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Lionel Messi named Time magazine’s Athlete of the Year

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Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi named Time magazine’s Athlete of the Year

ARGENTINA and Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi has been named Time magazine’s Athlete of the Year.

Messi joined Miami in July and scored 11 goals in 14 games in all competitions to help them lift the Leagues Cup, their first ever trophy.

The 36-year-old also won the Ballon d’Or for the eighth time in October.

“Lionel Messi this year managed to do what once seemed impossible, when he signed with Inter Miami: turning the US into a soccer country,” read Time.

The magazine said Messi’s arrival had driven a surge in attendances, ticket prices, merchandise sales and viewership of MLS games.

The striker joins the likes of gymnast Simone Biles, swimmer Michael Phelps and NBA superstar LeBron James in winning the award.

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After leaving Paris St-Germain at the end of his contract Messi said his preference was an emotional return to boyhood club Barcelona, but that move never materialised.

It then came down to Miami or a move to the Saudi Pro League, which has invested heavily in foreign talent over the past two seasons.

“My first option was to return to Barcelona, but it was not possible,” he told Time. “I tried to return, and it did not happen.

“It is also true that later I was thinking a lot about going to the Saudi league, where I know the country and they have created a very powerful competition that can become an important league in the near future.

“It was Saudi Arabia or MLS, and both options seemed very interesting to me.”

Lionel Messi named Time magazine’s Athlete of the Year

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Paris 2024: Super Falcons lose to Canada in friendly match

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Super Falcons

Paris 2024: Super Falcons lose to Canada in friendly match

The Super Falcons lost 1-0 to Canada in a friendly match at La Quinta Football Centre in Malaga, Spain on Wednesday night in their final preparation before the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Under head coach Randy Waldrum, Nigeria deployed the strongest lineup in a 4-4-2 diamond formation, aiming to uphold their impressive unbeaten streak.

Chiamaka Nnadozie started in goal, supported by defenders Michelle Alozie, Chidinma Okeke, Oluwatosin Demehin, and Osinachi Ohale.

The midfield featured Deborah Abiodun and Christy Ucheibe, with Jennifer Echegini and Toni Payne leading the attack alongside Chinwendu Ihezuo and Rasheedat Ajibade of Atletico Madrid.

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Canada seized an early lead in the 18th minute, despite Nigeria’s efforts to equalise throughout the match. The closest opportunity came in the second half when Echegini’s powerful strike hit the post, narrowly missing the net.

The defeat marked the end of Nigeria’s 15-game unbeaten streak with their last loss over 90 minutes occurring against Colombia in February 2023.

It also stands as the Super Falcons’ first defeat in 2024, following two wins and two draws against Cameroon and South Africa earlier in the year.

Nigeria will commence their Olympic campaign in eight days with a crucial match against Brazil in Bordeaux, followed by matches against Spain and the Korea Republic.

Paris 2024: Super Falcons lose to Canada in friendly match

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Modric signs one-year extension with Real Madrid

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Real Madrid captain Luka Modric

Modric signs one-year extension with Real Madrid

Real Madrid captain Luka Modric has signed a one-year contract extension with the Spanish champions.

Modric, 38, has won 26 trophies, including six Champions Leagues and four domestic titles since joining Real Madrid from Tottenham in 2012.

The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner has featured in 534 matches for Los Blancos, scoring 39 goals

The Croat played 46 times across all competitions in 2023-24 but started on just 23 occasions.

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Modric started in all three of Croatia’s matches at Euro 2024, with the side going out of the competition after finishing third in their group.

The midfielder was out of contract at the end of the June but his continuing presence will ensure manager Carlo Ancelotti has experience to count on as he prepares for his 13th  season at the Bernabeu.

Real have already completed the high profile signing of Kylian Mbappe from Paris St-Germain, with the France striker officially unveiled on 16 July.

Teenager Endrick has also been drafted in from Brazilian side Palmeiras to bolster the 15-time European champions.

Modric signs one-year extension with Real Madrid

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Napoli’s Osimhen set to join PSG in N176bn last-minute deal

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Victor Osimhen

Napoli’s Osimhen set to join PSG in N176bn last-minute deal

Barring any last minute developments, striker Victor Osimhen  eagerly awaited departure  from  Napoli to PSG after the French giants  reportedly offered a deal of £84m (about N176 billion) to sign the ace Nigeria International.

Various Italian news outlets  have  claimed this week that  both Napoli are working  hard to meet their  transfer target with words rife that new coach Antonio Conte is more disposed  to  having a reunion with  Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku.

With a rash of English  club  unwilling  to meet Napoli’s staggering release cause of  £109m (about N229  billion) for Osimhen, PSG  reportedly asked  for a  discount  while offering further exchange of players in the deal.

Meanwhile, Italian outlet SPORT Mediaset as per Daily Mail , claimed  the deal is ‘near a turning point’ with the Nigerian’s agent Roberto Calenda having ‘flown to Paris to speak directly with PSG.’

The outlet adds that his trip to the French capital has ‘yielded very positive results’ with the French club and could be a blow for Chelsea and Arsenal.

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The report added: “After the market summit, the French club has decided to close the deal, satisfying both Napoli and the player.”

Despite that Napoli owner, Aurelio De Laurentiis had reportedly placed a price tag of around £109million on the Nigerian star but PSG’s lower offer is ‘still capable of unblocking the deal.’

Osimhen had signed a contract extension to stay at Napoli until 2026 back in 2023, extending his stay at the Serie A side by another season.

He has enjoyed a fruitful spell in Naples, since arriving back in 2020 from Lille.

Across 133 appearances for the club in all competitions he has scored a whopping 76 goals, with Osimhen helping Napoli clinch the league title during the 2022-23 season, having netted 26 goals during the season.

De Laurentiis, meanwhile, is keen to finalise a deal for Osimhen ‘as soon as possible’, according to SPORT Mediaset, so that Napoli can free up funds to swoop in for Lukaku.

The Chelsea striker, who has been on loan at Roma during the 2023-24 campaign, is available for a fee between £21m-£25m (€25m-€30m).

Lukaku, 31, scored 13 goals across 32 Serie A appearances last season and also found the back of the net seven times in the Europa League.

Napoli’s Osimhen set to join PSG in N176bn last-minute deal

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