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Messi agrees five-year Barcelona deal with 50 percent pay cut

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Lionel Messi has reached a verbal agreement on a five-year contract extension at Barcelona, with his salary to be reduced by 50 per cent under terms of the new deal.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was officially a free agent as of July 1 after he failed to agree terms over a renewal before his previous Barcelona contract expired on June 30.

Earlier in July, Messi led Argentina to the Copa America title thanks to a 1-0 win in the final against hosts Brazil, bringing an end to his wait for a first major international trophy.

The 34-year-old has now agreed to stay on at his boyhood club for another five years, meaning he will be 39 by the time his new deal runs out – when he will have totalled 26 years on the club’s books.

Messi sparked an acrimonious transfer row in August last year, when he officially informed the club his wish to activate a clause in his contract which would have seen him leave for free.

However, La Liga president Javier Tebas and Josep Maria Bartomeu – Barcelona president at the time – blocked the move, indicating that the clause was only active until June 10 and any suitor would have to pay his €700m release clause in full.

“The president always told me that I could decide to stay or go at the end of the season and they’re now clinging to the fact that I hadn’t said anything by June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 the La Liga season was still ongoing and we were in the midst of this virus and this illness that altered the whole fixture calendar.

“And that’s the reason why I’m staying on at the club. I’m now staying because the president told me that the only way I could leave was by paying the €700m release clause, which is impossible.”

Bartomeu went on to resign in October, while Messi wanted to listen to the plans of his successor Joan Laporta before deciding his future.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have been the front-running clubs interested in signing him. Messi also wants to one day play in MLS.

Source: Sky Sports

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Boxer Samuel Takyi wins Ghana’s first Olympic medal in 29 years

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Ghanaian amateur boxer Samuel Takyi has won his Olympic quarter-final to guarantee himself a medal at Tokyo 2020, a first Olympic medal for a Ghanaian athlete in 29 years.

Takyi beat Colombia’s 32-year-old southpaw David Ceiber Avila, a far more experienced fighter, in the quarter-final, taking two of three rounds to send the Ghanaian contingent in the stands wild.

Similar celebrations were happening across Ghana on a historic day in the ring, and they may get louder as Takyi moves on to the semi final where he’ll face the USA’s Ragan Duke.

Duke eliminated Irish boxer, Kurt Walker, in his quarter-final bout.

The 20-year-old has caused a sensation by making the podium after his selection for the boxing team in Tokyo initially caused eyebrows to raise.

Now it’s hands in the air as “The Golden Ring Warrior” has brought it home, the first Olympic medal since the football team won bronze at Barcelona 1992.

And the first boxing medal since middleweight Prince Amartey who took the bronze in Munch 1972.

Takyi joins Ghanaian Olympic greats Clement Quartey, a light welterweight who won silver in Rome 1960, Eddie Blay a bronze light welterweight medallist from Tokyo 1964 and Prince Amartey who made history in Munch 1972.

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“Black Stars Will Never Have A Striker Like Asamoah Gyan” – Christian Atsu

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Ghanaians should stop comparing current Black Stars strikers to Asamoah Gyan, according to Ghanaian winger, Christian Atsu. With 51 goals for the senior men’s national team, Asamoah Gyan, who led the Black Stars, is the highest scorer.

As a result, Atsu has come to the strikers’ defense, stating that attention should be paid to the new players who are emerging now rather than comparing them to their predecessors.

In an interview with 3Sports, the 29-year-old winger thinks Ghanaians should encourage the Black Stars’ current strikers rather than looking back at what has transpired in the past.

“You can talk about goal scoring, which is important, but you will never have someone like Asamoah Gyan.” “So we should just focus on what we have now, the strikers we have now and try to encourage them because they are young players.” “But no one should compare the strikers we have now to Asamoah Gyan, because that is incorrect.”

Gyan’s scoring ability has seen him top the African scoring statistics in the senior men’s FIFA World Cup, netting six goals in three tournaments.

Atsu, who just joined Saudi club Al Raed, hasn’t featured for the Black Stars in two years and will be hoping to return soon as the Nations Cup in Cameroon approaches next year.

 

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COVID-19: Active Cases Recorded Amongst 100 Students In 4 Schools In Kumasi

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At least, four Senior High Schools in the Ashanti region, have recorded over 100 Covid-19 active cases between them as the upsurge in cases continue.

Almost all Districts, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies in the region have recorded cases, thus contributing to the current 840 active cases with 260 deaths.

The increasing spate of Covid-19 positive cases has left health authorities distressed, especially by the outbreak of the disease in Senior High Schools.

“So far, we’ve had outbreaks in 4 Senior High Schools in Ashanti. But if the outbreak is in a congregate setting, then, it makes it more serious in the sense that all of them are together,” Ashanti Regional Health Director, Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang revealed.

Even if one person is infected, it is likely that, it may spread to the whole school,” he added.

 

So far, the Ashanti region has recorded the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants. The Delta variant is noted for its rapid spread.

 

“What is worrying is that we are having most of the outbreaks in Kumasi Metro and also secondary schools in the region and it’s a cause for worry,” Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang said.

He called for strict enforcement of safety protocols in schools among students and teachers to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Tinkorang also mentioned blatant disregard for Covid-19 safety protocols, especially at funerals and public places as sources of spread of the virus. He noted that such attitudes do not only erode the gains made in the fight against Covid-19, but makes a third wave very likely in the region.

“One thing that is worrying is the way we organize the funerals in Ashanti. If you go round the whole region, you realize that the community has totally disregarded all the protocols and the guidelines that we’ve given.  That’s the area we need to focus,” he said.

The Regional Health Director wants funerals to be supervised by health authorities and the Police henceforth.

The suggestion comes as the Ghana Health Service draws up modalities on how funerals should be organized in the midst of the pandemic.

Whilst blaming public apathy, Dr. Tinkorang said continued disregard for Covid-19 safety protocols, especially at funerals, can lead to what he described as super spreaders.

 

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