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Tuesday
August 2020
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News Headlines
NIA arrests six more people and conducts searches at 6 places in Kerala gold smuggling case        Union Minister observes fast as BJP seeks to step up pressure on Ker govt in gold smuggling case        Kerala crosses 25,000 COVID-19 cases as 1,169 test positive        Heavy rains forecast in Kerala this week; Low pressure likely in Bay of Bengal        Shah tests +ve for COVID-19, admitted to Medanta hospital in Gurugram        International passengers with negative COVID-19 test report can skip institutional quarantine: Govt        High time Mehbooba Mufti is released, says Rahul Gandhi        Death toll in Punjab spurious liquor tragedy rises to 104        Trump Says Federal Government Should Seek Death Penalty For Boston Bomber        Khamenei''s top aide praises Turkey''s Hagia Sophia move        IPL GC Meet: Final on Nov 10, Chinese sponsors intact, COVID replacements allowed        2nd ODI: Bairstow, Rashid shine in England''s 4-wicket win over Ireland        Kerala''s COVID-19 tally inching towards 25,000 mark, 1129 ccases, death toll climbs to 82        Kerala police SI dies of COVID-19; first from the force to succumb to the virus        If high command forgives rebels, I will welcome them back: Gehlot        Former SP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh dies at 64        Wild fire: 200 homes evacuated in Southern California        Emirati nuclear plant successfully starts up first reactor        Ready to push for continued advancement of China-Nepal ties: Xi        Some 17,000 people hit streets of Berlin to protest COVID-19 measures        
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Sports News
Messi takes leadership in his stride to clinch sixth Ballon d'Or
 
Madrid: Lionel Messi won a record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday after another sublime year for the Argentinian, whose familiar brilliance remained undimmed even through difficult times for club and country.

Despite Barcelona's collapse at the end of last season and Argentina losing to Brazil in the semi-finals of the Copa America, Messi's genius was ever-present in 2019, for which he now stands alone in the history of the game's most prestigious individual prize.

Four years after his last Ballon d'Or, Messi pulled clear of the five next to the name of Cristiano Ronaldo, and now owns twice as many as Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco van Basten.

In 54 appearances this year, Messi has managed an astonishing 46 goals and 17 assists while for Barca alone he hit 41 goals and 15 assists in 44 matches, which included seven doubles and three hat-tricks.

"It's like he is extra-terrestrial," said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde in March.

"Every time he gets the ball something extraordinary seems to happen."

Messi's first season as club captain brought a third consecutive La Liga title and he scored the winner in the game that clinched it, a 1-0 victory over Levante.

He also claimed his sixth Pichichi Trophy as the division's top scorer, with 36 goals in 34 matches.

But Barcelona unravelled as their 3-0 advantage over Liverpool -- to which Messi contributed a brace -- went up in smoke at Anfield and the club crashed out in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

They were then beaten by Valencia in the final of the Copa del Rey, when Messi's tap-in proved a consolation, but it was his voice that spoke loudest in defence of coach Valverde, whose survival owed much to the support of his captain.

Messi had led the way on the pitch too, particularly during the run-in when he scored 16 goals in 12 games as Barcelona put together a relentless winning streak.

"This league has one person's name on it," wrote Diario Sport.

- 50th career hat-trick -

=========================

He scored his 50th career hat-trick in a 4-2 win at Sevilla and in April, another hat-trick began with a free-kick into the top corner and ended with a sweeping chip from the edge of the area that was so good even the Real Betis fans felt compelled to applaud.

When asked about their reaction, Messi said: "To be honest I don't remember anything like that."

His goal was nominated in the FIFA Puskas Award's 10-long shortlist.

"I have not seen any player like Messi in the history of football," said Betis coach Quique Setien.

"His goal was something you do playing Playstation."

After finishing the Champions League as top scorer with 12 goals and collecting his sixth Golden Shoe for a record third consecutive year, Messi joined up with Argentina for the Copa America, a tournament that kickstarted a frustrating three months for the 32-year-old.

Messi was sent off against Chile in the third-place play-off and his comments about the refereeing drew him a three-month suspension from international football.

A return to Barcelona should have offered some respite but Messi suffered a calf injury on the first day of pre-season before a thigh strain meant he would not begin playing regularly again until October.

Yet he made up for lost time by scoring six goals in five games and then a hat-trick against Celta Vigo, this time a treble made up of set-pieces, two from free-kicks and one a penalty.

It was his 34th hat-trick in La Liga, equalling Ronaldo's record in the Spanish top flight.

Free-kicks have become an increasingly potent weapon for Messi and his improvement is more evidence of a player still adding to his skill-set in what can be assumed will be his twilight years.

"It's clear that when games are close we have the advantage of having the best player in the world and the best free-kick taker in the world," said Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets.

Another milestone came at the end of November when his goal and two assists in a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund coincided with his 700th appearance for Barcelona. On Sunday, he scored the winner in a 1-0 victory at Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona insist they have plans for coping with Messi's dreaded retirement but the truth is their number 10 will be irreplaceable.

He has unfulfilled ambitions too, including another Champions League crown, not to mention an elusive major trophy with Argentina. Despite it all, Messi is not finished yet.


IPL GC Meet: Final on Nov 10, Chinese sponsors intact, COVID replacements allowed
2nd ODI: Bairstow, Rashid shine in England''s 4-wicket win over Ireland
PSG edge Lyon in French League Cup final for another domestic treble
England cruise to victory against Ireland in first ODI
Sehwag, Sardar in12-member selection panel for National Sports Awards
IPL 2019 played key role in England''s WC win: Morgan
Mohammad Amir clears two COVID-19 tests, joins Pakistan squad in England
Yuvraj hails Stuart Broad for taking 500 Test wickets, calls him a legend
England name unchanged squad for first Test against Pakistan starting Aug 5
Broad 10-for leads England to test series win over Windies
ICC Rankings: Kohli, Rohit maintain top two spots, Bumrah remains 2nd among bowlers
Play abandoned due to rain on day 4
Sangakkara backs Ganguly for ICC top post, says "astute brain" makes him suitable candidate
No cricketer in world is even close to Stokes: Gambhir
Jhingan, Thapa good enough to play for international clubs: India assistant coach
Broad hits 62, England out for 369 in decider vs West Indies
3rd Test, Day 1: Pope, Buttler lead England to 258-4 vs Windies at Stumps
F1 cancels 4 more races for 2020, adds 3 to calendar
Indian women miss out but SA announce 24-member squad for England tour
Teach real history instead of a sanitized version: Sangakkara on racism
KERALA NEWS
Kerala crosses 25,000 COVID-19 cases as 1,169 test positive
 Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala on Sunday crossed the 25,000 mark in COVID-19 cases as 1,169 more people  
Heavy rains forecast in Kerala this week; Low pressure likely in Bay of Bengal
Kerala police SI dies of COVID-19; first from the force to succumb to the virus
Kerala reports 1,310 COVID-19 cases; 3 deaths takes toll to 73
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Trump Says Federal Government Should Seek Death Penalty For Boston Bomber
 WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump says the federal government must seek the death penalty for Bo
Khamenei''s top aide praises Turkey''s Hagia Sophia move
Wild fire: 200 homes evacuated in Southern California
Emirati nuclear plant successfully starts up first reactor
NATIONAL NEWS
Union Minister observes fast as BJP seeks to step up pressure on Ker govt in gold smuggling case
 New Delhi: Union Minister V Muraleedharan on Sunday observed a day-long fast at his residence here d
Shah tests +ve for COVID-19, admitted to Medanta hospital in Gurugram
International passengers with negative COVID-19 test report can skip institutional quarantine: Govt
High time Mehbooba Mufti is released, says Rahul Gandhi
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