Daily Archives: January 13, 2017

Dimitri Payet won’t play for West Ham United – Slaven Billic

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West Ham United manager Slaven Billic says that forward Dimitri Payet no longer wants to play for the club – although the Hammers will not sell him.

It is understood that the Hammers had recently turned down a £19.1m bid for Payet from his former side Marseille.

Payet, who joined West Ham from the Ligue club for £10.7m in June 2015, had signed a new contract in February 2016 to tie him to the Hammers to the summer of 2021.

However, he held emotional talks with Bilic on Tuesday in which he conveyed to the manager of his wish to leave West Ham United and rejoin Marseille during the January transfer window, partly because of his family’s unhappiness with life in London.

The French International had also reportedly refused to train or play for the Hammers, and while West Ham is set to fine him for the indiscipline they acknowledged that such actions could further complicate the situation at hand.

Bilic felt feeling “angry” and “let down” by Payet and outlined the club’s position, which is to dig in for the rest of January, refuse to sell and hope the player can be reintegrated after the closure of the transfer window.

“We have said we don’t want to sell our best players but Payet does not want to play for us; he wants to leave,” Bilic said. “He’s definitely our best player and that’s why we gave him a long contract. We are not going to sell him. This team, the staff – we gave him everything, we were always there for him. I feel let down. I feel angry.”

“I spoke to the chairman and this is not a money issue. We gave him a long contract because we want him to stay. We aren’t going to sell him, not whatsoever. It’s not a money issue or anything. We want to keep our best players.”

West Ham are currently 13th in the Premier League, seven points above the relegation zone. They will host Crystal Palace this Saturday – with Payet excluded from the squad.

Prediction:

West Ham United 1-1 Crystal Palace

Messi contract extension hindered by La Liga spending caps

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FC Barcelona’s effort to offer star player Lionel Messi a contract extension is hindered by spending caps imposed by La Liga, says club chief executive Oscar Grau.

La Liga has budgetary limits agreement with each club at the start of every season and its regulations ensure its clubs only spend a certain proportion of their budget on wages.

For this season, Barca’s budget is €695m. They pay the highest wages in Spain and the second-highest in world football behind Manchester United.

Messi currently earns a reported €22m (£19m) a year after tax from Barça, whereas his fellow forwards, Neymar’s and Luis Suarez’s salaries are believed to be about €25m after their latest contract renewals.

“Barcelona has to analyse this situation with a cold head and common sense,” Grau said on Wednesday. “Barca can’t exceed 70% of its budget on wages and therefore we have to make the numbers add up.”

“One option is to increase our revenues, as our economic strategy forecasts. We want to have the best players around, but perhaps we have to prioritise.”

“The club wants the best player in the world to stay at Barça. I would like to ease the concerns of club members and supporters but we have to use common sense.”

Grau also said that any new deal for Barcelona’s all-time top scorer would put considerable pressure on the club’s finances. He hinted that Barcelona may need to raise funds by selling players, as well as strengthening the club’s commercial income.

The Argentinian’s contract is set to expire on 30 June 2018, leaving Barcelona with 18 months to do something until he would be able leave the club for free.

Real Madrid’s late equalizer sets 40-game unbeaten record

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Karim Benzema’s late equalizer for Real Madrid against Sevilla meant that Los Blancos has now gone unbeaten for 40 games – breaking a record previously set by FC Barcelona.

In the Thursday’s Copa Del Rey round of 16 second leg visit to Sevilla, Real were trailing 3-1 in the 77th minute, but two late goals saw them steal a 3-3 draw, and advanced to the quarter-finals by 6-3 on aggregate.

The home side had taken the lead through a Danilo own goal, before 20-year-old midfielder Marco Asensio equalised after running the length of the pitch following a Sevilla corner.

But the hosts, hoping to match Real’s first leg goal advantage, regained the lead in the 54th minute when substitute Stevan Jovetic volleyed home right-footed eight minutes after coming on.

Vicente Iborra then pounced on a loose ball to add a third for the Europa League champions.

But as is his usual MO, Sergio Ramos roused the troops dragged his team back into the contest with a dinked penalty into the middle of the goal.

With seconds remaining, Marcelo fed Benzema in the area and the Frenchman struck a right-footed shot past the Sevilla goalkeeper David Soria as Real progressed to the quarter-finals with a 6-3 aggregate win.

Real have now won 31 games and drawn 9, scoring 115 goals and conceding 39 in the process. The club has now broke the previous record for a Spanish club of 39 unbeaten games in all competitions, set last season by archrivals Barcelona.

Their last defeat was in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in April – before they went on to beat the Bundesliga club on aggregate score and win the European title eventually.

Real, four points clear of Sevilla at the top of La Liga, will face them again at the same venue on Sunday.