Lewandowski vows to ignore Real Madrid rumours and focus on Bayern

The prolific Poland international striker is aware of the speculation surrounding his future, but has learned to turn a deaf ear to it down the years

Robert Lewandowski has reiterated his full commitment to Bayern Munich as he continues to ignore links to Real Madrid.

The prolific Poland international is among those who continue to be mentioned as possible additions during a summer overhaul at Santiago Bernabeu.

He has figured on the Real radar for some time, with the La Liga giants forever in the market for players of his pedigree.

Lewandowski has, however, batted away transfer talk at regular intervals and claims to be paying no attention to the latest round of rumours heading towards the summer window.

He told Kicker when quizzed on his future once again: “At the moment I do not worry about it.

“If I was to think about this speculation as a Bayern player, it would not be good for me because I would not be focused on my job here.

“I’m a Bayern player and I want to give everything here first.”

Real already boast one of the finest frontmen on the planet on their books, in the form of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lewandowski is, however, a different kind of goalscorer, with the former Borussia Dortmund man eager to point out that Ronaldo and his eternal rival at Barcelona, Lionel Messi, have life a little easier as forwards, rather than out-and-out strikers.

The 29-year-old added: “It’s sometimes more difficult for a centre-forward because he often stands with his back to the goal, holding the ball, watching what can happen.

“Turning around with it’s easier, when you have everything in front of you.”

Lewandowski’s predatory instincts will be back on show in midweek when Bayern take on Besiktas in the last-16 of the Champions League.

The German giants are heavily fancied to progress to the quarter-finals, and their star striker says success in the competition should come as no surprise.

He added: “It would not be a sensation if Bayern won the Champions League. But it might get harder in the future when you see what’s going on in the other leagues.

“The Bundesliga must be careful that it retains four qualifying positions. It would be good if next to Bayern and Dortmund, a third team would be constantly represented in the Champions League.”Source: www.goal.com

Klopp considers Liverpool squad to be best he has worked with

The Reds boss tasted Bundesliga title wins and European success with Borussia Dortmund, but claims he never boasted his current depth of talent

Jurgen Klopp considers Liverpool’s star-studded class of 2017-18 to be the best squad he has ever worked with.

In a previous post at Borussia Dortmund, the German coach tasted Bundesliga title triumphs and reached a Champions League final.

He had the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan at his disposal, but claims he never boasted the squad depth he now has at Anfield.

Liverpool have competition for places across the board, with Klopp in the enviable position of being able to rotate as he sees fit without fear of depleting the quality in his starting XI.

He told the club’s official website on those at his disposal: “It’s really hard in the moment to make the squad.

“Wow, I’ve never had a situation like that with the quality of the players not being in the squad.

“They all have made really big steps. Dom Solanke was not in the squad but is in outstanding shape at the moment. Ragnar Klavan, unbelievable. Ben Woodburn makes steps and is really close to everything.

“It’s difficult, it’s getting more and more difficult, but that’s good for us of course.”

Among those to have further bolstered the Liverpool ranks over recent weeks is Danny Ings, with the England international back in contention following a frustrating run of injuries.

The 25-year-old made his Champions League debut off the bench in Liverpool’s 5-0 mauling of Porto in the first leg of their last-16 encounter and is being backed to figure prominently over the remainder of the campaign.

Klopp added: “It’s a wonderful story. Danny made it, he came on and it was nice to see.

“He needed time. A few months ago it was different, but a player like him when they come back they think ‘I am under pressure’ and they want to come in immediately and get game time.

“Danny went the hard way. He played a lot of games for the under-23s.

“That he is back now is very important for us and fantastic for him.”

Source: www.goal.com

Didier Drogba’s son Isaac joins Guingamp

The French outfit completed one of the most attention-grabbing moves as they have signed the Chelsea legend’s son

Guingamp U19 have completed the signing of Isaac Drogba, the son of Chelsea and Cote d’Ivoire legend Didier Drogba.

The French side confirmed the deal on Monday, with the 17-year-old forward, who trained with the Blues youth setup returning to the team his father played for 16 years ago.

“Drogba joins the EAG! The recruitment cell of the academy EAG is very pleased to record the signature of Isaac Drogba, son of Didier Drogba. Born in Vannes, on December 15, 2000 and trained in Chelsea, he joined the U19 of the academy,” the club tweeted.

Drogba joined Las Costarmoricains in an £80,000 move from Le Mans. There, he scored 24 goals in 50 appearances before linking up with Olympique Marseille.

Excited by this move, Drogba senior took to Instagram to express his delight. “Couldn’t be more proud of you Isaac Drogba.”

Source: www.goal.com

Man City striker Aguero clashes with fan after game

The striker shoved a fan who stormed the field after Wigan’s shock FA Cup win and had to be restrained as the two engaged in a shouting match

Sergio Aguero was involved in a post-game clash with a fan which involved a shove and a shouting match following Manchester City’s shock 1-0 FA Cup loss to Wigan Athletic.

Following the Wigan victory, the club’s fans rushed the field to celebrate their club’s monumental upset.

And one of those fans made contact with Aguero, who shoved him off. Then Aguero needed to be restrained as he engaged in a shouting match with the fan, with multiple people coming between them.

Aguero started and went the distance in the FA Cup fifth round contest at the DW Stadium, home of the League One side.

City were put in a difficult position in the contest, thanks red card Fabian Delph in stoppage time of the first half, which left manager Pep Guardiola fuming.

However, it still took a bit of magic from Wigan striker Will Grigg, who scored in the 79th minute to give his side the shock advantage, which held until the final whistle.

Wigan fans ran onto the field after the final whistle, and one made contact with Aguero, causing the striker to swing his arm to push the fan away.

He then was momentarily held back by Wigan’s Cheyenne Dunkley before charging toward the fan. Another fan got between them, while a City player pulled back Aguero.

Aguero ducked away, while more people came between the two. Both he and the fan appeared to be shouting at one another.

It was only City’s third defeat of the season in all competitions. Previously they had lost a meaningless Champions League group stage game against Shakhtar Donetsk, with only meaningful defeat prior to Wigan a 4-3 setback at Anfield to Liverpool.

The loss ends Manchester City’s hopes of achieving the quadruple this season. They can still pull off the treble though, as they remain 16 points ahead of rivals Manchester United in the Premier League, are in the final of the Carabao Cup against Arsenal and have a commanding 4-0 lead in their Champions League last 16 tie with Basel.

Source: www.goal.com

Conte: Chelsea will need a ‘perfect game’ to stop Barcelona and Messi

The Italian tactician is aware of the challenge facing his side against the Spanish giants in their upcoming Champions League tie

Antonio Conte acknowledged Chelsea must produce the “perfect game” to get the better of Spanish giants Barcelona in their Champions League last-16 tie.

Premier League champions Chelsea welcome La Liga leaders Barca and Lionel Messi to Stamford Bridge for the opening leg on Tuesday.

It has been a difficult season for Conte and Chelsea amid uncertainty over the Italian’s future following back-to-back defeats in the league, though the Londoners have responded with wins over West Brom and Hull City.

Conte, however, insisted Chelsea face a huge challenge against Barca, who stayed undefeated in Spain courtesy of Saturday’s 2-0 win at Eibar , which moved Ernesto Valverde’s men 10 points clear.

“On one hand you know this team are one of the best in the world – maybe they are favourites to win this competition,” Conte said. “On the other hand we must be excited because we have a great opportunity to play a massive game against a really strong team and to show which is our level.

“For sure we are talking about one of the best teams in the world. We have to try to, I repeat, have the perfect game. The perfect game to try to make the best decisions for this type of team, because this is a different opponent. They have fantastic characteristics with the ball, but they can have weaknesses without the ball and we have to try and exploit this.”

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi has led the way this season with a La Liga-high 20 goals for Barcelona.

But Conte believes it would be dangerous for Chelsea to focus solely on stopping Messi, who has never scored against the Blues.

“I hope to continue this tradition [of Messi not scoring against Chelsea] but I repeat we are talking about a fantastic player and we must have great respect,” Conte added. “But at the same time we must try to be excited to play this type of game and this challenge.

“We are talking about one of the best players in the world but, for sure, we have to work together, work with the team and not only with one player to try and stop him. Because I think that when we feel this type of challenge to man-mark [a player], Messi can become very dangerous.”

Three of the four Premier League clubs in the last 16 of the Champions League have already played, with Liverpool and Manchester City both earning impressive wins away from home while Tottenham were held to a 2-2 draw against Juventus in Turin. 

Source: www.goal.com

Hazard: Real Madrid & PSG? I’ll change clubs when I want to

The Chelsea star insists he is happy at Stamford Bridge but did not rule out a potential exit in the future

Eden Hazard has responded to reports linking him with an exit from Chelsea, insisting he will make the decision over if and when he’ll change clubs.

The 27-year-old winger has long been linked with a switch to Real Madrid, while Ligue 1 big-spenders PSG have also been mooted as a potential destination for the Belgian.

Goal reported in January that Manchester City would also be an interested party in signing Hazard, with the club ready to break the £100 million barrier.

Although Hazard insists he is happy with life at Chelsea, he suggested there could well be a time that he decides it’s time to leave and seek a new challenge.

When asked about a potential move he told Telefoot: “In football anything can happen. But in football nothing can happen too.

“Every year they talk about Real or PSG. And when I want to change clubs, I will. But at the moment I’m good where I am.

“I still have two year left on my contract. I feel very good over here.

“The fans love me, my family enjoys life over here. We will see.”

Hazard has been one of the shining lights in a below-par season for the club, when compared to their title-winning exploits from the 2016-17 season.

The former Lille star has scored six goals in his last six games in all competitions, including two in a 3-0 win over West Brom last time out in the Premier League.

And Blues head coach Antonio Conte took the decision to rest Hazard in Chelsea’s 4-0 victory over Hull City in the FA Cup on Friday, with Chelsea facing Barcelona in Tuesday’s crunch Champions League clash.

Source: www.goal.com

Aubameyang can thrive in Arsenal’s creative system – Riedle

he former Dortmund striker believes Arsenal’s record signing will be given the supply to score heavily by the Gunners’ ‘high-class’ creators

Marquee January signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is perfectly suited to flourish at the head of Arsenal’s attack, according to Karl-Heinz Riedle.

Riedle, who enjoyed stints with Werder Bremen, Lazio, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund in the ’80s and ’90s, believes the the £56 million man will be well serviced by the likes of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan at the Emirates.

“He’s proved over the last few years that he is a very good player,” Riedle told Goal as part of Enterprise’s UEFA Europa League trophy surprise in Dortmund.

“Arsenal have the high-class individuals who will help him to score. So I am sure that he will do well in London.

The Gabon international wasn’t able to score against Tottenham in the north London derby, but was on target in his Premier League debut against Everton a week earlier.

“It makes an impression to the fans and the club if you make a debut like he did against Everton,” said Riedle. “But it is important to continue playing that way. When he came to Dortmund he had some problems at first but developed into a world-class player. I don’t think he is going to fail in England.”

Riedle, who also played for Liverpool between 1997 and 1999, says the Reds have the attacking power to make stronger pushes for titles in England and Europe in the coming years, too.

“It is unbelievable the kind of quality Liverpool have in attack. [Mohamed] Salah is a sensational player who nobody thought would play the way he’s playing at Liverpool right now. [Roberto] Firmino and [Sadio] Mane are also great players. There is so much potential in Liverpool’s squad.”

And that potential, Riedle says, is being led by the perfect manager.

“I think Jurgen Klopp is doing a great job at Liverpool and the fans seem to love him. He fits perfectly at the club. The team is playing great football this year even though the championship is already decided. But for the future the Premier League and Champions league should definitely be targets for the club and Klopp.”

Source: www.goal.com

Real Madrid prepare €120m Pogba bid


Real Madrid prepare Pogba bid


Real Madrid want to end Paul Pogba’s stay at Old Trafford by offering Manchester United more than €120m for the midfielder, according to the Sun.

The 24-year-old returned to the Red Devils in 2016 for a world record €105m, but has found his form criticised and has been dropped by Jose Mourinho in recent weeks.

With Real Madrid also underperforming this season, they see the France international as someone who could help return them to the top of La Liga.


‘Don’t say bull****’ – Angry Mourinho fires back at Pogba ‘lies’ amid Man Utd rift reports

The French midfielder has been benched and hauled off by the Red Devils in recent fixtures, but his manager maintains there is no tension in the camp

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hit back at the “lies” being spread regarding a breakdown in his relationship with Paul Pogba.

Having been brought back to Old Trafford in a record-breaking £89 million deal, big things are expected of the France international.

Mourinho’s decision to bench Pogba and haul him off in two of United’s last three fixtures has sparked talk of unrest, with it suggested that a divide in the camp has formed between star midfielder and manager.

The Portuguese coach has, however, told reporters when quizzed on rumours of a rift: “When you say ‘a lot of speculation’ you should say a lot of lies. Because I accept and Paul accepts that he has not been playing well in the last few matches. But that’s all.

“It is my problem, it is the player’s problem. A big lie that our relationship is not good, a big lie that we don’t communicate, a big lie that we don’t agree with his positions and his involvement in the dynamic of the team

“So, be objective and say what we all know: in the last couple of matches he didn’t play well. Period. End of story. Now, it’s my problem and Paul’s problem to deal with it and try to improve his performance level.”

It has been argued that part of the problem for Pogba at present is the confusion regarding his favoured position and how United can bring the best out of him.

That debate is another to have irked Mourinho, with the angry Red Devils boss adding: “I would like you to tell me which position Pogba played in against Newcastle.

“Anyone of you want to tell me? OK, midfield, but did we play with one number six and two number eights, or two sixes and one 10?

“We played with one six and two eights. We played with [Nemanja] Matic as a six, [Jesse] Lingard on the right side of Matic and Pogba on the left side.

“Do you know which is Pogba’s preferred system? Four-three-three. Do you know Pogba’s favourite position in a 4-3-3? Eight on the left, so it’s easy and honest and objective to say Paul didn’t play well against Newcastle, but don’t let people read things that are not true.

Amid the questioning of his form and apparent issues with Mourinho, it has also been suggested that Pogba could look to find a route out of Old Trafford in the summer – with Real Madrid rumoured to be keen on the 24-year-old once again.

Mourinho added: “He had a big injury in the season, big injury, he almost went to surgery like [Ousmane] Dembele in Barcelona with a similar injury, the decision was not to do it and go to a conservative treatment, everyone [was] really happy.

“He had a red card against Arsenal, probably in his best match and the team’s best moment.

“He was out for a long, long time and in this moment he is not playing well, period. And the team needs him at a good level.

“When he is not a good level, the team is not as good. It happens with every team when the most crucial players are not performing.

“You don’t need to come with ‘we want to sell him’, you don’t need that.

“Some people go in that direction, some of them I know for many, many years and their surname is liar, and that’s not nice.

“He plays tomorrow [against Huddersfield].”

United are set to face the Terriers in the FA Cup fifth round, with a testing schedule then seeing them take in meetings with Sevilla, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Liverpool.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 11: Paul Pogba of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on February 11, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)Po

‘Scared’ Jesus sought Ronaldo’s advice after ‘complicated’ knee injury

The striker admits he is a bit “scared” as the knee injury he picked up in December proves to be more complicated than first thought

Gabriel Jesus sought the advice of Brazil legend Ronaldo in his recovery from a knee injury, with the Manchester City forward “still a little scared” about his condition.

Jesus suffered ligament damage during an awkward fall in the 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on December 31 and was initially expected to return to training after between four and six weeks.

But the Brazil international remains sidelined and still has not returned to full training, with the injury thought to be more complicated than originally suspected.

Jesus has spoken to Ronaldo about his situation, seeking help from the 41-year-old who endured several serious knee problems during his illustrious career.

“Besides being a fan of him as a player, I had the pleasure of getting to know the person he is, which made me admire him even more,” Jesus told UOL Esporte.

“He’s conquered everything, but is still humble and great company. I’m proud to be able to have his help and advice.”

Jesus believes his knee is getting better, though he is very conscious of the risks of rushing a comeback ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

“I’m getting better every day and recovering,” the 20-year-old added. “But I must recover well, not too fast.

“The knee is very complicated, even more so as I’ve never had an injury there. I need to take good care of myself so that I can get back better than I was.

“There were a lot of negative things in my head. When I felt the pain there, I tried to continue, but I couldn’t.

“That moment was complicated because I had thoughts about the national team [and the World Cup], about the rest of the season – I thought of everything.

“I’m hitting the ball a little bit now. I missed that a lot, but I’m still a little scared. In a week, I’ll spend more days hitting the ball and, in a short time, I’ll train with the team again.”

Source: www.goal.com