Portugal boss reveals referee’s apology after denying Cristiano Ronaldo late winner, says “the referee apologized to me and told me he was embarrassed”

Fernando Santos has revealed that referee Dutchman Danny Makelie admitted he was embarrassed by the decision to deny Portugal a late winner through Cristiano Ronaldo’s late strike against Serbia.

The Portugal captain thought he’d won the World Cup qualifier, poised at 2-2, when he nicked in front of goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic and struck home, with defender Stefan Mitrovic stretching to clear off the line.

However, despite replays showing the ball appearing to clearly cross the line, with VAR not in play the officials failed to award the goal, leaving Ronaldo and his manager absolutely furious at the full-time whistle.

“The referee apologised to me in the booth and told me he was embarrassed. I was in the dressing room with him and apologised to me,” Santos said.

“He had told me on the pitch that he was going to see the images and that if it was the case he was calling me to apologise – and so it was.

“It is the second time in a qualifying phase that they apologise to me after the game. I told him on the pitch that there was no VAR or goal line – one of the things he told me was that the goal line was important – but I told him that the ball was half a metre inside the goal.

“There was no obstacle between the goalkeeper and the goal line. [it is a] problem because we drew. We have to rethink. The referees are human and make mistakes, but that’s why there is the VAR and the goal line technology to avoid this.”

Chelsea handed transfer boost as Inter are ready to listen to offers for Lukaku, but with condition… Tuchel supports move for hit-man

Fresh reports suggest Romelu Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge may not be difficult afterall as the Serie A giants Inter Milan are said to be ready to listen to offers.

Chelsea are said to be considering a move for the former Manchester United forward if they fail to land No 1 striker target Erling Haaland.

But any San Siro departure for the former Blues striker is said to depend on whether Inter can land Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero on a free.

The Belgian has been a revelation at the San Siro but the Serie A giants are prepared to sell to help combat the financial impact of Covid-19, according to the Star.

Meanwhile, Sport Bild chief Christian Falk has revealed that Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is in support of the west London club’s move for Lukaku on his Twitter account.

Jorginho hints at Chelsea exit, gives reason

Chelsea star Jorginho has raised doubts about his future at Stamford Bridge by admitting he ‘misses’ Naples.

The 29-year-old, who was signed from Napoli in 2018, has also complained about the ‘cold’ London weather.

The Brazil-born Italy international spoke to Canale 21 from his home in London and did nothing to dispel the rumours he wants a return to his old club.

He said: “There are no words to describe how much I miss Naples.

“‘Who wouldn’t miss Naples? It’s so cold in London, they don’t even know what the sun is.”

Jorginho is also still cheering on the Partenopei and tips them for a top four finish.

“I really hope they can get into the Champions League, we’re all supporting them here. Of course they can do it.”

Chelsea eyeing Romelu Lukaku’s stunning return to Stamford Bridge

Reports in England suggest Chelsea are weighing up a stunning move to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge this summer if they are unable to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

A new striker has become a priority for the Blues after watching their front line struggle to hit the mark. Their £53million signing Timo Werner has managed just five league goals since joining last season while Olivier Giroud has four.

Teenage sensation Haaland has emerged as a big target for manager Thomas Tuchel, but Dortmund have reportedly slapped a £154m price tag on him – which could prove too much even for a club of Chelsea’s resources.

Should they admit defeat in their bid to land the Norwegian forward, then they will move their attentions to Inter Milan’s Lukaku, according to the Telegraph.

The big Belgian – who joined Chelsea as an 18-year-old back in 2011 – was unable to convince a handful of managers that he was good enough for the first team at Stamford Bridge. First he was loaned to West Brom and then Everton – with Jose Mourinho selling him to to the Toffees in 2014.

Now 27, Lukaku has proven himself to be one of the top forwards in Europe having netted 87 times in 166 games in Merseyside before securing an £75m move to Manchester United in 2017.

Chelsea making outcast Tiemoue Bakayoko unaffordable for Napoli with price tag

Reports claim Chelsea are pricing themselves out of a deal to offload outcast Tiemoue Bakayoko.

The midfielder was sent out to Napoli on loan last summer and Chelsea set a £15million price tag.

But Napoli are not keen to meet this valuation of the midfielder and it leaves an uncertain future for Bakayoko.

It is possible he could return to Stamford Bridge in the summer but Thomas Tuchel has no shortage of options in his position.

The Frenchman, who cost the club an initial £35m in 2017, has spent the season on loan with the Italian side.

Bakayoko, 26, has been an important figure under Gennaro Gattuso having made 35 appearances across all competitions.

His loan deal didn’t include the option to make it permanent but Chelsea are eager to offload the flop at the end of the campaign.

According to CalcioNapoli24, the Italians would be interested in signing him but want Chelsea to further lower their asking price.

Napoli know his future at Stamford Bridge is all-but over having endured three loan spells away from the club.

He is also entering the final year of his contract at Chelsea meaning he would be available for nothing in just over 12 month’s time.

Bakayoko is thought to be determined to stay with Napoli and will do everything in his power to remain beyond the current campaign.

In January, the player’s agent and brother, Abdoulaye, revealed a permanent switch to Napoli is the ‘priority’.

Chelsea named Premier League team of the decade (Check how Man United, Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, others rate)

Chelsea have beaten Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool to the Premier League team of the decade.

The International Federation of Football History & Statistics have been crunching the numbers as the 2011-2020 decade came to an end.

Barcelona came out in top as their best club of the decade.

But in England, it was Chelsea that reigned supreme.

The Blues won two Premier League titles, in 2014-15 and 2016-17.

They also achieved their crowning glory in 2012, when they won the Champions League on a dramatic, historic night in Munich.

Chelsea won the FA Cup that same season, as well as in 2018, while they picked up a solitary League Cup in 2015.

Photo Credit: Twitter

(Watch spectacular goals on video) Aubameyang fires Gabon into the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations

Arsenal skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired Gabon into the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations with a goal and assist.

The Gunners ace delivered an incredible performance in the 3-0 win over DR Congo on Thursday which secured their qualification.

Gabon went into their clash against the Leopards needing a win to qualify for next year’s tournament after a 2-1 defeat to Gambia saw them drop to second in Group D.

And DR Congo – who went into the match sitting in third spot – could have leapfrogged the Black Panthers with a victory in the penultimate group fixture.

In recent games for Arsenal, Aubameyang’s performances have been lacklustre.

He was wasteful in front of goal against Olympiacos, while being ineffective against West Ham as he was taken off for Gabriel Martinelli.

But he starred on international duty for Gabon as he gloriously set up team-mate Denis Bouanga to make it 2-0 in the 72nd minute.

Aubameyang then sealed the victory four minutes before full-time after lashing home an effort into the far corner.

Mason Mount almost equals Barcelona legend Xavi’s record, earns England manager Gareth Southgate’s plaudits

No player in a European World Cup qualifier since Xavi has created more chances than Mason Mount did in England’s win over San Marino.

Gareth Southgate handed the Chelsea star the central playmaking role in the 5-0 win on Thursday.

And Mount took advantage of the minnows’ inevitable inability to control the Three Lions’ attacks, creating eight chances in open play.

Not since Barcelona legend Xavi’s nine-chance performance against Bosnia and Herzegovina for Spain back in 2008 had a single player created more in a match at this level.

What’s more, 22-year-old Mount came within touching distance of the record before being taken off at half-time.

As defined by Opta, all four of his crosses met their men and were statistically deemed ‘good’ balls in.

The midfielder also provided one assist at Wembley, winning the ball deep in San Marino territory and playing in Raheem Sterling for his goal.

While fans may have been hoping for more than the five-goal rout, the statistics do underline England’s very attacking display.

Behind Mount, Ben Chilwell and first goalscorer James Ward-Prowse each created five chances in open play.

Three Lions boss Southgate praised Mount for his first-half display ahead of Sunday’s trip to Albania.

He said: “Mason Mount in the first half was excellent and set the tone.

“It was good to see Jesse Lingard looking like he’s enjoying his football again. There were a lot of good things.

“There were lots of good individual performances. The midfield players moved the ball around really well.”

ITV pundit Roy Keane was also effusive in his praise, and said of Mount: “He’s an outstanding player, he’s proven it week-in, week-out.

“There were question marks, people were quick to criticise him, but I can’t talk highly enough of him.

“I think he seems a really good pro, he affects the game, he’s got a goal in him, he seems an honest pro, the most important thing for any manager is to have options.

“Gareth is a lucky manager, he’s got great options.”

Photo Credit: England/Twitter

(Watch Goal on Video) Kai Havertz scores excellent goal! 6’… Germany 2-0 Iceland

Havertz makes it two! Germany steamrolling their opponents.

Kimmich the architect, sliding a sublime pass through the gap for Sane, whose first-time cut-back finds Havertz, and the Chelsea man finds the bottom corner with a fine first-time effort. Germany playing some scintillating stuff at the moment.

Photo Credit: kaihavertz29/Twitter

Kelechi Iheanacho reveals his future plan as Leicester contract expires at end of season

Super Eagles striker Kelechi Iheanacho has told Leicester City he is ready to sign a new long-term deal this summer.

The 24-year-old enters the final year of his current £60,000-a-week five-year-deal this summer and the Foxes want to tie their in-form hitman down on a lucrative new deal, following his recent outstanding form.

Iheanacho has been on fire, scoring seven goals in his last four games, including the crucial double against Manchester United which set up a Wembley FA Cup semi-final with Southampton.

That hasn’t gone unnoticed by rival clubs at home and abroad.

However, according to The Sun, the striker, who has been directly involved in 15 goals in 15 starts this season, has no desire to leave Leicester and is in it for the long haul as he looks to emerge as Jamie Vardy’s natural successor.

A source close to the striker says Iheanacho feels Brendan Rodgers has taken his game to a new level and is bringing out the very best in him.

And with the third-placed Foxes closing in on a Champions’ League qualifying place and FA Cup final, he feels he has a huge part to play in the club’s future.