Football legend Ronaldinho is to marry TWO women at the same time, according to reports in Brazil.

 

The 38-year-old Samba ace will reportedly tie the knot in August with his pair of "fiancees", Priscilla Coelho and Beatriz Souza.

 

The two women have been living "harmoniously" with the former Barcelona star since December at his £5million Rio de Janeiro mansion, according to reports.

 

Ronaldinho started dating Beatriz in 2016, but is said to have continued his relationship with Priscilla, which began several years earlier.

 

According to reports, both lovers receive an "allowance" of around £1,500 from the footballer to spend as they wish.

 

He also reportedly always gives the two the exact same presents, including recently buying them the same perfume during a trip abroad together.

 

Former World Player of the Year Ronaldinho asked both for their hands in marriage in January last year and gave them both engagement rings, according to Brazilian columnist Leo Dias.He will marry the two women at a private ceremony inside the Santa Monica Condominium in the upmarket Barra da Tijuca district in Rio, where he has lived since 2015, according to columnist, from Brazil's O Dia newspaper

The star's sister, Deisi, who is against her brother's polygamy, has already said she won't be attending, according to Dias.

 

Brazilian singer Jorge Vercillo, who is Ronaldinho's neighbour, has reportedly been confirmed as responsible for the wedding music and one of many celebrity friends who will be attending the nuptials.

 

Both Priscilla and Beatriz are from Belo Horizonte, the city where the footballer played with Atletico Mineiro, leading the club to its first Copa Libertadores title in 2012.

 

(Mirror)

 

 

Published in International Watch

Barcelona are planning of raising €100m from the sale of Paco Alcacer, Andre Gomez, Aleix Vidal, Rafinha and Munir El Haddadi this summer, AS reported

The five players have been identified not to be part of Ernesto Valverde plans for the season, and their sales would help to fund the purchase of Atletico Madrid’s forward Antoine Griezman, who Barcelona have chosen as their prime target for next season.

Rafinha is expected to seal a €35m permanent move to Inter after he spent the second half of last season with the Nerazurri.

The duo of Alcacer and Gomez who were signed from Valencia for a sum worth around €35m and €30m respectively are expected to depart most likely for their former side this summer.

The future of the likes of Denis Suarez, Lucas Digne are also said to be unclear ahead of next season.

Meanwhile, Barcelona are said to be interested in bringing in a new right and left back, but long time target Hector Bellerin as reported by Spotkick is said to be too expensive for the club.

Also, the club are planning to send out Ousmane Dembele out on loan to gain more playing time.

Published in Transfer Rumors

Bellerin too expensive for Barcelona

Monday, 21 May 2018 09:05

Bellerin too expensive for Barcelona - Balague says

Hector Bellerin is too expensive for Barcelona, says Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.

The 23-year-old La Masia product has been mooted for a return to Barca after he left the club for Arsenal in 2011.

But all hopes of bringing Bellerin back to the club in 2016 as long term replacement for former right back Dani Alves was dashed after the Spaniard signed a six-and-a-half-year contract with Arsenal in same year

Discussing Bellerin’s future and Barca’s summer plans, in a question and answer session tagged #AskGuillem on Twitter, though outlined that the La Liga champions needs a right back, Balague said Bellerin would be too expensive to bring in for the club in the summer.

“No, Hector Bellerin is too expensive.” Balague said. “As I said they {Barca} want a left-back and also a right back but the Arsenal star is too expensive.”

On Ousmane Dembele’s future at Barca, Balague added, “As for Dembele, as I said earlier, surprisingly enough Barca are considering loaning him out. First they thought he’s advancing well but now they realise he needs to get minutes and he won if Antoine Griezman arrives.

“They are waiting to see if Griezman arrives. They are to see if Griezman gets confirmed and if that’s the case they are looking at the possibility of letting him go out on loan.”

  

 

Published in Transfer Rumors

The duo of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have shared the last ten Balon D’or awards between each other – winning five each, but the Ping Pong star believes Messi is a better footballer than the Portuguese star.

Aruna Quadri has said Messi was a better player than Cristiano Ronaldo, describing the Argentine captain as a man with unique talent.

Barcelona icon and former Messi teammate, Xavi Hernandez, describing Messi last year said, Lebron James was the only sportsman that comes close to Messi in terms of talent

Speaking to UNILAG SUN (an annual publication by students of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos), the African No. 2 table tennis player said Messi stands out amongst other fooballers.

On the Messi and Ronaldo debate Aruna said, “Messi is the best because is talent is unique.”

The Nigerian International also chose Victor Moses, who he beats to win the 2017 Nigeria Sportsman Award as his favourite Nigerian football player.

Aruna Quadri, who is Nigeria’s No.1 table tennis player, is ranked as World No.22.

Last year, the 29-year-old defied all odds when he won the ITTF Polish Open - becoming the first African player to win an ITTF Open outside the shores of the continent.

 

Published in International Watch

‘I don’t think of Andres Iniesta as a Barcelona player but a football player,’ said Zinedine Zidane.

Iniesta, today announced that he would be drawing the curtain on his 16 years association with the Barcelona at the end of the season

The current Barcelona longest serving player joined Barcelona as at the age of 12 – winning 31 major trophies with the Blaugrana.

In his word of admiration for the outgoing Barcelona captain, Zidane said he loved Iniesta because the Spanish international could do anything with the ball.

The Los Blancos gaffer also adds that he believes that the 33-year-old Iniesta should have won the Ballon d’Or award.

"It is difficult because if you like football, seeing a player like him leave is tough," Zidane as quoted by marca."I don't think of him as a Barcelona player. I see him simply as a football player.

"I've come across him two or three times and he is a charming, very reserved man and I like players who can do everything on the field but are that calm off it.

"I only have good words for him, admiration for his football and I wish him the best as a player for the future but above all, as a person.”

He added, "We're talking about someone who made everyone dream and he deserved to win the Ballon d'Or, especially in the year he won the World Cup."It was clear then that he deserved it."

I won’t be playing in Europe – Iniesta

Iniesta has been rumoured to be interested in a move to England – with a move to either Arsenal or Man City said to be on the desk for the 33-year-old.

The 2010 World Cup winner clear the air on such move, saying he does not see himself in any European club.

"When the season ends, there are things to close and to talk," Iniesta said.

"I have always said that I would never compete against my club, so all scenarios that are not Europe are in play."

Chinese side Chongqing Dangdai Lifan has been touted as the favourite to secure the services of Iniesta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in International Watch

The 1994 African Footballer of the Year claims he missed winning the FIFA World Player of the Year because he is an African.

Emmanuel Amuneke has revealed that he was denied of winning football most covetous award because he started his football career in Africa.

The 47-year-old who played for Barcelona from 1996-2000 made the statement during the unveiling of LaLiga Nigerian office in Lagos last weekend.

Amuneke, as quoted by Guardian.ng, “I usually tell some of my friends that if I had started my football career as a European player, maybe, I would have won the World Footballer of the year award.

“Unfortunately, I started from Nigeria and only God knows why.”

Spotkick reported last year that former South Africa and Blackburn Rovers forward claimed several African legends were snubbed for the FIFA World Player of the Year award because African players are not good for marketing.

McCarthy claimed that FIFA view African players as unmarketable – making the World Football Governing Body preferring European players for the award.

“We are not (African players) eye catching in Europe” Mcarthy, said. “We are players that they look past because they look for the more lucrative, worthy players that will sell more newspapers sell more magazines and be more of an attraction.

“If an African player wins it there is not a lot of attraction but, if Gareth Bale wins it, if Rooney wins it – it is World news, breaking news.

“Yaya Toure has been there but never been recognized, Didier Drogba has been there; never recognized, Samuel Eto’o has been there; never recognized, Jay Jay Okocha has been there; never recognized, Nwankwo Kanu … I could go on, the list can go on but we’ve not been recognized,” McCarthy concluded.

George Weah is the only African player to have won the FIFA Player of the Year Award.

The Liberian President achieved the feat in 1995 for his goal scoring and individual brilliance for both Paris Saint-German and AC Milan.

 

Published in Awa Football

It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder if you even know the game at all, yet it leaves you speechless and remembering why you fell in love with it in the first place. Surely something of this sort, even by football’s ludicrous track record, wasn’t plausible. Just over a year ago, Barcelona had pulled off the seemingly impossible, coming back from a 4-0 first leg loss, thanks to three goals in the dying embers of the game, but that looked like a one-time thing, and when, this year, Luis Suarez was strolling off in celebration for the Catalans, his first Champions League goal since that astonishing comeback against Paris Saint-Germain, in the first leg to cap off a 4-1 win, they seemed uncatchable. It meant Roma had to score three times without reply, surely that wouldn’t happen.

Even when they got off to the perfect start, when Edin Dzeko got in behind Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique to put the ball past Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen and put Roma in front on the night after six minutes, even then it surely wouldn’t happen. But the Giallorossi wouldn’t be deterred by the stature of their opponents, nor the scale of the mountainous task that lay ahead. Even if we lost the first leg, we were confident with the way we had played and it showed tonight’, said skipper Daniele De Rossi. And you couldn’t argue with that statement, on evidence of the performance, Roma pushed Barcelona back, made them create very little, and were rather unlucky to only have had one goal to their name at halftime, Patrick Schick sent a header wide, while Dzeko’s was tipped over by Ter-Stegen.

The second period took the same form as the first, Roma on the front foot, with Barcelona creating next to nothing. But the visitors have been in positions like this more than once this season, where it looks like they’re almost incapable of fashioning out any opportunity, but then spring up with something out of nothing, and perhaps that was why there was little cause for alarm, on both the part of the players, fans and the manager, they have weathered many a storm this season, and not long ago, they pulled a rabbit out of the hat with two late goals in a league game against Sevilla.

But their patience became anxiety midway through the second half, when Pique brought down Dzeko in the box, and was booked for his trouble. Up stepped De Rossi, who had the misfortune of opening the scoring for Barcelona via an own goal in the first leg, and he made no mistake at the right end. Now it was 2-0 on the night, 3-4 on aggregate, Roma needed just one more. Dare they believe? Could they pull this off? On came Cengiz Under in place off Schick, as they sensed memorable night. And with nine minutes left, the moment came. From a corner, Kostas Manolas, another who had an own goal to his name in the first leg, peeled off to the near post, and his header found the bottom corner.

Cue disbelief, from Manolas’ face, to the rest of his teammates, down to his manager Eusebio Di Francesco, and the fans, both sets of them. Now Barcelona had to do something, astonishingly, they hadn’t done all day; attack. On they poured forward, but there would be no saving grace, not from Lionel Messi, who always found them a way to get them out of jail. Not from Luis Suarez, who was frustrated. Not from Pique, who came forward from defence. Nor from Ousmane Dembele, who was thrown on in a fit bearing semblance to desperation.

Barcelona had managed to escape from the claws of defeat on a number of occasions this season, but there would be no feat of escapology here. They had wriggled past Real Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus and Atletico Madrid this season without losing. It would be against Roma that they faltered, that they threw a Hail Mary but there would be no catch. Who writes these scripts?

Thriller at the Bernabeu

'...as Real Madrid close the book on Juventus once more'. Events at the Santiago Bernabeu would render that first leg headline from this writer on this tie rather daft. Juve had a three-goal deficit to overturn, Gazzetta Della Sport's headline before the game was 'Mission Impossible', with the 'possible' in the second part of the second word highlighted, while Marca ran 1429 simulations, with 1405 seeing Real progress. The odd 24 looked on, when by halftime they were two to the good, Mario Mandzukic with two headers. It became three-nil to the Bianconeri on the night, and three-all on aggregate, when Keylor Navas spilled Douglas Costa's cross, and Blaise Matuidi was on hand to poke it in. Then with the game on a knife edge, and extra time seemingly on the cards, Cristiano Ronaldo laid on a header towards Lucas Vazquez. A challenge from Mehdi Benatia later, Real had a penalty, Gigi Buffon was sent off for a push on the ref, and some five minutes were exhausted in an ensuing kerfuffle. Not that it mattered to Ronaldo, who buried the resulting spot kick with aplomb. For the eighth season in row, Los Blancos will be in a Champions League semi, while as Buffon walked off late on, one had to wonder: was that his Zinedine Zidane circa 2006 moment?

Elsewhere

  • For a moment it seemed plausible, Fernandinho pounced on Virgil van Dijk’s loose ball, then the ball fell to Gabriel Jesus via the boot of Raheem Sterling, and Manchester City were a goal up inside two minutes. One third of the way to the comeback, and for the entire first half, they had Liverpool pinned in their own half, Bernardo Silva hit the post, Leroy Sane was denied by the linesman’s flag, Pep Guardiola was sent to the stands, but it would be only 1-0 on the night at halftime. And there was always the worry for City over Liverpool’s potent attack, and their rather meek defence, and when Ederson’s parry from Sadio Mane’s feet fell to Mohammed Salah, the game was up. A lob over Nicolas Otamendi, and into the top corner, and City’s task became too Herculean. Liverpool still had enough time to rub salt on City wounds, Roberto Firmino pouncing on yet another Otamendi error this week. 5-1 on aggregate, Liverpool coasted through to the last four, and on the evidence of this quarter-final- and the season at large- no one would be keen to face them.

Results

Roma 3 (4)-(4) 0 Barcelona

Roma progress on away goals

Manchester City 1 (1)-(5) 2 Liverpool

Bayern Munich 0 (2)-(1) 1 Sevilla

Real Madrid 1 (4)-(3) 3 Juventus

Published in International Watch

Pardon if the eulogy seems a bit like drooling. 65 minutes gone, Ronaldo moves to the corner at the left end of the Juventus stadium, raises his hands in a gesture that could well say ‘crown me king’ and the entire stadium obliges, with applause rendering from all ends of it. He had just put Real Madrid two up at the home of Juve, the home of the side who rarely knows what it feels like to lose at home (once in 73 games before this), let alone lose so convincingly.

It was Ronaldo who bagged a double in Real’s 4-1 humbling of this same side in last season’s final, the campaign when he began his evolution towards being a pure goal-getting centre-forward, and he’s showing little signs of letting up in that department. Between kick-off and the time Ronaldo added that second goal, aside from substitute Lucas Vazquez, he had touched the ball the least of all players, yet no one would be ready to point out such stat on a man who had 36 goals in 35 games in all competitions prior to this game, and two minutes into it, 37 in 36.

Isco found space on the left, and his low cross was poked home by the Portuguese skipper (thanks in no small part to Karim Benzema, it should be said), the 10th successive UEFA Champions League game that he had scored in, and Los Blancos had the perfect start. It wasn’t just that they had found the net early in Turin, it was that they bossed the opening minutes in Turin, pressing the home side and denying them any room, moving the ball around with authority, and, but for the crossbar, would have gone two up through Toni Kroos.

Juventus knew they had to react and get on the front foot, and after a while, they did manage to, pushing Real back, causing a threat with their quick one-two passes around the edge of the area and the movement of their full-backs, and they did come mighty close when Keylor Navas had to react quickly to deny Gonzalo Higuain. By halftime, it was 1-0, Sergio Ramos had denied Andrea Barzagli what seemed like a certain equaliser, Higuain had made a few runs in behind to create openings, and Paulo Dybala had been booked for simulation.

Juve’s start to the second half was much more comfortable then they did the first, the home fans were founding their voice, and when Ramos got booked for a foul on Dybala, ruling out of the second leg, the crowd started believing they could get past Real, especially when the resulting free-kick was deflected just past Navas’ goal. Then came the 65th minute.

From a long ball forward, some miscommunication between Gigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini, almost unheard of, gave Ronaldo a semblance of a chance; he pulled back to Vazquez, whose shot was saved by Buffon and the danger seemed to have been averted. Except it wasn’t; Daniel Carvajal dinked a cross, and Ronaldo tried an overhead kick, which he brilliantly pulled off, and then came the moments that signified that act of genius. From the crowd applauding, to his manager Zinedine Zidane marvelling at the sight of what he just witnessed, but perhaps the most striking was the ball itself. As it found its way into the bottom corner, with a helpless Buffon watching, the ball decided against bouncing, didn’t even move as it hit the net, it just stayed in that bottom corner, almost like it had been decreed by Ronaldo to stay put. As legendary Real Madrid goal scorers Raul and Emilio Butragueno looked on, they’d be forgiven if they were discussing the man who’s broken all the records they set.

Not that the game was over, though. There was still time for Dybala to be sent off for a reckless high-boot challenge, still time for Marcelo to add a third, created by Ronaldo of course, time for Mateo Kovacic to also rattle Buffon’s bar, and time for Ronaldo to miss two chances as he searched for a hatrick. As the clock ticked down Juve poured forward in search of a glimmer of hope, but like in Cardiff, it was both academic and non-forthcoming.

The deed was done, and Ronaldo had left his mark. Doesn’t he always.

Elsewhere

  • Jurgen Klopp couldn’t even channel his usually hyper-active self, as there was probably a bit of disbelief in his eyes. It’s not uncommon that Liverpool would race into a 3-0 lead after 31 minutes at Anfield, particularly with their front three; that they were doing it against Manchester City, top of the Premier League by a landslide, and probably the best team in Europe right now was something else. Mohammed Salah was among the scorers, as usual, and Reds fans will hope his injury that saw him get taken off isn’t lasting one, although he did return to the bench later. More importantly, Liverpool have a foot and a half into their first Champions League semi-final for 10 years.
  • And as for Bayern Munich and Barcelona, why bother to score when the opposition can just do it for you?

Results

Juventus 0-3 Real Madrid

Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City

Sevilla 1-2 Bayern Munich

Barcelona 4-1 Roma

Published in International Watch

And so they meet again. By the end of the second week of April, Real Madrid and Juventus would have met seven times in the past five years, such is the pedigree between this sides in this competition. 14 meetings in 22 years between both sides, trophies have been decided, and prestigious managers and players previously turned up for both teams, quite an illustrious past.

More importantly, by the end of the second week of April, one of Real Madrid or Juventus would be out of the Champions League, would be left stewing and ousted from a competition that has come to define them, and watch as the other sets off to be 180 minutes away from the final. 10 months on from that show-piece in Cardiff, when Real ruthlessly outclassed Juve to a 4-1 win, both sides jostle for a slot in the last four. ‘The Cardiff match was a very important lesson to grow and improve’ said Juve manager Max Allegri. ‘We could have managed the ball better in the second half and we have to be faster and deal with it in a more serene way’.

It’s no question that that loss in the Welsh capital has served as a bit of a lesson for the Old Lady, whose drop off in that game was so obvious and costly. Now it’s about maintaining focus and concentration, a trait that has served them so well in the past. ‘We have to be focused, concentrated and committed because every player on the field in great’ Allegri added. ‘We really need to be in the match psychologically as well’.

And psychologically, what would the game do for Juve? Giorgio Chiellini has said the focus is not on revenge, while goalkeeper and captain Gigi Buffon has talked about how facing Real ‘again doesn’t fill us with joy’. He may have pointed that he was referring to the quality in the side, as well that of the likes of other quarter-finalists in Manchester City and Bayern Munich among others, but you can be forgiven for thinking whether his mind was cast back to the past once again. And the past is always going to be reflected in a game of such teams, whose paths have been crossed often. Aside from that final last season, they met a round earlier in 2015, when Alvaro Morata, sold to Juve by Real, ousted his boyhood club.

They have had group stage meetings as well- Real won one and drew the other in 2013, while Juve did the double over them five years before- but their stories have been in the knockout stages, the extra-time win by Juventus in 2005, where Ronaldo (the other one) got sent off for Real and Marcelo Zalayeta grabbed the winner, Juve’s progress to the final at the hands of Los Blancos two years before, with Buffon saving a Luis Figo penalty, Predrag Mijatovic grabbing the winner for Real in the final in Amsterdam in 1998, and Juve knocking the Spaniards out on their way to glory in 1996. Not that either side seems to be placing too much thought to previous events.

Buffon has talked about how he doesn’t reflect on the previous meetings, while Zinedine Zidane, Real’s manager, who played for both sides, believes it’s ‘a completely different situation’ from last year. It might well be true, but the need from both sides is barely any different. Neither is the reality that one of them will fall at the end.

 

Fixtures

Juventus v Real Madrid

Liverpool v Manchester City

Barcelona v Roma

Sevilla v Bayern Munich

Published in International Watch

Three minutes. That’s all it took. Ousmane Dembele’s pass ricocheted to Luis Suarez, who played in Lionel Messi, and the latter’s shot found its way in through the legs of Thibaut Courtois.

That’s that, surely. Chelsea, who needed a goal to stand any chance of progressing, set up to defend, and had failed in that regard after only 180 seconds. Except that wasn’t that, the Blues weren’t quite ready to lay down, and that early goal conceded seemed to galvanise them to action. Suddenly, it was a more positive approach from Antonio Conte’s side, Willian and Eden Hazard were running at the Barca defence, the wing backs Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso were getting much further forward, and Barcelona looked vulnerable.

Despite being behind, Conte would have had a tinge of satisfaction at his side’s display, but there would be nothing satisfactory about what happened midway through the half. Not from Messi’s point of view, though, as the Argentine stole the ball from Cesc Fabregas, evaded Andreas Christensen’s lunge, and Cesar Azpilicueta’s stretch, then found Dembele, whose shot found its way into the top corner despite the fingertips of Courtois.

Now extra time was no longer a possibility, Chelsea needed two goals, and just over an hour to get both, at a ground where Barcelona have only conceded eight times in this competition in four years. But it wasn’t for the lack of trying, only a few blocks at the back denied Chelsea, while Ngolo Kante dragged an effort wide, then Marcos Alonso tested Marc Andre Ter-Stegen, before hitting the post on the cusp of halftime with a free-kick.

If Chelsea ended the first half on the front foot, it was nothing compared to how they began the second. Barcelona were barely able to leave their half, let alone keep the ball, and you sensed if Chelsea got one back the mood around the stadium would surely change. Then when Alonso went down under Gerard Pique’s challenge in the box, it looked like that opportunity for a first goal would come, but referee Damir Skomina was having none of it, and Olivier Giroud saw yellow for his trouble.

Chelsea still wouldn’t be deterred, and it took another Pique challenge on Alonso, this time undeniably fair, to prevent a sight of goal. And therein lied the problem for the Blues; for all their show of determination, their spirit and boldness, they hardly tested Ter-Stegen in the Barca goal, and when the hosts broke forward around the hour mark- Suarez finding Messi, who had the beating of Courtois through his legs once again- the game was up.

By then Barcelona had taken off Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, through injury, while Conte brought on Alvaro Morata and Davide Zappacosta. It was to little avail for Chelsea, they did hit the bar in stoppage time through Antonio Rudiger, but Conte’s show of resignation came earlier with the withdrawal of Hazard for Pedro.

There are worse ways to lose, but this was a lesson on how to win.

Elsewhere:

Speaking of lessons, Manchester United received one on Wednesday on the benefits of attacking. For some 175 minutes of their entire tie with Sevilla, Jose Mourinho’s side were, well, a Jose Mourinho side. The football was insipid, and they rode their luck for most of the time. But by the 77th minute of the second leg, they were two down at home, both at the hands of Sevilla substitute Wissam Ben Yedder, and, as a result of a goalless first leg, needed to score three times. Romelu Lukaku got one back, but that was it. After failing against Fenerbahce, CSKA Moscow and Leicester City, Los Rojilblancos' first ever success at the last 16 of this competition was celebrated at Old Trafford.

Results

Manchester United 1(1)-(2)2 Sevilla 

Barcelona 3(4)-(1)0 Chelsea

Roma 1(2)-(2)0 Shakhtar Donetsk (Roma go through on away goals)

Besiktas 1(1)-(8)3 Bayern Munich 

Published in International Watch

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