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  • ★⚽★ LATEST SOCcER NEWS ★⚽★

    Bolt could be ‘very good’ defender – Del Bosque

    Former Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has backed legendary Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt to become a “very good footballer” but has said he would be better suited to playing full-back.

    Bolt, 32, made his debut with Australian A-League club Central Coast Mariners on Aug. 31 playing as a winger. However, Del Bosque, who won two Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles as Real Madrid boss before leading Spain to victory at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, has said Bolt’s qualities are better suited as a full-back.

    “With space, he could be a very good footballer,” Del Bosque told the Olympic Channel. “For a team that counter-attacks hard and transitions quickly into open space, sure he could fit in. He could be a full-back that covers a lot of space, but it depends because it’s not just about covering 100, or 60 or 70 metres of the pitch.

    “It’s about doing that many times and that requires stamina which I do not know if he has although I’m sure he has prepared. Without a doubt as a full-back with his back towards the crowd and near the touchline, that is probably where he would be most useful.”

    Del Bosque has no doubt after watching videos of Bolt in action with the Central Coast Mariners that the eight-time Olympic gold medallist has the right attitude.

    “I see a very optimistic player,” the retired coach said. “Someone who is likeable, who is smiling all the time. It’s as though he was living a child’s dream.”

  • #2
    Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo relieved to score first goals since move

    Cristiano Ronaldo said he had been thinking quite a bit about scoring his first goal for Juventus and was glad to finally do so on Sunday in the victory against Sassuolo.

    Ronaldo, who joined Juve on a €100 million move from Real Madrid in July, had two goals in the 2-1 victory over Sassuolo at the Allianz Stadium, validating coach Massimiliano Allegri’s claim from a day earlier that the forward would finally score.

    He scored from a yard out in the 50th minute after Sassuolo’s Gianmarco Ferrari failed to clear from a header, then doubled the lead in the 65th with a low strike into the far corner from 12 yards before Sassuolo pulled one back through Khouma Babacar in added time.

    “I really wanted to score, so I’m really happy,” Ronaldo told reporters after the game. “I had a little anxiety [over the first goal], but this is football and the most important thing is winning.

    “Of course there was a lot of attention surrounding it, but that’s life. I’m happy. I’m working hard and my teammates are really helping me adapt to this league.”

    Allegri said he could see that Ronaldo was excited to finally get the first goal out of the way.

    “He came very close in his first three games,” Allegri said at a news conference. “I think he rushed a couple of chances today. It looked like he was absolutely desperate to score.

    “Football has a way of evening things out and that was the story of the first goal, with the ball bouncing off the post and sitting up for him. The second goal was brilliant. I’m happy for him.”


    • #3
      Messi makes 700th Barcelona appearance

      The Argentine superstar becomes just the third player to reach the milestone after Xavi and Iniesta Lionel Messi reached a landmark 700 appearances for Barcelona against Leganes, becoming just the third player to do in the club’s history.

      Having just broken the La Liga appearance record for a non-Spanish player against Girona – surpassing his old team-mate Dani Alves – Messi now joins Barca’s prestigious 700-club alongside Xavi and Iniesta. Messi has accrued a considerable amount of silverware in Catalonia and is the most decorated Barcelona player of all-time, picking up 33 trophies, including nine La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, and six Copas del Rey.

      On an individual level, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is also the club’s all-time leading goalscorer and is the only Barcelona player to finish as the league’s top scorer in three separate seasons, amongst a great many other personal accolades.

      However, one record the Argentine still has yet to break is Xavi’s appearance record. Messi still has plenty of work left to do on that front, as the midfield maestro made a whopping 869 appearances in his 17-year spell with his boyhood club. At 31, the forward is showing no signs of slowing down and is already joint-top scorer of the fledgling LaLiga campaign and the top scorer in the Champions League.


      • #4
        Liverpool’s Keita in hospital after injuring back

        Naby Keita was taken to hospital as a precaution after injuring his back during Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at Napoli on Wednesday, according to the club. Keita was carried off on a cart inside 19 minutes of play at the Studio San Paolo, having injured himself in a duel with match-winner Lorenzo Insigne. The midfielder was complaining of severe back pain when being attended to by Liverpool’s medical staff. Liverpool's medical staff tend to Naby Keita after he sustained an injury against Napoli. Getty Images
        Liverpool is staying in Italy on Wednesday night and hopes Keita will fly back to Merseyside with the rest of the squad on Thursday. But the source said that it is currently too early to determine whether the midfielder is a doubt for Sunday’s match with Manchester City at Anfield.

        “Keita was transferred to a local hospital with the club doctor, where — with the midfielder’s agreement — he underwent a number of precautionary health checks to assess his condition,” a statement on Liverpool’s website said.

        “No decision has yet been taken on when the 23-year-old will be discharged.”

        Keita was replaced by Jordan Henderson as Liverpool went on to lose 1-0 to the Serie A side.


        • #5
          Liverpool-City to air in 1bn homes, 179 countries

          Liverpool’s highly anticipated match with Manchester City on Sunday will be available to view in one billion homes around the world, according to the Premier League.

          The game is the biggest Premier League fixture of the season so far, with reigning champions City top of the table, but only ahead of Liverpool on goal difference. Both clubs have a global reach and sources have said the game is scheduled to be broadcast in 179 of the 193 countries that are members of the United Nations.

          “I said it a few times and I can say it again, I really think the most important thing for football — the most important job of football — is entertaining the people,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said on Friday. “Because it’s only football, it’s nothing else.

          “We don’t save lives, we don’t create anything, we are not good in surgeries, we are only good in football. If we would not entertain the people, why would we play it then? It’s not always possible unfortunately and it’s always hard work, even if we’re entertaining people, it’s especially hard work. But that’s really an important thing and that’s why we have to try to create constantly or as often as possible.”

          Tickets for the match are sold out, with some being sold on the secondary market starting from £300 — over five times face value.

          “Liverpool is one of the two greatest teams in England and that’s why we tried to be close with them in terms of many, many things and we are closer,” City boss Pep Guardiola said.

          “When you have a vision about the history of the Premier League and you start to compare it with them, to be closer with them, we should be so proud and we are. Here it was always [Manchester] United and Liverpool and after Arsenal involved and Chelsea and now we are there.”

          City last visited Anfield in April for the first leg of a Champions League quarterfinal and that game was somewhat overshadowed by events prior to kick-off. The visitors’ bus was pelted with objects en route to the stadium and left unusable for the return journey back to Manchester. City and Merseyside Police are taking measures this time around to ensure the focus remains on events on the pitch.


          • #6
            Terry announces retirement

            The ex-England and Chelsea skipper looks “forward to the next chapter” after a 23-year playing career. Former England and Chelsea captain John Terry has announced his retirement from football amid speculation he will join Thierry Henry’s backroom team at Aston Villa.

            Following a senior career spanning 23 years and including over 800 career appearances, the 37-year-old has opted to call time on his illustrious career. Best remembered for spending 19 years as a professional with Chelsea, he scooped 17 major honours at Stamford Bridge including five Premier League titles.

            Terry won 78 caps for England and played at four major tournaments for his country, however his stripping of the armband in 2012 represented the nadir of his career. After leaving Chelsea, he spent a single season as skipper at Aston Villa during the 2017-18 campaign, guiding the club to the brink of promotion before defeat to Fulham in the Championship play-off final.

            A move to Spartak Moscow appeared to be on the cards last month before Terry turned down an offer from the Russian giants and he now looks set for a move into coaching. Former France and Arsenal striker Henry is set to installed as the replacement for Steve Bruce, with Terry in line to be his assistant at Villa Park.

            He wrote on Instagram: “After 23 incredible years as a footballer, I have decided now is the right time to retire from playing.

            “I have many people to thank. My wife Toni and my two children, Georgie and Summer, for being my rocks throughout my career – I couldn’t have done it without you, I love you with all my heart.


            • #7
              Hazard: Real Madrid move remains my dream

              Chelsea’s Eden Hazard said it is still his “dream” to play for Real Madrid and he wants to “make it happen” but is determined not to leave under a cloud if he moves to Spain.

              Chelsea are desperate to keep Hazard, who scored his seventh goal in eight Premier League appearances in Sunday’s 3-0 win at Southampton but is into the final year of his contract next summer. Hazard, linked with a move to the Bernabeu in the summer, said he would be happy if he chose to stay at Chelsea but had a lifelong ambition to play for Madrid.

              “Real Madrid is the best club in the world,” the Belgium international said after the Southampton game. “I don’t want to lie, it is my dream since I was a kid.

              “We will see. I don’t want to talk about this every day. I don’t have time, but we will talk about my future soon.

              “In my head, sometimes I wake up in the morning and think I want to go. Sometimes I think I want to stay. It is a hard decision. It is my future. I am 27 and I will turn 28 in January. It is also when you have a dream and you want to make it happen. It is like I have said a lot of times: if I leave I will be happy, I know if I stay I will be happy.”

              Hazard said after the World Cup that “it might be time to discover something different” after six years at Chelsea, with Madrid his “preferred destination,” but the Blues said he was not for sale and no formal offer was made. Compatriot Thibaut Courtois pushed through a move to Madrid by refusing to report for training after suggesting he would sign a new contract, but Hazard said that, if he left, he was determined to do so on good terms.

              “I don’t want that [drama],” he added. “I want what’s good for me, but I want what’s good for the club because the club has given me everything. I don’t want to say: ‘Yes, I am signing a new contract,’ and then I don’t end up signing.

              “I could talk now [about a new contract]. If they come to me, then I will talk. I don’t want to say that I am not talking with the club or the owner. I am talking a lot with them. I am happy and I don’t need anything. It is not trophies. Of course, when you play, you want to win but I just want to enjoy things on the pitch, like I am at the moment.

              “I think that this is the best. We had some great results in the past so I can’t say that the managers before weren’t good, but I think in terms of football and the way we are playing, yes, this is the best. It is similar to how we played in France with Lille — a lot of pass and move, movement from the team. Then we also have good players in our team, so that’s why we are playing this great football.”


              • #8
                Vidal to pay €800,000 after a nightclub dispute

                Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal has been given an €800,000 penalty order by a Munich court after being charged with aggravated battery following a dispute at a disco last year.

                Last year, former Bayern Munich player Vidal was part of a group that allegedly attacked another guest with a bottle of vodka at Crown’s Club in September. Vidal and his half-brother Sandrino, who was also part of the group, did not appear before the district court on Wednesday, with Vidal playing in Chile’s friendly against Mexico.

                At the court on Wednesday, Vidal’s lawyer said he could not appear before the court “for job-related reasons.” Both were given penalty orders but will be able to appeal within the next two weeks. If they choose not to appeal the penalty orders will be final, but if they do so the trial will continue. The 31-year-old was hit with 80 daily rates of income, which the court set at €10,000 after deducting alimony for his family. The court refrained from issuing an arrest warrant, calling that “out of proportion.”


                • #9
                  Real Madrid set to sack Lopetegue

                  Real Madrid are set to sack head coach Julen Lopetegui after a third straight defeat, according to Sky sources. The Spaniard took over from Zinedine Zidane in June and has won just five of his 12 games in charge.

                  Lopetegui was sacked as manager of Spain two days before the start of the World Cup when news broke of his appointment at the Bernabeu, with former player Fernando Hierro parachuted in for the national side. Lopetegui’s tenure at Real Madrid began with a 4-2 defeat in the Spanish Super Cup to city rivals Atletico Madrid and the European champions are fifth in the La Liga table, four points behind leaders Barcelona.

                  They suffered a 1-0 Champions League defeat away to CSKA Moscow before the international break and returned to action with a 2-1 home defeat to Levante on Saturday, setting a new club record goalscoring drought of 481 minutes in the process.

                  Real Madrid are currently on a five-game winless run in all competitions. A Champions League visit of Viktoria Plzen is up next for the club before they head to Barcelona next Sunday for the first El Clasico of the season.


                  • #10
                    Ronaldo: Always ‘special’ to return to Utd

                    After serving a ban following his red card against Valencia, the star attacker hopes to help Juventus prevail in familiar surroundings.

                    Cristiano Ronaldo admits it is always “special” to return to Manchester United but has no plans to do his old club any favours on Tuesday, as Juventus aim to maintain their 100 per cent record in this season’s Champions League. The two heavyweights in Group H do battle at Old Trafford with the visitors boasting two wins from two so far in the competition.

                    Ronaldo was sent off in a 2-0 triumph at Valencia in the opening round of fixtures, meaning he missed the 3-0 victory at home to Young Boys while serving a one-match ban. However, the forward is available again to face his former employers and, despite their indifferent form so far this term, is not underestimating Jose Mourinho’s side.

                    Speaking to the media, he also issued a heartfelt message to his former United boss Alex Ferguson, who attended the Premier League fixture against Wolves last month after suffering a brain haemorrhage in May that required emergency surgery.

                    “It is special for me to return to Manchester,” the Portugal international said at a pre-match press conference. Here I have many memories of victories and affection and in particular with Alex Ferguson, to whom I send a big hug. He is a person who helped me so much.”


                    • #11
                      No captaincy or No 10 shirt for Rooney

                      Wayne Rooney will not captain England nor wear the No 10 shirt when he plays against the United States in his one-off farewell cap next week.

                      The former Everton and Manchester United forward will come out of international retirement for the friendly on November 15, with the match to be called The Wayne Rooney Foundation International in support of his charitable interests. Rooney is expected to win his 120th cap at Wembley but will not wear his old No 10 shirt nor start the match.

                      Instead, the 33-year-old, who helped lead DC United to the play-offs after joining the Major League Soccer side in the summer, is just expected to make a brief cameo as a substitute. Rooney’s last appearance for his country came in a 3-0 win against Scotland in November 2016 and he is England’s record goalscorer with 53 international goals.


                      • #12
                        Maradona: Messi will be back

                        The La Albiceleste legend believes the Barcelona superstar will eventually make an international return. Lionel Messi will return to the Argentina fold at some stage, according to Diego Maradona.

                        Messi, 31, last played for his nation at the World Cup in Russia and will miss their upcoming friendlies against Mexico. La Albiceleste fared poorly at the showpiece event, losing 3-0 to Croatia and drawing with Iceland in the group stages, before being knocked out by eventual winners France in the round of 16.

                        Messi missed a penalty in the draw against Iceland but scored in his country’s only win of the tournament against Nigeria. And Maradona, who led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, believes the Barcelona superstar will return to the international scene. Asked by Marca if Messi will feature in the future for Argentina, Maradona said: “I think so. We will see, because if not then we are in trouble.”

                        Maradona also denied he had criticised Messi earlier this year when it was said that he questioned the attacker’s leadership. The 58-year-old insisted he would never chastise his compatriot in such a way publicly.


                        • #13
                          Neymar joining Madrid wouldn’t upset Iniesta

                          Andres Iniesta has said it would not upset him to see his former Barcelona teammate Neymar play for Real Madrid one day. Neymar, who joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 a world-record €222 million transfer after four successful seasons alongside Iniesta at Barca, has been repeatedly linked with Real Madrid.

                          When Iniesta was asked about that possibility, he told Cadena Ser: “It wouldn’t hurt me because they are decisions that if they happen, happen. Madrid would reinforce themselves with a unique player.”

                          Iniesta, who left Barca for Japanese club Vissel Kobe after last season, doesn’t think such a move would hurt Barca.

                          “Barcelona have unique players and I see them candidates to win all the titles,” he said. “Barca have reinforced themselves well this year. There are people like [Philippe] Coutinho, who has adapted well. I see a powerful team.”

                          Despite reports of a return, Iniesta does not envision Neymar ever wearing the Barca colours again. El Mundo Deportivo reported before the start of the season that Neymar wants to return to the Camp Nou.

                          “I think it’s difficult,” Iniesta said. “Obviously Neymar continues to be one of the best and in any team he would make a difference. But it’s not easy to return.”


                          • #14
                            Neymar laughed off Cavani clash – Mbappe

                            France’s Kylian Mbappe has revealed that Neymar laughed off his recent run-in with Paris Saint-Germain teammate Edinson Cavani after the pair clashed during Friday’s friendly match between Brazil and Uruguay. Cavani was booked for fouling Neymar during Brazil’s 1-0 win at London’s Emirates stadium, the Brazilian then largely rejected the Uruguayan’s attempt to help him back to his feet and Cavani tossed him the ball.

                            Cavani played down the clash after the game by saying that “things happen on the pitch that raise the temperature, but we reflect after the match and things go back to normal,” while Neymar asked: “What did [Cavani] say? He said nothing. Either that, or I did not hear what he said.”

                            Mbappe also said there was no enmity between his two main strike partners at club level after he got in contact with Neymar.


                            • #15
                              Wenger’s Real Madrid talks revealed

                              Charles Villeneuve claims the Frenchman met with the Blancos while still in charge at the Gunners and believes he still has plenty to offer.

                              Arsene Wenger held talks with Real Madrid while still in charge of Arsenal, claims former Paris Saint-Germain president Charles Villeneuve, with the Frenchman now being tipped for a role in his homeland. A man who spent 22 years in charge of the Gunners has never made any secret of the fact that he was targeted by La Liga giants during his reign in north London .

                              It has now been revealed that he went as far as holding discussions with Madrid as they endeavoured to lure him away from the Premier League. No deal was done, though, and Wenger only severed ties with Arsenal over the summer as those in north London sought to welcome in a new era after more than two decades of stability in the dugout.

                              Villeneuve told Paris United of previous exit meetings: “Two clubs always wanted him as a coach. One was Bayern Munich, because he speaks four different languages. I also went to a gymnasium in Italy to attend negotiations with Real Madrid, but he stayed at Arsenal.”

                              Villeneuve was a journalist prior to filling a presidential role at PSG between May 2008 and January 2009. He has always been a fan of Wenger and believes he would be a shrewd appointment for those at Parc des Princes.