Tag Archives: football

Koeman Praises Dembele


Ousmane Dembele has turned things around completely at Barcelona, with Ronald Koeman reserving special praise for the Frenchman’s attitude.

Ousmane Dembele

In recent weeks, Dembele has put together the consistency that has always been missing from his game and his progress is the result of hard work.

“Much of Dembele’s change is down to the player,” Koeman said in a press conference on Monday.

“He is the one who has to work hard and he’s done that.

“It’s important to be both physically and mentally strong in order to face the pressure that there is here.”

“The coach has to try to create a good atmosphere in the squad and organise the right training sessions.

“Physically, Dembele isn’t the only one who has improved. That’s important in terms of having quality.”

Koeman is right. It’s not only Dembele, as a number of other players have also benefitted from the Dutchman’s approach of late.

Dembele will be a key figure for the Cules in their Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain and could help Lionel Messi overcome an injury-hit Parisian outfit.


Hakim Ziyech ready to exit Chelsea.


He rarely completed the full 90 minutes even when he did start, and although Tuchel’s arrival was the chance for a fresh opportunity, early indications are that he is not an integral part of the German’s plans.

Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech is ready to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer if he continues to play a peripheral role under Thomas Tuchel, a new report has claimed.

The 27-year-old joined the Blues in the summer of 2020, but injuries have hampered his ability to nail down a regular starting berth. Ziyech has made just 11 Premier League appearances to date, and has not featured in the top flight since he started Tuchel’s first game in charge – the 0-0 draw with Wolves.


Now, Corriere dello Sport claim that Ziyech is ready to end his disappointing spell in the Premier League, with teams in Italy lining up to make a move for him in the summer.

AS Roma and Milan have both shown interest in the former Ajax star in the past, and could take advantage of his unsettled status to try and get a deal done.

For Ziyech, a departure would end what’s been a fairly miserable time in England so far, where his repeated injuries and inability to fit into certain tactical setups have seen him slide down the pecking order at Chelsea.


Initially a favourite under Lampard once he’d overcome injury, Ziyech soon slipped out of the side and onto the bench as the Blues strived for consistency.

Ziyech wants to leave Chelsea this summer | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

He rarely completed the full 90 minutes even when he did start, and although Tuchel’s arrival was the chance for a fresh opportunity, early indications are that he is not an integral part of the German’s plans.

The Moroccan has played just 82 minutes of a possible 360 Premier League minutes under the former PSG boss, which is a far cry from his dominating spell at Ajax – one that yielded a Dutch Footballer of the Year award, four successive nominations for the Eredivisie Team of the Season and four seasons finishing as the player with most assists.

Ziyech was also a regular goal getter in the Netherlands, bagging 49 goals for Ajax in 165 appearances.


For Chelsea, he’s scored just twice in all competitions, and only once in thePremier League.

Chelsea’s mini-revival has coincided with Ziyech’s absence from the team, which may indicate that he’ll have little to no chance of earning a regular place in the team unless things dramatically change in west London.



Julli Lopez: Only way Messi could stay? Sign Agüero!

Juli Lopez is the man who would be in charge of Barcelona’s sporting department if Victor Font wins the presential elections and he has spoken about a number of matters surrounding the Catalan club.

One of these is Lionel Messi’s future and Lopez believes it is important to convince the Argentine that there is a solid sporting project.

“The first thing is to make sure he can see that this team in the medium and long term will play in the way that he likes,” Lopez said of Messi in an interview with MARCA.

“Someone who he trusts will need to tell him this.


“Who better to explain the project than his former teammate Xavi?

“A good project and someone he can trust are the two key ingredients to keep him at the club.”

Lopez was then asked if signing Sergio Aguero could be an argument to convince Messi to stay.

“Absolutely,” he replied.

“Barcelona need another goalscorer. Aguero wouldn’t be signed just so Messi stays. We’re talking about a top striker who wants to be playing top-level European football up to the World Cup in Qatar.

“He would bring a huge lift to the club and would play a huge role at Barcelona.”

Lopez was asked in general terms what makes Font’s project stand out.

“It’s the governing model and how decisions are made,” he said.


“On a sporting level we are going to go with Xavi.

“There has to be a talented former player in the club’s sporting staff who knows how the club works. Johan Cruyff was first, then it was Pep Guardiola and now the key figure is Xavi.”

Finally, Lopez was asked if Barcelona will fight for the Champions League next season.

“I have complete confidence that they will,” he said.

“It’s true that the footballing side of things could be improved, but there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of talent in the squad.”


Things Ramos will lose if he departs from Madrid

There’s no debate over Sergio Ramos’ legendary status at Real Madrid. However, if he pens a new deal in the coming weeks and sees out the rest of his career in the Spanish capital then he could statistically become the club’s number one player every category except goals.

He’s closing in on a few important records, but his future is still undecided.

If he leaves now, this is what he’d miss out on.

Player with most appearances
Ramos will almost definitely break the record for most appearances for Los Blancos if he renews his deal.

At the moment, he’s fourth on the all-time appearance list with 668 games played.

Ahead of him are Raul (741), Iker Casillas (725) and Manolo Sanchis (710).

Ramos would likely need to play for another year and a half to hold the record.

The player with most seasons completed
The central defender is also closing in on the record for most seasons completed in a Real Madrid shirt. He currently sits on 16 completed campaigns and would need to remain at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for two more to break the record of 18 held by Paco Gento and Miguel Angel.


Most decorated player in the club’s history
This record could be broken without signing a new contract, although he would need to win a Champions League and LaLiga Santander double, which seems unlikely at the moment.

Ramos and Marcelo both boast 22 titles at Real Madrid, just one behind Paco Gento.

He could also become the player with most Champions League medals. He currently has four, but is two behind Gento.

Most seasons completed as captain
The longest-sitting captain in Real Madrid history is honorary president Gento, who held the armband for nine seasons. Chendo has eight as captain while Felix Quesada and Raul both have seven.

Ramos has held the honour for six seasons and would need to renew until 2024 to break this record, which seems unlikely given his current relationship with the club over his contract talks.

Most minutes in LaLiga Santander
He’s currently the player with the fifth most minutes played in LaLiga Santander.

He has played 43,900 minutes and is just 99 minutes behind Raul.

The only players with more are Casillas (45,684), Francisco Buyo (48,717 and Andoni Zubizarreta (55,746). He would need to play at least two more full seasons to break Zubizarreta’s record.

Captain in the new Bernabeu
The new Bernabeu stadium will be the crowning jewel of Real Madrid and Ramos could have the honour of being the club’s first captain in their newly redeveloped stadium.

It can’t be forgotten that, if he leaves now, he won’t be able to say goodbye to the fans due to the pandemic and no one would dispute the fact that Ramos deserves a huge send-off at Real Madrid.



Age doesn’t counts for Suarez as he says he’s still hungry for goals


Luis Suarez has insisted that he’s just as hungry for goals at the age of 34 as he has been at any stage in his footballing career.

The Uruguayan has been in fine form for Los Rojiblancos since signing from Barcelona and is currently top of the scoring charts in LaLiga Santander.

The veteran striker has been named the Mahou Jugador Cinco Estrellas for January – awarded to Atletico Madrid’s player of the month.


“Strikers live to score goals, but what I try to do is help the team,” Suarez said upon receiving the award.

“Although I’m 34 now, I still have the same ambition.

“We’re on a good run of form and it’s important for us to keep going like that in order to achieve our goals.

“A striker can’t perform if he doesn’t have a team that does a great job.

“You try to help your team [as a striker]. Sometimes you score lots of goals and sometimes you go a few matches without one.

“But the important thing is that the team keeps picking up three points to get to our objective.”


Koeman focuses more on Alaves than PSG


Barcelona must negotiate a LaLiga encounter against Deportivo Alavés before their pivotal Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronald Koeman insists the match in LaLiga between Barcelona and Deportivo Alavés is more important to him than discussing Paris Saint-Germain or Neymar.

A huge Champions League last-16 tie between Barça and PSG begins at Camp Nou on Tuesday and Neymar has been ruled out against his former club through injury.

But Barça boss Koeman stressed the home Alavés match on Saturday was most important to him because it is what comes next.

He also suggested he was considering squad rotation but would not make significant changes prior to the PSG game because he lacks options.

Copa del Rey defeat to Sevilla
Barça lost 2-0 to Sevilla last time out on Wednesday in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie. It was their first defeat inside 90 minutes in 17 matches across all competitions.

But they have won seven and drawn one of their last eight LaLiga games with Alavés.

“I don’t think Neymar is an Alavés player,” Koeman said when asked about the injury to the PSG forward.

Focused on Alavés
“This is a question for Monday, not for today. I’m not talking about Neymar, I’m not talking about PSG.

“Saturday’s game is more important than Tuesday’s. We are going game by game and we want to continue our good streak.

“The result of the Sevilla game is there but we played a very good game. If we repeat the game, we do not lose.

“We dominated in many areas against Sevilla, but you also have to have a bit of luck. We need freshness, but the team is feeling very well.

“You don’t play a second half like we did in Seville if the team is not physically well.”

Defenders Gerard Piqué and Ronald Araújo are unlikely to be risked against Alavés.

Koeman added: “Sergino Dest, Miralem Pjanic and Martin Braithwaite have done something [in training on Friday].

Koeman not rushing back Piqué
“[On Saturday] there is training and we will decide if they are on the squad list.

“For Araújo or Piqué, I always believe in the margin of a risk. The objective is to recover players until the end of the season.

“If it is the last game of the season, you can risk more, but I am not in favour of risking a lot for a game.

“Those players have to recover well and step by step. If they are there and they can play, even better.”

On the prospect of rotation, he continued: “Of course there are players who have been playing for many minutes with us not having everyone available.

“You have to think about giving rest to those players to be well in the next game. [But] not many [will be rotated], because there is not much we can change either.

“We look at the players, we train and we will decide. By winning the game, you are always mentally less tired than when you don’t win.

“The goal is to win. But first you have to play and it will be difficult.”

The Alavés match will start a run of four consecutive home games and Koeman added: “It’s good to have back-to-back games at home because you save yourself traveling.

“We can rest more now and hopefully we will get players back to start having a very competitive squad again.

“It is good to see the youth team players and the youngsters play, but we need our more competitive players back.”

Lionel Messi has scored 10 goals against Alavés in LaLiga in as many appearances against them, including four in his last three.

If he plays against Alavés, he will equal the record held by Xavi for most Barça league appearances by playing in his 504th top-flight match.


Sextuple battle: Guardiola’s Barca Vs Flick’s Bayern sets to face


Bayern Munich became just the second team to ever win the sextuple on Thursday after securing the Club World Cup crown with a 1-0 victory over Tigres, but how do they match up compared to the team that first recorded that achievement?

Back in 2009, Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side dominated Europe and then the world, with a similarly impressive squad to Hansi Flick’s Bayern team in 2020.

When Guardiola took charge of Barcelona in the summer of 2008, few – almost no one – would have thought that he would go on to achieve what he did with a group of unrepeatable players.

The Catalan coached looked towards La Masia and Barcelona’s DNA, insisting that his team were obsessed with controlling the ball. Guardiola built an unstoppable winning machine with this style.

A terrifying starting Xi
Some of the greatest players of all time all came together at the peak of their careers, led by Lionel Messi and coached by Guardiola.

As is so often the case, the most memorable feats often come almost unintentionally. And that is what happened to this Bayern side.

Hansi Flick took charge of a team that was seemingly adrift in November 2019 and, just a few months later, turned them into an unbeatable side.

Led by Robert Lewandowski, the Bavarians slaughtered anyone who got in their way in the Bundesliga and Champions League, with an incredible run of 19 consecutive wins and just one defeat.

Just 11 years after Barcelona won the first sextuple, the football world has a new predator who wanted it all and ended up achieving it. Bayern’s six trophies in one year with a very strong XI that dominated Europe will be remembered forever, and they also had one of the most memorable results ever, beating Barcelona 8-2.

Pep Guardiola, who went on to coach Bayern after leaving Barcelona, congratulated his former side on their accomplishment but also joked that his 2009 Barcelona team could face this 2020 Bayern side to win a seventh trophy, thus allowing one team to secure the septuple.

It is impossible to know how this game would have gone, but who do you think would win?


Manchester United ‘eyes’ Raphael Varane.


The same goes for Mings, who has been central to Aston Villa’s improvement this season, as well as the towering 21-year-old Carmo at Braga.

Manchester United have added Raphael Varane, Tyrone Mings and David Carmo to the shortlist of centre back options they are monitoring ahead of the summer transfer window.

Pau Torres, Dayot Upamecano, Jules Kounde are among their other existing targets for the position.

United are keen on landing a new centre back this year to act as a long-term partner for club captain Harry Maguire. Victor Lindelof has struggled to prove himself of the quality necessary to be a regular starter and Eric Bailly is once more battling fitness problems.

90min first revealed back in November that United see a central defender as one of their priorities in 2021.


The Old Trafford club had admired Torres at Villarreal since last summer and he is at the top of the list.

There is also a feeling his time there could be coming to an end after becoming a regular international for Spain and a release clause just under £60m hasn’t put suitors off.


Upamecano was also near the top of the list at one stage, although it was rumoured that United were starting to cool their interest when Bayern Munich began pursuing the player. Bayern have since entered positive early talks with the Frenchman’s representatives.

NoRM has also previously reported that United have been closely watching Kounde at Sevilla for many months, as well as Brighton’s Ben White and Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu, as they thoroughly weigh up and assess plenty of possible options to make the best decision.

Even as a shorter term solution, United would be interested in Sergio Ramos should the 34-year-old leave Real Madrid this summer.


However, getting burnt in pursuit of the Spaniard in the past means they would only make a serious approach if that interest was genuinely reciprocated.

The rest of the Premier League ‘Big Six’ have taken a similar view on Ramos, who is most likely to join PSG.

Varane has been heavily linked with United for years, but fresh doubts over the Frenchman’s future at Real Madrid has led ESPN to report that he also now one of the players Old Trafford officials are considering.

The same goes for Mings, who has been central to Aston Villa’s improvement this season, as well as the towering 21-year-old Carmo at Braga.


Varane has less than 18 months left on his current contract at Real Madrid and a sale in 2021 is the only way Los Blancos could command a reasonable transfer fee for the World Cup winner, who could potentially leave the Bernabeu as a free agent in 2022 if he refuses to sign a new deal.

The 27-year-old will have spent ten full seasons at Real by the end of the current campaign, having joined from Lens as a teenager in 2011, and it has been reported in Spain there is a belief at the club he wants to move on and test himself elsewhere.



City’s Guardiola wins EPL ‘manager of the month.’


The news completes a double for City as midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who netted five goals in six appearances throughout January, lifted the player of the month award.

In a surprise to no-one given Manchester City’s incredible recent form, Pep Guardiola has been named Premier League manager of the month for January.

It was a season that promised to deliver an open title race until the death, but City have taken full advantage of faltering form from Liverpool and Manchester United to pull away from the chasing pack.

They sit five points clear at the top of the division with a game in hand at present and that is largely thanks to a perfect January that saw them pick up six consecutive victories.


They started the month with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Callum Hudson-Odoi’s late consolation would prove to be the only goal they would concede for the entire month.

They won their next five matches by an aggregate scoreline of 13-0, brushing aside a quarter of the division with minimal fuss to assert themselves as the clear favourites to win the league for the third time in Guardiola’s tenure.

The news completes a double for City as midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who netted five goals in six appearances throughout January, lifted the player of the month award.


He has become a favourite of Guardiola’s in recent weeks and was in the thick of it as City started 2021 with a bang.

Despite a faltering start to the season, Guardiola’s team are beginning to look more and more like the side who romped to successive league titles in 2018 and 2019.

Guardiola was named best boss for January | Michael Steele/Getty Images

They were virtually unbeatable for those two seasons, registering 100 and 98 points respectively – then the two highest totals ever recorded.

They won just two of their first five games this season and were in the bottom half of the table as recently as November.


But they have taken 38 points from their last 42 available and look on course to charge to yet another title.

Guardiola fought off competition from David Moyes, Mikel Arteta, and Graham Potter to win the January award.



Pochettino discuss Messi’s way to PSG.


Players can talk and can say what they want. They do so from feelings, just as Real Madrid and Barcelona players do. ..

Mauricio Pochettino has insisted PSG have shown no lack of respect by talking about their desire to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona on a free transfer in the summer.

Messi handed in a transfer request in the summer of 2020 following Barcelona’s chaotic season on and off the pitch. His lofty release clause meant he was unable to force an exit, but the Argentinian’s contract expires in June 2021, enabling him to leave the club for nothing.


PSG are considered one of the few clubs in world football who possess the financial muscle to land the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, and both players and members of the club’s hierarchy have discussed the possibility of signing Messi in recent weeks. This has been criticised by Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman and presidential candidate Joan Laporta.

PSG have not lacked respect by speaking about Messi according to Pochettino | Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Pochettino himself has always remained diplomatic regarding the rumours, and insists no harm was meant by his colleague’s comments.

“When a player speaks, he is talking out of affection, excitement and friendship,” the PSG boss said. “There’s no controversial issue that has been generated by the club. At no time has there been a lack of respect or gone against a situation that is not the correct one.

“Players can talk and can say what they want. They do so from feelings, just as Real Madrid and Barcelona players do. They can talk about teammates that are at other clubs.”


PSG sporting director Leonardo began stoking the flames in January when he stated that players like Messi ‘will always be on PSG’s list’. Laporta – who has had the future of Messi front and centre of his presidential campaign – hit back with a dig at PSG’s financial fair play record.

Messi’s international teammate Angel Di Maria admitted that he ‘hopes’ the diminutive forward signs for PSG – comments that Koeman criticised for having a ‘lack of respect’.



Mourinho speak on Alli’s major distraction.


Alli returned to the Spurs first team squad for their FA Cup thriller against Everton, playing the final 13 minutes of normal time plus extra time as Mourinho’s side lost 5-4.

Jose Mourinho has admitted that it is possible Dele Alli was distracted by rumours linking him with a move away from Tottenham in January.


Mourinho had made it his mission to recapture Alli’s previous form when he took the Spurs hot seat in November 2019, with his famous ‘are you Dele or Dele’s brother?’ quip.

However, the England international has since found himself frozen out of the Spurs first team, featuring just four times in the Premier League during the 2020/21 campaign.

He was linked with a reunion with former boss Mauricio Pochettino at PSG in January, but Spurs blocked the move – a decision that, as revealed by NoRM‘s known Media, left Alli furious.


“There’s nothing to speak about anymore,” Mourinho told the Evening Standard. “It’s possible that he was distracted, yeah.

Mourinho has admitted transfer talk may have distracted Alli | Visionhaus/Getty Images

“It depends on the player’s mentality, how much the player is influenced by and follows the media and social media. I don’t know in his personal case. But I was expecting that this story is over. Now it’s about him working to be back in the team, to have minutes.”

Alli returned to the Spurs first team squad for their FA Cup thriller against Everton, playing the final 13 minutes of normal time plus extra time as Mourinho’s side lost 5-4.

He last started in the Premier League on the opening day of the season against Everton, and Mourinho has called on Alli to make his case for his inclusion in the Spurs starting XI on the pitch.


“When you are on the pitch, you have to show how good you are and how much you deserve to play,” the Tottenham boss added. “It’s very simple. So in this moment, everything is normal with him. He’s fit, he’s training.”

Alli will be attempting to force his way into the Spurs squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to highflying Manchester City – a side they beat 2-0 back in the heady days of November.



Tuchel settles to give Kepa fresh start at Chelsea.


..circumstances of his transfer are a little bit on his shoulders. That was the impression from far away, from outside.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has insisted he has complete faith in goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who he believes can prove himself as a top shot stopper once again.


An abysmal 2019/20 campaign, in which Kepa posted a historically low save percentage, saw then-manager Frank Lampard push for the signing of new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who has impressed since his £22m move from Rennes.

Mendy has been Tuchel’s go-to goalkeeper, but the boss confirmed that Kepa will be given a chance to prove himself with an appearance in Thursday’s FA Cup fifth round tie with Barnsley.

“He will play [against Barnsley],” said Tuchel. “From outside, of course we had a view on his situation and some difficulties on the sporting side. Maybe, also, the circumstances of his transfer are a little bit on his shoulders. That was the impression from far away, from outside.


“The good thing for him is that we start new, that this is a new start for him because I don’t have a history with him and I hope there will be no difficulties and I don’t see them coming. Today, I absolutely believe [he can turn things around].”

Thomas Tuchel will give Kepa Arrizabalaga a fresh start | Clive Rose/Getty Images

There is a belief that the Chelsea hierarchy would like Tuchel to give Kepa another chance. Lampard’s reluctance to do so contributed to his dismissal from Stamford Bridge in January, but director Marina Granovskaia has personally involved herself to try and keep Kepa happy.

Granovskaia took time out of her summer break to sit down with Kepa to offer her support and to try and find a way back for the Spaniard, who cost a world record £72m when he arrived from Athletic Club in 2018.

“It applies for Kepa because it applies for every player, no matter whether we bought him for crazy money or he came from the academy, or was a free agent,” Tuchel continued. “It is our job to push the guy to the limit.


“And we are pretty selfish because we want to have them in the best shape on the pitch. Of course, the club want the market value to stay or increase but for me it is pretty selfish, we want the guy in the best shape and we want the best competition in any position.

“From inside, I see a nice guy, a nice personality, an open personality. A hard working guy with, obviously, a lot of quality. He deserves to be here. He’s a sports guy who loves competition, he does everything to impress in training.”



Trent Alexander-Arnold speak on his recent moves.


With his performances over the last two seasons, many have credited the Liverpool pair for evolving the full-back role

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has admitted that he’s going through a bad spell of form this season, and has described it as ‘something new’.

The Reds have struggled for consistent form this season and the champions currently sit in fourth position in the Premier League ahead of a weekend clash with Leicester City.


Much of the club’s success over the last three years has stemmed from the exceptional form of their full-backs Andrew Robertson and Alexander-Arnold, but both have struggled this season and as a result Liverpool have struggled to reach their previous heights.

Speaking exclusively to ESPN Brasil, via Sport Witness, the 22-year-old admitted that he wasn’t having the best of seasons but believes results are the most important thing and the performances will follow.

“Probably it’s been a spell of bad form that I haven’t had before. So it’s new. But I think really, for me, I set targets in levels and I have expectations in myself. If I don’t meet them then and I’m not happy. I want to be better than I am. I haven’t been able to meet them so far this season but we’ve only just passed the halfway stage, so there’s still a long way to go.”


The England defender scored his only goal of the season in a recent win over Tottenham, and with just five assists to his name in 26 appearances so far, he has fallen way below his usual level. Despite that, he believes that the team winning is more important.

“Well, I just had three games where I felt better, felt in a little bit more of a rhythm. Being able to create things for the team and feel like I’ve been the last few seasons so I supposed that’s ok, but… Like I mentioned earlier. Individually that doesn’t really matter to me as much as winning games. I’d have 38 bad games in the season, if that meant winning every single game…So I wanna perform as well as I can and help the team win. Because that’s the man thing that matters.”

With his performances over the last two seasons, many have credited the Liverpool pair for evolving the full-back role but Alexander-Arnold believes he can’t take all the credit for himself.

File Photo: Trent Alexander-Arnold | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News

“I’d say a lot more technical. I think I have impacted how numbers are probably integrated into that role now, I think. A lot of full-backs now are getting judged how many assists and goals and goal contributions they’re getting.


“I can’t just take all the credit for it. I have to give a lot to Robbo too. He’s really pushed me and I’ve obviously pushed him too to set these records and set these high standards for everyone else in the fullback role, and that’s what I’m going to keep doing. I suppose it’s not about change in the role and how it’s thought about. It’s about making sure we’re as good as we can be for the team and helping us win games and that means get an assistant and goals, that’s what it means.”

Liverpool have lost each of their last two Premier League fixtures and after travelling to Leicester at the weekend they will switch their attentions to the Champions League for the last 16 clash with RB Leipzig.



PSG’s Neymar battles with injury, week to Barcelona’s clash.


Despite Neymar’s absence for the final half an hour, PSG ran out 1-0 winners over Caen thanks to Moise Kean’s 49th minute effort.

Neymar was forced off with injury after an hour during PSG’s French Cup victory over Caen on Wednesday evening – just six days before his side’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.


The Brazil forward – who has 13 goals in 17 appearances in all competitions this season – is due to face his former side Barcelona on Tuesday 16 February in the first leg of the pair’s Champions League last 16 tie. No time scale has yet been given for his return.

As reported by journalist Jonathan Johnson, Neymar went down with a left adductor problem on the 60 minute mark with PSG leading 1-0.

He was replaced by Kylian Mbappe, before heading straight down the tunnel towards the dressing room.

Despite Neymar’s absence for the final half an hour, PSG ran out 1-0 winners over Caen thanks to Moise Kean’s 49th minute effort.


PSG play Niice in Ligue 1 on Saturday 13 February, before the trip to Camp Nou to face Barcelona three days later. Their last 16 second leg against Ronald Koeman’s side at the Parc de Princes is not until 10 March.

Neymar has been prolific in the Champions League this season, netting six goals in five appearances.



Fulham seeks £10m for Liverpool’s Harvey Elliot.


Liverpool recently sold Rhian Brewster to Sheffield United for somewhere close to the £20m mark..

Fulham are expected to demand £10m from Liverpool for young winger Harvey Elliott when the two clubs head to a tribunal on Tuesday.


Liverpool signed the 17-year-old in the summer of 2019 before he had signed a professional contract with Fulham, but the Cottagers are entitled to some compensation after being responsible for his development.

Liverpool offered to pay close to £750,000 to sign the then 16-year-old, but as noted by The Athletic, Fulham want closer to £10m for a player who is: their youngest ever player, Liverpool’s youngest ever starter and the youngest player in Premier League history.

Elliott is currently shining in the Championship with Blackburn Rovers, notching four goals and eight assists in 22 appearances, and he has been tipped to be a major part of the Liverpool setup upon his return to Anfield.


Fulham still feel as though a £10m would be daylight robbery. They felt that Elliott had the potential to blossom into a future superstar at Craven Cottage, and young England internationals have been known to sell for more than that figure.

Harvey Elliott’s case is set for a tribunal | Nicola Sua – AMA/Getty Images

For comparison, Liverpool recently sold Rhian Brewster to Sheffield United for somewhere close to the £20m mark, despite the fact that the striker had not made a single appearance in the Premier League at that point.

Whether Fulham will actually get that £10m is unknown, but given the record amount of compensation set by a tribunal stands at the £6.5m Liverpool were ordered to pay Burnley for Danny Ings, it’s not looking good.

Liverpool will definitely hope to avoid paying that kind of money. Jurgen Klopp was open about the Reds’ lack of transfer funds in January, which is why centre-back Ozan Kabak was only signed on an initial loan, and shelling out £10m might not sit well with club chiefs.


It’s a big case for both Liverpool and Fulham, but also for academies as a whole. There’s a perception that smaller teams are often short-changed in these situations, with most pointing to the mere £850,000 Exeter City were awarded from Chelsea’s purchase of Ethan Ampadu, who earned his first cap for Wales just months after joining the Blues.

Fulham have invested a considerable amount of money in their academy to obtain Category 1 status in 2012, but there are fears that those efforts could be undermined if a player like Elliott is only worth pocket change to a tribunal.



John Stones to remain in Manchester City


Guardiola’s men are competing for four trophies and they want to make sure all their players are fully focused on the task at hand

Manchester City are prepared to reward John Stones’ recent run of good form with a new contract at the Etihad Stadium.


Stones was out of favour under Pep Guardiola last season and was widely expected to leave the club following the big-money arrivals of Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake, but the Englishman has instead forced his way back into the starting lineup, forming a dominant partnership with Dias.

In his 13 Premier League starts this season – he only managed 12 last year – Stones has helped City keep ten clean sheets, and he even chimed in with two goals in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace back in January.


As it stands, Stones is set to enter the final 12 months of his contract at the end of the season, and The Times note that Guardiola has urged City to offer him fresh terms to keep him around for a little while longer.

John Stones has earned himself a new contract at Man City | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Club officials were open to selling Stones last summer but have been incredibly impressed with his reaction to the new signings, and talks between the two are expected to be held at the end of the season.

City want to wait so as to avoid adding any potential distractions into the mix. Guardiola’s men are competing for four trophies and they want to make sure all their players are fully focused on the task at hand.


Speaking to NoRM‘s known Media after his goalscoring exploits against Palace, Stones confessed that he struggled to accept being out in the cold at City and admitted he worked tirelessly to try and get himself back into the fold.

“It’s always tough when you’re not playing and you don’t get a run of games – then when you do, you don’t perform to what you can do, because you maybe put too much pressure on yourself,” he said.

“I’ve said it to Micah Richards and to a lot of people that I went back to the basics and looked at myself first, looked at what I can improve on in every aspect.

“I’ve said to [Richards] a few times now – he’s been very open about himself as well, which is good – and I think players that have been in my position and for me personally to keep fighting and keep believing in myself is something first and foremost that needs to happen.


“You need to be able to look yourself in the mirror and say ‘am I doing everything for myself and for the team?’

“I did that and kept working hard kept the faith and kept grinding away. And as I said, I kept trying to improve – and I still am now. I don’t think you’ll ever stop looking to improve on yourself. I’m just trying to do my best.”



Dean Henderson is willing to replace you – Solskjaer warns De Gea.


He’s working hard on a couple of aspects of his game we’ve spoken about with him, and I’ve been impressed with his attitude and work rate.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that backup goalkeeper Dean Henderson is desperate to replace David de Gea in the starting lineup.


De Gea’s status as United’s first-choice goalkeeper has come into question in recent days following a poor performance in the 3-3 draw with Everton, in which most felt he could have done better for two of the Toffees’ goals.

File Photo: Dean Henderson has been De Gea’s understudy | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News

In Henderson, they have arguably the best backup goalkeeper in the Premier League. He has been earmarked as a future number one at Old Trafford after starring on loan with Sheffield United last season, but has been restricted to just ten appearances in all competitions this year.

“Dean has played well whenever he’s got the chance. He’s matured and for me he’s developed his game,” Solskjaer said when asked how long Henderson would have to wait for another chance.


“I know he’s not played as many games as he would have last season, but you see every game when he plays and in training his improvement.

De Gea was not at his best against Everton | Alex Pantling/Getty Images

“He’s working hard on a couple of aspects of his game we’ve spoken about with him, and I’ve been impressed with his attitude and work rate.

“Of course, he’s not the most patient guy. He wants to play every game because he knows he’ll perform well, so long may it continue because he’s improved since he came [back] here.”

It’s a tricky situation for Solskjaer to handle. On one hand, you’ve got a 30-year-old loyal servant to the club who can be one of the world’s best goalkeepers on his day, but on the other, you’ve got a 23-year-old who needs to play if he is to become the future star he has been touted as.


It brings back memories of Petr Cech vs Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea. When the latter returned from his loan with Atletico Madrid in 2014, he made it clear he was ready to be a first-choice goalkeeper, and the Blues were left with no choice but to demote club-legend Cech to the bench so as to ensure the youngster didn’t leave and excel elsewhere.

Henderson is expected to return to the starting lineup for Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth round clash with West Ham, but by the sounds of it, he’ll need a lot more minutes if he’s to stay at United this summer.



Manchester United speaks on Ole Solskjaer’s contract renewal.


Solskjaer has been under pressure at times, but executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has publicly supported the 47-year-old on a number of occasions.

Manchester United are not expected to open contract talks with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer until the end of the season, at which stage the Norwegian will have one more year left on his current deal.


Solskjaer signed a three-year contract when he was appointed on a permanent basis in 2019, with those original terms still in place and set to expire in the summer of 2022.

During his time in charge, the United legend has experienced major ups and downs at both extremes.

But the club is generally in a far better place now than when he first took over from Jose Mourinho as an interim in 2018 and returned to the top of the Premier League table earlier this season.


Even now, United are still second in the standings and are on course to qualify for the Champions League, while the FA Cup and Europa League each offers good potential to win a trophy.

According to NoRM‘s known Media, United could offer Solskjaer a new two-year deal and are prepared to include a pay rise, as well as bonuses.

But senior officials at Old Trafford would rather wait until the distractions of the season are out of the way before kicking off the talks.

What has Ed Woodward said about Solskjaer’s future?
Solskjaer has been under pressure at times, but executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has publicly supported the 47-year-old on a number of occasions.


“On the pitch, while there is still hard work ahead to achieve greater consistency, we remain absolutely committed to the positive path we are on under Ole as the team continues to develop,” Woodward said of the situation in November.

The United chief reiterated that stance at a fans forum event the same month, explaining, “Of course, we recognise there’s more hard work ahead to achieve the consistency needed to win trophies. But we see positive signs on the pitch and the training ground that reinforce our belief in the progress being made by Ole, his coaching team and the players.”



Rudiger in racial mess over ex-chelsea star dismissal.


Rudiger received a barrage of racial abuse after Lampard was dismissed, both directly and indirectly…

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has revealed that he suffered ‘immense’ racial abuse in the aftermath of Frank Lampard’s sacking, but believes social media companies will not make any changes to tackle this issue.

The 27-year-old has been blamed by some sections of the Blues fanbase for their former coach’s departure, but he dismissed these rumours as nonsense.


However, Rudiger received a barrage of racial abuse after Lampard was dismissed, both directly and indirectly on Twitter and Instagram. Chelsea are investigating the matter, and will hand any evidence over to the police.

And, speaking to the club’s website, the German defender has since suggested that social media companies ‘don’t really care’ about the ease in which the public can hurl derogatory insults at people in the spotlight.

Rudiger has admitted he suffered immense racial abuse | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

“To be very honest, I don’t know about all these social media things but I think the more people who make accounts, they make money off it,” Rudiger said.


“So me personally, I think they don’t really care because as you know money has power so the rest doesn’t matter so it’s hard to tell if people will make a change on that.”

Rudiger described the level of racism he experienced as ‘immense’, and claimed that his conscience is clear over the sacking of Lampard, despite the suggestions that his attitude led to the Chelsea legend’s demise.

“My conscience is clear. I know I did not do all that nonsense. I am open for every new coach as I was open also for Mr Lampard.

“I cannot control people’s emotions but people should be human beings. I didn’t post anything but the racial abuse was immense. This makes me stronger because I know who I am and I can look in the mirror and smile.


“Of course if hurts, but in this case I just block it out because I know I didn’t do anything.”

The German international has started all five of Chelsea’s most recent fixtures, and he has impressed under new coach Thomas Tuchel.



Reguilon reveal who helped him settle at spurs.


Hojbjerg’s arrival initially raised an eyebrow after his unsavoury end to life on the south coast, but like Reguilon, he has proven himself well worthy.

Following an impressive season on loan at Sevilla, Reguilon arrived from Real Madrid for a fee in the region of £27m and has quickly established himself as one of the best left backs in the Premier League with a series of impressive performances.

Speaking to 90min’s Ben Haines as part of Spurs TV’s N17 Live, the 24-year-old credited Hojbjerg as a big part of the reason he was able to hit the ground running so seamlessly.


He said the Dane, who had signed from Southampton just a month earlier, was the first player to reach out to him after he arrived in north London.

Hojbjerg has earned high praise | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

He did so via a WhatsApp message that went into a surprising amount of detail, and left Reguilon taken aback.

He said ahead of Tottenham’s clash with West Brom: “One thing that nobody knows is that Pierre, as soon as I arrived, he sent me a long WhatsApp message welcoming me to the team.


“He said ‘Hi, welcome to Tottenham. I’m Pierre-Emile Hobjerg. I hope you do well. We need you to do your work for the team.’

“I was surprised, because it was a big message!” he said, gesturing with his fingers to stress that it was, in fact, a big message.

“He went into detail about the team-mates, about the coach, all of it. I was like ‘OK!’

“When you arrive in a new city and a new country, it’s important to have people and players who help you, and Pierre is one of them.”


Hojbjerg’s arrival initially raised an eyebrow after his unsavoury end to life on the south coast, but like Reguilon, he has proven himself well worthy.

He is yet to miss a minute in the Premier League, and has been as consistent and meticulous on the pitch as he is over WhatsApp.



Liverpool new signing, Ozan Kabak enlisted in squad to face Manchester City.


Klopp opted to persevere with the partnership of Jordan Henderson and Nat Phillips at the back for that one, as the Reds lost 1-0 to the south coast team.

New Liverpool signing Ozak Kabak could make his debut at some stage against Manchester City, as Jurgen Klopp named the central defender in his matchday squad for the first time.


Kabak arrived on an initial loan from Schalke on deadline day as part of the solution to Liverpool’s injury crisis, but the deal was not cleared in time for him to face Brighton.

Klopp opted to persevere with the partnership of Jordan Henderson and Nat Phillips at the back for that one, as the Reds lost 1-0 to the south coast team.

Henderson remains at centre back for the must-win clash against City and is joined by Fabinho, who returns to start for the first time since mid-January.


New arrival Ben Davies made the squad against Brighton but he has been left out this time around.

File Photo: Liverpool New Signing, Ozan Kabak to play against Manchester City | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News

There is no place for Rhys Williams either, as Phillips drops out of the starting XI to join Kabak on the bench.

A strong bench shows Liverpool’s injury problems are easing up somewhat but it comes too soon for Diogo Jota who is expected to return to action at some point in February.

Alisson retakes his place between the sticks after illness kept him out against Brighton, and having him back will be a major boost as Klopp’s team look for a win that could reinvigorate their title challenge after another Anfield stumble during the week.


Elsewhere Curtis Jones comes in for the experienced James Milner, while Georginio Wijnaldum retains a place alongside Thiago, who starts a seventh straight Premier League game for the defending champions.

The first choice front three take their place with neither Divock Origi or Xherdan Shaqiri doing enough to warrant a shuffling of the pack, while the usual full-back pairing of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson will look to provide the ammunition from wide areas.



West Ham Utd pleads Tomas Soucek red card against Fulham.


Mike Dean opted to send the 25-year-old off after watching several replays of the incident on the pitch-side monitor.

In news that will come as a shock to no-one, West Ham have appealed Tomas Soucek’s questionable dismissal against Fulham on Saturday evening.

Following a VAR review, the Czech midfielder was shown a straight red card by referee Mike Dean in injury time of the 0-0 draw at Craven Cottage after a coming together with Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Replays showed the towering West Ham man had caught Mitrovic in the face with his elbow as he attempted to manoeuvre his arm into a different position, but the VAR Lee Mason recommended an on-field review.


Bizarrely, it seems the review was recommended because of Soucek’s clenched fist, with the suggestion that that somehow constituted violent conduct.

Mike Dean sends Tomas Soucek off | Pool/Getty Images

Never one to shy away from the limelight, Mike Dean opted to send the 25-year-old off after watching several replays of the incident on the pitch-side monitor.


Speaking as a pundit on Match of the Day on Saturday night, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright described the decision as ‘the worst he had ever seen’.

In a club statement released on Sunday, West Ham said: “West Ham United have submitted notice to The Football Association to appeal the red card Tomas Soucek was shown in Saturday’s Premier League fixture against Fulham.

“The Czech midfielder was sent off in added time at the end of the second half after coming into contact with Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrović.


“Referee Mike Dean was asked to look at the incident on the pitch-side monitor by VAR official Lee Mason and decreed that the No28’s actions constituted violent conduct.

“The appeal against Souček’s red card will now be reviewed by an independent regulatory commission at the Football Association.”

If the appeal is successful, which – let’s be honest – seems highly likely, Soucek will be available for David Moyes’ side’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Manchester United on Tuesday.

If the ban is somehow upheld, the influential midfielder will miss that game, as well as the Premier League visits of Sheffield United and Tottenham to the London Stadium.


This is Mike Dean’s second questionable VAR-influenced red card decision in a matter of days, after he wrongly sent off Southampton’s Jan Bednarek against Man Utd at Old Trafford.

The Pole was dismissed after conceding a penalty despite not making any contact with Anthony Martial. That decision was successfully overturned.