Spain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi and stood by a Catalan regional court’s 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud, court documents showed.
The five-times World Player of the Year is unlikely to go to prison, however. Play Bet on tonight’s Europa League Final on NaijaBet.com
Messi and his father Jorge were found guilty by a Catalan court last July on three counts of tax fraud between 2007 and 2009 to the tune of 4.1 million euros on image rights and were also fined 2 million euros ($2.24 million).
The court reduced Jorge Messi’s sentence from 21 months to 15, however, for returning the defrauded amount to Spain’s tax authority.
Neither Messi nor his father are expected to serve time in jail, as under Spanish law sentences under two years can be served under probation.
A court statement said Messi “unequivocally understood his obligation to pay tax on income obtained from exploiting his image rights…therefore it is not logical that he should ignore his duty to pay tax on them”. Continue reading “Messi loses appeal Spain tax fraud trial”
Arsenal are disappointed with their fifth-placed Premier League finish but focused on winning the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday, striker Danny Welbeck has said.
Arsenal’s five-game winning streak at the end of the season was not enough to grab a Champions League spot as the club stuttered in the second half of the season, losing six and drawing one of the previous 11 games before the unbeaten run.
“As a club, with the way the season’s panned out, it’s not a (league) position we want to be in at all,” Welbeck told the club’s official website.
“We know that we’ve got the opportunity of playing in the FA Cup final and it’s something we really want to do our best in.” Naija and Bet
Welbeck missed the FA Cup final in 2015 through injury as Arsenal won the competition for the second time in as many years, but the England international is looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown against the newly crowned Premier League champions. Continue reading “Welbeck hopes FA Cup victory will lift Arsenal”
Real Madrid’s magical midfielder Isco has finally found his place in Zinedine Zidane’s side as he tries to drive them towards a La Liga and Champions League double.
Isco set up Cristiano Ronaldo’s second-minute goal against Malaga on Sunday as Madrid won 2-0 to earn the Spanish title.
After months of uncertainty over his future and reports that he was considering leaving after failing to start on a regular basis, the tide has turned at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Gareth Bale’s injury problems prompted Zidane to shuffle his pack and Isco has been the winner of the situation, with the coach shifting to a 4-4-2 formation. Naija and Bet
Isco plays as an attacking midfielder at the tip of a central diamond, his ideal position. The new set-up has helped Madrid win their first title since 2012 and reach the Champions League final against Juventus. Continue reading “I am not considering leaving Madrid – Isco”
Arsenal must respect the Europa League next season and take the tournament seriously if they fail to qualify for the Champions League, goalkeeper Peter Cech has said.
Arsenal’s 2-0 win over relegated Sunderland on Tuesday moved them within a point of fourth-placed Liverpool and gave the London side an outside chance of qualifying for the Champions League if results go their way on the final day of the season. Naija and Bet
English clubs have become more prominent in the Europa League in recent years with Chelsea winning the competition in 2013, Liverpool finishing runner-up last year and Manchester United set to play the final next week.
“A European trophy is a European trophy,” Cech said.
“I have to say you want to have the Champions League one rather than the Europa League one but you can see more and more, big teams are treating the Europa League with respect because it is a European trophy. Continue reading “Cech – Arsenal must respect UEL”
Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur each have three players among the eight nominations for the Premier League Player of the Season, while the coaches of both teams have also been shortlisted for the Manager of the Year award.
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is the favourite for the players’ prize, having already been named the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) Player of the Year and the FWA (Football Writers Association) Player of the Year. Naija and Bet
Belgium international Eden Hazard and Spain full back Cesar Azpilicueta are the other Chelsea players on the list, while Tottenham are represented by striker Harry Kane, midfielder Dele Alli and defender Jan Vertonghen.
Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez has also been included, along with Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, who currently leads the league’s scoring charts with 24 goals. Continue reading “Chelsea, Spurs Players dominate PL nominations”
Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool’s 4-0 rout of West Ham proves they can cope with the pressure of fighting for Champions League qualification, but he warned his stars to guard against complacency.
Liverpool’s destiny is in their own hands after a dominant display at the London Stadium and victory over relegated Middlesbrough next Sunday will secure a top-four finish in the Premier League.
If Arsenal drop points against Sunderland on Tuesday, Liverpool will make it back into Europe’s elite club competition before the last weekend of the season. NaijaBet
“Part of our life is to handle pressure, to ignore the bad part of pressure and to use the good part of pressure,” Klopp said.
“We drew in the last game with Southampton, we didn’t score with a penalty and maybe people say then: ‘They can’t deal with pressure.’
Continue reading “Klopp urges Liverpool to keep fighting for UCL spot”
Gonzalo Higuain scored both goals as an imperious Juventus beat Monaco 2-0 in their Champions League semifinal first leg on Wednesday to take a huge step towards next month’s final in Cardiff.
Both of Higuain’s goals came from Dani Alves assists, with the Argentine hitman rounding off a breathtaking team move to open the scoring just before the half-hour mark and converting the second from close range after the break.
While the second leg in Turin next Tuesday will be no formality, Juventus have never lost a two-legged European tie to French opposition and so impressive were they at the Stade Louis II that it is hard to imagine Monaco recovering.
Higuain, who now has 31 goals this season, received applause from all around the ground as he came off to be replaced by Juan Cuadrado late on after a clinical display that showed just why Juve paid 90 million euros ($98m) to sign him from Napoli last year. NaijaBet.com
In contrast Monaco, having won their previous 13 matches at the Stade Louis II and been so thrilling going forward all campaign, could not find a way through the brilliant away defence.
They will now need something very special next week if they are to make it to a first Champions League final since 2004. Continue reading “Higuain brace assist Juve to sink Monaco”
Liverpool must maintain their focus and get results in their three remaining Premier League games as they fight for a top four finish to play in the Champions League next season, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has said.
Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Watford on Monday helped them pull three points clear of fourth-placed Manchester City and four clear of fifth-placed Manchester United, both of whom have a game in hand.
The race for a top four spot will go down to the wire and Mignolet is wary of getting complacent after three wins in their last five league games. NaijaBet.com
“We have to keep going how we are. We are in good shape but things can still change. We have to keep our focus, keep our feet on the floor and keep grinding out results,” Mignolet said. Continue reading “Liverpool fighting for Champions League spot”
The Real Madrid man took the prize for his strike versus Bayern, beating out competition from Paulo Dybala, Marco Asensio, Kylian Mbappe and Falcao
Cristiano Ronaldo’s leaping volley for Real Madrid at the Allianz Arena has been named the UEFA Champions League goal of the quarter-finals, presented by Nissan. NaijaBet.com
The Portugal international’s strike earned the reigning champions a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in Germany, before the Blancos booked their semi-final place in the second leg.
Ronaldo beat out competition from the likes of team-mate Marco Asensio, who earned a nomination for his solo run and neat finish that rounded off a 4-2 extra-time win over Bayern in the second leg. Continue reading “UEFA Champions League: Ronaldo Volley Beats Dybala Stunner”
Jose Mourinho has enforced a social media ban on his Manchester United players in a bid to limit the extent of information leaking out of the first-team squad. NaijaBet.com
Various United stars have hit the headlines for posts made on their various social media accounts this season, perhaps most notably when Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard came under fire from ex-United defender Rio Ferdinand for performing a dance routine in the dressing room at the club’s Carrington training site and sharing it on Instagram. Continue reading “Mourinho Ban Man. United Players From Social Media”
Tottenham Hotspur must beat West Ham United on Friday night to reduce the gap with Chelsea and hope the Premier League leaders falter under pressure, striker Harry Kane has said.
Second-placed Tottenham can keep their title chase alive and cut the lead at the top to one point if they beat West Ham and Chelsea fumble against Middlesbrough three days later.
“We just have to try to finish strong,” Kane said. Predict today’s UEFA Champions League Match on NaijaBet.com
“We’ve got another game Friday night and it’s good to play first. Hopefully, we can drop the gap to one point and then see what happens.”
Kane said that Tottenham knew the pressure of playing later as they often played after champions Leicester City in the closing stages of last season and eventually faltered. Continue reading “Tottenham target win against West Ham”
The Argentine FA have identified Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli as their choice to take charge of the national team and revitalize their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, AFA President Claudio Tapia said on Thursday.
Argentina, runners-up to Germany at the last World Cup, are fifth in South American qualifying with four matches to go.
Only the top four — currently Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Chile — go through automatically while the fifth-placed team has to go through an intercontinental playoff with a side from the Oceania confederation for a berth in Russia in 2018.
Tapia, who sacked coach Edgardo Bauza after his election to the AFA chair last month,said that Sampaoli was their man. NaijaBet.com
“Today I can confirm that Sampaoli is the only candidate,” he said, adding that the AFA would negotiate with Sevilla for Sampaoli’s release from his contract once the league season in Spain concludes next month.
Sampaoli joined the Spanish club on a two year contract last June. Continue reading “Argentina FA target Sevilla coach Sampaoli”
Real Madrid’s bid for a first La Liga title in five years will be put to test on Saturday when they host Valencia, who won their earlier meeting in the season.
A Cristiano Ronaldo double saw Madrid squeak past them 3-2 on the penultimate day of last season, but that was Real’s first victory over Valencia either home or away in the league since 2013.
A largely second-string Madrid side, missing the rested Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and without the suspended Sergio Ramos, recorded an impressive 6-2 victory away to Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday.
Coach Zinedine Zidane admitted that he has some big decisions to make regarding team selection for the business end of the season. Predict,Stake and Win Big on NaijaBet.com
“For me there’s not a first and second choice side; they all show their importance when they have the chance. We’ll see about Saturday and then the Champions League after that,” he said. Continue reading “Real set to sink Valencia in a bid for laliga title”
After a season that promised so much, Bayern Munich have been sent packing from two Cup competitions in the space of eight days and Carlo Ancelotti’s side are determined to take a step closer to the league title when they travel to VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.
A Bayern win combined with defeat for second-placed RB Leipzig against relegation candidates Ingolstadt would give them an unassailable 11-point lead with three games remaining.
After crashing out of the Champions League quarterfinals to Real Madrid and then losing to Borussia Dortmund in Wednesday’s German Cup last four, the feel-good factor from Ancelotti’s first season in charge has largely dissipated.
Bayern are without a win in their last five matches in all competitions.
They have drawn their last two league games and won just one of their last four, seeing a 13-point lead a few weeks ago shrink to eight with four games left. NaijaBet.com
“After wasting our chances against Dortmund and having gone out of the Cup we want to make sure of an early Bundesliga title with a win at Wolfsburg,” Bayern defender Mats Hummels said. Continue reading “Bayern ready to secure Bundesliga title”
Mauricio Pochettino claimed Tottenham’s gritty 1-0 win at Crystal Palace showed they were ready to pounce if Chelsea stumble in the title race.
Pochettino’s side closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to four points with five games left after Christian Eriksen’s late strike clinched a victory that looked unlikely for long periods at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.
Well below their best as they struggled to shake off the frustration of last weekend’s FA Cup semifinal loss to Chelsea, it seemed Tottenham were about to squander a chance to keep pace with Chelsea before finally recovering their composure. Naija and Bet
It was exactly the kind of pressure-packed situation that was Tottenham’s downfall last season when they allowed Leicester to wrap up the title after briefly threatening to overhaul them.
But Pochettino is convinced the way his team saw off a formidable Palace outfit bodes well for their chances of being crowned champions for the first time since 1961.
“We showed great character and personality after a very disappointing weekend,” Pochettino said. Continue reading “Pochettino vows to take title fight to Chelsea”
Edinson Cavani celebrated his new contract with his 45th goal of the season as holders Paris Saint-Germain demolished an inexperienced Monaco 5-0 to reach next month’s French Cup final against Angers.
Julian Draxler prodded PSG ahead on 26 minutes at the Parc des Princes and Cavani, who on Tuesday signed an extension through to 2020, swiftly doubled the lead as Unai Emery’s side dominated their understrength opponents.
Safwan Mbae bundled into his own net just after half-time and Blaise Matuidi tapped in a fourth before Marquinhos rounded out a resounding victory in the final minute,Predict today’s matches on NaijaBet.com to Win cool cash.
PSG thrashed Monaco 4-1 at the start of the month to lift their fourth straight League Cup title and are chasing a third successive sweep of the domestic trophies in France.
However, Monaco lead the reigning champions on goal difference with a game in hand in Ligue 1 — Leonardo Jardim’s team also face Juventus next week in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal. Continue reading “PSG sink Monaco to reach Cup final”
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Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has vowed to come back even stronger after suffering a serious knee injury against Anderlecht in Europa League last week.
Ibrahimovic and defender Marcos Rojo are likely to miss the rest of the season after scans revealed they both have suffered cruciate knee ligament injuries.
“First of all, thank you for all the support and love,” Ibrahimovic, United’s top scorer this season with 28 goals, wrote on his Instagram account on Sunday. Naijabet
“It’s no news I got injured so I will be out of football for a while. I will go through this like everything else and come back even stronger. So far I played with one leg so it shouldn’t be any problem.”
The 35-year-old Swede, whose contract at Old Trafford expires at the end of the season, said injuries will not decide his future in the game. Continue reading “Ibrahimovic vows to return stronger for United”
Philippe Coutinho vomited, Jurgen Klopp was almost nauseous by the final whistle and, all in all, Liverpool fans were sickened by the way they failed to see out another game so close to the finishing line.
When Coutinho, scorer of the equaliser following Benik Afobe’s gift-wrapped opener for Bournemouth, had to be substituted through illness on 65 minutes, Klopp threw on centre-back Joel Matip.
The Reds were in the ascendancy at that point both on the scoreboard – courtesy of Divock Origi’s header – and in the flow of the encounter.
“We only thought it made sense to give one more defensive protection in the centre,” Klopp said of the only substitution he made on the night.
“We are usually really brave in situations like this when we really try to win and that’s what we did – we only tried to win.” Continue reading “We gets it wrong against Bournemouth – Klopp”
Nigeria have continued to make progress in the Fifa monthly ranking as the Super Eagles are now ranked fifth in Africa and 40th in the World.
According to the latest ranking released on Thursday, Nigeria moved two places from seventh to fifth in Africa and one place from 41st to 40th in the world ranking.
The Super Eagles played out a 1-1 draw with Senegal last month and were to take Burkina Faso after that but the game was cancelled due to visa issues that affected the Etalons. Place Bet on Live matches at NaijaBet.com
Brazil are the new number one team on the planet usurping bitter rivals Argentina while Egypt are top dogs in Africa.
Africa Top 10
Continue reading “Eagles improve in latest Fifa ranking”
Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard believes the club are inching ever closer towards the Premier League title but remains wary of getting too carried away as there are still plenty of points up for grabs.
Chelsea, who lost to Crystal Palace last weekend, made a swift return to winning ways with a 2-1 home win over fourth-placed Manchester City on Wednesday, with Hazard scoring both goals for the hosts.
The win helped the league leaders retain a seven-point cushion over second-placed Tottenham Hotspur with eight games remaining.
“We are nearly there but there is a long way to go,” Hazard said.”We have some difficult games but we are ready for everything. We have eight games to play. We want to finish top. That’s the target.” NaijaBet.com
Following an entertaining first half at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea opted to sit back on a one-goal lead in the second half and Hazard said the result was more important than the display. Continue reading “Hazard warns Chelsea of dangers ahead”
Brazilian sensation Gabriel Jesus boosted Manchester City’s trophy hopes as he returned to training earlier than expected on his 20th birthday, the club revealed on its website.
The striker — who joined City in the January transfer window after they paid Palmeiras an initial £27 million — made a sensational start to his English career with three goals in five matches.
His hot streak was stopped in its tracks when he broke a bone in his foot against Bournemouth in mid-February — he was expected to be out for between two and three months.
“Gabriel Jesus stepped up his recovery from injury today (Monday) when he returned to the training field for the first time since February,” read the City statement. Predict today’s games on NaijaBet.com
“The early prognosis (of the injury) suggesting he could be out until the end of the season. Continue reading “Gabriel Jesus returns to training with City”
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he is “totally against” international friendlies following injuries to key central defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on England duty.
Mourinho expects to be without five first-team players against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, including the injured Paul Pogba and suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“I am totally against the friendly matches,” Mourinho told Sky Sports, after Jones had to withdraw from the England squad with a toe injury suffered in a training ground clash with Smalling, who pulled out after sustaining a leg injury in the Germany friendly.
Both defenders missed England’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Lithuania, leading Mourinho to question the need for friendlies during the season. Place bet on Live Matches on NaijaBet.com
“I think friendly matches for the national team only make sense before the final phases,” he said. Continue reading “Mourinho against international friendly Matches”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes midfielder Mesut Ozil and striker Alexis Sanchez are keen on extending their contracts beyond the end of next season with the Premier League club.
Ozil and Sanchez are holding out for a huge increase in their salary, according to British media reports, while Wenger has previously said that contract talks are on hold until the end of the season.
Sanchez, who has indicated he would like to see out his contract, is the club’s top scorer with 22 goals this season. NaijaBet.com
“I personally believe both of them want to stay. I hope the club will find an agreement with them,” Wenger told reporters on Thursday.
Calls for Wenger to end his 20-year role have grown louder after Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League in the last-16 for a seventh straight season and lost four of their last five league matches to slide down to sixth. Continue reading “Ozil, Sanchez want to stay at Arsenal – Wenger”
Brazil became the first team to qualify for the World Cup on Tuesday after beating Paraguay to clinch an eighth consecutive victory as Argentina’s campaign stumbled after the shock suspension of Lionel Messi.
Five-time champions Brazil had been left waiting in suspense after goals from Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Marcelo handed them a 3-0 win over the Paraguayans at Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians.
But Uruguay’s upset 2-1 defeat to Peru in the day’s final South American qualifier combined with other results meant Brazil are mathematically guaranteed a place at next year’s finals in Russia. Naija and Bet
The qualification completes an astonishing turnaround for Brazil, who less than a year ago were in crisis after taking only nine points from six games.
That run of results had left the Brazilians outside the qualifying places in sixth place.
Continue reading “Brazil qualify for Russia 2018, Argentina crash”