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Lukaku speaks ‘against’ racist advert campaign

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Manchester United striker, Romelu Lukaku, has joined the criticism of H&M’s controversial new advertising campaign in a unique and brilliant way after the retailer sparked a racism row this week.

H&M have since apologised for advertising an image that was branded racist that showed a black boy wearing a green hoodie with the slogan ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’, across it.

The high street fashion chain were accused of a “disgusting and shameful” decision, with the advertisement since pulled from their website, but Lukaku decided to post his own version of the image onto his Instagram page that has immediately drawn praise from his followers.

Changing the slogan on the hoodie to “Black is Beautiful”, Lukaku added the message: “You’re [a] prince soon to be a king. Don’t let anybody tell you different…#blackexcellence.”

A number of his followers shared the image and praised the Belgium international for posting the “powerful message”, while others tagged the official H&M Twitter account so that they would see his post.

The hoodie remains on sale for boys aged one to 10 years, but the image is no longer being used and has instead been replaced by one of the clothing item alone.

An H&M spokesman said: “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended.”

Lukaku was not the only sportsman to wade into the debate, NBA star, LeBron James, has also slammed H&M for the advert.

He fumed on social media: “U got us all wrong! And we ain’t going for it! Straight up! Enough about y’all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied!

“We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that’s what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!”

Man City, Man United, Chelsea battle over Pellegrini

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

English Premier League heavyweights, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea are all in the race to sign Italy international, Lorenzo Pellegrini, for 21 million Pounds.

According to The Mirror, the trio are keeping tabs on the AS Roma star because of the low release clause attached to his current contract.

Pellegrini has put his name on several clubs’ transfer radar by impressing for the Serie A giants in 23 games.

The midfielder, who has been capped once by Italy’s national team, could spark yet another argument between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte with the warring managers both showing interest.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who are leading the Premier League by 15 points, are also set to join the transfer battle while Roma are hoping to offer Pellegrini a new deal to stay at the Stadio Olimpico.

Roma academy graduate, Pellegrini, earned a name for himself at Sassuolo before his current club exercised a 9 million Pounds buy-back clause.

Monchi, Roma’s director of football, is not expecting to do much business in January and will instead look to promote from within.

“I do not think we’ll have to look for solutions outside, because I think the solutions are inside the team.”

Usain Bolt set for Dortmund trial, eyes Manchester United move

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Former Jamaican sprinter and 100 metres record holder, Usain Bolt, has revealed he is set to have a trial with German football outfit, Borussia Dortmund, but says his dream is to sign for English giants, Manchester United.

The eight-time Olympic gold medalist will train with the Bundesliga side in March. But the 31-year-old, a United fan, insists he is still holding out hope of playing at Old Trafford and he revealed he could get a helping hand from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Bolt, in an interview with daily express revealed: “In March we’re going to do a trials with Dortmund and that will determine what I do with that career, which way it goes. If they say I’m good, and that I need a bit of training, I’ll do it.

“It makes me nervous. I don’t get nervous but this is different, this is football now. It’ll take time to adjust but once I play a few times I’ll get used to it. It was the same when I started track and field. I was nervous for a while until I started getting used to the crowd, people and everyone around and it falls into place.

“One of my biggest dreams is to sign for Manchester United. If Dortmund say I’m good enough, I’ll crack on and train hard. I’ve spoken to Alex Ferguson and I told him he needs to put in a good word. He told me if I get fit and ready, he will see what he can do.”

Bolt retired from athletics in August following the World Championships in London. He has yet to make a decision on his future away from the track but the Jamaican insists he believes he has “a chance” of becoming a Premier League footballer.

He added: “I watch a lot of football, I understand it, I play it. With training, I could be good. Me and [Paul] Pogba talk a lot. I watch and ask him a lot of questions. I want to play but it has to be in the top league. I’m not content to be average.

“I strive to be the best and if I get a chance to play for a team like Manchester United it will be a massive deal.”

 

Conte – Mourinho: ‘You’re a “little man!”

The existing feud between Chelsea’s manager, Antonio Conte, and Manchester United’s boss, Jose Mourinho, has escalated as the Italian labelled the Portuguese “a little man”, recently, after the former Inter Milan boss made a reference to the Chelsea manager’s previous suspension for match-fixing.

Mourinho and Conte have been involved in a war of words this week after United’s boss suggested that the Chelsea manager behaves like a ‘clown’ on the touchline.

Conte responded to Mourinho by claiming that the Portuguese was ‘senile’ and pointed out that the former Real Madrid manager also has a history of being animated whilst watching matches.

After United’s 2-0 victory over Derby on Friday, January 5, Mourinho initially sympathised with Conte during his press conference but then referenced the Italian’s ban for match-fixing during the 2012-13 season.

Conte was suspended for four months for failing to report match-fixing activities during his time at Siena in 2011, but was later cleared of wrongdoing by an Italian court.

“I think its very difficult to answer this type of comment,” Conte said after Chelsea’s 0-0 draw with Norwich City in the FA Cup.

“I think when a person the target is to offend, to insult another person, I think you’re a little man, but we all know him very well what’s in the past but he’s always the same.”

Asked if he was annoyed by Mourinho’s comments, Conte replied: “No, but this is his way, it’s not a surprise for me, when you insult or offend another person you’re a little man, and I think he’s a little man.

“Life goes on, I not worried about him. For sure, there is a good opportunity when we play against Manchester United to clarify in a room, me and him.”

 

Real Madrid set to swap Bale for Chelsea’s Hazard

By Emmanuel Onminyi wit Agency report,

Spanish giants, Real Madrid, in a bid to rescue what is left of their season, are ready to propose a swap deal to English Premier League side, Chelsea, involving Eden Hazard.

The Belgium international is a long-term target of the Spanish heavyweights, with Madrid president, Florentino Perez, and manager, Zinedine Zidane, both huge admirers of the forward.

The 26-year-old was expected to move to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2017, but the former Lille winger broke his ankle while on international duty, ending any hopes of a deal.

Meanwhile, Spanish transfer outlet, Don Balon, said the European Champions are still desperate to sign Hazard and Zidane is willing to give up Gareth Bale in a swap deal for the highly-rated attacker.

Madrid are confident an offer of Bale plus cash would convince Chelsea’s manager, Antonio Conte, to sell his player at the end of the season. Although, Bale has been tipped to quit the Spanish side in the summer of 2018.

In the mean time, Manchester United and Tottenham have place the 28-year-old Wales international on their radar, and they may launch a full request for his signature.

Red Devils’ boss, Jose Mourinho, publicly revealed his admiration for Bale, however, the Special One claimed a move would be ‘mission impossible’.

Bale has struggled to impress under Zidane in the ongoing 2017/18, with injuries plaguing his performances.

Omeruo, Aina, will not be recalled this season- Conte

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has indicated that Nigerian internationals, Kenneth Omeruo and Ola Aina, will not be recalled from their loan clubs in the January transfer window.

The Blues currently have no less than five players of Nigerian descent out on loan, with Omeruo and Aina, who are at Kasimpasa and Hull City respectively, joined by Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Ike Ugbo.

According to football.london, aside from Ugbo at Barnsley, the players have all enjoyed regular playing time at their loan clubs and Conte believes they are better left to develop their games rather than being recalled.

“I don’t think this could be realistic. The players we send on loan are playing,” said Conte in a press conference.

“I don’t see a possibility for players to come back on loan. I remember last January with [Nathan] Ake, Kenedy and [Charly] Musonda coming back to improve our squad.”

Chelsea, who are currently third on the English Premier League table, two points behinds second-placed Manchester United, will face Arsenal in a heavyweight London derby at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night, January 3.

Jesus, De Bruyne pick injuries as Palace ends Man. City’s winning streak

By Emmanuel Onminyi with agency report,

Manchester City saw its record 18-game winning run in the English Premier League ended with a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on Sunday, December 31, with the leaders dealt a further blow with injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne.

It needed a penalty save from Ederson Moraes off Luka Milivojevic in injury time to preserve City’s unbeaten run after 21 games and leave Pep Guardiola’s side 14 points clear heading into the new year.

Despite being in a commanding position with 17 games remaining, City will be concerned in particular with the injury to Jesus, who limped off in tears with a left leg injury midway through the first half after falling awkwardly.

According to Guardiola, the Brazilian forward would be out for one or two months.

However, Belgian star man, De Bruyne, was carried off on a stretcher in injury time, moments after Ederson’s penalty save, and was helped along the touchline by two members of City’s medical staff after the final whistle.

The Spanish manager also posited that the midfielder was “lucky” it was not more serious, and he failed to give more details about the injury.

Meanwhile, City failed to score in a league game for the first time this season as Palace showed no inferiority complex against one of the best sides to ever play in the Premier League.

The draw leaves City with 59 points, 14 points ahead of Chelsea who occupy the second position with one point ahead of third-placed Manchester United.

Eagles defender, Troost-Ekong, on course for CAF team of the year

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Super Eagles defender, William Troost-Ekong, is being tipped to be named in the CAF Team of the Year for 2017, if the Twitter poll conducted by the Confederation of African Football is anything to go by.

CAF asked football enthusiasts to choose their own eleven players based on their overall performances for their clubs and countries.

Troost-Ekong was shortlisted alongside Manchester United and Ivory Coast defender, Eric Bially, for best African defender (position 3) of the Year, and the Super Eagles player beat Baily to the position after claiming 71 percent of the votes on Twitter alone.

The voting for Africa’s finest Eleven will also be done via the CAF Facebook page based on a 3-4-3 tactical formation.

Since the inception of the CAF Team of the Year, Taye Taiwo and Joseph Yobo are the only Nigerian defenders named in the Team of the Year, appearing four and two times respectively.

Nigeria Under 23 international, Junior Ajayi, is also in the running to be named Africa’s best offensive midfielder in 2017.

It would be recalled that Bailly has been sideline with a serious ankle injury, and would be out of action for a long period.

Details of the votes will be made public at the Aiteo CAF Awards Gala 2017, on January 4, 2018 in Accra, Ghana.

Manchester United needs to spend more- Mourinho

Emmanuel Onminyi,

Manchester United’s manager, Jose Mourinho, has revealed that the club will need to spend more money to bolster their defence, if they need to become real title contenders

United could fall 15 points behind Premier League leaders, Manchester City, if their rivals win at Newcastle on Wednesday following a 2-2 with Burnley at Old Trafford.

Jesse Lingard came off the bench to score twice to rescue United from an embarrassment in front of the home fans, including a stoppage-time equaliser, after the visitors had opened up a 2-0 lead.

Responding to a question that such a gap might be unacceptable for a club of United’s calibre, Mourinho said, in his press conference: “One thing is a big club and another thing is a big football team. They are two different things.

“We are in the second year of trying to rebuild a football team that is not one of the best teams in the world. Manchester City buy full-backs for the price of strikers. When you speak about big football clubs, you are speaking about the history of the club.”

When it was pointed out United have spent heavily, roughly 286 million Pounds since Mourinho took charge in 2016, the Portuguese said: “OK, (but) it is not enough. The price for the big clubs is different than for the other clubs.

“The big historical clubs, they are normally punished in the market because of their history.”

Mourinho was then asked if he intended to spend big in the January transfer window, but he left the room before answering.

The Red Devils play Southampton next on December 30, 2017.

Bristol City sets up semi-final showdown with Man City after shocking victory

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Korey Smith scored an injury-time winner as Championship side Bristol City stunned holders Manchester United to reach the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.

After an even first hour, Joe Bryan’s rasping left-foot strike across goal into the top corner gave the Robins a shock lead at a packed Ashton Gate.

Their advantage lasted just eight minutes, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic making his first start since 20 April with a low free-kick past Luke Steele, before Smith struck.

Meanwhile, Smith’s turn and strike in the final minute of added time, booked a semi-final against Premier League leaders Manchester City who edged out Leicester City on penalties.

Despite fielding a side showing 10 changes, United manager Jose Mourinho had recalled Paul Pogba after a three-match ban and picked a forward line of Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

But, despite clearly tiring towards the end, City continued to throw numbers forward and were rewarded with Smith’s dramatic winner, making United the fourth Premier League side they have knocked out this season, after Watford, Stoke City, and Crystal Palace.

There were jubilant scenes at the final whistle, with much of the sell-out crowd rushing on to the pitch in celebration and taking selfies with some of the City players