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Author Archive for Sid Lowe

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Bridging the gap: four things Chelsea can do to beat Barcelona

Containing Jordi Alba, getting physical, parking the bus or going for broke: what can Antonio Conte’s men do to give themselves a sporting chance against the La Liga leaders?“As an opponent I suffered the Alba-Messi society often; let someone else suff…

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Alavés are performing another miracle with salvation in sight | Sid Lowe

It took until the sixth game for Alavés to win and by then two coaches had gone. Now survival in La Liga is within reachIn the words of one player, Abelardo Fernández is “an ordinary bloke” but he is doing extraordinary things, from revolution at the M…

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Valverde’s Barcelona balancing act turns crisis talk to treble talk

The coach used Neymar’s exit as a chance to reboot the faltering giants as Chelsea may find out on TuesdaySometimes football really is life. On Tuesday Barcelona face Chelsea in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge where in 2009 Andrés Iniesta score…

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Thomas Vermaelen: ‘People think being a Barcelona defender is easy’ | Sid Lowe

The Belgian has overcome an injury nightmare to shine at Barça. Before facing Chelsea he discusses why his role is harder than it looks, how Messi makes him laugh and his sadness at Arsenal’s strugglesNo one was happier to find out the lineup than Raff…

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PSG’s Unai Emery focuses on Real Madrid a year after painful exit

• PSG lost 6-1 in Barcelona in the Champions League last season• Emery: ‘Maybe preparation for this match started in that game’Paris Saint-Germain’s preparation for their visit to the Bernabéu on Wednesday began at the Camp Nou, Unai Emery claimed. PSG…

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PSG’s Unai Emery focuses on Real Madrid a year after painful exit

• PSG lost 6-1 in Barcelona in the Champions League last season• Emery: ‘Maybe preparation for this match started in that game’Paris Saint-Germain’s preparation for their visit to the Bernabéu on Wednesday began at the Camp Nou, Unai Emery claimed. PSG…

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Understated Eibar continue to show size doesn’t always matter | Sid Lowe

Only Barcelona and Atlético can match Eibar’s results over the last three months as another unlikely run at Europe continuesIván Ramis took off his shirt and put his hat on, a flat red porkpie perched on his head as he stood in the corner of Butarque w…

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Alexis Sánchez accepts 16-month Spanish prison sentence for tax fraud

• Ruling dates back to his time at Barcelona but he will not go to jail• Agent calls agreement ‘unjust’ and hits out at inland revenueAlexis Sánchez’s agent has confirmed the Manchester United striker has accepted a prison sentence for tax fraud, but h…

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Gerard Piqué silences the chants after Espanyol almost clip Barça’s wings | Sid Lowe

After a tense buildup to the Catalan derby, Espanyol came close to repeating their Copa del Rey heroics until a late interventionThey were seven minutes away when Gerard Piqué appeared before them, a finger on his lips in the rain. “It was symbolic,” h…

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Tough, committed and clever: why Manchester City broke record for Aymeric Laporte

The 23-year-old may not have a single cap for France but he has already played 200 professional games and ‘adds something special with the ball’Aymeric Laporte turned Manchester City down once but he was not going to do it again and certainly not now. …

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Andreas Pereira: ‘Alex Ferguson said hi in Portuguese. I didn’t expect that’

Manchester United’s young Brazilian, on loan at Valencia and preparing to face Barcelona, talks about his hopes of impressing José Mourinho“Bom dia.” It was only two words and it was not exactly poetry, but it was enough. Andreas Pereira was being show…

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From nowhere to conquerors of Madrid: Leganés continue their stunning rise | Sid Lowe

They train on a pitch surrounded by rubble but a Copa del Rey win over Real Madrid is the latest step on Leganés’s ride“It’s very noisy in there,” Asier Garitano said. It was Wednesday night and they were going wild in the Santiago Bernabéu dressing ro…

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Meet Javi Gracia, the new Watford manager who stands up for his players

His former players speak of a manager who is indefatigable and loyal. ‘He had one thing above all: a plan …’Watford’s new manager walked away from his first senior job because he felt he had failed but everyone else disagreed. The club president wanted…

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Ronaldinho: a player so good he made you smile

The Brazilian has retired after an extraordinary career but his wonderful talent will be remembered for ever. ‘He changed our history,’ the Barcelona midfielder Xavi saidRonaldinho. See? You’re smiling already. Just thinking about the things he did and…

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Nineteen proves unlucky for disengaged Real Madrid as fatalism takes hold

Zinedine Zidane’s side have already dropped more points than in the whole of last season and they are 19 points behind Barcelona after Villarreal won at the Bernabéu for the first time – at their 19th attemptSergio Busquets probably felt like hiding be…

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Real Betis crowned kings of Seville again after winning the wildest of all derbies | Sid Lowe

An incredible 5-3 win on Kings Night that will be remembered for years ended Sevilla’s unbeaten home run and sparked a Betis party that would run and runThere was a brief glint in the eye of everybody’s favourite cheeky scamp but for once he kept a str…

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Messi deals with Madrid yet again as Barcelona look impregnable

Though the season is only at its halfway point, the title looks certain to return to the Nou CampLeo Messi ended the clásico in a state of undress again but it was Real Madrid who had been stripped bare. At the very end of the last Madrid-Barça, Messi …

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Barcelona rout Real Madrid to go 14 points clear of clásico rivals in La Liga

At the beginning of the clásico, a huge banner was unfurled at the south end of the Bernabéu welcoming a “White Christmas”. At the end, it was the handful of Barcelona fans high in the opposite stand who celebrated. Way below, their players applauded b…

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Barcelona ensure it is Real Madrid for whom any blow could be a knockout

After a horror loss to biggest rivals – and with electoral chaos off the field – Barça have turned their season around and are in a commanding position for ClásicoThe last time Barcelona met Real Madrid, Gerard Piqué sat on the Santiago Bernabéu bench …

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Paulinho: ‘Everyone said: “Bah, his career is over.” Now I’m at Barça. That’s football’

The Brazil midfielder almost quit football at the age of 19, was written off after leaving Tottenham for China in 2015 but is now preparing for his first clásico having silenced his critics at Barcelona“I told him I didn’t want to play any more. He was…