Lionel Messi Hits Incredible Record With Latest Assist

Heavy

Lionel Messi made more La Liga history on Saturday night by teeing up Arturo Vidal to open the scoring for Barcelona against Real Valladolid at the José Zorrilla Stadium.

The assist was Messi’s 20th of the season, to go with his 22 goals in Spain’s top flight, making him the first player ever to record such numbers.

Messi also becomes the first player to reach 20 assists in a La Liga season since Xavi achieved the same feat for Barcelona in 2008-09.

Meanwhile, Vidal’s goal was his eighth of the season and continues his lethal form in front of goal for Barcelona this season.

The Chilean’s first-half strike was the only goal of the game and was enough for all three points for Barcelona. The win sees the Catalan giants cut the gap to leaders Real Madrid to just one point.

Barcelona headed into the game needing a win to keep their faint title hopes alive after Los Blancos moved four points clear on Friday night with a win over Alaves.

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Sporting KC Transfer Botond Barath to Hungary

The Blue Statement

Sporting Kansas City announced on Saturday that they had sold center back Botond Barath to Hungarian club Budapest Honved FC. You may recall that Borath came from Hungary ahead of the 2019 season. He’ll return to his former club in this deal.

“Budapest Honved wanted me, and I wanted more playing time,” said Barath. “Also there is too much uncertainty around this MLS-season due to the COVID-19 situation in the US.”

What Does it Mean for KC?

Barath had not yet appeared in 2020 but he played significant minutes in 2019 logging 20 starts and 21 appearances for 1,749 minutes.

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW: It’s a nightmare for Man City

Daily Mail

Manchester City will face either Juventus or Lyon, should they progress to the Champions League quarter-finals, while Chelsea will face either Napoli or Barcelona if they stage an almighty comeback against Bayern Munich.

City look set to reach the quarter-finals after a brilliant 2-1 last-16 first-leg win at Real Madrid on February 26. The two teams will meet again at the Etihad Stadium on August 7 to conclude that tie.

Meanwhile, Chelsea face an uphill battle to reach the last eight after losing 3-0 at home to Bayern Munich on February 25. The return leg in Bavaria also takes place on August 7. 

Elsewhere RB Leipzig, conquerors of Tottenham in the last 16, will face Atletico Madrid – with the latter disposing of defending champions Liverpool at the same stage too.

The other tie that is fixed sees Italian outfit Atalanta face French giants Paris Saint-Germain. All of the quarter-finals will take place across August 12-15.

Should City progress through their last-16 and quarter-final ties, Pep Guardiola's men would face Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Napoli in the semi-finals.

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Mourinho unhappy with Tottenham’s Amazon documentary

ESPN

Jose Mourinho has said he will not watch the new Amazon documentary of Tottenham's 2019-20 season and admitted his frustration at the intrusion from cameras during filming.

The 22-second trailer for "All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur" was released on Friday, focusing on Mourinho's arrival at the club last November to succeed Mauricio Pochettino as head coach.

The series is set to be released later this year and will chart a turbulent campaign which also featured Spurs struggling to reproduce the form that got them to last season's Champions League final, the coronavirus pandemic and a half-time fight between Spurs players Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-Min in Monday's win over Everton.

Amazon producers have had unprecedented access at the club's training facility in addition to matchdays and although Mourinho had previously kept his feeling quiet over the interference, the 57-year-old chose to speak out ahead of Sunday's north London derby against Arsenal.

"I try to forget them during the time," he said. "If you ask me [is it] something that I enjoy, no. I don't like the feeling of being in 'Big Brother,' I tried to forget them and I think I managed to do that for the majority of the time.

"I have no idea what is there. I have no concerns, it is just… nothing is fake, everything is real. For them, it must be great because they have the day by day, 24 hours of what a football club is, a dressing room is. They have everything so, so, so, so real. Nobody acted for it. It is just the way it is.

"Am I going to watch it? No, no I'm not. It is not something I want to do. Also because I know better than anyone what is our day by day here but I think it will be very, very interesting for the people that loves football, loves sport and I think it is going to be great for them."

 

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Man Utd chief Ed Woodward puts six players up for sale to fund Jadon Sancho transfer

Express

Manchester United are trying to offload six players in a bid to raise funds for the purchase of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, who has a £115million price tag on his head.

The Red Devils have seen their revenue streams hit hard because of the coronavirus and will have less money to spend in the next window.

Senior United officials have made it known that they will not shell out more than £50m for Sancho.

But Woodward is hoping he can sell some of the club's fringe players to raise funds.

According to the Athletic, Alexis Sanchez, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard and Diogo Dalot could all leave Old Trafford.

Sanchez has flopped since his arrival from Arsenal in January 2018 and was sent on loan to Inter Milan this season.

The Serie A side are not keen on making the deal permanent but another 12-month loan is a possibility and that would save United around £10m in wages.

Another star who could be tempted by a full-time switch to Italy is Smalling, who spent this year on loan to Roma.

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MLS players go silent for several minutes, raise fists with black gloves, kneel to protest systemic racism

Yahoo! Sports

Moments before Major League Soccer became the biggest North American team sports league to return to the field of play amid the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday night, a coalition of Black players in the league led an lengthy moment of silence before Orlando City and Inter Miami kicked off the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.

The Tennessean reported that more than 170 players from around the league took part in the protest. The unusually long length of the display was intentional. On May 25, unarmed African-American George Floyd was killed in police custody after a Minneapolis officer kneeled on the handcuffed man’s neck for almost nine minutes. The viral video of that incident — and other like it in recent months — has sparked ongoing worldwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

Members MLS’s Black Players for Change coalition and other players entered the field alongside the two teams at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, host of the monthlong, World Cup-style event. Clad in black t-shirts emblazoned with different messages calling for social justice, they held up their fists in a manner reminiscent of United States Olympic medal winners John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics. All 22 starters for Orlando and Miami — plus the match officials — lowered themselves to one knee in solidarity.

 

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Kai Havertz informs Chelsea of transfer choice ahead of Bayer Leverkusen exit

Daily Star

Kai Havertz has told Chelsea he wants to join them this summer and is ready to hand in a transfer request to make it happen.

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich do not have the money to buy Havertz in this window and asked him to wait a year before leaving Bayer Leverkusen.

But the 21-year-old wants out now and has been offered a five-year deal by the Blues, who have been in talks with his agent for weeks.

Havertz is impressed by Chelsea’s ambition with the club having already signed his Germany team-mate Timo Werner as well as Hakim Ziyech from Ajax.

And his stance gives them greater negotiating power with Leverkusen, who want at least £90m for a player Chelsea rate closer to £70m.

 

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Greenwood form sees Man Utd pull plug on move for £60m attacker

TeamTalk

Manchester United have shelved plans to sign Moussa Dembele this summer after the emergence of Mason Greenwood, claims a report.

The Daily Star claim that former Celtic striker Dembele was on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s transfer shortlist and the Norwegian had sent scouts to watch the forward before the Ligue 1 campaign was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Back in February Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol, said a United deal in the summer for £60m-rated Dembele was likely to happen.

However, now the paper report that the 23-year-old “is no longer on United’s radar due to a combination of the forward’s wage demands and emergence of Mason Greenwood”.

French oulet Foot Mercatoreport that Manchester United are still “keeping an eye” on the Lyon striker, but they could well be pushing the French club’s agenda with suitors disappearing quickly for their prize assett.

Chelsea were understood to have first refusal on Dembele this summer. They, however, have since signed Timo Werner and it looks like Lyon will be left with the forward with his 2023 contract running down.

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Christian Pulisic’s game now on ‘another level’ – Chelsea boss Frank Lampard

ESPN

Frank Lampard hailed the growing influence of Christian Pulisic after he scored again in Chelsea's 3-2 win at Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

Pulisic has scored three goals in five games since the Premier League restarted last month to keep Chelsea in pole position for a place in the Champions League next season.

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Should the MLS Orlando tournament proceed without FC Dallas?

The Sports Daily

It was reported on Monday that FC Dallas will not be participating in the controversial MLS is Back Tournament because 10 of its players and one staff member have coronavirus according to Tom Marshall of ESPN. The Major League Soccer season was to begin this season in Orlando starting on Wednesday, and at this time still plans to proceed with 25 clubs instead of 26.

Heading into the tournament MLS announced that all games from the group stage of the tournament will count towards the 2020 MLS regular season standings. The games in the knockout stage of the tournament will not count toward the standings, however the winner will represent the MLS in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League. That position is usually reserved for the MLS regular season champion.

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