decisions in the game.

“For the second goal he made stupid decision to try and win a header, when he should have stayed back, but he left so much space for Cavani.”

Cavani used that space well, curling home from the edge of the box for what proved the winner.

Former Denmark and Manchester United ‘keeper Schmeichel said experienced Portuguese stopper Rui Patricio could have done better.  

“It is a great finish, but when you are facing a situation like that as a goalkeeper, you need to be a little bit further out of the goal. Rui Patricio was on the line, and also he got a bit carried away, he was a bit too far to the right.

“It’s nearly in the center of the goal… it’s a quality finish from a great striker… but you always have to question these players, he could have done a bit better.”

READ MORE: Ronaldo flashes legs, internet goes into meme frenzy

Uruguay closed out the game for the win, with the closing stages to what could be Ronaldo’s World Cup swansong not showing the best from a man who has scored four goals at Russia 2018 – including  a stunning hat-trick in Sochi in the opening game against Spain.

“After that there was nothing in Portugal… Ronaldo huffed and puffed, but there was nothing really in that,” Schmeichel said of the closing stages against Uruguay.

With that, Ronaldo’s World Cup in Russia was over as he departed football’s greatest stage along with his greatest rival.

  • Published in Sports
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