Xavi reveals Neymar told him of his desire to leave Barcelona at Lionel Messi's wedding

David Cooper 11/02/2018
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Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has revealed that Neymar told him of his plans to leave the Catalan giants at Lionel Messi’s wedding in July.

The Spaniard, who left the Camp Nou in 2015 after a glittering 24 years at the club, was among the stars to attend the Argentine’s wedding in Rosario.

Speaking in an interview with Tifo Football, the 38-year-old revealed a conversation in which Neymar said he was no longer happy and wanted a new challenge away from Barcelona.

“Neymar had the really big decision to decide his future and he decided to go to Paris Saint-Germain,” Xavi said.

“He said to us at Messi’s wedding that he wanted to change club. And I said to him: ‘But, why?’

“He said ‘I’m not happy in Barcelona. I’d prefer to go out. To have a new experience in Europe in Paris St Germain’. And finally it was his decision. We must respect it.”

Neymar completed his record shattering €222 million move in August, signing a five-year deal with the French club.

Despite the significant loss of his services in attack, Barcelona are on the cusp of delivering another La Liga title as they hold a six point lead over second place Atletico Madrid with a game in hand.

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Nice's Mario Balotelli booked after protesting against racist chants

David Cooper 11/02/2018
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Nice striker Mario Balotelli was booked for protesting to the referee about alleged racist chants during his side’s defeat at Dijon on Saturday night.

The former Manchester City, Liverpool and Italy striker was shown a yellow card by referee Nicolas Rainville in the second half after complaining about the home fans following a missed opportunity.

Balotelli was seen gesturing to the crowd while talking to Rainville in the 72nd minute, but was cautioned for his actions.

Nice tweeted a picture of Rainville booking Balotelli with the caption: “In the meantime, Mario Balotelli has inherited a yellow card, after… getting annoyed with racist insults from the public.”

Nice were 2-1 ahead at the time before conceding two late goals, including a controversial penalty, to lose 3-2, dropping them to eighth in the Ligue 1 table.

Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere hit out at the standard of refereeing, telling the club’s official website: “I am scandalised.

“It’s been four consecutive games that we have the feeling of playing at 11 against 12. The differences of refereeing from one match to the other are incomprehensible.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah in talks to take full control of Sheffield United

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Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah (l)

Sheffield United co-owners Kevin McCabe and Abdullah Bin Mosa’ad Abdulaziz Al Saud are in talks over the Saudi Arabian prince taking full control of the club.

Prince Abdullah became joint-owner of the Blades in September 2013, ending McCabe’s long search for an investor. The prince served notice of his intention to buy the remaining 50 per cent of the McCabe family’s shares at the end of last month.

“His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Bin Mosa’ad Abdulaziz Al Saud and Kevin McCabe are in discussions regarding the transfer of ownership and control of Sheffield United football Club to the prince,” said a statement on the Blades’ official website.

“Sheffield United football Club is part of the Blades Leisure Limited group, a joint venture between Sheffield United Limited, controlled by the McCabe family, and companies controlled by the prince.

“Ownership of Blades Leisure Limited is governed by an Investment Agreement dated August 30, 2013, which provides for the transfer of control of Blades to the prince.

“In response to a process commenced by Sheffield United Limited, on January 26, 2018 UTB LLC, a company controlled by the prince, served a notice exercising an option to purchase the remaining 50 per cent of Blades Leisure from Sheffield United Limited.

“Both parties are currently in negotiation with regard to the remaining provisions in the Investment Agreement and hope to come to a final settlement in the near future.”

The club said the takeover would have no impact on the club’s staff. McCabe joined the Blades’ board in 1993, left soon after and returned in 1995 before effectively taking control at Bramall Lane in 1999.

The Blades were promoted as League One champions last season under manager Chris Wilder and are currently eighth in the Championship, five points off the play-off places.

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