Barcelona, ES (Thursday 2 May, 2019) -by Kenneth Russo
Fútbol Club Barcelona continued on its mission of capturing Europe’s biggest prize, beating a strong and well-managed Liverpool side 3-0 in front of 98,299 spectators at the venerable Estadio Camp Nou last night in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals.
Luis Suarez scored the opening goal (26′) while Leo Messi added his 599th (75′) and 600th (82′) career goals for Barcelona.
At the beginning of this season, Lionel Messi made a promise to the Blaugrana faithful: “We promise we’ll do everything possible to bring that beautiful and desired cup back home.”
With the group stage first-place finish and after eliminating Olympique Lyon and Manchester United, Liverpool was up next.
The Reds are a very strong side and are battling for the Premier League title, currently sitting on 91 points, one point off the top of the table to leaders Manchester City, with two games left in the season to play. Liverpool actually had more completed passes and more possession than Barcelona in last night’s match, a remarkable feat in itself which rarely occurs in a game versus the Blaugrana.
But Barça have Messi.
Messi is from a galaxy far, far, away.
This video tells the story better than any words; it would be impossible to make this up:
The 600th Goal for Leo Messi
By now anything complementary that could be said about Leo Messi has been said. We’ve run out of superlatives to describe his presence, which is a problem considering Messi has not run out of new ways to leave us mesmerised. Here is a quote from today’s FC Barcelona website:
“The 31-year-old virtuoso continues to marvel as an undisputed leader who scores goals not of this world, who cuts through opponents like a hot knife through butter, who passes the ball with uncanny precision, and who, when required, even becomes a feared defender. Messi is the total footballer. He is unstoppable. That’s why he wears the captain’s armband and why the team follows his lead.”
ter Stegen as Überman in Goal
Meanwhile, Goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen had rendered a stellar performance, making at least four critical saves to preserve the game for the home side.
Miami, FL (Wednesday, January 9, 2019) by Kenneth Russo –
He has the name that just sounds like a big-time player for Les Bleus. The quintessential compound first name.
Jean-Clair Todibo. And now ‘J-C’ Todibo has a big-time fútbol club to complement that classic name. He will join the Blaugrana when his contract with Toulouse Football Club expires on June 30, 2019.
Jean-Clair Todibo. You could not be blamed for asking “who?” Likewise, you may be asking yourself whether I have spent too much time with Football Manager 2019. Not so. Who?
The 19 year-old, right-footed, centre-back, born in Cayenne, French Guyana, is seen as one of the rising stars of French football. He has been capped twice for France’s U20 team. He has a market value of €8 million according to website Transfermarkt.com. Juventus was also in hot pursuit of Todibo’s services. He is described as a player who has a strong physical presence who can also play in midfield. Barcelona believe Todibo can serve as an alternative to Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen, both of whom have struggled with fitness problems during their times at the Camp Nou. For his part, the young player explains that he is inspired and models his style after players like Andrea Pirlo in midfield and Thiago Silva on defense.
How rapidly has Jean-Clair Todibo arrived in the spotlight? Consider these facts: Todibo had not played a professional match prior to the beginning of the 2018-19 season, yet within the first few matches he rapidly established himself as a key figure for Toulouse. He played his first match in Ligue 1 on August 19, 2018, against Girondins de Bordeaux. His first professional goal came in September – a late equaliser against Rennes that showcased his importance to the side. He celebrated his 19th birthday on December 30, and has played a total of 10 matches for the Pink City club, 836 minutes of playing time. His last appearance for Toulouse was November 3rd away to Strasbourg.
Todibo joined Toulouse Football Club’s U19 team on July 1, 2016, having been trained at Football Club Les Lilas, a club in the eastern Paris banlieu of Les Lilas, Seine-Saint-Denis. (Link: Players who have been trained at FC Les Lilas) One year later in 2017 he was already promoted to the Toulouse B squad.
The President of Toulouse, Olivier Sadran, was furious at the signing, saying the player had been “ill-advised” and disparaging Barcelona, added: “It is not very glorious coming from a big club, even if they legally have the right to. We also have our share of responsibility.” The best translation of this is that the Toulouse President is counting the Euros the club will not receive from Barça. Toulouse had tried to sign Todibo to a new contract, but talks broke down in November. Today, Sadran said in an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe that the deal is not complete. « Si vous m’appelez pour me demander si Todibo est à Barcelone et si je l’ai libéré, la réponse est non » (“If you call me and ask if Todibo is in Barcelona and if I have released him, the answer is no.”)
Barcelona was able to sign Todibo on what is commonly referred to as a “Bosman” signing, which takes its name from the famous Bosman ruling. Pursuant to Bosman, a player can now agree to a “pre-contract” with another club for a free transfer if the player’s contract with his existing club has six months or less remaining. The existing club does not receive a fee. As of January 1, 2019, the young centre-back was thus legally free to sign with a new team. Barcelona acted swiftly in presenting its offer to Todibo and his agent, BS & Partners.
Of course, nothing can guarantee that he will be the superstar envisioned. But given Barcelona and Juventus were in competition for his services, with Real Madrid reportedly also interested, it speaks to their belief in Todibo’s potential. Time will tell. You may not have heard the last of this name.
Todibo was pleased to be moving on to Barcelona. Here’s what he had to say:
« Je suis très heureux de m’être engagé avec le FC Barcelone à partir de juillet 2019. C’est plus qu’un club et je les remercie de leur confiance. C’est sera un nouvel étape dans ma jeune carrière et je mettrai toute ma détermination pour y réussir de grandes choses. En attendant, je reste un joueur du Toulouse FC et je suis disponible pour aider mes partenaires tant que je reste sous contrat. Le Tef m’a permit de grandir et de découvrir la Ligue 1 et je leur en serai éternellement reconnaissant. Merci. »
” Estoy muy feliz de haber firmado con el FC Barcelona a partir de julio 2019. Es más que un club y les agradezco su confianza. Será una nueva etapa en este inicio de mi carera y voy a poner todo de mi parte para conseguir grandes cosas. En este momento soy jugador de Toulouse FC y estoy disponible para ayudar a mis compañeros todo el tiempo que me queda en este club. El Tef me permitió crecer y descubrir la Ligue 1 y siempre estaré agradecido. Gracias.”