Barcelona star Ansu Fati undergoes 'regenerative biological treatment' of knee injury

By Sports Desk January 04, 2021

Barcelona star Ansu Fati has undergone regenerative biological treatment on a knee injury as his recovery remains on track.

The winger was ruled out for approximately four months in November after having surgery on a tear to the internal meniscus of his left knee.

Barca confirmed on Monday that Fati's recovery is "following a very satisfactory course".

Fati scored five goals and provided two assists in 10 games in all competitions this season before suffering his injury against Real Betis.

The Spain international is expected to be back in contention to play in March, meaning he will likely miss at least the first leg of Barca's Champions League last-16 encounter with Paris Saint-Germain, which takes place on February 16.

Barca lost two of their first three LaLiga games after Fati's injury but have since won four and drawn twice in six top-flight fixtures.

They sit fifth in the table, 10 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, having played a game more.

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  • Champions League final: Only Klopp stands between Ancelotti and immortality on night of destiny in Paris Champions League final: Only Klopp stands between Ancelotti and immortality on night of destiny in Paris

    There is a debate to be had that, even if Real Madrid lose Saturday's Champions League final at Stade de France and Carlo Ancelotti never lifts another trophy again, the Italian will still be able to stake a claim as being remembered as the greatest coach of all time.

    After all, he has already won 22 trophies across a managerial career spanning 27 years that has seen him coach 10 different clubs in five different countries. Indeed, he this month became the first coach to win each of the Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and LaLiga.

    There is no questioning Carlo's credentials, then, but victory against Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in Paris really would take the 62-year-old into 'GOAT' territory as the outright most successful coach in terms of major European honours.

    Ancelotti is currently level with Alex Ferguson and Giovanni Trapattoni in that regard with seven UEFA club competition triumphs – three Champions Leagues, three Super Cups and one Intertoto Cup, a much-derided competition that is now defunct.

    Many would suggest a better barometer of determining the true Greatest of All Time would be to simply look at how many Champions Leagues or European Cups, as it was formerly known, a manager has won. In that case, Ancelotti is level with Bob Paisley and Zinedine Zidane with three apiece.

    Triumphing for a fourth time in UEFA's showpiece competition, having previously done so with Milan in 2003 and 2007, and Madrid in 2014, would therefore set Ancelotti apart from the rest.

    The hugely experienced coach has a great record when it comes to Champions League finals, too, with victories in three of his previous four such matches. The only exception to that? In 2004-05 when Liverpool famously beat Milan on penalties in a game they trailed 3-0 at half-time.

    CARLO'S CUP PEDIGREE

    The glitz and glamour of a Champions League final was far from Klopp's mind in that campaign when in his fourth season in charge of Mainz. The 2004-05 season was just as memorable for the German club's supporters as Liverpool's, though, as they finished 11th in what was their first top-flight campaign.

    Seventeen years on, Klopp now has a shot at becoming one of 17 multiple-time winners of the European Cup/Champions League, level with the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and even Manchester United great Ferguson.

    He went all the way with Liverpool in 2019, triumphing over domestic rivals Tottenham, but his previous two finals in the competition ended in disappointment, with defeat against Bayern Munich as Dortmund boss in 2013 and against Zidane's Madrid as Liverpool manager in 2018.

    Zidane may have been replaced by Ancelotti in the Madrid dugout, but this weekend presents Klopp – and indeed Liverpool – with a shot at redemption. Having won two trophies already with the Reds this season, Klopp's cup final record looks a lot better than it did just a few months ago.

    He has now won eight of his 18 finals, which compares to 16 victories from 22 finals for Ancelotti across all competitions. In percentage terms, Klopp has won 44 per cent of finals he has contested, while Ancelotti has won 73 per cent.

    A FAMILIAR FOE AWAITS

    Ancelotti and Klopp are no strangers to one another, of course, with Saturday's showdown set to be their 11th meeting in all competitions. Ancelotti edges the overall record from the previous 10 encounters with four wins to Klopp's three.

    Despite managing an Everton side far inferior to Klopp's Liverpool, Ancelotti lost just one of his three Merseyside derbies during his season-and-a-half in charge of the Toffees.

    That includes three successive games without defeat, culminating in a 2-0 win in February 2021 – Everton's first Anfield victory since 1999 and their first win either home or away over Liverpool since 2010.

    Ancelotti certainly had Klopp's number in the most recent of their battles, although the results of his two finals against English clubs in European competition have been mixed – the aforementioned shoot-out loss in 2005 and a 2-1 win two years later, both during his time with Milan and both against Liverpool.

    The Italian has certainly stood the test of time, with his 70 per cent win rate in his second stint with Madrid bettered only by the 75 per cent enjoyed the first time around in the Spanish capital, and now a shot at history – a fourth Champions League and an eighth European trophy – awaits.

    Against a familiar opponent in both Liverpool and Klopp, and in a city where he helped grow Paris Saint-Germain into a force to be reckoned with just over a decade ago, the stage is set for Ancelotti to further strengthen his claim as being the greatest of them all.

  • Alvarez bags six for River, Colo Colo eliminated from Copa Libertadores Alvarez bags six for River, Colo Colo eliminated from Copa Libertadores

    Julian Alvarez bagged an extraordinary six goals as River Plate finished off the Copa Libertadores group stage with a win, smashing Alianza Lima 8-1 on Wednesday.

    The Manchester City-bound 22-year-old had effectively secured the win for River in their final game in Group F, scoring a brace in the opening 20 minutes, before sealing a first-half hat-trick four minutes from the interval.

    His third was the pick of the bunch, too, retreating between the lines to receive the ball before driving low and hard into the bottom corner from just outside the penalty area.

    Following Santiago Simon's goal in the 53rd minute, Enzo Gomez arguably topped them all for degree of difficulty, sending the ball into the top corner in the 79th minute before Alvarez rounded out the scoring four minutes later.

    Los Millonarios ended the group stage undefeated, claiming 16 points from a possible 18 with the win.

    Fortaleza snatch second from Colo Colo

    In the other Group F game, Fortaleza took the three points and second spot from Santiago, defeating Colo Colo 4-3.

    With both teams even on seven points coming into the final matchday, Los Albos needed the win but started the match in an inadequate fashion, conceding in only the second minute to Silvio Romero.

    A Moises double before Yago Pikachu's goal in the 61st minute put Fortaleza in control, despite a brace of own-goals from Brayan Ceballos.

    Cerro Porteno scrape through

    Olimpia were unable to leapfrog Cerro Porteno in Group G despite claiming a 1-0 win in Asuncion, putting the latter through to the last 16 on goal difference.

    El Decano needed to win by two goals or more in this Libertadores edition of the Paraguayan Clasico, trailing the Clausura champions by three points and with an inferior goal difference of one.

    Despite an early goal from Fernando Cardozo in the 10th minute, they were unable to break the Azulgrana down and will have to continue in the Copa Sudamericana, finishing third.

  • 'I feel 100 per cent Roma' - Mourinho basks in Roma's Conference League final triumph 'I feel 100 per cent Roma' - Mourinho basks in Roma's Conference League final triumph

    Jose Mourinho has declared he is "100 per cent Roma" after their 1-0 Europa Conference League final triumph over Feyenoord on Wednesday.

    Playing in their first continental showpiece since losing the 1984 European Cup final to Liverpool, Nicolo Zaniolo scored the only goal for the Giallorossi, poking the ball home in the 32nd minute after chesting down Gianluca Mancini's ball over the top of the defence.

    The victory in Tirana gave the Serie A club their first major European trophy.

    In his first season at Roma, Mourinho has now emulated Giovanni Trapattoni's feat of winning a European trophy in three separate decades.

    Despite famously leaving in the following off-season after winning the Champions League with Porto and Inter, the 59-year-old asserted he wants to stay and build on this success in the Italian capital.

    "I remain, even if some voice or offer arrives," Mourinho said. "I want to stay in Rome and we need to understand what our owners want to do in the next season because we can follow up on this story, we must define the direction for the next season.

    "I feel like a Roma player, like I feel like an Inter fan, a Chelsista, I'm crazy about Real Madrid, but for all due respect for the clubs I have worked for, I feel 100 per cent Roma.

    "The beautiful thing about my career beyond winning with Manchester United, winning with Porto, Inter and now with Roma is something special. Winning when everyone expects it is easy, while it is special to win when you do something truly historic. I hope the fans wait for us and celebrate with us all."

    In distinct Mourinho fashion, the Giallorossi were able to absorb pressure once they took the lead, only holding 33 per cent of possession over the 90 minutes.

    Feyenoord could do very little in breaking Roma down, generating only three shots from open play in the penalty area in the match, despite how much of the ball they had.

    For Mourinho and Roma, the Conference League had become a priority and he was pleased this trophy had not c1ome at the expense of domestic ambitions.

    "There are so many things going on in my head right now," he said. "I have been in Rome for 11 months and I immediately understood where I was.

    "As I told the boys, in Turin in the locker room, we did what we had to do, our job. But today it wasn't work, it was history and we wrote history. The Conference League is a competition that we thought we could win from the start, slowly becoming stronger and stronger and we met stronger and stronger teams.

    "But we were aiming for it and sacrificed a few points in the league without losing qualification for the Europa League."

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