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”
A rejuvenated France will take on Spain in a gala friendly on Tuesday, with French coach Didier Deschamps suffering a timely embarrassment of riches from which to pick in a bid to extend a seven-match unbeaten streak.
Fresh from a 3-1 victory over Luxembourg in a World Cup qualifier at the weekend, the Euro 2016 runners-up will line up against a Spanish side that has dipped since winning the treble of two Euros (2008, 2012) and the 2010 World Cup, but remains strong on paper.
As for any friendly, falling as it does between World Cup qualifiers and a heavy club schedule, Deschamps will likely rotate his squad, notably with the League Cup final between Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco scheduled for Saturday. Place bet on France vs Spain on NaijaBet.com
“I’ll try to give the maximum number of my players some game time,” said Deschamps.
Spain’s Chelsea striker Diego Costa, scorer of one of the goals in Spain’s 4-1 win over Israel in Friday’s World Cup qualifier, suffered an ankle injury in training on Sunday which could rule him out of the friendly. Continue reading “Deschamps ready to rotate for Spain”
Real Madrid’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo was the best paid footballer in 2016-17, with €87.5 million in earnings, ahead of his Argentinian rival at Barcelona, Lionel Messi (76.5m), according to figures to appear in Tuesday’s edition of France Football.
Messi’s Brazilian teammate Neymar is third with €55.5 million ahead of Real Madrid’s Welsh forward Gareth Bale (41m) and Argentina’s Ezequiel Lavezzi (28.5m), who plays for Hebei Fortune in the Chinese Super League. NaijaBet.com
Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho is the best paid coach, with income of €28 million, the magazine said.
France Football said it based its figures on salary, bonuses and advertising income for the 2016-2017 season.
Netherlands coach Danny Blind was sacked on Sunday, less than 24 hours after a 2-0 defeat away to Bulgaria left the team floundering in fourth place in World Cup qualifying group A.
The Dutch FA (KNVB) announced the decision in a statement after Blind, had been called in for crisis talks. NaijaBet.com
The 55-year-old had questioned his own future following Saturday’s loss in Sofia, which left the Dutch six points off the pace at the halfway stage of the European qualifying campaign for the 2018 finals in Russia.
But Blind bemoaned the decision in a statement on Sunday.
“We were on the right track but the Bulgaria loss was a setback. I gave everything I had and I’m really sorry that it ends this way,” said the former Netherlands defender. Continue reading “Netherlands sacked Blind after defeat”
Nigerian Coach Genoit Rohr was impressed with the outcome of the friendly match with Senegal in London. In his post-match press conference inside the bowels of the Hive Stadium he spoke on a wide range of questions arising from the match.
“We chose to play Senegal because of their physicality as we will be playing Cameroon in our next qualifiers. It was great to see how our players stood up to the challenge of playing teams like these. I was happy with them in that respect”.
On the subject of Cameroon who are now African Champions and whether that factor changes the dynamics going into that qualifier “most definitely” Rohr said. Predict today’s World cup qualifiers Matches on NaijaBet.com and Win Big
“Now they have more confidence. They have players who have the belief that being champions brings but we know that if we are to win in Cameroon it will give us a great chance of being at the World Cup”.
Rohr also provided updates on the state of Ogenyi Onazi who was taken off injured. Continue reading “Rohr Satisfied with draw against Senegal”
Speculation continues to mount over the France star’s future, with Manchester United among the clubs linked with the attacker.
Diego Simeone is worried about the possibility of losing star man Antoine Griezmann as Atletico Madrid have “no security”, with a long line of suitors eyeing a move.
Griezmann is one of the most in-demand forwards in the world and he declared this week that it would be “a dream” to play for the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona or even rivals Real Madrid. NaijaBet.com
Despite also insisting that his immediate future was with Atletico, speculation persists and Manchester United have been heavily linked with a swoop for the France international.
Asked by reporters if there was a risk of the 26-year-old leaving, Simeone replied: “Yes, because there is a termination clause. There is no security. Continue reading “Simeone : Griezmann could leave at any time”
Manchester United should focus on winning the Europa League this season, which would bring the club a trophy they have never won and secure qualification for next season’s Champions League, former manager Alex Ferguson has said.
United are fifth in the Premier League and sit four points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, though they have two games in hand on the Merseyside club.
A top-four finish would ensure Champions League qualification but Ferguson, who was in charge at Old Trafford for some 27 years, believes United have a great opportunity to qualify by winning Europe’s second-tier club competition.
“The thing is, we’ve never won the Europa League,” he said. “We’ve never won Uefa Cup, what it used to be. And we’ve got a great draw. I’m not saying it’s a certainty, but they’ve got a great chance. NaijaBet.com
“It’s still a European trophy. And if you win it, you get into the Champions League. The incentive is greater to do that.” Continue reading “Fergie urges Mourinho’s Men to win Europa”
The Super Eagles, in London for the international week had their first training session on Tuesday at The Hive training ground of Barnet FC.
The players were put through their paces in various light work by the technical crew led by Gernot Rohr.
At a ridiculously cold weather for this time of the year the 16 players in camp as at the time of the training were full of banter and laughter.
Carl Ikeme is the only goalkeeper at this point while new invitees Tyrone Ebuehi, Chidozie Awaziem and Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee looked to be integrating very well. Play Bet on today’s Matches on NaijaBet.com
The Leicester City duo of Ahmed Musa and Wilfred Ndidi along with fellow Premier League star Isaac Success showed plenty of commitment during the one-touch passing exercises.
These players have had long seasons already so there was not much physical exercises. Rohr and his team made sure most of the work done by the players was with the ball. Continue reading “Eagles resume preparations for Lions and Stallions”
The unthinkable prospect of a World Cup without Argentina or Lionel Messi could move a step closer to becoming reality on Thursday as the South American giants prepare to face arch-rivals Chile in a crucial battle on the road to Russia 2018.
Argentina, who last failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1970, saw their progress towards next year’s finals go awry in 2016 when back-to-back draws with Venezuela and Peru were followed by defeats against Paraguay and Brazil.
Although they bounced back to beat Colombia 3-0 in a home qualifier last November, they remain outside the automatic qualifying places in fifth place, with 19 points from 12 games. Naija and Bet
A defeat against fourth-placed Chile on Thursday in Buenos Aires would leave Argentina further adrift of the automatic qualifying spots. And if Colombia beat lowly Bolivia in their home game, as expected, Argentina could even finish the day further down the pecking order, outside of the fifth-place playoff berth they currently occupy.
With a trip to face Bolivia in the thin air of La Paz awaiting them next Tuesday – where Argentina have rarely performed well – it means the two-time World Cup-winners can ill afford to slip up against the Chileans.
Argentina defeated Chile in Santiago earlier in the qualifiers, winning 2-1 in March last year. Continue reading “Argentina face Chile test in World Cup qualifier race”
After a year scarred by scandal and sporting catastrophe, Gareth Southgate will begin his attempt to steer England into calmer waters in Wednesday’s friendly against Germany in Dortmund.
England began 2016 with a stirring 3-2 win over Germany, but they were humiliated by Iceland at Euro 2016 before new manager Sam Allardyce was brought down by a newspaper sting after just one game in charge.
Southgate 46,has been left to pick up the pieces and he asserted his authority by omitting captain Wayne Rooney from his first squad, explaining that it is time for England to build for the future. NaijaBet
“When you’re in the role temporarily, you are always thinking, ‘Do I make decisions for the long term or do you just need points for the country?'” said Southgate, who initially replaced Allardyce on an interim basis.
“Now there’s an opportunity to put down things I think are important. Continue reading “Southgate picks up pieces as England start rebuild”
Everton manager Ronald Koeman believes Romelu Lukaku will continue to do his best for the club despite the uncertainty over whether the striker will sign a new contract.
Lukaku, whose deal ends in two years, became the Premier League’s leading goalscorer with 21 goals in 28 games after scoring twice in Everton’s 4-0 win over Hull City on Saturday.
British media reports said Lukaku had rejected a new long-term deal from Everton last week that would have made him the best-paid player in the club’s history.
“Everybody knows he is a professional and he will do everything for the club until his contract is ended and nobody knows what will happen in the future,” Koeman said. NaijaBet.com
“We like to keep our best players because we need them to make the next step.” Continue reading “Everton relaxed over Lukaku’s Contract”
Beleaguered Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has decided to stay at the club, according to British media reports on Monday.
Wenger will inform Arsenal’s board he wants to extend his contract, which expires at the end of the season.
West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis also said Wenger told him he intended to stay on after Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at The Hawthorns on Saturday. Place Bet on Live Matches on NaijaBet.com
“I’ll be surprised if he goes,” Pulis told reporters after Saturday’s game, as revealed in Monday’s newspapers.
Asked why he thought Wenger would stay, Pulis replied: “Because he told me.”
Wenger, 67, has come under fire from fans after Arsenal were thrashed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League and slipped out of the Premier League’s top four. Continue reading “Wenger wants to stay on at Arsenal”
African Footballer of the Year Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring as a Leicester City revival continued at the weekend with a 3-2 English Premier League win at West Ham.
A return to form by the Algeria winger has coincided with the ‘Foxes’ winning four consecutive matches in all competitions since Italian manager Claudio Ranieri was controversially sacked.
Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who preceded Mahrez as African Footballer of the Year, remained the leading German Bundesliga scorer after his goal gave Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 win over Ingolstadt.
RIYAD MAHREZ (Leicester)
The Algeria winger gave a strong display in Leicester’s 3-2 victory at West Ham. Having struggled for much of the season, he looks back to his best since Ranieri’s sacking. Mahrez enjoyed a stroke of luck to open the scoring in the fifth minute when his cross evaded Hammers goalkeeper Darren Randolph and crept into the net. Naija and Bet
ANDRE AYEW (West Ham)
The Ghana striker scored his fifth club goal of the season, but couldn’t prevent West Ham suffering more misery at their London Stadium against Leicester. With West Ham trailing 3-1, Ayew headed in after Andy Carroll won the ball at the back post from a corner to reduce the deficit in the 63rd minute. But the Hammers couldn’t find an equaliser with Ayew guilty of firing over from one of hosts’ best opportunities. Continue reading “Mahrez and other Africa stars Shine in Europe”
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique insisted midfielder Andre Gomes will become a pillar of the Catalans’ midfield after silencing his critics with his first goal for the club in a 4-2 win over Valencia on Sunday.
Enrique has attracted criticism himself for keeping faith with Gomes despite his underwhelming performances since moving for a fee that could rise to 55 million euros ($59 million) from Valencia in July.
“Andre Gomes will be a very valuable player for Barca in the future, you will see,” said Enrique, who is stepping down as coach at the end of the season.
“He combines unique physical and technical abilities for a player of his profile and the fans treated him well.” Naija and Bet
The Portuguese has been roundly jeered by the Barca fans in recent weeks, but the majority of the Camp Nou backed his introduction for Rafinha 16 minutes from time despite some whistles. Continue reading “Enrique back Andre Gomes to come out good”
This is a testing period for West Brom. They have already secured their top flight status but are at risk of being one of those sides that now have little motivation and finish the campaign terribly.
They have lost each of their last two matches without even scoring and things don’t get much easier with a trip to Manchester United following this match.
Arsenal are into the FA Cup semi final and must now try and consolidate a spot in the top four. They start the weekend five points adrift of fourth place Liverpool but Arsene Wenger’s side do have two games in hand.
The Gunners have actually only managed to win one of their last four matches against West Brom in regular time and aren’t in particularly great shape even after thrashing Lincoln last time out. Naija and Bet
West Bromwich Albion – Matt Phillips is still an injury concern for West Brom ahead of Saturday’s match against Arsenal, while an ankle injury picked up in the week means James Morrison may miss out as well. Continue reading “Match Preview : West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal”
Holders Real Madrid were drawn to face their former coach Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals on Friday as Juventus take on comeback kings Barcelona.
English champions Leicester play their first quarterfinals in the top-tier European competition against Atletico Madrid as France’s Monaco clash with Borussia Dortmund over two legs in April.
Ancelotti, who led Real to their tenth Champions League title in 2014, was looking forward to a special tie. NaijaBet.com
“It is going to be exciting to play against them. We are very confident and want to win the Champions League this season,” said Ancelotti, who also won the European title twice with AC Milan.
“I think we have the ability to beat Real Madrid.” Continue reading “UCL : Real to face Bayern; Juve get Barca”
Madagascan Ahmad Ahmad was elected president of the Confederation of African Football Thursday, ousting veteran leader Issa Hayatou after 29 years in office to usher in a “new dawn” for the sport on the continent.
Ahmad, head of Madagascar’s football federation, won the election in the Ethiopian capital by 34 votes to Hayatou’s 20, official results showed.
Delegates cheered and pumped their fists in the plenary hall after the announcement of the result which heralded the departure of the last of the old generation of leaders in world football.
Ahmad, a 57-year-old father of two, had a discreet playing and coaching career before he took the reins of the Madagascar football federation in 2003. NaijaBet
His rare and determined bid for “change” at the head of the CAF this year took many by surprise, and the incumbent was seen as the favourite. Continue reading “Ahmad elected as new CAF President”
Manchester United earned a 1-1 draw in terrible conditions in the reverse leg back in Russia and are favorites to progress here.
Rostov are unbeaten in their last seven competitive matches, although picking up results away from home has proven extremely hard.
The Russian outfit have only won two competitive matches on the road all season and elimination from the Europa League is expected on Thursday night.
Manchester United – Jose Mourinho will recall on the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Thursday after the Manchester United No.9 missed Monday’s defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup through suspension.
Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney are both ruled out again after failing to overcome injuries that saw the duo miss Monday’s trip to Stamford Bridge. Naija and Bet Continue reading “UEL Match Preview : Manchester United vs FC Rostov”
Atletico Madrid booked their place in the Champions League quarterfinals for a fourth consecutive season but had goalkeeper Jan Oblak to thank for avoiding defeat in a 0-0 draw with Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.
Oblak produced a remarkable triple save midway through the second half as Atletico held on to their 4-2 first-leg advantage to take their place in Friday’s draw for the last eight.
“It is not easy to be in the quarterfinals four years in a row,” Oblak said.
“I hope Atletico will continue like this, keep growing like in the last few years and I am sure we can achieve great things.” Predict tonight’s Europa League Matches on NaijaBet.com
On a night of few Atletico chances, the home fans didn’t even get to cheer the return of hero Fernando Torres.
Two weeks on from being knocked unconscious in a sickening head clash Atletico boss Diego Simeone left Torres on the bench for the full 90 minutes. Continue reading “Atletico stroll into UCL quarters for four years in a row”
Jose Mourinho hopes Manchester United’s players will shrug off the effects of the stormy FA Cup loss to Chelsea when they resume Europa League hostilities with a depleted Rostov on Thursday.
Ander Herrera’s 35th-minute dismissal in Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final obliged United to toil with 10 men for an hour as they succumbed to a sapping 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mourinho’s former club.
United have the upper hand against Rostov, having netted an away goal in a 1-1 draw in last week’s last-16 first leg in Russia, but their heavy schedule means freshness remains a concern. NaijaBet.com
“We have a very important match on Thursday and I want to rest a little bit to try to prepare the team as best we can,” United manager Mourinho told reporters at Stamford Bridge.
“That’s the most important thing now.” Continue reading “Mourinho preparing United for Rostov”
Scoring more goals and shoring up in defence will be key if Juventus are to avoid another Champions League quarterfinal exit after cruising past Porto and into the last eight, said coach Massimiliano Allegri.
Beaten 2015 finalists Juventus put one foot into the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition last month with a 2-0 win away to 10-man Porto.
And the Turin giants were impervious Tuesday on their way to stretching their unbeaten run in European competition to 21 games despite failing to build on their numerical superiority after Porto, as they did in the first leg, lost a man before the half-time interval. NaijaBet.com
Nuno Espirito Santo’s visitors failed to pose any real threat, and any hope of an upset was ended on 40 minutes when Paulo Dybala drilled past Iker Casillas from the penalty spot after Maxi Pereira’s expulsion for handball.
Juventus cruised through 3-0 on aggregate, but Allegri was less than satisfied after the hosts failed to make their advantage pay in a listless second half that saw Gonzalo Higuain and Mark Pjaca fire wide of the target. Continue reading “Allegri demands juves improvement for quarters”
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon named outsiders Leicester City on Tuesday as the team he wanted to avoid in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are among the sides already in the last eight yet it was the debutants and English Premier League champions who worried the 38-year-old goalkeeper the most.
“Who do I prefer not to play? Leicester, because they are a dangerous and passionate team who can cause trouble for opponents who take the initiative,” said Buffon after his team beat Porto 1-0 to compete a 3-0 aggregate win. Predict today’s match on NaijaBet.com
“Against them, we would have everything to lose.”
Leicester reached the last eight with a 2-0 victory over Sevilla to go through 3-2 on aggregate. Continue reading “Buffon wants to avoid Leicester in UCL quarterfinals”