International Sports News

International Sports News (89)

Mbappe was adjudged to be onside when he slid the ball under Unai Simon after Karim Benzema's stunning equaliser at Milan's San Siro.

Spain had taken the lead through Mikel Oyarzabal, who shrugged off defender Dayot Upamecano to beat Hugo Lloris.

Lloris produced two late saves to ensure victory for the world champions.

He first denied Oyarzabal before acrobatically keeping out Yeremi Pino's effort in stoppage time, as France became the competition's second winners after Portugal in 2019.

But Mbappe's winner will prove to be a moment of debate, with the goal standing even though the Paris St-Germain striker was in an offside position when Theo Hernandez played the initial through ball.

Spain defender Eric Garcia touched the ball in his attempt to clear the danger before it came to Mbappe, and the rules state "a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball... is not considered to have gained an advantage".

France, who reached the final by coming from 2-0 down to beat neighbours Belgium 3-2 on Thursday, had to fight back again and did so in a game that came alive after an hour of technical but sedate action.

Didier Deschamps' side's resilience was on full display again as Benzema cut in on his right foot to curl the ball over Simon, less than two minutes after Oyarzabal's opener for Spain.

And even though France had less possession (36%), they constantly looked a threat on the counter-attack as Mbappe struck the decisive - and perhaps fortunate - blow.

Benzema, who returned to the international fold before Euro 2020 in the summer, told French television channel M6: "I really wanted to win a trophy with France, and now it's done.

"We showed strength of character, because this team is very strong, never gives up and we have proven it today.

"It is the sign of a great team not to panic, to be patient and to wait for the right opportunity."

It was the moment European football had been waiting for - and the one Pep Guardiola knew was probably "unstoppable".

Lionel Messi glided forward from the halfway line late on against Manchester City at the Parc des Princes, played a one-two with Paris St-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe and left goalkeeper Ederson rooted to the spot with a shot beautifully placed into the top corner.

It was the first club goal of his entire career that had not been scored for Barcelona and sealed a 2-0 victory for the team who signed him primarily to lead them to Champions League glory.

That strike ended a run of 264 minutes without a goal for Messi since his summer move from Spain. Manager Mauricio Pochettino celebrated with a sense of jubilation. Guardiola had seen Messi at close quarters enough to know it was as good as inevitable. Messi himself was left with a huge sense of relief.

"It's true that I was getting desperate to score my first goal," Messi told French broadcaster Canal Plus. "I hadn't played much recently and I had only played once here at home but I am settling into the team little by little.

"The more us forwards play together, the better our relationship will be. We all need to grow together and improve and keep giving our best."

It has taken the 34-year-old Argentine more than a month to play his first four games for his new club because of lack of fitness, international duty and then an injury.

He had failed to score in his first three fixtures for PSG - against Reims, Club Bruges and Lyon - after joining on a free transfer in the summer.

By his standards, that was a goal drought.

PSG boss Pochettino, Messi's fellow Argentine, was delighted to see it ended. "Usually I don't celebrate goals, I keep it to myself," he said. "But today, for Messi, I did.

"I spent years watching Messi score goals from the opponent's side - so this time, scoring for my team, that's great."

PSG's much-hyped front three of Neymar, Mbappe and Messi - the two most expensive players ever and the record six-time Ballon d'Or winner - showed some promising signs.

They played 44 passes between each other in total, almost 10% of PSG's total.

Source BBC

Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi won 14 trophies together at Barcelona during a four-year period and the pair have been dominant forces in European football for more than a decade.

Since parting ways when Guardiola left the Catalan club in 2012, no player has scored more goals against his teams in the Champions League than Messi.

Their longstanding relationship and Messi's enduring brilliance helps explain why Guardiola tried to sign Messi in the summer. The Argentine instead ended up at Paris St-Germain and will face his former manager in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The two have crossed paths since going their separate ways and will meet again on Tuesday in the group stage of the Champions League in Paris (20:00 BST).

In the past, six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi has shown no mercy.

The Argentine has scored six goals in four Champions League games against teams managed by Guardiola - the most of any player in the competition against the current City boss.

In May 2015, Messi scored twice in the semi-final first leg and eventually helped Barca reach another Champions League final with victory over Bayern Munich, who were then managed by Guardiola.

"Messi is just incredible, really strong, really fast, back to his best just as when I used to train him," Guardiola said. "He is the best player of all time. I can compare him with Pele.

"I am very proud of the years we spent together."

Messi won the last of his four Champions League titles that year, while Guardiola has never won the competition without him, coming close last season when his City side were beaten in the final by Chelsea.

They last faced each other in the 2016 group stages when Messi ruthlessly despatched a hat-trick in a 4-0 thrashing at the Nou Camp and scored in a 3-1 loss at the Etihad.

Source BBC

His side gave backing to a bold pre-match prediction from ex-Arsenal defender Gael Clichy that Arteta "could be the next Arsene Wenger".

The Gunners ran riot with first-half strikes from Emile Smith-Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka, while Spurs replied through Son Heung-min.

"Today is one example of what we can do," said Arteta, 39. "It's a special day."

He added: "This win is for the fans. They were there when we needed their support and now we are creating that connection with the supporters."

Arsenal endured a difficult start to the season, including a 5-0 thrashing at Man City, as they lost their opening three games.

Since the international break, though, they have turned their fortunes around with three straight wins.

"I think in life you have to show gratitude," added Arteta. "These people have stood by this club and these players. This win is for them."

Goalscorer Smith Rowe said: "It's probably the best day of my life. To have my family here as well, it's a special feeling."

He also praised the influence of Arteta, saying: "He just tells us to keep calm, the fans give us so much confidence as well."

Clichy - who played under Wenger for eight years - worked with Arteta when he was first-team coach at Manchester City and believes the Spaniard has all the qualities to build a legacy at Arsenal.

"Arteta has so much knowledge and he had the luxury to learn from Pep [Guardiola]," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I really believe in the long term he could be the next Arsene Wenger. He is quite young, and I truly believe, given time, he will prove people wrong."

Wenger was in charge of Arsenal between 1996 and 2018, winning three Premier Leagues and seven FA Cups for the Gunners.

In 2004, he also became the first - and only - manager to lead a side through an entire Premier League campaign unbeaten.

Arteta, in his first full managerial role, had an outstanding end to his first part-season in charge at the Emirates, leading the Gunners to a 2020 FA Cup triumph and beating Manchester City and Chelsea in the process.

But last year was disappointing, with five successive wins to finish the campaign disguising a disjointed season.

Arsenal ended up in eighth and are without European football for the first time in 25 seasons.

Even this performance must be put into context for, as good as Arsenal were, Spurs were abject.

Speaking on Sky Sports, former Liverpool boss Graeme Souness said: "Spurs in that first half were shocking, Arsenal were fabulous.

"But Spurs? Shocking. I was surprised how bad they were."

This win takes Arsenal above Spurs - who won their first three and have now lost three in a row - but they are still only 10th and look a distance behind frontrunners Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.

October offers an attractive run of fixtures and perhaps these will offer more clarity on who the real Arsenal are - and if Arteta can provide further evidence to support Clichy's claim.

Source BBC

 

Former Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has agreed to join Paris Saint Germain (PSG) on a two-year contract with the option of another year after leaving the Catalans.

The deal is worth £25m per year after tax with PSG.

The 34-year-old will receive a £25m signing-on fee;

Messi was set to sign a new five-year contract at Barcelona but the club was unable to complete the deal due to LaLiga financial fair play rules.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is travelling to Paris Tuesday afternoon to seal his move to the French club where he is likely to partner Neymar and Kylian Mbape in the attack.

The move puts Paul Pogba’s potential move to the French Ligue 1 giants in jeopardy considering that they also signed Sergio Ramos (former Real Madrid captain), Georginio Wijnaldum (former Liverpool midfielder), Gianluigi Donnarumma (former AC Milan goalkeeper), and Achraf Hakimi (former Real Madrid and Inter Milan defender).

While the transfers were free, PSG’s wage bill will be bloated.

Source: Sky Sports《》RT

World champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes until the end of 2023.

The Briton, 36, has won six of his seven world titles with the British-based German team since joining from McLaren in 2012.

 

This season Hamilton is contending for a record-breaking eighth championship but is currently second behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

"We still have a lot to achieve, both on and off the track," said Hamilton.

It is the earliest he has agreed a new deal with Mercedes for some years and will take his time at the team to at least 11 seasons and into the start of a major rules change next year.

The deal has come together quickly, in contrast to 2020, when the pandemic, a compressed season and then both Hamilton and team boss Toto Wolff contracting coronavirus delayed talks and Hamilton ended the year out of contract.

Hamilton did not agree a new one-year deal with the team for 2021 until February but has been saying since the start of this season that he expected to continue in F1 beyond this year, and began discussing the terms of his new contract with Wolff in May. The pair completed a deal within two months, underlining their desire to keep working together.

Hamilton has not taken a pay cut, contrary to some reports. After an adjustment in salary as a result of the pandemic this season, his earnings will be back to pre-Covid levels, when he was said to be earning as much as £40m a year.

The bond between the team and their driver has been strengthened by their support for his push for increased diversity and inclusion in the sport, which gathered momentum in the midst of the global outcry following the death of unarmed African-American George Floyd at the hands of US police last May.

Hamilton said: "I'm incredibly proud and grateful of how Mercedes has supported me in my drive to improve diversity and equality in our sport.

"They have held themselves accountable and made important strides in creating a more diverse team and inclusive environment."

Wolff said: "As we enter a new era of F1 from 2022 onwards, there can be no better driver to have in our team than Lewis.

"His achievements in this sport speak for themselves, and with his experience, speed and race-craft, he is at the peak of his powers.

"We are relishing the battle we have on our hands this year - and that's why we also wanted to agree this contract early, so we have no distractions from the competition on track.

"I have always said that as long as Lewis still possesses the fire for racing, he can continue as long as he wants."

Hamilton and Mercedes have dominated the sport since 2014 - his former team-mate Nico Rosberg is the only man to win a drivers' title other than the Briton since then.

Hamilton now has a record 100 pole positions and 98 grand prix wins but is facing a momentous challenge from Red Bull's Verstappen as he seeks to move himself clear of Michael Schumacher in terms of championship titles - Hamilton equalled the German's mark of seven last season.

There is no word from the team on the identity of his team-mate next season, with the seat between his current partner Valtteri Bottas and British rising star George Russell.

Wolff said he wanted to spend a bit more time observing the two drivers in F1 this season before making a final call.

Hamilton has said he sees no reason to change Bottas, but Russell starred on a one-off debut for Mercedes at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year when he stood in for Hamilton after the world champion contracted Covid-19.

Source: BBC《》RT

 

Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi is officially a free agent following the expiration of his contract.

The Catalans were hopeful of signing Messi to renewal before the June 30 deadline but the 34-year-old is now officially unattached.

It is strongly believed that the Argentinian international will sign an extension with Barca with reports suggesting contract negotiations have since started.

Messi becomes a free agent amid interest from a number of clubs including Manchester City, and Paris Saint Germain.

Meanwhile, a few clubs, including Barcelona, can afford his salary and still follow Financial Fair Play.

At the beginning of the 2020/21 season, Messi expressed his desire to leave the Catalans but they would not allow him to leave as he was not a free agent.

He later resolved to stay albeit making a number of demands including beefing up the squad.

If Barca resign Messi, they will have to register him as a new signing and find a solution to fit him into the framework of La Liga’s financial regulations.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has already warned Barca that they must bring their wages down, or they won’t be able to register Messi ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Source: Pindula News; Goal.com《》RT

 

Everton have appointed former Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez as their new manager.

The 61-year-old Spaniard has signed a three-year deal and succeeds Carlo Ancelotti, who resigned in early June to return to Real Madrid.

Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri described Benitez as a proven winner with huge experience and has expressed confidence that he will take the club to the top end of the league. He said:

Rafa impressed us greatly with his knowledge and experience but, above all, the passion and hunger he showed to join our club.

We are appointing Rafa because we believe he will bring success to our club and to Evertonians.

To put it simply – we need to be competing at the top end of the league and to be winning trophies.

Rafa is a proven winner with huge experience in coaching internationally and we have secured the best man to achieve that for us.

Benitez has a hugely impressive track record with the clubs he has managed throughout his career, securing seven major honours including La Liga titles, the Coppa Italia, the FA Cup, the Europa League and the Champions League during managerial spells in Spain, England and Italy.

Benitez last managed in the Premier League at Newcastle United before leaving in June 2019.

He moved to China to coach Dalian Professional FC and left them in January after 18 months in charge. Benitez said:

I am delighted to be joining Everton. Throughout this process, I have been greatly impressed by the ambition shown by the senior representatives at the Club and their desire to bring success to this historic Club.

I believe this is a Club that is going places. I’m determined to play a big part in helping this great Club achieve its ambitions.

Source: Evertonfc BBC Sport《》RT

 

Manchester City dominate the PFA Premier League team of the year as six of their Premier League-winning squad, Ederson, Joao Cancelo, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, make the team, which is voted for by fellow players.

Neighbors, Manchester United’s Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes are also in the team.

Pep Guardiola Responds To Kane Hint On Joining Manchester City
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Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah are in.

Despite winning the Champions League as well as reaching the FA Cup final and finishing fourth in the Premier League, no Chelsea players are included.

Source: Pindula News《》RT

Jamie O’Hara has slammed Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola for the Uefa Champions League final loss to Chelsea on Saturday 29 May 2021 saying he made poor team selection decisions.

O’Hara says Brazilian midfielder Fenandinho who was introduced late in the second half should have been brought in earlier to provide a shield to the backline while Phil Foden should have played in his regular position, either of the wings.

Chelsea scored their only goal in the first half when an unmarked Havertz dribbled past Ederson and kicked into an empty net.

Manchester City were favourites to winning the prestigious trophy but failed to rise to the occasion.

They were also a bit unlucky, as their talisman, Kevin De Bruyne was forced out early into the second half after sustaining an injury from colliding with Rudiger.

Last year, Guardiola was also accused of making poor decisions resulting in Manchester City losing to Lyon who were underdogs.

Source: Pindula News《》RT

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