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Lionel Messi makes special Barcelona return to reunite with former teammate

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Lionel Messi makes special Barcelona return

Lionel Messi has enjoyed some time away from Paris Saint-Germain to meet up with a former Barcelona teammate as he comes to the end of a challenging debut season in France.

The Argentine has netted just four domestic goals across 24 appearances since his move to the Parc des Princes. PSG completed their Ligue 1 title success in April but fans are so disillusioned with their side at the moment that they did not want to celebrate the success with the players.

That followed the supporters’ major protest at a Ligue 1 clash against Rennes in which they blasted the ‘overpaid mercenaries’ on their books and attacked the board. Further, Mauricio Pochettino was booed by large sections of the home crowd when his name was read out ahead of kick-off before the title was secured amid reports that he is set to leave the club.

In March, PSG fans booed Lionel Messi and Neymar during the club’s first Ligue 1 match following their elimination from the Champions League by Real Madrid at the last-16 stage. The two South American superstars were jeered with every touch of the ball they had against Bordeaux. Those boos came just a day after PSG ultras called on president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to resign following their club’s latest European humbling.

Messi has endured a strange season even though he landed a record-breaking seventh Ballon d’Or title in November before ranking second behind Robert Lewandowski in the 2021 FIFA Best Men’s Player awards this year. Recent reports have indicated that he is unhappy in Paris as he has failed to settle in the city and at the club for multiple reasons.

The Argentine has frequently returned to Barcelona whenever he has been given days off by PSG and the same was true this week, as he and his wife, Antonela, took advantage of his break to return to their former home city – from which he unwillingly had to leave last summer.

Messi and his wife met up with his former Barca teammate Sergio Busquets and his partner, Elena Galera, alongside some of their friends in Castelldefels, near Barcelona. The group met up in the beach bar of another former Barca star, Luis Suarez, named Chalito.

Despite his affection for Barcelona, there are no suggestions Messi is planning a transfer return to the Blaugrana. His PSG contract expires next summer but it is clear he still feels most comfortable and at home in Catalonia.

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U.S. swimmer Alvarez saved from drowning by coach at world championships in Budapest (Photos)

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Anita Alvarez loses consciousness in pool at world championships in Budapest

American artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was in danger of drowning after losing consciousness in the pool at the world championships in Budapest before being rescued by her coach Andrea Fuentes.

Spaniard Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming, jumped into the pool after she saw Alvarez sink to the bottom at the end of her solo free final routine.

She was given medical attention beside the pool before being taken away on a stretcher.

It was the second time Fuentes has had to rescue Alvarez after she leapt into the pool during an Olympic qualification event last year and pulled her to safety along with the American’s swim partner Lindi Schroeder.

“Anita is much better, she is already at her best. It was a good scare, to be honest,” Fuentes told Spanish newspaper Marca.

“I jumped into the water again because I saw that no one, no lifeguard, was jumping in. I got a little scared because she wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine. She has to rest.”

In a statement on the US Artistic Swimming Instagram page, Fuentes said 25-year-old Alvarez would be assessed by doctors on Thursday before a decision was made on her participation in Friday’s team event.

SEE PHOTOS BELOW

A member of Team USA (R) swims to recover USA's Anita Alvarez (L), from the bottom of the pool.
A member of Team USA (R) swims to recover USA’s Anita Alvarez (L), from the bottom of the pool.
USA's Anita Alvarez is recovered from the bottom of the pool by a team member after the incident.
USA’s Anita Alvarez is recovered from the bottom of the pool by a team member after the incident.
She was given medical attention beside the pool before being taken away on a stretcher.
She was given medical attention beside the pool before being taken away on a stretcher.

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Serie A: Pogba agrees deal with Juventus

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Juventus have reached an agreement in principle to sign Paul Pogba, according to Sky Italia.

Pogba is a free agent after leaving Manchester United this summer.

It is believed that small details of the contract are being sorted out. It will either be a four-year contract or a three-year deal with an option for a further year.

Pogba will officially sign the contract at the start of July.

The move to Juventus would mark a return to a club where Pogba spent four years before rejoining United in 2016.

Manchester City also made a bid to sign Pogba from their bitter rivals, but the player opted against it and has now gone back to Italy.

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LaLiga fixtures for 2022/2023 season confirmed

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LaLiga fixtures for 2022/2023 season

The LaLiga fixture list for the 2022/2023 season was released by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Thursday.

Real Madrid will open their campaign with a trip to newly promoted Almeria, while Barcelona are home to Rayo Vallecano.

The two rivals will face off in the first Clasico on the weekend of October 16.

The game on Match Day 9, will be played at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with the return fixture at Barcelona’s Camp Nou taking place on the weekend of March 19, 2023.

Atletico Madrid, who finished third last season, begin the season away at Getafe while Sevilla, who finished fourth in the final Champions League spot, will travel to Osasuna.

The 2022/23 LaLiga season will begin on the weekend of August 14, 2022, and end on the weekend of June 4, 2023.

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