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Al-Hilal puts Messi shirt in club shop to taunt Ronaldo

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Saudi Arabia has a vibrant football culture.

Like the EPL, there is a fierce rivalry between major football clubs in the desert kingdom.

Al-Nassr made global headlines recently after signing Ronaldo for nearly 200 million Euros annually.

This seems to have stung their main rival, Al-Hilal.

To counter Ronaldo’s signing, Al-Hilal, has put Lionel Messi’s shirts in their official club shop.

The move appears to be a dig at Ronaldo’s transfer to the Saudi Arabian club.

In this way, Al-Hilal is trying to to steal attention away from its city rivals.

The gesture has gone viral in a big way and looks like a classic case of ambush marketing.

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has yet to return to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) training after Argentina’s World Cup victory in 2022.

Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal meet each other in the Riyadh derby, and now Ronaldo will be participating in the league after joining Al Nassr.

Ronaldo’s deal with Al-Nassr has made him the highest-paid player in sports history.

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FOOTBALL

Bayern Munich allege racial abuse towards Dayot Upemacano after loss to Lazio during UEFA Champions League

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Bayern Munich lost their first leg of the round of 16 versus Lazio on Wednesday. Ciro Immobile scored in the 69th minute of the game. Dayot Upemacano was sent off in the 67th minute which gave Lazio the penalty.

Post the loss there was widespread hate given towards the French defender. Many fans had racially abused the young defender for his folly which cost Bayern Munich the game. The club has issued a statement which saw them defend their player.

Bayern Munich had lost to Bayer Leverkusen over the weekend to see the gap increase to 5 points. Xabi Alonso and his side are sitting pretty at the top of the Bundesliga table after their win on Saturday.

Bayern Munich comes out in support of Dayot Upemacano –

After the 1-0 loss to Lazio, Bayern Munich has come out to defend their player Dayot Upemacano. “FC Bayern strongly condemns the racist comments being directed towards Dayot Upemacano on social media. Anyone who comments hateful words such as these is no fan of our club” wrote on Twitter.

After a dull first half, the match saw life come into the contest in the 67th minute of the game. French defender Upemacano fouled Gustav Isaksen inside the penalty area. The referee was quick to whip out the red card and send the player back to the dugout.

Ciro Immobile slotted the penalty to help his side take a 1-0 in the 69th minute. it was all Lazio from there as their backline held fort despite the attacks mounted by the opposition. Harry Kane and his side couldn’t find the equalizer as the match finished 1-0 in favour of Lazio.

The England striker said, “It’s been a tough week. We started well and had some clear chances. I had one, Jamal (Musiala) had one, Josh (Kimmich) had one from the edge of the box. In these games, those are big moments which we weren’t able to take.”

England’s captain had missed a chance early in the game after an amazing ball from Thomas Muller. “They’re the ones you want and I just leaned back. That’s football and part of being a striker: you’re going to miss them now and again. The main thing for me and the team is to focus on the next challenge. We’re in a difficult spell, there’s no hiding that. We’re not out of it and we’ll never give up. One spark can change a lot and we need to try to find that,” said Kane.

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‘Marketing, money and advertising’ – Manchester City star Rodri raises sharp criticism on Ballon d’Or award

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Rodri & Erling Haaland

Manchester City star Rodri has questioned the validity of the Ballon d’Or award after he failed to feature in the top 3 of the list. It was Argentina icon Lionel Messi who won the prestigious award – a record 8th time – last October for leading his nation to World Cup glory. Meanwhile, Rodri, who also had a tremendous outing with The Citizens, was overlooked and finished fifth.

The Spanish midfielder was placed behind his teammates Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland as well as Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe. However, Rodri said he was not surprised to be left out of the top three as he believes individual awards are driven by “marketing, money and advertising”. The 27-year-old added that what he achieved collectively in the game matters to him the most.

In an interview with The Mirror, Rodri said: “I am not surprised. This is normal. I understand very well how things work in these individual awards. They are based on marketing, money and advertising. There have been midfielders before who were also Spanish who did not get what they deserved. Do you understand what I mean? (Laughs). What ultimately matters to me in football is what I achieved collectively.”

Reflecting Rodri’s statement, he was instrumental in City’s treble-winning campaign last season. Notably, he scored the crucial goal that secured the Sky Blue heroes their first Champions League title last June. Pep Guardiola’s men are gearing up for another successful campaign this time around.

U23 coach Javier Mascherano says Messi has invitation to play 2024 Olympics

Former Argentina midfielder and current U-23 coach Javier Mascherano has said that Lionel Messi has the invitation to represent his nation in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Messi, who is currently playing for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer, recently won the FIFA Best award and his record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or.

“Well, everyone knows my relationship with Leo, the friendship I have with him. I have always said that a player like Leo has opened doors and the invitation to accompany us then will obviously depend on him, his compromises and his time, but the invitation will clearly be there,” Mascherano said.

Notably, the Inter Miami forward won gold with Argentina at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The men’s football event at the Olympics is scheduled to take place in July and August.

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WATCH: Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham opines on Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate

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Jude Bellingham on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

A recent viral video has showcased Jude Bellingham’s unequivocal stance on the perpetual debate surrounding Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The ongoing Messi vs. Ronaldo debate, spanning over a decade, has been a topic of contention among football enthusiasts. From fans to players and the media, each is advocating for their preferred football legend.

The footage captures Bellingham’s candid response when questioned about his opinion on the Messi-Ronaldo debate. With renowned figures like Francesco Totti, Sir Alex Ferguson, and Roberto Carlos favouring onaldo, While others, like Sergio Ramos, Neymar, Luka Modric, and Wayne Rooney, assert Messi’s superiority, the debate has remained inconclusive.

Here is the video: 

In the video, Bellingham wastes no time in expressing his unequivocal preference. When asked to choose between Messi and Ronaldo, the English midfielder confidently asserts Messi’s supremacy, categorically stating, “Messi for me, for sure.” The short yet decisive response from Bellingham adds his voice to the myriad of opinions that have circulated in the football world, further fueling the debate.

Jude Bellingham joins the club of same-thinkers!

Jude Bellingham’s choice of Messi as the greatest footballer of all time aligns him with the camp that considers the Argentine maestro’s skill, vision, and goal-scoring prowess to be unparalleled. The video has sparked reactions and discussions among fans, reigniting the age-old debate and showcasing the enduring nature of the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry.

It’s worth noting that earlier, Bellingham also asserted Messi’s supremacy. He had said, “Messi for me. You can just watch him and think, ‘How does he do that?’ Every time I watch him, he just does something that makes me think, ‘You can’t be human’.”

As the debate continues to thrive, Bellingham’s unequivocal endorsement of Messi adds another perspective to the ongoing discourse, contributing to the ongoing fascination with comparing two of football’s greatest icons. It’s worth noting that Messi is currently playing for Inter Miami, while Ronaldo is playing for Saudi Club Al-Nassr.

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