Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane has entered the final stages of recovery from an ankle injury and manager Mauricio Pochettino is optimistic the striker will be fit enough to play in the Champions League final in Madrid.
Kane sustained what appeared to be a season-ending ligament injury against Manchester City in the quarterfinals but Pochettino believes he now has a good chance of at least making the bench against Liverpool on 1 June.
“(Kane) is training and has entered the final stage of his recovery,” the Argentine told reporters in Spain on Thursday.
“We’re hoping he’ll be able to give us a hand, either from the start, from the bench, or if not, then by giving us moral support in the dressing room. But we’re optimistic he’ll be able to help us on the pitch.” Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet
Pochettino said his team had defied expectations by reaching the final, which he expects to be an emotionally charged affair. Continue reading “Kane will play in Champions League final – Pochettino”
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and the returning Sergio Aguero headed the 23-man Copa America squad announced by Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni on Wednesday.
Paris Saint Germain winger Angel Di Maria was also included but there was no place for striker Gonzalo Higuain, who is on loan at Chelsea from Juventus.
“These are the best players in an important time for the national team,” said Scaloni ahead of the tournament hosted by Brazil, which begins on June 14.
Argentina will play in Group B alongside Colombia, Paraguay and guests Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts and current Asian champions.
Messi, who only returned to the Argentina squad in March after an eight-month absence following the World Cup in Russia, will turn 32 during the competition. Various betting options are available on NaijaBet
Di Maria, like Messi, made his post-World Cup return in March ahead of friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco, but Manchester City’s Aguero had not been called up since Argentina’s 4-3 last 16 defeat to eventual champions France in Russia. Continue reading “Messi and Aguero set for Argentina Copa America returns”
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech will return to his former club Chelsea as a sporting director when he retires from playing after the teams meet in this month’s Europa League final, News and other British media reported on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old Cech responded to the reports by tweeting: “Despite the news today as I had already said to everybody before, I’ll make (a) decision about my future after the last game. Now my sole focus is to win the EL with @Arsenal”.
Chelsea were not immediately available to comment on the media reports. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
Former Czech Republic international Cech, who won 124 caps, spent 11 seasons at Stamford Bridge, winning the Champions League and Europa League, four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and three League Cups before moving to Arsenal in 2015. Continue reading “Petr Cech set to return to Chelsea as sporting director”
Rafael Nadal defeated his greatest rival Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 to win a ninth Italian Open title and a record 34rd Masters on Sunday, leaving his vanquished foe to label the Spaniard as “the number one favourite for Roland Garros”.
World number one Djokovic, winner at the Madrid Open last week, produced an error-strewn performance in his 54th meeting with second-ranked Nadal, who claimed the 81st title of his career.
“It’s always an honour for me,” said Nadal after securing his first title of 2019.
“I remember my first time here in 2005. To still be here with this trophy so many years later means a lot of me.”
Djokovic had beaten Nadal in the final of the Australian Open this year for his third straight Grand Slam win after Wimbledon and the US Open. Bet Now on NaijaBet
Nadal overtakes Djokovic at the top of the list for Masters wins — the pair were level at 33 each before Sunday’s final — in a timely boost ahead of his assault on a 12th French Open crown in a week’s time. Continue reading “Nadal beats Djokovic to win ninth Italian title”
Olivier Giroud has signed a new one-year contract with Chelsea to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge until the end of next season, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old French striker has scored 17 goals in 62 appearances for Chelsea since joining from Arsenal in January, 2018.
“I am very happy to sign a new contract,” Giroud told the club’s website https://www.chelseafc.com/en/news/2019/05/21/olivier-giroud-signs-contract-extension-with-chelsea. Place bet on Virtual Games 24/7 on NaijaBet
“I really wanted to stay at least one more year – I have felt a part of the team, the family, since the beginning and hopefully there will be more trophies to come.” Continue reading “Chelsea’s Giroud signs one-year contract extension”
Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City will ultimately be judged on whether they win the Champions League despite wrapping up an unprecedented domestic treble with a 6-0 whipping of Watford in the FA Cup final.
The 48-year-old Spaniard said in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s rout the domestic treble is more difficult than winning the Champions League because it demands greater consistency over a gruelling season.
“I said before that I know we will be judged at the end on whether we win the Champions League,” said Guardiola, who twice conquered Europe as Barcelona coach.
“I know unless we do that it will not be enough.”
“This comes with me. I know that. I arrived in Barcelona, we were lucky we won it two times in four years and the people expect I am something special, that we have to win the Champions League and it’s still true.” Various betting options are available on site for today’s games
Guardiola, who has not tasted European success since 2011, having drawn a blank during his spell with Bayern Munich, said what sets the Champions League apart is the level of the opposition. Continue reading “Manchester City need to win the Champions League – Guardiola”
Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe fuelled speculation surrounding his future on Sunday, saying that he wants “responsibilities, maybe at PSG, maybe elsewhere”.
The 20-year-old backed up his excellent 2018 World Cup, where he scored four times as France won the trophy, by netting 38 times for PSG this season.
He was named as the Ligue 1 player of the season on Sunday, but did not deny that a potential move away from France could be in the offing.
“It (the award) is an important moment for me, a turning point in my career… The moment of having more responsibilities, maybe at PSG, maybe elsewhere,” he said.
Mbappe did not back down on his comments when asked about them in the mixed zone a few minutes later. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
“For me, it was the moment to say it… When I say something, I think about it,” he said, reiterating his desire to have more “responsibilities”.
“If it’s at PSG, it’s good, if it’s elsewhere, it will be elsewhere for a new challenge.” Continue reading “Mbappe wants responsibility, ‘at PSG or elsewhere’”
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane could miss the Champions League final but still captain England in their bid to win the Nations League, said national coach Gareth Southgate.
The 25-year-old talisman has not played since injuring ankle ligaments in the first leg of Spurs’ Champions League quarterfinal win over Manchester City.
Kane, who won the Golden Boot at last summer’s World Cup, missed the end of the Premier League season with Tottenham but is hoping to be fit for their European showpiece final with Liverpool.
That game takes place in Madrid on June 1, just five days before England face Holland in their Nations League semifinal.
Kane was included in an initial 27-man squad for the tournament named by Southgate on Thursday, with the final group of 23 to be confirmed on May 27. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
“Frankly, we will know a lot more about that if he is in Tottenham’s team,” he said of Kane’s current fitness level.
Continue reading “Kane will get time to prove fitness for England – Southgate”
Coach Massimiliano Allegri will leave Serie A champions Juventus at the end of the season after guiding them to five straight Italian titles, the club said on Friday.
“Massimiliano Allegri will not be on the Juventus bench for the 2019/2020 season,” the club announced in a surprise development.
Allegri, 55, held meetings with the club’s hierarchy earlier in the week during which a clear disagreement between the two parties emerged.
He had rejected reports saying he was about to be dismissed last Saturday adding he had already been making plans for the side’s future for the past six months.
Juventus have already wrapped up their record eighth consecutive title, and Allegri’s fifth in as many years and he lifted the Coppa Italia on four occasions since replacing Antonio Conte in 2014. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet
The club’s former midfielder Conte along with France boss and ex-defender and boss Didier Deschamps, Champions League finalist Mauricio Pochettino of Tottenham and Lazio’s Simone Inzaghi have been linked with taking over from Allegri in the Italian press in recent weeks. Continue reading “OFFICIAL : Allegri set to leave Juventus at end of season”
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward vowed that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be backed in the transfer market despite a bitterly disappointing end to the season.
Solskjaer was only appointed on a permanent basis in March but is already under pressure after United won just two of their final 11 games in all competitions.
“While the last few weeks were disappointing, we are delighted to confirm the appointment of Ole on a three-year contract,” said Woodward on a conference call to investors as United’s third-quarter financial results were revealed on Thursday.
“Preparations for the new season are underway and the underlying strength of our business will allow us to support the manager and his team as we look to the future.”
United ended the season 32 points off Premier League champions Manchester City and failed to qualify for the Champions League after finishing sixth. Place bet on today’s matches on NaijaBet
Solskjaer has spoken honestly about the need for a huge rebuild at Old Trafford but is hoping that a new season and additions to the squad will result in a fresh start for the club.
Continue reading “Man Utd will back Solskjaer for ‘fresh start’ next season”
Lazio lifted the Coppa Italia for the seventh time on Wednesday after late goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa guided them to a 2-0 final win over Atalanta on a night in Rome dogged by fan violence.
Milinkovic-Savic’s fine header set Lazio on their way with eight minutes left at the Stadio Olimpico, seconds after coming on as a substitute, before Correa sealed victory in the closing moments of the match.
The victory books Lazio a ticket to next season’s Europa League, much-needed for Simone Inzaghi’s side as they are eighth in Serie A, four points off the European berths with two games left to play.
“We really wanted this Cup,” said Inzaghi.
“It’s a great satisfaction, we deserve it because we’ve come a long way.”
However his side’s win was marred by clashes outside the stadium between Lazio’s hardcore ‘ultra’ supporters and police before the game. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet
Fans threw projectiles at officers as a police car was burnt near the Ponte Milvio bridge not far from the Stadio Olimpico. Continue reading “Lazio defeat Atalanta to win seventh Coppa Italia”
Germany are targeting a return to the world’s elite at the Women’s World Cup next month after a string of disappointing results for the two-time champions in recent years.
The Germans won the World Cup in 2003 and 2007 but were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2011 and finished fourth in 2015, and the fans’ passion for women’s football appears to have waned.
A shock quarterfinal exit at the 2017 European Championship, an abysmal performance at the invitational SheBelieves Cup and a poor start to their World Cup qualifying campaign led to coach Steffi Jones being sacked last year.
Former Germany international and youth coach Horst Hrubesch took over on an interim basis to secure World Cup qualification, and after restoring order with seven wins and a draw from his eight games, handed the reins over to Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.
The Germans, who have been drawn in Group B with Spain, China and South Africa, are widely expected to advance to the knockout phase, where they should avoid hosts France and defending champions the United States until a potential final. Various betting options are available on site for today’s Games
“We obviously want to win the group,” Voss-Tecklenburg said.
“That is our first aim. Then we reach the knockout stage and as we want to qualify for next year’s Olympics we need to reach minimum the quarterfinals or the semifinals (depending on the number of European teams.) This is our minimum demand.” Continue reading “Germany woman returns to world elite after decade in doldrums”
French striker Antoine Griezmann has told Atletico Madrid he will leave them in the close season, the Spanish club said on Twitter on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Griezmann has a contract until 2023 with Atletico, but has a buy out clause of €120 million and has been the target of several approaches from La Liga rivals Barcelona.
“Antoine Griezmann has told the club he will not continue as a Rojiblanco (red and white, the club’s colours) next season,” the club said on Twitter.
Within a few moments the player then posted a video explaining himself.
“After speaking with Cholo (club coach Diego Simeone), then with Miguel Angel and the people in the hierarchy of the club I wanted to speak with you, the fans, who have always given me a lot of love,” said Griezmann, wearing a plain black t-shirt in front of a simple white background behind him.
“I wanted to tell you I have taken the decision to leave,” said the French 2018 World Cup winner. Place bet on Live Events 24/7
“I have had five wonderful seasons here and you will always be in my heart,” said the affable forward known for doing dances from the video game Fortnite, when celebrating his goals. Continue reading “Griezmann set to leave Atletico for Barcelona”
Aston Villa progressed to within one game of a return to the Premier League after edging West Midlands rivals West Brom 4-3 on penalties in the Championship playoff semifinals on Tuesday.
West Brom won 1-0 on the night at the Hawthorns to level the tie at 2-2 on aggregate thanks to Craig Dawson’s first half header.
However, the Baggies’ hopes of an immediate return to the top-flight were dented when captain Chris Brunt was sent-off 10 minutes from the end of normal time. Place bet on Virtual Games 24/7 0n NaijaBet
The hosts held out manfully during extra-time, but Villa goalkeeper Jed Steer saved West Brom’s first two penalties of the shootout from Mason Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi Continue reading “Aston Villa beat West Brom to reach playoff final”
Barcelona are set to make another attempt to sign Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid after last year’s long saga led to the France international rejecting the Catalan club, according to multiple reports in the Spanish media on Tuesday.
Griezmann famously turned down an offer to join Barcelona last season, detailing his internal struggles about whether to make the move in a landmark documentary called The Decision, which was produced by a company owned by Barca’s Gerard Pique.
He later signed a new contract with Atletico until 2023 which initially raised his release clause to 200 million euros but numerous reports say that figure will drop to 120 million on July 1.
Catalan newspaper Sport said on their front cover that Barca have set their sights on Griezmann again and plan to fund paying his release clause of 120 million euros ($134.9 million) by selling Brazilian Philippe Coutinho, who cost them a club record 165 million. Place bet on Live Events 24/7 on NaijaBet
Spanish newspaper Marca said that Atletico’s squad believe Griezmann’s departure is ‘feasible’ while radio station Cadena Ser said the Frenchman is looking to leave the Madrid outfit after ending the campaign trophyless. Continue reading “Barcelona are ready to increase Atletico’s Griezmann bid”
“If you are second you are nothing,” said former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly. But rarely can a runner-up have been more proud of falling just short than Liverpool in the Premier League this season.
Shankly won three league titles on Merseyside in the pre-Premier League era and built the foundations for two decades of dominance that endured even after he departed.
Yet even he could not conceive of amassing 97 points in a league season, let alone that mark only being good enough for second place.
Liverpool’s points tally was not just a club record, but the third-highest in Premier League history, behind only Manchester City’s 98 this season and City’s haul of 100 points in romping to the title last year.
Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp’s men, it will be Pep Guardiola’s champions they have to beat again to end a 30-year wait for a league title next season.
“As long as City are around, with the quality they have, the financial power and all that stuff, it’s not that any other team will pass them easily,” said Klopp, whose side lost only one league game all season, to City in January, and still missed out. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet
“You need to be very, very close to perfection to win the Premier League as long as this is the case.” Continue reading “Liverpool move forward in bid to dethrone Pep’s Man City”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has warned his side’s rivals that the English champions will only get stronger after holding off Liverpool to become the first side in a decade to retain the Premier League.
City came from behind to beat Brighton 4-1 on Sunday and take the title by just one point from Liverpool, despite the Reds amassing a club record 97 points.
Indeed, Liverpool’s points tally is the third highest in Premier League history, behind only City this season and when they racked up 100 points in storming to the title for the first time under Guardiola last year.
City could become the first side to ever win a domestic treble in England should they beat Watford in the FA Cup final next weekend.
But Guardiola is already looking ahead to next season and strengthening his squad to repeat the feats he achieved in winning three titles in a row at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“Winning is so addictive and of course in a few days we have the FA Cup,” said Guardiola, who has now won eight league titles in 10 seasons as a coach. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7
“After (we’ll) prepare well, take the right decisions for next season to come back stronger because Liverpool will maintain it I think and the other ones will be better. Continue reading “Man City will only get better, Pep warns rivals ahead of next season”
Manchester City and Liverpool have slugged it out in one of the most gripping Premier League title races of all time, going toe to toe in a monumental battle for the ages.
But it will all be decided on Sunday when City travel to Brighton and Liverpool host Wolves, with Pep Guardiola’s team firm favourites to get over the line ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s charging team.
The bare statistics from both sides this season are phenomenal.
City, on 95 points, have won their past 13 Premier League matches to wipe out a seven-point lead for Liverpool and are on the brink of becoming the first team to retain the title since Manchester United in 2009.
Klopp’s men, with 94 points, have recovered from a mid-season stumble to record eight straight victories and are agonisingly close to their first English top-flight title since 1990.
The 18-time league winners face the scarcely credible scenario of ending the season with the third-highest points tally in Premier League history and a single defeat yet still missing out on the title. Place bet on Live Events 24/7 on NaijaBet
City look almost certain to finish off the job on the south coast but Guardiola, speaking after a nervy 1-0 win against Leicester on Monday, is taking nothing for granted. Continue reading “Man City on brink of Premier League glory as Liverpool cling to hope”
Two-time champion Simona Halep overcame Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 7-5 to reach her fourth Madrid Open semifinal on Thursday.
Romania’s third seed and former world No 1 will next play the winner from top seed Naomi Osaka and on-form Swiss Belinda Bencic.
Halep, who has been struggling with injury, took the opening set and went up a break in the second before losing it against the ninth-seeded Australian who won the Miami title in March.
Halep regained control with a break for 6-5 as her opponent returned wide. She wrapped up victory with an untouchable forehand to the corner. Place bet on Live Tennis Games 24/7
“It’s not easy to keep winning here,” Halep said after a victory in which she broke four times. Continue reading “Halep holds off Barty to reach Madrid semis-Finals”
Chelsea are guarenteed Champions League football next season whether they win this competition or not after securing a top-four finish in the Premier League on Sunday. That should lift some of the pressure off of Chelsea’s shoulders here.
Frankfurt, meanwhile, were turned over 6-1 by Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend, with all six goals conceded coming in the first half. Unlike Chelsea, their hold of fourth place in their respective league is hanging by a thread and their confidence may be shattered coming into this match.
Chelsea haven’t lost at Stamford Bridge in more than two months and know they have the insurance of an away goal from the first leg, making them favourites here. Frankfurt should not be underestimated but it would be a surprise if Chelsea didn’t make the final from here.
Chelsea- Antonio Rudiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi are both long-term absentees for Chelsea. Maurizio Sarri has confirmed N’Golo Kante won’t play again this season unless Chelsea make the Europa League final. Bet Now on NaijaBet
With a top four finish secured, Mauzirio Sarri should go with his strongest available team on Thursday. It remains to be seen whether he will stick with Olivier Giroud, who is the competition’s top scorer, or go with regular first choice striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Chelsea vs Eintracht Frankfurt”
Harry Kane says he is on course to be fit for Tottenham’s Champions League final clash with Liverpool after the England captain joined his team’s celebrations following their astonishing victory over Ajax.
Kane is recovering from an ankle ligament injury, but he was watching from the stands in the Johan Cruyff Arena as Tottenham recovered from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in the semifinal second leg on Wednesday.
The incredible comeback sent Tottenham through to their first Champions League final and Kane is confident he will be ready to feature when Mauricio Pochettino’s men face Liverpool in Madrid on June 1.
“We’ll see. So far so good, so if it carries on as it should I would hope to be. There’s still a few weeks to go,” Kane told BT Sport.
“Rehab is going well. I start straight line running this week which is why I was OK to run on at the end.
“We beat Man City and Ajax so I have to start training even harder to prove myself to the gaffer.” Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet
Kane has been sidelined since sustaining his latest ankle injury in a challenge on Manchester City’s Fabian Delph in the quarterfinal first leg on April 9.
Aymeric Laporte hailed the influence of Vincent Kompany after Manchester City’s inspirational captain struck a stunning winner in the critical Premier League clash with Leicester.
The long-serving defender once again proved the man for the big occasion as he netted with a ferocious long-range strike 20 minutes from time to settle a tense encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Monday.
The 1-0 win lifted treble-chasing City back to the top of the Premier League, one point ahead of Liverpool, with just one game remaining in a gripping title race.
Kompany’s decisive contribution ranked alongside his vital winner against rivals Manchester United during the 2012 title run-in for importance.
Fitness issues may mean the 33-year-old is no longer a regular starter but the influence of the three-time title-winning skipper shows no sign of waning even though he admits his future is uncertain.
“It is amazing, unbelievable,” said fellow central defender Laporte. “I never see one goal like that – maybe because I wasn’t on the pitch, I don’t know – but we are so satisfied with this game. Bet Now on NaijaBet
“He is a guy (who is) very important for us, for the club. I think he gives us a lot of things. He is an example for us.
“We have to improve and keep working with him because he can give a lot and he is a very good guy on and off the pitch.” Continue reading “Laporte hailed Kompany after breathtaking Man City win”
Liverpool have it all to do in the second leg at Anfield, but with the fans in full voice, they’ll be confident of making things difficult for Barcelona. If they can nick an early goal, they’ll have the wind in their sails as they look to pull off a huge result to secure a Champions League final spot.
However, opponents Barcelona have already wrapped up the title and it saw Ernesto Valverde rest a number of first team regulars for the weekend loss at Celta Vigo. Prior to that loss, the Blaugrana were unbeaten in 11 away from home as they gun for European glory.
There promises to be an electric atmosphere at Anfield on Tuesday night, but if Lionel Messi shines once again, then it’s Barcelona who should secure their place in the Champions League final, particularly with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino ruled out.
Liverpool- Naby Keita is out for the remainder of the season with a groin injury sustained in the first leg, which should lead to a midfield three of Georgino Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson. Various betting options are available on site, Bet Now on NaijaBet
Mohamed Salah was forced off in the second half of Liverpool’s 3-2 win at Newcastle after a nasty collision with Martin Dubravka, but watched the remainder of the game in the dressing room and showed no ill-effects. Continue reading “Champions League Match Preview: Liverpool vs Barcelona”
Ernesto Valverde wanted to keep Barcelona’s feet on the ground after their 3-0 win over Liverpool so he hit his players where it hurt.
“Liverpool are a team that can make any opponent suffer,” he said in the press conference after the match.
“And of course last year we had a three-goal advantage in the quarterfinals. And we were knocked out.”
Valverde knows that loss to Roma still rankles with his players, barely a week passing without one of them referencing the game that defined their season last year and could yet shape this one too.
The tie looked over after a 4-1 thrashing at Camp Nou only for a 3-0 loss in Rome to complete one of the great Champions League comebacks and send the Italians into the semis.
That Real Madrid went on to win the tournament for a fourth time in five years rubbed salt into the wound. “It is a thorn in our side,” said Luis Suarez in September. Bet Now on NaijaBet
But it was not just that Barca had fallen short, for a third consecutive year. It was the way they had thrown it away. Continue reading “Barcelona need to be wary of history at Anfield – Valverde”