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Koeman appointed Barcelona coach after Setien sacking

Ronald Koeman

Barcelona have appointed Ronald Koeman as the club’s new coach on a two-year deal following the dismissal of Quique Setien on Monday.

Koeman, 57, leaves his role as Netherlands boss to take over at Camp Nou. His contract includes a break clause at the end of the first year in the event that the new Barca president — elections will be held next March — wants to bring in their own coach.

Koeman said: “It was an honour to be the national coach of Netherlands. For the past two-and-a half-years I have done everything I can to achieve successes with “Oranje“. I look back with pride on what we have achieved together in that period. The Dutch national team has a bright future, I am convinced of that. Everyone knows that Barcelona is my dream club. It feels very special to me to be able to become a coach there.”

Former Hoffenheim coach Alfred Schreuder, who was Erik ten Hag’s assistant at Ajax during their memorable 2018-19 campaign, will be Koeman’s No. 2.

ESPN reported on Friday, ahead of Barca’s 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, that Koeman had been sounded out as a possible replacement for Setien, who only took charge in January. Talks accelerated over the weekend following the club’s record European loss.

The former Everton and Southampton coach earned legendary status at Camp Nou as part of Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team” when he scored the goal which clinched their first-ever European Cup in 1992.

Koeman returned to Barca as assistant coach to Louis van Gaal between 1998 and 2000 and has been linked with the top job at the club on various occasions since.

Along with Xavi Hernandez, he was one of the candidates considered in January when Ernesto Valverde was fired. Barca eventually appointed Setien after Xavi turned them down, with Koeman, at the time, focused on leading Netherlands at the European Championship.

However, a number of circumstances have changed since then, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the postponement of Euro 2020 until 2021.

Koeman, meanwhile, underwent a heart procedure in Amsterdam in May after experiencing chest pain. Sources close to the coach said he is in “perfect health” as he prepares to get to work at Barca.

The Dutchman has never hidden his desire to coach Barca and has maintained a close relationship with the city throughout his professional career. He recently brought a house in Vallvidrera on the outskirts of Barcelona.

Sources at the Catalan club say they have turned to Koeman as they believe he will garner immediate respect among the players. The relationship between the squad and Setien was at breaking point by the time they were hammered by Bayern. The overriding feeling at Barca was that he failed to win the dressing room from day one because of his relatively limited achievements as both a player and a coach.

Another source at Barca pointed to how Koeman cleared out an ageing squad at Valencia in 2007 and he will have to do a similar job in Catalonia — the average age of the starting lineup against Bayern was nearly 30.

ESPN reported earlier this year that only three players aren’t up for sale — Marc-Andre ter StegenFrenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi — and that stance has been strengthened following a first trophy-less season since 2007-08.

Barca announced the departure of technical secretary Eric Abidal hours before confirming Koeman as coach. Koeman, in collaboration Ramon Planes, will now be tasked with a major overhaul of the playing staff ahead of the start of the new campaign in September. Planes will be making a step up after previously serving as Abidal’s No. 2.

Koeman’s first job in management was with Vitesse in 2000. He later spent four years as the Ajax coach before spells with BenficaPSVValenciaAz Alkmaar and Feyenoord. He spent three years in England, first with Southampton and later with Everton, and has been in charge of the Netherlands since 2018, helping them qualify for their first major tournament since 2014.

Koeman’s assistant with Netherlands, Dwight Lodeweges, will take charge of the team while the Dutch FA decide on a successor.

Director of football Eric Gudde said: “We regret Ronald’s decision, but respect his choice. In the period that Ronald has been national coach, he has achieved very good results with the Dutch national team. He has given the team colour to the cheeks again, after a number of difficult years. And we are very grateful to him for that. The players group has developed tremendously in the meantime, in that respect we can continue on the same path.”

Neymar faces ban ahead of UCL final


Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar is reportedly at risk of being banned for the Champions League final by UEFA after swapping shirts following his side’s semi-final success against RB Leipzig.

After PSG prevailed with a 3-0 victory against RB Leipzig in Portugal, Neymar swapped shirts with Leipzig’s Marcel Halstenberg.

Neymar is at risk of being banned for the Champions League final after breaking coronavirus rules.

Reports prior to the Champions League’s resumption indicated that players swapping shirts after games would receive a one game suspension and would have to self isolate for twelve days.

PSG will take on either Bayern Munich or Lyon in the final on Sunday.

I used my Milan church to rescue Nigerian prostitutes, others – Taribo

Former Super Eagles defender and founder of Shelter in The Storm Miracle Ministries of All Nations, Taribo West, has opened up on how he used his church in Milan to rescue homeless immigrants and prostitutes in Italy during his time at AC Milan and Inter Milan.

A huge number of Nigerian women are reportedly lured to Italy and other parts of Europe on false promises of a better future.

Instead, these ladies are turned to prostitutes by those who brought them in and have to sell their bodies to repay debts.

According to a report published by infomigrants in 2019, about 80 per cent of Nigerian women, who arrive in Italy, find themselves sexually exploited because of the lucrative nature of sex trafficking in the country.

In an interview with The PUNCH, Taribo explained how he used his church to help the prostitutes and illegal immigrants get better lives.

“I used my church while I was in Milan to help the homeless and Nigerians who were taken to Italy all in the name of prostitution,” Taribo, famed for his colourful and weird hairstyles during his playing days, told The PUNCH.

“God told us to use whatever we generated from our personal income to upgrade the standard and living of the less-privilege, especially those that the society had written off because living in Europe is not easy, it’s like a land of economic refugees.

“We had a lot of immigrants coming in almost every day to the church; most of them didn’t have places to stay, some didn’t have documents to assimilate them into the society.”

But Taribo, who played in Milan for both Italian giants from 1997 to 2001, said the church helped the migrants to integrate into the Italian society, by obtaining official documents for them.

“What we did was after delivering them, we gave them a place to stay and from there we looked for jobs for them and we helped them procure documents as well.  It was very tough for me, because I spent a lot of money. But it was historical in the Italian nation.

“It’s not like Africa, especially Nigeria, where laws don’t work. There (Italy), you have to go through a legal process, which will justify if everything is correct, then I paid taxes, so I could get everything; my personality also helped. So, we did so much to give a lot of people life.

“But the system here (Nigeria) doesn’t work that way. Over there, you can work with the system and get a loan. So, they got loans, some bought cars and houses and they became free. I still keep in touch with a lot of these people that were saved and redeemed.”

If Messi decides to leave, we have to change Barcelona’s name – Eto’o

The Argentine maestro’s commitment at Camp Nou is reportedly in doubt after the Catalan giants’ woeful European exit

Former Barcelona and Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o has joked that the Catalans will have to change their name should Lionel Messi depart the club.

The 33-year-old La Masia graduate, who is the most prolific player in the Blaugrana’s history, played for a full 90 minutes as they lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League last Friday.

It was Barca’s biggest European defeat in history and their heaviest loss since 1946. It was also the first time since the 2005-06 season that neither Messi nor Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo made it to the semi-finals.

‘I can bring winning mentality to Stoke City’ – Ex-Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi


The African champion will be playing in England for the third time in his career

Former Chelsea midfielder Mikel John Obi has stated he can impact a winning mentality onto Stoke City after joining the club on Monday.

The 33-year-old Nigerian has been a free agent since his contract with Turkish Super Lig side Trabzonspor was terminated in March which is believed to be due to speaking out against the club for going on with league fixtures in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mikel is looking to get down to immediate business in Staffordshire and wants the Potters to win on a consistent basis. Stoke finished the 2019-20 Championship season in 15th place, eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Transfer: Ronaldo tells Man United bound EPL striker to join Juventus


Cristiano Ronaldo has told Manchester United bound Wolves striker, Raul Jimenez to join Juventus, instead, according to Gazetta dello Sport.

Ronaldo advised Jimenez to choose Juventus over Manchester United as the player has been linked with both clubs for the past year.

The Portuguse international wants Juventus to sign Jimenez this summer as a replacement for departing Gonzalo Higuain.

With the Red Devils and Old Lady both battling for the player’s signature, Ronaldo has spoken up much to the dismay of United fans.

Jimenez is reportedly ‘on his way’ to Old Trafford after reports in Portugal suggest Wolves have signed his replacement already in the person of Paulinho from SC Braga.

Jimenez joined Wolves on a permanent deal from Benfica for £32 million last summer and scored 26 goals in 53 appearances last season.

Juventus manager, Pirlo makes promise to Cristiano Ronaldo


Juventus manager, Andrea Pirlo, has contacted forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, to assure him that he remains vital to his plans at Allianz.

Gazzetta Dello Sport reports that Pirlo promised Ronaldo that he would give him greater freedom in his third season at Juventus.

Pirlo will also seek to relieve the Real Madrid legend of defensive duties.

Recall that Ronaldo has been recently linked with a move away from Juventus, but Pirlo has now held discussions with the Portugal captain to detail his role ahead of the new season.

Pirlo replaced Maurizio Sarri, who was axed following their Champions League exit some few days ago

Ronaldo again led the goalscoring charts for Juve last season.

The 35-year-old has now scored 65 times in 89 appearances during his two years at the Turin club.

The five-time Ballon d’ Or winner is set to play under his third different manager at Juventus in three seasons with Pirlo given a vote of confidence by club chief, Fabio Paratici, despite his lack of experience.

“The decision for Pirlo was very natural, in the Juventus style, because he’s someone who played for us, has always been in contact with everyone here and it felt natural,” he said.

“He was as a player, and we are confident he can do the same as a coach.”

Lukaku speaks on Man Utd’s strikers, Solskjaer as Inter Milan qualify for Europa League final


Inter Milan striker, Romelu Lukaku, has said he “expected” Manchester United’s front three to prove their talents this campaign and praised his former club for a “good season”.

Lukaku netted a late brace, as the Serie A club booked their place in the Europa League final, with a comprehensive 5-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Monday.

The Belgium international would have been facing familiar faces, if United had not lost 2-1 to Sevilla in their own semi-final.

It meant United ended the campaign trophyless under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But Lukaku feels the Red Devils are well positioned for success next season.

“United tried their hardest. I think they had a really good season, I think Ole did a good job, the players did really well.

“[Mason] Greenwood is coming through, [Anthony] Martial, {Marcus] Rashford, I expected all of that – I’m really happy for them.

“They look really good for next season, I have no doubt,” Lukaku told BT Sport.

BREAKING: CAS lifts Manchester city’s champions league ban

Manchester City will be free to play Champions League football next season after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) lifted a two-season ban from European competitions imposed by UEFA on Monday.

An initial fine of 30 million euros ($34 million, £27 million) was also reduced to 10 million euros on appeal.

City were accused of deliberately inflating the value of income from sponsors with links to the Abu Dhabi United Group, also owned by City owner Sheikh Mansour, to avoid falling foul of financial fair play (FFP) regulations between 2012 and 2016.

The case against City was reopened when German magazine Der Spiegel published a series of leaked emails in 2018.

However, CAS found that “most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB (UEFA Club Financial Control Body) were either not established or time-barred”.

City welcomed the decision that will have huge ramifications on the club’s finances and potentially the future of manager Pep Guardiola and star players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

“Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present,” City said in a statement.

“The club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”

Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover 12 years ago, City’s fortunes have been transformed from perennially living in the shadow of local rivals Manchester United to winning four Premier League titles in the past eight years among 11 major trophies.

On Saturday, they secured qualification for the Champions League for a 10th consecutive season with a 5-0 win at Brighton.

More silverware could come before the end of the season as Guardiola’s side face Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday before restarting their Champions League campaign in August, holding a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid from the first leg of their last 16 tie.

City’s victory in court will raise fresh questions over how effectively UEFA can police FFP.

But European football’s governing body said it remained committed to the system which limits clubs to not losing more than 30 million euros, with exceptions for some costs such as youth development and women’s teams, over a three-year period.

“UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the five-year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations,” UEFA said in a statement.

“Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles.”

Fans Globally Celebrate Soccer Legend Leo Messi At 33

Football legend Leo Messi who captains and plays for Argentina and Barcelona FC is celebrating his 33rd birthday today June 24.

His diehard fans took to social media to pay loyalty to their football idol as they commemorate his day of birth

Hash tag #GOAT, an acronym for “Greatest Of All Times” is currently trending on Twitter.

Fans also shared photos that captured moments the playmaker was being held down by his opponents just to emphasize how unstoppable he is.

Boxer, Mike Tyson reveals he smokes $40,000 weed monthly

Legendary boxer, Mike Tyson, has revealed he smokes away over $40,000 worth of weed every month.

The former world heavyweight champion in a recent podcast, exposed the high costs of running a weed farm

Tyson said he owns a 420-acre weed farm solely dedicated to growing cannabis in California where weed has been legalized.

During the podcast episode named “HotBoxing with Mike Tyson“, he disclosed the amount of cannabis he consumes with his business partner, Eben Britton a marijuana advocate. They both confessed they smoke weed worth $40,000 a month.

Super Eagles star, Osimhen wins Player of the Season award

Nigerian Super Eagles player, Victor Osimhen has been voted the best player of the season at his French club side, Lille.

The club made this announcement on their official Twitter handle on Tuesday while appreciating their fans for voting.

The striker enjoyed a successful debut season after he netted 18 goals and recorded 6 assists in 31 appearances in all competitions for his club before Covid-19 abruptly ended the season.

Osimhen wins Player of the Season

Osimhen, 21, whose father recently died was also named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Season.

Osimhen wins Player of the Season

It would be recalled that the young Eagle was also named the player of the season at his former club before his 10 million pounds summer move to Lille Metropole.

The Former Wolfsburg player is still in the race for the Marc Vivien Foe award, along with his Super Eagles teammate, Moses Simon who was also named Nantes’s player of the season.

Osimhen wins Player of the Season

Reports have it that several English, Italian and Spanish clubs are currently showing interest in the playmaker.

However, his club Lille have made it clear that they will only do business for a transfer fee in the region of 80 million pounds.

Cristiano Ronaldo becomes football’s first $1 billion footballer

Cristiano Ronaldo has officially joined the billionaire club alongside fellow sporting greats Floyd Mayweather and Tiger Woods, making him football’s first ever ten-figure player.

The 35-year-old, who was named the highest-paid footballer on the planet in 2020, according to Forbes, is also the highest-earning athlete in lockdown after making nearly £1.9 million through Instagram alone.

With a total of 429.3 million followers across all social media platforms, as well as his $65 million annual salary and bonus at current club Juventus, Ronaldo remains one of the best paid athletes in sport.

And now, according to The Sun, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward has become football’s first billionaire ahead of rival Lionel Messi, who is also expected to reach the milestone next year.

Ronaldo raked in $105 million overall for 2020, which included $45 million from Nike, Altice, Herbalife and his own CR7 brand, and made $1 million more than long-time rival Lionel Messi, who collected $32 million from endorsements and $72 million from salary/winnings.

But despite those insane numbers, CR7 was pipped to the top spot by another sporting great.

Roger Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam winner, claimed top spot in the latest Forbes list for the first time ever with a whopping $106.3 million earned.

Neymar, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Tiger Woods, Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz make up the top ten as Tyson Fury, Lewis Hamilton, Conor McGregor and Anthony Joshua also managed a place in the list.

Forbes’ top 20 highest-paid male athletes in the world for 2020 were as followed:

1. Roger Federer (Tennis) – $106.3m

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Football) – $105m

3. Lionel Messi (Football) – $104m

4. Neymar (Football) – $95.5m

5. LeBron James (Basketball) – $88.2m

6. Stephen Curry (Basketball) – $74.4m

7. Kevin Durant (Basketball) – $63.9m

8. Tiger Woods (Golf) – $62.3m

9. Kirk Cousins (American football) – $60.5m

10. Carson Wentz (American football) – $59.1m

11. Tyson Fury (Boxing) – $57m

11. Russell Westbrook (Basketball) – $57m

13. Lewis Hamilton (Racing driver) – $54m

14. Rory McIlroy (Golf) – $52m

15. Jared Goff (American football) – $49m

16. Conor McGregor (MMA) – $48m

17. James Harden (Basketball) – $47.8m

18. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Basketball) – $47.6m

19. Anthony Joshua (Boxing) – $47m

20. Deontay Wilder (Boxing) – $46.5m

Fans And Celebrities React As Mikel Obi Shares Epic Throwback Photo

Celebrities and fans of popular Nigerian football player, JohnMikel Obi have reacted to an epic throwback photo he shared on social media.

Mikel Obitook to his official Instagram page to share an epic throwback photo of himself yesterday, June 28.

Meanwhile, hundreds of fans and celebrities took to his comment section to share their thoughts on the throwback photo.

Paul Okoye of defunct Psquare music group laughed so hard and admitted he’s familiar with the face.

Mikel’s junior colleagues, Alex Iwobilaughed out loud too, Moses Simonsimply commented a heart emoji, while Omeruo doubted the throwback photo being same Mikel he knows.

A fan identified as African Dutchie said no one would ever believe that at that age, Mikel would grow up to become so great.

Instagram user, @iam_skinny_ simply asked Mikel if he has financially helped the guy who sat very close to him in the throwback photo which he cropped out.