Category: Sport

Barcelona boss speaks on Levante’s Copa appeal against his team

ernesto-valverdeBarcelona boss Ernesto Valverde insisted he is unconcerned over Levante’s official complaint regarding their selection of Chumi in the first leg of their Copa del Rey clash. While the complaint has been raised that the club fielded an ineligible player, the Barca manager insisted he was right to pick Chumi.

Young defender Chumi started last week’s 2-1 loss to Levante despite being due to serve a suspension after picking up five bookings while playing for Barcelona B in the Segunda Division B. Barca won the reverse fixture at Camp Nou 3-0 on Thursday – Ousmane Dembele scoring twice and Lionel Messi adding the third – to advance to the quarter-finals courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate success, with the draw for the last eight due to take place on Friday.

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However, speaking prior to kick-off on Thursday, Levante president Quico Catalan had stated his club’s intention to lodge a complaint to the Royal Spanish Football Federation, reportedly over Chumi’s involvement in the first encounter. Yet Valverde is confident Barcelona will not be kicked out of the competition and that Chumi was eligible to feature in the Copa del Rey.

“We have no doubt about Chumi. Not before, not after, or during. We believe that tomorrow we must be in the draw. We are sure that we did it well. We knew perfectly well that Chumi was sanctioned, he could not be used in the match against Eibar [in La Liga]. We are convinced of what we have done. We have acted in an absolutely correct way. We have won where we had to win. It is very clear,” he told reporters in his post-match news conference.

Barcelona will be looking to avoid the fate suffered by their rivals in the competition in 2015 when Real Madrid found themselves expelled for fielding an ineligible player. Madrid had played forward Denis Cheryshev in the first-leg victory over Cadiz, with the Russia international ineligible due to a suspension earned in the previous year of the competition while on loan at Villarreal. Los Blancos were forced to forfeit the second leg, and though they appealed, were bounced from the competition.

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Man Utd splashes another star player a huge new deal in order to keep him at Old Trafford

According to English Media outlet Mirror, Manchester United are ready to hand Marcus Rashford a huge new deal — with Europe’s top clubs preparing to pounce on the forward this summer.

England international Rashford has underlined his worth to the Old Trafford giants in recent weeks with six goals and three assists in nine games. United are understood to be ready to open talks with the 21-year-old over a double-your-money contract worth around £150,000 a week that would reflect his progression and importance to the club.

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Rashford’s £75k per week deal runs out in 18 months, and although United have an option to extend it by an extra year, there is a desire to tie him down with a more long-term arrangement.

Spain’s European champions Real Madrid and perennial Italian title winners Juventus are just two of Europe’s elite clubs who are known to covet Rashford, whose future looked uncertain during the turbulent reign of former boss Jose Mourinho.

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But academy kid Rashford, set to make his 150th appearance for the Reds in Saturday’s home game against Brighton, is thriving under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and has taken his game to a new level since the former United striker’s return last month.

Rashford has flourished in a more central position up front, scoring a stunning winner away to Tottenham at Wembley last weekend and enjoying the best goal-run of his career since he burst onto the scene under then-boss Louis van Gaal in 2016.

If he can find the net in the Brighton game, Rashford will take his Premier League goals tally this season to eight — his best return in the top-flight, with a third of the 38-match season still remaining.

Former Liverpool and Man City star, Balotelli beats coach at the gym

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Italy international striker, Mario Balotelli, who played for Premier League top two sides, Liverpool and Manchester City, displayed his trademark power and strength by brushing aside his fitness coach during a speed and agility session at the gym.

The Nice striker was completing an exercise that involved sprinting off a trampoline and then sidestepping left and right before a short sprint. During one intensive repetition, the former Manchester City and Liverpool striker collided with his trainer and sent him sprawling to the floor.balotelli1

Balotelli, who is currently at Ligue 1 club Nice, may be on the move during January with several clubs interested in his services. Marseille are frontrunners to sign him according to Sky Italy, with interest from Premier League Newcastle having cooled.

While he managed 42 goals in 64 appearances for the club in his first two seasons in France, the enigmatic frontman has struggled for form this season and has no goals in 10 games. His side are eighth in Ligue 1 under former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, while Marseille are a place and a point behind.

 

Barcelona star, Lionel Messi plans to break Pele’s goal record

Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi has scored 575 goals in all competitions for Barcelona. He is now 68 goals behind the figure Pelé scored during his 19 seasons at Santos.

Messi's next target: equalling the 643 goals Pelé scored for Santos

As far as football records go, it’s fair to say that there are not that many left for Leo Messi to break. After reaching 400 goals in LaLiga for Barça – 575 in all official games at club level, Messi is closing in an another historic registry.lionel-messi-cropped_6khnpodnzc3g1s80dva0xuhm0313094635.jpg

First, he will be aiming at reaching the round figure of 600 for the same club – something which he could feasibly achieve this season. But without a shadow of a doubt, the historic figure is the 643 official club goals which O Rei Pelé scored for Santos. On his way, Messi has now gone past Gerd Müller (565 goals for Bayern Munich), Eusébio (473 goals for Benfica) and Cristiano Ronaldo (450 goals for Real Madrid).Ronaldo-vs-Messi-967766

Messi totals 575 goals in 659 official games for Barça. He averages a mind-boggling 0.87 goals per game and if he continues at that rate – could theoretically equal Pelé’s tally in his next 78 games. That means that Messi could match Pelé’s club goals record by the end of the 2019-20 season or the start of the 2020-21 season. Two decades ago, it was generally thought that Pelé’s record would last forever – it would never be broken.messsi-english

With his numbers and given that he is showing no signs of stopping scoring, Messi has shown that Pelé’s record is now in danger of being equalled and even surpassed. He has been averaging 1.05 goals per game in LaLiga at Camp Nou and overtook Thelmo Zarra to become the all-time maximum goal scorer in the history of the Spanish league in November 2014.pele-messi

On that occasion, there was no special celebration at Camp Nou for the feat, and it was just as routine to see Messi hit the 400 league goals mark. He has spent nine seasons at Barça, ending as the league’s top scorer five times. If he does take Pelé’s record away, he might set a new record which may never be matched.

 

Super Eagles star Gbolahan Salami joins Ahmed Musa in Saudi Arabia

Super Eagles international, Gbolahan Salami has joined Saudi Arabian side Al Qaisoma FC on a short-term deal. Salami, 27, who has been capped by the Super Eagles, previously played in Finland and Kazakhstan. His last club was Kazak club Irtysh Pavlodar, who he played for last year. Salami’s new club Al Qaisoma are just above the relegation zone in the Saudi second division.Image result for Gbolahan Salami in super eagles

They are 17th  in the 20-team championship with 22 points from 20 matches, just a point ahead of Al Ain, who are in the drop zone. They will certainly need Salami’s goals and drive to stay clear of relegation.

Meanwhile,  Super Eagles will know their first round opponents at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt when the draw is staged in April. The Eagles have already qualified for the tournament with a round of games to spare after they failed to qualify for the last two editions of the competition. A top official of the Egypt Football Association(EFA) disclosed the AFCON draw will be conducted in the first week of April.

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“The draw will be in the first week of April,” EFA official Ahmed Medjahed. “Six stadiums for the competition are already ready, while we will have all nine stadiums for the AFCON by April. The 2019 AFCON will see an expanded tournament of 24 teams and it will be played between June 15 and July 13. This will be Egypt’s fifth time of staging the African football showpiece after they hosted it in 1959, 1974, 1986 and 2006.

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They are a late replacement for Cameroon, who CAF said were not ready to host the best of African football.

Increase your bid if you really want Leandro Paredes Zenit St. Petersburg Tells Chelsea

Zenit St Petersburg are demanding Chelsea go higher if they want to sign Leandro Paredes in this January transfer window. The Daily Mail says Zenit want £36m for Chelsea target Leandro Paredes.

Talks between the clubs opened last week though Chelsea fell short with their opening offer for the Argentine midfielder who returned for training on Monday after the Russian League winter break.

Chelsea’s opening offer was £26.8million, as they look to replace Monaco signing Cesc Fabregas. Paredes has scored seven times in his 43 matches for Zenit St Petersburg.

He’s also previously played for Empoli on loan, Roma, Chievo, and Boca Juniors.

Heung-min Son has apologised to the club’s fans over this complicated issue

sonlTottenham striker Son has said sorry to his club’s fans as he is part of the South Korea team that will participate in the upcoming Asian Cup which rules him out of some key games for his club. Son might be in the form of his career, having scored eight goals in his last nine games as Tottenham moved into second place in the league and into serious contention for the title.

He will play one more league game — against Manchester United on Jan. 13 — before leaving for international duty at the tournament in the United Arab Emirates. He could be away for up to five of Tottenham’s matches in all competitions if South Korea reach the Feb. 1 final in Abu Dhabi. Son also missed the first part of the league season while playing for South Korea at the Asian Games where he led the team to the title and secured himself an exemption from military service in the process.

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“Of course I feel very sorry because I miss already in September,” said Son, speaking after scoring his latest goal in Tottenham’s 3-0 win at Cardiff. “I feel sorry for my teammates, the fans and the coaching staff. It’s difficult. Sometimes you think it’s a bit sad, but it is also important for my country. I hope I can keep my form for the national team and when I come back here again as well.” Son is likely to miss league games against Fulham, Watford and Newcastle, as well as the second leg of Tottenham’s Carabao Cup semifinal against Chelsea.

Spurs would want Son back in time for the Feb. 10 match against Leicester in the league, but there’s a chance he’d be tired after his exertions in the UAE where South Korea heads in as the favourite. After all, he struggled on his return from the Asian Games.

skysports-heung-min-son-tottenham-hotspur_4498520“I was tired after the Asian Games because in that tournament I was playing after [every] two or three days,” Son said. “It is very important to be right mentally at the Asian Cup and to come back with a strong mind and be strong physically.

“It [November] was a turning point for me because I was tired and I didn’t travel. It was good to have this time, some days off, and hard sessions with the team. But the Asian Cup is big for us because we have not won it for 59 years.” The Asian Cup starts on Saturday. However, South Korea and Tottenham have agreed that Son only needs to link up with his international teammates in time for the start of the knockout stage.

Manchester City boss, Guardiola aims a dig at Liverpool

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The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss may have won the Premier League at a canter with Manchester City last season, but Pep Guardiola knows what it’s like to be in a title fight.

The nerves that get to even the world’s best players at those crucial moments. The self-doubt that creeps in when the pressure is on. Guardiola’s nine La Liga championships as a player and coach at Barcelona did not come as easily as the three Bundesliga crowns he added at Bayern Munich. He had some titanic duels, not least with Real Madrid.

pepguardiola0311678158203.jpgIt is why there was more than a hint of hope in the 47-year-old’s voice on Wednesday when he suggested that Liverpool’s title charge may well be interrupted by the odd stumble as the prize appears to be within their grasp. Jurgen Klopp’s side could crack under the pressure, Guardiola believes, and he has told his players to be ready when they do.man-city-celebrate_1k2u5kzu0dwtrzknhwv0xkr7b

When I lived in Barcelona and after Bayern Munich, I know what it means for the players. I can feel what they feel, the Liverpool players. After 29 years not winning the Premier League to be there to win it, I understand. I said to the players, that’s difficult to handle. That is why this season (we have to) maintain there for as far as possible. For me, that’s an immense and a huge motivation. Why don’t we try it, to catch them up and pressure them?’ he said.pep-klopp

No Premier League team has been able to beat Liverpool so far this season. City came closest with Riyad Mahrez’s late penalty miss in a goalless draw at Anfield in October, and on Thursday night at the Etihad, Guardiola knows they must seize the opportunity to close a seven-point gap.

‘We know how important it is,’ he added. ‘It’s almost a final for us. If we are not able to win, especially if we lose, then 10 points – goal difference (means) 11. If they continue that run it will be so difficult. I have the feeling it is a big opportunity for us to reduce the gap. Everyone is talking if we lose, but what happens if we win? I’m a manager to play this kind of games, to see what we can do on the big stage. Everybody’s going to watch us. It will be an incredible pleasure to be there.’1543081023-Man-City-Liverpool-cruise-as-Man-Utd-stumble-once-more-AP

After last season’s title procession, Guardiola knows he is in a very different race this time around. He is intrigued to discover how his players handle the pressure of chasing from behind after losing three of their last five Premier League games.

‘We cannot expect to be 12 or 13 points in front at Christmas,’ he said. ‘That’s happened once in our lifetime, last season. But it’s a new season and the opponent is so strong. If it is different pressure, we have to live it. We have to handle it. sergio-aguero-raheem-sterling-bernardo-silva-man-city-2018-19_9tmtmpl9dfp61fyso2b5w36xu

If we want to grow like a club, like an organisation and like a team, we have to face this kind of games with the pressure that means.’ So can City handle it? Honestly, I don’t know, that’s the point. What do I think? Yes, we are ready. I don’t have doubts but, honestly, I don’t know.’liverpool111877884637.jpg

Liverpool’s visit to the Etihad last season ended in a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of City, but Guardiola is refusing to use that as a guide to Thursday night’s clash any more than a 2-1 defeat to Klopp’s side when the two teams met there again in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in April.

guardiola 1363458571..jpg‘I cannot figure out what happened in the past is going to happen in the future. I have a feeling everyone can beat us, but also that we can beat everyone. Last year we beat them 5-0 here, but it doesn’t count now. It is Liverpool, with Manchester United the best team in England in terms of history. But we can beat them.

I know today nobody trusts us, nobody gives one coin for us. They are at the moment the best team in Europe. But we are going to fight as far as possible for our chance to win the Premier League,’ he said.

 

Ronaldo set match Messi’s incredible record against Sampdoria

messi-and-CristianoJuventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo will attempt to match Messi’s incredible record of scoring 50 calendar goals when the Old Lady take on Sampdoria in Serie A’s final match of the year. On Saturday against Sampdoria, Cristiano Ronaldo will play his last game of 2018 with a triple challenge in mind.ronaldo-juventus347045396.jpg

The first, is to contribute to another victory for his team, the second is to reach the figure of 50 goals in the calendar year for the eighth time in his career, and the third is the most difficult; match the 51 that Leo Messi has already achieved this year, for which he would need to score a poker.messi-ronaldo-32088407795.jpg

It’s a huge challenge, considering that in Italy the most he has achieved in the same match has been a brace. The Argentine has surpassed the figure of 50 goals on eight occasions between the years 2010 and 2018. He was marginally out in 2013 when he ‘only’ scored 45 goals in 47 games.Ronaldo-vs-Messi-967766

Since 2011, Ronaldo has always scored more than 50 goals in a calendar year, and his best stats came in 2013 when he managed an astonishing 69. So far in 2018, Ronaldo scored 28 with Real Madrid, six with Portugal (four of them in the World Cup) and 13 for Juventus, making a total of 47. It remains to be seen if Allegri decides to put him in the starting lineup or instead opts to give him some rest, as happened in the last League match against Atalanta.Cristiano-Ronaldo-Juventus-Real-Madrid-news-1052921

The Portuguese came on in the second half and played for 27 minutes, enough time to get the goal to secure a draw for Juventus. Against Sampdoria, the striker will be able to end 12 intense months in which many things have happened on a personal level. He won another Champions League with Real Madrid, was the Pichichi in the competition, played the World Cup in Russia, although with less success than expected, and put an end to his brilliant stage at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeuto continue his career in Turin.

Lionel Messi admits he miss arch rival Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo-vs-Messi-967766Barcelona ace Lionel Messi has acknowledged longstanding rival Cristiano Ronaldo, stating that any club would miss the Portuguese talisman as he is “one of the best in the world”. When Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Manchester United, football saw the birth of arguably the fiercest rivalry in the game.messi-and-Cristiano

Messi and Ronaldo set the rivalry that sees no end. Both have set and broken records, Both have five Ballon d’Ors, Both have set new heights in the beautiful game. At 31, Messi still continues to wreak havoc against opponents of Barcelona. The little Argentine has so far won nine La Liga trophies and four UEFA Champions League titles with the Catalan giants.messi_ronaldo_site

Ronaldo, on the other hand, won two La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns during his nine-year stint with the Los Blancos side. The Portuguese forward has moved to Serie A side Juventus in a shocking deal over the summer and looks set to win titles there as well.messi-ronaldo-32088407795.jpg

The Barcelona star has now opened up about his decade-long rivalry with Ronaldo and the departure that ended it. In an exclusive interview with Marca, Messi said of Ronaldo’s departure:ronaldo-and-messi886149806.png

“At the beginning of the season I said they are a great club, one of the best in the world and with a lot of great players, but anyone would miss Cristiano. He scores a lot of goals and gives you many other things so it doesn’t surprise me.”

messi12098949942.jpgThe five-time Ballon d’Or winner also spoke of their rivalry saying, “The rivalry with Cristiano was very healthy and very beautiful for the spectators.” Both Juventus and Barcelona top their respective league tables this season, with the Bianconeri remaining undefeated so far.Ronaldo-vs-Messi-967766

While Juventus will next face Sampdoria on Saturday, Barcelona will lock horns with Getafe CF on January 7.

Manchester United Star Falls Ill Due To Christmas Food Poisoning

manchester-united-v-everton-fc-premier-league-5bf3ff1f6ee4bfe8df000003Anthony Martial is not in the Man United squad for their Premier League fixture vs Huddersfield on Boxing Day at Old Trafford. Anthony Martial has missed Manchester United’s Boxing Day fixture with Huddersfield through illness.

The 23-year-old was not among the squad members who checked in at The Lowry Hotel on Christmas evening and it was suggested he flew into Manchester on Tuesday night from Paris.

United did not train on Christmas Eve but trained late in the afternoon on Christmas Day to prepare for Huddersfield’s visit. Martial was not present for the session and the club confirmed the Frenchman is unwell.Martiall

“He must have had a bad chef over Christmas. If it’s food poisoning or something. I don’t know, but he has fallen ill over Christmas,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told MUTV.

Martial scored United’s third in their 5-1 shellacking of Cardiff on Saturday and is the club’s top scorer this term with nine goals. The France international has been replaced by Juan Mata, while Diogo Dalot and Fred have come in for Ashley Young and Ander Herrera in the only other changes to the XI at Cardiff.

Solskjaer also spoke to MUTV about the other changes, explaining: “The other two changes are just changes we thought were right for this game.

“We are at home we want the crowd and the players to be excited, we want to attack this game from the start. It’s gong to be a different challenge to the Cardiff game, of course, because we are at home, expected to attack and go and create chances all of the time.anthony-martial

Huddersfield are a different kind of team because they will try and just settle down and they’re good at keeping possession in their own half and if we’re not brave enough with enough players pressing they might just play through us. So we’re going to hopefully try to press high”.

Solskjaer penned his first programme notes as caretaker coach and told supporters United’s season was still salvageable despite a turbulent first half of the campaign.
“Hello and welcome to Old Trafford.

I should start by underlining how excited I am to be back at Manchester United. I feel like I have come home. From the moment I found out that I was doing this role, today is the day that I really couldn’t wait for. To walk out at Old Trafford means so much to me and I want to thank you all for making me feel so welcome.anthony-martial-manchester-united-2017-18_wwsq2zbhh9p018qa0g17e875g

Walking into the training ground on that first day last week was quite something, to see all the staff, many of whom I knew and a few new faces too – it was something special. After today’s game against Huddersfield Town, we will be halfway through the Premier League season and I am under no illusions as to the scale of the job ahead.

We all have a lot of work to do in order to get this club back towards where it should be. Not only do we have to improve our results, we have to remind people what Manchester United is all about. We have to show everybody who we really are.

BBC African Footballer of the Year Mo Salah avoids FA sanction

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Egypt star and current African footballer of the year, Mohamed Salah, will face no action from the Football Association for the incident which saw him win a penalty in Liverpool’s 4-0 victory over Newcastle United at Anfield on Boxing Day. The Penalty was dubbed as too easy by opposing fans.salah-wij1181928114.jpg

Reds forward Salah appeared to go down easily after having his arm tugged by Paul Dummett, and Magpies boss Rafael Benitez branded the spot-kick “soft” in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.salah180619161744-25-world-cup-061918-exlarge-169-768x4311558858038.jpg

However, the FA has confirmed the second-half incident did not meet the threshold to constitute deception of a match official. The Egypt international could have faced a two-game ban had he been charged with simulation, but will now be free to take part in the crunch clashes against Arsenal and Manchester City.georginio-wijnaldum-and-mohammed-salah-656365166092115.jpg

Salah converted the penalty he won to double Liverpool’s lead following Dejan Lovren’s opener before Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho scored to wrap up a result that took Jurgen Klopp’s side six points clear at the top of the Premier League.salah-laughs-768x392538111160.jpg

Mo Salah has continued in his rich vein of form as he has found the net 12 times this season and is one behind the division’s leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Gareth Bale equals La Liga legends, Leo Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo record

img_20181220_055420_190743419753.jpgCristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Real Madrid last summer was supposed to herald the reign of a new king in the Santiago Bernabeu. Isco, Ascensio and Bale were all tipped to match up to the standards of the Portuguese star, Former coach Lopetegui declared it was time for Bale to shine.img_20181220_055146_201918635086.jpg

Gareth Bale joined a prestigious group after scoring a brilliant hat-trick for Real Madrid at the Club World Cup on Wednesday. The Wales international squeezed Madrid’s opening goal past Kashima Antlers goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae shortly before half-time and pounced on a defensive mix-up after the break to score again, with his third goal soon after putting the result beyond doubt in the second semi-final.

The 3-1 victory sets up a final clash with local heroes Al-Ain, who shocked River Plate on penalties to make Saturday’s showpiece.img_20181220_055437_515802276488.jpg

Bale has now scored in three different editions of the competition, having also found the net in 2014 and 2017, a feat only previously achieved by two other players. Of course, those two just happen to be former Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo netted for Manchester United in 2008, then again for Madrid in 2016 and 2017. Messi, meanwhile, was on target for Barcelona in 2009, 2011 and 2015.

EFL CUP DRAW: TOTTENHAM TO TAKE CHELSEA, MAN CITY TO BATTLE BURTON ALBION

Tottenham and Chelsea will square off for a place in the EFL Cup final while Manchester City face Burton Albion in the other last-four tie.

A trio of Premier League clubs are left standing in the competition but at least one will be eliminated when Spurs – 2-0 winners at north London rivals Arsenal in the quarter-finals – take on Maurizio Sarri’s side, who edged Bournemouth 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham will host the first leg as they seek to avenge the 2015 final defeat they suffered at the hands of the Blues.

Holders City, meanwhile, will be confident of securing a return to Wembley after being drawn against League One outfit Burton, who progressed on Tuesday courtesy of a 1-0 win away at Middlesbrough.

The first legs will take place in the week commencing January 7 with the reverse fixtures held a fortnight later.

EFL Cup semi-final draw

Tottenham v Chelsea

Manchester City v Burton Albion

Bale’s Hat-trick Gives Madrid Success To Reach Club World Cup Final

Gareth Bale put Real Madrid’s success ahead of his personal achievement after starring from the left wing with a hat-trick at the Club World Cup.

Defending champions Madrid booked their place in the final against Al Ain by seeing off Kashima Antlers 3-1 in the last four on Wednesday, with Bale scoring all three goals.

The Wales international has largely played on the right or in a central role during his time at Madrid, having initially broken through at Southampton and Tottenham as a left-wing-back, but he was back on the flank and linking up with Marcelo to good effect in the semi-final.

Bale insisted he would play any role asked of him by coach Santiago Solari as he looks towards clinching yet another trophy with the Spanish giants.

“Throughout my [early] career, I played from the left wing,” Bale said. “I’m comfortable playing in that position.

“But I can play on the right, on the left or in the centre. I will play wherever the coach needs me to.”

He added: “It’s great to score, but the most important thing is to help the team and reach the final.

“It’s an important victory. We knew that it would be a difficult game against a team that’s going to make it difficult for us. We just had to be professional and get the victory and get to the final.

“This is another trophy. It’s important to me because it’s important to the club to win trophies. It’s what all the players work for.”

Arsenal fan hits Dele Alli with bottle following a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham

Tottenham and England star, Dele Alli appeared to be struck by a plastic water bottle thrown by an Arsenal supporter after he scored his side’s second goal of the Carabao Cup quarter-final at the Emirates.

But with just over 20 minutes, he was struck with a water bottle on the back of the head as he attempted to collect the ball for a throw-in.

Alli immediately appealed to referee Jon Moss before clashing with Arsenal’s defender Sokratis. Alli also taunted the Arsenal fans by holding up two fingers to show the 2-0 scoreline.

Tottenham manager Pochettino wasn’t so sanguine about the missile throwing and demanded Arsenal find the “stupid person”.

“Yes I saw. When we play a derby we hate each other in a good way, but that looks in a bad way when you want to damage some people. One stupid person made a mistake.

I respect the Arsenal fans. I hope that Arsenal take some responsibility. Through the camera you can identify. It wasn’t a problem but it could be a big issue. I think they will identify the people” he said.

There also appeared to be other objects thrown by Arsenal supporters into the section occupied by Tottenham’s fans as the atmosphere turned toxic.

The shocking incidents came after a Tottenham fan was banned for four years after being found guilty of throwing a banana skin at Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when the teams met in an acrimonious clash earlier this month.

How Pep Guardiola is salting Jose Mourinho wounds

Manchester city manager Pep Guardiola is too much of a realist and a thinker to express any delight at the demise of his erstwhile arch-enemy and would-be nemesis Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

But as Manchester City reached the semi-finals of the League Cup, Mourinho was packing his bags at the Lowry, the second leg of his clash with the Catalan ending, like the first, in defeat.

It hasn’t even been a contest, despite the bold words of one Mourinho aficionado, who claimed that the Portugeezer had “tactically and mentally bested” Guardiola in Spain.
The stats revealed that was otherwise, and the implication was that United had brought in Mourinho as the only manager capable of combating Guardiola.

But here we are, 30 months later and United are a bedraggled, battered and disunited outfit while City are ready to step up their defence of the Premier League title, are in a cup semi-final and favourites to win the Champions League.
The Blues rubbed salt into Red raw wounds by reaching the Carabao Cup semi-finals – helped by three teenagers and a heroic 20-year-old goalkeeper.

Mourinho had made capital of the fact that HE was not the “monster” who eats the kids, and was proud of his record of giving youth a chance, the implication being that Guardiola was that creature.


But the sight of Phil Foden taking David Silva’s responsibilities on his slim shoulders, of Brahim Diaz giving veteran right back Danny Simpson nightmares, and of 17-year-old Eric Garcia looking every inch like a fresh-faced Franco Baresi on his debut, even that boast was made shallow.

Messi receives Golden Shoe award after outscoring Mo Salah last season (Photos)

Barcelona superstar, Lionel Messi, has been presented with his fifth Golden Shoe award for leading all of Europe’s soccer leagues in scoring last season.

The Argentine forward who scored 34 goals last season and led his club to the title was presented with the Golden Shoe award on Tuesday.

Egyptian and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was the second leading scorer of Europe’s domestic leagues with 32 goals in the Premier League.

In a statement, Messi, 31, who is Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer with 572 goals in 655 games, said:

‘I love football, but when I started I didn’t expect all this. My dream was to be a professional player,’ Messi said.

‘This is thanks to the hard work and effort I have put in, and above all to my teammates. I have the best players in the world.

Messi banishes ghost of last season after trashing lavente 5-0

Lionel Messi sparkled as Barcelona saw off Levante 5-0 on Sunday to restore their three-point lead at the top of LaLiga.

Messi set up Luis Suarez for the opening goal before scoring a hat-trick as Ernesto Valverde’s side made amends for their shock 5-4 defeat at Ciutat de Valencia last May.

The 31-year-old has now scored 50 goals for club and country eight times over the last nine calendar years and he helped round off the rout by setting up Gerard Pique for the fifth two minutes from time.img_20181217_091705_1131296830904.jpg

Barca’s third straight LaLiga win put daylight between them, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid after 16 matches.

Levante were 2-1 up at half-time of this fixture last season and they caused Barca problems from the off once again, with Emmanuel Boateng, scorer of a hat-trick in that game, striking the underside of the crossbar from 12 yards.

But Barca made the most of Levante’s failure to clear their lines 10 minutes before the break, when Messi danced his way across the top of the box and clipped a reverse pass into the path of Suarez, who volleyed home.lionel-messi-cropped_6khnpodnzc3g1s80dva0xuhm0313094635.jpg

Three minutes before half-time, after another error, it was 2-0. Ruben Rochina passed straight to Sergio Busquets, he sent Messi through on goal and the Argentine star slotted the ball beneath Oier Olazabal.

Messi effectively killed the match before the hour mark, first sweeping into the bottom-right corner after Suarez and Jordi Alba led a counter-attack and then tapping in a first-time cross from Arturo Vidal.

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Erick Cabaco saw a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Ousmane Dembele in the 76th minute, and Pique compounded a miserable outing for Levante in the closing moments, collecting Messi’s pass, turning onto his left foot and squeezing a shot beneath Oier.messsi-english

Valverde’s decision to rest some key players, including Messi, in this fixture last season ended Barca’s hopes of going the entire league campaign unbeaten.

This time, having already lost twice in LaLiga, there was to be no such risk. Even with Nelson Semedo withdrawing late on through injury, this was a strong line-up set up in a way to prevent being exploited on the break as badly as they were on their last visit.

Most importantly, he put Messi in the team, who was simply too much for the league’s third-worst defence to handle. Barca now need only a point against Celta Vigo next week to guarantee they will end 2018 in top spot.

Having come close with two efforts from distance, Messi showed his killer instinct to put the game to bed within an hour. His assist for Suarez and his three goals looked simple but oozed quality.

Rochina did not do enough to close down Messi for the first goal and it was his careless pass that led to the second, which seemed to end any hope of another surprise Levante win.

Lionel Messi is the best – Guillermo Amor

Lionel Messi is the “best” following his hat-trick in Barcelona’s rout of Levante, according to director Guillermo Amor.

It was the Messi show on Sunday as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner scored three goals and set up two others in Barca’s 5-0 LaLiga demolition of Levante.Messi – who teed up Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique to help Barca restore their three-point lead atop the table – has 14 goals and 10 assists this season, with the superstar the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to reach double figures for both in 2018-19.

Discussing Messi’s performance afterwards, Barca great Amor said: “Leo doesn’t give up, he plays like that because he is the best.

“He’s very professional and serious, he doesn’t settle for second best and tries to improve on his previous match.”

Messi’s treble took him to 50 strikes for the calendar year for club and country, the eighth time he has managed such a feat in the last nine years.

The comprehensive victory was also Messi’s 323rd in LaLiga for Barca, taking him one above former club-record holder Xavi.

Amor added: “He is the difference maker.”

Messi and Barca team-mate Suarez have scored 25 goals in LaLiga this season, one more than each of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.


“Two players [Messi and Suarez] who have started very well, they are two goal scorers and they also assist,” Amor continued.

Fans beg Manchester United board not to fire Jose Mourinho

62 SPORT-MUN 146 2Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho may be under pressure, but he received a vote of confidence from the stands on Sunday – albeit a rather unwelcome one. The Portuguese received an ironic show of support from a jubilant home fanbase as his Red Devils side once more failed to impress in a timid defeat.Jose-Mourinho-688941

Mourinho and United suffered their second defeat in the space of four days at Anfield as Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners in a one-sided match. The loss leaves the Red Devils a whopping 11 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, while they have already conceded more goals than in the entirety of the 2017-18 Premier League season.

Such adverse form has raised expectations that Mourinho will soon be moving on, confirming once more the ‘third season curse’ that has followed him across his managerial career.

Home fans at the weekend, however, gave him an unexpected show of support. “Don’t sack Mourinho!” was the cry from the Anfield faithful as their rivals slumped to defeat, words that will be of little comfort to the ‘Special One’ as Champions League football, let alone a title challenge, looks an ever more distant dream even at this early stage of the season.Jose-MOurinho3

United were on the back foot from almost the first minute on Sunday, with the visitors rarely venturing out of their own half to face a Liverpool team looking for three points that would return them to the Premier League summit.

That conservative approach made little difference early on though, as Sadio Mane swooped to give Jurgen Klopp’s men the lead 24 minutes in with a smart volley steered past David de Gea. The away team then received a shock lifeline, as Alisson spilled an innocuous cross into the path of Jesse Lingard to equalise towards the end of the first half.

Xherdan Shaqiri, however, was to prove deadly off the bench, scoring twice in the space of 10 minutes following his late entry to seal victory for the title-chasing Reds. It is a further blow for United, who went down to Valencia on Wednesday in the Champions League to squander a chance to take top spot in their group ahead of Juventus.

And, with five defeats in the Premier League already this season, the Anfield crowd may soon be heading for disappointment if their rivals move to remove the struggling boss.

 

Mourinho sets another touching record with Man United after Liverpool loss

Jose-MOurinho3Defeat at Anfield is calamitous for any Manchester United side, but for Jose Mourinho and his current team, Sunday’s display against Liverpool signaled a new low.

The Portuguese boss will no doubt have his own answers, but it will be hard for him to explain away any of the damning stats to emerge following their dismal performance. liverpool fc

For starters, the 3-1 loss, courtesy of Xherdan Shaqiri’s two second-half strikes, has left United 19 points behind their fiercest rivals after just 17 league matches, a margin which the Reds have never previously enjoyed in the top flight.

The crux of their troubles has laid with their defence, and the numbers do not make pleasant reading. The third and final goal on Sunday evening was the 29th they have conceded so far during the current campaign.man-u

That’s one more than they conceded in the entirety of the previous season. Not only that, but it is the highest amount of strikes they have conceded in the top flight since 1962-63.

Of course, goals will flow when your defence is as inviting as United’s was on Merseyside. Liverpool mustered 36 shots, 30 more than their visitors managed. Not since records of stats began in the Premier League, in 2003, have Manchester United allowed an opponents as many attempts on their goal.

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The result leaves Mourinho and his side on 26 points, 11 points behind Chelsea in fourth. It is the club’s worst haul after 17 matches since taking the same amount from their first 17 matches under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1990.

The Scot, with time, was able to turn it around. The will to afford Mourinho the same opportunity appears to be evaporating with every passing game.

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Dembele’s indiscipline doesn’t matter as long as he is performing on the pitch-Lenglet

clement-lenglet-barcelona-2018-19_49wvuivzbl8x1rjwm7ra0kql7Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet has defended his country man Ousmane Dembele saying as long as he is performing well on the pitch all other things don’t matter.  The France forward has received criticism for his discipline since moving from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 with outsiders suggesting he is wasting his talent.

Dembele has struggled to nail down a regular starting spot and has been linked with a move to Arsenal, although Lionel Messi recently urged him to stay. In his latest transgression, Dembele was two hours late to training on Sunday and, when asked about the tardiness, Lenglet told reporters: “I don’t have much idea about what is happening with him, but what I do know is that he is doing very well on the pitch,”ousmane-dembele-barcelona-2018-19_1cupox6ys55t11sz0dxe1u2rr6

“I don’t know if [a punishment] is the right thing to do or not, you’d have to ask that question to those with the power because I don’t know if he has to be sanctioned. “He’s doing a lot of things well on the pitch. He’s playing very well for the team and that’s what interests me most about him.” Barca are having a strong season, sitting top of La Liga and are unbeaten in the Champions League. The Spanish champions face Tottenham on Tuesday evening but the game has little significance for them because they have already won Group B with 13 points from five games.

barcelona-v-real-sociedad-la-liga-5b583ee77134f65cd900000eLenglet insists the squad is fully motivated for the encounter though: “This game is still an important one for us because it is a Champions League game and you don’t play many of them in a year,” he continued. “You have to enjoy these games because they are a chance for you to play against the best in the world.

“We aren’t happy about conceding goals, though, and that’s a very important issue for us because we want to win things. “In recent games, we have suffered a little, but it is difficult to complete a full 90 minutes without having tough moments.”

Barcelona joins Real Madrid to fight against La Liga

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Spanish champions, Barcelona have joined their rivals in batle against La Liga, as they have withdrawn from a plan to play their LaLiga away match against Girona in Miami. Girona were set to face the league leaders in Florida in January, but the deal appears dead after the Blaugrana pulled out.

As part of a 15-year agreement between Spain’s top division and Relevent Sports, it was proposed Barca would face Girona at Hard Rock Stadium in January. But LaLiga’s plan proved highly unpopular, with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) both publicly speaking out against it.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino in October said he would block any attempt to take a LaLiga game to the United States, although the league’s president Javier Tebas has continued to push for the proposal.barcelona-lionel-messi-gerard-pique-1303135804196764.jpg

Barca, though, said on Monday they are no longer willing to play Girona in Miami because of a lack of support for the idea. However, the Catalan giants remain open to the possibility when it is backed from all quarters.

“The Barcelona board of directors have agreed to withdraw their disposal to play their game against Girona in Miami, after noting a lack of consensus over this proposal,” their statement said.

1544483036_618185_noticia_normalFC Barcelona were and remain willing to play a LaLiga game in Miami, and accepted that income from the game would be shared amongst all Primera Division and Segunda Division clubs, following the same criteria of television rights money distribution, but consider that this project will not prosper until there is an agreement between all parties.”

Barcelona are set to take on Tottenham in the Champions League this week before returning to league play against Levante on Sunday. The club currently sits atop LaLiga with a three-point gap separating them from Sevilla.

 

Ronaldo says he doesn’t miss Lionel Messi in Italy

Ronaldo-960Cristiano Ronaldo has not taken long to adjust to life in Italy with Juventus.

The Portuguese superstar shocked the world when he swapped Real Madrid for Turin in a €100m deal in the summer.

Los Blancos have certainly missed his presence this season, while Juve already look an improved outfit with the 33-year-old spearheading their attack.

Ronaldo already has 10 goals and five assists to his name in just 15 Serie A games, with Juve unbeaten at the top of the table.

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Both Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are still the two finest players in world football despite being in their 30’s and now not being in the same domestic league to spur each other on.

But do they actually miss each other? Well, Ronaldo was asked that question in an interview with Gazzetta.

The Portuguese responded: “No, maybe he misses me. I played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal, in the national team, while he is still in Spain.messi-ronaldo-32088407795.jpg

“Maybe he needs me more. For me, life is a challenge, I like it and I like to make people happy. I would like him to come to Italy one day.

“Like me, accept the challenge. However, if he is happy there, I respect him, he is a fantastic player, a good guy but I do not miss anything here. This is my new life and I’m happy.”

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Ronaldo also gave a telling answer when asked if any Juve players impress him more than others.

He said: “It’s not fair to name just a few, but I can say that this is the best group I’ve ever played. Here we are a team, elsewhere someone feels bigger than others but here they are all on the same line, they are humble and want to win.

“If Dybala or Mandzukic do not mark, you still see them happy, smile. For me it is beautiful, I perceive the difference. Even in Madrid they are humble but here. I feel they are more so. It is very different from Madrid, this is more a family .”

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‘Messi the best in the world but Barcelona are only human’ – Alli

delealli-croppedDele Alli considers Lionel Messi to be “the best player in the world and a joy to watch”, but says Barcelona hold no fear for Tottenham as they “are human and everyone makes mistakes”.

Spurs are set to make a trip to Camp Nou on Tuesday as they take in their final fixture of the Champions League group stage.

Barca are already assured of a place in the last 16, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side have work to do if they are to join the Catalan giants in the knockout rounds.messi-and-Cristiano

A positive result will likely be required in the most testing of surroundings, with Alli aware of the size of the challenge facing Spurs – particularly from a five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

The England international said: “He [Messi] is a player that everyone idolised because of what he’s achieved in his career.

“For me, he is the best player in the world and he’s a joy to watch. To be honest, though, I’m not really concerned about what they do with their players.”lionel-messi-cropped_6khnpodnzc3g1s80dva0xuhm0313094635.jpg

Barca may decide to rest Messi with their progress already secured.

Tottenham, though, are trying to remain focused on their own game, with Alli of the belief that a notable scalp can be secured on the grandest of European nights.

He added: “We are definitely going there with confidence, we know it’s going to be a difficult game but they are human and everyone makes mistakes.

“We’ve just got to make sure that we punish them and be as on it as we can.

messigoalfc550777566.jpg“They are one of the best teams in the world, they’ve got some great players and as a kid you dream about playing at the Nou Camp, and we’re going to go there and give it our best shot.

“We’re ready. It’s going to be another difficult game but they’re the games you want to be a part of, playing one of the best teams in the world and some of the world’s greatest players.messsi-english

“You want to be challenging yourself and we’re going there with the mentality that we can win and we have to believe.”

Spurs have collected seven points from their five outings in Group B to date, with that return leaving them level with Serie A giants Inter – who face PSV in their final fixture on Tuesday.

“We are targeting a clash against the Real Madrid”-Maidana

River Plate defender Jonatan Maidana is eyeing a meeting with Real Madrid after his team’s Copa Libertadores success on Sunday.

A 3-1 second-leg win over rivals Boca Juniors in Madrid saw River seal a 5-3 aggregate success.

That sent Marcelo Gallardo’s men to the United Arab Emirates for the Club World Cup, where they will face ES Tunis, Al Ain or Team Wellington before a potential meeting with European champions Madrid.

Maidana said River were targeting a clash against the LaLiga giants later this month.

“Now we go for Real Madrid, our next goal,” the defender said, via TyC Sports.

“We won a fair final, now to celebrate the achievement.”

River had to come from behind in the second leg, Lucas Pratto cancelling out Dario Benedetto’s opener to force extra time.

Wilmar Barrios’ red card turned the game in River’s favour and they made the most of their numerical advantage, goals from Juan Quintero and Gonzalo Martinez securing their win.

“A lot of the match was very even,” Maidana said. “After the equaliser we managed well and we could win it.

“In the second half we improved, because in the first we made a big mistake. We talked at half-time and we tried not to miss so many passes and we achieved [our goal], because we dominated the game.”

Messi is a better player than Ronaldo because he dribbles better-Neymar

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Paris Saint Germain striker Neymar Jnr has revealed Lionel Messi is a better player than Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo.  The 26-year-old, who dropped from the Ballon d’Or podium to 12th position this year, is considered one of the best players in the current game.ronaldo-and-messi886149806.png

During a Q&A on his YouTube channel on Wednesday, the Brazilian was asked the question many football fans have debated over the past few years: who the better player between Messi and Ronaldo is.

“Ronaldo has gone from a winger to a striker and a goalscorer,” Neymar answered, as quoted by the Daily Express. “Rather than taking players on all the time, he has gone more one or two touches, getting in the box and scoring goals.messi-ronaldo-32088407795.jpg

“Messi a bit of everything – you see him scoring goals from playing probably a deep midfield role at times, and where I’m probably still walking on the pitch, he’s scoring. “So he is probably the best.”

Neymar scored his 11th Ligue 1 goal of the season in PSG’s 2-2 draw with Bordeaux last Sunday – it was also his 30th league goals since joining the French giants.

What do you think about Neymar’s opinion?messi-and-Cristiano

Pep Guardiola has been nominated for November’s Barclay’s Manager of the Month award.

man-city-celebrate_1k2u5kzu0dwtrzknhwv0xkr7bManchester City enjoyed a 100 per cent record in the Premier League last month, beating Southampton and Manchester United at home, before producing a dominant display in the 4-0 win away at West Ham.

We scored a remarkable 13 goals in those three matches, conceding two.

City sit top of the Premier League table with 41 points from 15 games this season, two ahead of second-placed Liverpool.

You can vote for Pep by visiting the Premier League website.

Everyone at City would like to congratulate Pep on his well-deserved nomination!pep-guardiola-640x400

Mourinho makes rare promise ahead of Fulham clash

jose-mourinho-manchester-united-2017-18_ml7rh65s2kpw14z7l6x1tjf56Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho is not one to shy away from making bold statements and despite facing a difficult period this season, he has promised fans victory against Fulham on Saturday.

The Red Devils have won just one and drawn three out of their last four matches in all competitions and are desperate to regain their winning touch against the Cottagers led by former Leicester City and Chelsea manager, Claudio Ranieri.

“I want to be positive and think we are going to win but if we don’t give credit to the people that deserve credit and the game is not going to be 11 against 0 it’s going to be 11 against 11, good players in other side, I repeat the position, the points sometimes don’t say much about the real potential of the team, one of the two most important managers in the history of the Premier League, so they have the potential to come here tomorrow and to give us a very different match.”

He continues: “I know only two days is not easy Fulham in the same situation as us but probably the way they are coming to play or try to play will not demand as much from them as us but no excuses, I sat here a few weeks ago speaking about December month and no defeats that’s a reality, good fights, good spirit, but just one victory against Young Boys and three draws and we need points, but Fulham is the same, they need points.”

Manchester United are currently placed eight on the premier league log with 23 points while Fulham sit bottom with just nine points.