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It’s a shame – Messi clears air on leaving Inter Miami back to Europe

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Lionel Messi has dismissed reports that suggest he will leave Inter Miami on loan to join another club once the MLS season concludes.

Inter Miami failed to secure a spot in the MLS playoffs and will face Charlotte FC in their last match this Saturday. Speculation had arisen that Messi might make a return to Europe on loan during the MLS post-season break to maintain his match fitness.

However, when questioned about the possibility of playing for another club in December, Messi replied, “No.”

He expressed his disappointment regarding the team’s failure to qualify, citing factors like injuries and a challenging schedule. He mentioned their recent tournament win, which is significant for the club’s future, and stated his intention to train, play in their upcoming match against Charlotte FC, and prepare for the national team in November. Afterward, he plans to enjoy a holiday in Argentina, which will be a rare opportunity for him to relax in December. He intends to return in January for preseason training and continue preparing as diligently as ever.

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EPL final day: Arsenal’s need for miracle, stain of Man City’s 115 charges

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And then there were two.

In April, it seemed that Manchester City, Arsenal, or Liverpool could claim the title. However, Jurgen Klopp’s team fell out of contention due to a series of poor results, ensuring the German coach leaves with just one Premier League title after nine years.

It’s a testament to the Reds that they were even in the title conversation, as many expected only City and Arsenal to compete closely this season.

Arsenal, in particular, have performed exceptionally well.

“I think they’ve been excellent,” Clinton McDubus, a top football analyst and podcaster, told DAILY POST. “Many doubted if they could maintain their level from the 22/23 season, but they’ve shown that this team is here to stay and contend year after year. They didn’t collapse in the final stretch like last year and have bounced back from various setbacks. It’s been a very impressive season, perhaps even more so than last year. It looks like they’ve reached a new level.”

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Currently, Mikel Arteta is poised to finish as runner-up to his former boss and mentor, Pep Guardiola, for the second consecutive year. However, many believe Arsenal will win the title within a year or two.

“No. The only certainty is the level they’ve demonstrated so far. They’re genuinely a good side, so expectations will definitely rise, and they will start the season as serious contenders, with all the associated pressure. Anything less will bring scrutiny or be seen as a step back. Manchester City will still be the favorites and the team to beat. Those are the only guarantees. Football is cruel like that. Each season is unique, and past performance doesn’t guarantee moving from 2nd to 1st the next year. That’s football for you. Arsenal will be an interesting team to watch next season, especially if they narrowly miss out on the title again,” McDubus explained.

City’s journey hasn’t been straightforward.

“A comedown was inevitable after a treble and losing Ilkay Gundogan. Without Kevin de Bruyne for much of the season, this has been a very functional Manchester City. There’s been less subtlety and more reliance on physical and athletic dominance to win matches. But winning is a self-sustaining habit, and no team has won as much as Manchester City in the last 5-7 years. They’ve found a way to succeed, even if this isn’t a vintage version of themselves.”

A potential blemish on City’s title win is the 115 charges looming over them.

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“It’s impossible to ignore those charges when evaluating City, although they pertain to the entire project rather than this specific season,” Chukwu added. “The allegations relate to the expenses incurred to establish their dominance. By not cooperating, City are essentially delaying justice as long as possible while continuing to build their legacy. By the time justice arrives, it may not matter as much in the public consciousness. It’s a calculated, albeit unethical, gamble.”

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Finidi not on one-year contract – NFF boss, Gusau

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President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ibrahim Gusau, has refuted reports that Super Eagles head coach, Finidi George, signed a one-year contract. Finidi, who was recently unveiled by the NFF, was rumored to have agreed to a one-year deal with an option for an additional year.

Gusau clarified that Finidi’s contract extends at least until the end of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He emphasized that the coach will remain with the team until then and expressed confusion about the source of the one-year contract information.

Speaking on Soccer Africa, a popular TV show in South Africa, Gusau outlined the targets set for Finidi. The contract includes goals such as qualifying for next year’s Nations Cup, reaching at least the semi-finals of the Nations Cup, and qualifying for the World Cup with a target of reaching the quarter-finals. Gusau affirmed the commitment to achieving these objectives through hard work and determination.

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2026 WCQ: South Africa coach unveils preliminary squad for Super Eagles clash

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Hugo Broos, the head coach of South Africa’s national football team, Bafana Bafana, has unveiled a preliminary squad of 36 players for their upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Bafana Bafana will first play against the Super Eagles at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Friday, June 7. Subsequently, they will host Zimbabwe at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

Broos is expected to reduce the squad to 23 players in the coming days. Presently, Bafana Bafana holds the second position in Group C with three points garnered from two games, while the Super Eagles are in third place with two points, also from two matches.

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