What Next for Neymar and PSG?

 Neymar is staying at PSG for at least one more season. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
Neymar is staying at PSG for at least one more season. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
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What Next for Neymar and PSG?

 Neymar is staying at PSG for at least one more season. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
Neymar is staying at PSG for at least one more season. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Ten days after Gerard Piqué posted his famous “se queda” tweet in 2017, Neymar proved him wrong. Now, after a summer in which Barcelona tried to bring him back, he has stayed put in Paris.

Given the fanfare surrounding Neymar’s initial €222m arrival from Barcelona in 2017 – a moment the decision-makers at PSG saw as signalling a shift in the power base of European football as well as a huge PR triumph – the prospect of effectively conceding that the endeavour had ended in failure was more than unpalatable for the club. Yet, unusually for PSG under QSI ownership, the club have handled the undulating saga surprisingly deftly.

Leonardo, who returned to the role of sporting director at the club this summer, has been surprisingly open about negotiations and PSG’s supposed willingness to sell, continually drawing attention away from manager Thomas Tuchel and his relationship with the player. When Neymar failed to report for pre-season training, Leonardo made it clear that PSG were not going to stand in his way. “It is a financial question,” he said. “Neymar can leave PSG if there is an offer which suits everyone. But up to now, we do not know if anyone wants to buy him, or at what price. PSG want to count on players who want to be here and build something big. We do not need players who are doing a favour to the club by being here.”

Leonardo has maintained that stance throughout. “Barcelona always knew what we wanted,” he explained this weekend, contributing to the sense that PSG have remained in control of the situation. “They submitted their first written offer on 27 August. We’ve never had a written agreement with Barça.”

Understandably, Tuchel has always been keen for Neymar to stay. A PSG with the Brazilian in form and at the fulcrum of the attack has been his objective since he replaced Unai Emery last summer. Fostering and maintaining a positive relationship with “Ney” has been a priority for the manager throughout. Tuchel explained before the visit of Toulouse last month that Neymar had recovered from the ankle issue that kept him out of the Copa América and would play if the situation between player and club was “clear”, as he tried to draw a distinction between his relationship with Neymar and the club’s.

With Tuchel remaining cordial, Leonardo has played bad cop. Not only did the sporting director impose sanctions on Neymar for returning to pre-season training late – “Paris-Saint-Germain deplores this situation and will take the appropriate measures as a result,” read a club statement – but he has also been keen to assert his own authority and demonstrate that no player is bigger than PSG. “I am going to speak to you in French,” Leonardo told the squad earlier this summer. “If some of you don’t understand me, all you have to do is take lessons.” Leonardo, himself a World Cup winner with Brazil, continued to draw Neymar’s ire on to himself, admitting this weekend that his bond with the player “is not the most simple relationship I have had in football,” all the while allowing Tuchel to remain relatively distant from proceedings.

Tuchel’s players have also repeatedly underlined a positive relationship with Neymar. Marco Verratti did his best to include a plain-clothed Neymar in on-pitch trophy celebrations after PSG beat Rennes in the Super Cup in August, even if Kylian Mbappé did then rather awkwardly shove his strike partner away from the podium. Mbappé, however, went on to offer unequivocal support: “I want Neymar to stay with us. I do not want him to leave. I have said this to him. Everything is going well between us.” Thiago Silva later concurred, saying: “Neymar is irreplaceable. He is a key player. I hope he will stay.”

Whether by design or not, PSG hedged their bets well. Any deal would have to be on their terms, thus avoiding a major loss of face or reputation, while those who work with Neymar on a daily basis were always there to suggest he would be welcome to stay, allowing for what should be a relatively seamless reintroduction to the team. It seems a truce will now remain in place until next summer after Neymar told his entourage over the weekend he would stay in Paris for another season.

Relations with PSG’s vociferous fanbase may not be so easily soothed, however. At their first home game this season, PSG ultras unveiled ant-Neymar banners and chanted that he is a “son of a bitch” – much to the anger of the player’s entourage according to L’Équipe. His bond with the fans has been weak for some time. Earlier this summer, Neymar explained that, alongside Brazil’s triumph at the Olympics in 2016, his best memory as a footballer was beating PSG when with Barcelona in the famous “remontada” at Camp Nou, before going on to say his best dressing room moment was directly following that 6-1 win. His answer may have been honest, but it lacked tact and PSG supporters were, characteristically, unimpressed.

Apparently the fact he feels disliked in France has contributed to Neymar’s his desire to leave, but whistles and the continued mistrust of some PSG fans is something he will have to deal with, in the short term at least. While those feelings may eventually dissipate – especially if he drags PSG to European success or a domestic treble – how that dynamic plays out in the immediate future may shape much of PSG’s season and any ensuing second round of negotiations.

Neymar’s desire to leave Paris remains clear for now. With both Barcelona and the player keen on a re-coupling, Catalan newspaper Sport reported that Neymar was willing to use a chunk of his own money to force the deal through. L’Équipe later suggested that he was willing to contribute as much as €20m.

Leonardo says he wants Neymar to “respect his contract and give 100%” and for the pair to “talk” and “solve the things that have happened”, although that is likely to be but a fleeting arrangement. Having spent €200m on Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann this summer, Barcelona simply couldn’t afford to meet PSG’s asking price, which led to an unwieldy attempt at a players-plus-cash arrangement. But they will be back, especially if they fail to recapture the Champions League this season.

Even so, had Barcelona upped their cash offer and had winger Ousmane Dembélé been keen to join Ivan Rakitic and promising teenage French defender Jean-Clair Todibo at PSG, Neymar may have become a Barcelona player once more. There remains at least a theoretical willingness from all parties for this deal to be concluded at some stage. Se queda, but only for now.

The Guardian Sport



Bayern Munich’s Game with Union Berlin Called Off Due to Snow Chaos in Southern Germany

A man crosses a road early morning after heavy snow fall in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP)
A man crosses a road early morning after heavy snow fall in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP)
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Bayern Munich’s Game with Union Berlin Called Off Due to Snow Chaos in Southern Germany

A man crosses a road early morning after heavy snow fall in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP)
A man crosses a road early morning after heavy snow fall in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP)

Bayern Munich’s home game against Union Berlin was called off because of heavy snowfall on Saturday.

Cold weather, snowfall and ice have caused transport chaos in Munich and southern Germany.

“It was decided not to play the game because of the security risks for all involved,” Union said in a statement 5½ hours before the Bundesliga game was due to start.

The league added that the Allianz Arena management “has kept the stadium from hosting today’s game due to persistent heavy snowfall.”

News agency DPA reported that flight operations at Munich airport were suspended, and numerous railway lines around Munich had to be closed on Saturday night. Passengers had to spend the night on trains in Ulm and Munich.


Mitrovic Doubles up as Al-Hilal Down Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr in Riyadh Derby

Al-Nassr's Saudi goalkeeper #44 Nawaf al-Aqidi (R) catches the ball above Hilal's Serbian forward #09 Aleksandar Mitrovic (C) during the Saudi Pro League football match between Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on December 1, 2023. (AFP)
Al-Nassr's Saudi goalkeeper #44 Nawaf al-Aqidi (R) catches the ball above Hilal's Serbian forward #09 Aleksandar Mitrovic (C) during the Saudi Pro League football match between Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on December 1, 2023. (AFP)
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Mitrovic Doubles up as Al-Hilal Down Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr in Riyadh Derby

Al-Nassr's Saudi goalkeeper #44 Nawaf al-Aqidi (R) catches the ball above Hilal's Serbian forward #09 Aleksandar Mitrovic (C) during the Saudi Pro League football match between Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on December 1, 2023. (AFP)
Al-Nassr's Saudi goalkeeper #44 Nawaf al-Aqidi (R) catches the ball above Hilal's Serbian forward #09 Aleksandar Mitrovic (C) during the Saudi Pro League football match between Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on December 1, 2023. (AFP)

Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr lost 3-0 to table-toppers Al-Hilal in the Riyadh derby at the King Fahd International Stadium on Friday to fall further behind their bitter rivals at the top the Saudi Pro League standings.

The Portuguese striker left the field with rival fans taunting the five-times Ballon D'Or winner by chanting the name of his great rival and Argentinian World Cup winner, Lionel Messi at the end of the game.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic put the league leaders in front before Aleksandar Mitrovic's late double sealed a win that takes unbeaten Al-Hilal seven points clear of Al-Nassr at the summit 15 games into the season.

After a goalless first half, Saud Abdulhamid delivered a 64th-minute cross from the right for former Lazio midfielder Milinkovic-Savic to head in the opener, beating Nawaf Al-Aqidi low and to his right.

Mitrovic then headed in the second with a minute remaining when he nodded in Salem Al Dawsari's corner.

Three minutes later, the Serbian forward completed the scoring by cutting inside Aymeric Laporte to strike through Al-Aqidi's legs and net his 13th of the season to pull to within two goals of Ronaldo on the top scorers' chart.

The game ended on a sour note for Al-Hilal as defender Ali Al-Bulayhi was sent off in injury time by Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan, as Jorge Jesus' side notched up their 13th win in 15 league games.


Postecoglou Has Stunned the Premier League. Now He’s Ready to Take on Pep

Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - November 26, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou reacts. (Reuters)
Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - November 26, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou reacts. (Reuters)
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Postecoglou Has Stunned the Premier League. Now He’s Ready to Take on Pep

Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - November 26, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou reacts. (Reuters)
Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - November 26, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou reacts. (Reuters)

After a record-breaking start as Tottenham manager, Ange Postecoglou is experiencing the other side to life in a job that has proved too much for some of the biggest names in soccer.

A three-game losing streak has seen Spurs fall from first to fifth in the Premier League, while a growing injury list means it could get worse for Postecoglou's team as the congested Christmas schedule approaches.

But ahead of Sunday's game at the home of defending champion Manchester City, the Australian coach is adamant he will stick to the formula that has made Tottenham the surprise package in England's top flight this season.

"You look at the top teams and there’s one common trait amongst them — they’ve all got a plan, they invest in that plan, and they stick to it," Postecoglou said. "They don’t shy away from that at the first difficulty. Whether it is City or Arsenal or Liverpool, all the teams that have dominated in recent years, they’ve got a plan and they stick to it. You have to."

It is a measure of just how good Spurs' early-season form was that even after three straight losses they are only four points off league leader Arsenal.

A win at Etihad Stadium on Sunday would see the Londoners move level on points with City.

"For me these are the important times because this will show what kind of football team we want to be," Postecoglou said. "You can sort of shy away, say we have injuries, we’re playing Man City away, but you’re either going to be a club that tries to knock off the big clubs or you are a big club. You are one or the other.

"My hope and my ambition for this club is to make it a big club and to do that you have to be successful and win things."

The former Australia and Celtic coach has won a lot of admirers for his blunt-talking approach and attacking style of play. He also won the Premier League manager of the month award for the first three months of the season as Tottenham charged ahead.

No other manager had achieved that feat in the first three months of a campaign — or the first three awards available to them in a job.

Not even Guardiola, who has led City to five league titles in six years.

Postecoglou's impact on Spurs has been noted by City's manager.

They faced each other once before when City played Yokohama F. Marinos in a preseason friendly in 2019. Postecoglou was coaching the Japanese team at the time.

City won 3-1, but it prompted Guardiola to say "wow, there are things I like."

"We won, all respect to Yokohama, but we had better players," Guardiola said. "But I realized for the first time I met him, and have followed him when he was at Celtic winning trophies and now in the short time he’s been (at Spurs).

"As a manager and a spectator I enjoy a lot watching them play with the approach they have. I think all the Spurs fans and the people in England can admit that his impact has been quick and really good."

When hired by Tottenham in June, Postecoglou became the club's fourth permanent manager since the departure of Mauricio Pochettino in 2019. In that time, serial winners like Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte both came and went after short-lived spells.

Having led Celtic to five trophies in two seasons, Postecoglou was tasked with the responsibility of turning Spurs' fortunes around after failing to qualify for Europe for the first time since 2009.

As if that task wasn't hard enough, he had to do it without record scorer Harry Kane, who was sold to Bayern Munich in the offseason.

A run of eight wins from his first 10 league games in charge suggested Postecoglou had discovered a way to live without the iconic striker, with summer signing James Maddison in outstanding form and Son Heung-min helping to fill the scoring void.

But a 4-1 loss at home to Chelsea when down to nine players last month brought an end to that streak, with Spurs going on to lose against Wolves and Aston Villa. All of those defeats came after Postecoglou's team had taken the lead and appear to show the fragility of a squad that has lost a host of key players to injury, including Maddison, Richarlison and Ivan Perisic.

Rodrigo Bentancur has now been ruled out for about two months with an ankle injury.

Postecoglou refuses to compromise his style.

"Whatever you believe in, whatever you really strongly believe in, you as a person, only gets tested in the toughest of times. It doesn’t get tested when things are going well," he said. "And for me these are the important times because this will show what kind of football team we want to be."

Guardiola is expecting nothing other than a typical attacking performance from Postecoglou's team on Sunday.

"I encourage our fans to come to the stadium because we will have fun," he said.


France Coach Deschamps to Miss Euro 2024 Draw after Undergoing Surgery

France's head coach Didier Deschamps addresses the media during a press conference at the Agia Sophia Stadium in Athens on November 20, 2023, on the eve of the UEFA Euro 2024 group B qualifying match between Greece and France. (AFP)
France's head coach Didier Deschamps addresses the media during a press conference at the Agia Sophia Stadium in Athens on November 20, 2023, on the eve of the UEFA Euro 2024 group B qualifying match between Greece and France. (AFP)
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France Coach Deschamps to Miss Euro 2024 Draw after Undergoing Surgery

France's head coach Didier Deschamps addresses the media during a press conference at the Agia Sophia Stadium in Athens on November 20, 2023, on the eve of the UEFA Euro 2024 group B qualifying match between Greece and France. (AFP)
France's head coach Didier Deschamps addresses the media during a press conference at the Agia Sophia Stadium in Athens on November 20, 2023, on the eve of the UEFA Euro 2024 group B qualifying match between Greece and France. (AFP)

France coach Didier Deschamps won't attend Saturday’s draw for next year’s European Championship after undergoing surgery.

The French federation said in a statement on Friday that Deschamps was operated on earlier this week after suffering back pain for several weeks. France will instead be represented by assistant coach Guy Stephan.

“It was not a light-hearted decision that I decided not to go to the draw,” Deschamps was quoted as saying in the statement. "It’s always a pleasant moment, during which I really enjoy chatting with my counterparts. But wisdom dictated a few days’ rest."

Tournament host Germany and France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and England are in Pot 1 for the 24-team draw in Hamburg.


European Gymnastics Federation Rejects Return of Athletes from Russia, Belarus to Competition

Trampolining - FIG World Trampoline Championships - Utilita Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, Britain - November 10, 2023 Britain's Lewis Gosling in action during the men's double mini team final. (Reuters)
Trampolining - FIG World Trampoline Championships - Utilita Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, Britain - November 10, 2023 Britain's Lewis Gosling in action during the men's double mini team final. (Reuters)
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European Gymnastics Federation Rejects Return of Athletes from Russia, Belarus to Competition

Trampolining - FIG World Trampoline Championships - Utilita Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, Britain - November 10, 2023 Britain's Lewis Gosling in action during the men's double mini team final. (Reuters)
Trampolining - FIG World Trampoline Championships - Utilita Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, Britain - November 10, 2023 Britain's Lewis Gosling in action during the men's double mini team final. (Reuters)

The European Gymnastics Congress on Friday ignored a decision by the International Gymnastics Federation and voted against the return of athletes from Russia and Belarus to international tournaments from next year.

The decision was made on the opening day of the 30th congress of the European federation in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.

“The General Assembly of European Gymnastics has voted against allowing athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus to return to official European Gymnastics competitions from 1 January 2024 onwards, thus not following the FIG decision,” it said in a statement.

The governing body had imposed an outright ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus since March last year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In July, the FIG executive committee decided to allow individual athletes from both countries to compete with neutral status from Jan. 1 if they meet certain criteria.


Liverpool Power Into Europa League Last 16, Brighton Reach Knockouts

Liverpool striker Cody Gakpo (L) celebrates after scoring against LASK - AFP
Liverpool striker Cody Gakpo (L) celebrates after scoring against LASK - AFP
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Liverpool Power Into Europa League Last 16, Brighton Reach Knockouts

Liverpool striker Cody Gakpo (L) celebrates after scoring against LASK - AFP
Liverpool striker Cody Gakpo (L) celebrates after scoring against LASK - AFP

Cody Gakpo's double fired Liverpool into the Europa League last 16 as they routed LASK 4-0, while Brighton advanced to the knockout round with a 1-0 win at AEK Athens on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp's side sealed top spot in Group E thanks to Gakpo's brace and goals from Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah at Anfield.

Second-placed Toulouse's 0-0 draw against Union Saint-Gilloise in the other group game means Klopp can rest players for his team's last remaining pool stage fixture.

Europa League group winners go through to the last 16 automatically, while the runners-up play in a two-legged knockout round play-off in February against a team who finish third in a Champions League group.

"The most important thing is that we're at the head of the group and that won't change so that's good," Klopp said.

"There was some good football but this game should have been put to bed before half-time. We didn't do that, but it's fantastic to win 4-0."

Klopp made nine changes from the side which drew with Premier League champions Manchester City last Saturday, with Salah and Kostas Tsimikas the only players to keep their places.

Rising to meet Joe Gomez's cross, Diaz netted his first goal at Anfield since August as his header raced past LASK keeper Tobias Lawal in the 12th minute.

Having opened the scoring, Diaz helped set up Liverpool's second three minutes later when he picked out Salah, who teed-up Gakpo to net from close-range, AFP reported.

Salah killed off the out-classed Austrians in the 51st minute, stroking home a penalty for his 13th goal this season after Gakpo was fouled by Lawal.

Dutch forward Gakpo capped the demolition with a fierce strike in stoppage-time.


Struggling French Club Lyon Fires Coach after Less Than 3 Months in Charge

(FILES) Lyon's French head coach Fabio Grosso looks on during the French L1 football match between Brest and Lyon at the Francis Le Ble stadium in Brest, western France on September 23, 2023. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)
(FILES) Lyon's French head coach Fabio Grosso looks on during the French L1 football match between Brest and Lyon at the Francis Le Ble stadium in Brest, western France on September 23, 2023. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)
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Struggling French Club Lyon Fires Coach after Less Than 3 Months in Charge

(FILES) Lyon's French head coach Fabio Grosso looks on during the French L1 football match between Brest and Lyon at the Francis Le Ble stadium in Brest, western France on September 23, 2023. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)
(FILES) Lyon's French head coach Fabio Grosso looks on during the French L1 football match between Brest and Lyon at the Francis Le Ble stadium in Brest, western France on September 23, 2023. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)

Italian coach Fabio Grosso has been fired by Lyon after less than three months in charge of the struggling seven-time French champion.
Grosso was fired after just eight league games in charge, having being hired in September as a replacement for Laurent Blanc with the mission to put the team back on track.
Blanc left following a bad start to the season, with Lyon in last place with only one point from four games. The club remains bottom of the league after Grosso's departure, with seven points from 12 matches and just one win, The Associated Press reported.
The 46-year-old Grosso, who played 75 games for Lyon from 2007-09, had a contract until the end of the season. He was injured in October when the Lyon team bus was attacked by fans throwing stones after a game at Marseille, which left him bleeding from a cut to his face.
Lyon said Pierre Sage would be in charge of preparations for Lyon's match at Lens on Saturday.


Colombia Judge Orders Prison for Suspects in Kidnapping of Liverpool Player Parents

This photo released by Colombia's Football Federation shows Liverpool soccer player Luis Diaz, left, reuniting with his father Luis Manuel Díaz, days after his father was released from his kidnappers, in Barranquilla, Colombia, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. (Colombia Football Federation via AP)
This photo released by Colombia's Football Federation shows Liverpool soccer player Luis Diaz, left, reuniting with his father Luis Manuel Díaz, days after his father was released from his kidnappers, in Barranquilla, Colombia, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. (Colombia Football Federation via AP)
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Colombia Judge Orders Prison for Suspects in Kidnapping of Liverpool Player Parents

This photo released by Colombia's Football Federation shows Liverpool soccer player Luis Diaz, left, reuniting with his father Luis Manuel Díaz, days after his father was released from his kidnappers, in Barranquilla, Colombia, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. (Colombia Football Federation via AP)
This photo released by Colombia's Football Federation shows Liverpool soccer player Luis Diaz, left, reuniting with his father Luis Manuel Díaz, days after his father was released from his kidnappers, in Barranquilla, Colombia, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. (Colombia Football Federation via AP)

Two suspects in the kidnapping of the parents of Liverpool soccer player Luis Díaz were ordered sent to prison by a judge, Colombia’s Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday, accusing one of the men of being the link to a person close to the family who provided information about the victims.
Andrés Alcires Bolívar and Marlon Rafael Brito are also accused of maintaining contacts with members of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, in the planning and execution of the Oct. 28 abductions in Barrancas, a town in La Guajira in Colombia’s northeast of Colombia, The Associated Press reported.
Díaz’s parents - Luis Manuel Díaz Jiménez and Cilenis Marulanda — were kidnapped by a unit of the ELN at a gas station by armed men on motorcycles.
Marulanda was rescued by police a few hours later, but Díaz’s father was held captive for 12 days by the ELN. The father was released on Nov. 9 near the Serranía del Perijá, bordering Venezuela, where facilitators from the Catholic Church and the United Nations had flown by helicopter.
Prosecutors said in a statement that Alcires Bolivar was a merchant in La Guajira who had been contacted by a member of the ELN to help him kidnap Díaz’s parents. He allegedly went to Barrancas to convince “a person who was close to the Díaz family” to participate in the kidnapping and to learn about the victims’ routines.
Rafael Brito allegedly helped in the logistics of the kidnapping, including planning the deception under which Díaz Jiménez and Marulanda were abducted at the gas station. Prosecutors say the soccer player’s parents went there to fulfill a promise of support for the candidacy of a relative who was running for the Barrancas Council.
The two men have denied involvement in the kidnapping and other charges.
Díaz plays from the English club Liverpool and Colombia’s national soccer team.
After the kidnapping, special forces were deployed to search for Díaz’s father in a mountain range that straddles Colombia and Venezuela. Police also offered a $48,000 reward for information that led to him.
The ELN acknowledged the kidnapping, saying it was a mistake and that its top leadership had ordered the father’s release.


37th America's Cup: Second Preliminary Regatta Kicks off in Jeddah

The second preliminary regatta of the 37th America’s Cup, presented by NEOM, commenced on Wednesday on the Red Sea in Jeddah, SPA said on Thursday.
The second preliminary regatta of the 37th America’s Cup, presented by NEOM, commenced on Wednesday on the Red Sea in Jeddah, SPA said on Thursday.
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37th America's Cup: Second Preliminary Regatta Kicks off in Jeddah

The second preliminary regatta of the 37th America’s Cup, presented by NEOM, commenced on Wednesday on the Red Sea in Jeddah, SPA said on Thursday.
The second preliminary regatta of the 37th America’s Cup, presented by NEOM, commenced on Wednesday on the Red Sea in Jeddah, SPA said on Thursday.

The second preliminary regatta of the 37th America’s Cup, presented by NEOM, commenced on the Red Sea in Jeddah, SPA said on Thursday.
Six teams are competing in the regatta, which is powered by the Saudi Sailing Federation in cooperation with the Ministry of Sport.
Tom Slingsby, Helmsman for the NYYC American Magic team and the male recipient of the 2023 Rolex World Sailor of the Year award, highlighted the significance of the preliminary regatta in further bolstering the sailors’ confidence in their skills and abilities.
The regatta provides the sailors with a clear roadmap to secure victory in the 37th America's Cup in Barcelona, Slingsby said. By identifying weaknesses and learning from past mistakes in Vilanova i la Geltrْ, Spain, and Jeddah, they can enhance their overall performance, he added.
Kevin Peponnet from the French Orient Express Racing Team eagerly anticipates the races on Thursday, particularly due to the ideal sailing conditions in Jeddah during this time of the year.
He commended the well-coordinated organization and the warm reception extended by the Saudi Sailing Federation and the Ministry of Sport.
The official races of the regatta will take place from Thursday to Saturday, and the team with the highest number of points will be awarded the NEOM Cup.


Barca Have Shown ‘Winning Mentality’ in Champions League, Says Xavi 

FC Barcelona's striker Joao Felix celebrates after scoring the 2-1 goal during the UEFA Champions League group H soccer match between FC Barcelona and FC Porto, in Barcelona, Spain, 28 November 2023. (EPA)
FC Barcelona's striker Joao Felix celebrates after scoring the 2-1 goal during the UEFA Champions League group H soccer match between FC Barcelona and FC Porto, in Barcelona, Spain, 28 November 2023. (EPA)
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Barca Have Shown ‘Winning Mentality’ in Champions League, Says Xavi 

FC Barcelona's striker Joao Felix celebrates after scoring the 2-1 goal during the UEFA Champions League group H soccer match between FC Barcelona and FC Porto, in Barcelona, Spain, 28 November 2023. (EPA)
FC Barcelona's striker Joao Felix celebrates after scoring the 2-1 goal during the UEFA Champions League group H soccer match between FC Barcelona and FC Porto, in Barcelona, Spain, 28 November 2023. (EPA)

Barcelona manager Xavi said his side have shown a winning mentality in the Champions League after they sealed their return to the knockout stages of Europe's elite club competition for the first time in three seasons on Tuesday.

Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix scored in each half to earn Barcelona a 2-1 comeback win at home against Porto that took the Group H leaders to 12 points from five matches.

A draw against already-eliminated Antwerp in their final group fixture will be enough to seal top spot.

"We needed this after two years," Xavi said. "We reacted well and displayed a winning mentality on several occasions.

"This was an important step in the right direction. It means a lot to the club.

"That's the first of our targets achieved in the Champions League. It has calmed us down and boosted our confidence, especially that of the players."

Tuesday's win comes on the heels of a disappointing 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano in LaLiga, a result which saw them slip to fourth, four points behind arch-rivals Real Madrid.

"The feeling is of happiness and of doing things well. We are progressing. But I don't feel liberated, I feel happy," the Spaniard said.

"You never solve all the problems at Barcelona, but it's a day to congratulate the team and the club for advancing.

"There are many things to improve, of course. We have to be humble. We have done some things very well, others not so," said Xavi, adding that he hoped the victory would be a turning point.

Barca next host Atletico Madrid in the league on Sunday.