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Juventus signs Cristiano Ronaldo in a four-year deal

By Sports Desk,

Juventus and Real Madrid have agreed terms that will see Portugal’s all-time highest goalscorer move to Turin in a deal worth a reported £105 million.

After scoring a record 450 goals in 438 games, Cristiano Ronaldo  is finally ending is nine-year stay with Real Madrid after agreeing to join Italian champions, Juventus.

Speculation had been mounting for weeks about the future of Ronaldo – who won four Champions League titles with Real – and the move, believed to be worth up to £105m, will be seen as a big step forward for Italian football.

Andrea Agnelli, the Juve chairman, was at Ronaldo’s hotel in Greece on Tuesday as discussions over the move advanced, Ronaldo’s agent – Jorge Mendes – was believed to be simultaneously meeting with Real Madrid.

Madrid made clear in their announcement that the transfer was driven primarily by the player’s desires.

The official 192-word statement from Real Madrid said read: “Real Madrid C. F. communicates that, according to the will and request expressed by the player Cristiano Ronaldo, we have agreed to transfer him to Juventus F. C.

“Today Real Madrid wants to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world and who has marked one of the most brilliant times in the history of our club and world football.

“Beyond the conquered titles, the trophies and the triumphs achieved in the playing fields during these nine years, Cristiano Ronaldo has been an example of dedication, work, responsibility, talent and improvement.

“He has also become the top scorer in the history of Real Madrid with 451 goals in 438 games. In total, [Ronaldo won] 16 titles, including 4 European Cups, three of them consecutively and four in the last five seasons. On an individual basis, in the Real Madrid jersey he has won four Ballon d’Ors, two (Fifa’s) The Best, and three Gold Boots, among many other awards.

“For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of the great symbols and a unique inspiration for the next generations.

“Real Madrid will always be your home.”

Ronaldo will hope he can help Juventus win their first Champions League crown since 1996, an achievement that would add to his personal haul of five Champions League titles.

Wenger to step down as Arsenal manager

By SportDesk,

Arsenal has confirmed that manager Arsene Wenger would be leaving his role as the team manager at the end of current season.

Wenger, 68, announced that he would leave a year before his existing contract was due to expire having led the club to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups during a 22-year reign.

In a statement released Arsenal’s website Wenger said, “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.”

“I managed the club with full commitment and integrity,” the statement continued. “I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special.

“I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.”

Wenger was appointed as Arsenal manager in 1996 and has won three Premier League titles and a record seven FA Cups during his time in charge of the club. A European trophy has always eluded him but Arsenal are in the semi-finals of the Europa League, where they face Atletico Madrid.

The Frenchman joined Arsenal after a spell with Grampus Eight in Japan and set about revolutionising Arsenal, and English football, with new coaching and preparatory approaches, allied with a highly successful scouting and recruitment strategy, which propelled Arsenal to the double in 1997-98.

Two more league titles followed, including one unbeaten in 2003-04, but a lean decade following the move to Emirates Stadium left fans frustrated. Three FA Cups in four years between 2014 and 2017 helped to stave off some criticism but underperformance in the Premier League saw his authority come into question.

Arsenal’s Chief executive, Ivan Gazidis spoke last season about poor performances being a “catalyst for change” and Arsenal began their succession planning by bringing in head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and head of football relations Raul Sanllehi earlier this year.

But the club have not yet announced a decision on a successor for Wenger, with a statement on the official Arsenal website saying:

“Arsène will lead the team to the end of the season and we will make an appointment as soon as possible. The club will not be making any further comment on the selection process until an appointment is made.”

In response to Wenger’s decision to stand down, owner Stan Kroenke said: “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.
“Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. “

“Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record,” Kroenke added. “He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.

“We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game.

“We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.”

Wenger himself said on Thursday that former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira “has the potential” to succeed him as manager.

CAF Player of the Year wants top coaches for Nigeria

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Newly crowned CAF Female Footballer of the year, Asisat Oshoala, says the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, must hire a top professional coach for the Super Falcons in order to challenge with other great teams in world football.

The former Arsenal and Liverpool star, who currently plies her trade with Chinese side, Dalian Quanjian, has enjoyed a great height for both club and country.

Having won the golden ball and the golden boot at the 2014 Under 20 Women’s World Cup as Nigeria finished runners-up, and an African Cup of Nations winner’s medal the same year, Oshoala has started to eye international glory.

She revealed that for the Super Falcons to reach the highest peak of football like other countries such as Germany, Japan, USA and South Korea, the NFF must hire a very good coach.

“We don’t want to be sharing with the men’s team anymore and waiting for the funds to be able to do things,” she said.

“We need our own committees that can run things for the women. We also need top professional coaches. Football is getting harder. There are a lot of teams out there that are getting better every year. We need to do everything within our reach to move forward, keep people in Africa and make us strong enough to compete on a world stage.”

NFF demands improvement from match commissioners

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

The Nigeria Football Federation has called on match commissioners of the elite division of the domestic game to improve their capacity and delivery in order to help attract corporate interest and support.

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, made this point in Abuja on Tuesday, January 9, at the opening ceremony of a three-day seminar for match commissioners of the Nigeria Professional Football League, Nigeria National League, Nigeria Women Football League and Nigeria Nationwide League One.

Speaking on Pinnick’s behalf, NFF second Vice President/LMC Chairman Shehu Dikko, who is also member of the CAF Inter-Clubs and Club Licensing Committee and member of the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee, announced that the days of match commissioners in football could be numbered if they do not up their game.

He said: “These days, even at higher levels, match coordinators are gaining relevance and their reports are being taken more serious. It is left for match commissioners to up their game, improve their capacity and regain their high relevance.

“You must enhance yourself in every way possible, so that your reports can become more robust and engaging, and guide administrators to take the right decisions. You have been doing a lot of work but you need to move at a faster pace now.”

Chairman of the NFF Match Commissioners Appointment Committee, Alhaji Babagana Kalli, in his speech, commended the participants for service to Nigerian Football, while warning that the Federation’s eagle eyes would become much sharper to fish out match officials who are in the habit of delegating functions.

“It is important that we not only maintain the standards of previous years, but also improve on them. This is the reason why we have put together a panel of experts in their different fields of professional endeavour to shed light on different aspects of match commissioning in order for us to further improve our acts for the upliftment of the Nigerian game.”

Tornadoes fire coach ahead new NPFL season

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

The newly-inaugurated management committee of Nigeria Professional Football League side, Niger Tornadoes FC of Minna, has recently disbanded the technical crew of the team ahead of the upcoming league season.

A source close to the team who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on condition of anonymity, revealed that any of the sacked members of the technical crew could reapply for their previous positions.

“The management committee which was inaugurated on Thursday to pilot the affairs of the club commenced its official functions by inspecting the ongoing renovation work at the Late Bako Kontagora Stadium, Minna.

“Later in the day, the committee announced the sack of the technical crew of the club after an evening training session.

“The coaches in both the senior and feeder teams were, however, told that they could reapply for their jobs, if they so wished,’’ the source revealed.

According to NAN, The Technical Adviser of the team, Abubakar Bala, confirmed his sack.

“Alhamdulilah, Alhamdulilah, Alhamdulilah. I have just been sacked from my position of Technical Adviser to Niger Tornadoes. I’m indeed grateful to God for the opportunity, blessings and successes,’’ he said.

Bala who led the team to the final of the 2017 Aiteo Federation Cup, where they lost on penalties to Akwa United, took charge of the club in 2016, following the sack of Abdullahi Biffo.

Eagles Defender, Ebuehi, on Norwich’s radar

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

As the January transfer window officially opens, Super Eagles right back, Tyronne Ebuehi, has been linked with a move to English Football League, Championship side, Norwich City, as manager, Daniel Farke, hopes to strengthen his team’s right-back position for the ongoing season.

The Nigeria international comes off contract with the Dutch league side, ADO Den Haag, on June 30, 2018, implying he can start discussing with clubs now even without the approval of his current club.

Meanwhile, Ebuehi has a contract extension on the table from ADO Den Haag but has yet to commit his future to the club.

In the mean time, English journalist, Aaron Sayer, revealed on twitter that Ebuehi was sighted in a hotel in Norwich, apparently negotiating with the Canaries representative.

In confirmation of Sayer’s speculation, highly respected Dutch Journalist, Jim van der Deijl, revealed Norwich’s interest in Ebuehi on his twitter handle, stating that the Championship side have contacted the defender over the possibility of a move.

The 22-year-old Netherlands-born defender has played 71 games for the Hague based club, scoring one goal and providing three assists.

He is in, however, in possession of a European Union passport and is free to represent an English club despite having only two caps for the Nigerian national team.

Manchester United eye move for Madrid star, Ronaldo

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

As the January transfer window opens in few day, English Premier League powerhouse, Manchester United, have been put on alert by claims that Cristiano Ronaldo wants to quit Real Madrid.

The former Old ­Trafford star has ­reportedly fallen out with Madrid president, Florentino Perez, and has asked the Spanish giants to slash his 900 million Pounds buy-out clause to 90 million Pounds.

The 2017 Ballon D’or ­winner also wants to send his seven-year-old son, ­Cristiano Jnr, to a private school in ­England, and secretly ­visited several of the top fee-­paying schools when he was in the United Kingdom in November.

A source close to the player said: “He’s also looked at possible homes in Leatherhead in Surrey and even a flat in central London.

It’s obviously something that he’s very seriously considering, but he’s yet to sign on the dotted line yet anywhere.”

The Portugal forward left United for Madrid in 2009, but a return to Manchester may be on the rise as his relationship with Perez has hit the rocks.

Ronaldo, who signed a five-year deal worth 850,000 Pounds a week in 2016, is said to be unhappy over broken promises regarding a pay rise that would give him parity with his 1 million Pounds-a-week Barcelona rival, Lionel Messi.

The Portuguese is also furious that Madrid are trying to lure Neymar away from Paris St-Germain in a world-record deal that would make the Brazilian football’s highest-paid player.

According to Mirror.co.uk, the former Sporting Lisbon forward has debunked claims that his age is having an effect on him. He stated: “There are many young players who have injuries because they do not take care of their body. I am 32 years old and I feel good.

“I’m very motivated and I feel powerful. I still have a lot of passion for football. I love it and I feel able to get more and more year after year.

“I had one of my best seasons last year. I got five team trophies, so 2017 was my best year. That’s why I say that age does not really matter.”

Fans racial abuse Eagles midfielder, Agbo, after red card

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Nigeria international, Uche Agbo, got into the record of racially abused footballers after he received the first red card of his Standard Liege career in the 42nd minute of his team’s 2-1 loss to Kortrijk in the Belgian First Division A recently.

Referee, Nathan Verboomen, first booked him in the 34th minute for a clear foul, seven minutes later he got his marching orders for an attempted tackle deemed to be reckless.

Uche was unhappy about his dismissal and refused to leave the pitch, and as a result the home fans made monkey noises at the Standard Liege star.

He responded by making an obscene hand gesture to the supporters, who threw cans of beer at him, but one of his teammates managed to convince him to enter the locker room.

Uche has been backed by Watford defender Christian Kabasele, who was racially abused by the same Kortrijk fans while also wearing the colours of Racing Genk three years ago.

The Belgium international has, however, advised that racist fans should be banned from entering the stadia in Belgium as it is the case for the European competitions.

This incident comes in the wake of FIFA’s decision to eradicate racism from football.

NFF’s General Secretary, Sanusi, honoured by Nollywood

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Magic Lens Africa Film Academy Awards, MAFAA, has presented the General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Mohammed Sanusi, with the award of Magic Lens Africa Best Sports Administrator.

While presenting the award to Sanusi at the NFF Secretariat, Abuja, consultant to the academy, Mr Chinedu Onyekuru, said the academy deemed the football administrator worthy of the honour.

He stated, “not only because he is a prominent Nigerian who is a good friend of Nigerian actors, but also as a result of his readiness to support Nollywood at all times.”

Chairman/CEO of Magic Lens, Mr Charles Awurum, disclosed that the NFF chief operating officer was the popular choice for the category at the awards ceremony that took place in Abuja recently, noting his prominent role in encouraging the NFF to involve Nollywood stars in its activities over the years.

An elated Sanusi thanked the academy for the award. He said, “I am honoured and delighted for being recognized by an industry that has done so much to boost the image of Nigeria in the global sphere. There is hardly any country of the world that you will go without being asked about Nigerian movies and Nollywood.”

He continued “Football has an element of entertainment, so we are connected in a way and that is why we took the decision to always involve Nollywood stars in our programmes and activities.”

He concluded by saying, “I am happy to be associated with Nollywood. They are working hard at boosting our country’s image, just like football is doing, and we will continue to work together.”

Brazil former defender, Carlos, to visit Nigeria

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Brazilian and Real Madrid’s legend, Roberto Carlos, has been confirmed for the Real Madrid Foundation Clinic in Nigeria set to launch in Abuja on  December 18, 2017.

Madrid’s Africa and Middle East manager, Inigo Vallejo,  has  also been confirmed for the event, which will also be used to unveil the activities of the foundation in 2018.

According to the project’s director, Yomi Umar, the launch would usher in great projects targeted at the youths who will be the direct beneficiaries of the foundation’s activities. Yomi further stated that Roberto Carlos and Vallejo’s presence at the launch would inspire some of the participants, who aspire to become top professional football players.

Meanwhile, the maiden edition of the football clinic is scheduled for the month of February, and would  bring together youths  from all walks to enjoy the best of coaching from top managers  and ex-footballers.