Lionel Messi misses Barcelona match against Malaga for birth of third son

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Lionel Messi announced that he and his wife Antonella Roccuzzo had become parents for a third time on Saturday.

“Welcome Ciro!!! Thank God, everything went perfectly. He and his mummy are doing very well. We are super happy!!!” wrote Messi on his Instagram account, accompanying the post with a photo of the baby’s hand.

Ciro is a brother to five-year-old Thiago and Mateo, who is two.

Messi had pulled out of Barcelona’s squad for Saturday’s La Liga match at Malaga to be present for the birth.

The club tweeted: “Change to the squad. Messi is out for personal reasons and Yerry Mina takes his place.”

The Argentinian couple, both 30, first met in their home town, Rosario, in 1996 and started going out a decade later. They were married last year in Rosario.

Barcelona, who face Chelsea in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, have an eight-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.

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Gareth Bale set to return to Real Madrid starting XI against Eibar

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Real Madrid return to La Liga action this weekend after beating PSG on Wednesday to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals.

Gareth Bale is set to return to the starting XI against Eibar after featuring from the substitutes bench against the French giants, with Lucas Vazquez likely to make way.

Meanwhile, Isco could feature in place of Marco Asensio, while both Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are back to full fitness.

Elsewhere, Nacho is likely to replace Raphael Varane at centre-back – while Karim Bemzema is set to partner Cristiano Ronaldo up front despite recent poor form.

LIKELY REAL MADRID XI

Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo; Bale, Kroos, Casemiro, Isco; Ronaldo, Benzema

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are 'impossible to replace' says Gary Lineker

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Rivals who have mutual respect: Ronaldo and Messi.

There will never be two players like Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona icon Lionel Messi again, according to former England and Blaugrana striker Gary Lineker.

While both stars are not close to retirement yet, Ronaldo at 33 and Messi aged 30, are nearer to the end of their world-beating careers than the start.

That said, the La Liga duo are still very much performing at the peak of their powers.

For Lineker, who enjoyed a three-season spell at the Camp Nou in the late 1980s, he feels the Spanish top-flight has been the world’s best league for some time, mainly because of the success of Ronaldo and Messi.

But, with the Premier League’s stock rising ever more, the 57-year-old feels La Liga – as a brand – will take a massive hit whenever either the famed twosome move on or retire.

“The two of them are now getting towards the back end of their careers, and when they go, which sadly for all of us they will, it is going to be impossible to replace them,” Lineker, who scored 48 times for England, told Planet Football.

“You have to remember that Real Madrid and Barcelona have a magical appeal to players all over the world and can generally sign who they want, but they have had Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at their peak for the last few years, which has been a deciding factor in so many big games.

“I would say we (the Premier League) have halved the gap that was there a couple of years back, and with the money in the English game we should get even closer in the next couple of years.”

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