Saturday, 22 October 2016

Group Stage Draws For 2017 AFCON Championship

Ghana will come up against familiar foes in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations following the group stage draw for the tournament, which was conducted at Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville.

The Black Stars were placed in Group D alongside Uganda and Egypt – two of their three opponents from their 2018 World Cup qualifying group – as well as fellow West Africans Mali.

Group C sees Herve Renard’s Morocco placed in the same pool as his former team Ivory Coast, as well as DR Congo and Togo.

I didn't make Ronaldo, he made himself, says Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson believes he can take little credit for Cristiano Ronaldo's development into one of the finest footballers of all time.

Ferguson brought a teenage Ronaldo from Sporting to Manchester United in 2003 and oversaw his development to Ballon d'Or winner in 2008 before a then world-record move to Real Madrid a year later.

The 74-year-old Scot made his share of records tumble during a trophy laden reign at Old Trafford which lasted 27 years and he feels Ronaldo stands a cut above other stellar names he oversaw during 26-and-a-half years at the helm.

Swansea City 0-0 Watford: Bradley secures first point in charge

There were encouraging signs for Bob Bradley in his first home Premier League fixture as Swansea City manager, but he was ultimately made to settle for a goalless draw against Watford.

The American, who replaced Francesco Guidolin at the Liberty Stadium at the beginning of this month, saw his side make Arsenal work hard for a 3-2 victory in his first game in charge last weekend.

A more disciplined defensive display restricted Watford during the first half, yet Swansea's more attacking outlook after the interval reaped no reward.

Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham: Fiery encounter ends in stalemate

Tottenham missed the chance to establish a two-point advantage at the top of the Premier League - for three hours at least - after a feisty 0-0 draw at Bournemouth.

Mauricio Pochettino's men won the corresponding fixture 5-1 last season but there was never any prospect of a repeat and the visitors were hanging on for a point at the end.

Spurs can also count themselves extremely fortunate to finish with 11 men on the field with both Erik Lamela and, in particular, substitute Moussa Sissoko lucky to escape red cards.

Burnley 2-1 Everton: Late Arfield strike downs Koeman's men

Scott Arfield scored a last-minute winner as Burnley snatched an unlikely 2-1 Premier League victory over Everton at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Ronald Koeman's side were the better side for much of this encounter, but came away from east Lancashire with nothing after the Canada international fired home first time from the edge of the box after Johann Berg Gudmundsson's effort had come back off the bar.

It was a bitter pill for Everton to swallow, after the visitors had deservedly cancelled out Sam 
Vokes' first-half opener through Yannick Bolasie's first goal for the club just prior to the hour.

Valencia 2-3 Barcelona: Messi fires home from spot to down tenacious Che in the last minute

Lionel Messi beat Diego Alves from the penalty spot with almost the last kick of the game to give Barcelona an incredible late 3-2 victory over Valencia. 

The champions looked set to drop points after Luis Suarez equalised at the end of a breathless 10-minute spell in the second half, during which Munir El Haddadi - against his parent club - and Rodrigo had overturned Messi's opener.

But the Argentina star converted from the spot with almost the last kick of the game, prompting objects including a water bottle to be hurled at the celebrating Barca players from a furious home crowd.

Captain Andres Iniesta left the pitch on a stretcher after just 14 minutes following a challenge from Enzo Perez, with Barca later confirming knee ligament damage for the midfielder, which will have tempered celebrations for Luis Enrique's side.

Arsenal 0-0 Middlesbrough: Gunners frustrated by resilient Boro

Arsenal edged to the top of the Premier League but there was little else to cheer for Arsene Wenger on his 67th birthday as his team played out a goalless draw against Middlesbrough at the Emirates Stadium.

Winless since beating north-east rivals Sunderland in August, Boro could feel aggrieved not to lead at the break after Petr Cech pulled off impressive saves to deny Adama Traore and Gaston Ramirez either side of the latter clattering the angle of post and crossbar with a brilliant free-kick.

Leicester City 3-1 Crystal Palace: Foxes get back to winning ways

Goals from Ahmed Musa, Shinji Okazaki and Christian Fuchs saw Leicester City record a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at the King Power Stadium on Saturday as the reigning champions' three-game winless streak in the Premier League came to an end.

Leicester were beaten 3-0 by Chelsea last week, having previously failed to beat Southampton (0-0) and Manchester United (4-1), but they returned to winning ways following a sublime strike from Musa in the closing stages of the first half and a clinical finish from Okazaki after the break.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Liverpool have a 'great chance' of winning Premier League - Pulis

West Brom manager Tony Pulis believes Liverpool's absence from European competition could prove crucial in the Premier League title race.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds have made a fine start to the season and sit two points off the top of the table.

However, the other three sides in the league's top four positions all have Champions League commitments, leading Pulis - whose West Brom side travel to Anfield on Saturday - to conclude that Liverpool have a clear advantage.

Suarez: I'm not marketed well enough to win Ballon d'Or

Barcelona star Luis Suarez has claimed he has no chance of winning the Ballon d'Or because the award is more about "marketing and press" than performances.

The Uruguayan was presented with the European Golden Shoe on Thursday after scoring 40 goals in La Liga during the 2015-16 season.

Suarez does not fancy his chances of wrestling the world player of the year gong off Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, however, and took a shot at the award's credibility.

Bellerin: If Barcelona call me, I won't pick up!

Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin has responded to a fan question regarding a possible move to Barcelona, claiming he wouldn't pick up the phone if the Catalans tried to call him.

The 21-year-old Spaniard started his career at Barca before making the move to the Emirates Stadium in 2011 but is now being heavily linked with a return to Camp Nou.

Mourinho: I was sacked by Chelsea, it was not mutual consent

Jose Mourinho bears no grudges to anyone at Chelsea despite confirming he was sacked in December 2015 and did not leave by mutual consent.

Mourinho was shown the door seven months after leading the west London club to the title, after Chelsea opened their defence at the start of the 2015-16 season with nine defeats in their first 16 games.

At the time the club statement claimed the Portuguese had left by mutual consent but Mourinho, who returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time since with Manchester United on Sunday, was adamant he was dismissed by owner Roman Abramovich.

OFFICIAL: Neymar signs new Barcelona contract

Barcelona have confirmed Neymar has signed a contract extension keeping him at the club until June 30, 2021.

Neymar's buyout clause is now €200 million, increasing to €222m next June and a year later rising to €250m.

He's set to be paid €115m before tax by Barca across the next five seasons, although he'd be expected to sign another contract extension if he remains at the Liga club until 2021.

Mourinho deserves 'maximum respect' from Chelsea, says Conte ahead of Man Utd Vs Chelsea

Antonio Conte is eager for Chelsea fans to give Jose Mourinho a warm welcome on his return to Stamford Bridge with Manchester United on Sunday.

Mourinho won seven major honours with Chelsea across two spells as manager, including three Premier League titles.

But his latter stint in charge ended in ignominy last season, as Chelsea's title defence unravelled spectacularly for them to languish narrowly above the relegation zone when the Portuguese was sacked before Christmas.

Pep Guardiola blasts reports of Kompany & Aguero fight

Pep Guardiola has denied claims that Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany do not feature in his long-term Manchester City plans.
Sources close to the City first team had indicated Kompany was left out of the squad for 

Wednesday's game at Barcelona despite being fully fit, although Guardiola has now disputed the claim.

And the City boss also reiterated that he left Aguero on the bench for tactical reasons, and says that when the Argentine does eventually leave the club it will be his own choice.

Pardew: Why would I leave Crystal Palace for England?

Alan Pardew insists he would not leave Crystal Palace for the England job and wants to create "a legacy" at Selhurst Park.

With Roy Hodgson and then Sam Allardyce leaving the Three Lions manager's post in recent months, Pardew is one name to have been repeatedly linked with the role.

However, having settled at Palace, the former Newcastle United boss claims to have no interest in the job.

Ronaldo demands delaying new Real Madrid deal

Cristiano Ronaldo's demands of a five-year contract are stalling negotiations with Real Madrid, according to the Daily Mirror.

Conte declares Terry fit to face Mourinho's Man Utd, Oscar loses grandfather

Chelsea captain John Terry is fit to return from an ankle problem in Sunday's Premier League match against Manchester United, head coach Antonio Conte has confirmed. 

Terry has not featured for Chelsea since sustaining the injury during September's 2-2 draw at Swansea City.

Reports this week suggested the 35-year-old had suffered a setback in his recovery but Conte denied those claims at a pre-match news conference on Friday.
"John is in good shape. He trained with the team," he said.

Sevilla to raise N'Zonzi release clause amid Barcelona and Chelsea talk

Sevilla are eager to discuss a new contract with Steven N'Zonzi and raise his release clause to €40 million (£35.6m), according to Spanish news outlet El Decano .

Barcelona are among those to have expressed an interest in the French midfielder as they seek a back-up option to Sergio Busquets.

Balotelli reveals his love for... Michelle Obama!

Politics is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when piecing together a list of Mario Balotelli’s favourite subjects, with indoor fireworks and sulking seemingly more up his street.

However, the fiery Italian frontman - who's proving to be a crack striker for Nice this season - has revealed himself to be an admirer of a certain Democrat from across the pond.

No, not Hillary Clinton or her husband Bill - although his comment is something you can imagine him saying behind closed doors. In fact, Super Mario is a fan of the current First Lady – one Michelle Obama!

Moses Odubajo Suffers Yet Another Injury Setback; Out Till New Year

Hull have been dealt a blow with the news Nigerian defender Moses Odubajo will be out for yet another six months with a fractured patella.

The Hull City defender has been scouted by Nigeria’s Super Eagles for the problematic right fullback position.

Odubajo suffered the serious knee injury during a non-contact incident in training, Premier League newcomers Hull confirmed in a statement on Thursday.

Samson Siasia Flies To Qatar To Secure Coaching Job

Former Dream Team coach Samson Siasia is now in oil-rich Qatar in connection with a lucrative top coaching post.

“Siasia flew out to Qatar. He is there to discuss a coaching post,” a top source informed.

Over time, Siasia has been variously linked with overseas coaching posts. 

World Cup Qualifiers: Africa's Best Referee To Handle Nigeria's Crunch Tie Against Algeria

Africa’s best referee for the past two years Bakary Papa Gassama from Gambia will be in charge of next month’s World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Algeria in Uyo.

Gassama, 37, and who has been an international referee since 2008, is one of the most respected referees in Africa. He has already been appointed as referee for this year’s CAF Champions League final, second leg clash between Zamalek of Egypt and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, taking place in Alexandria on Sunday, 23rd October.

Victor Moses Reveals How Mourinho Was Harsh To Him Last Year

Victor Moses believes Jose Mourinho exiled him at Chelsea because "he had his own players" and said he is delighted that new head coach Antonio Conte has given him a second chance to prove himself at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho will return to the home of his former club as Manchester United manager for the first time on Sunday, while in-form Moses is expected to keep his place in the Chelsea starting XI on the right of Conte's new 3-4-3 formation.

It has been a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Moses, who spent the last three seasons on loan at Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham respectively, and one the 25-year-old feels is long overdue after being ignored by Mourinho.

Dream Team Players Finally Get Their Cash

It has been revealed that some officials of the Nigeria team to the Rio Olympics have already received their cash from the $390,000 donated by a Japanese admirer Katsuya Takasu at the games.

The officials each received $14,000.

It was understood that the cash backup for the cheques has finally come through more than two months after the donation and already a number of officials have received their payments.

Evra finally make peace with Luis Suarez

Patrice Evra has apparently buried the hatchet with Luis Suarez as he congratulated his former foe for winning La Liga's Golden Shoe award. 

The former Manchester United defender was embroiled in a race row with Suarez during his time at Liverpool, which led to the Uruguayan receiving a hefty punishment from the FA. 

But on Thursday, Evra seemingly held out an olive branch when he posted a photo of the striker on Instagram. 

Wenger sets date for Ramsey return

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed Aaron Ramsey could return against Sunderland at the end of the month.

Ramsey has not featured for the Gunners since picking up a hamstring injury in his side's opening day defeat against Liverpool in August.

Arsenal go up against Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Saturday, before playing host to Reading in the EFL Cup next Tuesday.

Everton and Chelsea want Hart

Everton and Chelsea are interested in arranging a deal to sign Joe Hart next summer. The Manchester City goalkeeper has made an impressive start to life on loan at Torino.
Source: The Sun

Simeone wants Premier League move

Diego Simeone wants to test himself against the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho by joining a Premier League club. The Argentine is most likely to leave Atletico Madrid in 2018 but could depart sooner for the right opportunity.
Source: Daily Mirror

'Carrick is Man Utd's Pirlo and must partner Pogba', says Hargreaves

Michael Carrick must partner Paul Pogba in midfield as he is the closest Manchester United have to Andrea Pirlo, says Owen Hargreaves.

The world's most expensive player has struggled to replicate the form that convinced Jose Mourinho to part with £89 million to bring him back to Old Trafford after four years away.

However, Pogba started alongside Carrick for the first time this season on Thursday, scoring twice as United beat Fenerbahce in the Europa League, and Hargreaves feels their partnership is most effective.

Wenger urges Ozil to commit future to Arsenal

Talks continue between Arsenal and influential playmaker Mesut Ozil over an extended contract at Emirates Stadium, says manager Arsene Wenger.

Ozil continued his stellar form this season with a hat-trick in Wednesday's 6-0 demolition of Ludogorets in the Champions League.

The 28-year-old, like forward Alexis Sanchez, is out of contract in 2018 and Wenger urged his club to match the duo's ambitions in terms of winning major honours to secure their long-term futures.

Dybala reveals Juventus rejected summer offer for him

Paulo Dybala has revealed Juventus rejected an offer for him in the close-season and he is delighted the club value his services as they aim for Champions League glory.

The Argentina forward has hit form in recent weeks, scoring four goals in his last four games as Juve continue their challenge in both Serie A and in Europe.

However, Dybala could have been plying his trade elsewhere this season, with Barcelona linked, but he has dedicated his future to the Italian champions.

OFFICIAL: Carrasco extends Atletico Madrid contract

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco has committed his future to Atletico Madrid by signing a two-year contract extension, the Liga club have announced. 

The Belgium international has enjoyed some superb form this season, scoring the winning goal in the Champions League victory over Bayern Munich before netting a hat-trick in the 7-1 thrashing of Granada.

Carrasco - who also struck the late winner in the 1-0 win away to Rostov on Wednesday - had been linked with a possible move to Chelsea next year as a result of his exceptional displays, though he maintained that he wanted to stay at the Vicente Calderon.

'Gladiator' Totti celebrates European milestone despite Roma draw

In what will be his last season as a professional footballer, it seems only fitting that Francesco Totti was able to reach a notable career landmark on Thursday night.

The Roma stalwart, in his 25th campaign at Stadio Olimpico, made his 100th appearance in European competition as the Giallorossi were held to a 3-3 draw by Austria Wien.

Two late goals from the visitors to the Italian capital spoiled the sense of occasion for Totti, but no-one can take away the sense of achievement he should feel and having hit such a milestone.

Abidal: Ronaldo injury gave Portugal an advantage in Euro final

Former Barcelona star Eric Abidal has suggested that Cristiano Ronaldo's early injury helped Portugal on their way to victory in the Euro 2016 final. 

The striker played just a handful of minutes against France before limping off the pitch, and he watched on as Eder scored the decisive goal in extra time. 

And according to Abidal, that withdrawal was actually in Portugal's best interests. 

Aguero & Kompany to lead Pep Guardiola's City clearout

Pep Guardiola is ready to dispense with the services of Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany as he prepares a clearout of the Manchester City squad, according to the Mirror

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Manchester United 4-1 Fenerbahce: Pogba nets two as Van Persie scores on Old Trafford return

Robin van Persie may have scored on his return to Old Trafford with Fenerbahce, but the striker was overshadowed by Paul Pogba's double as Manchester United won 4-1.

Pogba's strikes surrounded a penalty by Anthony Martial while Jesse Lingard also got in on the action, before Van Persie's goal.

Ronaldo gives PR job to daughter of his agent Jorge Mendes

Cristiano Ronaldo has appointed the daughter of his agent, Jorge Mendes, as his new Online Community Manager.

Marisa Mendes has previously been romantically linked with the Real Madrid superstar, though both parties have denied such reports.

Injured Pique ruled out for three weeks

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has been ruled out for three weeks with the ankle injury that he suffered in his side's 4-0 Champions League win against Manchester City.

It was initially anticipated that the centre-back would miss around 10 days of action but he now faces three weeks on the sidelines, making him unavailable for league matches against Valencia, Granada and Sevilla, as well as the return Champions League fixture against City.

Jordi Alba, meanwhile will miss two weeks having re-aggravated a hamstring problem, which was the initial expectation after he limped off on Wednesday.

European Golden Shoe winner Suarez: I want to retire at Barcelona

Luis Suarez has declared his intention to remain at Barcelona for the remainder of his career.

Since joining Barca in 2014, Suarez has scored 93 goals in 108 appearances, winning the league, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble in his first season with the club.

The Uruguayan followed that up with 40 goals in the 2015-16 Primera Division, a haul which earned him the European Golden Shoe award and helped the Catalan giants to defend their title.

PHOTO: Windscreen Of Airplane Carrying Nigerian Striker & Team Mates Shattered By Bird

A plane carrying former Super Eagles forward Emmanuel Emenike and his Fenerbache teammates to Manchester on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s Europa League game against Manchester United was forced to make an emergency landing because a bird shattered the windscreen.

Fenerbahce however announced that there was “nothing alarming” about the incident.

Super Eagles Outcast John Ogu In Line For A Return

John Ogu is now being considered for a recall to the Super Eagles after coach Gernot Rohr was alerted to his performances. 

Ogu helped Hapoel Be’er Sheva to win the Israeli league championship last season and he is driving the club’s Europe League campaign this season.

Nigerian Rapper Phyno To Stage Concert For NPFL Champions Enugu Rangers

Nigerian rapper, Phyno will stage a concert before the end of the year in honour of Nigeria Professional Football League champions, Enugu Rangers.

Rangers won the title on the final day of the 2015/2016 season following a 4-0 win against El-Kanemi Warriors at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium.

The Enugu -State born musician who is an ardent fan of the Flying Antelopes informed Complete Sports that he was putting together the show for the fans of the club and to also demonstrate his love for the Coal City side. 

Odemwimgie Set To Join English Club

Osaze Odemwingie, is being lined up for a medical as he prepares to sign for English League One side, Bolton Wanderers.

Odemwimgie, 35, has been without a club since leaving Stoke City in the summer, having spent the last season on loan at Bristol City.

Real Madrid open door to remarkable Chicharito return

Real Madrid have opened the door to a sensational return for Bayer Leverkusen striker Chicharito.
The former Manchester United player spent a season on loan with Madrid back in 2014-15, scoring nine goals in 33 matches.

And Bernabeu director Santiago Aguado has now suggested that the club would be open to taking him back, with the Mexico international having made a huge impression in Germany with Leverkusen.

Not even Pogba and Ibrahimovic are untouchable at United, says Mourinho

Jose Mourinho insists none of his Manchester United stars are untouchable, not even Paul Pogba or Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Portuguese famously described the nucleus of his team during his first stint at Chelsea as "untouchable", with the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba starring in that squad.

United forked out a record fee to land Pogba from Juventus in the close-season, while Ibrahimovic arrived as one of the most feared strikers in world football despite being 34 when he signed.

Messi was the difference between Man City and Barcelona - Nolito

Lionel Messi was the difference in Manchester City's 4-0 defeat by Barcelona, says Nolito.

Messi bagged a hat-trick and set up Neymar to score as Barca claimed a convincing victory at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

In an eventful encounter, City had goalkeeper Claudio Bravo sent off, Jeremy Mathieu saw red for Barca and Neymar missed a penalty but Nolito had no doubt as to who was the most decisive figure.

'This is the year' - Modric desperate to end Real Madrid La Liga title drought

Luka Modric is desperate to end Real Madrid's domestic title drought after four years without glory in La Liga.
 Los Blancos last won the top flight in 2011-12, when they collected 100 points to stay clear of second-placed Barcelona.

Since then, however, the Catalan giants have won three titles and Atletico Madrid the other, meaning that some of Madrid's biggest stars are yet to experience triumph in the Primera Division.

Wenger: Ozil's got a 'taste' for goals now!

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil now has a "taste" for goals after striking a Champions League hat-trick, says manager Arsene Wenger.

Ozil scored three times in the second half as the Premier League giants thrashed Ludogorets 6-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

It added to the Germany international's goal against Swansea City and Wenger is thrilled to see him getting on the scoresheet.

Barcelona 4-0 thrashing not my worst - Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says his team's 4-0 loss to Barcelona was not the worst of his career.

A Lionel Messi hat-trick and a Neymar strike saw Barca to a resounding win in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Claudio Bravo's red card early in the second half, with City trailing 1-0, proved particularly costly, while Jeremy Mathieu was sent off late for Barca.