Gerard Pique claims he’s a successful player because of his time at Manchester United

Pique Manchester United

Barcelona star Gerard Pique has credited Manchester United for his successful career as a football player. The centre-back moved to United as a 17-year-old back in 2004 before returning to Barcelona four years later.

Pique, who made only 23 appearances for United, accepted that he couldn’t play as much as he would have wanted under Sir Alex Ferguson at United, he learned a lot there and became the player he is today because of the Premier League club. He won the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and the League Cup during his four-year stay in England.

“When I left my friends there to spend four years at Manchester United it was tough. At the same time that was a great experience for me. I grew up a lot there. I am who I am because of the period I had at Manchester United, even though I didn’t play as much as I wanted to,” Pique told the Observer.

“But in my position, there were two centre-backs who were among the top three in the world at the time [Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic]. But being at home, and having the career I have had at home, has been a great pleasure and I am very proud of it.”

The 32-year-old also opened up on whether he has decided about retirement yet.

“Right now my thoughts are that every year has to be my last year. I want to dedicate as much as I can to football. I want to end my career in the best way possible. I don’t know if it will be one more year, two more years, five more years. But I am happy at Barcelona,” he said.

Reports: Cristiano Ronaldo wants reunion with Real Madrid star but Zinedine Zidane not ready to sell

Reports: Cristiano Ronaldo wants Juventus to beat Real Madrid to the signing of Premier League superstar

Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t had the best of times at Juventus by his standards. The Portuguese talisman has 34 goals in 57 encounters for the Serie A giants but reportedly believes that he can better these numbers if the club could sign his former Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema.

If reports from Don Balon are to be believed, Ronaldo is of the opinion that the Frenchman read his game perfectly, which saw the duo make quite a few goals for Los Blancos. And though Benzema’s game has gone up a notch after the Portuguese’s departure from Santiago Bernabeu, Ronaldo’s form has taken a dip.

As a result, the 34-year-old wants Juventus to make a move for the Real Madrid star. However, Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is fond of his compatriot and considers him one of the most important players in his team, which could make Juventus’s job to please their star player all the more difficult.

“His numbers speak for themselves. Those that like football know he’s a quality player. He’s important for the team, for attacking… he does it very well. The only thing that’s changed since Cristiano Ronaldo [left for Juventus] is that Karim is more mature. He’s a father and well… many things have happened lately which are reflected on the pitch.

“I’m very happy for Karim. It’s true that he’s overtaken a legend of this club like Alfredo di Stefano [by scoring his 50th European Cup goal]. He’s now like Cristiano Ronaldo in the history of this club. He’s doing something amazing and we simply have to enjoy it and make the most of it,” Zidane was quoted as saying by Marca.

Reports: Arsenal to rival Manchester City for £43m-rated star La Liga defender

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery

Arsenal have had a rather disappointing start to the 2019/20 season and despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s heroics, they are languishing on the sixth spot in the English Premier League table. The prime reason behind their dismal start to the season has been shabby defending and they are looking to add reinforcements to that department in the January transfer window.

If reports from The Sun are to be believed, they are set to enter the market for their second centre-back signing in six months. They also signed David Luiz from Chelsea in the summer but he has failed to step up and has hardly been an improvement on the North London side’s defence from last year.

Arsenal have identified Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres as a potential January window signing. However, the 22-year-old will not come in cheap as he has a release clause worth £43 million, which the Gunners might struggle to pay up front.

The report claims that Manchester City are also interested in the Spain international, who are themselves short at the back after having lost Aymeric Laporte to a long-term injury. Pep Guardiola’s side, who are fourth in the Premier League table, will have to battle it out with Arsenal for the Villarreal defender’s signing, however.

Thiago Silva slams Lionel Messi, claims Barcelona star needs education

messi silva

Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva has slammed Lionel Messi for his gesture towards Selecao head coach Tite. The Argentine superstar told the Brazilian tactician to ‘shut up’ during the two sides’ international friendly in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Messi’s goal from the rebound after his penalty was saved by Brazil shot-stopper Alisson was the difference between the two sides. It was during the encounter that the Barcelona star gestured towards Tite, asking him to ‘shut his mouth’.

“I complained because he [Messi] should have been shown a yellow card and he told me to shut my mouth and I told him to shut his mouth,” Tite said after the match.

“And that was it. I don’t want to answer anymore on it. You need a strong referee because he’ll swallow you… It should have been a card, I was right to complain,” he added.

After the match, Silva slammed Messi for his gesture, saying that ‘education comes first’ despite the rivalry between the two sides.

“He wanted to run the game, wanted to blow the whistle. He gave two balls to the ball and the referee did nothing. He argued with the referee and the referee kept laughing. Admiration has to be set aside,” Silva said.

“It’s hard, because we talk so much about education and one of the most admired guys in football say… I’m not going to tell an old man, because he’ll be mad at me, but have a coach shut up. As much as you have rivalry, education must come first.”

Reports: Real Madrid convinced star player will join Manchester United, Paul Pogba could be added in the deal

Manchester United star Paul Pogba reveals final verdict on his future amid strong Real Madrid links

Real Madrid are reportedly convinced that their star player Gareth Bale is set for a move to Manchester United in the January transfer window or in the summer window next year. Los Blancos have been targetting United star Paul Pogba for quite some time now and he could be made a part of the deal which would see Bale move back to England.

According to reports in The Sun, Madrid are convinced that Bale to United is almost a done deal. However, they are trying to get the Premier League giants to add Pogba in a potential player plus cash deal. Whether or not United will let one of their star players leave remains to be seen.

Recently Bale had admitted that he is more excited to play for Wales than for Real Madrid, which only fuelled rumours of his exit.

“To an extent. I’ve been with most of the older players since we were in Under-17s. It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday. It’s normal. With Wales, I’m speaking my own language and feel more comfortable.

“I definitely have more excitement playing for Wales. But it doesn’t change what I do on the pitch. I always give 100 per cent on the pitch wherever I am, that’s what I always strive to do.”

Arsenal star’s agent confirms his client is unhappy as rumours of Serie A move gain pace

On-loan Arsenal star slams manager Unai Emery for poor tactics that stalled his progress at the club

Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira’s agent Raffaele Bentancur has confirmed reports that the Uruguayan is unhappy at the North London club as rumours of a return to Italy gain pace. Torreira joined Arsenal ahead of the last season but has failed to settle down at the club despite playing 65 matches for them.

Moreover, the 23-year-old has been deployed further up the pitch by Arsenal manager Unai Emery which has left the defensive mid unhappy. Reports had emerged that he is looking for a move back to Italy with AC Milan showing interest in him. Torreira joined the North London side in a deal believed to be worth €29 million from Serie A side Sampdoria.

While in conversation with Radio Marte, the midfielder’s agent claimed that though he is happy overall, the change in role has not made him happy. He was quick to add that he believes Arsenal want to keep him but anything is possible in football.

“Anything is possible in football,” his agent told Radio Marte. “Torreira is happy at Arsenal, although the change in role has not made him happy. It must be said that this year the whole team is not doing well. But I believe Arsenal wants to keep him.”

Reports: Manchester City target Bayern Munich star as Leroy Sane replacement

Manchester City's Leroy Sane

Manchester City winger Leroy Sane was rumoured to be very close to a move to Bayern Munich in the summer transfer window. However, the move failed to materialise and the German international stayed put. And even though Sane is out of action because of an ACL injury, City believe that he would leave the club come the next summer transfer window.

According to reports by Sky Sports, Pep Guardiola and co. have identified Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman as a potential replacement for the outgoing forward. The French international played under the Spanish tactician during his time in Bundesliga and believes Coman could be the perfect replacement for Sane.

The 23-year-old moved to the Bavarian giants in 2015 on a loan deal before the move was made permanent in 2017. He has since gone on to make 139 appearances for Bayern Munich and has scored 28 goals and provided 33 assists in them. Sane is expected to occupy Coman’s place if he ends up moving back to Germany and City believe that could work in their favour.

While a January move is out of the question as both the clubs continue competing on all fronts, a deal could be struck next summer if everything falls into place.

Reports: Zlatan Ibrahimovic lays out demands amid Manchester United & Serie A rumours

Reports: Serie A club to rival Manchester United for Zlatan Ibrahimovic signing

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s two-season long spell with Major League Soccer giants Los Angeles Galaxy came to an end recently and reports claim that the Swedish great is set for a return to Europe. Multiple sources have linked Ibrahimovic with a return to Manchester United and Serie A and it seems the striker has laid down his demands in front of the interested clubs as well.

According to La Repubblica (via Football-Italia), Ibrahimovic has demanded €1 million per month for the next six months to shift bases to Italy. The report adds that as many as five clubs are interested in getting the former Manchester United star on-board – AC Milan, Bologna, Roma, Napoli and Fiorentina.

However, his high wage demands might play spoilsport and the interested clubs are reportedly trying to bring his demands down to €4 million for six months. With the January transfer window still more than a month away, more updates on this saga can be expected in the near future.

“He is a wonderful player, but I don’t know what his next step will be – perhaps he’ll finish his career in Naples or with Milan. I don’t know where he will go but he deserves and wants to finish his career in Italy,” LA Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto had said after Zlatan’s departure from MLS.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus teammate reveals Portugal superstar’s FIFA World Cup claim

Cristiano Ronaldo’s current teammate at Juventus, and previously at Real Madrid, Danilo has revealed the Portuguese superstar’s claim about winning the FIFA World Cup. The Brazilian full-back moved to Juventus in the summer transfer window this season after a two-year spell at Manchester City.

Danilo, while talking about his teammate Ronaldo, said that it was nice to reunite with him at Juventus after having played two seasons with him at Real Madrid. The 28-year-old moved to Manchester City in 2017, before moving to Italy earlier this year.

He then went on to add that the Portuguese superstar has claimed that Brazil would’ve won another five World Cups if he was playing for them. The Selecao have five World Cups to their name but their last one was won back in 2002 – at that time Ronaldo was just promoted to the first team at Sporting Lisbon.

“I knew him from our time at Real Madrid and it was nice to be back with him at Juve,” said the full-back while in conversation with DAZN Brazil (via Football-Italia).

“Along with his great quality, Ronaldo has this attention for detail that really explains the results he has achieved. He even told me that, if he had played for Brazil, we would’ve won another five World Cups already.”

Roger Federer reveals reason behind ATP Finals semifinal defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas

Roger Federer has revealed the reason behind his ATP Finals semifinal defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. The Greek tennis star got the better of Federer 6-3, 6-4 after the Swiss legend squandered as many as 11 break-points and made 26 unforced errors.

The 38-year-old claimed that the break-points were only part of the reason behind his defeat as he ‘had some good spells’. He highlighted how he missed two smashes in a single game and got broken as well, all of which resulted in the loss altogether.

“No doubt I had my chances. The break points were part of it. I had some good spells, but the spells where things were not working well, they were pretty bad.

“Getting broken and missing two smashes in one game – that hasn’t happened in a long, long time or ever, so that was tough. At this level, you just can’t have it happen, so that was pretty disappointing,” Federer said after the defeat.

When quizzed if he will return for the 2020 edition of the tournament, he said, “I’ve got to keep on playing at the level like I have this year and then I will create some chances. [I have] Got to take care of my body, listen to the signs, work well with the team and get the balance right with everything that’s happening in my life.”

Barcelona sporting director confirms Lionel Messi in contract talks with the club

Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has confirmed that the club are in talks with Lionel Messi over a new contract. The Argentine talisman’s future at the club had been put in doubt with multiple reports that he might move on to the Major League Soccer once his contract with the La Liga giants runs down.

However, Abidal has put those rumours to bed by revealing that the two parties are already in discussions. He went on to add that an update on the same will be given soon and that he is positive about the situation. Messi’s current contract with the club runs down in 2021.

“They are already talking,” Abidal told Mundo Deportivo. “I do not know if we will have news soon because the decision will depend on the player, but for us as a club I hope it is sorted as soon as possible.”

“It will be known when it is known, but I am positive.”

The former Barcelona defender added that talks with youngster Ansu Fati are underway as well.

“We are also talking to him,” he added. “He is a young player that we have to protect. We have to talk to his family and representatives.”

Real Madrid star threatens to play for another country, claims he’d end international career on his own terms

Benzema

Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has demanded the French Football Federation that he should be allowed to play for Algeria. The striker’s comments come after French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet suggested that Benzema’s time with the French national team was over.

“Karim Benzema is a very good player, I have never doubted his qualities,” Le Graet said as reported by Marca. “On the contrary, he shows Real Madrid that he is one of the best players around. But his adventure with the French National team is over.”

Benzema hit back through a Twitter post where he demanded to be allowed to play for Algeria. He last played for France in 2015.

“Noel, I thought you weren’t interfering with the coach’s decisions!” he wrote. “I want you to know that I and I alone would end my international career. If you think I’m finished, let me play for one of the countries that I’m eligible for and we’ll see.”

 

UAE coach blames absence of VAR for Vietnam FIFA World Cup Qualifiers defeat

The United Arab Emirates head coach Bert van Marwijk has blamed the absence of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for their defeat against Vietnam in a Group G 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers encounter at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi. The Golden Dragons won the match 1-0 after Khalifa al Hammadi was sent off seconds before half-time.

The Dutch tactician, however, was positive about his team’s chances of moving into the next round of World Cup Qualifiers. UAE are currently third in Group G with two wins and as many defeats. Vietnam and Thailand are first and second with 10 and seven points respectively.

Malaysia and Indonesia are the other two sides in the group and every team has four matches in hand. UAE’s next WCQ encounter is against Malaysia on 26th March next year.

“There are still many matches to play and we are determined to play them offensively to earn as much points as possible. There are still points to earn in the coming rounds. We will fight to keep our chances of qualifying,” Van Marwijk said as reported by The National.

“The result of the match wasn’t good for us, but in football we have to always accept the result and work for the future. The red card changed the direction of the match. We performed well and created several chances to score, but we didn’t have the final touch. We forced the opponent to take a step back on the pitch and they relied on the counter-attack.

“We know the result is disappointing, but we have to always look on the positive side, which is the excellent performance of the players. We played almost 60 minutes with 10 men against a stubborn opponent, but I praise my players.

“I don’t want to talk about the referee. I don’t really know what exactly happened, but I saw the video at half-time and Khalifa didn’t push the Vietnamese player – they just crashed into each other and fell down together. But unfortunately VAR isn’t there in this stage of qualification,” he added.

Reports: Chelsea to rival Barcelona for Neymar’s signature by offering highly-rated star in swap deal

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar has been the subject of interest from both Barcelona and Real Madrid for some time now. Both the La Liga giants were in the market for the Brazilian’s signature in the summer transfer window but despite multiple attempts, they failed to sign him. And now they seem to have a new competitor in the market for his signature.

According to reports in Don Balon, Chelsea are preparing a bid to convince Paris Saint-Germain into selling the 27-year-old in the next summer transfer window. The Premier League giants signed Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund this year to replace Eden Hazard, who moved to Madrid in the summer and are now interested in getting Neymar on board.

Their transfer ban is set to be lifted by the summer transfer window next year and that is when they will reportedly make their move for the Brazilian. However, with the French giants asking around €200 million for the former Barcelona star, the Blues are ready to offer one of their star players in Callum Hudson-Odoi to PSG to sweeten the deal.

Even though the Premier League giants are hopeful that the ban will be lifted before the January window opens, it looks highly unlikely that such a big move will be completed in the winter window.