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Messi sets European record with 74 goals

Messi scores hat trick, shatters Champions League scoring record with 74 goals
The Associated Press

NICOSIA, Cyprus - Barcelona's Lionel Messi scored a hat trick to shatter the Champions League goalscoring record by taking his tally in the competition to 74 in a 4-0 win over APOEL on Tuesday. The previous record of 71 had been set by former Real Madrid and Schalke striker Raul over the course of 142 matches.

Raul's record fell when Messi struck his first in the 38th minute to give Barcelona a 2-0 lead after Luis Suarez had opened the scoring. It was Messi's 91st match in Europe's top club competition.

Valcke: FIFA faces 'years' to rebuild reputation

FIFA's Jerome Valcke says will take 'years to rebuild our reputation' after scandals
Rob Harris, The Associated Press

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke acknowledged Tuesday that it will take "years to rebuild our reputation" following the World Cup bidding corruption investigation.

But Valcke insisted that Sony and Emirates airline are not ending their FIFA sponsorships to protest against allegations of bribery and favour-seeking that have engulfed world football in the four years since Russia was awarded the 2018 World Cup and Qatar was voted the 2022 hosts.

Irish football chief sorry for nationalist song

Irish football chief executive apologizes after being filmed singing nationalist song in pub
Rob Harris, The Associated Press

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - The Football Association of Ireland chief executive apologized on Tuesday for any offence caused by singing an Irish nationalist song in a pub.

A video posted on YouTube shows John Delaney in a pub singing "The Ballad of Joe McDonnell" about a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army who died in a 1981 prison hunger strike.

"I do accept that if I have upset anybody here, I'm sorry," Delaney told Irish broadcaster RTE.

The video shows Delaney singing only the end of a song that earlier features inflammatory lyrics about Britain.

German league chief tells Blatter to resign

German league chief Rauball tells FIFA president Sepp Blatter to resign
The Associated Press

FRANKFURT - German league chief Reinhard Rauball says he called FIFA president Sepp Blatter to ask him to resign over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

"In contrast to others who just do it via the media, I personally called Mr. Blatter some time ago and urged him to resign," Rauball told this week's Kicker magazine.

Rauball did not say what Blatter's response was. He has been a vocal critic of Blatter on the issue of Qatar.

Canadian Akindele voted MLS Rookie of the Year

Canadian Tesho Akindele voted Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year
The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Dallas forward and Calgary native Tesho Akindele has been voted Major League Soccer's rookie of the year.

He scored seven goals during the regular season and had one in the playoffs, against Vancouver.

The league said Monday that the 22-year-old player received 86 per cent of combined team, media and player votes. Chicago midfielder Harry Shipp was second at 73 per cent and D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum third at 63 per cent.

More misery for Liverpool; Spurs fight back to win

Liverpool's misery compounded by 3-1 collapse at Palace; Tottenham recovers to beat Hull 2-1
Rob Harris, The Associated Press

LONDON - Liverpool's rapid downfall continued with a fourth successive loss on Sunday, with Crystal Palace adding to Brendan Rodgers' woes with a 3-1 victory.

The pressure, though, eased on Mauricio Pochettino after his Tottenham team came from behind to beat Hull 2-1 in the Premier League.

United inflicts 1st Arsenal home loss in 15 months

United inflicts 1st Arsenal league home loss in 15 months; leader Chelsea and Man City win
Rob Harris, The Associated Press

LONDON - Manchester United inflicted Arsenal's first Premier League home loss in 15 months on Saturday in a 2-1 victory that propelled the fallen power into the top four for the first time under Louis van Gaal after a faltering start.

FIFA official: WCup boycott would be 'nonsense'

FIFA's Valcke says boycotting Russia's World Cup would be 'nonsense'
The Associated Press

SOCHI, Russia - FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said Friday a boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia would be "nonsense."

Some European politicians have suggested that European countries could boycott the World Cup over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which many Western governments accuse Russia of provoking.

During a visit to Sochi, Valcke said talk of a boycott was an attempt to "provoke" discord rather than "to be realistic on what the world is today."

Wigan owner makes controversial comment about Jews

Wigan owner makes controversial comment about Jewish people while defending under-fire coach
The Associated Press

WIGAN, England - The owner of English club Wigan has made controversial comments about Jewish people while defending his decision to hire a coach who is under investigation for sending racist and anti-Semitic messages.

Malky Mackay was hired as Wigan manager on Wednesday even though the English Football Association is looking into a dossier from his time in charge of fellow second-tier team Cardiff, when he sent offensive text messages to a colleague.

FIFA to review World Cup corruption report

FIFA to review Garcia's World Cup corruption report, putting Russia, Qatar back in question
Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press

GENEVA - FIFA will further review the 2018 and 2022 World Cup corruption investigation, putting the status of hosts Russia and Qatar back in question.

The head of FIFA's auditing committee will examine the full 430-page confidential report by American prosecutor Michael Garcia into impropriety during the bid process, reviving a probe which seemed closed one week ago.

Domenico Scala, a Swiss businessman who serves as the soccer body's audit panel chairman, will then decide whether to turn over any evidence to FIFA's executive committee.

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