Weekly Digest (August 24-30): From Messi's potential Barca exit to Djokovic's 35th Masters title

From Lionel Messi's shocking request to leave Barcelona to Novak Djokovic's record-equalling 35th Masters title, here are the top sports headlines from the week gone by.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi might make a move to Manchester City in the near future (File Photo).   -  Twitter

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi did not attend a pre-season medical with FC Barcelona on Sunday, a club source confirmed, following his shock announcement on Tuesday that he wants to leave the La Liga side ahead of the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic tied Rafael Nadal’s record by earning his 35th title at a Masters 1000 tournament, overcoming a sluggish start to beat Milos Raonic 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Western and Southern Open final on Saturday and improve to 23-0 this season.

Here's a wrap-up of all the major sports news and updates from the week (August 24 to 30) that passed:

CRICKET

An Indian cricketer in the Chennai Super Kings squad and several members of its support staff and social media team have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dubai, where the team is quarantined. It is believed the Indian cricketer to have tested positive is swing bowler Deepak Chahar. (REPORT)

Chennai Super Kings all-rounder Suresh Raina has returned to India from the United Arab Emirates and will miss the Indian Premier League, the team announced on Saturday. (REPORT)

Virat Kohli was back in his element as Royal Challengers Bangalore started its training at the ICC Academy in Dubai. The RCB skipper sweated it out in the nets - after five months - and he was happy with the way things progressed. While Kohli had a long session at the nets, his teammates Yuzvendra Chahal and Dale Steyn were also happy to be back in training. (REPORT)

READ | Weekly Digest (August 17-23): From Bayern becoming European champion to Koeman's appointment at Barca

Cricket Australia has restricted its players from using sweat from the head, face and neck to shine the ball during the upcoming limited-overs tour of England in a bid to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. (REPORT)

South Africa’s national cricket body fired its CEO on Thursday after an independent investigation found him guilty of serious misconduct. Cricket South Africa didn't provide specific details of Thabang Moroe’s wrongdoing when it announced it had terminated his employment. Moroe had been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, which included a forensic audit of the organisation’s finances. (REPORT)

James Anderson became the first fast bowler to take 600 Test wickets when he dismissed Azhar Ali on the final day of the third Test between England and Pakistan at Rose Bowl, Southampton. The Test was drawn and England won the series 1-0. (REPORT)

Dwayne Bravo on Wednesday became the first bowler to pick 500 wickets in Twenty20 cricket. (REPORT)

Former Andhra captain and India U-19 cricketer, A. G. Pradeep, has announced his retirement from all formats of the game. (REPORT)

FOOTBALL

Captain Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wishes to leave the club immediately deepening the turmoil within the Catalan side less than two weeks after its humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich. (REPORT)

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has filed an appeal against his conviction for assault and attempted bribery of a police officer. Maguire was handed a 21-month suspended sentence following his arrest after a brawl last week on the Greek island of Mykonos. (REPORT)

Harry Maguire said his younger sister Daisy had been attacked in a bar on the island by two men who drugged her, adding that when he tried to take her to hospital he was arrested.   -  AP

 

Chennaiyin FC has appointed Csaba Laszlo as the team's head coach for the upcoming season of the Indian Super League. (REPORT)

Hyderabad FC has accepted Albert Roca's request to be relieved of his duties following Barcelona’s offer for him to join Ronald Koeman's staff. (REPORT)

Several Chelsea players have not returned for pre-season training after testing positive for COVID-19, according to reports in British media. (REPORT)

Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva became Chelsea's third and fourth major signing of the new season following the arrivals of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. (REPORT)

Arsenal beat Liverpool 5-4 on penalties to lift the FA Community Shield, the curtain-raiser for the English domestic season, after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw on a chilly afternoon at Wembley. (REPORT)

Ahead of the upcoming Indian Super League campaign, NorthEast United FC on Tuesday announced the signing of Gerard Nus as its new head coach. (REPORT)

READ | M.S. Dhoni: O Captain! My Captain!

Millie Bright’s dipping strike helped Chelsea clinch the Community Shield with a 2-0 victory over Manchester City when women’s football resumed in England after a six-month, pandemic-enforced absence. (REPORT)

Two-time World Cup winner and OL Reign midfielder, Megan Rapinoe, has opted out of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) fall series starting next month, the Washington-based franchise said in a statement. (REPORT)

TENNIS 

Novak Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic in the Western and Southern Open final to seal his 35th title at a Masters 1000 tournament. (REPORT)

Victoria Azarenka won the Western and Southern Open women's title after Naomi Osaka withdrew from the final owing to a hamstring injury. (REPORT)

Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil are trying to set up a new group to represent men’s professional tennis players. (REPORT)

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and other members of the ATP Player Council spoke out against Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil’s plan to start a men-only union of sorts for tennis. (REPORT)

The US Open draw was done and Australian Open finalists Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem are on a collision course to meet again in another Grand Slam final. (REPORT)

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and runner-up Dominic Thiem are in collision course to meet in the US Open final as well.   -  Getty Images

 

Bob and Mike Bryan, the most successful men's doubles team in the history of tennis, have announced their retirement. (REPORT)

Kei Nishikori has tested negative for COVID-19 after having two positive tests, but he still decided to withdraw from the US Open. (REPORT)

Jelena Ostapenko and Carla Suarez Navarro have withdrawn from the US Open. (REPORT)

BADMINTON

The India Open Super 500 and the Syed Modi International Super 300 tournaments were on Thursday cancelled by the Badminton World Federation in its adjusted international calendar. (REPORT)

Indian badminton player Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has tested positive for COVID-19 and is under home quarantine for nearly a week. (REPORT)

Players and officials will have to undergo at least one mandatory COVID-19 test at all World Tour events and the major championships, said the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Friday. (REPORT)

Dhyan Chand award-winning Indian shuttler Trupti Murgunde claims that the award has motivated her even further. (REPORT)

READ | Two to tango: Dhoni and Raina's careers in numbers

HOCKEY

Indian men’s hockey team’s analytical coach Chris Ciriello, who is currently in Australia, is unsure if he can resume duties due to health reasons. (REPORT)

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Keshav Dutt will receive Hockey Bengal’s Major Dhyan Chand lifetime achievement award for 2020. (REPORT)

UFC

Aleksandar Rakic defeated Anthony Smith to stamp his authority in the light heavyweight division at UFC Vegas 8, while Neil Magny grappled his way to victory over Robbie Lawler and Alexa Grasso silenced Ji Yeon Kim on her women’s flyweight division debut. (REPORT)

WRESTLING

India’s top woman wrestler Vinesh Phogat on Friday said she has tested positive for COVID-19 but is asymptomatic. Selected for this year’s Khel Ratna award, the Asian and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist had been training at her village in Sonepat with coach Om Prakash. (REPORT)

BOXING

The Boxing Federation of India believes that the second edition of the Big Bout Indian Boxing League can be staged by the end of this year or early next year. (REPORT)

SHOOTING

The Sports Authority of India has announced that the developmental group of shooters will be allowed to use its facilities from next month with the central government further easing lockdown restrictions under its Unlock 4 guidelines. (REPORT)

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton finished first in the 2020 Belgian GP, while his teammate Valtteri Bottas (L) came second and Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen (R) finished third (File Photo).   -  Getty Images

 

MOTORSPORT

Formula One world championship leader Lewis Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday in a one-two with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Max Verstappen finished third for Red Bull. (REPORT)

ATHLETICS 

Usain Bolt is self-quarantining at his home in Jamaica, after testing positive for the COVID-19, just days after he celebrated his 34th birthday with a lavish party. (REPORT)

The National Open Athletics Championships will now be held in October instead of September after the competition committee of the national federation decided to defer the start due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

Norwegian sprinter Karsten Warholm broke his own European record in the 400 metres hurdles at the Diamond League event in Stockholm, clocking a time of 46.87 seconds that was just 0.09 seconds off the world record. (REPORT)