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Mourinho could deliver final blow to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea future

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ANTONIO CONTE faces five games in 15 days that could decide his Chelsea future – and Jose Mourinho could be the man to deal the killer blow.

Conte is suddenly under pressure at Stamford Bridge just five months after he led the club to the Premier League title in his first year in charge.

Chelsea have lost their last two domestic matches to leave them nine points adrift of current leaders Manchester City.

Conte’s injury-hit squad now face a gruelling schedule of games that will decide whether they have any realistic chance of defending their crown.

Waiting at the end of that run is Mourinho and Manchester United – who will know a win at Stamford Bridge could end Chelsea’s title hopes.

And if Mourinho returns to his former stomping ground to turn the Blues over, it could spell the end of Conte’s reign as manager.

Mourinho has already started getting under the skin of Conte, suggesting he was “crying” about losing players to injury.

The Chelsea boss hit back at Mourinho’s dig, telling the United boss to concentrate on only what he is doing at Old Trafford.

With United, City and Tottenham in such good form, Chelsea know they can ill afford any more slip ups in the league.

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And they will be dead and buried should they fall to a defeat at home to one of their title rivals on November 5.

The worry for Chelsea is they could be running on empty by the time that match comes around because of the hectic schedule they have over the next fortnight.

Chelsea star’s are already feeling run down at the demands of domestic and Champions League football combined with Conte’s strict training programme.

To make matters worse, they could be without FIVE senior players for the clash with Watford tomorrow through injury.

N’Golo Kante, Victor Moses and Danny Drinkwater are all definitely out of the game with hamstring and groin injuries.

Now Tiemoue Bakayoko and makeshift midfielder David Luiz have also suffered muscle problems as the intensity of the season begins to take hold.

Next Wednesday they face Everton in the Carabao Cup, before a crucial trip to Bournemouth in the league on October 28.

Conte then has to take his depleted squad to Italy for the Champions League clash with Roma on the following Tuesday.

And to round off the week Mourinho’s United visit Stamford Bridge for a game that will be crucial in the title race this season.

Should Chelsea fall as much as 12 points behind the pacesetters by the next international break, the pressure may be too much for Conte to survive.

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FIFA President, Infantino tests positive for COVID-19

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FIFA Chief, Gianni Infantino has contracted coronavirus popularly known as COVID-19,  the world’s football governing body announced on Tuesday.

According to the information scooped from AFP, the 50-year-old has mild symptoms and will remain in isolation for a further 10 days.

“All people who came into contact with the FIFA President during the last few days have been informed accordingly and they are being requested to take the necessary steps,” the body said.

“FIFA sincerely wishes President Infantino a speedy recovery,” it added.

Infantino’s last public appearances was at FIFA’s Compliance Summit which ended on October 16 when all attendees were present via video.

Cases, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 in the body’s base, Switzerland, have doubled from one week to the next throughout October.

The country’s government is expected to decide Wednesday on new measures to control the spread of the virus.

The spread of the illness has cast doubt over Wednesday’s potential meeting between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the Champions League after the Juventus attacker tested positive for the illness earlier this month.

 

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Barcelona: Real reason for Messi’s u-turn

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Lionel Messi said on Friday he will stay at Barcelona, insisting he could never go to court against “the club of his life”.But he launched a stinging attack on Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, accusing him of going back on an agreement to let him leave for free at the end of last season.

“The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he didn’t end up keeping his word,” Messi said in an interview with Goal, released on Friday.

“I thought and we were sure that I was free. The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not and now they hold on to the fact that I did not say it before June 10 when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for the league in the middle of this shitty virus and this disease that altered all the dates.”

Messi, 33, added: “And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club… because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700-million-euro release clause.

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“This is impossible, and then the other way was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.”

Messi had said he wanted to leave the club he joined as a boy after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in August.

His lawyers sent a burofax stating his intention to go for free on August 25 but Messi says he had made his feelings clear to Bartomeu many times before.

“I told the club, especially the president, that I wanted to go,” said Messi. “I’ve been telling him all year. I believed it was time to step aside.

‘Everything became difficult’

“I believed that the club needed more young people, new people and I thought my time in Barcelona was over, feeling very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.

“It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new goals, new horizons.

“It wasn’t because of the Champions League result against Bayern, I had been thinking about it for a long time. I told the president and the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not end up keeping his word.”

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Despite his unhappiness, Messi insists he will give his all for Barcelona next season under their new coach Ronald Koeman, with his current contract due to expire in June next year.

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Messi set to quit Barcelona

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Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona that he wants to “unilaterally” terminate his contract with the Spanish giants, a club source confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.

Lawyers for the Argentina star sent Barca a fax in which they announced Messi’s desire to rescind his contract by triggering a release clause.

However, the club maintains the clause expired in June and he remains under contract until the end of the 2021 season.

“In principial, this clause expired on June 10, but the unusual nature of this season disrupted by the coronavirus opened the way for Messi to ask to be released from his contract now,” wrote Spanish sports daily Marca.

“It’s the first step towards opening negotiations over his departure, on the basis of which his release clause amounts to 700 million euros.”

According to Spanish media, Messi met with new Barca coach Ronald Koeman last week and told the Dutchman he saw himself “more out than in” the club.

“The end of the glorious era of Leo Messi at Barcelona seems to be close. After the arrival of Ronald Koeman, what looks like the exit of his friend Luis Suarez and a difficult and turbulent end to the season, Messi told Barcelona in a fax of his intention to leave the club,” said Once radio station.

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Barcelona suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon earlier this month, resulting in the dismissal of coach Quique Setien after barely six months in charge.

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