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Iheanacho hit a hat-trick as Leicester thrashed doomed Sheffield United

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Iheanacho hit a hat-trick as Leicester thrashed doomed Sheffield United

Nigeria supper eagles striker, Kelechi Iheanacho scored a hat-trick as Leicester thrashed doomed Sheffield United 5-0 to move into second place in the Premier League, while Brighton improved their hopes of avoiding relegation with a vital win against Southampton on Sunday.

Leicester showed no mercy to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United in the visitors’ first match since Chris Wilder’s departure on Saturday.

Wilder, who led Sheffield United from third-tier League One to the Premier League, left by mutual consent after several days of speculation about his future.

Sheffield United, managed by interim boss Paul Heckingbottom, look destined for relegation after failing to build on last season’s impressive first campaign back in the top flight.

The Blades, with 14 points from safety and only nine games left, have lost six of their last seven league games.

Leicester pushed them closer to the Championship with their biggest win this season.

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Kelechi Iheanacho opened the floodgates in the 38th minute at the King Power Stadium with a close-range finish from Jamie Vardy’s pass after a flowing move.

Iheanacho’s third goal in his last three games was followed by Ayoze Perez’s fine strike from the edge of the area in the 64th minute.

Iheanacho scored again in the 69th minute from Vardy’s cross and completed his treble with a 25-yard blast past Aaron Ramsdale.

Ethan Ampadu’s own goal from Vardy’s effort in the 80th minute sealed the rout for Brendan Rodgers’ side, who moved above Manchester United and within 15 points of runaway leaders Manchester City.

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Ballon d’Or 2023: Messi Beats Haaland To Win For Eighth Time

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Lionel Messi

Inter Miami CF star Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for a record eighth time, fending off competition from Manchester City striker Erling Haaland after leading Argentina to the World Cup last year.

Messi, 36, becomes the first MLS-based player to claim the coveted prize, although the triumph comes largely on the back of his exploits with his country in Qatar. Former Manchester United player and Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham handed his prize-signing Messi the award in Paris.

Haaland, who scored 52 goals last season as City won the Treble in 2022-23, finished second in the voting and won the Gerd Muller Trophy given to the best striker of the year.

“I couldn’t imagine having the career that I’ve had. Everything that I’ve achieved,” Messi said after getting his award. “The fortune I’ve had playing for the best team in the world, the best team in history. It’s nice to win these individual trophies.

“To win the Copa America and then the World Cup, to get it done is amazing. All of them [Ballon d’Or awards] are special for different reasons.”

Prior to Messi receiving his award, Barcelona and Spain midfielder Aitana Bonmatí won the Ballon d’Or Féminin after a record-breaking year with club and country. She helped Barça win Liga F and the Champions League last season, before leading Spain to World Cup glory in the summer.

In other awards handed out on Monday, Messi’s Argentina teammate Emiliano Martinez won the Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper and England and Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham was handed the Kopa Trophy as the world’s top player under the age of 21.

During his acceptance speech, Messi made a point of wishing Argentina countryman Diego Maradona happy birthday. The 1986 World Cup winner, who died on Nov. 22, 2020, would have been 63 on Monday.

“My last mention is for Diego [Maradona],” Messi said. “Today is his birthday. So I would like to remember him from here, surrounded by the best players, coaches and people who love football like he did.

“Wherever you are, Diego, happy birthday. This goes also to you.”

Even prior to Monday’s ceremony in Paris, no player had won the Ballon d’Or more times than Messi, who first won it in 2009 and then again in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won it five times, while Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten are all three-time winners.

Messi scored 21 goals in 41 appearances last season as Paris Saint-Germain retained the Ligue 1 title before moving to Inter Miami earlier this year.

Since moving to the U.S., he has scored 11 goals in 14 games for Miami, helping the franchise win its first-ever piece of silverware, the Leagues Cup.

However, he missed several matches through injury at the end of the regular MLS season as Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s side came up short in their late push for a playoff spot.

It is Messi’s performances at the World Cup at the end of 2022 which have earned him an eighth Ballon d’Or, though, as Argentina ended a 36-year wait to be crowned world champions for the third time.

Messi, as captain, was instrumental to Argentina’s success in Qatar, scoring seven goals and assisting three more as he was named as the Player of the Tournament.

He scored twice in the final and again in the penalty shootout against France as Lionel Scaloni’s team edged one of the most memorable showpieces in the competition’s history.

Having come up short with Argentina at four previous World Cups, including losing the 2014 final to Germany, it was deemed by many to be his last chance to get his hands on football’s biggest prize.

At 36 years and four months old, he also becomes the second oldest player to ever win the Ballon d’Or, replacing last year’s winner Karim Benzema. Only the inaugural winner, Stanley Matthews in 1956, was older when he won it aged 41.

Messi’s first six Ballons d’Or were won while he played for Barcelona, where he is the club’s record goalscorer and appearance holder, while he won it for a seventh time shortly after joining PSG in 2021 following Copa America success with Argentina.

ESPN

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Paul Onuora Football Tournament Begins

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Participants and others in the Hon. Paul Onuora and St. Eve football competition

By Esther Kainebi-Daniel

Committed to promoting unity among Nigerians through sports, especially football and empowering more than 500 youths between ages 15 and 17, the maiden edition of Hon. Paul Onuora and St. Eve football competition, has commenced.

Dubbed Hon. Paul Onuora League Tournament, the football competition which began on Sunday with the official flag-off and unveiling of the participating teams from across 20 local government areas in Lagos is taking place at three venues – The Training Pitch, National Stadium; Eagles Club football field, and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) field, all in Surulere, Lagos.

At the flag-off ceremony the sponsor, Hon. Paul Onuora aka Nwa Jesus said the tournament is a vehicle to extract the best potential from the youths, stressing that it doesn’t matter who the youths are, where they come from or the tribe they are of.

His words: “What matters is how those youth become successful in life, and when they become successful, the new life, they will live. Even if he touches 10 people, their lives will be changed because he has succeeded.

“That’s why anytime, anyday, in my closet, anywhere I’m, I think about how we can better the life of the youth, not even of you going to lie for the poor people in our society. This is very important.”

Asked his expectations from the participants, Onuora said, “I expect them to be of good behaviour, character and association. You can’t be a youth maybe playing football or any other sports and you are into drugs, cultism, armed robbery and other nefarious activities. You cannot succeed because you will go half way.”

“If you are a youth, you have talents, you have good behaviour, you will go far even in the shortest of time, because there is nobody that will see you as a hard working young man that will say no, I will not take this. Anybody who sees you would like to associate with you because of your character and your behaviour,” he added.

On what motivated him to finance the tournament, the businessman, who also plays active football and recently scored against one-time Nigeria number one choice goalkeeper, Peter Rufai aka Dodo Mayana said, “Beyond the tournament, we want to expose the participants to scouts from Europe.

“We are bringing in some managers, scouts that will be looking for players. Some of them are playing football but they have not really played in a good competition. So if they play this competition they will be exposed and they will have more sense of belonging because they will meet people they have not one way or the other interacted with. Because I believe this is from all the local governments and they will see more players that are more talented than them, which will inspire them to do more in what we are doing.”

On her part, Evelyn Okereke, founder of St. Eve, and brain behind the league tournament said the initiative is to encourage the youths, keep them busy during this long vacation, adding that they could play this competition and get opportunities.

He words, “You see what’s happening in Nigeria. As a mother, we thought of a way to help bring our youths and close that gap between the rich and the poor, and there is no better way than sport. Sport (football) is something that is very unique and is a unifying force.”

“Football is one of the biggest sports in the world. Whether you’re a man or you’re a woman, you know when your club or team is winning, you’re jumping and you’re excited; you’re all sharing ideas. Very soon we’re going to be having people worshipping football. It’s going to be the latest thing in the world,” she added.

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How Moroccan Footballer’s Wife Discoverd In Divorce Suit Husband Has Nothing Despite Making Millions

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Achraf Hakimi

Moroccan international, Achraf Hakimi owns nothing to his name despite earning millions of Euros with Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and the Moroccan national football team, his wife Hiba Abouk has discovered.

Abouk filed for divorce and asked for half of all the property and money owned by Hakimi.

She, however, discovered during ongoing divorce proceedings in court that Hakimi, 24, had registered all his properties and monies in his mother’s name.

Whenever the Moroccan footballer needed anything, he would ask his mother to buy it for him, it was revealed.

All his houses, cars, clothes, and jewellery were found to be in his mother’s name, and millions in salary were deposited in accounts bearing his mother’s name.

It was reported that 80 percent of all that he owns is registered in his mother’s name.

The couple began dating in 2018, married in 2020 and have two sons. She filed for divorce around March 2023.

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