Messi signed a contract with Barcelona until 2021

Messi signed a contract with Barcelona until 2021”

Yet, Tebas has bizarrely been steadfast in his opinion the introduction of goal line technology, used widely across Europe in the Premier League, Bundesliga and Serie A, is too expensive. But even that would still require Barca to lose points elsewhere, and Real to virtually not drop any more points at all.

Lionel Messi believes he and Cristiano Ronaldo will never share a close friendship because they do not get to spend enough time together to build the required bond.

The rest of the line-up is as expected, with Nelson Semedo, Umtiti and Jordi Alba joining Vermaelen on the back line.

Barcelona finished three points behind Real Madrid in the 2016-17 season and that goal could have affected the outcome of the title race. Furthermore, their goal difference of 21 is almost the same as that of Real and Atletico combined.

Low and behold the spot-kick arrived when Madrid desperately needed one 15 minutes from time as Cristiano Ronaldo ended his month-long La Liga goal drought on the rebound after his penalty had been saved by Roberto.

So yes, for all intents and purposes, Valencia are Barcelona's sole title challengers. Although TV replays showed that the goal had clearly been scored, Barcelona was forced to come up dry that time around, and it was not until the subsequent two goals – one for each squad in the second half – had been netted that the importance of the initial ghost tally became evident.

Inevitably, Messi was at the heart of Barca's equaliser, though, as he picked out Alba with a sumptuous lofted pass for the former Valencia left-back to volley home.

"We are making lots of progress in meetings about it right now and it will be ready very soon".

Simone Zaza dragged a shot just wide and Goncalo Guedes finally tested Marc-Andre ter Stegen for the first time from a narrow angle 58 minutes in.

On the flipside, Luis Suarez ended his goalless drought against Leganes, as Lionel Messi tops the scorers' chart with 12 times as many league goals as Ronaldo.

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