With Barcelona incurring debts, Messi forced to leave the club - The Daily Guardian
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With Barcelona incurring debts, Messi forced to leave the club

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In the Post Covid era this year, football, the most favorite sport of the globe gave the world the first set of mega sporting spectacles- Copa America and the Euros that rattled and dazzled not only Americas or Europe but the entire world earlier this year. The year 2021 proved to be a year to remember for Lionel Messi as he found redemption guiding the La Albiceleste to their first title in almost two decades beating rivals Brazil by a solitary goal in the finals of the Copa America.

Their last World Cup glory came way back in Mexico 1986 and more recently in Rio 2014 Argentina finished runner up courtesy Mario Götze’s extra time goal that helped Germany claim their fourth World Title. The Blue and White brigade had last won the Copa America in 1993 at Ecuador while finishing Runner up 2004, 2007, 2015 and 2016 in the recent past. This was Messi’s first Winners Trophy for his beloved Argentina.

The world was slowly finding its way back to the post-pandemic way of life, when the news that Messi was parting ways with Barcelona, shook the entire world. Football fans across the globe, believed that Barca and Messi were inseparable. The blow was close to the hearts of the 250 million fans who follow Barcelona FC – the second most popular Club in the World. Lionel Messi had joined Barcelona in 2003 in his early teens and since then won a record Six Ballon d’Or Awards, Six European Gold Shoes, Ten La Liga Titles, and for the club 35 trophies which include Seven Copa del Ray and Four European Champions League Crowns. The 5’7” maestro found the opposition net 672 times in 778 appearances for Barca, and scored over 750 senior career goals for club and country -the most goals ever by a player for a single club.

While many indicated how Messi’s good friend Luis Suárez was made to feel at the Barcelona and as a result he left to join Atlético Madrid, these were early signs that things were going to be different. In August 2020, Messi had tried to leave Barcelona making a formal request for an exit after a breakdown in his relationship with then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu but his successor Joan Laporta, had convinced him to stay.

This time when the contract had run out, and Messi and Barcelona wanted to renew their contracts, economic, structural and legal issues were cited to force the two to part ways. Barcelona maintained that Messi wanted to stay with the club even if it meant a 50% reduction in his wages but La Liga’s Financial Fair Play regulations would not permit the club to incur any further debt. Javier Tebas, Chief, La Liga was reported saying that Barcelona, which has a total debt of more than 1 billion euros equivalent to $1.18 billion, would not be shown any leniency when it comes to obeying the league’s strict financial control rules.

In 2013, La Liga had introduced financial measures of controlling that determined the maximum amount of money each club could spend on its teams, which was conditioned by their income. This included the amount a club could spend as paying wages to the playing squad and coaching staff each season. According to the 2021 Deloitte Money League, Barcelona has the highest revenues in world football, although the club’s income fell drastically by 125 million euros last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the income plummeted, the big salaries have definitely been a burgeoning liability on the Catalan giants. Desperate attempts to offload a couple of high-wage players and talks about reducing salaries of players they wanted to retain, things did not actually pan out as planned.

Messi who also captains Argentina and is considered by many to be one of the greatest players to play the game would have had many lucrative offers. Many expected him to move to Manchester City and reunite with his former manager Pep Guardiola but Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino sealed the deal. Reports state that Messi’s two-year contract with PSG gives him a $41 million annual net salary, including bonuses. There is more on the table like a near $30-million signing bonus, while reports are rumored that Argentine will also get a share of player image rights, including jersey sales, which could potentially take his salary up to the $75 million range. PSG said in a statement that Messi will also have a share in the cryptocurrency or fan tokens included in his “welcome package”, or signing on fee. The contract also has an option for extending into a possible third year.

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CRISTIANO RONALDO TOPPLES LIONEL MESSI AS FORBES’ HIGHEST-EARNING FOOTBALLER

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s big-money move to Manchester United saw him replacing Lionel Messi as the highest-paid footballer in the world, according to the latest rankings released by Forbes.

Ronaldo is set to earn $125 million before taxes in the 2021-22 season, with $70 million coming from salary and bonus for his return to United. The 36-year-old is set to earn an estimated $55m (£40.31m) from commercial deals, only three other active athletes make more commercially: Roger Federer ($90 million), LeBron James ($65 million) and Tiger Woods ($60 million). His longtime and arch-rival, Lionel Messi will earn $110m (£80.63m) this season, with $75m (£50m) of that figure coming from his salary and bonuses at the Parc des Princes, as per Forbes. The former Barcelona star will pad his PSG paycheck with an estimated $35 million in endorsements.

PSG now claims three of the world’s five highest-paid players, including the 29-year-old Neymar, who lands at No. 3 once again with $95 million, and the 22-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who is No. 4 with $43 million. In total, the 10 highest-paid footballers are set to collect pretax earnings of around $585m (£428m) this season, up from last year’s total of around $570m (£471m).

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Challenging and exciting times ahead for Indian hockey, says midfielder Hardik

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Young midfielder Hardik Singh had a sensational outing at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics 2020, where the Indian men’s hockey team clinched the historic bronze medal. The 22-year-old, who was one of the key figures in the Indian midfield, scored two crucial goals in his debut Olympic Games.

“After the 2018 World Cup, this (Tokyo Olympics) was my second major tournament with the senior team, and I wasn’t really satisfied with my performance in the World Cup. Hence, I wanted to prove myself that I can do better on bigger stages. So, for me, it was a great challenge, and I am glad that I could do well, and was able to contribute to the team’s success,” explained Hardik in an official release. Hardik scored a memorable field goal in the quarter-final match against England, which helped the side enter the medal rounds at the Olympics after more than four decades.

While recalling the iconic goal, the young gun said: “It was a team goal, our defence line stuck together to hold the 2-1 lead at a very crucial phase of the game as we were down to 10 men. Harmanpreet tackled the ball really well, he then passed it to me, and I had open space to penetrate into the striking circle, although my shot bounced off the goalkeeper’s pad, luckily I received the rebound, and found the back of the net.”

“Nilakanta also played a crucial role here as he blind spotted the goalkeeper, which helped me find the gap during that rebound,” he added. When asked about the reason behind India’s success at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Hardik said: “We are a tight-knit team, and I think that was our biggest strength at the Olympics.

After the disappointing result against Australia, we sat together and openly spoke to each other about what went wrong and what we needed to do in the upcoming matches to put up a much better performance. That really helped us a lot to bounce back and eventually win the medal for the country.”The 22-year-old midfielder further added that the team is eager to begin its quest for gold at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“We are eager to begin our Quest for Gold at the Paris Olympics. We will have to approach step-by-step, and our first step will be to qualify directly for the Olympic Games 2024 by winning Gold at the 2022 Asian Games. Then in 2023, we have another marquee event- Hockey World Cup, which will be played in Odisha, so there are challenging and exciting times ahead, and we are looking forward to it.” he concluded.

The 22-year-old midfielder further added that the team is eager to begin its quest for gold at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

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GOOD DECISION TO REST ROHIT FOR CSK GAME LOOKING AT CRICKET COMING UP, SAYS BOULT

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Mumbai Indians pacer Trent Boult on Wednesday said the aim of the franchise remains that skipper Rohit Sharma remains fit looking at the amount of cricket coming up.

Mumbai had suffered a defeat at the hands of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Sunday and the Rohit Sharma-led outfit is at the fourth spot with eight points from eight games. The side will next lock horns against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Thursday. “Every game is such a big game, every match is important now. But history is history, it is nice to have good results in our bag against KKR. They are a quality side. We would not take them lightly. Varun Chakravarthy is a quality bowler, I hope I do not face him being a number eleven, yeah I think more importantly it is about batting unit of Mumbai putting a good performance and stack up scores,” said Boult.

When asked about fitness update on Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya, Boult said: “They are both recovering well, in terms of their selection for the next game, I am not too sure. It was a bit of a precautionary move to rest them.”Replying to a query about whether Kieron Pollard could have brought in Boult or Jasprit Bumrah into the attack when Ravindra Jadeja had just walked in, Boult said: “I am not too sure. Pollard captains really well. It is just the nature of the game and the format. Partnerships are built and platforms are set. They played nicely to get into a position to counter-attack at the end.”

“It was disappointing to give CSK momentum at the halfway mark but it is something we will address and look to tidy up in that department,” he added.The Kiwi pacer also said that the IPL will give a perfect chance to everyone to get used to the conditions ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup. “Yeah, 100 per cent. You could probably not have any better build-up to a tournament like the T20 World Cup. The focus is on what’s on for the next couple of weeks, but in terms of preparation, it is very good. Conditions can change quickly but having to deal with the heat is a big challenge at this stage. It is going to be interesting to see conditions move over the course of the next few weeks,” said Boult.

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IPL 2021: Sunrisers Hyderabad player Natarajan tests Covid-19 positive

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Sunrisers Hyderabad player T Natarajan tested positive for Covid-19 at a scheduled RT-PCR test. The player has isolated himself from the rest of the squad. He is currently asymptomatic and there are six close contacts of the player who have been isolated. But the match between SRH and Delhi Capitals is on as the other players have tested negative.

As per the IPL release, the medical team has identified Vijay Shankar, Vijay Kumar (Team Manager), Shyam Sundar J (Physiotherapist), Anjana Vannan (Doctor), Tushar Khedkar (Logistics Manager) and Periyasamy Ganesan (Net Bowler) as the close contacts. “The rest of the contingent including the close contacts underwent RT-PCR tests at 5AM local time this morning and the test reports are negative. As a result, tonight’s game between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals will go ahead at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai,” the IPL release said.

The 14th season of the IPL resumed on Sunday with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians squaring off. The edition earlier had to be postponed after a string of positive Covid-19 cases within the bio-bubble in India.

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FORMER CAPTAIN VIJAYAN LAUDS INITIATIVE TO POPULARISE WOMEN’S FOOTBALL IN KERALA

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Talismanic former Indian national team captain I.M. Vijayan sounded excited, lavishing huge praise on the collaboration between the Government of Kerala and All India Football Federation in close coordination with the KFA.

National level football is all set for a return to God’s own country, with the Kerala Government and the All India Football Federation agreeing upon terms.

“This will act as a boon for football in the state,” Vijayan commented. “I am very happy to hear such tournaments are being planned to be hosted in Kerala. It has been a long time since we have had footballing action in the state, especially due to the pandemic. People are dying to watch live action.” Vijayan, nicknamed as the ‘Black Buck’ during his playing days, stated.

As an initiative to popularise women’s football, the Government of Kerala, along with the AIFF and the Kerala Football Association (KFA), will host an international football tournament in Kochi in December, ahead of the Indian women’s team’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 campaign. That comes in addition to hosting the final round of the Santosh Trophy and a series of other grassroots and coach educationinitiatives.

“Gokulam Kerala will already play in the AFC Women’s Club Championship, and now the Kerala Government has also opened academies for women. I think hosting an international women’s tournament will further help inspire more women to take up the sport,” he said. “I am looking forward to it. Well done,” Vijayan maintained.India international C.K. Vineeth also echoed the sentiments, saying that all the upcoming footballing activities like hosting the final round of the Santosh Trophy, and AIFF and KFA’s support in organising Youth League and Golden Baby Leagues in the state, football in Kerala will receive a boost.

“Football in Kerala is already so popular. We have seen so many people throng to the stadiums. Now, with so many activities set to happen, all these aspiring players will get an avenue to pursue their dreams,” said Vineeth.

“I think with all the facilities and help coming in, it will give a huge motivation especially for the local men and women’s footballers,” he said.

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Dominant Delhi move to top spot after emphatic win against Sunrisers

With this victory, Delhi Capitals have moved top of the IPL points table, toppling Chennai Super Kings to the second.

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Anrich Nortje brilliant display with the ball was followed by a masterful knock by Shreyas Iyer as Delhi Capitals crushed SunRisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets, chasing the target of 134 in 17.5 overs in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday.Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan played innings of 47 and 42 respectively to take Delhi Capitals home with a victory.

DC captain Rishabh Pant also played a crucial quickfire inning of 35* in 21 balls. For SRH, Khaleel Ahmed and Rashid Khan scalped one wicket each. With this victory, Delhi have moved top of the IPL points table, toppling Chennai Super Kings to the second. And the defeat here means SRH hopes of the playoff are now almost dusted as they stay at bottom of the table with one win from eight games.

Chasing a modest target of 134, DC enjoyed a good start as they lost just one wicket in the powerplay and scored 39 runs. Khaleel Ahmed got the wicket of Prithvi Shaw 11(8) in the third over after Williamson took a brilliant catch of the Indian opener.

Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan continued with their aggressive batting in the following overs. The duo completed a fine half-century partnership between them as Delhi moved to 70/1. Soon, Rashid Khan did the trick for SRH in the 11th over as the Afghan bowler removed dangerous-looking Shikhar Dhawan (42).

DC captain Rishabh Pant joined Iyer on the pitch and wasted no time in showing his aggressive intent as the duo continued chipping boundaries whenever they get the chance. DC former captain and the incumbent one combined to add 67, as Capitals easily chased the target in the 17.5 overs.Earlier, Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada starred with the ball as Delhi Capitals (DC) restricted SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) to 134/9. Anrich Nortje (2-12), Kagiso Rabada (3-37), and Axar Patel (2-21) bamboozled the opposition with their pace, accuracy and length. For, SRH Abdul Samad and Rashid Khan played innings of 28 and 22 respectively.

Opting to bat first, SRH had a shaky start when their star overseas opener David Warner walked back to the pavilion in the very first over of the innings. The South African speedster ousted Warner on pace and the Australian got out for a three-ball duck.

SRH captain Kane Williamson, and Wriddhiman Saha managed to gain momentum in the match but opposition bowlers gave them no respite. With continuous pressure on one end, Saha took his chances against Kagiso Rabada and welcomed the South African bowler with a six in the fifth over. But SA bowler had the last laugh as Saha went back to the dressing room after got beaten for pace with the short ball.

After the first powerplay, SRH were 32/2. In the 9th over of the innings, Marcus Stoinis walked off the field after getting injured. In the very next over SRH captain Williamson got caught by Hetmyer off Axar Patel bowling after getting lucky two times in the match.

Manish Pandey soon followed his captain to the pavilion in the next over after Rabada got him caught and bowled. With runs in scarcity for the team in orange, the wickets continued falling as Nortje trapped Kedar Jadhav for LBW in the 13th over.

Axar Patel got Jason Holder (10) in the 16th over. Kagiso Rabada removed dangerous-looking Abdul Samad (28) in the 19th over but conceded 14 runs. Rashid Khan (22) played an important cameo for SRH before getting run out in the last over of the innings. Sandeep Sharma (0) got run out in the last ball of the innings.

Brief Scores: SunRisers Hyderabad (Abdul Samad 28, Rashid Khan 22; Kagiso Rabada 3-37, Anrich Nortje 2-12) vs Delhi Capitals (Shreyas Iyer 47*, Shikhar Dhawan 42; Rashid Khan 1-26, Khaleel Ahmed 1-33)

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