Leicester sign Germany keeper Zieler

Leicester City have signed Germany goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler on a four-year deal from Bundesliga side Hannover 96 for an undisclosed fee, the English Premier League champions said on Friday.

Zieler, 27, one of two back-up keepers to Manuel Neuer in the Germany squad that won the 2014 World Cup, will compete for a place in Leicester’s starting side with current Foxes number one Kasper Schmeichel.

“It feels great coming to Leicester and joining the club after they’ve had such a great season -– it’s really nice to be part of the club now,” Zieler told Foxes Player HD after signing a contract set to keep him at the King Power Stadium until 2020.

Zieler is the first addition to Leicester’s squad since the one-time 5,000/1 outsiders were crowned champions of England. Naijabet.com

“I’ve been shown around the training ground and it looks very good and I’ve been to the stadium -– I heard about the great atmosphere and the great fans, so my first impression is very good,” added Zieler, who already knows several of Leicester’s squad, having played in the same Manchester United academy side as Danny Simpson, Danny Drinkwater, Ritchie De Laet and Matty James.

Continue reading “Leicester sign Germany keeper Zieler”

Conte encourage Italy to conquer Europe

Italy must rely on a strong team spirit to have an outside chance of winning Euro 2016 after struggling to uncover young talent, manager Antonio Conte was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Conte, who takes over at Premier League side Chelsea next season, will be hoping Italy can reproduce the form that saw them reach the Euro 2012 final, which they lost to Spain.

He said unity within the squad was of the utmost importance if they were to have any chance at the 24-team tournament.

“It’s important that the squad has a good spirit. I work a lot at this,” the 46-year old said. “If we are able to find this way, it’s possible to be an outsider. Naija and Bet

“I like to play offensive football and attractive football with great intensity. I like the players to transfer great emotion to our fans.”

Continue reading “Conte encourage Italy to conquer Europe”

Aubameyang win Bundesliga Player of the Year

Borussia Dortmund’s Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been voted Bundesliga Player of the Year by the German player’s union (VDV).

The 26-year-old, who got 19.7 percent of the vote, finished ahead of Bayern Munich’s Poland forward Robert Lewandowski (19.5) – the league’s top scorer with 30 goals.

Aubameyang’s teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan (12.6), who also plays in midfield for Armenia, came third, the VDV said on its website. Naijabet.com

Aubameyang, who was named African Footballer of the Year in January, scored 25 goals for Dortmund in the league last season, helping his side finish runners-up to Bayern.

Aubameyang, Lewandowski and Mkhitaryan were also included in the Bundesliga team of the season.

Di Matteo set to be new Villa manager

Roberto Di Matteo has agreed to become the new manager of Aston Villa with the Birmingham club set to confirm the Italian’s appointment on Friday, several British media outlets reported.

The former Chelsea manager is in line to be named as the successor to Remi Garde, with the Frenchman sacked in March ahead of Villa’s relegation from the Premier League.

Di Matteo, 45, guided Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2012 and is understood to be well regarded by Villa’s new Chinese owner Dr Tony Xia.

The former Chelsea midfielder still has a house near Birmingham from his time as manager of Villa’s local rivals West Bromwich Albion.

Di Matteo has been out of management since resigning as the boss of German side Schalke a year ago. Naijabet.com

He last managed at Championship level when overseeing West Brom’s promotion to the Premier League in 2010.

Continue reading “Di Matteo set to be new Villa manager”

Man City sign new player from Dortmund

German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has joined Manchester City from Bundesliga side BorusDortmund on a four-year deal, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.

The 25-year-old, who had a year remaining on his Dortmund contract, is the club’s first signing since they confirmed Spanish coach Pep Guardiola would take over at the Etihad from Manuel Pellegrini prior to the start of next season.

City did not disclose financial details of the deal but British media reported that Gundogan would cost the Premier League club around 20 million pounds ($29 million).

“I’m thrilled to have signed for Manchester City,” Guendogan said in a statement on City’s website. Naijabet.com

“The opportunity to work with a coach like Pep Guardiola is something I am really looking forward to and I am flattered to be the first signing the club has made this summer.”

Continue reading “Man City sign new player from Dortmund”

Del Bosque confident of Euro 2016 chances

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is delighted with his side’s preparations for the European Championships but was not ready to claim they were short odds to register a third successive triumph at the tournament hosted by France.

“We are the favourites (for Euro 2016) because we come into it having won four years ago… but only on that basis,” Del Bosque told reporters after Spain beat South Korea 6-1 in a friendly in Salzburg, Austria on Wednesday.

“There are other national teams but it’s our dream to be champions again. We’re in a good moment. We have had a tough season, very intense, but we are ready to go into the Euros in the best conditions.

“We are ready to start, to win is another thing. There are good rivals and in football everything is really even.” Naijabet.com

Spain face Georgia in their final warmup match in Getafe on Tuesday before kicking off their Group D campaign against the Czech Republic in Toulouse on June 13.

Turkey and Croatia are the other two teams in the group.

Football legend Pele to donate auction money

Brazilian great Pele said he was putting more than 2,000 items up for auction, including his three World Cup medals and a one-of-a-kind Jules Rimet trophy, in order to raise funds for charity and his former club Santos. legend

The three-day auction, which opens on Tuesday in London, will feature memorabilia from the 75-year-old’s illustrious career with Brazil, Santos and the New York Cosmos and could fetch up to $1 million, auctioneers said.

“That was the decision to do this, to help the charity and the children,” the Brazilian, widely regarded as the greatest soccer player ever.

“The idea is that half of the money goes to the children’s hospital and the other charities and the rest of the memorabilia will go to Santos, for an exhibition. Santos, the team that made me be here.” Naijabet.com

I wanted to kill some of my players last night – Roy Keane

Roy Keane said on Wednesday he felt like killing some of the Republic of Ireland players who played in Tuesday’s Euro 2016 warm-up defeat by Belarus.

However, the plain-speaking 44-year-old assistant coach — who infamously was sent home before the 2002 World Cup finals after a blazing row with then-coach Mick McCarthy — told Irish media he had calmed down a bit the morning after the 2-1 loss.

“Well, I wanted to kill some of them last night,” he told a press conference after training on Wednesday.

“I’ve moved on from that.” Naijabet

The former Manchester United great — who adds bite to the more cerebral head coach Martin O’Neill — said several of the players were fortunate to have made the 23-man squad after under-par performances.

“They should be counting their blessings that they’ve managed to get on the flight,” said Keane.

Continue reading “I wanted to kill some of my players last night – Roy Keane”

Rooney happy to embraces England duties in EURO 2016

England captain Wayne Rooney called Euro 2016 his “biggest test” as an international player on Wednesday and revealed that he has spoken to newly appointed Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

Rooney’s immediate focus is on leading England out against Portugal at Wembley on Thursday in their final warm-up game before Roy Hodgson’s men head to France.

But with Mourinho having visited United’s training centre for the first time this week, there was another Portuguese on the minds of the journalists who attended the pre-match press conference at England’s team hotel in Watford, north of London.

“Obviously I’ve spoken to him. It’s exciting times for Manchester United, and for myself and the other players,” Rooney said when asked about the new man in the Old Trafford hotseat.

“He’s one of the best managers in the world and very successful, so I’m looking forward to it.” Naija and Bet

Mourinho, who tried to sign Rooney during his second spell as Chelsea manager, signed a three-year contract with United last week as a replacement for the sacked Louis van Gaal.

Continue reading “Rooney happy to embraces England duties in EURO 2016”

Ronaldo absence a useful test for Portugal – Santos

Portugal’s friendly game with England on Thursday is an opportunity for the team to demonstrate that they can prosper without absent talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, coach Fernando Santos said on Wednesday.

Ronaldo, Portugal’s captain and all-time leading scorer with 56 goals, will miss the Wembley encounter as he is resting following his involvement in Real Madrid’s Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid in Milan last Saturday.

It deprives Santos of his most potent attacking weapon, but he called on the other players in his squad to step up to the plate in their penultimate warm-up game ahead of Euro 2016.

“Of course Cristiano Ronaldo is very important for Portugal, but he’d be important for any team in the world,” Santos told a press conference at Wembley.

“I hope he can play in all seven games in France (assuming Portugal reach the final), but we need to be able to play without him and tomorrow is a chance to practise that.” Naijabet.com

Continue reading “Ronaldo absence a useful test for Portugal – Santos”

Ancelotti to build and learn from Guardiola

Under the mantra ‘never change a winning team’, Bayern Munich’s new coach Carlo Ancelotti wants to build on his predecessor’s work and plans talks with Pep Guardiola before taking charge.

Guardiola walked away last month having steered Bayern to three German league titles in three years and will coach Manchester City next season.

In his final season, the Bavarian giants became the first team to win four back-to-back Bundesliga titles, a run started by the Spaniard’s predecessor Jupp Heynckes in the 2012-13 season.

Ancelotti, who wants to copy Guardiola by giving his first press conference in German and is busy learning the language, will take over when Bayern’s pre-season training starts on July 11.

The 56-year-old has a better record in Europe than Guardiola, having won the Champions League three times with two different clubs, in 2003 and 2007 with AC Milan then 2014 with Real Madrid, but plans to ease himself into the Munich job.

“Pep did a great job in Munich. I do not want to change too much, but to build on his work,” Ancelotti said. Naijabet.com

“I’ve had a very good relationship with Pep Guardiola for a long time.

“I met him in Paris during his sabbatical (in the 2012-13 season after four years at Barcelona) and I think we will be talking to each other before the start of the season.”

Continue reading “Ancelotti to build and learn from Guardiola”

Memphis vows to return stronger under Mourinho

Manchester United winger Memphis Depay is keen to breathe fresh life into his faltering career in England under new manager Jose Mourinho after enduring a disappointing debut campaign under former boss Louis van Gaal.

The Netherlands international, who joined United from PSV Eindhoven in June last year, scored two goals in 29 Premier League appearances in his first season, 13 of which came as a substitute.

“I did not play as many games as I hoped and I am obviously disappointed about that,” Memphis said. Naijabet.com

“I had different expectations. But I have to deal with that. You have to make decisions on when to go for an individual action.

“The old Memphis, who beat every opponent, will soon be back again. It’s now on to next season. I have to prove my worth during pre-season.”

The 22-year-old scored 22 league goals to fire PSV to the Dutch championship in the 2014-15 season but failed to provide a similar spark for United, who missed out on Champions League qualification after finishing fifth.

Zlatan tight-lipped about his next club

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic has remained tight-lipped about his future at club and international level, telling reporters on Wednesday that he would let them know his plans when he was good and ready.

Rumours linking the 34-year-old free agent to Manchester United and Malmo, as well as speculation that he would announce the end to his international career, have gathered steam but a relaxed Ibrahimovic opted to avoid discussing his future.

“I want you to still write a lot of stories, so I get excited when I see them, because I want to see who is making up the best story,” he told reporters at Sweden’s training camp, where the side are preparing for the Euro 2016 finals in France.

“When I’m tired of it, I’ll let you know where I will go.” Naija and Bet

The striker did manage to refute a suggestion that he might play half a season for Swedish league leaders and his first club Malmo before joining another side at the beginning of 2017.

Continue reading “Zlatan tight-lipped about his next club”

Keane, McCarthy make Ireland EURO 2016 squad

The Republic of Ireland’s record goalscorer Robbie Keane made the final 23-man squad for the Euro 2016 named by manager Martin O’Neill on Tuesday after the team’s 2-1 friendly defeat to Belarus in Cork.

The LA Galaxy striker’s place appeared to be under threat after suffering a calf problem, but he was named alongside fellow forwards Shane Long and Daryl Murphy.

O’Neill and his assistant Roy Keane also decided to pick Sheffield Wednesday’s Keiren Westwood as the third-choice goalkeeper ahead of Millwall stopper David Forde, who started Ireland’s qualifying campaign as number one.

Westwood is the only keeper in the squad who plays regular first-team football at club level, as Darren Randolph and 40-year-old Shay Given were both back-ups last season at West Ham United and Stoke City respectively. Start predicting EURO now click naijabet,com

Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter impressed in a 1-1 friendly draw with the Netherlands on Friday, but misses out after picking up a thigh injury in training on Monday.

Continue reading “Keane, McCarthy make Ireland EURO 2016 squad”

Morata wish returning to Real Madrid

Juventus striker Alvaro Morata will only return to Real Madrid if he is guaranteed a starting role, he said on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Morata, named in Spain’s Euro 2016 squad, is under contract with Juve until June 2020 but Real can exercise a buy-back clause to re-sign him in July.

“My wish is to succeed at Real Madrid, that is clearly what I would like the most,” Morata Said.

“But Real have great players and what I want is to play and feel important. Next season, I will play in the team which gives me the most opportunities to do so.”

Morata has also attracted interest from Premier League clubs.

“There are offers from England which are tempting, not just because of the contract,” Morata said. Naijabet.com

“I believe because of my characteristics, the Premier League could also be a great destination. I’m not saying that I want to leave Juventus, because it’s a team that I can only say good things about. But going to the Premier League would not be a step back, on the contrary.”

Continue reading “Morata wish returning to Real Madrid”

My job is to focus on Man Utd not Guardiola – Mourinho

Jose Mourinho will not stoke his rivalry with fellow new recruit Pep Guardiola at Manchester City next season because it could damage his team’s Premier League title hopes, he said on Tuesday.

Mourinho and Guardiola had a fractious relationship when the Portuguese was in charge of Real Madrid and the Spaniard was at the helm at Barcelona during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

“My experience does not allow me to be naive. What I mean by that is that I was with Pep for two years in a championship where the champion was either him or me, Real Madrid or Barcelona,” Mourinho told an event at the Faculty of Human Kinetics in Lisbon. Naija and Bet

“In a situation like that individual battles make sense because they can have an influence. If, in the English Premier League, I focus on him at Manchester City and he on me at Manchester United, another team will win the title.”

Continue reading “My job is to focus on Man Utd not Guardiola – Mourinho”

‘Griezmann will bounce back’ – Didier Deschamps

France coach Didier Deschamps on Tuesday played down any worries of the effect Antoine Griezmann’s missed penalty in Atletico Madrid’s Champions League final defeat will have on his key player for Euro 2016.

The forward struck the crossbar from the spot early in the second half with Atletico trailing to city rivals Real Madrid on Saturday, before they went on to lose on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Griezmann was the last member of the 23-man France squad to meet up with his teammates at their training camp in Austria, after Deschamps gave him some time off to recover from the final. Naijabet

“Honestly, I won’t be speaking to him about the feeling that he must have had by missing a penalty and losing in the Champions League final before such a big event (Euro 2016),” Deschamps said.

“I gave him three days to get over it and I’m sure he will arrive with a smile, good humour and desire.”

Hosts France open the European Championship finals against Romania on June 10, before also facing Albania and Switzerland in Group A.

‘Mkhitaryan rejects Dortmund contract extension’

Borussia Dortmund could be set to lose another star for next season amidst reports Chelsea and Arsenal target Henrikh Mkhitaryan has turned down a contract extension with the German giants.

“Why should we extend now? Micki (Mkhitaryan) still has a contract until 2017 and we’ll continue thinking about his future after that,” Mkhitaryan’s agent Mino Raiola told German daily Bild.

With Dortmund’s captain Mats Hummels having already signed for rivals Bayern Munich next season, Dortmund have been trying to tie down top midfielders Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan, who is tipped to join Manchester City, on long-term deals.

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke refused to comment on the situation with Mkhitaryan.

The Armenian international has had a stellar season at Dortmund, scoring 23 goals and creating another 32 in all competitions, as Borussia finished second only to Bayern in Germany’s top flight. Naijabet.com

Continue reading “‘Mkhitaryan rejects Dortmund contract extension’”

Navas ruled out of Copa America

Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas will miss the Copa America Centenario because of chronic tendinitis in his left foot, his country’s football federation (Fedefutbol) said on Tuesday.

Navas, who played for Real Madrid when they beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday, has been trying to shake off the injury for around a year, Fedefutbol said in a statement. Naijabet

He also missed last year’s Concacaf Gold Cup, although he played regularly for Real Madrid this season.

“It is the same injury that Navas has been coping with for the last year and which has not responded to a number of treatments that he has undergone,” the statement said.

“Real Madrid will determine the treatment for this case so it can be solved definitively.

“Doctors consider that if it is not treated promptly, the player could suffer a complication in his Achilles tendon.”

Navas joined Real Madrid two years ago after his outstanding performances helped Costa Rica reach the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals, beating Uruguay and Italy on the way.

Costa Rica face a tough first-round group against the United States, Colombia and Paraguay.

Messi absent as his tax fraud trial opens

The trial of Argentina star Lionel Messi on tax fraud charges opened Tuesday in Spain in his absence just days before Argentina’s first match in the Copa America against Chile.

Messi, 28, and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, are accused of using a chain of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros ($4.7 million) of Messi’s income earned through the sale of his image rights from 2007-09.

They have been charged with three counts of tax fraud.

The Barcelona court hearing the case adjourned the trial at around noon local time (1000 GMT) after considering preliminary legal questions because of the absence of witnesses who had been due to appear, including Messi’s mother Celia Cuccitini. Naijabet

The trial will resume on Wednesday at 10am (0800 GMT) with testimony from the witnesses and experts.

Messi had planned to be in Barcelona for the start of the trial but a lower back injury he suffered during a friendly against Honduras last week prevented him from doing so, defence lawyer Javier Sanchez-Vera said.

Continue reading “Messi absent as his tax fraud trial opens”

Perez hails Zidane influence on Real Madrid

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has praised Zinedine Zidane for changing the “recent history” of the club as a player and a coach.

Promoted from his position as head coach of the club’s reserve team to be Rafa Benitez’s replacement in January, three-times world player of the year Zidane steered Real to a runners-up finish in La Liga and to their 11th European Cup.

“The key element is Zidane,” Perez told Marca on Tuesday.

“He has changed the recent history of Real Madrid. Since 2001 he has created a way to understand football that has helped us win these European Cups.”

Zidane was signed as a player in Perez’s first term as president and his spectacular volley in the final in Glasgow in 2002 gave Real their ninth European title.

The Frenchman was an assistant to head coach Carlo Ancelotti when Real beat Atletico in Lisbon in the 2014 final. Naijabet.com

“Zidane symbolises the values of Real Madrid like respect, humbleness and talent,” Perez said.

Continue reading “Perez hails Zidane influence on Real Madrid”

Jose Mourinho v Pep Guardiola: The story of the rivalry

Manchester will be home to two of the most successful managers in the world next season, as United’s Jose Mourinho and City’s Pep Guardiola go head-to-head in the Premier League.

The pair have clashed many times before and have a fierce rivalry.

Here, we look back at their records against each other and the times they’ve clashed…

 The first meeting between Guardiola and Mourinho as managers produced a typically intriguing tactical battle, as Barcelona and Inter Milan played out a 0-0 draw in a Champions League group game at the San Siro in 2009. 

The reverse fixture, though, saw the Spanish side win a one-sided contest 2-0 at the Nou Camp. The hosts were without Lionel Messi or Zlatan Ibrahimovic but Xavi picked Mourinho’s men apart. Naijabet.com

After the game, Mourinho conceded his team had been outplayed – but welcomed the chance of another crack at Guardiola’s team: “We’re far from being Barca in terms of individual qualities and profile. As a team, Barcelona are better than us. But if I had to play against Barca again tomorrow, I would already be ready. If you told me that Inter will face Barca in the semi-final, I will accept it already.”

Continue reading “Jose Mourinho v Pep Guardiola: The story of the rivalry”

Hart focused on saving England from exit on penalties

Goalkeeper Joe Hart has backed himself to gain the upper hand in any psychological battle against opponents if England are taken to penalties at the Euro 2016 tournament in France.

England have a miserable record in shootouts, having been knocked out of six major tournaments on penalties since 1990, including their quarterfinal defeat by Italy at the 2012 European Championship.

The 29-year-old was named in the provisional England squad for the June 10-July 10 tournament and while manager Roy Hodgson will drop three players when he confirms his final 23-man selection on Tuesday, Hart remains his first choice goalkeeper. Naijabet 

“I try to put as much pressure as I can on the (kicker). I realise it is not easy to take a penalty. I try and build as much pressure as I can and be in control as much as I can,” Hart said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

“I have always had the mentality of thinking what is the best moment (to dive). Of believing in what I am doing. I have got it wrong many, many times but I have always believed I know what they are thinking or what they are going to do.”

England face Russia, Slovakia and Wales in Group B of the 24-team tournament in France which starts on June 10.

Brazil in search of Copa identity without Neymar

Two years after their traumatic World Cup semifinal exit, Brazil are haunted by the past as they head into the Copa America Centenario aiming for their first title in nearly a decade.

In previous eras, Brazil would arrive at the Copa America brimming with confidence, with the only debate revolving around who they could expect to face – and defeat – in the final.

Between 1997 and 2007, Brazil won four out of five editions of the tournament, helping to make them the most successful nation since 1975, when the Copa America began to be held regularly after an eight-year absence.

Yet as Brazil prepare to embark on this year’s tournament, the familiar swagger is gone.

The humiliating 7-1 thrashing by Germany in 2014 has left a team in search of an identity, torn between a more pragmatic, defensive approach and the hardwired instincts towards flamboyance. Naijabet

So far, under the second managerial tenure of 1994 World Cup-winning captain Dunga, the results have been mixed.

Continue reading “Brazil in search of Copa identity without Neymar”

Super Eagles ready for Luxembourg test

Nigeria will engage the Luxembourg national side in an international friendly on Tuesday at the Stade Josy Barthel in Luxembourg City.

It will the first time the two sides will be meeting at full international level and the Super Eagles will look to earn one over their opponents.

The Eagles are brimming with confidence after a hard-earned win over Mali last Friday.

Kelechi Iheanacho’s second half goal gave Nigeria the win at the Stade Robert Diochon in Rouen.

Luxembourg aren’t exactly a powerhouse in world football by any means. Ranked 146th on the latest Fifa rankings, the Red Lions as they are called will be up against the team ranked 67th in the world but that wouldn’t faze coach Luc Holtz who is a fiery character.

He loves to line up his team to attack even though that hasn’t exactly translated to plenty goals for his side. Naija and Bet

Continue reading “Super Eagles ready for Luxembourg test”