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Lionel Messi Hits Hat-trick In Barcelona   PSV 4-0 Defeat

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Lionel Messi pictures the Champions League ending with him hoisting the trophy and it began with him scoring a hat-trick on Tuesday as Barcelona put four goals past PSV Eindhoven.
An early kick-off at Camp Nou meant that before most of the tournament’s teams had even named their line-ups, Messi was up and running, his sumptuous free-kick from the edge of the area nestling in the top corner, exactly where it was intended.
Messi would have his second and third before the end, but the game was up by then thanks to a superb strike from the excellent Ousmane Dembele.
Only when Barca were three ahead was Samuel Umtiti sent off for a second yellow card, and with 10 men, Messi completed his hat-trick for a 4-0 win.
Dembele’s goal was worthy of deciding any match but this was Messi’s night. After a miserable World Cup trying to retrieve the irretrievable Argentina, Barcelona’s now-captain proved his quality again to any doubters that are left.
Four goals already in La Liga, seven overall, neither age nor Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Spain appear to have taken the edge off.
But even if Messi remains as good as ever, his team will need others to step up. Philippe Coutinho was impressive here and, after a difficult debut campaign, Dembele is finding his rhythm.
The 21-year-old’s driving run earned Messi his free-kick while a sizzling shot brought the goal his bustling display deserved.
Perhaps more importantly, this victory was a clean slate for Barcelona.
It was exactly 23 weeks ago that Roma pulled off one of the greatest comebacks ever seen in this competition and sent the club into a depth of disappointment that, in truth, not even winning the double could alleviate.
Instead, Madrid rubbed salt into the wound by making it look easy and winning their third in a row. “It is a thorn in our side,” Luis Suarez said. “It’s time to win the Champions League,” said Messi.
PSV’s coach Mark van Bommel knows what it feels like to walk out at the Camp Nou – he had a successful, albeit short, spell playing for Barca – but few of his players did.
Nick Viergever was one of them, for Ajax in 2014, but it was his rash challenge on Dembele in the 31st minute that conceded the free-kick a yard outside the penalty area.
Messi sized it up and sent it spinning away from the hand of Jeroen Zoet and into the top corner.

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Barcelona Announce New Financial Boost

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Barcelona

Barcelona have announced they’re getting their finances on track.

 

 

Barca has issued an official statement communicating that it has received a stable triple B negative rating from the credit rating agency Fitch.

 

 

This is an important vote of confidence in terms of the club’s image. It is worth remembering that the club has already reached an agreement with the American investment fund Goldman Sachs, which has loaned the club 500 million euros.

 

 

The same fund already injected 90 million euros into the club during Josep Maria Bartomeu‘s presidency, with said loan conceived to aid the development of the Espai Barça project.

 

 

In a statement, the club announced:

“The sporting and financial project of the new FC Barcelona board of directors has received a vote of confidence in receiving a stable triple B negative credit rating from the credit rating agency Fitch.

 

 

“The credit rating agency gives a triple B rating to companies that are satisfactory at the time of rating, just as has happened to FC Barcelona after their assessment.

 

 

“With this BBB stable negative rating the Fitch agency values positively the Club’s financial project, which will have to undergo important readjustments to balance books.

 

 

“The confidence shown by Fitch allows the Club to look to the future with optimism and at a moment when the organisation is adjusting is financial viability plan as well as its strategic plan.”

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Gerrard Frustrated With Liverpool Links: I Don’t Welcome It, I Don’t Add To It…

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Steven Gerrard

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard does not welcome the speculation linking him with replacing Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

 

 

The Reds legend is consistently linked as a future replacement for Klopp, who is expected to leave Anfield when his contract expires in 2024.

 

 

But Gerrard is unhappy about the speculation as he is “very happy” in Glasgow.

 

 

Asked about the constant links to his old club and England, Gerrard told ESPN: “I can’t control any media speculation about my position.

 

 

“I don’t welcome it, I don’t add to it. All I do is focus on the job I have here and I’m very flattered and grateful for the position.

 

 

“I’m very happy here, I’ve said it on numerous occasions, it’s a huge club, I’m settled, I’m happy and I can continue to develop and keep trying to push this team forward.”

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Tokyo Olympics: Nigeria Leads Countries With Highest Figure Of Banned Athletes

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OLYMPICS

Ten athletes from Nigeria have been banned from participating in the Tokyo Olympics.

 

 

While the names of the affected athletes were not released, a statement from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), revealed that a total of 18 athletes have been declared ineligible, with Nigeria being the most affected.

 

According to AIU, the 10 athletes from Nigeria failed the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15.

 

 

“Under the framework of Rule 15 governing National Federation Anti-Doping Obligations, which came into force in January 2019, National Federations are accountable for ensuring appropriate anti-doping measures are in place in their respective jurisdictions.

 

 

“Among other things, the Rule sets out minimum requirements for testing on the national teams of ‘Category A’ federations deemed to have the highest doping risk and considered as a threat to the overall integrity of the sport.

 

 

“The key requirement in Rule 15 is that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event. Only then do they become eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games.

 

 

“For the year 2021, the seven identified ‘Category A’ National Federations are: Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine.

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