Senegal World Cup hero dies aged 42, FIFA, Premier League, others pay tributes

November 29th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Former Senegal international and Premier League star Papa Bouba Diop has passed away at the age of 42.

According to a number of reports, the former Fulham and Portsmouth star had been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neurone disease.

Diop became a national hero when he scored the goal which saw Senegal beat France 1-0 in their opening World Cup game in 2002.

The midfielder first arrived in English football when he joined Fulham from Lens in 2004.

Rufisque-born Diop, who stood at 6 foot 5, was nicknamed “The Wardrobe” at Craven Cottage due to his imposing presence in the midfield, and was named by Manchester United legend Paul Scholes as his toughest opponent earlier this year.

Diop won 63 caps for Senegal, scoring 11 goals including his historic World Cup strike.

His former club, RC Lens, paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “It is with great sadness that Racing Club de Lens has just learned of the disappearance of its former player Papa Bouba Diop , at the age of 42.

“We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”

So too did world governing body FIFA, who declared: “FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop.

“Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero.”

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Jose Mourinho: “The best thing I take from the game” against Chelsea

November 29th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho has identified the positive thing he got from the match against Chelsea.

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur extended their lengthy unbeaten runs with a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.

The visitors earned point at Stamford Bridge to return to summit of Premier League. But the Spurs players are not happy with the result.

According to Mourinho, the fact that “my dressing room is not happy – that’s the best thing I take from the game”, which he claims to be a change of mentality on the part of his team.

Timo Werner looked to have opened the scoring on 11 minutes, but the striker was adjudged to have been offside upon receiving the pass from Mason Mount.

Four minutes later Serge Aurier tested Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy with a low shot from outside the penalty area.

In a tactical affair Mount almost broke the deadlock 10 minutes from time when forcing Hugo Lloris into action from range.

Olivier Giroud might have stolen all three points late on but he was unable to capitalise on a loose touch from Joe Rodon, making his first top-flight start, when his attempted lob was directed straight at Lloris.

Spurs’ ninth consecutive unbeaten match takes them top of the table on goal difference with 21 points from 10 matches.

After the match, Mourinho said: “The one thing that I take from the game is that a draw in here, normally is a positive result.

“To stay top of the league with that result is also a positive thing, and my dressing room is not happy.

“That’s the best thing that I take from the game, we are not happy, and that for me is fantastic.

“It’s a complete change of mentality, a complete change of personality.

“You can tell us we didn’t have many chances and I agree, but how many did they have?

“And that’s the thing that makes me really really happy, we are not happy with a draw at Stamford Bridge.”

Photo Credit: Twitter/ChelseaFC

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(Watch Video) Lionel Messi dedicates goal to Maradona

November 29th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Lionel Messi scored against Osasuna and celebrated revealing a Diego Maradona’s Newell’s Old Boys jersey, under his shirt.

The Napoli legend died on Wednesday aged 60 after a cardiac arrest.

Messi is widely considered Maradona’s heir and he paid tribute to his former coach during today’s Barcelona’s home game against Osasuna.

The Blaugrana won 4-0.

La Liga held a minute of silence to pay tribute to the Argentina and Napoli legend who did also play for Barcelona and Newell’s Old Boys.

Leo Messi was visibly moved during Maradona’s minute of silence.

The Barcelona star did also score a goal and showed the no.10 shirt of Newell’s Old Boys, the club were both him and the Napoli legend played.

Photo Credit: Twitter/FCBarcelona_es

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David Beckham desperate to land Olivier Giroud, offers Chelsea striker luxurious lifestyle to sign for his club

November 29th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Manchester United legend David Beckham will pull out all the stops to bring Olivier Giroud to Inter Miami, according to reports.

The England legend is believed to have made the Chelsea star, 34, his top transfer target as he continues to build his MLS franchise.

And it has been said that he will offer a luxurious lifestyle, should he make the move to Florida.

Beckham, 45, will gift Giroud a £4million apartment in the plush Porsche Design Tower in Miami City, where Barcelona star Lionel Messi has a pad that spans an entire floor.

Or, he will hand over the keys to a stunning mansion in Sunny Isles Beach, where the jet set live.

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(Watch Video Clip) Chelsea discover their next big academy star

November 29th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea fans think they’ve found their next big academy star, and he goes by the name of Jude Soonsup-Bell.

The 16-year-old has caused Chelsea twitter to explode after he scored a wonderful solo goal in Ed Brand’s young Blues side that beat Barnsley 8-1 at Kingsmeadow.

The English striker ran riot in the final third by showing a great display of finishing, including a superb fourth goal that he managed to backheel into the net after dribbling centrally to the box from the byline.

He’s been in strong goalscoring form for Chelsea’s Under-18 side already this season and his cup display will only bring even more attention to him.

Bell dribbled the ball into the penalty area close to the by-line, found himself with his back to goal, and he pulled off a cheeky back-heel beating the keeper.

Soonsup-Bell’s first-half hat-trick has Ed Brand’s boys in a commanding position at the break.

One fan said: “Jude Soonsup-Bell is our answer to Haaland.”

Photo Credit: Twitter/ChelseaFC

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Former Tottenham manager responds to Jose Mourinho’s mind games ahead of Stamford Bridge cracker

November 29th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp believes Jose Mourinho’s mind games will count for little on his return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday – when he takes on Blues’ legend Frank Lampard.

Redknapp, who is Frank Lampard’s uncle, states that Mourinho is adept at the dark art of mind games.

Redknapp says: “Mourinho isn’t just one of the best managers in the business, he’s also a classic wind-up merchant.

“He loves all that and has been at it for years, as Frank Lampard found out when they had a bit of a spat as Chelsea played Tottenham a couple of months ago.

“Some people have built up that row at the Carabao Cup game into something it’s not ahead of Chelsea playing Spurs again.

“I speak to Frank a lot and know he got a bit of the hump after Jose said he didn’t get off the bench when he was losing 3-0 at West Brom, but it was something and nothing.

“You’ll often get a bit aggy on the touchline. Frank had a bit of a row with Jurgen Klopp as well, but there’s no problem there either.

“After the game it’s all forgotten, you’ll have a cup of tea or a drink and you just get on with it.

“The one certainty is it should be a cracking game because both Chelsea and Spurs have got a serious chance of being right up there this season.”

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Real Madrid legend reveals he came “very close” to joining Chelsea after meeting Roman Abramovich

November 29th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Roberto Carlos has revealed that he came “very close” to joining Chelsea in 2007.

The Brazilian icon’s glittering Real Madrid career was coming to an end after 527 appearances and 13 trophies – but at 34 many people still thought he had something to offer.

He told Goal: “I had two proposals, Fenerbahce and Chelsea. Chelsea didn’t work out so I signed for Fenerbahce.

“But, with Chelsea, it got very close. It was literally agreed and I just had to go there and sign the contract.

“It was just a week before I signed for Fenerbahce and I had been to Paris to meet both Roman Abramovich and Peter Kenyon.

“Unfortunately, in the final moments something didn’t work out just before finalising, which happens a lot in football. There was an issue with the lawyer.

“It was all agreed, though, and I am 100 per cent sure I would have done well in the Premier League and it would have suited my characteristics.”

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Former Blues academy star responds to Chelsea regret allowing him to leave Stamford Bridge

November 29th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Jeremie Boga explains why he rejected Napoli to stay at Sassuolo, considering Chelsea might regret him and targeting Europe with Roberto De Zerbi.

Boga came up through the Chelsea youth academy and had been on the verge of a transfer to Napoli this summer, although he denies the move was postponed because he contracted COVID-19 on August 20 and didn’t get the all-clear until October 5.

“I was very sad during that time, as I couldn’t do anything, even if I only really felt tired and had back pain for three days. The swabs kept coming back positive,” Boga told the Gazzetta dello Sport as cited by Football Italia.

“The transfer was not blocked by the virus, though. I had already spoken to Sassuolo and we decided together it was best for my development if I stayed here for another year. Sassuolo is a club where you can improve so much, look at Manuel Locatelli and Domenico Berardi playing for Italy now.”

Boga was asked if Chelsea perhaps regretted letting him go so early into his career.

“Who knows… I moved to London with my whole family to play for Chelsea when I was 12 years old. It wasn’t easy at the start, as I left all my friends behind in Marseille, but then I adapted.

“I chose Sassuolo because De Zerbi wanted me. Every day he’d tell me: ‘Do you realise how good you are?’ I wasn’t really convinced.”

De Zerbi also said that the only player he can think of better at dribbling than Boga is Lionel Messi.

“That’s quite a compliment, eh? Having said that, Neymar, Eden Hazard and Hatem Ben Arfa are also excellent at dribbling,” replied Boga.

“It’s about instinct and since I was a kid, I’d just run at opposition defenders. Coaches told me to enjoy myself and I used to practice at home on my brother.”

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(Watch Highlights) Inter Milan save Antonio Conte’s blushes, crush Sassuolo away from San Siro (Match Report)

November 29th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Inter had a lightning start with Alexis Sanchez and a Vlad Chiriches own goal, then Roberto Gagliardini’s half-volley settled it to end Sassuolo’s unbeaten record and catch them on 18 points.

This was a head-to-head for second place, with the hosts still unbeaten and behind only Milan going into Week 9, but confidence was low in the Nerazzurri camp after their Champions League setback.

It was a fast and furious start from Inter, as a poor clearance was intercepted by Lautaro Martinez, who managed to go around Andrea Consigli, his shot was blocked by Vlad Chiriches, but he was alert to roll across for Alexis Sanchez to tap in.

They were so fired up after recent disappointments and moments later Ivan Perisic stung Consigli’s gloves at the near post, then the Lautaro Martinez lob floated inches wide of an open goal.

Chiriches was involved yet again in a nightmare start for the ex-Napoli defender, as he gave away an avoidable corner, then on that set play Arturo Vidal’s pull-back hit Chiriches to ricochet in for an own goal.

The Nerazzurri were playing with the ferocity that Antonio Conte had asked for, Maxime Lopez caught in possession for another Lautaro Martinez chance.

However, Sassuolo gradually took control of the game, as Filip Djuricic’s curler from the edge of the area clipped the far post, then the same player tested Samir Handanovic at the by-line.

Handanovic also had to parry from Jeremy Toljan after a Giacomo Raspadori nutmeg, then Manuel Locatelli’s header whistled just wide. Chiriches’ day went from bad to worse, as he then limped off with a suspected hamstring strain.

The hosts continued to dominate possession without finding the net and ran risks on the counter, with Lautaro Martinez firing over from Matteo Darmian’s cross.

Just as the Neroverdi were pouring forward, Inter scored a third when the high press worked to win it back and Roberto Gagliardini blasted in off the outside of the right boot with a wicked spin into the far corner, as the ball bounced up beautifully for him.

Alessandro Bastoni charged down a Locatelli strike, and Alexis Sanchez volleyed over following a wonderful build-up between Gagliardini and Lautaro.

Romelu Lukaku came off the bench and had the ball in the net, but was clearly offside.

Photo Credit: Twitter/inter

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Eden Hazard injured again, forced off after 28 minutes in Real Madrid loss

November 29th, 2020 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Real Madrid star Eden Hazard has given manager Zinedine Zidane another injury headache after he was forced off injured after 28 minutes away at Alaves.

The Belgian international pulled after seeing his shot blocked inside the Alaves box and immediately signalled his discomfort to the bench.

Zidane opted to substitute the Belgian star to avoid any further damage, with Brazilian teenager Rodrygo Goes sent on as his replacement.

Hazard has endured a miserable time with injuries following his 2019 move to the Santiago Bernabeu from Premier League giants Chelsea.

He missed a total of 24 games during Real Madrid’s La Liga title win in 2019/20, with the club opting to send him for surgery on a broken foot at the start of 2020.

The 29-year old also missed the start of the current campaign after suffering a serious of minor injuries over the summer, before being sidelined for two weeks in September after testing positive Covid-19.

Photo Credit: Twitter

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