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Italian Open: Knee injury stops Serena Williams

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Serena Williams pulled out of the Italian Open on Tuesday due to a persistent knee injury which casts doubt on her participation in the French Open which begins later this month.

The 37-year-old American world number 11 had been due to face sister Venus in an eagerly-awaited second round clash in Rome.

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Venus has consequently received a walk-over into the third round.

Serena, a 23-times Grand Slam singles champion, has struggled throughout the year and completed only two matches since the Australian Open where she reached the quarter-finals.

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Lille to fly Osimhen home in private jet for father’s burial rites

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Leicester afraid of losing Osimhen to Juve, Inter

The Nigeria Football Federation [NFF] is among those who have condoled the Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen over the death of his father.

The Lille striker announced the passing of his father on his Twitter handle after reports emerged that Mr. Patrick Osimhen, 80, died in Lagos on Saturday night following a brief illness.

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, in a press statement, said he had reached out to the player following the outbreak of the sad news, and he assured the former U-17 World Cup winner of the empathy and support of the country’s football family at this challenging moment for the youngster and his family.

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Pinncik revealed that his French side Lille had promised to provide a private jet that would convey the player home from Europe for the burial.

“I have spoken to Victor Osimhen and expressed the sorrow of the NFF and the entire Nigerian Football family. His club, Lille OSC of France have given him a private aircraft to come to Nigeria to be with his family and probably for the burial rites. We have applied for landing permit but we are yet to get this. However, we are still on it and hopeful for the sake of the young lad.

“The loss of either parent is usually a moment of heartbreak for anyone. We condole with Victor (Osimhen) at this moment and pray that God will grant his late father eternal rest, while also granting the family the fortitude to bear the great loss.”

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I wanted to leave Barca – Messi

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Lionel Messi has revealed how he ‘wanted to leave’ Barcelona in 2016 due to the scrutiny on him amid a tax row with the Spanish government.

Messi is the finest player in LaLiga and league chief Javier Tebas has previously admitted he was left ‘scared’ at the idea the Argentine could leave.

Speaking to radio station RAC1, Messi explained how along with his father Jorge he felt he was being ‘mistreated’.

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The pair were found guilty of tax fraud and handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence.

“At that time, with the mess of the treasury, I wanted to leave, not for wanting to leave Barca but wanting to leave Spain,” Messi told RAC1.

“I felt that I was being very mistreated and I didn’t want to stay here. I never had an official offer because everyone knew my idea to stay here.

“It was very difficult for me and my family because people don’t know much about what’s going on.

The truth is that it was hard for everything that happened but it is better that my children were small and did not know. It was very difficult for me and my family because people don’t know much about what’s going on.”

The case found that Messi, along with Jorge, was guilty of defrauding the Spanish government of €4.1m between 2007 and 2009.

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A ruling found them guilty of using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights, leading Messi to contemplate his footballing future in the country.

Messi subsequently appealed the verdict in 2017 and it was rejected by Spain’s Supreme Court – instead, it was changed to a £223,000 fine. Jorge’s sentence was also reduced from a 15-month sentence to a €180,000 fine.

MORE READING!  Lille to fly Osimhen home in private jet for father's burial rites

 

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Saka to sign new Arsenal contract

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Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka looks set for a significant pay rise in a new contract despite the club seeking wage cuts among their squad due to the coronavirus outbreak.

After a stand-off between the board and players, Arsenal are now set to agree a plan for players to take a 12.5 per cent pay cut due to lost revenue from the disruption caused by the pandemic.

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Despite this agreement being made, 18-year-old Saka, who has enjoyed an impressive break-out season at the Emirates, will earn significantly more than his current £5,000-a-week wages when the new deal is signed, according to The Athletic.

The London-born winger, who has also impressed at left-back this season, has been a positive part of a challenging season for the Gunners and looks set to extend his deal that was due to expire in June 2021, in a deal that was believed to be in the works before the coronavirus.

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Saka’s emergence has attracted interest from the likes of Manchester United, but manager Mikel Arteta has remained confident of securing the youngster’s long-term future.

“The club is doing what it has to do and is having conversations. (Hopefully) we’ll get it resolved,” Arteta told The Sun.

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