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Messi depature, legal fight at Barcelona

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images 2020 08 26T101305.807 Messi depature, legal fight at Barcelona

Six- time Ballon d ’ Or winner Lionel Messi told Barcelona he wants to leave — on a free transfer — in a “ bombshell ” fax on Tuesday that is expected to spark a legal battle over a buy -out clause worth hundreds of millions of dollars .
Signalling the end of an era at Barcelona, where Messi is the record scorer and has won four Champions League titles , the disgruntled Argentine wants to terminate his contract “ unilaterally ” by triggering a release clause , a source told AFP .
Relations have plummeted this year and speculation swirled about Messi’s departure after this month ’s humiliating 8 -2 Champions League quarter – final defeat to Bayern Munich , which left Barca without a trophy for the first time since 2007 .
The 33 -year – old ’ s demand , faxed by his lawyers , prompted protests against Barcelona’ s under -fire president Josep Maria Bartomeu outside the Camp Nou where Messi, synonymous with the club ’ s most successful period, is worshipped by fans .
“ I don’ t see him anywhere else . I can’ t believe it ,” said Ruben Tejero , 28 , one of about 100 fans at the stadium calling for Bartomeu to resign.
“ I prefer to think it ’s an ultimatum given to management for Bartomeu to go .”
Manchester City, Paris Saint -Germain and Inter Milan are among those to have been linked to Messi, who is among the greatest players in history and has wages to match, with a reported weekly salary of nearly a million euros.
ESPN reported that Messi spoke last week with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola about a possible move . A Barcelona-based Brazilian journalist also said Messi wants to play under his former Barcelona coach .
– Drastic changes –
Barcelona have yet to react officially but are understood to believe Messi’s release clause expired in June, and that he remains under contract until the end of the 2021 season.
“ In principle, this clause expired on June 10 , but the unusual nature of this season disrupted by the coronavirus opened the way for Messi to ask to be released from his contract now , ” wrote Spanish sports daily Marca.
“ It ’s the first step towards opening negotiations over his departure , on the basis of which his release clause amounts to 700 million euros ( $ 828 million ) .”
Messi joined Barcelona’s youth academy at the age of 13 and made his debut in 2004 as a 17 – year -old , before going on to score a club -record 634 goals .
But his future at Barca was thrown into serious doubt by the 8- 2 loss to Bayern , the first time Barca had conceded eight goals in a game since losing to Sevilla 8 -0 in the 1946 Spanish Cup .
The defeat has sparked drastic changes . Coach Quique Setien was sacked after barely six months in charge , and sporting director Eric Abidal was also dismissed .
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According to Spanish media, Messi met with new coach Ronald Koeman last week and told the Dutchman he saw himself “ more out than in” at the club .
Koeman has vowed to “ fight to put Barca back on top” and said at his unveiling he was hopeful Messi would remain at the club for several more years.
But Koeman has reportedly told Luis Suarez he is no longer part of Barca ’s plans, delivering a similar message to Arturo Vidal , Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti .
“ The club needs changes ,” said defender Gerard Pique following the Bayern demolition . “ Nobody is untouchable, least of all me . Fresh blood is needed to change this . We ’ve hit rock bottom . ”
Argentine sports daily Ole described Messi’ s wish to leave as a “ complete bombshell ” , but he has had regular disagreements with the club ’s board in recent times.
The Lisbon loss , Barca ’ s heaviest in Europe , exposed an ageing team that Messi repeatedly had said was simply not good enough.
He said it in February and again in July , when a rant in the aftermath of handing Real Madrid the title turned into a brutal , but honest , assessment of their season.
As his relationship with the club hierarchy grew increasingly strained , Messi also reacted publicly when Abidal appeared to blame the players for the sacking of Ernesto Valverde in January.
He also led the fightback from the Barcelona players over a dispute with the board in March regarding pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic .
“ Respect and admiration , Leo . All my support , friend , ” tweeted Barca great Carles Puyol , a long – time former team -mate of Messi, to which Suarez replied with two applause emojis .
Vidal also tweeted : “ When you shut a tiger in a cage he doesn ’ t give in, he fights back . ”

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I have no doubts about Messi, says Koeman

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download 10 2 I have no doubts about Messi, says Koeman

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said he has no concerns about Lionel Messi ahead of their first La Liga game of the season on Sunday after the Argentinian took another swipe at the club over the departure of Luis Suarez .
Koeman was also keen to point out it was not solely his decision to let Suarez join Atletico Madrid , with the Dutchman insisting he is not the “ bad guy in the movie ” .
Messi criticized how Suarez was pushed out as Barca try to reduce their wage bill , saying “ you deserved a goodbye for what you are ” before adding : “ But at this point, nothing surprises me anymore ” .
Barcelona plays Villarreal on Sunday at Camp Nou and Messi is expected to start , having reintegrated with the squad since claiming he was denied a transfer this summer.
Koeman said in a press conference on Saturday he was not worried about Messi , despite his captain ’s latest show of frustration .
“ It is normal for a player to be a bit sad when a friend of theirs leaves after the years that they have had together , it is part of football, ” said Koeman .
“ But the most important thing for me is how he has been. In training and in games , I think Leo has been an example for everyone , in his commitment to the club and to the team. I have no doubts about Leo in this regard . ”
Suarez scored 198 goals for Barcelona to become their third – highest goalscorer in history but the 33- year – old was deemed expendable after the team ’s disastrous end to last season .
Koeman was reported to have held a direct and short telephone conversation with Suarez about his future but Barca’ s new coach claims the decision was not only his.
“ At first it was like I was the bad guy in the movie ,” said Koeman . “ It ’s not like that because from the first day or after my call with Luis I showed respect for the player and the person he is.
“ He trained to the maximum from the first day and I always told him it could be difficult for him to play but if he stayed he would be one of the squad and could work like the others.
“ That ’s what I told the club too but these are decisions made by the club . Before signing the contract the club was thinking about changing things and I have tried to support those decisions.
“ But it was not only my decision as a manager, but they are also decisions of the club as well .”
Suarez follows Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo , and Arturo Vidal is leaving Barcelona this summer but the club have struggled to afford replacements.
“ The economic situation of the club is very complicated and it could be that they can ’ t bring in what I want , ” said Koeman . “ I knew that and I accept it and if I stay with these players, I will work very hard to improve them. ”

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Fernandes’ 100th minute penalty hands Man Utd win at Brighton

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images 2020 09 26T162721.509 Fernandes’ 100th minute penalty hands Man Utd win at Brighton

Bruno Fernandes scored a penalty , awarded on a VAR review after the final whistle had blown , as Manchester United rode their luck to register their first Premier League points of the season with a thrilling 3- 2 win at Brighton on Saturday.
The Seagulls hit the woodwork five times and thought they had earned a deserved point when Solly March headed home to equalize in the 95th minute.
However , Neal Maupay ’s handball was penalized by referee Chris Kavanagh after he had blown for full- time and Fernandes converted from the spot in the 100 th minute.
Pre- season hopes that United could mount a title challenge to their biggest rivals Liverpool and Manchester City dissipated after a dire display in losing 3- 1 to Crystal Palace last weekend.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes and got more of the same for the first 45 minutes as Brighton controlled the game .
Leandro Trossard hit both posts with shots from outside the box, while Adam Webster ’ s looping header came back off the crossbar .
It took United 33 minutes to muster a flowing move involving the front three of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood , who found the net but the goal was ruled out for offside against Rashford.
– VAR to the rescue –
Brighton finally got their reward when the tireless Tariq Lamptey burst into the box from right wing – back and was clipped by Fernandes .
The United midfielder was lucky to escape a second yellow card , but Maupay ensured they did pay the penalty with a cheeky chip down the middle of the goal as David de Gea dived to his left.
However , the lead lasted just three minutes as from a fiercely driven Fernandes free -kick , Nemanja Matic turned the ball back across goal and Lewis Dunk turned the ball into his own net .
VAR came to the rescue of both sides within the first 10 minutes of the second half .
United had already conceded a penalty in consecutive games for the first time in 11 years in the Premier League and thought they had given an away from a second spot – kick of the match when Paul Pogba was penalized for pulling back Aaron Connolly .
However , Kavanagh overturned his initial decision when he saw a replay of the incident .
At the other end, United ’ s front three was beginning to click as Rashford swept home Greenwood ’s low cross but this time VAR ruled against United with the goalscorer marginally offside .
There was no stopping Rashford moments later when he raced onto Fernandes ’s ball over the top and left Ben White trailing on the ground before his deflected effort found the top corner .
Brighton ’s bad luck continued when March became the next player to hit the woodwork as his low shot across De Gea came back off the inside of the far post before Trossard smashed against the bar with just the Spanish number one to beat .
The Seagulls seemed to finally have their reward when March ghosted in at the back post to head home Alireza Jahanbakash ’ s cross .
But in a chaotic finale, Harry Maguire ’ s header from a corner struck Maupay ’ s arm and to Brighton ’ s dismay , a penalty was awarded .
Fernandes has never missed a top – flight penalty and stayed cool under the pressure to ensure Solskjaer ’ s men escaped with all three points .

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NPFL: 9 Kwara United Players Test Positive For COVID – 19

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images 2020 09 26T102407.456 NPFL: 9 Kwara United Players Test Positive For COVID - 19

No less than nine Kwara United players have returned positive results for the coronavirus following tests that were conducted as part of the stipulated guidelines ahead of the Nigeria Premier Football League resumption.
The club in compliance with the regulation of the League Management Company (LMC) had all their members take the test on September 17. It was gathered that the Afonja Warriors mandated all players to take the tests as they return to training in Ilorin.
The nine positive players have been taken to the Sobi Isolation Centre in Ilorin.
All clubs have been ordered by the LMC to perform COVID-19 test for players and officials in line with the protocols and guidelines from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Since the Federal Government announced the return of sports behind closed doors last month, football activities is yet to resume. Meanwhile, with the gradual flattening of the coronavirus pandemic curve in Nigeria, the federal government has stated that it is yet to lift ban on contact sports including football.
Despite the gradual easing of the lockdown, the Nigeria Professional Football League 2020/21 season resumption is still uncertain as government say go-ahead has not been ordered.
Sani Aliyu, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, September 10, noted that the PTF had only removed restrictions on non-contact sports. “On the issue, I’m a football fan, but sadly, we have not allowed contact sports at the moment. We have only allowed non-contact sports, and so, football is not included.

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