Messi given another chance to reach Mueller’s record

MADRID, (Reuters) – Lionel Messi has another chance to reach Gerd Mueller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year after Tito Vilanova included him in Barcelona’s squad to play Benfica in the Champions League.

The La Liga leaders have already qualified as the top side in Group G and Vilanova rested a number of first-choice regulars for Wednesday’s game at the Nou Camp, but not the Argentine World Player of the Year.

“He rested last week in the King’s Cup and we all know he always wants to play,” Vilanova told a news conference on Tuesday.

Messi is just one goal short of former Germany and Bayern Munich striker Mueller’s 40-year-old record with his tally of 84 goals for club and country in 2012.

“We need to be as natural as we can about this,” Vilanova added. “Messi has the chance to achieve it and if we are all waiting expectantly for him to do it.

“He is keen to play and I think he is used to living with all this about him.”
Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Javier Mascherano, Pedro, Jordi Alba and Cesc Fabregas were all rested from the squad and replaced with youngsters from the club’s youth Academy.

“We have some players just back after injury and others from Barca B and we would like to see how they perform,” Vilanova said. “I am sure the motivation will be good. They are professionals. Benfica are still playing to qualify for the last 16.”

Benfica are second in the group, level on seven points with Celtic in third, but ahead due to their superior head-to-head record. Celtic host Spartak Moscow.

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Windies exit World Cup but court controversy in defeat

MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand, CMC – West Indies Under-19s’ title defence ended in shambles with a heavy 76-run defeat to South Africa Under-19s, but controversy accompanied their disappointing exit from the ICC Youth World Cup here Wednesday.

Gayle headlines Windies stars in auction

NEW DELHI, India, CMC Superstar Chris Gayle headlines several top-tier West Indies players who will join over 1 000 players in the highly anticipated Indian Premier League auction scheduled for month end.

Windies hold no fear for confident Irish

BELFAST, Ireland, CMC Two-time former 50-overs champions West Indies maybe the highest seeded side in the ICC World Cup qualifiers but they hold no terrors for minnows Ireland.

Expectation for tournament at an all-time high

With only one day remaining for the registration process of the Guinness Greatest of the Streets West Demerara/East Bank Demerara zone, approximately 24 teams have submitted their participation forms for the qualifying stages.

Top performers to use final round game to stake WI claim-Coach Crandon

Coach of the already crowned champions of the 2017/18 edition of Cricket West Indies Regional four-day first-class championships, Esaun Crandon, has suggested that there will be little tinkering to the squad set to take on the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in their final round match, which begins at the Guyana National Stadium tomorrow.

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