Mino Raiola’s family confirms super agent’s death

Super-agent Mino Raiola has died aged 54, his family have confirmed.

In a statement posted on Twitter, it was announced the Italian sadly lost his health battle.

It read: “In infinite sorrow we share the passing of the most caring and amazing Football Agent that ever was.

“Mino fought until the end with the same strength he put on negotiation tables to defend out players.

“As usual, Mino made us proud and never realized it.

“Mino touched so many lives through his work and wrote a new chapter in the history of modern football.

“His presence will forever be missed. Mino’s mission of making football a batter place for players will continue with the same passion.

“We thank everybody fo the huge amount of support received during these difficult times and ask for respect and privacy of family and friends in this moment of grief.

“The Raiola Family.”

Italian football legend blasts Lukaku, says he will boycott Barcelona games if they sign Chelsea striker

Antonio Cassano has slammed Romelu Lukaku – insisting if he signs for Barcelona he will stop watching the LaLiga side.

Cassano told BoboTV: “I’m in love with Barca’s philosophy, but if they sign Lukaku I won’t watch a game anymore.

“He can’t play three passes with Chelsea where he has no competition, at Barcelona they play 55 passes before going for goal, how could he do it?”

Lukaku has struggled for form this campaign since his £90million move from Inter Milan.

And he was left on the bench, and struggled to make an impact when he came on last time out against Man Utd.

Barcelona plot move to ‘rescue’ star from Chelsea, agent meets club for summer deal

Barcelona have reportedly drawn up Romelu Lukaku plan as ‘everything indicates’ Chelsea exit this summer.

After the Blues re-signed Lukaku for a club-record £100million, things have not gone according to plan, and he could depart for a second time later this year.

Barcelona could attempt to save Romelu Lukaku from his disastrous Chelsea return this summer as Xavi Hernandez eyes more attacking reinforcements at Camp Nou.

According to Marca, via the Express, ‘everything indicates’ that the 28-year-old will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season based on ‘what he is saying’. Lukaku ‘isn’t comfortable at Chelsea’ and has ‘several suitors’, one of which is understood to be Barcelona.

The report claims the La Liga giants have already moved for his services, with Mateu Alemany and Jordi Cruyff meeting his agent Federico Pastorello over a potential transfer. They are thought to view Lukaku as their ‘Plan C’ if moves for Erling Haaland or Robert Lewandowski fail to materialise.

Despite the rumblings, the situation is ‘very complicated’ because Chelsea are yet to pay off £77.1m (€92m) from the blockbuster deal to bring Lukaku back to west London. The Belgium international’s future could depend on the desires of the club’s new owner, with Todd Boehly set to be named Roman Abramovich’s successor.

Lukaku flourished into one of Europe’s most dangerous strikers under Antonio Conte at Inter Milan last season. He registered 30 goals and 11 assists in 44 appearances in all competitions, helping Inter lift their first Serie A title in 11 years.

Official: Man United interim manager Rangnick appointed national team boss

Ralf Rangnick has been officially confirmed as the new manager of the Austria national team – but will continue to work at Manchester United in a consultancy role.

The German has agreed a two-year deal with the Austrian Football Association to lead the national side until the 2024 European Championships.

However, the 62-year-old will combine his new job with a consultancy role at Manchester United, and insists he’s committed to helping the club to rebuild.

A statement from Rangnick reads: “I will take over as national team manager of Austria at the end of the season but will continue my consultancy with Manchester United.

“I’m really looking forward to playing my part in helping United become a real force.”

Todd Boehly wins race to buy Chelsea despite late hijack attempt by Britain’s richest man

A consortium led by LA Dodgers owner Todd Boehly is set to be named the preferred bidder for Chelsea, according to BBC.

The club was put up for sale before owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned for his alleged links to Russian president Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier on Friday, British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe made a £4.25bn offer.

The late offer is understood to have prompted confusion among rival bidders.

Ratcliffe – majority shareholder of chemical group Ineos – pledged to invest £1.75bn into the club over 10 years as part of his submission.

But the offer arrived on Friday morning, weeks beyond the initial deadline for bids of 18 March.

Chelsea and Boehly have not officially commented on his group’s position as preferred bidders.

The American investor and businessman – who has offered around £2.5bn for the club – has a reported net worth of $4.5bn (£3.6bn) according to Forbes.

He is a part owner of the Dodgers – a US baseball franchise – and US women’s basketball outfit the Los Angeles Sparks, while he also owns a stake in the renowned LA Lakers NBA franchise.

His consortium includes Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, American PR executive Barbara Charone, British businessman Jonathan Goldstein and British journalist Daniel Finkelstein.

Other consortiums who have been in the running to buy Chelsea have been headed by Sir Martin Broughton and the co-owner of the Boston Celtics, Stephen Pagliuca.

But Pagliuca was informed on Friday afternoon that his bid to buy the Blues had been unsuccessful.

Chelsea are operating under a special licence from the UK government which ends on 31 May, but on Thursday Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the club were on “borrowed time” to complete the sale.

Britain’s richest man tables last-minute massive bid to buy Chelsea, reveals his dream for Blues

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has tabled a last-minute bid to buy Chelsea, a spokesperson for the Ineos chief has confirmed.

Ratcliffe is understood to have held talks with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck on Thursday and submitted a major offer for the Stamford Bridge club on Friday.

The 69-year-old explored in detail a possible bid for the Blues back in 2019, only to buy French club Nice instead.

Ratcliffe’s previous due diligence on Chelsea will expedite the process of his bid, minimising any delays in the sale process headed up by New York merchant bank the Raine Group.

Todd Boehly, Sir Martin Broughton and Steve Pagliuca were all hoping to hear this week which of their consortium offers to buy the Blues had been selected as the preferred bid, but Ratcliffe’s late entrance adds another heavyweight bid to the battle to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich.

A spokesperson for Ratcliffe confirmed the British business magnate’s offer to buy Chelsea, with the bid understood now to represent the highest for the club.

“We put an offer in this morning,’ Ratcliffe told The Times as cited by the Metro.

“We are the only British bid. Our motives are simply to try and create a very fine club in London. We have no profit motive because we make our money in other ways.”

Chelsea will still hope to have a new owner in place by the end of May, despite any delays that come from Ratcliffe’s late entry into the race for the Stamford Bridge club.

Once the Raine Group selects a preferred bidder, the Government must then grant a new licence to allow the sale to be completed.

Chelsea Player Ratings vs Man United: James, Kante, Alonso, shine as Havertz, fail to live up to expectation

Edouard Mendy

The Senegal international produced a couple of early saves but enjoyed a relatively quiet first half. That continued in the second period until Cristian Ronaldo’s blasted equaliser. The former Real Madrid striker was denied with a fine save later in the half. 6.

Cesar Azpilicueta

A solid outing from the Blues captain who changed positions once again and showed his quality. Showed the anticipation to intercept the ball early when required and brought the consistency that has been his hallmark for the last decade. Unfortunately, he was the figure to play Ronaldo onside for his equaliser. 6.

Thiago Silva

The Brazilian still defies belief, even when against an opponent that shares his age in Cristiano Ronaldo. The 37-year-old rarely looked under pressure as he timed his interceptions perfectly and led the defence. 7.

Antonio Rudiger

Some strong words, speculative shots, and good defending marked Rudiger’s return to the starting XI in a display that showed the standard Chelsea need to find next season in whoever replaces Tuchel’s talisman. Picked up a yellow card late on and perhaps a little too tempted to pick up another but rode the line. 6.

Reece James

The England international was back on the right flank and immediately in the thick of Chelsea’s attacking action. There has been much talk over where James is best suited, with thought given to putting his body under less demand, but there’s no doubting he adds another dimension to the Blues’ attacking play. Hit the post in the latter stages, but there is no doubt Chelsea need him at wing-back. 8

N’Golo Kante

While the Frenchman has endured some sub-par form of late, he started his night at Old Trafford in a busy fashion, buzzing around the pitch to keep the ball moving in Chelsea’s possession. The midfielder played a penetrating pass to Kai Havertz in the 25th minute and looked to have set him up once again moments later but his teammate could not provide the finish. A better performance from the World Cup winner, but had some fault in Manchester United’s goal. 7.

Jorginho

A steady performance from the Italian who showed some good flashes in attacking moments but was less convincing in his defensive efforts. 6.

Marcos Alonso

The Spaniard started his night with a very tidy touch with the outside of his boot towards Kai Havertz and in the second half surpassed it following a poor header from his teammate. Alonso produced another good strike from a foray into the box to give Chelsea the lead as the hour passed. Showed once again what he can add despite his critics. 7.

Mason Mount

It was a quieter evening for one of Chelsea’s premier attacking talents but Mount’s movement was still able to generate plenty of space for James. Perhaps slightly fortunate not to be substituted when Tuchel freshened up his options. The former Derby loanee perhaps produced the touch of the match when his Cryuff-style lay-off found James, however. 6.

Kai Havertz

The 22-year-old will be disappointed that he didn’t do better in the opening period as Kante slipped him through twice, and only once effort tested David De Gea, much to Tuchel’s dismay. A rare failure with his head followed in the 36th minute as the former Bayer Leverkusen ace continued to find chances. 5.

Timo Werner

The German forward was in inspired form during his warm-up, repeatedly hitting the back of the net during his warm-up drills. The 26-year-old couldn’t quite replicate it during the match but it was another solid outing from the German. 6.

Substitutes:

Romelu Lukaku: Limited impact from the Belgium international following his introduction. 5.

Christian Pulisic: The USA star had little impact on the game but Mount seemed to perk up after he got on the pitch. 5.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek: Not much time for the midfielder to make an impact. 5.

Photo Credit: ChelseaFC/Twitter

Benzema reveals rationale behind his ‘Panenka’ penalty, warns Man City ahead of Bernabeu clash

Karim Benzema has explained that his remarkable ‘Panenka’ penalty to keep Real Madrid alive in their Champions League semi-final tie against Manchester City was all down to “mental confidence”.

With Real Madrid trailing 4-2 at the Etihad, Benzema stepped up to the spot after Aymeric Laporte conceded a penalty for handball late on and duly chipped Ederson with a dinked kick down the middle of the goal.

The striker said he did not doubt that he would beat Ederson. “I always have it in my head that if you don’t take a penalty, you will never miss a penalty,” the 34-year-old said.

“That’s mental confidence and that’s all. I have a lot of confidence in myself… so I do it and it turns out well.”

Benzema’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti, revealed that he had to change his penalty run-up following his two misses against Osasuna, with the striker showing “strong personality” to execute the technique in a Champions League semi-final.

“I think he changed because the last two penalties were not good,” Ancelotti. “He tried in training, I didn’t know how he would shoot. He chose this [Panenka] and he did really well, showing strong personality and character.”

Benzema has warned Manchester City that Real Madrid “will do something special” in next week’s second leg at the Bernabeu as the Spanish side look to pull off another Champions League comeback.

“A defeat is never good,” Benzema told Movistar.

“The most important thing is we never gave up until the end. Now we have to go to the Bernabeu. We’ll need the fans like never before. We’ll do something magical, which is to win.”

Mino Raiola family, staff deny super agent’s death, hospital says he’s ‘still fighting’

Mino Raiola’s family and his press office have denied the reports that the super agent passed away earlier today.

Associated Press journalist Daniella Matar was reportedly told by his agency that “they’re fake rumours. He’s not dead.” The San Raffaele Hospital has also not confirmed the reports, despite the media reports.

“I am outraged by the calls of pseudo-journalists who are speculating on the life of a man who is fighting,” he told ANSA.

According to the report, Raiola is in extremely serious condition in hospital.

Media reports seem convinced that Mino Raiola sadly passed away earlier today, but Alberto Zangrillo, director of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, insists the Italian super-agent is ‘still fighting.’

Multiple reports from Italy initially broke the news today that the 54-year-old super agent passed away in San Raffaele Hospital in Milan following a long illness.

Last month rumours suggested that Raiola was in serious condition at the hospital but things soon went quiet, with no reports following the initial murmurings.

Victor Osimhen’s agent meets Napoli over Man United, Arsenal move, club shop for replacement

Victor Osimhen’s agent met Aurelio De Laurentiis and Cristiano Giuntoli earlier this week to discuss the striker’s possible move to Manchester United or Arsenal, according to Il Corriere dello Sport newspaper.

Osimhen may leave the Stadio Maradona in the summer with Napoli looking for an offer above €100m. That’s as much as Newcastle United offered in January, but the Partenopei decided against selling the Nigeria international in the middle of the season.

According to Il Corriere dello Sport newspaper, Osimhen dreams of moving to the Premier League, where Arsenal and Manchester United are his favourite destinations. His agent Roberto Calenda is in talks with both clubs and has informed De Laurentiis and Giuntoli about the Gunners’ and the Red Devils’ interests.

Il Corriere reports that Manchester United are leading the race to sign Osimhen, but La Gazzetta dello Sport reported last week that the 23-year-old wants to play Champions League football next season.

Napoli have already identified several possible replacements for Osimhen: Gianluca Scamacca and Giacomo Raspadori(Sassuolo), Luis Sinisterra, a versatile winger under contract with Feyenoord who can also play as a centre forward, and Giovanni Simeone (Verona).