Spain midfielder Jonathan Viera heads to China

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Madrid (AFP) – La Liga strugglers Las Palmas on Monday confirmed that Spanish international attacking midfielder Jonathan Viera is leaving the club to join Beijing Guoan in the Chinese Super League. Las Palmas did not reveal the transfer fee for the 28-year-old Gran Canaria native, although club president Miguel Angel Ramirez admitted that they could not match the money on offer in China. “On signing his contract they are offering him seven million euros ($8.6m) net, and what we can’t do is ruin the life of one of our own,” Ramirez said in a press conference. Spanish press reports suggested the deal could be worth upwards of 20 million euros to Las Palmas, while the Spanish side revealed they would receive 30 percent of any future transfer of Viera as well as potential bonuses. However, Las Palmas, who are currently fighting against relegation from La Liga, also revealed that Continue reading "Spain midfielder Jonathan Viera heads to China"

Five Serie A things you may have missed

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Milan (AFP) – Napoli matched Juventus with a 1-0 win over SPAL on Sunday to regain top spot in Italy from the champions who won the Turin derby by the same score. The two Serie A pacesetters both bounced back from European setbacks to claim their ninth consecutive league wins. Here are five talking points from the weekend’s Serie A action: Diabate keeps Benevento alive New Malian signing Cheick Diabate kept Benevento’s faint Serie A survivial hopes alive with a last-gasp goal in a 3-2 win over Crotone. “If we lost today then it would be impossible to recover and believe in survival,” said coach Roberto De Zerbi. The promoted side from outside Naples are 11 points short of safety, having acquired just ten. “The ranking shows our limits but pride and dignity must never be lacking. Mathematically we can still get the points we need.” Gattuso tells Cutrone Continue reading "Five Serie A things you may have missed"

Tayfun Korkut the unlikely architect of Stuttgart’s revival | Andy Brassell

Less than a month after what seemed a deeply underwhelming appointment, it has begun to seem a brighter future is possible The fabled ‘new manager bounce’ is one thing. Stuttgart winning away, though? That’s something else entirely and after a first victory on the road since winning promotion back to the top flight, Tayfun Korkut is earning the right to be taken seriously. As the final whistle went on Sunday’s victory at overachieving Augsburg, there was a genuine sense of achievement. Stuttgart’s players celebrated not so much, it seemed, for getting one over near neighbours in Swabia but for the sensation that maybe a corner really has been turned. It has long been received wisdom that only maintaining their strong home form would keep Stuttgart up. That’s a fair theory on which to base a campaign for survival but giving up hope of ever getting anything from away games was Continue reading "Tayfun Korkut the unlikely architect of Stuttgart’s revival | Andy Brassell"

Real beat Betis in 8 goal thriller

Real Madrid’s talismanic striker Ronaldo had been having a pretty untalismanic season at the La Liga last year.But 2018 has been quite different. After that exhilarating 3 -1 win over PSG in the Champion’s League Real Madrid continued their rise in form by beating Real Betis in a classic comeback 8 goal thriller. Madrid were […]

Is VAR ready for Premier League rollout?

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> London (AFP) – VAR technology is back in the spotlight after Manchester United’s Juan Mata was controversially denied a goal in a confusing incident that raises questions over whether it is ready for a Premier League rollout. The video assistant referee system has been trialled in hundreds of matches around the world to review key moments linked to goals, penalty decisions, red-card incidents and cases of mistaken identity. Football’s governing body FIFA will decide next month whether to officially endorse the VAR system, a move that could see the controversial technology used at the World Cup.  The Premier League is lagging behind the Bundesliga and Serie A, which are testing the technology this season but Saturday’s incident, which saw a Mata goal cancelled out after a lengthy delay, was just the latest in a series of contentious moments involving VAR in England. AFP Sports looks at the key issues
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James Rodriguez – Bayern Munich’s ‘godsend’

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Berlin (AFP) – Unloved at Real Madrid, yet declared a “godsend” by Bayern Munich, James Rodriguez has rebooted his stuttering career in Bavaria and is set to shine again in the Champions League. In his preferred attacking midfield role, Rodriguez is set to face Besiktas on Tuesday in the first leg of the last-16 tie at Munich’s Allianz Arena.  In Germany, the Colombia international has rediscovered the form which saw him light up the 2014 World Cup and finish as the competition’s top scorer. Working alongside veteran head coach Jupp Heynckes has rejuvenated the 26-year-old after three challenging seasons at Real, where he fell out of favour under Zinedine Zidane. Real paid Monaco 75 million euros ($93 million) in the wake of his dazzling displays in Brazil four years ago, but the Spanish giants shipped him out to Bayern on a two-year loan deal last June. It is a
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“Over to you Lukaku” – United man has as many goals as rival strikers combined

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 13.26.27During the summer transfer window, there was plenty of talk surrounding the three new strikers who had joined the Premier League. Alvaro Morata signed for Chelsea, Alexandre Lacazette signed for Arsenal and Romelu Lukaku signed for Manchester United. Arsenal’s opening game of the season was on a Friday night against Leicester and Lacazette scored after two minutes. The following day, Chelsea lost their first match of the season 3-2 at home to Burnley, but Morata got on the scoresheet. Social media was filled with plenty of comments about the United striker, with the pressure on him to score. Journalists and rival fans claimed that Morata was the more intelligent player, while Arsenal fans hailed Lacazette’s skilful feet in contrast to Lukaku’s apparently poor first touch. After 52 minutes of Lukaku’s Premier League debut (forgetting that he had already scored his first United goal against Real Madrid in the Super Cup Continue reading "“Over to you Lukaku” – United man has as many goals as rival strikers combined"