Showing posts from May, 2016

Kidnapped Mexican striker Pulido escaped by punching captor

The authorities billed it as a rescue, but Mexican soccer player Alan Pulido escaped his kidnappers by punching the one guarding him, snatching a cellphone and calling for help, a top official in the country's violent northeast said. State security forces located Pulido within minutes of his call from a safe house in the restive city of Ciudad Victoria in Tamaulipas state, as they were scouring the area nearby, state prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla told local radio. The 25-year-old Mexico national team striker who also plays professionally with the Greek team Olympiakos disappeared in his hometown on Saturday night, when he was intercepted by gunmen after leaving a party with his girlfriend. Pulido called Mexico's emergency services around midnight on Sunday after the fistfight. He then cut his wrist trying to open a locked glass door, Quintanilla said. "There was an exchange of blows between them," Quintanilla said. "At some point he was able to make a…

United's new manager seems to have made peace with the England legend

IMAGE: Bobby Charlton scores England's winning goal as Portugal's Jose Carlos runs in to try and intercept during the 1966 World Cup semi-final at Wembley. 
Bobby Charlton has previously been a harsh critic of Jose Mourinho and was understood to have objected to his potential appointment when Manchester United were looking for a successor to Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. 
Manchester United's new manager Jose Mourinho made peace with Bobby Charlton as he met the Old Trafford icon at the club's Carrington training ground. Charlton has previously been a harsh critic of Mourinho and was understood to have objected to his potential appointment when United were looking for a successor to Alex Ferguson in 2013.  The 78-year-old, a member of United's board of directors, also criticised Mourinho in 2012 for poking Barcelona's assistant coach Tito Vilanova in the eye during a heated touchline clash, saying at the time: "A United manager wouldn't do that.…

Tottenham still in race to sign Manchester United target Zlatan Ibrahimovic – reports

ottenham have not given up hope of beating Manchester United to the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to reports in Italy.
The striker is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer on a free transfer after refusing to sign a new contract.
Several sides are now chasing the Swede, including Manchester United, AC Milan and clubs in the Chinese Super League.
Ibrahimovic recently told a press conference that he has chosen his next destination, and he is widely expected to move to Old Trafford.
"I know what I want," he said in Stockholm. "The future is already written. I made my decision a long time ago."
However, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Tottenham are another team in the mix and are refusing to give up in their pursuit.
The north London club are back in the Champions League next season and they believe that gives them the edge over offers from AC Milan and the Red Devils.
Ibrahimovic has remained coy on his future in recent weeks, but an anno…

CONFIRMED! Marcus Rashford signs new Manchester United contract until 2020

Marcus Rashford has signed a new long-term contract with Manchester United, the Premier League club has announced.
The 18-year-old striker has enjoyed a sensational breakthrough at club and international level over the past few months.
And the Red Devils have rewarded the impressive youngster with a new deal, worth a reported £20,000-a-week, which runs until 2020 with the option to extend for a further year.
He had just one year remaining on his previous youth contract.

Rashford only made his senior debut in February but went on to score eight goals in 18 games for United, including braces on his debut against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League and in his following game against Arsenal in the Premier League.
His goal record and no-fear displays quickly led to a call-up to Roy Hodgson's England squad, and Rashford again took little time to settle and scored his first Three Lions goal just 138 seconds into his international debut.
He is now considered to be in conten…

Liverpool transfer news: Anfield flop Mario Balotelli eyeing return to Serie A with Lazio

Liverpool flop Mario Balotelli is keen on joining Lazio this summer. The striker spent last season on loan at AC Milan, but he has been sent back to Anfield after scoring just one league goal in 20 games. Liverpool are now looking to ship the Italian out permanently and will welcome all offers from interested clubs. Lazio are one of the teams interested in taking a punt on Balotelli and, according to LaLazioSiamoNoi, the player is open to the move too. The 25-year-old is eager to play in Italy next season, but he would need to take a major pay-cut to do so. Balotelli currently earns a basic wage of £90,000-a-week at Liverpool, however Lazio are only willing to offer him around half that amount.

Milan readies for glitzy, all-Spanish Champions League final

Milan (AFP) - Milan's San Siro stadium is preparing for a glitzy all-Spanish final of the Champions League on Saturday as fans of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid packed the city in glorious summer sunshine.
Record ten-time champions Real, who won the inaugural trophy in 1956, are gunning for their 11th title from European football's premier club event two years after a stunning comeback victory over Atletico in Lisbon secured 'La Decima'. Cristiano Ronaldo has given Real fans a huge boost with the news he is 100% fit following a training ground scare on Tuesday and coach Zinedine Zidane is counting on the Portuguese superstar to rise to the occasion. "He's 100 percent fit and he's playing a Champions League final, when you transcend yourself," said Zidane, appearing in a first Champions League final as a coach after succeeding Rafael Benitez at the helm earlier this season. Zidane, who won the trophy as a player with Real in 2002, is seeki…

WATCH: ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha leaves Eto’o intimidated as Nigeria fans want legend out of retirement

At the height of his prowess, Bolton Wanderers fans used to sing that Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha was so good they named him twice. More than a decade after he last played for the Super Eagles, Nigeria fans want the former midfielder recalled from retirement after he dazzled at Friday’s testimonial for Joseph Yobo in Port Harcourt. Even Cameroonian super star Samuel Eto’o was intimidated by his array of skills that he asked for the Nigeria legend to be substituted before half time. Okocha set up two goals for Team Nigeria with some piercing passes from midfield which left everyone stunned by his vision. His feints and turns left opponents lost as he took viewers down memory lane. Fans took to social media in appreciation of his vintage skills which looked as fresh as it was in youth despite not having played professional football for more than a decade. If the wish of Nigeria fans comes true, Okocha might be lacing his boots once again for the Super Eagles who have failed t…

Serena marches on, Thiem impresses at rainy French Open

Paris (AFP) - Serena Williams swept into the last 16 at the French Open on a rain-hit Saturday in Paris, while Dominic Thiem confirmed his status as an outsider to win the men's title. Williams, seeking an Open-era, record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title, was a set up and about to tackle a second set tie-break against France's Kristina Mladenovic when a thunderstorm sent everyone scurrying for cover. On the resumption, more than two and a half hours later, the top seed and defending champion needed five match points to finish the job going through 6-4, 7-6 (12/10) with Ukraine 18th seed Elina Svitolina next in her line of fire following her victory over former champion Ana Ivanovic. "It was very difficult, she played really, really well. She forced me to bring out my best tennis," the 34-year-old American said. Thiem was already done and dusted ahead of the rain, downing German teenager Alexander Zverev 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the fourth rou…

German player threatens to sue over Cornet cramping storm

Paris (AFP) - Germany's Tatjana Maria is considering legal action after her controversial defeat to Alize Cornet at Roland Garros, insisting the Frenchwoman broke the rules over treatment for cramping. Cornet cramped up in her right leg during the second set tiebreak of her second round clash against Maria on Thursday. She needed a medical timeout as well as regular treatment from the physio throughout the third set of the tie which Cornet won. But Maria insists the rules, which forbid treatment for cramping, were broken while she was equally furious that the trainer and the tournament supervisor physically helped Cornet to her chair after she collapsed in agony on the court. Maria claims that Cornet also exceeded the 20-second rule between points as she tried to ride out the cramping. "We want this (legal action) because it was simply not fair in the match. I think that's important for the sport. It's not about the defeat. I accept that," the 28-year-…

Nigerians stunned by Chelsea’s John Terry and Mikel Obi no-show at Yobo Testimonial

Nigerians have expressed their disappointment at John Terry and John Obi Mikel missing out on Joseph Yobo Testimonial staged in Port Harcourt on Friday. The Chelsea stars were confirmed to participate in the highly publicized game to give the former Super Eagles’ captain a grand curtain call from professional football, but that was not to be as fans left the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium unhappy as most because of the duo. Mikel had been excused by the Nigeria Football Federation from the international friendly matches against Mali and Luxembourg in order to participate in the game to honour the former Eagles’ skipper. And for Terry, he was a sure bet to grace the occasion because of his non-involvement in England’s squad for Uefa Euro 2016 billed for France next month, and because the organisers had confirmed his participation few days to the game. Even few hours to kick-off news filtered around that the duo were in town and on team list for the game, they were named among…

Champions League final: Why Madrid is the world's football capital

It's rare two teams meet in the Champions League final twice in three years, much less two teams from the same city. But such is Madrid's dominance in world football, it now comes as no surprise that the two clubs from the Spanish capital, Real and Atletico, are taking to Europe's biggest stage once again.

Time Ticking For Rafael Nadal And Roger Federer

Nadal on Friday sent shockwaves through the French Open when he withdrew with a tendon injury in his left wrist with just two rounds played. It came just a year after the nine-time champion was defeated in the quarterfinals by nemesis Djokovic -- only his second ever defeat at the French Open. Tellingly, the hammer-blow also comes just a week away from his 30th birthday. At least Nadal had the comfort of making it to Paris this year. Federer, 34, pulled out on the eve of the tournament with a back injury, ending a run of 65 consecutive Grand Slam appearances stretching back to the 1999 US Open. Both men insist they are not finished with their careers that have brought 17 majors for Federer and 14 for Nadal. "I remain as motivated and excited as ever and my plan is to achieve the highest level of fitness before returning to the ATP World Tour for the upcoming grass court season," said Federer when he withdrew from Paris. Federer's greatest triumphs have come at Wimb…

Ronaldo willing to overlook personal glory for Real Madrid win

Cristiano Ronaldo insists personal goals will be put to one side as Real Madrid seek to embellish their incredible European record with victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday. Ronaldo, a three-time world player of the year, has never scored a goal at the San Siro but has the chance to match and surpass his own record of scoring 17 Champions League goals in a season.  Yet two years after Real defender Sergio Ramos levelled at the death to inspire a stunning, extra-time comeback and secure a 10th triumph in Lisbon, the Portuguese superstar insists winning the 11th crown is far more important than who hits the net at the San Siro.
"It would be nice to equal or even pass the (scoring) record, but I am not obsessed with that because the most important thing is to win," Ronaldo said when asked about adding to his 16-goal tally in the competition this season. Victory would see Real Madrid embellish their reputation as the most successful …

Simeone on Atlético's final test

"We've already played two of the top three teams in the world and now we're facing the third in the final," Diego Simeone told, demanding one last push from Atlético. Do you have special motivation to win this final because of the 2014 defeat in Lisbon?
Diego Simeone: There is no such thing as revenge in football, or in life for that matter, just new opportunities. 'Revenge' is a negative word, because it harks back to a defeat; on the other hand, 'opportunity' is about optimism, confidence and what's to come, and that's what we want to show in the Champions League. You have eliminated two possession-based, attack-minded sides in Barcelona and Bayern; will Real Madrid be a different kind of challenge? Simeone: We've already played two of the top three teams in the world and now we're facing the third in the final. Madrid are different to Barcelona and Bayern; they're a much more direct team who…

Ramos and Marcelo seek 2014 repeat

The 2014 final remains a "fantastic" memory for Real Madrid, but Sergio Ramos says "it's time to turn the page – we'll give everything to win" as they face Atlético Madrid again.   We're very motivated and we're ready to take this opportunity. What happened in Lisbon is fantastic, but that's gone. It's time to turn the page, but we want to do it again. We'll give everything to win; we'll leave it all on the pitch, even our skin. We know what we have to do and now we just have to do it. Sergio Ramos on ... Atlético's threat
Atlético are a team that will punish any lack of concentration, and extra concentration and motivation around free-kicks and corners is required. In the Champions League you have to have all your senses alert to the quality of players around you. Marcelo on ... where the game will be won and lost
In a final, what makes the difference are small details. If we don't concede goals and we score it will…

Atletico Madrid's second chance to win Champions League vs. Real Madrid

MILAN, Italy -- "It's not about revenge, it really isn't. It's about a second chance, an opportunity you did not think you would ever get again. It's a gift, really. And you want to take it." On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to talk to Massimo Ambrosini and Cafu who, in their own way, can probably relate to how Atletico Madrid feel ahead of Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid. These two former Milan teammates also had the cup wrapped up, only for it to slip from their grasp in the most improbable and dramatic way. And, two years later, they also were granted another opportunity. That was their message: It's not about revenge, it's about a chance to relive your past. You can debate what's more painful: letting a 3-0 half-time lead crumble and run through your fingers like dust, or falling to an unlikely last-ditch header. Both are gut-wrenching. And when, two seasons on, fate presents you with the very same opp…

Marcus Rashford made history by becoming the youngest player to score on his England debut as they beat Australia in a friendly at The Stadium Of Light.

Manchester United's Rashford - at 18 years and 208 days - beat the previous record set by Tommy Lawton in 1938 when he volleyed in after only 138 seconds. He was then able to press his claims for inclusion in England's Euro 2016 squad when it is confirmed on Tuesday with an exciting display, especially with Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge not even able to make the substitutes' bench because of a calf injury. Wayne Rooney, on as a half-time substitute, drilled home his 52nd England goal from Raheem Sterling's pass in the 55th minute before Eric Dier gave Australia hope with 15 minutes left by heading into his own net at the near post from Alex Wilkinson's cross. Rashford illuminates the Stadium of Light From the moment he came out for England's warm-up, Rashford looked perfectly at home on the international stage - and surely now manager Roy Hodgson will take him to Euro 2016. Rashford was a threat for the entire 63 minutes he was on the pitch. Th…

Chelsea in talks over £80m Paul Pogba transfer

TALKS: Chelsea are in constant contact with Paul Pogba's representatives
The Blues are keen on the Juventus midfielder but he will not come cheap.
Get French Football News report that the west London outfit are in 'constant contact' over a move which could cost £80m.
Pogba has been speaking publicly about his desire to remain in Turin, but GFFN say that privately he has accepted it is time to move.
Antonio Conte has told the Blues' hierarchy that Pogba's signature is his absolute priority this summer - but it will not be straightforward.
Pogba's massive price tag is a big stumbling block, as is reported interest from Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola tells Man City he needs eight new starters ahead of 2016-17

The summer transfer window will be opening before you know it, and rumours around the world are picking up steam. As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest gossip. See the latest deals here. Pep makes his Man City wish list While Jose Mourinho's protracted appointment at Manchester United has dominated headlines this week, Pep Guardiola has already quietly set to work at rivals Manchester City. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has reportedly...

Barcelona target Aaron Ramsey would 'love' to play in La Liga when he leaves Arsenal

Barcelona target Aaron Ramsey would 'love' to play in La Liga when he leaves Arsenal
Aaron Ramsey could join compatriot Gareth Bale in Spain
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has revealed he would "love" to play in Spain one day. The midfielder has been linked with the likes of Barcelona in the past, while Real Madrid have been touted as another possible destination.

And now the Welshman has confessed that playing in La Liga is something which could well happen in the future.
"Barca plays very good football and Arsenal want to do the same," Ramsey told Marca.
"I've said it once: I would love to someday play in La Liga, at one of the greats. I see their league each week. It suits my style.
"Maybe I will someday, who knows what will happen in the future?"

Liverpool target Mario Gotze will struggle to get minutes for Bayern Munich says chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Liverpool have been given renewed hope in their pursuit of Mario Gotze after Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge suggested the midfielder may struggle for pitch time again next season.
The 23-year-old, who is entering the final 12 months of his contract, made just 11 Bundesliga starts this campaign under departing manager Pep Guardiola.
And despite the Germany international stressing earlier this week he was looking forward to life under new boss Carlo Ancelotti, Rummenigge has cast doubt over how much he will actually play.
"We made everything clear to Mario," he told German newspaper Kicker.
"He knows what the club thinks and he knows what the future coach thinks.
"Mario has to consider for himself whether he wants to constantly get minutes."

Paris Saint-Germain have burst past Manchester United in the race for Neymar by informing Barcelona they will pay the Brazilian's £145m release-clause. The forward's future at the Nou Camp is currently up in the air as he continues to mull over a new contract. Barcelona want to extend the 24-year-old's current deal past 2018 and they are ready to offer him a pay rise. But, United have expressed an interest and French champions PSG are keen too. 
And, according to Spanish news outlet OK Diario, PSG have told Neymar that they will meet the £145m release-clause in his current contract. That would force Barcelona into selling - unless they could persuade the forward to snub a move to France in favour of signing a new deal. However, Barca will need to make a substantial offer as PSG are reportedly willing to offer Neymar wages of £360,000-a-week

22-year-old Poland midfielder Piotr Zielinski is a wanted man this summer
Napoli appear to have beaten Liverpool to the signing of Udinese midfielder Piotr Zielinski.
Zielinski is being chased by a number of clubs in Italy following a productive loan spell at Empoli last season, but Liverpool were hoping the lure of the Premier League could persuade the Poland international to join them.
Udinese are aware of the interest in the 22-year-old and have decided to cash in, rather than give the player the chance to prove himself next season.
According to Sky Italia, Napoli have entered talks with Zielinski's representatives and are close to agreeing personal terms.
Liverpool could still hijack the deal by slapping a mega bid down for the youngster - but it is understood they are now pursuing other targets.

Paris Saint-Germain prepare world record Neymar bid to beat Manchester United to his signature

Paris Saint-Germain prepare world record Neymar bid to beat Manchester United to his signature Barcelona want to offer Neymar a new contract
Paris Saint-Germain have burst past Manchester United in the race for Neymar by informing Barcelona they will pay the Brazilian's £145m release-clause.
The forward's future at the Nou Camp is currently up in the air as he continues to mull over a new contract.
Barcelona want to extend the 24-year-old's current deal past 2018 and they are ready to offer him a pay rise.
But, United have expressed an interest and French champions PSG are keen too.

And, according to Spanish news outlet OK Diario, PSG have told Neymar that they will meet the £145m release-clause in his current contract.
That would force Barcelona into selling - unless they could persuade the forward to snub a move to France in favour of signing a new deal.
However, Barca will need to make a substantial offer as PSG are reportedly willing to offer Neymar wages of…

Arsenal blow! Paris Saint-Germain in talks with Gunners target Alvaro Morata

Arsenal blow! Paris Saint-Germain in talks with Gunners target Alvaro Morata
Alvaro Morata has scored 27 goals in two seasons at Juventus
Paris Saint-Germain have held two meetings with the agent of Arsenal target Alvaro Morata in the past ten days, according to reports in France.
The Spanish striker is expected to leave Juventus this summer after spending two seasons in Turin, scoring 27 goals.
Real Madrid have the option to buy the striker back for £23million and they are expected to do that before selling him in for double the price.
Arsenal have made Morata their prime target this summer and have informed the player of their interest but, according to L'Equipe, PSG are fighting the Gunners for the 23-year-old's signature.
The French champions' sporting director, Olivier Letang, has met with Morata's agent, Juanma Lopez, twice in the past ten days as they tried to thrash out a deal.
Real have informed clubs they will not be keeping the Spain internationa…

Galatasaray join list of clubs interested in signing Liverpool outcast Mario Balotelli

Galatasaray have become the latest club to register an interest in signing Liverpool outcast Mario Balotelli. The controversial forward spent last season on loan at AC Milan, but he failed to earn himself a permanent deal back in his home country after only finding the three times. According to Sport Mediaset, Galatasaray are ready to stump up a bid for Balotelli's signature, while Lazio are also keeping an eye on his situation. Liverpool are desperate to get the £80,000-a-week striker off their wage bill this summer and are intent on sanctioning a deal as soon as possible.

Tottenham transfer news: Lilywhites preparing bid for £20 million-rated Italian playmaker Franco Vazquez

Tottenham are preparing a bid for Palermo playmaker Franco Vazquez. The Italy international shot to fame during the 2014/15 campaign after finishing the season with the most assists in Serie A. That form attracted interest from several clubs, but the 27-year-old stayed with Palermo after holding crisis talks with the club. However, according to Tuttosport, Tottenham are now ready to snap up Vazquez this summer.

Chelsea confident of beating Man United to Lukaku

Chelsea are confident of beating Manchester United to Romelu Lukaku. The Blues’ incoming new boss Antonio Conte wants the £65million-rated Everton striker to spearhead his revolution at Stamford Bridge. It would be an incredible about-turn for the Londoners, who sold Lukaku to the Toffees for £28m in July 2014 and would now have to pay more than double that figure to get him back. But they are prepared to fend off competition from the Old Trafford giants, who are interested even though it was their manager-elect Jose Mourinho who opted against keeping Lukaku when he was Chelsea boss. Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are among the other clubs monitoring developments and, unlike the Blues, can offer Champions League football next season. But Chelsea believe they can get it done, and re-signing a player they originally bought from Anderlecht in his homeland for £18m in 2011 would be a huge signal of intent for newcomer Conte.

23 athletes from London 2012 test positive after reanalysis of samples

Twenty-three athletes who competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games returned adverse analytical findings on doping tests after samples were reanalysed, the International Olympic Committee has announced.
The results, which were taken from 265 selected doping samples, cover five different sports and six different nationalities and were all based on intelligence-gathering that began in August 2015.

The IOC say the reanalysis programme is ongoing, with the possibility of more results in the weeks to come.
Last week the IOC announced that up to 31 athletes could be banned from competing at Rio 2016 after the reanalysis of 454 samples from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
In the meantime, one more sample from Beijing 2008 has shown abnormal parameters, which the IOC and the respective international federation will follow up.
"These reanalyses show, once again, our determination in the fight against doping," said IOC president Thomas Bach.
"We want to keep the d…

Fernando Torres describes all-Madrid Champions League final as biggest of career

Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres has insisted he is ready for the game of his life as the Rojiblancos prepare to face Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
The teams face off in in Milan on Saturday with Atletico gunning for revenge following their heartbreaking loss at the same stage of the competition two years ago.
They were beaten 4-1 in the 2014 final in Lisbon after Sergio Ramos equalised in the third minute of injury time before three extra-time goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo won the trophy for Real for a 10th time.

Torres has won all seven career finals he made the squad for, and scored Spain's only goal in the Euro 2008 final success against Germany and in the 4-0 Euro 2012 final win over Italy, plus Chelsea's 2013 Europa League victory over Benfica.
He also won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012, but said Saturday's clash at the San Siro eclipses everything.
The former Liverpool striker told a press confere…

Busquets signs new Barca deal

Sergio Busquets © Action ImagesSergio Busquets © Action Images Busquets signs new Barca deal 27 May 2016, 14:13
Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has renewed his commitment to the Catalan club by signing a new five-year contract, the club said on Friday. The defensive midfielder and Spain international made his Barcelona debut in 2008 under then-coach Pep Guardiola, a former teammate of his father Carles.
Busquets has won six La Liga titles, five King's Cups and three Champions Leagues in eight seasons with Barca, and has committed to stay at the club until 2021, with an option to extend his contract to 2013.
Barcelona also announced the new contract contains a buy-out clause of 200 million euros ($223 million).
Barca are expected to hand a new deal to Brazil international Neymar before the start of the new season.
The futures of midfielder Javier Mascherano and defender Dani Alves remain uncertain, however, with Spanish media reporting t…

Jose Mourinho: Man Utd confirm former Chelsea boss as new manager

Jose Mourinho has been officially confirmed as Manchester United manager and has signed a three-year contract. He replaces Dutchman Louis van Gaal, who was dismissed on Monday, two days after the club's FA Cup win. "Jose is quite simply the best manager in the game today," said United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Mourinho, 53, said: "To become Manchester United manager is a special honour in the game. It is a club known and admired throughout the world." He said he had always "felt an affinity with Old Trafford" and claimed he has "always enjoyed a rapport with the United fans". He added: "I'm looking forward to being their manager and enjoying their magnificent support in the coming years. "There is a mystique and a romance about it which no other club can match." Mourinho posted a photograph of the contract soon after his appointment was confirmed Mourinho has been out of work since being sacked as boss of Pr…