Saudi Arabia’s AlUla to Host World Endurance Championship 2026

The event will be held in the AlUla Governorate under the supervision of the Saudi Equestrian Federation and the Royal Commission for AlUla. SPA
The event will be held in the AlUla Governorate under the supervision of the Saudi Equestrian Federation and the Royal Commission for AlUla. SPA
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Saudi Arabia’s AlUla to Host World Endurance Championship 2026

The event will be held in the AlUla Governorate under the supervision of the Saudi Equestrian Federation and the Royal Commission for AlUla. SPA
The event will be held in the AlUla Governorate under the supervision of the Saudi Equestrian Federation and the Royal Commission for AlUla. SPA

The World Endurance Championship 2026 will be hosted by Saudi Arabia, according to an announcement made by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (Fédération Equestre Internationale 'FEI') on Sunday.

The Kingdom submitted its hosting bid in September, and the event will be held in the AlUla Governorate under the supervision of the Saudi Equestrian Federation and the Royal Commission for AlUla.

The International Equestrian Federation and the members of the General Assembly praised the federation for its efforts. The Kingdom's hosting of the World Endurance Championship is yet another success for Saudi equestrianism, which has previously hosted major events.

The Horseback Archery World Cup will be held in AlUla Governorate in December, while the World Cup for Show Jumping and Dressage will be hosted in Riyadh in April 2024.



Bologna Beats Verona in Serie A for Best Winning Streak since 1967

Bologna's Giovanni Fabbian celebrates the victory at the end of the Italian Serie A soccer match Bologna FC vs Hellas Verona FC at Renato Dall'Ara stadium in Bologna, Italy, 23 February 2024. (EPA)
Bologna's Giovanni Fabbian celebrates the victory at the end of the Italian Serie A soccer match Bologna FC vs Hellas Verona FC at Renato Dall'Ara stadium in Bologna, Italy, 23 February 2024. (EPA)
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Bologna Beats Verona in Serie A for Best Winning Streak since 1967

Bologna's Giovanni Fabbian celebrates the victory at the end of the Italian Serie A soccer match Bologna FC vs Hellas Verona FC at Renato Dall'Ara stadium in Bologna, Italy, 23 February 2024. (EPA)
Bologna's Giovanni Fabbian celebrates the victory at the end of the Italian Serie A soccer match Bologna FC vs Hellas Verona FC at Renato Dall'Ara stadium in Bologna, Italy, 23 February 2024. (EPA)

Bologna beat Verona 2-0 at home and moved into fourth place in Serie A on Friday.

Bologna’s fifth in a row earned its best winning run since 1967.

Giovanni Fabbian scored the first after 27 minutes. A corner evaded everyone and when Riccardo Orsolini struck the ball low back across goal, Fabbian was on hand in a crowded box to turn it in.

Remo Freuler doubled the lead with a left-foot volley after 66 minutes. It was the Swiss midfielder’s first goal of the season.

Verona has gone six games without a victory. It remained third from bottom in the standings.


League Cup Trophy a Part of Final Chapter with Liverpool, Says Klopp

Liverpool's manager Juergen Klopp celebrates after the English Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC, in Liverpool, Britain, 21 February 2024. (EPA)
Liverpool's manager Juergen Klopp celebrates after the English Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC, in Liverpool, Britain, 21 February 2024. (EPA)
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League Cup Trophy a Part of Final Chapter with Liverpool, Says Klopp

Liverpool's manager Juergen Klopp celebrates after the English Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC, in Liverpool, Britain, 21 February 2024. (EPA)
Liverpool's manager Juergen Klopp celebrates after the English Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC, in Liverpool, Britain, 21 February 2024. (EPA)

Winning the League Cup would be a crucial addition to the final segment of a memoir with Liverpool, the soon-to-depart manager Juergen Klopp said before his side's final match against Chelsea.

Klopp has announced his decision to step down as Liverpool manager at the end of the season, citing dwindling energy levels.

The 56-year-old, who is the only Liverpool manager to win six different major trophies, would dedicate the victory to everyone connected to the Merseyside club as part of his trophy-laden nine-year epoch.

"I want to win on Sunday but not for me or my trophy cabinet," Klopp said of the League Cup final. "It is for the boys, for the club, for the people. That is much more important.

"We wrote, and we are still writing, a wonderful book, and when I leave we close that book and put it on the shelf and then someone else will write a wonderful book.

"Yes, there is space for some chapters. It is long. I am not there and writing the resume already? Not at all. I am 100% in trying to create a few special memories on top of what we have done."

Klopp's side have a lengthy injury list that could hinder their chances of securing a record-extending 10th League Cup triumph at Wembley, with the likes of Diogo Jota, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson and Curtis Jones sidelined and forwards Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai doubtful for Sunday.

Liverpool's most recent triumph came in the 2021-22 campaign when they also lifted the FA Cup, and narrowly missed securing a treble as they finished second in the Premier League.


Defending Champion Norrie Beats Seyboth Wild to Reach Rio Open Semifinals

Cameron Norrie of Britain in action against Hugo Dellien of Bolivia during a match in the Rio de Janeiro Tennis Open at Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 February 2024. (EPA)
Cameron Norrie of Britain in action against Hugo Dellien of Bolivia during a match in the Rio de Janeiro Tennis Open at Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 February 2024. (EPA)
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Defending Champion Norrie Beats Seyboth Wild to Reach Rio Open Semifinals

Cameron Norrie of Britain in action against Hugo Dellien of Bolivia during a match in the Rio de Janeiro Tennis Open at Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 February 2024. (EPA)
Cameron Norrie of Britain in action against Hugo Dellien of Bolivia during a match in the Rio de Janeiro Tennis Open at Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 February 2024. (EPA)

Defending champion Cameron Norrie beat Brazil's Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 on Friday to reach the semifinals of the Rio Open.

The second-seeded British player will take on Argentina's Mariano Navone on Saturday. Navone overcame Brazil's 17-year-old sensation João Fonseca 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The 23rd-ranked Norrie became the favorite to win the clay court tournament again after Carlos Alcaraz retired with a right ankle injury and Stan Wawrinka and Nicolás Jarry were defeated.

The British player said he was excited playing against the crowd who saw him win the tournament last year in a hard-fought final against Alcaraz.

“This was a very fun match and the public certainly had a great part in that,” Norrie said. “These are the matches you want to play. At night, with the public cheering for you or against you.”

Earlier Friday, two players from Argentina won their quarterfinal matches and will face off for a place in the final of the clay-court tournament.

Fourth-seeded Francisco Cerúndolo beat Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. His semifinal rival will be Sebastián Báez, who beat Brazil's Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.


Russia Loses Appeal Against IOC Ban 

The IOC banned the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in October for recognizing regional Olympic councils for Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine - Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. (AP)
The IOC banned the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in October for recognizing regional Olympic councils for Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine - Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. (AP)
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Russia Loses Appeal Against IOC Ban 

The IOC banned the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in October for recognizing regional Olympic councils for Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine - Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. (AP)
The IOC banned the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in October for recognizing regional Olympic councils for Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine - Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. (AP)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Friday it has dismissed an appeal from Russia against an International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspension for recognizing regional organizations from territories annexed from Ukraine.

The IOC banned the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in October for recognizing regional Olympic councils for Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine - Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

At the time, the IOC said the move constituted a breach of the Olympic Charter because it violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine's NOC.

Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which Moscow calls a “special operation”, has denounced the measure as politically motivated.

In its appeal at the Lausanne-based CAS, ROC asked for the ban to be revoked and that it be recognized as a fully-fledged NOC, with all the prerogatives the status entails.

“The CAS Panel in charge of this matter dismissed the appeal and confirmed the challenged decision, finding that the IOC EB (Executive Board) did not breach the principles of legality, equality, predictability or proportionality,” CAS said in a statement.

Russians and Belarusian athletes had initially been banned from competing internationally following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, for which Belarus has been used as a staging ground.

Last year, however, the IOC issued an initial set of recommendations for international sports governing bodies to allow Russians and Belarusians to return, competing as individual athletes with no flag, emblem or anthem.

The IOC has said athletes should not be punished for the actions of governments.


In-Demand Coach Alonso Says Speculation over His Future Won’t Distract Leverkusen 

22 February 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Leverkusen: Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso attends a press conference ahead of Friday's Bundesliga soccer match against 1. FSV Mainz 05. (dpa)
22 February 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Leverkusen: Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso attends a press conference ahead of Friday's Bundesliga soccer match against 1. FSV Mainz 05. (dpa)
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In-Demand Coach Alonso Says Speculation over His Future Won’t Distract Leverkusen 

22 February 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Leverkusen: Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso attends a press conference ahead of Friday's Bundesliga soccer match against 1. FSV Mainz 05. (dpa)
22 February 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Leverkusen: Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso attends a press conference ahead of Friday's Bundesliga soccer match against 1. FSV Mainz 05. (dpa)

Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso has denied the speculation over his future is a distraction for the Bundesliga leaders after Bayern Munich announced coach Thomas Tuchel is leaving.

Alonso is considered one of the most in-demand coaches in European soccer for upcoming vacancies at Bayern and Liverpool — both clubs where he played — by leading Leverkusen to an eight-point lead over Bayern in the Bundesliga.

When asked about the speculation and Bayern’s history of signing players and coaches from league rivals, Alonso said on Thursday, “It’s not a problem. It’s a super opponent that we have, but there is no distraction.”

Jürgen Klopp said last month he is stepping down as Liverpool manager at the end of the season after nine years in charge. Bayern’s run of three consecutive losses prompted the German champion to say Tuchel will leave in June after 15 months at the club.

Fans of Liverpool and Bayern fondly remember Alonso as a player, and both clubs are looking for a new coach.

Alonso’s team is unbeaten in 32 games in all competitions and is a contender in the German Cup semifinals and the Europa League.

Leverkusen’s title challenge continues on Friday at home to Mainz.

Bayern plays Leipzig on Saturday.


Real Madrid Midfielder Kroos Agrees to Play for Germany Ahead of Home Euro 2024 

Germany's midfielder Toni Kroos jogs during the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 football match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium in London on June 29, 2021. (AFP)
Germany's midfielder Toni Kroos jogs during the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 football match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium in London on June 29, 2021. (AFP)
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Real Madrid Midfielder Kroos Agrees to Play for Germany Ahead of Home Euro 2024 

Germany's midfielder Toni Kroos jogs during the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 football match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium in London on June 29, 2021. (AFP)
Germany's midfielder Toni Kroos jogs during the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 football match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium in London on June 29, 2021. (AFP)

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has agreed to play for Germany again after a request from coach Julian Nagelsmann ahead of the home European Championship.

Kroos doesn’t want to be seen as a “savior” for the struggling German team, though.

The 34-year-old Kroos has not played for Germany in almost three years. The most recent of his 106 international games came as the team lost in the round of 16 against England at the last European Championship.

“I will play for Germany again from March. Why? Because I was asked by the national team coach, I’m keen to do it and I am sure that much more is possible with the team at the Euros than most people believe!” Kroos wrote on Thursday on Instagram.

Kroos went into more detail on his podcast, saying Nagelsmann, who was hired in September, reached out last year.

There was a definite “appeal” to being asked to return for a home tournament, Kroos said, but he still needed “the last few months” to decide. “I’m really, really happy with this decision and I’m really looking forward to this tournament.”

Germany won just three of 11 friendlies last year, and Nagelsmann has one win in four since succeeding Hansi Flick.

“I obviously want to help, but I am definitely not the savior either. That’s clear, too,” Kroos said. “Everyone can say goodbye to that (idea) straight away. If I come back, I see myself just like a little cog that hopefully somehow meshes with another.

“Don’t think that with this trick that we’re going to become the favorites. That’s nonsense. Of course, I hope that I can in some way contribute a part in the direction of improvement. But of course, it’s also clear that something more is needed, too.”

Germany has friendlies against France on March 23 and the Netherlands three days later. The host nation has been drawn against Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland in the group stage at the European Championship, which starts on June 14.


Loose Drain Cover Stops F1 Testing for 2nd Day in a Row

Formula One F1 - Pre-Season Testing - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain - February 23, 2024 Members of the Bahrain International Circuit emergency maintenance team prepare the race track REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Formula One F1 - Pre-Season Testing - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain - February 23, 2024 Members of the Bahrain International Circuit emergency maintenance team prepare the race track REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
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Loose Drain Cover Stops F1 Testing for 2nd Day in a Row

Formula One F1 - Pre-Season Testing - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain - February 23, 2024 Members of the Bahrain International Circuit emergency maintenance team prepare the race track REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Formula One F1 - Pre-Season Testing - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain - February 23, 2024 Members of the Bahrain International Circuit emergency maintenance team prepare the race track REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

A loose drain cover at the side of the track caused a long delay to Formula 1 preseason testing for the second day in a row Friday.
The cover flew up when Red Bull's Sergio Perez drove over a curb, causing a red-flag stoppage to the morning session after just half an hour amid repairs and an inspection of the area.
“Another day, another drain,” Red Bull wrote on X, formerly Twitter, as the team checked Perez's car for possible damage to the floor.
It was in the same part of the track where another loose cover caused disruption the day before. Thursday’s incident left debris scattered across the track and caused similar delays after two cars ran over the loose cover.
Drains have been a persistent problem for F1 in recent years, though typically on street circuits, not permanent racing venues like Bahrain.
Carlos Sainz Jr.'s Ferrari was badly damaged by a water valve cover in practice for the Las Vegas Grand Prix in November and George Russell's Williams car was wrecked in 2019 when it hit a drain cover in practice in Azerbaijan.


Saudi Para-cycling Team Wins 1st Gold Medal at Asian Track Cycling Championships

 Bassam Almajrashi won a gold medal in the Scratch Race - C4 at the Asian Para Track Cycling Championships held in New Delhi. SPA
Bassam Almajrashi won a gold medal in the Scratch Race - C4 at the Asian Para Track Cycling Championships held in New Delhi. SPA
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Saudi Para-cycling Team Wins 1st Gold Medal at Asian Track Cycling Championships

 Bassam Almajrashi won a gold medal in the Scratch Race - C4 at the Asian Para Track Cycling Championships held in New Delhi. SPA
Bassam Almajrashi won a gold medal in the Scratch Race - C4 at the Asian Para Track Cycling Championships held in New Delhi. SPA

Bassam Almajrashi has won a gold medal in the Scratch Race - C4 at the Asian Para Track Cycling Championships held in New Delhi, India. His victory marks the first gold medal for the Saudi para-cycling team in Asia.
The championships, running from February 21 to 26, features the participation of 30 Asian athletes.
During the first day of the event, the Saudi para-cycling team also clinched the bronze medal in the Team Sprint, with Almajrashi, Rashid Al-Ahmary, and Mohammed Al-Mari delivering exceptional performances.


Injury-hit Liverpool Produce 'Fireworks' to Blow Away Luton

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah marked his return with a goal against Brentford © Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah marked his return with a goal against Brentford © Adrian DENNIS / AFP
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Injury-hit Liverpool Produce 'Fireworks' to Blow Away Luton

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah marked his return with a goal against Brentford © Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah marked his return with a goal against Brentford © Adrian DENNIS / AFP

Jurgen Klopp said his injury-ravaged Liverpool produced "fireworks" to come from a goal down to beat Luton 4-1 and open up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Wednesday.

Chiedozie Ogbene had given the Hatters a shock first-half lead against a Liverpool side missing Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota among others.

Dutch international duo Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo turned the game on its head in two minutes just before the hour mark before Luis Diaz and Harvey Elliott secured the win.

Victory takes Klopp's men four points clear of Manchester City and five ahead of third-placed Arsenal, but having played a game more than both their title rivals.

"How the stadium and team together changed that game is exceptional," said Klopp, AFP reported.

"We just have to be calmer in the decisive moments Once we became calmer there were fireworks. My word they were fantastic goals. It is a fantastic night."

Liverpool's squad was already stretched by injuries prior to loss of Curtis Jones, Jota and Nunez in the first-half of Saturday's 4-1 win at Brentford.

Salah scored on his return from a hamstring injury at the weekend, but was forced on as a substitute earlier than planned and suffered a setback that kept him out.

Klopp was already without Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara due to injury and the Reds were forced to work harder for the three points than they would have wished just days before Sunday's League Cup final against Chelsea.

However, Salah and Nunez could be fit in time to feature at Wembley.

"We have to see, but I said it before the game as long as we have 11 players we will go for it," added Klopp.

Luton held Liverpool 1-1 when the sides met at Kenilworth Road in November and have made a habit of ruffling the feathers of the Premier League's elite on their return to the top flight.

However, the visitors barely posed a threat other than when they went in front on 12 minutes.

Tahith Chong burst into the Liverpool box and when his powerful shot was parried by the legs of Caoimhin Kelleher, Ogbene headed in at the far post.

All of Liverpool's chances before the break fell to Diaz, but the Colombian was wasteful with his six shots on goal.

Klopp was whipping up the Anfield crowd at every opportunity and his side finally opened the floodgates on 56 minutes.

Captain Van Dijk led by example as he shrugged off his marker to power in Alexis Mac Allister's corner.

"The reaction shown today was outstanding and something we need for the rest of the season," said Van Dijk. "Today was a big one!"

Mac Allister was the creator again seconds later as Luton again switched off from a dead ball.

Conor Bradley's throw-in picked out the Argentine midfielder and his volleyed cross was headed in by Gakpo.

Only some heroics from Thomas Kaminski denied Gakpo and Van Dijk their second goals of the night as Liverpool continued to surge forward, even with the lead.

And an animated Klopp could finally relax 19 minutes from time when Diaz this time kept his composure to slot home his 10th goal of the season.

Elliott then rounded off the scoring on his 100th Liverpool appearance by blasting a loose ball into the top corner.

Defeat leaves Luton still in the relegation zone on goal difference.

"In the second half we played into their hands and their counter pressing was incredible, we experienced that full throttle football," said Luton boss Rob Edwards.

"We knew today was going to be a really big task. We showed for long periods we are a good team and we can compete."


Messi the Creator as Miami Win In MLS Opener

Inter Miami's Argentine forward Lionel Messi controls the ball during the club's MLS season-opening victory over Real Salt Lake - AFP
Inter Miami's Argentine forward Lionel Messi controls the ball during the club's MLS season-opening victory over Real Salt Lake - AFP
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Messi the Creator as Miami Win In MLS Opener

Inter Miami's Argentine forward Lionel Messi controls the ball during the club's MLS season-opening victory over Real Salt Lake - AFP
Inter Miami's Argentine forward Lionel Messi controls the ball during the club's MLS season-opening victory over Real Salt Lake - AFP

Lionel Messi created both goals as Inter Miami made a winning start to the new Major League Soccer season with a 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.

The Argentine World Cup winner, who played the entire game, put aside any concerns about his early season fitness with an excellent performance for the bookmakers' title favorites.

"He looked loose, fine and showed a lot of speed," coach Gerardo Martino said of Messi, who missed the back end of last season for Miami with injuries and was also sidelined for part of the pre-season.

The other three members of Miami's former Barcelona quartet, debutant Luis Suarez, midfielder Sergio Busquets and left-back Jordi Alba, all started in front of a capacity crowd.

Against a cautious Salt Lake side, Messi went close to opening the scoring in the 18th minute with a curling free-kick from 30 yards out which was headed off the line by Justen Glad.

He then brought huge cheers from the crowd when, on the edge of the box, his route was blocked by a player down on the floor, but he chipped the ball over him and let loose a shot which was blocked.

But Miami got in front when Spaniard Sergio Busquets found Messi and the eight-times Ballon d'Or winner cleverly slipped the ball through to Finnish forward Robert Taylor, whose low shot beat RSL keeper Zac MacMath.

The goalkeeper should have kept the effort out but it was a goal which forced the visitors to open up after the interval and their more aggressive approach caused Inter some problems.

Cristian Arango blasted a half-chance high over the bar for Salt Lake and then, after Busquets sloppily gave the ball away, Andres Gomez burst goalwards but the Colombian winger fired wide, AFP reported.

The Utah side should have made more of the space they found as Miami struggled in the early stages of the second half but paid the price for a lack of precision.

Sensing his team needed another goal or two to make sure of the points, Messi upped his work-rate and began to take control of the game.

Dropping deeper to collect the ball, he launched several attacks with his own swift bursts forward allied with his trademark close control.

The 36-year-old weaved down the inside left channel to find space for a cross to the back post to Julian Gressel but the German put his effort wide from the tight angle.

Then Messi burst again from deep and found Suarez who picked out Diego Gomez and the Paraguayan midfielder buried his shot low into the far corner to make it 2-0.

That trio almost combined again for a third with Messi slipping to Gomez who then served Suarez but the Uruguayan's effort was saved by the outstretched leg of MacMath.

Martino was delighted to see two of the lesser heralded members of his cast on target.

"This is what should happen with a team. Normally Luis and Leo would be the ones most associated with the goal, but the fact that Robert and Diego have converted and (Messi and Suarez) have been the assistants is always a positive thing," he said.

The former Argentina, Mexico and Barcelona coach said he was sure that Messi and Suarez would be able to recapture some of the magic they had shown during their seasons at the Camp Nou.

"They know each other so well but we have to find that partnership that worked already in Barcelona," he said.

For Taylor, who enjoyed a rich spell of form immediately after Messi joined the club and was a key part of the team which won the Leagues Cup, it was a positive opening to the campaign.

"It's the start we wanted, I mean, there's still some things that we need to work on. Obviously, it's the first game of the season, but the positive thing is the three points and we'll build on this," he said.

Inter Miami return to action on Sunday at Los Angeles Galaxy.