Daily Archives: February 15, 2017

Antoine Griezmann shows doubt over move to Manchester United

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Antoine Griezmann has revealed that he doubts he will be making a move from Atletico Madrid to Manchester United in the Premier League.

The 25-year old French forward, whose performances inspired France’s entry into the Euro 2016 final, has often been linked with big-money moves to Manchester United, PSG and a host of other top European clubs this season.

However, the player himself is not sure that he would be happy leaving for another club; and that even if he does it would be more likely to be to another Spanish club, rejecting the options of other top leagues in countries such as England, France and Germany.

Griezmann also added that he enjoyed watching the Premier League, but maintained that Spain’s La Liga is more suitable for his style of play.

“I like the teams who bring intensity like in England,” he told French media outlet RMC. “Yes, I watch the English league. The referees let the game flow, the stadiums are always full. But if I have to choose one league, it is the Spanish league, because it corresponds the best with my game.”

“With Real Sociedad, I felt that I needed to leave. For the moment, I do not know where that desire came from. Who knows how the season will finish. If it finishes badly, maybe I will ask myself the question. For the moment, it is not relevant…”

“Aside from that, I am asking myself where I could go. In Spain, there is Barcelona and Real Madrid.”

“Barcelona have the three [Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez] up top. Real Madrid, that is impossible because of the club I am at [Real’s fierce Madrid rivals Atletico]. I think that between them, there is a pact [not to sell players between them].”

“Germany, the league does not attract me much. France, not for the moment.”

“And England, I have a lot of doubts about my private life. Everything like rain, bad weather… I need to feel happy outside.”

Benfica gains slim edge against Borussia Dortmund

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Benfica claimed a slim advantage against Borussia Dortmund after staving off the best attack in the Champions League for a narrow 1-0 victory in the first leg of their Round of 16 encounter.

The Portuguese club scored the only goal in the match through Greek international Kostas Mitroglou, who showed good control before flicking the ball into the Dortmund net to open the scoring in the 48th minute.

Benfica has now not conceded a goal at home for 383 minutes, while Dortmund could only manage a misfiring performance despite scoring a record 21 goals in the group stage.

However, while it was Benfica who got off to an explosive start Dortmund began to dominate possession and gradually wore their hosts down. Still, the visitors soon began to set the tone for the evening by missing a huge chance through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Bundesliga’s leading scorer, who fired over the bar after an outstanding through-ball from Ousmane Dembele in the 10th minute.

Benfica captain, Luisao, making his 500th club appearance, was kept busy at the heart of the Benfica defence, with Dembele sneaking into the box and forcing a superb save from the goalkeeper Ederson in the 23rd minute.

Aubameyang then missed another good opportunity before the break, and a rested Benfica put out pressure again after the restart. They soon got a deserving goal, with Mitroglou doing well to control a Luisao header and beating the goalkeeper Roman Buerki with a quick flick.

Aubameyang almost drew Dortmund level in the 53rd minute and then had a penalty, awarded when the ball was handled by Ljubomir Fejsa on the hour, saved by Benfica’s Brazilian goalkeeper.

Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel soon put Aubameyang out of his misery by substituting him soon after. Following another sensational save from Ederson with six minutes left, the hosts held on to celebrate victory.

The two sides will meet again in Dortmund for the second leg on the 8th of March.

Inspired Paris-Saint Germain puts four past FC Barcelona

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Paris St-Germain stunned Barcelona by four goals to nil, leaving the Spanish Champions in danger of failing to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in a decade.

“It’s not very difficult to explain,” Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said after the shocking Round-of-16 first leg. “They were better than us from the start and put us under pressure. We couldn’t get out of it. We were obviously inferior tonight.”

Indeed, PSG, eliminated by Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2013 and 2015, were the more aggressive side at the Parc des Princes, and reaped their just reward of a comfortable position before the 8 March second leg at the Camp Nou.

“It’s impossible to have a better birthday and performance,” di Maria said after what had been a memorable night for the Manchester United reject. “I’m very happy with how the team played. It was a wonderful display, fully deserved.”

The inspired Argentinian winger began the rout with a well-struck free-kick over the Barca wall. Then, five minutes before the interval, Lionel Messi, di Maria’s compatriot but on the opposing side, lost the ball in midfield and Marco Verratti slid a perfectly weighted ball to the right for Julian Draxler, who fired a low shot into the far bottom corner of the net.

Despite a comfortable lead, PSG continued in the second half with an even stronger performance and went 3-0 in the 55th minute as Di Maria danced around Andres Iniesta before curling a shot past Barca keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen from 25 yards.

Di Maria’s teammate and fellow birthday boy Edinson Cavani then completed the rout with low shot past Ter Stegen for his seventh goal in seven games in the competition this season, making him the second top scorer behind Lionel Messi’s 10 in the Champions League.

Barca continued to look for a consolation that simply would not come, with their best attempt of note being a header to the post by Samuel Umtiti eight minutes from time.

The Catalan team has not been eliminated this early in the last 16 since losing to Liverpool in the 2006‑07 season, but they could make history if they successfully mount an upheaval against the gaping deficit — no team had managed to overturn a four-goal first-leg deficit in the history of the Champions League thus far.