Monday, November 18, 2019

Chelsea Is My Club" - Michy Batshuayi "Happy" Despite Lack Of Playing Time

Michy Batshuayi has spoken about his future after concerns over his lack of playing time at Chelsea in recent weeks. Batshuayi has now insisted that he is happy at the London club despite being behind Tammy Abraham in the pecking order.

After Chelsea's 12 matches in the leagues so far, Batshuayi is yet to start any game and has been used 7 times off the bench.

He scored in the 4-1 win against Southampton last month and has also scored thrice in the League cup.

His counterpart Abraham has been on fire so far this season for Chelsea, scoring 10 league goals in 12 matches.

Due to this, both Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud have been forced to sit and watch from the sidelines, but the Belgian star insists he isjust happy to be at the club.

“I have never been a full-fledged starter, but Chelsea is my club,” he said.

“That's where I feel at home.

“It's a club I love deeply.”

Batshuayi also discussed his temperament and discipline, as he admitted he has had problems in the past, but is trying to work on his “seriousness”.

He added: “When I was young, it’s true that I had some problems of discipline.

“But what young person doesn’t? Today, I’m 26 years old, I can channel myself and I work at training and in the game.
“I’m playful, but I choose my moments: at 0-0 I’m going to be serious, at 2 or 3-0 I’m going to play it up.

“Being cool is part of my personality.

“But it’s true: the pressure of football imposes the need to perform and win.

“The competition is raging, and seriousness is needed.”

Hazard Is Very Lazy - Mikel Obi Slams Former Chelsea Teammate

Nigeria international John Obi Mikel has described former teammate at Chelsea Eden Hazard as a lazy player in training. Mikel played with Hazard at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea between 2012 and 2017, winning two Premier League titles together.

However, Mikel has added weight to the suggestion that the Belgian's conditioning could be far better by revealing his training habits at Chelsea.

"Hazard has an incredible talent,' Mikel told beIN Sports.

"Maybe not as good as [Lionel] Messi, but he can do whatever he wants with the ball at his feet.

"He didn't like to train hard. While we were working he was waiting for us to finish training just standing there.

"But on Sundays he was always man of the match, it was unbelievable.'

Hazard’s summer transfer to Real Madrid has not gone entirely to plan.

The Belgian has missed time through injury and not had a tremendous impact when he has been on the pitch, scoring just once in 11 games for the club.

Jurgen Klopp, Gareth Southgate up for coaching award In UK

England manager Gareth Southgate and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp are among the nominees for the 2019 UK Coaching Moment of the Year award.

The 'Great Coaching Moment of the Year' award celebrates the moments that distinguish a coach from their focus on a sporting result to their focus on the person or people they are working with.

Southgate received his nomination for the decision-making and leadership qualities he showed in supporting England's players and backroom staff as they managed the racism which marred England's European Qualifier against Bulgaria in September.

Klopp has been recognised for masterminding Liverpool's Champions League comeback against Barcelona, where his side overturned a 3-0 first-leg loss to qualify for the Champions League final with a dramatic 4-0 victory at Anfield.

Southgate and Klopp are joined on the shortlist by John Blackie, who helped Dina Asher-Smith to two gold medals at the World Athletics Championships in Doha.

While Adam Peaty's longtime coach, Mel Marshall, completes the line-up having helped the British swimmer to another 100m breaststroke world record and World Aquatics Championship golds.

"I'm so proud and happy to hear that John has been shortlisted for the Great Coaching Moment of the Year," Asher-Smith said of Blackie's nomination.

"I would not be the woman and athlete I am today without his hard-work, selflessness and patience, and for that I will be forever grateful. John puts athletes first and I think he would be a worthy winner of this award."

"As one of the leading female coaches in our country, I'm thrilled that Mel has been recognised and nominated for Great Coaching Moment of the Year," Peaty said of his long-term coach Marshall.

"Mel is so much more than just a coach and is there for her athletes 24/7. We share common goals and a mutual understanding that we will work harder and be smarter which allows us to achieve the results that we do.

"Mel shares the dreams of her athletes and has enabled me to grow not just as a swimmer, but also as a person, both physically and mentally. Mel is an incredible coach and she's also an incredible person."

The shortlist was selected in partnership with the Sports Journalists' Association and the winner will be decided by public vote. You can cast your vote at

The winner will be announced on December 5 at a ceremony at The Tower Hotel London.

Memphis Depay hits out after Excelsior striker walks off after alleged racist abuse

Memphis Depay has called for action to be taken after Excelsior striker Ahmad Mendes Moreira walked off in a game against Den Bosch after allegedly being racially abused by supporters.
Moreira was consoled by team-mates as he left the pitch following an incident near the home fans in the Eerste Divisie - the Dutch second division - clash. The game continued after a delay, with Moreira scoring to put his side 2-1 ahead in a match which eventually finished 3-3.
The Dutch FA has confirmed that it is investigating the incident and said the protocol for dealing with such instances was implemented correctly by the match officials.

Den Bosch released a statement on Twitter saying they had launched an investigation and that the club condemns racism, while Depay tweeted that he was "sick and tired" of seeing such scenes and called on UEFA and the Dutch FA to act.

He said: "I'm sick and tired to see these images over and over! When is it going to stop!!? #SayNoToRacism @KNVB @OnsOranje @UEFA what we going to do? Especially with the upcoming @EURO2020."

Memphis Depay has called for action to be taken

A KNVB statement said: "There is no room for racism in football. Unfortunately, racism is a social problem that sometimes also arises in football. This is at odds with what we want with sport: connecting people. That is why we are taking a crackdown on racism.

"Our protocol for supporters chanting has been used correctly on Sunday afternoon. Together with the club, we are now looking at how the perpetrators can be traced and dealt with. Finally, this incident will be further investigated through the independent disciplinary system."

During the delay, referee Laurens Gerrets spoke to Fox Sports and revealed he was worried for the safety of Moreira, that he was too emotional to carry on playing and that the player was getting more and more upset.

He said play continued for a minute but the songs did not stop so action was taken. The referee said he left the decision over whether to continue the game to Excelsior and they said they wanted to carry on.

A Den Bosch tweet said: "The statements by Excelsior player Moreira prompted FC Den Bosch to conduct a further investigation to find out what exactly was called from the stands. FC Den Bosch emphasizes once again that it distances itself from discrimination and racism."

England Far Better Now, Very Confident - Gareth Southgate

England Coach Gareth Southgate has insisted that his players are very confident after securing ultimate qualification for the Euro 2020 tournament. England notched their 23rd goal in five Euro 2020 qualifiers as Raheem Sterling set up two of England's four goals in a resounding 4-0 win against Kosovo.

However, Southgate feels his players are comfortable with their position as one of the favourites - but acknowledges far tougher tests are on the horizon.

He said: 'I think the team have belief, you can see the confidence.

'They don't come into these matches worrying about what might go wrong, they've got the confidence to control games with possession, and they know they're going to score goals.

'What we don't know, because we haven't had those tests more recently against the top eight or ten, is exactly how we're going to cope in those moments.

"And to win the European Championship is, at the moment, no easier than the World Cup. The final four were all European, and you've got to add Spain, Germany, Portugal and all the others into that, so it's areally high-level tournament.'

I Don't Like To Be Substituted - Cristiano Ronaldo Reacts After Juventus Controversy

Cristiano Ronaldo has played down reports of being angry after he was substituted in the Last match for Juventus against AC Milan. The Portuguese star was first taken off in the 82nd minute of Juventus' Champions League clash against locomotive Moscow on November 2nd.

Again, Coach Maurizio Sarri decided to substitute Ronaldo in the 1-0 win against AC Milan in Serie A, which he was not happy about and left the stadium even before the match ended.

Coach Sarri refused to be critical of his striker's conduct, insisting that he was willing to play despite continuing to struggle with a knee injury.

That did not stop rumours of a rift between the pair, though Ronaldo has looked to put an end to the speculation by confirming his fitness issues.

“For the last three weeks, I have been playing limited,” he told reporters via Record after scoring his 99th international goal in Portugal's 2-0 Euro 2020 qualifying winover Luxembourg on Sunday.

“There was no controversy, you create controversy.

“I don't like to be replaced, but I have been playing limited for the last three weeks, I tried to help Juventus, even playing injured.

“I'm still not 100% but when it comes to sacrificing for the club or team I do it with pride because I know there were a lot of games up for grabs.

“At Juventus, Inter are putting a lot of pressure. We are two points ahead, but we can't go easy because if they draw or lose, they overtake us and I sacrificed myself.

“I have never had major injuries. I play 50 or 60 games a year, but at one time or another there may be an unforeseen event: It's a pain that keeps me from being 100%. But I always try to help.

“There has been a lot of controversy on this subject, without there being much to see.

“We won. Juventus is in first place, we (Portugal) qualified and I will be 100% fit as fast as possible.”

Eden Hazard called 'lazy' by ex-Chelsea team-mate John Obi Mikel

Mikel on Hazard: "He didn't like to train hard. While we were working he was waiting for us to finish training just standing there."

Eden Hazard has been brandished the "laziest player I have played with" by former Chelsea team-mate John Obi Mikel, while also insisting Hazard remained an "incredible talent".

Obi Mikel, now playing in Turkey, spent 11 seasons at Chelsea, five of them alongside Hazard, but was far from complimentary of the Real Madrid forward's work ethic, while insisting Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was the hardest working.

Hazard's start to life in Spain has not gone to plan, with injuries hampering his progress. Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has questioned the fitness work Hazard has put in earlier this month, with former team-mate Mikel the latest to question Hazard's methods.

"The laziest player I have played alongside is Eden Hazard," Mikel told beIN Sports in Turkey.

"Hazard has an incredible talent, maybe not as good as [Lionel] Messi, but he can do whatever he wants with the ball at his feet.

"He didn't like to train hard. While we were working he was waiting for us to finish training just standing there. But on Sundays he was always man of the match, it was unbelievable."

When asked who the hardest working player he's played alongside was he said "Frank Lampard," with no hesitation whatsoever.

LeBron James, Lakers Nation laud Kobe Bryant in return to Staples

As much as the on-court product this season has been can't-miss fodder for Los Angeles Lakers fans hungry for a winner, it was a courtside fan rooting on the Lakers' 122-101 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday who stole the show.

The fan just so happened to be Kobe Bryant.
"That's one of the greatest players to ever play this game, taking time out of his day on a Sunday," said LeBron James, who put up 33 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. "So I'm just trying to put on a show for him and give him a reason, like, 'OK, we might come to another game.'"

Bryant, in the building to promote "Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof," the children's fantasy novel he created with author Ivy Claire, played the dual role of proud Laker alumnus and proud papa, as he attended the game with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria "Gigi" Bryant.

"He's got one of the greatest female players that's about to come up sitting next to him in Gigi," James added.

Hawks star Trae Young was delighted to hear that though Kobe was there for the Lakers, Gigi was there for him.

"It was crazy because he told me his daughter is a huge fan of mine, and I'm one of her favorite players," Young said. "It's kind of crazy because I'll be watching her highlights, too. They pop up on my timeline."

There was a time when the idea of Bryant in Staples Center in 2019, embracing Dwight Howard back wearing the purple and gold, would have been unheard of. But Howard was one of the first Lakers to greet the future Hall of Famer.

"Were there ever any hard feelings? It doesn't matter," said Howard, who has taken to wearing Bryant's signature Nike sneakers this season because he likes how they feel. "That's the past. This is a new age, a new day. We're all about positive vibes."

Even though it ended up being a warm encounter, Howard was surprised by Bryant's presence at first.

"I didn't even know who he was. Slapped me on the back of the neck. I was about to elbow him. But then he said, 'Hey, what's up? You're playing good,'" Howard said, changing his voice to a deep baritone to imitate Bryant. "I said, 'OK.' But it was cool. I was glad he came to the game. It was a lot of fun having him in the building."

The crowd ate it up whenever Bryant was on the video screen -- or really, when he did just about anything. When James shook hands with Bryant midway through the first quarter and then shot a 3 to put L.A. up 24-5, the fans cheered.

When highlights from Bryant's 81-point game were shown, immediately followed by Bryant being introduced by Lakers P.A. announcer Lawrence Tanter, they cheered.

When Bryant stood up to snap photos of Gigi with comedian Kevin Hart and Quavo and Offset from the hip-hop group Migos, they took photos of Bryant taking photos and cheered.

When James hit a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock in the fourth quarter and immediately turned to shoot Bryant a look as he ran back on defense, they cheered even more loudly.

"I got chills when the crowd started going nuts," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. "His presence -- and he deserves it. One of the greatest Lakers of all time and one of the greatest players of all time, and we're very lucky to have him here in attendance, and [he] definitely energized the crowd and our team."

Kyle Kuzma, who considers Bryant a mentor, doesn't normally interact with the big names in the building but made an exception Sunday.

"Don't really talk to people on the sidelines. I try to be focused," Kuzma said. "But that's my guy. So I had to."

Last season, Bryant came to L.A.'s fifth game of the season -- a 121-114 win over the Denver Nuggets -- but the win brought the Lakers' record to 2-3. Sunday's win pushed L.A.'s record to 11-2, giving the Lakers the best mark in the league. The biggest change has been the addition of Anthony Davis, who had 14 points on 5-for-14 shooting against the Hawks and added five assists and five blocks.

"I mean, it's great," Davis said. "I never thought I'd be playing here in such an iconic franchise and have the opportunity to do something great here. Obviously, it's going to be nothing compared to what Kobe's done here, but just trying to write my own story and take it game by game, year by year and just keep building."

Bryant witnessed a historic night from James, whose plus-minus of plus-41 in 18 minutes in the first half was the best plus-minus in any half of his 17-year career, according to research by ESPN Stats & Info.

"Just having him in the building and knowing what he meant to this franchise and L.A. for me and my teammates, what it means to be a part of this Laker Nation and Laker family, it's a beautiful thing," James said. "And for me, I grew up watching, admiring. I was one of the kids, obviously, who had a chance to come out straight out of high school, so he did it, and I was just watching him.

"It's just dope. It's just so surreal for me, just a kid from Akron, to be able to have a guy like Kobe just take time out of his day. Even at this point in my career, it's still special."

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Wilder Open To WWE Move After Fury Rematch

Deontay Wilder is open to a WWE move and “jumping off a ladder” or “doing a flying elbow” following Tyson Fury’s wrestling debut.

The Gypsy King is set to rematch WBC king Wilder in February after the pair fought to a split-decision draw in Los Angeles last year.

After double Las Vegas wins in 2019 Fury, 31, swapped the boxing gloves for wrestling boots making his WWE debut against Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia last month.

And ahead of his next WBC title defence, against Luis Ortiz next weekend, The Bronze Bomber admitted he too would be open to enhancing his profile with a wrestling switch.

Wilder told PBC: “We thought about that years ago for marketing purposes, promotion and stuff like that.

“I’m a man that believes don’t burn no bridges.

“If that opportunity comes about I could see myself jumping off a ladder, doing a flying elbow or something like that.

“I’ve got the character to be able to perform in that environment, it’d be something fun, I wouldn’t turn it down.”

MMA Fighter's Arm Injury Is One Of The Most Gruesome Ever

MMA has the ability to make us wince at the big shots, unreal knockouts and injuries that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy- well unless you really don't like your worst enemy.

Like boxing, MMA speaks to us on a very primal level. There's something about two guy smacking the living daylights out of each other that a lot of people absolutely love, it's really old school.

Of course plenty of us who enjoy the sports wouldn't be seen dead inside the ring or cage, or at least we'd start by being alive and soon be dead after a couple of hits, so thanks to those who put themselves through all that for our watching pleasure.

Jerome Rivera might regret being one of those men after his arm seemed to go completely backwards during his clash with Brandon Royval at Legacy Fighting Alliance 39 in Vail, Colorado.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Re-Signing Neymar Still an Option At Barcelona – Abidal

Barcelona Sporting Director Eric Abidal has hinted that the Laliga giants are looking at making new moves at re-signing their former superstar Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain despite the failed bid last summer.

Neymar left Barcelona to join PSG in 2017 for a world record €222million transfer fee. But Barcelona failed to meet the French Ligue 1 side’s demands for the Brazilian’s return to Camp Nou and the negotiations collapsed.

However Abidal has revealed that Barcelona will still make Neymar an option, even if it’s not their number one oprion in the transfer market.

“A top player, who has a Barca philosophy and who is performing at a high level, will always be an option” Abidal told Mundo Deportivo.

“We can make decisions on the sporting level but the whole financial issue, there are things that you can do and others you cannot. The future will tell us.

“I will not say it [ re-signing Neymar] would be option number one, because the season is very long, but clearly it can be an option.”

Abidal also provided an update on Barcelona’s Inter Milan target Lautaro Martinez as they remain determined to bring in a reliable backup and possible successor to striker Luis Suarez who is deep in the twilight of his career.

“He is a complete player. I think he is performing at a great level. He is a player we know,” Abidal said of the 22 year old.

“There are other players who also have a lot of quality… but I don’t pay much attention to the player who plays every weekend, I look at others.”

“I am transparent with the players. Luis can tell you, because last year I already told him that it was going to be like that, that we were going to look for an offensive player.

“He accepted it because he wants the best for the team. Today, I can tell you that there is no priority. The planning will always be done, no matter the position on the field, the
only change will be the decision.”

Arsenal Ready To Sell Granit Xhaka In January To Bundesliga Club

Arsenal are ready to sell Granit Xhaka to former club Borussia Monchengladbach in January, with Denis Zakaria potentially moving in the other direction. Xhaka has not played since his infamous substitution against Crystal Palace on October 27, when supporters booed the then-Gunners captain off the pitch and the Swiss midfielder reacted angrily.

The 27-year-old was then stripped of the captaincy by manager Unai Emery, and with a way back to the first-team looking increasingly unlikely.

Now, According to the Mirror, Xhaka could return to the club he left in 2016 come the January transfer window.

Meanwhile, international team-mate Zakaria has flourished for Gladbach this season, during their rise to the top of the Bundesliga.

The 22-year-old midfielder is attracting interest from a host of European clubs, but the Gunners could have the edge if Xhaka is included in any deal, though it is likely Zakaria would only move next summer.

The pair play together for Switzerland - Xhaka has been capped 78 times since 2011, whilst Zakaria has 24 caps in the past three years.

They also played together for the national team in a 1-0 qualifying victory against Georgia on Friday.

A move back to Germany may well suit Xhaka, given the very public nature of his fall-out with the Arsenal fanbase.
Newcastle are also interested in the Gunners midfielder regarding a loan deal in January.

Barcelona, Lionel Messi In Talks Over New Contract

Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has confirmed that Lionel Messi is in talks with the club over a new contract agreement. Messi has spent 18 years with Barca but his future has been called into question after it emerged earlier this year he can leave Camp Nou for free at the end of any season.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi is officially contracted to the La Liga champions until 2021, but Abidal is hopeful fresh terms can soon be agreed.

"They are already talking," he told Mundo Deportivo.

"I do not know if we will have news soon because the decision will depend on the player, but for us as a club I hope it is sorted as soon as possible."

Asked when he expects an agreement to be announced, Abidal said: "It will be known when it is known, but I am positive."

Last month marked 15 years since Messi made his Barcelona debut at the age of 17.

Since then he has gone on to score 600 goals in 698 appearances, winning a club-record 34 trophies including ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions Leagues and six Copa del Reys.

He has extended his contract eight times since 2005 with his latest deal, signed in November 2017, making him the best-paid player in La Liga - worth a reported €580,000 a week.

The deal also includes a mammoth €700 million release fee, though it has since been reported that the contract also contains a clause allowing him to leave for a team outside Europe at the end of any season.

Despite being 32, his skills and importance to the side show no signs of diminishing, with Barcelona making their worst start to a season in 25 years while Messi was sidelined through injury.

However, since making his first start of the campaign against Villarreal in September Barca have won eight out of 10 matches in all competitions, with Messi scoring nine goals in 11 appearances.

Virgil Van Dijk Withdraws From Netherlands Squad

Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk has withdrawn from the Netherlands national team squad due to personal reasons. The 28-year-old played the full 90 minutes against Northern Ireland on Friday as the Oranje secured their place at next summer’s tournament, their first major finals since 2014, courtesy of a goalless draw in Belfast.

However, he will play no part when the Netherlands wrap up their qualifying campaign in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

“National team coach Ronald Koeman cannot call on Virgil van Dijk on Tuesday against Estonia,” read a Netherlands statement.

“The captain of the Dutch national team has to miss the game due to personal circumstances and has since left the Oranje training camp.”

The Netherlands were far from their fluid best in Belfastand were fortunate to go in at half-time with the game still goalless when Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis blasted a penalty over the crossbar.

The visitors improved in the second half and enjoyedthe bulk of the possession, but struggled to create many clear-cut chances.

However, With no mention of any injury, Liverpool will hope Van Dijk will be fit and available for the Reds’ trip to Crystal Palace when the Premier League resumes on November 24.

Van Dijk has been an ever-present in the Premier League for the Merseysiders this season, helping Jurgen Klopp’s side build up an eight-point lead at the top of the table.

Barcelona interest in Lautaro confirmed as Abidal eyes Suarez successor

A Blaugrana legend has admitted the club could target Inter's in-form striker, with a key performer approaching the twilight years of his career. Eric Abidal has confirmed that Barcelona are interested in signing Inter forward Lautaro Martinez as a possible replacement for Luis Suarez.

Suarez is approaching the final 18 months of his current contract at Camp Nou and at 32-years-old is unlikely he will be offered the chance to extend his stay.

It has been suggested that the Uruguay international could leave Barca next year , with summer signing Antoine Greizmann now pushing for the central striker role in Ernesto Valverde's line up.

Barca are expected to bolster their attacking ranks even further when the transfer market re-opens, with an emphasis on targeting the best young talent in Europe.

Lautaro falls into that bracket at the moment, after emerging as one of the most deadly finishers in Serie A with Inter this season.

The Argentine has hit five goals in 12 league appearances and added three more in four Champions League outings, forging a formidable partnership up front with Romelu Lukaku.

Lautaro has been named as a potential successor for Suarez at Camp Nou and Abidal has now officially registered Barca's interest in the 22-year-old.

"He is a complete player, I think he is performing at a great level," Barcelona's sporting director told Mundo Deportivo .

"He is a player we know, there are other players who also have a lot of quality.

"I know Barca, I know what adaptation is like, but I don't pay much attention to the player who plays every weekend, I look at others."

Abidal also weighed in on Suarez's future at Barcelona, insisting that the experienced frontman is already aware of the club's intention to recruit another "offensive player".

He added: "I am transparent with the players, Luis can tell you because last year I already told him that it was going to be like that, that we were going to look for an offensive player and I don't say he did not accept it, he accepted it because he wants the best for the team.

"Today I can tell you that there is no priority, the planning will always be done, no matter the position in the field, the only change will be the decision. It may be the first signing, the second, it depends on whether there are injuries, exits, ethics, etc."

Suarez will reunite with the rest of Valverde's squad after the international break, with a trip to Leganes in La Liga on the cards on November 23.

Barca will then turn their attention back to the Champions League, with Borussia Dortmund set to arrive at Camp Nou for a crucial Group F clash four days later.

'I want to get better, and I want more trophies' - Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino’s thirst for self-improvement is far from quenched, with the No.9 detailing his desire to drive his game to new levels to help Liverpool win more trophies.

A critical component in Jürgen Klopp’s Champions League-winning machine, Firmino is one of seven Reds included on this year’s 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or and became the first Brazilian to reach the milestone of 50 Premier League goals earlier this season.

The 28-year-old also tasted international success last summer, playing a key role as his country secured Copa America glory on home soil.

However, there is no chance of Firmino being afflicted by complacency in the aftermath of such achievements.

“I think I improved a lot in every way: physically, tactically, mentally, I learned a bit of every aspect,” he told Premier League Productions, when asked how he has changed since arriving at Anfield in 2015.

“But I do not want to stop here. I want to keep improving – I always want more, I have big goals, I want to keep winning titles with this club and that is it.”

Firmino has featured in all 12 of the Reds’ top-flight matches in 2019-20, helping his team to collect 34 points from a possible 36 prior to the ongoing November international break.

A haul of eight assists in the campaign to date tells the story of his selflessness on the pitch – a trait that comes naturally to him.

“That is just me, my personality, to try to be a good and humble guy,” Firmino explained.

“To try to help my team in the best way with assists and goals. I like that, I like to win all the time, and for that I will always be like this.

“I am a guy who respects my position on the pitch. Where the team needs me, I will play. As a No.9, but sometimes I play as a No.10, and I try to give my best.

“As I mentioned before, I always want to help my team as best as I can and to always be chasing the win, always winning games. That is what matters the most.”

Klopp regularly speaks in glowing terms about a man he has described as the ‘engine’ of his side – and the admiration is mutual. 

“I am never tired of praising Klopp,” Firmino said.

“He has so many good things on and off the pitch. He really helps us on a daily basis, we learn so much from him in every way.

“He is able to have the team with him. We have been doing things well and learning a lot from him, and we have been showing on the pitch that we can grow more and more each day and do our best.”

Manchester City consider Kingsley Coman as Leroy Sane replacement

Manchester City are considering a move for Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman if Leroy Sane joins the German champions as expected in the summer.

Sane has long been linked with a move to Bayern, with former boss Niko Kovac revealing in July that the club were "working very hard" to secure their "dream signing", but a summer transfer never materialised.

Pep Guardiola managed France international Coman for a season during his time at the Allianz Arena, and the club view the 23-year-old as the ideal replacement for Sane, who was ruled out for seven months in August with an ACL injury.

Coman, who started his career at Paris Saint-Germain before moving to Juventus and then on to Bayern, has made 139 appearances for the Bundesliga club across all competitions, netting 28 goals.

Sane, meanwhile, joined City from Schalke in 2016 and the 23-year-old Germany international has scored 39 times in 134 matches.

Champions City return to domestic action on Saturday when they host Chelsea - live on Sky Sports Premier League - looking to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat to title-rivals Liverpool, which left them nine points behind the Reds in fourth.

Fashanu Praises Sterling’s Stand Against Racism

Raheem Sterling is a spokesman for the young black generation, a sensational footballer – and, above all else, a natural-born fighter.

That’s the view of ex-England, Aston Villa and Wimbledon striker John Fashanu following the Manchester City ace’s scrap with Liverpool rival Joe Gomez in the canteen at St George’s Park.

Fash, notorious for dressing-room brawls and training-ground fights with the Crazy Gang in the late 80s and early 90s, is full of admiration for Sterling.

After all, squaring up to somebody such as Gomez, who is considerably taller than the Etihad winger, takes some courage.

And, according to Fashanu, it means Sterling would have slotted in with the Wimbledon of yesteryear – no problem.

The ex-Premier League hardman said: “Raheem would have been a great Crazy Gang player – just the sort we looked for.

“You have to give him a lot of credit – to stand up for himself the way he does is what you want from every player. We all know about his amazing talents, his amazing maturity in taking on the racists in the game – and demanding black and white players are portrayed equally by the media.

“But now we see he also possesses this rare inner strength. There’s a street brawler burning away inside him when it comes to football and life. The boy’s
a winner.

“Raheem would have been perfect with Vinnie Jones and me at Wimbledon. We just loved team-mates like that – someone not scared of anything, a warrior.”

Tsitsipas Stuns Federer In Semi-finals Of ATP Finals

Debutant Stefanos Tsitsipas caused a major shock by ending Roger Federer’s chances of landing a record-extending seventh ATP Finals to reach Sunday’s showpiece.

The Swiss master, who was aiming to reach Sunday’s showpiece of the ATP Finals for an 11th time and first since 2015, was bettered by the young pupil from Greece as Tsitsipas landed a breathtaking 6-3 6-4 victory to make it through to the final.

Tsitsipas is now the third debutant (after Grigor Dimitriv and David Goffin to reach the final of the ATP finals in London.

He will now take on the winner of the second semi-final between defending champion Alexander Zverev and Austria’s Dominic Thiem, who play later on Saturday night.

Bologna ‘Feel Fascinated’ With Chance of Signing Free Agent Ibrahimovic

Zlatan lbrahimovic is being touted by Serie A club Bologna as their potential big new signing in the January transfer window despite the interest of AC Milan, Fiorentina and Napoli in former Sweden international.

Ibrahimovic – the Lion, is set to become available in the transfer market as a free agent when he leaves MLS side LA Galaxy at the end of the current campaign. And and the interest of a number of clubs has been ignited by LA Galaxy coach, Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s revelation earlier in the week that the big striker will be a free agent.

There is also Ibrahimovic’s known preference of Serie A as the last league he would play in before retiring as a professional footballer.

Bologna Sporting Director Riccardo Bigon has claimed his club is already in pole position to sign the 38 year old because of the player’s strong relationship with manager Sinisa Mihajlovic worked with the Swede at Inter Milan.

“There is a month and a half to go until to the transfer window opens.
As has been said, Ibrahimovic and the coach [Mihajlovic] have a strong personal relationship,” an enthusiastic Bigon told Sky Sport Italia.

“He expressed an openness to the idea of coming to Bologna, but now he will take time, after announcing the farewell to MLS, to evaluate all the possibilities for his future.

“We are very fascinated by this situation but it is clear that we do not control it 100 per cent.

“The choice is exclusively down to the player. We will wait in case [lbrahimovic confirms his interest), then we will be ready and more
than positive.”

PSG Ready To Battle Man United For £120m Jadon Sancho Due To Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain are ready to battle Manchester United in a bid to sign Borrusia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho. PSG have made Sancho their top summer transfer window target with Neymar still likely to want an exit from the French club.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been eying a move for the former Manchester City starlet since last summer but is now in real danger of missing out.

Sancho is ready to quit Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund after being dropped following a late return from international duty last month.

He was then hauled off after just 36 minutes of last weekend’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich despite not being injured.

South London born Sancho is currently on duty with Gareth Southgate’s England has been attracting admiring glances from several clubs.

He can count Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp among them while Real Madrid and Juventus have also taken a close look at him in recent months as well.

Dortmund are determined to keep Sancho who took Germany by storm last season until the summer but Solskjaer’s plotting a January move to get a jump on his rivals.

Sancho has netted four goals and provided eight assists for Dortmund in all competitions this season so far.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Eagles Arrive in Maseru Ahead Sunday’s Clash With Lesotho

The Super Eagles have arrived in Maseru for Sunday’s 2021 Africa Cup Cup of Nations qualifying match against the Crocodiles of Lesotho, The players and their officials left the Akwa Ibom Airport, Uyo in the early hours of Saturday and arrived the Moshoeshoe I International Airport, Maseru in the afternoon.

“We have arrived in Maseru. #SoarSuperEagles #Team9jaStrong #LESNGA,”reads a Tweet on the official Twitter handle of the Super Eagles.

Gernot Rohr’s charges edged out the Squiirels of Benin 2-1 In their first match of the 2021 AFCON qualifying Group L on Wednesday at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium , Uyo.

Lesotho forced Sierra Leone to a 1-1 draw in Freetown, in their first game.

Sunday’s game will take place at the Setsoto Stadium, Maseru.

Galatasaray, Besiktas Keen On Signing Iheanacho On Loan From Leicester

Turkish giants Galatasaray and Besiktas will battle to secure the services of Nigeria forward Kelechi Iheanacho on loan when the transfer window reopens in January.

Iheanacho arrived the King Power Stadium in a big money move in 2017 but has failed to make impact at the club.

According to a report in Turkish news outlet,, Galatasaray and Besiktas are looking to bolster their respective squads during the January transfer window, with each believing the 23-year-old will be a quality addition.

Iheanacho has struggled for regular playing time at English Premier League club, Leicester City this season.

The 23-year-old is yet to make a league appearance for the Foxes this term and has played just twice in the Carabao Cup.

He scored one goal in 30 league appearances for Leicester City last season.

Conte Gets Police Protection After ‘Bullet Envelope Threat’

Inter manager, Antonio Conte is now getting security surveillance around him after Police confirmed that the former Chelsea gaffer received a threat to his life by an unknown person with an anonymous envelope containing a bullet.

Popular Italian sports newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, first reported the news on Friday , then the sister publication Corriere della Sera on Saturday provided more details and update about Conte’s security threat at Inter Milan.

“There is talk of vigilance, the lowest level of protection for a public personality [Conte], and was established after examining the entity of the threat,” Corriere della Sera stated.

“The former coach of Juventus and the National team, who had been at the helm of the Nerazzurri team since last summer, received an anonymous letter a few days ago containing a series of threats and a bullet.

” It was the same coach who called the police and signed a complaint against unknown persons, depositing the envelope he had received. The company has been warned by the technician and is closely following the whole affair.

“The “mild” level of vigilance has been parameterized precisely in the first analysis that the experts in the police force have done on that written and on that bullet. The material will be subjected to all the scientific analyzes and all possible investigations to try to give an identity to the “anonymous”, but for the moment it seems nothing other than the action of a mythomaniac who concentrated his own obsession about a very popular public figure.

“The risk level is therefore considered to be very low, but it was decided in any case to provide for that additional level of supervision, mostly for precautionary purposes.”

Corriere della Sera added: “Very few details on the content of the threats leak from the investigation, but as far as the Corriere has managed to ascertain, there would be no element in the text addressed to Antonio Conte, which could link the matrix of those intimidations to some environment of criminal importance or to some fringe extreme of organized cheering, also because Inter is doing a very high level championship and there is no tension between society, coach, players and the curve [among the ultra Inter groups] there is a complex phase of adjustment after the aggression to the Napoli fans in which an “ally” supporter of Varese died, but this is completely another story.”

Solskjaer Begged Me To Stay At Man Utd - Lukaku

The Belgium international striker secured a switch to Serie A giants Inter over the summer despite the Red Devils being eager for him to stay on. Romelu Lukaku says he decided to leave Manchester United in March, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanting him to stay on at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils made their money back on the Belgium international striker when selling him to Serie A giants Inter for £75 million ($97m).

A summer switch has been questioned by many, with United having initially struggled for attacking inspiration without Lukaku on their books.

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have shown signs of promise over recent weeks, but Solskjaer remains without a physical presence in the final third of the field.

He had wanted Lukaku to play that role in 2019-20, with the 26-year-old tied to a long-term contract, but the decision to part ways had been made long before the summer window opened.

“Solskjaer has my eternal respect. He understood me when I said in March that it was time for me to leave England,” Lukaku told Het Belang van Limburg.

“I have been in the Premier League as an 18-year-old boy, and now I am 26. Solskjaer wanted to keep me, but I was ready for something new.”

Lukaku, who faced criticism at times during his spell with United, has enjoyed a productive start in new surroundings.

Nine goals have been recorded in 12 games for Inter, with Antonio Conte finding a spark in the burly frontman.

Lukaku is enjoying worked under the former Juventus and Chelsea boss, with the Italian’s tactical approach, considered to suit his game.

“I have had a good relationship with trainer Antonio Conte for three years, and I know exactly what he expects of me,” Lukaku added.

“The first two weeks at Inter, I worked very hard with the group, and when my teammates got some rest, I trained individually.

“Thanks to my football intelligence, I integrated easily. We play in a system with two strikers, and that suits me. Anyway, I already knew my team-mates in advance.”

Lukaku is currently away on international duty with his country but will return to domestic action with Inter, who sit second in the Serie A standings when they take in a trip to Torino on November 23.

Super Eagles goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho undergoes a successful knee operation

Super Eagles goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho has undergone a successful knee operation following a injury he suffered during a game.

The 21-year-old who plays for Omonia, on loan from Deportivo de La Coruña in Spain damaged his knee ligaments while playing in a friendly match for Nigeria against Brazil in Singapore last month.

Following the success of the operation on his kneel, Uzoho shared a photo of himself in the hospital and wrote: ‘And it was a success, I’m grateful to Every Prayer and Good wishes Said, Even the hidden Prayers said on My Behalf… I’m deeply grateful.. Now let the Healing Begin IN CHRIST ALONE.’

Pogba celebrate wife's birthday with rare family photo

Paul Pogba shared a rare family snap on his wife Zulay's birthday - which revealed he keeps a replica of the World Cup in his lounge.

The injured Manchester United star, 26, posted the picture of himself and the Bolivian model in matching luxury shirts and shorts, while their baby boy sported an adorable kid's version.

The picture was shared with a caption written in Spanish for his South American wife.

He said: "Happy Birthday my chubby, my mummy, my hayati, may God bless you always and give you all the best in the world."