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La Liga have released an official statement on the contract saga that is currently the most important issue in Lionel Messi’s future – and they have sided with FC Barcelona, reports say.

This morning, Messi failed to attend the PCR tests at Barcelona – a clear signal of his desire to leave the club and an attempt to put pressure on the board to reach a resolution.

Additionally, it has been reported that Messi’s camp believe that his release clause of €700m no longer applies, and that the Argentinean is effectively a free agent and can sign for any club he wishes.

However, La Liga have waded into the dispute via an official statement. In this, it states that the ‘current deal is still valid and paying [the] release clause for 700m is the only way out’, as relayed by Romano.

The Italian journalist added that Man City are awaiting to hear from Barcelona before making any decision, and that Messi’s wish to leave remains unchanged by the statement.

Barcelona are refusing to budge and grant the forward a free transfer, and will use the La Liga statement to bolster their position.

‘The saga is on’, Romano concludes

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Lyon won the UEFA Women’s Champions League for a fifth season in a row with a 3-1 victory over Wolfsburg.

Pernille Harder missed a great chance to hit the target for Wolfsburg when the ball fell to her in the box, before at the other end Wendie Renard’s header dropped onto the roof of the net and Delphine Cascarino also went close

The opening goal came just after midway in the first half, Eugenie le Sommer forced a save from Friederike Abt and was first to the rebound to shoot into the far corner.

The German side were left with a lot to do approaching the interval, Saki Kumagai burying a 22-yard strike inside the post.

It was game on before the hour mark though, Alexandra Popp directing a header home from Ewa Pajor’s ball into the six-yard box.

did threaten an equaliser but without further troubling the keeper, then two minutes from time Le Sommer’s drive was directed into the back of the net by Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir.

This year’s victory makes it the seventh UEFA champions League trophy and the fifth on a bounce for the French side.

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Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina has completed a season-long loan move to Fulham.

The 26-year-old has joined Scott Parker’s side ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, as they return to the Premier League having won promotion via the Championship play-offs.

Lemina, who joined Saints from Juventus in 2017, also spent last season on loan with Turkish club Galatasaray, but now returns to England.

The club wishes Mario well for the season ahead.

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Manchester United are closing in on the signing of Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek after the two clubs agreed a fee in the region of £40m.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a huge admirer of the Netherlands international, 23, and has had him watched on a number of occasions.

It is understood United have now firmed up their interest with a medical and personal terms still to be concluded.

The transfer is expected to be finalised within days.

Van de Beek is set to sign a five-year deal, which should allow him to be available for United’s opening game of the 2020-21 season, against Crystal Palace on 19 September.

He will become Solskjaer’s first close-season signing after a much-publicised move for Borussia Dortmund’s England winger Jadon Sancho stalled over the size of the fee.

Van de Beek was part of the outstanding Ajax side that got to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.

He was left out of Ajax’s friendlies with German pair Eintracht Frankfurt and Union Berlin over the weekend.

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Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dedicated his goal against Liverpool in the Community Shield to the actor Chadwick Boseman with his iconic Black Panther celebration.

Boseman, 43, starred as Black icon Jackie Robinson in “42” before rising to fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, died on Friday of colon cancer.

The Gabon international opened the scoring after 12 minutes with a curling shot into the bottom right corner.

After scoring, Aubameyang ran to the side of the pitch and placed his arms across his chest in the superhero’s classic pose.

Aubameyang previously wore a Black Panther mask after scoring a brace against Rennes in Arsenal’s Europa League round-of-16 second-leg match in March 2019.

“I needed a mask which represents me and that’s the Black Panther. In Gabon, we call the national team the Panthers,” he said at the time.

Before the game against Liverpool on Saturday, Aubameyang tweeted a picture of Boseman and captioned it “Wakanda forever.”

Mikel Arteta’s men won the Community Shield 5-4 on penalties after the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

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Midfielder Aaron Mooy has completed a permanent move to Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG, for an undisclosed fee, subject to international clearance.

The Australia international made 32 appearances for the club last season, having initially joined on loan from Huddersfield Town before making the move permanent in January.

Both of Mooy’s goals for Albion came in separate games against Bournemouth and he helped Albion achieve their best Premier League points tally.

Head coach Graham Potter said, “Aaron has been an excellent professional during his time with us. From day one with us he fitted in really well.

”It’s a good move for all parties. We have a number of really good players in that position and therefore Aaron goes with our blessing.

“I have really enjoyed working with him, and on behalf of everyone at the club I would like to thank him for his contribution and wish him well for the future.”

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Manchester City are unwilling to trade their regular first team players in a bid to land Lionel Messi from Barcelona.

Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez have all been mooted as potentially forming part of the negotiations with Barcelona.

According to reports, City want the trio to remain within Pep Guardiola’s squad for the coming season and would not countenance them leaving for the Nou Camp or anywhere else.

Silva is one player of particular interest to Barcelona, who had made noises about the possibility of signing the Portugal international earlier in the summer.

The Catalan giants are interested in City left back Angelino, who is valued at around £25million after spending a profitable loan spell at RB Leipzig, reaching the Champions League semi-finals. Angelino has started just four Premier League games for City across two spells.

The teenage defender, Eric Garcia, also remains on Barcelona’s radar after his refusal to sign a new contract at the Etihad Stadium.

City are no strangers to transfers involving players going in different directions after full back Joao Cancelo joined from Juventus last year, while Danilo simultaneously went to Turin.

The process of landing Messi was set in motion by a personal phonecall from the Argentine to Guardiola but there remains significant complications to him departing Catalonia.

The transfer window is only open for five more weeks, closing on October 5, and Messi’s situation is likely to take some time to resolve.

The 33-year-old believes he is technically justified in asking to leave for free, owing to a clause in his contract that ran out on June 10, while football was on pause.

Barcelona reject that notion, however, and will want to recoup a sizeable transfer fee for their greatest ever player from any suitor.

It makes negotiations with City delicate, with the Premier League patiently waiting to find out the outcome of wrangling between Barcelona and Messi’s lawyers.

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According to an exclusive report from an English press, Everton are close to signing James Rodriguez from Real Madrid this summer.

The report claims that the Toffees are expected to sign the 29-year-old attacking midfielder on a season-long loan deal, instead of signing him permanently.

The Colombian international will undergo his medical at Everton ‘early next week’, which means the Merseyside club have reached some sort of agreement with Los Blancos for his signature.

Recent reports show that Everton have agreed personal terms with the former Porto player.

Rodriguez is expected to earn around €4.5m per year as wages.

It was reported that Real Madrid were demanding a fee in the region of €25m (£22m) while Everton were looking to get him at a reduced price.

However, it seems they will sign him on loan instead. It’s unclear whether the agreement will have the provision to sign Rodriguez to sign permanently at the end of the season.

The 29-year-old, who joined Madrid in 2014, has made 125 appearances for the club in all competitions. However, he is not in Zinedine Zidane’s first-team plans and Madrid are ready to let him go.

Rodriguez will be reunited with Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti for a third time, having played under him at Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

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Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen has opened his goal account for new club SSC Napoli with a hatrick in a 11-0 thrashing of L’Aquila.

The former Lille Striker could not have hoped for a better start to life in Italy as he also provided an assist in the emphatic pre-season friendly victory.

Osimhen cost the Italian Serie A club more than 80 million Euros from Ligue 1 club Lille and he did not waste time before he began to justify his huge price tag when he got off the mark after just two minutes against the Serie D club.

The Super Eagles striker, sporting jersey No 9, made it 2-0 a minute later, before he completed his treble in the eighth minute.

He also provided an assist in the 28th minute for Napoli to lead 8-0.

The goals and the big win can only be good for the confidence of the Napoli new signing.

Napoli will be hoping this debut is a sign of more to come from the Nigerian.

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Liverpool were beaten on penalties by Arsenal after a 1-1 draw in Saturday’s FA Community Shield.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s sublime strike in the early stages gave the Gunners a lead they held into the final quarter of the contest.

But Takumi Minamino, on from the bench, bagged his first Reds goal in the 73rd minute to bring his team level and force a penalty shootout at Wembley.

Rhian Brewster was the unfortunate player to miss, sending his spot-kick against the crossbar, and Arsenal netted from each of their five to claim the trophy.

Liverpool stepped out at Wembley to contest the Community Shield for a second successive season, this time as Premier League champions and with the game held behind closed doors.

And Jürgen Klopp’s side had the ball in the FA Cup winners’ net within seven minutes – though it was ruled out for offside.

Van Dijk had edged too far ahead of the Arsenal backline as he met Andy Robertson’s free-kick from the left and nudged the ball beyond Emiliano Martinez.

Next, Milner was visibly frustrated with himself when a promising sight of goal came his way. Neco Williams’ lofted cross married with the skipper’s well-timed run into the centre of the box but he headed over the crossbar.

And in the same minute of play, the 12th, the Gunners netted themselves.

Bukayo Saka spotted Aubameyang with space to attack on the left flank and the Arsenal captain rapidly ducked into a shooting position 20 yards out and whipped his strike into the far corner for 1-0.

Mikel Arteta’s team almost made it two on 18 minutes, but Alisson Becker crucially thwarted Eddie Nketiah.

Again Saka was the creator, sliding a pass across the area that his teammate could meet with a first-time effort that forced the Liverpool goalkeeper into a low dive to get gloves on the ball.

Robertson was an outlet on the Reds’ left for much of the first half and his 40th-minute delivery was turned into a half-chance when Sadio Mane flicked it on to the back post, but it evaded Van Dijk and the sides headed into the break with the Gunners a goal up.

Liverpool restarted brightly and six minutes into the second half, Roberto Firmino went close to a leveller with a surge and shot.

The Brazilian shifted into space and dribbled to the edge of the area before attempting a curving hit that whistled the wrong side of the right post.

Soon after, Robertson’s sublime around-the-defence pass from deep released Mane into a one-on-one opportunity against Martinez but the No.10’s rolled finish was blocked by the Arsenal goalkeeper.

Klopp reacted by making personnel and positional switches shortly before the hour mark; on came Naby Keita and Minamino, with the latter joining Firmino, Mane and Mohamed Salah in attack, while Fabinho dropped into defence.

And it wasn’t long before Minamino hauled the Reds on terms.

The substitute was the beneficiary when his attempt to link up with Salah at close quarters in the box saw the ball run free and he took maximum advantage with a clinical dispatch past Martinez.

Mane might have won it when he brilliantly brought down Robertson’s cross but Martinez again came off his line to prevent him, while Joe Willock sent a header wide from a good position four minutes from time.


Liverpool went first from 12 yards, Salah firing home to kick off the shootout, but Brewster’s effort crashed off the crossbar from their third penalty and Arsenal remained perfect to clinch the Community Shield.