Tuesday, October 22, 2019

"I Don't Choose Players, I Sign Off The Money" - Man United Executive Ed Woodward

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has revealed his only role in buying new players is 'signing off the money'. The United chief has been criticized by fans over the last few years as they believe he has too much power when it comes to bringing new players to Old Trafford.

There were suggestions that Jose Mourinho was blocked from signing some of his preferred targets while in charge of United.

But Woodward has insisted that managers will always have he final say when it comes to signings and that United have worked to improve their system of recruitment.

He told fanzine United We Stand: 'The decisions related to recruitment are all taken by football experts. My involvement is signing off the money.

'The manager has a veto on a player - we would never sign a player the manager wouldn't want because he wouldn't play him. But we also feel the recruitment department, the football experts, should have a veto too.

'I don't get involved in recruitment like people think I do. There's a myth that I look at YouTube and choose players. I don't. Having an eye for players is an art. I have no interest in doing that.

'I just want to have a disciplined process because if you are spending a lot of money on a player you have to make sure you get more right than wrong.

'Where I get involved is that I have to sign off the money, yet when you have target one, two or three from your process I feel fine going after the No 1 target and, if it's not to be him, then number two or three.'

Woodward also explained how changes had been made behind the scenes: 'The system wasn't set up in the right way. Twelve scouts reporting to one chief scout was more set up to say no - too many exceptions to the process were made historically while this was being fixed.

'We also have to hold our hands up and say that recruitment wasn't at its best in recent years. We feel that we now know who our best scouts are.

'The idea is to recruit in a closed environment, rather than listening to the press or getting distracted by conflicting agents' claims. We try and make cold decisions based on information.

'Judge the recruitment department in the coming windows where hopefully we can get a team to be at the level we want to be.'

Discussing the January window, he continued: 'The manager sits down in September - so Ole has already done this for the next cycle -and told the experts the positions that he wants to recruit in and thecharacteristics relating to those players.'

OFFICIAL: Liverpool Confirm Club World Cup Participation In Qatar

Liverpool have confirmed plans to participate in the 2019 Club World Cup in December despite tough fixtures scheduled. Jurgen Klopp's side, who are top of the Premier League after nine games, might end up playing in the Club World Cup final on December 21 in Qatar before facing Leicester City on Boxing Day.

And they have now confirmed they will be taking part in the competition, which they qualified for by winning the Champions League, which could see them play four games in just 12 days.

A statement read: 'Liverpool is to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup, a tournament which brings together teams from six football federations from around the world.'

As part of its preparations, the club is taking part in a series of fact-finding meetings and consultations with various authorities, including FIFA, the Qatar Supreme Committee, the UK Foreign Office and a range of non-governmental organisations.

'The club values and appreciates the input that has been provided by various supporters groups, notably Spirit Of Shankly and Kop Outs, throughout this process and will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure travelling fans are provided with the information they require.

'In keeping with that ongoing commitment, the club will offer updates at the appropriate times and would encourage supporters to monitor official LFC channels.'

Patrice Evra: Jamie Carragher apologises for Luis Suarez T-shirts

Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has apologised to Patrice Evra for wearing T-shirts in support of Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan racially abused the Frenchman in 2011.

After a two-month investigation, Suarez was given an eight-game ban by the Football Association on 21 December.

A day later, Liverpool wore 'Suarez 7' T-shirts in the warm-up before their Premier League game against Wigan.

Carragher said the club "got it massively wrong".

The former England defender was working in his role as pundit on Sky Sports on Monday alongside ex-Manchester United full-back Evra.

Carragher said: "There is no doubt we made a massive mistake; that was obvious. We got to the ground, had our lunch and then had a team meeting - I don't know if it was the manager [Kenny Dalglish] or [coach] Steve Clarke - asking one of the players if he was still wearing the shirt, and that is the first I had heard of it.

"I am not lying and saying I wasn't part of it because as the club we got it wrong, and I was vice-captain. I am not sure who was actually behind it. I don't think it had anything to do with the manager Kenny; I think it was the players who were close to Luis in the dressing room, who really wanted to support their mate.

"Maybe I have to look at myself now and say I did not have the courage as an individual to say 'I am not wearing it'. I don't think everyone within Liverpool Football Club thought what we were doing was right but I do think as a football club, or you as a family, your first reaction is to support them even if you know that they are wrong, and that is wrong.

"I am not condoning it, but that is the first reaction. Apologies. We got it massively wrong."

Evra added: "When I saw it I was like, this is ridiculous. This is unbelievable. You put your own club in danger when you do those things. You always have to support your player because he is from your team but this was after the ban. If it was before and we were waiting for the sanction, I would understand.

"What message do you send to the world? Supporting someone being banned because he used some racist words."

Ballon d'Or Organizers Reveals Why Neymar Wasn't Included In 30 Man List

The magazine that awards one football's most prestigious awards revealed why the Brazilian was absent from the nominees. Ballon d'Or presenters France Football has released justification explaining why Neymar was left off the 30-man shortlist to win the prestigious award for the first time since 2010.

The Brazil international was the most high-profile absentee from a list of nominees that included Virgil van Dijk, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Describing his last ten months as being part a 'black year,' France Football listed eight incidents that explained Neymar's omission.

January 23 - Metatarsal fracture

Neymar picked up a fractured right metatarsal after suffering several fouls during PSG's 2-0 win over Strasbourg in the round-of-16 Coupe de France match.

The injury kept Neymar out of both legs of the Champions League last-16 defeat against
Manchester United and he didn't return in
Ligue 1 until April.

March 6 - Abuse of referee in Man Utd match

Having been absent from the matchday squad because of injury, Neymar unleashed a tirade of abuse at referee Damir Skomina following the controversial penalty that consigned PSG to defeat against the Red Devils.

"That is a disgrace!" Neymar wrote on his Instagram Stories.

"And UEFA still pick four guys who know nothing about football to review the VAR decision in slow motion... that handball doesn't exist!
"How do you handball behind your back? Ahh.. go f*ck yourselves."

UEFA banned Neymar for three European matches for the rant, which was subsequently released to two games on appeal.

April 27 - Pushing a supporter

As he went to collect hiwinner'srs medal for the Coupe de France final, Neymar was told by a supporter, 'to learn to play football.''.

The Brazilian pushed the fan and was eventually banned by the FFF for three games for the incident.

June 6 - Ankle injury ruins his Copa America

An ankle injury suffered in a warm-up match against Qatar ruled Neymar out of Brazil's entire 2019 Copa America tournament.

He could only look on as the Samba stars lifted thwinner'srs trophy on home soil.

August 9 - Cleared of rape allegation

After being accused of sexuaassaultlt by Brazilian model Najila Trindade Mendes de Sousa, Neymar was cleared of any wrongdoing once the complaint was dismissed.

Transfer window - Aborted return to Barcelona

The on-again, off-again return of Neymar to Barcelona ended with the Samba star staying in Paris.

Having been keen to leave PSG for his former club, Neymar didn't get his wi, h, and the Parisian fans have not forgotten.

September 14 - PSG fans show anger

On his return to action from the ankle injury that kept him out of the Copa America, Neymar was whistled and jeered by PSG supporters in the Ligue 1 match against Strasbourg.

Neymar scored the winning goal with a superb finish, but admitted after the game he did want to leave the club during the transfer window, but will now put in 10percentnt as he is staying.

October 13 - Another injury on international duty

Neymar suffered a thigh injury during Brazil's friendly against Nigeria.

Following scans, it was revealed he would be absent from all football for the next four weeks, meaning he will miss the Ligue 1 blockbuster against Marseille and the Champions League match against Club Brugge.

I'm not ready to retire, age is just a number - Cristiano Ronaldo tells Juventus fans

Cristiano Ronaldo has reassured Juventus supporters and his legions of fans worldwide that at 34, he is not ready for retirement yet.

"Age is just a number. It does not mean that at 34, 35, 36, you are at the end of your career," Ronaldo said at a news conference ahead of Juventus' Champions League match against Lokomotiv Moscow on Tuesday.

"I can show that with my performances, how I play, the way I play, the way I still feel good, sharp, thinking about the game, more mature. This makes the difference."

Ronaldo, who is in the second season of a four-year deal at Juventus, had sparked concern among his fans when he said in an interview published a few weeks ago that he was starting to enjoy seeing himself "outside of football, so who knows what will happen in the next year or two?"

He recently scored his 700th goal as a professional while on international duty with Portugal and has been nominated for a record sixth Ballon d'Or award, which would break his tie of five with Lionel Messi.

But Ronaldo says he is more interested in winning a treble with Juventus.

"We want to win Serie A, we want to win the Cup, the Champions League," he said. "Juventus should think big... We are going to try to win all the trophies, we know it will be difficult, especially the league and the Champions League, but I think it is possible. Everything is possible.

"In terms of individual [honours], I have nothing to say as this is individual. It is not the most important thing," Ronaldo added. "The most important is the collective awards. If you win the collective awards, you have more chance to win the individual awards... The Ballon d'Or is for me in second place."

While retirement may not be on Ronaldo's mind yet, family time is a big part of his life.

"To win games, to score goals, to enjoy myself, to arrive home and see my kids happy and say, 'Congratulations daddy for scoring a goal.' That makes me happy," he said.

"This is my motivation to come to train, for the games, to entertain people and the fans with my passion."

Blind Unhappy With Chelsea Progress Compared To Man United’s Struggles

Former Manchester United defender, Daley Blind has expressed his unhappiness watching his former club struggle in the Premier League compared to their long-time rivals Chelsea.

Blind who now plies his trade playing for Ajax had spent four seasons at Old Trafford under Luis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho respectively winning the FA Cup and Europa League.

Manchester United are currently 14th on the table with just two wins in nine Premier League games while Chelsea, on the other hand, are fourth on the table despite the transfer ban.

Blind said that while he was impressed with Frank Lampard’s side, it was ‘not nice to see’ United’s situation.

‘Of course, I’m not happy to see Man Utd and how they’re performing at the moment,’ the Dutch player said.
‘I’m still a fan of United and it’s not nice to see.

Regarding Chelsea, they are doing well, they have a good philosophy under a manager who wants to play out from the back.

‘They play different attacking football with a lot of youngsters and that’s nice to see.

‘From that perspective, it’s good. But if you’re talking about United then I’m not happy about that, of course.’

Blind would be in action as his team (Ajax) welcome Chelsea to Amsterdam in a Champions League group stage match on Wednesday.

Arsenal Worse Under Emery- Carragher

Former Liverpool defender, Jamie Carragher said Arsenal is worse off under Unai Emery than it was towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s tenure in charge of the team.

The Gunners put out a poor performance as they suffered one-goal defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Monday night. Arsenal had more ball possessions but were unable to create chances.

With that result, they sit two points behind Chelsea at fifth position with 15 points in the Premier League table and Carragher believes there has been no improvement since Wenger left.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match Carragher said: “I don’t see anything different from when Arsene Wenger was there at the end. I don’t see it.

“In fact, at times it actually looks worse. I think Sheffield United played better football in the first half than Arsenal and I don’t think you would have seen that under Wenger.

“It’s still early in his second season, but I think we’re getting to that stage near Christmas where you think ‘is Unai Emery the right man to take Arsenal into his third season?’ I think that’s how it is with Arsenal supporters and within the club.”

According to Carragher, one of his biggest frustrations is that Arsenal are still making the same kind of errors under the Spanish tactician than they did during Wenger’s spell at the club.

“I just expected something different,” he added. “It’s just like seeing the same stuff. A lot of the time a manager is brought in because the manager before is not getting X, Y or Z right. But they are still getting rolled over every time they play a big game.

“Their away record is two clean sheets in 24 games, eight wins in 24. What’s changed? Nothing has changed.”

Arsenal’s next Premier League game would be against Crystal Palace where they hope to come back to winning ways but that would be after playing host to Vitoria S.C in the Europa League on Thursday.

Abraham Happy With Hudson-Odoi Partnership

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham says it’s a dream to play alongside Callum Hudson-Odoi in the first team this season. Abraham has made an electric start to the Premier League season, grasping his opportunity with both hands after developing his game down in the Championship for the past few campaigns.

Hudson-Odoi broke into the team at the back end of last season before an Achilles injury cut short his campaign.
Now back to full fitness, and after signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge following a summer of interest from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, Hudson-Odoi is expected to be pushing for regular starts in the weeks to come.

Abraham, who has also been linked with putting pen to paper on a new contract at the Bridge, says he loves playing with Hudson-Odoi after they came up through the ranks at the club together. “When I play with Callum, I just enjoy watching him,” he said.

“I just stand still sometimes. It’s nice to have him back. He’s still getting that match fitness back and he’s looking sharp. Give him a couple of games to settle in and he’ll be flying again.

“I don’t think it has hit us all really. It’s dream for us. We have all dreamed as kids about playing for the Chelsea first team, and we are making it happen. Not only that, we are also getting results. It is a bit like playing with your mates.”

Chelsea fans will be hoping to see the pair in action on Wednesday night when the Blues host Ajax in the Champions League.

The west London outfit are in third place in Group H, with three points from their first two games. A home defeat to Valencia was followed by a strong win on the road against Lille.
Ajax are currently sitting pretty at the top of the group after two wins from two before their trip to London.

FIFA Begins Random MRI Test On Brazil 2019 Teams; Senegal Deny Having Overage Players

FIFA will commence random MRI tests on at least four players from each of the participating countries in the Brazil 2019 U-17 World Cup finals in a renewed move to stem cheating in age group tournaments.

Senegalese official on Monday strongly denied inclusion of overage players in their 21-man squad for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup finals.

The West African nation is one of the four countries representing Africa at the tournament after Guinea were disqualified at the the CAF U17 Nations Cup in Tanzania in April overage fraud.

Ahead of their Group D opening fixture against the USA, there has been media backlash back home with allegations that overage players have been included in the squad. But the Football Senegal Federation, FSF, has vehemently denied it with Secretary General of FSF, Victor She Cisse, issuing a statement denying any wrongdoing.

“The Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) wishes to inform the public that, to date, no player from the U-17 national team selected for the FIFA World Cup ‘Brazil 2019’ has been denied because of fraud on the ground of age as has been relayed by some local media,” the Senegalese football ruling body said in a statement signed by its Secretary, Victor She Cisse.

Senegal are in group D of the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament alongside USA, Japan and Holland.They will get their campaign underway on October 27 against USA. Senegal made only three alterations from their squad that featured in the U-17 AFCON in Tanzania last April.Coach Malick Daf chalked off the names of midfielder El Hadji Gueye, strikers Meleye Diagne and Ousmane Diallo from the Brazil bound squad.He replaced them with Mamadou Aliou Diallo, Mbaye Ndiaye and Ibrahima Sy who plies his trade in France.The Brazil 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup finals kicks off October 26 and will end on November 17.

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets will begin quest to win a record sixth FIFA U-17 World Cup title on Saturday with rheir first Group B match against Hungary at the Estadio Olimpico, Goiania.

The Manu Garba’s team will clash with Ecuador on Tuesday, 29 October also in Goiania. They will face Australia in their last group game on Friday, 1 November at Estadio Bezerrao, Brasilia.

'If He Is Worth £80m, Van Dijk Is Worth £300m' - Van Der Vaart Blasts Harry Maguire

Maguire played the full 90 minutes as United held league leaders Liverpool to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, but Former Tottenham Star Van der Vaart was far from ready to praise the England defender for his part in proceedings. In particular, it seems the Dutchman has a problem with the world-record £80m fee United shelled out for the former Leicester man in the summer.

Speaking to Ziggo Sport, he said: 'He can do something, but if he is worth so much money, Virgil van Dijk is worth £300million. 'If I am going to play with the amateurs on Sunday afternoon, I can easily find three who can do this. I mean that serious.

It is not the first time Van der Vaart has laid the boot into Maguire, having previously criticised his performance on the international stage during the Nations League.

When England were beaten 3-1 by Holland, the Dutch midfielder-turned-darts-player was on punditry duty and he remembers it well.

'It's funny because during the Nations League, I was doing work for Dutch television,' he noted.

'And I remember we were saying Harry Maguire was by far the worst player on the pitch.

'And then two months later, £80-£90m? Unbelievable.'

Real Madrid Eyes Mourinho As Zidane Possible Replacement As Frenchman Fight For Job

Zinedine Zidane is entering must-win territory at Real Madrid, with Goal learning that the Frenchman has lost the trust of certain board members amid talk of a return to the Santiago Bernabeu for Jose Mourinho.

An iconic figure in the Spanish capital accepted an SOS call from the Blancos in March, with the decision taken to take the reins for a second time just a matter of months after bringing an initial spell as head coach to a close.

Zidane delivered La Liga title success and a hat-trick of Champions League crowns during a dream start to his managerial career, but replicating those triumphs is proving difficult.

A 7-3 defeat to arch-rivals Atletico Madrid over the summer and a 3-0 reversal to fellow European heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain in the current campaign have seen questions asked of the man in the dugout.

A further setback at Mallorca on Saturday , which saw Real knocked from the Liga summit by Clasico foes Barcelona , has intensified the pressure on Zidane and tarnished his image further in the eyes of some of those calling the shots at the Bernabeu.

A Champions League clash with Galatasaray on Tuesday has now taken on added importance, with defeat unthinkable for a side that would then be left sweating on a place in the last 16 and their boss hanging by a thread.

A lack of progress is concerning those in Madrid’s corridors of power, with some of the opinion that turning to Zidane again was the wrong decision.

He has been given time and money in which to deliver a reversal in fortune, but there have been few signs of encouragement in 2019-20 – although injuries have been doing the Blancos’ cause few favours.

Victory over Galatasaray in midweek would buy Zidane a little breathing space, but another untimely reversal could leave him on borrowed time as another change in the dugout is mulled over.

Real are wary of allowing sentiment to cloud their judgement when it comes to the ongoing presence of a club legend.

With there still a long way to go in the current campaign, the board acknowledges that a fresh start could yet deliver rich rewards both in La Liga and the Champions League.

For them, this is not a case of mathematics and points, but rather one of mood and confidence.

Zidane is aware that he needs to be looking over his shoulder, with it now imperative that he oversees a winning effort in Turkey if he has any intention of remaining in a high-profile post for the foreseeable future.

Gareth Bale Agent Barnett Named World's Most Powerful Sports Agent, Raiola Included [Top 5]

Gareth Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett is now the most powerful sports agent in the world in 2019 after some crazy deals, MySportDab reports. According to Forbes, Barnett has negotiated over £1billion in active contracts and transfer fees with possible commissions exceeding £99m to rise to the summit. He is the co-founder and chairman of London-based Stellar group and represents the likes of Bale and Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez. His company boast more than 200 clients.

Two other prominent agents in world football are in the top five in the shape of Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola.
Mendes and his Portugal-based agency, Gestifute, have negotiated £908m in active contracts.

He helped negotiate Cristiano Ronaldo's £100m move from Real Madrid to Juventus last year and also represents the likes of Bernardo Silva and James Rodriguez.

Raiola, who represents Manchester United's Paul Pogba, is fifth on the list with £54m worth of commissions.

Baseball agent Scott Boras is second, with Jeff Schwartz, the most powerful basketball agent, at No 4.


1. Jonathan Barnett
2. Scott Boras
3. Jorge Mendes
4. Jeff Schwartz
5. Mino Raiola

Neymar & Luka Modric excluded from 30 man Ballon D'or shortlist as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk top nominations

PSG/Brazil star Neymar Jr. and last year's Ballon D'or winner Luka Modric have been excluded from the 2019 Ballon D'or nominee list released Monday night with favorite Virgil Van Dijk competing against Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the France Football organized award.

The Ballon d'Or has been awarded by the French magazine, France Football, since 1956 and sees their editorial staff put together the initial 30-man shortlist.

Modric beat Messi and Ronaldo to last year's gong following his impressive run at the FIFA 2018 World Cup and Real Madrid's Champions League win but his omission this year makes him the first player in history to miss out on nomination the following year after winning it. Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was included on the 30-strong shortlist, along with World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have both won the Ballon d'Or a joint-record five times.

Below are the nominated players for the 2019 Ballon D'or award.

Sadio Mane - Liverpool
Sergio Aguero - Manchester City
Frenkie de Jong - Ajax/ Barcelona
Hugo Lloris - Tottenham
Dusan Tadic - Ajax
Kylian Mbappe - PSG
Trent Alexander-Arnold - Liverpool
Donny van de Beek - Ajax
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Arsenal
Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen - Barcelona
Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus
Alisson - Liverpool
Matthijs de Ligt - Juventus
Karim Benzema - Real Madrid
Georginio Wijnaldum - Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk - Liverpool
Bernardo Silva - Manchester City
Heung-min Son - Tottenham Hotspur
Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich
Roberto Firmino - Liverpool
Lionel Messi - Argentina/Barcelona

Sheffield United Stun Arsenal

Sheffield United claimed a stunning win over Arsenal to move into the top half of the Premier League.

Lys Mousset marked his first start for the Blades with the decisive goal in the first half, turning in Jack O'Connell's knockdown from close range.

Arsenal's £72m signing Nicolas Pepe had earlier skewed a golden chance wide from six yards.

Granit Xhaka forced Dean Henderson into an excellent save but the Blades closed the game out superbly for a famous win.

The victory was Sheffield United's biggest result since their return to the Premier League as they moved up to ninth, four points clear of the relegation zone.

Defeat for Arsenal, meanwhile, means they missed the chance to move back into the top four. They are fifth, two points behind Chelsea in fourth.

Sheffield United have certainly shown plenty of grit on their return to the Premier League and have been particularly impressive in not rolling over to sides in the top six.

They battled from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Chelsea in August before pushing Liverpool close at the end of last month, only to be undone by a single goal from a mistake by Henderson.

Against Arsenal they again took the game to their opponents from the outset. David McGoldrick's technical ability combined with Mousset's pace posed a troubling front line for the Arsenal defence.

Chris Wilder had challenged his new-look forward line to give the Blades the cutting edge they have lacked this season and Mousset did just that, making the most of being unmarked inside the box to sweep home.

From then on, it was all about the Sheffield United defence. The hosts, incredibly, have not lost a league game when leading at half-time since 2014 and they managed the remainder of the game superbly, with their back three of O'Connell, Chris Basham and John Egan forming a formidable barrier.

"I have so much respect for Sheffield United's back three," BBC Radio 5 live summariser Chris Sutton said. "They have come up through the leagues together, they are well oiled and well drilled.

"It is the best defence in the Premier League this season, along with Liverpool."

The Gunners went into the international break in a good place in the Premier League.

They sat third after beating Bournemouth 1-0 at the Emirates, extending their home record so far this season to four wins and one draw.

But away from home Arsenal remain unconvincing.

Their only win on the road in the Premier League came in their season-opener when they beat Newcastle 1-0 but since then they have scraped draws against Watford and Manchester United and lost to Liverpool and now Sheffield United.

Arsenal have won just four of their last 17 games away from home - a statistic Gunners boss Unai Emery will need to improve quickly if they are to challenge for the top four.

Super Eagles youngster, Samuel Chukwueze nominated for top international award

Super Eagles youngster and Villarreal winger, Samuel Chukwueze has been nominated for for the second edition of the Kopa Trophee.

The 20-year-old was named by France Football on Monday night (Oct.21) in a shortlist of 10 players contending for the award.

The award named after former French footballer Raymond Kopa is presented to the best performing player under the age of 21. France supersar, Kylian Mbappe won the maiden edition last year.

See complete list of nominees below:

João Félix -Atletico Madrid

Jadon Sancho -Borussia Dortmund

Moise Kean -Everton

Samuel Chukwueze -Villarreal

Kang-in Lee -Valencia

Matthijs de Ligt -Juventus

Vinicius Jr -Real Madrid

Kai Havertz -Bayer Leverkusen

Mattéo Guendouzi -Arsenal

Andreï Lounine -Real Valladolid

Monday, October 21, 2019

Aribo Eager To Keep Improving On Top Form For Rangers and Nigeria

Nigeria midfielder Joe Aribo is determined to keep improving his form after earning plaudits for his recent performances for both club and country.

Aribo, 23, has enjoyed a promising start to his career with Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers few months after his transfer from Charlton Athletic.

The talented player has cemented a place in Steven Gerrard’s team despite doubts over his potential upon arrival at the club.

Aribo returned to the Gers starting line-up in Sunday’s 1-1 away draw against Hearts after missing the last three games as a result of head injury.

On the international scene, he has been impressive for Nigeria scoring in his first two games for the Super Eagles.

He scored a sublime goal in the 1-1 friendly draw against Brazil last Sunday.

“I am just thankful to God that I am able to be back and to be playing again, I just want to keep performing and keep playing as I can,” Aribo told Rangers TV.

“It was a wonderful feeling (playing against Brazil) and one of the highest I have been in football and I am just happy that I am out there and playing, I just want to improve.”

Liverpool stars Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk and Roberto Firmino on Ballon d'Or shortlist - so far

A raft of Liverpool's Champions League winners, including Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk and Roberto Firmino, have been included on the Ballon d'Or's 30-man shortlist, which will be completed later this evening.

Mane was among the first five nominees revealed by France Football on Monday, with team-mates Alisson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold also being named.

Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva made the cut too, alongside Champions League runners-up Hugo Lloris and Heung-Min Son from Tottenham.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has also been included in the 30-strong list, as have World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

So far, 20 players have been announced ahead of the ceremony on December 2 at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, with Luka Modric breaking the Lionel Messi and Ronaldo stronghold on the trophy with his 2018 victory.

The full shortlist

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Dusan Tadic (Ajax)
Frenkie De Jong (Barcelona)
Sergio Aguero (Man City)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Donny van de Beek (Ajax)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Alisson Becker (Liverpool)
Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Bernardo Silva (Man City)
Heung-Min Son (Tottenham)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

It's my toughest time at Tottenham - Harry Kane

Harry Kane admits Tottenham are going through their toughest period since he established himself in the side. Spurs have endured a terrible start to the season, winning just three times in 12 games. They needed a late equaliser to draw 1-1 at home to Watford on Saturday and go into Tuesday's Champions League game with Red Star Belgrade on the back of a 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in their last game in the competition.

Asked if this was the worst phase of his time at Spurs, captain Kane replied: "Yes, probably, I'd say so. When you look at the results it's not been easy. Poch not concerned by 'rumours' Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insists he's not affected by 'rumours' around the club, but hints that his job could be on the line if performances don't improve.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino hints his job could be on the line if poor performances continue

"Of course every player wants to win, we all want to be winning games, the manager wants to be winning games.

"But it's another challenge, it's another challenge in my career, in the team's career, so it's just about trying to overcome that.

"It's not going to be a straight path to success. There's going to be bumps along the way. At the moment we're at one and we've got to overcome that."

Spurs' hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League will be all but over if they lose to the Serb champions.

They only have one point after two games and would fall five behind Red Star if they were to be beaten. Speaking ahead of the game, Kane was asked to comment on a report that the players felt Pochettino's training sessions were too demanding.

"There's going to be speculation when things aren't going well, when you're not winning games, people will look from the outside for excuses," he said.

"From our point of view we work hard every day. We have worked hard since the manager came here to improve as players and as a team, that hasn't changed.

"We need to carry on doing what we have always done and that is keep working as hard as possible."

Oliseh: Don’t write-off Manchester United after Liverpool draw.

Following their display against the league leaders at Old Trafford, the ex-Super Eagles coach thinks the Red Devils can still challenge top teams. Former Ajax and Juventus midfielder Sunday Oliseh believes Manchester United should not be underestimated in this campaign after holding Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in Sunday’s Premier League encounter.

Prior to their outing against Liverpool, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has had an unconvincing start to the season, winning just one of their last five matches in the English top-flight.

A late Adam Lallana strike cancelled out Marcus Rashford’s opener to deny the hosts maximum points and their first league win since September 14 (against Leicester City).

Manchester United currently languish in the bottom half of the league table with 10 points after nine games, seven points adrift of the Champions League qualification zone.

Despite the dropped points at Old Trafford, Oliseh was satisfied with the overall team performance to match Jurgen Klopp's team.

“Pleased to see Rashford and Man United play at such a high level vs Liverpool. Don't write off Man. Utd for the season after today!,” Oliseh tweeted.

Manchester United will be looking to maintain their inspiring form when they visit Partizan Belgrade for Thursday’s Europa League fixture.

Manchester City players must help defence - Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he needs all 11 players to contribute for a successful defence. City have conceded nine goals in the Premier League this season yet kept a clean sheet against Crystal Palace on Saturday, despite fielding two central midfielders at the heart of their defence.

Guardiola revealed centre backs John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are fit to face Atalanta on Wednesday amid injury concerns, but admits the team as a whole is responsible for the defensive performance.

The Spaniard said: "We are good enough, we are strong enough, I think we believe in that. When you play these kind of games and believe in that 'OK, we are going to defend well because we are good'.

"Last game [against Palace] shows when you play good you defend less. When you don't play good you concede a lot. It's not about having two players who are going to defend for the 11 players.

"What happens is when we make an incredible fluid game from the build-up, we concede few. When our build-up is wrong, you make a mistake in the first pass.

"Against Wolves our build-up was not in our mind, we didn't train it. It was my mistake. That happened and we concede a lot - that's why it's related.

"It's not about we defend well and after it's enough - no. When you play good in some departments, pressing high is good and intense, we concede really few."

Guardiola guided Barcelona to Champions League success in 2009 and 2011, yet despite being considered as one of the best managers in the world, he has an eight-year drought in Europe's elite competition.

The 48-year-old, who reached three semi-finals with Bayern Munich, has not made it past the quarter-finals in three attempts with City and admits there is no guarantee they will make it further this season.

Asked whether he thinks City can win the Champions League ahead of their third Group C fixture against Atalanta, Guardiola replied: "I don't know.

"I answer this question how many times about that for the first year. I answered in the first press conference here when I arrived four years ago about this question.

"I answer many, many times and I have the same opinion. We are going to try but I don't know who is going to win. If we win I'll be happy - if we do not win we will try again next season.

"I never play one game as a football player or manager thinking I cannot win. At the same time, I play every game as a football manager or football player thinking I can lose.

"I can't anticipate what is going to happen in a football game but honestly I don't know. I would like to say we are going to win but I don't know honestly. We are going to try. We try from day one until the last day but honestly I don't know."

Bayern very happy with Coutinho transfer - Rummenigge

The Allianz Arena chief is pleased with how quickly the Brazilian has adapted to life in the Bundesliga since his loan switch from Barcelona. Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has been "very satisfied" with Philippe Coutinho's performances since his summer arrival from Barcelona.

The 27-year-old completed a season-long loan switch to Allianz Arena on August 16, after spending just one full season at Camp Nou.

Coutinho joined Barca from Liverpool after five successful years at Anfield for £140 million ($184m) in January 2018, but has failed to live up to expectations in Spain. Ernesto Valverde deemed the Brazil international surplus to requirements ahead of the 2019-20 campaign and Bayern pounced on his uncertain position, which has, so far, proved a shrewd piece of business.

Coutinho has scored two goals and laid on three assists in seven Bundesliga outings, showing flashes of the brilliance which turned him into a household name at Liverpool.

Rummenigge has been delighted with the playmaker's contribution in the early stages of the new season, as he told German publication Kicker: "Philippe is a high-quality player.

"Philippe has no star attitudes. He is a very pleasant person and he is very popular throughout the club.

"We are very satisfied with the transfer." Bayern have the option to purchase Coutinho on a permanent deal at the end of the season for £120m ($156m), but Rummenigge claims a final decision on his future will not be made until next year.

“We will decide about that when the right point in time has arrived,” the 64-year-old added.

Coutinho retained a spot in Bayern's starting XI for their trip to Augsburg on Saturday, which saw the visitors held to a disappointing 2-2 draw.

The result meant Niko Kovac's side missed the chance to move to the top of the Bundesliga after leaders Borussia Monchengladbach suffered a 1-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund over the weekend.

The German champions will now look ahead to a Champions League group stage encounter against Olympiacos in Greece on Tuesday night.

Bayern are top of Group B on six points, having already recorded comfortable wins over Red Star Belgrade and Tottenham.

Roma tweet apology to Sampdoria's Ronaldo Vieira for racist boos from fans

AS Roma have vowed to ban the fans responsible for aiming racist abuse at Sampdoria midfielder Ronaldo Vieira during a 0-0 Serie A draw on Sunday and took to social media to apologise for the incident.

Italian news network ANSA reported that the 21-year-old was targeted with monkey chants by travelling supporters at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Roma's official Twitter account said: "AS Roma would like to apologise to Ronaldo Vieira for the racist boos he was subjected to.

"Roma does not tolerate racism of any kind and the club will support the authorities in identifying and subsequently banning any individuals found guilty of racially abusing the midfielder."

The chants were heard coming from the away end, occupied by around 2,000 Roma fans, during the first half. The abuse continued and was noted by fourth official Antonio Giua.

"I heard it but I don't want to talk about it. This happens too often, it shouldn't be this way," Vieira told Rai Sport.

Corriere dello Sport reported that an announcement was made on the stadium loudspeaker warning fans that the match would be suspended if the chants continued.

Vieira was born in Guinea-Bissau but has represented England at youth level, having moved to the country at a young age.

He joined Sampdoria from Leeds United in 2018.

Last month, Roma banned a fan for life for sending racist insults to defender Juan Jesus on social media.

There have already been several incidents of racism in Serie A this season.

Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku received abuse from Cagliari fans in September and a game was briefly suspended when Fiorentina defender Dalbert said he had been racially abused by Atalanta supporters.

This is my 'toughest' time at Spurs - Harry Kane

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane has said that the side's recent struggles marks the "toughest" period in his time at the club.

Spurs escaped with a late draw at home to Premier League strugglers Watford on Saturday, following a controversial Dele Alli equaliser.

Boss Mauricio Pochettino has come under pressure following a poor start to the Premier League season that has seen just three wins, including losses to Brighton, Leicester and Newcastle.

"It's hard to put a finger on exactly what's wrong," Kane said at a news conference on Monday. "Sometimes when you're having a run of form like this, things don't always go your way in games. It's about sticking together and if we win tomorrow night that can kick start us.

"It's probably the toughest time since I've been here. It's just another challenge though. The road to success will always have bumps and this is just one of them."

Pochettino maintained that his side are just low on confidence, saying: "For many of our players this is the first time they've been in a tough period.

"For 99 per cent of our players they were in a very good period in the past five years, it's a very new thing for them."

"It's natural that when suffer a defeat like we suffered [7-2 loss to Bayern Munich]. When it should have been 3-1 to us in the first half and then we conceded like we did in the second half that is tough. It affects your confidence and trust.

"Then Brighton came so quick and it's normal that we're in a period where we're fragile."

Spurs, who reached the final of the Champions League last season, will look to end their poor form in the competition this season when they face Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on Tuesday.

Manchester City Are 'Still Not Ready' To Win The Champions League, Says Pep Guardiola

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has argued that his side are not ready to lift the Champions League crown as they aren't ruthless enough in front of net.

The defending Premier League champions bounced back from their shock 2-0 defeat against Watford with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring in the first half and David Silva doubled their lead minutes later, but Guardiola was far from convinced with the display at Selhurst Park.

The City boss was critical of the 22-year-old Brazilian striker in the dying stages of the match after he chose to shoot instead of setting up the unmarked Kevin De Bruyne for his side's third.

According to Guardiola, City's missed chances against Palace showed why his side could miss out on the Champions League crown again this season.

"The last action... like when he has to pass to Kevin, he has to do it," Guardiola said.

"But he is so young. We missed a lot of chances and also lost a lot of chances in the box. We have to be clinical.

"The people say about the Champions League, that target. We still are not ready.

"We create a lot, don't concede, but can improve.

"We've scored a lot over the last two seasons and I don't have doubts about that, but we have to keep going, work on that."

City's mistake of not capitalising on chances almost came back to haunt them, but the in-form Ederson pulled off a sensational save to deny Christian Benteke.

Guardiola has been heavily criticised for not winning Europe's elite club competition since lifting his second Champions League with Barcelona in 2011.

The 48-year-old Spaniard, who was appointed City boss in 2016, has failed to progress past the Champions League quarter-finals with his current side.

City are second in the Premier League and are six points behind league leaders Liverpool, who dropped points in a 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Sunday.

Guardiola's men will resume their Champions League campaign when they host Atalanta at the Etihad on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho Trolled Jurgen Klopp For Complaining About Manchester United’s 'Defensive' Approach

Jose Mourinho has fired back at Jurgen Klopp's claims that Manchester United were overly defensive by suggesting his anger came from 'never beating them at Old Trafford.'

The Red Devils led 1-0 before half-time after Marcus Rashford neatly finished from Daniel James' cross, despite VAR controversy surrounding Victor Lindelof's challenge on Divock Origi in the build-up.

But Adam Lallana scored a late equaliser to rescue a point for the Reds at Old Trafford.

Klopp argued after the match that United had only "set out to defend," but Mourinho has slammed the Liverpool boss' comments.

When the 'Special One' was asked for his verdict on Klopp's frustrations towards United's playing style, he responded: "Because he never beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.

"He didn't like the menu.

"He likes meat and got fish, so he was not happy.

"They are, of course, much stronger playing against opposition that gives them chances for transitions and counter-attacks.

"Of course, United with the limitations they have at this moment played a different profile of game.

"They tried to be solid in the back, they tried not to give chances of transition, they always kept three centre-backs in position plus [Scott] McTominay and Fred, they were always compact.

"They [Liverpool] didn't like the menu."

Following on from the match, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took a dig at Liverpool after photos emerged of their players playing basketball ahead of the clash.

United legend Roy Keane argued after the match that the club must make a move for Tottenham striker Harry Kane, while ex-Spurs midfielder Rafael van der Vaart lambasted marquee summer signing Harry Maguire.

The Red Devils, who have struggled with consistency this season, are in 13th place after their opening nine league matches.

Meanwhile, Klopp's title-challenging side remain top of the league and hold a six-point lead over defending champions Manchester City.

Solskjaer's men will now resume their Europa League campaign on Thursday with a trip Partizan.

Champions League holders Liverpool will also be in action this week when they travel to Genk on Wednesday.

Roy Keane Hilariously Destroys Gary Neville And Graeme Souness With Harry Kane Claim

Roy Keane has urged Manchester United to sign Harry Kane and in doing so, he hilariously destroyed both Gary Neville and Graeme Souness on Sky Sports.

Neville and Souness got involved in a back-and-forth exchange about United's attacking woes and Keane brilliantly chimed in to give his opinion.

The pair of pundits were talking about United's lack of striking options with the former Liverpool man bringing up Mason Greenwood and lambasting United's decision to sell Romelu Lukaku without replacing him.

The ex-United captain defended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's decision to offload the Belgium player with Keane getting involved in their heated argument by singling out the England skipper.

"Go and get Kane," Keane said. "Just go and get Kane from Spurs."

"You'll be popular with Spurs fans," Neville responded. Keane then added: "Just go get him. What are you all staring at?! United are in disarray, go get him."

Keane's simple answer became the talking point of the online football community.

"Roy Keane is just brilliant. 'What are you all staring at??" One Twitter user wrote.

A second Tweeted: "Roy Keane the absolute legend."

A third Tweeted: "Roy Keane easy best pundit around."

Another social media user wrote: "Roy Keane is epic. Imagine playing against him."

Kane has been linked with a move to United for some time now. He has been a prolific goalscorer in England's top-flight ever since breaking into Spurs' first-team.

Should United go all out and snap up Kane in the summer? Let us know what you think.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

David de Gea starts, Mohamed Salah out

David de Gea is fit to start for Manchester United on Super Sunday, but Mohamed Salah is not in the Liverpool matchday squad.

De Gea has made a swift recovery after suffering a groin injury on international duty with Spain, but Salah failed a late fitness test after picking up an ankle problem in Liverpool's 2-1 win over Leicester before the international break.

Divock Origi replaces Salah in the Liverpool starting line-up, while Alisson Becker returns in goal for the first time since August.

Marcus Rashford leads the line for Manchester United, with the returning Anthony Martial among the substitutes, while Fred joins Scott McTominay in midfield and Axel Tuanzebe is included in the defence.
Team news

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Tuanzebe, Young, McTominay, Fred, Pereira, James, Rashford.

Subs: Romero, Mata, Martial, Rojo, Greenwood, Garner, Williams.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Henderson, Mane, Firmino, Origi.

Subs: Adrian, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana.

Etebo Celebrates Stoke City Second League Win Of The Season

Super Eagles midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo is in cloud nine following Stoke City’s 2-0 home win against Fulham in their Sky Bet Championship clash at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday. It was the Potters second league win of the season following last weekend’s 2-1 away win at Swansea City.

Tyrese Campbell opened scoring for the home team in the 16th minute, while Lee Gregory added the second 10 minutes from time.

“Another three points.Well done lads and thanks to all the Amazing fans of city for their support,” Etebo wrote on his Twitter handle.

Etebo was in action for the entire 90 minutes in the game.

It was the former CD Feirense of Portugal midfielder 10th league appearance for Nathan Jones’ men.

Messi voting me The Best shows how far I've come - Mane

The Liverpool winger has enjoyed another impressive start to the season with five goals in eight league games

Sadio Mane admits it was a "great compliment" to be Lionel Messi’s number one vote for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award.

The Liverpool winger received Messi’s top vote for the award last month, with the Barcelona winger eventually picking up the prize himself, with Mane coming in at number five.

Mane’s team-mate Virgil van Dijk finished in second, ahead of Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow Reds winger Mohamed Salah in third and fourth respectively.

Messi also voted for Ronaldo and his new club-mate Frenkie de Jong, but it was Senegal international Mane who took the number one vote from the Argentinian forward.

“It’s a great compliment when Messi votes for you,” Mane said in an interview with The Sunday Times.

“If you look at where I’ve come from, it shows I’ve come quite far. Without being for a long time at an academy, I got here.

“All I can say [to kids] is to keep working hard and go for your dream.”

And on whether or not he would return the favour for Messi if given the chance, the Liverpool winger joked: “Yes, for sure...after Virgil [Van Dijk]. No, Virgil is a great, great player but sorry Virgil, it has to be Messi before you.”

Having shared the Premier League Golden Boot last season with fellow African stars Salah and Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mane has made another blistering start to the current campaign.

The 27-year-old already has five league goals to his name, as well as scoring the opener in his side’s dramatic 4-3 Champions League victory against Red Bull Salzburg earlier this month.

He says the decision to join the Reds was "the best of his career" after making the move from Southampton three years ago, but admits that meeting Jurgen Klopp for the first time was slightly overwhelming.

“He was talking too much and I said, ‘Wow, this is going to be tough for me because I’m a little bit quiet.'

“Klopp is a really nice guy. Everybody loves him and that is more important, to be honest [than all the talking].

“He is a bit of a funny guy but at the same time he is a serious guy.”

Mane will be looking to continue his fine start to the new campaign as Liverpool look to maintain their 100 per cent record in the Premier League this term when they visit old rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

Akpeyi's replacing Alisson as the best keeper in the world - Kaizer Chiefs fan appreciation

Earlier this season, the Nigerian stopper claimed he was not loved by football followers in South Africa but all that has changed

Kaizer Chiefs beat Cape Town City on penalties in the Round of 16 of the Telkom Knockout Cup on Saturday.

With the match ending 1-1 at full-time, Amakhosi keeper Daniel Akpeyi became the hero in the shootout, as his saves dramatically won the match for the visitors.

Even though the Nigerian produced a number of good performances earlier this season as Chiefs topped the PSL table, the fans were still calling for the return of Itumeleng Khune.

When Khune got injured soon after returning, the supporters realised they have to get behind Akpeyi.

The hurt keeper has recently stated he is his only supporter in South Africa as he felt left out from the fans' affection due to the overwhelming preference for the popular Bafana Bafana keeper.

From South African social media on Saturday night, we notice Akpeyi is beginning to win over many Chiefs fans now. He's turned them around thanks to his match-winning performances and there's no better way to silence your critics than on the field.

Though, there are still a few fans who thanked him with a photo of Khune, or found a reason to criticise a few moments during the game.

You can enjoy the Twitter reaction, including a video of the fans at the Cape Town Stadium, thanks to Chiefs' media officer Vina Maphosa.

Mourinho is still the Special One - Ibrahimovic.

The former Sweden striker played under the Portuguese at Inter and Manchester United, and believes he is far from finished at the top level

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has backed Jose Mourinho to prove a success in his next position, but the ex-Barcelona striker remains less enamoured with Pep Guardiola.

Mourinho and Ibrahimovic forged a strong bond during spells together at Inter and Manchester United.

The divisive former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss has not held a managerial job since parting ways with United in December 2018 but appears to be edging closer to a coaching comeback.

Mourinho recently rejected the chance to hold talks with Lyon as he "has already chosen another club," the Ligue 1 side's president, Jean-Michel Aulas, said earlier this month.

And Ibrahimovic is adamant the Portuguese's next employers will enjoy the best of his abilities.

"He had an incredible impact on my career," the LA Galaxy striker told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He is still 'the Special One', a winner. I hope he will back on a bench soon and I am sure he will start winning immediately."

Guardiola, however, does not occupy the same place in Ibrahimovic's heart.

The pair shared a famously dysfunctional relationship over the course of the Swede's single season with Barca, which featured 16 La Liga goals and a title triumph.

"We never had a direct confrontation because of him," Ibrahimovic said of Guardiola, who is now in charge of Manchester City.

"When we faced each other, he hid. He waited for me to leave and then left the dressing room. As a coach he is a phenomenon, but as a man..."

Ibrahimovic is set to be on the search for a new club with his contract in Los Angeles set to expire at the end of the MLS season.

He has been linked with a return to Old Trafford while the man himself has not ruled out a move back to Serie A.

Ndidi Dedicates Leicester City Home Win Vs Burnley To Late Foxes Owner

Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has dedicated Saturday’s 2-1 home win against Burnley to the club’s late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Chris Wood gave Burnley the lead early in the game before the Foxes rallied back with goals from Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemans.

Srivaddhanaprabha died on October 27, 2018 after an helicopter carrying him and four other crashed shortly after take-off from the King Power Stadium.

The club’s officials and players have been in sober mood, reflecting on his exit and offering a moment of silent in their clash against Burnley as they prepare for his first anniversary at the end of the month.

“Forever in our hearts 💙… 3points 💼 ,”Ndidi tweeted after the game.

Ndidi has made eight league appearances for Leicester City this season and scored twice.

Leicester City maintained third position in the table following the win.

Super Eagles B Lose 4-3 On Aggregate To Togo, Crash Out of CHAN 2020

The Super Eagles B failed to qualify for the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) billed for Cameroon despite a 2-0 win against Togo in the second leg of their final qualifying round fixture at the Agege Stadium Lagos on Saturday night.

The Imama Amapakabo’s charges lost 4-3 on aggregate to the Hawks having earlier lost the first 4-1 in Lome.

The Home Eagles mounted pressure on the Togolese right from start and were rewarded for their positive approach when Lobi Stars’ forward Sikiru Alimi broke the deadlock with an eighth-minute goal.

Alimi went close again in the 25th minute, but his goal-bound effort was cleared off the line by a Togolese defender.

Ibrahim Sunusi nearly added the second goal five minutes later but his shot missed target.

The Eagles got their second goal in the 72nd minute through Alimi who fired home from outside the box.

The Eagles however failed to find the much needed third goal despite the centre referee adding additional 10 minutes.

Ajayi Wins Al Ahly September Goal Of The Month Award

Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi has won Egyptian club, Al Ahly’s goal of the month award for September.

His first goal in Al Ahly’s 3-2 win against rivals, Zamalek in their Super Cup clash on September 20 was adjudged by the club as the best for the month.

Ajayi bagged a brace in the encounter played at the Borg El Arab Stadium.

The 23-year-old has scored two goals in three league appearances for Al Ahly this season.

Injury limited his appearance for the Egyptian champions last season when he scored four goals in 15 appearances for the club.

Real Madrid unbeaten stat ended by Mallorca

Real Madrid's unbeaten league start was ended as they were stunned 1-0 by promoted Real Mallorca.

Barcelona's 3-0 win at Eibar earlier in the day had relegated Real to second place, and Zinedine Zidane's side failed to reclaim top spot as Lago Junior's seventh-minute strike proved decisive. Real's misery was completed 17 minutes from time when right-back Alvaro Odriozola was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Odriozola had been walking a tightrope from the 19th minute, and he slipped off it when he foolishly challenged Lago Junior and left Real one man short.

Mallorca had to defend for long periods, especially in the second half as a white-shirted wave came towards them, but Real lacked a cutting edge and rarely tested home goalkeeper Manolo Reina.

It was Mallorca's best win since their promotion from the Segunda Division and moved them out of the relegation spots and into 14th place.

Real were without injured trio Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, and summer signing Eden Hazard was also missing after his wife had given birth.

So Luka Jovic made his first league start in nearly a month to join Karim Benzema in attack. Isco tested Mallorca goalkeeper Reina with an early effort but Real were soon behind.

Odriozola allowed Lago Junior to cut inside him onto his right foot and curl a splendid shot past Thibaut Courtois - his first La Liga goal coming two seasons after he was playing in the third tier for Malaga.

Mallorca thought they had doubled their lead after 14 minutes when Ante Budimir drove home but the assistant referee had correctly flagged for offside.

Real dominated as the half wore on with Benzema striking the crossbar from close range and Reina holding Marcelo's powerful 20-yard shot.

Mallorca sent on full-back Lumor Agbenyenu for the second half and he tried his luck from distance within 30 seconds, his rising shot just clearing Courtois' crossbar.

But the pattern of the first half was soon re-established as Real set up camp in Mallorca territory.

Reina held Benzema's deflected strike and Sergio Ramos sent a 25-yard free-kick over the bar.

However, Real often lacked composure around the edge of the penalty area as Mallorca got bodies around the ball.

Real were still struggling to create clear-cut chances when Odriozola dived in to stop Lago Junior to receive his second yellow card.

Reina had to collect Eder Militao's header when James Rodriguez floated a free kick into a crowded penalty area.

But, in truth, Mallorca saw out the closing stages in comfort and well worth their unlikely victory.