Barcelona, Oct 21 (AP/UNB) — Lionel Messi broke his right forearm on Saturday and will be sidelined for about three weeks, a major setback for him and Barcelona right before some important games.
Messi will miss playing Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday, and the clasico against Real Madrid next weekend. He'll miss three others, including the return game against Inter.
"It's a significant loss. We will notice his absence," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.
"We've played without him in the past. We will be prepared to overcome this."
Messi was hurt in the first half of Barcelona's 4-2 win against Sevilla at Camp Nou Stadium. He was trying to reclaim the ball when he ran into the back of Sevilla midfielder Franco Vazquez and fell in the 17th minute. Trying to cushion his landing, Messi's right elbow bent badly.
He was in visible pain and was treated by team doctors. They wrapped his elbow with bandages and the playmaker tried to continue, but he eventually left the field.
Messi was taken to a clinic and the club said tests showed a "fracture of the radial bone."
The playmaker scored the team's second goal with a shot from outside the area in the 12th.
He's the team's leading scorer with seven goals in the league after nine matches.
He was replaced by Ousmane Dembele on Saturday.
"We'll see how we will play without him," Valverde said. "We will try to maintain our style."
Munich, Oct 20 (AP/UNB) — Leading figures at German champion Bayern Munich hit out angrily against the media for its reporting of the club's recent loss of form, even threatening to take legal action if necessary.
Bayern's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, president Uli Hoeness and sport director Hasan Salihamidzic appeared together Friday to speak out against what they consider unfavorable media coverage.
Rummenigge labelled some of the criticism aimed at Bayern "derogatory, slanderous reporting" as he addressed a packed news conference.
After winning the past six titles, the 28-time German champion is sixth in the Bundesliga and has not won its past four matches overall.
"Today is an important day for Bayern Munich because we are telling you we will not put up with it anymore," Rummenigge said.
"Polemic seems to know no boundaries anymore ... This applies to the media, it applies also to experts, and it applies above all to experts who once played football for this club."
Rummenigge even cited Article 1 of Germany's basic law: "The dignity of man is sacrosanct."
The Bayern officials complained against "outrageous" criticism of club stalwarts Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels following Germany's 3-0 loss to the Netherlands last week.
Former Bayern player Olaf Thon, now a TV pundit, said Boateng and Hummels were playing "old-man football" in the side's central defense. Thon, a skillful midfielder who played for Bayern from 1988-94 stood by his criticism.
Bayern started the season well under new coach Niko Kovac, with seven straight wins in all competitions, has been the subject of critical coverage for its lackluster play in recent games. Kovac's side has appeared flat and labored and was humiliated 3-0 at home by Borussia Moenchengladbach before the international break.
Kovac, a former Bayern midfielder in his first big coaching role, has struggled for answers on how to turn the side's fortunes around, and there was speculation over his future before Rummenigge and Hoeness belatedly backed their coach.
Hoeness also slammed the media for its coverage.
"It's time that the most important club in Germany positions itself," he said. "We will not accept any disrespectful and irreverent criticism anymore."
Hoeness himself previously accused former Germany international Mesut Ozil of "playing like dirt for years" and Bayer Leverkusen's Karim Bellarabi of being "insane" for a challenge he made on Bayern defender Rafinha.
"I should not have said that," the 66-year-old Hoeness acknowledged on Friday.
Bayern plays at Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Dhaka, Oct 19 (UNB) – A 31-member Bangladesh U-19 Women’s Football team will leave here for Tajikistan Friday (October 19) morning to compete in the Group D matches of the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Qualifiers beginning in Dushanbe on Wednesday.
Bangladesh, which was placed in Group D of the AFC meet along with Asian giant South Korea, Chinese Taipei and hosts Tajikistan, will play South Korea in the opening match on October 24, face Chinese Taipei on Oct 26 and hosts Tajikistan on Oct 28, all in the Pamir Stadium in Dushanbe.
Mishrat Jahan Mousumi retained as captain while Maria Manda made her deputy in the Tajikistan bound Bangladesh team, consists of the players that played in the SAFF U-18 Championship in Bhutan.
After winning two consecutive trophies of AFC U-16 Championship at home and SAFF U-18 Championship in Bhutan, Bangladesh have to face a tough challenge against Asian giant South Korea and looking for runners-up position to qualify for the next round as the best two runners-up of the six Asian groups.
Dhaka, Oct 18 (UNB) - Vice President of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) Badal Roy has demanded the resignation of BFF President Kazi Mohammad Salahuddin for his failure of keeping his election commitments and financial irregularities.
Speaking in a gathering of Dhaka based clubs at a hotel Wednesday evening, former national star player Badal Roy said, “Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) has failed to comply with the demand of modern day football and become a hub of financial irregularities.”
“Seven lakhs dollars, provided by FIFA for the BFF Academy has a misappropriate use, the money was not fully spent for the academy, the FIFA fund for Development was also not used properly, so, Kazi Salahuddin should resign admitting his failure” said Badal Roy, a celebrated booters in his playing days.
Some 40 representatives of 56 Bangladesh Championship League, First, Second and Third Division League Clubs were present in the meeting.
Football organizer cum President of Arambagh KS Muminul Huq Saeed proposed to form an organization of the clubs and it was accepted by the club representatives.
Chairman of the SAIF Global Sports Tarafder Md. Ruhul Amin demanded the explanation of why his company Saif Powertec was refrained by BFF from the sponsorship of 1st, 2nd and 3rd division football leagues.
Former football star like Sheikh Md. Aslam, Abdul Gaffar, Imtiaz Sultan Johnny, Hasanuzzaman Bablu, football organizer cum chief of Bangladesh Naval Police Shiekh Md. Maruf Hasan, football organizers Alimuzzman Alam and Abu Hasan Chowdhury Prince also spoke on the occasion.
Madrid, Oct 18 (AP/UNB) — Gerard Pique is not worried about the possible absence of some top players in the revamped Davis Cup, especially since Rafael Nadal has said he will play in the new-look competition when it debuts next year.
The Barcelona defender, who spearheads the company behind the new format of the Davis Cup, said Wednesday that Nadal has told him he will play as long as he is not injured.
"If the No. 1 in the world is playing, that's more than enough," Pique said in the official presentation of Madrid as host of the Davis Cup finals for the next two years. "Rafa is very positive about this event, especially because it is taking place in Madrid."
The new event was developed in a partnership between the International Tennis Federation and the investment group Kosmos, which was founded by the Barcelona and Spain player.
Pique said he knows it will not be easy to have all top-ranked players participating.
"This is a team event, so it's impossible to have all the top players involved. Some teams won't qualify, not everybody will be able to play anyway," Pique said. "Of course we would like to have the top players, but we want to focus on the teams."
Stars such as Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have already hinted they don't intend to play. Djokovic said the tournament could be competing with the ATP's World Team Cup, while Federer said the revamped Davis Cup didn't seem to be designed for him.
Pique said he already didn't expect Federer to be playing, noting the Swiss veteran has limited his tournament schedule in recent years and might not "have the legs" to play in the Davis Cup again. He said he still hoped to convince Djokovic, though.
"I have a lot of confidence that we can negotiate and the top players will play," Pique said.
The new format of tennis' top team event will be a season-ending, 18-team tournament, but teams will still play matches in February to advance to the championship in November. The Davis Cup has previously been played over four weekends throughout the year.
The first championship will be held next year from Nov. 18-24 on an indoor hardcourt at the Magic Box arena, which already hosts the Madrid Masters. The ITF said players will compete for prize money that will rival what is offered in Grand Slams.
Pique said there is no "perfect date" for the tournament as the tennis calendar is very tight, but he was happy with the week they picked.
"We've spoken with everybody," he said. "We think this is a week that won't affect any of the other tournaments. We want to be well seen in the tennis world. We are here to help. We think this will be a magical week for the world of tennis."
The 2018 Davis Cup semifinalists — Croatia, France, Spain and the United States — have already secured their spot in next year's tournament, along with Argentina and Britain.
Defending champion France will host Croatia in the last Davis Cup final in the current format from Nov. 23-25 in Lille.