Dembele set to face Man United squad in Champions League

Barcelona have named French winger Ousmane Dembele in their squad for the Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Manchester United on Wednesday.

The forward has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, last appearing in the 5-1 win over Lyon in the last 16 second leg clash on March 13, and has been waiting for medical clearance before he can feature.

Ernesto Valverde named 22 players on Monday who will travel to Manchester, with four to be left out of the 18-man matchday squad. Latest Champions League Odds

Dembele has impressed at Barcelona this season after struggling in his first campaign following a 147 million euro ($165 million) move from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017.

Mane move out from playing under Salah’s shadow

Sadio Mane has grown used to playing second fiddle to Mohamed Salah in the two seasons since the latter joined the Senegalese at Liverpool.

However, the fact Jurgen Klopp’s men top the Premier League in their quest to end a 29-year wait to win the title and face Porto in the first leg of a Champions League quarterfinal at Anfield on Tuesday, is largely thanks to Mane.

As Salah’s goals dried up in an eight-game drought prior to Friday’s 3-1 win at Southampton, Mane assumed the mantle as chief goal getter with 11 in his last 13 Liverpool appearances taking his tally for the season to 20.

That run included a double away to Bayern Munich last month that eased the five-time European champions past the German giants and eyeing another shot at Champions League glory.

His first goal in particular at the Allianz Arena was a demonstration in the 26-year-old’s pace, skill and calmness in front of goal. Various Live betting options are available on NaijaBet

Mane controlled a raking long pass from Virgil van Dijk, rounded Manuel Neuer and then dinked the ball into an unguarded net.

“I’m going to have to watch back 500 times,” admitted Klopp after the game. “It’s astounding what he did.” Continue reading “Mane move out from playing under Salah’s shadow”

Juve set to win eighth-straight SerieA title in record time

Champions Juventus turn their focus to nailing down an eighth consecutive Serie A title in record time this weekend, days after a row erupted over racist abuse aimed at starlet Moise Kean in Cagliari.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side return to their home comforts of the Allianz Stadium in Turin to host AC Milan after their trip to Sardinia on Tuesday ended amid scenes of chaos as Kean and teammate Blaise Matuidi were subjected to monkey cries and racist chanting.

Juventus could win the league title with seven games to spare – the earliest any team has ever sealed Serie A – if they beat AC Milan and nearest challengers Napoli lose at home to Genoa.

The Turin giants have an 18-point advantage on Napoli and have won both their direct clashes with Carlo Ancelotti’s side this season.

“The eighth consecutive championship is in the ‘loading phase’,” said Juve captain Giorgio Chiellini. Bet Now

“Right now, the ‘uploading’ is getting closer to completion. These will be two very important weeks for us.” Continue reading “Juve set to win eighth-straight SerieA title in record time”

Premier League Match Preview: Southampton vs Liverpool

Three wins from their last four has moved Southampton five points clear of the relegation zone and they’ll be eager to land a third successive home league win when Liverpool make the trip to St. Mary’s.

They have lost only one of their last four at home to Liverpool, though the Reds will be looking to lay down a marker with Manchester City in FA Cup action at the weekend.

The Reds’ late winner at the weekend pushed them back to the top of the table, but they could be second by the time this match kicks off. Jurgen Klopp’s side are unbeaten in their last 11 league matches and have kept a clean sheet in their last four meetings with Southampton.

Saints have been solid at home of late, but Liverpool have the means to secure another three points here.

Team News

Southampton- Jannik Vestergaard and Michael Obafemi are both ruled out for Southampton here. Various betting options are available on site for this weekend.

Shane Long missed the 1-0 win at Brighton, but is set to be part of the squad after returning to training, which is a boost as Danny Ings is unable to play his parent club.

Mario Lemina is also back to full fitness and will hope to be involved. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Southampton vs Liverpool”

Griezmann heads to Camp Nou wondering what might have been

Antoine Griezmann was convinced Atletico Madrid were making progress but, 10 months on, he may wonder if he was right to stay after all.

Atletico play Barcelona on Saturday at the Camp Nou, where Griezmann could have been walking out behind Lionel Messi, a few weeks from almost certainly winning a La Liga title, perhaps a domestic double, and possibly the Champions League too.

Instead, he remained, his choice to reject Barca revealed in a television documentary in June.

“Atletico are doing everything possible to make sure the team keeps growing, it’s incredible,” he said. “I can’t take it anymore, I need to tell the people I want to stay.”

‘The Decision’, also the programme’s title, took several months to materialise as a very public and protracted tug-of-war between Atletico and Barcelona left both clubs feeling aggrieved.

Griezmann might even have gone a year earlier, in the summer of 2017, when Manchester United thought he was theirs until the Frenchman opted to sign a new contract, persuaded that Atletico’s transfer ban would prevent them from buying a replacement.

But his new deal was not definitive, with a release clause included that would drop to 100 million euros 12 months later. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7

“Of course he can leave at some point,” said coach Diego Simeone shortly afterwards.

“I love watching my players grow, and if one of them tells me they have the unique opportunity of playing for a certain team, after they did everything they could for me, like Griezmann has done, I’ll say it’s not a problem.

Continue reading “Griezmann heads to Camp Nou wondering what might have been”

Players’ futures not on the line, Zidane defence his team

Zinedine Zidane said his players were not playing for their futures at Real Madrid and leaped to the defence of struggling veteran Marcelo after his side succumbed to a 2-1 defeat away to a resurgent Valencia side on Wednesday.

Real fell 13 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona after their ninth league loss of the campaign – the first since Zidane’s return – and are expected to shake up their squad significantly at the end of what has been a torrid season.

The 33-time Spanish champions are 10 points clear of fourth-placed Getafe in the league and Zidane said performances in their last eight games would have no bearing on who stayed and who departed.

“This final stretch of games is no exam, we have to deal with bad moments like this but it is not going to change a thing,” Zidane told a news conference.

“We were playing against a very good Valencia side who had a lot at stake, and perhaps that was the difference.”Various betting options are available on NaijaBet for today’s games

Brazilian Marcelo has come in for heavy criticism this season, losing his place in the side to Sergio Reguilon before being brought back in by Zidane when the Frenchman took charge for his second spell as coach in March. Continue reading “Players’ futures not on the line, Zidane defence his team”

Man City back on top of Premier League as Spurs party in style

Manchester City brushed aside struggling Cardiff to leapfrog Liverpool at the top of the Premier League on Wednesday as Tottenham opened their glittering new stadium in style.

City’s 2-0 victory over Cardiff took Pep Guardiola’s quadruple-chasers to 80 points – one clear of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, with both sides having six matches to go.

Tottenham marked their long-delayed move into their state-of-the-art new home with a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, while Chelsea thumped Brighton 3-0.

Kevin De Bruyne gave City the lead in the sixth minute, firing in from a tight angle after being played in by Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane doubled the lead for the defending champions with a sharp finish just before halftime.

Guardiola, whose team take on Brighton at Wembley in the FA Cup semifinal on Saturday, made seven changes to his starting line-up, handing teenager Phil Foden his first Premier League start. Bet Now

The defeat leaves Neil Warnock’s Cardiff third from bottom, five points from safety, with only relegated Huddersfield and Fulham below them. Continue reading “Man City back on top of Premier League as Spurs party in style”

Premier League Match Preview: Chelsea vs Brighton

Chelsea benefitted from a hugely controversial offside goal to beat Cardiff on Sunday to keep themselves in the running for a top-four finish. Chelsea supporters were calling for Maurizio Sarri to be sacked prior during the game.

Brighton’s two-game winning streak came to an end at the weekend after losing 1-0 at home to Southampton. Chris Hughton’s side are five points clear of the bottom three heading into Wednesday’s match at Stamford Bridge.

Team News

Chelsea- N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard were only fit enough to start on the bench in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Cardiff but they will both return to the starting XI here.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek came off the bench and scored the winner against Cardiff. He will hope to be rewarded with a start in midweek.

Callum Hudson-Odoi didn’t even get off the bench at the weekend but Maurizio Sarri has hinted he will start upcoming matches.

Gonzalo Higuain turned in another poor display and Olivier Giroud can count himself unfortunate if he doesn’t start on Wednesday. Bet Now

Emerson and Andreas Christensen will hope to benefit from any rotation in defence in midweek. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Chelsea vs Brighton”

Neymar to resume training after two-and-a-half months out

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar will returning to training on Wednesday for “on-pitch tests” after two-and-a-half months out with a foot injury, the club said on Tuesday.

The world’s most expensive player has been sidelined since hobbling off during a French Cup win over Strasbourg on January 23, missing PSG’s Champions League last-16 defeat by Manchester United.

“@Neymarjr’s recovery from injury is progressing well and he will return to training on Wednesday as scheduled for on-pitch tests,” PSG said on Twitter.

“Club specialists will carry out a full medical and radiological assessment in two weeks’ time.”

PSG were hoping Neymar would be healed enough to get back on the pitch in time for a potential Champions League quarterfinal later this month, but the French side suffered a humiliating exit as United sensationally overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit. Continue reading “Neymar to resume training after two-and-a-half months out”

Premier League Match Preview: Manchester City vs Cardiff

Manchester City will go one point clear of Liverpool if they win their game in hand at home to Cardiff on Wednesday. Pep Guardiola’s side have won their last 12 home matches in all competitions.

Cardiff were beating Chelsea 1-0 up until the last six minutes of normal time before falling foul of a terrible piece of officiating and losing 2-1. That defeat could end up costing them their Premier League status.

Cardiff would have only been two points off safety if they managed to hold on and beat Chelsea on Sunday but now they are five points adrift and unlikely to improve their position on Wednesday.

Team News

Manchester City- Sergio Aguero came off as a precaution in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Fulham and will not be risked here. Gabriel Jesus would be his obvious replacement but Raheem Sterling could play through the middle.

Fernandinho and John Stones were fit enough to make the matchday squad at the weekend and will push for starts here. Place bet on Live matches 24/7

Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez were on the bench against Fulham and will hope to benefit from any rotation here.

Fabian Delph, Benjamin Mendy, Vincent Kompany and Claudio Bravo are all injury concerns for Manchester City. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Manchester City vs Cardiff”

Messi helps Barcelona to survive Villarreal scare in eight-goal thriller

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi came off the bench to help the Liga leaders battle back from 4-2 down in stoppage time to snatch a remarkable 4-4 draw at struggling Villarreal on Tuesday.

The Catalans avoided a first league loss since November with a last-gasp Luis Suarez strike after captain and top scorer Messi gave them hope with a deadly free kick in the 90th minute.

The draw resulted in Barca’s lead over nearest challengers Atletico Madrid, who had earlier won 2-0 at home to lowly Girona, being trimmed to eight points ahead of Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown at the Nou Camp.

Even without Messi, Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic in their starting line-up, the visitors still strolled into the lead through a Philippe Coutinho goal in the 12th minute, which Brazilian forward Malcom soon doubled with a header. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

But Villarreal, who began the game hovering one point above the relegation zone, hauled themselves into contention with a strike from 19-year-old Samuel Chukwueze midway through the first half. Continue reading “Messi helps Barcelona to survive Villarreal scare in eight-goal thriller”

Premier League Match Preview: Wolves vs Manchester United

Wolves slipped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Burnley and have now won just one of their last six in the Premier League. Nuno’s side did, however, eliminate Manchester United from the FA Cup last month.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won his first match as permanent Manchester United manager but the Red Devils were fortunate to come away with a 2-1 victory at home to Watford on Saturday. United had as many attempts as Watford had on target (8).

Wolves have generally been fantastic against top-six sides this season and you can almost certainly expect a hugely improved performance from them on Tuesday compared to their display against Burnley.

Having already drawn with and beaten United this season, the home side should be confident of coming away with at least a point in midweek.

Team News

Wolverhampton Wanderers- Ryan Bennett completes a two-match ban on Tuesday night and Romain Saiss will continue at the back. Bet Now

Raul Jimenez and Matt Doherty will return to the starting XI against Manchester United after settling for places on the bench at the weekend. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Wolves vs Manchester United”

Ernesto Valverde :Six wins and Barcelona are LaLiga champions

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has set his sights on winning six of this season’s final nine La Liga matches to help his side retain the title.

The Catalans are 10 points clear of second place Atletico Madrid, whom they host on Saturday, after travelling to struggling Villarreal on Tuesday.

“There are nine games to go and if we win six, we are champions,” Valverde told reporters on Monday.

“In the final games of the season the teams at the bottom always take a lot of points.

“We don’t have to look further than the games this week, Celta, Huesca, Rayo, they’re all going to do everything they can and we must be prepared for these type of games.” Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

Villarreal, 17th, sit one point clear of the relegation zone after throwing away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at Celta Vigo on Saturday. Continue reading “Ernesto Valverde :Six wins and Barcelona are LaLiga champions”

Dominant Arsenal up to third as Ramsey, Lacazette sink Newcastle

Unai Emery challenged revitalised Arsenal to write their own history after they climbed to third place in the Premier League with a 2-0 win against Newcastle on Monday.

Aaron Ramsey’s first half strike was followed by Alexandre Lacazette’s killer second in the closing stages at the Emirates Stadium, maintaining Arsenal’s impressive progress under Emery.

Emery’s side climbed two points above fourth placed Tottenham and fifth placed Manchester United to bolster their chance of qualifying for the Champions League via a top-four finish with seven games to go.

It is the first time Arsenal have been as high as third place since April 2017, highlighting their improvement since former Paris Saint Germain boss Emery replaced Arsene Wenger at the end of last season.

Ramsey’s fifth goal of the season was only the Wales midfielder’s second since he signed a lucrative pre-contract agreement to join Juventus at the end of the current campaign. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

But, while Ramsey won’t be part of Emery’s long-term plans, the future still looks bright for Arsenal, who recorded a 10th consecutive home league victory for the first time since December 1997 to May 1998. Continue reading “Dominant Arsenal up to third as Ramsey, Lacazette sink Newcastle”

Premier League Match Preview: Arsenal vs Newcastle United

A five-match unbeaten run has moved Arsenal to within one point of north London rivals Tottenham in the race for a top four finish.

They would be ahead of Spurs had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted his late penalty at Wembley earlier this month, but Unai Emery will be pleased with how his team have performed in recent weeks.

A run of one loss in their last six has moved Newcastle seven points clear of the relegation zone and the Magpies will be growing increasingly confident of securing their top-flight spot.

That being said, they have lost their last six visits to the Emirates, conceding 18 goals in the process, so this match can be considered something of a free hit for the Magpies.

Newcastle won’t make things easy for Arsenal, but home advantage should ultimately prevail for the Gunners.

Team News

Arsenal- Lucas Torreira is suspended for Arsenal and with Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey doubts, Unai Emery has a minor injury crisis in the middle of the park. Bet Now on NaijaBet

Nacho Monreal will also be assessed, though Emery may resist the temptation to rush him back to fitness with a tough Europa League meeting with Napoli looming. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Arsenal vs Newcastle United”

Unstoppable Mbappe silent Toulouse resistance

Kylian Mbappe fired Paris Saint-Germain to their eighth straight Ligue 1 win with a stunning goal that earned the champions a 1-0 victory at Toulouse on Sunday and kept them miles clear at the top of the league. silent

The 20-year-old World Cup winner crashed home his 27th league goal of the season, his seventh in as many league games, with 16 minutes left as he continues to shine in the absence of the injured duo Neymar and Edinson Cavani.

“We had to wait, be patient and in the end, we won with Kylian’s speed,” said PSG skipper Marquinhos.

“It brought a great deal of joy to our fans, I’m sure of that.”

PSG now have 80 points, 20 ahead of second placed Lille with a game in hand to boot.

Coach Thomas Tuchel said he was delighted that the runaway leaders have not been tempted to take their foot off the gas. Various betting options are available on site for today’s game

“Many of our players were away in the international break and there was a bit of fatigue in some of them,” said the German.

“It could have been tempting to relax, especially with the lead we have in the league, but nobody does it and I like that.” Continue reading “Unstoppable Mbappe silent Toulouse resistance”

Premier League Match Preview: Liverpool vs Tottenham

Liverpool could well be one point behind Manchester City by the time this match kicks off, but the Reds will be confident of moving back to the Premier League’s summit on Sunday.

Liverpool haven’t lost a league game at Anfield to Tottenham since 2011, where goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric compounded the Merseyside outfit to a 2-0 loss.

Tottenham, though, have lost their last three away league games and are in the midst of a four-match winless run, losing three. They have lost ground in the race for a top four finish and need a positive result here in order to stave off Arsenal and Manchester United in fourth and fifth, respectively.

However, Liverpool have dropped points just twice at Anfield this season and are unbeaten in 36 home league matches and should continue that run with victory here.

Team News

Liverpool- Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will give Trent Alexander-Arnold every opportunity to be fit in time for Sunday’s clash, with the right-back a doubt for the Reds.

Joe Gomez is back in training, but this game will come too soon for the youngster, so Joel Matip should continue alongside Virgil van Dijk in defence. Various Betting Options are available on NaijaBet

Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita will both be assessed ahead of kick off, but Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is expected to be miss out here as he steps up his recovery from a knee problem. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Liverpool vs Tottenham”

Premier League Match Preview: Fulham vs Manchester City

Fulham are in the midst of a seven-match losing streak and their difficult run continues with the welcome of Manchester City. The meeting with the champions will be their fourth game against the Premier League’s Big Six in their last seven league matches, and fourth successive welcome of the top six.

Manchester City will look to move top of the table with a win over the Cottagers. They have won 10 of their last 11 league matches, though away from home, they have lost three of their last seven.

That being said, this should be a routine win for City at Craven Cottage.

Team News

Fulham- Scott Parker has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the welcome of Manchester City.

However, the Fulham boss remains without Alfie Mawson and Marcus Bettinelli here, while Andre Schurrle will be assessed ahead of this one.

Ryan Sessegnon could come into the side as Parker aims to correct a seven-match losing streak.

Manchester City- Manchester City boss has Pep Guardiola has a injury crisis at the back, with Aymeric Laporte his only fully fit centre-back coming into Saturday’s visit to Fulham.

Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne, Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph will all be assessed ahead of their trip to Craven Cottage. Continue reading “Premier League Match Preview: Fulham vs Manchester City”

Ronaldo absence gives Kean chance to shine at Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence through injury could give Moise Kean the chance to shine with Juventus after the teenager’s stunning breakthrough with Italy during the international break.

Ronaldo looks set to miss the champions’ next three Serie A games, against Empoli on Saturday, Cagliari on April 2, and AC Milan four days later after picking up a right thigh injury playing for Portugal.

The 34-year-old was rested by Juventus in their last Serie A game, after his hat-trick against Atletico Madrid sealed a place in the Champions League quarterfinals against Ajax.

And without the Portuguese star Massimiliano Allegri’s side suffered their first league defeat this season. 2-0 against Genoa.

Juventus are still closing in on an eighth consecutive Scudetto with a 15-point gap on second-placed Napoli. Start forecasting your weekend games Now

And Kean will be hoping to get a chance to showcase his talents for their first game at home against Empoli since their dramatic victory over Atletico in the Allianz Stadium. Continue reading “Ronaldo absence gives Kean chance to shine at Juventus”

Meet the Latest World Richest Footballer, Not Messi & Not Ronaldo

When you try to think of the world’s wealthiest footballers, it’s natural to have your mind immediately flit to the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo – or perhaps simply a formidable player playing for a top-class European club.

Alexis Sanchez earns £350,000 per week at Old Trafford and is the highest-paid player in the Premier League, while Aaron Ramsey will be paid a handsome £400,000 per week at Juventus.

In reality, the world’s richest footballer just so happens to be 20-year-old Leicester reserve player Faiq Bolkiah. The nephew of the Sultan of Brunei, the enigmatic youngster is worth an estimated £15 billion ($20bn) – blowing Ronaldo’s estimated net worth of between £200m and £250m out of the water.

Bolkiah has been plying his trade with the Foxes academy, having first signed a three-year professional contract in March 2016. He has yet to make a first-team appearance with Leicester, however, and little is known about his involvement with the reserves set-up.

Regarded as a talented midfielder, Bolkiah – who was born in the Los Angeles and could have chosen to represent the U.S. national team but opted to play for Brunei – started his youth career at AFC Newbury. Start forecasting your weekend games Now

In 2009, he joined Southampton’s esteemed youth set-up and stayed there for four years before making the move to Arsenal after the Gunners offered him a trial in 2013. Continue reading “Meet the Latest World Richest Footballer, Not Messi & Not Ronaldo”

How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer transformed Man United’s fortunes

Manchester United’s confirmation of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their next permanent manager caps a remarkable rise over the past three months for the Norwegian.

Solskjaer was seen as a stop-gap option when recruited as a caretaker in December, with United scrambling for a solution following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

However, a United legend as a player, Solskjaer has re-energised the English giants, leading them to the Champions League quarterfinals with an incredible victory over free-spending Paris Saint-Germain and hauling the Red Devils back into the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

AFP Sports looks how Solskjaer has transformed United’s fortunes to win the job on a permanent basis.

PLAYING FOOTBALL THE UNITED WAY

“To win games you need to pass it forward and run forward.” The basics under Solskjaer may seem simple but they contrast sharply with Mourinho’s conservative approach that left a host of expensively assembled stars paralysed by fear of making mistakes. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

The former striker spent more than a decade as a United player learning from Alex Ferguson and is trying to replicate the same aggressive, attacking approach ingrained in him by the Scot, who won 13 league titles in charge at Old Trafford. Continue reading “How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer transformed Man United’s fortunes”

Super Eagles ‘confident’ for Afcon after Egypt win

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr hailed his side’s friendly victory over Africa Cup of Nations hosts and favorites Egypt, but admitted they still need to improve before the tournament starts in June.

A stunning goal by Paul Onuachu inside a minute proved to be the winner for Nigeria inside a packed Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.

“This was not a good match, it was a great match for us against one of the top favourites for the Africa Cup of Nations,” Rohr told reporters after Tuesday’s game.

“We still have to improve, but we’re about 69-percent ready for the Africa Cup.” Various games for weekend matches are available on Site

Three-time African champions Nigeria will play two more friendlies to prepare for the event, which they last qualified for in 2013, when they lifted the title. Continue reading “Super Eagles ‘confident’ for Afcon after Egypt win”

Morata two goals gave Spain victory over Malta

Alvaro Morata’s remarkable revival continued on Tuesday as he scored twice for Spain in a 2-0 victory over Malta.

After edging past Norway 2-1 on Saturday, Morata’s double at the Ta’Qali stadium gives Spain two wins from two in Euro 2020 qualifying and the perfect start in Group F.

Luis Enrique‘s side again showed the inability to convert possession into chances that clouded their early exit from last year’s World Cup.

But Morata’s brace offers room for encouragement, the striker extending his return to form since he joined Atletico Madrid on loan from Chelsea in January.

He has five goals in six games, his best return since September 2017, and has strengthened his case for a position that has proved so troublesome for Spain in recent years. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

“The boss knows how happy I am to be here and I am grateful to him,” Morata said. “We want to qualify as soon as possible for the Euros so it was important to win today.” Continue reading “Morata two goals gave Spain victory over Malta”

Mbappe continues his rise as France down Iceland

Kylian Mbappe answered his critics with a sterling performance as France thrashed Iceland 4-0 in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday, showing no signs of irritation this time to continue his meteoric rise.

The striker, whose nerves had been pointed out in the 4-1 win against Moldova last Friday, kept his cool throughout to find the back of the net after the break and set up Samuel Umtiti and Antoine Griezmann for the first and fourth goals.

In Chisinau, the Paris St Germain forward often sought individual solutions and was booked for diving, appearing less threatening than usual.

Coach Didier Deschamps, however, was never worried by a player who has now scored 12 and delivered seven assists in 30 games for France.

“There’s no problem with Kylian. He’s in the game like all the others. If you had been a football player you would understand,” Deschamps said at the Stade de France. Continue reading “Mbappe continues his rise as France down Iceland”

Cristiano Ronaldo expects to return in one or two weeks

Cristiano Ronaldo does not think the injury which forced him out of Portugal’s match against Serbia on Monday is overly serious and he told reporters he expects to return to action in one or two weeks.

Ronaldo went off in the first half of the Euro 2020 qualifier with an apparent hamstring injury. The match ended 1-1.

“I’ll know more in 24 or 48 hours,” he told reporters.

“It happens, it’s football. If you go out in the rain you get wet … I’m calm, I’ll be back in one or two weeks.” Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

A long absence would be a blow to his club Juventus, who signed Ronaldo last year to boost their chances of winning the Champions League. Juventus travel to face Ajax Amsterdam in their quarterfinal first leg on 10 April with the return six days later. Continue reading “Cristiano Ronaldo expects to return in one or two weeks”