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Sports / Man City Beat Bayern In Tokyo Friendly by plethora007: 3:26pm On Jul 26
Mathys Tel was on target for Bayern, who lost 4-1 on aggregate to City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season. Pep Guardiola's men ultimately went on to win that competition for the first time, beating Inter Milan 1-0 in last month's final in Istanbul to complete a historic treble.

The two European heavyweights spent most of the opening quarter of an hour sizing each other up in stifling conditions at Japan National Stadium in Tokyo. Leroy Sane danced into the City penalty area and cut back for Jamal Musiala in the 17th minute, but his attempt was blocked at the last by Nathan Ake.

Two minutes later Sane cannoned a free-kick against the bar from 25 yards out. McAtee - who spent last season on loan at Championship side Sheffield United, making 37 appearances and scoring nine times to help the club secure promotion to the Premier League - opened the scoring for City in the 21st minute.

The lively Rico Lewis broke into the Bayern penalty area and tee up Julian Alvarez, but after goalkeeper Yann Sommer saved the Argentinian's low strike at full stretch the 20-year-old McAtee tapped the rebound into the unguarded net. Thomas Tuchel sent out an entirely different XI for the second half, while City manager Guardiola opted to make eight half-time changes.

Water breaks were also enforced midway through each half in the sweltering heat in the Japanese capital. Tel levelled for Bayern with nine minutes to play, converting a rebound from close range after City goalkeeper Ederson had denied Paul Wanner. Laporte restored City's lead five minutes later, tucking home neatly after Phil Foden nudged a rebound into his path.

Next up for City is a clash with Atletico Madrid in Seoul on Sunday, before they return to England to take on Arsenal in the Community Shield. Bayern have one more game in Tokyo against J-League side Kawasaki Frontale on Saturday and then travel to Singapore to take on Liverpool.

Sports / Al Hilal To Meet Mbappe's Entourage This Week by plethora007: 3:09pm On Jul 26
It is undoubtedly the transfer saga of this summer's transfer widow. With Kylian Mbappe refusing to activate the renewal clause in his contract until 2025, Paris Saint-Germain have decided to leave him out of their pre-season tour. In order to avoid him leaving as a free agent in 2024, the club want the Bondy-born player to extend his contract or leave this summer for a transfer fee.

Al Hilal have been very active this summer, and are more than ready to try to land the French superstar. According to various media reports, the Saudi club have already sent PSG an offer of €300 million for Mbappe. But that offer is nothing compared to the salary that the Saudis would be prepared to pay for the French star.

However, Al Hilal are aware that the hardest part of the deal is convincing the player. That is why, according to Fabrizio Romano, the club intend to travel to Paris this week to open talks with the player and propose their plan.

The plan would be to offer him a one-year contract and then let him go free at the end of the 2023-2024 season.

The Italian journalist adds that PSG are convinced that the former Monaco player has already reached an agreement with Real Madrid to sign for free at the end of his contract in June 2024.

Sports / PSG Draw With Ronaldo's Al Nassr In Japan Friendly by plethora007: 9:03pm On Jul 25
Japanese fans flocked to stadiums to see Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar strut their stuff in a series of friendlies for PSG last year, but none of that trio was on show this time around. Messi has departed for Major League Soccer side Inter Miami and Neymar has been out with a knee injury since February and only just returned to full training.

Mbappe was sensationally left out of the squad on the eve of PSG's departure for Asia, with his future at the club in doubt. Carlos Soler tried an ambitious free-kick from distance in just the second minute in Osaka, but Al Nassr goalkeeper Nawaf Alaqidi was equal to the attempt. Noha Lemina broke in behind for PSG 20 minutes later but saw his effort skew wide of the near post.

The biggest reactions from the relatively modest crowd of 25,432 in the first half were reserved for a couple of Ronaldo efforts. The first saw him denied from six yards by Gianluigi Donnarumma before an acrobatic overhead kick went wide of the target - although it wouldn't have counted because he was offside.

The second half was broken up by a slew of substitutions by both sides, with Ronaldo departing after 66 minutes. Neither team was able to make a breakthrough, although PSG youngster Ilyes Housni looked lively after coming on and went close on a couple of occasions.

PSG will next play Cerezo Osaka on Friday, before travelling to Tokyo to take on Inter Milan. Al Nassr will face Inter in Osaka on Thursday.

Politics / Tinubu Reveals How Much He Will Give To 12 Million Families For Six Months by plethora007: 11:45pm On Jul 13
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu says about 12 million households will get N8,000 over a period of six months to ameliorate the hardships faced by Nigerians as a result of subsidy removal.

In a letter to the House of Representatives read by Speaker Tajudeen Abbas during plenary on Tuesday, Tinubu said it was designed to enable indigent and vulnerable Nigerian people to cope with the cost of meeting basic needs.

The letter waiting for approval of additional financing for the national social safety net programme scaled up by the National Assembly.

The President said this would have a multiplier effect on about 60 million individuals.

In order to ascertain the credibility of the process, he said digital transfers would be made directly to beneficiaries’ accounts.
Politics / Court Bars Kogi Governor, Security Agencies From Arresting Guber Candidate After by plethora007: 10:46pm On Jul 13
A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and all security agencies from arresting the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate, Alhaji Murtala Ajaka.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports that the court order was made on Thursday following a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Ajaka.

In the suit, Ajaka alleged that his life was in danger and that he had been receiving threats from the government.

The court, in its ruling, held that it found merit in Ajaka’s application and issued an order restraining the respondents from arresting, inviting, detaining, or threatening Ajaka’s life and property.

The court order came following the petition by human rights activist Chief Femi Falana, SAN, urging the Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, to demobilise “armed thugs and killer squads” operating in Kogi state.

Falana, SAN, alleged that the thugs were empowered to intimidate and unleash terror on perceived political enemies. He accused Governor Bello of using both state and non-state actors to harass Ajaka and his supporters in a bid to ensure that his cousin would emerge as his successor.

He said: “Thus, without any legal justification, our client has become a victim of unwarranted harassment, intimidation and cheap blackmail.

“For instance, while on a thank you tour of the state on the 3rd day of June 2023, our client was attacked along with his team of supporters at about 12.30 pm after visiting the palace of His Royal Highness, the Ohimege of Koton-Karfi.

“The dastardly attack took place while our client and his supporters were returning to Lokoja around the Banda Nataco Axis. Our Client’s convoy was attacked by armed gun men who were dressed in police uniform in official vehicles of the Kogi State Government.

“Life bullets were sporadically fired directly at our client with the sole intent to assassinate him. While our client was lucky, some of his supporters were seriously injured and were rushed to the hospital where they were treated for different degrees of bullet wounds.

“As a follow up to this incident, our client petitioned the Commissioner of Police in Kogi State and requested that the matter be investigated but rather than carry out an investigation of the said incident, our client is now being hunted around Abuja by the State Governor.

“He has dispatched a team of police officers to arrest our client and forcefully take him to Lokoja on trumped up charges of terrorism and treasonable felony,” Falana stated in his petition.

He urged the IGP to investigate the matter and “direct the immediate demobilization of all armed thugs and killer squads set up by the State Government to intimidate the perceived political opponents” of the governor.

The Yahaya Bello-led state government has, however, denied the allegations, saying that it does not consider the SDP candidate as a serious contender in the coming election.

“We know the contenders and the pretenders and he is not a political threat as far as Kogi State is concerned,” said the state’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kinsley Fanwo.
Politics / Tinubu’s N53 Per Day Palliative, Avenue To Divert Public Funds, Buy Votes — Atik by plethora007: 10:34pm On Jul 13
Phrank Shaibu, the Special Assistant on Public Communications to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has described President Bola Tinubu’s plan to hand out N8,000 to 12 million households for six months as a brazen attempt to divert public funds.

Shaibu, in a statement on Thursday, noted that Tinubu’s plan to spend $800m on palliatives under an opaque arrangement was reminiscent of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s conditional cash transfer and COVID-19 intervention initiative which saw politicians keeping food items and provisions in their homes while the poor went hungry.

He said Buhari’s interventionist programmes only ended up making Nigerians poorer as shown in reports released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Atiku’s aide stated, “After announcing the removal of petrol subsidy without proper planning, Tinubu has asked for the approval of $800m loan which he claims will be disbursed to 12 million households for six months at N8,000 for each household per month. This is a continuation of the scam of the All Progressives Congress.

“According to statistics, a Nigerian household as at 2019 counted on an average of 5.06 members. So, with Tinubu’s uninspiring plan, each individual in a household will get N1,600 per month or N53 per day. What should they do with it? Use the money to buy sachet (pure) water or a cup of boiled groundnut on a daily basis? And this is the man they claim transformed the economy of Lagos State? This must be a joke or a more sinister attempt to divert public funds.”

Shaibu argued that Tinubu lacked a clear economic policy apart from taxing Nigerians, adding that the former Lagos governor has been exposed as an economic illiterate.

“Tinubu boasted that he would ‘develop Nigeria’s economy’ like that of Lagos but this was all a scam. Statistics show that over 70% of Lagos revenue comes from income tax paid by private companies which had been in Lagos for decades due to its status as Nigeria’s former capital.

“His only plan is to tax Nigerians to death as he did in Lagos and that is why the people of Lagos rejected him in the last election. Tinubu promised to turn Nigeria’s economy into a $1 trillion economy but it is all a scam and can never be achieved with his brand of “agberonomics,” Atiku’s aide said.

Shaibu said Tinubu ought to have focused on putting money into the agricultural sector and subsidising production and working at attaining energy security that is the backbone of spurring desired economic growth from SMEs if he was really serious about reviving the economy.

He added, “Agriculture makes up about 30% of Nigeria’s GDP. He should have invested funds in the production aspect of agriculture and other issues affecting crop yields. The rural areas which are mostly agrarian are in the throes of insecurity. On Tinubu’s watch, over 200 people have so far been killed. However, he seems clueless on how to tackle this menace.

“The so-called palliatives that Tinubu seeks to share to the poor are just another avenue to divert public funds. For years, the Nigerian government has rejected calls to publish the list of the beneficiaries of the so-called palliatives but this has never been done because it is all a scam.

“Tinubu should stop trying to deceive Nigerians who are still suffering from the effect of his lackluster economic policies.”

Continuing, he noted that “There are also concerns that this plan is a reinvention of old tricks through which the APC uses public funds as subterfuge for vote buying.

“Let no one make any mistakes about it, the planned palliative is Trader Moni 2.0. The scheme is nothing but a means to use public funds to prosecute political campaigns and objectives. It is even more telling that the current imposter government is contemplating the initiative when there is high expectation that the presidential election tribunal is set to give judgement in the controversial election that brought Tinubu into government.

“The APC is a political party that has lost favour with a vast majority of Nigeria, and it is no coincidence that since 2019 when the party invented the charade of Trader Moni, it also incontrovertibly introduced the menace of vote buying into Nigeria’s body politic.

“A special investigation into the Trader Moni initiative by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari revealed that more than N20bn was wasted on corruption, kickbacks, fraud and partisanship,” Shaibu added.

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Politics / BREAKING: APC Reveals Stunning Details About Tinubu’s Ministerial List by plethora007: 11:42am On Jul 12
National secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Iyiola Omisore, says President Bola Tinubu’s ministerial list is not ready.

Omisore described a list of ministerial nominees making the rounds as mere speculation adding that the party was still consulting on the matter.

The APC secretary noted that it was the prerogative of President Tinubu to form a government of national unity adding that the cabinet would not be large.

The APC’s scribe also said there was the possibility of merging some ministries to meet the present realities.

He dismissed the rumour making the rounds that the ruling party was in crisis.

“Our party is cool and calm as an ocean. So far, so good, there is no single wrangling in our party,” he said.

On those jostling for cabinet positions, the APC secretary said it was the right of everyone to seek positions and advance their political career.

Omisore, however, said the prerogative to choose stops on the table of the president in line with the constitution.
Education / Video Of Police Officers Harrassing A Young Man For Refusing To Handover His Pho by plethora007: 11:21am On Jul 12
A video of some police officers harassing a young man for refusing to hand over his phone has hit the internet.

According to the post, the incident occurred on Saturday, June 18 at ojo location government, Lagos state.

In the video, the young man insisted on placing a call to his father who is a police officer but they refused as they were seen trying to hijack his phone.

The young man repeatedly called out the police officers for their harassments on him as he was seen been roughed up with four policemen holding the boy's shirt and trouser.

A voice behind the video claimed, another young man also received the same harassment from the police officers.

Although the details of the video is sketchy, some social media users took to Twitter to draw the attention of the Police PRO, Benjamin Hundeyin.

Mill: The fact that bystanders are there and they didn’t even try to intervene is disturbing.

Papi: It pains me why people keep watch from afar .. we as a citizen enabled this nonsense.

Being_A_Boy: @BenHundeyin your attention is needed sir

@abimbolasuccess: When una tire, na una go save unaselves!

I can’t imagine lots of people passing by without raising a voice!

Y’all are enablers!

Official: So bystanders couldn't even say a thing?

Nigeria cann0t be better

@iamRichyPerry: Police harassment and brutality can never stop in Nigeria. They are not being punished, decommissioned from service or face any consequences in anyway else why does this keep happening despite the media reporting and attention. Catch them on recording they get to go on a break then reassigned to a different unit, harassment continues.
Sports / Bale Opens Up On Having Ronaldo As A Madrid Teammate by plethora007: 5:42pm On Jun 30
Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo will go down in footballing history for their time together at Real Madrid. The Welshman and the Portuguese star were two thirds of BBC - alongside Karim Benzema, the trio were famed for dominating La Liga and the Champions League.

Bale and Ronaldo played together for five seasons between 2013 and 2018, and now five years later, Bale gave a rare insight into the experience of sharing a locker room with the superstar, speaking to Martin Bormeier at the BMW International Open Pro-Am golf tournament.

"He was actually okay. He had his moments. For example, if we win 5-0 and he didn't score, he comes in and throws his boots like he's angry. It's like your team winning in the Ryder Cup (team golf tournament) but you didn't get a point so you are angry", he said

"But he was a nice guy, nothing wrong, we didn't really have any problems," he added, "A lot of people could be scared of how he is but if you're not then it's fine".

Bale was asked about whether Ronaldo thanked his team for their support in his route to his individual Ballon d'Or wins, he replied initially, "I don't know... I think he did but ..", but seeing the camera he laughed and said "Yes he did".

Bale announced his retirement from football in January 2022, after spending six months with MLS team LAFC, and had some advice for Leo Messi, who is set to join Inter Miami next season, about the reduced pressure in the American league.

"They accept losing a bit more (in America). There is no consequence. You can't get relegated over there. When you lose a game you go on to the next one. They accept losing a lot better over there", he said, "They know how to lose but they celebrate every win like you have won the championship. He will definitely enjoy it."

Sports / West Ham Accept £105m From Arsenal For Rice: Reports by plethora007: 9:16am On Jun 29
After several rounds of negotiation, 'The Guardian' reports that West Ham have finally accepted Arsenal's proposal for captain Declan Rice. The Gunners submitted a third bid on Tuesday night, worth in total £105 million.

This was enough to see off rivals Man City, who had offered a £90 million take-it-or-leave-it offer for the England international, and would not be drawn into a bidding war. Now the English newspaper reports that all that's left to iron out between the two London clubs is the structure of the payment.

This however doesn't appear to be the sort of thing to cause the deal to fall through, so it looks clear that Rice will be making the move across to north London next season.

The England international will be joining Chelsea's Kai Havertz, whose first interview with the Gunners was leaked on Wednesday, and it doesn't look like these two will be the last to sign for the Premier League runners-up this summer. The club also has deals for Ajax's Jurrien Timber and Southampton's Romeo Lavia in the pipeline.

Rice's move will not only be Arsenal's most expensive ever transfer, smashing Nicolas Pepe's £72 million move, but will beat out Jack Grealish's move to Man City to make him the most expensive English player signed in the Premier League.

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Sports / OFFICIAL: Havertz Swaps Chelsea For Arsenal by plethora007: 8:46am On Jun 29
Kai Havertz has left Chelsea to join Arsenal after three seasons at Stamford Bridge, the English side announced. The German has played 139 competitive matches for the Blues, scoring 32 goals and providing 12 assists.

The 24-year-old joined Mauricio Pochettino's side from Bayer Leverkusen and is now set to begin his new spell under Mikel Arteta.

Several reports claimed that the midfielder has signed a long-term deal and will earn £210,000-a-week at the Emirates Stadium. Negotiations for his transfer were not easy as Chelsea rejected the Gunners' initial offer.

The Blues were unwilling to let the Germany international leave for less than 60 million pounds but have accepted Arsenal's second offer. They have signed Havertz for reportedly 65 million pounds plus add-ons.

The German midfielder will be part of the Spanish coach's projects and will fight to lift the Premier League or Champions League trophy, unlike what would have happened if he had stayed at Chelsea.

The Blues' farewell statement said the German will "forever have a place in Chelsea history having scored the winning goals in the 2021 Champions League final and the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup final".

It finished warmly: "The German now moves on but leaves with his name etched into Chelsea folklore. We are grateful to Kai for his efforts throughout his time at Stamford Bridge and wish him well".

The Gunners announced Havertz's arrival on Wednesday night, with a tweet announcing "Kai Havertz is a Gunner"

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Sports / Vinicius Set To Become One Of Madrid's Top Earners by plethora007: 5:16pm On Jun 27
Vinicius Jr has reportedly extended his current contract with Real Madrid for a further five seasons to secure his services, according to reports in Spain. Ancelotti's side intend to announce his renewal in the next few days.

'Cadena SER' claims that the Brazilian has reached an agreement with the Spanish board to continue playing at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium until 2028.

The same media outlet reports that his new massive deal includes a £860m buyout clause and he could become one of the top earners in Madrid's squad.

The Spanish giants want to keep their undisputed starter in attack as they are still negotiating the transfer of Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian winger has scored 23 goals and provided 19 assists in 55 appearances in the 2022/23 season.

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Sports / OFFICIAL: Ilkay Gundogan Joins Barcelona Until 2025 by plethora007: 3:39pm On Jun 26
Gundogan is Barcelona's first signing for the 2023/2024 season. The player finally decided not to accept Manchester City's renewal offer and will play in La Liga next season. The former Borussia Dortmund player has signed a contract with the 'Cules' for the next two seasons, valid until June 2025 and with the option to extend it for another year.

The player finally decided to leave Manchester City, ending a seven-season spell with the Sky Blues. In addition, the Germany international leaves the English club in style, having lifted the coveted Champions League with the Cityzens in his first year as captain, thus completing a historic treble only previously achieved in England by Manchester United.

Barcelona will thus be the fifth club Gundogan has played for in his career. The German midfielder made his professional debut at VFL Bochum before moving to Nurnberg. After three seasons with the German club he joined Borussia Dortmund, where he made his name known to the world, and after six seasons with Reus and Co. he decided to make the leap to the Premier League by joining Manchester City.

Barca have therefore landed a key player for their midfield, especially after the departure of Busquets. Ilkay Gundogan is not the best profile to play the role that the Spaniard had in Barcelona's style of play but no doubt the former Sky Blues player will bring experience and the last best years of his career alongside youngsters Pedri and Gavi.

Sports / OFFICIAL: Ceballos Renews With Madrid Until 2027 by plethora007: 1:03pm On Jun 23
Daniel Ceballos' contract with Real Madrid was due to expire at the end of June but the Spaniard has decided to renew for four more seasons, the club announced on Friday. The midfielder will play at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium until 2027.

The Spain international has played 120 competitive matches in four seasons and won 11 titles with the Spanish side. Both his renewal and his future were uncertain as the 26-year-old was unsure of his decision.

"Real Madrid C. F. and Dani Ceballos have agreed an extension to the player's contract, keeping him tied to the club until the 30th of June 2027. He has picked up 13 international caps with Spain, being crowned European champion with his country's U19 and U21 teams," they wrote on their website.

But both parties have decided that the former Real Betis player will continue playing in a Real Madrid shirt for several more years. Ceballos will have to fight for a key role in the squad as Jude Bellingham has just arrived.

Luka Modric, who is also part of Madrid's midfield, has also reportedly signed his renewal with the club. The board are trying to close all renewals as soon as possible in order to bolster their squad.

Sports / Mbappe Deserves 'a Real Winning Project' At Madrid, Says Messi by plethora007: 9:25pm On Jun 22
Kylian Mbappe has a contract with Paris Saint-Germain until 2024 but has told his club he will not extend it, and also plans to stay for one more campaign, meaning he can leave as a free agent next summer. As a result, the French side will try to sell him in the next transfer window.

The France international came close to joining Real Madrid last summer but ended up renewing his contract. The 24-year-old wants ambitious plans for his future and will look to join 'Los Blancos' after his time with Galtier's team.

His former teammate Lionel Messi, who has signed for Inter Miami, advised Mbappe to join a team with winning projects like Barcelona or Real Madrid. The alleged conversation between the two players took place before the Argentinian left PSG.

"I prefer that you go to Barcelona. But if you want to go to Madrid, do it, you deserve a real winning project," Messi said.

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Sports / Saudi Arabia Top Summer Targets by plethora007: 9:24am On Jun 21
The Saudi league wants to sign football stars after Karim Benzema's arrival at Al Ittihad. The country looks set to make a multi-million dollar outlay.

Several players like N'Golo Kante are set to follow in the footsteps of footballers like Luiz Gustavo, David Ospina and Cristiano Ronaldo.

N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)

The 32-year-old has had a difficult campaign after seven seasons at Chelsea as he has had few opportunities at the English side. Furthermore, Al Ittihad have reportedly made him an offer of 100 million euros per season for a two-year deal.

Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

'Foot Mercato' reported that a delegation from Saudi club Al-Ahli have been in London to discuss the possibility of deals with various players. One of the players on their list is City winger, Riyad Mahrez.

The 32-year-old has two years left on his contract with Man City and made 48 appearances for the club this season. He was a substitute for City in the UCL final, but did not come on.

Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

Al Ittihad have set their sights on being the stars of the next transfer window and after confirming the arrival of Karim Benzema, they will now go for Ilkay Gundogan. But the truth is that the midfielder's preference is to join Barcelona.

Jordi Alba has already become a Barcelona legend and is looking for a new destination. The left-back has three options for next season as he has two offers from two Saudi Arabian clubs and is also negotiating with Inter Miami.

Mariano Diaz (Real Madrid)

As a free agent, the Dominican forward is having offers thrown at him, left, right and centre from European teams, and others further afield. Both Al Shabab and Al Fateh are interested in him.

Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

Saudi emissaries have travelled to Paris to meet with Neymar's team and present him an offer. The Brazilian is currently under contract with PSG until 2027.

Sports / Premier League Teams For The 2023/24 Season by plethora007: 7:59am On Jun 21
Leeds United, Leicester City and Southampton were relegated to the Championship for the 2023/24 season and made way for Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton Town in the Premier League.

Vincent Kompany's side made their promotion the quickest of the Championship era in April after a 19-game unbeaten league run. Sheffield United clinched promotion back to the Premier League with a 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion at jubilant Bramall Lane.

Meanwhile, the Hatters defied the odds to reach the top-flight just nine years after they were playing in the non-league National Conference. Luton will welcome Manchester City and the rest of the top-flight elite to their modest 10,356-capacity Kenilworth Road home next term.

London remains home to seven teams in the English top league: Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Brentford, Fulham, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and West Ham United. In Manchester we can continue enjoying the derbies between giants United and City.

Up to eight English teams will play in European competitions in the 2023/24 campaign. Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle and Arsenal will play in the Champions League after reaching the top four. Brighton and Liverpool will play in the Europa League as will West Ham, who managed to lift this season's Conference League trophy.

For the moment, Aston Villa have qualified for the Conference League next campaign, playing in Europe for the first time since 2010/11. Roberto De Zerbi's side will play for the first time in their history in a European competition.

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have failed to qualify for any European competition after a poor season. The Blues finished 12th while Spurs finished eighth.

When does the Premier League 2023/24 start?
The English competition will kick off on Saturday 12th August 2023.

When does the Premier League 2023/24 end?
As for the end date, all indications are that the last day of the season will be on Sunday 19th May 2024.

Sports / Bellingham, Gavi, Garnacho On 100-player List For Golden Boy Award by plethora007: 9:28pm On Jun 20
Jamal Musiala, Jude Bellingham and Gavi lead the list of 100 nominees to win the Golden Boy award. 'Tuttosport' awards this prize every year to the best young player under 21 at a European club.

The Barcelona midfielder is the reigning winner of the award, beating Eduardo Camavinga, Jamal Musiala and Jude Bellingham last year.

Manchester United striker Alejandro Garnacho is also nominated to win this award after his superb performances for the Red Devils this campaign.

The ranking of 100 players consists of 4 goalkeepers, 32 defenders, 43 midfielders and 21 forwards from a total of 33 countries. France is the nation with the most representatives, with a total of 14 players.

Top 10 players nominated for the Golden Boy Award
1. Jamal Musiala (Germany, Bayern Munich), Golden Boy Rating: 98.3

2. Jude Bellingham (England, Real Madrid), Golden Boy Rating: 95.0

3. Gavi (Spain, Barcelona), Golden Boy Rating: 93.0

4. Antonio Silva (Portugal, Benfica), Golden Boy Rating: 91.6

5. Alejandro Balde (Spain, Barcelona), Golden Boy Rating: 87.8

6. Xavi Simons (Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven), Golden Boy Rating: 87.0

7. Florian Wirtz (Germany, Bayer Leverkusen), Golden Boy Rating: 83.7

8. Benjamin Sesko (Slovenia, Salzburg), Golden Boy Rating: 80.7

9. Devyne Rensch (Netherlands, Ajax), Golden Boy Rating: 80.6

10. Giorgio Scalvini (Italy, Atalanta), Golden Boy Rating: 80.4

Sports / OFFICIAL: Nkunku Becomes First Signing Of Chelsea Rebuild by plethora007: 11:38am On Jun 20
Nkunku had already agreed a pre-contract with the Premier League club in December and has now rubber-stamped his move to Stamford Bridge. The 25-year-old has put pen to paper on a lucrative six-year contract with the Blues, who are embarking on a close-season overhaul as they look to bounce back from a dismal campaign.

"Chelsea is delighted to announce Christopher Nkunku will join the club from RB Leipzig ahead of the 2023/24 season," a statement on the Blues' website said.

Nkunku is one of the rising stars of European football and scored 23 goals in 36 games for Leipzig last season. He is the first major signing since Mauricio Pochettino was confirmed as Chelsea's new manager at the end of May.

"I am incredibly happy to be joining Chelsea. A big effort was made to bring me to the club. I am looking forward to meeting my new coach and team-mates and showing the Chelsea supporters what I can do on the pitch," Nkunku said.

Nkunku, a graduate of the famed French national football academy at Clairefontaine, spent four years at Paris Saint Germain before moving to Leipzig in 2019.

He made his name with the German club and was voted Bundesliga player of the season in 2021-22 after scoring 20 goals and providing 15 assists in the league. The versatile forward bagged a further 23 goals this season to help Leipzig secure a third-place finish in the Bundesliga.

Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, Chelsea's co-sporting directors, said: "Christopher has proved himself one of the standout attacking players in European football over the past two seasons and will add quality, creativity and versatility to our squad."

Nkunku earned his France debut last year and has been capped 10 times. He was ruled out of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a leg injury.

"Having played in Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, I now want to play in the Premier League, one of the strongest leagues in the world. I am very excited for this challenge and will be proud to wear the Chelsea shirt," Nkunku said.

Sports / OFFICIAL: Joselu Gives Madrid Their '9' by plethora007: 2:51pm On Jun 19
Real Madrid are not holding back for next season. They are going all out to boost their squad after a series of departures this summer, including striker Karim Benzema amongst others. Already this summer the titans have announced the signings of Jude Bellingham, Brahim Diaz and Fran Garcia.

Now, Carlo Ancelotti's side have announced their fourth of the window: returning striker Joselu Mato. The forward comes back from relegated Espanyol and gives the Copa del Rey champions their fire power up front - their new '9', replacing Benzema.

Playing two seasons with Real Madrid Castilla, he scored a stunning 40 goals in 70 appearances. He didn't have the same impact when he moved to the first team, and has since collected experience playing in the Bundesliga and Premier League.

At 33 years old, there is one thing that Joselu has not yet lost: his eye for goal. The striker has been gaining experience in all his destinations and, above all, increasing his rapsheet of goals.

This season, and despite Espanyol's relegation to the Second Division, the Galician has scored a total of 17 goals. These goals have made him crowned as the top scorer between First and Second Division ahead of Borja Iglesias or Alvaro Morata.

But this has not been the only good news for Joselu. The striker was also called up for the first time in his history with the Spanish National Team. And his debut well well for him - in 3 games with 'la Roja', he has scored in all of them. Some of these were crucial, including a last gasp goal in the semifinals of the Nations League against Italy.

A dream only marred by Espanyol's relegation to the Second Division this past season. Time for a clean slate for the '9', who will have his great challenge this season in the ranks of a squad as demanding as that of Real Madrid and thus demonstrate that he is ready to repay the trust placed in him.

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Sports / Tottenham Confirm Lenglet's Return To Barcelona by plethora007: 1:58pm On Jun 16
Barca are fully focused on the 'departures operation' in order to be able to reinforce their squad. The first sale seemed to be very close to happening, as Tottenham initially wanted to sign Clement Lenglet in exchange for around 6 million euros.

Although there was a certain understanding at the beginning, the deal has collapsed. The Spurs officially announced on Thursday that the French centre-back will return to the Camp Nou at the end of his loan spell.

"We can confirm the departures of Arnaut Danjuma and Clement Lenglet following the conclusion of their loan spells with us," the English club said in an official statement. The London club also confirmed that the French defender's Dutch team-mate will join Villarreal.

'Sport' already advanced a few days ago that the big difference between clubs was that Barca were asking for 12 million euros. However, the English wanted to pay half that amount. Even so, everything pointed to the agreement being close. In the end, everything went wrong at the last minute.

Sports / "Money Was Not Important To Me; I Wanted To Come To Real Madrid" by plethora007: 1:47pm On Jun 16
Real Madrid's recent signing Jude Bellingham commented on his decision to join Real Madrid in the face of interest from other big European clubs and said that the economic issue was not "important" to him as he wanted to sign "quickly" for Real Madrid, which he described as the "biggest" club.

"It's a pleasure to be here. It's the biggest club in history, not many people get the chance to play here. I'm very grateful to those who brought me here to play for this team," the former Borussia Dortmund man began.

"Other teams? Money is not so important, I didn't think about it. I have never done it to choose the team. I spoke to Borussia Dortmund, I loved what Real Madrid gave off, I wanted it to be quick. Not that the other teams were bad, of course not, but I chose Madrid," he said.

"Ancelotti? Yes, we have spoken, I think he is an incredible coach. It's a good opportunity for me to be with one of the best in history. I'm delighted that he wants me in his team," he said of his new coach.

During the press conference, he was asked about his compatriot Harry Kane and the possibility of joining 'Los Blancos': "He's my captain and a fantastic player. Whatever happens, happens, I don't have to comment on it.

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Sports / "I Think Mbappe Will Leave PSG; Madrid Can Deal With The Operation" - La Liga Pr by plethora007: 12:03pm On Jun 16
The Mbappe transfer saga is the talk of the day and La Liga president Javier Tebas was keen to comment on the possibility of the player leaving PSG this summer to join Real Madrid.

"I hope he can come. There is a circumstance, if you ask me as a fan, I think Mbappe will leave PSG this season (summer). Why? Because in UEFA there is more economic control and the French club has a very high wage bill. They have to reduce their wages," he began by saying at La Ceramica, at the presentation of the 30th edition of La Liga Promises.

"By selling Mbappe they will get two things: a good transfer income and a significant reduction in the wage bill that will bring him closer to UEFA rules. Of those there (players), he is the biggest candidate for that to happen if PSG want to comply with the rules for once," he added.

Tebas also expressed his full conviction that Madrid can deal with this operation in economic terms. "They have the capacity to do it".

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Sports / "We Will See Mbappe At The Bernabeu Next Season At 99 Or 100 Per Cent" by plethora007: 2:28pm On Jun 15
With 15 days to go until the transfer window opens in Spain, Kylian Mbappe's name is still making headlines. The Frenchman has already made it clear to PSG that he will not extend his contract until 2025.

The Frenchman has made it clear that he will honour his contract and play at the Parc des Princes next season, but his club do not want him to leave for free and are now considering accepting a sale to get some cash for their star player.

Marco Kirdemir, the FIFA agent who once revealed that Messi would not return to Barcelona, has spoken about this. In a statement published by 'Marca', the agent of footballers and coaches also excited the 'Merengues'.

"Madrid are preparing. They are going to do their job this summer. We will see Mbappe 99% or 100% at the Bernabeu next season and we will see him at his presentation," he said. On the other hand, he referred to another player who could join Real Madrid.

"Achraf Hakimi is also crazy about coming back. What's more, he has told Mbappe to go to Madrid," he said. He added that the French player has realised that "money is not everything" and that he wants to start winning big things.

He was also asked about the possible arrival of Griezmann at PSG as a replacement for Mbappe: "The French are very nationalistic and if they don't see a Frenchman they don't like him. That's why they want Griezmann.

Finally, Luka Modric was mentioned, who has still not renewed his contract with Real Madrid, with offers from Saudi Arabia on the table: "He received an offer from Al Nassr for 40 million euros per season and he said no. Ronaldo wanted him with him".

Sports / Premier League Fixtures For The 2023/2024 Season Have Arrived! by plethora007: 1:59pm On Jun 15
The fixture list released on Thursday confirmed the Treble winners will visit Turf Moor on August 11th to raise the curtain on the 2023/24 campaign. It will be the second time Kompany, who won the title on four occasions as City skipper, will have faced his old side as a manager, with City winning 6-0 at the Etihad in the FA Cup quarter-finals in March.

Premier League debutants Luton will play their first top-flight fixture since 1992 away to Roberto De Zerbi's Brighton the following day. The most eye-catching fixture of the opening weekend will be at Stamford Bridge, where Mauricio Pochettino begins life as Chelsea manager against Liverpool on August 13th, with both sides looking to bounce back after disappointing campaigns.

Arsenal, who finished second in the Premier League, open at home to Nottingham Forest, with fellow Champions League qualifiers Newcastle hosting Aston Villa and Manchester United beginning against Wolves at Old Trafford.

Ange Postecoglou's first game in charge of Tottenham will be away to Brentford. Bournemouth host Europa Conference League winners West Ham, and Everton, looking to avoid a third straight relegation scrap, begin at home to Fulham.

City travel to the Arsenal's Emirates in early October in a meeting of last season's top two. Old Trafford will host the first Manchester derby since City matched United's Treble-winning feat of 1999 at the end of that month, with the champions meeting Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in late November.

Sports / Madrid Announce Their New Kit For 2023/2024 by plethora007: 4:11pm On Jun 14
The 2022/23 season is over and the clubs are already preparing for the 2023-24 season. Beyond transfers, Real Madrid took the opportunity to show the world their new kit.

Real Madrid announced their first kit for next season on Wednesday. "It's here and it's perfect" the 'Merengue' club wrote on their social media. Along with these words, a video of the new kit.

Madrid have opted for their usual white. On the collar and sleeves, the shirt has a navy blue stripe. The details of the elastic are in gold.

The first comments from the madridistas have not been long in coming. In general, the fans have loved the design.

The 'Merengues' new home kit is already on sale at the official Real Madrid shop. From 100 euros, it is possible to get this shirt, which will be worn by Ancelotti's team during the 2023-24 season.

Sports / Mbappe Apologised To Madrid For Decision Last Year by plethora007: 2:46pm On Jun 14
Kylian Mbappe's letter to PSG declaring he would not renew his contract until 2025 has sent everything up into the air. With this news, the Parisian club are set on selling him this summer, rather than let him walk as a free agent next summer.

This is why Real Madrid have emerged once again to potentially secure his services for next season, as they have already done previously - the attempt came in 2021, when there was also a year left on his contract, with an offer that started at €160 milion and rose to €200 million.

Ultimately, Mbappe didn't leave Paris and in January when he could already sign with another club, the rumours began to spread like wildfire. The Frenchman reportedly gave his word to Florentino Perez, but finally ended up renewing his contract with the French club.

The pressures he suffered from the club's Qatari owners and even the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, made him decide to renew until 2025, as indicated on the jersey he was presented with. However, the contract was for 2 years, with the option for a third, which he will not take next year, as he has announced.

According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, the '7' apologised to Madrid's owner, Florentino Perez, for choosing to stay at PSG rather than make the move to Madrid. A gesture of good faith that could be interpreted as a regret prior to his signing for the 'Merengues'.

Sports / OFFICIAL: Real Madrid Announce Jude Bellingham Signing by plethora007: 12:53pm On Jun 14
In an official statement, Real Madrid have announced the signing of English international, Jude Bellingham. The midfielder was signed from Borussia Dortmund, after his move there in 2020, and the German club had confirmed last week that Madrid had paid the initial €103 million to sign him.

Now, Madrid have posted a statement that reads: “Real Madrid CF and Borussia Dortmund have agreed on the transfer of the player Jude Bellingham, who will remain linked to our club for the next six seasons".


It continued, "Tomorrow, Thursday, 15 June, at 12pm at Real Madrid City, the presentation ceremony for Jude Bellingham as a new Real Madrid player will take place. After, Jude Bellingham will appear before the media.”

This means Bellingham will play with Madrid until 2029, after the €103 million move. The England star was named the Bundesliga Player of the Season recently, has has been long-linked with a move to La Liga. It is unclear which jersey he will wear, as although '7' was talked about, it has since been given to Vinicius Jr, and his preferred '22' is currently on Rudiger's back.

Bellingham's arrival continues Real Madrid's regeneration of their midfield, joining young French duo Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni, to help phase out veterans Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

"Our clubs signs one of the biggest talents in world football, a player who comes from Borussia Dortmund and arrives at Madrid after being chosen as the best player in the Bundesliga 2022-23 season," Madrid said. "On top of that, he is only 19 and is already a starter for the England national team."

Bellingham shone for Gareth Southgate's Three Lions at the World Cup last year, with England knocked out in the quarter-finals by runners-up France. The midfielder, who turns 20 later in June, signed for Dortmund from Birmingham for 25 million euros, playing 132 games for the club and lifting the German Cup in 2021.

"Thank you to everyone at BVB and to the fans for everything over the past three years," Bellingham told Dortmund's club website. "It was an honour to wear your shirt so often, in big and small moments. Even though I'm looking forward to my next destination, I'll never forget the journey there. Once a Borussian, always a Borussian."

Sports / Vinicius Jr Takes Madrid's Legendary No. 7, Rodrygo The New No. 11 by plethora007: 5:11pm On Jun 12
Several changes of shirt number are underway at Real Madrid. The return to the club of Fran Garcia, the 'Merengues' first official signing for the 2023/24 season, has shaken up the club's shirt numbers.

Numbers 7 and 11, vacant since the departures of Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio, are held by two new owners.

Vinicius Junior has taken the legendary number 7, worn in the Merengue club's glorious past by Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul, while Rodrygo has been handed the number 11.

The number 20 jersey, left vacant by Vini, now belongs to Fran Garcia, Madrid's new left-back. He was officially presented with his new shirt at the Bernabeu on Monday morning.

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Sports / Selling Valverde Does Not Cross Real Madrid's Mind by plethora007: 4:17pm On Jun 09
Real Madrid are clear that the upcoming transfer window will be a busy one, with possible arrivals and departures. Jude Bellingham's arrival is just as clear as the fact that Fede Valverde is not leaving.

'AS' reported on Thursday that the Spanish club are not even considering listening to offers for the Uruguayan midfielder. Florentino Perez considers him impossible to replace in the squad led by Carlo Ancelotti.

Fede Valverde has a contract with Real Madrid until 30th June 2027. This is a clear message regarding the possible calls from the Premier League giants, who are keeping a close eye on the '15'.

The midfielder is part of the generational change that they want to take on at the Madrid side with the arrival of Jude Bellingham and the presence of Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga, with the future of Dani Ceballos still up in the air.

Fede Valverde has scored 12 goals and provided seven assists for Real Madrid this season. This is a clear sign of the development of the player's game, who is becoming more and more involved in attacking duties.

Sports / Key Battles In The Champions League Final by plethora007: 1:42pm On Jun 09
Here 'AFP looks' at the battles which could define Saturday's final in Istanbul:

Erling Haaland v Francesco Acerbi
Monster striker Haaland gives City a whole new dimension of attacking threat and if Inter are to have any chance of stopping Pep Guardiola's team they need to stay right on top of the Norwegian.

Inter have been without former captain and star centre-back Milan Skriniar, who is off to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, for months due to a back injury and in theory there should be no match between Haaland and Acerbi.

Veteran Italy international Acerbi has been a capable replacement for Skriniar but he has not had to deal with this sort of striker, who will top the Champions League scoring charts for the second time in his career aged just 22.

The difficulty of Acerbi's task was summed up by a young fan outside Inter's training ground who gave the 35-year-old a fishing net with which to try and catch Haaland.

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Key Battles in the Champions League final
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Manchester City are heavy favourites to win their first UCL. AFP
Manchester City are heavy favourites to win their first UCL. AFP
Manchester City are heavy favourites to win their first ever Champions League as the super-rich club take on one of Europe's old guard in resurgent Inter Milan.
Man. City
Man. City

10 Jun 2023

pressbox logo HAYTERS - PRESSBOX
Here 'AFP looks' at the battles which could define Saturday's final in Istanbul:

Erling Haaland v Francesco Acerbi
Monster striker Haaland gives City a whole new dimension of attacking threat and if Inter are to have any chance of stopping Pep Guardiola's team they need to stay right on top of the Norwegian.


Inter have been without former captain and star centre-back Milan Skriniar, who is off to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, for months due to a back injury and in theory there should be no match between Haaland and Acerbi.

Veteran Italy international Acerbi has been a capable replacement for Skriniar but he has not had to deal with this sort of striker, who will top the Champions League scoring charts for the second time in his career aged just 22.

The difficulty of Acerbi's task was summed up by a young fan outside Inter's training ground who gave the 35-year-old a fishing net with which to try and catch Haaland.

Kevin De Bruyne v Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Haaland might be the killer but De Bruyne is the man who loads the bullets for City and all-action midfielder Mkhitaryan will be crucial to stopping him from running riot.

De Bruyne has set up seven goals in 11 matches since the last international break, including two in City's 4-0 destruction of Real Madrid in the second leg of their semi-final which confirmed their passage to Istanbul.

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