Mateo Kovacic wants to win Champions League trophy as “a big gift for” key Chelsea teammate

Mateo Kovacic said Thiago Silva deserves to win the Champions League as he compared the Chelsea defender with his former Inter Milan teammate Javier Zanetti.

Throughout his career, Kovacic has played with high-level players at several top clubs, such as Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Among them is Silva who joined Chelsea last summer and has become an influential figure in the team.

The Brazil international, however, is not the first veteran defender that Kovacic has played

“They’re similar. Zanetti was a bit older, he was 40 when I played with him, but they’re both big, big professionals, so experienced,” Kovacic told Chelsea TV about the comparison between Silva and the Inter Milan icon.

“When you see them play, they’re so calm on the ball, especially Thiago at the back. Two big, big players.

“I think Thiago hasn’t won the Champions League, and he deserves [to win it] as a player because he’s done amazing in his career.

“So I hope, this could be a big gift for him and for his career.”

Silva was very close to Champions League glory with Paris Saint-Germain last season after the defeat to Bayern Munich in the final.

Thomas Tuchel to be handed huge transfer warchest in summer

Reports in England claim that Chelsea are planning to hand their manager Thomas Tuchel a £150million transfer warchest for summer recruitments of players.

The Blues board are delighted with the job the German has done since he arrived in January.

Chelsea have serious money to spend this summer as they continue their bid to get back to the top of the Prem.

A proven goalscorer is seen as a huge priority, with Olivier Giroud, 34, and 23-year-old Tammy Abraham likely to be surplus to requirements.

The Stamford Bridge outfit have been monitoring Erling Haaland’s situation at Borussia Dortmund and also keeping a close eye on their former striker Romelu Lukaku at Inter Milan.

Pep Guardiola identifies Premier League manager who inspires him

Pep Guardiola admitted that his big rival Jurgen Klopp inspires him and makes him a better manager.

The Manchester City boss was delighted to get a message of congratulations from the Liverpool boss after his team clinched the title on Tuesday.

He also got one from Carlo Ancelotti at Everton as the Premier League trophy headed for the Etihad for a third time in four years.

Guardiola said: “I appreciate it a lot. He and Carlo Ancelotti did it. I could not answer the messages yet but I will do. I admire both of them.

“Jurgen, of course, was an inspiration for me. He made me, through his teams at Dortmund and Liverpool, a better manager.

“He made me think a lot about games and opponents. So thank you so much.”

Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother mounts pressure on son to join her football club

Cristiano Ronaldo’s mum Dolores has vowed to persuade her son to make a spectacular return to Sporting Lisbon.

The superstar is being heavily linked with a move away from Juventus and his mum made the assurance as she celebrated Sporting’s first league title in 19 years.

Ronaldo started his professional career with the Verde e Brancos, before he moved to Manchester United in August 2003.

He then moved to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 and was picked up by the Bianconeri after nine years in the Spanish capital.

His future at the Allianz Stadium is uncertain, as Juventus are struggling to finish among the teams in the Champions League and Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from the club.

The hypotheses have been a return to Madrid or Manchester, with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly interested in the 36-year-old too.

But with Sporting CP preparing for the Champions League in 2021-22, his mother told fans she would try to lure the European Champion back to the Primeira Liga.

“I will talk to him and try to convince him to return next year,” she said, captured by TVI 24.

“To the Alvalade Stadium and to wear the colours of Sporting.”

She posted a video of herself on her Instagram story dancing and singing after Sporting’s triumph.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin explains why Chelsea, Man City are each given 6,000 fan tickets, relocation of Champions League final venue to Porto

Chelsea and Manchester City will each have 6,000 fans at the Champions League Final after Uefa finally confirmed the match has been switched to Portugal.

UEFA confirmed the Champions League Final between Chelsea and Manchester City will be held in Porto on May 29, with 12,000 spectators.

The Final was due to be played in Istanbul, but the serious COVID-19 concerns in Turkey made the English Government appeal to have it moved to London.

And as a result of fierce lobbying by Uefa, the Portuguese Government have agreed to raise it’s initial 10 per cent stadium capacity cap to allow up to 20,000 inside the 50,000-capacity venue.

Discussing Uefa’s decision to move the Champions League final to Porto, president Aleksander Ceferin said: “After the year that fans have endured, it is not right that they don’t have the chance to watch their teams in the biggest game of the season.

“Fans have had to suffer more than twelve months without the ability to see their teams live and reaching a Champions League final is the pinnacle of club football.

“To deprive those supporters of the chance to see the match in person was not an option and I am delighted that this compromise has been found.

“We accept that the decision of the British Government to place Turkey on the red list for travel was taken in good faith and in the best interests of protecting its citizens from the spread of the virus.

“But it also presented us with a major challenge in staging a final featuring two English teams.

“The difficulties of moving the final are great and the FA and the authorities made every effort to try to stage the match in England and I would like to thank them for their work in trying to make it happen.”

It will be the second consecutive year that the Champions League Final has been played in Portugal, as the Final Eight was compressed into a straight knockout tournament in various Portuguese cities last term.

Fans will return when Chelsea and Manchester City clash in Porto, as UEFA has confirmed the stadium will allow 12,000 spectators for the big event.

Chelsea tipped to win next season’s Premier League title

Chelsea are the favourites to win next season’s Premier League title following Thomas Tuchel’s rapid start at the club, says Michael Essien.

The Ghanaian told Ladbrokes: “I’m going to say Chelsea win the league next season, based on how good they’ve looked since Thomas Tuchel has taken over.

“They’re my first choice for the title, then it’s obviously going to be Man United, Liverpool and Man City who will be right up there with them.

“With the players Thomas Tuchel has got at his disposal, I think he’s got all the tools needed to challenge for the title next season.

“If you look from the goalkeepers to the forwards, they’ve got big names all over the pitch. They’ve got it all.

“I love the fact that they’ve got Thiago Silva at the back, his experience really is vital to that team and he’s such a great name the younger players in the squad can learn from.

“I love the fact that they’ve got Thiago Silva at the back, his experience really is vital to that team and he’s such a great name the younger players in the squad can learn from.”

Police disrupts Romelu Lukaku’s birthday party, fines Inter Milan striker, Ashley Young, Hakimi, Perisic, others

There are reports Romelu Lukaku has been fined for celebrating his birthday in a Milan hotel at 3am, with a reported 23 people, violating anti-Covid measures during his 28th birthday.

Hours after Inter defeated Roma 3-1 at the San Siro, in which Lukaku scored the third goal for Antonio Conte’s side, police revealed they raided The Square Milano Duomo hotel following a tip off of a Covid breach.

Newspaper Corriere della Sera, via the Mail, detailed that Lukaku, along with 23 guests which included team-mate Ashley Young, were ambushed by authorities at 3am and were subsequently handed fines.

The report adds that team-mates Achraf Hakimi and Ivan Perisic were also present at the birthday party for the Belgian striker.

The hotel manager is alleged to have organised the event for Lukaku.

Milan finds itself in a ‘yellow zone’ as Italy continues to ease its way slowly out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

That means that individuals are permitted to move between regions also classified as yellow.

But until June 15 an individual is only allocated one visit per day and even then, any visit is strict to up to a limit of four adults.

There is also a night-time curfew between 10pm and 5am, which is said to have raised suspicions with the tip-off to Italian police shortly before 3am.

Thomas Tuchel identifies reason Arsenal defeated Chelsea

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has blamed himdelf for the defeat the Blues suffered in the hands of Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday

The west London club would have all but confirmed a Champions League place next season with a win but were beaten by Emile Smith Rowe’s first-half strike.

Jorginho fluffed a backpass to Kepa who did well to claw the misplaced pass off the line but it only went as far as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who laid it off to the youngster who rolled it in.

Despite significant pressure from the West Londoners – particularly towards the end of the game – the Gunners held on for a precious win to keep their own Europa League hopes alive.

And afterwards, Tuchel was quick to blame himself for the result.

He said: “I am not happy with my line-up. There were too many changes and I should not have done it like this.

“It was something in particular but I don’t want to tell you.”

Beforehand, Tuchel said: “It is totally our fault. I think we lost the game, it is totally our responsibility. We had huge chances, we more or less made an own goal, a total gift.

“Overall we were not sharp enough, we could not put up the same intensity as energy as usual. It is on me.

“I think it was maybe too many changes from the last match and I take full responsibility for that. Maybe it is the last wake-up call for us.

“I felt it a little bit coming yesterday in training and I am a bit unlucky that it is proven today on the pitch.

“I did not feel us in the same way – sharp, intensity like in the last game.”

Juventus stars draw battle line against Cristiano Ronaldo

Reports in Italy claim there is tension in Juventus’ dressing room as the club’s stars have isolated Cristiano Ronaldo as teammates his believe he’s been given too much freedom.

The Portuguese star is Juventus’ best scorer this season and will start against Sassuolo tonight.

However, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, via Football Italia, his relationship with his teammates is not as good as it used to be a few months ago.

Many Juventus players believe the club gives the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star too much freedom.

The 36-year-old didn’t train the day after Juventus’ defeat against Milan and visited the Ferrari factory in Maranello instead.

Juventus’ President Andrea Agnelli and Exor Chairman and CEO John Elaknn accompanied the Portuguese star.

Ronaldo has also missed a few training this season for sponsorships reasons and many of his teammates think it’s not fair he’s been treated differently from other players.

According to several reports, the next three games could be the last ones of Ronaldo in Turin as he will ask to leave the club if the Old Lady fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Neymar wants Cristiano Ronaldo to join him at PSG

Neymar has issued a not-so-subtle call to Cristiano Ronaldo to join him at PSG.

The Brazilian told GQ France: “I want to play with Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I’ve already played with great players like Messi and [Kylian] Mbappe, but I haven’t played with Cristiano Ronaldo yet.”

Ronaldo turned 36 this year and may only have another year or two of playing at the highest level.

Meanwhile Neymar has committed to Paris Saint-Germain until the year 2025.

And with Neymar being Brazilian and Ronaldo being Portuguese, that rules out the prospect of the pair playing international football together, leaving only one realistic option..