Barcelona make the extraordinary seem normal to wrap up another title | Sid Lowe

There was a sense of weakness when Ernesto Valverde took over but successive La Liga titles have made Bara look untouchable Not long after their 2-0 victory in Vitoria late on Wednesday, with Barcelona four weeks from the finish and three points from the title, Ernesto Valverde was asked if he would like to win the league the following evening or the following Saturday. What I like, he said, is that I get asked that question. It was done, again. And it was done early, again. Barcelona had beaten Real Madrid, beaten Atltico Madrid and beaten everyone else except Athletic Club and Valencia. Now they had beaten Alavs too, affording them the luxury of choice: they could take the title …

Leonardo Bonucci makes it hard to feel any optimism for Italian football | Paolo Bandini

The Juventus defenders claim that teammate Moise Kean shared the blame for monkey chants aimed at him against Cagliari felt staggeringly ill-judged Massimiliano Allegri explained his decision to leave Moise Kean out of the Juventus starting XI that faced Empoli over the weekend as a move to protect the player. My challenge is to understand when hell recover from this crush that the media has on him right now, said the manager. If he doesnt touch the ball in the next game, theyll make him into a donkey. Kean came off the bench instead, scoring the games only goal with his first touch. Perhaps, after that, Allegri accepted that this hype train was already running beyond his control. Or maybe …

Bayern thrash Dortmund to go top on landmark night for Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski passed 200 Bundesliga goals and became the top scorer in Der Klassiker history as his brace helped Bayern Munich thrash Borussia Dortmund 5-0 to go top of the league Bayern Munich thrashed Borussia Dortmund 5-0 to take over top spot in the Bundesliga on a landmark night for Robert Lewandowski. The 100th league instalment of Der Klassiker was a one-sided affair as Mats Hummels, Lewandowski, Javi Martnez and Serge Gnabry had Bayern in dreamland before the break. Lewandowski put further gloss on the rout with Bayerns fifth in the final minute and the German champions are now in pole position to retain the title. Bayern were nine points adrift of Dortmund in December but the Bavarians are now …

Lionel Messis masterclass gives Barcelona resounding win over Lyon

Lionel Messi scored two and set up two in a convincing 5-1 win for Barcelona over Lyon to put them into the Champions League quarter-finals Paris Saint-Germain fell, Real Madrid fell, Atltico Madrid fell, but Barcelona didnt. This time there was no surprise, not even really for Lyon who saw Lionel Messi coming again and again, just as they knew they would, but couldnt prevent him from putting them to the sword. Bruno Gnsio had talked before the game about limiting Messis influence and talked after it about a player who, in his words, is almost impossible to stop at this level of performance and motivation. By then, the Lyon coach had watched the Argentinian score two and make two, …

Adrien Rabiot: the golden boy who became PSGs French football outcast | Ed Aarons

Midfielder should be a force at his club but a contract stand-off and off-pitch behaviour have led to him being frozen out Its not that Im hiding away, insisted Adrien Rabiot the defeat a tweet from Patrice Evra which celebrated the clubs surprise exit. In this era of social media obsession, what greater crime could there be? Yet, as he has consistently proved since bursting on to the scene under Carlo Ancelotti at Parc des Princes, there is more to Rabiot than meets the eye. His issues at PSG date back to 2014 and Laurent Blancs spell in charge, when the young midfielder who spent a few months at Manchester Citys academy as a teenager was on the brink of …

Sadio Man and Virgil van Dijk take Liverpool past Bayern Munich

Sadio Man scored twice, either side of a Virgil van Dijk goal, to give Liverpool a 3-1 win at Bayern Munich and put them into the last eight It was a night when Liverpool reminded themselves why a banner can be seen at their games to proclaim European football royalty. And, finally, when the action was over, Jrgen Klopp was running across the pitch to pump his fists towards the Liverpool supporters in the highest tier of this spectacular stadium. His players could celebrate a hugely satisfying night of mature and controlled football and, for the first time since 2009, the Premier League had four teams in the quarter-finals. Not that Liverpools euphoria at the final whistle was, in any …

Manchester United floor PSG as Marcus Rashfords late penalty caps comeback

Marcus Rashford scored a contentious stoppage-time penalty to complete a stunning comeback as Manchester United overcame a two-goal deficit to reach the Champions League quarter-finals So, where does this register in the list of spectacular European nights for Manchester United? Very high, presumably, judging by the scenes of euphoria after Marcus Rashfords decisive penalty, deep into stoppage time, and the victory run at the final whistle when every single player, pursued by a small army of backroom staff, was haring towards the away supporters to celebrate. If Ole Gunnar Solskjr has not already secured himself the job on a full-time basis, surely the announcement must be soon. He had told us there was no such thing, in the world of …