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Lionel Messi

Russia hope for World Cup miracle after Messi, Ronaldo exit

MOSCOW: Russia are hoping for a World Cup miracle on Sunday as the host nation take on 2010 winners Spain for a place in the quarter-finals after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi exited the tournament. The other last-16 match pits a talented Croatia team led by Luka Modric that had a perfect record in the group phase against Denmark, but they will have to go some to emulate the drama of Saturday's first two last-16 matches. France beat Messi's Argentina 4-3 in a World Cup classic as 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe…

World Cup: Messi delivers as Argentina strike late against Nigeria

ST PETERSBURG: Argentina and Lionel Messi scraped into the knockout stages of the World Cup by the skin of their teeth on Tuesday after an 86th-minute strike from defender Marcos Rojo gave them a barely deserved 2-1 win over Nigeria, eliminating the African side. The twice World Cup champions will face France in the last 16 while Croatia, who advance as winners of Group D with the maximum nine points after beating Iceland 2-1, will take on Denmark. Nigeria was just minutes away from progressing before central defender…

Argentina fans weep as World Cup 2018 dream fades

The party at the Buenos Aires fan zone fell flat as a crowd expecting a Messi-inspired Argentina World Cup revival could only watch in horror at as the nadir of Nizhny Novgorod unfolded. "We lost very badly, they really humiliated us this time," said 22-year-old Joaquin. "And now, on top of that, we're depending on Nigeria!" After the abject 3-0 loss to Croatia, the team will have to beat Nigeria in their final game and hope other results go their way to advance. For even the most passionate fans here, that seems a…

Ronaldo 1 Messi 0 in World Cup duel

MOSCOW: Cristiano Ronaldo has emphatically won the first round of his World Cup duel with eternal rival Lionel Messi -- revelling in the adulation after his dramatic hat-trick while the Argentine flopped against Iceland. Messi knew he had to find something special to match the Portuguese on Saturday but ended up squandering a golden chance to write his own headlines as he failed to convert from the penalty spot. Then, with just seconds remaining in Moscow, the Barcelona man stood over a direct free-kick, mirroring the…

Messi misses penalty as Iceland hold Argentina to 1-1 draw

MOSCOW: Argentina were held to a draw by World Cup debutants Iceland Saturday, with Lionel Messi blowing a gilt-edged opportunity for victory when he missed a penalty. Sergio Aguero scored an eye-catching opener for the two-time world champions in the 19th minute but it was almost immediately cancelled out by Alfred Finnbogason, whose team then held on in the face of immense pressure. It was a major embarrassment for Argentina and raises questions about their ability to claim football's biggest prize for the first time…

Fans should burn Messi shirts if he plays in Jerusalem -Palestine

RAMALLAH, West Bank: The Palestine Football Association chief urged fans on Sunday to burn pictures of Argentina striker Lionel Messi and replicas of his shirt if he plays against Israel in Jerusalem next weekend. Twice world champions Argentina will play at Jerusalem’s Teddy Kollek Stadium on Saturday night in a World Cup warm-up match that has attracted huge interest among the Israeli fans, mainly because of Messi’s planned participation. But the Palestinians are not happy that the match will be held in Jerusalem and…

Lionel Messi shown as ‘ISIS captive’ in poster released by terror outfit

MOSCOW: A photo of iconic footballer Lionel Messi has been used by global terror outfit Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in a ‘propaganda poster’ that threatens terror at the Russia World Cup 2018. Published by The Sun, the image is believed to have been released by pro-Isis mouthpiece and is said to be the latest in a series of sick messages aimed at football fans. In the propaganda poster, Barcelona star Messi is seen kneeling down wearing an orange jumpsuit – similar to those worn by people held captive in ISIS…

Messi marks new milestone in Barcelona victory

MADRID: Lionel Messi marked his 400th appearance in La Liga with the opening goal as Barcelona eased to a 3-0 win over Levante at the Camp Nou on Sunday. Messi's 365th goal in Spain's top flight came inside 12 minutes, with Luis Suarez adding the second before the interval and Paulinho completing the victory late on as Barcelona stretched their lead at the top of the table back to nine points over Atletico Madrid. The Catalans are still unbeaten in La Liga this season and have Philippe Coutinho to come in, with the…

Messi extends Barcelona contract until 2021

BARCELONA: Lionel Messi ended months of speculation when finally putting pen to paper on Saturday to extend his contract with Barcelona until 2021, the club announced, making official an agreement reached in July. The Spanish giants had announced in the summer that Messi, 30, had committed his future to the club but the Argentine had not signed the new deal. With his previous contract set to expire in 2018, Messi could have left Barca for free next summer had he not extended his deal. "FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi…