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PSG favourites to land Lionel Messi

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Barcelona announced the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will not be staying at the club ‘because of financial and structural obstacles’.

The 34-year-old has been a free agent since July 1 when his contract expired at the Nou Camp. The club wrote in a statement;

Leo Messi not staying at FC Barcelona

Despite club and player reaching an agreement and their clear intention to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles

Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations).

As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.

FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.

According to Betfair, PSG is the odds-on favourites to sign him at 10/11, with Manchester City second-favorites at 21/10.

City boss Pep Guardiola has made no secret of his desire to be reunited with his former Barcelona team-mate but with the £100m rival of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa and their interest in £150m Harry Kane, could see Messi join PSG instead.

Betfair spokesperson Sam Rosbottom said: ‘The big transfer news just keeps on coming and all eyes are back on the future of Lionel Messi following the confirmation that he won’t be signing a new deal with Barcelona.

‘Reports last summer suggested that Manchester City were very close to signing him, and they are currently second-favourites at 21/10 to secure the services of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

‘However, it is French side PSG who are the odds-on favourites to sign him at 10/11, while Manchester United are outsiders at 18/1.’

Barca insists both they and Messi were willing to extend his stay, but claim La Liga regulations have made that impossible.

A statement on the Catalan giants’ official website said: ‘Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi has reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations).

‘As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona.’

Messi made 778 appearances for Barcelona, scoring 672 goals which have helped to secure 10 league titles, four Champions Leagues and three Club World Cups among his haul of 35 trophies.

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Oyo’ll continue to develop talents to make sports top revenue earner – Makinde

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Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Monday, stated that his administration will continue to develop youths through sporting activities in order to make the sport sector a top source of revenue for not only the state but the entire nation.
He noted that the state intends to achieve the development of talents through a massive investment in sport development, pointing out that the remodelling and rehabilitation of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex and other mini-stadia and training pitches in all zones of the state have begun to yield positive results.
Makinde, who stated these while receiving Oyo State-born table tennis star, Aruna Quadri, at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, lauded him for making the state and Nigeria proud.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that Quadri’s achievements will always motivate other youths to get involved in sports, adding that the table tennis star is not only a gift to the state but also to the continent of Africa and the world.
Makinde said: “I welcome you, your wife and mother to the seat of government of Oyo State. Let me also congratulate Mama for the gift of Aruna Quadri not only to Oyo State and Nigeria, but to the continent of Africa and the world. May God continue to be with you, Ma.
“This is a good example of what we can do with the talents God gives us.
“For us, in the four main pillars of this administration, the last one, which is the expansion of our economy, taking as many of our youths off the streets, is actually working, as played out here. And the government is not relenting. This is because we believe that some of the talents we can develop will not only serve as motivation to others but can also become big sources of revenue for the state and the country.
“It may be an appropriate time for me to mention that Sarah Adegoke, who won Gold for Oyo State in the last National Sports Festival, is now in Europe, Spain to be precise, to get taken over by a proper professional so that she can launch her professional career.
“We are also in the process of doing the same thing for Mubaraq. He is a 13-years-old and we are also sending him to Europe. I did this with personal funds, because we didn’t have any budget to support that.
“So, we will continue to encourage people like yourself who are breaking through nationally and internationally to come back to Oyo State and develop sports, and Oyo State will definitely partner with you so that we can do this in an organised manner, and also measure the result coming out of it.
“This is also a good opportunity for me to meet a superstar from Oyo State. Whatever we need to partner to support your effort, believe that we will definitely do it.”
Speaking during the visit, Quadri appreciated Governor Makinde for his support towards sports development, citing the remodelled Lekan Salami Stadium and other stadia in the state”.
While adding that he was proud to be an indigene of the state, Quadri encouraged youths to get involved in sporting activities to reduce crime rate.
He said: “I am very happy for this opportunity of meeting you, which I have been looking for, for more than 10 years. I will like to thank you for the good things you have been doing in the area of sports development in Oyo State – for example, the remodelled Lekan Salami Stadium. The new face of the stadium has never happened before. So, it is a great success during your time.
“Through the sport of table tennis, I have been able to make my family proud and put food on the table. I am very happy and proud to be an indigene of the state.
“Over the years, we have been supporting different kids from different parts of the country, especially the cadets and junior cadets. We have been able to donate some equipment to Oyo State table tennis players through the Sports Council here and some other parts of the zonal Sports Council.
“I thought of taking this to the higher level by giving back to the society in a very big way – I mean taking table tennis to schools, streets and encouraging our youths in order to reduce the crime rate.
“I want to share a very vital message that it is possible to combine education and sports. I also want to encourage youths on the street that through sports, they can have a better future rather than roaming about.”

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2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Osimhen in, Bassey handed maiden Nigeria call-up

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Coach Gernot Rohr has announced his 23-man Nigeria squad that will take on the Central African Republic in October’s double-header 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

 

The three-time African kings would be hoping to extend their perfect start in Group C when they take on coach Raoul Savoy’s Wild Beasts en route to potentially qualifying for the global football showpiece.

To tackle these games, the German tactician has named a strong squad with Napoli star Victor Osimhen, Genk’s Paul Onuachu and Rangers’ Joe Aribo making the 

Regular suspects like Alex Iwobi, captain Ahmed Musa, France based Moses Simon, as well as Leon Balogun and Maduka Okoye, also form part of the team.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Calvin Bassey who plays for Scottish giants Rangers and can play as a left-back or centre-back has been handed his maiden Nigeria call-up.

Unfortunately, Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi and Watford star Peter Etebo will play no part in the crunch fixtures due to injury setbacks.

Rohr’s men will take on the Central African Republic on October 7 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos before travelling to Bangui for the return fixture billed for Stade Barthelemy Boganda three days later.

Victory in both games will take them a step closer to the all-important knockout rounds that will produce Africa’s five flagbearers in Qatar.

 

NIGERIA FULL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherland.

Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Calvin Bassey (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany)

Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Innocent Bonke (Malmo FF, Sweden); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Kalu (FC Bordeaux, France); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia)

 

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Iheanacho refused entry into Poland as passport issues rock Leicester Europa League plans

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Leicester will be without Kelechi Iheanacho for their Europa League clash with Legia Warsaw on Thursday after the Nigeria international forward was denied entry into Poland.

 

The Foxes flew out for their latest continental fixture on Wednesday evening, but are now a man down after issues at passport control.

Iheanacho has been forced to head back to the UK and will be left as a spectator when Brendan Rodgers’ side take to the field.

Why is Iheanacho out?

Problems with the 24-year-old’s documentation have led to an embarrassing mix up for the Foxes, who will be without their top scorer from last season when facing Legia.

Airport officials are said to have noticed a difference between Iheanacho’s official paperwork and the visa he required in order to enter an EU country.

What has been said?

Iheanacho hit 19 goals for Leicester in the 2020-21 campaign as they secured a fifth-place finish in the Premier League and savoured FA Cup glory, and he will be a big miss for Rodgers.

There is little the Foxes boss can do about his absence, with those at King Power Stadium looking to get any misunderstandings cleared up before they face Spartak Moscow on October 20.

Rodgers told reporters: “We’ve had an issue with Kelechi. His documentation coming into the country wasn’t sufficient, so he wasn’t able to travel. He will be unavailable for the game. The paperwork didn’t allow him to enter the country. We’ll have to look at that when we’re back.”

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