Lionel Messi

Tagliafico Messi leader, protector

Messi, 32, has faced criticism for his performances for the national team as his wait for a first senior trophy at international level goes on.

But Ajax defender Tagliafico, a 25-time Argentina international, said the Barcelona star was key for his nation.

"Messi was released from the pressure to get results [at the 2019 Copa America, where Argentina finished third]," he told Ole.

"He more than anyone gets angry when he loses, but Messi became more aware that he has to enjoy the national team.

Hamilton and Messi share award

Mercedes driver Hamilton won his sixth world championship in 2019, with 11 race wins and 17 podium finishes, while Messi was crowned the world's best player for a record sixth time when he won the Ballon d'Or.

American gymnast Simone Biles, who became the most decorated gymnast in world championship history when she won her 25th medal last year, won her third Sportswoman of the Year gong after winning the award in 2017 and 2019.

Messi will make Argentina return next month

Messi was handed a three-month ban from international football in August for accusing South America's governing body CONMEBOL of "corruption" during the Copa America.

After being controversially sent off in Argentina's third-place play-off win over Chile in July, Messi did not appear to collect his medal and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner later explained that he did not want to "be part of this corruption, this lack of respect towards the whole Copa".

Messi, Ibrahimovic lead Puskas Award nominations for best goal

A panel of FIFA and external football experts selected 10 goals to put to a public vote, with the efforts ranging from the sublime to the outrageous.

Barcelona icon Messi is nominated for the fourth time in five years, while three female players are included after there were none up for the award last year.

All goals selected for consideration were scored between July 16, 2018 and July 19, 2019, and we have the low down on each one, with voting open until September 2…

Reds five nominated for UCL awards

Liverpool defeated Tottenham in the Champions League final and have seen goalkeeper Alisson, defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk, midfielder Jordan Henderson and forward Sadio Mane named among the contenders in their respective categories.

Tottenham also have representation through keeper Hugo Lloris and midfielder Christian Eriksen.

Barcelona superstar Messi, who was the top scorer in last season's competition with 12 goals, will vie with Mane and old adversary Ronaldo for the forward award.

No Messi or Ronaldo in UCL final

Messi's Barcelona capitulated at the hands of Liverpool on Tuesday, losing the semi-final second leg 4-0 to go down 4-3 on aggregate.

That shock result ended an astonishing run of dominance for the star duo when it comes to Europe's top club competition. Since 2013, one of Messi or Ronaldo were involved in five successive finals – with the latter winning three straight titles and four in total.

But Ronaldo, who left holders Real Madrid at the start of the season, saw his Juventus team crash out at the quarter-final stage to Ajax in the 2018-19 tournament.

Barcelona 3 Liverpool 0: Messi brings up 600 Barca goals

Former Reds striker Luis Suarez, playing against his old club in a competitive game for the first time since he left for Catalonia in 2014, scored his first Champions League goal in over a year to give Barca a half-time advantage.

James Milner was twice denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the second half - while Mohamed Salah was thwarted too - before Messi struck twice in seven minutes to bring up his milestone.

Messi 'never imagined' his success

Despite being overlooked for the 2018 Ballon d'Or, Messi has enjoyed another wonderful year, having helped Barca to another LaLiga crown in the 2017-18 campaign.

He scored 34 times in 36 games on the way to inspiring that title triumph, a record not matched across Europe's top leagues as he secured yet another Golden Shoe.

Messi, 31, was presented with the prize for a fifth time – usurping Cristiano Ronaldo's tally of four – on Tuesday and it offered him the opportunity to reflect on his expectations as a youngster.

Capello slams Ronaldo, Messi

Messi was a controversial absentee from the Best Men's Player nominations, with Luka Modric scooping the top prize ahead of Ronaldo and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

And Capello has slammed Ronaldo and Messi, who were both included in the FIFPro World XI, for not appearing at Monday's ceremony in London.

"It is a lack of respect, for the players, for FIFA and for the world of football," Capello told TVE.

"It is possible that they won too much and do not like to lose. In life you have to be good when you win and when you lose."

World Cup: Messi scores 100th goal

With Argentina needing to beat Nigeria on Tuesday in St Petersburg to have a chance of qualifying for the last 16 at Russia 2018, the forward gave his side a 14th-minute lead.

Ever Banega's lofted throughball was ideally placed for Messi to impressively control and hammer home a right-footed drive to put Jorge Sampaoli's men in front.

Messi had failed to score in Argentina's two previous Group D games, missing a penalty in a 1-1 draw against Iceland and proving toothless as his side were thumped 3-0 by Croatia.