Fernandes & Pogba can shine in midfield under Solskjaer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes playmaker Bruno Fernandes and record signing Paul Pogba can form a strong midfield partnership when the Premier League season resumes following the Covid-19 disruption.

The 25-year-old Fernandes, who joined United from Sporting Lisbon in January, registered three goals and four assists in nine matches, adding creativity to the team with Pogba out of action due to a foot injury.

Pogba, restricted to eight appearances in all competitions this season, was primed to return before the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak and Solskjaer said the Frenchman and Fernandes can thrive.

“Good players can always play together, so definitely they can… it’s a big yes,” Solskjaer said. Play bet on Virtual Games 24/7 on NaijaBet

“I’ve got Scott (McTominay), Fred, Nemanja (Matic). There are many games coming up. I’m sure we can find a good connection between them. We’ve been discussing that as a coaching team and we’re looking forward to it.

Corona virus: Inter Milan players all tested negative

Inter Milan’s entire first-team squad have given negative results in testing for the coronavirus, the Serie A club said on Friday as they prepared to resume training.

Nearly all Serie A clubs have re-started training on an individual basis this week following a two-month stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic and all players and staff are subject to testing.

Sampdoria said previously they had found three new positive cases, Fiorentina reported six positive tests – three players and three back-up staff – and Torino one.

“FC Internazionale Milan announces that all the medical tests the first team underwent were negative,” the club said in a statement. “Optional individual training sessions will begin this afternoon.”

“The club maintains the utmost attention to the preventive measures for the health of the players and all members of the club, in compliance with all government guidelines and the protection of public health.”

Bundesliga will resumes with empty stadiums on May 16

The Bundesliga season will restart on May 16 after a suspension of more than two months, the German Football League (DFL) said on Thursday, becoming the first European league to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The DFL said the season would restart under the terms of a strict health protocol that bans fans from the stadium, with six games on Saturday, including the high-profile Ruhr valley derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04.

The derby and four other matches will start at 1330GMT while Eintracht Frankfurt will host Borussia Moenchengladbach at 1630GMT. League leaders Bayern Munich face Union Berlin in one of two games on Sunday while one more will be played on Monday.

“The interest (globally) is big. I see reports from across the world that we are the first major league to return,” DFL CEO Christian Seifert told a news conference.

“This is only possible because we have the privilege to live in a country with one of the most modern health systems in the world.” Place bet on Live Events 24/7 on NaijaBet

He was speaking by video conference after a meeting with first and second division clubs following the government’s decision on Wednesday to give the green light for the Bundesliga to restart in the second half of May and throw a financial lifeline to the cash-strapped clubs.

Klose becomes Bayern assistant coach

World Cup record scorer Miroslav Klose has signed a one-year contract to become Bayern Munich assistant coach under head coach Hansi Flick from next season, the Bundesliga champions said on Thursday.

Klose, who scored a record 16 World Cup goals and won the trophy with Germany in 2014, has been a youth coach at Bayern for the past two years since retiring as player in 2016.

“We have known each other very well since our time in the national team and we trust each other both professionally and personally,” Klose said in a club statement.

“For me this is the next step in my career as a coach,” the 41-year-old added.

Flick was assistant coach when Germany won the World Cup six year ago and Klose got his record.

Klose also played for Kaiserslautern, Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich and Lazio in Italy.

Players set for covid-19 tests as barca return to training

Barcelona’s players will return to their training ground on Wednesday for the first time since early March to undergo testing for the coronavirus as La Liga clubs begin the path back to activity ahead of a planned return to action in June.

“The first team will return to the training ground on Wednesday to do the necessary tests before starting individual training in the next few days,” the Spanish champions said in a statement on Tuesday.

“After completing its inspection of the club’s facilities this morning, La Liga has given the green light to carry out these tests in order to guarantee the safety of the players.”

Barca’s last match was a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad on March 7, which took them two points clear of Real Madrid with 11 rounds of matches remaining in the league campaign.

Kalou get suspended over handshake video

Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin have suspended forward Salomon Kalou after he posted video on Facebook which showed himself and teammates shaking hands and displaying a casual approach to Covid-19 guidelines.

The club also said in a statement that “this was the conduct of a single player” and denied that the squad do not take social distancing and hygiene rules seriously.

The Ivorian apologised for his behaviour which the German Football League described on Twitter as “absolutely unacceptable” and which some media suggested could even hamper the Bundesliga’s hopes of re-starting after the coronavirus outbreak.

The Bundesliga has been suspended since mid-March but is hoping to convince the government that it is safe to restart in the next few weeks. A decision is expected on Wednesday.

Hertha, which said that the film was made after the entire squad had tested negative for coronavirus, admitted that the video at one point showed players shaking hands while Kalou was also seen to interrupt a teammates’ medical test. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7

“Salomon Kalou’s video from the dressing-room violated basic team rules and showed behaviour that is neither appropriate to the situation nor in accordance with the club’s rules of conduct,” said the statement.

Trainning resumes as Sassuolo players run on empty pitches

Sassuolo on Monday became the first Italian top-flight club to resume training following the coronavirus stoppage although it was still a long way from normality with only a handful of players running up and down empty pitches.

The Serie A club posted a video on Twitter showing players exercising individually, with each having half a pitch to himself. The club has limited the number of players who can train to six at a time divided into three pitches and says training is optional.

The government on Sunday gave players permission to start training individually on club premises but no team exercises will be allowed until May 18 and it is still far from certain that Serie A will be allowed to resume this season.

Italy, among the world’s hardest-hit countries, started to relax the longest lockdown in Europe on Monday, allowing about 4.5 million people to return to work after nearly two months at home.

Sassuolo were involved in the last Serie A match to be played before the suspension when they beat Brescia 3-0 on March 9. Make cool from home on NaijaBet

Other Serie A teams were expected to resume training over the course of the week.

Players might need four weeks to get fit : Milosevic

Players will need at least four weeks to regain match fitness once coronavirus lockdown measures are lifted and they are able to resume training, Partizan Belgrade coach Savo Milosevic said on Sunday.

The 46-year old former Yugoslavia striker, who scored 37 goals in 102 internationals and won the 1996 English League Cup with Aston Villa, pointed out that a return to normal training would be gradual.

“We will train in groups of nine, keeping in line with the government’s measures,” Milosevic told Serbia’s Prva television.

“That means players will have to be a mandatory two metres apart at all times. There will be no team lunch or other gatherings before or after training.

“The pandemic has had a crippling effect. Players have been idle for two months now and they will need at least four weeks to get back into shape, otherwise there is a big danger of injuries when the season eventually resumes.” Place bet on Live Event 24/7 on NaijaBet

Serbian clubs are to resume training on Monday, when the Balkan nation’s government is to ease a set of measures introduced to curb the Covid-19 virus.

Pochettino: I’m sure our paths will cross again

Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has said he would like another shot at managing the team within the next decade so he can try again to lead them to a trophy.

The Argentine took Spurs to the Champions League final last year but his side were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool and he was sacked in November, ending a successful but silverware-free four-year spell in charge.

“It was an amazing journey that finished in a way that no-one wanted it to finish, but deep in my chest, my soul and heart I’m sure our paths will cross again,” Pochettino said on Wednesday.

“From the day I left the club my dream is one day to be back and try to finish the work we didn’t finish. It was an amazing journey, we were so close to winning the right trophies like the Premier League and Champions League, we were very close.”

Pochettino, who also led Tottenham to four consecutive top-four finishes and the 2015 League Cup final, is currently without a club. Play Live bet on NaijaBet.com

Players to maintain social distancing rules- Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur are the latest side to announce a limited return to training following the suspension of football activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the players respecting social distancing rules as they get back into shape, the club said.

Spurs said a limited number of players will be taking part in each session at their Enfield Training Centre, and there will be no access permitted to any building on site.

“From tomorrow, the club shall be making a limited number of pitches available at our training centre for members of our first team squad to use for individual running sessions on a strict rotational basis,” the club said on its website.

“No more than one player per pitch will be permitted at any one time to undertake on-pitch exercise, with only a restricted number of the squad coming to the training centre each day. PLAY NOW

Serie A training might resume in May, no date for re-start

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gave the go-ahead on Sunday for professional sports teams to start training again in May following the novel coronavirus outbreak but did not set a date for soccer’s top-flight Serie A championship to resume.

Conte, announcing measures to ease the lockdown during a televised address to the country, said individual training could start on May 4, when players would still have to respect social distancing rules, and that team training could begin on May 18.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus and Serie A has been suspended since March 9. The suspension followed a chaotic fortnight in which the country attempted to carry on with matches behind closed doors.

Conte said sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora would work “intensively” with scientists and sports leaders to ensure training was safe.

“Then we will try to see if they can continue with the championships that are suspended. We will only reach this conclusion if it can be guaranteed that it is safe. We don’t want our athletes to get sick. Place bet on Live Events 24/7

“I’m passionate for football,” he added. “Like many Italians, I initially found it strange that the championship could be interrupted or suspended but I think that even the most ardent fan understands that there wasn’t an alternative.”

Good News: Arsenal set to re-open training ground to players

Arsenal will re-open their London Colney training ground to their players next week for individual training but the Premier League club will continue to observe social distancing rules amid the coronavirus outbreak, they said on Saturday.

Soccer in England was suspended indefinitely last month due to the virus and no clubs have been in training.

“Players will be permitted access to the Colney grounds next week,” Arsenal said in a statement.

“Access will be limited, carefully managed and social distancing will be maintained at all times. All Colney buildings remain closed.

“Players will travel alone, do their individual workout and return home,” the club added. Make cool cash from home with NaijaBet Virtual Games

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus on March 12, which led to the Premier League postponing the next round of matches and none have been played since.

National League clubs vote to end regular season

National League clubs have voted to end the regular season at its current point, with promotion and relegation outcomes “under careful consideration”.

The league’s board had urged clubs in its three divisions to vote in favour of ending the regular season without further games because of coronavirus.

The league said there was a “clear majority of clubs in favour” from the almost 90% of responses returned.

Football in the fifth and sixth tiers was suspended on 16 March.

Clubs in the National League, National League North and National League South divisions that have not yet voted still have an opportunity to do so, the league’s board said, but it “would not change the outcome”.

A National League statement added: “In the knowledge that the ordinary resolution has passed, the League’s board has chosen to communicate the decision now and before the last few responses are received, which will not change the outcome, to enable clubs to make business decisions with greater clarity as soon as possible.

“The options concerning the sporting outcomes of the 2019-20 season remain under careful and timely consideration, and further updates will be given in due course.”

Uncertainty continues as football hope reawakens

Football is re-awakening amid the Covid-19 pandemic but the sense of hope at teams which have started training is mixed with worry over whether it might be too soon and the uncertainty of how to keep players safe.

On hold since mid-March, many European leagues are hoping to start up again in the next two or three months, without spectators, and training has begun in Germany and Austria. Yet re-starting remains fraught with difficulties.

“There is a huge logistical and medical/scientific question about testing and protocols but also a social one,” said Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, secretary-general of the global players’ union Fifpro.

“We need guidance and protocols on how to return in a healthy and safe manner. Football is a contact sport and we feel very high protection standards are required.”

There was also a moral question. “Are we sending the right message to society, and are we encouraging a healthy return to normal life, or are we sending a bad signal that football has different rules to the rest of the world?” he added. Place bet on Virtual Games 24/7 on NaijaBet

On the other hand, the Swiss Football League said a successful re-start, under scientific supervision with a risk management concept, could allow football “to send a signal that it is possible to return to something closer to normality”.

Several leagues around the world have produced a medical protocol for training, mostly along similar lines.

Lack of football making him anxious – Neymar

Paris St Germain and Brazil forward Neymar says that not knowing when football will be played again is making him anxious.

The 28-year-old is preparing for an eventual return at his home in a gated community in Brazil under the supervision of Ricardo Rosa, his long-standing physical trainer.

Despite Rosa’s best efforts to keep him active with a varied daily routine, Neymar said that absence of football due to the COVID-19 pandemic was weighing on him.

“Not knowing when we will play again is causing anxiety. I miss playing, competing, the atmosphere of the club and my PSG teammates. It’s a real longing for football!” he said on his website.

“I’m sure that the fans want to see everyone back on the pitch, the earlier the better. I hope the decision is made as quickly as possible,” added Neymar, who had scored 18 goals in 22 appearances for PSG before the season was halted in March. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

Rosa said that his main job was not to add to the pressure which Neymar is already under.

Bundesliga might restart behind closed doors – Minister

Germany’s health minister is open to a resumption of Bundesliga football matches on condition that they are played behind closed doors, he said on Wednesday ahead of a crunch decision by officials on Thursday.

Jens Spahn, recognising that such ‘phantom games’ are important for millions of footbal fans, said the decisive factor in making the judgment call on returning to action was whether the players’ health could be secured.

“If this can be achieved with a minimised, or as far as possible excluded risk of infection, then it can certainly be done”, Spahn said.

The Bundesliga has been suspended since mid-March due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which has infected more than 145 000 people and killed over 4 800 in Germany. Bet Now on NaijaBet

Regional leaders in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia said on Monday that any league resumption would be without fans and that there would be no action before May 9.

Swiss league plan for matches resumption ahead

The Swiss football league (SFL) says it has submitted a detailed plan to the government, drawn up in co-operation with health experts, for the possible resumption of training and matches in the aftermath of the coronavirus shutdown.

The Swiss government last week announced a gradual end to restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus, starting with beauty salons and hairdressers on April 27.

This raised hopes the football season, which was suspended on March 2, could get underway again in the near future.

Football in Europe is currently at a standstill although teams in neighbouring Germany and Austria have restarted training under strict social distancing restrictions in preparation for a resumption of their seasons.

The SFL said in a statement that restarting the championship, even with matches played behind closed doors, could be a positive sign for the country in general but was also necessary to prevent the financial ruin of Swiss football. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

“With the resumption of play with ‘ghost games’ (matches without spectators), under scientific supervision and combined with a risk management concept, top football wants to send a signal that it is possible to return to something closer to normality as soon as possible,” it said.

Austrian team Leaders Linz become first to re-start training

League leaders LASK Linz on Monday became the first Austrian top-flight team to re-start training amid the Covid-19 outbreak, with the players divided into small groups and observing social distancing guidelines.

Austria has become one of the first countries in Europe to loosen a lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and the government gave the go-ahead last Wednesday for professional teams to start training again.

Under government rules, the Linz players were divided into groups of six for practice and stayed two metres apart. Other Austrian teams were due to start training on Tuesday.

“We’re all happy to be on the pitch again,” said LASK captain Gernot Trauner.

The Austrian Bundesliga is hoping to resume the season in mid-May though all games would have to be without fans for the foreseeable future. Place bet on Virtual Games 24/7 on NaijaBet

“It’s a completely new situation, we are starting from scratch,” said LASK coach Valerien Ismael.

Top-flight players confirmed for ePremier League Tournament

Several top-flight players have signed up to represent their clubs in the ePremier League Invitational tournament next week to generate funds for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The inaugural edition of the knockout tournament will see players test their Fifa 20 video game skills against each other between April 20-25 from the comfort of their homes.

Among the players who have confirmed their participation are Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Diogo Jota and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.

“The thoughts of everyone at the Premier League are with all those directly affected by Covid-19,” Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said in a statement on Saturday. Play bet on Virtual Games 24/7 on NaijaBet

“The league, our clubs and players are providing valuable support for communities and the NHS.

Klopp admit to feared sack during his early days at Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp feared getting sacked by the Premier League club early in his tenure if he was not afforded the time to reshape the squad, he said on Wednesday.

The early years were spent building the team into title contenders and Klopp said he knew he had to convince Liverpool’s owners – Fenway Sports Group – that he needed time to change their playing style.

“It was clear we cannot fix it overnight. Everyone wanted that but we couldn’t so I had to ask for time, I knew,” Klopp said on Sky Sports’ Football Show.

“Before that in my career I never got the sack so I had no experience with that, but I knew then it was a different level, and if I can’t deliver here quick enough, then I will get the sack.

“We got that time and the nice thing is that after six, seven, eight games, they were really positive about the situation, they realised we were on the right path. From that moment they didn’t question it one second.” Place bet on Live Events 24/7 on NaijaBet

Klopp, who took over from Brendan Rodgers in 2015, led the club to three finals in three years – Europa League and League Cup in 2016 and Champions League in 2018 – but ended up on the losing side each time.

Gerrard not happy with SPFL decision about ending the season

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard on Thursday criticised the handling of the vote to end the Scottish season in the lower leagues and called for an investigation.

Scotland’s 42 professional clubs voted digitally on a proposal to end the season immediately across the lower tiers and in the top tier Premiership if and when it becomes clear the campaign cannot be completed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The vote was passed with a majority meaning Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were declared champions of the Championship, League One and League Two respectively.

The Premiership, which Celtic lead by 13 points from Rangers, will not be called off until at least April 23, the earliest date Uefa would accept the abandonment of top divisions to avoid the possibility of being barred from European competitions. Make cool cash from home by playing bet on NaijaBet

Championship side Dundee did not vote last week but belatedly backed the Scottish Professional Football League’s (SPFL) resolution to end the season early following a change of heart.

Rangers, who are second in the Premiership, and bottom side Hearts, who would be relegated, were not in favour of the resolution.

Spurs would struggle without Kane- Moura

Tottenham Hotspur would struggle to replace captain Harry Kane if he leaves the Premier League club at the end of the season, teammate Lucas Moura has said.

Kane is contracted to Spurs until 2024 but said during an Instagram Live session with Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp last month that he could leave if he felt the London club were not moving in the right direction.

Kane, who also captains England, is Spurs’ third-highest scorer of all time but has yet to win a trophy with his boyhood club.

“I’m sure that every season Tottenham receive offers for Kane. I want him to stay because he’s very important for us and it’s not easy to find a player like him,” Brazilian forward Moura said.

“Everyone knows he’s a big player.” Place bet on Live Events on NaijaBet.com

Kane, who scored 11 league goals in 20 appearances this season, was recovering from hamstring surgery when football in England was suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

European Leagues Seasons might resume without fans, but no dates yet

Predicting when soccer will resume in Europe is impossible in the current climate but there is no doubt that matches will have to be played in empty stadiums when it does, the deputy general secretary of European Leagues (EL) has said.

The EL represents professional soccer leagues in Europe and its members include the top flights of England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy, which have all been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clubs across Europe have been hit hard by the stoppage and leagues are now looking at different ways to resume their seasons, the EL’s Alberto Colombo said BBC https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/52291542.

“There’s no doubt games will be behind closed doors,” Colombo said. “But, of course, it’s impossible to answer the question: ‘When will we be back playing?’ Nobody has these answers.

“Ultimately, we all know the governments of the countries are the ones in charge for lifting the various restrictions that apply to sport.” Make cool cash from home on NaijaBet.com with Virtual Games

The English Premier League has been suspended until at least April 30 and its clubs are meeting on Friday to review the situation although a resumption in the near future is unlikely with Britain still in lockdown.

Paul Pogba admit that he has grown under criticism

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has said he is no longer bothered by criticism from soccer pundits because he has grown used to it.

The France international, who joined United from Italy’s Juventus in 2016, has made eight appearances in all competitions this season due to injury and last featured in the Premier League in a 4-1 win over Newcastle United on Boxing Day.

“I guess they miss me,” the 27-year-old told the club’s UTD Podcast, referring to the pundits.

“I’m not someone that looks always at Sports News. When you know football, you don’t need someone to tell you what’s happening.

“If they want to speak, they are allowed to speak, it’s their job to speak. I am used to it now. I am really used to it, it doesn’t bother me.” Place bet on Live Matches and Virtual Games 24/7 on NaijaBet

Former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness has been one of Pogba’s most vocal critics and has labelled the Frenchman “selfish” and a “doddle to play against”.

Ligue 1 might restart in June – LEP

France is considering restarting Ligue 1 on June 3 or June 17, with the latter date more likely, sports daily L’Equipe has reported, citing a document from league organisers (LFP).

Soccer in France was suspended indefinitely last month due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On Monday French President Emmanuel Macron extended the lockdown in the country to May 11.

The L’Equipe report said that if the season resumed on June 17 teams would have to play every three days so the regular campaign could end by July 25, leaving time for relegation and promotion playoffs to be completed by August 2.

L’Equipe also said LFP members had voted on Friday to push back the start of next season by two weeks to August 23, but that the decision would have to be confirmed by France’s Football Federation (FFF).