Author: David Mark

Barca’s six successive Copa del Rey finals won’t happen again – Pique

messi-luis-suarez-and-denis-suarez-1Gerard Pique does not believe Barcelona’s record of six consecutive Copa del Rey finals will be replicated following their Clasico triumph over bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Barca became the first team to reach six successive Copa deciders following their 3-0 win against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Luis Suarez’s brace sealed Wednesday’s victory and a 4-1 aggregate triumph for the LaLiga champions.

Barca defender Pique revelled in the performance post-match, telling reporters: “Reaching a sixth final… I don’t think what we have achieved is something that will ever happen again in the Copa del Rey.barcelona-lionel-messi-gerard-pique-1303135804196764.jpg

“We’ve won it a lot in recent years but we want to win it again. It’s special to qualify for a final. It’s actually been more out of habit than anything else. Turning things around against Levante and Sevilla and then this [winning at Madrid].

“It was an important win. Madrid were on top in the first half, but we took advantage of the space in the second half to win the game and the tie. It’s a great way to reach the final. Winning here and reaching the final is always a cause for happiness.”

Barca will be back in action in the Spanish capital on Saturday for another instalment of the Clasico when the league leaders face Madrid in LaLiga.lionel-messi-cropped_6khnpodnzc3g1s80dva0xuhm0313094635.jpg

The Catalan giants are nine points clear of third-placed Madrid, and Pique said: “We’ve been lucky to win a lot of games here and by some big margins. But it was a complicated match and they’re not that far behind us [in the league]. We can’t relax now because it would not bode well for Saturday.

“We’re coming through this phase of games – which was really tough [away against Lyon, Sevilla and Madrid twice] – really well. You can’t always play well, but we’re getting results and we hope to get another good result in the next Clasico.”

Often outspoken, Pique was his trademark self following the match as he criticised the Spanish media.

VAR has dominated headlines in LaLiga and Pique offered some advice to the media amid the incarceration of political leaders in Catalonia following 2017’s referendum, which was deemed unofficial by Spain.barcelona-copa-del-rey-final

“If Spanish TV spent more time covering the trial of the political prisoners, which is super unjust, so the people of Spain could see a little more of what’s going on, instead of talking about VAR, maybe the country would be doing a little better,” said Pique.

Meanwhile, on the match, Barca star and hero Suarez added: “We’ve achieved one of the objectives that we set at the start of the season.

“We knew that if we scored, then they would push forward and we would have more space. Matches always have their pros and cons; we didn’t play the way that we wanted, but that’s what matches are like.”

Advertisements

RE-ELECTION OF BUHARI AS PRESIDENT A “GRAND THEFT OF THE PEOPLE’S WILL.” – ATIKU

Atiku1Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the just concluded presidential election, Atiku Abubakar has said he will not accept the results of the election that produced the All Progressives Congress, APC Candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari as winner, because it was a “grand theft of the people’s will.”

Mr Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lost by over 3 million votes to President Muhammadu Buhari, according to the electoral commission, INEC. Mr Buhari, according to the electoral body, scored 15,191,847 votes. Mr Abubakar garnered 11,262,978 votes to finish as runner-up.

INEC on Wednesday issued the certificate of return to Mr Buhari and his running mate, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Mr Abubakar, however, says the election was a “grand theft of the people’s will.” He said this at a press conference.

Read the full text of Mr Abubakar’s message below.

BEING TEXT OF A WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE BY ATIKU ABUBAKAR, CANDIDATE OF THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN THE FEBRUARY 23, 2019 ELECTIONS ON WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2019

Dear citizens of Nigeria,

Let me start by thanking you for choosing democracy as the settled system of government for our great nation.

Democracy is a government of the people by the people, only when the people’s choice prevails. That did not happen on Saturday, February 23, 2019. On Election Day, we saw the implementation of grand theft of the people’s will. I am not one for hyperbole so I will just let the facts speak for themselves.

In Akwa Ibom for instance, the results showed a statistical impossibility of a 62% drop in voter numbers from the 2015 elections even where voter registration and PVC collection rates were much higher than in 2015. This pattern was repeated in strongholds of the Peoples Democratic Party, including in Delta, Rivers, Abia and Benue states.

As this was occurring, we saw another statistical impossibility wherein voter turnout and numbers increased astronomically in Borno State by an almost miraculous 82% in the midst of increased insecurity. This pattern was also repeated in other strongholds of the All Progressive Congress. One begins to ask if insecurity is conducive to higher voter turnouts and security is antithetical to high voter turnout.

It is further curious that the Peoples Democratic Party’s margin of victory in states outside the Southeast and South-south were extremely slim across board. That again is a statistical impossibility. The fact is that when you calmly look at the numbers declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission as results of the February 23, 2019 elections, they do not add up.

Let me say that I am not speaking as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party. I am speaking as a Nigerian when I say that the electoral fraud perpetrated by the Buhari administration this past Saturday cannot produce a government of the people for the simple reason that it does not reflect the will of the Nigerian people.

It is for this reason that I, Atiku Abubakar, reject the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission declaring Muhammadu Buhari as duly returned by the majority of lawful votes. I am conferring with not just my party, but also with the Nigerian people, on next steps, which will be revealed to the public shortly.

For my fellow Nigerians who feel angry, disillusioned, and let down by the process, I appeal to you to remain calm and steadfast. Rome was not built in a day. We have the real figures, we have the facts that were spoken so loudly on Saturday, February 23, 2019. This is a long journey, but I am confident of victory. All hope is not lost. Stay strong, by the grace of God we shall triumph.

And to investors and friends of Nigeria now pulling out of Nigeria, I urge you to be patient and keep faith with the Nigerian people. Your quarrel is not with the Nigerian people. Your quarrel is with those who stole their mandate. Please do not punish the people by divesting from Nigeria.

Thank you all and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

I’ve won five Champions Leagues, Atletico have zero- Ronaldo

ronaldo-juve-goal1204120002.jpgCristiano Ronaldo responded to Juventus’ loss against Atletico Madrid by reminding everyone he had won the Champions League five times, while the Spaniards are yet to lift the trophy.

The former Real Madrid forward experienced an unhappy return to the Spanish capital as Diego Simeone’s Atletico claimed a 2-0 first-leg lead in their round-of-16 tie on Wednesday.

cristiano-ronaldo1794755321.jpg

At one point during the game, Ronaldo responded to the predictable heckles he received at the Wanda Metropolitano by holding up his hand to indicate the number of Champions League titles he had won – four with Madrid and one with Manchester United.

And Ronaldo reiterated that figure when he breezed through the post-match mixed zone after the match.ronaldo-i-have-five-champions-leagues-atletico-have-zero-7-lhnqvmfk57r15hd3x745zchk

“I won five Champions Leagues and these guys zero,” he told reporters while holding up his hand.

The Schalke gameplan Man City need to be aware of ahead of Champions League clash

pepguardiola0311678158203.jpgThe quest for Champions League success resumes for Manchester City as they travel to Germany to take on Schalke on Wednesday.

Just four days on from their FA Cup victory against Newport County, Pep Guardiola’s men will be looking to build a lead to bring back to Manchester in three weeks’ time as they chase an unprecedented quadruple success this season.

Despite the German side struggling domestically this season, sitting fifth from bottom and not yet safe from relegation, City must still guard against any complacency.

pep-guardiola-640x400Guardiola is expected to field several changes from the side that lined up in the FA Cup this weekend – but what can City expect from their German counterparts?

Manager Domenico Tedesco led his side to a hugely successful first season at the Veltins Arena in 2017/18, finishing Bundesliga runners-up. However, this season, it’s turned sour. They come into this game winning just one of their previous five matches.

Tedesco looks to set up his side usually playing with three at the back, which switches to five when opponents have the ball. The defence is usually protected either by one or two holding midfielders. There is then a big emphasis on the wingers to create opportunities for two strikers leading the attack.

sergio-aguero-raheem-sterling-bernardo-silva-man-city-2018-19_9tmtmpl9dfp61fyso2b5w36xuDespite playing two strikers, a big issue for the home side has been their lack of goals.

Their total of 284 shots this season does rank them inside the Bundesliga top ten for shots on goal, and their Expected Goal (xG) total in the league this season is 32.27. Yet they have scored just 25 league goals. This suggests they are creating chances – but have been extremely wasteful in front of goal.

A further struggle for Schalke has been their home form this season. They have picked up just 13 points from their 11 home league games so far in the Bundesliga, with only the league’s bottom four possessing a poorer home record.

City’s lethal attack should be granted plenty of opportunities on goal too. Only two other Bundesliga sides have been forced into more saves than Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann with 77 this season.

man-city-celebrate_1k2u5kzu0dwtrzknhwv0xkr7bDespite the number of chances prescribed to the opposition, Schalke’s defence has held together fairly well; only six league sides have conceded fewer than them this season. This is reiterated by their Expected Goals Against (xGA). Their xGA total is 31.18 this season, and they’ve conceded 32, meaning they have largely conceded the goals they should have, given the quality of chances offered up.

Away from the domestic competition, the Champions League has been a welcome distraction for Schalke. Like City, they only lost one game during the group stages. But City shouldn’t expect their opponents to try to out-play them on Wednesday.

Their average pass completion of just 80% is the third-lowest in the Champions League this season and they average just 47% possession of the ball per game. For comparison, City are the leaders in this department in this season’s competition with both pass completion success at 90% and average ball possession at 59%.

One player City will want to keep a tab on over the two legs is teenager Ahmed Kutucu. The 18-year-old Turkish midfielder has two goals in his previous three games and does seem destined to play a big part in the German side’s season.

“Akpabio Is A Political Pensioner” – Dino Melaye

Godswill Akpabio, lawmaker representing Akwa Ibom North has been described as a political pensioner by his colleague, Dino Melaye.

Messrs Akpabio and Melaye are Senators at the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly.

Mr Melaye representing Kogi West made the description on Tuesday when he featured alongside Festus Keyamo, the presidential spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign team, on a programme on Channels Television: The Verdict.dino-melaye1571674020.jpeg

The duo had a heated argument attacking and defending Mr Buhari’s choice of punishment on ballot box snatchers.

The president had declared extra-judicial killings for those who might want to thwart the electoral will of Nigerians in the rescheduled general election expected to commence on Saturday.

The Nigerian leader said he has ordered security operatives to ruthlessly deal with ballot snatchers at the scene of the crime without recourse to court trial as stipulated in the constitution.

The Army and the Police have all nodded and are willing to carry out the directive.

After the shouting match, the moderator asked for their final summarization of what is expected on Saturday.

For Melaye, he said Nigerians are tired of the incumbent leader and has chosen Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as their next leader. He said the opposition party will reclaim states it had lost in the 2015 general elections.Godswill

For the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who claimed that the president’s choice of punishment on ballot snatchers is constitutional, the likes of Mr Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, Senate President, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso among others who left the All Progressive Congress (APC) might have made minor contributions but that did not win the election for his principal.

The lawyer said being a plus and minus situation, the party has also received into its fold politicians like Akpabio, Uduaghan, Orji Kalu, Ken Nnamani among others.

When he mentioned the name of the former Akwa Ibom governor, the lawmaker who interjected asked him “Who is Akpabio?”

“These are political pensioners,” Melaye said mockingly.

“You called Akpabio a political pensioner? Keyamo asked as the lawmaker restated his earlier comment saying the former governor was not just a political pensioner but “a big one.”Dino-Melaye-1

Another round of heated argument began with the legal practitioner claiming that the PDP candidate has conceded defeat by alleging that the APC were out to import fraudulent devices from China aimed at frustrating him in his stronghold during the election. The lawmaker rejected the defeat claim and sent the “defeat arrow” back to the sender.

The moderator hurriedly closed the noisy segment.

POLITICS TIMES recalls that the incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, was installed by Akpabio single-handedly. He has since turned against his successor and currently spearheading to install Nsima Ekere as the next governor.

Mr Ekere running on the platform of the APC had served Akpabio as running mate while the federal lawmaker held sway as governor.dino-melaye634727106.jpg

Messrs Udom and Ekere are from Eket Senatorial District whose turn it is to serve out their remaining four years rotational power zoning.

Akpabio is expected by the leadership of the APC to deliver majority of votes coming from the state to Buhari having did so for former president Goodluck Jonathan, even though he lost his re-election bid to the incumbent president who has boasted that nobody can unseat him.

Simeone reveals his tactical plan for Champions League clash with Juverntus

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says Diego Costa is not fit to play the entire match against Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says Diego Costa is not fit to play full game v Juventus

Costa returned to action last weekend after being sidelined for nearly two months because of a foot injury that required surgery. He came off the bench in Atletico’s 1-0 La Liga win at Rayo Vallecano, playing alongside Alvaro Morata for the first time. Simeone said on Tuesday that Costa ‘is not ready to play the 90 minutes’ in the round of 16 match at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Simeone on Tuesday said Costa 'is not ready to play the 90 minutes' in the round of 16 match

Vitolo started against Rayo, but Simone did not give any hints about his formation for the first leg against Juventus. Midfielder Koke is expected to be back in the lineup after a long injury layoff, although Simeone said he will wait until Wednesday to decide whether to start him. Simeone said he is focused on his squad and not on Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Real Madrid player who will be playing for the first time in Madrid since joining Juventus last summer.

His side face Juventus at the Wanda Metropolitano in the Champions League first leg

‘We only think about Antoine Griezmann, Morata, Costa, Koke,’ Simeone said Tuesday. ‘They are all extremely motivated to play a great match.’ Ronaldo has fared well against Atletico, scoring 22 goals in 31 matches against the rival in all competitions. In the Champions League, he faced Atletico in four straight seasons with Real Madrid, winning every time – in two finals (2014 and 2016), one quarter-final (2015) and one semi-final (2017).

Midfielder Koke is expected to be back in the lineup after a long injury layoff

Simeone said there could be surprises in Juventus’ squad even though coach Massimiliano Allegri announced on Tuesday that Paulo Dybala will be starting against Atletico. ‘It doesn’t mean that they will be playing with three forwards,’ Simeone said. ‘They can play several different ways regardless of the players who are starting.’

Atletico's players trained at their Majadahonda base in the sunshine on Monday

Juventus were runners-up in the Champions League in 2015 and 2017. Last year, they were eliminated by Real Madrid in the quarterfinals. Atletico Madrid are back in the round of 16 after failing to make it out of the group stage last season. This year’s Champions League final will be played at the Wanda Metropolitano.679271-diego-simeone-afp-1024x576

Man City set to sign Atletico Madrid star for £130m

Manchester City have made Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez their No 1 transfer target this summer. The reigning Premier League champions are looking to bring in Fernandinho’s replacement soon and believe Saul is the man to fill the Brazilian’s boots.

Manchester City are eyeing up a big-money move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez

However, City will have to part with £130million to bring him to the Etihad due to the Spaniard’s huge buy-out clause in his nine-year contract, according to The Mirror. The 24-year-old will be two years into his mammoth contract with Atletico by the end of the season which will force City into breaking the bank for the Spaniard. While cash-rich City may baulk at the buy-out clause, they will still look at trying to negotiate a deal for the defensive midfielder.

City are looking for long-term successor for the veteran midfielder Fernandinho

City will have to break their club record fee of £60m they paid for Riyad Mahrez to bring him in. Pep Guardiola has targeted several midfielders over the past year in the hope of finding a long-term successor for Fernandinho. City missed out on signing both Fred and Jorginho as both went to Premier League rivals instead last summer.

pepguardiola0311678158203.jpgGuardiola is also a big admirer of Lyon’s midfield pair Tanguy Ndombele and Houssem Aouar, but the Ligue 1 outfit will not sell either player for less than £80m. Fernandinho, 33, arrived at City from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 for £36m but his contract is set to expire in June 2020.

City manager Pep Guardiola is keen on finding Fernandinho's replacement this summer

2030: Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay announce joint World Cup 2030 bid

argentina-chile-paraguay-uruguay-world-cup-2030-bid-7-em5qvtsbfuvg1ikjx1wfnv5bsArgentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay have agreed to launch a joint bid to host the World Cup in 2030, it has been confirmed.

Chile’s president Sebastian Pinera announced the move via social media on Thursday, with Uruguay bidding to host the tournament for the first time since the inaugural 1930 competition.

Morocco, Spain, and Portugal have already signalled their intention to jointly host the event, as have Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania.

But those two efforts will face competition from a shared South American bid after Pinera confirmed successful talks with other regional leaders.

“The presidents of the Argentine Republic, Mauricio Macri; of the republic of Chile, Sebastian Pinera; from the republic of Paraguay, Mario Abdo; and of the oriental republic of Uruguay, Tabare Vazquez; agreed to present their joint candidacy to organize the 2030 World Cup,” Pinera posted on Twitter.

“The presidents, through the four respective Football Associations (AFA, ANFP, AFP and AUF), decided to raise to FIFA, after communicating it to CONMEBOL, the shared position to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup, organised by Uruguay in 1930.

“A few months ago I proposed to the presidents of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to incorporate Chile, and together, apply to the organisation of the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

“This proposal was accepted by the three countries and by the Chilean ANFP. After the World Cup of 1962, Chile will have a new opportunity.”

Argentina last hosted the World Cup in 1978, winning the tournament on home soil, while the event has never been to Paraguay.

President of the Uruguayan FA Wilmar Valdez previously called for a joint bid with Argentina to be set up.

The 2022 World Cup is controversially set to be held in Qatar, with the United States, Mexico and Canada teaming up to host four years later.

Liverpool to trash Manchester United’s £75million record in a mouth-watering deal

Liverpool will use Manchester United’s huge kit sponsorship deal with Adidas as a gauge when they agree a new contract. The Reds’ current kit is sponsored by Boston-based New Balance, but that runs out at the end of 2019-20 and the club are actively looking for a new deal that dwarfs their existing £45million-a-season contract.
Image result for liverpool jersey 2019

Man Utd agreed a massive £75million-a-season deal for 10 years in 2014 – a figure which makes the deal Liverpool struck in 2015-16 look like small fry. With that in mind the Reds have started talks with New Balance over a new deal which will surpass the £75million a year that United receive. Such has been the development of Liverpool into Premier League title contenders under Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool Echo reports that the club believe they should be commanding a similar figure to that of the Old Trafford club.
Image result for liverpool jersey 2019The club also recently announced a record-breaking £125million pre-tax profit and the Merseyside club are seen as a prime partner for sportswear giants worldwide.Despite talks being underway with New Balance, the club are not ruling out switching brands and rivals suppliers Adidas, Nike and Puma are all potential new partners.
Image result for liverpool and new balance

Last month Liverpool CEO Peter Moore confirmed the club were actively looking for a new kit deal. Moore told Arabian Business: “It’s an important part of our overall commercial make-up, not only for the revenue it brings, but live-and-die soccer fans [care] about their kit manufacturer and designs as part of how they show themselves as fans. We think we are uniquely placed right now to build upon what we already have with New Balance… we think it’s a great opportunity to build on our global distribution.” Top Premier League kit sponsorship deals: Manchester United (£75m), Chelsea (£60m), Arsenal (£60m) and Manchester City (£50m).
Image result for liverpool and new balanceLiverpool midfielder Fabinho is happy with how his debut season is progressing – even though he would have loved to have played a greater role already. The Brazil midfielder arrived in the summer from Monaco in a £43.7million deal but was held back by manager Jurgen Klopp, making his first start in the Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea in late September. That was only a week after an 89th-minute debut in the Champions League against Paris St Germain, but it was not until December that the 25-year-old began to feature regularly.
Related image

Fabinho’s emergence has helped bolster Liverpool’s title push and the Brazilian has recent experience of a championship victory, winning Ligue 1 with Monaco in 2017. “I had a good season with Monaco, we scored a lot of goals and we had joy playing football and we have to do it here as well. Enjoy the games and go on the pitch with happiness and go game-by-game. I know it is really hard to win a league, especially the Premier League, but we have experienced players here at Liverpool. I don’t know if I can help a lot because we already have experienced players.” he said.

Good news: FIFA recognises Nigerian World Cup star Julius Aghahowa

Former Super Eagles of Nigeria  striker, Julius Efosa Aghahowa has been recognised by FIFA for the celebration he enacted after scoring against Sweden at the 2002 World Cup. FIFA’s citation for ‘Agha-Wonder’ came on the occasion of his 37th birthday, for which the global body recounted how he wowed soccer fans with multiple-flips in his legendary acrobat style of celebrating his goals.

Image result for Aghahowa sweden

Incidentally, it turned out to be Nigeria’s only goal at Korea/Japan 2002, in which the team first lost 1-0 to Argentina and drew goalless with England in their last group match, to stumble out of the contest.

Image result for Aghahowa sweden

However, the goal and celebration by ‘Aggie’ style ardent hold soccer fans spellbound worldwide, especially with the match commentator adding spice with his wild repetition in describing the striker’s somersaults.

Image result for Aghahowa sweden

‘On and on and on and on,’ the commentator screamed with delight, such that FIFA cannot be faulted for remembering the captivating scene all of 16 years on, and honouring the man who enacted the feat.

Related image

The global soccer body stated gleefully: “A great header. An even better celebration. @NGSuperEagles’ Julius Aghahowa.
“The man responsible for these 2002 #WorldCup acrobatics, turns 37. What do you think is the best #WorldCup goal celebration of all time?”

Image result for Aghahowa sweden

Aghahowa played 32 matches and scored 14 goals for the Nigerian national team. He became Nigeria’s top goalscorer at the 2002 African Nations Cup. He also played at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Meanwhile,  Arsenal of England youngster, Folarin Balogun has admitted he is excited to sign his first professional contract, which he says he cherishes a lot. Balogun was all smiles, as he put pen to paper on the dotted lines in London, and stated afterwards that it is a dream come true for him.

Image result for Folarin Balogun

The 17-year-old Balogun has been with Arsenal’s academy since age ten and has played for The Gunners are various grades, before finally heralding his arrival on the big time this season. Balogun has already scored 13 goals in 13 games for Arsenal’s under-18 squad, while helping them up to second on the Youth League table.

However, he is not seriously thinking about a future playing international football for Nigeria, as he is already in England’s youth squad and is also eligible for United States of America. Though he has played for USA and England at under-18 grade, he could be urged to make the switch if pressure comes from Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) early enough.

gettyimages-72496377-612x612

UCL: UEFA explains why Ajax goal against Real Madrid was cancelled

European football governing body, UEFA has explained why Tagliafico’s goal for Ajax against Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 first leg was disallowed.

Shortly after the final whistle in Real Madrid’s away win at Ajax, UEFA explained the decision to overturn Nicolas Tagliafico’s first half goal for the hosts. Dusan Tadic was in an offside position and though he didn’t touch the ball, the official ruled out the goal after consulting VAR.

The rule outlines that a player can be deemed offside without touching the ball if he prevents and opponent from playing, or being able to play, it. “In the 38th minute of the Ajax v Madrid first leg, Nicolás Tagliafico’s headed goal was ruled out following a VAR review,” read a tweet by UEFA’s official Champions League account.

“The referee identified that Tagliafico’s team-mate Dusan Tadic was in an offside position and interfering with the goalkeeper – preventing him from playing or being able to play the ball – as the header was being made. This was in line with VAR protocol and the goal was correctly overturned and a free-kick given for offside.”

preventing him from playing or being able to play the ball – as the header was being made. This was in line with VAR protocol and the goal was correctly overturned and a free-kick given for offside.uefa

Solskjaer reveals players to be dropped after Champions League defeat to PSG

baillyOle Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his Manchester United squad that anyone “feeling sorry for themselves” after the Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain will be dropped. Manchester United play top four rivals Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday and Solskjaer wants to see some fight from his players in when they get back to Carrington to prepare for the trip to Stamford Bridge.Image result for manchester united vs psg

“We’ve got Chelsea and Liverpool in the next two games so whoever feels sorry for themselves will not play the next game,” Solskjaer said. “Don’t feel sorry for yourselves. This is a level up from what we’re used to.” Second-half goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe ensured that PSG will be firm favourites to progress ahead of the return leg in Paris but Solskjaer has not given up hope of causing a shock at Parc des Princes.Image result for manchester united vs psg

“The reaction in dressing room is disappointment but when we go to Paris we’ll give it a go,” he said. “It will be difficult and it’s a mountain to climb but it’s not impossible.”

psgSolskjaer has done a remarkable job in transforming the mood and performances since succeeding the sacked Jose Mourinho in December – but this was his toughest night since he arrived back at Old Trafford. It was no reflection on Solskjaer that United lost; they were simply the victims of a better team that still possessed an outstanding attack in the shape of Di Maria and Mbappe, even in the absence of Neymar and Cavani.Image result for manchester united vs psg

After 10 wins from his first 11 games in charge, Solskjaer admitted the French champions had given them a “reality check.” However, the Norwegian was left frustrated after watching Kimpembe score the first from Angel Di Maria’s corner after being fortunate to escape a second yellow card before the half time. Instead it was United who received the only red card of the game when Paul Pogba was dismissed in the 89th minute.Image result for manchester united vs psg

“Presnel Kimpembe was very lucky and the way he throws Marcus Rashford down to the floor and we don’t get a foul,” said Solskjaer. “There’s no point me sitting here talking about that now. We’re disappointed we won’t have Paul for the next game. That’s a big blow because he’s been fantastic for us.”Image result for manchester united vs psg

Solskjaer also urged Alexis Sanchez to help himself in his search for form after another lacklustre performance. The Chilean was largely anonymous after coming on as a first-half substitute and afterwards Solskjaer insisted it was up to him to get back to his best. “I can’t do anything about Alexis Sanchez,” said Solskjaer. “When he plays he needs to find himself because there’s a quality player there.”ole-gunnar-solskjaer-manchester-united

Zaniolo shorts for words after Champions League brace lifts Roma

Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo was stunned by his two-goal haul in the team’s Champions League victory over Porto.

Italian teenager Zaniolo scored both goals as Roma emerged 2-1 winners at home to Porto in the opening leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old, who joined Roma as part of Radja Nainggolan’s move to Inter in the off-season, became the youngest Italian player with a brace in the Champions League.

Afterwards, Zaniolo told Sky Sports Italia: “I have no words, it’s a memorable day. I’ll never forget it in my life.zaniolo-brace-roma-champions-league-7-6x0lxm0ptz6w19q0dh701ehdh

“Now I want to focus on the return leg because the goal we gave up can be bothersome. We have to play like we did today without conceding anything to the opponents.

“We had prepared it this way. I ran a lot, but I’m happy for the result. It’s a unique emotion to score under the Curva Sud, I can’t describe it. I hope to score many more.”

Roma were 2-0 ahead in the second half thanks to Zaniolo before substitute Adrian Lopez netted a priceless away goal for Portuguese visitors Porto.

“Obviously, we didn’t want to come here and suffer a defeat, but it was a very balanced game,” Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas told TVI. “We conceded that quickly-taken goal, then were unlucky on the second as the ball bounced right back into his path, but this can happen in football.

“I believe we did justice to our performance with that away goal and that means the tie is still open. Although Roma aren’t in the top four in Serie A right now, they do have great players, so we knew it’d be difficult.

“We believe that we can control the second leg and go through.”

Real Madrid legend makes shocking statement about Barcelona star Lionel Messi

Real Madrid legend Alvaro Arbeloa claims he is counting the days until Lionel Messi announces his retirement and that he doubts he’ll ever be able to enjoy him as a footballer. The former Real Madrid defender says that while the Argentine is a ‘great player’, he isn’t able to appreciate his talents as a supporter.

The 36-year-old, who himself retired in 2017, played against Messi during his Madrid days, with Arbeloa making 237 appearances in all competitions during two spells at the Bernabeu. And despite Messi being considered one of the greatest players in history, Arbeloa insists that, because of his ties to Madrid, he will never be in a position to enjoy the Argentine’s abilities, suggesting that he’s counting the days until he retires.

“I respect Barcelona a lot, as they’re a great team with a great player like Lionel Messi,” he told Marca. “He’s very good, although I’ve never been able to enjoy it [watching him] and I don’t think I ever will. I hope he retires before long, I’m counting down the days.”

Former Spain international Arbeloa won one league title during his time with Madrid, although it’s Barca that currently lead the standings in La Liga. Both sides also remain in contention for the Champions League, with Los Blancos aiming to defend their crown as they face Ajax in the last 16, while Barca take on Lyon on February 19. Arbeloa claims that while he’s not ‘anti-Barcelona’ he even takes pleasure from seeing them lose in training.

“I’m not anti-Barcelona,” he added. “I always want them to lose because that’s good for Real Madrid. Real Madrid fans aren’t anti-Barcelona, but I do hope that they lose in training tomorrow. Would I want them to fail to go through in the Champions League? Yes, there would be one less rival. Barcelona were always a challenging team, they’re a great team. I always went out to beat them. I’ve always seen tension in Clasicos, even seeing Zinedine Zidane with his hands around Luis Enrique’s neck.”

Arbeloa also commented on Isco’s situation at Madrid, with the playmaker having struggled to cement a regular place in Santiago Solari’s starting XI since the Argentine’s appointment. The former Liverpool man said: “Isco has gone through something he never has had to before. He’s had to play in a position that isn’t his. I’m the number one fan of Isco and I hope he stays at Real Madrid for many more years.”

Juventus table a stunning £175m for Liverpool star, Mo Salah

Italian Serie A defending champions Juventus are preparing a £175million move for Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, according to sensational reports.

Salah, 26, left Serie A rivals Roma in 2017 to join the Anfield club and has been one of the best players in the world over the last 18 months. According to Sky News Arabia, though, Cristiano Ronaldo is backing a stunning attempt to lure Salah back to Italy this summer and has given the “green light” to the move. And they believe the second-biggest transfer fee of all time could persuade Liverpool to sell their star man.

Salah – who stunned fans on Sunday by shaving off his beard – is the joint-top scorer in the Premier League with Sergio Aguero this season with17 goals matched. Since arriving for a bargain £34.3m, Salah has scored 64 goals for the Reds, including 45 last season as Liverpool reached the Champions League final.

He was named PFA Player of the Year and will now be hoping to land Liverpool their first Premier League title. His side are second in the league, level on points with Manchester City, but have a game in hand on the reigning champions. After two years at Chelsea, in which he was loaned out twice, he joined Roma in 2016 and enjoyed a stellar season before being picked up by Jurgen Klopp.

Ronaldo, 34, joined Juventus from Real Madrid last summer and the thought combination of him and Salah will have defences across Europe on red alert. Mo Salah does some hilariously awkward dancing after winning African Player of the Year award

The futures of both Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa are in doubt, which would pave the way for Salah to walk into the Juventus starting XI. Dybala had a bust-up with manager Massimiliano Allegri last week and is today said to be edging closer to a move to Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Costa put Manchester United on alert after liking a Twitter post linking him with a move to Old Trafford.salah-mohamed

Manchester United in trouble with UEFA after Champions League loss to PSG

Manchester United could face potential disciplinary action from Uefa after a bottle was thrown at former United midfielder Angel Di Maria.

Di Maria went as if to drink from the bottle before handing it to an official

The Argentina international was booed from the outset by the home support at Old Trafford, and nearly had to leave the field with a first-half injury after United captain Ashley Young shoved him into the pitchside fence.

baillyDi Maria would have the last laugh, with PSG comfortably beating the hosts thanks to goals by Presnel Kimpembe and the irrepressible Kylian Mbappe. And matters could get worse for United after a fan from the home end threw a bottle at Di Maria as he went to take a second-half corner kick.

The versatile midfielder joked by pretending to drink from the bottle before handing it to an official, but should the incident be included in the match referee’s report then European football’s governing body could well take action against the Manchester club. Di Maria endured a tough season at United after becoming a £60m signing and inheriting the club’s famous number 7 shirt that had been worn by legends George Best, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In many ways the diminutive playmaker became a casualty of Louis van Gaal’s dysfunctional regime, and that miserable season under the Dutchman resulted in Di Maria’s only season in the last decade without a single trophy. Paris Saint-Germain came in for him at the end of that disappointing campaign and Di Maria was only too happy to swap the north-west for Ligue 1 and a fresh start in Paris, where he has since rediscovered his form and proven his worth as a top-class midfielder.

But resentment still lingers with the Old Trafford crowd making their feelings clear and Di Maria returning the favour, shouting a very English expletive back at the home supporters when PSG went ahead through Kimpembe’s header.

Reasons why Sarri has fallen out of luck with Chelsea’s players

AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea FC - Premier LeagueFollowing Sunday’s 6-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City, Maurizio Sarri has been subject to an inquest at Chelsea.

However, it is becoming swiftly apparent that the answer to the club’s problems lies deeper than the manager.

The Telegraph has released a report highlighting the west London club’s biggest ongoing issues.

Since the start of 2019, Chelsea have endured arguably the most turbulent period since the start of Roman Abramovich’s reign.

The Blues suffered their heaviest defeat in 28 years over the weekend, which followed successive away defeats to Arsenal and AFC Bournemouth.

The Italian’s relationship with his players has been seriously strained and the Telegraph have highlighted how this has happened.

According to the report, Sarri biggest challenge at Stamford Bridge is overcoming the player-power at the club.

One of Sarri’s key issue has been his reluctance to find a plan B and he has spoken about his refusal to change his methods.Manchester City v Chelsea FC - Premier League

The Blues’ players have grown bored this and are overwhelmed by the tactical information which the 60-year-old is feeding them.

His decisions to start training at 3pm, rather than in the morning, and smoking during training has also seen him become an unpopular figure.

A Chelsea insider has explained to the Telegraph how the manager’s biggest challenge will be getting the players onside:

“It’s clear the players know the power is not with the coach and any fear has been eliminated.

“There’s no doubt at City and Liverpool that it is pointless for players to run to their agents if they are not playing, but that’s not the case at Chelsea.

“Antonio Conte tried to change the culture and he was sacked.”

Sunday’s defeat at the Etihad, Sarri delivered a pretty damming statement on the club’s owner Roman Abramovich.

The former SSC Napoli boss claims that he rarely hears from Abramovich.

With the Russian owner already been criticised for failing to supply Sarri with the right players, his apparent failure to communicate with Sarri won’t help his cause.

NOUN appoints former Army spokesman as faculty member

National_Open_University_of_Nigeria_NOUN

The National Open University of Nigeria has appointed retired Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman as Faculty member of its Business School.

Usman voluntarily bowed out of the Nigerian army as its Director of Public relations on Thursday after more than 35 years of service.

A statement issued by the Coordinator of NOUN Business School, Prof. Samaila Mande, on Tuesday and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria said the former army spokesman was appointed because of his wealth of experience.

Mande expressed optimism that as Public Relations and Communications expert, Usman would bring his wealth of knowledge and experience to bear in his new appointment.

He said with Usman’s appointment, the retired general would chair the Crisis Communication, Public Relations and Security Studies sessions of the School.9N5ktkqTURBXy8wNTY3ZTE0NDEwOTBmOWI5NDcxZjUxMWZiMWQ0ZGQ0Ny5qcGVnkpUDFgDNAlXNAVCTBc0DFM0BvA

Usman is a graduate of Bayero University Kano, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and also has a Masters degree in Media, Peace and Conflicts Studies.

He is also a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and member of the prestigious National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru in Jos.

(NAN)

PSG star confident of shutting out this Man Utd star in their Champions League clash tonight

Paris Saint-Germain have players capable of stopping Paul Pogba in Tuesday’s Champions League clash, Julian Draxler insists. The Frenchman has been in exceptional form for Manchester United, but the German midfielder is confident his side can keep him quiet. The Ligue 1 leaders head to Old Trafford for the first leg of their last-16 tie against a United team who have shown resurgent form under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

psgSaturday’s 3-0 defeat of Fulham was their 10th win in 11 games in all competitions since Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho in December. Pogba has been instrumental in their improved run, his two goals against Fulham taking his tally to 11 in the Premier League this term, a personal best in a single season in top-flight football. Draxler, though, is confident his team-mates can keep Pogba quiet, telling a news conference: “They have got some great players at Man United, especially in midfield, with Pogba and [Nemanja] Matic. They will be key in the game.
Related image

“But we’ve got a lot of quality, too. Our players are more than capable. We stopped Paul sometimes in games between Germany and France. “We’ll see what he does. He can do everything, but we’ve got players capable of stopping Paul.”
Related image

Tuesday’s game will see Angel Di Maria face his old club for the first time in a competitive match since he left for PSG for a reported £44million in 2015. With Neymar and Edinson Cavani out injured, Draxler hopes he and Di Maria can produce a positive display.
Related image

“I was asking him some things about Man United, but I won’t tell you what he said – it was nothing bad!” Draxler said. “We will need him without Cavani and Neymar. Hopefully, he gives a good performance. “I don’t really know what position I will be playing, but I’m comfortable in lots of positions. I’m not the same type of player as Neymar and, clearly, we’ll miss him. I’ll try to put in a great performance.”

Draxler does not consider either side to be favourites but is confident PSG will be able to overturn any negative result in the second leg at Parc des Princes on March 6.
Related image

“Everyone knows that there are two good teams,” he said. “Everyone should be ready to watch the match because it’s one everyone wants to see. I don’t know if United are favourites or us. For me, it’s not important. “You’ll never win a game by talking lot before the game. It’s what happens on the pitch that counts. “We’re expecting United to play in the same way they have been playing recently. But it’s not all or nothing [on Tuesday]. There is the second leg at our ground.”kylian-mbappe-edinson-cavani-neymar-psg-celtic-13092017_1e6bzx55xoxpv10tf92692ramy

Eden Hazard likes Madrid but I hope he stays at Chelsea – Fabregas

hazardCesc Fabregas hopes Eden Hazard extends his stay at Chelsea, but said the star attacker has always liked Real Madrid.

The Belgium international revealed this week he had made a decision on his future and would announce it “soon”.

Hazard, 28, has long been linked with a move to Madrid, but is contracted at Stamford Bridge until 2020.Eden-Hazard-5-1068x580

His former team-mate Fabregas, who moved to Monaco in January, is holding out hope Hazard will stay at Chelsea.

“Let’s see what he decides to do. He has a year and a half left and he is happy at Chelsea and so is his family,” he told Radio Marca.Hazard1

“But in the end they are very personal decisions. He likes Madrid and he has always said it.

“Hopefully he will renew with Chelsea, but if he does not he will finish in Madrid.”

Students And Parents Rejoice As ASUU Calls Off Three Months Old Strike

Its a massive relief for parents and students who have had to sit at home for about three months now since November, 2018 when ASUU embarked on its strike action meant to get the government to address matters concerning its members’ welfare.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Thursday agreed to suspend their strike, which has lasted for three months.

This comes after ASUU signed all agreements with the Federal Government, following a conciliatory meeting in Abuja.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, represented the Federal Government, while the lecturers were represented by the union’s president, Biodun Ogunyemi.

According to Ngige, both parties unanimously resolved the eight contentious issues that had prolonged the strike.

Addressing reporters at the end of the meeting, Ogunyemi said: “On Sunday, November 4, 2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) resumed its strike action, which was conditionally suspended on 14th September, 2017.

“The action of 2017 was suspended following the signing of a memorandum of action (MoA) in which the federal government of Nigeria (FGN) promised to address the contentious issues within a timeline that was to end in October 2017.

“While announcing the suspension of the nationwide action, however, our union made it categorically clear that ASUU will not hesitate to review its position should government renege on the signed Memorandum of Action.

“Predictably, Government implemented the MoA in the breach, thereby forcing ASUU to resume the suspended strike action. Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last thing ASUU members love doing is to cause disruption in smooth intellectual engagements with colleagues, friends and students right on our university.

 

campuses. This has nothing to do with the dubious advertorial of non-disruption of academic calendar by proprietors and administrators of some cash-and-carry universities and other self-styled enemies of ASUU.

“Rather, it is about deep-seated pains members of the Union undergo to prevent strike actions and the equally painful consequences strike situations bring to all who are genuinely averse to the mercantile disposition to university education.

ASUU’s official Twitter handle also confirmed that lecturers are to resume on Friday (tomorrow).“The NEC has decided that the STRIKE HAS BEEN SUSPENDED.

“Academic activities resume tomorrow,” the union quoted its president as saying in a tweet.ASUU_14

PSG manager sounds warning to Manchester United ahead of Champions League clash

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel does not want Kylian Mbappe to try to take on Neymar’s responsibilities with the Brazilian out injured. The PSG boss sees no reason for the French prodigy to change in the Brazilian superstar’s absence.

Neymar, 27, is set to be sidelined until April after suffering a foot injury last month and will miss both legs of the round-of-16 Champions League clash against Manchester United. In two games without their injured star, PSG crushed Rennes 4-1 before losing their first Ligue 1 match of the season to Lyon with a 2-1 scoreline on Sunday. Tuchel said he saw no reason for Mbappe – who has scored 22 goals in 25 games this season – to change his role with Neymar sidelined.

“I usually prefer Kylian to be the finisher – when he’s our last line of attack against the opposing defence. He’s incredibly dangerous because of his pace and his hunger to score goals,” Tuchel told a news conference.

“I don’t want him to take on Neymar’s responsibilities of providing assists and keeping possession in the last few yards. We have players that are able to do it – players who can support Kylian and Edi [Cavani] and provide them with the right pass. Both strikers need to be the finishers, that’s the most important thing.”

PSG visit third-tier outfit Villefranche in the Coupe de France on Wednesday before hosting Bordeaux in Ligue 1 on Saturday. The Parisians will then travel to Old Trafford on February 13 for the first leg of their European tie against United, with the home leg scheduled for March 7.ole-gunnar-solskjaer-manchester-united

Super Eagles star named one of the best performer in Europe

Alex Iwobi is no doubt one of Nigeria’s best performers in Europe today and it is expected that the Arsenal man will play at the highest level for many years to come. The Super Eagles star has been named the third best U25 midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues in one key stat. Though the Gunners number 17 has been criticized in recent games, especially against Manchester City on Sunday, a new performance indicator published by Ashwin Raman of Football Whispers suggests the Super Eagles star has lived up to expectations this season.

Image result for alex iwobi

Raman analyzed the matches in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A using advances stats and has ranked the top 20 midfielders and attacking midfielders with 850+ minutes for open play xG+xA/90. It is a methodology of giving marks to each shot or pass and adding them to get a number, showing how much a player could / should have been decisive, on average per match.

Image result for alex iwobi

The top midfielder is Diogo Jota of Wolverhampton Wanderers (0.47) followed by RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer (0.43), then Iwobi at 0.43. Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli (0.42) and Man City’s Bernardo Silva (0.42) complete the top five.

Image result for alex iwobi dele alli

Bordeaux number ten Samuel Kalu has revealed that the player that he gets along with the most in the Super Eagles setup is Arsenal star Alex Iwobi. The versatile winger has admitted that he was flattered to be handed a call-up to the national team after the 2018 World Cup after he was snubbed during his time in Belgium with Gent.

Image result for Samuel Kalu

”I was very flattered to be called by Rohr to play with the Super Eagles. It was a long time since I expected that, ” Kalu was quoted as saying by Girondins4ever.com. ”The invitation did not come while I was in Gent, I told myself that I needed to work even more.”

He added : ”I was very well accepted and get along very well with my teammates, especially with Alex Iwobi. We have a lot of quality players on the pitch, I am confident that we can with the Africa Cup of Nations in June.”

Image result for Samuel Kalu

Kalu, 21, has started all the competitive matches played by the Super Eagles since the end of the 2018 World Cup, against Seychelles, Libya (2) and South Africa, and has been directly involved in three goals.

Image result for Samuel Kalu

In other Nigerian football news, Chidozie Awaziem,22, has been named in Whoscored.com Team of the Week for the latest round of matches played in the Turkish Super Lig. The Nigeria international made his full debut for Rizespor in a 1-0 win at BB Erzurumspor on Sunday after joining the club in the January transfer window.

Awaziem has been included in the team after his impressive display, helping goalkeeper Akkan to post his fourth shutout of the season. The Porto loanee is the youngest player included in the Team of the Week and was partnered in central defense by Istanbul Basaksehir’s Epureanu in a 4-4-2 formation.

Awaziem made six clearances, one tackle, one interception and won four aerial duels against a BB Erzurumspor side that contained international teammate Emem Eduok. He made only two appearances for Porto’s first team in Cup competitions before he was sent on loan to Rizespor.

Grujic gives his verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi debate

Ronaldo-vs-Messi-967766

Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic has had his say on the never-ending Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi debate, after he was seen replicating the Juventus star’s signature celebration in Hertha Berlin’s game against Schalke last Friday.

Despite the fact that Messi and Ronaldo now play in two different leagues, the comparison between the duo remains.

ronaldo-and-messi1232555892.png

The Barcelona ace and the Juventus star remain at the top of their game, even a decade after their rivalry began, winning several trophies for their teams and individual accolades for their performances. While Ronaldo has netted 15 Serie A goals so far this season, Messi has scored 19 in La Liga.
messi-and-Cristiano

Grujic, who is currently on loan at Hertha Berlin, was asked to wade into the debate after he was seen celebrating in the same way that Ronaldo does, after scoring the equaliser during a game against Schalke on Friday.

When Grujic was asked whether he was trying to replicate the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, the 22-year-old insisted that the celebration was not planned at all.

Speaking to Bild, he said, “Pure emotion. I could not control it, it just happened like that.”

messi_ronaldo_siteThe Serbia international added that while he thinks Messi is the better player, Ronaldo is still a massive inspiration for him.

“I look up to Ronaldo. He is a great role model for me. Because he works obsessively on his development. I love to live football as professionally as possible and to subordinate everything to it. Messi may be the more talented player, but Ronaldo has worked it all out,” said Grujic.

messi-ronaldo-32088407795.jpg

Grujic has had a difficult spell at Hertha Berlin after his injury problems saw him play only nine league games so far.

Hertha will next face Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday, February 2.

‘Everyone is free to think of me however they want to’- Lionel Messi

lionel-messi-cropped_6khnpodnzc3g1s80dva0xuhm0313094635.jpgBarcelona captain Lionel Messi has opened up about the legacy that he would like to leave at the Catalan club, and how he wishes to be remembered when he finally hangs up his boots.

The Argentine maestro has come a long way since his younger days in La Masia, achieving unprecedented success both for the club and himself in his long career.

lionel-messi-barcelona-psv-champions-league-1806593182.jpg

The 31-year-old is now a hero in the eyes of the Catalonia faithful, establishing himself as one of the best, if not the best, players to ever don the Barcelona shirt.

Messi boasts of being the club’s all-time top scorer and continues to add to his ever-growing tally of goals in almost every game. Apart from LaLiga and Champions League titles, the Barca captain also boasts of an incredible five Ballon d’Or awards, a record shared with Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo. messi-and-Cristiano

In an exclusive interview with Unisport, Messi has opened up about the legacy he wishes to leave, stating that it does not matter as everyone will stick to a certain opinion of him in the end.

“In the end, everyone will remember and think of you what they want – and they’re free to do so.”lionel-messi-barcelona-real-madrid-060518_e99nghfn3muy1vlhccwso8v1d1099469055.jpg

When asked about his record Ballons d’Or, the Argentine said, “Well, I don’t think I’ve done anything decisive to achieve success or win titles. It comes when God decides and chooses, there’s no fixed time.”

Messi has helped Barcelona to the top of the Spanish league table, where they sit four points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, with 49 points.

The table-toppers are scheduled to face Sevilla in the crucial second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter finals later tonight.

Pep Guardiola confident Manchester City will beat Liverpool to the Premier League

Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola is refusing to give up on the Premier League title despite the prospect of falling seven points behind Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola is refusing to give up on the Premier League title after Manchester City's 2-1 loss

Manchester City lost for the fourth time at Newcastle last night despite taking a lead inside 24 seconds through Sergio Aguero. Leaders Liverpool entertain Leicester on Wednesday evening, but Guardiola said: ‘If they win it’s a lot of points (to be behind). But it’s January, it’s not April or May. There are many games. We won’t give up. It’s more difficult now, but we have the chances to do it and we know we have to win games. When you are behind you cannot drop points.’portugal-vs-uruguay-3571166265.jpg

Of the performance, he said: ‘It wasn’t our best. We got that goal but during the whole game we didn’t have the rhythm we need to impose our game. The early goal did not help us. ‘And when you don’t take the chances then the game stays open, so congratulations Newcastle.’ The Magpies are set to break their transfer record with the £20.5million signing of Miguel Almiron and will add defender Antonio Barreca on loan from Monaco. They are also in talks with Benfica midfielder Andreas Samaris.

Salomon Rondon scored the equaliser for Newcastle at St James' Park on Tuesday evening

That news coupled with a victory which takes them to 14th lightened Benitez’s mood on a day which began with him refusing to commit to the club beyond the transfer window. ‘I did not know where we were (with transfers), but they told me before the game we are progressing. It could be good news for us, but the main thing is we sign what we need, not the price. I have confidence that we will do the right things to stay up. You have to stay calm. If people around trust you, then you have more chances to win,’ said the Spaniard.pep-guardiola-640x400

Benitez saw Salomon Rondo equalise on 66 minutes before Matt Ritchie smashed home a penalty 10 minutes from time. And he added: ‘We had a game plan, which was obviously not to concede in the first minute. But the reaction of the players was very good. We said at half-time we had to stay in game and we’d have chances. We needed to win one of these games which have been so close (against the top sides), and luckily this was the one. But the best game will be the one which keeps us up.’

Guardiola said it wasn't City's best performance as they struggled to break down Newcastle 

Ritchie was the match-winner but he admits morale has not been good of late. ‘The place has been low, I have to be honest,’ he said. ‘But we kept believing and kept working hard. We beat Man United at home last season and that was a turning point, so hopefully, this can be.’ Ritchie had to wait two minutes to take his spot-kick after Fernandinho fouled Sean Longstaff, and he said: ‘I was going to place it but it was so long I just decided to smash it!’

prof-guardiola

Arsenal boss Unai Emery plots another deadline day move for this Laliga star

Arsenal is set to make a deadline shock move for Real Madrid star Alvaro Odrizola this week, after missing out on Barcelona star Denis Suarez earlier.  The Gunners are said to have submitted a mega bid to Los Blancos for them to sign the player – Arsenal wants the 23-year-old Spaniard to replace Hector Bellerin who sustained injury lately.

Image result for alvaro odriozola

The Gunners are currently facing serious challenges in their defense this season following injuries picked by Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding. And recently, the Premier League side also announced that Sokratis Papastathopoulos will be out of action for at least 1 month.

Image result for alvaro odriozola

Arsenal is now in the market looking for a good defender that will replace Hector Bellerin at the Emirates stadium. And according to the report by El Gol Digital, Unai Emery’s side has submitted an offer to Real Madrid for the possibility of signing Alvaro Odriozola this month. Arsenal is reported willing to sign the 23-year-old as soon as possible and will match his pay packet at the Bernabeu. Odriozola, on the other hand, could also fancy the chance of playing regular football by moving to Premier League side Arsenal.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Madridista-Sweden@MadridstaIsco

Álvaro Odriozola is the player with the most assists in this Spanish Copa del Rey [ 4, alongside with Vinicius Júnior. Incredibly good 45 mins from them. It should have been 4-1 so far.

He has played 15 games this season in all competitions for Real Madrid who are currently occupying the third position on the Spanish La Liga standings with 39 points after 21 games. Malcolm emerged as a transfer target for Arsenal as the Premier League side are hoping to snap the Brazilian on deadline day. Arsenal has proposed for a loan deal for the misfit Barcelona striker during negotiations for midfielder Denis Suarez. The 21-year-old has been unable to nail a starting shirt in Ernesto Valverde’s side this season but the club’s hierarchy still rate him highly and are not willing to sell him.

Image result for alvaro odriozola abd arsenal

The Gunners missed the last edition of the UEFA Champions League last season, before departure of long term serving manager Arsene Wenger in 2018. they are set to come back to play that could be if they can win the race to get a place in the Premier League top four this season. following a number of injury crisis rocking the team if a move for defender breaks down within few days Unai Emery will be left with the youth team players and that could ruin their hopes of getting a positive result by the end of the season.  Arsenal has currently seated at 5th position behind rivals Chelsea. they hope to continue their chase as the face Cardiff City on Sunday evening.

Image result for unai emery

Man Named His Cute New Born Twins Atiku And Wike In Rivers

A Nigerian man identified as, Saveme Odual, has reportedly named his new born twins after Atiku and Wike in Rivers state.According to Facebook user, Joy Oyaghiri-Fagbemi, the man who named his new born twins Atiku and Wike, is

said to be a former member of the APC who decamped to PDP the day Governor Wike visited Abua Odual for the PDP campaigns.

See what wrote Joy Oyaghiri-Fagbemi below;

 

“An Odual man from Ward 11 identified as Saveme Akpila, a former member of the APC who decamped to PDP the day Gov. Wike visited Abua Odual for the PDP campaigns, has named his newborn twins Atiku and Wike. After the PDP Presidential Candidate and Gubernatorial Candidate of Rivers State, respectively. They were delivered on his way home after the PDP campaigns at Ayama, Abua on Tuesday. To God be the glory”

Image result for Nigerian Man Names His Cute New Born Twins Atiku And Wike In Rivers

Traditional African names often have unique stories behind them. From the day or time a baby is born to the circumstances surrounding the birth, several factors influence the names parents choose for their children. Whichever ethnic group you look at, these local names reveal a wealth of information about the bearer. Here are nine different ways African parents name their children:pray-for-grace

Among several ethnic groups, picking out names can be influenced by positive or negative circumstances the family finds themselves in around the time a child is born. Often, such names are complete sentences. Ayodele (joy has come home) is a unisex name for a baby whose birth brought happiness to their Yoruba parents in Nigeria. Yetunde or Yewande (mother has come back) is a Yoruba name given to a girl whose grandmother or other female relative died before she was born. Adetokunbo (crown/wealth has come back home) is a unisex Yoruba name often given to a child born abroad.

Ajuji (born on a rubbish heap) is a Hausa name given to a baby after those born before it failed to survive. It is believed that giving the child a “terrible” name will deceive evil spirits into thinking the child is not loved and as a result, allow it to live. Kgomotso and Pumza (comfort) are given to babies born shortly after a death or tragedy in Sesotho and Xhosa families in South Africa. Kiptanui and Cheptanui are often given to babies whose mothers may have suffered extreme difficulties during childbirth among the Kalenjin ethnic group in Kenya.

Dani Carvajal wishes Morata well at Atletico

Carvajal said he is happy for former Real Madrid team-mate Alvaro Morata ahead of his move to bitter LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid.

Morata is poised to swap Premier League side Chelsea for Atletico on an initial 18-month loan deal, with the option to make the move permanent.Dani Carvajal declared fit for Iran match

The 26-year-old forward left Madrid for Chelsea in 2017, however, the Spaniard has struggled at Stamford Bridge over the past year.

Carvajal has no hard feelings as Morata – who emerged from Madrid’s youth system and won two Champions League titles as well as a pair of LaLiga trophies among others – closes in on Atletico.

“They are decisions of each player. I do not judge him,” Madrid full-back Carvajal told reporters following Sunday’s 4-2 win against Espanyol.carvajal-morata-atletico-madrid-7-1ndiekcpsteo41vjlew7x7d829

“If he is happy at Atletico, I am happy for him. He is my friend and I wish him the best.

“I’m happy for him because in England he did not have many opportunities

“We just hope he does not have a good game against us [On February 9].”

Morata has scored five goals in 16 Premier League appearances this season, while he has managed nine in all competitions.

INEC removed Amina Zakari from Collation center of the Presidential poll results

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has excluded Amina Zakari and other national commissioners from the collation of presidential poll results.

The electoral body had initially designated Zakari to lead the collation center during the Presidential election on February 16th.

This followed a public outcry with many claiming that Zakari is a relative of President Buhari, an allegation that has been denied by the Presidency and Zakari herself.

According to The Nation newspaper, the collation of election results would be done at the collation secretariat and not the collation centre.

“No national commissioner is in charge of collation of presidential poll results. It is true that there is what is called collation centre but it is separate from the collation secretariat, which is responsible for the collation of results.

“No national commissioner will be appointed into the secretariat committee. So, Hajiya Amina Zakari or any national commissioner does not have anything to do with the collation of results.” a source told the Nation