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Messi wins player of the month for the first time ever

Lionel Messi has been named Spain's La Liga player of the month for January - the first time he has ever won the award.

La Liga player of the month has been given out since the beginning of the 2013-14 Primera Division season, but the five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner had not won it until now.

Messi has never been named as player of the month in La Liga until now. Credit: PA

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner finally won the award at the 23rd time of asking after scoring six goals in as many league games in January.

The 28-year-old struck a hat-trick against Granada as well as scoring in victories over Athletic Bilbao, Malaga and Atletico Madrid to take his total of league goals for the season to 12.

Messi is only the second Barcelona player to win the award following Neymar's success in November.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award twice since it began in September 2013.

Wenger: Too much time a disadvantage for Leicester

Arsene Wenger is happy with Arsenal's hectic fixture schedule and hopes too much time to think in between games could be the downfall of leaders Leicester.

The table-topping Foxes travel to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday five points clear at the Barclays Premier League summit - with the Gunners third, below fierce local rivals Tottenham.

Wenger has started the title mind games. Credit: PA

With no continental tournaments to worry about and having already been knocked out of the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup, many believe a less congested run-in could see Claudio Ranieri's Leicester complete a most remarkable title success.

But Wenger, whose side remain in the FA Cup - looking to win it for a third straight year - and have a Champions League last-16 clash with Barcelona on the horizon, believes too much time thinking about upcoming fixtures could be detrimental to a team.

"Yes, time to think can be a disadvantage if you not are thinking in a positive way and the pressure is on," he said. "It is true that sometimes the less time you have to wait for the next game, the better it is.

"I believe they are still in a position where they think where they have nothing to lose. But once you are top of the league, you can also think about losing what you have.

"That is where the nerves come in a little bit. I do not know how they will respond to that."

Ticket rethink shows Liverpool owners care - Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the owners' U-turn on ticket prices proves they care about the fans and the club.

Reds fans walked out of the match against Sunderland at Anfield last weekend in the 77th minute in protest at what they saw as an unacceptable hike in ticket prices for next season, with the most expensive tickets in the new Main Stand costing £77.

The club's owners Fenway Sports Group responded on Wednesday by announcing that prices would be frozen for the next two years.

In an open letter principal owner John W Henry, Liverpool chairman Tom Werner and FSG president Mike Gordon expressed their concerns, saying they were "particularly troubled by the perception that we don't care about our supporters, that we are greedy".

Jurgen Klopp says FSG have proved they care about the club. Credit: PA

Klopp believes their swift action shows that is not the case.

"I think in the world of football it is not too easy when you are the owner of a club to prove you are interested in the club," he said.

"I know it, I have been here four and a half months and I know the owners as people.

"They really care about the club and the interests of supporters and it was a clear reaction, a clear sign, and hopefully it is understood for what it is - proof of their real interest in this club and all the things around this club.

"I am really fine with it, it is a good thing."

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Arsenal boss wants in-game ticket protest cancelled

Arsene Wenger has called on both Leicester and Arsenal fans to cancel any in-game protests on Sunday after the late change to the kick-off time angered supporters - but has defended Barclays Premier League ticket pricing.

League leaders Leicester travel to the Emirates Stadium for a top of the table clash, with the game moved to noon for television coverage.

Wenger thinks the protest should be called off. Credit: PA

The late change has infuriated a number of Foxes fans and some now plan to enter the stadium five minutes after kick-off in protest - citing lost money on travel and accommodation that was booked before the alteration.

Their battle has been backed by Arsenal supporters' group REDaction - who have called on home fans to support Leicester' protest by applauding them into the ground - and comes against a growing discontent from Premier League supporters against high ticket prices.

Wenger has said any protests on Sunday should take place either side of what could prove to be a pivotal 90 minutes in the title race

"You want everybody there when the game starts," the Arsenal boss said when asked if he would be disappointed if fans came in late.

"For me, the game is a joy and everyone has to be part of it. You can protest before and after, but during the game, you want everybody to be there.

"It (a game of football) is a moment of happiness in your life. Life is not every day fantastic - sometimes it's boring, sometimes it's difficult for many people. Football is a moment of happiness in your life, so don't miss it."

Former Newcastle forward Ameobi signs for Fleetwood

Former Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi has signed for League One side Fleetwood Town until the end of the season.

Ameobi, 34, has made 298 appearances in the Premier League for both Newcastle United and Crystal Palace and turned down a number of clubs to join Steven Pressley's side.

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