Sunday, 12 November 2017

My Heart Still At Anfield



After unrelenting and constant efforts frim Barcelona linking him with an imminent move to La Liga, Philippe Coutinho has reiterated that he is happy at Anfield, Liverpool.

Barcelona tried to lure Coutinho to Camp Nou in an effort to replace Neymar before the transfer window closed but Liverpool refused to sell the Brazilian international.

Coutinho attempted to force through a move without success, though Barca are reportedly set to reignite their interest during the January window.

However, the 25-year-old said is happy playing in the Premier League at Anfield.

“I’m playing in one of the biggest leagues in the world,” said Coutinho, who has scored four goals in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

“I’m always happy. But now it’s important to concentrate on the national team.

“At the moment I am very happy with my life.”

Coutinho is set to return to action when Brazil face England in an international friendly at Wembley on Tuesday.

The attacker has not featured for club or country since October 22 due to a muscle problem.

World Cup Qualification Turned Violence In Brussels

Celebrations in Brussels to mark Morocco’s return to  the  World Cup  for the first time in two decades turned violent late Saturday, when crowds clashed with police, setting cars on fire and injuring over 20 police officers.


Images on social media showed burning of cars and broken shops in Brussels city centre  as well as police trucks firing water cannons at crowds gathered in front of the city’s stock exchange.

Brussels police said that about 1,500 people had come to celebrate Morocco’s 2-0 win over Ivory Coast, but stated that around 300 started to behave violently and attacked police officers, firemen called to put out burning cars and dust bins.

More than 100,000 people of Moroccan origin live in Brussels.

Belgium saw an influx of Moroccan workers in the 1960s and 1970s.

Prosecutors said by Sunday morning no arrests had been made, but Belgium’s interior minister vowed to hold those responsible to account, calling the events unacceptable.

“The fundamental problem is that such events are used as an excuse for reckless behaviour and doing unacceptable things,” Interior Minister Jan Jambon told Belgium’s Radio 1.

“We have camera images – whoever did this will pay for this, there is no way around it,” Jambon added.

CREDIT punchng.com

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Sepp Blatter Grabbed My Ass - Hope Solo

The former head of world football, Sepp Blatter had denied claims by US women’s goalkeeper, Hope Solo, that he had grabbed her backside.


Solo told Portuguese newspaper, Expresso,that then-FIFA president, Blatter, had sexually harassed her at the 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony.

The 36-year-old goalkeeper, who stood out that year, claimed that Sepp Blatter pounced as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach.

“Sepp Blatter grabbed my ass, it was a few years ago at the Ballon d’Or ceremony, just before I got on stage,” Solo said.

However, Blatter, 81, told AFP the accusations were “absurd and ridiculous.”

Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, made the allegations on the sidelines of the Web Summit being held in Lisbon.

She said that sexual harassment at the hands of male officials was a common problem in women’s football.

“I have seen this all of my career and I would like to see more athletes speak about their experiences,” said Solo.

“It’s out of control, not just in Hollywood but everywhere,” she added in reference to the firestorm of sexual harassment allegations in entertainment, politics and sport since the scandal involving Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein, unfolded.

Solo made reference to the fact that female players sometimes married their US college coaches, “which obviously a coach should not be doing, especially with a young player.”

Blatter was president of FIFA from 1998 to 2015 until he was banned for corruption.

The Swiss official ran FIFA with an iron hand and oversaw a period in which football’s premier tournament was hosted in Asia for the first time and he paved the way for it to be held in Qatar in 2022.

After the corruption allegations emerged, FIFA banned Blatter from the sport for eight years, a term later reduced to six years after appeal.

Blatter told AFP last month that he would attend next year’s World Cup finals in Russia at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Fabbio Cannavaro Returns To Chinese League

Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro was named the manager of Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday, returning to the club that cut him loose in 2015.


The 44-year-old former world footballer of the year who quit Tianjin Quanjian earlier this week, signed a five-year contract and replaces Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari at China’s perennial league winners.

Cannavaro will be expected to continue Guangzhou Evergrande’s domination of the Chinese Super League (CSL). They lifted a seventh consecutive league title on Saturday which and inspire them to a third AFC Champions League crown.

Speaking at the Italian’s unveiling, club boss Xu Jiayin, China’s richest man, said Cannavaro will also be tasked with fielding a side of only Chinese players by 2020.

In the summer they lost Brazilian international midfielder Paulinho to Barcelona, but their overseas contingent still includes three other Brazilians and Colombian striker Jackson Martinez.

“I am flattered and happy to come back here, I said that I will come back one day,” Cannavaro told the media.

“I am excited by Evergrande’s plan in the next few years and happy to work together with the club.”

Cannavaro said that he was relishing building a team of homegrown stars, part of a bigger push by the Chinese government to improve the fortunes of the underachieving national side by promoting local players.

“I am sure that players from Evergrande can not only serve Evergrande, but what we hope even more is that they can serve the national team,” said Cannavaro, cautioning however that would take time.

Cannavaro, who resigned as Tianjin boss just days after steering them into the Champions League for the first time in their history, was in charge at Evergrande for seven months to June 2015.

But he was replaced by World Cup-winning coach Scolari after what Cannavaro described at the time as a “consensual resolution” of his contract.

Cannavaro’s abrupt departure in 2015 disappointed many Evergrande supporters and he left with the team top of the league and in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Hundreds of fans had mobbed him at the airport as he departed the southern Chinese city.

The Italian former international defender, who captained his country to World Cup glory in 2006 managed for a brief time in Saudi Arabia before returning to China with ambitious Tianjin.

He led them to promotion from China’s second-tier League One and then to third in the CSL and a Champions League play-off berth by beating Evergrande 2-1 away on the final day of the season.

The Tianjin players tossed Cannavaro up in the air afterwards in celebration, but speculation was already swirling that he was poised to leave to go back to Guangzhou.

Former Portuguese international Paulo Sousa replaced Cannavaro at Tianjin.

Two-time former Champions League winners Evergrande reached this season’s quarter-finals before being narrowly beaten over two legs by Andre Villas-Boas’s Shanghai SIPG, their nearest domestic rivals.

Cannavaro is among a trio of big-name Italians coaching in China, with Fabio Capello at Jiangsu Suning and Marcello Lippi formerly in charge at Evergrande manager of the national side.

Germany v England Match Is More Than Just A Friendly - Dier



England international Eric Dier believes Friday’s match against Germany at Wembley cannot be considered a friendly because of the long rivalry between the two country.

While England came out on top in the 1966 World Cup final on home soil, Germany have since enjoyed far greater success in the tournament, lifting the trophy in 1974, 1990 and 2014.

Gareth Southgate’s squad has been hit by a number of high-profile withdrawals, with the likes of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Dier’s Tottenham team-mates Harry Kane and Harry Winks pulling out due to injury.

But Dier believes the time is right for England – who qualified for the 2018 tournament with ease to test their ability against top teams such as the world champions and Brazil, who visit Wembley on Tuesday.

“I think the manager has already said that, if we are going to play friendlies, he wants to be playing the very best nations in the world and to challenge ourselves and I think that is the right mentality,” Dier told a news conference.

“These are two really big friendlies. I don’t think there is ever going to be a friendly between England and Germany, so we are really looking forward to it.”

With England progressing through qualification unbeaten, confidence has grown in the squad since a shock loss to Iceland in the first knockout round at last year’s European Championship.

Dier accepts England’s performances at major tournaments have been below par for many years and the versatile 23-year-old claims winning the World Cup is the only measure of success in his mind ahead of the finals in Russia.

“I think the minute we qualified we had to start our focus on the World Cup,” Dier added. “Everything we do from now onwards is with the World Cup in mind, so we are going to prepare for it in the best way we possibly can and that starts on Friday.

“Obviously there is a lot of room for improvement. I wouldn’t just say the last two tournaments, it goes back a long way that England haven’t done well in the tournament.

“I think sometimes people forget that. It’s been a long, long time since you could say England had a successful international tournament.

“Winning it is the only way I’d see it as being successful. There’s a long way to go and this is quite a new group that has come together since the Euros. It’s quite a young team, so I think the margin of progression is huge.”

I Almost Shed Tears When I Scored The Winning Goal

Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi has revealed how he felt after scoring the only goal that sealed Nigeria’s spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Arsenal star Iwobi scored the only goal in Nigeria’s 1-0 win over a resilient Zambia in October, sending the Super Eagles to their third straight World Cup.

“It’s so hard to describe, you know what I mean. When I actually scored the moment was crazy, I remember running off celebrating,” Iwobi told Arsenal’s official website.

“I almost cried, I actually almost cried to see how the fans were reacting, to see my mum and dad in the stands, it was just an amazing feeling.

“When I scored the goal, because the security are very strict the fans were trying to come on the pitch as I scored, but the security guards stopped them and after the fans they played trumpets and banged drums, so the players were just dancing, it was just crazy.”

Iwobi says he also feels happy wearing Nigerian colours.

“Yeah, it’s basically my family, where they’re from, where I’m from it’s my homeland, so it’s always an honour to wear the green, white and green, I mean I’ve seen so many kids on the street when we’re like in the bus, they’re screaming “go Nigeria, go Nigeria”, so to represent them I’m just proud.

“It makes me feel grateful for what I have, because I’ve always grown up in England, so I didn’t really know what it was like back then. When I go back I see how people struggle in life, it’s not as easy as it is over here, so it gives me that reality check, but also I try to help people out there as well.

“It was the way they were like… it was almost like everyone won the lottery, they were just jumping. To go to the World Cup you can see it’s not just the players’ dream, it’s the fans’ dream as well and for me to get the goal for us to go through I’m just proud to do that.”

The Super Eagles who have already qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will depart their Morocco training camp on Thursday for Constantine where they will face the Fennecs Foxes of Algeria in the largely inconsequential qualifier.

Oxlade-Chamberlain Is Keen to Inject Into The First-team

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is keen to secure a regular first-team spot after patiently waiting for his chance.


The summer signing scored on his first Premier League start for the club in Saturday's 4-1 win at West Ham.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has now started back-to-back games for the first time since joining from Arsenal, having been in the team for the Champions League win over Maribor, and wants that run to continue.

'It's never easy coming into a new team with as much quality as we've got here. It takes time to settle in and learn a new formation and style of play,' he told liverpoolfc.com.

'I've had to be patient. I would have liked to have played as much as I can, that's natural.

'The only thing I can do when I get the chance is try to impress and help the team to win, with goals and creating chances.



'I'm going to keep trying to do that and keep pushing for starting places, just as everyone else will. That's the best thing - competition for places.

'The most important thing is that we're winning. I'm happy with the result and obviously it was nice to start as well.'

While Oxlade-Chamberlain is concentrating on nailing down a first-team place, Liverpool's Under-17 World Cup winner with England Rhian Brewster hopes to inspire the next generation of youngsters.


The teenager, who was top scorer at last month's tournament in India, wants to follow in the footsteps of his heroes and be a role model and an inspiration for other youngsters.

'I want to be a legend for young people, like Suarez and Thierry Henry were for me,' he said in a video posted on Facebook.

'I want people to look up to me. I was young once, so I know what it's like to look up to people.'

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Naby Keita Going Nowhere Now - Leipzig



RB Leipzig boss Ralph Rangnick has ruled out key midfielder Naby Keita joining Liverpool during the January transfer window, six months earlier than planned.

The Guinea international midfielder signed a deal in August to join Premier League giants Liverpool for the 2018/19 season after the Merseyside club triggered a release clause in his contract.

The deal is reportedly worth 51.9 million euros ($62 million, 45.8 million pounds) and there had been speculation RB Leipzig could let Keita join Liverpool early, during the Bundesliga's winter break in January.

However, Leipzig's director of sport Ralph Hasenhuettl has ruled out Keita leaving before the end of the season, because they need him in their bid to qualify for next season's Champions League.

"Even if we should not reach the knockout stages of Champions League, it would make no sense to allow Naby to join Liverpool earlier," Rangnick, RB's director of sport, told the Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper.

"We want to qualify internationally (for the Champions League) from the Bundesliga again and we need Naby for that."

Leipzig are currently second in the Bundesliga, four points behind Bayern Munich, and in contention to qualify for the next round of the Champions League.

They are currently third in their group with two games left, needing to make up the two-point deficit on second-placed Porto in their final games away to bottom side Monaco and home against leaders Besiktas.

Keita has had a difficult few weeks after being sent off three times in seven games for club and country.

The 22-year-old hit the headlines for the wrong reasons at the weekend when it emerged he is accused of using a fake Guinean licence to twice try to obtain a German driving permit.

He reportedly faces a fine of 415,000 euros (£366,731, $480,009), based on his salary.

"We, of course, stand by Naby," was all Rangnick would say on the legal issue.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

PSG Ready to Sell Di Maria in Jan Transfer After Being Told to Raise £70m by UEFA

Paris Saint-Germain are expecting to raise £70million in revenue to meet Financial Fair Play requirements.


The big spending French club met with UEFA auditors last month to explain their finances after signing Neymar for £198m and Kylian Mbappe for a potential £165m.

PSG expect to sell Angel Di Maria and Lucas Moura in January but will also look to attract new sponsorships from America plus TV deals.


With Premier League clubs spending over £1bn in the summer, PSG will hope to attract interest from English clubs, but Di Maria's failed spell at Manchester United and large wage demands is likely to count against him.

The Argentine briefly became a British record signing in 2014 after moving to Old Trafford from Real Madrid, but failed to settle in Manchester. In an effort to get out of the club, Di Maria failed to report to Louis van Gaal's squad for a pre-season tour and was soon sold.


Lucas turned down a number of Premier League clubs, including United, in order to make the move to Parc des Princes in 2012, but has since failed to fulfil the early promise that attracted Sir Alex Ferguson.

PSG are unlikely to get the required funds from clubs outside of the Premier League and may have to rely on new sponsorship deals and increased revenue from growing TV audiences.

A complex loan agreement with Monaco allowed them to bring Mbappe to the club this summer, but they are committed to paying the huge £165m sum at the end of the season.

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Oxlade-Chamberlain Is Keen to Inject Into The First-team

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is keen to secure a regular first-team spot after patiently waiting for his chance.


The summer signing scored on his first Premier League start for the club in Saturday's 4-1 win at West Ham.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has now started back-to-back games for the first time since joining from Arsenal, having been in the team for the Champions League win over Maribor, and wants that run to continue.

'It's never easy coming into a new team with as much quality as we've got here. It takes time to settle in and learn a new formation and style of play,' he told liverpoolfc.com.

'I've had to be patient. I would have liked to have played as much as I can, that's natural.

'The only thing I can do when I get the chance is try to impress and help the team to win, with goals and creating chances.



'I'm going to keep trying to do that and keep pushing for starting places, just as everyone else will. That's the best thing - competition for places.

'The most important thing is that we're winning. I'm happy with the result and obviously it was nice to start as well.'

While Oxlade-Chamberlain is concentrating on nailing down a first-team place, Liverpool's Under-17 World Cup winner with England Rhian Brewster hopes to inspire the next generation of youngsters.


The teenager, who was top scorer at last month's tournament in India, wants to follow in the footsteps of his heroes and be a role model and an inspiration for other youngsters.

'I want to be a legend for young people, like Suarez and Thierry Henry were for me,' he said in a video posted on Facebook.

'I want people to look up to me. I was young once, so I know what it's like to look up to people.'

CREDIT ALL FOOTBALL

Barcelona Remain One of The Strongest Team in Europe

It's International break of the season and Barcelona remain one of the strongest teams in Europe.


Though doubts arises in the last few matches about the style of play and their theoretical goalscorer, Luis Suarez, who is enduring his worst goal drought since arriving at the Camp Nou in 2014, the Blaugrana have reversed the dark times since losing against Real Madrid (3-1 and 2-0) in the Supercopa de Espana.

Ernesto Valverde's side lead LaLiga with a four-point advantage over Valencia and also occupy top spot in their Champions League group, which includes the runner-up of the competition last season, Juventus.

In Europe, only two teams can be compared to Messi and Co.

The first is Paris Saint-Germain, who have a brilliant front three and the most goals on the continent from Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.

Manchester City, a very prominent leader in the Premier League, are the other.

Pep Guardiola's team have, like Barcelona, 31 points in 11 games (10 wins and a draw).

Barcelona's defence is one of the main aspects to their great start and strong statistics this season.


Since that painful Supercopa defeat, Marc-Andre ter Stegen has only conceded five goals; four in the league and one in the Champions League.

It is the least amount of goals conceded in Europe.

The German is enjoying a great moment with his club, as many of his world-class saves have given the Catalans some important results.

For example, the Blaugrana would not have drawn at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano nor would they have claimed the three points at the Estadio San Mames against Athletic Club.

84 minutes behind

PSG and Manchester City both surpass Barcelona in terms of minutes spent losing.

The Blaugrana have been behind for a total of 84 minutes (out of 1,440), which occurred during their fixture against Atletico Madrid.

Guardiola's group have spent a total of 68 minutes behind with PSG losing for only 45 minutes of the 2017/18 season.

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Newcastle set to renew interest in Liverpool striker Danny Ings in January

Newcastle United Set to renew interest in Liverpool striker Danny Ings when January transfer Opens.


25-year-old Danny Ings has had a rough time with knee injuries since moving to Liverpool from Burnley and has been making progress in Liverpool U23s, scoring four goals in the 7-0 thumping over Bristol City at the weekend.

Newcastle want another striker, and were keen on Ings in the summer and have earmarked him for a potential loan deal.

Liverpool's Harry Wilson, Jon Flanagan and Ovie Ejaria may also be allowed out in January while Lazar Markovic is available for sale.

Ings' Anfield career began brightly and he scored three times in his first eight appearances under Brendan Rodgers after joining  in 2015.

But two serious knee injuries have limited the England striker to only three first-team appearances under Jurgen Klopp.

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Villarreal’s Sporting Director Would Not Rule Out Signing Carlos Bacca

Balaguer praises Carlos Bacca and would not rule out signing him permanently from Milan.


The Colombian has scored five goals in 14 appearances since joining the Spanish club from the Rossoneri on a season-long loan deal.

And speaking to TMW, the Balaguer said he was impressed with the 31-year-old’s contribution to the Yellow Submarine’s campaign so far.

“He is doing very well. We are happy with him and he is scoring a lot,” the official commented.

“The League in Spain isn’t easy but he is giving a lot to the team.”

Pressed as to whether Villarreal would attempt to sign Bacca on a permanent basis, Balaguer was non-comittal.

“We will see at the end of the season. For now, we are focused on the present and Bacca is doing very well.”

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Dixon Insists The Club Are 'Unfixable' Under Wenger After Man City Defeat

Arsenal legend Lee Dixon Believes former club can't fix their problems under Arsene Wenger.


The Gunners were defeated 3-1 by Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday, leaving them 12 points adrift of Pep Guardiola's men already after just 11 matches.

Arsenal failed to convince once again in defence against one of their Premier League rivals at the Etihad Stadium on the weekend.

And these defensive issues are continuing to concern  former Arsenal right back Dixon, who claims Wenger doesn't know how to properly set up his players when they don't have possession of the ball.

Dixon told BBC 5 Live: 'I honestly think they're unfixable under Arsene. What he's got there is he's created an environment which the players don't really know what they're doing without the ball.

'It's quite simple - when I watch them I think "they could beat anyone on their day going forward, but they could lose to anyone defensively".

'That summed it up at the weekend against City. The Lacazette thing is another issue, as to why he's not playing, but you play Sanchez up front, who is a chaser of the ball; if he loses the ball then he'll chase to win it back.


'If you've got that, as a manager, you have to have the players to go and back that up, and he didn't have that. He hasn't got that because they don't know how to do that on a regular basis - they are not a pressing side.

'They do it now and again - they did it against Chelsea, they got it right against Chelsea in the cup final and in the league, and you think "wow, they're back".

'And then they fall again like they did against Watford, and then you see them trying to press Man City, one of the best passing sides in the league. How is that allowed to happen?

'If you're not a pressing side, then you have to press for months and years at a time in order to get it right, it's really difficult. It's not just a case of "you all just rush to the ball".


'There have to be triggers, and you need to know when to press - which is just as hard as knowing when not to press if you're a pressing side, because sometimes you have to unpress, if you like, and just sit where you are.

'Just running willy-nilly at the ball is a disaster, especially against City.'

Goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus on Sunday meant that Arsenal have lost four times in just 11 games this season.

Arsenal will be desperate to bounce back to winning ways following the international break when they face north London rivals Tottenham at the Emirates on November 18.


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No Risks And No Rushing as Bayern's Ribery Continues Rehabilitation

France Winger has been on the sidelines for over a month after tearing a knee ligament, but he is keen to retake the field when the time is right


Franck Ribery is taking no risks with his return from injury as he slowly looks to regain full fitness at Bayern Munich.

The Frenchman tore the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee in a 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin at the start of October, with a lengthy lay-off initially predicted.

But Ribery has made good progress and says he feels "great", even if he is in no rush to get back to full training.

"Obviously I feel great right now, but we have to control my progress and we don't want to take any risks," he told Bayern's official channel.

"I know I'm not at 100 per cent yet, but I can already work hard indoors and outdoors again.

"Next week we're going to conduct further examinations and, if everything is 100 per cent okay, I can slowly begin to train with the ball again."

Ribery has often struggled for fitness in recent seasons, and has not started 20 Bundesliga games since the 2012-13 campaign, when he was influential as Bayern won the treble.

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