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Messi seals move to Inter Miami, Beckham says it’s dream come true



Lionel Messi has completed his move to Inter Miami on a deal running to 2025, the Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit announced on Saturday.

The 36-year-old Argentina superstar revealed in June he had decided to join the Florida side as his contract with Paris St.-Germain (PSG) came to an end.

With the deal now officially done, Messi is in line to make his debut for his new employers on Friday against Mexico’s Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup winner said in a statement from the club: “I’m very excited to start this next step in my career with Inter Miami and in the U.S.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and together we will continue to build this beautiful project.

“The idea is to work together to achieve the objectives we set, and I’m very eager to start helping here in my new home.”

Inter Miami are co-owned by former England captain David Beckham, who said: “Ten years ago, when I started my journey to build a new team in Miami, I said that I dreamt of bringing the greatest players in the world to this amazing city.

“Players who shared the ambition I had when I joined LA Galaxy to help grow football in the U.S. and to build a legacy for the next generation in this sport that we love so much.

“Today that dream came true. I couldn’t be prouder that a player of Leo’s calibre is joining our club, but I am also delighted to welcome a good friend, an amazing person and his beautiful family to join our Inter Miami community.

“The next phase of our adventure starts here, and I can’t wait to see Leo take to the pitch.”

MLS commissioner Don Garber said: “We are overjoyed that the greatest player in the world chose Inter Miami CF and MLS, and his decision is a testament to the momentum and energy behind our League and our sport in North America.

“We have no doubt that Lionel will show the world that MLS can be a league of choice for the best players in the game.

“We look forward to seeing his debut for Inter Miami in our Leagues Cup tournament later this month.”

Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi arrives after a season in which he helped his country to World Cup glory in Qatar, as well as PSG to the Ligue 1 title.

This was as in his first campaign with the French clubside in 2021/2022.

That adds to an already huge trophy haul on his CV which features four UEFA Champions League successes from his years with FC Barcelona.

He scored a staggering total of 672 goals for the Spanish clubside.

Joining Miami sees Messi —- who has also netted more than 100 international goals —- reunite with coach Gerardo Martino, who he previously worked under with Barca and Argentina.

Martino was appointed in June after the club sacked Beckham’s ex-Manchester United team-mate Phil Neville.

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Aruna lose to Freitas, exit ITTF World Cup



Quadri Aruna, Nigeria’s top table tennis player, has exited the International Table Tennis (ITTF) World Cup after losing by 1-3 (12-10, 11-9, 11-9, 3-11) to Portuguese Marcos Freitas in the group stage.

The Men’s singles game on Wednesday at the Galaxy Arena, Macao, China, saw the Portuguese claim the first three sets but a comeback from the Nigerian in the last set was not enough to scale over the line.
Aruna had started his campaign at the World Cup on a good note with a 4-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6) convincing win over Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez to set the final group 15 tie against Freitas.

Aruna occupied the top spot in the group as Freitas had earlier beaten Gonzalez 4-0 (17-15, 11-7, 11-7, 11-1), but the Nigerian had more points than the Portuguese and was rated number one in the group.

The tie between Aruna and Freitas decides the winner of the group and who will then advance to the knockout of the competition.

With Aruna falling short, Freitas will face Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan in the Round of 16 on Thursday.

The tournament which began on Monday will end on April 21.

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Man Utd speak to Garnacho over social media activity



Manchester United have spoken to Alejandro Garnacho after the winger liked social media posts criticising manager Erik ten Hag over his handling of the player.

The Argentina international, taken off at half-time in their 2-2 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday, liked two messages on X (formerly Twitter), by United fan and YouTuber Mark Goldbridge.

One post accused Ten Hag of “throwing (Garnacho) under the bus” because of comments the United boss made about the 19-year-old’s performance.

The other said Garnacho “had a poor first half but taking him off at halftime and holding him up as the problem is a joke.”

Garnacho swiftly “unliked” both messages, an action the club believes shows contrition, and a United source told the PA news agency the matter had been dealt with internally.

The teenager has become a key player for United this season, scoring nine goals and providing four assists in 42 games.

The incident follows one in September when Jadon Sancho said on X that he had been made a “scapegoat” after being left out of the squad for the Arsenal match, with Ten Hag saying he had trained poorly. Sancho said he would “not allow people saying things that (are) completely untrue”, interpreted as accusing Ten Hag of misrepresenting reasons why he was not on the side.

The 24-year-old was banished from the first team before being loaned to Borussia Dortmund in January.

Ten Hag’s position has come under renewed pressure after the draw against Bournemouth, which left United seventh in the Premier League table, 13 points off the top four.

The FA Cup is the only silverware that United can win this season — they take on second-tier side Coventry in the semi-final at Wembley on Sunday

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Awoniyi close to return — Nuno



Nottingham Forest’s battle for survival is threatening to go down to the wire as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side prepare for a crunch clash this weekend.

The Reds have five games left to beat the drop, starting with a trip to face relegation rivals Everton on Sunday. They will go into that match at Goodison Park on the back of a frustrating 2-2 draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Nuno will face some big decisions when it comes to his team selection against the Toffees with key stars Taiwo Awoniyi, Anthony Elanga and Willy Boly all out injured.

Nigerian striker Awoniyi, who is out with a thigh injury, has already missed a chunk of the season after sustaining a groin surgery in a bid to solve a longstanding problem

He made his comeback in January but Nuno had talked about managing him carefully as he struggled to return to full sharpness.

He suffered a problem in the build-up to the draw with Luton Town, which was due to rule him out for a few weeks. The initial diagnosis suggested it was difficult to put an exact timeframe on how long he could be out for, but it was believed he could be absent from anywhere between two to five weeks.

He underwent a scan last week, which Forest hoped would provide clarity on when the striker could return.

However, Nuno remains optimistic his star striker will still have a part to play in the run-in.

“He is starting his individual programme,” Nuno said last Thursday. “I don’t have an exact timeline for when he is going to return but it is closer. Hopefully he can still help us this season.”

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