Tyson Fury vowed Monday to chase a knockout in next month’s eagerly-anticipated rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, insisting he believes he has no chance of earning a victory on points in Las Vegas. The charismatic undefeated British fighter faces the unbeaten Wilder at the MGM Grand on February 22, after the two men…
Quique SetienBarcelona have replaced their coach Ernesto Valverde with Quique Setien according to a club statement. The decision to remove Valverde was taken during a board meeting that lasted more than four hours at Camp Nou on Monday afternoon. An official statement was issued on Monday night, with a press conference to follow on Tuesday.…
Sadio Mane has arrived back at Liverpool early after missing his own party in Senegal to celebrate winning the African Player of the Year award due to travel disruption.
Mane beat Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez to the award at a ceremony in Egypt on Tuesday and had hoped to fly directly to Senegal for a celebration.
But the festivities were called off on Wednesday after the plane Mane was due to travel on did not get the necessary permission to fly over Tunisia.
“It was my plan to first fly to Senegal to thank the people of my country and recognise them for everything they have given me on my journey, but unfortunately we were unable to make the visit,” said Mane, the first player to win the award from his country since El Hadji Diouf in 2002.
“Now we have a big match against Tottenham this weekend which I must focus on and be ready for, but it is true I am disappointed I was unable to return home to say thank you because of some problems beyond our control.
“So, I will return to Senegal as soon as possible because it is something very important to me – I will never forget what everybody did for me, everybody who believed in me and everybody who gave me the chance to play football.”
Praise for Mane flooded in across Senegal on Tuesday, while images of celebrations in his native village of Bambali, in the south of the country, circulated on social media.
Senegalese president Macky Sall tweeted Mane’s win was a “marvellous feat” that deserved being heralded as an example for young people.
Mane’s successful year has seen him win the Champions League and the Club World Cup with Liverpool, while Senegal finished runners-up to Algeria in the Africa Cup of Nations final.
The 27-year-old also finished the 2018-19 Premier League season as joint top scorer with 22 goals.
He came in fourth place in the Ballon d’Or last year, an award won for a record sixth time by Lionel Messi.
From Discover on Google https://guardian.ng/news/kanu-nwankwo-loses-daughter/
Floyd Mayweather has again put up a massive show of opulence after gifting his daughter Iyanna a new Mercedes-AMG G63 2019 model which reportedly cost a whopping £150,000 as Christmas gift.
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The son of former Chelsea star and Cote D’Ivoire Didier Drogba has started to follow the footsteps of his father with impressive statistics in football. Didier’s son named Isaac Drogba was born in France on December 15, 2000
Everything you need to know about this weekend’s Premier League action, all in one place. Jump to: Can Chelsea halt slide vs. Mourinho? | Will Man United show up against Watford? | Man to watch | Game not to miss | Stats of the weekend | Team that needs a bit of luck | One thing that will definitely…
Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg football match between FC Porto and Liverpool at the Dragao Stadium in Porto on April 17, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFPLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is hopeful Virgil van Dijk will be fit to…
Victor Osimhen rushed to the hospital during Lille’s 3-0 win over Monaco in French Cup competition
– The Nigerian star was rushed to the hospital few minutes after scoring earlier in the game
– Osimhen’s manager confirmed the news but insisted the striker is now fine and everything back to normal
Nigeria international Victor Osimhen scored the 12th goal of his debut season for Lille in their 3-0 victory over Monaco in their French Cup game round of 16 encounter.
The 20-year-old put the Great Danes in front just 19 minutes into the game with a cool finish from close range as the hosts’ goalkeeper Danijel Subasic was left with no option of saving the ball.
He was however taken off the pitch in the 23rd minute after complaining of chest pain with former Chelsea forward Loic Remy taking his place.
According to reports from the club’s website, the Super Eagles attacker was rushed to the hospital for diagnosis.
Meanwhile, Remy went ahead to score twice (45th and 86th minutes) to ensure his side cruise to convincing victory as they march to the next round of the competition.
At the end of the game, Lille manager Christophe Galtier confirmed that the Nigerian forward was taken to the hospital.
He added that Osimhen felt a bit uncomfortable but with adequate medical attention, the forward is back to full fitness.
“We just talked to him, he’s fine. Everything is back to normal. He experienced dizziness and pain,” Galtier told Canal +.
The Nigerian forward has been heavily linked with a move to join Tottenham Hotspur after Jose Mourinho was said to be showing interest in the forward.
Osimhen is also in contention for the French league golden boot award having accounted for nine goals after 18 games this campaign.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Victor Osimhen continues his remarkable goalscoring form as he got the only goal in Lille’s 1-0 home win over Dijon.
The Super Eagles striker who was taken off due to a slight injury got back into the match as his side was awarded a penalty right on the stroke of half time.
And the Nigerian international stepped up to convert the resulting spot-kick as Lille went 1-0 up before the break.
Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann claimed his first El Clasico will hold few surprises because the former Atletico Madrid star plans to draw on past derby experiences.
LaLiga leaders Barca have the chance to open up a three-point advantage when second-placed Real Madrid arrive at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Ernesto Valverde will hope Griezmann continues his good scoring form and the France international, a veteran of multiple Madrid derbies, appeared relaxed ahead of his first taste of Spanish football’s showpiece fixture.
“It’s nothing out of the ordinary. At the end, they’re an opponent we’re fighting for top spot with,” Griezmann said, courtesy of LaLiga.
“At Atletico it was already very important for the fans, it was a derby and now it’s El Clasico.
“Both here and at Atleti we want to beat Real Madrid, obviously, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to win the game.”
However, Griezmann acknowledged that it will be a high-profile occasion.
“It’s the most important game of the year,” he said.
“It’s a great show, the previous days are intense on the TV – because I always used to watch it on TV – and we will do everything we can do to try and be at our 100 per cent and win the game.
“I imagine there will be a great atmosphere, with great tension and great excitement from the fans and from ourselves.
“It’s a game you want to be a part of, no matter how.”
Barca drew 2-2 at Real Sociedad on Saturday and Griezmann, on the scoresheet at Anoeta, insisted the Catalans must put Madrid out of their thinking in pre-match planning.
Blaugrana boss Valverde would still be wise to formulate a strategy for dealing with Karim Benzema, who netted a late equaliser for Los Blancos at Valencia and has 12 goals in 15 league games this term.
“Yes, yes, he is like that every year,” Griezmann said. “For some reason people always doubt him but he’s always racking up 15-20 goals per season in LaLiga. He’s a great striker.
“He’s spent I don’t know how many years at Real Madrid and I reckon he is one of the best number nines out there.”
PARIS (Reuters) – Lionel Messi claimed a record sixth Ballon d’Or award on Monday, beating Liverpool’s leading nominees and Cristiano Ronaldo to lift soccer’s most prestigious individual trophy.
The Argentine, who won the Liga title with Barcelona but only managed third place in the Copa America with his country, added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 trophies.
He finished above Dutchman Virgil van Dijk and Portugal’s third-placed Ronaldo, who has won the award five times.
“I am very lucky, I am blessed. I hope I will continue for a long time,” Messi told reporters. “I realize that I’m lucky even if one day it will be time to retire,” added the 32-year-old.
“It will be tough but I still have some years ahead of me. Time flies so I will enjoy football and my family.”
Senegal’s Sadio Mane, who along with runner-up Van Dijk and fellow Liverpool nominees Alisson Becker of Brazil and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, helped the Merseyside club win the Champions League, came fourth in the poll of international journalists.
“It was amazing,” said Van Dijk. “There are a couple of players like him (Messi) who are fantastic. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with Liverpool and Holland. It’s going to be tough (to win the award) when these guys are around.”
Messi, whose stellar career was rewarded with another trophy, and Ronaldo, had between them won 10 consecutive Ballon d’Or awards until Croatia’s Luka Modric prevailed in 2018.
Megan Rapinoe earlier won the women’s Ballon d’Or after leading the United States to a record-extending fourth World Cup title in France this year as they retained the trophy.
The 34-year-old midfielder, the standout player at the June-July tournament, succeeded Norway’s Ada Hegerberg who did not take part in the World Cup.
Rapinoe was not present at the ceremony in the Theatre du Chatelet, where the show ‘An American In Paris’ is on.
“I’m so sad I can’t make it tonight. It’s absolutely incredible congrats to the other nominees. I can’t believe I’m the one winning in this field, it’s been an incredible year,” Rapinoe said in a recorded message.
“I want to thank my team mates and the U.S. federation.”
Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt, a key player in Ajax Amsterdam’s thrilling run to the Champions League semi-finals and now at Juventus, won the Kopa trophy for the best Under-21 male player.
Alisson, one of the four Liverpool players in the top seven for the men’s Ballon d’Or, was awarded the new Yashin trophy for the best male goalkeeper of the year.
There was, however, no trophy for the best female Under-21 player or keeper.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has questioned Gernot Rohr for his anti-contract activities.
Coach Rohr recently revealed to some sections of the media about the lack of commitment on the part of Amaju Pinnick’s board.
According to the German, he is being owed over $100,000 while calling for respect in that regard.
However, that has not gone well with the country’s football ruling body and they are demanding for answers from Rohr for exposing to the public some aspects of his agreement.
In his reaction to this development, NFF’s technical director Bitrus Bewerang has described it as “highly unprofessional”.
“In as much as we appreciate the work that Mr. Rohr has been doing with the Super Eagles in the past 40 months, his recent penchant for breaching provisions of the contract he signed with the NFF and the Code of Conduct for coaches is not good for the relationship,” said Bewerang as reported by NFF’s statement.
“The NFF wishes that Mr. Rohr continues in the job because of the team he is building for Nigeria which looks promising and has earned some good results since he took charge, but he cannot continue to nonchalantly cause the NFF as a body and Nigeria as a nation, reputational damage through his utterances and actions.
“As at today, the only money that the NFF is owing Mr. Rohr is the differential in his new contract (about $30,000) which our financial advisors have to align and interface with AITEO before payment (as the improved contract came into effect in the last half of the year), and which process was concluded on Friday last week.
“He will soon be paid. Mr. Rohr has talked about the bonus from the 2019 Afcon, which is not contractual but discretionary on the part of the Federation. The present NFF started the policy of paying players a percentage of tournament bonus during the 2018 Fifa World Cup just to motivate them, outside their bonuses and allowances.”
“We did not pay any bonus for the 2021 Afcon qualifying matches against Benin Republic and Lesotho because we are in the process of negotiating with the players on a new template of bonus payments based on performance after qualification for championships. This is still being discussed.
“The NFF is very much alive to its responsibilities but will not tolerate disrespect for the body and the country Nigeria by anyone.
“NFF can never be happy owing coaches in its employ which is the reason why the present administration took the unprecedented step of putting in place a sponsor specifically to pay coaches’ salaries.
“Last week, we paid all the national team coaches and we are putting in place a mechanism to ensure we don’t owe them going forward. We commend Aiteo for its belief in the NFF and for always making funds available to pay the coaches.”
Nigeria finished third in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations staged in Egypt and currently lead Group L of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification with six points from two games.
Nigeria have moved to 31st position in the latest Fifa World Rankings for November.
The Super Eagles, who dropped a place in October, recovered from the slip after they started their qualifying campaign for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with victories against Benin and Lesotho, on November 13 and 17 respectively.
Gernot Rohr’s side rallied from a goal deficit to defeat their West African neighbours 2-1 in Uyo then they travelled to Maseru to beat the Crocodiles 4-2 in their second Group L game.
Nigeria gathered 1493 points this month and they are ranked as the third-best footballing nation in Africa behind Senegal and Tunisia who occupy first and second place respectively.
2019 Afcon champions Algeria are fourth while Morocco, Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, Mali and DR Congo complete the top 10 teams on the continent.
The next Fifa rankings will be released on December 19.
Lionel Messi proves he is the best player in the world day after day at Barcelona and “everyone knows” it to be true, says Luis Suarez.
Uruguayan striker Suarez last month celebrated the fifth anniversary of his debut for the Camp Nou giants, and since his switch from Liverpool to La Liga he has forged a devastating partnership with Messi.
This season is proving no different, with the duo contributing 14 La Liga goals between them despite Messi having missed early games of the season with injury.
The debate as to who is the greatest player in the world between Messi and former Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo, now at Juventus, has rumbled on for over a decade.
But for Suarez, there is simply nobody better than Argentinian Messi.
“Messi has helped me a lot in my personal growth,” he said. “We had an affinity from the beginning. From coexistence came friendship, and the moments I spent with him also helped on the pitch,” Suarez told Barcelona’s official website.
“Everyone knows that he is the best in the world. He has proven it and continues to prove it day after day.
“He has shown me his companionship a thousand times. He helped me when I was fighting for the Golden Boot. The other day, at Eibar, he gave me a goal.”
Despite heading into the international break at the top of La Liga, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde has found himself under pressure having seen his side drop 11 points from 12 matches this term.
Barca have a tricky period over the coming month, with Champions League fixtures against Borussia Dortmund and Inter, a trip to Atletico Madrid and the rescheduled Clasico with Madrid on December 18.
Suarez, though, is relishing what is to come.
“A very nice month is ahead. We like those, both as footballers and also people. There will be a Clasico too.
“You have to be mentally and physically prepared. Maybe we won’t win every game or have it easy, but we hope to do our best with the support of the fans.
“We have not had a simple league start. We gave away points that in other years we hadn’t lost, but we know that other teams are also competing well.”
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been appointed as FIFA’s new chief of global football development, the world governing body announced on Wednesday.
The 70-year-old, who left the Gunners after 22 years in charge in the summer of 2018, will be chiefly responsible for “overseeing and driving the growth and development of the sport for both men and women around the world”.
FIFA said Wenger will also be the “leading authority on technical matters”.
Wenger, who had been linked with a return to coaching at Bayern Munich, is relishing the opportunity ahead.
“I very much look forward to taking on this extremely important challenge, not only because I have always been interested in analysing football from a broader perspective but also because FIFA’s mission as world football’s governing body is truly global,” the Frenchman said in a statement.
“I believe that the new FIFA we have seen emerging in recent years has the sport itself at the very heart of its objectives and is determined to develop the game in its many different components.
“I know I can contribute to this objective and will put all my energy into this.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino welcomed Wenger’s appointment.
“Arsene Wenger’s profound knowledge and passion for the different aspects of our game sets him apart as one of the most respected personalities in football.
“I am delighted to welcome him to the team. Since I arrived at FIFA, we have placed football at the centre of our mission, striving to learn from those who know the sport inside out: Arsene is someone who, with his strategic vision, competence and hard work, has dedicated his life to football.
“His arrival is just another example of how we keep strengthening our purpose to bring FIFA back to football and football back to FIFA.”
FIFA revealed Wenger’s role would see him become a member of the football and technical advisory panels involved in the regular reviews by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which sets out potential changes to the laws of the game.
Wenger will also take on chairmanship of the governing body’s Technical Study Group, which has conducted the technical analysis of FIFA tournaments since 1966.
The French coach has been linked with several jobs since leaving Arsenal but said he had turned down offers to work in England because of his long association with the Gunners, where he won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.
It is not clear whether Wenger’s role within FIFA would prevent him from taking up another managerial role.
Speaking at a recent event in London, where he was named a Nordoff Robbins ‘Legend of Football’, Wenger said: “They (FIFA) look for people who have big experience and knowledge of the game who have learned a lot.
“I just want to share what I’ve learned and give it back to the game in a different way.
“I’m not sure that I would stop coaching as well, because the devil is still in there. But I have to see, do I like it, and can I be efficient?”
– Nigeria vs Benin’s 2021 AFCON qualifying match ended 2-1 in favor of the Super Eagles
– Gernot Rohr’s men came back from a goal down to beat the Squirrels in Uyo
– Stephane Sessegnon scored for Benin, while Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu netted for Nigeria.
Super Eagles of Nigeria who are three-time African champions on Wednesday, November 13, came back from a goal down to beat visiting Benin Republic 2-1 in 2021 AFCON qualifiers.
The Squirrels came to Uyo with big determination of beating Super Eagles of Nigeria having lost their last five encounters against Gernot Rohr’s men.
Benin Republic started the match impressively with nice attacking football, and it took them only five minutes to score their goal at the Godswill Akpabio stadium.
Stephane Sessegnon scored the goal for Benin Republic as he benefited from a sloppy defending from Super Eagles allowing him to beat helpless Daniel Akpeyi.
Nigeria labored to restore parity after conceding in front of their fans, and they had to wait till the 45th minute before equalizing through Victor Osimhen who netted a penalty after Ola Aina was brought down.
Samuel Chukwueze also had a chance to increase the scoreline for Nigeria before the half time break, but he was denied by Benin goalkeeper.
The visitors came out with another pattern in the second half looking for another goal, but Ekong and Jamilu Collins were impressive for the Super Eagles at the defense.
Samuel Kalu scored the winning goal for Nigeria in the 62nd minute as Nigeria recorded maximum three points against Benin Republic.
Earlier, Legit.ng had reported how Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr explained three rationales that could make him quit his current position when his contract with Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) expires in 2020.
Rohr who has been Super Eagles manager since 2016 is reported to be puzzled with the ways he has been treated by the NFF.
Former Nigeria international Vincent Enyeama has confirmed plans to retire from football at the end of the 2019-20 season.
Although he is yet to find a new club since he left Lille in August 2018, the former Super Eagles captain who retired from international football in October 2015, is hopeful of playing again when the winter transfer market opens in January.
Since he kicked off his professional career at Ibom Stars in 1999, Enyeama enjoyed tremendous success on the international scene and at the club level with Nigeria clubs Enyimba and Heartland, Isreali Premier League sides Bnei Yehuda and Hapoel Tel Aviv and in the French Ligue 1 with Lille.
Aside from his laudable role in Nigeria’s triumph at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, the shot-stopper was named the Caf Champions League Player of the Year twice (2003 and 2004), the Footballer of the Year in Isreal in 2009 and he was also honoured as the best African player in the Ligue 1 in 2014.
“If I find a good project or a good team that wants to give me the opportunity, why not? I still want to play, I still love the sport but then, at a point, you need to know when to say stop,” Enyeama told Get French Football News.
“For now, that point has not arrived for me so I will find something. This is the last year of my professional career. Yes, by June that will be it. I’m waiting for the January window to come now.”
The 37-year-old had a brief training with Dijon during the summer and he has stated why he did not seal a deal with the Stade Gaston Gerard outfit.
“I think it was misinformation from their end and a mistake reporting it as a trial because I was not there for a trial,” he revealed.
“They told me Vincent come let’s see you play, let’s assess your fitness level because they have not seen me play for a while.
“I told them they know my qualities already so why the trial, they said they just want to see if the surgery I had will let me play well again.
“I was there and everything went well and for some reasons the deal did not happen, I did not know why and they did not tell me.
“It is probably the details were not clear enough and they wanted a goalkeeper that will start on the bench, a second choice.”
Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said he has ‘run out of words’ to describe Lionel Messi after the captain inspired a 5-1 rout of Real Valladolid.
Messi produced a masterclass with a brace and two assists as defending champions Barca moved top of the La Liga table on Tuesday.
Barca captain Messi set up Arturo Vidal with an exquisite pass before scoring a stunning free-kick – the 50th of his career for club and Argentina – prior to half-time at Camp Nou.
Messi netted his second of the match after the interval and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner teed up team-mate Luis Suarez as Barca climbed above Granada and Atletico Madrid atop the summit.
“What else can be said about him? I’ve run out of words,” Valverde told reporters. “We always know that he will appear, whatever the match.
“His talent isn’t comparable to anything; the reality is that every time he touches the ball, something special happens. I just don’t know what to say.”
“He is getting closer to his best form [after injury], when Leo gets it something bad will happen to the rival.
“He has that talent that nobody has, he escapes anyone and it is not only that he can make an individual play but he does things that nobody sees.
“It happens to me sometimes, he does things that are not seen even from the crowd, every day is better.”
Although Clement Lenglet’s second-minute opener was fortuitously cancelled out by Valladolid’s Kiko Olivas 13 minutes later, Messi was able to inspire Barca against the visitors.
Barca are two points clear of Granada and Atletico Madrid – the latter of whom have played an extra match due to the postponement of El Clasico last weekend – after 10 games.
“We value very much what we do,” Valverde added. “We have in memory what we have done but we want to look forward and win this league.
“It is not easy to take the games forward, Valladolid tied against Atletico and Real Madrid and it is not easy to beat them.”
The Catalans‘ next match comes in the league at Levante on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola knew Barcelona “would win everything” after seeing Lionel Messi play for the first time.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner developed into a superstar forward during Guardiola’s four years in charge at Camp Nou after being crafted into a false-nine.
In an interview with Catalunya Radio, Guardiola explained how Messi made an instant impression by scoring freely during a pre-season tour of Scotland.
“I had already been told by someone from the squad that there was a very good player in the squad,” he said. “They told me that he was very young but scored many goals and he was very good.
“I did not know him and one day I saw him and his father at a Nike store. I saw him, he looked small and shy and I thought: ‘Is this one as good as they say?’
“We started pre-season in Scotland, we won 6-1, 5-0 and he would score three goals a game for you. I thought that, with him, we would win everything.”
Barcelona won 14 trophies with Guardiola as coach, including three LaLiga titles and two Champions League crowns.
The Catalan coach left Camp Nou in 2012 and took over at Bayern Munich the following year.
Opening up on his special bond with the players he managed at Barcelona, Guardiola said: “I enjoyed the process of building the team; seeing that the changes we made worked and everything was flowing; how they were brought together, the chemistry, the respect.
“They were a group of friends who went out to dinner often; a group that knew how to move forward in moments of difficulty.
“All this was very good, but the importance of leading such a big club as Barca means that you do not have much time to enjoy it.
“The relationship that we have with those who formed part of that group is insurmountable. There are no championships or world titles that can compensate.
“We gave each other a lot. But there is a moment, due to the natural process of time, that things end.”
Lionel Messi bent in a trademark breathtaking free kick in the first half of Barcelona’s La Liga game with Real Valladolid and set a personal milestone in the process.
Messi has now scored 50 goals direct from free kicks in his career.
The Argentina international’s strike was the Blaugrana’s third goal of the first half, following strikes by Clement Lenglet and Arturo Vidal.
Kiko Olivas had pulled Valladolid level after Lenglet’s opener, before Messi took over.
He provided a magical assist for Chile international Vidal’s second goal before putting the ball in the top right-hand corner of the goal from 30 yards.
He went on to score another, from open play, in the second half before another assist, this time to Luis Suarez, saw Barca get five.
The 32-year-old’s goals were his 100th and 101st for head coach Ernesto Valverde.
Messi’s now has four goals in his last three games, after an injury-hit start to the season saw him miss four of Barcelona’s first six matches.
The limited availability of their talisman saw Valverde’s men get off to a rocky start, worryingly losing twice in their opening five fixtures.
The win over Valladolid sees them leapfrog one of the teams they lost to, surprise package Granada, and ascend to the top of the Primera Division table.
A total of 44 of Messi’s free kick goals have come in the famous blue and red stripes of the Catalan icons, with the remainder coming for his country.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 29, 2019
Messi is some way short of overhauling the leading free kick scorers of all time.
Former Lyon star Juninho Pernambucano banged home 77 in his career and fellow Brazilian Pele is in second place having scored 70, with another member of the Selecao, Ronaldinho tied with Victor Legrottaglie on 66.
Behind the South Americans sits David Beckham, who netted 65 goals from dead-ball situations in a career that took in spells at Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and England.
One player Messi may overhaul sooner than later is the man in tenth place on the list, another Brazilian, Rogerio Ceni, who scored 59 in his career.
Ceni might claim his feat is more impressive than the others on the list as he made his living as a goalkeeper for Sao Paolo.
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil left Neymar out of their squad for the November friendlies against Argentina and South Korea on Friday, but coach Tite called up uncapped Douglas Luiz of Aston Villa and Rodrygo of Real Madrid.
Neymar injured a hamstring in Brazil’s 1-1 draw with Nigeria on Oct. 13 and is expected to be out for four weeks.
Roma goalkeeper Daniel Fuzato and 20-year old Real Betis defender Emerson were also included in the Brazil squad for the first time.
Tite did not call up any home-based players to avoid conflicts with teams playing the final rounds of the Brazilian league.
Brazil face Argentina in Saudia Arabia on Nov. 15 and then head to Abu Dhabi to play South Korea four days later.
Nigeria have a dropped a place in Fifa’s world rankings for October despite forcing Brazil to a 1-1draw in Singapore.
The 2013 African champions gathered 1481 points to rank no. 35 in the world and third in Africa behind Senegal [20th in the world], and Tunisia [29th].
African champions Algeria remain unmoved to stay fourth in Africa and 38th in the world with 1469 points.
However, Super Eagles’ opponents in November’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Benin Republic and Lesotho suffered contrasting fortunes.
The Squirrels moved a place up to claim the 82nd spot in the world [18th in Africa], while the Crocodiles ranked 138th [39th in Africa] moved a place southward.
Belgium, France, Brazil, and England occupy the first four places in the world with 2018 Fifa World Cup hosts, Russia in 37th place
The next Fifa/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 28 November 2019.
Lionel Messi gets better with each passing day as head coach Ernesto Valverde heaped praise on Barcelona’s record-breaking superstar following Wednesday’s Champions League victory.
Messi set a new Champions League record with his goal-scoring display in Barca’s unconvincing 2-1 victory away to Slavia Prague in Group F midweek.
The Barca captain’s third-minute goal saw him become the first player to score in the Champions League for 15 consecutive seasons, while he also matched Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid great Raul in having netted against 33 different opponents in Europe’s premier club competition.
Valverde revealed post-match that Messi is somehow getting even better and has made breaking records look far too easy.
“He’s the player who can decide any game. Every day we see him he’s even better,” Valverde said.
“One more record for the incredible Leo. They are easy to say, it seems natural, but it is very difficult to achieve.”
Sergio Busquets was also waxing lyrical about Messi post-match and is thankful to see him firing again after recent injuries.
“He’s had a tough start to the season because of injuries. He’s fundamental to the way we play and a lot goes through him,” he said.
“He’s getting his rhythm back but it won’t take him long because he’s the best in the world.”
After Messi’s opener, Slavia managed to restore parity via Jan Boril five minutes into the second half but a huge slice of luck benefited Barca, who saw Peter Olayinka deflected in Luis Suarez’s effort.
The win saw Barca improve to seven points from three games, three points ahead of Inter and Borussia Dortmund with Valverde under no illusions that there win on Wednesday was far from perfect.
“These games, you have to know how to play them,” he said. “We have lacked peace of mind in the opposite field. I think we had clearer chances than they did.
“You always want to rule the matches from minute one to 90. Today we had to suffer, from time to time we must suffer. There are times when you will have to go down to the mud and defend certain situations.”
American boxer Patrick Day died Wednesday after suffering a serious brain injury during his knockout defeat to Charles Conwell last weekend, promoter Lou DiBella said in a statement.
The 27-year-old super welterweight had undergone emergency surgery after being knocked out by Conwell on Saturday at Chicago’s Wintrust Arena.
“On behalf of Patrick’s family, team, and those closest to him, we are grateful for the prayers, expressions of support and outpouring of love for Pat that have been so obvious since his injury,” DiBella said.
Day, who had been in a coma following surgery at Northwestern Memorial hospital, died surrounded by family and friends.
The American fighter had been carried unconscious from the ring on a stretcher on Saturday following his 10th round knockout.
Conwell, a 2016 American Olympian, dropped Day in the fourth and eighth rounds and then landed a right hand in the 10th which caused Day to stumble.
Seconds later Conwell rocked Day with a massive left hook that resulted in Day falling backwards and his head bouncing off the canvas. Referee Celestino Ruiz called off the fight at one minute, 46 seconds of the round.
Day lay on the canvas for several minutes receiving medical treatment before being removed from the ring.
Day is at least the third boxer to die from injuries sustained in the ring this year.
Argentine boxer Hugo Santillan died in July following a bout in San Nicolas, just north of Buenos Aires.
Santillan’s death came just two days after Russian fighter Maxim Dadashev died from brain injuries suffered in a fight in Maryland.
In his statement on Wednesday, DiBella said he hoped Day’s death would prompt US authorities to adopt tougher safety standards.
“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” DiBella said.
“This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action.
“While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate.”
American professional football team Austin Bold have announced the tragic and untimely death of former Nigeria international Isaac Promise.
According to the USL Championship club, the 31-year-old former Super Eagles star died on Wednesday night, October 2, after a reported case of heart failure.
After spending 12 seasons in the Turkish Super Lig, Isaac Promise joined American side Austin Bold in August 2018 becoming the club’s seventh signing in history.
Until his death, Promise Isaac played professional football for 14 seasons where he played for clubs like Trabzonspor, Manisaspor, Antalyaspor, Al Ahli among others.
Isaac Promise also captained the Nigerian team that won the silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
He first appeared for the Super Eagles in 2009 and Isaac Promise earned three caps and scored one goal.
Earlier, Legit.ng had reported how Nigerian football fraternity were thrown into deep mourning following the untimely and tragic death of two Police Machine players Saturday Glory and Ani Ekong.
These two players died on Tuesday evening, October 1, which was the day Nigerians were celebrating their 59th Independence.
Saturday Glory and Ani Ekong were said to have been killed by a hit and run driver in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state after their evening training.
Emuidzhi Oghiabekhva scored a brace in Minsk’s 3-1 stunning victory over Zurich in Thursday’s Uefa Women’s Champions League Round of 32, second leg encounter.
The 29-year-old forward has continued to impress in the competition after inspiring Minsk’s 1-0 first-leg win against Ivan Dal Santo’s side, she scored in each half to help her side advance.
With a first-half advantage, It took just 10 minutes into the match for Oghiabekhva to fire the visitors in front at Letzigrund Stadium.
However, Fabienne Humm scored in additional time to bring the hosts back on level terms before half time in Zurich.
After the restart, the Nigeria forward finally got her second goal of the match in the 76th minute to recover the visitors lead before Yuliya Duben struck two minutes later to wrap up their advancement.
The 3-1 win means the Belarusian champions have progressed to the Round of 16 stage of the competition, and also signified the elimination of Zurich.
With her brace, Oghiabekhva has scored 10 goals in seven outings in this year’s Champions League to maintain her topscorer chase.
Minsk will find out their Champions League Round of 16 opponents when the draw will be held on September 30.
FIFA has explained why some votes for Mohamed Salah to win The Best FIFA Men’s Player award was not counted.
Liverpool star Salah did not finish in the top three of the ballot, with his nominations from Egypt’s captain and coach not included.
Salah appeared to be upset when FIFA’s full list of voting was released without his country’s selections.
He reportedly removed a reference to Egypt from his Twitter bio and posted a cryptic message that read: “Whatever they do to try to change my love for Egypt, they will not succeed.”
FIFA moved to clarify why those particular votes for Salah were not counted in a statement released to Omnisport on Thursday.
The governing body said:
“During the monitoring of the votes submitted by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) on August 15, it was remarked that the signatures on the voting forms were in capital letters and thus seemed not valid (not authentic). The voting forms were also not signed by the general secretary which is mandatory.”
FIFA added the President’s Office of the EFA, which has undergone recent structural changes, was contacted about the issue, with no response received in time for the votes to count.
Further questions have been asked of FIFA about the voting process for The Best awards.
Nicaragua captain Juan Barrera claimed on Twitter he did not vote although his name is listed on FIFA’s official document, which says he chose Lionel Messi, Sadio Mane and Cristiano Ronaldo as his top three.
“We have checked the voting documents submitted by the Nicaraguan FA and all documents are signed and confirmed with the official stamp of the Nicaraguan FA,” FIFA said.
“Having compared with the vote sheets submitted by the federation and the ones we have published on FIFA.com… we confirm that we have the right votes signed by the player.
“We are asking the Nicaraguan Football Federations to inquire on this matter.”
Messi was named as the men’s winner, ahead of the likes of Salah, Liverpool team-mate Virgil van Dijk, and long-term rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
USWNT star Megan Rapinoe won the women’s award, while Salah’s Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and Rapinoe’s international coach Jill Ellis took the trophies for best coach.
Lionel Messi says his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo is only on the pitch.
Messi and Ronaldo were seen chatting at August’s UEFA awards ceremony as Virgil van Dijk claimed the Men’s Player of the Year award.
The same trio were nominated for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award with Messi pipping Van Dijk into second and Ronaldo in third at Monday’s Milan prizegiving.
Messi and Ronaldo have each won five Ballons d’Or having spent their careers vying for individual honours, as well as for team trophies with Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
Released results for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award showed Messi put Ronaldo second in his vote while the Portugal superstar did not include the Barcelona captain in his selection.
Asked why people are surprised to see him getting along with Ronaldo, Messi told FIFA’s official website: “Because of the big sporting rivalry that’s developed between us over the last few years. Because one us played for Barcelona and the other for Madrid, and because we won individual awards.
“People perhaps think the rivalry goes beyond football, but it doesn’t. We both want what’s best for our teams and neither of us like losing. It’s something we don’t accept.
“That’s why there’s that competitiveness between us. The important thing is that it stays there, out on the pitch.”
Messi is now helping to develop Barcelona’s 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati, who has exploded on to the scene in LaLiga this season.
“I really like him and I try to help and support him,” the Argentina attacker added. “He’s an amazing player and he’s got what it takes to succeed.
“But if I look at it through my eyes, I’d like them to bring him on gradually, like they did with me when I started, taking things nice and easy and without putting pressure on him.
“You have to remember that he’s only 16. I hope he keeps on enjoying it and that all the fuss around him doesn’t have a negative impact on him because he has the quality to become one of the best.”
Cristiano Ronaldo will not feature for Juventus against Brescia on Tuesday after the forward was left out of a 20-man squad for the Serie A fixture.
The Portugal international will miss the midweek trip to Stadio Mario Rigamonti due to ‘slight fatigue in the adductor’, according to the club, having played three times in the space of a week.
Ronaldo was on the field for every minute of the league games against Fiorentina and Hellas Verona, with a 2-2 Champions League draw away at Atletico Madrid sandwiched in between.
While Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa all remain sidelined, Gonzalo Higuain is included in the squad list.
The striker suffered a facial injury following his second-half introduction during the 2-1 triumph over Verona on Saturday, though he did not break any bones in his nose and could feature in the clash with Brescia.
Juventus have posted three wins and a draw in four Serie A outings so far this season, leaving them two points behind leaders Inter in the table.
Inter – who along with Juve and Roma are yet to lose in the league this season – host Lazio on Wednesday, with third-placed Napoli playing Cagliari at Stadio San Paolo.
“I want to see the current conditions. Ronaldo yesterday (Sunday) had a little muscle fatigue but it is quite normal after three games in seven days,” Sarri told a press conference on Monday.
“We’ll see if it is necessary or not for someone to rest. It’s important that we have continuity in this moment, but there are also other factors to consider.
“We’ll have to make some evaluations.”
The Portuguese forward has contributed two goals and one assist in five appearances for his club this season, but missed out on The Best FIFA Men’s Player award to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi on Monday.
Ronaldo had won the award in 2016 and 2017, having guided Real Madrid to successive Champions League crowns, before Luka Modric then took home the trophy in 2018 following yet another Champions League triumph for the club.
PARIS (Reuters) – Neymar struck late again as Paris St Germain beat one of their main title rivals Olympique Lyonnais 1-0 to strengthen their Ligue 1 lead on Sunday.
The Brazil forward, who scored the only goal against Racing Strasbourg last weekend, found the back of the net three minutes from time to put PSG on 15 points from six games, leaving Lyon in ninth place seven points behind.
Second-placed Angers, who earlier demolished St Etienne 4-1, are three points off the pace.
PSG dominated the match at the Groupama stadium but had to wait until their 21st attempt to seal a deserved win.
Neymar beat four defenders with a simple turn before shooting past keeper Anthony Lopes for his second crucial goal in his second game since his season debut after being left out of the squad during his failed attempt to join Barcelona.
It was Neymar’s 53rd goal in 60 appearances for PSG, to which he has added 27 assists.
Neymar was suspended on Wednesday when PSG crushed Real Madrid 3-0 in the Champions League, but he was needed against Lyon as Thomas Tuchel’s team lacked energy.
They were still without injured strikers Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, who have not yet made a full recovery, while Argentine forward Mauro Icardi also missed out with a groin problem.
Neymar and Eric Choupo-Moting had the best chances in the first half as Lyon stayed compact, but their defence cracked in the finale as Angel Di Maria’s killer through ball set up the Brazilian for his brilliant finish.
“We had chances and we had to convert them, our lucky charm saved us with this goal in the end,” said PSG midfielder Marquinhos.
“It’s good to beat a direct rival for the title.”
“It’s not easy but they dominated the whole game,” said OL defender Jason Denayer.
PSG’s closest rivals are Angers, who came from behind to beat visiting St Etienne as Chad striker Casimir Ninga bagged a hat-trick in 12 minutes.
The 21-year-old came on in the 69th minute when the score was 1-1 and netted in the 78th, 84th and 89th minutes.
Stade Rennes drew 1-1 at home to Lille and are fourth on 11 points, one ahead of their sixth-placed opponents.
Cristiano Ronaldo posted a cryptic message on social media hours after missing out on the Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award. The Portuguese superstar came in third-place behind Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Barcelona’s Li
MILAN (AP) — Lionel Messi won his sixth FIFA player of the year award, while Megan Rapinoe won her first at a lavish ceremony at Milan’s iconic Teatro all Scala on Monday.
Rapinoe was rewarded at the FIFA Best awards for leading the United States to the women’s World Cup title in July, as was Jill Ellis who won the women’s coach award.
Rapinoe scored six goals in the tournament, earning her the Golden Boot for the tournament’s top scorer and the Golden Ball as the top player.
The outspoken star often uses her success as a platform to speak out about issues and the 34-year-old did so again in Milan, pleading for her male and female colleagues to join the likes of Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling in speaking out on racism and other inequalities.
“If we really want to have meaningful change what I think is most inspiring would be if everybody other than Raheem Sterling and (Kalidou) Koulibaly, if they were as outraged about racism as they were, if everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players, if everybody was as outraged about the lack of equal pay and investment in the women’s game other than just women, that would be the most inspiring thing to me,” Rapinoe said.
“That’s my ask of everybody. As professional footballers … we have so much success, we have incredible platforms, I ask everybody here to lend your platform, to lift people up, to use this beautiful game to change the world for better.”
Rapinoe said after the ceremony that being able to speak out about issues is more important to her than the actual award.
“I’ve been very lucky to have this incredibly platform that seems to be growing by the day and I plan to use it to the best of my ability,” she told reporters. “The award’s amazing of course but I don’t do this for individual awards, certainly not.
“Even the team awards, the World Cup’s obviously incredible to win but when we sort of all look back on it, it will be the way we’ve changed the game and moved the game forward and really been a part of changing the world, this incredible movement that’s happening right now, that we’ll all be most proud of.”
Messi’s award moved the Barcelona and Argentina forward one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Juventus forward did not attend the ceremony despite being among the three finalists.
The duo has dominated the award since 2008, with their string of victories only interrupted by Luka Modric last year.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was the other finalist.
His club manager Jürgen Klopp was named coach of the year after steering Liverpool to the Champions League title in June, while teammate Alisson won the best men’s goalkeeper award.
“I have to thank my team because as coach you can only be as good as your team is,” Klopp said.
Ellis also thanked her players.
“I owe so much to them,” she said.
Ellis resigned in July, shortly after the U.S. beat the Netherlands 2-0 to win its second successive World Cup.
The 53-year-old Ellis was named coach of the U.S. team in 2014 and led it to eight overall tournament titles, including back-to-back World Cup successes. Over the course of her tenure, the United States lost just seven matches.
Her players made up nearly half of the women’s team of the year, with Kelley O’Hara, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan included in the 11 as well as Rapinoe.
“I think I walked out with Messi and no one noticed me,” Ellis said jokingly to reporters, before adding: “It was such an honor, it really was. Fantastic night … happy for my players to do so well as well on that stage so it was great.”
The award for the best women’s goalkeeper went to van Veenendaal of Atletico Madrid and the Netherlands.
The 29-year-old Van Veenendaal captained the Netherlands to the final of the women’s World Cup.
Anthony Joshua believes that his loss to Andy Ruiz Jnr three months ago will be the making of him.
“The Muhammad Alis faced it, the Mike Tysons faced it and now I’m facing it,” Joshua said of losing his three heavyweight world title belts to Ruiz on June 1 in Manhattan, in one of heavyweight boxing’s most unexpected defeats.
“It’s all part of it. It’s no big deal. It’s about how you come back,” said a noticeably slimmer Joshua. “I have a different challenge in my head. When you’ve walked the road once, you can do it again.”
Wise words but the issue for Joshua, who carried the world-weary air of a man who had travelled three continents in three days – on a whirlwind media tour of the Middle East, New York and London – may not be heart and desire, but how he can change the pattern of the fight second time around after being floored four times and stopped inside seven rounds.
The pair meet again in a purpose-built stadium for 16,000 in Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Dec 7 for the International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organisation titles.
Mexican-American Ruiz, bedecked in a sombrero given to him by an adoring fan in New York on Thursday, reiterated his intention to not be a short-lived champion.
The 29-year-old became the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world after his triumph at Madison Square Garden, and denied that he was enjoying the good life and the spoils of victory.
The determination to keep hold of the belts, he insisted, had not left him for one day. “Of course I still have that hunger. I just got these belts. You think I want to lose them straight away? Hell, no. I am excited, there’s no fear. It’s just crazy how I made my dreams come true.
“It’s going to mean everything to defend the titles. December 7 the belts will be in the air, it’s either me or him. The mindset is that I think Anthony Joshua is trying to take food from my kids. My motivation is my kids and family and if anyone wants to take it away from them I’m willing to die to protect them.”
“The man did what he had to do. He was the best option when we looked at it. It was a bump, a loss, but nothing has changed in the way I view him.”
There appears to be little animosity between the pair. The Briton has refused to indulge in any underhand comments or sleights at his foe.
Joshua is expected to earn close to £60 million for the contest, the most ever offered a heavyweight challenger in history without a belt.
“It’s more myself I have to change,” explained Joshua. “I am looking at myself in the mirror and saying I know I’m better than that. Andy is still the same person. He will come game and I’ve got to change some of my bits and bobs.
“I was 50 per cent of the way towards getting a win, just got caught. That’s why I said it was a punch from the gods [which knocked him down in the third round].
“I know how to fight. If I had to change everything now, it would be too risky. I haven’t got time to do that and make it new.”
Victory, believes Joshua, can form part of his legacy.
“Now it’s about how to come back and hopefully the next generation will look at how I came back, how I rebuilt. But many champions like Ali and Tyson have come back from defeats. If I win, no problem. If I lose this fight and stay down, then I’ve got a problem.”
The young daughter of ex-Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has died after a battle with cancer.
Nine-year-old Xana had been fighting osteosarcoma (bone cancer) for “five intense months,” Enrique said as he announced her death.
In a tribute on social media on Thursday, the former football manager said his daughter will be remembered “every day of our lives.”
Enrique, who also managed the Spanish national team, wrote:
“We will miss you lots but we will remember you every day of our lives, with the hope that in the future we’ll meet each other again. You’ll be the star that guides our family.
“Rest dear Xana.”
Enrique thanked those who sent well wishes over recent months for their “discretion and understanding”.
He also thanked the medical team who treated his daughter “for their dedication and treatment”.
Among those to pay tribute to Xana was Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who wrote on Twitter:
“There are no words that that can go along with this pain.
“My heartfelt wishes to Luis Enrique and all his family, after the loss of his little Xana.”
Enrique’s former club Barcelona wrote:
“Our condolences and all our sympathy for @luisenrique21 and his family at this very difficult time. RIP Xana.”
Enrique, who played for Barcelona and Real Madrid during his player career, stepped down as Spain’s manager in June.
The Spanish Football Federation said he had left the role due to a “personal matter”.
Nigerian hurdler, Tobi Amusan, has broken a 20-year-old record previously held by another Nigerian, Gloria Alozie, in the 100m women’s hurdles event at the African Games in Rabat.
Amusan set the new record in a time of 12.68secs. In the 1999 edition of the Games, Alozie clocked 12.74secs to set the now broken record.
While addressing journalists, Amusan described the contest as rough.
“I am happy I won the race which is the most important thing, but it was a kind of rough race for me,” she said.
Amusan, who would not be part of the relay race, said she will now face the Diamond League, although she has a couple of meets before that.
Also, Nigeria won gold in 4x100m women’s relay with Joy Udoh-Gabriel, Mercy Ntia-Obong, Bukola Adekunle and Rosemary Chukwuma clocking 44.16secs. South Africa emerged second in 44.61secs; Kenya, third in 45.44secs.
Despite fielding Africa’s fastest athlete in 100m, Raymond Ekevwo, Nigeria lost to Ghana in the men’s 4x100m.
While the Ghanaians ran a season’s best of 38.30secs to win gold, Nigeria’s Ekevwo, Divine Oduduru, Emmanuel Arowolo and Usheoritse Itsekiri, finished line in 38.59secs to win silver.
South Africa won the bronze with a time of 38.80secs.
Also, Kelechi Nwanaga threw a distance of 55.88m to win gold in the women’s javelin event.
Favor Ofili set a new 51.68secs SB to win the 400m silver medal and qualify for the World Championships in Doha.