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My favorite soccer team is Barcelona (or Barça, as it’s commonly known). 

And it’s all because of Lionel Messi. But now, Messi, perhaps the greatest soccer player of all time, is moving to Paris Saint-Germain. He says he regrets going to a rival team. I and big-time Barça fans regret it, too.

There was a time when I thought I needed to know more about soccer -— European soccer, or football to be exact. At the same time, I was reading an article on Messi and became a fan. Since then, I have followed both Messi and Barcelona. And European football.

I mention this because I assume many of you are attached to players more than the team for which they play.

Much of European soccer remains a mystery to me; for instance, the money involved. Lionel Messi makes a lot of money as measured against anyone’s billfold. He wants even more. Barça — and Messi — reached a new figure: $160 million, if we are to believe what I’ve seen and heard from ESPN. Now, that’s not a contract amount to be paid over several years, as American baseball players are receiving. It’s $160 million A YEAR. 

And while the player and the team had reached an agreement, the league objected. La Liga, the top league in Spanish pro football, of which Barcelona is a member, said no, no, that figure goes against our financial regulations. So Messi, not willing to take less than $160 million a year, split for Paris Saint-Germain.

My question to you: How much money would make you happy? I think I could make do on a lot less than $160 million. I don’t know the exact figure, but it’s more than I have coming in now. How about you?

Messi, born in Argentina, cried as he talked about leaving Barça. But he didn’t suggest, as far as I’ve heard, a lesser financial number that would have kept him at Barcelona.

Key West High School is scheduled to open its football season on Friday, Aug. 27 at Palmetto Ridge, with a second away game the following Friday, Sept. 3 at Centennial of Port Lucie. After a week off, the Conchs, with coach John Hughes, play their first of four home games at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, against St. Brendan.

Conch baseball coach Ralph Henriquez Jr. reminded me that Rex Weech Field is the only regulation baseball field in Key West. Rex Weech and Tommy Roberts Memorial Stadium (football and soccer) are in a strange configuration in which the baseball outfield overlaps the Tommy Roberts field. When the $15 million stadium redo gets underway at Tommy Roberts, football and soccer will move to the Backyard field behind the high school.

Henriquez told me he’s concerned because there’s been no plan announced for the baseball teams. He said he intends to use Rex Weech for games and practice next spring.

Apparently, the school district’s planners believe they can repair/replace the Tommy Roberts bleachers without disturbing baseball.

Have you had enough Olympics? Or do you want more? I had enough in the first few days, then I figured out which TV channels aired particular sports and I was hooked, just as I am every four (or two) years. 

I tried to introduce myself to some sports I don’t see very often, but I also was attached to some I watch with delight: men’s and women’s basketball and golf. Gold medal winner Nelly Korda of Bradenton, Florida is my favorite golfer, men or women. 

Things I learned from NBCTV and other places:

The Japanese women’s basketball coach, Tom Hovasse, is American. After playing two games at Atlanta, he headed to Asia, first as a player, then eventually started coaching a Japanese women’s team before advancing to the National team.

The Olympics theme song is “Bugler’s Dream” by the late Felix Slatkin. 

Coaches don’t receive medals, although telecasters repeatedly said USA men’s basketball coach Gregg Popovich’s goal was to get a medal. He didn’t, but his players did.

Japan’s Mone Inami, who took silver in women’s golf, is named for Claude Monet. 


The post SPORTS & MORE: HOW MUCH MONEY IS ENOUGH? appeared first on Florida Keys Weekly Newspapers.

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