Real Madrid ready for chaos in Champions League final, says Zidane

• Madrid manager says pressure brings best from his team
• ‘We have had chaos before and we will have tomorrow, for sure’ As his Real Madrid side arrived in Kiev to face Liverpool in the Champions League final, Zinedine Zidane admitted that he is ready for chaos and insisted that if there was pressure, they would be all the better for it. “Today and tomorrow will never happen again; we will live other experiences, but never this, so we have to make the most of it,” the Frenchman said. “And if there’s a bit of pressure, no problem. It’s life, it’s better like that – a bit of emotion. We’re humans and humans are pure emotion. With pressure it’s even nicer.” Continue reading...

Mohamed Salah can become modern great like Messi and Ronaldo, says Klopp

• Liverpool manager says forward can become a modern great
• Sergio Ramos says Messi and Ronaldo are ‘in another orbit’ Jürgen Klopp has said Mohamed Salah can follow Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as a modern great but that the forward’s only ambition must be sealing a phenomenal campaign for Liverpool with a starring role in the Champions League final. Salah has scored 44 goals in his debut season as a Liverpool player, three short of the all-time club record set by Ian Rush in 1984. The Egypt international has one more chance to catch Rush against Real Madrid in Kiev on Saturday when Liverpool aim to win the European Cup for a sixth time. Continue reading...

Liverpool to refund cup final tickets for fans with cancelled flights

Club will reimburse 650 people who cannot make Champions League match in Kiev Liverpool have offered full refunds on tickets for the upcoming Champions League final in Ukraine to 650 fans whose flights have been cancelled, but ticket-holders called the travel problems an “absolute joke”. Two flights to Kiev were cancelled by the tour operator Worldchoice Sports on Thursday after Boryspil airport could not allocate landing slots for the planes due to leave the UK on Friday and Saturday. Continue reading...

The Fiver | Occasions like these are not to be missed

Sign up now! Sign up now! Need to re-subscribe because of this GDPR business? Sign up now! It has been a financial, logistical and physical nightmare but The Fiver has finally completed its journey and all that remains is to fritter away 24 hours or so before kick-off in Saturday’s Big Cup final. The overland trek was gruelling, there have been outrageous bribes, costly misunderstandings and a particularly heated argument over the state of our accommodation, not to mention of our personal hygiene, but all that matters is that when the players of Liverpool and Real Madrid stride out on to the pitch in Kiev’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium, The Fiver will be roaring them on from our favourite stool at The Lengthy Barf. Occasions like these are not to be missed! And where else would we be? Continue reading...

Arsenal in talks with defender Stephan Lichtsteiner over free transfer

• Unai Emery targets 34-year-old Switzerland captain
• Lichtsteiner departing Juventus as a free agent this summerArsenal are in talks to sign Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free when his contract at Juventus expires this summer, with the right-back among Unai Emery’s targets. The 34-year-old, who is expected to captain Switzerland at the World Cup in Russia, could become the Arsenal head coach’s first signing. Related: Chelsea sound out Maurizio Sarri over replacing Antonio Conte Continue reading...

Bouncebackability: a word coined for the play-offs that fits them perfectly

The best preparation a team can have for a play-off final is the experience of losing one the year before By Richard Foster, author of The Agony and the Ecstasy Iain Dowie coined the word bouncebackability in the 2003-04 season when describing how his Crystal Palace team had gone from the fringes of relegation in December to winning promotion through the play-offs in May. Not many managers have been responsible for adding words to the English lexicon but Dowie shared the honour with Sir Alex Ferguson in 2005 when both “squeaky bum time” and “bouncebackability” entered the Oxford English Dictionary. It is fitting that Dowie came up with the word while discussing a side promoted in the play-offs, as bouncebackability has been remarkably common in so many sides who have won promotion in these showpiece finals. Of the 10 beaten finalists who have returned to the same fixture the Continue reading "Bouncebackability: a word coined for the play-offs that fits them perfectly"

Jack Ross appointed Sunderland manager on two-year deal

• 41-year-old joins club after guiding St Mirren to promotion
• ‘To help realise [club’s] potential fills me with excitement’Jack Ross has been appointed Sunderland’s new manager on a two-year deal. The 41-year-old who guided St Mirren to promotion was named the PFA Scotland manager of the year last season and will be joined at the Stadium of Light by assistant manager James Fowler. Related: Sunderland women face uncertain future after divorce process | Louise Taylor Continue reading...

World Cup stunning moments: Gordon Banks is stricken

England’s goalkeeper was laid low by food poisoning before their quarter-final – during a World Cup that saw little go right It was Friday 12 June. The previous day England, without playing at all well, had beaten Czechoslovakia 1-0 to secure second place in Group C and qualification for the quarter-finals. All four ties were to be played on the Sunday, giving the team a couple of days off. Alf Ramsey decided that there was enough slack in his schedule to allow a little downtime. Not far from the Hilton, where England’s team was based, was the Guadalajara Country Club, a swanky golf course with tennis courts, swimming pools and swanky bar attached that apparently charged £1,500 a year – the equivalent of £19,000 today – for membership. Many English football figures, including Joe Mercer, Don Revie and a few players’ wives, had based themselves there for the tournament and Continue reading "World Cup stunning moments: Gordon Banks is stricken"

Chelsea sound out Maurizio Sarri over replacing Antonio Conte

  • Sarri leaving Napoli after guiding club to second in Serie A
  • Chelsea hierarchy continue to weigh up Conte’s future
Chelsea will meet with Maurizio Sarri’s representatives on Friday, with the former Napoli coach a candidate for the manager’s job should they sack Antonio Conte, who is widely expected to exit the club this summer. The Stamford Bridge side continue to weigh up the future of Conte, the Italian who warned Chelsea they would be losing a “serial winner” if they decided to replace him after winning the FA Cup at Wembley last weekend. Continue reading...

Liverpool fans brave transport misery for ‘chance of a lifetime’ final

Businesses capitalising on Liverpool’s Champions League match with Real Madrid in Ukrainian capital Kiev When Anna and Ronnie Ellis each parted with £450 for a seat on an “executive” coach from Liverpool to Kiev, they were expecting a few little luxuries for the 30-hour journey to the Champions League football final. Plug sockets, a toilet, maybe even a TV. Somewhere to store their bags that wasn’t their own laps would have been nice. But the minibus that pulled up outside the Arkle pub in Anfield on Thursday was a little more … rustic. Let’s just say the jerry can a fellow passenger had brought with him from work “for emergencies” was likely to be in high demand on the 2,750km-journey to the Ukrainian capital. Given the number of pints sunk in the pub beforehand, it may well have been full by the time the bus trundled on to the M62. Continue reading "Liverpool fans brave transport misery for ‘chance of a lifetime’ final"

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino: shy, strong-willed – and a complete striker

Brazilian’s influence and end product will be crucial to Jürgen Klopp’s attempt to win this year’s Champions League final What distinguished Roberto Firmino in the eyes of Hemerson Maria were not two overhead kicks the 17-year-old scored against his Figueirense team, although they convinced the coach to sanction the teenager’s transfer from Clube de Regatas Brasil (CRB) on first sight. It was a conversation they shared several months later when he found Firmino alone, almost 2,000 miles from home and refusing to go back to Maceió.
“We had played a state league game, under-17s, and afterwards there was a recess, I think one week or more without any activities,” he recalls. “All my players travelled to be with their family, except Firmino. I remember that he was alone in Florianopolis. His parents had stayed living in Maceió. The last time Firmino had seen them was seven months earlier but he Continue reading "Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino: shy, strong-willed – and a complete striker"

Ryan Sessegnon’s washday feat shows news cycle is spinning out of control | Jacob Steinberg

This is where we all are at the moment, gushing at news that Fulham’s teenage wing-back can use a household appliance To south-west London, where startling news emerged when Fulham’s Supporters Trust held its AGM on Tuesday. An awed hush fell over the room as Alistair Mackintosh, the club’s CEO, told an anecdote that left everyone wiping away the tears. On one occasion this season, Mackintosh revealed, Ryan Sessegnon had a doping test after a night game and by the time he was done everyone had gone, the kit man included. So Sessegnon took his kit home, washed it and ironed it before bringing it in the next day.
The story ended there, leaving us to speculate whether Fulham saw fit to frame the hallowed kit in the boardroom at Craven Cottage or offered to donate it to the British Museum, but it wasn’t long before people on social media Continue reading "Ryan Sessegnon’s washday feat shows news cycle is spinning out of control | Jacob Steinberg"

Ryan Sessegnon’s washday feat shows news cycle is spinning out of control | Jacob Steinberg

This is where we all are at the moment, gushing at news that Fulham’s teenage wing-back can use a household appliance To south-west London, where startling news emerged when Fulham’s Supporters Trust held its AGM on Tuesday. An awed hush fell over the room as Alistair Mackintosh, the club’s CEO, told an anecdote that left everyone wiping away the tears. On one occasion this season, Mackintosh revealed, Ryan Sessegnon had a doping test after a night game and by the time he was done everyone had gone, the kit man included. So Sessegnon took his kit home, washed it and ironed it before bringing it in the next day.
The story ended there, leaving us to speculate whether Fulham saw fit to frame the hallowed kit in the boardroom at Craven Cottage or offered to donate it to the British Museum, but it wasn’t long before people on social media Continue reading "Ryan Sessegnon’s washday feat shows news cycle is spinning out of control | Jacob Steinberg"

Football transfer rumours: Tottenham to sign Wilfried Zaha?

Today’s fluff is just gathering pace Mauricio Pochettino sat down beside himself, draped his right arm across his shoulders and looked smilingly into the camera as Spurs staged another shoot to mark the signing of a big new contract. Then the manager ordered the club to get down to more business. And so, Spurs are preparing lucrative offers for Kayla the Eagle, the Crystals cheerleading ensemble and a bust of Roy Hodgson, all in an effort to make Wilfried Zaha feel at home at the new White Hart Lane. Then all Spurs will have to do is convince Crystal Palace to sell their prize asset, so we could be about to find out whether Daniel Levy likes being hardballed. The Spurs chairman is already wincing in anticipation, with £100m having been mentioned as a possible fee for Zaha. Related: Liverpool to step up pursuit of Lyon’s £70m-rated Nabil Fekir Continue Continue reading "Football transfer rumours: Tottenham to sign Wilfried Zaha?"

Touts using football resale sites rip off fans and put them at risk

Guardian investigation finds vast numbers of tickets being sold on again despite it being illegal Football tickets are being touted on resale websites in vast numbers, a Guardian investigation has found, prompting warnings that fans are being ripped off and their safety put at risk. Undercover filming has revealed how websites including Viagogo and Ticketbis exploit alliances with professional touts to bypass laws drawn up to improve fan safety, and prevent touting, following the Hillsborough disaster. Continue reading...

Touts using football resale sites rip off fans and put them at risk

Guardian investigation finds vast numbers of tickets being sold on again despite it being illegal Football tickets are being touted on resale websites in vast numbers, a Guardian investigation has found, prompting warnings that fans are being ripped off and their safety put at risk. Undercover filming has revealed how websites including Viagogo and Ticketbis exploit alliances with professional touts to bypass laws drawn up to improve fan safety, and prevent touting, following the Hillsborough disaster. Continue reading...

Fifteen A-League expansion bids confirmed on deadline day

  • Applications to be examined before short-list named in June
  • Two news teams to join competition in 2019-20
Fifteen bidders are officially in the race for two spots in an expanded A-League after aspirants submitted a formal expression of interest in time for Thursday’s deadline, leaving Football Federation Australia’s hired help Deloitte with the task of examining applicants before a short-list is named next month. Related: A-League: Brisbane Strikers withdraw expansion bid amid financial concerns Continue reading...

Why Sadio Mané bought 300 Liverpool shirts for his village in Senegal

The forward has bought 300 shirts for his native village of Bambali, where he watched the 2005 Champions League final. ‘Do not be 3-0 down’ is the instruction from home Three hundred Liverpool shirts have been sent to the small Senegalese village of Bambali in the buildup to the Champions League final, donated by Sadio Mané, its most famous son. On Saturday he aims to deliver on a promise to spare his childhood friend the despair and disbelief that accompanied Liverpool’s triumph in Istanbul. The gift set will be complete when he brings a European Cup winner’s medal back home. Related: Real Betis manager Quique Setién: how to beat Real Madrid Continue reading...