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From Ballon D’Or To Abject Humiliation: Why Messi Seeks Pastures New

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  1. When Lionel Messi won an unprecedented sixth Ballon d’Or in December last year, the speculation had already begun over his career at Barcelona.

The 33-year-old Argentine footballing genius was increasingly unable single-handedly to rescue his imploding club, as he had done so often in the past.

Barcelona, despite lifting the La Liga title, had collapsed at the end of the 2018-19 season, losing a 3-0 semi-final lead, including two Messi goals, to Liverpool in the Champions League.

They then dropped the Copa del Rey final 2-1 to Valencia, where the Argentine was again on the scoresheet, this time though just a late consolation.

But all that paled in comparison to Barca’s barren 2020, capped by a shocking humiliation in Lisbon.

– Bayern embarrassment –

The abject 8-2 quarter-final embarrassment against Bayern Munich in Lisbon 12 days ago meant a first season since 2007 without a trophy for Barcelona.

It marked the first time Barca had conceded eight goals in a game since losing to Sevilla 8-0 in the 1946 Spanish Cup.

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But far more significant than that, it convinced the twinkle-toed talisman his final footballing years lay elsewhere.

The fallout was immediate. Coach Quique Setien was sacked after barely six months in charge while sporting director Eric Abidal was also dismissed.

Even the appointment of former Camp Nou fan favourite Ronald Koeman as head coach last week could not convince Messi to stay.

The Dutchman has indicated he will embark on a clear-out and, at 33 years old, Messi must feel he doesn’t have time to wait until Koeman’s rebuilt Barca are able to challenge Europe’s elite.

On Tuesday, Messi informed Barcelona he wanted “unilaterally” to terminate his contract by triggering a release clause, sending shockwaves across the world of sport.

There will be no shortage of clubs eager to employ Messi, who could be snapped up on a free transfer, but the favourites look to be Manchester City, led by his former Barcelona mentor Pep Guardiola.

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They were close to European glory again this season, and the addition of four-time Champions League winner Messi could give the Guardiola the X-factor he needs to win the one trophy missing from the Manchester City cabinet.

The growing turmoil enveloping Barcelona has been reflected in Messi’s diminishing statistics.

Though he managed 31 goals in all games during the virus-interrupted campaign just ended, it was his lowest return since 2007-08, when he was just 20.

– Irreplaceable –

Barcelona have insisted in the past they had plans for coping with Messi’s retirement, whenever it came, but the truth is their number 10 is irreplaceable.

He has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, winning a club-record 33 trophies, including 10 La Ligas, four UEFA Champions Leagues, three Club World Cups and six Spanish Cups.

Equally effective as a mesmerising playmaker or lethal goalscorer, Messi holds the records for most goals and most hat-tricks in La Liga and has scored more than 700 senior goals for club and country.

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But his greatest year was long ago. In the 2011-12 season, under Guardiola, he became Barcelona’s all-time top goalscorer at just 24 years old, breaking Cesar Rodriguez’s 232 goal mark which had stood for 57 years.

That year Messi netted a Liga record 50 goals on the way to a European all-time record season tally of 73, breaking Gerd Mueller’s 67 goals scored in the 1972–73 German season.

Almost a decade on, Messi still harbours unfulfilled ambitions, including another Champions League crown and an elusive major trophy with Argentina to add to his 2008 Olympic gold.

With time running out on a career that has seen a record six Ballon d’Ors and six Golden Shoes, those are major factors in convincing him to end his playing days away from the club that has been his home since he arrived as a 13-year-old.

 

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Boom! Anthony Joshua Lost WBO, WBA, IBF Heavyweight Titles to Usyk

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Boom! Anthony Joshua Lost WBO, WBA, IBF Heavyweight Titles to Usyk

 

By: Joshua Adinoyi

It was a thrilling fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium outside of London on Saturday night as Briton’s Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine threw tactical punches on one another while contesting for the WBO, WBA and IBF titles earlier held by Joshua.

Joshua, 31, despite fighting in front of nearly 70,000 supporters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, was unable to meet up his pre-match promise of retaining the titles as his opponent, Usyk 34, ripped him of the unified heavyweight titles.

Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) claimed Joshua’s WBA (Super), WBO and IBF titles by using a combination of footwork, head movement and a sharp left hand to keep Joshua off balance throughout the 12-round affair.

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With tears in his eyes as he raised his arms in the center of the ring after an unanimous decision, the Ukrainian Boxer said: “This means much for me, a lot, the fight went exactly the way I expected it to go. There were a couple of moments when Anthony pushed me hard but nothing special

“I have been working so hard since January in preparation for this fight, it took me some half a year and I didn’t see my family for so long

“I miss my children and I miss watching them play. I want to go home and be happy and I’m not thinking about the rematch at this second”

Usyk dominated from the first bell, as score card of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 were reward after a sensational display from the unbeaten Ukrainian, who became only the third fighter after Evander Holyfield and David Haye to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight.

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Oleksandr Usyk’s extraordinary victory over Anthony Joshua earned him the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight world titles.

Joshua, who left the ring with a swollen right eye did not speak in the aftermath as he sought medical care.

His promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport ultimately believes his fighter will seek a second bout.

“The rematch is going to be tough but there is nowhere to hide because AJ is at the stage of his career where he wants his world championship and he’s already talking about it now”

Meanehile, minutes after the match, Joshua tweeted via his official account “Keep positive even if the world’s crumbling in front of you!

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“London I love you & thank you each and every time!”

Joshua, 31, was supposed to face WBC and lineal champion Tyson Fury this summer but plans were canceled after Deontay Wilder won a court injunction to invoke a trilogy bout against Fury for Oct. 9.

Instead of setting up plans for an all-England summit for the undisputed title, the next development besides Wilder-Fury III will be whether Joshua accepts his own contractually obligated rematch against Usyk.

Some fans of Anthony Joshua had already taken to the social media that the Heavyweight star will seek for a rematch where he will reclaim his honor as he earlier did with Andy Ruiz Jnr.

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PARENT TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF ST. CLEMENT MINOR SEMINARY LOKOJA, COMMISSIONS NEWLY BUILT OUTDOOR BADMINTON COURT

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PARENT TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF ST. CLEMENT MINOR SEMINARY LOKOJA, COMMISSIONS NEWLY BUILT OUTDOOR BADMINTON COURT

.……Charges Parents to Encourage their Wards to Take up Sporting Activities

 

By: Godwin Wambebe

The Parent Teachers Association (PTA) of the Saint Clement Minor Seminary, Adankolo Lokoja has commissioned a standard outdoor badminton court it built for the use of students of the seminary.

Kogi State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Idris Musa, who was represented at the event by a Director in the Ministry, Mr. David Ogazuma, thanked the PTA for the laudable project which is aimed at improving the game of badminton in the school and the State in general.

He said the Ministry was expecting some sporting equipment for the National Youths Games, promising that the school will be given some badminton equipment from the Ministry at delivery.

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Speaking, Chairman of the PTA of the School, Mr. Bayo Ilori, said the dwindling fortune of the sport in the State and the interest shown by student of the seminary in the sport, made the Association to embark on the construction of the court so as to encourage them and also to move the game out of doldrums of badminton obscurity back into reckoning.

Mr. Bayo, a Retired National Badminton player and an international certified badminton umpire, noted that the court was built with standard materials that will stand the test of time and also shapen the youngsters into becoming national and prominent badminton stars in the nearest future.

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The PTA Chairman narrates that “the game of badminton was introduced to me in my secondary school days and since then, I never looked back

“I grew up in the Game not only as a nationally recognized and accomplished player but also an international cerified umpire of the game

“So when I had the opportunity as the PTA Chairman of this school, I decided to replicate same by giving opportunity to these youngsters to also build themselves by constructing a standard court where they will be trained from the grassroots and they (the stakeholders) will in turn tap from the good talents

“We sent the school’s game master to attend a BWF international course shuttle time in Lagos organized by the Nigeria Badminton Federation and with that knowledge acquired and the newly built court, they will tap into the abundant talent that abounds in these kids and get future stars”

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My simple charge to parents is that they should please, allow their children/wards take part in sporting activities irrespective of the sports they wish to take part in, you never can tell, it maybe God’s plan for them” he added.

The ceremony which was declared open by the Assistant Rector of the Seminary, Rev. Father Bernard Ologunagba, featured the Commissioning of the outdoor court by the representative of the Kogi State Commissioner of Youth and Sports Development, Tour of Badminton Court, Exhibition Match where a young promising talent, Master Michael Ilori became the cynosure of all eyes, amongst others.

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Police Machine Wins Abaji Chairman’s Football Tournament Trophy

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Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ajiya, alongside with the council speaker, Hon Musa Ghali, and chairmen of Gwagwalada and Kwali area council, joined in presenting a trophy to the police Machine football club
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By Sadiq Abubakar, Abuja.

The Police machine football club has won the Abaji Chairman’s Football trophy during the final football match competition held at Junior Secondary School (JSS) Kekeshi in the council.

Chairman of Kwali Area council, Hon Danladi Chiya, presented a gift to the Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon Abdulrahman Ajiya, during the Chairman's cup final match on Friday

Chairman of Kwali Area council, Hon Danladi Chiya, presented a gift to the Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon Abdulrahman Ajiya, during the Chairman’s cup final match on Friday

The police machine beat Kings Football club 1-0 in a free kick during the second half of the 90 minutes play.

Until a lone goal was conceived by Police Machine FC, nobody could predict who will smile home with the trophy due to how good the both teams were, but in every contest, a winner must emerge.

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Speaking at the end of the final football competition, the chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon Abdulrahman Ajiya, said he was overwhelmed with the performance of all the football clubs that participated in this year’s edition of the chairman’s cup.

He, however, said that his administration desire to organise the football competition was to keep the youth busy, adding that the competition will also foster peace and unity among the youth in the area.

Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon Abdulrahman Ajiya, with his Gwagwalada and Kwali counterpart, Hon Danladi Chiya and Alhaji Adamu Mustapha, during the Chairman's Football Tournament final match on Friday

Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon Abdulrahman Ajiya, with his Gwagwalada and Kwali counterpart, Hon Danladi Chiya and Alhaji Adamu Mustapha, during the Chairman’s Football Tournament final match on Friday

He noted that sporting activities was very important in any given society, saying sporting activities help in keeping someone fit and healthy as well as develop mental and psychological of every human being.

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The chairman, therefore, expressed his administration commitment towards development sporting activities in the area, even as he directed the sport department of the council get numbers of additional registered referees in the area.

He congratulated the Police machine football club for winning the trophy, even as he called on the King’s football club to work harder against the next edition of the competition so that they will pick the trophy.

“Even though, there is no looser and winner in this competition because of the way and manner all the football clubs and their supporters conducted themselves without any rancour,” he said

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Also speaking, the chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, Alhaji Adamu Mustapha, who joined his Abaji counterpart along side the Kwali council chairman, Hon Danladi Chiya, congratulated the winning team in the tournament.

He also commended the participating teams and their supporters for conducting themselves peacefully without any rancour through out the tournament.

Global Times Nigeria correspondent report that a sum of N200,000 cash was giving to the winning team, (Police machine club) while N150, 000 was giving to second position, which is the Kings Football club and N10,000 was given to 3rd position by the council chairman.

Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ajiya, alongside with the council speaker, Hon Musa Ghali, and chairmen of Gwagwalada and Kwali area council, joined in presenting a trophy to the police Machine football club

Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ajiya, alongside with the council speaker, Hon Musa Ghali, and chairmen of Gwagwalada and Kwali area council, joined in presenting a trophy to the police Machine football club

While gold medals and footballs as well as jersey was given to other football teams, best players, referees, best goal keeper, and other officials that participated in the tournament.

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