Showing posts with label Sport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sport. Show all posts

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

SPORT: Lemar Is Not For Sale! Monaco Tells Arsenal


Monaco vice-president, Vadim Vasilyev, has told Arsenal that midfielder Thomas Lemar is not for sale.


The Gunners have been chasing the player all summer, but the Ligue 1 champions have made it clear he will not leave before the end of the summer transfer window.

“I will address speculation relating to the case of Thomas Lemar. He is staying with us,” Vasilyev said.

“He is an immense talent and is essential for the team.

“We have kept all of the key players that we intended to keep.”

Vasilyev also addressed speculation regarding the future of Fabinho, who had been linked with Manchester United earlier in the transfer window.

“Fabinho stays, he is an essential player in the midfield,” he said.





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SPORT: Ross Barkley certain to leave Everton, says Koeman

PHOTO:AFP

Everton manager Ronald Koeman sparked a transfer chase for Ross Barkley on Wednesday by revealing he is "100 percent" certain the England midfielder will leave Goodison Park.

Barkley is in the final year of his Everton contract and last season he was told by Koeman he would be sold if he didn't sign the Premier League club's offer of a lucrative new deal.

Koeman claims Barkley has made it clear he wants to leave and the Dutch coach expects the 23-year-old to eventually get his wish, with Arsenal and Tottenham both keen on signing the Everton youth team product.

Asked if he was 100 percent sure, Barkley would go, Koeman told reporters: "Yeah. Ross told me at the end of the season he wanted another challenge.

"His personal situation is really not so difficult: we made a good offer to him to sign a new contract, he declined that contract and told me that he is looking for a new challenge.

"It is his decision, I need to respect that and then we will see what happens but what I heard from the board is there is not really an offer on the table for Ross.

"My priority is not Ross, with respect, it is his decision. I look more to other players. I knew this at the end of the season.

"Everyone knows what the situation is and that's enough, I don't talk any more about this."

Barkley is currently injured, having had surgery on a minor groin problem, and will be out for up to four weeks.

Koeman has already brought in Davy Klaassen from Ajax to replace Barkley and is eyeing a move for Swansea playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson.

But when Barkley returns to fitness, Koeman has no plans to remove him from the squad until a transfer is sealed.

"He had his groin surgery last week and normally it takes three to four weeks before he is back," Koeman said.

"He has one more year of contract and we work with respect for people and if he is back after his surgery, after the injury, and back for training he will be part of first team sessions."





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SPORT: No Mbappe deal with Real Madrid - Monaco


Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has denied suggestions a deal has been agreed with Real Madrid or any side for Kylian Mbappe.


The 18-year-old striker is in hot demand following his stunning breakthrough season in France.

Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have all been linked with Mbappe.

But Madrid has appeared his most likely destination should he leave Monaco this summer.

Bernardo Silva and Tiemoue Bakayoko have already left for City and Chelsea respectively, and Benjamin Mendy has also departed for the Etihad.

However, Monaco are holding firm on their other stars.

Reports in Spain this week claimed Madrid had agreed a £161million deal for Mbappe.

And Pep Guardiola has refused to rule out City's interest in signing the teenager.

But Vasilyev says contract talks are now underway as they look to tie down Mbappe and stave off interest.

"I will answer only one question," Vasilyev said.

"I read stuff in the press. I assure you that today we have no agreement with Real Madrid or any other club.

"We remain on the same objective.

"We are discussing an extension, which must be in the economic model of our club. I hope we can get there.

"This is an important decision, especially for Kylian. Do not rush. If he does not prolong, must he go? No.

"He is a player that everyone wants, but if he stays next season, everyone will still be interested. There is no link."




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SPORT: Five reasons why Barcelona must not let go of Neymar

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 22: Mario Lemina #18 and Stefano Sturaro #27 of Juventus stop Neymar #11 of Barcelona as he tries to score in the first half during the International Champions Cup 2017 on July 22, 2017, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.PHOTO: AFP/ELSA / GETTY IMAGES

This has been one crazy transfer window and we’re not even half way through it. English clubs have been going all out in the market and splashing the cash, reminding everyone out there that they have the most lucrative league in the world. However, one potential transfer that has got everyone’s attention has been the dance between Barcelona, PSG and Neymar. The French club are making an audacious attempt to prise the Brazilian away from Barcelona and the story is getting a lot of traction. I’m going to list out five reasons why Barcelona cannot afford to lose Neymar.

Global superstar
Football has been dominated by two players for the last decade: Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi. These players have been at the pinnacle of world football for the last ten years sharing the Ballon d'or between themselves in that period. Neymar is the most legitimate heir apparent to those two and he might even break their dominance and snag the title of the best player in the world in the nearest future. Barcelona will not want to let go of a player that will become their most prized asset in a couple of years and who is already a global superstar. The Blaugrana pride themselves as a prestigious entity, more than a club, as they love to say and they have always possessed the one of the top two players in the world in their ranks at any given time, the likes of Johan Cryuff, Diego Maradona, Romario, Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Leo Messi currently, have kept that tradition going. Neymar is the one to continue that tradition.

Pivotal pitch figure
The Brazilian has to be made the pivotal figure at the club on the pitch and commercially. I'm not opining that he has to become the go-to player on the pitch or that Messi should be ignored to allow him shine, I’m simply saying that the dependence on the mercurial Argentine should be lessened and that responsibility should be shared by both players. We saw an example of that in last season's amazing 6-1 victory over PSG in the UCL, where Neymar showed that he was ready to take on that responsibility. He basically took over the game and dragged Barcelona over the line that night in a three-minute spell that will forever be memorable to football fans everywhere. His superbly struck free-kick at the beginning of stoppage time put his team back into contention and he followed that up with an exquisite and accurately chipped back pass, into the penalty area, to set up Sergi Roberto’s winner in the last few seconds. He showed calmness under pressure, not letting the moment get to him, despite the frenetic nature of the game at that point. Barca cannot afford to lose such a player, who's beginning to grow into his own.

Marketability
It can be argued that if he had been at any other club than Barca or Madrid, he would have been their best player and by far their most marketable attraction. Just take a minute, close your eyes and imagine him in the red of Manchester United, do you now understand what I’m talking about? Sponsors will go absolutely wild given the size of the market in Brazil and South America. This is one major attraction why PSG are ready to splash the cash to get him. Neymar is one of football’s biggest stars and it would be a huge coup for the French team that has seen their ambitious project to be one of the top five clubs on the continent lose some sort of steam over the past 12 months with the exit of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, if they get him. Acquiring Neymar will give them a massive boost on and off the pitch and boost his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or as the team will be built around him in Paris. Barca are currently third on the rich list behind Real Madrid and Manchester United and losing Neymar might see them slide further down the Forbes list and affect their finances.

Age
Neymar seems like he's been around forever and it makes us forget the fact that he's just 25 years old and approaching his prime. Barca cannot afford to lose him at this point of his career. It is scary to say that his best years are still ahead of him and that he has a whole lot of brilliant football in front of him. We have seen how he shouldered the responsibility and pressure at the Olympic games in Rio 2016, leading the Brazilian team to their first ever title at the games after the disappointment of the World Cup they hosted two years earlier (it could be argued that his pre-mature exit from that tournament with an injury contributed to Brazil's ouster in that tournament). He has shown that he is comfortable of leading a team and taking up responsibilities at this age, which will only make him grow into a better player as he matures fully and hits his prime.

Vulnerability
There is no sugar coating it, if Barcelona lose Neymar, it will show a vulnerability that could be exploited by other big teams. Rarely have we seen one of the top five teams on the continent being bullied into losing one of its most prized assets solely based on the financial power of the buying club and that is what we will be witnessing if PSG pull off this transfer. It's a different case if the player is bent on leaving and demands to be let go (even at that, Spurs' Daniel Levy will hardly budge), but when the pressure comes from the financial muscle of the buying club, then it calls for concern if a club of Barca's stature are brow beaten into selling. The Brazilian’s buy-out clause is £197 million fee and if Barcelona do not agree to a deal equivalent to that amount, PSG will pay no tax on the buy-out clause. It is also unlikely that Barca Los can offer Neymar yet another new deal with an increased salary to match that on offer in France after just giving him a contract extension at the beginning of last season. The only thing Los Cules can do is to try and persuade him to stay.





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SPORT: Djokovic out for season with elbow injury

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic delivers a press conference in Belgrade on July 26, 2017. Twelve-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury, he announced on July 26. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC

Twelve-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury, he announced on Wednesday.

The Serbian was forced to retire from his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych earlier this month because of the problem, and will now sit out of next month's US Open.

In a live Facebook video post from Belgrade, the former world number one said that after suffering from the injury for a year-and-a-half, "I have made a decision to not play any competition, any tournaments" for the rest of 2017.

"Unfortunately this is the decision that had to be made at this moment. Wimbledon was probably the toughest tournament for me in terms of feeling the pain that has escalated," he said.

Between mid-January 2015 and June 2016, Djokovic won 17 of his 22 finals played in 24 tournaments. It seemed nothing could interrupt his dominance of world tennis.

But since winning the French Open last year to complete his Career Grand Slam, he has failed to claim another major title.

He crashed out of the Australian Open in the second round and the French Open in the quarter-finals.





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SPORT: Thomas Lemar vs Ivan Perisic: Who is the better winger?

AS Monaco's Thomas Lemar and Internazionale Milan's Ivan Perisic are two players being courted by English Premier League clubs. Rumours have it that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is ready to shell out cool £50 million for 21-year old Lemar and Inter have also come to terms to losing their impressive winger to resurgent Manchester United.

While these two players were outstanding for their respective clubs last season, we take a look at who is better and what they will add to the big English clubs willing to secure their services. And as usual, we present the relevant stats.

Thomas Lemar, 21 | Wanted by Arsenal

Monaco's French midfielder Thomas Lemar celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match Monaco (ASM) vs Lorient (FCL) on September 20, 2015 at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE

Robert Pires on Lemar
"He is a young player with good technique, a good left foot, he can do a good cross and score good goals.
“For me, he has a very good profile to play for Arsenal."

Chris Wheatly of Goal on the winger.
Arsenal’s interest in Lemar has been sparked for a number of reasons. His astute technical ability has caught the eye of various club scouts and 14 assists in all competitions last season provides a clear demonstration of just how successfully he links up with his team-mates.
However, a willingness to improve is usually an indicator of how far a player can go at the highest level and it is Lemar’s character which has drawn Wenger to the player.

Ivan Perisic, 28 | Wanted by Manchester United

Ivan Perisic PHOTO: MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images

Former Manchester United coach, Rene Meulensteen on Perisic
 “Perisic has good experience and pace and could come in and create things. Meulensteen told 888Sport.
“He is comfortable on the ball, can beat a man and has a fantastic pass.“It’s important that United have a man who can open up defences with one pass and he has that.“He can offer them another level of a goal threat.”

Davor Sucker on Perisic:
Perisic is incredible; he has strength, talent and a knack of scoring. In modern football, players who can make the difference are extremely valuable. He confronts the opponent one-on-one, then beats him. He's got technical quality that gives a tremendous advantage to his team. Perisic can dribble past three players in one motion.

                       



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SPORT: Ancelotti says decision on Sanches after pre-season

Bayern Munich's midfielder Renato Sanches reacts as he misses a goal during the penalty shootout during the International Champions Cup football match between Bayern Munich and Arsenal in Shanghai July 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Johannes EISELE

Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti said Wednesday he would not be rushed into a decision about Renato Sanches's future and they would sit down together after the pre-season.

It came after the Portuguese midfielder reportedly conceded Tuesday he was unhappy at Bayern and expressed an interest in AC Milan.

The 19-year-old, who has had a poor first season at the German champions, told German media that he was not satisfied as he was not playing enough at Bayern.

Both AC Milan and Manchester United have been rumoured to be chasing him.

Speaking in Singapore where Bayern have been playing a series of pre-season games, Ancelotti said that "Renato is with us.

"We said that after the pre-season together, we can make a decision. Yesterday Renato played very well and I hope he can continue to improve."

Bayern beat Chelsea 3-2 in a competitive pre-season match in the city-state Tuesday. The Bundesliga season begins on August 18.

Ancelotti admitted earlier this week that there was a "possibility" that Sanches could leave his side.

AC Milan have been heavily investing in new players following the sale of the club by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to a Chinese consortium in April.





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SPORT: Bayern won't join transfer bidding war 'madness' - Hoeness

PHOTO:AFP

Bayern Munich will not enter into a bidding war for star footballers, the German champions' boss Uli Hoeness said, describing skyrocketing transfer prices as "madness".

"I don't want to buy a player for 150 or 200 million euros, I don't want to join in such madness. That's something that we will refuse totally at Bayern," Hoeness told AFP's sports subsidiary SID in Singapore, where the club is on tour for exhibition matches.

The five-time Champions League winner is even willing to lower its ambitions.

Hoeness said the Bundesliga giant "could not set as a goal" a victory at the Champions League as long as "such madness is gripping the transfer market".

"Our goal is to be German league champions and to go as far as possible in the German Cup. And to play in the Champions League. We are among the three, four best teams in Europe and any of these three, four teams can win the Champions League," he said.

According to media reports, Paris Saint-Germain is seeking to poach Brazilian forward Neymar from FC Barcelona for 222 million euros ($256 million). Real Madrid reportedly has a deal in principle to buy French attacker Kylian Mbappe from Monaco for 180 million euros.

The record transfer fees have been bankrolled by sky-high television rights, and a growing appetite in emerging leagues including China which are seeking to lure stars away with spectacular sums.

In comparison, Bayern has been conservative in the transfer market.

Among newcomers are James Rodriguez, who has arrived on loan with a buy option.

The club has also recruited 22-year-old French midfielder Corentin Tolisso for 47.5 million euros, bonus included.

Hoeness sounded a warning against a backlash if the inflationary trend continued in the transfer market.

"I wonder if spectators will accept this in the long-term and managers too should ask if all this is reasonable," noted the Bayern boss on the sidelines of an SAP event.

Hoeness added that the club would unveil the name of its new sport director "in coming weeks" to fill the post left vacant after Mathias Sammer departed a year ago.

German media report that former Dutch international Mark van Bommel and ex-star attacker for Germany, Miroslav Klose, are likely candidates.





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SPORT: Man City summer spending spree not over, says Guardiola

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola speaks to players during in a training session at the StubHub Center on July 25, 2017 in Carson, California. / AFP PHOTO / RINGO CHIU

Pep Guardiola has confirmed Manchester City are "still looking" to add to their £200 million summer spending spree, although he refused to comment on the possibility of hijacking Real Madrid’s move for Kylian Mbappe.

City have been the major shoppers in the transfer market after splashing out a Premier League record total of £200m (223 million euros, $260 million) to bring Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, Ederson, Danilo and Douglas Luiz to the Etihad.

But it remains likely that they will continue their haul after being strongly linked with moves for Arsenal frontman Alexis Sanchez and Monaco teenage striker Mbappe.

Mbappe has been on City's radar throughout the summer, although there have been strong suggestions in Spain that Real have agreed a fee of £160 million ($210 million, 180 million euros) for the 18-year-old.

Ahead of Wednesday’s International Champions Cup encounter against Real Madrid, in Los Angeles, Guardiola wasn't being drawn on either.

"They are Monaco and Arsenal players, so nothing to say," he said.

But he did confirm that City were still looking at options in the market, albeit he was coy on whether another striker was on the agenda.

"We have the two exceptional forwards in Gabriel (Jesus) and Sergio (Aguero)," he said. "We will see.

“The market finishes on August 31, which is not good for the managers.

“The competition (Premier League) starts on the 12th (of August) and the market is still open. That is not good for all the clubs.

"We will see until the end of the transfer window."

Mendy became City's latest signing earlier this week when the left-back arrived from Monaco in a £52 million ($67 million, 58 million euros) deal.

The 23-year-old is still around a fortnight from featuring in a City shirt due to injury, but Guardiola is delighted to have brought in a defender who made such an impression during Monaco's Champions League campaign last season.

"He can attack inside and outside," Guardiola said. "He's a young player so sometimes you have to pay a bit more for them.

"But we have one guy for the next five or six years."

Bringing in younger players at the back was clearly on Guardiola's mind this summer after jettisoning the 30-something quartet of Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Aleksandar Kolarov to bring in fellow full-backs Mendy, Danilo and Kyle Walker.

City spent £130 million ($169 million, 145 million euros)on that trio alone, yet Guardiola believes they will offer long-term value for money.

"Manchester City didn't invest in their full-backs for six or seven years and all four were 30-31 years old," he said.

"We decided to make the squad younger and we tried to get the best full-backs possible.

"Dani Alves was free but decided to go to Paris. Kyle, Mendy and Danilo were the best options we had."





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SPORT: Barca to offer Liverpool £89.5m after Coutinho agrees move to Nou Camp


Barcelona are expected to make an improved offer for Philippe Coutinho to Liverpool after the Brazillian reportedly agreed personal terms with the Spanish giants.


According to reports in Spain, the Catalans, who had an intial £72m bid rejected, will test Reds manager Jurgen Klopp’s resolve to keep the 25-year-old with an improved offer that could be as much as £89.5m.

With PSG hovering around Barcelona’s forward, Neymar, bringing Coutinho to the Nou Camp may persuade him to stay.

However, Coutinho to Nou Camp may not be easy picking for Barca as he only signed a new contract with Liverpool to 2022 back in January.




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SPORT: REVEALED: Mbappe has Nigerian roots


Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe has attracted some of the biggest sides in world football in the last few weeks, making the 18-year-old football’s most courted teenager.


The striker took Europe by storm last season, scoring 26 goals in all competitions in his first full season at senior club level.

Mbappe is one of the most sought after players in the summer transfer market in  Europe.

Reports on Tuesday claimed that Real Madrid has agreed to sign the teenager for £161m

While close followers of the emerging striker acknowledge his ability to carve out goals, not much of these people know that the hugely talented player has Nigerian roots, as a recent research has shown.

Kylian’s father, Wilfred Mbappe, who has Cameroonian and Nigerian roots, was once a refuge,  who migrated to France for greener pastures. According to reports, Wilfred in a bid to get a permanent stay got married to an Algerian-French lady Fayza, an ex-handball player.

Kylian was given a Yoruba middle name Adesanmi meaning “crown fits me” by Wilfred,   who also adopted a son, Jir├Ęs Kembo Ekoko, a professional footballer of Congolese descent, but has a biological son and younger brother of Kylian named Adeyemi Mbappe, in recognition of his Nigerian roots.

Adeyemi is a Yoruba name meaning “the crown befits you.” Indeed, Adeyemi is the reason why Kylian celebrates his goals by posing with his arms crossed and thumbs up.

“This is how my younger brother celebrated when he beat me in the FIFA  video game,” said Mbappe.

Wilfried works as coach at AS Bondy  and he started training Kylian at the age of six. He also spends time coaching Adeyemi, while he is currently his Kylian’s agent.

Meanwhile, the Monaco star has also been linked as a grandson of Cameroonian midfield legend Samuel Mbappe Leppe. But findings by our correspondent  has shown  that the late Leppe, who played for Oryx Douala in the 1950s and 1960s, winning five league and three Cup title (1963, 1968 and 1970) and was the first captain to lift the African Champions Clubs’ Cup in the 1964/65 season, may not have any biological links with Kylian.




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SPORT: Heart checks needed says Brighton's Goldson

PHOTO:AFP

Brighton defender Connor Goldson says clubs should carry out more checks on players in a bid to detect potential heart problems.

Goldson, 24, has not played competitively since January after the discovery of a swollen aorta.

Former Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote died in June after collapsing while training in China, and his fellow Ivorian Eugene Kouame died earlier this month after suffering a heart attack.

"You look at Tiote. You never know what can happen. Two players in the last few months is way too many," Goldson told the Times on Wednesday.

"Football needs to do something. Every club needs to check at least once a year. Unfortunately players don't get the scans.

"I never felt a thing. If my little story can make other clubs think they need to do a test, hopefully it can save other players."

Goldson's problem, which was discovered during routine screening by the club, meant he missed the closing stages of the Championship campaign as Chris Hughton's side returned to the top-flight for the first time since 1983.

He could return to league action when Brighton begin the new season at home to Manchester City on August 12, and he would do so feeling fortunate to be alive.

"The surgeon explained it's like a balloon and it gets bigger and bigger and it can just pop - or you can be fortunate and it never goes," he said.

"The average person has (an aorta of) 4cm and you're at risk at 5cm. My last scan was 4.9cm. So I was very close."





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SPORT: Roma withstand Tottenham fightback in 3-2 friendly win

A.S. Roma players celebrate a goal during their International Champions Cup (ICC) football match between Tottenham and A.S. Roma on July 25, 2017 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Don EMMERT / AFP

Roma withstood a dramatic, late Tottenham comeback to send the Premier League team to their first defeat of this pre-season in a bad tempered affair which ended 3-2 in remarkable fashion.

Tackles were flying in all over the pitch and Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was livid with match officials in the second half, although much of his anger would have been directed at his players who badly underperformed at Red Bull Arena.

Diego Perotti put the Italian team ahead with a penalty on 12 minutes.

On 69 minutes, Eusebio Di Francesco's side doubled their lead as sub Kevin Vimmer's cross fell to Turkish midfielder Cengiz Under, whose goal appeared to have sealed the win.

But Harry Winks reduced the arrears on 86 minutes when he prodded home from four yards, and when Vincent Janssen scored in stoppage time, the Premier League team looked to have gained a draw that would have sent the International Champions Cup friendly to a penalty shoot-out.

Moments later, however, Marco Tumminello scored in dramatic fashion to sink the Londoners once and for all.

On the day that Daniel Levy, the Tottenham owner, stressed his lack of transfer activity this summer is irrelevant because of the club’s thriving youth academy, manager Mauricio Pochettino fielded a number of younger players.

Central defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, left back Kyle Walker-Peters and midfielder Josh Onomah all started for a Spurs team who arrived in New York with a spring in their step following Saturday night’s 4-2 win over Paris Saint-Germain in Orlando.

Roma, who lost their previous game to the French champions on penalties, fielded a near full strength side with former Manchester City player Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov both renewing acquaintances with the Premier League club.

And the Italians controversially took the lead on 12 minutes through Perotti's penalty.

Carter-Vickers was adjudged to have handled a Radja Nainggolan cross and although referee Hilario Grajeda was initially unsure, his assistant indicated the Spurs player did indeed handball in the area allowing Perotti to step up and steer past Michel Vorm.

The English side, cheered on by a strong contingent of supporters, failed to get into their stride and it wasn't until the 24th minute that a chance finally fell their way.

Kane left furious
Harry Kane was inches away from a cross before Mousa Dembele hit the bar from close range.

Kane, the England striker, had been very quiet but he sprung into life on 36 minutes, powerfully holding off his marker before unleashing a shot from 20 yards which was well saved by Roma's keeper Alisson.

Pochettino removed the three young hopefuls at half-time with only Walker-Peters impressing, yet three minutes after the re-start Kane was left furious after Fazio brought him down in the area only for the referee to dismiss his penalty claims.

The striker's anger spilled over soon after when he smashed into Kostas Manolas, leaving the Roma defender sprawled out on the turf.

Manager Pochettino then became embroiled in a lengthy argument with the fourth official, who appeared to try and send the Argentine off before relenting and allowing him to continue sitting on the sidelines.

"It was a situation that we were talking in Spanish, not in English," Pochettino said. "But I believe it was a chat that ok, we were talking and started to speak louder.

But for me then I said to him, 'I apologise'. Maybe a bit nervous for some situation on the pitch. But he wanted send me off, but I said 'come on we were talking in Spanish and nobody could understand us'.

"It was all good I think. I said sorry and he was fine."

Roma now travel to Boston for their final International Champions Cup match with Serie A rivals Juventus while Tottenham travel to Nashville to take on Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.





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SPORT: CHAN Eagles camp bubbles as team welcomes new coach

The team had their first full session yesterday with 25 players. Yusuf has promised that the technical crew would work hard to build a team that would beat Benin Republic when they meet on August 13 and August 19 in Cotonou and Kano respectively.

Coach Salisu Yusuf and members of his technical crew got down to business yesterday in Kano where the home-based Eagles are preparing for their African Nations Cup (CHAN) Kenya 2018 qualifier against Benin Republic.

Yusuf, who said he was thrilled by the response of the players to their call to duty, revealed that all the invited players had arrived the camp by Monday evening safe for the MFM FC duo of Sikiru Olatunbosun and Stephen Odey, whose team played a rescheduled league game against Katsina United same day.

The team had their first full session yesterday with 25 players. Yusuf has promised that the technical crew would work hard to build a team that would beat Benin Republic when they meet on August 13 and August 19 in Cotonou and Kano respectively.

“We had a great (first training session) and we really appreciate the patriotism which the players have shown. “The other players not here yet took permission. They have shown a lot of commitment and we are really happy about that. We started our training today and it is just to bring the body back because of the long journey and the matches they played in the last 48 hours.”

He said the team was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new goalkeeper coach appointed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to assist Aloy Agu, who was still being expected as at yesterday.





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SPORT: ​Monaco deny agreeing £161m Mpabbe deal with Real Madrid

Monaco's French forward Kylian Mbappe reaches out to the ball during a friendly football game between AS Monaco and Fenerbahce SK on July 19, 2017 in Montreux.<br />Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Ligue 1 champions, AS Monaco have issued a strong denial regarding rumours of an agreement between themselves and Real Madrid for the sale of French starlet Kylian Mbappe.

The forward rose to fame last season after producing a stellar personal campaign in front of goal during which he registered 26 goals and eight assists. He has since become a target for several clubs around Europe, including Madrid of course, who are possibly prepared to make him the most expensive player in the world.

Reports of an agreement between the French and Spanish champions surfaced on Monday, claiming that the two clubs had arrived at a deal in which Mbappe would sign a six-year contract and immediately return to Monaco on loan.

However, the Ligue 1 outfit told Sky Sports that no such understanding has been reached, and are now threatening to approach the French Football League, as well as FIFA, in order to deal with the situation they describe as ‘unacceptable’.

“To put an end to this unacceptable situation, AS Monaco is considering asking the French Football League and FIFA to open disciplinary procedures against offending clubs,” they said in a statement which didn’t name any of the clubs.

According to FIFA stipulations: “A club intending to conclude a contract with a professional must inform the player’s current club in writing before entering into negotiations with him.”

Whether or not Madrid - in particular - have fallen afoul of the rule is yet to be revealed, but it doesn’t look like the French side have any intention of allowing their player to leave just yet.





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SPORT: Lukaku wants to create history at Old Trafford

Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku (R) hits a header past Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes (L) during the International Champions Cup soccer match at NRG Stadium on July 20, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Manchester United won 2-0. / AFP PHOTO / AARON M. SPRECHER

Romelu Lukaku says he wants to create his “own history” at Manchester United. The Belgium striker, 24, joined the Red Devils for £75m earlier this month, after scoring 25 Premier League goals for Everton last season.

Lukaku, the first foreign player to score 80 Premier League goals before his 24th birthday, said: “I can’t say I’m the complete package. “There is a lot of work to be done and I’m delighted that there is as it means I can become even better than I am.”
Lukaku’s move to United means he is reunited with Jose Mourinho, who was manager of Chelsea when they sold the forward to Everton for £28m in July 2014.

Last week, Mourinho was asked to compare Lukaku to Didier Drogba, who scored 157 goals in 341 appearances during his first spell at Chelsea, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League.

The Portuguese said: “I don’t compare, I don’t compare at all. One has his history and one is still in the beginning of his history.” Lukaku said he and Drogba were “totally different players”.

He told BBC Sport: “Drogba is more of a hold-up player, a target man. I prefer to have ball to feet and run in behind. “I’m Romelu Lukaku, I want to create my own history.”

Lukaku says Man Utd move a ‘perfect opportunity' Morata, Lukaku, Lacazette: Who will bring most success? Mourinho - not Pogba - the decisive factor

Before Lukaku’s move to United was confirmed, Red Devils midfielder Paul Pogba posted pictures on social media of him and the Belgian together. The Frenchman, who moved back to Old Trafford for a world record fee of £89m last summer, also referred to himself as ‘Agent P’.

Lukaku said: “We were just on holiday together. I had to make my own choices.” Chelsea also bid £75m for Lukaku, and there had been suggestions he and Mourinho did not get on.

But the forward says the manager’s vision was the decisive factor in him moving to Manchester. He said: “The conversation I had with the manager really convinced me the most. He told me of his plans, about how he wanted to rebuild the club, and wanted me to be part of it.

“He is a manager who has always had a lot of belief in me and I believe in his methods. “It is going to be good to work together again.”





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SPORT: Sunshine Queens battle Rivers Angels as race for Super Four enters home stretch

Rivers Angels battling with FC Robo in a recent NWPL game. The Port Harcourt side will meet with Sunshine Queens in Akure…today

It is just two games to the end of the 2016/17 Nigeria Women Premier League (NWPL) season and there is no dominant team in Group B, which is expected to produce two teams for the Super Four play-off later in the year. And so the battle for the ticket has taken another dimension as all the top four clubs have equal opportunity to pick the tickets.

But Group A looks settled with Rivers Angels and Bayelsa Queens already confirmed to finish in the top two cadre. Nasarawa Amazons (22 points) and Delta Queens (22 points) are under pressure to maintain their positions as Adamawa Queens (20 points) and Osun Babes (20 points) continue to pile more pressure on both teams.

And so the battle for the coveted tickets continues today with Sunshine Queens taking on Rivers Angels. Sunshine Queens’ third position is under siege as they prepare to take on Group A leaders Rivers Angels at the Akure Township Stadium. Rivers Angels have 22 points, while Sunshine Queens are eight points adrift the Port Harcourt side.

The Owena Mermaids are yet to lose a home game and nothing shows any of the clubs have got the antidote against them at home. In Owerri, Heartland Queens will host Bayelsa Queens at the Federal Polytechnic Pitch, Nekede.

The Owerri side, who are at the foot of the Group A standings, have been left with no choice than to win all their remaining matches in order to beat the drop.

Abia Angels will host Ibom Angels in a game that would determine their chances of survival at the Umuahia Township Stadium. Pelican Stars of Calabar will entertain Group A leaders, Nasarawa Amazons at the U.J Esuene Stadium.

The Amazons will seal qualification for Super Four if their rivals Delta Queens, Adamawa Queens and Osun Babes falter. Seven-time league champions, Pelican Stars will also like to prove a point that they are no pushovers. They would give the away side a tough time.

Another potentially thrilling encounter is the match between Adamawa Queens and Delta Queens at the Atiku Abubakar Stadium in Fufore. Adamawa Queens are in third spot with 20 points with one game in hand while Delta Queens lie in second position with 22 points.

This means that a win for the Yola team will spell doom for Delta Queens, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Pelican Stars in a week 12 game in Kwale.





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SPORT: Ogbugh revels in new scoring form

Rivers United, Emeka Ogbugh (right) fighting for possession with a Wikki Tourists player during their NPFL Match Day 31 clash at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port-Harcourt

Rivers United forward, Emeka Ogbugh, finally returned to scoring ways after making his first start since his comeback from illness with a spectacular strike in Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Wikki Tourists on match day 31.

Ogbugh came from the bench in previous matches against MFM, ABS and Sunshine Stars respectively.

Speaking on the importance of his goal and the match day victory to the squad, Ogbugh said: “It was a match we wanted to win to restore confidence after losing at home to Sunshine Stars.

“My goal will remain fresh to me as it was my first start since returning from injury. I came from the bench against MFM, ABS and Sunshine Stars. However, I needed to make immediate impact and got it in a spectacular manner.

“Moreover, we had to win for the fans,” he stated.
Ogbugh was on duty throughout the duration of the match.





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SPORT: LMC wants NFF to suspend six referees for poor performance

FC IfeanyiUbah’s players acknowledging cheers from their supporters before a recent NPFL game. The LMC has recommended six referees for suspension due to poor performance.

Six match officials in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), whose performances have been adjudged as not meeting the high standard of the league, have been suspended from further handling of matches for the rest of the 2016/17 season.

Following a review of performances of match officials in the last three match days, the League Management Company (LMC) has requested the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to withdraw the said match officials from the NPFL games.

The officials include four referees and two assistant referees, who officiated in different games on Match Day 29, 30 and 31.

They include Umar Mohammed of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), who officiated in the Match Day 29 fixture between Niger Tornadoes and Plateau United, Aliyu Abdulahi of Kaduna State, who was the match referee on Match Day 30 between Katsina United and Kano Pillars, Saleh Mohammed of Jigawa for his poor performance on Match Day 30 between Plateau United and FC IfeanyiUbah and Samuel Agba of Cross River State, who officiated on Match Day 32 between FC IfeanyiUbah and Gombe United.

The assistant referees are Emmanuel Udoh of Akwa Ibom State and Falegha A of Bayelsa State, who were the assistant referees to Agba in the FC IfeanyiUbah and Gombe United fixture.

The LMC in a letter signed by the Chief Operating Officer, Salihu Abubakar and addressed to the NFF General Secretary, said, “The said referees failed to meet up with the high standard expected in the Nigeria Professional Football League and made decisions which were obviously wrong and which had a direct impact on the outcome of the respective matches.”





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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

SPORT: Barcelona, PSG announce press conferences as world awaits potential €222m Neymar deal



As rumours of a potential move to Ligue 1 swirl around Barcelona’s Brazillian forward, Neymar, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have announced press conferences for Tuesday night.



The La-Liga giants and the Ligue 1 outfit both announced simultaneous press conferences, sparking speculations that PSG, who have been lining up a world record deal for the Brazillian, have triggered the 25-year-old £196m release clause (€222m).

It is also been speculated that the Catalonians will announce Marco Verratti’s capture at the same time as Neymar’s record-breaking deal.

PSG’s briefing is due to commence at 11 pm French time while Barcelona’s will start half an hour later.

Yesterday, reports from Europe claimed Neymar had agreed terms with Paris Saint-Germain over a six-year contract and would earn a whopping £500,000 per week.

According to Carlos Carpio of Marca, Neymar’s father recently met with PSG sporting director Antero Henrique and board member Sophie Jordan to finalise the transfer.

Carpio suggested the deal will go through when PSG “deposit the €222m of [Neymar’s] termination clause, which it appears will be done via the personal sponsorship of Qatar.



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