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Breaking: Messi breaks down in tears, confirms PSG interest, but…

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An emotional Lionel Messi said joining Paris St-Germain was “a possibility, but nothing is agreed” as he confirmed his exit from Barcelona.

Messi is ending his 21-year association with Barca, who cannot afford to honour the new contract they agreed with him because of La Liga’s salary limit.

The record six-time Ballon d’Or winner, 34, is now a free agent.

“My family and I were convinced we were going to stay here, at home,” he said during a news conference on Sunday.

“This is the end with this club and now a new story will begin,” added the Argentina forward. “Yes, it’s one of the most difficult moments for me.

“I don’t want to leave this club – it’s a club I love and this is a moment I didn’t expect.”Last year I wanted to leave, this year I wanted to stay. That’s why I’m so sad.

“It was like my blood ran cold. I was really sad. It was really difficult right up to now. I’m still trying to process it all.

“When I get home I will still feel bad; it will be even worse. I’m not ready for this.”

Messi, Barcelona’s record goalscorer, submitted a transfer request last summer before agreeing to stay for the final year of his contract.

That expired on 1 July and Messi is now in talks over a move to PSG, where he would play alongside Kylian Mbappe and former Barca team-mate Neymar.

“It is a possibility, but I have not agreed anything with anyone,” he said. “I have got different clubs interested. Nothing is definitive but clearly we are talking to them.”

Messi left Argentina for Spain when he was 13 and made his first-team debut for Barcelona aged 17 in October 2004.

He went on to score 672 goals in 778 games and helped the Spanish giants win 34 trophies, replicas of which were displayed at his news conference at the Nou Camp.

“I’m so grateful for the love that everyone’s shown me, for all my team-mates, and the club being by my side,” he said. “Today I have to say goodbye to all this.

“I arrived when I was very young, 13 years old, and after 21 years I am leaving with my wife and three Catalan-Argentine children.

“I cannot be more proud of everything I did and lived in this city. I have no doubt that, after a few years away, we will return because it is our home.”

Messi added: “I’m leaving the club without seeing the fans for over a year and a half [due to the pandemic]. If I imagined it, I would imagine the Camp Nou full, and to say goodbye properly. But it has to be this way.”

Messi looked set to extend his stay at the Nou Camp having agreed a new five-year contract in July, halving the £123m a season he reportedly received in his previous contract.

The agreement was dependent on player departures to get Barca’s wage bill under La Liga’s limit, however, and the club were unable to do so.

“I offered to reduce my salary by 50% and they didn’t ask me for anything else,” Messi said. “It is not true that they asked me for anything more.

“I only know that it was not possible because of La Liga, because the club did not want to go into more debt.”

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said on Friday that trying to keep Messi could have put the club at risk for 50 years.

Once it became clear Barca were unable to honour the contract they had agreed with Messi, his representatives contacted PSG, but wherever Messi goes next, he said he wants to “play my last years competing for titles”.

He also had a warning for his former Barca team-mate Dani Alves after the 38-year-old right-back helped Brazil win Olympic gold to extend his record for career titles to 43.

“I congratulate Dani Alves and warn him that I am going to fight to catch up with him and surpass him,” Messi added. “It’s my mentality. I have to find my way to keep competing and winning.”


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Oregon dog’s 12-inch ears earn Guinness World Record

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Lou, a 3-year-old canine belonging to Paige Olsen, officially has the longest ears on a dog (living).
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An Oregon woman’s black and tan coonhound earned a Guinness World Record when each of her ears was measured at 12.38 inches long.

Guinness said Lou, a 3-year-old canine belonging to Paige Olsen, officially has the longest ears on a dog (living).

Olsen said she always knew Lou’s ears were “extravagantly long,” but she only decided to measure them while sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All black and tan coonhounds have beautiful long ears, some are just longer than others,” Olsen, a veterinary technician, told Guinness.

Olsen said Lou’s especially long ears have not led to any medical complications for the canine.

“Of course everyone wants to touch the ears, they’re very easy to fall in love with with just one sighting,” she said.

Olsen said Lou is also a competitor at dog shows and has earned titles from the American Kennel Club and Rally Obedience.

Source: (UPI)


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Breaking: Ganduje appoints new Emir of Gaya

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Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State has in the early hours of Sunday appointed Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim-Gaya as the new emir of Gaya.

Ibrahim-Gaya succeeded his late father, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulkadir who died at the age of 91 years after protracted illness.

The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji announced the appointment on behalf of the Governor.

More to come…


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Tanks head for Kosovo-Serb border as Balkans tensions grow

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A Kosovo security unit trooper guards the border with Serbia as the Balkan nations trade accusations.
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Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti has accused neighbouring Serbia of “provoking a serious international conflict”, with tensions between the two countries at their highest for years.

In the latest flashpoint, two interior ministry offices in northern Kosovo were on Saturday attacked near border crossings blocked by local Serbs angered by a ban on cars with Serbian licence plates entering the country.

The car registration office in the town of Zubin Potok was set ablaze, and two hand grenades were thrown at the civil registration office in the nearby town of Zvecan, though they did not go off, police said.

There was no mention of any casualties.

Serbs from Kosovo’s north have blocked two main roads near the border since the government ban went into force on Monday.

Drivers from Serbia must now use temporary printed registration details that are valid for 60 days.

The Kosovo government says its move mirrors measures in force in Serbia against drivers from Kosovo since 2008, when Kosovo declared independence from their neighbour.

Serb fighter planes flew close to the border crossing of Jarinje where protesters cheered them. A day before, three helicopters also flew in the vicinity.

Media in Belgrade reported that tanks and other military equipment were heading towards the border, but the Serb army did not give any details.

NATO’s mission in Kosovo, where peacekeepers maintain a fragile peace, called for restraint.

Source: (NewDaily)


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