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Sport shorts: Lionel Messi considered leaving Barcelona in 2013, Petr Cech hits the ice and Steve Smith is out for a duck

Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi
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Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi
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Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi 

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Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images
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Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi

Ten things from the world of sport on Thursday 10 October

One-Minute Read
Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 2:54pm

1. Messi considered leaving Barca in 2013

Lionel Messi has revealed that he thought about leaving Barcelona in 2013, but now he is happy and plans to end his career at the Camp Nou. 

See related 
Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: all-time goals, career statistics, international records, awards, hat-tricks

The Argentine told radio station RAC1 that he was “very badly treated” in Spain in 2013 when he and his father were investigated for tax fraud. 

Messi, 32, said: “Sincerely, at that time, I thought about leaving. Not because of Barcelona but because I wanted to leave Spain, I didn’t want to stay here any longer. 

“I had my doors open to many clubs but I never got an official offer because everyone knew I really wanted to stay. This situation went way beyond my feelings for Barca.” 

Barcelona’s club captain and record goalscorer has a contract until 2021 with the Catalans and is happy to stay for “many years”. 

He added: “I’ve always thought this way and nothing has changed. It’s clear that my idea is to finish my career at Barca. Especially because of what I feel for the club and for my family. We are very happy in Barcelona.” 

Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: all-time goals and career statistics

2. Could Ozil leave on loan for Fenerbahce?

Arsenal have “opened talks” with Fenerbahce over a possible loan deal for Mesut Ozil, according to reports in Turkey. The midfielder is a peripheral figure at the Emirates this season and it’s clear that as far as Unai Emery is concerned the German is no longer part of his first-team plans.

It’s also reported that Arsenal and Manchester United are interested in Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller. 

3. World Cup matches cancelled

The Rugby World Cup has been thrown into turmoil by a series of cancellations that threaten the integrity of the tournament. 

Organisers announced this morning that England’s pool C match against France on Saturday has been called off because of Typhoon Hagibis, as has the pool B clash between New Zealand and Italy. 

Typhoon Hagibis plunges RWC into crisis as matches are cancelled

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4. Japanese GP: F1 delays qualifying decision

It’s not just the Rugby World Cup that could be affected by Typhoon Hagibis, but also the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. 

Race organisers have delayed a decision on whether to cancel qualifying on Saturday. F1.com said: “As it stands, F1’s schedule at the Japanese Grand Prix remains unchanged.”

F1 Japanese GP: race guide, preview and predictions

5. Home nations in Euro 2020 action 

Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are in Euro 2020 qualifying action today. 

In group C Northern Ireland face a crunch clash against the Netherlands and in group E Wales travel to Slovakia. Scotland are also away and travel to Russia in group I. The three matches are live on Sky Sports at 7.45pm. 

Uefa Euro 2020: next fixtures and latest group standings

6. Maddison out of Three Lions squad

Leicester City midfielder James Maddison will miss England’s Euro 2020 matches this week because of illness. The 22-year-old is the third player to withdraw from Gareth Southgate’s squad after Fabian Delph and Tom Heaton suffered injuries.  

England play in the Czech Republic tomorrow night and against Bulgaria on Monday.

7. Uefa send observers to Bulgaria 

The newspapers report today that Uefa will send observers to England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria in a bid to “blitz” racist abuse. 

Anti-racism group FARE will have three special match observers on duty in Sofia next Monday. They will have a link-up to the match delegate and fourth official.

In Sofia the Stadion Vasil Levski will be partially closed after Bulgaria were punished for fans’s behaviour in June.  

Today’s back pages: Uefa use spies to ‘blitz’ racists at England game

8. Cech hits the ice

Former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has signed for National Ice Hockey League team Guildford Phoenix.

The 37-year-old, who retired from football at the end of last season, will play as a goaltender. He said: “I hope I can help this young team achieve their goals. After 20 years of professional football, this is going to be a wonderful experience for me to play the game I loved to watch and play as a kid.”

Cech is also Chelsea’s current technical and performance advisor.

9. Badminton star cleared of doping

Former badminton world champion Ratchanok Intanon has been cleared of doping after it was found that she ate meat contaminated with clenbuterol. 

The Badminton World Federation said: “The ethics hearing panel determined Ms. Ratchanok Intanon committed an anti-doping rule violation, but as the athlete was able to demonstrate that her adverse analytical finding was related to the ingestion of meat contaminated with clenbuterol, she was found to bear no fault or negligence for the violation, and thus no period of ineligibility has been imposed on her.” 

10. Smith goes for a duck!

After smashing England all over the park during the Ashes Test series this summer Australia cricket star Steve Smith proved he was the No.1 batsman in the world.

However, it seems that the 30-year-old is human after all. In his first game back playing for New South Wales Smith only lasted five balls in the Sheffield Shield match against Queensland. 

Smith was dismissed for a duck after edging to the slips off the bowling of USA international Cameron Gannon.

Cricket.com.au journalist Dave Middleton tweeted: “USA international Cameron Gannon does what Jofra, Broad, Stokes, Woakes et all couldn’t do - dismiss Steve Smith without scoring. Unbelievable.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues free
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