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Page 47 stories Messi: I don’t compare myself to Ronaldo Barcelona star Lionel Messi has reiterated that he does not care about comparisons with Cristiano…

Page 47 stories

Messi: I don’t compare myself to Ronaldo

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has reiterated that he does not care about comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo or any other players as he is only focused on his own performances.

The Argentina international’s achievements are often contrasted to those of the Real Madrid star, but Messi remains unperturbed by such talk and says he is only thinking about helping his team to success.

“The press is always looking for comparisons and those kinds of things,” the 28-year-old told MBC. “The only thing I care about is helping my team and to keep on improving each season.

“I am not comparing myself to Cristiano Ronaldo or to anyone else. I am only thinking about myself and my teammates and winning games.”

Barcelona takes on Real Madrid in the first game after the international break and Messi expects a tight Clasico at Camp Nou, despite his side’s 10-point advantage over its rival.

“Real Madrid have some great players. They have always had some impressive stars and are one of the best teams in the world,” he added.

“They are always a complicated rival for Barcelona. They always make life difficult for us in the race for the Liga title. There is a lot of competition and we always try to do better than them.”

CAF ban, fine Chad $20,000 for AFCON withdrawal

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have banned cash-strapped Chad from the 2019 AFCON after they pulled out of the qualifying tournament for 2017 AFCON and they will also pay a fine of $20,000.

The ban and fine are contained in Article 59.

CAF also announced that as a result of their withdrawal, only one team will now qualify from Group G, which has Nigeria, Egypt and Tanzania.

No team in this group will be considered for one of the two best losers slots.

This was based on a decision taken by the CAF executive committee on January 15, 2015,that any group where a team withdraw and there are now only three teams, only the winners can qualify for the final tournament.

All the results involving Chad have also been annulled as stipulated by Article 61.

The standing in the group is now as follows – Egypt on top with four points, Nigeria second on two points and Tanzania with a point.

Brook wants to unify welterweight division

Kell Brook believes he is the best welterweight on the planet and is now craving a summer showdown against one of the division’s elite fighters to prove it after disposing of Kevin Bizier on Saturday night.

Brook made the third defence of his IBF world title with a ruthless second-round stoppage of Canadian challenger Kevin Bizier in his home city of Sheffield in a bout that proved a complete mismatch.

The unbeaten Yorkshireman defied a 10-month ring absence by landing at will almost from the opening bell and two punishing knockdowns mercifully saw an early end to proceedings.

“I’ll fight any fighter out there,’ he said.

“I want to unify the division. There’s no one who can touch me at 147, I’ll clean up. I just need those fights and I’ll show everyone I can do that.

The Canadian, 31, was knocked down twice by Brook, who says ‘no one can touch me’ at welterweight

“I just want those big fights that brings the best out in me. In this sport I want to challenge myself to the best fights and see how many gears I can go up.”

Brook, who extended his record to 36-0 with 25 wins inside the distance, admits he may have to contemplate a move up to the light-middleweight division in the next couple of years so he is keen to make his remaining time at welterweight count.

He said: “Maybe three or four fights, it depends what names get presented to me.

“It is hard making the weight but there’s still unfinished business at 147 before we move up and stay up. I want to get some good scalps on the resume.”

Quintana wins Tour of Catalonia

Colombia’s Nairo Quintana won the Tour of Catalonia yesterday with the final stage – a 136km circuit around Barcelona’s Montjuic area, the site of the 1992 Olympic Games – going to Alexey Tsatevich of Russia.

Quintana, head of the Movistar team, took the lead in what is Spain’s oldest stage race at the end of the fourth stage at Port Aine and he never looked like losing that on Sunday.

The Colombian successfully resisted a series of attacks from Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Dan Martin in a race that featured the majority of this year’s contenders for the Tour de France.

While Tsatevich edged out Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic in a sprint finish, Quintana finished seven seconds clear of Spain’s Contador (Tinkoff) overall with Ireland’s Martin (Etixx) in third at 17 seconds off the pace.

Defending Tour de France champion Froome (Team Sky) was forced to settle for eighth place as he ended 46 seconds adrift.

“There’s a lot of emotion to have been able to beat my rivals. It gives me confidence that we are working well,” said Quintana, who, like Froome, was racing for the first time in Europe this season. However, he was mindful not to read too much into the result, adding: “I won the Tour of Catalonia by seven seconds, which isn’t very much.”

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