TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Mum comes clean on Barcelona links for PSG rebel Rabiotby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveThe mother and agent of PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot insists nothng has been agreed with Barcelona.Off contract and banished to the stands after refusing to consider new terms, Rabiot is expected to join Barca.However, his mother Veronique told RTL: “Discussions started with FC Barcelona? I’ll tell you, the rumours we are used to in football, we especially, it’s been years that there are rumours about Adrien, about me. “There is no agreement with any club at any time. I do not know who started this rumour. I think it might be nice for some people to believe it. I have always respected the rules and protocols, everyone knows it. We do not have the right to speak with any club before January 1st and I will not speak with any club before January 1st.”
Solskjaer demands players wear Man Utd club suits on matchdayby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has ordered his players wear their club suits before all games.The Daily Mail says Solskjaer has ordered United’s players to wear their official club suits to all matches as he continues to impose his ethos on the squad.The United stars are still allowed to travel in their club tracksuits, as they did on the train to Watford for Sunday’s 1-0 win over Tottenham.But when Solskjaer and his players arrived at Wembley 24 hours later, they were more formally dressed in suit and tie on the instructions of their caretaker manager.A smarter dress code is just one of the ground rules Solskjaer has borrowed from Sir Alex Ferguson, who was seen at United’s Carrington training ground again on Saturday before the squad left for London.The 45-year-old, who has done the same at Molde, informed the United players of the new regulation on their warm-weather training break last week. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Roberto Carlos says PSG star Neymar should join Real Madridby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid great Roberto Carlos says PSG star Neymar should join his old club.Neymar was linked with both Los Blancos and Barcelona this summer, but remained at the Parc des Princes.”Any player would want to wear the Madrid shirt,” the ex-Madrid and Brazil star said.”But the Neymar story is over. He’s happy in Paris and he’ll be the best in the world soon.”Roberto Carlos already sees Neymar being among the world’s elite.”[Lionel] Messi, Cristiano [Ronaldo], Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappe are undoubtedly the best four in the world.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
Woodward’s ‘positive’ address: Why Man Utd fans deserve to hear this before any shareholderby Chris Beattiea month agoSend to a friendShare the loveCOMMENT: It wasn’t addressed to them. It may not have even been for them. But these days, Manchester United fans will take what they can get from the club.There was a little bit of spin. A bit of political PR. But overall it hit the right note. Ed Woodward’s update to shareholders stopping in it’s tracks any credible claims that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position was in doubt. Indeed, such was the detail and the vice-chairman’s tone that no-one on the call, or later reading the transcript, could claim any confusion about what the club and their manager are working towards. New, youthful arrivals. Promotion from the academy. Even the conscious plan to make room for their youngsters by sending senior players away on-loan. These were all planks in this current project highlighted by Woodward.That the support had to wait for a shareholders’ conference, however, is a shame. This morning, the club is in a better position than it was on Sunday afternoon in the aftermath of the humbling at West Ham. As is the manager, the players and Woodward. Indeed, even the fans should be happier with it finally articulated by the board’s representative of what United – as a club – is trying to do. Before it would be Solskjaer, or perhaps some intelligent guesswork from the likes of Gary Neville, the former club captain. But now the average supporter has Woodward on record about transfer plans, their youth policy and expectations of Solskjaer.Why Woodward only chooses to speak to shareholders, only he knows. Those whom have a piece of the club aren’t all fans. Indeed, some have driven nations to the brink of bankruptcy. Others are banned from certain countries. And the vast, vast majority have never held a season ticket.Woodward could do himself a big favour by speaking to the support once a month via MUTV, the club’s in-house TV channel. As stated, United – and indeed Woodward, himself – are better placed today after Tuesday’s conference call. It’s clear from Woodward’s tone that he and Solskjaer have a strong working relationship. Never has the vice-chairman name-checked a manager as much to shareholders as he did yesterday with the Norwegian. And cleverly – significantly – it was done as a veiled public vote of confidence.”It’s important we are patient while Ole and his team build for the future,” Woodward said. “We will continue to focus on the long-term strategy and won’t be influenced by short-term distractions.”For “distractions”, read results – particularly away from home. The defeat at London stadium was listless, but so long as Solskjaer’s young team heed the lessons from such a poor performance it can be still be a positive part of the rebuild.Which is exactly what is underway, as Woodward explained: “We remain focused on our plan of rebuilding the team and continuing to strengthen our youth system, in line with the philosophy of the club and the manager.”This is reflected in the recent addition of three exciting first team players, key player contract extensions and the talent we have coming through our academy.”Everything articulated by Woodward here is what we’ve seen from United on the pitch this season. Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have all done enough to suggest they’ll be long-term players for the club. David de Gea and Marcus Rashford have been convinced to sign new deals. And we’ve seen Solskjaer bring through Mason Greenwood – and rewarded with the winner against Astana.And touching on this drive to give the club’s academy talent a real shot was, for this column, the real highlight of Woodward’s address. This was straight from the bootroom. Transfer and youth policy wrapped up in one. It was the sort of inside info you’d only get in an ex-manager’s biography. But here it was, all laid bare…”We are optimistic for the future,” declared Woodward. “The sale and loaning of players this summer has also allowed the manager to involve more of our young players and provide a firm foundation for the culture, ready for building the next trophy-winning squad.”So it’s been a deliberate effort. A genuine clearout. Not something for scribes to throw together under a screaming headline – but club policy. This United squad is undergoing an official overhaul.But that won’t stretch to the front office. As mentioned, there was some political PR performed by Woodward – and all centred around the director of football search. It was padded out with flowery words but basically, as this column has warned, it’s off. “Regarding the speculation around a head of football, we are continually reviewing and looking at the potential to evolve our structure on the football sides,” Woodward stated. So nothing imminent. Indeed, as we’ve stated here, it never really was.But that’s a topic for another day. The wash-up from this shareholders’ address was that it was one to give clarity to what the club is doing. It’s support for the manager. And confirmation of a genuine youth policy.For the United fan, there’s now no second guessing. It’s just too bad they were made to wait for a shareholders’ conference to learn all this. TagsOpinionAbout the authorChris BeattieShare the loveHave your say
Twitter/@IowaonBTNMost college coaches wouldn’t be comfortable sending their kicker out for a 57-yard field goal to win the game. Kirk Ferentz is not one of those coaches. With the game tied at 24, Hawkeye kicker Marshall Koehn blasts one from 57 out to send Pittsburgh home with a loss. As you can imagine, the team mobs him after the win becomes official.How about a 57-yd FG for the win? That’s nothing for @HawkeyeFootball K Marshall Koehn! Brought to you by #GrubHub. http://t.co/FoAm5dBwja— Iowa on BTN (@IowaOnBTN) September 20, 2015Remember, folks, kickers are people too. Sometimes, they’ll even win you a game.
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 17: A general view of the field prior to the start of the game between the Temple Owls and the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium on October 17, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)Expansion talk for the Big 12 has been going on for years. It will likely continue to go on for years, too. Texas’ athletic director, Mike Perrin, said this evening that he thinks this is a dialogue that could “continue several years.”Texas AD Mike Perrin on expansion: “I think this is a dialogue that could continue several years.”— David Ubben (@davidubben) June 1, 2016The conference’s commissioner has a less vague timeline. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says he hopes a decision is made – one way or another – by the end of the summer. Big 12 commish Bowlsby on timeline for expansion: ‘I’m going to push for decisions to be made one way or another by the end of the summer.’— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) June 1, 2016Houston, among other teams, is pushing to join the Big 12. The Cougars appear to be a great fit for the league, but it’d be surprising if the conference adds just one school. With 10 universities currently in the conference, it would make most sense to add at least two (or four) teams.
TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 09: A general view during the first quarter of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)Alabama, unsurprisingly, has the best odds of reaching this season’s College Football Playoff. Bovada released College Football Playoff odds for the 2016 season and the Crimson Tide are at the top. Nick Saban’s team has 3/2 odds to make this year’s playoff. Alabama is trailed by:Oklahoma – 7/4Michigan – 9/5Clemson – 2/1Ohio State – 2/1Top odds to make CFP (per @bovadaLV) Alabama 3/2#Sooners 7/4 Michigan 9/5 Clemson 2/1 Ohio State 2/1Other Big 12: #OkState 7/1, TCU 17/2,— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) July 22, 2016The odds for the other top teams:LSU – 3/1Tennessee – 13/4Florida State – 7/2Notre Dame – 4/1USC – 4/1Florida – 7/1Oklahoma State – 7/1Who are you picking to reach this season’s College Football Playoff?The season starts in a little more than a month.
There can be little doubt as to the identity of the defensive revelation of the season in France. Jean-Clair Todibo had not played a professional match before the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign, yet moved to rapidly established himself as a key figure for Toulouse in the opening quarter of the season.The teenager, who turned 19 on December 30, has played 10 matches for the Pink City club, even getting his first professional goal in September – a late equaliser against Rennes that underlined his importance to the side.He has since agreed terms to join Barcelona at the end of the season, with the Camp Nou side set to sign him on a Bosman deal. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? And yet, for the promising centre-back, who is versatile enough to play in midfield, his career could have gone off the rails before it had even begun after being knocked down by a car when he was only nine.Todibo was born in the Paris region, where he spent his youth. Aged nine, he had yet to choose his favoured sport, as he was involved heavily in both football and judo. However, a twist of fate might have prevented him from reaching the top in either.“It was May 24, I was nine at the time,” he told La Depeche . “I was leaving my house to go to judo, I crossed the road and a car knocked me down. It turned into a big accident.“I had an injury on both my leg bones and down to the ankle, and there were several fractures.”He was playing for Les Lilas at the time, where coach Dylan Greneche was overseeing his progress.“We weren’t really sure if he’d ever play football again,” he admitted.In the event, it would be a year that Todibo was away from the football field, yet it seems to have been a character-building experience for him that has served him in good stead for his adult life.“He’s a young player who has always had a lot of tenacity, and he proved it at that time, despite his young age,” Greneche said.Todibo, meanwhile, has consigned the incident to the past. “I’ve still got the scars, but it’s an old story,” he said.He arrived in Toulouse in 2016, having forged a reputation for having a tremendous will to win while still a youth back in the Seine-Saint-Denis region.“It was the last game of the season and a draw was enough for both teams to go up. The match ended 1-1 but I found Jean-Clair in tears, mad with rage. We had won promotion to the top division but a draw was not enough for him. He wanted to win,” Greneche said.At that time, his favoured role was in the heart of the midfield, where he offered a game similar to Watford star Etienne Capoue, who came through the ranks of TFC from 2005-2013.With the Under-19 team, he was given the captaincy, with team-mate Kilian Corredor explaining to LesViolets.com: “He speaks a lot. He’s a bit like the Paul Pogba of TFC.”He featured eight times for the reserves last season but was given a chance to show his potential with the first team during pre-season. He was the only one of four youth players called up for the summer training camps to make the cut and from there was quick to establish himself in the plans of head coach Alain Casanova, who was seeking a replacement for Issa Diop, sold to West Ham in the summer.After making a promising start to the season, Todibo has been missing from Toulouse’s first team since completing 90 minutes against Strasbourg in a 1-1 draw on November 3.The following Wednesday, the teenager was notably absent from first-team training, cast instead to the reserves, and the next day the reason was explained. “The situation and the reality is relatively simple,” Toulouse’s co-director general Jean-Francois Soucasse explained. “The club has been in negotiations with the player and his entourage over his first professional contract for many weeks.“He was presented with a salary proposal unprecedented in the history of the club – very much above that of Diop and Alban Lafont [who signed for Fiorentina in the summer] to name only two recent cases.“At the start of the week, Jean-Clair indicated to us that he still did not know what direction he wants his career to go in.”As such, he will work with the reserves until his decision is made.Toulouse have justified their decision, with Soucasse saying: “Casanova needs players totally invested and involved in the challenge for future matches. And more broadly, it is to do with the promotion of players from the academy, which is at the heart of our sporting and economic project. Even if the current situation is unprecedented, we regret it while still hoping a favourable outcome will be found.“But clearly, as long as Jean-Clear has not made his decision, he will stay away.”Toulouse, however, only opened negotiations with the player, who was on the radar of several top clubs even before this season, in October. These failed and they resigned themselves to making a sale, with a transfer fee agreed for the player to join Manchester City. Todibo, though, rejected the Etihad club, aware that there was interest from a raft of other top European sides, including Juventus, Liverpool and Dortmund. Out of contract in June 2019, he was free to talk with these teams as of January 1, and it was ultimately Barcelona who won the race for his signature.Barca may yet be willing to placate Toulouse somewhat by offering them €2 million as compensation – half of what City were reportedly bidding but far more than the few hundred thousand euro they would have been made to pay by UEFA to the French side by way of remuneration.At Camp Nou, the youngster will team up with fellow French defenders Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet, who will doubtless aid his integration into the team.If his meteoric rise continues, Barca have themselves a star for many years to come.
Bayern Munich avoided falling further behind Bundesliga pacesetters Borussia Dortmund as they defeated struggling Stuttgart 4-1 in an entertaining contest at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.Dortmund, who thrashed Hannover 5-1 on Saturday, began the weekend six points clear and that is how things remain after Bayern held off a spirited Stuttgart side to secure what ended up being a routine win.Bayern enjoyed a flying start and had an early lead through Thiago Alcantara, but complacency soon set in and Stuttgart capitalised to go into half-time level – Anastasios Donis’ gorgeous long-range effort doing the damage. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? The frame of the goal was struck at both ends by Nicolas Gonzalez and Robert Lewandowski – the latter from a penalty – in the second period, but a Christian Gentner own goal had already restored Bayern’s advantage.Leon Goretzka and Lewandowski – making amends for his penalty miss – settled matters inside the final 20 minutes.#FCBVfB pic.twitter.com/jC6nzmUiUX— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) January 27, 2019It was hardly vintage football from Bayern for the opener as Lewandowski accidentally nudged Thomas Muller’s cross to the edge of the box with a poor first touch, and luckily Thiago was on hand to fire into the bottom-left corner.But Bayern eased off after going ahead and paid the price in the 26th minute – Donis brilliantly finding the top-right corner from 25 yards.Bayern looked refocused after the break and regained the lead – albeit fortuitously – just before the hour as Serge Gnabry’s fiercely struck half-volley took a huge deflection off Gentner and found the net.A manic period followed, with Gonzalez’s shot ricocheting off Manuel Neuer and then himself before hitting the post.And Lewandowski followed suit, seeing his spot-kick strike the upright after he had been tripped by Marc-Oliver Kempf.But Goretzka headed Bayern into a 3-1 lead in the 71st minute after meeting Joshua Kimmich’s delivery, and Lewandowski rounded things off six minutes from the end, coolly taking it past Ron-Robert Zieler and finishing with aplomb. What does it mean? Bayern not going awayDortmund’s win on Saturday saw them set a new club record of 48 points after 19 Bundesliga matches in a single season. They certainly mean business, but as Bayern chalked up a seventh successive league win, Kovac’s men look like they will be pushing them all the way.Thiago the conductorNot only did he get the opening goal, Spain international Thiago was exceptional in midfield, with most of Bayern’s attacks going through him.Kempf hapless at the backIt is never easy to face Bayern and Lewandowski, but the task is made all the more difficult when your centre-back endures an underwhelming day, which was summed up by Kempf’s concession of a penalty. Luckily for him, it was missed.Key Opta Facts- Bayern Munich have won their seventh Bundesliga game in a row. After matchday 12, they had only six wins.- Bayern have won 18 of the last 19 competitive games against Stuttgart, the only loss came in May 2018 (4-1 at home).- Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich provided two assists in one game for only the second time in his Bundesliga career.- After his brace at Hoffenheim, Bayern’s Leon Goretzka scored again. His three goals in 2019 are the most of any Bundesliga player.- Javi Martinez played his 200th competitive game for Bayern.What’s next?Bayern will be expecting another tough contest on Saturday when they travel to Bayer Leverkusen, while Stuttgart host Freiburg the next day. read more
U.S. striker Alex Morgan was coy when asked about her tea-drinking celebration against England, simply saying that she “wanted to keep it interesting.”The American forward scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over England in the World Cup semifinal, nodding home Lindsey Horan’s cross in the 31st minute.After scoring, Morgan celebrated by pretending to drink a cup of tea, which was branded as “disrespectful” by some observers. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Morgan indicated that the celebration was inspired by one of her teammates, who herself produced an instantly iconic celebration in the quarterfinal against France by lofting her arms skyward after scoring both of her goals. “I wanted to keep it interesting,” Morgan said after the game. “I know Megan Rapinoe has the best celebrations so I had to try to step up this game.”Morgan did step up on Tuesday in Lyon, scoring her sixth goal of the tournament to draw level with England’s Ellen White in the race for the Golden Boot.Her goal put the U.S. in the final of a tournament where they have been followed by controversy.From the outcry over their celebrations against Thailand to Rapinoe’s feud with Donald Trump to Phil Neville’s protestations against U.S. staff scouting out England’s team hotel, there has always been a non-soccer story surrounding the USWNT in France.Morgan suggested that her celebration may have been inspired by those persistent discussions, saying her team is staying cool among all the hysteria.“We have a lot of noise around this team and it doesn’t affect this team, and so I think we’re just drinking the tea,” Morgan said.The American striker indicated that Rapinoe may have played a part in planning the celebration, a charge that Rapinoe didn’t exactly deny. “I’m always in the mix on things but we can’t give away all the trade secrets,” Rapinoe said with a smile. The U.S. will take on either Sweden or the Netherlands in the final on Sunday as they look to make it back to back World Cup titles. Having gone through a gauntlet of France and England in the semifinal, Morgan says her team is now stronger for having come out the other side.“This team has had so much thrown at us and I feel like we didn’t take the easy route to the final this tournament,” Morgan said. “And that’s the tea.”