Super Eagles’ captain Mikel John Obi has declared the players have no need to say too much before Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Zambia’s Chipolopolo. The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champions visit the 2013 winners in a match of high importance at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, which should determine the swing of Africa’s Group B ticket to football’s biggest house party in Russia next year summer. “We know how important the match is; that is enough motivation to go all out and give our very best. There are several players in this team who have not played at the FIFA World Cup. They want to be there in Russia next year. “The talking will be done on the pitch. I have no doubt we have the quality to achieve victory, but we will not make
Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, has admitted his side were not as clinical as Real Madrid, in their 3-1 defeat in the Spanish Super Cup first leg on Sunday. Lionel Messi had equalized for Barca after Gerard Pique’s own goal opened the scoring at Camp Nou, but late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, who was also sent off, and Marco Asensio handed Madrid the advantage ahead of Wednesday’s second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. Valverde, who replaced Luis Enrique in May, feels the result slightly flattered Zinedine Zidane’ side. “I don’t feel we were as far away as the scoreline indicates,” he said in his post-match news conference. “[Madrid] were strong in midfield, which made it tough for us to play through the middle. They’re a side that run a lot and they use the spa
England and Chelsea defender, Gary Cahill has said losing Diego Costa will be a blow for Chelsea. Costa looks certain to leave Stamford Bridge after being told he has no future under Antonio Conte. Chelsea have already replaced Costa with Alvaro Morata but skipper Cahill admits his inevitable departure was a blow. The Spain striker wants a return to Atletico Madrid, although their transfer ban is proving an issue with the club unable to register new players until January. “Diego Costa is Diego Costa. He scores goals. He is an animated character and he is a big personality,” Cahill said “He will be a big miss. We have obviously added to the squad with Alvaro and that is a great addition to the squad, but you are always to going miss big players,” He added.
Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, has admitted it could take another two years to restore the club to its former glory. United were outclassed by Real Madrid, in their 2-1 UEFA Super Cup defeat to the reigning Champions League holders, in Skopje on Tuesday. After the game, Mourinho conceded they remain some way behind the likes of Real and it could be some time before they are back at that exalted level. “Manchester United are one of the top three football clubs in the world, no doubt about it. “But the football club is one thing and the team’s credentials going into a a competition are another thing entirely. We have a giant on our chest, which is really heavy, but we don’t compare our potential to the biggest clubs in Europe right now. “We’ll take it step by step a
Kylian Mbappe has decided he wants to continue his career at Paris Saint-Germain, as the Ligue 1 side prepare a €155million bid for the Monaco striker. Telefoot reports that PSG are not done spending this summer, after they smashed the world record to land Neymar from Barcelona for €222million. Real Madrid and Manchester City have been leading the chase for Mbappe all summer, but now look set to lose out to the big spenders backed by Qatari money. It is also believed that Angel Di Maria could be sold to help finance an approach. Monaco snatched the French title from PSG last season.
Former Arsenal striker, Thierry Henry, has given his verdict on Kelechi Iheanacho’s transfer from Manchester City to Leicester City. Iheanacho completed a 25 million move last week and has already featured for the Foxes, in their 2-1 win over Borussia Mochengladbach. Henry described the move as “an amazing opportunity” for the Super Eagles forward. He told Sky Sports: “It’s an amazing opportunity for him. I think back to Manuel Pellegrini’s last season at Manchester City. He wasn’t the only one but he was the spark in the team, fighting everywhere, scoring goals, trying his hardest. So I think it’s a good buy for Leicester. “It will be interesting to see how he interacts with Jamie Vardy. Is he going to do the job of Shinji Okazaki? Is Okazaki going to keep his place? Are they
Manchester United boss, Jose Mourinho, has explained why he gave away his runners-up medal, after they lost 2-1 to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday. Goals from Casemiro and Isco secured Zinedine Zidane’s side victory in Skopje on Tuesday night, despite Romelu Lukaku’s first competitive United goal for United. After they went up to collect their medals, Mourinho handed his own to a kid in the stands in Macedonia. The Portuguese claims the silverware will mean more to the supporter than him, because medals don’t mean much” to him, even when his side win. “Look sometimes when I win I don’t keep the medals, so imagine when I lose,” he said. “And for me the medal will go to some place in my house and for that kid it’s for sure something to keep and remember.
Eden Hazard is ready to push for a move away from Chelsea and realise his ambition of playing for Real Madrid. Don Balon reports that the Belgium midfielder, who is currently nursing an ankle injury, is desperate to sign for the La Liga champions this summer and will force it to happen. Blues boss, Antonio Conte, last week admitted that there is little he can do to prevent a transfer if Real or Barcelona come for Hazard. “I expect Eden to play with Chelsea. But I wouldn’t know a value. “At the moment, we are trying to improve our squad. It’s not the right moment to lose a player – any players. “I have great consideration for this player. He is a top player. But I’m the coach. I can give my opinion but the final decision is with the club,” Conte said.
ESPN Brazil journalist, Jorge Ramos, said on Twitter that Liverpool attacking midfielder, Phillpe Coutinho will be joining Barcelona today, as both clubs have already reached an agreement. Barca have been working hard to secure several new signings, including Guangzhou Evergrande, midfielder Paulinho, Liverpool Phillpe Coutinho, Juventus attacker, Dybala and a host of others. After Neymar joined French giants, Paris Saint-Germain for a world record transfer fee of €222m, it is widely reported by Spanish media that Real centre-back, Inigo Martinez will soon become a Barca player. And if there is any truth spoken by the ESPN journalist, Coutinho will become a Barca player in next few days, or even in next few hours.
Alexis Sanchez has accepted Arsenal’s decision to keep him for the last year of his current contract. Gunners boss, Arsene Wenger, has always insisted that he has no plans to sell the 28-year-old and made it clear that he has the board’s backing. According to MirrorSport, Sanchez is now dropping hints to his team-mates and friends that he is now resigned to staying. The Chile international will now leave as a free agent at the end of the season, when he is likely to get an even more lucrative contract. Paris Saint Germain’s record-breaking £200m move for Neymar appears to have ended the French club’s realistic chance of getting Sanchez. And Wenger has vowed never to strengthen a Premier League rival, effectively ruling Manchester City out as an option. Bayern Munich were kee