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Lionel Messi tests positive for COVID, PSG confirms

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Lionel Messi tests positive for COVID, PSG confirms

Ballon d’Or winner seven times Lionel Messi is one of four players in the Paris Saint-Germain squad who have tested positive for the coronavirus before Monday night’s French Cup match.

COVID-19 was also found in one of PSG’s employees, according to a statement released on Saturday night. At the time, none of them were identified, but the club later mentioned Messi, left defender Juan Bernat, backup goalkeeper Sergio Rico, and 19-year-old midfielder Nathan Bitumazala in a statement on the team’s medical update on Sunday.

PSG is playing at third-tier Vannes.

Monaco, the runner-up from last year, was in play later Sunday at second-tier Quevilly-Rouen, one of 13 games set for the day as teams compete for a spot in the final 16.

Monaco announced on Saturday that seven players have COVID-19, but none have shown any alarming symptoms and are undergoing isolation.

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UCL Draw: Full fixtures as Cristiano Ronaldo faces Lionel Messi

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UCL Draw: Full fixtures as Cristiano Ronaldo faces Lionel Messi

So, how was the Champions League’s crème de la crème pitted against one another ahead of the competition’s revival in 2022? Take a look at the whole draw after the break:

Benfica vs Real Madrid

Villarreal vs Manchester City

Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich

Red Bull Salzburg vs Liverpool

Inter Milan vs Ajax

Sporting CP vs Juventus

Chelsea vs Lille

Manchester United vs Paris Saint-Germain

Naturally, the most intriguing story to come from the draw is that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will be facing each other for the first time since 2018.

After Ronaldo’s departure from Spain, clashes between the prolific Ballon d’Or winners have been few and far between, so we’ve been spoiled with United’s draw against PSG.

However, it isn’t the only intriguing match-up to emerge from the hat, with Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich squaring off in a titanic showdown, as well as Inter vs Ajax.

In the broader scheme of things, though, the Premier League teams can be pleased with their fixtures because Chelsea, City, and Liverpool all received favorable draws.

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Football

Karim Benzema Gets 1-Year Suspended Sentence Over Sex Tape

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Karim Benzema Gets 1-Year Suspended Sentence Over Sex Tape

Karim Benzema, a striker for Real Madrid, was found guilty of plotting to use a sex film to blackmail a fellow French footballer. A judge sentenced Benzema to a year in prison with no possibility of parole and fined him €75,000 (£63,000; $84,000).

Last month, Benzema, 33, was one of five people charged with attempting to extort Frenchman Mathieu Valbuena. The controversy shook the French football community, and both players were dropped from the national squad.

The two footballers were at a French training camp in June 2015 when the incident occurred. Prosecutors claim that at the camp, Benzema placed pressure on Valbuena to pay up the blackmailers with whom he had arranged to act as an intermediary.

Benzema has consistently disputed the charges, claiming that all he wanted to do was assist Valbuena in getting rid of the compromising video. The midfielder has subsequently returned to France and is scheduled to start for Real Madrid in their Champions League match against FC Sheriff Tiraspol on Wednesday night.

Benzema and Valbuena, who plays for the Greek club Olympiakos, were not present in court in Versailles for the ruling.

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Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Zinedine Zidane favorite to replace club legend

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Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Zinedine Zidane favorite to replace club legend

After a devastating 4-1, Premier League loss to Watford, Manchester United terminated Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is the favourite to succeed Solskjaer, according to Red Devils executives.

The Norwegian has been under fire for the majority of the season, and his time at Old Trafford has finally come to an end after a record of just one win in their last seven league games.

After humbling losses to Liverpool and Man City, those in authority were left with no options after a heartbreaking setback at Vicarage Road.

Solskjaer’s term as manager of the club comes to an end only one month shy of three years. Manchester United has announced that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stepped down as manager, according to a statement from the club.

He was parachuted in to replace Jose Mourinho in 2018. He was a club legend during his playing days, where he helped the club win six Premier League titles and a Champions League.

Initially, in charge as a caretaker manager, United’s form improved considerably, and he was rewarded with a permanent appointment after a spectacular Champions League second leg triumph against Paris Saint-Germain in March 2019.

Following a third-place finish in his first full season, they finished second behind Man City last season, despite a topsy-turvy season in which they were beaten 6-1 by Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford but also beat Southampton 9-0.

After a 1-1 draw with Villarreal, Solskjaer’s side had a wonderful chance to win the Europa League at the conclusion of 2020/21, but they lost on penalties.

Despite the return of Cristiano Ronaldo and the additions of Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho this season, Solskjaer has been unable to inspire his team to play consistently.

The wobble began with a Champions League loss to Young Boys, and the Norwegian seemed powerless to stop the wheels from slipping off as listless performances came thick and fast.

A stunning loss to Aston Villa, a dreadful draw with Everton, and a rollercoaster 4-2 loss to Leicester put him on the brink of relegation.

A 5-0 loss to Liverpool added to the strain until a 3-0 win over Spurs provided some relief, but a stalemate with Atalanta, a loss to Man City, and eventually an embarrassing humiliation by Watford saw the season end.

United’s season is still salvageable, despite being six points outside the top four, but their new manager will have a lot of work to do to get the club back in shape.

Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is the clear favourite to take over at Old Trafford, with Brendan Rodgers, Mauricio Pochettino, and Erik ten Hag also in the running.

We weigh in on the advantages and disadvantages of each of the leading prospects to succeed Solskjaer at United. Real Madrid’s three consecutive Champions League victories, as well as two league titles, make for a dazzling CV for any prospective employer to consider.

United are still a long way from winning the Champions League, but a big name like Zidane would definitely instil hope that glory days are on the way.

Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo had a terrific relationship at the Bernabeu, and the manager would be seen pinging in crosses for his talisman to convert in training, demonstrating that he hadn’t lost any of his own class.

He also knows Raphael Varane from his stint at Real and has tried multiple times to lure Paul Pogba to the club. United’s present roster would appeal to him, and he may not need to make any costly acquisitions.

As a result, players admire Zidane’s brilliance and respond to his tactics. Despite the presence of many egos, he surely produced good chemistry in the Real Madrid dressing room.

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