Category Archives: News

Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes dream debut at LA Galaxy with brace and winner

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his LA Galaxy debut with a match-winning cameo as the Swede helped his side recover from 3-0 down to beat new boys Los Angeles FC by 4-3.

LAFC’s Carlos Vela scored twice in the first 30 minutes — with a sublime curling shot for his first, and Galaxy were 3-0 just after half-time when Daniel Steres deflected the ball past his own keeper.

Things looked bleak for LA Galaxy; even with Sebastian Lletget pulled one back for Galaxy in the 61st minute it appeared it would be little more than a consolation goal.

However, Ibrahimovic, 36, who just flown in on from Europe on Thursday night ahead of his debut, got the last say as he stole the show after he came on with 20 minutes left and scored a remarkable equaliser from 35 yards before heading in a stoppage-time winner.

He first contributed by helping in the build-up to his team’s second as his cross was deflected and eventually fell to Emmanuel Boateng, who set-up Chris Pontius’s powerful header.

The former Manchester United man then preserved his record of scoring on debuts in the 77th-minute, with the ball dropping to him around 40 yards out he ripped a dipping shot over Tyler Miller in the LAFC goal, although his ensuing celebration was slightly marred when he was booked for tearing off his shirt.

His winner then came in injury time when Ashley Cole crossed a perfect ball into the six-yard area for Ibrahimovic to head home.

“I heard the crowd saying ‘We want Zlatan, we want Zlatan,’” Ibrahimovic said cheerfully after the game. “So I gave them Zlatan. They were pushing me, and I was giving back.”

“My history when I come to a new team, I always score in the first game — I didn’t want to let it down this time.”

US football chief: rest of the world will follow youth heading ban

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A US football chief believes that the rest of the world will eventually catch up with the United States’ pioneering ban on heading in youth football.

Kevin Payne, the chief executive of US Club Soccer and principally involved in youth football, was involved in the discussions which led to the restrictions back in 2015.

“While there is not a lot of direct evidence or research which draws a straight-line correlation between heading a ball at young ages and potential issues later in life we think it is a logical assumption as younger children’s technique will not be as good and their brains are not as fully developed,” Payne said.

“Until such time as that research has been completed and there are conclusions to be drawn we thought it was much safer to err on the side of caution.”

Part of the issue is that no one really knows what are the consequences of heading a ball at this young age,” he added. “Until we do know the answer the only responsible course of action is to do everything possible to minimise the chance of it creating problems.There were some individuals who were not happy about it and I am sure there are still, the old guard who think it is silly not to allow heading.”

In the meantime, a major study into the long-term effects of heading and potential links to dementia and brain damage commissioned by the Football Association and PFA began two months ago, although initial findings are not expected for at least three years.

Pep Guardiola: Man City needs decade of dominance to catch up to Barca

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Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City have to dominate for at least a decade to be considered at the level of FC Barcelona.

City host Basel in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg holding a 4-0 advantage, but despite their dominating performance throughout this season Guardiola is adamant they remain below the quality of FC Barcelona

“They have won a lot in the past. We are new — we’ve won one title [the League Cup] but it is not a [fair] comparison,” Guardiola said. “It is not good for us comparing [ourselves] with that Barcelona team.”

“That team dominated the last decade, 15 to 20 years with different managers, different players. We have just won the first title. To join this kind of team you have to be there a long time.”

Guardiola also said Martin Glenn did not understand what the yellow ribbon he wears represents when the Football Association chief executive compared it with the swastika and ISIS.

Glenn has since apologised and Guardiola said: “My first impression when I heard that was he didn’t understand exactly what the yellow ribbon means. He made a comment that was far away from what it means. Maybe now he will realise. It’s not about independence or no independence.”

“It’s about four people who are in jail [in Catalonia] when they didn’t do absolutely anything to be in jail for. I think with his comments he didn’t understand the reality of what happened right now with the situation but I’m pretty sure now he will know it.”

Having accepted an FA charge of “wearing a political message”, Guardiola added that he will stop wearing the ribbon.

“At the end there are rules,” the former Barca and Bayern Munich coach said. “They [FA] have them and they apply them, I accept the decision because I have to. I accept them but it doesn’t mean I agree with the decision. But I am here, I am working here and there are rules and I accept them.”

Samir Nasri handed six-month ban for doping violation

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Former France international Samir Nasri has been banned from football for six months for an anti-doping violation dating from 2016.

UEFA says Nasri has been found guilty of using a “prohibited method” in violation of the World Anti-Doping Code as well as UEFA’s own anti-doping regulations.

The European football’s governing body, which opened disciplinary proceedings against the Frenchman on March 6 last year, said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon: “The player Samir Nasri has been found guilty for using a prohibited method in accordance with sub-section M2, par. 2 of the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) prohibited list.

“In this context, the CEDB (control, ethics and disciplinary body) has decided to suspend Samir Nasri for six months for violation of the World Anti-doping Code and the Uefa anti-doping regulations.

“This decision was taken on 22 February and is open to appeal.”

A Los Angeles clinic, Drip Doctors, posted a photo of Nasri on its Facebook and Twitter accounts in December 2016, saying it provided him with a drip “to help keep him hydrated and in top health during his busy soccer season.”

He was playing at Spanish team Sevilla at the time, on loan from Manchester City, when he received 500 millilitres of hydration in the form of sterile water containing micronutrient components on December 26, 2016, while on holiday.

Wada rules state there is a 50 millilitre infusion limit per six-hour period for active athletes. A request by Sevilla for a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for Nasri was refused in February 2017 by UEFA, whose decision was later upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Nasri is currently without a club after recently having his contract terminated at Antalyaspor in Turkey.