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Lionel Messi has left Barcelona in turmoil by agreeing to join Real Madrid at the end of the season in a record-breaking five-year deal that will be worth around half a billion euros.

The Argentine forward, winner of five Ballon d’Or awards and considered one of the greatest players of all time, will cost Madrid €250m to buy and approximately the same again in agent fees, commissions and wages.

The move was announced directly before Saturday’s Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu in what appears to have been a deliberate move to destabilise the Liga leaders.

Messi, who joined Barcelona as a 13-year-old, explained that money was the only factor driving his move.

“With Financial Fair Play, Barcelona could not give me what I wanted and deserved,” the 28-year-old said at the pre-match press conference.

“I recommended they fund my contract by selling the Camp Nou, but for some reason they valued the club more than me.

“When I learned this, I was heartbroken and our relationship was finished.

“A man of my status should have a 2000-metre long mega-yacht, staffed and powered at all times. Like [Roman] Abramovich. The purchase and operating costs alone demand that I take home €50m per year after tax. Minimum. Is that too much to ask?”
“Gerard Pique kept beating Messi at Fifa,” McGarry explained in a series of poorly-worded tweets. “Messi hates to lose and became angered when the club refused to replace Pique’s left hand with a pirate’s hook.

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10 times Micheal Essien made the headlines for the right reasons



Ghanaian midfielder Micheal Essien is one of the most famous footballers to ever come from the African continent.

Essien has been a journeyman in football and his name will go down as one of the finest midfielders to play the game.

The midfielder who last played for Indonesian side Persib Bandung has made global news for both wrong and right reasons in the past.

Seems his good side overrides any bad side of his illustrious career as he is one of the most decorated African Footballers.

Here are 10 times Micheal Essien made global headlines for the right reasons

1. Essien signs for Chelsea

Essien signed for English Premier League side Chelsea for a £24.4 million transfer fee and, at the time of his signing, was the most expensive African footballer in history.

2. Essien wins Chelsea Goal of the Season award

He won the Chelsea Goal of the Season award in the 2006–07 season after scoring a stunning late equaliser at home against Arsenal on 10 December 2006 in a Premier League game.

Essien is BBC African Best player of 2006

He won the 2006 BBC African footballer of the year award.

Essien excels in 2006 World Cup

  1. He played superbly for the Black Stars and helped Ghana become the only African team to reach the second round of the 2006 World Cup.

Essien nominated 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year

  1. On 10 October 2007, Essien was nominated for the prestigious 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year Award for the third consecutive year and on 21 October 2007, he was also nominated for the 2007 Ballon d’Or Award for the third consecutive year.

He was voted 15th Best Player in the World at the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year Awards.

Essien is Chelsea Fans’ best player for 2007

  1. On 15 May 2007, Chelsea fans voted Essien as Chelsea Player of the Year for his contributions in the 2006–07 season, becoming the first African to receive the honour.

Essien is nominated for 2007 CAF best player

  1. On 12 December 2007, he was nominated for the 2007 African Footballer of the Year, the third consecutive time he had been nominated. He was runner-up to that year’s winner, Frédéric Kanouté.

Essien scores stunning goal against Barcelona

  1. On 6 May 2009, Essien scored a stunning left-footed volley in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, a tie that Chelsea ultimately lost due to the away goal rule.

The goal was later voted as Chelsea’s Goal of the Season by the club’s fans.

Essien joins Real Madrid

  1. On 31 August 2012, Essien signed a season-long loan deal with Real Madrid, reuniting him with his former manager at Chelsea, José Mourinho.

At his introductory press conference with Real Madrid, Mourinho affectionally referred to Essien as “his son” while Essien referred to Mourinho as his “Daddy”.

Essien moves to Milan

  1. Essien signed for Italian club Milan on a one-and-a-half-year contract on 27 January 2014
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