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Barcelona defend Messi against 'unjust' ban

Messi was handed a four-match international ban by FIFA for "''having directed insulting words'' at an official. Credit: PA

Barcelona have branded the four-game international ban handed to Lionel Messi for abusing an assistant referee "unjust and totally disproportionate".

Messi was also fined 10,000 Swiss Francs (£8,100) by FIFA on Tuesday for ''having directed insulting words'' at an official during his side's World Cup qualifier with Chile last Thursday.

He was caught on camera venting his fury at an assistant who signalled that he had committed a foul late on in Argentina's 1-0 win. He was not shown a card at the time.

The 29-year-old missed Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Bolivia and will also be banned for Argentina's next three World Cup qualifiers, unless an appeal is successful.

FC Barcelona express their surprise and outrage at the official decision of the FIFA disciplinary committee to sanction Leo Messi after the World Cup qualifying match between Argentina and Chile.

The club consider the four-game ban imposed upon the player unjust and totally disproportionate.

Finally, FC Barcelona want to reiterate their support for Leo Messi, an exemplary sportsman for his behaviour on and off the pitch.

– Barcelona statement

Former president of FC Barcelona dies

Agusti Montal, the former President of FC Barcelona Credit: PA

The former president of FC Barcelona has died at the age of 82.

Agusti Montal was president of the club between 1969 and 1977.

Barcelona observed a minute's silence during training on Wednesday, in memory of Montal.


Neymar open to move to 'amazing' Premier League

Neymar has frequently been linked with a move to the Premier League throughout his career. Credit: PA

Neymar has fuelled speculation that he could one day move to the Premier League by revealing he finds the top flight of English football "amazing".

The Brazil international, who has contributed 14 goals and 18 assists in 36 appearances for Barcelona this season, signed a new contract in October that will keep him at Camp Nou until June 2021.

But despite this, Neymar says he is intrigued by the possibility of testing himself in the Premier League and, in particular, working for renowned managers such as Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and Manchester City's Pep Guardiola.

The Premier League is a championship that amazes me.

I like the playing style and the teams. And who knows, someday, I would like to play at it, yes.

I admire Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool — these are the teams that are always there fighting.

And then you have high-level coaches like Mourinho and Guardiola. These are coaches with whom any player would like to work.

– Neymar to the Sun


Starting XI's: Barcelona v PSG

Barcelona have to overturn a huge 4-0 defeat to PSG but with Messi, Suarez and Neymar upfront then anything could happen.

Here's how the two teams line-up:

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