Vincent Enyeama signed a new contract with Lille

Vincent Enyeama has signed a new contract to stay at French Ligue 1 side, Lille OSC.

According to the club, the Nigeria shot-stopper penned a new deal that will keep him in the north of France till 2019.

“LOSC is pleased and proud to announce the extension of Vincent Enyeama contract for two more seasons. The Nigerian goalkeeper, 33 years, will continue to defend the post of LOSC until 2019,” Lille OSC announced on their official website on Thursday.

The French club explained that they have decided to agree a renewal with Enyeama because he is a big influence in their dressing room in terms of “his experience in international games, his leadership, and of course, his immense talent.” Naijabet

Lille OSC training centre director Jean-Michel Vandamme believes that keeping Enyeama at the club is “fantastic” news considering his quality.

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Ibrahamovic refuses to name next club but praises Mourinho

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said Thursday he has chosen his next club but would not give away the name even though he praised Jose Mourinho who is on the verge of becoming Manchester United’s coach.

“Yes I have made my choice,” said Ibrahimovic told a press conference at a training camp near Stockholm for the Swedish national team ahead of Euro 2016. Naijabet.com

He said he had decided “long ago.” But the 34-year-old dodged all questions about whether that team was Manchester United.

Ibrahimovic, who has left Paris Saint-Germain, has been strongly linked to a move to the English Premier League.

“There are concrete offers from England, Italy … all countries. There are even some from outside Europe,” said the goalscorer.

“There are many, many alternatives.”

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England must be more streetwise if they want to win EURO 2016

 

England must be a bit more streetwise if they are to have any chance of winning the Euro 2016 in France, according to defensive midfielder Eric Dier.

England, who play Australia in Sunderland in a warm-up game on Friday, face Russia, Slovakia and Wales in Group B of the 24-team tournament, which starts on June 10.

“There are a lot of European and international teams who have that intelligent edge as much as an aggressive edge in the things they do,” Dier told British media.

“They win fouls in clever places on the pitch, they keep possession, they know how to wind people up, they know how to agitate people. Streetwise is the perfect way to put it.

“I think the English are a bit too honest. We need to be clever but we don’t want to lose that English attitude either.” Naijabet.com

Tottenham Hotspur’s Dier was named in Roy Hodgson 26-man provisional England squad last week.

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Rafael Benitez has full control at Newcastle

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has been assured full control of football-related decisions by the club’s hierarchy as he aims for the side’s immediate return to the Premier League.

The 56-year old signed a three-year deal to remain as Newcastle’s manager, despite a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave St. James’ Park if the Magpies were relegated to the Championship.

Newcastle’s transfer policy has come under heavy criticism after being involved in a relegation scrap all season, having spent around 80 million pounds ($117.84 million) on signings in the last two transfer windows.

The Spaniard said he was under no pressure to sell any of his players.

“What I have is the assurance that if I don’t want to sell any players I don’t have to. We can keep all the players who we want to,” Benitez said.

“To keep these players, if I want them, is massive because we have a good team. We saw that in the last games.” Naijabet.com

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Goal-line tech to be used at Copa America

Goal-line technology will be used in next month’s Copa America Centenario, organisers announced on Wednesday, selecting Hawk-Eye as the supplier for the camera replay system.

Five of the 10 top-ranked national teams in the world will take the field for the 100th anniversary edition of the South American tournament, a special event hosted by the United States starting June 3.

Top-ranked Argentina are in the 16-team tournament, which will feature stars such as Lionel Messi, Javier Hernandez, Luis Suarez and James Rodriguez.

The Hawk-Eye system was used at last year’s women’s World Cup in Canada and is used by Uefa, the English Premier League, German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A. Naija and Bet

It will deploy seven cameras for each goal in all 10 stadiums to be used in the Copa America, using vibration and visual signals on each match official’s watch to indicate a goal within one second of the ball crossing the goal line.

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Ronaldo wants his contract to be renew at Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo has urged Real Madrid to renew his contract and said he wanted to see out his career in the Spanish capital.

Ronaldo’s immediate future at Real has been in doubt all season, with speculation growing throughout the year that he was plotting a move to Paris Saint-Germain but the prolific Portuguese has now made it clear he wants to stay at the club.

“Real Madrid would be making a smart decision if they offered me a new contract,” Ronaldo told Spanish television programme La Sexta on Wednesday.

“I want to stay here, there have been good moments and bad moments. Four years ago I wasn’t happy here but now I am and I can’t think of a better club to be at than Real Madrid, there’s no team like it. The other clubs can forget it.”

Ronaldo overtook Raul Gonzalez as Real’s all-time top scorer earlier this season and on Saturday will be hoping to inspire the team to their 11th European Cup success when they take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final in Milan. Naijabet

Ronaldo signed a contract extension with Real in 2013 keeping him at the club until 2018.

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Goetze can not be playing constantly as first choice – Bayern

Bayern Munich on Thursday suggested attacking midfielder Mario Goetze’s playing future at the German champions may remain on the bench, even though he showed his desire to earn a starting spot after turning down a possible move away.

The Germany international, who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final, has failed to carve out a starting spot since joining Bayern from rivals Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and had been linked with a possible move to Liverpool.

The 23-year-old, who had said at the start of last season he wanted to play more regularly, on Monday poured cold water on a move, saying he wanted to see out his contract until it expired in 2017 and looked forward to the next season under new coach Carlo Ancelotti, who is replacing Pep Guardiola.

“I had talks with him (Mario) and Ancelotti. Mario knows the thoughts of Bayern,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Kicker magazine. “Everything was clearly and seriously explained to Mario. Naijabet

“He knows what the club thinks and what the new coach thinks. Mario has to evaluate for himself whether he wants to play constantly.”

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Xavi backs Guardiola to succeed at City

Former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi has backed incoming Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola to leave his mark on the Premier League after taking over from the departing Manuel Pellegrini on July 1.

Guardiola won 21 trophies in his time in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich and has been hired by City’s owners in the hope that he can lead the team to a first Champions League title.

City reached the semi-final of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time this season but were knocked out of the tournament by 10-time winners Real Madrid. Naijabet.com

“It’s a big opportunity for him at Manchester City. I think he will change the face of English football,” Xavi, who joined Qatari club Al Sadd in May last year, told the website for Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (www.sc.qa).

“If there is anyone capable of changing that mentality, it is Guardiola… He is without doubt one of the best coaches in the world at the moment.”

Guardiola achieved a double in his final season in Germany, with Bayern winning the Bundesliga and beating Borussia Dortmund on penalties to win the German Cup in his last game in charge.

CSKA confirm Leicester bid for Ahmed Musa

English Barclay Premier League champions, Leicester City, have put in a bid for Nigeria striker, Ahmed Musa.

According to CSKA Moscow manager, Leonard Slutskiy, the English side have made a bid close to £23 million for the attacking winger.

Leicester first established their interest in the Nigeria international in the January transfer window but CSKA turned down the idea of selling as they felt the English club did not meet Musa’s valuation and at the same time, the 23-year-old remained their only in-form striker in a season they emerged Russian champions.

But Slutskiy lifted the lid saying that Leicester are back in the race to prise away the striker, who is also keen to move to the King Power Stadium in the summer. Naija and Bet

“The British club offered a bit less than €30 million (£22.86 million).

“Musa came to me a few days ago and asked when he [Ranieri] is back for the holidays and I told him I do not know, I do not know Ranieri,” Slutskiy told Match TV.

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Arsenal confirm signing of Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka

Arsenal announced the signing of Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka from Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday.

The Premier League side said the deal has yet to be officially ratified, but terms have been agreed with the 23-year-old.

“Arsenal have reached an agreement with Granit Xhaka to join the club on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee,” said a statement from the North Londoners.

Xhaka, the son of Kosovo Albanian immigrants, has represented Switzerland 41 times and helped Gladbach to a fourth place finish this season, bringing with it Champions League football.

Gladbach had said last week that they had received an offer for Xhaka, who then admitted he could see himself playing in an Arsenal shirt.

“Granit Xhaka is an exciting young player, already with good Champions League and Bundesliga experience,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger of his first close season signing. Naijabet

“We have been watching him for a long time now and he is a player who will add quality to our squad.

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Rafa Benitez to stay on as Newcastle manager

A three-year deal is expected to be announced later on Wednesday which will contain written assurances for the Spaniard on full control of player recruitment and budgets set for the summer and winter transfer windows.

Benitez was travelling to Newcastle from his home on Merseyside on Wednesday morning to complete the formalities before the news is made official.

The 56-year-old signed a three-year deal to become Newcastle boss back in March, when he replaced Steve McClaren, but the contract was reported to include an option to cancel at the end of the season.

Benitez was unable to keep the club in the Premier League, leading to doubts over whether he would stay, but he has now decided to stay on at St James’ Park after thrashing out a deal with Magpies owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley. Naijabet.com

Ashley and Benitez spoke face-to-face for the first time following the Magpies’ stunning 5-1 victory over Tottenham on the final day of the Premier League season and negotiations have continued since then.

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Ticketless fans expected to swarm France

Euro_2016

Around 250 000 British fans will travel to France for Euro 2016 without tickets for matches, British police warned on Tuesday.

Security at the European Championships was already being ramped up after the recent terrorist attacks in France and the prospect of supporters of England, Wales and Northern Ireland swarming into the country without access to the games creates more potential for trouble.

In total around 250,000 UK supporters have tickets, but it is expected that double that number of fans will be in France throughout the tournament, which runs from June 10 to July 10.

Possible flashpoints include the England against Wales clash in Lens and England’s fixture against Russia in Marseille, the city which saw ugly clashes between England hooligans, locals and riot police during the 1998 World Cup.

French authorities have already told English and Welsh fans without tickets not to travel to Lens, and there will be an alcohol ban in the city centre for 24 hours from 5am GMT on match day.

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Madrid stars thriving under Zidane’s reign

Just five months into his first senior managerial role, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is already living up to the unenviable task of matching his credentials as one of the finest players of his generation.

Fourteen years on from the sumptuous volley that rippled a rain-soaked net at Hampden Park in Glasgow to hand Real their ninth European Cup over Bayer Leverkusen, he can become just the seventh man to win the Champions League as a player and a coach with victory over Atletico Madrid at Milan’s San Siro on Saturday.

A repeat of the outcome when Real met Atletico in the only other Champions League final between two clubs from the same city two years ago would see Real extend their dominance as the most successful club in the competition’s history with an 11th win.

Zidane was also a part of the 10th. Two years ago in Lisbon he cut an animated figure as assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti as Sergio Ramos’s stoppage time header rescued Real before Los Blancos cut loose in extra-time to win 4-1.

That was the Frenchman’s final match as Ancelotti’s aid as he delved into the third tier of Spanish football with Real’s youth team Castilla to cut his teeth as a coach of his own merit. Naijabet

The leap when he was then promoted to the top job at the Santiago Bernabeu to replace the sacked Rafael Benitez after an ill-fated seven month spell in charge in January seemed steep.

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Guardiola is the only one to change Manchester United – Cantona

Jose Mourinho is expected to be named as Manchester United’s new manager despite club great Eric Cantona saying incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola would have been a better choice.

Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes was in talks with United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in London on Tuesday after Louis van Gaal’s troubled two-year reign at Old Trafford ended with his sacking a day earlier.

Former Chelsea boss Mourinho is reported to have been offered a three-year deal worth £15 million per season and would be given a transfer war-chest of around £200 million to revive the troubled Premier League club.

United are believed to have made their interest in Mourinho known to his camp several months ago and the contract negotiations should go smoothly, with the only obstacles believed to be image rights and potential clauses in his severance package at Chelsea. Naija and Bet

The deal could be finalised as soon as Wednesday, but Cantona, whose goals helped fire United to four Premier League titles in the 1990s, said the defensive-minded Portuguese was the wrong man for the job.

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‘Leicester will still be underdogs’ – Manager Claudio Ranieri

Premier League champions Leicester City will be underdogs again next season and staying up remains the priority despite this year’s fairytale success, manager Claudio Ranieri said on Tuesday.

“We can fight but we are underdogs,” the Italian told reporters at a Monaco Grand Prix charity match where he was ‘coach’ to an All Stars XI against a team of Formula One drivers and others.

“The fairytale happened once and we won. We want to defend our title of course, but for us it’s very, very important to maintain the Premier League,” he added.

“Our plan didn’t change. OK, we won. We want to defend our title. We know it will be difficult but we don’t care.” Naijabet

The smiling manager dodged questions about the imminent return of old rival Jose Mourinho, the manager who replaced him at Chelsea, at Manchester United after the departure on Monday of Louis van Gaal.

“I don’t want to speak about this. Next season will be another fantastic season because (Pep) Guardiola is arriving (at Manchester City), (Antonio) Conte (at Chelsea) and Jose. It will be a very tough and good season,” he said.

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Ronaldo is fit for Champion League final – Zidane

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insisted the Champions League’s top-scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, will be fit for Saturday’s final against Atletico Madrid despite a persistent thigh injury.

Zidane confirmed Ronaldo didn’t play in a practice match on Saturday as a precaution.

The three-time World Player of the Year also came off at half-time of Real’s final La Liga game of the season – having scored twice in the first half to take his tally for the season to 51 – at Deportivo la Coruna 10 days ago.

“There will be no problem. He felt something on Saturday when we had a game between us and he didn’t play as a precaution,” Zidane said on Tuesday.

“He will be ready for Saturday and I think we are in good shape physically.”

However, there isn’t such good news for French defender Raphael Varane as Zidane confirmed he will miss Saturday’s final and his participation at Euro 2016 is now in jeopardy due to a hamstring injury.

“It is sure that he will be injured for Saturday,” added Zidane.

“I expect he will be out for two or three weeks. I hope for him it isn’t as severe as anticipated.

“I hope he’ll have the chance to do something at the Euros.” Naijabet

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Vardy may have to play in wing role – Hodgson

England manager Roy Hodgson defended his decision to deploy Jamie Vardy in a wide role after the Leicester City striker struck the winner in a 2-1 success against Turkey.

Vardy scored 24 goals from a central role to fire Leicester to Premier League glory this season, only to find himself lining up on the left flank in a 4-3-3 formation in Sunday’s Euro 2016 warm-up match at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

But after being moved into the centre, he won a second-half penalty, which strike partner Harry Kane squandered, before netting a close-range winner in the 83rd minute to take his tally to three goals in three England games.

“We need to be able to play both systems,” said Hodgson, whose team will also play Australia and Portugal prior to Euro 2016.

“I don’t believe that asking a player like Vardy, or (Danny) Welbeck in the past, to play as a forward on the left or the right side is anything which should cause them any particular problems.

“We’ve had great success with Welbeck, (Wayne) Rooney and (Raheem) Sterling. We might recreate that with other players. But certainly I don’t think we should get ourselves hamstrung in saying that if Jamie Vardy’s going to play, we can only play in one system. Naijabet.com

“Because Jamie Vardy is going to be one of 23 players and there will be other quality front players looking to compete with him for places.

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Mourinho set to fulfil his dream of managing Manchester United

Jose Mourinho is on the verge of fulfilling his dream of managing Manchester United after Louis van Gaal’s troubled two-year reign at Old Trafford came to a bitter end.

Van Gaal said he was “very disappointed” to be sacked on Monday just 48 hours after leading United to victory in the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.

Missing out on a lucrative Champions League place proved the final straw for the club’s United States-based owners, the Glazer family, and they didn’t let United’s first piece of silverware since the 2013 retirement of legendary boss Alex Ferguson stop them from wielding the axe.

With van Gaal having cleared out his desk at United’s Carrington training ground after talks over a settlement for the final year of his three-year contract, which had been worth a reported £6.4 million per year ($9.2 million, 8.2 million euros), the path is clear for former Chelsea manager Mourinho to be confirmed as the new United boss on Tuesday.

Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December after a miserable campaign marred by a series of rifts with the club’s star players that eventually became intolerable to owner Roman Abramovich as the team, champions just months earlier, languished near the relegation zone. Naijabet

Now the 53-year-old will hope to restore his reputation by restoring the sparkle to United’s own tarnished image.

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Messi, Alexis headline final Copa rosters

Five-time world player of the year Lionel Messi of Argentina, Chile’s Alexis Sanchez and Brazilian Dani Alves were among the big names in the final rosters announced on Monday for next month’s Copa America Centenario.

Sixteen teams will be competing on United States soil in the 100th anniversary of soccer’s oldest international championship and each of them has submitted a squad of 23 players.

Messi heads a powerful roster for Argentina, who will launch their bid for a 15th championship title in Group D play against defending champions Chile on June 6 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Arsenal striker Sanchez, Chile’s second-most capped player after goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and a veteran of two World Cups, will be representing his country in his third Copa America. Naijabet.com

Right back Alves, one of the most decorated footballers of all time in European club competition, is part of a Brazil line-up that will be seeking a ninth victory in the South American championship.

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Spain start preparations for EURO 2016

Two-time defending champions Spain kicked off preparations for Euro 2016 on Monday with a first gathering which included just eight of the 25 players called up by coach Vicente del Bosque for next month’s tournament, with the others still tied by club commitments.

Among those attending the session at the Spanish federation’s Las Rozas sports complex near Madrid were Chelsea players Cesc Fabregas, Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta, Athletic Bilbao’s Aritz Aduriz and Mikel San Jose, Manchester City’s David Silva, Villarreal’s Bruno Soriano and Celta Vigo’s Nolito.

Ten other players involved in last weekend’s Cup finals, including Copa del Rey champions Barcelona, have been given several extra days before rejoining the group on May 28 directly in Austria where the team will train from May 26 to June 1, just before the announcement of the final 23-man squad for the tournament on May 31.

Players from Atletico and Real Madrid, who play the Champions League final in Milan on Saturday, will join their teammates on June 4, nine days before Spain’s first match on June 13 against the Czech Republic in Toulouse, and will only be available for one pre-tournament friendly against Georgia on June 7. Naija and Bet

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Man United confirm Louis van Gaal sacking

Manchester United sacked manager Louis van Gaal on Monday after an FA Cup triumph failed to make up for the club’s inability to qualify for the Champions League amid widespread discontent with a season of insipid performances.

The Dutchman was dismissed two days after United’s win over Crystal Palace in the Wembley Cup final, their first trophy in three years, paving the way for the widely-expected appointment of former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as his successor.

News of Van Gaal’s impending departure from the club leaked out minutes after Saturday’s 2-1 extra-time victory over Palace and, following relentless media speculation and a day of negotiations, it was confirmed by both sides on Monday evening.

“I’d like to thank Louis and his staff for their excellent work in the past two years culminating in winning a record-equalling 12th FA Cup for the club,” executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement on the website of the club owned by the American Glazer family (www.manutd.com).

“He has behaved with great professionalism and dignity throughout his time here. He leaves us with a legacy of having given several young players the confidence to show their ability on the highest stage.”

Van Gaal, though gushing in his appreciation of the chance to manage the club, was not so happy to be moving on. Naijabet

“I am very disappointed to be unable to complete our intended three-year plan,” he said.

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Gotze dampens transfer rumours

Mario Gotze says he is looking forward to next season at Bayern Munich, dampening speculation of a move back to Borussia Dortmund, or Liverpool to work again with Jurgen Klopp.

“I am looking forward to the new season in Munich and will do everything possible to be in top shape for my first training session with Carlo Ancelotti,” Goetze told German daily Bild.

After a season spent either injured or largely on the bench under Pep Guardiola at Bayern, speculation had been rife that Germany’s World Cup winner was set either to join up with ex-coach Klopp at Liverpool or return to former club Dortmund.

The rumours were fuelled by a report in Munich-based newspaper the Sueddeutsche Zeitung that Goetze had been told by Ancelotti, Guardiola’s replacement as Bayern’s head coach next season, to find a new club.

On Monday, Goetze split with his agent, Volker Struth at SportsTotal, an agency which looks after 70 top players in Germany, ‘by mutual agreement’ after six years together. Naija and Bet

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Wales coach Coleman signs new deal

Wales manager Chris Coleman has signed a two-year contract extension, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) announced Monday.

Coleman, who has guided Wales to next month’s European Championship in France, had been linked with jobs at Aston Villa and Swansea City in recent weeks.

But he has now signed a new deal that will include the qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup.

Coleman succeeded the late Gary Speed, a fellow former Wales international, in January 2012.

By overseeing qualifying for Euro 2016, Coleman took Wales to their first major tournament finals since the 1958 World Cup.

“I am delighted to get this opportunity to build on what we’ve achieved so far,” Coleman said.

“It’s a big challenge but it’s one that I feel we can conquer,” the 45-year-old added. Naijabet

“Once you’ve had a taste of club management you do miss that day-to-day involvement because international management can be a bit lonely.

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Crying Suarez a doubt for Copa America

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is a doubt for next month’s Copa America after hobbling off in tears midway through the Copa del Rey final win over Sevilla Sunday with a muscle injury.

The Uruguayan departed just before the hour mark of a bad-tempered final which saw three players sent off as goals in extra-time from Jordi Alba and Neymar handed Barca a 2-0 win and a 28th cup triumph.

“It is something muscular. Until the doctors look at him in Barcelona we won’t know the extent of the injury,” said Barca boss Luis Enrique.

“Now we have to wait for the tests tomorrow,” Suarez posted on his official Twitter account. Naijabet

“I hope it is nothing and I can be with my national team next week. Thank you for the support.”

Suarez only returned to competitive international duty in March after completing a lengthy ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup.

Uruguay face Mexico in their opening match in the Copa America, which is being hosted by the United States, on June 5 before playing Venezuela and Jamaica in Group C.

Suarez scored 59 goals in a prolific season for Barcelona to become the first man in seven years other than teammate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Pichichi prize for La Liga’s top scorer.

Vardy misses Australia friendly game to get married

Jamie Vardy is to skip England’s final friendly before manager Roy Hodgson puts the finishing touches to his Euro 2016 squad in order to get married.

The 29-year-old striker, who enjoyed a remarkable campaign for Leicester, inspiring their run to the Premier League title, was on the mark for his country for the third straight time in Sunday’s 2-1 friendly win over Turkey.

Harry Kane’s opener was quickly cancelled out by Hakan Calhanoglu at the Etihad Stadium, where Fatih Terim’s men threatened to secure a first win against England. Naija and Bet

However, a second-half change in system saw Vardy move from a wider position to form a two-pronged strike force with Kane – a move that quickly paid dividends as his pace and directness earned a penalty.

Hodgson later said that the Turkey game would be Vardy’s last England display before the 23-man squad for the European Championship is named.

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