While Messi is clearly doing his bit to stay fit over the holidays, Carlos Tevez has previously questioned the Argentine’s workout regime, particularly when compared to Cristiano Ronaldo’s.”Lionel Messi, I never saw him in the gym. I’ve never seen him train to stop the ball or those exercises,” Tevez said in 2018. “It is all natural to him, but on penalties he trained — first he did not take them and now he shoots them all at the corner.”Cristiano always stopped in the gym after training, for him it is an obsession and, being the best in everything, he always arrived at work early.” Lionel Messi stunned locals in his native Argentina after training in a public gym as he looks to keep fit over the festive season. Currently on a break with Barcelona’s next game not until Jan. 4 against Espanyol, Messi was spotted working out back home on New Year’s Eve. MORE: When is the next El Clasico? Dates of Barca-Real Madrid fixturesRather than using his own private gym, the 32-year-old opted to train alongside his fellow countrymen and quickly caused quite a stir. “He entered as one more, I could not believe it,” gym worker Valentina Jure told Rosario Nuestro. “He used the machines like anyone else, he was smiling with everyone.”I can’t believe it, my phone literally exploded. Journalists and people from all over the world wrote to me.”— Luis Mazariegos (@luism8989) December 31, 2019Funnily enough, while Messi kept fit on one of the treadmills his own Barcelona highlights just happened to be playing right in front of him. Though no doubt spurring the six-time Ballon d’Or winner on as he trained, Valentina stressed Messi didn’t purposely seek out his own highlight reel. “I want to say that the channel with his goals was already set when he arrived,” she said.”I like to clarify it because people have written to me saying that it is self-centered but it was nothing like that — he was super humble with everyone while we were there.”After being held back by injuries at the start of the season, Messi quickly made up for lost time and went into the Christmas break with 13 La Liga goals from just 13 appearances. Those goals have helped Barcelona to the summit of Spain’s top flight with rivals Real Madrid trailing Ernesto Valverde’s side by two points after 18 league matches.
Paris, France | AFP | Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal secured top spot in Europa League Group H on Thursday despite slumping to a 1-0 defeat at struggling German side Cologne.The Frenchman made 11 changes to the team that beat Tottenham Hotspur in last weekend’s north London derby, with starts handed to Olivier Giroud, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck.But the Gunners succumbed to a 62nd-minute penalty from Sehrou Guirassy after the French striker tumbled to ground inside the area under a challenge from Mathieu Debuchy.Cologne, winless through 12 Bundesliga matches this season, climbed to second with one match to play, as a 0-0 draw between BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade in Belarus confirmed Arsenal’s status as group winners.Mario Balotelli scored twice as Nice moved into the last 32 following a 3-1 victory over Zulte Waregem of Belgium, with Lazio dropping their first points in Group K after a 1-1 draw at home to Vitesse Arnhem. Villarreal progressed to the knockout stages as Democratic Republic of Congo striker Cedric Bakambu netted a brace to seal a 3-2 victory over Astana in Kazakhstan.Surprise Swedish side Ostersund — coached by Englishman Graham Potter — extended their run in Europe into the New Year with a 2-0 home win over Ukrainians Zorya Luhansk.Veteran Spain striker Aritz Aduriz scored two penalties in Athletic Bilbao’s 3-2 win over Hertha Berlin to leave the Basque club with their fate in their own hands.Seven-time European champions AC Milan will wrap up their spot in the knockout phase with victory over Austria Vienna at the San Siro later on Thursday.Share on: WhatsApp