Rumour Has It: Messi open to Barcelona stay, Madrid move for Mbappe could impact Hazard

By Sports Desk February 27, 2021

Lionel Messi is reportedly open to staying at Barcelona, but the LaLiga giants have work to do.

Messi, 33, stayed at Barca after sensationally requesting to leave ahead of this season.

But the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is out of contract at the end of the campaign, leading to more talk over his future.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI OPEN TO BARCELONA STAY

Messi is open to staying at Barcelona and is prioritising the sporting project over the economic offer, according to Marca.

The report says Barca strengthening their squad could convince Messi, who has been linked to Manchester City.

Signing City forward Sergio Aguero, Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, Chelsea's N'Golo Kante or Liverpool's Roberto Firmino would help Barca's position in their bid to re-sign the superstar.

ROUND-UP

- With Real Madrid linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, such a deal could lead to questions over Eden Hazard. AS reports Mbappe joining Madrid could lead to an exit for Hazard, who has struggled with injuries since joining the LaLiga giants.

- Staying at Real Madrid and there is uncertainty over Raphael Varane's future. AS reports Madrid are prepared to listen to offers for Varane ahead of next season if they cannot agree to a new deal with the defender, who is out of contract in 2022. Manchester United have been linked with Varane, who is valued at £60.7million (€70m).

- Harry Kane has again starred for Tottenham this season. The Telegraph reports the forward, who is contracted until 2024, is set to stay at Spurs for at least another campaign.

- Amid suggestions Sevilla defender Jules Kounde is too expensive, Manchester United could look elsewhere. Eurosport reports Villarreal's Pau Torres may be a more realistic target due to his reported release clause of around £43m (€49.6m).

- Alexandre Lacazette seems set for an Arsenal exit. The Mirror reports Monaco are targeting the forward ahead of next season.

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    Adelaide United defender Cavallo made the announcement in a video and open letter on social media on Wednesday.

    The news is a historic moment for sporting community and one Cavallo hopes will help others find the courage to follow in his steps.

    "I want to help change this," he said. "I want to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football and deserves the right to be their authentic self.

    "It is astonishing to know that there are currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia, but around the world. 

    "Hopefully this will change in the near future."

    Cavallo's announcement was met with widespread supporting, with Pique praising the 21-year-old for making the public announcement.

    "I don't have the pleasure to know you personally, but I want to thank you for this step that you take," Pique posted on Twitter. 

    "The world of football is far behind and you are helping us move forward."

    Pique's former Barca team-mate and current Atletico Madrid loanee Antoine Griezmann said: "Proud of you @JoshuaCavallo".

    Barca were one of a number of teams to commend Cavallo, posting: "THANK YOU, @JoshuaCavallo for taking a huge step forward! 

    "Your courage contributes to normalizing diversity in the world of sports."

    Premier League side Arsenal tweeted: "Thank you @JoshuaCavallo for your strength and bravery...

    "You are an inspiration to millions. Everyone deserves the right to be themselves."

    Several other top-flight players have previously come out as gay once their professional playing careers were over, including former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger.

    Former Newcastle Jets player Andy Brennan came out while playing in a lower tier and is now plying his trade for semi-professional side Hume City.

  • Barcelona without injured forward Ansu Fati for Rayo Vallecano clash Barcelona without injured forward Ansu Fati for Rayo Vallecano clash

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    The Spain international, who signed a new long-term deal at Camp Nou last week, was substituted 16 minutes from time in Barca's Clasico defeat to Real Madrid on Sunday after sustaining a knock.

    Ronald Koeman revealed at his pre-match news conference ahead of the meeting with Vallecano that Fati was considered a doubt.

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    Fati only returned from a 10-month knee injury lay-off, which saw him suffer a number of setbacks along the way, in Barca's 3-0 win over Levante on September 26.

    The teenage forward scored in that match and has featured a further five times in all competitions this term, with his only other goal coming against Valencia 10 days ago.

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    Koeman is also without fellow forwards Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite for the match with Vallecano, while Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Araujo are also nursing injuries.

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    Manchester United star Paul Pogba has denied claims that he snubbed his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following Sunday’s 5-0 hammering at the hands of Liverpool at Old Trafford.

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    Pogba lasted only 15 minutes as he was sent off by referee Anthony Taylor following a VAR review following a heavy challenge on Naby Keita.

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    There have also been questions raised about the relationship between Solskjaer and his players, especially following recent games in which the Red Devils have lost four and drawn one of their last five domestic fixtures.

    However, Pogba took to Twitter on Wednesday to address a story published by The Sun which claimed that he had snubbed his manager in the dressing room following Sunday's defeat, and had also "shelved" contract talks.

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    Pogba's agent Mino Raiola recently told The Times in an interview that there was "no update" on his client's future.

    Before falling out of favour in recent games, the World Cup winner made a promising start to the season, and still sits at the top of the Premier League assist chart with seven, two ahead of Gabriel Jesus, Mateo Kovacic and Mohamed Salah.

    He will be unable to add to those numbers for a while as he now misses games against Tottenham, Manchester City and Watford through suspension, with the trip to Chelsea on 28 November set to be the next match he will be available for.

     

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