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Messi To Become A Free Agent At Midnight

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Messi To Be A Free Agent At Midnight

Lionel Messi will, on paper at least, not be a Barcelona player from midnight on June 30, as the Argentine has not yet reached an agreement with the club over a new contract.

Ever since Joan Laporta returned as Barcelona president in March, it has been his No.1 goal to get Messi to put pen to paper on a new deal, but the Catalan club’s all-time record goalscorer has not done so just yet.

It is worth remembering that Messi was ready to leave Barcelona last summer, with the 34-year-old handing in a transfer request to then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu via a burofax, yet the Blaugrana were not willing to let him go and instead pointed any interested clubs to his 700 million euro release clause.

Laporta was aware that he needed to try and fix the situation, so throughout his election campaign he made clear that Messi had confidence in him because he had stayed true to his word with the Argentine during his first spell in office.

However, four months have now passed since Laporta became Barcelona president and there is no agreement between the club and Messi’s camp.

Laporta has a very good relationship with Messi and his father, who he speaks to frequently, but when it has come to reaching an agreement there are still a few issues that are unresolved.

READ ALSO: I want players like Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo- Guardiola

These slight differences could be addressed in the next couple of days, or it could take a bit longer, but Laporta is clear that he wants an agreement to be reached imminently in order to avoid seeing Messi become a free agent, even if it just for a matter of days.

There is another important reason why Laporta is keen to ensure that Messi does not take long to agree a new deal at the Camp Nou: sponsorship contracts.

There are several companies that invest a lot of money into Barcelona due to the fact that Messi, one of the world’s most recognisable athletes, is there.

Without him at the club, the amount of money that Barcelona could bring in would be significantly affected. Given the club’s financial woes, this would be a severe blow.

MARCA

 

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PHOTOS: Disqualified Nigerian Athletes Protest In Tokyo

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OLYMPICS: How Fight Over Puma Contract Caused Disqualification Of 10 Nigerian Athletes – Blessing Okagbare

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How the fight over Puma Contract caused the Disqualification Of 10 Nigeria Athletes

Nigerian sprint queen, Blessing Okagbare has accused the officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, of being responsible for the ban of the ten athletes participating at the ongoing Tokyo Olympic games in Japan.

Earlier, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which runs the anti-doping program for the sport, said the athletes failed to meet the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules for ‘Category A’ federations.

Reacting, Okagbare, via a tweet, stated that the AFN were busy fighting for power to the extent that they forgot their major responsibility, adding that athletes are always at the receiving end of the damage because the sport system in Nigeria is flawed.

Okagbare said, ”I have said it before and I will say it again. If you do not know the sport, not passionate about it us [the athletes], then you have no business there as an administrator. The sport system in Nigeria is so flawed and we athletes are always at the receiving end of the damage.

“They were busy fighting over power, exercising their pride over Puma contracts/ kits forgetting their major responsibility “THE ATHLETES ”. It’s sad that this cycle keeps repeating itself and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking my truth. It is my CAREER.”

Okagbare is, however, not among the ten athletes disqualified from the Tokyo Olympics.

READ ALSO: Tokyo Olympics: 10 Nigerian Athletes Declared Ineligible

The ten athletes disqualified from the competition include Knowledge Omovoh, Ruth Usoro, Favor Ofili, Chidi Okezie, Chioma Onyekwere and Annette Echikunwoke, Rosemary Chukwuma, Glory Patrick, Yinka Ajayi and Tima Godbless.

Meanwhile, the track and field competition at Tokyo 2020 begins on Friday [July 30].

Team Nigeria is yet to win any medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

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Marcus Bettinelli Completes Chelsea Move

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Marcus Bettinelli Completes Chelsea Move

Chelsea have completed the signing of former Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli on a free transfer, it announced on Wednesday.

Bettinelli, 29, left Fulham at the end of last season after making more than 100 appearances in over a decade with the Cottagers.

The former England Under-21 international has now agreed a two-year deal with the Champions League winners where he will compete with first choice Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

READ ALSO: Tokyo Olympics: 10 Nigerian Athletes Declared Ineligible

“It’s always been a special club. I know the area very well so it’s been a dream of mine to come over to this side and it’s finally happened,” Bettinelli told Chelsea’s website.

“There were some talks a few years ago when I was a bit younger, and for whatever reason, that didn’t come about. But I’m here now,” added Bettinelli, whose arrival at Chelsea follows the departure of Argentinian goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

AFP

 

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