Lionel Messi becomes Barcelona’s most decorated player in history after winning 33th trophy

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Lionel Messi has become Barcelona’s most-decorated player in history after lifting the Spanish Super Cup in Morocco on Sunday evening.

The Argentine has now won 33 trophies for the Catalan giants – one more than Andres Iniesta who won 32 at Camp Nou before he signed for Japanese side Vissel Kobe in May.

Barcelona’s win against Sevilla was Messi’s eighth victory in the Spanish Super Cup since his debut in 2005.

The 31-year-old has also clinched nine La Liga titles, four Champions LeaguEs, three Club World Cups and six Copa del Reys.

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Live Barcelona Blog: Ernesto Valverde hails Ousmane Dembele's 'great quality' after Spanish Super Cup triumph

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Good morning Blaugrana fans! The Sport360 team is here bringing you the latest news from the Camp Nou.

As ever, get in touch with us throughout the day on Twitter and Facebook.

1:00pm – Messi wins 33rd trophy 

Lionel Messi has become Barcelona’s most-decorated player in history after lifting the Spanish Super Cup in Morocco on Sunday evening.

The Argentine has now won 33 trophies for the Catalan giants – one more than Andres Iniesta who won 32 at Camp Nou before he signed for Japanese side Vissel Kobe in May.

Barcelona’s win against Sevilla was Messi’s eighth victory in the Spanish Super Cup since his debut in 2005.

The 31-year-old has also clinched nine La Liga titles, four Champions LeaguEs, three Club World Cups and six Copa del Reys.

9:30am – Valverde praises Dembele’s qualities

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde was full of praise for Ousmane Dembele after his wonder-goal saw his side lift the Supercopa de Espana against Sevilla.

The Spanish champions had to come from behind after Pablo Sarabia scored after just nine minutes, but managed to level the game before half-time when Gerard Pique fired a rebound off a Lionel Messi free-kick.

But it was Dembele’s stunner into the top corner in the 78th minute which gave Barcelona the hard-fought 2-1 victory and left Valverde happy with his team’s performance.

“He (Dembele) is a player with great qualities and today has left us with something to be happy about in a difficult match.”

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Ousmane Dembele earns historic night for Lionel Messi and other Barcelona talking points

Andy West 13/08/2018
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Lionel Messi became Barcelona’s all-time leader in trophies won on Sunday night, lifting the Spanish Super Cup for his 33rd career honour after a 2-1 victory over Sevilla.

For once, though, Messi was not the hero as one of his team-mates stepped up to produce a spectacular winner, and that tops our three key conclusions from this curtain raiser to the new season.

DEMBELE COMES OF AGE

Ousmane Dembele suffered a torrid first season at Barcelona after joining for a nine-figure fee from Borussia Dortmund in the wake of Neymar’s shock departure last summer, missing a large chunk of the campaign through injury and often looking out of place when he did get onto the pitch.

The young forward’s struggles inevitably led to transfer speculation, and Dembele headed into this game surrounded by reports that he could be lured away from Camp Nou by Paris Saint-Germain.

But on the evidence presented on Sunday night, Dembele has absolutely no intention of quitting Barcelona and instead has his mind set upon proving himself to be a major – if delayed – success story for the Catalan giants.

Lining up on the left of a front three, Dembele was bright and lively from the opening whistle, regularly threatening to destabilise Sevilla’s defence with his unpredictable and skilful dribbling.

And his ability to conjure up the unexpected eventually proved decisive, as he became the match-winner by finding space on the edge of the box and rifling an unstoppable rising drive high into the net. There’s a long way to go, but if he continues like this Dembele can become a big star at Barcelona.

VAR-M WELCOME FOR VIDEO REPLAYS

This season-opening showpiece in Morocco saw a few footnotes of Spanish football history written, becoming the first Super Cup to be contested over one game rather than two legs and the first to be held overseas.

Even more significantly, it was also the first time that match officials were able to call upon video assistance, and it didn’t take long for VAR to make an impact.

Just nine minutes had been played when Pablo Sarabia latched onto Luis Muriel’s pass to convert for Sevilla, but his joy was short-lived as the linesman’s flag was raised for offside. However, after a quick review referee Carlos del Cerro Grande overturned that original decision as video replays showed Sarabia was onside when the pass was played, and the goal was rightly allowed to stand.

VAR will also be used in La Liga this season and, in theory at least, that should help to shoot down the conspiracy theories so beloved by fans of Barca and Real Madrid, who seem to enjoy believing their team is being victimised. And if it can quickly eradicate mistakes as it did on this occasion, it will be a welcome addition.

MURIEL SHINES, SUAREZ STUMBLES

The two South American centre forwards on display delivered markedly different performances, with Sevilla’s Luis Muriel catching the eye while Barca’s Luis Suarez endured a very tough night.

Colombia international Muriel was hit and miss last season, his first in Spain, often looking very dangerous but only netting nine goals and regularly frustrating with wasteful end product.

On this occasion, however, he suggested that he is ready to produce a much-improved second season as he regularly tormented Barca’s defence with his pace and direct running – including a dangerous surge and perceptive pass to tee up Sarabia for the opener.

Suarez, on the other hand, was a disaster zone, often failing to execute even easy passes and generally looking well off the pace. That can be excused because it was his first game since the World Cup, but Barca’s lack of a viable alternative – unless Paco Alcacer or Munir El Haddadi can come good – is a serious cause for concern as the new season looms because their current reliance upon a 31-year-old could prove unsustainable.

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