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Manchester United prepare €150M offer for Atletico Madrid star

Spanish publication Ok Diario has claimed that Manchester United are making plans to win the race for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who has a release clause of €150 million – an amount his suitors are ready to offer.

The report further states that the 23-year-old could be the subject of a summer battle between the Red Devils, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, all of whom are willing to secure his services.

In case you didn’t know…Saul Niguez was a part of the Real Madrid youth setup from 2006-08 before he decided to join their bitter rivals Atletico Madrid.

Saul Niguez

Having made his for Los Colchoneros in the 2011-12 Europa League against Besiktas, he shot to fame in the 2014-15 season as he became a fixture in the club’s starting lineup.

Previously, he was also being reportedly pursued by Barcelona this past summer, but the Catalan giants turned their attention elsewhere.

The heart of the matterOne of the most integral components in Diego Simeone’s squad, Saul made headlines last year when he opted to sign a new nine-year deal with Atletico that sees him at Wanda Metropolitano until 2026.

As for Manchester United, the club’s talisman Paul Pogba has been heavily linked with a potential move to Barcelona over the past few weeks, which has forced the top brass to ponder over his replacements.

The Spain international will be an excellent addition to Jose Mourinho’s side as his commendable work-rate and passing ability in the middle could come in handy for the Premier League outfit.

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PSG announce deal to launch cryptocurrency

PSG  launch cryptocurrency
French footballing giants Paris Saint-Germain are launching their own cryptocurrency after announcing a new partnership with Socios.com, a blockchain company based in Malta.

In a statement announcing the deal on Tuesday, Qatar-owned PSG did not reveal the length of the agreement or how much money they will make from it, although a source told AFP they expected it to be worth “several million euros”.

Socios.com describes itself as a “tokenized football fan voting platform”, with the title derived from the Spanish name given to members of La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The idea is to allow PSG fans to buy tokens which allow them to vote in online club surveys.

Socios.com’s own website says it gives “fans access to club branded fan tokens that come with voting rights and access to VIP level club rewards and engagement opportunities”. The team behind it has raised more than $66 million in financing so far.

But PSG, who signed Brazilian superstar Neymar for a world record fee of 222 million euros ($264m) last year, also want to “release rewards, exclusive content and all kinds of experiences” through the deal, according to the club’s head of sponsorship, Marc Armstrong.

Socios.com founder Alexandre Dreyfus says his company’s idea is to “reinvent… in more of a 2.0 style” the concept of the “socio”, which in Spain means allowing fans to be directly involved in club decision-making by essentially making them shareholders.

However, rather than being involved in key strategic decisions, PSG supporters are likely to be paying to have their say in more anecdotal decisions, starting from “early next season”. These could include issues like selecting the design of the team’s jersey.

Blockchain, the system that moves chunks of data securely through an online ledger, has been put to growing uses from medical records to banking and most prominently as the tool behind crytocurrency Bitcoin.

In PSG’s case, there will be a “limited” number of club-stamped tokens released thanks to the blockchain.

The price of the tokens has yet to be set, “but their cost will be very low because obviously this is aimed at as many people as possible”, Dreyfus told AFP.

However, beyond the monetisation of the sale of the tokens, what is the objective of this venture?

“For us, the interest comes from the level of engagement with fans, in the manner in which we can offer them a better experience,” Armstrong says.

“Not just those who attend matches but also those in Asia, in the United States, and in all four corners of the planet.”

Having already moved into eSports, PSG are hoping this move reinforces their presence in the digital domain, with Armstrong calling it a “strategic partnership, rather than a deal in which someone pays us just to be associated to a brand”.

Source: GuardianNG

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Chelsea coach, Sarri reveals only person who can make him stop smoking

Chelsea boss, Maurizio Sarri has finally revealed the person that can make him stop smoking cigarettes.

The Italian, however, said that his father, Amerigo is the only one person who can make him quit smoking.

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“When my father (Amerigo) learned I had this offer from Chelsea, he told me to go to London, that it was the right thing to do,” Sarri told Il Mattino.

“He did ask me to stop smoking at least while I’m here.

“He is the only one who for five minutes can make m, however, in my convictions,” he said.

However, given the fact that smoking is prohibited inside English football stadia, Sarri has been forced to abandon his matchday habit by the Blues owner, Roman Abramovich, although the 59-year-old was pictured smoking in his technical area in the game against Newcastle.

Chealsea Football Club however created a special booth for Sarri to smoke anytime his team his playing at home, since he is not permitted to smoke within the stadium.

Sarri’s men, who are currently occupying the second position on the Premier League log, will face Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

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How it happened! Seychelles 0 Nigeria 3: Nigeria back on track for Afcon

Widemen Musa and Kalu – on his international debut – dazzled as the Super Eagles picked up their first points in the qualifying campaign

Nigeria got their 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign back on track after condemning Seychelles to a defeat at Stade Linite on Saturday.

Goals from Ahmed Musa, Chidozie Awaziem and Odion Ighalo saw the Super Eagles pick up their first win of the qualifiers, with debutant Samuel Kalu causing havoc to the Pirates defence.

Musa and Awaziem handed the visitors a two-goal advantage in the first-half and Ighalo added the third from the spot after one of Kalu’s numerous teasing runs was halted in the box.

The buildup to the game had seen Gernot Rohr deal with several disappointments with team captain John Obi Mikel and some key players ruled out through several injury concerns.

The German handler had to make four changes to the team that started against Argentina in their last outing, at the World Cup.

Awaziem came in as a surprise pick for the right-back spot, Ogenyi Onazi partnered Wilfred Ndidi at the base of the midfield, Bordeaux new signing Kalu handed his international debut and Ighalo was restored to lead the lines.

From the blast of the whistle, the Super Eagles, expectedly, directed proceedings with the East African minnows sat deep in blocks.

Much of the visitors’ threats came from the wings as stand-in skipper Musa and Kalu’s quick feet and directness caused troubles for Gavin Jeanne’s men.

In the 15th minute, Nigeria’s dominance paid off through Musa who let fly with a wicked left-footed volley, with goalkeeper Dave Mussard’s back burying the audacious effort.

Before the interval, Awaziem doubled the lead beating Mussard from a rebound after a clever Iheanacho free-kick hit the foot of the crossbar.

The Seychellois tried to distort the flow of the game with some ambitious attacking forays after the restart, but Rohr’s men retook dominance and they got a third from the penalty spot.

Ighalo sent the stocky shot-stopper the wrong way after livewire Kalu was upended in the area.

Jeanne’s men caused a few nervy moments for the three-time African champions’ backline and Musa came close to getting a second with his effort in the 72nd minute missing the target by whiskers.

Rohr suffered yet another blow as Awaziem was stretched off injured, however, it allowed Rotherham United defender Semi Ajayi make his international bow.

There was also time for Henry Onyekuru who came on in place of lively Kalu with few minutes to go as the Super Eagles mounted pressure on the hosts to see out the final minutes of the game.

As it stands, Nigeria are second in Group E with three points and the final standings for Round Two games would be decided after the conclusion of the other group game between South Africa and table-topper Libya.

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Jose Mourinho sentenced to one year jail term for tax fraud

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been found guilty in a long-running tax fraud case.
He was accused of owing nearly €3.3m in undeclared image rights revenue for 2011 and 2012 when he was Real Madrid manager.

According to the El Mundo, Mourinho has accepted wrongdoing and has been sentenced to a one-year jail term.

However, he is not expected to serve any time in jail because Spanish law states that a sentence of under two years for a first offence can be served on probation.

Spanish prosecutors filed a claim against Mourinho June last year on two counts of tax fraud.

Mourinho spent three years at the Santiago Bernabeu and won three titles for Los Blancos during his reign at the club.

His representatives, Gestifute Media, said at the time that he had paid more than €26m in tax at an average rate of more than 41% while living in Spain from 2010 to 2013.

In 2015, Gestifute said, he accepted a settlement agreement regarding previous years.

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Chelsea, Arsenal handed kind draws: See full UEFA Europa League draw

The complete draw for the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League group stage, made in Monaco on Friday:

Group A: Bayer Leverkusen (GER), Ludogorets (BUL), FC Zurich (SUI), Larnaca (CYP)

Group B: Red Bull Salzburg (AUT), Celtic (SCO), RB Leipzig (GER), Rosenborg (NOR)

Group C: Zenit St Petersburg (RUS), FC Copenhagen (DEN), Bordeaux (FRA), Slavia Prague (CZE)

Group D: Anderlecht (BEL), Fenerbahce (TUR), Dinamo Zagreb (CRO), Spartak Trnava (SVK)

Group E: Arsenal (ENG), Sporting Lisbon (POR), Qarabag (AZE), Vorskla Poltava (UKR)

Group F: Olympiakos (GRE), AC Milan (ITA), Real Betis (ESP), Dudelange (LUX)

Group G: Villarreal (ESP), Rapid Wien (AUT), Spartak Moscow (RUS), Rangers (SCO)

Group H: Lazio (ITA), Marseille (FRA), Eintracht Frankfurt (GER), Apollon (CYP)

Group I: Besiktas(TUR), Genk (BEL), Malmo (SWE), Sarpsborg (NOR)

Group J: Sevilla (ESP), Krasnodar (RUS), Standard Liege (BEL), Akhisar Belediyespor (TUR)

Group K: Dynamo Kiev (UKR), Astana (KAZ), Rennes (FRA), Jablonec (CZE)

Group L: Chelsea (ENG), PAOK Salonika (GRE), BATE Borisov (BLR) and Vidi (HUN)

– First round of matches on September 20

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Real Madrid new signing to wear Ronaldo’s old No.7 shirt

Real Madrid’s new signing Mariano Diaz will reportedly be given ex-Los Blancos star, Cristiano Ronaldo’s old No.7 shirt.

Real Madrid's Spanish-Dominican forward Mariano poses with his new number 7 jersey during his official presentation at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on August 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / BENJAMIN CREMEL
Real Madrid’s Spanish-Dominican forward Mariano poses with his new number 7 jersey during his official presentation at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on August 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / BENJAMIN CREMEL

The iconic number, which has also been worn by club legends, Raul and Emilio Butragueno, remains vacant following Ronaldo’s move to Juventus.

Ronaldo left Madrid as their all-time highest goalscorer to join the Italian giants earlier this summer in a 100-million-euro deal.

According to Spanish radio station, Cadena COPE, the Champions League holders have reserved the No.7 shirt for Diaz.

The report claimed that Madrid also has the shirt numbers 15, 16 and 23 still available.

Diaz will be officially presented to Madrid’s fans at the Santiago Bernabeu on Friday.

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Luka Modric named UEFA player of year

Modric win UEFA player
Croatian international Luka Modric on Thursday received the accolade of UEFA Player of the Year in Monaco after his Champions League exploits.

“My father always pushed me to fight for my dreams, I owe him a lot for everything,” said Modric, whose silky midfield skills helped Real to a third straight European crown and then propelled Croatia to the World Cup final.

“It’s an incredible moment for me, I feel really excited and proud of this great award,” said the 32-year-old, who started out at Dinamo Zagreb and then had four years with Tottenham before Real prised him away six years ago.

Modric, who is also favourite to win Ballon d’Or world player of the year accolade, came ahead of former Real teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s talisman Mohamed Salah for the overall award.

Real Madrid’s claiming the Champions League for the third season consecutively was further recognised as Modric also won the UEFA award for the best midfielder of last season.

Sergio Ramos was named best defender while Real shot stopper Keylor Navas won the best goalkeeper prize.

Ronaldo was awarded the award for best striker chosen by Champions League and Europa League coaches from last season and journalists although was absent.

There was also an award for David Beckham also was awarded the UEFA President’s Award for his achievements in the game and his work since retiring as a player.

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Breaking: Victor Moses retires from international football

Super Eagles winger, Victor Moses on Wednesday announced his retirement from international football.

The 27-year-old who had 37 appearances for Nigeria, decided to play for Nigeria after initially featuring for the English Youth team said he would like to focus on his club career now and his young family.

“I would like to announce that after much thought I have made the decision to retire from playing international football,” Moses wrote on Instagram

“I have experienced some of the best moments of my life wearing the Super Eagles shirt and have memories with me that will last a lifetime. Nothing will ever compete to what it felt like to represent Nigeria on behalf of our country.

“However, I feel that now is the right time to step away in order to be able to focus fully on club career and my young family as well as to allow the next generation of Super Eagles stars the opportunity to step up and to flourish. We are blessed as a nation to have so many exciting young players coming through and now is their time.”

Moses made his debut for the national team in 2012 after he was cleared by FIFA to play for Nigeria on 1 November 2011.

He won one Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 and played in two World Cup.

Moses was called up to Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, scoring two penalties in the final group stage game against Ethiopia, which Nigeria needed to win to go through.

In May 2018 he was named in Nigeria’s preliminary 30 man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he got a crucial equalizer against Argentina, though, Super Eagles lost the game in the dying minutes to see Argentina through while Nigeria got eliminated

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Breaking: Chelsea sign new goalkeeper

Chelsea have competed the signing of Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao.

The 23-year-old Spaniard signed a seven-year contract at Stamford Bridge for a record 80 million euro (£71.6 million, $92 million) fee for a goalkeeper.

‘It’s a very important decision for me, for my career, and also for my personal life,” Arrizabalaga told ChelseaFC

‘So many things attracted me to the club, all the titles the club has won, the other players, the city, the English Premier League. It’s an accumulation of things, and I am very glad Chelsea has decided to trust me and to take me in as well.’

Earlier on Wednesday, Bilbao confirmed that Arrizabalaga had paid his buyout clause at the league’s headquarters in Madrid to free him from his contract with Athletic.

Arrizabalaga has played 53 times in La Liga for Bilbao over the last two seasons, and made his international debut in a 5-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in November 2017.

He was also in the Spain squad for the World Cup in Russia as back-up to David De Gea, but has yet to make his competitive debut for Spain.

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Chelsea agree Courtois deal to Real Madrid

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Chelsea have agreed terms with Real Madrid for the transfer of Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

The 26-year-old goalkeeper will sign a six-year deal at Madrid subject to passing a medical and agreeing personal terms.

Croatia international Mateo Kovacic will be on a season-long loan at Stamford Bridge as part of the deal.

“Chelsea and Real Madrid have tonight agreed terms for the permanent transfer of Thibaut Courtois subject to the agreement of personal terms and passing a medical,” the Premier League club said on Wednesday.

“Subject to the completion of the deal Mateo Kovacic will join the Blues on a season-long loan.”

Madrid have been keen to bring in Courtois in a €35m deal (£31m/$40m).

Chelsea will kick off their Premier League campaign on Saturday with an away trip to Huddersfield Town.

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Morata changes his jersey number (See Reasons)

Morata-29
Chelsea striker, Alvaro Morata has left his number 9 jersey number for number 29.

Parhaps the change might be fired by the speculations that the jersey number 9 is “cursed” in Chelsea.

However, Alvaro Morata has a different reason for the change.

He said he decided to change from the number 9 he wore last season to celebrate and pay tribute to his family after his wife Alice Campello gave birth to twins Alessandro and Leonardo on Sunday – 29 July.

‘It is a day I will never forget, to welcome my twin sons into the world. My family is so important to me and I want to honour them and my wife, Alice, when I am on the pitch which is why I have decided to take a different number for the new season and remember this special day by adding the number 2 to my shirt.

‘I am sorry to the fans who may have bought a number 9 with my name already, but I hope you understand my tribute and that it will not be a problem and we can make you a new one with the 29. Thank you for your support and I hope this year there will be lots more to celebrate.’

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Ahmed Musa completes move to Saudi Arabia club

Super Eagles striker, Ahmed Musa has completed a transfer from Leicester City to Saudi Arabia club, Al Nassr.

The Nigeria’s highest goal scorer at the Russia 2018 World Cup signed a four year deal.

Ahmed Musa signs for AlNassr
Photo credits: AlNassr FC

The deal reportedly makes him the highest paid Nigerian football player.

The 25-year-old forward, who was arguably Nigeria’s best player at the  Russia 2018 World Cup, second goal against Iceland ranked as the 8th best goal scored at the tourney.

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Jorginho signs for Chelsea

Chelsea have competed the signing of Jorge Luiz Frello Filho, best known as Jorginho from Napoli.

The 26-year-old Italian-Brazilian midfielder signed a five-year contract and will wear the No.5 shirt.

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This is coming few hours after the Premier League club announced former Napoli coach, Maurizio Sarri as the new head coach.

‘I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy’, Jorginho told ChelseaFC.com

Jorginho had more touches of the ball per minute than any other player in Europe’s big five leagues last season.

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Chelsea sign Sarri as coach, Zola as assistant

Chelsea have competed the signing of Maurizio Sarri as head coach and Gianfranco Zola as his assistant.

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Sarri is taking over as manager from Antonio Conte, who left his job on Thursday.
Chelsea confirmed Conte’s departure on Friday with a 52-word statement.
Details later