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Messi: It hasn’t been my best Copa America

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The Barcelona star’s national team may have made the semi-finals of the South American showpiece, but he admits he hasn’t had a great tournament

Lionel Messi admitted he had been below his best at the Copa America so far, but said Argentina’s progress to the semi-finals was most important.

Argentina set up a blockbuster semi-final against hosts Brazil by beating Venezuela 2-0 at the Maracana on Friday .

Messi has scored just once in Argentina’s four games, and his goal came from the penalty spot against Paraguay in the group stage.

The Barcelona star, whose team face Brazil on Tuesday, accepted he was yet to hit top form at the tournament.

“The truth is that it’s not been my best Copa America, not what I expected,” Messi said.

“There are matches that occur in this way. You cannot play a lot, it’s complicated for those of us who want to do something different, to avoid rivals.

“The important thing is that we won and we continue.

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Messi started in behind the front two of Lautaro Martinez and Sergio Aguero against Venezuela, with the Inter forward getting on the scoresheet for the second straight game.

After the win, Messi was happy with the attacking trio, while he slammed the pitches – which have been criticised throughout the Copa America – in Brazil again.

“We know it is fundamental that if we want to play the top three, we must run and help in defence,” he said.

“It is a cup match, anyone beats anyone. It is difficult to play, the pitches are bad. It is a shame that all the pitches are like this in a Copa America.”

Argentina have advanced to the semi-finals without convincing in the tournament so far.

They lost their first match in the group stage to Colombia, 2-0 and drew with Paraguay 1-1, thanks to Messi’s lone goal to date.

They secured qualification to the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Asian invitees Qatar.

Despite their unsure play to date, they are now just one game away from a third straight Copa America final.

If they should beat the hosts in the semis the Albiceleste will have a chance to avenge their defeats on the last two finals.

They lost both games to Chile, in 2015 and 2016, in penalty shoot outs.

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Football

Carlo Ancelotti left Everton to become head coach of Real Madrid for a second time

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The 61-year-old Italian, who oversaw Real Madrid for a very long time somewhere in the range of 2013 and 2015, has left Everton following year and a half in control at Goodison Park.

He succeeds Zinedine Zidane at Real and the move leaves Everton looking for a 6th perpetual supervisor in five years.

Ancelotti has marked a three-year bargain at Real and said the move addressed “an unforeseen chance”.

He added: “I have total regard for everybody related with Everton and expectation they can accomplish the energizing chances they have before them.

“While I have appreciated being at Everton I have been given a startling chance which I accept is the correct move for me and my family as of now.”

Genuine will introduce Ancelotti to the media on Wednesday, while Everton said they “will start the way toward selecting another supervisor right away”.

Everton will have been left paralyzed by the speed of advancements just now as proprietor Farhad Moshiri’s “Hollywood” chief leaves.

Ancelotti’s appearance was viewed as a genuine upset by Moshiri, convincing one of the game’s generally enriched and regarded figures to come to Merseyside to reestablish Everton to previous wonders.

The 61-year-old’s rule has been a mishmash with loathsome home structure offset by results like their first success over Liverpool at Anfield since 1999 – in any case a tenth spot finish in his first full season was a failure.

Ancelotti, in any case, was as yet held in immense respect by Everton allies, who have been left sharply disillusioned by his choice to withdraw.

The fierce truth is that for all Moshiri’s money and aspiration, Everton actually can’t view themselves as anyplace close to the first class, which consistently makes them helpless against clubs, for example, Real Madrid setting sights on their prize resources.

The typical suspects are being connected, for example, Eddie Howe after he turned down Celtic, previous Wolves supervisor Nuno Espirito Santo and ex-Everton manager David Moyes – albeit that is probably not going to occur after he verbally concurred a three-year bargain at West Ham in the wake of bringing them into Europe. Moshiri, however, is something of a special case and may have thoughts of his own.

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Ahmed Musa to play without monthly salary at Kano Pillars

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Ahmed Musa won’t be paid in his short stretch at Kano Pillars in the Nigeria Premier Football League.

Musa, 28, finished paperwork for the four-time Nigerian heroes under the Elite Players Program of the League Management Company, which urges top Nigerian internationals to play for neighborhood clubs.

As indicated by LMC manager Shehu Dikko, the program works twoly.

A club can distinguish and sign such players, or the LMC itself can sign the player and appoint them to a club of their decision.

It was the last for Musa.

“We addressed him about returning home to play, and as somebody who is consistently prepared to offer in return, he didn’t stop for a second,” Dikko told ESPN.

“When the arrangement was marked, the decision of which club to play for was up to him. Various clubs needed him. We put everything before him and he settled on the choice to go to Kano Pillars.”

Musa has been a free specialist since October 2020, when he left Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, with whom he won the Saudi Pro League title and Super Cup in the wake of going along with them from Leicester City in 2018.

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AFCON

Super Eagle Teslim Balogun Stadium Training Camp Adhere To COVID-19 Protocols Ahead Of Lesotho Clash

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The Super Eagles will hold their last exercise at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos on Monday evening, beginning from 1800 hours.

Their last instructional meeting which will be administered by director Gernot Rohr is available to the media for just the initial fifteen minutes, at that point everybody will be compelled to leave the arena.

No columnist will be permitted into the arena when the Lesotho public group have a vibe of the Teslim Balogun Stadium turf because of COVID-19 conventions set up.

Besides, there will be no authority pre-match public interview because of the Covid pandemic.

The Super Eagles players and authorities were up toward the end of last night since they had to go to an occasion out of appreciation for Nigerian Federation president Amaju Pinnick following his political decision into the esteemed FIFA board.

Nigeria are ensured to top Group L of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers paying little heed to the result of their last match against Lesotho as they are as of now on 11 focuses, four more than the Republic of Benin, who are second in the standings.

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