Reports: Sidelined Barcelona star tells club he wants to stay despite strong interest from Premier League and Serie A

Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti is not manager Ernesto Valverde’s first choice in the pecking order, and chances are that he will be sold in the summer to fund new arrivals into the club.

But despite his current status at the club that involves more time on the benches than on the pitch, Umtiti is seemingly willing to see out his contract with the Catalans, as reported by L’Equipe.

A centre back by profession, Umtiti has not played much in the ongoing 2018-19 season due to recurring injuries and the unprecedented rise of teammate Clement Lenglet. Valverde currently prefers Lenglet more than the Frenchman, even when the latter is fit enough to play.

Many top European teams had also gotten a sniff of the situation, and had expressed interest in the star should Barcelona decide to offload him.

But Sport claims that Umtiti is not ready to leave, as per L’Equipe‘s latest report from Thursday. The reports added that various teams in the Serie A and the Premier League are keen on signing the World Champion.

However, Umtiti has apparently told his representatives that he doesn’t want to listen to any offers, until his current term with the Blaugranas ends in 2023.

Sport also says that Le Parisien, another French news agency reports that Umtiti believes that a move away from Barcelona would be a step down in his career.

The star is currently valued at around €80million, and his release clause stands at a whopping €500million.

FOX Sports Asia probability ratings: 1/5; Barca boss Valverde is moving on from Umtiti – as evident from Lenglet’s increased nunber of first XI chances and the club’s interest in Ajax’ Matthijs de Ligt. Umtiti would be sold at the earliest, and the money could be used to fund the much-awaited de Ligt transfer.

Former Real Madrid striker reveals how Jose Mourinho ‘killed’ Cristiano Ronaldo

In a candid interview, former Real Madrid striker Emmanuel Adebayor revealed how Jose Mourinho, former Real Madrid manager treated everyone at the club, including superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Adebayor claimed that Jose Mourinho “killed” Ronaldo with his fury, even when the Portuguese star scored a hattrick to help Los Blancos win.

“At Real, we were winning 3-0 at half-time. [Mourinho] came into the dressing room and went mental,” he recalled, while chatting with the Daily Mail.

“He kicked the fridge, kicked the television, threw water. He killed everyone. I remember he once killed Ronaldo after he scored a hat-trick.”

“He said, ‘Everyone says you are the best in the world and you are playing badly. Show me you are the best’. Cristiano took it. Ronaldo could score a hat-trick but talk about the one he missed,” he added.

The former Arsenal and Tottenham striker also revealed details on Ronaldo’s colossal work rate, based on what he saw while the both of them were teammates at the Bernabeu.

“He trained with us at Real Madrid as though he was training with his kids,” he said.

“Passes with his back, controls with his neck. He once kept the ball for five seconds with one touch! How is that even possible?”

“In the gym, wow. Sergio Ramos and I were the strongest. But then came Ronaldo. ‘You think that’s hard?’ he’d say. We’d do five reps and he’d do 30.”

Adebayor spent just one season at Madrid, on loan from Manchester City in 2011. He scored eight goals in his 22 appearances for the Merengues.

He currently plays for Turkish side Basaksehir, in the Turkish Super League.

Social media reacts as Pogba makes PFA team of the year, while Hazard misses out

On Thursday, The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) named their Team of the Year for the 2018-19 season.

Six players from Manchester City, and four players from Liverpool have been named in the team, with Manchester United’s Paul Pogba being the only non-Manchester City or Liverpool player to make the cut in final PFA XI.

The team is as follows:

As you can see, goalkeeper Ederson, centre back Aymeric Laporte, midfielders Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho and forwards Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling are Manchester City’s entries, while full-backs Andrew Robertson and Trent-Alexander Arnold, center back Virgil van Dijk and forward Sadio Mane are the Liverpool players who made it into the XI.

The award dates back to the 1973-74 season, and the latest Team of the Year is the only XI where players from just three English teams have formed the complete squad:

Meanwhile, a lot of fans and experts believe that Paul Pogba has no place in the squad, while Eden Hazard’s absence is another shocker to some of them.

As soon as the final announcement went virat, Twitter went rife with reactions on both Pogba’s glaring presence and Hazard’s surprising absence.

Take a look at some of the best Twitter reactions below:

What are your thoughts? Do let us know in the comments below.

Reports: Arsenal and Tottenham interested as €40 million worth Barcelona winger desperately wants to leave

As per the latest reports, Barcelona winger Malcom wants to leave the club this summer.

The Brazilian winger had a tough campaign with the Catalan giants throughout this season, having not obtained enough game time under Ernesto Valverde. That in turn, has prompted the star to look for opportunities elsewhere.

Barcelona spent £39million on the star last summer, as they forced his move from French club Bordeaux. The transfer as such was highly controversial, as Italian club AS Roma almost had him on the books when Barcelona came out of nowhere to hijack the youngster.

The Daily Mail reports that Ernesto Valverde is ready to sell the Brazilian, if they can recoup the €40million (£39million) that they paid to sign him in the first place.

Malcom wants to move away from the club as well, in search for more opportunities with the first team.

As per reports, his agents are now working to secure him a move elsewhere in Europe. Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are credited with an interest in the summer.

Mauricio Pochettino and Unai Emery, managers of Tottenham and Arsenal, have expressed keenness in the 22-year old star, as per Daily Mail.

FOX Sports Asia probability ratings: 3/5; Valverde has often mentioned how Malcom was a signing “made by the club” and not by himself – which means that he could allow the player’s sale this summer. But a transfer will happen only if Tottenham or Arsenal match Barcelona’s €40million asking price for the Brazilian.

Barcelona midfielder puts Real Madrid in their place: “We have been infinitely superior!”

Barcelona have been remarkably successful this season – as they have been, in the last season as well. Not only have they booked a berth in the finals of the Copa del Rey, but they are also well set to win the La Liga once again this time.

In fact, the Spanish giants remain the only European side that holds a possibility to win a treble this season – by virtue of their semifinal entry in the Champions League. Their golden run has been inspired by Lionel Messi himself – who is on top form at the moment.

Meanwhile, Barcelona midfielder Carles Alena made an interesting statement on their La Liga title challenge and the solid run in the Champions League so far.

He remarked that Barcelona had been “infinitely superior” in the past couple of seasons, while winning the La Liga and the Copa del Rey.

“Last year we won the Liga and the Copa, and it didn’t seem to have any value. Whenever we win the league, it seems to have little value. We’ve been infinitely superior, and we have to win and enjoy it [the league],” Alena said, while speaking to El Partidadazo de COPE:

Up next, Barcelona will soon face English Premier League leaders Liverpool FC, in the Champions League semi-finals. They have made certain of the La Liga title and the Copa del Rey this season as well, and boss Ernesto Valverde will be keen to add European glory to his collection as well.

Manchester United legend accuses star midfielder of “cheating” in 2-0 loss to Manchester City

English giants Manchester United were humbled by local rivals and current champions Manchester City, during Wednesday’s derby clash in the Premier League.

City’s Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane found the back of United’s net once each, to ensure that the Sky Blues stayed within contention for this season’s trophy. Meanwhile, the loss to United further reduced their chances of qualifying to the 2019-20 Champions League, as a top-four finish in the Premier League is nowhere near sight for them.

At the end of the game, former Manchester United stars Gary Neville and Roy Keane were highly critical of the Red Devils’ below-par display. While Neville said that he did not expect much from the current team, Roy Keane went a step further and accused midfielder Fred of cheating.

The duo were speaking to Sky Sports after the match, when Neville said: “What we saw was the gulf in class. I don’t think any of the players could have given more.”

“There was nothing I’ve seen that made me think they could have given more, that’s what they are.”

Roy Keane then interrupted, and pointed out that Neville needs to take a look at the Brazilian midfielder.

“You need to see Fred during the second goal. You said the players gave it their all. What Fred has done is cheating, letting a man run off him (for the second goal)”.

Fred’s mistake in passing the ball straight to Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany, was the main reason for the goal, as Kompany dispatched the ball to Sterling, who in turn made the perfect assist to Leroy Sane who scored the goal.

Up next, Manchester United will face Chelsea on Sunday, 28th April.

Paul Pogba makes a telling gesture towards Manchester United fans after Manchester City defeat

Premier League giants Manchester United were handed an embarrassing 2-0 defeat by local rivals Manchester City, in a high-profile Premier League derby clash on Wednesday.

Two second-half goals – one each from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane – helped the Sky Blues secure all the three points from the game, while United’s defeat meant that chances for a Premier League top-four finish for them, are infinitesimally slim.

Meanwhile, at the end of the game, United star Paul Pogba issued an open apology in front of the club supporters who had come to watch the Red Devils play at Old Trafford.

Image courtesy: Sky Sports

Earlier, Pogba was ridiculed by fans when he failed to acknowledge them after their 4-0 defeat to Everton. But this time, the World Champion ensured that he did not repeat his folly, as he held up one hand in apology, while facing the fans present in the Stretford End.

But after being beaten by City, the France international held up one hand in apology in front of the Stretford End, as per reports.

The star is rumoured to leave United in the summer as per various sources, but an official confirmation is yet to be made by neither the player nor the club.

Up next, United will face Chelsea in the Premier League, on Sunday, 28th April.

Lionel Messi named Greatest Sportsperson of All Time; beats Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods

Barcelona and Argentina ace footballer Lionel Messi has been voted – not just the greatest footballer – but the greatest sportsperson of all time.

GiveMeSport, the online sports media website, decided to conduct a series of polls among fans to find out who they think is the greatest sportsperson of all time and Lionel Messi emerged on top, beating out a list of historical sporting icons like legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, tennis ace Roger Federer, golf maverick Tiger Woods and, of course, arch footballing rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

A portion of the poll was conducted on the Twitter thread below:

The entire poll was conducted in a tournament format –  with a group stage and a knockout stage – as sixteen sporting individuals from different sports and eras were placed into four initial groups.

The winner from each group then progressed through to the semi-finals and then eventually to the final, where the winner was decided.

Group One consisted of Lewis Hamilton, Roger Federer, Floyd Mayweather and Serena Williams.

Group Two included Phil Taylor, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady and Lionel Messi.

Tiger Woods, Cristiano Ronaldo, Martina Navratilova and Michael Jordan together formed Group Three.

LeBron James, Michael Schumacher, Pele and Muhammad Ali were placed in Group Four.

Roger Federer (Group One), Lionel Messi (Group Two), Cristiano Ronaldo (Group Three) and Muhammad Ali (Group Four) were the winners of Round One, and all four of them progressed to the semi-finals.

Messi took on Serena Wiliams, Pele and Michael Jordan in the semi-finals, while Ronaldo was pitted against Muhammad Ali, Michael Phelps and Roger Federer. Eventually, it was Messi and Ali who progressed to enter the finals.

There could only be one final winner, and after an extremely close battle, Messi narrowly emerged victorious by claiming 51% of the 240,800 votes received on Facebook.

On the equivalent Twitter poll mentioned earlier, the final winning margin was almost similar (53%-47%) but there again, it fell in Messi’s favour.

Though it still remains difficult to find a definite solution for who is the greatest all-time sportsperson, now we at least know what many people feel about the important question.

What do you feel? Let us know in the comments section below.

Former Manchester United captain outlines the 4 problem positions that the club have to address in the transfer market

Manchester United, on Wednesday suffered a huge setback on their Champions League qualification dreams for next season, when they lost 2-0 to Manchester City in a high-profile derby clash in the Premier League.

The loss means that it is nearly impossible for United to reach the top-four in Premier League standings, without which they do not stand a chance to qualify for the Champions League.

At the end of the game, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane shared his insights on how the club should use the transfer market this summer, to get rid of their shortcomings. He was speaking to Sky Sports, and he said that Manchester United need to completely overhaul their defence if they want to get back to competing for titles.

“The worry for me is, they certainly need a couple of centre-halves and two full-backs. That’s four for starters,” the Irishman explained after the match, as per Metro.

“I think defensively, the back four, I don’t think [Luke] Shaw’s up to it, in defence of [Ashley] Young he’s not a full-back, I know he’s been doing a job there for the last few years. Two centre-halves and then you take it from there.”

“Unless you’ve got a decent keeper and a decent back four, it’s tough going. Yeah, you can get to midfield if you want, but in terms of the foundation and going onto win trophies and getting back to competing near the top [you need a strong defence],” he added, before concluding:

“I’ve been saying it for the last few years, everyone kept talking about midfielders and attacking players, but first and foremost you get your back four – or your back five including the goalkeeper – sorted out.”

He also had examples to quote, in proving his point.

“You look at Man City, we praise Pep Guardiola as one of the greatest coaches, a genius, knows the game inside out, but his first year at Man City he didn’t win anything and the first thing he said to his board was, ‘I need to get some defenders into this club’ as well as the goalkeeper obviously. Jurgen Klopp was doing well the first one or two years at Liverpool and they were saying ‘but they look short’, he went and bought a goalkeeper and a centre-half. Ole needs to do the same.”

Up next, United will face Chelsea in the Premier League, on April 28th.

Reports: Real Madrid to make Premier League star the highest paid player in the club and find him a new luxury home

Spanish giants Real Madrid are in dire need of some fresh signings that could help them overcome the haunting memories from the ongoing season, as quickly as possible.

As we all know by now, they have already gotten eliminated from the UEFA Champions League and the Copa del Rey, apart from failing to challenge for the La Liga title as well this season. Former managers Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari were unceremoniously sacked as well, before Zinedine Zidane got reappointed at the helm of the club.

Zidane was also given a huge transfer budget to sign new players this summer, and that in turn has also allowed him to go in hard and strong, to try and sign players of his choice.

It has already been reported that Eden Hazard is Real Madrid’s most important transfer target for the summer, and despite his current employers Chelsea’s reluctance to let him go, Zidane is in no mood to loosen his grip on the Belgian.

In fact, as of latest it has been reported that Real Madrid are ready to make Hazard their highest-paid player, in addition to finding a premium place for the star to stay during his time with the club.

It is the Mirror, that reports that Hazard has been offered a weekly wage to the tune of £400,000, which is £50,000 more than what Gareth Bale – currently their highest-paid player – earns now.

In addition, The Sun claims that Los Blancos are also scouting for an apartment in Madrid’s premium locations, for the star to be accomodated comfortably while he is with the club, as per the Mirror.

FOX Sports Asia probability ratings: 4/5; Hazard to Real Madrid is more-or-less a done deal, and an official announcement can happen sooner or later. Reports like the above will only speed up the process, as it could be beyond any football star right now, not to accesp such lucrative offers.

Reports: Manchester United, PSG, Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich to slug it out for the signing of Serie A star in the summer

The latest word around the rumour mill is that Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne, will move away from the Serie A giants this summer, and that he has attracted interest from several top European clubs, including Manchester United

Italian newspaper Il Mattino reports that Manchester United, Paris Saint Germain, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan are all looking to sign the prolific wimger, who has impressed for Napoli in the past few seasons.

The newspaper reports that AC Milan are ready to offer their midfielder Suso in exchange for the star, in addition to a substantial transfer fee. But Insigne will join the Rossoneri only if they manage to qualify for the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League.

The other teams – United, Bayern, PSG and Atletico – are yet to make any offers for the Italian, but they have showed equal interest in him, as per CalcioNapoli 24.

Insigne’s ongoing 2018-19 season has been average in terms of how he fared in the past couple of seasons, but he has still managed 13 goals and six assists in 38 games till date.

Napoli, meanwhile, are placed second in the Serie-A charts, and have already made sure of a Champions League berth next season.

FOX Sports Asia probability ratings: 2/5; Napoli boss Carlos Ancelotti had established that the team is not looking to sell most of their core players, as the former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich manager wants to build his team around them next season. While Insigne appears to be a part of this “core” set of players, Ancelotti has enough time to think about a possible replacement, in which case he may sell the 27-year old.

Manchester United break an unwanted 57-year old record in dismal defeat against Manchester City

On Wednesday, Manchester United was defeated 2-0 by Manchester City, in a high-profile derby clash at the Premier League.

Both of Manchester City’s goals came in the second half – from Bernardo Silva (54th minute) and Leroy Sane (66th minute).

The Red Devils had a relatively poor game, enjoying only 37% of ball possession apart from attempting just one shot on target throughout the game.

Meanwhile, this was also United’s seventh loss in nine straight games – something which has not happened at the club since 1962 (as per Simon Stone, BBC Sport):

West Ham and Watford are the only two teams who have been defeated by Manchester United, since their iconic 3-1 win against Paris Saint Germain in the second-leg of the Champions League round-of-16 in March.

Since the Paris game, United played Arsenal (lost 2-0), Wolverhampton Wanderers twice (lost 2-1 on both occasions), Watford, Barcelona twice (lost 1-0 and 3-0), West Ham, Everton (lost 4-0) and now, Manchester City.

The Red Devils have also not scored a single goal in the past four hours and 40 minutes of their game time, and their most recent goal from open play came more than eight hours ago:

With this latest loss, it also seems that they will fail to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Up next, Manchester United will face Chelsea in the Premier League, on 28 April.

Reports: Manchester United star to be swapped for Inter Milan attacker Mauro Icardi

The controversy surrounding Inter Milan and  star striker Mauro Icardi has been going on for months now, and as of latest, it may have been decided that the player no longer has a spot in the Italian side, as per reports.

It is Sky Sports‘ transfer market expert Gianluca Di Marzio, who feels that Icardi will not continue with Inter Milan next summer – quite contrary to what the star’s wife and agent Wanda Nara had been stating on Italian television channels for the past couple of days.

Di Marzio also reports that Icardi’s only chance is to move to Premier League giants Manchester United, who will bring him in as replacement to Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, who in turn will go to the Nerazzurri as part of a swap deal.

“Because the dynamics after what happened this year between Inter and its former captain leave this possibility open. Now, all the clubs understand that Mauro is easier to reach than in the past as they can spend less than the €110M release clause,” he said, before adding:

“I believe that a transfer can be done but only through an exchange. With Napoli, it is complicated given the wage that Icardi is making. Same thing applies with Cavani but it is the other way around as Inter wouldn’t be able to afford his €12million per year in wages. As of right now, the only concrete option is to do an exchange and I would say with Manchester United for Lukaku.”

Di Marzio also shared his insights on the future of Luciano Spalletti the Inter Milan manager.

“Inter have not decided on who is going to be the coach next season. They must choose between Luciano Spalletti, who has a good chance of staying, or Conte,” he said.

The Italian giants are fighting hard for qualification to the Champions League next season, which needs them to finish in the top-four in the Serie A this season. Their next match-up is against Juventus, who have already made sure of the league title for the ongoing 2018-19 season.

Fulham mocks Juventus over new jersey; then deletes tweet

On Wednesday, several images of Italian giants Juventus’ 2019-20 home jersey got leaked on social media, weeks before an official announcement or reveal was supposed to be made.

Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo’s teammates at the club – such as Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi – were pictured wearing the new shirt, and the images created quite an uproar online.

Several fans reacted to the new shirt design which is totally different from the white-and-black stripes that we are so used to seeing until now. Meanwhile, the new jersey attracted the attention of Premier League club Fulham as well, as they felt that it bore a striking resemblance with their own home shirt.

Fulham took to Twitter to mock Juventus for their jersey, as you can see below – but then deleted the tweet after a while.

Juventus’ new home shirt features a white half and a black half, with a pink line through the middle separating both halves – as you can understand from the above photo.

Meanwhile, the Bianconeris have made sure that they will clinch this season’s Serie A title as well, while Fulham is at a lowly 19th spot in the Premier League charts.

They won against Bournemouth on Wednesday, but that will not save their season as they are all set to get relegated back to the Championships.