Sevilla won their seventh Europa League title on Wednesday night, beating Roma 4-1 on penalties as the match ended 1-1 after extra time. The Spanish team has never lost a Europa League final.
In Paris, Novak Djokovic stoked controversy earlier in the tournament after his comments about Kosovo, but cruised through his match against Marton Fucsovics to make it to the third round.
Meanwhile, Barcelona hope to start a new dynasty as they take on Wolfsburg in the women’s Champions League final.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 1 June, 2023:
PSG coach hopes Messi will get good welcome in ‘last game’ for club
Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier said on Thursday he hopes fans will give Lionel Messi a cordial reception in his final game at their Parc des Princes home.
The game on Saturday against Clermont will mark the end of Messi’s two-year stay at Qatar-backed PSG, who have already been crowned Ligue 1 champions for a record 11th time.
The Argentinian World Cup winner has been booed by the club’s supporters on more than one occasion following PSG’s elimination from the Champions League by Bayern Munich in the last 16.
“(It) will be his last game at the Parc des Princes and I dare hope he will get the best possible welcome,” Galtier said at a press conference.
“He has been important, always available.”
Galtier said he “never found” the criticism of 35-year-old Messi justified, pointing to his statistics at PSG this season of 21 goals and 20 assists.
“He has always been at the service of the team, as the passer and finisher,” Galtier said.
“I have had the privilege to coach the best player in the history of football. It has been a great privilege.”
The chances of Messi returning to his former club Barcelona appear to be fading.
One possible destination is Saudi Arabia, where he would join his former Real Madrid sparring partner Cristiano Ronaldo in a deal potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
A source close to the negotiations told AFP in May that the forward had an agreement to move to the Saudi Arabian league, without specifying which club he would join.
Sevilla win Europa League
Sevilla found their Europa League magic formula on Wednesday, beating Roma 4-1 on penalties in Budapest to make it a perfect seven out of seven in finals in the competition.
The game finished 1-1 following extra-time after Paulo Dybala’s opener was earlier cancelled out by an own goal from Roma defender Gianluca Mancini.
A bad-tempered but gripping match went to a shootout at a raucous Puskas Arena, with Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou proving the hero with two saves.
Gonzalo Montiel, who scored the winning penalty in the 2022 World Cup final, netted the decisive spot-kick after Mancini and Roger Ibanez had failed to convert for Roma.
The win is a remarkable achievement for 62-year-old Jose Luis Mendilibar, who only took over at Sevilla in March and is now celebrating his first major trophy.
“We are going to enjoy this because it has cost a lot and right now I don’t know if I will renew or not and I don’t care,” said the Spaniard, who is not certain to be at the club next season.
The veteran coach was brought in to save the club from relegation and has led them to safety as well as European glory.
“When I arrived I told the players that they were very good but that they were not mentally in the right place and that was my job,” he said.
“They have shown me in the end that they are very good.”
Defeat spells heartbreak for Roma boss Jose Mourinho, who has lost a European final for the first time after five successes.
“We felt pressure against a team that has more talent than us,” said the Portuguese. “We lost a game but not dignity. I’ve never gone home prouder than today, even when I won.”
Djokovic beats Fucsovics
Novak Djokovic brushed aside the furore surrounding his recent comments about clashes in Kosovo by easing into the French Open third round on Wednesday, then saying they reflected what he “stands for”.
Djokovic, who is chasing a men’s record 23rd Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros, came through a marathon first set against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics before prevailing 7-6 (2), 6-0, 6-3 in the night session on Court Philippe Chatrier.
He had scrawled the message “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence” on a camera following his first-round match on Monday.
“I would say it again, but I don’t need to because you have my quotes,” said Djokovic on Wednesday.
“I’m aware that a lot of people would disagree, but it is what it is. It’s something that I stand for. So that’s all
Thanasi Kokkinakis knocked 38-year-old Stan Wawrinka out of the French Open on Wednesday in a five-set rollercoaster to book a third round place at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015.
Australian world number 108 Kokkinakis came through 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 in four hours and 38 minutes against the 2015 champion.
In the women’s draw, World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka cruised into the French Open third round on Wednesday with a straight-sets win over fellow Belarusian Iryna Shymanovich.
The Australian Open champion took some time to get the measure of her opponent, who had never won a main-draw WTA match before this tournament, before wrapping up a 7-5, 6-2 victory.
Sabalenka will face either Poland’s Magdalena Frech or Russian Kamilla Rakhimova in the last 32.
French Open results on Wednesday, the fourth day of the 2023 championships at Roland Garros (x denotes seeded player; players representing Russia and Belarus are banned from competing under the name or flag of their countries):
Men’s singles second round
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP x1) bt Taro Daniel (JPN) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
Denis Shapovalov (CAN x26) bt Matteo Arnaldi (ITA) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA x17) bt Alexander Shevchenko 6-1, 6-1, 6-2
Cameron Norrie (GBR x14) bt Lucas Pouille (FRA) 6-1, 6-3, 6-3
Fabio Fognini (ITA) bt Jason Kubler (AUS) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Sebastian Ofner (AUT) bt Sebastian Korda (USA x24) 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4
Diego Schwartzman (ARG) bt Nuno Borges (POR) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 6-3
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x5) bt Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2
Novak Djokovic (SRB x3) bt Márton Fucsovics (HUN) 7-6 (7/2), 6-0, 6-3
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP x29) bt Luca Van Assche (FRA) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6)
Juan Pablo Varillas (PER) bt Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x19) 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1
Hubert Hurkacz (POL x13) bt Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 6-3, 5-7, 6-7 (13/15), 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Karen Khachanov (x11) bt Radu Albot (MDA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3
Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) bt Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)
Andrey Rublev (x7) bt Corentin Moutet (FRA) 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Women’s singles second round
Karolina Muchova (CZE) bt Nadia Podoroska (ARG) 6-3, 0-6, 6-3
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM x27) bt Sara Errani (ITA) 6-3, 6-0
Clara Tauson (DEN) bt Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
Elina Avanesyan bt Leolia Jeanjean (FRA) 6-0, 7-5
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova bt Liudmila Samsonova (x15) 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
Anastasia Potapova (x24) bt Mayar Sherif (EGY) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
Elise Mertens (BEL x28) bt Camila Osorio (COL) 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)
Jessica Pegula (USA x3) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-2 – retired
Anna Blinkova bt Caroline Garcia (FRA x5) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Elina Svitolina (UKR) bt Storm Sanders (AUS) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1
Peyton Stearns (USA) bt Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x17) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
Daria Kasatkina (x9) bt Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-3, 6-4
Sloane Stephens (USA) bt Varvara Gracheva 6-2, 6-1
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) bt Zheng Qinwen (CHN x19) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
Kamilla Rakhimova bt Magdalena Frech (POL) 6-3, 6-4
Aryna Sabalenka (x2) bt Iryna Shymanovich 7-5, 6-2
Barcelona face Wolfsburg in women’s Champions League final
Barcelona face Wolfsburg in the Champions League final on Saturday, aiming to assert themselves early as the decade’s dominant force in women’s football, as Lyon did in the 2010s.
The Catalan giants have both immense quality and huge support, but securing a second triumph in Eindhoven is essential to keep writing history, and prove a worthy adversary for the French side on a longer timeline.
Lyon are the reigning champions after beating Barcelona 3-1 in Turin last year, and have won six of the last seven editions, with a record eight triumphs in total.
“There was women’s football before Barcelona, and it was played here for years,” Lyon forward Ada Hegerberg remarked last season, as Barca racked up two world-record attendances at Camp Nou en route to the final.
The Norwegian forward also pointed out her side have never lost to Barcelona, so even if they conquer Wolfsburg, that issue remains.
Some Barcelona players, however, already think believe their time has begun.
“I consider myself within the successful era (already), because reaching three consecutive finals is not something we would have seen in the past,” veteran defender Marta Torrejon told reporters this week.
“With one Champions League in the bag, as I put it, let’s see what happens this Saturday.”
Explosive young forward Claudia Pina, who could play a big part for Barcelona in the coming decade, agreed, saying winning the second Champions League would be further progress.
“I hope we keep winning, I hope we win this final, but I think already, today, we’re one of the best teams in Europe and the world,” said Pina.
“We are showing it, by reaching the finals we’re reaching, and now we have to win them and, well, take a step forward.”
Barcelona have dominated within Spain, winning the last four consecutive league titles, wiping away opponents without breaking a sweat.
In May they suffered their first league defeat in almost two years – during that run they won 62 consecutive league games.
After Lyon beat Barcelona 4-1 in Budapest in the 2019 final, the already improving Catalans kicked up a further gear. They beat Chelsea in the 2021 final in Gothenburg to earn their first Champions League trophy.
This season, without injured two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas until recently, the Catalans lost only one game in Europe, a group phase match at Bayern Munich.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day