Friday, 24 September 2021



Sports (319)

Terry made 36 appearances for the Villans last season and captained them in their play-off final defeat to Fulham at Wembley in May.

After a promising three-game winning start to the new campaign, Villa have slipped to 12th in the Championship and already trail leaders Leeds and Middlesbrough by five points after six games.

The heat increased on 57- year-old Brucie when his side crashed to a 4-1 thumping at Sheffield United on Saturday.

 Bruce is under pressure after Villa were hammered 4-1 at Sheffield United on Saturday
Bruce is under pressure after Villa were hammered 4-1 at Sheffield United on Saturday
 Terry left Villa after their play-off defeat to Fulham on May 26
Terry left Villa after their play-off defeat to Fulham on May 26

In their previous match Bruce slammed his players after they were bundled out of the Carabao Cup by Burton Athletic.

Alarmingly, Villa have kept just one clean sheet this season – against League Two strugglers Yeovil Town.

The Villa boss reacted by letting former skipper Tommy Elphick join Hull City on loan, however he was unable to get any deadline day incoming deals over the line.

Bruce had a £7million bid for Aberdeen’s promising young Scotland defender Scott McKenna turned down at the 11th hour and also failed to land Frenchman Harold Moukoudi from Le Havre on loan.

Now with his defensive options crumbling and captain James Chester his only reliable centre-back, he is poised to launch a sensational bid to bring Terry back to Villa Park where fans took him to their hearts for his never-say-die attitude last season.

John Terry turns up for Marseille pre-season training after leaving Aston Villa


Terry was close to tears when he bid them an emotional farewell at Wembley in May.

Since then the defender has been on holiday in Portugal mulling over which direction his career should take next.

His massive profile has led to offers from China, the MLS, the Middle East, while Brendan Rodgers was rumoured to be keen to take him to Celtic.

Terry has also been courted by the media, and speculation linked with a career-changing move to Sky Sports who were supposedly lining him up as a possible successor to Thierry Henry.

However the lure of playing has always been a powerful draw for Terry who still has ambitions to become a boss in his own right.

Villa could offer the super-fit 37-year-old another opportunity to end his playing career on a high by leading them back to the Premier League before taking that route.

Posted On Tuesday, 04 September 2018 01:03 Written by

West Ham midfielder Robert Snodgrass has been called up to the Scotland squad for the games with Belgium and Albania.

The 30-year-old, who played in Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Wolves, replaces West Brom winger Matt Phillips, who picked up an injury during Saturday's 2-1 win over Stoke.

Scotland host World Cup semi-finalists Belgium at Hampden Park in a glamour friendly next Friday before entertaining Albania in their UEFA Nations League opener three days later.

Injured Matt Phillips has been forced out of the Scotland squad
Injured Matt Phillips has been forced out of the Scotland squad

Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney and Celtic defender Jack Hendry have already pulled out of the Scotland squad after suffering injuries.

Scotland boss Alex McLeish called up Rangers' Ryan Jack to boost his depleted squad for the Hampden Park double header.

Posted On Sunday, 02 September 2018 13:15 Written by

Jose Mourinho believes Alexis Sanchez will recover his form and fitness for Manchester United, but insists he had no input into the Chile forward's decision to skip his country's upcoming friendly internationals.

Chile manager Reinaldo Rueda claimed this week the United forward pulled out of games in Asia against Japan and South Korea on the explicit advice of the Old Trafford medical staff.

Sanchez suffered an unspecified training injury that ruled him out of United's disappointing defeat at Brighton two weeks ago.

He was only fit enough for a cameo appearance off the bench in an even more demoralising 3-0 home loss to Tottenham on Monday as United plunged into an early season crisis.

Sanchez's decision not to go away with Chile has met with Mourinho's approval, although the United manager denied Rueda's claims the club pressured him to do so.

Sanchez shows his frustration against Tottenham
Sanchez shows his frustration against Tottenham

"I didn't ask and I never ask players not to go," said Mourinho.

"I never contact national teams for players not to go. It's a personal thing between him and the national manager.

"At the same time, coming from injury he feels that for him it is a much needed two weeks off.

"He is still in condition to play against Burnley but he feels that after that he needs two weeks to put himself in good shape.

"And because they are friendly matches in Asia, they made a decision for his good and by consequence for our good, for him not to go."

Sanchez's signature was a coup for United in January, as they beat off strong competition from neighbours Manchester City by offering the player reportedly the most lucrative wage in Premier League history.

However, Sanchez has so far struggled to match the hype or the heights he did with former club Arsenal.

The 29-year-old has scored just three times in 20 appearances for Mourinho, but his manager still has faith he will return to show supporters his true ability.

United's 3-0 defeat to Spurs on Monday was Mourinho's biggest home loss ever
United's 3-0 defeat to Spurs on Monday was Mourinho's biggest home loss ever

"I hope so. I hope we can see it," said Mourinho. "He had a good pre-season, he had a good start to the season.

"Then he had a small injury that kept him out and then he came just one day before Tottenham, and he comes into the game with the result 2-0. Let's see from now.

"He is committed, he is focused. He works hard. I believe he will improve."

Sunday would be a fine time for Sanchez to repay Mourinho's faith as the Portuguese travels to Burnley's Turf Moor desperately needing a positive result to ease the feeling his days in charge could be numbered.

Mourinho predicted United would suffer a "difficult" season when he wasn't backed as much as he would have liked in the transfer market, but believes there has been an over-reaction to two straight defeats.

"I said that in the summer before the competition started," he added.

"It's not especially [difficult] now. Two defeats are two defeats. We still have 35 matches to play."

A bad week for United was compounded by a tough Champions League draw alongside Juventus, Valencia and Young Boys.

However, Juve's visit to Manchester on October 23 will ensure an emotional return to Old Trafford for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to score on his return to Old Trafford, just as he did with Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to score on his return to Old Trafford, just as he did with Real Madrid

Mourinho was Real Madrid boss when Ronaldo scored against his former club for the Spanish giants in 2012 and is confident he will relish another hero's reception.

"I think he will like it," said Mourinho. "He was happy to come back when he was at Real Madrid.

"He comes back to do a job for them, like he did for Real Madrid. But I think he is very happy to come."

Posted On Sunday, 02 September 2018 13:08 Written by

ave reached a deal to sign Bordeaux winger Malcom for £36.5m - a day after Roma said they were on the verge of signing him.

The 21-year-old Brazilian has agreed a five-year contract with Barca.

Roma announced on Monday they had reached a deal with Bordeaux subject to a medical and personal terms.

Roma sporting director Monchi said "nothing was signed" but that they are considering whether they have "a legal case" over the transfer.

He told the Roma website: "Early this morning I spoke with Malcom's agent, Fernando Garcia, who had a meeting with Bordeaux planned at 12pm to confirm everything was in place for the player to travel to Rome in the evening.

"After that I was surprised to be told that the agents and Bordeaux wanted another improved offer, as Barcelona were still pushing for a deal. I told them enough, because we did not want to enter an auction.

"It is true that nothing was signed, but there are many messages with the agents and their president that are at least worth being assessed."

Malcom is expected to have his medical with Spanish champions Barca on Wednesday.

Yet to be capped at senior level by Brazil, he scored 20 goals and set up 13 in 84 Ligue 1 games for Bordeaux following his 2016 move from Corinthians.

The deal is worth an initial 41m euros with another 1m euros (£900,000) in variables.

Malcom is Barca's second Brazilian summer signing, after midfielder Arthur, 21, joined from Gremio for £35.5m.

Posted On Wednesday, 25 July 2018 02:25 Written by

Croatia have qualified for the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after beating England to set up a final encounter with France.

The feat means that Croatia have reached their first World Cup final and for England, it’s all over in the semi-final once again.

England have been dreaming of a World Cup since they won their first World Cup since 1966. This came to an end in the last four as they lost in extra time to Croatia in Moscow.

Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute, slotting in from Ivan Perisic’s flick-on into the area.

Perisic’s volley sent the match into extra time after Kieran Trippier had given England a fifth-minute lead with a sublime free-kick.

Unfancied before the competition, Gareth Southgate’s young side defied expectations by reaching the semi-finals, but were undone by an experienced Croatia side.

According to BBC, England, playing in their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, got the perfect start through Trippier’s brilliant free-kick and Croatia were finding it extremely difficult to deal with England’s high-tempo game.

Harry Kane could have doubled the lead but was denied by goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and Jesse Lingard placed a shot wide from a good position.

Croatia grew into the game in the second half and equalised through Perisic, and the Inter Milan winger hit the post with a low drive shortly after.

In extra time John Stones saw a header cleared off the line, while Pickford made a brilliant save from Mandzukic’s close range effort – but the Everton man could do nothing about the winner.

England will now play Belgium in Saturday’s third/fourth place play-off in St Petersburg.

Posted On Thursday, 12 July 2018 00:53 Written by

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo is set to join Juventus, the Spanish club have confirmed.

It is understood a deal worth £105m has been reached between the two clubs that will see the 33-year-old Portuguese end a 10-year stay at the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo won four Champions Leagues at Real but had a turbulent relationship with president Florentino Perez.

“For Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of our great symbols,” said a club statement.

“Real Madrid wants to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world and who has marked one of the brightest times in the history of our club and world football.

“Real Madrid will always be your home.”

He is now set to be unveiled as the Italian club’s record signing, eclipsing the £75.3m they paid for Gonzalo Higuain.

Ronaldo joined Real from Manchester United for £80m in 2009 and scored a club-record 451 goals and won the Ballon D’Or – awarded to the world’s best footballer – in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

He has helped them win the Champions League in four of the past five seasons, scoring in the 2014 and 2017 finals.

However, despite their dominance in Europe’s premier club competition, Real struggled domestically, finishing 17 points behind champions Barcelona last season, BBC reports.

Real are keen on reshaping their team under new manager Julen Lopetegui and the 33-time La Liga winners have also been linked with a move for Paris St-Germain’s 26-year-old Brazil forward Neymar.

Posted On Wednesday, 11 July 2018 00:34 Written by

France are through to the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup after securing a 2-0 victory over Uruguay.

Raphael Varane headed France into a first-half lead, and a terrible mistake from goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, saw him fail to save a shot from Antoine Griezmann, booking Les Blues to their first semi-finals since 2006.

The world was treated to a dull footballing from the twenty-two players on the pitch, but the French have Hugo Lloris to thank for producing a world-class save Martin Caceres, shortly after Varane’s goal in the first half. Diego Godin blasted the rebound he got from that save.

The second half started with France continuing to control possession, but they were gifted the goal that made certain of their victory.

There seemed little danger when Griezmann let fly from the edge of the area but Muslera misjudged the flight of the ball, flapped at the shot, and saw it loop slowly over the line.

It was Griezmann’s third goal of the 2018 World Cup, his first from open play.

The drama in Nizhny Novgorod continued when when Kylian Mbappe fell to the floor. Uruguay skipper Diego Godin gestured with the teenager to get up, pulling him from the turf. This caused a little fight involing most of the players and saw French coach Didier Deschamps come onto the pitch to try to calm tempers.

A likely repeat of the 1998 FIFA World Cup final will happen again in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday 10th July, if Brazil beat Belgium in the next quarter-final match, as France await the winner between the Samba Boys and star-studded Belgium.

Posted On Saturday, 07 July 2018 01:25 Written by

Belgium have beaten Brazil 2-1 in Kazan to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup home, sending the five-time World champions home.

The Samba Boys had conceded just one goal in their past four games in Russia but were behind early when Nacer Chadli’s corner struck Fernandinho’s arm and flew into the net, the 10th own goal of this World Cup.

Fernandinho’s Manchester City team-mate Kevin de Bruyne doubled Belgium’s lead with a sublime arrowed finish from 20 yards after Romelu Lukaku’s powerful run.

Brazil could find no answer until a 76th-minute headed reply from Renato Augusto, with star man Neymar virtually anonymous other than three poor attempts to win a penalty, although Referee Milorad Mazic perhaps should have pointed to the spot when Vincent Kompany dived in on Gabriel Jesus.

Neymar did finally come to life in injury time, forcing a brilliant save from Thibaut Courtois with a curling shot from outside the area, but it was not enough to sustain his team’s challenge.

Belgium will battle France, who had earlier on sent Uruguay home with a 2-0 victory, in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday 10th July, for a place in the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Posted On Saturday, 07 July 2018 01:18 Written by

All the action as it happened as Croatia beat Denmark 3-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in their World Cup last 16 tie.

FT: Croatia 1-1 Denmark
Croatia win 3-2 on pens
Subasic saves three penalties
Modric misses late pen (116)
Zanka with early scramble (1)
Mandzukic levels (4)
Croatia will play Russia in QF


Denmark have lost two of their three penalty shootouts at major tournaments, also losing against Spain in the Euro 1984 semi-final (won the other at Euro 1992 against the Netherlands).

This match was only the second in World Cup history to see both teams score inside four minutes, after Argentina v Nigeria in June 2014.

Mathias Jorgensen scored for Denmark after 57 seconds, the fastest goal scored in a World Cup match since Clint Dempsey scored after 29 seconds for USA against Ghana in 2014.

Mario Mandzukic’s equaliser for Croatia after 3 minutes and 40 seconds was Croatia’s second fastest World Cup goal, behind only Darijo Srna’s goal against Australia in June 2006 (1:56).


Modric and Perisic are the only two players to keep their place from the 2-1 win over Iceland, with nine brought back having been rested.

For Denmark, Poulsen comes in for Sisto, and Knudsen replaces Larsen following the dull 0-0 draw with France last week.


Team to play Croatia: Schmeichel; Dalsgaard, Zanka, Kjaer, Christensen; Braithwaite, Knudsen, Delaney, Eriksen; Poulsen, Cornelius


Team to play Denmark: Subasic; Vrsaljko, Vida, Lovren, Strinic; Brozovic, Rakitic; Rebic, Modric, Perisic; Mandzukic

Posted On Monday, 02 July 2018 23:39 Written by

Neymar barged his way into the 2018 FIFA World Cup limelight with a goal, an assist and another helping of histrionics as Brazil roared into the quarter-finals.

The five-times champions secured a 2-0 victory over Mexico on Monday to help inflict a seventh straight second round exit on the central Americans.

The PSG forward was both architect and executioner for Brazil, sliding home in the second half and then teeing up Roberto Firmino late on.

But he also brought some drama into the game as he writhed on the floor, seemingly in agony, after Mexico’s Miguel Layun had made slight contact with his ankle.

However, that should not overshadow his generally positive display, as the former champions beat an otherwise stubborn Mexico.

The Mexicans’ World Cup began with such promise with a victory over champions Germany, but ended in familiar fashion in the first knockout round.

It was the seventh World Cup running that Brazil have reached the last eight, where they will now face Belgium or Japan.

On their part, Mexico have not made it to that stage since they hosted the tournament in 1986.

Mexico, who enjoyed an enviable recent record against Brazil having won seven of their previous 15 matches against them, were a threat on the counter in the first half.

But they then faded, without ever really being put to the sword.

For all their quasi-mythological attacking traditions, this Brazil side have a pragmatism that keeps them in check.

This is done in such a way that you cannot see them ever truly cutting loose at this tournament.

Having kept clean sheets in seven of their previous eight games, they were never going to commit men forward.

That would have allowed Mexico to pick them off on the counter in the same way that Germany did in the group stage.

That is not to say that they were not under the cosh in the early stages as Mexico sought to isolate the Brazilian fullbacks Fagner and Filipe Luis.

They both looked vulnerable as Carlos Vela and Hirving Lozano bore down on them.

Lozano had an effort blocked after two minutes as did Hector Herrera, but as the first half wore on Brazil got on top in the stifling Samara heat.

A glaring spotlight had been on Neymar after his opening three performances saw him miss a litany of chances, frequently squandering possession and spending far too long on the turf.

Yet he answered a number of questions with his performance and a decisive finish early in the second half from a move he had started himself.

Minutes after the restart Brazil took the lead in exquisite fashion with Neymar starting and ending the move.

He darted across the edge of the area before a perfect backheel released Willian, whose low cross fizzed into the danger area where Neymar slid in to turn the ball home.

It was a choking blow for Mexico, who had been the better side for the opening half an hour, pegging Brazil back and creating several half chances.

Brazil had to wait until the 88th minute to put the match to bed when Neymar was the architect again, crossing for Firmino to tap the ball home.

They will have to do without defensive midfielder Casemiro in the quarter-finals, however, after he was booked for the second time.


Posted On Monday, 02 July 2018 23:33 Written by
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