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Football: Messi returns to training

FC Barcelona players including star Lionel Messi train ahead of La Liga Rayo Vallecano game. The Barcelona captain returns to training after sustaining an arm injury two weeks ago.

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Modric ends Ronaldo-Messi era to be crowned world’s best

Luka Modric has ended Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s decade-long domination of football’s individual awards by being crowned FIFA’s best player of the year.

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Belgium wary of Mbappe ahead of World Cup semi-final

Belgium say they’re confident heading into the World Cup quarter-finals against France after a victory against Brazil, but say the match won’t be easy, with Belgian midfielder Nacer Chadli comparing French forward Kylian Mbappe to Argentina star Lionel Messi.

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Pride and hope in superstar Mbappe’s native Paris suburb

He’s the 19-year-old forward who dethroned Argentina legend Lionel Messi with two goals in a captivating World Cup last 16 match that saw France to the quarter-finals. In Kylian Mbappe’s hometown of Bondy, a populous suburb northeast of Paris, his extraordinary talent became clear as a child on the pitch – standing out amongst many who dream of success.

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France’s Mbappe hailed as new global superstar

France players and the world’s press hail Kylian Mbappe as an emerging superstar after the 19-year-old eclipsed Lionel Messi in a match that felt like the passing of a torch to a new generation.

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Messi’s disappointments with Argentina over the years

Five-time world player of the year Lionel Messi suffers more World Cup heartbreak with Argentina unable to match France’s firepower in a thrilling 4-3 World Cup last-16 tie. Widely considered one of the greatest players ever, the Barcelona star is still looked upon unfavourably by many in his homeland compared with Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986.

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Fans in Buenos Aires put hope in Messi for next World Cup clash

Argentina fans cheer their national team after they survived and won a crucial World Cup against Nigeria, 2-1, to advance to the round of 16, saying they have placed their faith in forward Lionel Messi for the next game against France.

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Iraqis buy into World Cup fever, without breaking bank

Iraqis take to cafes and parks in the cities of Mosul and Baghdad to watch matches in the World Cup. With the World Cup in full swing, people around the globe are glued to TV screens — but for some Iraqis, absorbing the full experience is proving trickier than confronting Lionel Messi on an epic dribble. At around $100 (over 85 euros), a pay TV subscription for the month-long football extravaganza is out of reach for most, as average monthly salaries range between $400 and $700.

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Prayers, cakes and more at Messi’s birthday party in India

Lionel Messi’s fans in India celebrate the Argentine footballer’s 31st birthday at a roadside tea stall owned by mega supporter Shiv Shankar Patra, who painted his house in Argentine colours and ordered special cakes to mark the occasion.