Monthly Archives: March 2018

Buffon: Cristiano Ronaldo is an “assassin”

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Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon has described Cristiano Ronaldo as an “assassin” in front of goal ahead the Bianconeri’s Champions League quarter-final fixture against Real Madrid.

Ronaldo, 33, has hit 21 goals in his last 11 Real Madrid appearances and he also struck a late brace to help Portugal come from behind to beat Egypt last week.

He also beat Buffon twice in Real’s 4-1 victory in last season’s Champions League final in Cardiff as the Madrid star face the veteran goalkeeper again in the first leg of the quarter-final on April 3.

Still, there could yet be hope for Juve as the Portuguese captain drew a blank in Portugal’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Netherlands on Tuesday, ending a phenomenal run of goalscoring for the forward.

Buffon, however, insisted that Ronaldo’s influence on the game is not to be underestimated and that — even as the forward approaches what was retirement age for many footballers he learns to cope by changing and improving himself.

“Over time he has learned how to improve himself as an athlete,” Buffon said. “As a player, he spends less energy with respect to what he did previously. I admire him a lot because he is a pragmatic person, lucid in everything he does and what he says.”

“I think that in recent years he has shown that he is very intelligent, because he has changed his way of playing. He is also lethal, everything he does is at 100 percent and in front of the goal he is an assassin.”

Juventus will face Real Madrid on Tuesday at home in Turin, but would first have to host Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan team as they try to keep their distance away from Napoli’s tight challenge at the top of the Serie A table.

PSG denies plans to hire Unai Emery’s successor

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Paris Saint-Germain has rejected claims the club is ready to sack their head coach, who has come under fire after suffering Champions League elimination.

According to club sporting director Antero Henrique, Unai Emery remains the coach of Paris Saint-Germain and the Ligue 1 leaders are not talking to potential successors to the Spaniard.

While PSG is taking their first steps towards a domestic treble in Saturday’s Coupe de la Ligue final against Monaco on Saturday, rumours about Emery’s future beyond the end of the season have intensified since his team was knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid.

There are also players in the Ligue 1 club who expects Emery’s departure, including right-back Thomas Meunier, who has played a bit-part role this season under Emery, said during international duty with Belgium he expects PSG to have a new coach for next season, while Angel Di Maria predicted “big changes” at the club.

Henrique, however, remains staunch that any reports claiming that PSG are talking to Emery’s potential successors are not accurate.

“Every day we are confronted with information about the PSG coach,” Henrique said.

“To be clear: the coach of Paris Saint-Germain is Unai Emery, he has a contract with the club and this is not the time to talk about this subject. We are in an important phase of the season, we have a lot of work to do to reach our goals and we need to be focused and engaged.”

“No coach can say that he has spoken with us or is engaged with us for the future. All supporters of Paris Saint-Germain must know that only the club is authorised to communicate official information.”

West Ham United to increase security ahead of Southampton game

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There will be police standing guard at the London Stadium for West Ham’s game on Saturday and more stewards as the club attempts to prevent the disorder that marred the previous game there.

Details of the additional security measures for Southampton’s visit were released on Thursday and will cost around £60,000, but the fee will be covered by the taxpayer under the deal agreed with West Ham before they moved to the stadium in 2016.

The stewards will be in the stands and at pitch-side following a series of pitch invasions during West Ham’s home defeat by Burnley this month.

Additionally, free flow around the stadium will be reduced in response to events at that game, which included supporters gathering below the directors’ box to protest and, in some cases, throwing missiles.

The Hammers has also announced their intentions to place a security barrier near the directors’ box to stop fans from getting too close, after David Sullivan was struck on his glasses by a coin and he and his co-owner David Gold left their seats early for their own safety.

The security plan reinforcements were agreed by the Safety Advisory Group, which features West Ham, the Metropolitan police, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the stadium operators, LS185.

Almost 20 West Ham fans have been issued with lifetime bans for invading the pitch or throwing missiles during the match against Burnley.

West Ham United captain Mark Noble has also appealed to supporters for unity on Saturday at a game of paramount importance in the battle to stay in the Premier League. West Ham are one place, and three points, above the relegation zone and Southampton are the team immediately below them.

David De Gea: Man United keeper says he feels loved at club

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David De Gea has said that he feels his heroics for Manchester United have earned him a respect that he does not feel in Spain.

The Spanish International goalkeeper continues to put on starring displays for Jose Mourinho’s side frequently as they look to secure the runner-up spot in the Premier League.

De Gea, 27, has always been understood to be heavily pursued by Real Madrid in recent years after he came close to making the switch to back to his homeland in 2015, only for the deal to break down due to a delay in the paperwork.

Despite the setback, he is still high on the European champions’ wanted list and they are hoping the Red Devils’ elimination from the Champions League could help persuade him to finally return to the Spanish capital.

Despite Madrid’s continued interest and his status as La Roja’s first choice between the posts, De Gea feels he gets a lot more love in his current country of residence.

“In England I have a great affection and respect that I do not notice so much here (in Spain),” he said, but added: “every time I come to the national team I feel fondness inside, and it is the most important thing.”

De Gea has made 30 appearances for United in the Premier League this season, keeping 15 clean sheets from those games with another four in six Champions League games.

He is currently tied to the Old Trafford club until 2019, but has an option to extend it for another year.