LaLiga's deal with CVC Capital Partners has been labelled "totally illegal" by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

The €2.7billion (£2.3bn) arrangement that was announced last week would see private equity firm CVC acquire 10 per cent of the league's commercial business.

The other 90 per cent of the investment was earmarked to boost cash-strapped clubs in the top two tiers of Spanish football amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the deal – which must be approved by two thirds of the 42 clubs involved at Thursday's general assembly – was heavily criticised by Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Madrid and Barca allege the agreement affects all clubs' audiovisual rights for the next 50 years, with Los Blancos threatening to take legal action against LaLiga and president Javier Tebas as they were not properly consulted.

In a long statement released on their official website on Wednesday, the RFEF said it is also totally opposed to the proposal that has been put forward.

The statement read: "This operation, carried out with the absence of the slightest publicity and concurrence in the selection of the successful bidder, has two parts. The one related to the commercialisation of audiovisual rights, on the one hand; and the rest of the LNFP businesses, which make up a heterogeneous group, on the other.

"Regarding the agreements between the LNFP and CVC related to the audiovisual rights of sports clubs and corporations, the RFEF must express its opposition. 

"Not only for legal reasons, which will undoubtedly generate numerous litigation derived from the agreement and may put its own viability in doubt, since it is intended to force some legal institutions to the extreme; but also for economic reasons, since the rights of clubs and SADs are heavily taxed for the next fifty years in exchange for a small amount of money. 

"But the most important thing is that the agreement increases inequality and, in a capital and definitive way, makes a reasonable evolution of the format of professional football competition in Spain impossible. 

"Causing that in practice and in application of the agreement the competition is petrified without the possibility of evolution or can only be modified when a third party outside the sports structure so decides or agrees, a fact that flagrantly violates the law and the European sports model. 

"In addition, forget about the clubs that play non-professional competitions that, at the time of their promotion to professional competition, will see that their income is reduced by CVC's remuneration, without having obtained any benefit from the contribution of that entity."

The RFEF also claims the agreement with CVC does not account for the clubs who will be promoted to LaLiga further down the line, which would see their income reduced if not paid upfront.

"If there are clubs who, with their own rights, wish to indebt themselves voluntarily, they are free to do so, whether at market rates or extortionate ones, but not through a totally illegal agreement which obliges everyone else, via a false attribution on the part of the LNFP of rights it does not own," the statement continued.

"We consider this attempt to bypass the law and create an agreement which is economically dreadful and deplorable in terms of the future of Spanish football while, in contrast, excellent for an investment fund and other possible beneficiaries.

"The RFEF must also warn that it will not allow during these 50 years any reduction in the contribution from audio-visual rights given to the lower tiers of football."

Saqib Mahmood has been called up to the England squad for the second Test against India at Lord's, with James Anderson an injury doubt.

Mahmood was added to the squad as cover before it was reported by The Sun that his Lancashire team-mate Anderson did not bowl in training on Wednesday due to stiffness in his thigh.

Follow veteran Stuart Broad has also been sidelined due to a tweaked right calf ahead of the second of five Tests versus Virat Kohli's side, which starts on Thursday.

Joe Root is also unable to call upon Ben Stokes, who took a break for mental health reasons, Jofra Archer (elbow), Chris Woakes (heel) and Olly Stone (stress fracture of the back).

Paceman Mahmood has not played for England in the longest format, but the 24-year-old seamer has made an impressive start to his white-ball career at international level.

He has 14 wickets in seven ODIs at an average of 19.92 and was named player of the series in the recent 3-0 win over Pakistan.

 

England also called up all-rounder Moeen Ali on Tuesday, while batsman Ollie Pope could return after recovering from a quad injury.

Meanwhile, both England and India have been docked two points in the ICC World Test Championship and fined 40 per cent of their match fees due to slow over-rates in the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge.

Lionel Messi has targeted Champions League glory with Paris Saint-Germain after finalising a "complicated" exit from Barcelona.

The Argentina international's 21-year association with Barca officially ended on Tuesday when joining PSG on a two-year deal with the option of a third.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi looked certain to sign a new long-term deal at Camp Nou, but financial complications at the LaLiga club forced him out of the door.

Less than a week after Barca announced the 34-year-old was to leave, he was unveiled as a PSG player at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

Reflecting on a whirlwind week, Messi admits it was difficult departing the only club that he has represented in his career to date.

"It's been a very hard moment after so many years," he said at a news conference. "It was a difficult change after so much time. But the moment I arrived here I felt very happy. 

"I'm really enjoying my time in Paris and want to begin training now, starting this new moment in my life.

"The club were really quick with negotiations. It's been a really easy process, even if it was a tricky situation. I want to thank them for sorting out any problems."

 

He added: "Everything that happened to me this week has been very strange. It's been emotional. I can't forget what I lived and experienced at Barcelona.

"But I feel impatient and ready for this new life with my family. I'm very happy. This whole week I've been going through up and downs, but we are processing all of this little by little every day. 

"I was in Barcelona when the press talked about the move. The people in Paris were already outside. It was incredible to see them in the streets. I really want to see them in the city, in the stadium. It will be an incredible year."

Messi departs Barcelona having scored 672 goals and assisted 265 more for the Catalan giants across 778 appearances.

He won 35 trophies at Camp Nou, including four Champions League triumphs.

PSG have never won the competition, coming closest to doing so last year when losing to Bayern Munich in the final, but Messi is hopeful of lifting the famous trophy once again.

"I still want to play and I still want to win, as I did at start of my career," he said of his ambitions with the French giants. "This club it is ready to fight for all the trophies.

"That is my goal. I want to keep growing and winning titles. That's why I came here to this club. I hope we can make it happen."

 

Asked specifically about PSG's Champions League hopes, Messi said: "This team is ready. There are some new transfers, but they have been close and are ready to win it.

"I have just come here to help. My dream is to win this trophy again and I think Paris is the best place to do so.

"It was very complicated to exit Barcelona without knowing where I would go. Barcelona was my home since I was a kid. 

"I knew I'd arrive in a strong team that was aiming to win the Champions League, which I love to win. I know my goals and Paris' goals are the same. 

"It's difficult to win it, you need a strong group. Luck is also a factor. Sometimes the best team in the world does not win. We want to win the Champions League."

Messi may cross paths with Barcelona in UEFA's showpiece competition this coming campaign, potentially giving the superstar forward a chance to sign off at Camp Nou in front of supporters.

"It would be very nice to go back, hopefully with fans," Messi said. "It would be very strange to play at home, there in Barcelona, in another shirt, but it could happen."

Kylian Mbappe has "no excuse" to leave Paris Saint-Germain following Lionel Messi's arrival, according to club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

Messi was unveiled at a press conference at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday while thousands of fans gathered outside the stadium to welcome the superstar forward.

The Argentina captain signed a two-year deal, with the option of a further 12 months, after Barcelona were unable follow through on the terms they agreed with the 34-year-old due to financial problems.

Mbappe has less than year remaining on his contract with the Ligue 1 club but PSG president Al-Khelaifi believes the France forward has no option but to stay and play alongside Messi and Neymar.

"Everyone knows the future of Kylian," said Al-Khelaifi. "He's a competitive player who wants to win trophies - he's said that himself.

"He wanted a competitive team, [with Messi] there is no excuse. He can't do anything else but stay."

Al-Khelaifi insists PSG are in no danger of breaching UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations after luring Messi to the French capital.

Asked about FFP, he replied: "A very great question, thank you. We have checked and we knew we had the capacity to sign Leo.

"What Leo brings to the club is huge, that is what you media need to focus on, not the negative, the positive."

Nasser Al-Khelaifi expects Lionel Messi to win "a lot of trophies" for Paris Saint-Germain after the Argentina captain was unveiled at the Parc des Princes on an "historic" day for the Ligue 1 club.

PSG confirmed the signing of mercurial forward Messi on a two-year deal on Tuesday, with the option of a further year.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner left Barcelona as the LaLiga giants were unable to afford to keep the 34-year-old.

Messi scored 672 times in 778 appearances for the Blaugrana, winning the Champions League four times and claiming 10 LaLiga titles.

PSG president Al-Khelaifi believes he will add many more honours at PSG, declaring the signing of Messi to be "just the start".

"I am very happy and proud to present Lionel Messi as PSG player. It is an historic day for the club and football world and is a fantastic moment for us," Al-Khelaifi said as thousands of fans gathered outside the stadium to welcome their new hero.

"It will be very exciting for our fans and fans worldwide. It is amazing what we have tried to achieve.

“We have a big ambition, a football project. We are very proud of where we are today. There is no secret this agreement is with this best player in the world." 

Al-Khelaifi added: "There was a great desire on both sides to make this happen.

"This is just the start as the hard work will start now, on the pitch and off the pitch, but most important the person next to me has won a lot of trophies and I'm sure he will bring a lot more trophies to this club."

 

Ossie Ardiles believes Lionel Messi will form a stronger bond with Mauricio Pochettino than he has with any other manager after the Argentina captain's sensational move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi has signed a two-year deal with PSG after Barca were unable to keep the superstar forward for financial reasons.

Former Argentina midfielder Ardiles expects the six-time Ballon d'Or to revel in playing under his compatriot Pochettino.

Ardiles also feels the presence of fellow Argentinians Angel Di Maria, Mauro Icardi and Leandro Paredes can only be a positive for Messi.

"Messi is not just Argentinian, but a global player. Of course he is able to play with anyone and he is also able to play at any style of game. This is how enormous his game is," Ardiles told Stats Perform News.

"it helps to have that many Argentinians. Mauricio, for instance, is from the same city [as Messi], Rosario. Obviously, they speak same language.

"It will be very important for Lionel Messi to have Mauricio there. Messi got along well with almost every manager, but I think it will be even better with Mauricio.

"Being with Di Maria, Paredes and Icardi will help, but I also think these players don’t play the full Argentinian style. They are very global. Icardi has been in Italy and now at PSG. The same for Paredes or Di Maria, being also in English football. From that point of view, there won’t be any issue, for sure."

Messi scored 672 times in 778 appearances for the Blaugrana, winning the Champions League four times and claiming 10 LaLiga titles.

The 34-year-old was reduced to tears during an emotional farewell press conference and Ardiles fears for Barca following the departure of the inspirational skipper - especially considering the desperate state of the club's finances.

 

Ardiles added: "Barca stays very, very hurt. Actually, the situation is absolutely critical. To lose the best player in the world is tough.

"He has spent 20 years in the club, he is the symbol, the captain… he is everything. I really think there are coming very tough times for Barcelona.

"We were used to seeing Barcelona leading the game and being the team to be beaten. If you wanted to lift the Champions League or LaLiga you had to beat Barcelona. That will all change with Messi's departure. Absolutely.

"On the other hand, Barcelona spent so much money. That's why it is in this situation now. Like people say, it has likely been [the fault of] the previous board, but the fact is Barcelona has spent much more than they could.

"So, nowadays, Barcelona cannot go to the market and buy the best player in the world, not even keep him in his own squad. And it can't either go to the market to buy the current stars, as they don't have money to do it.

"However, Barcelona is a very big club, an extraordinary club and of course it will be back. But I think it will take a long time."

After a tumultuous offseason, the Green Bay Packers can afford to look towards the 2021 season with excitement as a clear frontrunner to lift the Lombardi Trophy.

Their stand-off with Aaron Rodgers ended with his place on the roster secured for 2021 at least, meaning the league MVP will have the chance to replicate his 2020 heroics and take one of the most talented rosters one step further after losing in the NFC Championship Game in each of the last two seasons. 

Pivotal to Green Bay's hopes of returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since they last won it in the 2010 season is Rodgers' rapport with his number one weapon, Davante Adams.

Their connection has been one of the most potent in recent NFL history yet, despite the resolution between Rodgers and the Packers, there is reason to fear it could be the final year in which the future Hall of Famer will be throwing in Adams' direction.

Prior to Rodgers finding middle ground with the Packers, he and Adams each posted a still from The Last Dance, which chronicled the final year of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls NBA dynasty, on their respective Instagram stories.

That did little to calm the nerves of Packers fans and, with Adams an unrestricted free agent in 2022, it would be wise not to take the 17 regular-season games he and Rodgers are scheduled to play together in 2021 for granted.

Adams wants to be the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL and said that Rodgers' return has no impact on that desire. In other words, Green Bay will not be getting a discount even if Rodgers is back for 2022, which is no guarantee.

Green Bay would be left with a dead cap charge of nearly $27million were they to trade Rodgers next offseason. Still, given the staring contest they engaged in this year, a 2022 divorce cannot be ruled out, especially if the Packers fall short again.

The Packers could, therefore, be facing up to the possibility of playing 2022 without one if not both of the duo, and simply cannot afford to waste a potential final year of one of the most dynamic partnerships in the NFL.

A prolific pairing

A second-round pick in the 2014 draft, Adams has built a compelling case for being considered the best receiver Rodgers has played with during his storied career.

They have hooked up for 498 receptions in that time, which is 17th among all quarterback and wide receiver duos since 1991.

Rodgers has thrown for 6,018 yards passing to Adams, 24th-most among QB and WR pairings since 1991, while the 57 touchdowns he has thrown to Adams is joint-ninth in the NFL (tied with Brett Favre to Antonio Freeman) in that same timeframe.

When throwing to Adams, Rodgers has a hugely impressive passer rating of 107.7, ranking 22nd on the list for QB-WR duos with a minimum of 250 targets since 1991, though it is some way adrift of the 124.2 rating he posted when throwing to Jordy Nelson between 2008 and 2017, which tops that same leaderboard.

The combination between Rodgers and Adams may not be as efficient as his partnership with Nelson, yet it seemingly has the chance to improve further in the coming season with arguably both players the best at their position in 2020.

2020's gold standards

Rodgers took Matt LaFleur's offense, with its roots in the schemes of Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, to heights not scaled since Matt Ryan took the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl in 2016 with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator.

Like Ryan five seasons earlier, Rodgers was named MVP after a year in which he led the league with a completion percentage of 70.7 and threw for 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Remarkably consistent with his accuracy and his decision-making, Rodgers was third in the NFL with a well-thrown percentage of 82.4 while his pickable pass percentage of 2.23 was also bettered by only two quarterbacks – Alex Smith (2.12) and Tom Brady (2.20).

Adams was the main beneficiary of one of the finest seasons of Rodgers' career. Indeed, he led the league in receiving touchdowns with 18, his ability to adjust to the football in the air combined with Rodgers' consistently superb placement making them a near-unstoppable duo in the red zone.

He racked up 1,374 receiving yards and delivered that production at an extremely efficient rate through his proficiency for creating separation with route-running skills that are among the best in the league.

Adams registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on plays where he is targeted regardless of whether the pass is catchable, on 70 per cent of his 147 targets.

And he led wide receivers in burn yards per route with an average of 3.9 yards, delivering a clear improvement having ranked tied-fourth in that same metric with 3.4 yards in 2019.

The 2020 season was the one where Adams made the leap from elite to the clear-cut top receiver in the league in the eyes of many.

While his position as the gold standard may be up for debate, what is not in question is that he and Rodgers are performing at the peak of their respective powers.

So what must the Packers do to ensure their final year together, if that is what 2021 proves to be, is a successful swansong?

How to get over the hump

The Packers' 2020 season came to an end amid a controversial decision by LaFleur in the NFC Championship Game. 

With the Packers trailing the Buccaneers 31-23 and faced with fourth and goal from inside the Tampa Bay 10-yard line, LaFleur opted to kick a field goal to trim the deficit rather than to give Rodgers a final shot at finding the endzone.

Green Bay never got the ball back after the field goal, leading to intense criticism of LaFleur.

That sequence was not reflective of the Packers' performance inside the 20 last season, when they led the league in red-zone touchdown efficiency.

Yet Green Bay could certainly benefit from LaFleur being more aggressive on fourth down.

The Packers were 10th in the NFL in fourth-down conversion percentage (61.9) but their 21 fourth-down attempts ranked tied-14th.

Therefore, there is room for the Packers to put more faith in their dynamic quarterback-receiver duo in those situations. To do so, however, La Fleur will need to have plenty of confidence in his defense.

Having parted company with much-maligned defensive coordinator Mike Pettine following their playoff exit, the Packers are hoping that his replacement Joe Barry can elevate that unit to the ranks of the elite.

Green Bay finished 14th in opponent yards per play (5.49), though the Packers were top 10 in that regard against the pass. They conceded 6.13 yards per pass play.

To further bolster their options defending the pass, the Packers drafted Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes, who ranked second among Power 5 corners by allowing an open percentage of 38.5, in the first round.

Yet if the Packers are to reach the upper echelon in pass defense, the onus is more likely to be on their front seven.

They ended 2020 tied-26th in opponent negative plays (72) and would benefit hugely from a bounce-back year from Preston Smith.

His pressure rate of 10 per cent was the eighth-worst among edge rushers with a minimum of 100 plays and came a year after he registered 12 sacks. Za'Darius Smith had double-digit sacks for the second successive year but his pressure rate of 16.5 was only marginally above the average of 15.9 for edge players.

The progress of Rashan Gary, who had a pressure rate of 19.1 per cent last season, has been encouraging but, as much as a better pass rush would aid Green Bay's cause, run defense is the most pressing issue on that side of the ball.

Twenty-first in opponent rushing average (4.55 yards) in 2020, the Packers appear just as vulnerable to the ground game as they were when their 2019 season was ended in an NFC title game that saw the San Francisco 49ers rack up 285 net rushing yards.

Green Bay's deficiency at linebacker was laid bare in that rout and the Packers have done little to address it. Their likely starters at inside linebacker are Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin. Barnes' 2020 run-disruption rate of 2.1 was the ninth-lowest in the NFL among linebackers while Martin made just six starts in 10 games.

Jordan's successful last dance could not have been possible without a stellar core around him. Rodgers and Adams performed at a level worthy of a Lombardi Trophy in 2020 but they will need their head coach and their defense to rise to the expectations for their potential goodbye to be one that comes on the podium in Los Angeles.

The Tampa Bay Rays just keep winning. The team with the best record in the American League scored seven unanswered runs Tuesday for an 8-4 triumph over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. 

Down 4-1 after five innings thanks to home runs from Rafael Devers and Hunter Renfroe, the Rays tied it up on an RBI single from Wander Franco and a two-run double by Ji-Man Choi. 

Francisco Mejia then blew it open with a bases-loaded single in the ninth that brought home three with help from a Renfroe error. 

The Red Sox have now dropped six in a row against the Rays, whose 69-44 record is second only to the San Francisco Giants in MLB. 

Tampa Bay hold a five-game lead over Boston in the AL East. 

 

Dodgers stop Phillies' streak

Max Scherzer started things off in Philadelphia and the Los Angeles' Dodgers' bullpen and bats finished it as the World Series champions sealed a 5-0 victory that broke the Phillies' eight-game winning streak. Scherzer had six strikeouts in 3.1 scoreless innings before a rain delay of one hour, 44 minutes knocked him from the game at Citizens Bank Park.

Not to worry, as six Dodgers relievers finished the job by shutting the Phillies out the rest of the way with home runs by Corey Seager and Max Muncy boosting the Los Angeles offence and Trea Turner contributing one of the more impressive slides in memory.

Former Red Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer to tie the game and Stephen Vogt's bases-loaded walk provided the winning margin as the Atlanta Braves edged Cincinnati 3-2 to pull within a game of the Phillies in the NL East. 

The San Francisco Giants watched a five-run lead disappear in the sixth inning before fighting back twice to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-7 as an error by Christian Walker allowed the winning run to score in the ninth. 

The Milwaukee Brewers made clear where the balance of power lies in the National League (NL) Central, sweeping a doubleheader from the Cubs at Wrigley Field 4-2 and 6-3 to expand their division lead to seven games over the Cincinnati Reds. 

Oakland starter Sean Manaea left after 1.2 innings but the Athletics rallied for a 4-3 win against the Cleveland Indians as Jed Lowrie sent the game to extra innings with an RBI groundout in the eighth, then won it in the 10th with a run-scoring double. 

 

Starters come up short

Relief pitchers took centre stage across baseball on Tuesday. According to Stats Perform, it was the first time in MLB history that every team was in action and no starter pitched more than six innings. 

 

Out of the Park in Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Pirates managed only one hit in a 4-1 loss to the St Louis Cardinals, but that hit was Hoy Park's first MLB home run. The Seoul native has been a sensation since coming over from the Yankees last month and is now nine for 28 (.321) with five extra-base hits for the PIrates. 

 

Tuesday's results 

Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 Chicago Cubs
St Louis Cardinals 4-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Philadelphia Phillies
Oakland Athletics 4-3 Cleveland Indians
Tampa Bay Rays 8-4 Boston Red Sox
Detroit Tigers 9-4 Baltimore Orioles
Atlanta Braves 3-2 Cincinnati Reds
Houston Astros 5-0 Colorado Rockies
Minnesota Twins 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals 8-4 New York Yankees
San Francisco Giants 8-7 Arizona Diamondbacks
Texas Rangers 5-4 Seattle Mariners
San Diego Padres 6-5 Miami Marlins
Los Angeles Angels 6-3 Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 Los Angeles Angels
Washington Nationals 3-1 New York Mets (suspended)

 

Dodgers at Phillies

The Los Angeles Dodgers (68-45) send another Cy Young Award winner to the mound as David Price starts against Kyle Gibson and the Philadelphia Phillies (59-54).

Crowd favourite Bianca Andreescu was made to work as she opened her defence of the National Bank Open title she won two years ago but the Canadian eventually prevailed in Montreal. 

Andreescu defeated Harriet Dart 6-1 3-6 6-3 in just over two hours in her first match since falling to Alize Cornet in the opening around at Wimbledon. 

That was the latest in a disappointing string of results for Andreescu, who also departed Roland Garros after one match, but the world number eight got back on track Tuesday. 

"Playing at home is so, so awesome," Andreescu said in her on-court interview. "You guys [the fans] show me so much love, especially tonight. I've never had this kind of support before, so I'm so, so grateful."

While Andreescu was able to navigate a challenging opener, three other seeded players were not as fortunate. 

Katerina Siniakova downed fifth seed Garbine Muguruza 6-2 0-6 6-3, while Camila Giorgi ousted ninth seed Elise Mertens 6-3 7-5 and Liudmila Samsonova defeated 12th seed Elena Rybakina 6-4 5-7 6-4.

Having a better time of it were seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova, the 2012 tournament champion, and number 10 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won by identical 6-4 6-4 scorelines against Frenchwomen Fiona Ferro and Carolina Garcia, respectively. 

Eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka waited out a rain delay to cruise past 2013 finalist Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-2 in the final match of the day. 

In other action, 15th seed Coco Gauff handled Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-4 while her countrywoman Danielle Collins continued rolling after her title in San Jose last week, rallying past Jil Teichmann 4-6 6-1 6-3 for her 11th consecutive match win. 

Two more Americans, Sloane Stephens and Jessica Pegula, prevailed in three sets as well. 

Johanna Konta returned to the court after missing Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics due to coronavirus-related issues and advanced when Zhang Shuai was forced to retire up 6-4 2-5 with a leg injury. 

Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas survived three-set scares at the National Bank Open on Tuesday, but five-time tournament champion Rafael Nadal departed Toronto without even taking the court. 

Top seed Medvedev, who won just three games against Nadal in the final in 2019, the last time the tournament was played, prevailed 4-6 6-3 6-4 in his opener against Alexander Bublik.

The man Nadal beat to win the title the previous year, Tsitsipas, failed to convert on five match points in an epic second-set tiebreak but recovered to down Ugo Humbert 6-3 6-7 (13-15) 6-1.

Nadal pulled out ahead of a scheduled match against Lloyd Harris, who beat him last week in Washington as the 20-time grand slam winner struggled with a foot injury. 

Countryman Feliciano Lopez replaces Nadal in the draw and will face Harris on Wednesday. 

Elsewhere Tuesday, sixth seed Casper Ruud needed more than two hours to put away Marin Cilic 6-3 3-6 6-3, while 14th seed Grigor Dimitrov suffered a quick 6-3 6-4 exit against big-serving American Reilly Opelka.

A pair of unseeded veterans advanced, with 2016 finalist Kei Nishikori a 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 winner over Miomir Kecmanovic and John Isner defeating Alejandro Davidovich Fokini 6-4 6-1 in just over an hour.

Two days after appearing in his first ATP Tour final at the Citi Open, Mackenzie McDonald fell 6-3 6-4 to Benoit Paire in his Toronto opener. 

In other first-round matches, Karen Khachanov beat Cameron Norrie 6-4 5-7 6-4, Frances Tiafoe downed Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4 6-3, Dusan Lajovic handled Emil Ruusuvuori 3-6 6-3 6-3 and Nikoloz Basilashvili defeated Jenson Brooksby 2-6 6-0 6-4.

After 13 NBA seasons, Russell Westbrook finally made it home Tuesday. 

The nine-time All-Star fulfilled a childhood dream in joining the Los Angeles Lakers after a trade from the Washington Wizards. 

The 32-year-old was born in nearby Long Beach and grew up a fan of the team, but admitted he was not sure he would get the chance. 

“Being from LA, you always wish that you could play for your home team,” Westbrook said at his introductory news conference. 

“That’s definitely something that always circled around in my mind. Maybe one day? But I always would come back and be like, ‘Ah, that probably won’t happen.’ I just had to wait and see.

"But now that we’re here, I’m going to take full advantage of it.”

Considering who he will be playing alongside, there's every reason to believe he will. 

Westbrook joins LeBron James and Anthony Davis on a remade Lakers team that will also feature Carmelo Anthony – an impressive array of star power even for a franchise long associated with glamour. 

After averaging a triple-double for the fourth time in five seasons, Westbrook knows he will not have to focus as much on scoring as he has in the past. 

Likewise, his arrival will take some of the ball-handling and distribution load from James, ideally freeing him up on the offensive end. 

"I'm coming to a championship-caliber team and my job is to make sure that I'm able to make his game easy for [James]," Westbrook said. "I'll find ways to do that throughout the game."

That philosophy does not stop with helping the already exalted James elevate his game, either. 

Westbrook is already excited to get in the gym with a group of incoming veterans including Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza and Kent Bazemore.

“The roster is great,” Westbrook said. “A bunch of guys that I’ve already known previously, which is even better.

"As I come into the season, I’m always looking at the roster and figuring out how I can make other guys better, simple as that.

"I want to be able to leave an impact on people when they either play with me or come across me, and I’ll find ways to do that with our roster. I’m really looking forward to getting together with all the guys and figuring it out.”

Rangers suffered Champions League disappointment as Antonio-Mirko Colak's brace ensured 10-man Malmo ran out 4-2 aggregate winners in the third qualifying round tie.

Steven Gerrard's side started brilliantly in the second leg after suffering a 2-1 defeat in Sweden last week, drawing level through Alfredo Morelos' opener before Bonke Innocent was sent off for two bookings in the space of five minutes.

The tide seemed to have turned in the hosts' favour, but Colak delivered a second-half shock to secure a 2-1 win in the return fixture in Glasgow.

Buoyed on by a vocal Ibrox crowd, Morelos flicked a deft header past Johan Dahlin from Ryan Kent's inswinging cross to level the tie after 18 minutes.

Allan McGregor escaped with a caution after he was deemed to have handled outside his area, though Malmo's Innocent did not get off so lightly – the midfielder receiving a contentious second booking for a challenge on Connor Goldson.

Morelos blasted a glorious second-half opportunity over and the forward was made to pay when Colak smashed past McGregor to restore the Swedish side's advantage.

A long throw-in was enough to tee up Colak's second, the forward spinning past two defenders before hooking a low finish past the despairing dive of McGregor.

Ludogorets, who knocked out Olympiacos, now stand between Malmo and the group stage. Rangers, in contrast, have to turn their attentions to a Europa League qualifier against Kairat Almaty or Alashkert.

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