West Ham owner breaks silence on Arsenal, Chelsea target Declan Rice future after winning Europa Conference League

June 8th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

West Ham owner David Sullivan has confirmed Declan Rice has played his last game for the club.

The Hammers captain led his side to European glory after winning the Europa Conference League on Wednesday.

But the final could end up being Rice’s last dance for West Ham after Sullivan confirmed he wants to leave.

He told talkSPORT: “I think it has to be [his last game].

“We promised him he could go. He set his heart on going.

“You can’t ask for a man who has committed more to us this season.

“In due course, he has to get on and we have to get a replacement – or several replacements.

“It’s not something we want to happen. We offered him £200,000-a-week 18 months ago. He turned it down.

“It’s cost him £10million to stay at West Ham in that time (in lost wages). And he wants to go.

“You can’t keep a player who doesn’t want to be there.”

Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Rice and the Gunners are reportedly the midfielder’s preferred destination.

Rice, 24, will likely be allowed to leave the London Stadium if a Champions League club comes in and matches the Hammers’ £100million asking price.

Arsenal fans are eager for their club to complete a deal for the England international, who is also believed to be wanted by Manchester United and Chelsea.

Photo Credit: WestHam/Twitter

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Chelsea star under fire over Moscow party with former team-mate “facing trial for smuggling £65m of cocaine”

June 8th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech was seen at a party in Moscow over the weekend with former Ajax team-mate Quincy Promes, who was recently charged with allegedly smuggling £65million worth of cocaine into the Netherlands.

According to The Guardian, Ziyech jetted out to the Russian capital to attend a party organised by betting company Winline, despite the country’s ongoing war with Ukraine.

The Chelsea winger, who looks set to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, posed alongside Promes at the event in a photo shared on his old colleague’s Instagram story.

It comes just one week after Dutch prosecutors announced that Promes has been charged over allegedly smuggling 1,370 kilograms of cocaine into the country.

The 31-year-old is said to have helped import two cocaine batches of around 650kg and 713kg, both of which were intercepted in Antwerp in January 2020, as reported by the Dutch newspaper NOS.

The forward, who has spent the last two years in Russia with Spartak Moscow, is also facing a charge of aggravated assault after he was accused of injuring a cousin in the knee with a knife.

As a result, Ziyech’s appearance at the event with his former team-mate amid his impending charges has sparked controversy on social media.

A number of Ukraine fans have also taken to Twitter to blast the Morocco international for heading to Russia despite the country’s invasion of their country last year.

Ziyech and Promes played together for one season at Ajax before the former sealed a move to Chelsea in the summer of 2020.

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Italy football legend tells Inter Milan how to defeat Manchester City to claim UCL trophy

June 7th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Legendary coach Arrigo Sacchi analysed the upcoming Champions League final between Inter and Manchester City, explaining how Simone Inzaghi’s side can find glory in Istanbul.

The two sides will face off at the Ataturk Stadium on June 10, a match that could change the fortunes of either club.

Inter last lifted the trophy in 2010 and a win would confirm their rise back to the elite of European football, whilst Manchester City are fighting to win the competition for the first time, hungry for revenge after losing the final to Chelsea in 2021.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, via Football Italia, Sacchi was first asked how Inter could stop Manchester City star Erling Haaland, who has scored 52 goals in 52 games this season.

“It would take a shotgun… Joking aside, you have to take into account the fact that City play with two wingers and a centre forward, and De Bruyne who often comes close to them, while Inter have a five-man defence, consisting of two wing backs and three centre-backs.

“This means that the Nerazzurri will often be outnumbered in the middle of the pitch.”

He explained why the Milanese club would be outnumbered when dealing with Manchester City’s attack.

“It’s simple. The two wing-backs will take care of Guardiola’s two wingers, while Haaland alone will have three central defenders.

“This means that, if one of the three doesn’t shorten on De Bruyne or on the mezzala who cuts in, City will have one or two more men in the middle of the pitch where they can do the usual possession-ball.

“In practice, with the 5-3-2, because Simone Inzaghi’s defence is five and not three, you lose elements when building or pressing high.”

The former coach touched on how Inter could look to solve this problem.

“Not a simple matter. When my Milan faced Napoli with Maradona and Careca I was worried about not letting these two stars get the ball and so I asked for an organised pressing on the ball carrier.

“Inter, however, do little pressing. I think they will set up a game based on defensive attention and quick counter attacks.”

Sacchi commented on how Inter could find victory in Istanbul.

“There is no winning formation to beat the opponent. You simply have to have strong motivation, a high team spirit and a game that enhances the qualities of the collective and the individual.

“Inter, who do counter-attacks very well, must focus on this weapon and must frighten the English with these accelerations, so that they also get a bit scared and are not free to play as they want.”

Finally, Sacchi discussed how Inter need to approach the match and take the challenge to Manchester City.

“If Inter were able to organise a well-crafted pressing, Guardiola’s wingers and centre forward wouldn’t get so many chances. If, on the other hand, you leave possession to City, then Haaland will receive a lot of chances and that’s very unforgiving.

“A lot of work would have to be done with ‘building’ in midfield and defence. Haaland is very good at attacking spaces. This season, Guardiola’s team has returned to moving without the ball as the manual of total football teaches.

“Staying for 90 minutes at the back against these phenomena can be risky because sooner or later they always find a way to score.”

“I don’t have anything agreed with anyone”: Lionel Messi denies arranging Inter Miami reunion with two ex-Barcelona stars

June 7th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Lionel Messi has denied reports that he has arranged move to bring Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba to Inter Miami in the United States.

The 35-year-old has decided to join Inter Miami, meaning that Barcelona have missed out on re-signing the Argentine.

There have been several reports over the last few weeks that Messi’s future has been intertwined with former teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, who are both leaving Barcelona this summer.

However, Messi confirmed that he did not made a pact with neither Busquets nor Alba regarding his next move, as per Sport.

“It’s another of the things they said, that I was going with Busi and Jordi to Saudi Arabia, that we had everything arranged. I was obviously aware of them, what they were going to do, but we never agreed to go anywhere together.

“I made my decision for myself and I don’t know what they’re going to do. I don’t have anything agreed with anyone.”

Despite Messi’s admission, it appears that there could be a Barcelona reunion in Florida, with Inter Miami interested in signing Busquets and Alba, as well as Luis Suarez, who currently plays for Gremio.

“I plan to go back”: Chelsea star set to return despite Stamford Bridge exit speculation

June 6th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Christian Pulisic plans to return to Chelsea despite speculation that his days at Stamford Bridge are over.

Pulisic became the most expensive American soccer player when he signed with the Premier League side in 2019 for £55m but a recent lack of playing time prompted frustration.

“As of right now, I’m a Chelsea player and I plan to go back, but a lot of things can happen. A lot of things can change,” said the 24-year-old, who has rejoined the US national team ahead of their CONCACAF Nations League title defence.

The lack of minutes on the pitch became a source of concern in the lead-up to last year’s World Cup, with the American eager to get game time to prepare for the tournament, where he helped the United States reach the last 16.

“It’s been an interesting journey at club level for me,” he told reporters. “I had a great couple of years and the last couple of years just haven’t gone at all how I planned them to be.”

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Napoli hotshot Victor Osimhen responds to interest from Chelsea, Man United, Real Madrid, others, says he’s ‘incredibly humbled’

June 5th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Victor Osimhen has revealed the decision to leave Napoli or stay at the club is not entirely up to him amid the battle among Europe’s top clubs to acquire his services.

The Nigerian’s scoring prowess has attracted interest from the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, with the price-tag set at well over €100m.

This development has raised doubts over whether Osimhen will remain at Napoli next season and he acknowledged this when speaking to DAZN ahead of the Scudetto celebration.

Osimhen said: “I don’t know, the President has to decide that. I love the people of Napoli, they have shown me so much love. For me, I don’t mind, the President decides and I will just go with the flow.”

He however feels ‘incredibly humbled’ to combine the Scudetto with Capocannoniere crown for Napoli and become the first African ever to top the Serie A scorers’ charts. ‘This is one of the happiest moments of my life.’

Osimhen lifted the trophy to the sky after last night’s final game of the Serie A season at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

He also received the awards as Serie A Striker of the Season and the Capocannoniere title as the league’s top scorer with 26 goals.

“This is one of the happiest moments of my Life, We are the SCUDETTO CHAMPIONS!!” wrote Osimhen on Twitter.

“This achievement fills me with pride and joy, and we couldn’t have done it without the unwavering support of our coaches, and the incredible Napoli fans. This victory belongs to all of us!

“The journey to this huge victory hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but it’s the ups and downs that have shaped us into the champions we are today! We turned every moment of adversity, setbacks, and tough defeats to more motivation, hunger and determination to keep fighting hard. The fans lifted us up, kept encouraging us, and reminding us of the greatness we were capable of achieving.

“Not only that, I emerged as the best striker of the Serie A 2022-2023 season, which makes me the first African player ever to win the golden boot in the league history and first player to combine this achievement with the Scudetto since 2009.

“This gives me so much joy and I am incredibly humbled to have achieved these. To my fans worldwide, I see you all! The support, the motivations and the love, I am super grateful. You all have always honoured me and I am proud to be a Nigerian. Thank You For The Unforgettable Journey.”

Osimhen found the back of the net 31 times in just 35 competitive games this season between Serie A, the Champions League and Coppa Italia.

Jurgen Klopp plots move for out-of-favour Barcelona star for Liverpool

June 5th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Liverpool are set to make a bid for out-of-favour Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie after a difficult first year at the Nou Camp.

The 26-year-old signed for the Catalan club in July 2022, but struggled to cement himself as a regular face in Xavi’first XI as they stormed their way to the LaLiga title.

Cash-strapped Barca are looking to balance their books before the end of June, and the sale of Kessie is one of the possible options to help bring in much-needed money.

Liverpool, who are set to sign Alexis Mac Allister this week, are to test the waters with a bid soon, say Sport.

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(Watch emotional farewell video) Zlatan Ibrahimovic retires from football

June 5th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has retired from football with immediate effect.

It was an emotional evening at San Siro, where Milan ended the season with a 3-1 win over Hellas Verona in the last game of the season.

Ibrahimovic was injured, so he was not involved in the game. However, he was given a hero’s farewell by the San Siro crowd, club directors and his teammates after the final whistle.

The 41-year-old was moved to tears even before kick-off, but emotions continued after the match when Ibra was awarded by Paolo Maldini.

He gave a speech, struggling to fight back the tears and, somehow surprisingly, announced his retirement from football. Many fans in the stands and some of his teammates, including Sandro Tonali, broke down in tears.

He said in speech to the fans: “So many memories and emotions inside this stadium.

The first time I arrived you gave me happiness, the second time, you gave me love. I want to thank my family and those close to me for their patience. I want to thank my second family. The players, the coach and his staff for the responsibility they gave me. I want to thank the directors for the opportunity they gave me.

“Last but not least, from my heart, I want to thank you, fans. You welcomed me with open arms and I will be a Milanista my entire life. It’s time to say goodbye to football, but not to you. It’s too difficult, there are too many emotions. I’ll see you around if you are lucky. Forza Milan and goodbye.”

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N’Golo Kante on verge of Chelsea exit, star’s agents meet club officials in London

June 5th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kane is on the verge of a move to Saudi Pro League side Al Ittihad, reports claim.

According to Italian journalist Rudy Galetti, representatives will travel to London this week to speak to the Frenchman’s entourage.

The Tigers are confident that an agreement will be made quickly, with Kante’s Chelsea contract set to expire at the end of this month.

Kante joined Chelsea in a £30million transfer from Leicester in 2016 and has since made 269 appearances for the west London club.

However, he was limited to just nine outings this season due to a severe hamstring injury.

Chelsea had hoped to keep Kante on board by offering him a two-year contract extension, but the 32-year-old now looks set to leave Stamford Bridge on a permanent basis.

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Chelsea pull out of Manuel Ugarte move after PSG hijack, turn attention to other options

June 5th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea have pulled out of the race for Sporting Lisbon star Manuel Ugarte after Paris Saint-Germain made a bigger offer to the midfielder, according to reports.

Sky Italia reports that the player was open to Chelsea move — but PSG offered more and Chelsea are not willing to pay well above what they consider Ugarte’s “market rate”.

The Record claims that PSG made a huge increase to Ugarte’s salary, going from initial €5m to €10m.

This did not go down well with Chelsea who informed all parties they were jettisoning the deal as a result of PSG’s latest move.

Chelsea had booked the medicals for the player with the hope to wrap up the deal.

The west London club expected Ugarte to fulfill his promise to join Chelsea after he had already given his words to the Blues.

With these latest dvelopments, Paris Saint-Germain are now working to close in on the midfielder’s deal at the beginning of next week

Chelsea are now reportedly turning their attention to Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo.

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