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LONDON: Lionel Messi lashed out at Brazilian police after Argentina’s victory over arch-rivals was marred by violence before kick-off.
Ahead of Argentina’s 1-0 win at the iconic Maracana stadium, massive brawls broke out in the stands as fans and police clashed with each other.
After Argentina and Brazil fans started fighting, the police used batons to control the situation, leaving some fans injured and bleeding.
Although Messi was happy about the victory, he still thought about the incident after the match.
“We saw how the police beat the supporters, it already happened during the Libertadores final,” said Messi referring to the incident that took place at the Maracana before Fluminese’s clash against Boca Juniors, earlier this year.
“They are more focused on that (hitting the fans) than the match.
“We went back to the dressing room because that’s the best way to calm things down, tragedy can happen.”
Messi added: ‘We have a family and we decided to continue playing to make sure things are calmer.
Messi also made a post on Instagram after the match, writing ‘this team continues to make history.’
“A great win at the Maracana although it will be remembered as Argentina’s oppression in Brazil once again.
“We can’t let this happen anymore and it should end now!”
BARCELONA: Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski ended his scoring drought by scoring two goals in a 2-1 win over Alaves in La Liga action.
Samu Omorodion put Alaves in front in the first minute but Lewandowski’s double in the second half secured all three points for Barcelona.
The win puts Barcelona four points behind leaders Girona and two points behind Real Madrid.
Veteran striker Lewandowski headed in the equalizer early in the second half before converting a 77th-minute penalty for his seventh league goal.
The Polish striker had previously gone six games without a goal – his worst run in more than a decade.
Barcelona also recorded a string of disappointing results with their manager, Xavi blaming media criticism – which affected the performance of his young players.
“We are more stressed because of the criticism on the team. It used to happen to sayya as a player and now it is happening to my players,” said Xavi.
Alaves needed just 18 seconds to open the scoring when Ilkay Gundogan lost the ball in midfield and Javi Lopez passed to Omorodion who slotted the ball between the legs of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
LONDON: Arsenal are on the best footing to expand their position at the top of Group B of the European Champions League.
After three games, Mikel Arteta’s men collected six points, one more than Lens and four more than Sevilla and PSV Eindhoven.
Sevilla, who are yet to record a win after three matches, are confident of improving their position, not to mention against Arsenal who beat them 2-1 in the previous match.
“There were times when we played better than Arsenal in attack. We proved that we are capable of making it a difficult game for them. We have high confidence,” said Sevilla manager Nemanja Gudelj.
Gabriel Jesus found the target in the first three group stage games for Arteta’s side.
“It’s not easy to play with the courage we showed on the highest stage. It gives confidence and at the same time we want more,” said Arteta.
MANCHESTER: Gary Neville has warned Erik ten Hag that he may be sacked by Manchester United.
United were knocked out of the League Cup after losing 3-0 to Newcastle at home, three days after being beaten by Manchester City in the Premier League at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag have now made United’s worst start to a season since the 1962-63 campaign and his side have lost five of their first 10 home games for the first time since 1930-31.
United finished third in the league in Ten Hag’s first season and ended a six-year championship drought when they beat Newcastle in last season’s League Cup final.
“Yesterday saw the Theater of Dreams turn into the Theater of Nothing. All United supporters are getting bored and tired.
“On the field, the players performed poorly, the manager struggled in front of our eyes.
“We’ve seen it before, we know how it ends and we’re tired of it,” said Neville.
The Dutchman is the fifth permanent manager since Alex Ferguson retired after winning the 2013 Premier League.
David Moyes only lasted nine months at Old Trafford, while Louis Van Gaal was sacked after two seasons, despite winning the FA Cup in 2015.
Jose Mourinho bagged two trophies, but was sacked midway through his third season when United fell 19 points behind the league leaders.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Mourinho in December 2018 before being made permanent manager four months later.
In July 2021, two months after United lost the Europa League final on penalties, the Norwegian manager extended his contract for a three-year period.
However, he was sacked after four months when United collected just 17 points from their first 12 league games and Solskjaer was replaced by Ralf Rangnick.
LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah has been urged to stay at Anfield by his teammate Alisson.
The Egyptian forward struck twice as the Reds won their Merseyside neighbors’ clash with Everton on Saturday.
The goal made Salah the first English Premier League player to score 30 goals in 2023.
Salah now overtakes Steven Gerrard and Kenny Dalglish in the list of all-time top scorers at Anfield.
However, his future at Anfield continues to be questionable after Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad were interested in signing him since last summer’s transfer window.
Liverpool rejected Al-Ittihad’s bid and managed to keep Salah at Anfield this season.
According to Alisson, Salah needs to stay as long as possible with Liverpool after the striker once again showed his sharpness in front of goal.
“This player is amazing. I’m happy he’s in our team. I hope he can break all the records while wearing our red jersey,” said Alisson.
LONDON: Cristiano Ronaldo has emerged as the world’s highest-paid footballer in 2023, earning more than the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar in the past 12 months, according to Forbes.
Ronaldo, who is also listed by Forbes as the highest paid athlete in any sport, tops the list with an expected total income of US$260 million.
The Portuguese striker’s contract with the Saudi Arabian club, Al-Nassr, which he joined from Manchester United last January, is reported to be worth US$200 million while his endorsement portfolio including Nike and Jacob & Co is estimated to be worth US$60 million each year, according to Forbes.
Messi ranked second on the list with an expected total income of US$135 million, boosted by his move to Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami.
Messi is the first MLS player to appear in the top 10 since David Beckham in 2012.
Brazilian forward Neymar completed the top three with a total income of US$112 million after signing a contract with Al-Hilal in the Saudi Pro League last August.
The influence of the Saudi Pro League is clearly seen in the Forbes list with four players (Ronaldo, Neymar, Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane) in the world’s top 11 list.
According to Forbes, the combined earnings of four Saudi Pro League players accounted for more than half of the US$995 million earned collectively by all 11 players on the richest list.
Kylian Mbappe is next, behind his former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar, with a total income of US$110 million.
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland is the highest-paid English Premier League player with a higher total annual income than Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and team-mate Kevin De Bruyne.
According to Forbes, on-field earnings figures include all prize money, salaries and bonuses earned in the past 12 months while off-field earnings are estimated sponsorship deals, appearance fees, licensing income and cash returns from businesses operated.
MANCHESTER: Erik ten Hag says he understands the derision of Manchester United fans after the club recorded their worst start to a season in 34 years.
The 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford was their fourth in seven Premier League games this season – equaling the embarrassing record in 1989 that almost got Alex Ferguson sacked.
“I understand. We are playing at home and against Crystal Palace – we have to win.
“I realize every Premier League game is difficult. You have to put on your best performance and I understand the fans want that.
“It was a bad start and we have to bounce back. We have to do better. This is still not enough,” said the Dutch manager.
After league wins over Burnley and Palace in the League Cup on Tuesday, United look on the best footing to put their poor start to the season behind them.
However, Joachim Andersen’s 28th minute goal was enough to give victory to Roy Hodgson’s squad at Old Trafford.
Hodgson became the second manager after Pep Guardiola to win three Premier League games in a row at Old Trafford.
“It’s my favorite result at the moment, but there will probably be others. Credit to the players, especially after Tuesday’s disappointing night,” said Hodgson.
BUDAPEST: Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are shortlisted for the FIFA Best Men’s Player Award while Spaniard Aitana Bonmati is among the nominees for the Best Women’s Award after emerging as the best player of the tournament at the World Cup.
Six of the men’s nominees are players from the Manchester City squad that won the treble in the 2022-23 season, while City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola has been nominated for Best Men’s Coach.
Spain’s World Cup victory saw four of their players among the 16 candidates for the women’s award.
World Cup runners-up England have four players on the list, with Sarina Wiegman topping the list of best women’s coaches while Australia has three players.
World Cup winner Argentina’s Messi and Spain’s Alexia Putellas are the frontrunners for the best player award.
Candidates were shortlisted by a panel of football experts including former players Mia Hamm and Didier Drogba.
The draw for the eighth annual award opened last night on the FIFA.com website and ends in mid-October.
National team coaches, captains, journalists and fans were among the voters.
MANCHESTER: Manchester United are considering signing Dutch winger Anwar El Ghazi as a free agent following the uncertain situation involving Antony and Jadon Sancho.
El Ghazi left PSV Eindhoven last week and could join United outside the transfer window.
The 28-year-old, who has played for Ajax, Aston Villa and Everton, was at the Emirates Stadium during United’s defeat at the hands of Arsenal.
It is understood El Ghazi has also received offers from Saudi Arabian clubs, but United could give him a chance to return to the Premier League.
United manager Erik ten Hag is facing problems on the wing after Antony was sent on leave so the investigation into him regarding allegations of assault by three women was completed, and Sancho’s future at Old Trafford is in doubt following his affair with Ten Hag.
Ten Hag and Sancho clashed last night after the player labeled the manager a cheater for claiming he was dropped for Arsenal’s match due to not training well.
United are struggling to offload Sancho before the January transfer window, after the 23-year-old failed to go on loan to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq last week.
It is also not certain that Antony will be able to act after the Brazilian is trying to clear his name from allegations of attacks on three women, including his girlfriend.
The Champions League is rolling again. UEFA has also made the draw for the group stages of the tournament on Thursday (31/8/2023) evening. Manchester City is again the favorite to win the 2023/2024 Champions League . As defending champions, City did not make many changes to its main squad.
In fact, they brought in several new players who could immediately become key. Including the arrival of Jeremy Doku and Josko Gvardiol.
The 2023/2024 Champions League also presents several hellish groups. For example, what happened in Group F.
In this group there are Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan and Newcastle United. This could threaten big teams to be eliminated early in this season’s Champions League .
Bola.com has a list of several big clubs that could fall in the Champions League group stages this season. Who are they?
AC Milan faces a tough challenge in the Champions League this season. I Rossoneri are in Group F with PSG, Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United.
AC Milan is indeed proud of the seven Champions League titles they have. However, Milan should be careful if they don’t want to be eliminated too early.
Their recent performance is still unstable. Moreover, the Rossoneri made many changes to their squad.
Manchester United started this season badly. The Red Devils looked fragile at the back, especially when competing in the Premier League.
Unfortunately, MU got a tough group in the 2023/2024 Champions League. The Red Devols are in group A with the German giant, Bayern Munich.
Turkish champions Galatasaray and Danish champions FC Copenhagen are also in the group. Bayern is clearly the main challenge for MU.
However, Galatasaray and Copenhagen are very likely to hit Manchester United. These clubs have a different spirit when competing in Europe.