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Messi says dream is to lead Paris St Germain to Champions League glory

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(Last Updated On: August 11, 2021)

Lionel Messi said on Wednesday he was delighted to have signed for French club Paris St Germain and that he was ready to help the team clinch their first ever Champions League title.

The Argentinean forward had agreed to stay at former club Barcelona after his deal expired at the end of June, only for the Spanish club to admit they could no longer afford him last week, Reuters reported.

He signed a two year deal with an option for a third with the Parisians on Tuesday.

“That’s why I am here. It’s an ambitious club,” Messi, who will wear the No. 30 jersey – which was his first squad number in senior football at Barcelona in 2006, told a news conference.

“You can see they’re ready to fight for everything.

“My dream is to win another Champions League, and I think this is the ideal place to be to do that.”

The Argentine conceded he did not know when he would be able to make his debut given he has not played since winning the Copa America with his country last month. Reuters reported.

“I’m coming back from holiday. I need a bit of a pre-season and get myself going. Hopefully debuting can be soon but I can’t give you a date. It’s up to the coaches.”

FAN CRAZE

Eyebrows were raised as to how PSG could afford to sign Messi within UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. However, club chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who sat alongside Messi, insisted the deal was well within their economic scope.

“We are always attentive to Financial Fair Play. It’s the first thing we check with the commercial, financial and legal people to see if we can do it before signing someone,” he said.

“I think the media need to focus on the positives and not just the negatives of these moves, but what positives he brings. He’s an unbelievable asset to the club.”

Al-Khelaifi’s point was backed up by thousands of excited fans who had gathered outside the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, banging on drums, waving flags and chanting Messi’s name, Reuters reported.

“My arrival here was both surprising and crazy,” Messi said.

“It was the icing on the cake as if I needed any more convincing. I’m grateful to the fans, it was crazy to see people on the streets in Paris without the deal even being done last week. I was stunned.”

Local fan Nelson Dross, 17, told Reuters: “Why do I love him? Because he makes us dream. He’s a magician, a genius.”

“He’s the best player in the world,” Sofiane Achi, 19, said. “We want that he wins the Champions League with PSG.”

NEW CHALLENGE

Messi on Sunday wept as he told Barcelona fans he was leaving his childhood club, and admitted that while he is sad, he is looking forward to the new challenge and hoped they would understand his decision making.

“I’ll always be thankful to Barca and their fans. I went there as a boy, and we had some good and bad times,” he said.

“The Barca fans knew I’d join a good club, fighting for the Champions League, because they know me, I like to win, I’m a winner and I want to carry on doing that.

“I don’t doubt that PSG’s objectives is to win and grow. It would be nice on the one hand to face them (Barcelona) in the Champions League, especially with fans, but on the other strange to go back to my home in another team’s shirt – but that’s football.”

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Afghanistan beats Papua New Guinea by 135 Runs at U19 ICC World Cup

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(Last Updated On: January 19, 2022)

Afghanistan’s national Under-19 team were on form on Tuesday night when they took on Papua New Guinea in the West Indies in their first match of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2022.

With a massive victory against their Group C opponents, the Afghan team, which won by 135 runs, will now be hoping to build a winning run in the tournament.

Afghanistan were bowled out for 200 runs in 38.2 overs with captain Suliman Safi smashing 62 runs off 76 balls.

Ijas Ahmadzai also made a noteworthy contribution, hitting 45 in 50 balls.

Chasing a target of 201 runs, Papua New Guinea were bowled out for 65 in 20.5 overs.

Isharulhaq Naveed was in fantastic form for Afghanistan and took three wickets. Meanwhile, Naveed Zadran, Nangeyalia Kharote, Noor Ahmad bagged two dismissals each.

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Afghanistan U19 national team prepares for first match in World Cup

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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2022)

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) says the Under-19 national team has been training ahead of their first match Tuesday in the U-19 World Cup.

According to the cricket board, the team spent three days in quarantine after arriving in the West Indies and are scheduled to play their first game against Papua New Guinea on Tuesday.

Afghanistan U-19s were meant to take on Zimbabwe in their opening game on January 16 in Trinidad, but the match has been rescheduled to January 22. The fixture against Pakistan U19s is unchanged and will be played as scheduled on January 20, ACB said.

Afghanistan is placed in Group C of the competition alongside three opponents. The top two teams from the group qualify for the quarter-finals, while the bottom two from each group will compete in a plate championship.

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Sports dept holds first round of skiing contest in Ghazni

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2022)

Afghanistan General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports (GDPES) held the first round of a skiing contest in Ghazni province on Sunday.

The GDPES stated that 12 athletes participated in the one-day competition which was held in the refugee town of Alberoni (Shahrak-e-Muhajirin) in the provincial capital of Ghazni city.

According to the GDPES, Mohammad Yasir Azizi won first place, and Sirat Ghaznawi and Naasir Asghari secured second and third places respectively.

The GDPES noted that the competition was aimed at promoting skiing among the youths in Afghanistan.

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