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Premier League football news, photos, rumours, gossip, WAGs, transfers

‘I’m One Of The Greatest Minds In Football’ – Sol Campbell Voices Frustration After Missing Out On Oxford United Job:

February 22nd, 2018

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It’s nothing short of a mystery, but football clubs the length and breadth of the English pyramid seem to keep passing up on the opportunity to appoint Sol Campbell as their manager.

The former England defender, 43, recently applied for the vacant Oxford United job but it looks like the League One club are about to give the role to the similarly green Craig Bellamy.

As quoted by the Oxford Mail, this was Campbell’s typically humble response to his U’s rejection:

I did go (for the job) and they didn’t accept me. Maybe it was a lack of experience things like that, blah blah blah – but it’s a full circle.

Experience? How do I get experience when I need a job to get experience?

I don’t want to go too low that it’s a struggle and I don’t want to go too low that I’m under someone and thinking ‘what am I doing here?’

I would rather be managing a club myself.

I’m confident and it’s not like it’s rocket science to run a football club especially when you get to that level.

If you’re intelligent enough and a quick learner you will learn pretty soon within two or three games what the team needs training wise to survive in that league, to get better, to get in the play-offs or even win the league.

And then it came: the precise reason nobody is willing to touch Sol Campbell with a ten-foot barge pole:

I’m intelligent enough, it’s not like I played on a fox and dog pitch all my life.

I can’t believe some people, I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m wasted because of a lack of experience or maybe he talks his mind too much.

First of all, we’ve never once heard the expression “fox and dog pitch” used before and secondly, what a berk.

Has anybody ever held themselves in higher regard than our Sol? One of the greatest minds in football? Puh-lease.

Were you a chairman/owner, would you let a man this deluded, this blissfully ignorant of his own disconnected weirdness anywhere near your football club?



Vivid: Liverpool’s New Away And Third Kits For 2018/19 Are Every Shade Of Neon Pink And Purple (Leaked Previews):

February 22nd, 2018

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If the latest batch of leaked snippets are to be believed, Liverpool are going to look like a bunch of dandy Bobby Dazzlers when they take to the road next season.

According to Footy Headlines, the following images reveal the Reds’ new home kit for 2018/19 will be… well, red – “Viper Red” to be specific, the exact same hue as the current strip being worn this year…

While the finer point of the design are unknown, it would appear that the fundamentals won’t be altering much – other than the removal of the 125th anniversary crest, for obvious reasons.

The away and third strips? Well that’s a different story entirely.

Indeed, the leaked previews show that New Balance are cooking up a neon onslaught for the accompanying away and third outfield kits, with “Deep Violet” and “Grey Violet” providing the base palette (along with ‘toxic sludge green’ and ‘Molly Ringwald pink’ trim respectively)…

Images: Footy Headlines

The goalkeeper kits are no less garish, with retina-bothering “Vivid Cactus” and “Pink Glow” offerings for the away and third strips…

Images: Footy Headlines

Cripes.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to drop acid in the highlighter section at Rymans, then wonder no longer.



Under-20 Copa Libertadores: Independiente Player Uproots Corner Flag To Defend Himself Against Angry River Plate Mob (Video):

February 22nd, 2018

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Image: Fox Sports

Independiente Del Valle of Ecuador booked themselves a place in the final of the Under-20 Copa Libertadores with a 3-2 win over Club Atletico River Plate (of Uruguay) in the semi-finals on Wednesday night.

As well as the flood of goals, the match was also notable for an incident that saw one of Independiente’s players, Angelo Preciado, going rogue with a corner flag in order to protect himself from the entire River team, who appeared to all be baying for his blood for reasons unknown…

Of course, it wasn’t long before the obligatory Star Wars-themed remix hit social media, complete with lightsabres, laser tracers and dramatic incidental music…

Dear South American football, don’t ever change.



Queen Of The South Plunged Into Goalkeeper Injury Crisis After Back-Up Sam Henderson Clobbered By Runaway Cow:

February 22nd, 2018

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Queen of the South have been plunged into a goalkeeping injury crisis after seeing their reserve stopper succumb to a farmyard calamity.

Indeed, the Queens may well be unable to include a substitute ‘keeper on their bench for Saturday’s Scottish Championship match against Dunfermline after back-up Sam Henderson was clouted by a rampaging cow at the weekend.

Henderson, 19, was on the bench for Queens’ last match against Morton while Jack Leighfield, also 19, deputised for first-choice Alan Martin, who is currently sidelined.

However, the club have since reported that Henderson is now a major doubt for the Dunfermline game after he injured a shoulder when he was buffeted by a marauding moo at his father’s farm.

Speaking to the official Queen of the South website, assistant manager Dougie Anderson said:

Sam has missed training this week. It could have been worse as the cow ran at him for a second time but he managed to get out of the way.

He has a sore shoulder so he is getting closely monitored and a lot of treatment as we do not want to go into the game without a goalkeeper on the bench.

Imagine ringing in sick to work with that one.

“Err boss… you’re never going to believe this but…”



Champions League: David De Dea Produces Stunning Reflex Save As Man Utd And Sevilla Churn Out Goalless Draw (Photos & Video):

February 21st, 2018

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Manchester United were left owing yet another debt of gratitude to their brilliant goalkeeper after squeezing a laboured goalless draw out of the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Sevilla.

With the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in fine voice, the match ebbed and flowed without either team really seizing the initiative in what was essentially rather dull fare.

Paul Pogba started on the bench for United after being struck down by illness on Monday, but the groggy French midfielder was introduced much earlier than planned when Ander Herrera limped off with just 16 minutes gone.

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Not that Pogba’s premature introduction made much in the way of tangible impact on a night where Jose Mourinho’s side, obviously under instruction to keep things conservative away from home, mustered just one solitary effort on target.

Indeed, it was David De Gea who provided the sole memorable moment of the match, pulling off one of his signature reflex saves to swat away Luis Muriel’s close-range header in first-half stoppage time…

De Gea’s importance to United really cannot be understated. The Spaniard has made more saves than any first-choice ‘keeper in the Premier League this season, which is remarkable when you twig that he plays for the team sitting in second place.

Imagine just how dreary United’s season might look without the uber-reliable De Gea and his immense contribution to keeping their results respectable.

Back in Andalusia, Romelu Lukaku did force a shot over the Sevilla line in the 83rd minute, but only after blatantly catching the ball in the build-up.

That was about it from United’s attack, despite Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial all getting a run out.

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We suppose the positive to take away is that United successfully kept another clean sheet in Europe – their fourth in seven outings this campaign.

Indeed, only Barcelona have amassed more shut-outs in all competitions across Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues so far this season.

And so, both United and Sevilla will now reconvene at Old Trafford for the second leg next month with a clean slate to work from.

Surely – surely – you’d fancy United to get the job done on home soil?



Adidas Create Individual Football Kits For Marvel Superheroes Iron Man, Spiderman And The Hulk (Photos):

February 21st, 2018

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Photos: @OFOBALLES/Twitter (via Footy Headlines)

For no other reason than they bloody well feel like it, Adidas have collaborated with Marvel to create a small batch of superhero-themed football kits.

The Adidas Marvel soccer collection is due to be released this summer, with the first offering being a personalised jersey for Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron Man…

Next up is Bruce Banner, a mild-mannered full-back with a right bloody temper on him…

And last but by no means least is impact sub Peter Parker, a sticky character who is always a threat in front of the net…

Each of the Marvel strips will be available for a mere £50 once the collection hits the Adidas store in a few months’ time.

The bad news? They’re only going to be available in kids’ sizes.

If you’re now hankering to quench your nerd thirst, it may be time to hit eBay in desperate search of one of those Star Wars retro shirts Adidas brought out a few years ago instead.



Retro Football: River Plate Send The Great Enzo Francescoli Off Into Retirement With Emotional Testimonial, 1999 (Video):

February 21st, 2018

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Enzo Francescoli is unquestionably one of the most refined players to have ever graced a football pitch, and yet his name is rarely mentioned in relevant discussions.

This may be because El Principe (‘The Prince’) did his finest work at River Plate and for the Uruguayan national side, far away from European eyes, in an era when cross-continental coverage was nowhere near as immediate and accessible as it is today.

Francescoli did make the move to Europe in the mid-1980s, first with Racing Paris and Marseille in France and then Cagliari and Torino in Italy, but it’s probably fair to say that he never *quite* made it to the apex on this side of the Atlantic (though he did win a league title with L’OM in 1989/90).

Indeed, it was his two, three-year stints at River (1983-86 and 1994-97, thus book-ending his mid-career adventures in Ligue 1 and Serie A) where Francescoli attained an air of true godliness.

This was apparent when, 18 months after his final competitive match for Los Millonarios, the Uruguyan maestro, aged 37, was invited back to El Monumental for one last stand: a farewell exhibition match against the team he supported as a boy, Penarol, in front of 65,000 adoring fans.

The presidents of both Argentina and Uruguay were in the crowd as Francescoli emerged out into the deafening drone amid a cascade of ticker tape.

The match was kicked off by 72-year-old Walter Gomez, a fellow Uruguayan striker who won three league titles with River during the early 1950s.

Francescoli’s team featured a raft of big names in Roberto Ayala, Pablo Aimar and Marcelo Salas (with wee Javier Saviola on the bench), pitted against a Penarol team led by Pablo Bengoechea and Walter ‘The Rifle’ Pandiani.

The full live match broadcast is available to watch here should you have an entire afternoon you wish to surrender.

River Plate won the match 4-0, not that it really counted for much. The only thing that mattered was that the fans of both clubs were able to thank El Principe for his efforts over the years, with celebrations continuing on the Monumental pitch long after the final whistle.

Perhaps Francescoli’s most enduring legacy will be the effect he had on a young Zinedine Zidane during the latter’s formative years.

When I saw Francescoli play, he was the player I wanted to be. He was fantastic, his moves were marvellous and he was the player that I saw and admired at Olympique de Marseille, my idol when I played against him when I was at Juventus.

Enzo is like a god.

Zizou then went on to name his first-born child after his footballing idol. That’s quite a tribute in anybody’s book.

Watching Francescoli is an almost hypnotic pleasure, like a fine mist drifting effortlessly over the turf.

One of the indisputable greats.



Europa League: RB Leipzig Build Special ‘Smoking Room’ At Red Bull Arena For Napoli Coach Maurizio Sarri (Photos):

February 21st, 2018

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RB Leipzig have gone to great lengths to accommodate Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri ahead of the Europa League last-32 encounter between the two sides later this week.

The German side have created a special ‘smoking room’ at the Red Bull Arena by installing a temporary partition in the away dressing room that will allow Sarri – who smokes like a forest fire – to chuff away in peace before and after the match.

According to Bild, the chamber is three metres by three metres and made from gypsum concrete, with all nearby smoke detectors turned off.

A massage table has also been added so Sarri can release a little extra steam if required.

Given that his side is trailing 3-1 from the first leg, there’s every chance it may come into use by the end of the evening.



Champions League: Lionel Messi Breaks Eight-Game Hoodoo As Chelsea And Barcelona Hammer Out Entertaining 1-1 Draw (Photos & Video):

February 21st, 2018

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At the eighth time of trying, Lionel Messi was finally able to cast off the shackles and prove himself a semi-decent prospect by scoring his very first goal against Chelsea when Barcelona rolled into town on Tuesday night.

The two sides offered up an entertaining 1-1 draw in the first leg of their last-16 showpiece.

It wasn’t a classic to sit alongside the crackling 2009 semi-final or the Helm’s Deep-style (28% possession!) ransack of the Camp Nou in 2012, but it certainly had its charm.

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Chelsea, playing without a recognised striker on the pitch, did a fine job of stifling Barca throughout a goalless first half before taking a deserved lead on the hour.

After hitting either post with a couple of near-identical sighters earlier in the match, Willian finally got the goal his performance had warranted, using a crowded penalty area to smuggle a low shot past Marc-Andre ter Stegen…

However, after successfully limiting their visitors to a smattering of paltry half-chances, the Blues were ahead for precisely 13 minutes before their sole defensive lapse of the evening gifted Barca an equaliser.

After surviving a penalty call when Antonio Rudiger tangled with Luis Suarez underneath a long ball, Andreas Christensen swept up the loose ends only to send an overly ambitious pass trundling across his own 18-yard box – a pass which ended up at the feet of Andres Iniesta, who wasted no time in teeing up you-know-who…

So that’s 546 career goals for Messi, with one against Chelsea to add to the 545 he’s scored against absolutely everybody else.

He’s made it. He’s finally made it.

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And so the game ended much in the same vein it began, with Antonio Conte’s men matching Barca stride-for-stride (Cesc Fabregas in particular putting in a selfless defensive shift) without either side really dominating the occasion.

It should be enough to give the Blues hope of escaping the Camp Nou with the aggregate spoils when the two teams meet again for the second leg next month.



Charm Offensive: Independiente Hire Local Warlock Named Manuel To Bring Them Luck In Recopa Sudamericana Tie Against Gremio (Photo):

February 20th, 2018

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Having drawn the first leg 1-1 last week, Independiente made the long trip to Porto Alegre, Brazil, for the second leg of their Recopa Sudamericana tie yesterday, complete with a special guest in tow.

That man was Manuel, an obsessive Independiente fan who just so happens to operate as a neighbourhood ‘brujo’ – a shaman/wizard/warlock/sorcerer, depending on which translation you wish to abide by.

The Argentinian side are hoping that Manuel can work his magic and give them a little extra luck in what is sure to be a tight, tense encounter.

According to Globo Esporte, Manuel attended last year’s Copa Sudamericana final against Flamengo which Independiente won 3-2 on aggregate – the wizard spending the entire game in the dugout alongside coach Ariel Holan.

He was also hired by the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) to help Lionel Messi and his compatriots successfully secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup in their final match against Ecuador.

To put it simply, there’s no way Independiente can lose.



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