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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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FG Approves January For National Sports Festival 

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Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

The Federal Government has approved January, 2025 as the official date for the 22nd edition of the National Sports Festival, tagged “Gateway Games, Ogun 2024.”

In a communique released after the first National Council on Sports, held at the Old Government Lodge, Abakaliki Road, Enugu, Enugu State, the Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan Enoh extolled the government of Ogun State for its commitment to the successful hosting of the festival.

He noted that the National Sports Festival plays a vital role in national unity, as it would also increase the socio-economic growth for the sustainable development of the state and the country in general.

The minister also urged the federal and state governments to bid and host national and international sports competitions to fast-track the growth of sports in the country.

He urged all key stakeholders to play active roles towards the successful hosting of the Gateway Games, saying the Council of Sports is in support of the establishment of Sports Development and Investment Fund (NSIDF) with its attendant benefits for driving sports development in Nigeria.

While fielding questions from journalists shortly after the meeting, Ogun State Commissioner for Sports Development, Hon. Wasiu Isiaka revealed that the state government is ready to host the National Sports Festival.

He submitted that the NSF has the ability to bring people together, to foster teamwork and cooperation and instil values of discipline and perseverance in humans, and encourage the vast youthful population in the state to embrace the power of sports in community development.

He stated further that targeted funding and incentives are crucial for driving grassroots sports engagements and ensuring the sustainability of sports programmes in the state.

“Through the power of sports, we have the opportunity to come together, forge connections, and celebrate our shared humanity. We are leveraging  the Building Our Future Together Agenda, of the Governor, to develop sports at the grassroots,” he said.

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Barcelona Shows Xabi The Exit Door

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By John Michael Ojo

Spanish football giant, Barcelona has relieved Xavi Hernandez of his role as the head coach of the club.

This was revealed by the club via its official website on Friday.

The statement reads in part: “Today Friday, FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta has informed Xavi Hernández that he will not be continuing as first team coach in the 2024-25 season.

READ ALSO: Ten Times Barcelona Suffered Heavy Defeats In Champions League Since 2017

“FC Barcelona wishes to thank Xavi for his work as coach, as well as for his inimitable career as a player and as team captain, and wishes him every future success in the world.

“Xavi Hernández will be coaching the team for the last time in Sunday’s game away to Sevilla.”

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Lookman Shines As Atlanta Ends Leverkusen’s Unbeaten Run

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By John Michael Ojo

It was a sensational night for Nigeria Super Eagles forward, Ademola Lookman, who scored a hat-trick to help guide his Italian side, Atalanta to its first-ever Europa League trophy in 61 years after a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night.

The win also ended the Germans side unbeaten run in all competitions this season after 51 games.

The Bundesliga champions led by former Liverpool and Real Madrid playmaker, Xabi Alonso, had gone unbeaten all through the season, and had become the first team in the German topflight to finish the league season without a defeat.

However, the defeat now means that Alonso’s hope of securing an unbeaten treble this season with the German Cup final yet to be played has now been dashed.

The game which was heavily dominated by the Italian side had Nigeria stars including Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella in action for Leverkusen and Ademola Lookman who was the star of the night for Atlanta.

READ ALSO: FIFA Okays Nigerian-Born England Player To Join Super Eagles

An elated Lookman who was named the player of the match on the night, while reacting to his performance and the victory after the match, simply said: “One of the best nights of my life. Amazing performance from the team, we did it, we did it, we did it! Not got much else to say but yeah fantastic,”

“They do always say third time lucky, so yeah it is for us today [winning a final at the third attempt this season]. I’m just happy we won. We won today so yes very pleased,” he added

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