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Ballon d’Or sees Barca childhood fan Putellas go down in folklore

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Alexia Putellas, FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder.

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

It was in the following year that she made the step up to the national team and she has gone on to feature in four major tournaments with Spain, winning 92 caps.

Last season was her crowning glory as her childhood side won the Primera Division and the Copa de la Reina as well as the Champions League in a matter of weeks, a historic achievement for a Spanish women’s outfit.

Individual recognition shortly followed, as she was named UEFA women’s player of the year and Monday’s announcement in Paris made her just the second Spanish player, after Luis Suarez in 1960, to win the much-coveted Ballon d’Or.

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Barca dumped out of cup after extra-time defeat by Athletic Bilbao

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Barcelona were dumped out of the Copa del Rey on Thursday as Ferran Torres’ first goal for the club failed to prevent a dramatic 3-2 defeat after extra-time by Athletic Bilbao.

Disappointment for Barca was compounded by the sight of a visibly upset Ansu Fati going off injured in the second half of normal time at San Mames.

Fati only returned earlier this month after two months out with a hamstring problem, having also come back in September following 10 months out with a knee injury.

Another spell on the sidelines for Fati would be a huge blow to Barca’s hopes of making La Liga’s top four. Pedri also asked to go off in extra-time.

Real Madrid needed an extra 30 minutes as well to defeat Elche 2-1, with Eden Hazard scoring the winner after Marcelo’s red card forced La Liga’s leaders to come from behind with 10 men.

Barca were hoping to join them in the last eight but instead it is Athletic who advance, joining Madrid, Real Sociedad, Mallorca, Rayo Vallecano, Cadiz, Valencia and Real Betis in Friday’s draw for the last eight.

Madrid will be firm favorites, particularly after Sevilla crashed out at the hands of Real Betis, who are now perhaps the greatest threat to Carlo Ancelotti’s side winning their first Copa del Rey since 2014, during Ancelotti’s first tenure as coach.

Barca won the Copa del Rey last season and defending their title was probably their best chance of silverware this term.

They are out of sight in La Liga and were beaten by Madrid in last week’s Spanish Super Cup, with the Europa League now their only realistic remaining route to a trophy.

Only 102 seconds had passed when Iker Muniain sent San Mames apoplectic by collecting Nico Williams’ cross at the back post, before turning and bending into the far corner.

But Barcelona were level in the 20th minute, and from a similar angle, as Torres shifted right, inside Oscar De Marcos, and whipped a stunning shot into the net.

Inaki Williams hit the bar with a long-range effort late on but the real drama was still to come. Athletic thought they had won it in the 86th minute when Inigo Martinez prodded in at the back post ahead of the sliding Gerard Pique.

Barcelona, though, found a way back in the 93rd, as Dani Alves bicycle-kicked Jordi Alba’s cross back into the area and Pedri’s hit on the stretch was too powerful for Julen Agirrezabala’s right hand.

Barca celebrated like it was the winner but there was extra-time to come and injuries. Fati went off and then Pedri asked to depart.

Then in the 103rd minute, a sliding Alba stopped Nico Williams’ cross with his right arm and after consulting the replay, Jose Munuera pointed to the spot. Ter Stegen dived right, Muniain shot left.

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A commentator from Equatorial Guinea celebrates hysterically after defeating Algeria

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The media circulated a video clip showing the hysterical joy of a match commentator from Equatorial Guinea, following his country’s victory over its Algerian counterpart in the second round of the first round of the African Cup of Nations currently being held in Cameroon.
And the commentator appeared jumping for joy, standing on the seats and embracing a person who was standing next to him, after his country’s team won a precious 1-0 victory in the match yesterday, Sunday.

In the 71st minute of the match, Esteban Obiang scored the first goal for Equatorial Guinea from a corner kick on the first post, which he turned with a direct shot into the net against Algeria.
It is noteworthy that with this result, Algeria bottomed in the group with an orphan point from its draw against Sierra Leone, while Equatorial Guinea’s tally rose to 3 points, to come second, after Côte d’Ivoire, which leads the group with 4 points, while Sierra Leone occupies third place with two points.

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The French Ministry of Sports confirms that Djokovic will not play at Roland Garros without vaccination

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Novak Djokovic may be banned from participating in the French Open this year if he insists on not receiving a vaccine against Corona.
This comes after the French Sports Ministry confirmed that there will be no exceptions to the new measures to limit the spread of the virus, according to Reuters.

The ministry said on Monday, “The regulations are clear. The (vaccine passport) will be imposed as soon as the law is passed. The order will apply to every fan or professional athlete until further notice. Roland Garros will take place in May. The situation may change from time to time. So we will see, but Of course, there will be no exceptions.
Yesterday, Sunday, the French Parliament gave its final approval to the government’s latest measures to tackle the Corona virus, including the “vaccine passport”, which was protested by anti-vaccine protesters, paving the way for the law to enter into force in the coming days.
The new law, which has run into difficulties in Parliament, where opposition parties have found some of its provisions too harsh, will require people to obtain a vaccination certificate to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and long-distance trains.
Djokovic, a record nine-time Australian Open winner including the last three, left Australia late on Sunday after the government’s decision to revoke his visa was upheld by the Federal Court, ending several days filled with excitement over the country’s COVID-19 entry rules and the lack of access to the country. Serbian player on vaccination.
Under immigration law, Djokovic cannot now be granted another three-year visa unless the Australian Minister of Immigration agrees that there are compelling reasons.
Serbian Djokovic, who was denied the record number of Grand Slam titles with 21 titles after being expelled from the Australian Open, refused to receive the vaccination and was criticized for his participation in last month’s events after he contracted Corona.
“We are deeply disappointed by the Federal Court’s decision and the fact that Novak must leave Australia,” Djokovic’s family said in a statement. “Despite the disgraceful behavior towards Novak, we believe the sport must win.”
The family indicated that the court’s decision was related to “politics and other (interests)”.

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