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Lionel Messi, Neymar score as PSG trounce Nantes

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Lionel Messi opened the scoring and Neymar scored twice as French champions Paris Saint-Germain beat French Cup winners Nantes 4-0 to win the Champions Trophy.

Messi, the record seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, netted midway through the first half. Taking a deflected pass from Neymar, he went past goalkeeper Alban Lafont before scoring with a fine finish.

Neymar expertly guided a free kick into the top left corner in first-half injury time to put coach Christophe Galtier’s side 2-0 up at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, which hosted the game for the second straight year.

Veteran defender Sergio Ramos made it 3-0 in the 57th minute from close range and Neymar converted a penalty in the 82nd after being fouled by Jean-Charles Castelletto, who was sent off.

Galtier, who guided Lille to the league title against the odds in 2021, now has his first trophy at PSG. He replaced Maurico Pochettino after he was fired.

Barca sell more

Messi’s former club FC Barcelona sold a 25 per cent stake in its audiovisual studio to digital fan token firm Socios.com for $102 million, club chief Joan Laporta said on Monday, as the La Liga giant steps up efforts to bring in revenue to register new players.

Socios.com will come on board as a technology partner accelerating Barca’s blockchain, non-fungible token and Web3 strategies. Socios.com owner and technology provider Chiliz will take a strategic stake in Barca Studios.

“Barca Studios includes (in its portfolio) metaverse, NFTs and Barca tokens. It’s the sale of a stake … it’s in principle forever, we could recover it if something happens,” Laporta said at a news conference to unveil new signing Jules Kounde, who was bought from Sevilla.

Barca have been using several mechanisms to increase its revenue in order to offset losses, reduce debt and fulfil La Liga’s financial fair play rules.

Socios.com will support Barca in its efforts to build new digital connections with its global fan base of 400 million.

The deal comes after the club last month sold a further 15 per cent stake in its La Liga TV rights to US private equity group Sixth Street, giving Sixth Street a 25 per cent stake.

The club signed Brazil winger Raphinha from Premier League side Leeds United and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski from German champions Bayern Munich following a first investment from Sixth Street when it bought 10 per cent.

The Telegraph

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