Barcelona’s Thomas Vermaelen ruled out for six weeks with hamstring injury

Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen is set to miss six weeks of action with a hamstring injury he suffered while on international duty with Belgium, the club has confirmed. The centre-back was forced off during Belgium’s 2-1 win over Switzerland on Friday and now faces yet another spell on the sidelines. The news comes as a blow to Barcelona with Samuel Umtiti also sidelined curently with a knee problem. There have been different reports over the severity of the French defender’s injury, and it’s still unclear when he will return to…

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Chelsea’s Eden Hazard keen to work with Jose Mourinho again

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard says he would like to work with former Blues boss Jose Mourinho again. Belgium international Hazard, 27, has been at Chelsea since 2012 and won the Premier League under Mourinho in 2014-15 and under Antonio Conte in 2016-17. Mourinho now manages Manchester United, whom Chelsea face in their next Premier League match on Saturday, 20 October. “If I’m now asked one coach with whom I want to work again, then I say: ‘Mourinho’,” Hazard told HLN. “Mourinho’s image of an extremely defensive coach isn’t completely right.”…

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Laurent Koscielny criticises Deschamps and retires from international football

France and Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has retired from international duty after criticising manager Didier Deschamps for his treatment while recovering from injury. The defender ruptured an Achilles in the Europa League semi-final in May and missed out on France’s World Cup-winning campaign in Russia. Koscielny, 33, said “lots of people disappointed him” during his lay-off. “It feels like a hit on the back of the head,” he said. “When you are in good form, you have lots of friends. When you are injured… after a certain period of time,…

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Thierry Henry appointed as Monaco coach on three-year contract

Thierry Henry has been appointed by AS Monaco as the Ligue 1 club’s new head coach, replacing Leonardo Jardim. Henry has signed a three-year contract until 2021 at the club where he began his professional career. The former Arsenal and Barcelona forward will officially begin work on Monday, the club said in a statement. Henry, who won the Ligue 1 title at the Stade Louis II in 1997, told the club’s official website: “In the first place, I thank AS Monaco for giving me the opportunity to coach the team…

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French authorities investigate whether PSG game against Red Star was fixed

French authorities are investigating whether a Champions League game involving Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star Belgrade was fixed. Both clubs have strongly denied wrongdoing after L’Équipe reported that a Red Star official was suspected of betting €5m (£4.4m) on the team losing by five goals in a match PSG won 6-1. It is understood, Uefa passed on suspicions to the French authorities after the 3 October game at the Parc des Princes in Group C, which also includes Liverpool and Napoli. France’s financial prosecutor’s office confirmed an investigation had been…

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Usain Bolt scores brace in second Central Coast Mariners trial

Usain Bolt scored twice in his second trial match for the A-League’s Central Coast Mariners to boost his chances of realising his dream of becoming a professional footballer. The world’s fastest man struck in a 20-minute second-half period as the Mariners eased to a 4-0 win over Macarthur South West United; the first was a coolly-taken individual effort while a defensive mix-up gifted him a second in the pre-season friendly in Campbelltown. “I think I made some slight mistakes but I’m just happy to get the chance and I’m proud…

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Aaron Ramsey: I thought I had agreed new contract with Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey has revealed he thought he had reached an agreement with Arsenal over a new contract only for the club to perform a U-turn but he has promised to make what stands to be his 11th and final season in north London a memorable one. The 27-year-old, whose deal expires next June, made it clear it was the club’s decision to withdraw the offer of fresh terms rather than his own to walk away from the talks. “Everything has been going great with the club – we thought we…

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Bayern blocked Lewandowski sale after ‘several offers’

Robert Lewandowski claims he received “several offers” in the close-season but never expected Bayern Munich to sell him, even after he criticised the club’s hierarchy. The Poland striker made public his unhappiness at the Allianz Arena in August as he accused Bayern of failing to provide adequate support during a brief slump in form last season. Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain were reportedly interested, but Bayern held firm in their stance against a sale, despite the 30-year-old’s insistence on airing his grievances. Lewandowski admits he never anticipated he would be…

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Real Madrid sue over claims club forced Ronaldo to settle in rape case

Real Madrid have taken legal action against a Portuguese newspaper that reported the club forced Cristiano Ronaldo to settle with the woman who accused him of rape. Real said the information published by Correio da Manhã is “categorically false” and was printed in an effort to “seriously damage the image of this club”. Real said they have “absolutely no knowledge of any of the information that the newspaper published with regard to the player Cristiano Ronaldo, and therefore the club was unable to take action on a matter of which…

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Leonardo Jardim leaves Monaco after poor start to Ligue 1 season

Leonardo Jardim has departed his post as Monaco manager by mutual consent after a run of 10 winless games left the French club third-bottom of Ligue 1 and bottom of their Champions League group. The 44-year-old, who joined Monaco in June 2014 and took the club to a league title in 2017, told their website: “I’m grateful and proud to have been AS Monaco coach for more than four years. I’ve always given my very best and worked with passion. We achieved some great victories together and I’ll always keep…

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Eden Hazard torn between new Chelsea contract and ‘dream’ Real Madrid move

Eden Hazard has admitted he is undecided between signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge and a “dream” move to Real Madrid. The Belgium forward has two years remaining on his contract with the Blues, but was linked with a move to the European champions in the summer. Hazard has scored seven times in the Premier League already this season. “I don’t want to say, ‘yes, I am signing a new contract’ and then in the end I don’t end up signing,” the 27-year-old told the media. “I want what’s…

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Gareth Bale out of Wales friendly with Spain, doubtful for Ireland clash

Gareth Bale is out of Wales’ friendly against Spain on Thursday and is “50-50” for the Nations League match with the Republic of Ireland on 16 October. The 29-year-old forward was replaced in the 80th minute of Real Madrid’s 1-0 La Liga loss at Alaves on Saturday. “Gareth has got a little bit of muscle fatigue and he won’t be involved against Spain,” Wales manager Ryan Giggs confirmed. “We don’t want to take any risks and we are monitoring it every day.” Bale sat out training with the Wales squad…

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Aston Villa appoint Dean Smith as Head Coach with Terry as assistant

Aston Villa have named Dean Smith as their new head coach, with ex-Chelsea defender John Terry as his assistant. Smith, 47, leaves Brentford, who he led to top-10 finishes in the Championship in each of his three seasons as boss. Former England captain Terry, 37 retired on Sunday after leaving Villa in the summer, while Jesus Garcia Pitarch joins as sporting director. Villa sacked Steve Bruce on 3 October after a run of one win in nine Championship games. Former centre-back Smith – whose first managerial role was with Walsall…

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Thierry Henry on manager shortlist to replace Leonardo Jardim at Monaco

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry is being considered as a replacement for manager Leonardo Jardim at Monaco. The French club are expected to sack their Portuguese boss, 44, with the team third from bottom in Ligue 1 with six points from nine games. Henry, 41, who is on the shortlist for a similar role at Aston Villa, began his professional career at Monaco and helped them win Ligue 1 in 1997. Jardim led the club to another French title in 2017, their first since 2000. The former Sporting Lisbon manager…

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Christian Eriksen could have chronic abdominal problem, says Hareide

Denmark manager Åge Hareide has suggested that Christian Eriksen’s stomach problem could be a chronic condition in what would be a major blow to an already injury-hit Tottenham Hotspur squad. The 26-year-old has not played since his club’s 2-1 Premier League win at Brighton on 22 September. Spurs had expected Eriksen to return after the international break this week but Hareide said it was unlikely the midfielder would travel for the Nations League match against Ireland on Saturday. “Christian has an abdominal problem … Such an injury can be chronic,…

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Bayern legend Lothar Matthaus hits out at Lewandowski and James

Bayern Munich legend Lothar Matthaus has described James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski as “players who only think of themselves” in an attack on Bayern Munich’s underperforming stars, while giving his backing to embattled coach Niko Kovac. James was given his third Bundesliga start of the season against Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday but both he and Lewandowski failed to impress as the German champions slipped to a 3-0 home defeat. Bayern are fifth in the Bundesliga table after a run of four games without a win and Matthaus took aim at…

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Cristiano Ronaldo lawyer acknowledges Kathryn Mayorga agreement

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Las Vegas-based attorney said his soccer star client “vehemently denies all of the allegations” made in a lawsuit filed last month, and he described the encounter in a Las Vegas hotel room in June 2009 as “consensual in nature.” In a lawsuit filed in Clark County (Nev.) District Court last month, Kathryn Mayorga detailed the alleged assault inside a suite at the Palms Hotel and Casino. Ronaldo issued a statement last week to “firmly deny the accusations being issued against me.” “Mr. Ronaldo has always maintained, as he…

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Dutch manager Koeman criticises Liverpool’s Van Dijk for being ‘too laid back’

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has come under fire from current Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman for being ‘too laid back’. Van Dijk moved to Anfield in a £75million deal from Southampton in January, and almost cost his side when he conceded a late penalty against Manchester City on Sunday. In addition, the Dutchman made an error against France last month which allowed Olivier Giroud to net in a 2-1 defeat for Holland. Now, former Everton boss Koeman, who also managed the defender during their time together at Southampton, has told…

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Andreas Christensen frustrated with lack of playing time at Chelsea

Andreas Christensen has become the first Chelsea player to publicly question manager Maurizio Sarri with the Danish international frustrated over a lack of playing time since the Italian took over in the summer. Sarri has been a roaring success at Chelsea since he was appointed as Antonio Conte’s replacement with The Blues the only Premier League side unbeaten in all competitions, level on points with Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the league, top of their Europa League group with two wins from two, and through to the next round…

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French Court set to rule on whether Benzema must stand trial

The Paris Appeal Court said on Thursday that it will rule next month on the validity of a blackmail case against Real Madrid star Karim Benzema and five other men. At a long-awaited hearing on Thursday, prosecutors asked the court confirm the validity of a police investigation into Benzema for his role an alleged attempt to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape. In July 2017, France’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, annulled an earlier decision to send Benzema to trial and ordered the Paris court to review the…

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Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho gets England squad call

Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho was a surprise selection when England manager Gareth Southgate named a 25-man squad on Thursday for this month’s Nations League matches away to Croatia and Spain. Mason Mount and James Maddison were also given their first senior England call-ups by Southgate as it was announced that the 48-year-old had signed a new contract that will keep him with the national side until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The 18-year-old Sancho was called up having already played in the Champions League for German club Dortmund, with…

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Ronaldo denies attack accusation, calls rape ‘abominable crime’

Cristiano Ronaldo has categorically denied accusations by a former model who says the soccer star raped her in a Las Vegas hotel penthouse suite in 2009. “I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me,” tweeted the 33-year-old, who plays for Juventus in Italy’s Serie A. “Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in.” “Keen as I may be to clear my name I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense,” he said. I…

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Valencia apologises after ‘liking’ Instagram post calling for Manchester United to sack their manager

Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia has apologised for inadvertently ‘liking’ an Instagram post calling for manager Jose Mourinho to be sacked. The Red Devils manager came under increasing pressure on Tuesday following a 0-0 draw with Spanish club Valencia at Old Trafford in the Champions League, a result that stretches their winless run to four matches after the draw against Wolves and losses to Derby County and West Ham. Fuel was poured on the fire by the 33-year-old, who liked an Instagram post criticising the manager after the draw, spurring new…

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Keylor Navas admits Real Madrid are missing Ronaldo after shock loss

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas admitted the La Liga giants are missing Cristiano Ronaldo after their goalless run continued on Tuesday. Madrid suffered a shock 1-0 loss to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, extending their winless and goalless streaks to three matches. Ronaldo left Madrid for Juventus in July, having scored at an incredible rate at the club, including 44 times last season. While Navas is keen to move on from the Portuguese superstar, he said his team had a big hole to fill following Ronaldo’s departure. “Cristiano left…

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 Why Tottenham can be confident against bad travellers Barcelona

Barcelona’s visit to Wembley to face Spurs is being seen as a tough tie at the wrong time for the home side, up against La Liga league leaders, and having lost in their last euro outing with Inter. Defeats away to Watford, home to fellow Champions League challengers Liverpool, and away at San Siro against Inter, coupled with unconvincing performances in many of their other outings, have resulted in fans being largely disappointed at the start to the campaign, with the sportsbook GiveMeBet among others needing to factor this in to…

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