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The Tokyo Games have ended. Only 179 days until Beijing 2022. And five days until PSG’s next match…

Leo Might Move to Paris

FC Barcelona-Facebook

Lionel Messi has had a roller-coaster summer.

In the span of a month, he agreed to rejoin Barcelona for five years on a 50% pay cut, went through a stunning breakup with his lifelong club, and now has reportedly agreed to join a European rival.

Over the weekend, Paris Saint-Germain offered the 34-year-old a two-year contract with a third-year option — although financial details have not been revealed, it appears only a matter of time until it becomes official.

  • There is speculation he could receive $47 million per year.
  • Multiple reports, however, have suggested $29.4 million with an identical signing fee.
  • He became a free agent June 30 following the conclusion of his four-year, $674 million contract.

Barca has more than $1 billion of gross debt and planned to cut down on spending from last season’s $700 million to around $410 million.

“Why keep drawing it out if it’s nearly impossible?” Messi said. “I did everything I could to stay … I offered to reduce my salary by 50%.”

If the deal comes to fruition, the Argentinian superstar will join Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on a loaded PSG squad looking for their first Champions League title and 10th Ligue 1 title.

Messi’s pending arrival not only makes PSG a near-lock to become French champs, but it nearly cut their odds in half — from +600* to +340* — to win the 2022 Champions League.

First-Place Fightin’ Phillies

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have held the NL East lead for most of this season, but over the weekend their rival flipped the script seemingly out of nowhere.

Behind an eight-game win streak that included a sweep of New York, the Phillies head into Monday with a two-game cushion at the top.

  • Longest win streak since they won nine in a row July 29-Aug. 6, 2011.
  • Before the Phillies’ win on Friday, the Mets had been in first since May 9. 
  • Pre-All-Star break, they recorded a pedestrian .316 OBP (14th), .400 SLG (14th), and .716 OPS (15th); post-break, those numbers are .337 (5th), .450 (6th) and .787 (7th).

The two players earning more than 27% of Philly’s payroll have led the way.

Bryce Harper, who signed a then-record 13-year, $330 million free-agent deal in February 2019 ($27.5 million salary in 2021), is now the second-favorite for NL MVP (+275*).

He has four home runs and seven RBI during the eight-game streak, and for the year is hitting .302 with 20 homers and 45 RBI.

Starter Zack Wheeler, in the second season of a five-year, $118 million deal ($22.5 million in ’21), is now the NL Cy Young favorite (+185*).

After Sunday’s two-hit, 11-strikeout complete game, he has a 2.20 ERA and .073 WHIP in August, and a 2.42 ERA, 10.4 K/9, and 5.6 WAR — best among all MLB pitchers.

The Phillies host the Dodgers for three beginning Tuesday.

Leonard’s Record-Breaking Extension

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts ponied up some big-time cash to lock in their top defensive player.

On Sunday, Indianapolis signed Darius Leonard to a five-year, $99.3 million extension — which makes him the highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL.

  • The deal includes $52.5 million in guaranteed money and Leonard receives $20 million per year over the first three years, according to NFL Network.
  • His contract surpassed Fred Warner’s five-year, $95.2 million extension with $40.5 million guaranteed.
  • Leonard is a two-time first-team All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowler, who in his rookie year led the league in tackles.
  • He is the first player since at least 1987 with 300 or more tackles in his first 30 career games.

The Colts continue to commit to an elite defense that ranked second — only behind Tampa — in rush yards per game (90.5) and yards per carry (3.7) a season ago.

Even with the No. 21 total cap hit ($207.3 million) in the NFL, Indianapolis finished 11-5 and lost a heartbreaker to the Bills in the Wild Card Round.

The Colts will open preseason Sunday, and host Seattle for Week 1 on Sept. 12. Indianapolis is +4,500* to win the Super Bowl.

Making Headlines

James Lang & Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Olympics: Both the United States’ men’s and women’s basketball teams captured gold. Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi each won their fifth career gold, while Kevin Durant won his third. The U.S. was the only country to win 100 or more medals, and finished with the most golds. 

Final Medal Count:

  1. USA 🇺🇸: 113 (39 gold, 41 silver, 33 bronze)
  2. China 🇨🇳: 88 (38 gold, 32 silver, 18 bronze)
  3. ROC: 71 (20 gold, 28 silver, 23 bronze)
  4. GBR 🇬🇧: 65 (22 gold, 21 silver, 22 bronze) 

NBA: Jimmy Butler signed a  four-year, $184 million contract extension with the Heat, according to ESPN. Also: The league will investigate the Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry sign-and-trades for possible tampering.

NFL: Running back Saquon Barkley (ACL) was activated off the physically unable to perform list and practiced with the Giants on Monday.

NHL: The Flyers signed goaltender Carter Hart to a three-year contract extension with an AAV of $3.9 million.


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