Tag Archives: News

Cavajal out to Hamstring injury and would miss Atalanta’s Clash

Advertisements

Dani Carvajal to miss Real Madrid’s first leg against Atalanta due to muscle injury


25 minutes. That’s how long Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal could play after making his return from injury during Sunday’s match against Valencia. The defender suffered a hamstring injury which forced him to leave the game, being replaced by Lucas Vazquez.

The first reports from club sources indicate that Carvajal suffers a hamstring injury on his right leg and that he will undergo tests to reveal the extend of said injury today. The defender seems all but ruled out for Real Madrid’s upcoming clash against Atalanta in the first leg of their Champions League tie in the Round of 16 and it’s likely that he eventually misses the crucial return leg as well, given how tricky these injuries have been for Carvajal all season long.

With Odriozola and Militao also injured, Lucas Vazquez seems ready to be Zidane’s choice to play at the right-back spot, given that Nacho is playing well at the center-back position in Ramos’ absence.


#NobleSports

Kamaru Usman extends UFC reign after ‘Gilbert Burns knockout.’

Advertisements

It is also the longest-ever winning streak for a welterweight in the UFC, surpassing the 12-0 by Canada’s former champ Georges St-Pierre, arguably the greatest fighter the sport has seen.

Nigerian-American Kamaru Usman blasted away challenger Gilbert Burns on Saturday and extended his seemingly impregnable reign at the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight division with a third-round knockout at UFC 258 in Las Vegas.

“This is my cage,” Usman said afterwards. “I’m the undisputed welterweight champion for a reason. I am the best on the planet for a reason. I’m here to stay.”

The bout started with the Brazilian Burns rushing the champion in the center of the cage, landing a huge right to the temple with a minute gone that left Usman wobbling.

Advertisements

But Usman dusted himself off, his rapier-like left jab found its mark, and the champion found his range with some massive rights of his own before the TKO was called with 34 seconds of the third round gone.

It was a straight right that put Burns on his back then, and Usman rained down the blows before referee Herb Dean made the call.

Advertisements

“He caught me in the first round,” said Usman. “I thought: ‘Let’s go to work now’.”

The victory took his lifetime record to 18-1, and the 33-year-old dubbed the “Nigerian Nightmare” is now 13-0 in the UFC the longest active winning streak across all divisions in the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion.

It is also the longest-ever winning streak for a welterweight in the UFC, surpassing the 12-0 by Canada’s former champ Georges St-Pierre, arguably the greatest fighter the sport has seen.

Advertisements

Saturday’s effort showcased the skill set that has taken Usman to the top.

Burns came to MMA after winning multiple world titles in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and Usman looked to keep the action standing.

Burns had said coming into the fight that he had developed the power to match Usman on his feet and the first blow backed the claim.

But a slip then found the Brazilian on his back and Usman used the time to recover, recalibrate, and then come out with all guns blazing.

Advertisements

Saturday’s 10-fight card was the first pay-per-view event the UFC has hosted at its Las Vegas headquarters this year, after its UFC 257 card was staged inside the “Fight Island” complex in Abu Dhabi last month.

The UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas remains fan-free with strict protocols being enforced as the United States continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

Hakim Ziyech ready to exit Chelsea.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

#NobleSport

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.

Advertisements


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.

Advertisements

#NobleSports

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

Advertisements

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?


#NobleSports

Manchester United ‘eyes’ Raphael Varane.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

Liverpool’s Fabinho ‘denied’ trip to Leicester.

Advertisements

With Fabinho out, it seems safe to assume captain Jordan Henderson will retain a spot in the back line, but who will join him is another matter.

Liverpool may hand a debut to one of their deadline day signings in Saturday’s trip to Leicester as Jurgen Klopp confirmed Fabinho will miss the trip with a ‘little muscle issue.’

Advertisements

Fabinho’s versatility has made him a key player for the Reds this season, frequently covering at centre back in the midst of the unprecedented injury crisis that has ruled Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and now Joel Matip out for the season.

But the Brazilian has had problems of his own, having missed five league games this season due to minor injuries.

Advertisements

He returned from a three-game absence to start against Man City at Anfield, but is set to miss out the trip to the King Power as Klopp confirmed in his press conference he has sustained another minor knock.

Fabinho has a minor injury | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

It is unclear if it is related to the problem that saw him sit out clashes with Spurs, West Ham and Brighton, but in any case it leaves the manager with a big decision to make at the back.

With Fabinho out, it seems safe to assume captain Jordan Henderson will retain a spot in the back line, but who will join him is another matter.

Advertisements

Ozan Kabak would seem the favourite, as he made the squad for the first time against City, but it could equally be fellow new arrival Ben Davies.

He would bring some symmetry to the back line, as Liverpool don’t have another naturally left-sided centre back.

Nat Phillips is also available should Klopp look to play it safe, while Rhys Williams will also be vying to earn his way back into the team, having fallen down the pecking order as a result of the new arrivals.

Meanwhile, Klopp also confirmed the game will come too soon for Naby Keita or Diogo Jota.

Advertisements

Fans have been anticipating the latter’s return to the team given the impact he made before his injury in December, but it will be another two to three weeks before he gets the chance to add to his nine Liverpool goals.

Keita could return sooner but is still believed to be a week or two away from match fitness.

Advertisements

#NobleSport

Pochettino discuss Messi’s way to PSG.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.”

Advertisements

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’.

Advertisements

#NobleSport

Mourinho speak on Alli’s major distraction.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

“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.

Advertisements

“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.

Advertisements

#NobleSport

Tuchel settles to give Kepa fresh start at Chelsea.

Advertisements

..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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

“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.

Advertisements

“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.”

Advertisements

#NobleSport

Trent Alexander-Arnold speak on his recent moves.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.”

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

“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.

Advertisements

#NobleSport

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

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

William Saliba blasts Arsenal Manager, Mikel Arteta.

Advertisements

Saliba hasn’t exactly shied away from the chance to bash Arsenal since returning to France, recently telling L’Equipe (via GFFN) that he was surprised to have been given up on so quickly.

Arsenal centre back William Saliba has criticised Mikel Arteta for not giving him enough time to prove himself at the Emirates Stadium this season.

A £27m arrival from Saint-Etienne, Saliba did not play a single minute for the Gunners this season and was eventually shipped out on loan to French side Nice in January, winning the club’s Player of the Month award the same month.

Advertisements

It was a confusing situation, particularly with Arsenal struggling defensively for a large part of the first six months of the season, and Saliba has confessed he was unimpressed with the way Arteta handled the whole thing.

William Saliba was unimpressed with his situation at Arsenal | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

“It is clear that so much has changed in the last year,” he told RMC Sport’s Top of the Foot. “When I saw that the coach changed a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change in my personal life as well.

“He judged me on two-and-a-half matches. I would have liked for him to play me more. But he told me I wasn’t ready. I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that. When I initially came to Arsenal the league looked very good so I showed up to training and wanted to train on my own to show the coach I was ready.

Advertisements

“I am happy now, I want to play for Nice. The idea when you’re part of a team is a better feeling for me.”

Saliba hasn’t exactly shied away from the chance to bash Arsenal since returning to France, recently telling L’Equipe (via GFFN) that he was surprised to have been given up on so quickly.

“There were a lot of factors I think because when they were finishing their league season, I was in quarantine at home, where I could only run 1km in my house,” he explained. “And then there was this thing about the [Coupe de France] final, we didn’t know if I was going to be able to play or not.

“What I mean is as soon as my contract finished (with Saint-Etienne), I wasn’t able to train until an agreement was found. That was for two weeks, I wasn’t training, and the others had already started training again.

Advertisements

“After that, then I went over there at the end of July, they had one more week, so I was training all alone. They came back from holidays two weeks later and I was still training by myself. When they came back I played in two friendlies, but I wasn’t ready, I hadn’t played for six months. I had no preparation and to pick up rhythm, you need to play matches.

“The coach told me I wasn’t ready, I thought ‘That’s normal, these were just two matches and I hadn’t played for six months’. After that I waited for my chance, I waited for him to play me more to get a rhythm. But that’s football, it’s like that, it’s behind me and I took the experience.”

Advertisements

#NobleSport

John Stones to remain in Manchester City

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

“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.”

Advertisements

#NobleSport

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

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

“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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

#NobleSport

Manchester United speaks on Ole Solskjaer’s contract renewal.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

“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.”

Advertisements

#NobleSport

Rudiger in racial mess over ex-chelsea star dismissal.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

“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.

Advertisements

“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.

Advertisements

#NobleSport

Reguilon reveal who helped him settle at spurs.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

“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.”

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

#NobleSport

West Ham Utd pleads Tomas Soucek red card against Fulham.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

“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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

#NobleSport

Tottenham eases pressure on Mourinho amid Kane’s return.

Advertisements

Tottenham needed a win in style to try and resurrect their Premier League campaign, to at least give themselves a chance of battling for top four instead of battling Arsenal for top ten.

From Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Every football fan likes to believe their club is truly unique – that theirs is the most special among the seven hundred trillion teams that exist on this planet.

A quote had been doing the rounds among Tottenham fans recently from the great Danny Blanchflower, who insisted that football is about playing with style.

Harry Kane scored on his return from injury | Pool/Getty Images

Obviously, it’s being pushed as anti-Mourinho rhetoric. But, again, there are few teams who have ever had philosophies of playing boring football.

Advertisements

But the first line of the pre-match video that blared out on the big screens at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (who are they doing this for again?) has perhaps best summed up Spurs’ recent woes.

“Can you see it, this display of courage?”

Tottenham haven’t played with courage in weeks. They’ve been totally devoid of confidence, ideas, and above all, winning. That should’ve been the first aim.

Thankfully, that was the case in Sunday’s 2-0 victory against West Brom. From the off, Spurs played with a zip and purpose, a swagger in their step and a visible desire to win.

Advertisements

As Tottenham started stuffing the losses column in the table in recent weeks thanks to a series of diabolical displays, all fans wanted was some hope that this wasn’t the ‘new normal’.

That wasn’t so hard was it, mate? | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Though the majority of Jose Mourinho’s tenure has been blighted by bad football, it hasn’t always been the case.

Advertisements

In the autumn, Spurs put five past Southampton, six past Manchester United and three past West Ham while dominating from back to front.

But then they conceded three goals to the Hammers in the last ten minutes. Then Mourinho shut up shop for good. It was the last time Spurs looked exciting in the Premier League until today.

A defeat at home to West Brom may have spelled the end for Mourinho at Spurs – there was a real doomsday feeling after the loss vs Chelsea on Thursday – and failure to put away one of the worst sides in the league would have been the ultimate nail in the coffin.

Advertisements

Tottenham needed a win in style to try and resurrect their Premier League campaign, to at least give themselves a chance of battling for top four instead of battling Arsenal for top ten.

Spurs actually tried playing football on Sunday | Pool/Getty Images

The returning Harry Kane looked sharp and dangerous, Son Heung-min found his shooting boots again, and the decision to start Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela helped Spurs find their way around a typically deep Sam Allardyce side. There’s a map for Tottenham to navigate their way out of this crisis and they’ve started following it just before fatal disaster.

Granted, it is only West Brom, but you have to start somewhere and can only beat what’s in front of you – Wednesday’s FA Cup tie with Everton will serve as the greater litmus test for their hopes this season.

Spurs have had a game like this in their locker for a long time. Every team does – it’s football, no club side loses forever. You have good games and you have bad games, but Tottenham quite obviously have the resources to play well and win on a far more consistent basis – this victory served as the reminder.

Advertisements

It’s not that every team has a divine right to win and play football. It’s that any team can.

For more from Sean Walsh, follow him on Twitter!

Story Source: 90Min

Advertisements

#NobleSport

Liverpool, Leipzig last-16 match ‘moved’ to new location amid Germany ban.

Advertisements

UEFA’s regulations stipulated that the home side must find a way of hosting the match or risk forfeiting it as a 3-0 defeat.

Liverpool’s Champions League last-16 away tie against RB Leipzig will be staged in Budapest as coronavirus restrictions bar the English champions travelling to Germany, UEFA announced on Sunday.

Advertisements

The February 16 first leg “will now take place at Puskas Arena in Budapest,” European football’s governing body confirmed.

UEFA’s statement thanked the two clubs “for their close cooperation and assistance in finding a solution to the issue at hand, as well as the Hungarian Football Federation for their support and agreeing to host the match in question.”

Confirmation of Budapest as hosts ended any doubt about the tie taking place after the imposition of strict entry rules in Germany to combat the spread of the pandemic.

UEFA’s regulations stipulated that the home side must find a way of hosting the match or risk forfeiting it as a 3-0 defeat.

Advertisements

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp had said he believed an exemption should have been made for his side to travel.

The decision from the German authorities on travel bans also places a question mark over another Champions League last-16 match, as Borussia Moenchengladbach host Manchester City on February 24.

Advertisements

#NobleSport

Mike Dean’s red card decision to Tomas Soucek trigger reactions on Twitter.

Advertisements

That’s it. To quote every person ever – the game has officially gone.

Time of death: 97 minutes into West Ham United’s 0-0 draw with Fulham.

Rubbing Season 3 GIF by The Simpsons – Find & Share on GIPHYCause of death: Mike Dean, VAR and Tomas Soucek’s sad face.

In possibly the worst use and execution of the Video Assistant Referee in Premier League history, Dean opted to brandish a red card to the loveable Czech star, for accidentally brushing Aleksandar Mitrovic with his elbow as he attempted to make a bit of space for himself.

Advertisements

Story Source: 90Min

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

Booker T react to Undertaker’s ‘Today’s wrestlers are soft’ comment.

Advertisements

They were drinking and smoking cigarettes. There was some gambling going on and I was like, ‘Wow, this is cool. I want to be part of this right here.’

On a recent episode of “The Hall Of Fame” podcast, Booker T gave his opinion of The Undertaker’s comments of today’s wrestlers being soft.

Booker said, “I remember the first time Haku got my brother and I back in the locker room in WWF back in The Summit. We walked in the locker room, and this is no joke, Hulk Hogan, and, I don’t know, Macho Man Savage, and a few more of the guys were at a table. They were playing cards. They were drinking and smoking cigarettes. There was some gambling going on and I was like, ‘Wow, this is cool. I want to be part of this right here.’

File Photo: WWE Hall of Famer, Booker T | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News

It was a bunch of men in the locker room. There wasn’t anything soft about those guys when I first saw them. It was a bunch of grown men in the locker room. I wanted to be a part of that. I wasn’t a guy that played cards, but I just wanted to be around it and see what it felt like. You walk in the locker room today and it’s going to be totally different than it was back then. You say, perhaps for the better, and in a lot of ways, I think so as well, but, the soft comment that The Undertaker said.

Advertisements

I need guys to understand when going out and making the fans feel a certain way, I think that’s what The Undertaker was talking about. For 30 years, The Undertaker made you feel a certain way. I can honestly tell you this and believe it 100% if The Undertaker was going to have one of those knock down, drag out matches with HHH or The Rock or whoever from back in the day when he dove over the top rope and crashed and burned, like the last one that almost killed him, and then put a tweet out, Undertaker would not be The Undertaker to me.

The feel of The Undertaker wasn’t just his in-ring persona. We have believed in The Undertaker. That’s why we as the boys look at The Undertaker a certain way. We have believed in him for 30 years because he went out there and performed a certain way and he believed in, there again, the character. As far as the business goes, keep our secrets under wraps and I think that’s what The Undertaker was talking about.”

Advertisements

#NobleSport