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.

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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.

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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‘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

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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

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Mourinho makes peace with Old Trafford icon

Jose Mourinho made peace with Bobby Charlton as Manchester United’s new manager met the Old Trafford icon at the club’s Carrington training ground on Monday.

Charlton has previously been a harsh critic of Mourinho and was understood to have objected to his potential appointment when United were looking for a successor to Alex Ferguson in 2013.

The 78-year-old, a member of United’s board of directors, also criticised Mourinho in 2012 for poking Barcelona’s assistant coach Tito Vilanova in the eye during a heated touchline clash, saying at the time: “A United manager wouldn’t do that. Mourinho is a really good coach, but that’s as far as I would go really.

“He pontificates too much for my liking. He’s a good manager, though.”

But, despite Charlton’s criticism, United finally turned to Mourinho last week, hiring the former Chelsea manager after the failed regimes of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal. Naijabet.com

With Mourinho being taken on a tour of United’s training base, it could have been an awkward moment when he met Charlton, but the 53-year-old Portuguese was keen to bury the hatchet.

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James ready to fight for his place

Colombian international James Rodriguez sees his future at the Bernabeu stadium despite getting a lot less game time for Real Madrid in his second season.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder scored 17 goals and contributed 17 assists in 43 starts in the 2014-15 campaign after joining Real from Monaco but he made just 21 starts in all competitions in his second year.

Reports in Spain have linked Rodriguez with Manchester United and Paris St Germain.

“In football you never know but I want to continue here and my idea is to have many more years with the club,” he told Marca.

“I am happy here. All the people close to me are happy too. It’s the ideal club and I want to be here.”

Rodriguez watched Saturday’s Champions League final triumph over Atletico Madrid from the bench and admitted the season had been “a bit strange”.

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Rashford signs long-term contract

Striker Marcus Rashford has signed a new contract at Manchester United which will keep him at Old Trafford until 2020 with an option to extend for a further year, the club said on their website(www.manutd.com) on Monday.

The 18-year-old United academy graduate scored eight goals in 18 appearances this season, including two on his debut against Midtjylland in the Europa League.

He followed up with two goals against Arsenal and scored the winner in the Manchester derby against City in March.

“I am delighted to have signed a new contract. I have always been a Manchester United fan, so to be playing in the first team really is a dream come true,” Rashford said.

“I am grateful for having the chance to prove myself. To be able to play football at the biggest club in the world means everything to me and my family.” Naijabet.com

The emergence of Rashford under former manager Louis van Gaal was one of few positives for United in a disappointing campaign in which they finished fifth in the Premier League.

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Ronaldo targets more Real glory

Cristiano Ronaldo is hungry for even more silverware with Real Madrid after winning the Champions League on Saturday for the third time.

The prolific Portuguese did not look fully fit and was far from his best in the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid but he slammed home his team’s decisive fifth penalty in the shootout to seal Real’s second Champions League final success over their local rivals in three years.

Ronaldo cited tiredness for his underwhelming display in the final, the last game of another gruelling season in which he played 48 competitive games and scored 51 goals, the sixth straight season in which he has netted over 50 times.

“I’ve played more than 4 000 minutes, and I was No 1 in the team, again, with the most minutes. That means a lot to me. It means I am still good,” Ronaldo said. Naijabet.com

“In six years I’m scoring more than 50 goals, but I am asking for more. I am always at the top level. I just want to maintain that.”

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Siasia hopeful of Olympic gold in Rio

Nigeria Under-23 team head coach Samson Siasia has declared that the country will “aim for gold” at the men’s football event of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this year.

Siasia is keen on surpassing his personal best at the Olympics football event in which he guided Nigeria to a silver medal in 2008 in Beijing.

“The last time I took the U23s to the Olympics, we won silver. This time, we will aim for gold,” said Siasia.

The former Nigeria international striker is preparing a squad of 20 players for this year’s Summer Olympics and will see them feature in an invitational tournament in South Korea.

Siasia also took time to draw inspiration from being regarded as powerhouses. Naijabet.com

The Nigerian trainer prefers not to have his team rated highly like the case was before the Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal.

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Terry backs Mourinho to be United success

Chelsea captain John Terry believes his former manager Jose Mourinho will lead Manchester United back to the top.

Mourinho was appointed United manager earlier this week after Dutchman Louis van Gaal was sacked two days after leading the Red Devils to an FA Cup victory.

And Terry, who won the Premier League three times as Chelsea captain with Mourinho as manager, believes the Portuguese is the right man to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.

“It’s fantastic news for Man United,” Terry. “I’m sure the Man United fans and players will be delighted with that.

“I’ve said many times before, he’s the best manager I’ve worked under and a real delight. It’s a shame the way he finished at Chelsea this year but I wish him well because he’s a great manager and a great man as well, he’ll be great for Manchester United I’m sure. Naijabet

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