Bilbao knock Barca out of Copa del Rey | Real edge Elche

Holders Barcelona were knocked out of the Copa del Rey after suffering a 3-2 defeat in extra-time at Athletic Bilbao in the last 16 on Thursday.

Athletic went ahead early thanks to a beautiful cross-shot from Iker Muniain who curled the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen into the top corner.

Former Manchester City forward Ferran Torres equalised for Barca with a brilliant right-foot strike from the edge of the area – his first goal for the club.

Inigo Martinez put Athletic back in front after 86 minutes, winning a challenge against Gerard Pique to score, but Pedri netted a fine goal in stoppage time to send the game into extra-time.

Man-of-the-match Muniain scored the winner from the penalty spot after the video assistant referee spotted a handball from Jordi Alba inside the area.

10-man Real Madrid overcame a hostile atmosphere and fought back from a goal down in extra-time to beat Elche 2-1 and reach the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

Eden Hazard scored the winning goal for Real Madrid
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Eden Hazard scored the winning goal for Real Madrid

Following a scoreless 90 minutes, Elche took the lead with a free-kick earned with Real down to 10 men after Marcelo was sent off for a foul on Tete Morente.

Experienced defender Gonzalo Verdu struck the free-kick into the wall but his second effort deflected off Dani Ceballos wrong-footed goalkeeper Andriy Lunin before ending up in the back of the net.

Real grabbed the equaliser when Isco deflected a Ceballos shot inside the box and substitute Eden Hazard scored the winner on a counter-attack after receiving a through ball from David Alaba, rounding the goalkeeper and finishing into an empty net.

The match ended in controversy as Elche found the net in the last minute of extra-time, but the referee disallowed the effort for a foul in the build-up.

Real Madrid joined Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Valencia, Real Betis, Rayo Vallecano, Mallorca and Cadiz in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, in La Liga, Getafe eased their relegation fears with a 4-2 win over Granada.

Sandro Ramirez fired Getafe ahead with a low drive from the edge of the area after 10 minutes, but moments later Luis Suarez swept in an equaliser from close range.

Enes Unai lashed Getafe ahead from a tight angle two minutes after half-time and Nemanja Maksimovic tucked in the third just after the hour.

Suarez pulled another back for the visitors but Borja Mayoral wrapped up the victory with three minutes left.

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Dembele accuses Barca of ‘blackmail’ | Club tell him he must leave

Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele says he will “not give in to blackmail” after the club told the Frenchman he must leave in the January transfer window.

Dembele is out of contract in the summer, meaning Barcelona face the prospect of losing him on a free transfer if he sees out the season in Catalonia.

The 24-year-old said on Instagram: “As of today, I’m going to answer honestly without giving in to any form of blackmail.

“I forbid people from thinking that I’m not committed to this sporting project. I forbid people from attributing intentions to me that I’ve never had.

“I forbid people from speaking for me or my agent, who I have total confidence in. I’m still under contract, I’m fully committed and at the disposal of the club and my coach.

“I’ve always given everything for my team-mates and also for all the fans. That’s not going to change now.

“I’m not a man who cheats and even less so one who’s used to giving in to blackmail.

“Love can certainly be a variant of blackmail.”

Dembele’s comments come after Barcelona’s director of football, Mateu Alemany, said he wants to leave the club after refusing to sign a new contract.

Dembele turned down Barcelona’s attempt to sign him to a new deal as the terms on offer were lower than his current contract. He was left out of the squad for Thursday’s match at Athletic Bilbao.

Alemany said on Thursday: “With Ousmane and with his agents we began conversations in the month of July, during all this time, it has been six months almost seven months, we have talked, we have spoken, Barca has made different offers, we have tried to find a way for him to continue with us.

“Those offers have been systematically rejected by their agents. And today, January 20, 11 days before the end of the last term within his contract, it is evident, it seems obvious to us, that the player does not want to continue at Barcelona and therefore is not committed to Barca’s future project.

“In this scenario, he and his agents have been told that he must leave immediately, because we want players committed to this project, and therefore we expect a transfer before January 31.

“The sporting consequence of all this, valued by the technicians and by our coach, is that we do not want to have with us players who are not committed to the project and who do not want to be at Barca and therefore the fact that he is not called up is no more than a consequence of this whole process.

“The club obviously is not the one that should determine this, it is the coach who has determined it, but he has our support and we think it is a totally coherent attitude.”

Dembele joined the club from Borussia Dortmund for £135m – just weeks after Neymar’s world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain – but has struggled with injuries for much of his time in Spain.

The 2018 World Cup winner has started just six matches this season and his only goal came in the Copa del Rey victory at third-tier Linares earlier this month.

Dembele’s involvement has increased dramatically since Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman as manager in November, however, with all but one of his 11 appearances this season coming under the former Barcelona midfielder.

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move in January?

The January transfer window opens on Saturday January 1, 2022 and closes at 11pm on Monday January 31.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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Dembele set for Barca exit after contract snub

Ousmane Dembele has been told by Barcelona that he will be sold this month after he refused to sign a new contract at the Nou Camp.

The French winger is out of contract in the summer, meaning Barcelona face the prospect of losing him on a free transfer if he sees out the season in Catalonia.

But Barcelona are unwilling to let that happen and are also keen to remove Dembele’s wages from their books.

The 24-year-old turned down Barcelona’s attempt to sign him to a new deal as the terms on offer were lower than his current contract. He has been left out of the squad for Thursday’s match at Athletic Bilbao.

Mateu Alemany, Barcelona’s director of football, said on Thursday: “With Ousmane and with his agents we began conversations in the month of July, during all this time, it has been six months almost seven months, we have talked, we have spoken, Barca has made different offers, we have tried to find a way for him to continue with us.

“Those offers have been systematically rejected by their agents. And today, January 20, 11 days before the end of the last term within his contract, it is evident, it seems obvious to us, that the player does not want to continue at Barcelona and therefore is not committed to Barca’s future project.

“In this scenario, he and his agents have been told that he must leave immediately, because we want players committed to this project, and therefore we expect a transfer before January 31.

“The sporting consequence of all this, valued by the technicians and by our coach, is that we do not want to have with us players who are not committed to the project and who do not want to be at Barca and therefore the fact that he is not called up is no more than a consequence of this whole process.

“The club obviously is not the one that should determine this, it is the coach who has determined it, but he has our support and we think it is a totally coherent attitude.”

Dembele joined the club from Borussia Dortmund for £135m – just weeks after Neymar’s world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain – but has struggled with injuries for much of his time in Spain.

The 2018 World Cup winner has started just six matches this season and his only goal came in the Copa del Rey victory at third-tier Linares earlier this month.

Dembele’s involvement has increased dramatically since Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman as manager in November, however, with all but one of his 11 appearances this season coming under the former Barcelona midfielder.

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move in January?

The January transfer window opens on Saturday January 1, 2022 and closes at 11pm on Monday January 31.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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Lewandowski, Putellas win FIFA Best awards; Tuchel & Hayes best coaches

Robert Lewandowski was crowned the best men’s player and Alexia Putellas named best women’s player at the Best FIFA awards.

Poland international Lewandowski set a new record for most Bundesliga goals in a calendar year with his 43rd goal in December, breaking the record set by Gerd Muller in 1972.

The 33-year-old, winner of the men’s award in 2020, also became the first player in Bundesliga history to finish top scorer in four consecutive seasons.

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Lewandowski opens the scoring against Leverkusen with a very cheeky backheel flick from inside the area

Barcelona midfielder Putellas was named women’s player of the year, adding the accolade to her Ballon d’Or triumph.

Putellas, 27, captained Barcelona to the treble, with the Catalan side winning the Women’s Champions League, Spanish league and Copa de la Reina last term

Barcelona's Alexia Putellas won the FIFA Best women's award
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Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas won the FIFA Best women’s award

Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel and Emma Hayes were crowned the Best coaches in the men’s and women’s game.

Tuchel steered the Blues to Champions League glory last season. The 48-year-old German replaced Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge in January 2021 and had an immediate impact, starting his spell with a 14-game unbeaten run.

Former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain head coach Tuchel also led Chelsea to the FA Cup final and a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel gives instructions
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Thomas Tuchel guided Chelsea to Champions League glory last term

Tuchel said he was shocked to receive the award from world football’s governing body.

“It was a pretty normal day so far at the training centre, I’ve just come from training because we have a game [on Tuesday], but now you opened the envelope and said my name, it’s pretty surreal.

“I’m overwhelmed, I feel a bit uncomfortable actually. I enjoy the journey and I enjoy the club, it’s a good fit. The company on the journey is so good, so I’m grateful to have such supportive people around me, to feel so good in such a competitive club.

“We’ve lost a bit of track to Manchester City in the [Premier] League, but in other competitions we follow our goals still. We try to be the best versions of ourselves and try to compete at the highest level. We’ll try our best to fulfil
our dreams.”

He was named on a seven-man shortlist alongside Antonio Conte, Hansi Flick, Pep Guardiola, Roberto Mancini, Lionel Scaloni and Diego Simeone.

Emma Hayes exclusive image
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Emma Hayes enjoyed a superb campaign with Chelsea last season

Hayes, 45, guided the Blues to Women’s Super League, League Cup and FA Cup glory last season and steered the London side to the Champions League final.

She was named WSL manager of the season for her feats and was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours for services to football.

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Hayes says she was ‘stunned’ after being named The Best FIFA Women’s Coach for 2021

Hayes said she was also taken aback at winning the accolade and paid tribute to her players and staff at Chelsea.

Speaking via video link at the ceremony, she said: “I’m completely shocked. It’s down to the players and the fantastic people who represent my work. Ultimately, the coach is only as good as the people they have around them.

“I’ve got brilliant people at Chelsea that have helped to support the team to the place we’re at. Honestly, I’m absolutely shocked right now.”

Edouard Mendy, Chelsea
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Edouard Mendy was named men’s goalkeeper of the year

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was named men’s goalkeeper of the year for 2021 at the FIFA Best Football Awards.

Mendy, 29, is in his second season at the Premier League club after joining from Rennes in September 2020.

The Senegal international had been nominated alongside Italy and AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma and Germany and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer.

Chile’s Christiane Endler, who joined Lyon from Paris Saint-Germain in June 2021, was named women’s goalkeeper of the year.

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Cristiano Ronaldo accepts The Best FIFA Special Award and insists he has the motivation and passion to carry on playing for several more years

Two outstanding performances on the international stage where landmark goalscoring records were broken were also recognised.

Christine Sinclair, with 188 goals in 308 caps for Canada, received The Best FIFA Special Award for women’s football, and Cristiano Ronaldo, with 115 goals in 184 appearances for Portugal, received The Best FIFA Special Award for men’s football.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino presented the awards to Ronaldo in-person and Christine Sinclair (virtually) at the ceremony at the Home of FIFA in Zurich.

Erik Lamela, who departed Tottenham for Sevilla in July 2021 – won the FIFA Puskas Award for his outrageous goal in the north London derby in March 2021. It is the second straight Puskas Award to be won for a goal scored in a Spurs shirt, after Heung-Min Son claimed the prize for his strike against Burnley last time around.

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Erik Lamela’s outrageous Rabona goal for Tottenham against Arsenal has won FIFA’s Puskas Award

The Denmark men’s national team medical team and coaching staff won the FIFA Fair Play award for their heroics after Christian Eriksen collapsed during their match against Finland at Euro 2020,

Denmark and Finland supporters won the FIFA Fan award for their show of solidarity following Eriksen’s collapse. As the crowd waited for news on Eriksen’s health, fans of both teams banded together in an emotional tribute. Finnish fans chanted “Christian!” while Danish supporters responded with “Eriksen”.

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Real reach Super Cup final with Saudi Clasico win

Real Madrid booked their ticket to the Spanish Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia courtesy of a 3-2 extra-time win over Barcelona – their fifth straight, and 100th El Clasico victory.

Real got off to the perfect start in the 248th meeting between Spain’s two most decorated clubs when Vinicius Junior rounded off a counter and rifled in his 15th goal of the season past Marc-Andre ter Stegen (25), but Barca ended a one-sided first half level when Eder Militao’s clearance cannoned in off the unsuspecting Luuk de Jong (42).

Karim Benzema looked to have sent Madrid through to the final when the 23rd goal of his stellar season restored their lead (72), but back came Barca for a second time as Ansu Fati’s glancing header (83) forced extra-time.

Substitute Federico Valverde restored Madrid’s lead for a third time eight minutes into the first period of extra-time, and there was no way back for Barca as their spirited resistance came up short and Real claimed a landmark 100th El Clasico victory over their eternal rivals.

Player ratings

Barcelona: Ter Stegen (6), Alves (6), Araujo (6), Pique (6), Alba (6), F. De Jong (5), Busquets (7), Gavi (7), Dembele (7), L. de Jong (7), Torres (5).

Subs: Pedri (7), Depay (5), Fati (7), Nico (6), Jutgla (5), Abde (6).

Real Madrid: Courtois (6), Carvajal (6), Militao (5), Nacho (6), Mendy (6), Modric (6), Casemiro (6), Kroos (6), Asensio (6), Benzema (7), Vinicius (8).

Subs: Valverde (7), Vazquez (5), Rodrygo (5), Camavinga (5).

Man of the Match: Vinicius Junior.

Real overcome spirited Barca in Saudi Clasico

Over 50,000 fans were socially-distanced inside the King Fahd Stadium in the Saudi Arabian capital as the Spanish Super Cup went back on the road again after the coronavirus pandemic transferred last season’s edition back to Spain, and the expectant crowd were treated to a vintage El Clasico.

Team news

  • Ferran Torres made his Barcelona debut and Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Araujo returned as Barcelona made three changes from Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Granada.
  • Dani Carvajal and Nacho returned as Real Madrid made two changes from Saturday’s 4-1 LaLiga victory over Valencia.

After spurning a host of chances on the counter to break the deadlock, Madrid finally made an attack count midway through the first period, and in clinical fashion, as Benzema dispossessed Sergio Busquets on halfway and released Vinicius down the left channel, where he raced clear of Ronald Araujo and powered a shot in at the near post.

Vinicius Junior put Real Madrid ahead
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Vinicius Junior put Real Madrid ahead

Barca rallied, creating two heading opportunities as Luuk de Jong forced saves from Thibaut Courtois in quick succession, before the Dutchman levelled the contest in freakish circumstances when Militao’s defensive clearance cannoned off him at point-blank range.

Barca carried that momentum into the second half, creating a raft of further chances which half-time substitute Pedri and the lively Ousmane Dembele were unable to convert, and their profligacy came back to haunt them 18 minutes from time when Benzema, three minutes after striking the post, poked home Dani Carvajal’s centre.

That looked to have sealed Madrid’s passage to the final but Barca forced extra-time with eight minutes to spare when Fati was left isolated by more questionable defending in the six-yard box and glanced home Jordi Alba’s wicked cross.

Ansu fati
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Ansu fati

With the scores locked the game went to extra-time where, having fought back twice in regular time, Barca were undone for the third and final time.

With opposition players committed in attack, Real exploited acres of space on the break. Rodrygo squared a pass inside where white shirts where queuing up to convert, and Valverde duly obliged after the ball was allowed to run into his path by Vinicius’ stepover.

Fede Valverde
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Fede Valverde

What’s next?

Real Madrid will face the winners of Thursday’s semi-final between La Liga champions Atletico Madrid and last season’s Copa del Rey runners-up Athletic Bilbao in Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup final in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – kick-off 6.30pm UK time.

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