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Football Briefs: Messi to miss Argentina friendlies in US

August 16, 2018 11:25 IST
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Argentinian forward Lionel Messi

IMAGE: Argentinian forward Lionel Messi. Photograph: Sipa USA via USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Argentina captain Lionel Messi has ruled himself out of two friendlies in the United States next month, a source at the Argentine Football Association (AFA) told Reuters on Wednesday.

The source, confirming widespread reports in Argentine media, said the Barcelona forward would miss the games against Guatemala and Colombia and possibly more.

"We don't know what will happen after but for now (Messi) has told the coaching staff that he will not be part of the next squad," the source said.


Reports said Messi was still disappointed over Argentina's poor showing in the World Cup, where they were eliminated at the last 16 stage by eventual winners France.

He will not go to Los Angeles for the September 7 match against Guatemala or to New Jersey to face Colombia four days later.

Interim coach Lionel Scaloni is due to announce his squad for the games by next Monday.

It is not the first time Messi has decided to take time out from international duty.

He retired after Argentina lost the 2016 Copa America final, their third defeat in a major final on three years, but he changed his mind two months later.

Argentine officials hope the 31-year-old will do the same after a short break and are keen to encourage the five-times World Player of the Year to return.

"The doors of the national team are open to him," the source told Reuters.

Argentina will play four more friendlies in October and November. Their next tournament will be in 2019 when they go to neighbours and arch-rival Brazils for the Copa America.

QPR appoint Amit Bhatia as chairman, Fernandes and Gnanalingam step down

Queen's Park Rangers' owner Tony Fernandes and new chairman Amit Bhatia

IMAGE: Queen's Park Rangers' owner Tony Fernandes and new chairman Amit Bhatia. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

Queens Park Rangers have appointed British-Indian businessman Amit Bhatia as their new chairman, with co-chairmen Tony Fernandes and Ruben Gnanalingam vacating their positions, the Championship club announced on Wednesday.

Bhatia, who previously served as vice chairman, will work alongside the management team led by chief executive Lee Hoos at the second-tier side.

Malaysian businessman Fernandes, who has been with the club since first taking over in 2011, said it would be best for QPR to have a chairman based in the UK.

"It's time for the club to have a chairman who is based in London," he said in a statement.

"It was important for me to step down at a time where we have solved many issues such as FFP (Financial Fair Play), making the club sustainable, building a strong academy and having a strong backroom team."

Last month, QPR were fined 17 million pounds ($21.6 million) as part of a 42 million-pound settlement with the English Football League for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations.

Bhatia joined the board at Loftus Road in December 2007 as representative of father-in-law and ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal, who bought a shareholding in the club alongside Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore.

Gnanalingam will replace Bhatia as vice chairman and remain chairman of the club's trust.

Subasic, Mandzukic call time on international career

Croatia’s goalkeeper Danijel Subasic

IMAGE: Croatia’s goalkeeper Danijel Subasic. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and striker Mario Mandzukic have announced their retirement from international football almost a month after helping the Balkan nation reach the World Cup final for the first time.

The 33-year-old goalkeeper Subasic said he made the decision to end his journey with Croatia before the World Cup, and reaching the final in Moscow was a dream come true.

Mandzukic, scored 33 goals for Croatia, two less than top scorer Davor Suker, in 89 appearances since his 2007 debut.

The 32-year-old netted three goals in his team's run to the World Cup final in July, where they fell to a 4-2 defeat by France.

Apart from two World Cups, Mandzukic also represented Croatia in two European Championships and was named the nation's Footballer of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Defender Vedran Corluka also announced his retirement from the Croatian national team last week.

Nigeria's Moses announces international retirement

Nigeria's Victor Moses has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 27 in order to focus on his club career.

Chelsea wing-back Moses, who made 37 appearances for Nigeria, played every minute of the African nation's World Cup campaign in Russia where they were eliminated in the group stage.

"I have experienced some of the best moments of my life wearing the Super Eagles shirt and have memories with me that will last a lifetime," Moses said in a statement on Twitter.

"However, I feel that now is the right time to step away in order to be able to focus fully on my club career and young family, as well as to allow the next generation the opportunity to step up and to flourish."

Moses won the 2013 African Cup of Nations and helped Nigeria reach the last 16 at the 2014 World Cup.

He won the 2016-17 Premier League title with Chelsea but has not started a match under new manager Maurizio Sarri this season.

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