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Football News: Review Of The Day 2nd March 2018

Review Of The Day 2nd March 2018
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Review of the Day


New Watford Deal For Capoue

French international midfielder Etienne Capoue has signed a new contract with Watford. The Hornets signed the 29 year old from Spurs in 2015 and he became a mainstay of the side until the start of this season saw him out of favour under Marco Silva. Javi Gracia has restored him to the starting line up and he was rewarded with a new contract which runs until 2022.


Mertens Hidden Charitable Side Revealed

Napoli's deadly Belgian striker Dries Mertens has become one of the most feared strikers on the pitch, but off it he is much more welcoming as a recent report revealed. Mertens hands out food to Naples' homeless community. Corriere della Sera has told of how he bought job lots of pizzas via two friends, to avoid being recognised, then hiding his face behind dark glasses and a cap, handed out the pizzas to the homeless around the streets.


Season Over For Neymar

PSG's faint hopes of Champions League glory look totally dead now as Neymar looks set to spend 3 months on the sidelines following surgery on his broken metatarsal. Brazil's team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said: "Neymar suffered a fracture to the fifth metatarsal, it is an important fracture in a foot bone. The operation will be in Belo Horizonte on Saturday morning, and the recovery takes from two and a half months to three months. Neymar is sad, but understands that he has no alternative now. He will devote himself to being well as soon as possible. We will do our best to get him ready as soon as possible." Neymar should, conveniently, be back just in time for the World Cup.


Palace Given Injury Boost

With injuries threatening to derail Crystal Palace's attempts to escape relegation, manager Roy Hodgson will be delighted to have the return of two players from injury. Especially as on-loan Timothy Fosu-Mensah will also be unavailable at the weekend to face his parent club Man Utd. Defender Martin Kelly has recovered from a hamstring strain, so he will be able to fill the gap left by Fosu-Mensah, while utility man Jeffery Schlupp will give him increased options after his return from a knee injury. "I said last time that Jeffrey Schlupp and Martin Kelly were close to returning to full training, I think they had done one session with us before the Spurs game but they have trained all week now," Hodgson told a news conference on Thursday. Hodgson also confirmed that the much-missed Wilfried Zaha is closing in on fitness.


McGrath Wants Lukaku To Bully Defenders More

Legendary Irish defender Paul McGrath has asked for more from one of his former club's strikers. The former Manchester United defender has criticised Romelu Lukaku for not using his physicality more. McGrath told the Irish Independent: "He needs to be a bully on the pitch. He is so strong physically and I would like to see him brushing defenders aside a bit more, using the physical attributes he has at his disposal. He should be impossible to defend against, but he can disappear from games at times and that is not what you expect from a top striker. The trouble for me is that he doesn't get involved in the physical side of the game enough and if I was defending against him, I'd fancy my chances of knocking him out of his stride early in a game. It seems to me at times that if things don't go his way at the start of a match, he doesn't have the fighting spirit to bounce back and that would be a concern for me. Strikers need to take knocks and come back with goals and I want to see more of that from Lukaku against the top teams. Everyone talks about his poor record against top quality sides and that must be in his mind when he goes into those big games now, so hopefully he can banish that in the final few weeks of this season."


Karanka Gets A Good Surprise With Hobbs Return

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka has been pleased that Jack Hobbs has defied predictions by returning to training early. The 29 year old defender had been expected to miss the rest of the season due to a long standing back problem. "It is very positive news; it is very good news," said Karanka. "He is an experienced player and a very good player. He has been desperate to train and he looks like a kid every time he trains. It is good for me, to have this kind of player ready to get to work on the training ground. He can transmit his power and ambition to the rest of the players and having him back working with the rest of the team is good for him, good for me, good for the team and good for everyone. When I came here, I thought that we would be without him for the rest of the season," continued Karanka. "So this has been a really good surprise. His next step will be to play with the under-23 team, because he needs to play games."


Forest Get New Record Kit Deal

Nottingham Forest are set to change kit manufacturers to Macron for next season, as they agreed a club record deal with the Italian sportswear manufacturer to supply official training and playing kit. A club statement said: "As well as the significant financial benefit to the club, the long-term partnership with Macron will see a fully bespoke range of playing kits and training wear created. This is the first time Forest fans will benefit from a technical kit partner, supplying such a tailored range of apparel."


Brizzle Delighted To Extend Flint Contract

Brstol City defender Aden Flint has been linked with a move to a number of other clubs this season, but the 28 year old has signed a new contract with the Robins. He is now contracted to 2020 with the club having the option to extend the deal by a further year. Head coach Lee Johnson told the official club website: "Aden has been in terrific form this season and this new contract is a reward for his performances and efforts for the team."


Coyle Quits Staggies

Owen Coyle has quit as manager of Ross County, a job he only took at the end of September. The 51 year old has struggled in recent years after taking Burnley up to the Premier League through the play offs in 2008/9. He leaves County sat on the bottom of the SPFL table.


Chapecoense Survivor Gets New Contract

Just three players survived the plane crash that saw Chapecoense decimated as they travelled to Colombia for the Copa Sudamericana final in 2016. One of those three has now been awarded a new contract after returning to the team in August 2017. Chapecoense's director of football Rui Costa has said there was no charity involved as Alan Ruschel got his new deal which runs until 2020.


Infantino At Game When 35 Iranian Women Were Detained For Trying To Attend

An Iranian football match between two Tehran teams, Esteqlal and Persepolis, saw 35 women 'transferred to a proper place' by police after they attempted to attend. The match was attended by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Iran's Sport Minister Masoud Soltanifar. A live broadcast was taken off air after a journalist conducting a live TV interview asked Soltanifar when women would be allowed to attend football matches with Infantino stood right next to him. Ironically Infantino was in Iran to castigate Saudi Arabia whose teams refuse to play in Iran, so forcing Iranian teams to play home matches in Iran and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani had asked FIFA to make sure that "people are not deprived of watching competitions in their own stadiums". Obviously Rouhani does not count women as people!


Bakambu Finally Completes China Move

Beijing Guoan's signing of Democratic Republic of Congo striker Cedric Bakambu has finally been completed. The 26 year old had left Spanish side Villareal in January after Beijing triggered his release clause, but the completion of the deal was held up by a wrangle over the 100% tax on signings applied by the Chinese FA to try and curb extravagant spending. The Chinese Super League club had argued that the taxation rule would not apply as the player was technically a free agent, but their attempt failed. However they were able to get a 20% reduction in the amount to be paid, so reducing the final figure to around $90m from what would have been $100m, making Bakambu the most expensive African player in history.


Wednesday's Losses Increase

Sheffield Wednesday's huge wage bill and bloated squad are the main reasons behind the loss as chairman Dejphon Chansiri backed then-manager Carlos Carvalhal heavily in the transfer market to try and reach the Premier League. Despite a £1.4m increase in turnover due to increased attendances, the losses rose to £20.7m from £9.6m the previous accounting year. Wages increased by almost £9m alone leaving Wednesday now in serious danger of falling foul of EFL's 'Profitability and Sustainability' (FFP) regulations.


West Ham Protests Called Off

West Ham United supporters group have called off a planned protest march against co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold after holding talks with vice-chairman Karren Brady. "RWHFAG [Real West Ham Fans Action Group] was set up in November to galvanise the board into recognising that the REAL West Ham had died in the move from Upton Park to the Olympic Stadium, that the promises made to keep the spirit alive had not been met and that with no evidence of meeting those promises despite the efforts of various supporter groups over time something had to be done differently," a statement said. "The threat of the march has indeed brought Karren Brady to several meetings and David Sullivan to one and the agreement to work with the RWHFAG on finally delivering in a meaningful way on the groups aims." Strange that they listened to someone who they constantly complain about for breaking promises, when they make more promises. However, more importantly, the £20,000 raised for the march will now be donated to a worthwhile cause, to help a 3 year old Hammers fan's battle against cancer.


Strachan Accuses Sky Of Turning Up The Volume On Boos

Live on Sky Sports Gordon Strachan has accused them of turning up the booing at Arsenal in an attempt to make it louder than it is inside the stadium. After last night's game between Arsenal and Manchester City saw City stroll to victory over a demoralised Gunners side, boos were heard loudly on the footage shown around the world from Sky TV, despite the stadium being nearly empty and commentators on the live TV feed even saying that they doubted there would be enough people left to make a proper noise. "The games they play on television they'll be turning the booing up just a wee bit to make it (louder)," Strachan said.


58 Jailed In Greek Match-Fixing Scandal

Jail sentences varying between 30 months and 10 years have been handed out to 58 people for involvement in the 2011 match-fixing scandal in Greek football. Some sentences were suspended, while others can be avoided by the simple expedient of paying 5 Euros per day for the duration of the prison term. Current Brisbane Roar defender Avraam Papadopoulos was amongst those sentenced, receiving a suspended 30 month sentence for illegal betting on matches while playing for Olympiakos. Kostas Mendrinos, also a former Olympiakos player but at Apollon Smyrnis now, was sentenced similarly for the same offence. A former Ilioupoli player, Michalis Nikolopoulos, was sentenced to 4 years in jail for illegal betting and two different instances of bribery. His sentence will also be suspended, so long as he appears every month at the local police station and is under the supervision of a social welfare officer. The former president of Olympiakos Volos, and current mayor of the city of Volos, has received a 4 year sentence for bribery, manipulating results in 2 matches and illegal betting. Asteras Tripolis owner Dimitris Bakos and the same club's president, Giorgos Borovilos, as well as former Levadiakos president Giannis Kombatis, were all given suspended jail sentences. After being involved in 4 attempts to rig match results, former Ilioupoli president Giorgos Tsakogiannis was given the longest jail term of 10 years and 10 months for illegal gambling, illegal betting, bribery, money laundering, attempted extortion and the possession of illegal weapons.


Whitecaps Make Space For Mutch

Vancouver Whitecaps traded away midfielder Tony Tchani to the Chicago Fire on Wednesday in order to be able to sign Crystal Palace midfielder Jordan Mutch on a 12 month loan deal. The 26 year old has struggled to establish himself with the London team after joining them from Cardiff City and this will be his 4th loan away from them in 4 seasons.


Dyche Says There Was No Everton Bullet To Dodge

With Burnley set to play Everton questions have been asked of Sean Dyche, who was a favourite at the bookies to replace Ronald Koeman before Sam Allardyce got the job. A journalist asked Dyche, who is set to manage his 250th match in charge of Burnley, whether he felt he had dodged a bullet by not getting the Toffees' job. Dyche said: "There was no bullet to dodge. I was here, I said I was going to be here, and I'm still here. It was an outside story. I've had a few of them, in the right way actually, since I've been here. This is my 250th game. I'm still here, I'm still working hard, and I still have the fire in my stomach to be successful here and to continue to create an atmosphere and a culture and environment that can be successful. That is my focus."


Raiola Says 100m Mario Will Return To Italy Or England

According to his agent Mino Raiola, Nice striker Mario Balotelli is worth 100m Euros and will leave France when his contract ends this summer. The 27 year old has scored 21 goals in 29 games this season after undergoing something of a renaissance with the Ligue 1 club. "Mario is ready to come back to Italy. He is one of the 10 best strikers in the world, and the number one in Italy," he told RAI. "He is worth €100m but he is a free agent so he is a bargain. I'm already negotiating with many teams in England and Italy. I talked with Juventus, Roma, Napoli, Inter. AC Milan? No, because there is [sporting director Massimiliano] Mirabelli and I can't talk with him, I'm not at his level."


Milinkovic-Savic Draws Zidane Comparisons

Agent Mateja Kezman joins Raiola in talking up one of his clients by comparing Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Zidane. "When Sergej came to Italy, he was compared with Pogba, because at that moment it was probably the easiest comparison to make in terms of characteristics," Kezman told Mozzart Sport. "I do really respect Pogba, let's be clear, and other linkers who can run and work for the team, but I think now Sergej has different and better quality than Pogba. Over the last six months, he has made enormous progress at Lazio. If he retains his health, he can become the most complete player on the planet. He has remarkable attributes and you'll not find another player in the world with that power, muscular structure and height combined with technique and tactical awareness. He has the touch of a Brazilian and some of the things he does remind me of Zinedine Zidane. Milinkovic-Savic is the most effective midfielder in Europe right now, as he can score goals in a variety of ways and has a good head on his shoulders. I've played with Arjen Robben, Frank Lampard and some of the best in Europe and I think Sergej can surpass them if he keeps this up. He could soon be a candidate for the Ballon d'Or."


Ibrahimovic Not Ruling Himself Out Of International Return

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has opened the door to a Sweden call up for the World Cup, if he can get his fitness back in time. "We'll see, it's a tough question. I want to feel that I can perform and give back. I don't want to come just because I'm somebody. The door isn't closed for anything," he said. "I miss the national team. When you've played in the national team for 20 years and then you're not in it anymore, and you see the others playing in the national team, it's tough. It's tough in general, when you think that I'm injured and not playing. I want to play, with the club team, with the national team, it's the same thing. They (the Swedish national team) have done a good job," he added.


Lower League Journeyman Retires And Admits To Being Crap

Former Doncaster Rovers, Sunderland, Hull City, Norwich City, Preston North End, Blackburn Rovers and Bury striker Chris Brown has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 33. "Since I left Bury last year I haven't been doing much really," Brown told podcast Undr The Cosh. "I think I knew. "Some people say 'it`s come three years too late'. The Blackburn fans especially! I think you just know. I`ve been crap basically. Injuries have taken its toll and I think I`m just looking forward to moving forward now."


Mansfield Confirm Flitcroft

After Steve Evans jumped ship to join Peterborough United, Mansfield Town looked to Swindon Town manager David Flitcroft to take charge. They have now confirmed the appointment of both Flitcroft and his assistant Ben Futcher, after agreeing compensation with Swindon. Unlike Posh, who did not bother as Evans quit the day before joining them, obviously Evans resignation was entirely unconnected though!


Argentina To Get Big Fee If Messi Faces Israel

The Argentina Football Association (AFA) is set to receive a fee of US$3million when they face Israel in their final friendly ahead of the 2018 World Cup. However the fee is provisional, with the condition that Barcelona star Lionel Messi plays at least 60 minutes of the match.


Messi Sets Yet Another La Liga Record

Despite Barca being held to a draw by a controversial penalty away at Las Palmas, Lionel Messi has a reason to celebrate, as he added yet another record to his trophy cabinet. His goal from a free kick was his first ever scored at the Estadio Gran Canaria, which made it 36 different stadiums he had scored La Liga goals at, a new record.


Raiola Says Donnarumma Should Leave Milan

Teenage goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has been advised by his agent, Mino Raiola, to leave AC Milan. "Gigio made a choice and that was to stay at Milan. I respect that. If he told me he wanted to leave though I'd start working immediately, because there are important offers," Raiola said in an interview with Italian broadcaster Rai. "In fact, if it were up to me, Gigio should leave Milan." Raiola has a difficult relationship with Milan's sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli, which has increased speculation that Donnarumma would move on.


Serie A TV Rights To Be More Evenly Distributed

Italy's Minister for Sport Luca Lotti has signed a new law regarding TV rights in Serie A, which will distribute funds more evenly between the top and bottom clubs in the league. "From next season, the quota to be divided in equal parts is raised from 40 per cent to 50 per cent and the remaining sum will be assigned based on clear criteria that can be accurately measured," wrote Lotti. "It is a reform that represents an epoch-changing point for football in our country, not just because it gives importance to the number of points earned per season, which means there will no longer be futile fixtures at the end of the season. It will also allow us to close the historic gap that has been created between the leaders of the pack and the so-called small clubs, bringing Serie A closer to the style of the Premier League or Bundesliga. It is expected that thanks to this modification, the so-called 'first to last' split will be reduced from the current 4:1 to a more equitable 3:1. To explain in a few simple words, we'll have a more balanced and therefore interesting League."


Aubameyang Admits Arsenal Only Real Offer

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has admitted that he joined Arsenal because there were no other real offers made for him. "It was the next step for me, it's a big club," Aubameyang told Sky Sports on his switch to north London. "For me it's a bit bigger than Dortmund, and this was a good step for me and my career. I didn't want to go, for example, to China, because I want to do a lot of things here in Europe before I think about China or America. Arsenal were the only club who made an offer, a real offer, and I'm really happy, because it's a good club."

Written by Tris Burke March 02 2018 06:45:09