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LATEST SOCCER TIT-BITS

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By William ‘Bantu’ Irubor

Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are the best full-backs in the Premier League, according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

The England duo have been in excellent form for Spurs this season, helping Pochettino’s side lose just twice in 22 league matches this season.

Playing as both conventional full-backs and wing-backs in a 3-4-2-1 formation, Rose and Walker have been instrumental in Spurs’ success and Guardiola believes they are the best in the business.

“They both are the best full-backs in the league,” he said after Spurs fought back from 2-0 down to draw with Manchester City on Saturday.

“English people should be happy to have these guys, they are top. We always think about their game and what we can do.”

Mistakes from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saw Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne fire City into a 2-0 lead at the Etihad on Saturday evening.

The Frenchman cleared the ball into Sane to leave him a simple finish before dropping a cross, allowing De Bruyne to double the home side’s lead.

However, Dele Alli headed in to give them hope and Son Heung-min completed the comeback in the 77th minute on the break.

Walker and Rose have now created 56 chances between them this season at an average of nearly two per every league game, which you can say is quite an impressive feat for centre backs.

Gary Cahill said Chelsea players were delighted to welcome Diego Costa back into the side after “tiring” talk about his future at the club.

Costa missed the 3-0 win over Leicester City last weekend with a back injury amid intense speculation about his unhappiness and interest from the Chinese Super League.

However, the Spanish striker marked his return to the side in the best possible way, opening the scoring in the Blues’ 2-0 home win over Hull City on Sunday evening.

“There has been a lot of talk, if he misses one game you are hearing about all the different stories. It gets a bit tiring and the best way to respond is to get a goal.

Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton has paid tribute to Wayne Rooney after he broke his 40-year-old scoring record on Saturday.

Rooney scored an injury-time free-kick to equalise against Stoke City at the weekend and, with that effort, he brought up 250 goals for the club in all competitions.

It saw him move one ahead of Sir Bobby Charlton and to the top of the all-time scoring charts at Man United as he now stands alone at club and country level as leading scorer.

Charlton, who was part of the famous Busby Babes side and who won the club’s first European Cup in 1968, has hailed the achievement by Rooney, especially due to how long it took for someone to break his 249-goal record.

“It’s over 40 years since I scored the last of my 249 goals for Manchester United, so I must admit that I have become used to the honour of being the club’s all-time top goalscorer!”
Charlton went on to say Old Trafford has had some incredible strikers and they have scored a lot of goals, but it has been fairly obvious for a while now that Wayne Rooney was going to be the one likeliest to break his record, and now that day has come, he would be lying to say that he’s not disappointed to have lost the record. However, he can honestly say that he’s delighted for Wayne Rooney who deserves his place in the history books.

In his words, “I was 35 when I retired. Wayne is only 31 and still going strong, so I don’t think he’s done by a long stretch yet. He continues to show that he can contribute goals, assists and performances whenever called upon, he will raise the bar even further before he calls it a day. Now he’s the man to beat, and I can’t see anybody doing that for a long, long time.”

Antoine Griezmann‘s brother has once again excited Manchester United fans by tweeting in support of the club following Memphis Depay‘s departure to Lyon.

The Dutchman completed a £16 million move to the French club last week after falling out of favour under Jose Mourinho following 18 difficult months at United.

Memphis was delighted to complete his transfer to the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, but Theo Griezmann, the younger brother of Atletico Madrid striker Antoine, taunted him on Twitter.

Alongside a picture of Memphis in Lyon’s home ground he posted: “Sorry Memphis I think Old Trafford is better!”

Although the post is to do with Memphis and not his older brother, United fans latched onto it, considering it another hint that the Atleti forward could be on his way to United in the summer.

United are reportedly prepared to break the world transfer record for the second year in a row and pay more than £100 million for Griezmann this summer.

Mourinho has identified Griezmann as his top target and has let the player’s agent and Atletico aware of their interest.

Christian Maldini, son of AC Milan icon Paolo, has signed for Serie D side Pro Sesto.

The 20-year-old is the third member of his legendary family to play as a defender, following his grandfather, four-time Serie A champion Cesare.

Paolo then continued the legacy of his father by enjoying a 24-year playing career which spanned 902 club appearances, plus 126 more for the Italian national team.

Last week, the 48-year-old celebrated the 32nd anniversary of his Milan debut, which sparked a career that included seven Serie A titles.
This summer, Paolo’s son stated his intention to one day “play in the World Cup, and maybe for the Rossoneri,” as he left the Milan academy to gain regular first-team football.

Christian joined Reggiana, but was immediately loaned out to Maltese club Hamrun Spartans on a loan deal, playing in five league games.

However, that stint has now been cut short by Pro Sesto, who are in fifth position in the fourth tier of Italian football.

Yaya Touré has claimed that a money-spinning move to China would only leave him feeling “angry” after questioning why players who can still compete at the highest level would sacrifice pedigree football for a lucrative payday.

Oscar turned his back on the Premier League last month to join Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG from Chelsea for £60 million, despite the Brazilian being only 25 and with his best days arguably ahead of him.

Touré, 33, was offered £430,000 a week this month to join a Chinese Super League club but the Manchester City midfielder said he shared the same determination as another ageing superstar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to play at the top for as long as possible.

Ibrahimovic, 35, is the third highest scorer in the Premier League this season with 14 goals and, like Touré, the Manchester United striker has also shunned eye-watering offers to move to China. Touré is out of contract at City in the summer, but while he hopes to earn a 12-month contract extension to his £220,000-a-week deal, the Ivorian wants to remain in the Premier League in the event that Pep Guardiola releases him.

Asked about the prospect of moving to China, Touré said: “Me? No. I’m still looking young, right? I want to play in Europe, especially in England. I want to continue doing that for a few years yet. I always say that if I went to China I would end up feeling angry there. Do you play football because you love football or do you play because you want to make money? Me, I just want to play football because I enjoy it. I love playing. I enjoy helping my team-mates, I enjoy playing against the big players and teams.

Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has revealed how he turned down offers from Premier League clubs over the summer.

The France international made over 150 appearances during his time with Lyon and as a result of his fine performances there were plenty of clubs queuing up for his signature over the summer.

Chelsea were heavily linked with a move for Umtiti, but it was Barcelona who managed to get there first after snapping up the 23-year-old centre-back for a reported €25 million fee.

Umtiti has settled in well to life at the Nou Camp – the defender has had his fair share of injuries as well – and has now revealed how he opted to join Barcelona despite having the chance to earn more money elsewhere

It was always a dream for me to play here [at Barcelona],” Umtiti said

“I must be the happiest man in the world. There was another club other than Barca, there were English clubs too.

“I could have earned a lot more money, but I wasn’t interested. For me, it was Barcelona and not another team.”

 

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