Lionel Messi Tests Positive For COVID-19

<SUNBIGHT> ~ Football ~ 2nd January, 2022

LIONEL Messi has tested positive for Covid-19 and entered self-isolation, his club Paris Saint-Germain announced on Sunday.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was one of four PSG players to test positive for the virus ahead of a French Cup match against Vannes.

Messi tested positive while on holiday in his hometown of Rosario in Argentina.

“He is constantly in contact with our medical service. When he is negative, he will be able to return to France,” PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino told a press conference.

The Argentinian star has endured a difficult start to life in the French capital since an emotional exit from Barcelona last summer.

Messi has scored only one goal in 11 league appearances for PSG, although he has netted five times in the Champions League.

He will miss Monday’s cup tie and Pochettino said he did not know if he would also be sidelined for PSG’s first Ligue 1 match since the winter break, at Lyon next Sunday.

The other players to test positive were full-back Juan Bernat, back-up goalkeeper Sergio Rico and teenage midfielder Nathan Bitumazala.

“They are currently respecting isolation and are subject to the appropriate health protocols,” PSG said.

Pochettino added: “We have been living with the virus for almost two years, everyone knows what to do in order not to be infected. But we can still catch it, there are things we cannot control.”

Bernat tested positive after reporting for training.

“This is the risk with which we live, on a global scale,” said Pochettino. “In football, contact is inevitable, we share the dressing room.

“The risk of contamination is there, but we take all the necessary measures to try to prevent a player from infecting others.”

The number of Covid cases in France has topped 200,000 a day this week.

PSG also said that Neymar, who suffered an ankle injury in November, is continuing treatment in his native Brazil.

“He is still scheduled to return to training in about three weeks,” the club said.■

[Courtesy: AFP]

Messi Hints At Barcelona Return

Lionel Messi

PARIS Saint-Germain star forward Lionel Messi has hinted on a potential return to Barcelona at some point.

Messi took centre stage in the media over the latter weeks of the summer transfer window.

This came with the 34-year-old having been forced to end his chapter at Barcelona and instead seek out a new club.

Just hours after it was suggested that Messi was on the verge of putting pen to paper on a new deal at the Camp Nou, the Blaugrana released a statement, confirming the departure of their greatest ever player.

However, the early weeks of Messi’s career at PSG have since proven something of a mixed bag, but impressing in the Champions League with three goals in three games.

On the domestic front, though, the South American is yet to open his account in Ligue 1, and was hauled off at the interval in PSG’s meeting with Lille this past Friday.

And speaking during an interview with Diario Sport this weekend, it should come as little surprise to hear that Messi was drawn on the possibility of one day returning to the Camp Nou.

Messi, told Diario Sport: “Yes. I’ve always said it that I would love to be able to help the club & be useful in whatever I can. I’d love to be a technical secretary at some point. I don’t know if it’s going to be at Barcelona, or not.

“If there is the possibility, I would like to contribute again in what I can because it is the club I love and I’d love to see the club be good, to continue to grow and to remain one of the best in the world.”■

[Courtesy: Complete Sports]

OFFICIAL: 2021 Ballon d’Or Nominees Unveiled

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THE 30-man shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d’Or award was released by the organisers France Football on Friday.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Neymar, Karim Benzema, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are among the nominees.

Other top stars on the shortlist include Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Luka Modric, Phil Foden and Romelu Lukaku.

A Golden Ball heading in the direction of any of those mentioned above would come as no surprise, but the likes of Euro 2020 winner Jorginho and his Chelsea team-mate Kante also have their sights set on a shock win.

A selection of international journalists, national team coaches and captains will determine the winner, with each voter being asked to pick out their top five.

Once that process has been completed, the prestigious prize will be handed out at a glitzy ceremony in Paris on November 29.

With France Football being forced to take a coronavirus-enforced break from Ballon d’Or duty in 2020, the current holders of the men’s and women’s gongs have reigned for two years.

Messi was the last man to land the male award back in 2019, with the Copa America winner claiming top prize for a record-breaking sixth time.

Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski missed out on succeeding Messi despite enjoying a remarkable run in front of goal last year – with the prolific Pole having to make do with a FIFA Best award.

France Football announced 10-man shortlists for two further awards: the Kopa Trophy, given to the best performing player under the age of 21, and the Yashin Trophy, given to the best goalkeeper.

2021 Ballon d’Or 30-man nominees:

Cesar Azpilicuerta

Nicolo Barella
Karim Benzema

Leonardo Bonucci

Giorgio Chiellini

Kevin De Bruyne

Ruben Dias

Gianluigi Donnarumma

Bruno Fernandes

Phil Foden

Erling Haaland

Jorginho

Harry Kane

N’Golo Kante

Simon Kjaer

Robert Lewandowski

Romelu Lukaku

Riyad Mahrez

Lautaro Martinez

Kylian Mbappe

Lionel Messi

Luka Modric

Gerard Moreno

Mason Mount

Neymar

Pedri

Cristiano Ronaldo

Mohamed Salah

Raheem Sterling

Luis Suarez

Kopa Trophy shortlist:

Mason Greenwood, Bukayo Saka, Pedri, Jeremy Doku, Ryan Gravenberch, Jamal Musiala, Florian Wirtz, Jude Bellingham, Giovanni Reyna, Nuno Mendes

Yashin Trophy shortlist:

Gianluigi Donnarumma, Ederson, Kasper Schmeichel, Edouard Mendy, Keylor Navas, Emiliano Martínez, Manuel Neuer, Jan Oblak, Samir Handanovic.♧

[Courtesy: Complete Sports]

LIONEL MESSI FUMES AT MANAGER AS HE IS SUBSTITUTED AGAINST LYON

Lionel Messi appeared unhappy as he was substituted while PSG were on a 1-1 draw against Lyon and needed a winning goal on Sunday.

The former Barcelona player made his debut for his new club, but is still yet to put his name on the French league score list as PSG got a last-minute goal with him on the bench.

During the first half, Messi saw his one-on-one saved by Lyon’s Anthony Lopes and also hit the post from a free kick.

Lucas Paqueta gave the visitors an unexpected lead at 54 minutes of the second half.

Few minutes later, Neymar was fouled in the box and was awarded a penalty which he finished confidently to bring the game level.

With 15 minutes before stoppage time, Pochettino opt to substitute Messi to bring on Achraf  Hakimi, the Argentine legend showed his displeasure with the decision as he walked past the manager, ignoring his approach.

Finally at added time, Mauro Icardi headed the winner from Mbappe’s cross to earn PSG the maximum points.●

I DREAM OF ANOTHER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WITH PSG – Lionel Messi

Messi signs for PSG

I DREAM OF ANOTHER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WITH PSG – Messi

■ Lionel Messi said he dreams of winning his fifth Champions League as he signed his two-year contract with Paris Saint Germaine (PSG) on Wednesday. The ex-Barcelona player said he is in the ideal place to have another chance of a Champions League glory.

The 34-year-old won his last Champions League Cup with Barcelona in 2015, while the French club are yet to clinch the European elite club competition. Though the New PSG signing has said it would be strange to face his former club, Barcelona, in the Champions League.

“It would be very strange to play at home there but it could happen and we’ll see.” said Messi at the press brief held to officially unveil him by the club.

Chairman and CEO of PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, said the signing of Messi was a strategic decision for the club to enable them win trophies and improve the quality of the squad. Nasser expressed delight on the signing as he described Messi as “a legend of the game and a true inspiration for those of all ages inside and outside football’.

Meanwhile, barely 30 minutes after the Qatari-owned Parisian club displayed Messi’s jersey on their website, it got sold out, leaving only the jersey’s limited version for women and kid and available for sale at over 100 euros. The men’s shirt had sold for 107.99 euros.

Lionel Messi landed at Le Bourget airport to the north of Paris on Tuesday  afternoon, wearing a Paris t-shirt and waving to the hundreds of PSG supporters who had gathered to catch a glimpse of their new signing. He was then taken for a medical at a hospital just outside the city.

The Argentina captain links up with former teammate Neymar to create a formidable trio with Frenchman Kylian Mbappe. Also joining his new club are Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi.

“I DID EVERYTHING I COULD TO STAY…” CRIES MESSI

“I DID EVERYTHING I COULD TO STAY…” CRIES MESSI

■ In tears during a press conference, FC Barcelona and Argentine player Lionel Messi confirmed his departure from the catalan club after 21 years due to Financial Fair Play of the Spanish La Liga.


The La Masia graduate and all-time top goalscorer of the club with 672 goals was emotional before he even made an opening statement.

The 34-year-old playmaker said he believed he would be staying at his childhood club, with five-year deal agreed on a 50 percent pay-cut, only for a surprise u-turn to happen late last week.


“My contract was never the issue … what I know is that i did everything I could. The club said it could not happen because of La Liga. I can guarantee you that i did everything I could to stay.” Messi told a news conference as hundreds of fans, many wearing his number 10 jersey massed outside Barca’s Camp Nou stadium to bid farewell to the player.

The six times Ballon d’Or winner has been out of contract since the end of June, with Paris Saint-Germain widely expected to sign him to the Parc des Princes to reunite with Neymar. The pair played together for four years and according to reports Neymar is so keen to have Messi in Paris that he offered him his No 10 shirt, but he rejected it and opted for the No 19 shirt – a number he previously wore at Barcelona.

Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s most-capped player with 778 games, winning four Champions Leagues and 10 League titles. Also In his credit are, 7 Copa del Rey, 8 Spanish Super Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups and 3 Club World Cups. He won a total of forty individual award since his senior professional debut in 2004 and won the treble twice in his career – 2009-10 and 2014-15 seasons.