Madrid undergoes second defeat, loses game 0-1 to Villarreal

By SportDesk,

Stuttering La Liga champions Real Madrid slumped to a second defeat in three league games by losing 0-1 at home to Villarreal on Saturday.

Madrid’s hapless title defence continued on a rain swept Saturday at a sparsely attended Santiago Bernabeu.

Zinedine Zidane’s side dominated the game but succumbed to an 87th minute strike from Pablo Fornals, who chipped over goalkeeper Keylor Navas on the rebound.

This was after a lightning quick counter-attack as the visitors cleared a Real corner.

Madrid had a penalty appeal waved away in the first half when visiting defender Alvaro Gonzalez appeared to block a shot from Gareth Bale with his arm.

Cristiano Ronaldo was thwarted from close range on the stroke of halftime by a breathtaking save from Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo.

“There is no explanation for this,” Zidane said. “We did everything we could, we had plenty of chances, but the ball just didn’t go in. It’s a difficult moment for us. It’s tough for the players, they gave their best. We didn’t deserve this result.”

Madrid also drew at Celta Vigo 2-2 a week ago, and lost to Barcelona 3-0 at the Bernabeu in its last match last year. It has gone four matches without a win.

“We have endured negative results recently, but we know that we can change this situation by winning again,” Zidane said. “We have to start winning, and winning convincingly, then things will change.”

Real remain fourth in the Liga standings on 32 points and are only one point and one place above Villarreal.

They could be a stunning 19 points behind runaway leaders Barcelona if Ernesto Valverde’s side beat Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Later on Saturday, second-placed Atletico Madrid play away to Eibar while third-placed Valencia visit Deportivo La Coruna.

Spanish goes after Messi’s foundation account, sights possible tax evasion as reason

By SportDesk,

The world soccer star, Lionel Messi, may have to go another around of tax trouble if his foundation’s account undergoing Spanish tax authorities’ scrutiny did not come out pure.

However, it was reported that the tax authorities had began investigation on whether payments from FC Barcelona to Messi’s foundation were used to help the player evade taxes, Spanish daily El Mundo reported on Saturday.

One of the country’s daily, which has acquired Football Leaks documents, reported that the club gave the foundation “at least 12.7 million euros ($15.5 million) between 2010 and 2016”.

It reported that the payments from Barca represented 71.5 percent of the foundation’s revenue between 2013 and 2016.

Meanwhile, the foundation claimed on its website that it was created in 2007 with the wish that all children should have the same opportunities to make their dreams come true, and to promote equality in education and health.

It was reported that between 2010 and the official registration of the foundation in June 2013, the club reduced the corporate tax they paid on the money by 35 percent, in line with rules on donations to charities.

As reported, the payments raised suspicions of the authorities which, in January 2016, began to investigate whether the money had been “remunerative” and evaded corporate and income tax. In April 2016, tax investigators visited the Barcelona offices,  not for the first time in recent years.

After the official scrutiny began, the club stopped making the deductions from their donations and started withholding 45 per cent for taxes suggesting, the newspaper said, that the payments “were considered part of the salary” of the Argentine star.

El Mundo said that the club had urged Messi, already being investigated for a 4.1 million-euro tax fraud relating to his image rights, to “regularise the donations to his foundation”. In the image rights case, Messi and his father, Jorge, were found guilty in 2016.

El Mundo said that, by law, 70 percent of a charity’s revenue should be spent on the aims for which it was created but a report in another Spanish newspaper, ABC, found the foundation’s accounts were full of gaps but included large sums spent on external consultants, rent and refurbishing its offices or transferred to its branch in Argentina.

According to documents examined by El Mundo, a tax settlement was paid to the Spanish treasury, in theory by Messi but ultimately by Barca, which made up the amount in a complex transaction days before the player signed a new contract last November.

That contract, which runs until 2021, will pay Messi more than 100 million euros a year including salary and image rights according to information published on Friday by the European Investigation Collaborations, which includes El Mundo.

Italian begins probe over AC, Chinese investors sales deal

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

The Italian prosecutors have begun a probe into whether a deal to sell AC Milan to Chinese investors last in 2017 was inflated for money-laundering or a purely a business transaction.

It was gathered that Milan prosecutors had made move to know if the 740 million euros ($786 million) paid to Silvio Berlusconi to buy out the seven-time European champions was overvalued in a deliberate move to bring large sums of money into Italy from abroad, the newspaper said.

Although, reported claimed that it was not immediately possible to confirm the opening of the investigation with Milan prosecutors or lawyers for Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister.

However, after more than 30 years in the hands of Berlusconi, a glorious period which saw the club win 29 trophies including five European Cups, Milan were sold on April 13 last year to a group of Chinese investors led by Li Yonghong.

The consortium took 99.93 percent of the club’s shares and also bought out its debt, which stood at 220 million euros on June 30, 2016.

But the number of investors has progressively diminished in the face of difficulties in getting the funds out of China, where tougher legislation on the movement of money abroad was recently introduced.

Li was forced to set up his company in Luxembourg and obtain financial support from the US investment fund Elliott in order to push the deal through.

Elliott agreed to lend more than 300 million euros, but at interest rates of up to 11 percent and with full repayment within 18 months, according to Italian media.

Milan lavished large sums on new signings prior to this season but the Rossoneri are struggling in 11th place in Serie A, 23 points behind leaders Napoli.

Ex-internationals move to rescue Oruma

By EmmanueL Onminyi with Agency report,

Former Super Eagles stars, including Austin Eguavoen, Taribo West and Nwankwo Kanu, have agreed to take part in a charity football game to raise funds to aid their former colleague, Wilson Oruma.

Oruma has made the headlines due to recent mental disorder following his huge financial loss.

The former Golden Eaglets captain allegedly lost most of his money after he was swindled six years ago in a failed business deal, thereby leading to depression, and deterioration in health.

The Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association, Waidi Akanni, revealed that the planned Charity game to help Oruma has been proposed to hold in Lagos in February.

He said he is confident more ex-internationals will make themselves available to help one of their own.

The 41-year-old Oruma had an illustrious career playing most of his club football in France where he represented many top clubs including Lens, Marseille, and Sochaux as well as a handful of other European teams.

Aside from his successes in club football, Oruma also had it good playing for Nigeria right from the Under 17 side to the national team- the Super Eagles.

He was allegedly defrauded by a clergyman and some fake oil businessmen to the tune of N1.2 billion in December 2012; a development that has seen his life take a serious turn for the worse.

“Aside from playing the Charity match to help Oruma, we will are also intending to use the medium to share our experiences to the current players on how well to manage their finances and prepare well for life after football,” the Lagos FA boss declared.

In the mean time, the General Secretary, National Association of Nigerian Professional Footballers, Austin Popo, hinted that steps are being taken to quicken Oruma’s rehabilitation.

“We have had series of close door meetings to see how we can address the issue. I discussed with Sam Sodje who confirmed to me that he had put a call to Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission.”

Fashanu tags Nigeria, Libya clash battle against slavery

go to link By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Ahead of Nigeria’s participation at the forthcoming African Nations Championship, CHAN, former England striker, John Fashanu, has tagged the group match between Libya and Nigeria as a battle against slavery.

Libya, which has been plunged into political instability since the overthrow of the regime of dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011, will play Nigeria in the Group C fixture which comes up in Tangier, Morocco, on January 23.

Recently, the country has been involved in the enslavement of African migrants seeking to reach Europe through the Mediterranean sea.

The match against the home-based Eagles will have a political dimension as Nigerians were among the Black Africans enslaved in the country.

Nigerians in batches have continued to be repatriated from the unstable country following the intervention of the federal government.

Fashanu, slammed Libya, saying the country should be rated a terrorist country for violating the dignity of Black Africans who reside in the same continent as the North Africans.

“Nigeria match against Libya will be a bombshell. I hope we get to do well and in fact win the match against Libya,” Fashanu said.

The former Wimbledon player further suggested that the high profile encounter should be used as platform for a campaign against slavery and to expose the horrible and ridiculous things going on in the country at the moment.

Fashanu stressed: “I know our players will play three times better than they always do because everybody has been affected one way and another way. The abuse of Black African people is annoying. What we see on TV in Libya is just a little scratch of the top of the mountain. Everyday more people are being abused in Libya, and there are thousands of Nigerians going through that hellhole.”

The coach Salisu Yusuf led-team will seek to go farther than the third-place finish in their maiden appearance in the competition hosted by South Africa in 2014.

NFF inaugurates Technical and Development committee

source site By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

In a bid to improve the state of Nigerian football, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has inaugurated its newly-composed Technical and Development committee, just as the committee held its inaugural meeting at the NFF secretariat, Abuja.

NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, who represented NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, and the Executive Committee, hailed the quality of the membership, and charged them to bring their experience to play to ensure that the Nigerian national teams does not only maintain the impressive form of 2017, but go ahead to perform better internationally in year 2018.

He said: “The NFF leadership took its time to compose this very important committee, and this is evident in the calibre of people we have in this room. Your responsibility is indeed huge because the national teams must not only maintain their good showing of 2017, but must perform even better this year.

“Nigerians will not take excuses for poor showing by any of the national teams. The ball is now in your court to fashion policies and programmes that will guarantee great performances by our teams internationally.”

Chairman of the committee, Yusuf Ahmed, thanked the NFF for the opportunity given to the members to serve, and assured that with the pedigree of persons in the panel, he has no doubt that the national teams are headed for even better days.

“I am excited that we have juggernauts in this committee; people who have seen it all and have much to contribute to the development of Nigerian football. On behalf of the committee, I make bold to say that we will work assiduously and energetically, and bring our experience to bear in steering the national teams to higher glory.”

Kwara United declares readiness for league opener despite accident

help my homework is too hard By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Kwara United’s goalkeeper, Chidiebere Eze, has confirmed that they are fine and ready for their first league game of the season against Niger Tornadoes in Ilorin, after the team was involved in an accident on Wednesday, January 10, along the Lagos/Ibadan expressway.

The Afonja Warriors took part in the Nigeria National League Super Four which ended on Tuesday, January 9, before their vehicle was involved in autocrash with players sustaining minor injuries while the team’s cameraman and welfare officer left with a head injury and fractured hand respectively.

He revealed to reporters that apart from the minor bruises they had and the mental torture of the unfortunate incident, they are in top shape for the encounter slated for the Ilorin Township stadium, Kwara state.

“I want to thank God for our lives because the accident was more than the eyes could see. We had just left Lagos and we were in high spirits of returning home to have the final preparation of our game with Niger Tornadoes before the unfortunate incident,” Eze said.

It could have been worse but we are grateful to God that he interceded in our behalf. We were involved in an accident with a trailer and the players sustained minor injuries but our cameraman and welfare officer had a head injury and hand fracture.

“The vehicle was damaged to the extent that it was another one they arranged for us that took us to Ilorin. We arrived safely and are in high spirits.

“The league tie with Tornadoes will go ahead. It was the reason we opted to return home and even though we suffered this road mishap we still believe that since we do not suffer any major fatality that the game should go ahead.

“We have returned home to prepare for the match and we are determined to start the season on a winning note so that we can dedicate it to those that are still having injuries on the account of the accident.”

Musa tips Kano Pillars for top place finish pay for dissertation quantity surveying By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Ahead of the new league season which kicks off on January 14, Kano Pillars’ coach, Ibrahim Musa, is optimistic that they have the required resources to stage a top place finish at the end of the 2017/18 Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, season.

Musa explained that the quality of players acquired and the seriousness they have shown in their preparations for the upcoming campaign is an indication that the team can achieve the target set before the team.

“I believe we are going to be aspiring for something better in the coming season than we had in the past three seasons. We have bought quality players and have had a very good pre-season where we played and won lots of games,” Musa said.

“We showed our seriousness with the way we won the pre-season tournaments in Ilorin and Kano. We fell short during the LMC Super Six but we have learnt our lessons and this will be corrected ahead of the new season.

“We are looking at finishing among the top three. We have prepared for this and we shall go all out to ensure that we achieve our target,” he said.

Musa pointed out that Pillars are going to Katsina to face the Chanji Boys with the aim of picking all three points in their first game of the season.

“We have prepared very well for the first game of the season and the subsequent ones. We are going to Katsina with the mindset of picking the maximum points,” he said.

“We will respect Katsina United and all our other opponents but we will still go about our activities with high hope that we can always get decent results at almost all the league venues.”

Juventus manager, Allegri, shows interest in Chelsea’s job

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Antonio Conte’s future at Chelsea remains uncertain despite the Italian managing to steer the Blues’ season back on track, and Juventus  boss, Massimiliano Allegri, has already agreed to replace the former Italy midfielder at Chelsea during the summer of 2018.

Despite winning the Premier League title in the 2016/17 season, Conte’s future has been in doubt over the past six months and the Italian is expected to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the current campaign.

A number of managers have been linked with a move to West London, and Chelsea are looking to bring in Allegri in the summer.

Reports claim that Allegri has agreed, to make the switch to England, but Juventus are said to be against allowing the 50-year-old to leave Turin before the end of his contract, which expires in 2020.

Allegri has won 137 of his 195 matches in charge of the Serie A giants since replacing Conte in July 2014, a period which includes three league and cup doubles. However, the UEFA Champions League continues to evade them, and the manager looks to take up the reins somewhere else.

Meanwhile, Antonio conte has played down reports that he could leave Chelsea. The former Juventus manager described the report as a disrespect.

He told Corriere dello Sport: “I think this is a lack of respect. I can accept [if you] write that the club is ready to sack me, the story with the players [being unhappy].

“I don’t care what the newspaper write about my future or the other person because this is our job.”

Ancelotti agrees to replace Wenger as Arsenal’s manager

view By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Following earlier reports of Arsenal eyeing the services of former Chelsea boss, Carlo Ancelotti, the Italian tactician has agreed a deal to replace the Frenchman as manager of the North London club.

Wenger who will still have one year remaining on his contract at the end of the season, could remain at the helms of affairs if the Gunners end up with a trophy in the ongoing 2017/18 season.

Several managers have been linked with the replacement of Wenger, including Thomas Tuchel, Eddie Howe and Sean Dyche. But reports suggest that Arsenal now have an agreement in place for Ancelotti to become their next manager in the summer of 2018.

The former Chelsea boss will sign a four-year contract with the Gunners worth 8.7 million Pounds-a-season, excluding bonuses. The report also claims that the Italian Football Federation are still trying to convince Ancelotti to reject Arsenal and become the national team’s new head coach.

Reports from Italian daily, Corriere dello Sport, suggests that Ancelotti is reportedly keen to manage in the Premier League once again and is set to move back to London in the month of February.


The former Real Madrid manager won the Premier League title and the FA Cup in his first season at Chelsea but was sacked by Roman Abramovich after finishing the subsequent campaign without a trophy.

The 58-year-old is currently unemployed after he was sacked by Bayern Munich at the end of September 2017.