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How I convinced Neymar to dump Barca for PSG – Unai Emery


Unai Emery has claimed he convinced Neymar to swap Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.

Neymar became the costliest footballer in the world after the Ligue 1 club activated his €222m release clause.

Most fans and pundits believed at the time that the Brazilian was desperate to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow at the Nou Camp.

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But speaking in a mildly baffling interview in this week’s France Football, ex-PSG boss Unai Emery appeared to claim responsibility for convincing Neymar to join the club in 2017.

“I always felt supported by President Nasser (Al-Khelaifi). For example, when we were on the verge of signing Neymar, it was up to me to personally explain to Ney that we were going to build the team around him,” he said.

“With such a phenomenal player, you cannot say that you already have a team in place and that he must adapt. You have to make the team for him. If you don’t, then he won’t come, that’s certain.

“The president and the board spoke about the contract. But it is the manager who must convince in terms of the on-pitch project.”


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Dortmund’s Sancho, Akanji, fined for getting haircuts without face masks



Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Manuel Akanji were fined an unspecified amount by the German Football League (DFL) on Friday for failing to wear a face mask during a visit from a hairdresser this week.

The DFL said both players had broken the health guidelines that had governed Bundesliga clubs and players since the league restarted amid the COVID-19 pandemic on May 16.

In total, six Dortmund players, including rising star Sancho and Akanji, got their hair cut by the visiting hairdresser, who then asked some of them to take pictures with him.

“It is clear that pro players also need to get their hair cut. But that has to happen in line with the medical and hygiene concept,” the DFL said in a statement.

“The fines are not against the club which is not seen as having a responsibility in this case.”

Bundesliga matches are played without fans and teams must adhere to strict health guidelines that regulate the process and operation of training sessions and games.

MORE READING!  Dortmund’s Sancho, Akanji, fined for getting haircuts without face masks

The league, with five rounds of matches left in the season, plans to finish by the end of the month.

Sancho also hit the headlines last weekend when he, after scoring, revealed an undershirt with the message ‘Justice for George Floyd’ — an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis after a white U.S. police officer knelt on his neck.

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Sancho escaped any sanction after the German Football Association said players were free to show their support for protests over Floyd’s death.

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Cristiano Ronaldo becomes Football’s first-ever billionaire



Cristiano Ronaldo becomes Football’s first-ever billionaire

According to Forbes, Juventus star, Cristiano Ronaldo has officially joined the billionaire club alongside fellow sporting greats Floyd Mayweather and Tiger Woods, making him football’s first-ever ten-figure player.

The 35-year-old, who was named the highest-paid footballer on the planet in 2020, according to Forbes, is also the highest-earning athlete in lockdown after making nearly £1.9 million through Instagram alone.

With a total of 429.3 million followers across all social media platforms, as well as his $65 million annual salary and bonus at current club Juventus, Ronaldo remains one of the best-paid athletes in the sport.

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The Juventus forward has made $650 million through football alone with the rest coming from an array of endorsement deals off the pitch.

He becomes only the third athlete to break the billion-dollar milestone whilst still playing, joining Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather in that illustrious club.

Forbes’ top 20 highest-paid male athletes in the world for 2020 were as followed:

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1. Roger Federer (Tennis) – $106.3m

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Football) – $105m

3. Lionel Messi (Football) – $104m

4. Neymar (Football) – $95.5m

5. LeBron James (Basketball) – $88.2m

6. Stephen Curry (Basketball) – $74.4m

7. Kevin Durant (Basketball) – $63.9m

8. Tiger Woods (Golf) – $62.3m

9. Kirk Cousins (American football) – $60.5m

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10. Carson Wentz (American football) – $59.1m

11. Tyson Fury (Boxing) – $57m

12. Russell Westbrook (Basketball) – $57m

13. Lewis Hamilton (Racing driver) – $54m

14. Rory McIlroy (Golf) – $52m

15. Jared Goff (American football) – $49m

16. Conor McGregor (MMA) – $48m

17. James Harden (Basketball) – $47.8m

18. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Basketball) – $47.6m

19. Anthony Joshua (Boxing) – $47m

20. Deontay Wilder (Boxing) – $46.5m

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Messi misses training again with thigh injury



FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi sat out Friday’s training session as he has a small thigh strain, the Spanish league champions have said.

Barca returned to full training on Monday for the first time in three months ahead of the Spanish season re-starting on June 11.

The season had been halted since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Messi took part in the first two training sessions of the week but was absent from Wednesday’s session, while the team enjoyed a day off on Thursday.

The Catalans said Messi was expected to return to training in the next few days.

This means the Argentine should be available when Barca resume their bid to defend the title away to Real Mallorca on June 13.

“The Barca captain has a small strain in his right thigh muscle,” the club said in a statement.

“This Friday he did specific work to avoid any risks because our first La Liga match is eight days away. He is expected to return to working with the group in the next few days.”

Barca, who are targeting a third consecutive Spanish title, lead Real Madrid by two points with 11 matches remaining.

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Messi is leading the scorers’ chart in La Liga with 19 goals.

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