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Lionel Messi

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…

Messi maturing with age as he picks up fourth Golden Shoe

BARCELONA: Lionel Messi insisted he was getting better with age after receiving the European Golden Shoe award for the fourth time on Friday. The 30-year-old Argentine won the prize for being the top scorer in Europe's leading leagues last season after netting 37 times for Barcelona. "I have always said that I don't consider myself to be a striker, but I have been lucky enough to always score goals and win individual prizes," the five-time Ballon d'Or winner said after being handed the trophy at a ceremony in…

Argentina frets over possible Messi-less World Cup

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina awakened on Friday to the horrifying possibility of a World Cup without the "world's best player", Lionel Messi.  The Albiceleste drew 0-0 at home to Peru on Thursday to fall not only out of the four automatic South American qualifying places for next year's finals in Russia, but also the fifth place that offers a play-off spot against New Zealand. Sitting sixth, Argentina now almost certainly need to win their final pool game away to Ecuador or miss out entirely on the global footballing…

Ronaldo wins UEFA Player of the Year award

MONACO: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo was named UEFA's Player of the Year, beating Lionel Messi and Gianluigi Buffon to the prize, European soccer's governing body announced during the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday. Ronaldo helped Real to a second consecutive Champions League title and finished as the tournament's top scorer with 12 goals last season. He has now won the award three times, one more than Messi. The three-player shortlist was chosen by a panel of 80 coaches of clubs that…

Messi to remain at Barcelona until 2021

MADRID: Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi will sign a new four-year deal with the club, keeping him with the Spanish giants until 2021, the side said on Wednesday. Five times a Ballon d'Or winner, the Argentinean forward was entering the final 12 months of his current deal before the new one was agreed. Messi, who scored 37 times in La Liga last season, has been at Barcelona since the age of 13, rising through their youth system to become one of the most successful and recognisable footballers in the world. The…

Football star Lionel Messi weds his childhood sweetheart

ROSARIO: Football star Lionel Messi married his childhood sweetheart married on Friday night at a ceremony in his Argentine hometown where footballers and celebrities gathered for the "wedding of the century." Following the private ceremony, the couple appeared happy and relaxed as they walked a red carpet before hundreds of journalists at a hotel and casino complex, Roccuzzo donning a tight, mermaid-style gown by Spanish designer Rosa Clara. The couple's children Thiago, four, and Mateo, one, had front seats at the…

Argentine town braces for Messi’s wedding

ROSARIO, ARGENTINA:  Soccer superstar Lionel Messi's Argentine hometown is preparing to host footballing and showbiz celebrities when he marries childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo this month in Latin America's wedding of the decade. Colombian popstar Shakira, wife of Messi's Barcelona teammate Gerard Pique, has said she hopes to attend. Media such as local Rosario newspaper La Capital also expect other current and former Barcelona stars such as Luis Suarez, Neymar, Cesc Fabregas and Xavi Hernandez to be among the…

Football star Messi’s 21-month jail sentence upheld by Spain’s Supreme Court

BARCELONA: Spain's Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed a 21-month jail sentence and 2.09-million-euro ($2.25 million) fine imposed on Lionel Messi for tax fraud, months after the Barcelona football star lodged an appeal. The Argentina international and his father Jorge Horacio Messi were in July 2016 found guilty of using companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros of Messi's income earned from his image rights from 2007-09. The income related to Messi's image…

FIFA lifts Messi four-game international ban

ZURICH: FIFA on Friday overturned Barcelona star Lionel Messi's four-game ban from international matches imposed for swearing at an assistant referee, saying there was not enough evidence to support the stiff punishment.  The U-turn is a major boost to Argentina's hopes of reaching next year's World Cup in Russia, with the South Americans struggling in regional qualifying. FIFA said its appeal committee sided with a challenge filed on Messi's behalf by the Argentine Football Association and lifted "the sanctions…

FIFA hears Messi appeal against four-match Argentina ban

Argentina forward Lionel Messi's appeal against his four-match international ban for insulting a match official was being heard by FIFA on Thursday, a source close to soccer’s governing body said. Messi did not travel to FIFA headquarters in Zurich for the hearing but Spanish media said he would make his defence in a video conference call. The FIFA Appeal committee was not expected to make an immediate decision. Messi was suspended for insulting a match official during Argentina's 1-0 win over Chile in March. The…