Messi Neymar Initiative

From now on, every goal scored by either Lionel Messi or Neymar in official tournaments, including the 2018 World Cup in Russia, will be equivalent to 10,000 school meals for children in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The company backing the initiative is MasterCard and they announced on Thursday that they will donate 10,000 school meals to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) each time the Argentine or the Brazilian score a goal.

This Initiative, referenced as #JuntosSomos10, or ‘Together we are 10,’ is part of an initiative started by Mastercard last April.

Those interested can also donate money directly to through the website of this campaign or use the hashtag #JuntosSomos10 on Twitter and Instagram.

Each time the hashtag is used, MasterCard will donate one school meal.

If a donation is made directly with a MasterCard card, the company will donate 10 meals.

In addition, MasterCard have already donated 300,000 meals to the cause, with numbers expected to grow rapidly in the future.

 Ramos Forced To Change Phone Number After Receiving Death Threats

Sergio Ramos has reportedly been forced to change his phone number following threats over his Mohamed Salah challenge.

The Real Madrid defender brought down his Liverpool rival in the Champions League final, forcing the Egyptian to be substituted off with a shoulder injury.

Salah’s World Cup campaign is now in jeopardy, although Egypt officials expect him to recover just in time for the opening game against Uruguay on June 15.

Ramos has been on the end of a significant social media backlash since the incident, with many believing that he injured Salah intentionally.

But the abuse has reportedly surpassed just social media – after it was claimed that a group of fans found his phone number.

According to COPE Network, both Ramos and his family have been receiving threats, meaning they have all had to change their numbers.

Bacca Backs Yeri Mina For Barcelona Success

Carlos Bacca expects Colombia team-mate Yerry Mina to defy the doubters and thrive in European football despite making a slow start to life at Barcelona.

Mina made the switch to LaLiga in January after developing into one of the most highly rated centre-backs in South American football.

Barca paid Brazilian club Palmeiras a reported €12million, but Mina only featured in five league games before the end of the season as he failed to dislodge Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti.

Speculation is mounting he might be allowed to leave in the close-season, but the World Cup offers Mina the opportunity to star on the big stage.

And Villarreal striker Bacca expects the 23-year-old to ultimately prove a success.

“Neymar Looks Confident”

Neymar is not afraid as he fights to get back to full fitness ahead of the World Cup, according to Brazil team-mate Fernandinho.

Sidelined since February after undergoing foot surgery, Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar is on the road to recovery with Brazil gearing up for next month’s showpiece tournament in Russia.

Fernandinho suffered a similar injury to Neymar previously and the Manchester City midfielder said the 26-year-old is on track for the World Cup, where Brazil will face Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E.

 “Icardi Wants Inter Stay”

Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti insisted captain Mauro Icardi wants to remain with the Serie A club amid transfer speculation.

Icardi helped Inter qualify for the Champions League but the skipper – who reportedly has a €110million release clause – has been linked with Juventus, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

Zanetti was asked about Icardi’s future but the former Inter captain said he is not concerned over the 25-year-old forward.

“It’s disappointing he’s not going to the World Cup, as he has proved he fits in with the Argentina squad,” Zanetti told reporters.

“When you have a champion like him in the team, it’s only normal to receive many offers, but Mauro is the captain and a reference point for Inter.

“We are happy to have him here and he is happy to be with us. We are not worried by transfer speculation, because he manifested his desire to remain and we in the Champions League, so wish to continue together.

“Every time he steps on to the field, he shows how much he cares about Inter.”

 Kroos Trolls Bale Over Spanish Tweet

Toni Kroos has trolled Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale over his efforts to use Spanish in a tweet congratulating Lucas Vazquez on the birth of his child.

The Wales international has been with the Blancos since 2013, but has struggled to get to grips with the language barrier at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Over the course of his five years in Madrid, the 28-year-old has rarely endeavoured to carry out press duties in Spanish.

Bale did, however, give Spanish a go in a message to Madrid colleague Vazquez, offering him “many congratulations”.

https://twitter.com/GarethBale11/status/1002121568305246208

Kroos was, however, quick to offer a response mocking Bale for breaking tradition.

https://twitter.com/ToniKroos/status/1002125588977651712

“Time For Pogba To Be A Leader”

Paul Pogba has been urged to step up as “a leader” by France team-mate Hugo Lloris, with the Manchester United midfielder “no longer a young player”.

The 25-year-old has spent another season seeing his every move at Old Trafford dissected in minute detail, with questions asked of both his on and off-field antics.

As an £89 million asset, much is expected of a man who boasts the physical attributes to be one of the best players on the planet, but one who is often accused of lacking the right mindset.

Pogba has an opportunity this summer to show that he can be a talismanic presence, as he goes in search of global glory with his country, and is being challenged to show that he is ready to take on such a role.

Mancini Considering Balotelli As Italy Captain

Mario Balotelli could be named Italy captain but the striker is a doubt to face France, said head coach Roberto Mancini.

Balotelli repaid Mancini’s faith in recalling him to the international setup with a goal against Saudi Arabia in his first Azzurri appearance for four years.

The Nice striker hit out at a banner – featuring the words ‘my captain has Italian blood’ – displayed during the game that appeared to be targeted at Balotelli.

Mancini defended the former Manchester City forward and said he would not hold back from naming Balotelli as his captain in the future.

“In the national team, the armband always goes to the player with the most caps,” Mancini told the media on Thursday.

“If Balotelli were in the starting XI and had more caps than the others, then he would be captain.

“The banner we saw in St Gallen was an ugly incident that should not have happened.

“In any case, Balotelli is in doubt to play [against France on Friday and we’ll only decide tomorrow morning.”

 Quotebox

‘’I would advise Messi to keep playing, to enjoy the game. He has to forget about the critics, if he can win the World Cup or not. He doesn’t have to demonstrate anything. He has to enjoy the game on the field.’’

Argentina legend Diego Maradona feels Lionel Messi does not have to prove anything to Argentina as the Barcelona superstar prepares for what could be his last World Cup.

 Did You Know?

Thibaut Courtois has kept 103 clean sheets in the top 5 European leagues since his debut for Atletico Madrid in August 2011; only Gianluigi Buffon (117) has kept more.

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