Monday Kickoff: Report says Messi to miss 'El Clasico'; players back Mourinho; and more

Monday Kickoff: Report says Messi to miss 'El Clasico'; players back Mourinho; and more

European Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Report says Messi to miss 'El Clasico'; players back Mourinho; and more

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Despite optimism from Barcelona that Lionel Messi will make it back from injury in time to face Real Madrid, at least one publication believes he will miss out on the Nov. 21 installment of ‘El Clasico’.

The Argentine star has reportedly not progressed as well as many had hoped in his recovery process, and thus, he is expected to miss the important La Liga meeting with Real Madrid later in the month, according to Sport.

Messi is currently working with physiotherapist Luis Garcia and masseuse Marcelo D’Andrea in order to heal ligament damage in his left knee. Aside from missing time with his club, Messi will also miss two more World Cup qualifying games for Argentina, which has only secured one point through two games.

In better news for Barcelona, Brazilian international Rafinha agreed to a new deal that will see him stay with the club until 2020.

Here are some more news and notes:

CHELSEA PLAYERS IN SUPPORT OF MOURINHO

Jose Mourinho may only have two games left in order to keep his job, but the Chelsea players apparently believe he can still turn things around.

Chelsea lost its sixth game of the English Premier League season to Liverpool Saturday, but while results are not favoring the Blues, the players, including John Mikel Obi, are in full support of their head coach.

“The goals and the wins are not coming, but you can see we are playing for the manager and we are right behind him. There is no doubt about it. If anyone can turn this around I definitely think he is the one,” Mikel told the club’s website.

“Last year we were champions and won two trophies. Jose knows this club more than any other manager and he is the most successful manager in this club’s history. If you say to the players that we are not giving 100 per cent then there is a doubt – but we are giving 100 per cent, we are playing for the manager and we are right behind him.”

Chelsea faces an early exit from the the UEFA Champions League, but Mourinho and the team have a chance to save that campaign against Dynamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge, where they most recently suffered defeat, Wednesday.

KOMPANY CALLS UEFA CHARGE A ‘JOKE’

Manchester City’s supporters have the club in hot water, as it faces a charge from UEFA, but one player deems the allegation and investigation by European soccer’s governing body into the accusation to be a “joke.”

Man City faces a charge from UEFA after fans reportedly booed the Champions League anthem prior to the game against Sevilla in October. Centerback Vincent Kompany is baffled, however, that UEFA may punish his side’s fans.

“It’s a joke. We have played many games in Europe where there has been racial abuse and we have had to put up with it,” Kompany told reporters. “And there have been times when we have been sanctioned in the same way as the team that was actually perpetrating those chants.”

Kompany was referring to racial abuse he reportedly witnessed against CSKA Moscow in 2014, and due to the abuse by CSKA supporters, Man City fans were not allowed to travel to Russia to support their side.

“In Moscow we weren’t allowed to have any support inside the stadium – I don’t see what our fans did wrong,” Kompany added.

“I have experienced it as well when I was a kid playing at Anderlecht, certain games in Europe where you had a lot of racial abuse. So in that sense this is not justifiable – there is nothing holy about the Champions League anthem.”

OSORIO HOPES TO IMPLEMENT POSSESSION-BASED ATTACK IN MEXICO

Mexico may be known for its creativity and flair on the ball in attack, but the national team’s new coach hopes to implement a style to help the guide the team through qualification without any problems.

Colombian Juan Carlos Osorio was hired as the new Mexican national team head coach in October, and he is hoping that his side can gel and form a possession-based attack, which will help them avoid previous struggles during this round of World Cup qualification.

“In terms of my vision of the game, I identify myself with coaches who like to take the initiative in games, who have an attacking mindset and want to take the opposition on,” he told FIFA.com. “I believe in controlling games by controlling possession, though I also know that attack and defense are inextricably linked.

“That’s why we always work on things like how to defend in attack, which involves pressing opposing players as soon as you lose possession. I like my defenders to pinpoint the players that might be about to receive the ball when possession is lost.”

QUICK KICKS:

Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger would take a point against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. (REPORT)

Carlos Tevez led Boca Juniors to its first Argentine Primera Division championship title since 2011 with a 1-0 win against Tigre. (REPORT)

Chelsea forward Diego Costa will reportedly not face disciplinary action from the English Football Association after a clash with Martin Skrtel Saturday. (REPORT)

While Real Madrid’s interest in Marco Verratti intrigued him, the midfielder said he always wanted to stay at Paris Saint-Germain. (REPORT)

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