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Barcelona president Bartomeu resigns, all board members step down

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By Fola Raheem

Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has resigned, amid criticism and a looming vote of no confidence.

The entire board members have also stepped down from their posts, goal.com reports.

Bartomeu’s decision came after several months of criticism in the wake of Barcelona’s 8-2 Champions League elimination by Bayern Munich, as well as Lionel Messi’s shock request to leave the club shortly after.

Although the club was able to keep hold on Messi, with the longtime Barca star staying to avoid having to take the club to court, Bartomeu’s position has been under scrutiny for months.

The president had been due to officially end his tenure next year, with elections called for March, but the club’s members called for a vote of no confidence in an effort to get Bartomeu out immediately.

A total of 20,687 votes were gathered for the motion against Bartomeu, passing the threshold of 16,250 signatures required for the vote to go ahead.

The Barca board repeatedly tried to postpone the vote but, on Monday, local authorities rejected the club’s push to delay the proceedings.

As a result, the vote was set to go ahead in the coming weeks, but will no longer be necessary as Bartomeu and the board have stepped down.

Bartomeu originally joined Barca during Joan Laporta’s presidency and ascended to that role himself in January 2014.

He replaced Sandro Rosell, becoming the 40th President of Barcelona as he signed on to complete the rest of Rosell’s tenure following his resignation.

During his time in charge, Barca won La Liga four times as well as the 2014-15 Champions League, but his time in charge will largely be defined by the club’s failings in his final seasons.

Having struggled to find value in the transfer market since Neymar’s departure to join Paris Saint-Germain, Barca finished the 2019-20 season trophyless.

Their 8-2 loss to Bayern only furthered unrest, with Messi’s request to leave proving the final straw for the president.

Messi told Goal in September that Bartomeu “did not keep his word”, with former Barca star Luis Suarez saying that he believes Messi will stay at Barca if a new board arrives.

Bartomeu said on Monday that he believed that Messi could lead Barca to titles this season, admitting that he could not let the Argentine leave for the good of the club.

And now, it is Bartomeu that is leaving, as he ends his time in charge of Barca after nearly seven years.

Barcelona are set to face Juventus on Wednesday in the Champions League.

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Usain Bolt, partner welcome twin sons

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Jamaican track and field sensation Usain Bolt has announced the birth of his twin sons in an Instagram post.

The post sent on Father’s Day (Sunday) shows a family photo, with Bolt sitting next to his partner Kasi Bennett, their daughter Olympia Lightning, and the newborn twins.

Like their sister, the boys have been given equally fitting names — Thunder and Saint Leo. The post did not say when the twins were born.

The couple welcomed their first child Olympia Lightning together last year.

Bolt, 34, will not be participating in this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, having retired from the sport in 2017. This year’s competition will be the first Olympics since 2000 in which the sprinter won’t be seen on the track.

He told CNN Sport in March that he was looking forward to being a spectator of the games as opposed to competing.

“I’m definitely excited to be in the stands,” he said. “I’ve never got an opportunity to really watch Olympic Games, to either go [watch] swimming, the soccer or just to see all the events. So I’m excited to actually get the chance to really experience Olympics like a true fan.”

An 11-time world champion, Bolt remains the fastest man in the world, having set a record of 9.58 seconds over the 100-metre sprint at the Berlin World Championships in 2009, as well as his 200-metre world record of 19.19 seconds.

But his greatest professional accolades are his eight Olympic gold medals — three of which he won at consecutive Games, he told CNN.

“It’s always going to be the [Olympic] gold medals,” Bolt said, adding, “I think that’s what really stamped my authority on the sport, you know what I mean, I showed my dominance throughout the years.

-CNN

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Messi to finish his career at Barca – Koeman

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Ronald Koeman says Lionel Messi “has to finish his career at Barcelona”, with the Blaugrana boss expecting a contract extension for the mercurial Argentine to be announced “soon”.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is yet to make an official decision on his future, with the 33-year-old still seeing his current deal run down towards free agency.

The expectation is, however, that he will extend a career-long association with the Liga heavyweights, with fresh terms on the table and ready to be signed.

Koeman told Sport when asked for an update on a long-running saga in Catalunya: “Messi has to finish his career at Barcelona, so I hope we can make it official soon.”

Barca president Joan Laporta has stated on a regular basis, even before he returned to office at Camp Nou, that he believes Messi will stay put.

That message has been reiterated, although he has suggested that paperwork will not be completed imminently by a man currently away on Copa America duty with his country.

“The renewal isn’t at an advanced stage,” Laporta has admitted.

“It’s okay, I believe that Leo’s boots will stay on Camp Nou’s pitch.

“I can’t contemplate a no from Messi; he wants to stay. We’re doing what we can but there’s no need to seduce him.”

While waiting on a call from Messi, Barca are working hard to put more pieces of a trophy-winning puzzle in place alongside their iconic captain.

Deals have been done for Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, while Memphis Depay is expected to complete a switch from Lyon as a free agent.

Koeman is pleased with progress being made on the recruitment front, with the Dutchman adding: “We are working on building a competitive team, one that will be much stronger than in previous seasons.”

Ronald Koeman is already looking ahead to next season at Barcelona and he was spotted in Amsterdam for the Netherlands’ game against Austria at Euro 2020 on Thursday evening.

Although Koeman himself is Dutch and was their coach during qualifying, meaning he could well have been attending just to see his team play, it’s said that he was there to watch Memphis Depay.

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The domestic seasons might have ended, but Ronald Koeman is already looking ahead to next season at Barcelona and he was spotted in Amsterdam for the Netherlands’ game against Austria at Euro 2020 on Thursday evening.

Although Koeman himself is Dutch and was their coach during qualifying, meaning he could well have been attending just to see his team play, it’s said that he was there to watch Memphis Depay.

Memphis is expected to join Barcelona in the coming days or weeks. Koeman himself said on Wednesday that talks were going in the right direction and he took the chance to watch the player on Thursday night.

Koeman will return to Catalonia to take Barcelona’s pre-season training from July 12.

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Eriksen discharged from hospital after operation

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Denmark’s Christian Eriksen has been released from hospital after undergoing a successful operation, the Danish Football Association confirmed in a statement on Friday.

Eriksen was admitted to hospital after he collapsed due to cardiac arrest in the 43rd minute of Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 game against Finland on June 12.

The FA announced on Thursday that he would receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a small electronic device that is a type of pacemaker and can prevent fatal cardiac arrests by discharging a jolt to restore a regular heart rhythm.

“Christian Eriksen has been through a successful operation and was today discharged from Rigshospitalet,” the FA said in a statement on Twitter.

“Today he also visited the national team in Helsingor — and from there he will go home and spend time with his family.”

The incident reverberated through football, with many players sending well-wishes to Eriksen and his teammates.

The game between Belgium and Denmark on Thursday was stopped in the 10th minute as a tribute to Eriksen.

A banner was also displayed among fans in one of the stands, which read: “All of Denmark is with you, Christian.”

Before kickoff, a large flag in the shape of a Denmark shirt with Eriksen’s name on the back was unfurled on the pitch. Eriksen wears the No. 10 shirt for his country.

“Thank you for the massive number of greetings — it has been incredible to see and feel,” Eriksen said in a statement following his release from hospital.

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