Saturday 18 November 2017

Barca's Messi celebration

Pete Jenson

Barcelona celebrate the 10th anniversary of their greatest ever piece of business this weekend, and they do so ahead of a game against Atletico Madrid -- their toughest rivals in recent years and the current league leaders.

It was on September 17, 2000, that a gawky 13-year-old from Argentina called Lionel Messi touched down in Barcelona for a trial. He scored five goals in his first display and, such was the anxiety of the club's then sporting director, Charlie Rexach, not to let the player escape, a pre-contract was scrawled on a serviette in the local tennis club promising to sign him.

Barca's No 10 has already scored 133 league goals for the club, but Barca have lost in their last two visits to the Vicente Calderon stadium and Atletico have maximum points from their first two games.

Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Real Madrid's attack against Real Sociedad tonight in search of his first goal this season. The Portuguese player has had 28 shots so far.

He could prosper away from his own supporters after friction between himself and the fans marred Wednesday's win over Ajax. A small minority whistled a missed chance and after the final whistle Ronaldo refused to take part in the customary applause for the home support. He headed down the tunnel and left the stadium within 15 minutes. (© Independent News Service)

Real Sociedad v Real Madrid,

Live, Sky Sports 4, 9.0

Atletico Madrid v Barcelona,

Live, tomorrow, Sky Sports, 6.0

Irish Independent

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