A crime is a crime, even for Lionel Messi

He might currently be the best football player on the face of God’s green Earth. You can even argue that he is one of the best footballers to have played the beautiful game, but ladies and gentlemen. Lionel Messi is also a criminal. Argentina’s national team player Lionel Messi has been convicted of tax fraud but is unlikely to serve any time in jail. Photo: AFP He, in all likelihood won’t be serving a prison sentence but I have to regrettably inform you that your demigod – by the rule of law – can sadly be bracketed with the likes of ...

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It’s about time Pakistan moves on from the Akmal trio once and for all, starting with Umar

Umar Akmal, who had been dropped earlier from Pakistan’s squad that traveled to the West Indies due to poor fitness, was announced as a member of the 15-man squad that would travel to England to feature in the ICC Champions Trophy. After being dropped from the national squad, Akmal was asked to lead Punjab in this year’s edition of the Pakistan Cup which, again, raised a few questions over what precedent the board and selection committee were trying to set. How was a player who deemed unfit for national selection, now fit enough to lead a side in the country’s ...

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Is Antonio Conte the reason behind Chelsea’s success?

Fans had enormous expectations as the 2016 football season started since they knew the Premier League would be featuring some of the world’s best managers. The league would prove to be a battlefield with the likes of Pep Guardiola and José Mourhino fighting for the title. The summer transfer window was filled with rumours and signings that broke record after record. It’s safe to say it lived up to expectations with no money spared to improve the two Manchester squads. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (L) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (R) Photo: AFP As the season took off, Guardiola showed the world why ...

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After a five-year hiatus, the La Liga victory surely tastes sweet for Real Madrid

The immensely talented Spanish giants, Real Madrid, have finally gotten their hands on the coveted La Liga trophy, which is a title they have cherished the most over the past few years. Real Madrid feel ‘broken’ after losing late lead in Dortmund. Photo: Reuters From the very beginning of this season, it was absolutely clear that Real Madrid were very keen on tasting some domestic league glory as the La Liga title had eluded them since 2012 and this is precisely what Zinedine Zidane and his boys have achieved after a stellar season. Zidane’s influence After Real Madrid sacked ...

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As captain, can Sarfraz Ahmed steer Pakistan to victory in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy?

Pakistan’s archaic style of ODI cricket is up for a stern test in this summer’s Champions Trophy. The team is grouped with South Africa (ranked number one in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings), arch-rivals India, and Sri Lanka. A realistic assessment might be for the team to win at least one out of these three games – more likely to be the one against Sri Lanka – but that would also mean having to do away with the optimism of a Pakistani cricket fan. Regardless of how bad we think our team is, almost every fan will, as always, ...

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Did Chelsea win the title with little or no fight from their competitors?

On Friday, May 12, 2017, upon beating West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, Chelsea confirmed mathematically that Tottenham Hotspur will not be able to catch up with them, thus confirming their second Premier League title in three years. If I were a Chelsea fan, which I’m not, this win wouldn’t feel right for a number of reasons. Chelsea’s Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi (R) scores the opening goal during their English Premier League match. Photo:AFP This season built a lot of promise; it began with confirmation that six of the best managers in the world would all be plying ...

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Life after Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq – what does it look like?

Growing up in a perpetual shadow of conflict and turmoil, Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq were two beacons of calmness that you could count on to somehow make things better. We are fortunate enough to be in the same era as them, watch them steady the ship on countless occasions and reach new heights in the process. Younus and Misbah were deeply engrossed in a storyline that was full of emotions, more lows than highs, and the highs underappreciated. When Misbah went down at Lord’s, he picked up Pakistan’s crest that had been lying in the dirt since 2010 and proudly placed it on the honour boards for upcoming generations ...

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Islamabad has what it takes to set football standards for Pakistan, do you?

Football and Pakistan  don’t usually go together, especially Islamabad and football. However, despite Islamabad’s unwanted perception of going to sleep early, the capital is home to a thriving football scene and an ever-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem of football facilities. Though the concept had been introduced a decade ago with the advent of the F-6 multi-purpose facility, things really took off after 2014 when Total Football ventured into the market. Photo: Facebook “I was enamoured by the concept during my days as a student in London,” said Hamza Kayani, who launched Total Football in late 2014. Born and bred in Islamabad, Kayani claimed that the city lacked in the entertainment department, leaving eating out or ...

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Three underrated and uncapped players who impressed us during the Pakistan Cup

Pakistan Cup is organised as the country’s premier List A tournament where only the best domestic performers compete in five teams to prove their ability and plead their case for a national call-up. Last year’s Pakistan Cup highlighted the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Fahim Ashraf, all of whom are currently part of Pakistan’s squad for the ICC Champions Trophy. The Pakistan Cup is being established as the pipeline for players to be fast-tracked to List A and national sides, and like last year, we did witness some performers and performances that would boost Pakistan’s confidence with ...

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Virat Kohli gifting Shahid Afridi a jersey proves that cricket transcends boundaries

The thing about sports is that it is always at the mercy of politics. However, individuals always find a way out. It is hard to believe but Indian and Pakistani cricketers don’t really get involved in slanging matches off the field, although between players from India and Australia, it is a possibility these days. So when we hear that Virat Kohli and the Indian cricket team gifted Shahid Afridi a jersey as a farewell gift on his retirement, it was a gesture that even the tough-to-please Twitterati applauded. “To Shahid Bhai best wishes, always a pleasure playing against you,” wrote the Indian ...

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