Our football match prediction:
Barcelona play host to Sporting CP at their Camp Nou in their last group game in the Champions League. Thanks to a goalless draw with Juventus in Turin the Catalan giants cemented top position in Group D, whilst the Lions have yet to book their place in the knockout stages of the elite competition. This has to go down as a must-win game for the Primeira Liga side, but we do not believe they are capable of making a miracle in Catalonia. Sporting are likely to go all guns blazing at Barca, thus Ernesto Valverde’s men should have a number of opportunities to score on the break. Barcelona are a real force to be reckoned with at home and we predict they will put icing on the cake on a very successful campaign with a win over Jorge Jesus’ men. As always, a man to watch in the home team will be Argentina superstar Leo Messi, who has been scoring goals for fun in the first half of the season.
Highlighted Player (Javier Mascherano):
Born in San Lorenzo, Argentina on 8 June, 1984 Javier Mascherano began his senior career at River Plate. After making 46 appearances for the Argentine outfit he joined Corinthians in 2005 and he played 17 league games for the Brazilian team. Mascherano moved to Europe in 2006 and despite being on Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s radar, he signed a contract with West Ham United. The centre back, who is capable of playing as a defensive midfielder as well, played no more than five games for the Hammers in the Premier League and in 2007 he signed a contract with Liverpool. Three years later Mascherano joined Barcelona and he has been playing for the Catalan giants ever since. In 2016 he won his fourth La Liga trophy with Barca, making 32 league appearances for the club in the 2015/2016 campaign. The Argentine footballer won two Champions League trophies with Barcelona, in 2011 and in 2015. His contract with the Catalan outfit expires on 30 June, 2019.
Highlighted Team (Sporting Portugal):
When it comes to official club members, Portugal giants Sporting Lisbon are the sixth club in the world. Commonly referred to as Leoes which is Portuguese for Lions, Sporting Lisbon were founded in 1906 and are one of the founders of the Primeira Liga. Sporting’s main rivals are Benfica, with both teams contesting the Lisbon Derby, one of the most fierce ones in Europe. Lions play their games at Estadio Jose Alvelade in front of 50,000 people and are the third most successful club in the country with 46 titles in Portuguese competitions and a title in the European Cup Winner’s Cup from 1963-64. During this time that is also known as the club’s golden years, Sporting Lisbon won the majority of their 18 Primeira Liga titles in total. Sporting Lisbon boasts the quality football youth academy system which has yielded world-class footballers such as Paulo Furte, Simao Sabrosa, Nani and Ballon d’Or winners Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo.