Messi, 29, has been at Barcelona since the age of 13 and the Argentine superstar has won every possible trophy with the Catalan giants, plus has been crowned the World Player of the Year on five occasions.
Time for a new challenge?
Reports had suggested that Barcelona have wanted to start talks over a new contract with Messi for quite some time but with just 18 months left on his current deal, Messi and his representatives are yet to hold talks.
“I have always said that Barcelona has given me everything and I am here for as long as they want me to be,” Messi said in Coach magazine.
Messi also spoke about his former manager and mentor, Pep Guardiola, and his challenging start to life in the Premier League as manager of Manchester City.
“It is a very competitive league, last season showed that, so it makes it very difficult to predict,” Messi added. “Of course Pep is a very successful coach, he will be adjusting to the league, but I am sure that he will be successful.”
Will Messi be part of Pep’s success at City?
It is obvious Barca will want him to stay but if a huge offer comes in for Messi from Man City this summer, or others in the Premier League, then surely he will think twice about it.
If Pep can coax Messi to join him at City, who can clearly afford him, then it would be another glittering star in their attacking line. That said, if Guardiola is going to be successful then he’ll have to add plenty more quality in defense as City currently sit 10 points off leaders Chelsea with 17 games to go in the PL season.
For the next few months CONCACAF Nations League takes center stage, while the program is very much in transition as Anthony Hudson was in temporary charge but he has now moved on with B.J. Callaghan taking over an interim basis as the search for a new permanent head coach continues.
After both the general manager (Brian McBride) and sporting director (Earnie Stewart) left in recent months, Matt Crocker has arrived as U.S. Soccer’s new sporting director and has some huge decisions coming up as the USMNT’s talented youngsters need some guidance with a World Cup on home soil just three years away.
vs Mexico ** — June 15, 10pm ET — Las Vegas, Nevada (Nations League semifinal)
2023 Gold Cup from June 16 to July 19
vs Jamaica**** — June 24, 9:30pm ET — Chicago, Illinois
vs TBD**** — June 28, 9:30pm ET — St. Louis, Missouri
vs Nicaragua**** — July 2, 7pm ET — Charlotte, North Carolina
vs Germany* — October 14, 3pm ET — Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT
vs Ghana* — October 17, 8:30pm ET — GEODIS Park, Nashville, TN
USMNT games in 2022
vs. Morocco* — June 1 — Win 3-0
vs. Uruguay* — June 5 — Draw 0-0
vs. Grenada** — June 10 — Win 5-0
at El Salvador** — June 14 — Draw 1-1
vs Japan* — Sept. 23 (in Dusseldorf, Germany) — Loss 2-0
vs Saudi Arabia* — Sept. 27 (in Murcia, Spain) — Draw 0-0
USMNT at 2022 World Cup
vs. Wales*** — Nov. 21, 2 pm ET — Draw 1-1
vs. England*** — Nov. 25, 2 pm ET — Draw 0-0
vs. Iran*** — Nov. 29, 2 pm ET — Win 1-0
vs. Netherlands*** — Dec. 3, 10 am ET — Loss 3-1
USMNT 2022 World Cup qualifying scores, recaps, analysis
at El Salvador — Sept. 2 — Draw 0-0
vs. Canada — Sept. 5 — Draw 1-1
at Honduras — Sept. 8 — Win 4-1
vs. Jamaica — Oct. 7 — Win 1-0
at Panama — Oct. 10 — Loss 0-1
vs. Costa Rica — Oct. 13 — Win 2-1
vs. Mexico — Nov. 12 — Win 2-0
at Jamaica — Nov. 16 — Draw 1-1
vs. El Salvador — Jan. 27 — Win 1-0
at Canada — Jan. 30 — Loss 0-2
vs. Honduras — Feb. 2 — Win 3-0
at Mexico — March 24 — Draw 0-0
vs. Panama — March 27 — Win 5-1
at Costa Rica — March 30 — Loss 0-2
Vlatko Andonovski’s side are going for a third-straight World Cup title, something which has never been achieved in the history of the men’s and women’s game.
Led by Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn, this USWNT side have so much experience but there are also exciting young talents coming through with Mallory Swanson and Trinity Rodman excelling in recent months.
Below is a closer look at the the new USWNT 2023 World Cup jerseys, with the away kit also to be worn by the USMNT.
U.S. Soccer say that the inspiration for the jerseys are “from abstract expressionism, an international art movement that started in the 1940s in New York and shifted the art epicenter from Europe to the U.S., similar to what the USA team has done for women’s soccer.”
They add there is “a custom USA ‘signature'” as the “bespoke mark is hand painted with ink on paper, and is a nod to the abstract expressionism movement, where each artist would sign their painting. Lastly, the USA’s inner pride mark celebrates the USWNT’s four Women’s World Cup championships in 1991, 1999, 2015 and 2019.”
When it comes to the home kit, U.S. Soccer say it is “an unexpected take on the tradition of wearing white at home and features a bespoke drip paint technique pattern. Highlighting the energy of the USWNT and how they are diverse players and personalities, but always united, the action painting method pattern features a distinctive placement, making every single jersey unique.”
For the blue away kit, which will be worn by both the USWNT and USMNT, there are “bespoke stars and stripe print on the sleeve cuffs – a diagonal stripe with intersecting stars – and a neckline that also features red blades, formed to look like the tip of stars.”
They add that those shapes are “subtle, patriotic nods to the hidden shapes that are inspired by abstract expressionism art.”
Here is a look at both USWNT World Cup jerseys in a little more detail, plus the USMNT showing off their new away kits.
Luton was last in the top-flight in 1992, relegated just before the top-flight was rebranded to become the Premier League, and Coventry were last in the Premier League in 2001. As of 2018, both Luton and Coventry were both in the fourth-tier of English football.
Vincent Kompany and Burnley won the EFL Championship title on April 25 after beating Blackburn Rovers, as the Clarets bounced back at the first time of asking. Sheffield United finished in second place and were promoted after two seasons down in the second tier following their relegation in 2021.
As for the playoffs, third-place Luton Town beat sixth-place Sunderland 3-2 on aggregate in the semifinals, while Coventry City edged past Middlesbrough 1-0 in a tight semifinal tie as it will be Luton against Coventry in the Championship playoff final at Wembley on Saturday, May 27.
The richest game in football saw a minnow (Luton Town) and a team which has recovered from financial turmoil multiple times (Coventry) square off for a spot in the big time. And now we know the three teams who will join 17 survivors in the 2023-24 Premier League: Clarets, Blades, and Hatters. Oh my.
Saturday, May 13
Sunderland 2-1 Luton Town (Diallo 39′, Hume 63′; Adebayo 11′)
Sunday, May 14
Coventry City 0-0 Middlesbrough
Tuesday, May 16
Luton Town 2-0 (3-2 agg.) Sunderland (Osho 10′, Lockyer 43′)
Wednesday, May 17
3pm ET: Middlesbrough 0-1 (0-1 agg.) Coventry City (Hamer 57′)
How much money is promotion to the Premier League worth?
The prize for being promoted to the Premier League is obviously all about reaching the top-flight. But there is also some serious money involved.
It is estimated that promotion from the Championship to the Premier League is worth around $210 million to each club over a three-season period.
That is due to shared TV income, increased sponsorship opportunities and a whole host of other income revenues improving, while the club also receives parachute payments over three years if they are relegated back to the Championship at the first time of asking. Those parachute payments see relegated teams receive a lower percentage of their previous income from being in the Premier League to help them recalibrate to life in the second tier.
Simply put, promotion to the Premier League for just one season significantly improves the financial health of any Championship club for several years.
How were Burnley promoted?
Vincent Kompany’s Burnley have been a complete force, scoring the Championship’s most goals and conceding the fewest in a manner that would make his old boss, Pep Guardiola, quite proud.
Burnley’s been led by Nathan Tella’s massive goal haul as the Clarets have six players with five or more goals. Josh Brownhill has also excelled in midfield.
How were Sheffield United promoted?
Sheffield United are back in the Premier League after a two-year absence and the Blades caused a fuss in the FA Cup, losing to Manchester City in the semifinals.
23-year-old Senegalese international Iliman Ndiaye led the way in attack with Oliver McBurnie and James McAtee also having fine campaigns.