Football

THE BIG 5: Messi’s Tearful Barca Exit, Bayelsa Teams dominate Aiteo Cup And Tokyo 2020 Olympic Ends

Every Monday, All Baller Zone (ABZ) delivers a scintillating roundup of the sporting stories that made the biggest headlines throughout the weekend.

This time, we focus on a fairytale run in the Nigerian Cup, the end of COVID-19 stricken Olympics, an emotional end for Lionel Messi, and defeat for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City which saw Super Eagles duo Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi win the Community Shield with Leicester City.

This is the Weekend’s Big 5!

5: THANK YOU, JAPAN: Tokyo’s Closing Ceremony Ends Pandemic Olympics

A Tokyo Olympics, christened “2020” but held in mid-2021 came to an end in front of an empty stadium on Sunday night. The Olympics which was notable for being interrupted for a year by the coronavirus, saw the United States end the two-week-long festivity as champions following triumphs in basketball, volleyball, and track cycling, amassing 39 gold medals, pipping China who finished with 38 gold medals.

Team Nigeria on the other hand, ended the Games as the 74th best country in the competition and Africa’s sixth-best team, winning one silver medal in wrestling (Blessing Oborududu) and one bronze medal in the long jump (Ese Brume).

4: BIG ROM: Chelsea Agree Record £97.5m Transfer Deal To Re-Sign Romelu Lukaku

After leaving Chelsea in 2014 after making just 15 appearances following his arrival at Stamford Bridge from Anderlecht in 2011, 28-year-old Romelu Lukaku is set to undergo a medical ahead of his club-record £97.5 million return to Chelsea, but this time, from Inter Milan.

A deal was agreed between the two clubs on Saturday after lengthy talks. The ‘Big Rom’ is expected to be handed a five-year contract on his return to Stamford Bridge.

3: SENIORMAN KELZ AGAIN: Iheanacho Punishes Man City As Leicester Wins Community Shield

Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho was the hero as his late penalty kick gave Leicester City a 1-0 victory over Manchester City in the Community Shield on Saturday in London.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 07: Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City lifts The FA Community Shield as his team mates celebrate following victory on August 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It was a battle of supremacy between the Premier League champions and the English FA Cup champions, as well as the opener to the English Premier League season which expectedly kicks off in a week. Iheanacho’s goal in the 79th minute meant the Foxes would run away with another trophy – the first English silverware of the 2021/2022 season.

2: CROWNED CHAMPIONS: Bayelsa Teams Emerge Double 2021 AITEO Cup Champions

It was a fun-filled Sunday for Nigeria’s State of Bayelsa who had both Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens, emerge as winners of the Men’s and Women’s 2021 cup competition.

Having enjoyed an amazing run, upending NPFL teams Rangers International, Lobi Stars, and Rivers United Before finally being crowned champions on Sunday, Bayelsa United defeated Nasarawa United 4-3 on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw in regulation time to win the men’s final – the first second-tier team to win the Cup in 20 years. Bayelsa Queens themselves emerged winners of the women’s competition by defeating FC Robo in the final match.

1: THE EMPEROR EXITS: Lionel Messi Says Goodbye To FC Barcelona At Tearful Press Conference

It was an emotional Sunday for Barcelona and a tearful one for Lionel Messi who failed at fighting back his tears at his farewell press conference held in front of his family, Barcelona staff, players, the press and an online audience.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner who confirmed he is leaving Barcelona where he has played his entire career, was emotional before he even made an opening statement. After 21 years at the club, the 34-year-old is Barca’s all-time top goalscorer with 682.

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