Barcelona star Messi given 21-month tax evasion sentence, Premier League academy sides join reformed EFL trophy line up, and Slaven Bilic to join Iron Maiden?!  

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1. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has been given a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud. However, it is unlikely that the Argentinian will spend any time behind bars as, under the Spanish legal system, sentences of less than two years can be spent on probation.

2. The format of the EFL Trophy, formerly known as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, has been announced. 16 academy teams representing Premier League and Championship clubs will compete in 16 groups of four before reaching a knockout stage.

3. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is prepared to activate a release clause in Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette’s contract with a £34.2m bid for the 25-year-old France international.

4. Everton are exploring the possibility of signing 29-year-old Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. The Toffees are also confident of signing Belgian international Axel Witsel for £28m from Zenit St Petersburg.

5. Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has called new Celtic signing Moussa Dembélé ‘an exciting player’. World Cup winner Zidane said he believed Bayern Munich, Juventus and Monaco were all interested in the 19-year-old striker.

6. Welsh fans have started an online petition to get Aaron Ramsey’s booking in the quarter-final win over Belgium overturned to allow the Arsenal man to play in the semi- final against Portugal (TheSun).

7. Rock band Iron Maiden have requested West Ham boss Slaven Bilić join them on stage when they play a gig in the Hammers’ manager’s home town of Split (CroatiaWeek).

8. On a football pitch Marcus Rashford seems almost fearless. However, put the teenager on a fair ground ride and he seems less than comfortable (ESPNFC).

9. Swansea City fans will be hoping new signing Mike van der Hoorn doesn’t score any own goals, let alone any as spectacular as the one he scored for former club FC Utrecht (WhoAteAllThePies).

10. And finally…We all wish Wales the best of luck in their semi-final against Portugal. Here are some of their fans taking to the streets in Lyon for a good old sing song to get themselves in the mood (Joe.ie).

By Chris Horricks (@chrishorricks31).

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About Ben Wheatland (121 Articles)
Ben is a supporter of Swindon Town FC. He is an aspiring sports writer, and his ramblings can be found on TheBootRoom and TheFootballForecast. He is also the editor of TheOffsideDaily. In his spare time he reads and writes about corruption in FIFA, and in football more generally.

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