French Open organizers are punishing Serena Williams for having a baby

The decision by French Open organisers not to grant Serena Williams a seeding on her long-awaited Grand Slam return has prompted renewed focus on the sport’s policy towards female players and parenthood.

“French Open is punishing Serena Williams for having a baby” read a USA report headline, arguing an exception for the 23-time major winner should be made for Thursday’s draw.

At 36, the American is looking to regain her top form following the birth of her daughter last September. After sitting out of competition for over a year, she no longer had a ranking upon her return to the WTA circuit in March. Place bet on NaijaBet Virtual games online

She has played just four matches this season across appearances at Indian Wells and Miami. But her results, far from convincing, have only been good enough to climb to 449th in the world rankings.

With a ranking so low, no player would typically even be able to take part in qualifying for the main draw. That is unless benefiting from a wildcard or using a protected ranking, which has at least allowed Williams direct entrance into the field. Continue reading “French Open organizers are punishing Serena Williams for having a baby”

Andres Iniesta moves to Japanese club Vissel Kobe

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has signed with Japanese side Vissel Kobe, kicking off a new chapter in his career after a storied 16 years with Barcelona, the J.League club said on Thursday.

The 34-year-old former Barcelona captain, who had spent his entire career with the Spanish giants, was introduced at a news conference in Tokyo by Kobe owner Hiroshi Mikitani. Bet Now

Ahead of the official announcement, Iniesta had posted on Instagram a photo of himself and Mikitani with a message that he was “heading to my new home”.

Iniesta, who famously scored the winning goal for Spain against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final, was top of Mikitani’s wishlist. Continue reading “Andres Iniesta moves to Japanese club Vissel Kobe”

UCL Final Match Preview : Real Madrid vs Liverpool

Real Madrid are looking to land a third successive Champions League success when they face Liverpool in Kyiv in a repeat of 1981 final in Paris. That was the last time Real Madrid lost at this stage of the competition as they look to land a 13th European cup, but their form coming into this one has been a tad iffy.

Los Blancos have won only one of their last five competitive outings, yet have won five of their six away Champions League matches away from the Bernabeu.

Liverpool will face Real Madrid for the sixth time in the competition on Saturday and have won three of the last five meetings between the two. However, Real Madrid have won their last two Champions League meetings between the two sides, both of which came in the group stages in the 2014/15 season. Various betting options are available on NaijaBet

The Reds have also won only one of their last four competitive outings and have kept just two clean sheets in their last six outings.

Considering both sides’ fluid attack, yet indifferent defence, goals are expected in this one, yet Real Madrid’s final experience should see them over the line here.

Team News

Real Madrid- Zinedine Zidane has a fully fit and available squad for the Champions League final. Continue reading “UCL Final Match Preview : Real Madrid vs Liverpool”

Emery : A new dawn. A new era. A new chapter for Arsenal

Arsenal have appointed former Paris St Germain coach Unai Emery as their new manager, the Spaniard succeeding the long-serving Arsene Wenger, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.

Emery, who joined PSG in June 2016, left the French club at the end of this season, having led them to a domestic treble. The 46-year-old had previously guided Spanish side Sevilla to three Europa League titles.

“Unai has an outstanding track record of success throughout his career, has developed some of the best young talent in Europe and plays an exciting, progressive style of football that fits Arsenal perfectly,” Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said in a statement. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

“His hard-working and passionate approach and his sense of values on and off the pitch make him the ideal person to take us forward.” Continue reading “Emery : A new dawn. A new era. A new chapter for Arsenal”

Hazard targets more titles at Chelsea

Eden Hazard dropped a hint he is willing to stay at Chelsea next season as the FA Cup winner set his sights on more silverware.

Hazard scored the first-half penalty that fired Chelsea to a 1-0 win over Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley.

The 27-year-old has two years remaining on his current contract with the Blues, but last week the Belgium playmaker admitted he wanted to see who Chelsea signed in the close-season before agreeing to a new deal. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

That sparked renewed talk that Hazard would consider leaving Stamford Bridge, with Real Madrid among the clubs interested in his services, following Chelsea’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

But Hazard’s role in Chelsea’s FA Cup triumph — the first time he has won the competition — might have given him pause for thought as he targeted the Premier League title next term.

“We have a lot of top players, players who are used to winning trophies. We will be ready next season,” Hazard said Continue reading “Hazard targets more titles at Chelsea”

Arsenal set to appoint former PSG manager Emery

Arsenal are set to appoint former Paris St Germain coach Unai Emery as their new manager to succeed Arsene Wenger, reported on Monday.

Emery, who joined PSG in June 2016, left the French club at the end of this season, having led them to a domestic treble.

The 46-year-old Spaniard had previously been manager at Sevilla, who he steered to three Europa League triumphs.

The report stated that the recruitment process was led by Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and that an announcement and a news conference was expected later this week.

 

Svitolina sinks Halep to win Italian Open

Elina Svitolina underlined her status as a top favourite for the French Open by sweeping Simona Halep aside 6-0, 6-4 to successfully defend her Italian Open crown on Sunday.

In a repeat of last year’s final at the Foro Italico, Ukrainian Svitolina, seeded fourth, was up against Halep a day after the Romanian top seed had ousted Russian Maria Sharapova.

But Halep’s hopes of overturning last year’s defeat to her 23-year-old opponent quickly evaporated in a completely one-sided encounter that saw the Romanian fail to produce a real challenge. Make cool cash on NaijaBet by placing bet on LIVE matches 24/7

Svitolina, the world No 4, has now successfully defended three career titles, in Baku, Dubai and also Rome; she also won in Brisbane and Dubai this season to take her 2018 title total to three.

The win also marked Svitolina’s 12th career title on what was her eighth final in succession.

“It was a really good match, from my side,” Svitolina said. “I dominated. I was trying to put lots of pressure on Simona with my game, tried to really take the ball early and open the court. Continue reading “Svitolina sinks Halep to win Italian Open”

Barca fans says Thank You to “Infinite Iniesta”

La Liga champions Barcelona ended their campaign with a 1-0 win at home to Real SociedadSunday thanks to a sensational distance strike from Philippe Coutinho as the Nou Camp paid an emotional farewell to departing captain Andres Iniesta.

Coutinho drifted inside from the left and held off two defenders outside the area before rattling the ball in off the far post with a venomous shot, breaking the deadlock in the 57th minute.

The league’s top scorer Lionel Messi started the game on the bench but replaced Coutinho in the 67th minute. Iniesta was substituted in the 82nd, hugging most of his teammates as well as some Real Sociedad players and the referee as he left the Nou Camp pitch for the last time as a Barca player.

Barca’s fans held up a mosaic before the game reading “Infinite Iniesta”. They later revealed a banner saying “Thanks for so much” in tribute to a player who came through the club’s academy and spent 16 years pulling the strings in midfield, winning nine Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and six domestic Cups. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

They continued to sing Iniesta’s name long after he had gone off the pitch. The captain returned with his teammates after the final whistle to lift the club’s 25th Liga title and also show off the King’s Cup trophy which they won in April, beating Sevilla 5-0 in the final. Continue reading “Barca fans says Thank You to “Infinite Iniesta””

Iniesta & Torres set to say farewell on LaLiga finale

La Liga’s winners and losers are settled and the European qualification spots decided but for a collection of star players, the final weekend of the season will be anything but a dead rubber.

Zinedine Zidane would appear to have it clear in his mind what does and does not work in Europe. Through Real Madrid’s journey to the final, he has put great faith in the likes of Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio while Gareth Bale, Isco and even Karim Benzema have found their places less secure. Benzema and Isco, however, have proven their coach’s stance can be turned and now Bale must try to follow suit.

His man-of-the-match performance against Celta Vigo last weekend would surely have made an impact on Zidane and another similar display against Villarreal on Saturday might sneak him a starting spot in the final.

Cristiano Ronaldo has shaken off an ankle sprain but the decision is whether to risk the Portugese’s fitness this weekend or, by leaving him out, his sharpness against Liverpool. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

After 674 matches and 22 years associated with the club, Andres Iniesta will bid farewell to Barcelona, who host Real Sociedad on Sunday. A grand clos- ing ceremony is planned, with the Camp Nou crowd set to form the message ‘Infinito Iniesta’ on both sides and Iniesta’s No 8 at either end. Continue reading “Iniesta & Torres set to say farewell on LaLiga finale”

FA Cup Final: Chelsea vs Manchester United

Chelsea was beaten finalists in last season’s FA Cup final and Antonio Conte will hope to go one further on Saturday, in what could prove his final game in charge of the club.

Manchester United have won their last seven cup matches at Wembley and Jose Mourinho will be determined to have the last laugh in his feud with Conte.

It must be said that neither team are playing particularly well ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final. With Mourinho in one of the dug-outs, a cagey affair should be expected on Saturday. Will either team have enough to win it in normal time?  Place Bet on Various sports game on NaijaBet

Team News

Chelsea- David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu are both ruled out for Chelsea ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final.

Willy Caballero has featured in goal for Chelsea during their FA Cup run to the final but Antonio Conte may turn to Thibaut Courtois on Saturday. Continue reading “FA Cup Final: Chelsea vs Manchester United”

Griezmann goals fires Atletico to Europa title

Antoine Griezmann was the hero for Atletico Madrid as the French striker scored twice in their 3-0 win over Marseille in Wednesday’s Europa League final in Lyon, allowing his club to win the trophy for the third time in nine seasons.

It is Griezmann’s first major title with Atletico, and a fitting way to bow out if he leaves at the season’s end, with Barcelona tipped as his next destination.

Griezmann – brought up in Macon, just 70 kilometres from Lyon – scored once in each half, his lethal finishes coming to either side of Marseille losing Dimitri Payet to injury, the French team’s captain coming off in tears.

Griezmann now has 29 goals this season, although it was Gabi’s late strike that sealed the victory. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

“This is a reward for me after I left home aged 14, for all the work I have put in, the suffering,” said Griezmann, who has spent his whole career in Spain but had only previously won one Spanish Super Cup.

Atletico’s triumph comes after agonising defeats to Real Madrid in the Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016. They had previously won the Europa League in 2010 and again in 2012, the latter coming just six months after Diego Simeone’s appointment as coach. Continue reading “Griezmann goals fires Atletico to Europa title”

Messi, Suarez to support 2030 World Cup host bid

Stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are set to offer their backing to a joint bid from Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to host the 2030 centenary World Cup, bid organisers told the media.

“Messi will join us in this initiative, and Suarez certainly,” Fernando Marin, the joint bid co-ordinator, told the media on Monday.

“We told him (Messi) about our aims, and he feels it’s doable.”

Argentina’s minister of sport Carlos Mac Alister said “it’s important to know we have the support” of such high-profile players as Argentina’s five-time world player of the year Messi and Uruguay striker Suarez.

“In 2030, we won’t be there any more, Messi will. Bet Now on today’s games on NaijaBet

“He showed great desire to help us. He will surely be the flag-bearer for the World Cup.”

The very first World Cup in 1930 was held in Uruguay and won by the hosts, who beat Argentina 4-2 in a memorable final at the Centenary Stadium in Montevideo. Continue reading “Messi, Suarez to support 2030 World Cup host bid”

Europa League Final : Marseille vs Atletico Madrid

Marseille lost ground in the race for a Champions League finish as they drew 3-3 with Guingamp on Friday night and they now sit three points behind Monaco ahead of the final week of the season. The Ligue 1 side have won just one of their last four competitive outings and just two of their last four Europa League matches.

They also lost their only visit to Parc OL this season, falling to a 2-0 loss to Lyon back in December, while their form away from the Velodrome in the Europa League this season has been poor, with just one win from their seven away games in Europe this term. Bet Now

Atletico Madrid has too struggled on their travels in European action this season, winning only two of seven away Champions League and Europa League matches.

Their form coming into this one, though, has been commendable, with Diego Simeone overseeing three wins in Atletico’s last four matches. However, like Marseille and the Velodrome, the Spanish side have faltered on their travels of late, with a five-match winless run preceding back-to-back wins over Alaves and Getafe, respectively. Continue reading “Europa League Final : Marseille vs Atletico Madrid”

Pep hopes Arteta would ignore Arsenal job

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he would understand if assistant coach Mikel Arteta was lured to Arsenal to become their next manager but hopes the Spaniard remains at the Premier League champions to finish what they started.

Guardiola’s assistant at City since 2016, former Arsenal captain Arteta has been mentioned as one of the leading contenders to succeed Arsene Wenger, who brought the curtain down on his 22-year reign at the London club on Sunday.

“Mikel’s contribution has been amazing,” Guardiola told reporters after City’s 1-0 win over Southampton.

“We work together so good and him staying will (make me) the happiest guy in the world. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

“If he decides to move because he has this offer, I will not say you don’t have to go. I want the best for my friends. Continue reading “Pep hopes Arteta would ignore Arsenal job”

Navas more scared of red carpet than Mohamed Salah

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas has revealed that he was more scared of walking the red carpet at the Cannes film festival than facing Liverpool’s lethal striker Mohamed Salah.

The Costa Rican – known as “God’s Goalkeeper” for his strong Christian faith – said he found showing a film about his life at the festival more stressful than a Champions League final.

“It’s a delicate question,” he told reporters at Cannes Sunday where he was screening “Man of Faith”, which recounts his rise from humble origins to become one of Real’s millionaire galacticos. Today’s game NaijaBet

“The Champions League final I know. The red carpet is new… it’s a bit stressful,” he admitted.

The 31-year-old was part of the all-conquering Madrid side that won the European title in 2016 and 2017, and will face the English team in two weeks’ time in this year’s decider.

A day after Madrid beat Celta Vigo 6-0 in La Liga, Navas flew to Cannes to promote the film, which also features Real’s legendary trainer Zinedine Zidane playing himself and a dressing room scene involving other members of the side. Continue reading “Navas more scared of red carpet than Mohamed Salah”

Alves out for three weeks due to a Knee injury

Paris St Germain’s Brazil defender Dani Alves needs at least three weeks of intensive treatment on a knee injury suffered in the French Cup final but he was optimistic of recovering in time for the World Cup, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

Alves, 35, limped off near the end of PSG’s 2-0 win over third-tier Les Herbiers on Tuesday and there were fears the full back might miss the World Cup, which kicks off on June 14.

But his spokesman said the injury does not need surgery and Alves will be evaluated after three weeks of treatment. Various betting options are available for today’s games on NaijaBet

Brazil coach Tite is scheduled to name his 23-man squad for the finals in Russia on Monday.

Brazil play warm-up matches against Croatia on June 3 and Austria seven days later before heading to Russia where they will face group rivals Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica.

Conte urges Blues to improve ahead FA Cup final

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has warned his team that they must improve on their toothless display in Sunday’s Premier League defeat by Newcastle United when the London outfit take on Manchester United in the FA Cup final.

Chelsea, who harbored an outside chance of a top-four spot heading into the final league fixture of the season, was overwhelmed at St James’ Park, falling to a 3-0 defeat by 10th-placed Newcastle.

The loss, coupled with Liverpool’s 4-0 home win over Brighton, ended Chelsea’s hopes of securing Champions League football for next season as Conte’s defending champions finished five points behind the Merseysiders in fifth. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

“For the next game, for sure we must change. If we think we can play a game like this in the final of the FA Cup then we don’t have a chance,” Conte told reporters as he looked ahead to Saturday’s Wembley showdown. Continue reading “Conte urges Blues to improve ahead FA Cup final”

This is ‘just the start’ – Salah promises Liverpool fans

Mohamed Salah has reassured Liverpool fans his stunning first season is “just the beginning” of his time at the club despite speculation over interest from Real Madrid.

The Egyptian collected awards in Liverpool on Thursday after being voted player of the season by both the club’s fans and his teammates before boarding a flight to collect the Football Writers’ Association’s award in London.

The 25-year-old has scored 43 goals in all competitions since arriving from Roma last summer, a return that has seen him heavily linked with Spanish giants Real Madrid, who face Liverpool in the Champions League later this month. Various Betting Options are Available on Site

But Salah, who needs just one more goal to become the outright record-holder for the most strikes in a 38-match season in the Premier League, appears content with life at the club.

“I’m very happy here, everything is fine,” he said. “Of course I have got ambitions for the future with Liverpool. As you can see we had a great season, now we are in the Champions League final and everyone is excited.

“It is just the start. This is my first year here and it is the same for some other players. It is just the beginning.”

Continue reading “This is ‘just the start’ – Salah promises Liverpool fans”

United draw West Ham to secure second place

Manchester United secured the point they needed to finish second in the Premier League with a dull 0-0 draw at West Ham United on Thursday.

There were few chances in a tepid first half, though Alexis Sanchez forced a good save from West Ham keeper Adrian and Marko Arnautovic looked the most likely West Ham player to make a breakthrough.

Paul Pogba curled a couple of shots narrowly wide for Manchester United, and the France midfielder was booked in the dying stages for kicking out at West Ham’s Mark Noble, who was also shown a yellow card as tempers frayed.

Manchester United, 19 points behind champions Manchester City, moved four points clear of third-placed Tottenham Hotspur with one league game left, and will play Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 19. West Ham are 15th in the table.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was pleased to secure second place. Start forecasting your weekend games Now

“We are the second best team in the Premier League, a fantastic competition with lots of good teams with six teams trying to finish first,” he said.

Continue reading “United draw West Ham to secure second place”

Allegri says Juve still offers challenges,blow Arsenal Job

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has refuted suggestions that his work is done at the club as they close in on a fourth double in as many seasons under his leadership.

Allegri was in belligerent mood after his side beat AC Milan 4-0 in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday to complete the first of half what looks certain to be another double, given that the Serie A title race has been reduced to a formality.

Juve’s dominance of Italian football has left observers wondering what else there is anything more for the 50-year-old to achieve, especially with other jobs opening up around Europe.

“I don’t feel that I’m close to the end…We still have to win the championship and the next season we will have to fight again,” said Allegri after Wednesday’s match. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

“I have a contract with Juventus and, as we do every year, we will meet at the end of the season to plan the future. We need a clear understanding of how to improve again.”

“We haven’t reached our maximum because we have lost two Champions League finals (in the last three seasons). There are so many unpredictable elements in football.” Continue reading “Allegri says Juve still offers challenges,blow Arsenal Job”

Match Preview : West Ham vs Manchester United

West Ham have secured their Premier League status for another season following Saturday’s 2-0 win away to Leicester.

Manchester United need a point from their last two matches to guarentee second spot, unless Tottenham fail to win on Wednesday.

West Ham have only lost two of their last eight Premier League home matches and have a real chance to get a good result here. Bet Now

Teams News

West Ham- David Moyes is expected to stick with the side that beat Leicester at the weekend, which means former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra will have to settle for a place on the bench.

Marko Arnautovic is a doubt for the home side but should be okay to start against United on Thursday. Continue reading “Match Preview : West Ham vs Manchester United”

Chelsea’s top-four bid is in Liverpool’s hands

Chelsea’s bid to qualify for the Champions League suffered a hammer blow as Huddersfield secured their Premier League survival with a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Antonio Conte’s side fell behind to Laurent Depoitre’s second-half strike and although Marcos Alonso bagged a fortuitous equaliser, the Blues couldn’t find a priceless winner.

Fifth-placed Chelsea’s attempt to salvage a troubled season by finishing in the top four is now out of their hands heading into the final game of the season at Newcastle on Sunday. Place bet on today’s game on NaijaBet

Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Newcastle on Wednesday means Chelsea can’t make up the four-point gap to their third-placed London rivals.

Fourth-placed Liverpool are two points ahead of Chelsea and, given their vastly superior goal difference, they will condemn the Blues to the Europa League next season if they avoid defeat against Brighton at Anfield on Sunday.

That would be a suitably downbeat conclusion to a lacklustre title defence from Chelsea and could prove the last straw for Blues owner Roman Abramovich as he reportedly plans to part ways with Conte. Continue reading “Chelsea’s top-four bid is in Liverpool’s hands”

Pep Guardiola yet to sign new Man City deal

Pep Guardiola has yet to conclude contract negotiations over a new deal with Premier League champions Manchester City but said on Tuesday there is no urgency to do so.

The Catalan has led City to the title in his second season in charge at the Etihad and is now two-thirds of the way through the initial three-year contact he signed when he moved to Manchester in the summer of 2016.

It means Guardiola, 47, has now won the league title in all three of the major European countries in which he has managed, following success in Spain with Barcelona and in Germany with Bayern Munich.

But he has also established a habit of short spells with those clubs, having spent four seasons managing his hometown club Barca and three in the Bundesliga. Place bet on today’s game on NaijaBet

Guardiola, talking ahead of City’s final home game of the season against Brighton, remained relaxed about the situation, not least because club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, plus chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain are all personal friends.

But he was also in no rush to look beyond next season in terms of pledging where his future lies and declined the opportunity to answer directly when asked if he would definitely sign a new deal.

Continue reading “Pep Guardiola yet to sign new Man City deal”

Match Preview : Tottenham vs Newcastle United

Tottenham have faltered in recent weeks and have won only one of their last five matches in all competitions. They have also struggled against Newcastle in recent seasons, losing their last three home league encounters with the Magpies.

Newcastle, too, have struggled having lost their last three after securing the Premier League status for next season. Up against Spurs and Chelsea in their final two games of the campaign, they have a decisive role to play in how the top-4 looks come full time on Sunday.

Spurs may have underwhelmed for the best part of the month, but should have enough to win here. Bet Now NaijaBet

Teams News

Tottenham- Jan Vertonghen returns having been subbed off with an ankle knock in the 1-0 defeat at West Brom, while Serge Aurier misses out.

Harry Winks, Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele are ruled out for the home side, which could see Moussa Sissoko start in midfield.

Lucas Moura could come into the side at Erik Lamela’s expense from the team that lost at West Brom. Continue reading “Match Preview : Tottenham vs Newcastle United”

Premier League Match Preview: Leicester vs Arsenal

Leicester have lost four of their last five matches and Claude Puel looks destined for the sack at the end of the season.

Arsenal have lost six Premier League away matches in a row but have a real chance to end that remarkable run here.

Teams News

Leicester- Leicester could be missing up to 11 players for Wednesday’s home match against Arsenal.

Marc Albrighton is suspended for Leicester’s last two games of the season.

Fousseni Diabaté, Kasper Schmeichel, Shinji Okazaki and Aleksandar Dragovic all require late fitness tests. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

Arsenal- Konstantinos Mavropanos looks to have nailed down a place in Arsenal’s defence for their last two games of the season.

A back injury ruled Mesut Ozil out of Sunday’s big win over Burnley and he will continue to miss out here.

Nacho Monreal and Aaron Ramsey will hope to return to the starting XI after dropping out at the weekend. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Leicester vs Arsenal”