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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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Mourinho Compares Victor Osimhen to one of the African legend, Didier Drogba

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Victor Osimhen

AS Roma manager, Jose Mourinho, has compared Super Eagles of Nigeria and Napoli of Italy hitman, Victor Osimhen, to Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend, Didier Drogba.

NEWSBREAK reports that the  Nigerian striker netted a world-class goal as his side, Napoli, marched towards the Serie A title on Sunday. Osimhen’s classic goal came against Mourinho’s Roma at the Diego Maradona stadium where Napoli won 2-1.

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Speaking after the match, Mourinho, a former Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid manager, said: “He (Osimhen) is of the same level as Drogba, but Didier didn’t dive.

“If Victor changes, then OK. I’d buy him if I was at a club with a lot of money. However, if he does go to England one day, he needs to change, because in Italy they put up with this sort of behaviour, whereas in the Premier League, they’d come down hard on him.”

He added: “I told him that he scored a wonderful goal and needs to stop diving so much. His goal was fantastic, he did the same thing when we met earlier this season, so he’s a fantastic player. But he mustn’t dive.”

Osimhen, 24, is currently the highest goal scorer in the Italian league Serie A with 14 goals scored in 16 matches.

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Kelechi Iheanacho’s record goal helps Leicester qualify for last 16 FA Cup

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Leicester city needed the goal from Nigerian footballer Kelechi Iheanacho to avoid a shock elimination from the FA Cup with a 1-0 win at Walsall on Saturday.

The Nigerian has scored more goals in the competition than any other player since making his debut in 2016.

Iheanacho’s 17th goal in 23 FA Cup appearances had some fortune as his strike from the edge of the box took a deflection for the only goal 23 minutes from time.

Leicester, Leeds and Man United join Manchester City as the first four sides to book their place in the last 16 of the competition.

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French footballer gets 30-year ban for punching referee

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An amateur footballer in France, described as a “fanatic”, was on Friday banned from playing for 30 years for punching a referee.

“The penalty is appropriate. These fanatics must not be able to set foot on a football pitch again. They have no place there,” said Benoit Laine, president of the Loiret football district in central France.

The 25-year-old player, who was not named by officials, was angry at being sent off while featuring for Entente Sportive Gatinaise in a local cup game on January 8.

He punched the referee so hard that the official was signed off work for two days.

The team was also kicked out of the tournament for the next two seasons.

AFP

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