Chelsea winger, Willian, wants a three-year contract because it will make him continue playing until when he clocks 35-year-old, according to Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol.
DAILY POST recalls that Arsenal had already made a formal three-year contract offer to Willian.
Willian will be a free agent as soon as Chelsea’s Champions League campaign ends this month.
The 31-year-old recently rejected Chelsea’s latest offer to sign a new two-year contract at Stamford Bridge.
But Solhekol believes Willian wants one big final contract in his career that will see him earn more money.
“Willian wants one big final contract – ideally a three-year deal to take him to 35. Chelsea would like to keep him, though they are not going to offer him three years,” Solhekol was quoted by Sky Sport as saying.
“At the moment, it looks like Arsenal is his most likely destination, but he’s a free agent, and at his age, realistically, you are likely to go where there’s the most money and longest contract on offer.
“He’s got a great injury record so his agent will be saying, ‘Do not worry about his fitness’.”
Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane, has explained why he dropped winger, Gareth Bale, from his side’s Champions League round of 16 second-leg squad to face Manchester City on Friday night at Etihad Stadium.
DAILY POST had earlier reported that Zidane omitted Bale from Real Madrid’s 24-man squad to tackle Pep Guardiola’s men.
But Zidane is now saying that he excluded Bale from the Los Blancos squad because the former Tottenham Hotspur star “didn’t want to play”.
Asked why he omitted the Welsh international, Zidane said as quoted by Sky Sports: “It was a personal conversation I had with him.
“He preferred not to play. The rest remains between him and me, but he said he didn’t want to.”Real Madrid head to the game following a 2-1 defeat to Man City in the first-leg at the Santiago Bernabeu in February.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are set to benefit from Manchester City’s £9million (€10m) UEFA fine, following the Court of Arbitration’s (CAS) ruling on Monday.
UEFA had banned City from European football for two years following alleged breaches to Financial Fair Play (FFP).
Following this historic victory, the ban will no longer be imposed while the €30m fine has been reduced to €10m (£9m).
According to the UEFA ruling, this money will now be shared out among clubs in the Champions League and Europa League competitions, who have adhered to all rules set out.
This means the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea will receive small monetary boosts as a result.
This mirrors a situation from six years ago, in which City was fined £50m by UEFA for the FFP breaches, but was informed they would only pay around £20m if they went on to comply with the break-even rules in future seasons.
In 2014, the first tranche of payments from City, along with Paris Saint-Germain and Zenit St Petersburg who was also found guilty of breaking the rules totalled £20m and was also split among the Champions League and Europa League clubs.
Barcelona’s president, Josep Bartomeu, has disclosed that the club have held discussion with Inter Milan over a transfer move for striker, Lautaro Martinez.
DAILY POST had reported that Martinez is one of Barcelona’s top targets this summer, but the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means they are unlikely to meet the player’s £97million buy-out clause.
“We held conversations with Inter a few weeks ago [over a transfer for Lautaro Martinez], but the negotiations are not ongoing at the moment. We are evaluating things,” Bartomeu told TV3.
“The league and the Champions League are not finished, so we have to evaluate our priorities. We have also to make considerations on internal factors to face the crisis that the club is facing.
“Right now, we cannot think about making significant investments. We will have to see when people will be allowed to return to the stadium and to our museum.
“We will have to wait and see how this whole situation evolves. However, our club will be the main player in the transfer window.”
UEFA has reacted to the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), to overturn Manchester City’s two-year ban from European competitions.
The ruling means City will play in the Champions League next season.
The former English champions have also had their fine reduced from £25million to £8.9million.
City had been banned by UEFA for breaking Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, but have had the decision overturned by CAS.
However, a statement from European football’s governing body on Monday, showed they were not happy with what they see as many of City’s alleged breaches being “time-barred.”
“UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the 5 year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations.
“Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles,” part of UEFA’s statement read.
Manchester City will play in the Champions League next season, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned their two-year ban from European football.
UEFA’s club financial control body handed City the suspension in February, over “serious breaches” of club licensing and Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
The former Premier League champions strongly denied any wrongdoing and appealed the decision at CAS last month.
After hearing evidence over the course of three days in June, CAS has now overturned the suspension.
A statement from City on Monday read: “Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the Club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present.
“The Club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”
Pep Guardiola and his staff took a selfie to celebrate Manchester City’s European ban being overturned.
The club were initially hit with a two-year ban from the Champions League and Europa League for breaching UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations but today the verdict from Court of Arbitration for Sport saw City exonerated and the punishment reduced to a €10 million fine.
And minutes after City were cleared, Guardiola and members of his team posed for a picture with Sky Sports News in the background.
The image was posted by Manuel Estiarte, a former water polo player who has become a vital member of Guardiola’s staff – though it has since been deleted from the Spaniard’s Instagram page.
UEFA claimed that City had ‘seriously misled’ them and broken FFP by falsely inflating inflated their sponsorship revenues but the ruling from CAS denied it was the case.
A statement from CAS read: “Manchester City did not disguise equity funding as sponsorship contributions but did fail to cooperate with the UEFA authorities. CAS decision: Exclusion from participation in UEFA club competitions lifted; fine maintained but reduced to €10 million.”
City are now free to play in European competition for the next two seasons, while it also means whoever finishes fifth in the Premier League will not achieve qualification to the Champions League next term.
A statement on the club’s official website said: “Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the Club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present. The Club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”
The former Manchester City man is yet to reach his potential according to the veteran striker, who believes the 24-year-old can achieve great success
Leroy Sane will prove a superb addition to Bayern Munich’s side, according to the club’s former striker Lukas Podolski, but the ex-Germany international believes that the winger has more yet to give.
Sane’s move to the Bundesliga champions was confirmed at the start of this month, following well over a year of speculation that he would swap Manchester City for Bavaria, with the attacking midfielder penning a long-term deal to seal a return to his home country.
The arrival of the 24-year-old will boost an already fearsome Bayern side that sealed an eighth consecutive domestic crown earlier this year following the resumption of sport after a coronavirus-enforced lay-off and remain in contention for European glory in this season’s Champions League.
The Hoffenheim teenager is one of the German’s main targets when he moves to the Serie A club
Ralf Rangnick wants to sign Hoffenheim teenager Melayro Bogarde as one of his first players at AC Milan.
The current head of sport development for Red Bull is set to take charge at Milan this summer, replacing Stefano Pioli as the club’s coach.
Milan look to have missed out on a Champions League spot for 2020-21 and see Rangnick as the man who can lead them back to Europe’s top competition after another season of failing to finish in the top four.
The Frenchman netted an all-important winner against Dean Smith’s side to ensure the Blues tighten their hold on fourth place
Olivier Giroud’s hot streak against Aston Villa continued as Chelsea secured a win on their return to Premier League action.
The Blues picked up their first away victory of 2020 by beating Villa 2-1 in their own backyard on Saturday afternoon.
Frank Lampard’s side moved to within three points of third-placed Leicester City as a result, while opening up a five-point lead over Champions League qualification rivals Manchester United.
The Uruguay and Belgium internationals will not travel to Lisbon for the rest of the competition while Layvin Kurzawa and Thiago Silva will stay on
Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier will not stay on to see out Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League campaign and will leave the club when their contracts expire at the end of June.
Cavani and Meunier are among several PSG players whose contracts expire on June 30, as well as defensive pair Thiago Silva and Layvin Kurzawa.
But while Kurzawa and Silva look set to accept the offer to stay until the culmination of the Champions League, Goal can confirm that the French champions will lose two key players as they prepare to compete for continental honours.
Barcelona coach Quique Setien has said it will be unfair if his team have to play their Champions League second leg against Napoli at a neutral venue rather than Camp Nou.
UEFA announced on Wednesday that a ‘final eight’ knock-out tournament will be held in Lisbon in August for clubs through to the quarter-finals but it is still to be decided how to resolve the four incomplete ties in the last 16.
Barca drew 1-1 in their first leg away to Napoli in February before the coronavirus crisis meant they were unable to play the return leg at home. One possible solution would be to stage the outstanding second legs at neutral venues but Setien feels that would hand Napoli an advantage.
“The match should be played in our stadium because otherwise we are giving the advantage to Napoli, who played their game in their own stadium, with the support of their fans,” Setien said in a press conference on Thursday. “It will be a different thing if we have to play in a neutral venue and, on top of that, behind closed doors.”
While the resumption of the Champions League is still almost two months away, Barcelona’s domestic title challenge is approaching a crucial stage.
They sit five points ahead of Real Madrid, who play their game in hand against Valencia later on Thursday. Barca then visit third-placed Sevilla on Friday and face tough games against Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal in their next five.
“We face a team that is third and will make things difficult for us,” said Setien. “We will have to play at an extraordinary level.”
Lionel Messi has two goals and two assists in Barca’s two matches since the restart and he will hit 700 goals for club and country if he scores against Sevilla. “It would suit us if he achieves it because it is going to be a game where we need everything to win,” said Setien. “His numbers are the kind of numbers that only the chosen ones can reach. I hope he gets there and goes much further.”
Setien said Luis Suarez, who was able to recover from a knee injury during the three-month break, is not ready to play 90 minutes against Sevilla. “Even though is getting more and more minutes, the time from match to match is very little,” Setien said. “He is finding his rhythm but we’ll have to see. My understanding is he is not ready for 90 minutes and we will decide if he plays from the start or later in the match.”
Barcelona will also be without Frenkie de Jong, who has a calf strain, and Sergi Roberto, who has broken a rib. Jordi Alba is back from suspension.
Pep Guardiola’s side hold a 2-1 advantage after their impressive victory in the Spanish capital back in February
Manchester City have a better team than Real Madrid, according to midfielder Rodri – but they can’t take Champions League progression for granted.
As authorities work on plans to finish the European campaign, City have one foot in the quarter-finals after coming from behind to beat Madrid 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
When the second leg is played, it will doubtless be a fascinating encounter between the teams currently sat second in the Premier League and La Liga, but Rodri is wary of overconfidence.
The Bundesliga outfit are already through to the quarter-finals of the European competition, but the forward does not want to play any further part
Timo Werner has indicated that he is unwilling to return to RB Leipzig in August in order to complete his side’s Champions League run after Chelsea agreed to meet his buyout clause of £54 million ($68m) ahead of a move to Stamford Bridge next season.
The 24-year-old is due to complete the Bundesliga season in just 11 days time, but he is not willing to come back and play in Europe despite Leipzig having reached the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time after their last-16 win over Tottenham.
UEFA wants to complete both the Champions League and Europa League in August once league seasons have been finished across the continent.
Robert Lewandowski says the Ballon d’Or is not his focus but that “anything is possible” when it comes to winning the award, while insisting that his best years are still ahead of him.
The Bayern Munich striker has never been in the top three for football’s most prestigious individual prize, his best record coming when he finished fourth in the standings in 2015.
The 31-year-old is likely to be in the running for the 2020 prize, though, having scored 45 goals in all competitions to put Bayern on the brink of another Bundesliga title.
Should Hansi Flick’s side also win the DFB-Pokal and Champions League this term, Lewandowski would be a strong candidate to become just the second player other than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the award since 2007.
“I was at the award ceremony last December,” Lewandowski told France Football.
“We’ll see. What I try to do is to always show the best of myself, win trophies and score more goals. But that’s something that comes with collective trophies. That’s the most important thing.
“I don’t even think about the Ballon d’Or, even if, in my life, I believe that anything is possible.
“I am not yet in the best period of my career. Soon (I’ll be). But all of these are just numbers. I am confident that the best moment of my career will come quickly. I know this is not my last contract. I want to play longer and stay in shape.
“I have all the time in front of me to think about the future, but I feel really good. I’m going to celebrate my 32th birthday next August, but that doesn’t mean that I feel this age.
“For me, it doesn’t matter in terms of everything I do, my involvement in and outside of football. What I want is not just staying on top for the next two or three years, I’m looking at the longer term.”
Lewandowski puts his spectacular form down to a careful regimen of diet and training to keep mentally and physically sharp.
“I don’t eat meat on the day of a match. It’s too heavy for my body. I eat light – that’s what I need,” he explained.
“The meal depends on several things: when is the game, what time is it…
“If you eat rice or pasta, it will bring you big benefits in terms of energy in the very short term. But, over time, you gain nothing.
“It’s not easy [to score] especially when you are tired. With 90 per cent of goals, it’s the head that does the work and it’s influenced by your level of concentration.
“If you’re tired, your thinking will automatically be slower. In the penalty area, we have only 0.1 seconds, maybe 0.2, to think, make our decision and interact with the ball.
“That’s why we come to training, because there is no other place to build automatic movements and shots. Whether it’s left foot, right foot, whatever, you have to be ready. You don’t even have to think about it – you have to do it.”
The midfielder has eulogised over the qualities of his former team-mate, who left the Santiago Bernabeu for Juventus in 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo always motivated Real Madrid to win and Los Blancos miss his goals and character, says Luka Modric.
Portugal great Ronaldo became Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer during nine prolific and trophy-laden seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu between 2009 and 2018.
Madrid sanctioned a big-money sale to Juventus after winning a third Champions League title in as many years, and fourth in five seasons, and Los Blancos stumbled in their first campaign without their talisman in 2018-19.
The former Red Devils goalkeeper still believes the World Cup winner has an “integral” role to play in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad
Paul Pogba is “one of the best players in the world” and “near impossible to replace”, according to Mark Bosnich, who has urged Manchester United to keep hold of the French midfielder.
Pogba returned to United for a second spell from Juventus in an £89 million (£112m) deal back in 2016, becoming the most expensive signing in the club’s history in the process. He has since racked up 143 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 31 goals, while also getting his hands on the Europa League and Carabao Cup.
However, the 27-year-old has so far been unable to inspire United towards Premier League or Champions League success, amid persistent struggles for form and fitness.
The pair have made more than 600 combined appearances for the club, winning countless domestic trophies during their time in Paris
Edinson Cavani and club captain Thiago Silva will both leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer, director of football Leonardo has confirmed.
The pair are both out of contract at the end of June but will remain with the club until the season is fully completed with the Champions League, Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue all still to be resolved.
Between them, they have made more than 600 combined appearances for PSG in all competitions.
The England striker has been out of action since January but is now ready to help the Red Devils’ push for Champions League qualification
Marcus Rashford says he is fit and raring to go as Manchester United prepare for the return of the Premier League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side return to action with a trip to Tottenham on June 19, their first competitive game since their 5-0 Europa League win over LASK on March 12.
Rashford has missed their last 13 games with a back injury which at one point had looked likely to end his season.
The former Spurs manager says there will be no margin for error for his old club when they play host to the Red Devils next week
Tottenham’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League will be over if they fail to beat Manchester United on June 19, according to Tim Sherwood.
Spurs endured a miserable six-game winless run before the 2019-20 season was temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.
Jose Mourinho’s men exited Europe and the FA Cup during that period, while also slipping to eighth in the Premier League standings.
The Nigerian striker has been heavily linked with a switch to the Stadio San Paolo
Osita Okolo, the brother-in-law and agent of Lille striker Victor Osimhen, has not ruled out the possibility of the Nigerian joining Napoli.
Reports surfaced last week the 21-year-old had agreed a deal to join the Partenopei, but the player came out to debunk it as “fake news”.
It still has not stopped Osimhen’s name from circulating in the transfer rumour mill after scoring 13 goals in 27 Ligue 1 outings with Lille finishing just a point and place shy of Champions League qualification.
The former Gunners defender doubts that Mikel Arteta’s side can come into Champions League contention as their away form remains an issue
Arsenal have been warned that their long-standing issues away from home are likely to scupper any top-four ambitions when Premier League football returns, with Martin Keown considering form on the road to still be the Gunners’ “Achilles heel”.
Top-flight action in England has been given a green light to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic from June 17.
Arsenal will be among the first back out onto the field, as they prepare to take in a meeting with Manchester City.
Nuri Sahin’s mark had previously stood for 15 years before the highly-rated teenager netted a late consolation at the BayArena
Bayer Leverkusen teenager Florian Wirtz became the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever goalscorer when netting a late consolation in his side’s 4-2 defeat by Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Leverkusen went into the weekend’s fixture at the BayArena with the opportunity to frustrate Bayern’s title procession and bolster their own Champions League hopes.
But there was no stopping the rampant Bavarians, who ran out 4-2 winners to move 10 points clear of Borussia Dortmund at the Bundesliga summit ahead of BVB’s clash with Hertha Berlin.
The Dutchman has spoken on a series of subjects and has committed his future to the Bianconeri
Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest player of his generation, according to Matthijs de Ligt.
The Portuguese is in his second season in Turin, having made the leap to Juve from Real Madrid after a spell in which he established himself as a club legend by winning four Champions Leagues and scoring more goals for Los Blancos than anyone in history.
At 35 years old, he has maintained his remarkable standard at Juventus Stadium, this season scoring 25 goals in 32 outings in all competitions, including a streak of 11 goals in 11 successive Serie A games – a run ended by Inter immediately before the coronavirus pandemic caused play to halt.
The England striker believes his side will have the upper hand as they look to beat the competition to a top-four finish
Harry Kane believes Tottenham will have an advantage in the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League because they will not be distracted by European competition.
Spurs are eighth in the table and seven points behind Chelsea, who occupy the final spot that guarantees qualification to next season’s Champions League.
After Norwich eliminated them from the FA Cup, Jose Mourinho’s team were knocked out of Europe by RB Leipzig in their last game before the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of football across the world.
Nils Petersen scored just 63 seconds after being introduced, damaging Borussia Monchengladbach’s top-four hopes.
Borussia Monchengladbach’s Champions League aspirations have been dealt a major blow after Freiburg inflicted a 1-0 defeat in the Bundesliga on Friday.
Gladbach were generally the livelier of the two sides in attack, but they failed to make the most of their chances and Freiburg snatched a hard-fought win, giving Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig the advantage in the three-way battle for third and fourth.
Alexander Schwolow in the Freiburg goal was a frequent cause of frustration for Marco Rose’s men, particularly in the first half, while Florian Neuhaus had a goal wiped out after straying offside.
Cameroonian Football legend, Samuel Eto’o has revealed how a local game in his city convinced his parents to allow him to play football.
During his stellar career, Eto’o, who played for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Everton amassed three Champions League titles, three La Liga crowns, two Copa del Reys, Serie A, the Coppa Italia twice and the FIFA Club World Cup.
But while growing up, he used to hide from his parents to go play football because they thought football was a sport for those that had no interest going to school.
He said the major break happened when his father accidentally saw him played so well in a local game in his city, and that was how he got convinced and allowed him to continue playing football.
I lived and breathed football – but my parents were very hard on me,‘ the 39-year-old said via FIFA.com. ‘They did not accept the fact that I played football because to them football was something children played if they didn’t go to school.
‘I was obviously going to school and I was not a bad student, but I had a passion, which was football. I vividly remember one day I played a game in my city and I had to hide in order to go play. What I didn’t know is that my dad was with some friends in the bar in front of the field.
‘Everything I did that day in that game gave me my “pass” to play football freely. Because my parents did not know [until that moment] that I seemed to have a natural talent for the game.
‘I was the hero of my neighbourhood after that game. That day, when I returned home, my father arrived a little later and said: “You are so good, I saw your match today. I’m going to talk to your mother so you can keep playing.”
‘That is how he gave me a pass to keep playing. I was about 12 or 13 years old. From that moment on there was no looking back.
‘I had the blessing of my father and you could not keep me off that football pitch. Day or night. From there, it was one or two years before I went to Europe, and my life changed forever.’
Failure to meet financial conditions imposed by UEFA means the Turkish side could miss out on the Champions League next season
Turkish Super Lig leaders Trabzonspor have been handed a one-season ban from European football for breaching UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations.
UEFA said in a statement on Wednesday that the club had failed to meet the conditions of a 2016 settlement agreement which required them to be “break-even compliant”.
The governing body confirmed the ban would be applied if the club qualified for the Champions League or Europa League in either of the next two seasons.
Liverpool’s coach Jurgen Klopp has hailed Nigerian legend, Austin Okocha for his impact in football, crediting him to have scored the most spectacular goal in the history of German football.”
Klopp picked Okocha’s dazzling strike against Oliver Kahn –when he featured for Eintracht Frankfurt against Karlsruher in the 1992-93 Bundesliga campaign –as the most spectacular goal he has seen in German football.
The 46-year-old Nigerian legend danced through many of his markers, left them crawling on the floor before hitting the ball past Khan.
It was to be later voted as the Goal of the Season by several football publications as well as German TV sports show, Sportschau.
And according to Klopp, the goal was historic, adding that Okocha left the German goalkeeper and his defenders diving on the floor for about five minutes before he finally scored the goal.
“Okocha scored the most spectacular goal in the history of German football,” Klopp told the Guardian UK. “It took like five minutes of Kahn and his defenders diving on the floor before he put the ball in the net.”
The former Borussia Dortmund gaffer also hailed African players for their impact in European football, wondering why any team would not sign the likes of George Weah, Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure.
Liverpool have three African players in their fold at the moment –Egypt forward, Mohamed Salah; Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Naby Keita of Guinea.
The trio has been instrumental in Liverpool’s exploits in the past couple of years which saw them reaching the final of the Champions League in back-to-back seasons and winning it once.
Klopp’s men – with the help of Salah and Mane –are on the verge on lifting the Premier League crown since 1990 and the German has admitted that the mentality of African players pushes them to do more.
He narrated how Salah drives over four hours to training daily and how Mane rushes to do the same every day.
Slovenian referee, Slavko Vincic has reacted after he was recently arrested at a party as part of a probe into a prostitution and drugs ring.
The 40-year-old, who has officiated Champions League game between Genk and Liverpool this season was detained in a cabin in Bijeljina where the authorities also discovered nine women, 26 men and a cache of weapons and seized cocaine, weapons, and cash.
Croatian daily 24Sata reported that Vincic was arrested alongside with Tijana Maksimovic, who police believe was the ringleader of the prostitution ring.
Bijeljina police said: “During the search of the house and vehicles used by the suspects, 14 packages of cocaine, ten pistols, three suits of body armour, over 10,000 euros (£8,996) in various currencies, phones and laptops were found and seized.”
Vincic, who has now been released said he was invited to a business meeting in the Bosnian city of Bijeljina and just happened to be at the party by chance.
He confirmed he was allowed to return home on Friday after he was questioned by officers as a witness.
Speaking to Slovenian news outlet Vecer, Vincic said: “I found myself on this ranch by chance. I have my own company, I was in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a business meeting.
“I accepted an invitation to lunch, which turned out to be my biggest mistake. I regret it.
“I was sitting at a table with my company, all of a sudden the police came and what happened, happened.
“I have nothing to do with the group that was arrested and detained, nor do my business partners.
“Yes, they really took us to the police, asked as witnesses, when it turned out that we didn’t even know them, we were able to go.”
Vlado Sajn, the president of the Association of Football Referees of Slovenia has come to the defence of Vincic, who he said was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
He said: “According to the information we gathered from official and unofficial sources, and last but not least from Slavko himself, he is not suspected of anything, no proceedings have been instituted against him.
“He found himself in this place at the wrong time. He was invited to a party where there was a large group of people – he did not know the vast majority.
“There was a raid, 15 people were arrested, and all the others were allegedly brought to the police station to testify as witnesses.
“Slavko is already in Slovenia. I consider this story to be a web of unfortunate circumstances.”
The Reds came unstuck in League Cup, Europa League and Champions League showpieces under Jurgen Klopp before finally scratching a trophy itch in 2019
Liverpool are stronger for the pain they suffered in the past, says Simon Mignolet, with final setbacks in the League Cup, Europa League and Champions League considered to have made the Reds the trophy-collecting machine they are today.
When Jurgen Klopp took the reins at Anfield in October 2015, one of English football’s most decorated clubs had gone more than three years without major silverware.
That barren run would stretch towards the seven-year mark as Liverpool continued to struggle in getting over the final hurdle in domestic and continental competition.
A decade-and-a-half on from the most unlikely of triumphs, the Liverpool star says that the 2004-05 Champions League runner-ups were stronger
Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher has admitted that his team were not the better side on the night of their remarkable Champions League success against Milan in Istanbul in 2005.
The Reds famously scored three goals in the space of six minutes to erase their rivals’ lead in Turkey and force a penalty shootout, which they went on to win.
The match is widely considered one of the most remarkable sporting feats of the 21st century, with Rafa Benitez’s achievement still held in high regard by supporters and rivals alike, but reflecting on the match a decade-and-a-half later as he prepares to rewatch the game, Carragher has acknowledged that the best team on the day were the ones that went home empty-handed
Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba has revealed how his former Blues’ teammate, Juan Mata helped him win the 2012 UEFA Champions League.
Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties in the final to win their first Champions League trophy eight years ago at the Allianz Arena.
Thomas Mueller put the host in front with eight minutes left to the end of the match before Didier Drogba equalised for the Premier League giant following an assist from Mata as the encounter ended 1-1 after 120 minutes.
“Eight years ago, the manager [Andre Villas-Boas] had been sacked by the club and we, the players, had a team meeting where we recognised being partly responsible for his departure,” Drogba wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night.
“The captain @johnterry spoke, @franklampard @petrcech and other leaders in the team too.
“We decided to all give the Champions League everything, despite our defeat 4-1 to Napoli.
“We had been chasing this trophy for 8 years and could not do better than runners up. Everyone agreed to put egos aside and challenge each other for the same goal.
“After that meeting, I asked a young 23-years-old @juanmatagarcia ‘please Maestro, help me win the champions league.’
“He looked at me like ‘man you are crazy, you are Didier Drogba you are gonna help me win it.’
“I then told him I have been here for eight years and never won it, so I believe you are the one who is gonna help us win.
“I will even give you a present if we win it, that was February ending.
“Three months later, we were in Munich, in the Champions League final, in their stadium, submerged with a red wave.
“The hosts took the lead with eight minutes to go and on my way to kick the ball for the last 8 minutes I was so discouraged, the young man [Mata] said to me ‘believe Didi, you have to believe,’ almost in tears I answered after looking at the time score “believe in what? It’ is almost over, I am gonna cry like a few months ago when I lost the final with Côte d’Ivoire.
“Last minute, last corner, I mean the first corner for us against 18 for Bayern Munich.
“Guess who took that corner kick… @juanmatagarcia and the rest is history. The lesson is ALWAYS BELIEVE!”
Veteran Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini has claimed that Sergio Ramos knew exactly what he was doing when he famously injured Mohamed Salah in the final of the 2018 UEFA Champions League.
The Real Madrid defender and Liverpool forward grappled early in the UCL final that year and the Egyptian came off the worse, suffering a shoulder injury which put him out of the remainder of the game and very nearly saw him miss the World Cup in Russia.
Ramos has always denied that he intentionally injured Salah, but Chiellini – a master of the ‘dark arts’ of defending – wrote in his autobiography that the Spaniard’s action were very much deliberate and targeted.
“Critics can say that he [Ramos] is impulsive, not tactical at all and that because of him there are eight or 10 extra goals conceded a season. If I caused an extra two or three goals, I wouldn’t live any more,” he wrote, as quoted by King Fut.
“He is very technical and could be a striker, we are opposites. However, he has two characteristics almost no-one has.
“The first is knowing how to be decisive in important games. He makes interventions beyond any logic, even with injuries that he causes with almost diabolical cunning.
“Salah’s was a masterstroke. He always said that he didn’t mean to injury him, but he was aware that falling that way and without letting go of his grip, nine times out of 10 you can break your rival’s arm,” he added.
While Real Madrid won that UCL final, Salah went on to lead Liverpool to European triumph a year later with victory over Tottenham Hotspur in 2019.
Sylvanus ‘Quick Silver’ Okpala, has said no coach will allow players like Chinedu Obasi, Ike Uche and Taiye Taiwo in a team given their unprofessional conduct at the time late Stephen Keshi was coach of the Super Eagles.
Okpala, who was part of Keshi’s technical team, spoke in defence of Keshi, who some ex-national team players have accused of asking for bribe.
According to him, Keshi, who won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, had good reasons not to pick Chinedu Obasi, Ike Uche, Brown Ideye and Taiye Taiwo as part of the 2014 Brazil World Cup-bound team.
Meanwhile, Chinedu Obasi had said Keshi and his coaching crew asked him for money before he can be part of the team, adding that it was why other players did not make it to Brazil.
However, Sylvanus Okpala, who said the players were not good enough to be in the team at the time they were not included, said Obasi wasn’t even part of their plans; not even for the Nations Cup.
In an exhaustive interview with Vanguard, Okpala wondered “what stopped Obasi from saying this since 2014? Was he dreaming of coming back to the national team? You have to check your age; then you can damn the consequences and come out to say the truth. He should have said it when Keshi was alive.
“I’m not trying to defend anyone or say that it’s not happening. But I didn’t experience this in the squad that went to the Nations Cup and while I was there, there was no such thing.
“Everything we did was based on merit. If you’re good, you’re good. But if you weren’t good, sorry, we picked players based on merit.
“Obasi said he played in Europe and in the Champions League when he was dropped. What does that mean? That you’re playing in the Champions League doesn’t mean that a player who is not playing in the Champions League cannot be better than you.
“Football performance is not measured that way. The only difference is that your team is playing the Champions League and you’re fortunate to be in the team, but it doesn’t make you better than a player whose team is not playing in the Champions League.”
Also speaking on Brown Ideye, Okpala agreed that he was instrumental to the team winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 and made a lot of sacrifices.
He said: “Ideye was one player then that if you said you didn’t have a player on the left; Brown would go and perform creditably well. But that didn’t mean he had to relax because he won the Nations Cup. You must be in form for a coach to pick you.”
But while explaining the omission of Taiwo and Uche, Okpala said they were rebellious; characters no coach would allow in his team.
Sylvanus Okpala said: “I was not surprised that Ikechukwu Uche did not make it to the World Cup because I knew what we went through with him during the 2013 AFCON.
“In our first game, we were playing 1-1, but were reduced to 10 men and he was asked to come in. The coach told him what to do. When he got onto the pitch, he refused to do those things.
“We had to change another player to fortify our defence. When that player was going in, Stephen Keshi told him what to tell Uche, but he still refused to play to instruction. We were one man down and Uche was not falling back to defend.
“He was dropped from the team because he was disobedient. He kept on telling us that in his club, this was how they used to play. Then at a point in time, I called him and said there is a way we want you to play here. This is the Nigerian National team and not your club; so this is how we want you to play.
“Don’t come and tell us about your club. I told him that if he played for Villarreal and Liverpool bought him, will he go to Liverpool and start telling them that this is how they play in Villarreal?”
Okpala also revealed that Taiwo almost caused a mutiny in the build up to the Nations Cup.
His words: “I also read about Taiye Taiwo’s outburst in the papers. After our experience with him, we never invited him again.
“During our AFCON qualifier against Rwanda, Taiye didn’t play well in that game. Keshi complained after the game, but the players went back to their rooms and started plotting how to remove Keshi.
“They never knew that Keshi’s room was the next to Taiye’s room.
“Taiye was telling other players that Keshi was shouting at him and that he will do to Keshi what he did to other coaches and that they would ensure that Keshi was sacked.
“Keshi was in his room listening to their conversation. Now, most of them are now coming to talk about money. It wasn’t about money because I knew about these two issues involving Taiye and Uche.
“Which coach will like to invite a player who wants him sacked in his team? It’s not possible. I am telling you what happened as an insider,” Sylvanus Okpala added.
Alassane Plea, Marcus Thuram and Ramy Bensebaini got the goals in an easy 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach win at Frankfurt.
Borussia Monchengladbach resumed their Bundesliga campaign in impressive fashion, Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram inspiring a 3-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt that lifts them above RB Leipzig.
Earlier on the Bundesliga’s first day back following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig were held to a 1-1 draw by Freiburg – and Gladbach took full advantage, looking every bit Champions League hopefuls.
The hosts failed to even keep Gladbach at bay for a full minute as Plea put the visitors in front, while Thuram – a key player before the suspension in proceedings – knocked in his seventh in the league this season soon after.
The 28-year-old is coping with the uncertainty of knowing when his next match is by working hard with his personal trainer.
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar says that he is “training hard” to return to action in prime shape, despite being unclear when he might be needed again.
Ligue 1 has officially ended for the season, with PSG taking the title for a third consecutive time, but Thomas Tuchel’s side remain active in the Champions League, having fought back from a first-leg deficit to overcome Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in front of an empty Parc des Princes and progress through 3-2 on aggregate.
UEFA still aims to play the tournament to its conclusion, and while no dates have officially been set, the world’s most expensive player is fired up to feature when called upon.
Mark Clattenburg has refereed the world’s greatest players and taken charge of the biggest matches, including finals of the European Championship, Champions League and FA Cup.
But while there have been plenty of successes, there have also been challenges and a number of players proved tough for Clattenburg – and his peers – to handle on the pitch
Here, Sportsmail’s columnist tells Craig Hope the five most irritating players he has presided over.
John Obi Mikel
I have picked Mikel because of the incident during a Chelsea v Manchester United match in 2012 when he accused me of making a racist comment, which was not right and I was later cleared by the FA.
He has never apologised and that is disappointing because it could have ruined my life. I fell out of love with refereeing for a while after that but couldn’t quit because I had a family to support and no other career to pursue.
It all left a bad feeling that still lingers today.
Mikel only heard the allegation from his team-mate Ramires, who did not speak English. Other Chelsea players have since apologised but nothing from Mikel.
He had the chance to say sorry and speak to me about it during a Nigeria friendly in the United States before the World Cup in 2014, and I would have welcomed that, but nothing, sadly.
City supporters are to be given back money for tickets with Premier League and Champions League games set to be behind closed doors
Manchester City have written to supporters offering a full refund for tickets, with seemingly no possibility that they will be able to attend this season’s remaining matches.
Pep Guardiola’s side had six games at the Etihad Stadium outstanding when the coronavirus outbreak shut down football across Europe.
While the Premier League is still intending to complete the season, the latest advice from the UK government is that professional sporting fixtures will not be allowed until June 1 at the earliest and then only behind closed doors.
The Manchester City manager has found success away from the Catalan club, but the man who initially hired him has his sights set on a reunion
Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta says he hopes to bring Pep Guardiola back to the club as he prepares to run in the club’s presidential elections next year.
Laporta was previously in charge at the Camp Nou from 2003-10, a period where Barca began their rise towards the Guardiola-led dynasty.
It was during Guardiola’s tenure as manager from 2008-12 that Barcelona arguably put together its most dominant team, claiming La Liga three times and the Champions League twice as part of a total haul of 14 major trophies.