Real Madrid Back At The Top Of La Liga

MADRID: La Liga leaders Real Madrid again widened the gap to seven points after beating Celta Vigo 4-0 at home.

Vinicius Junior opened the scoring in the first half of action at the Santiago Bernabeu before Celta’s own two goals controlled by former Madrid boss Rafa Benitez ensured victory for the hosts.

Rudiger headed the ball but was hit by the crossbar before flying behind Celta goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and across the goal line with 11 minutes remaining.

Celta once again scored their own goal when Carlos Dominguez was caught by Vinicius Junior’s cross into his own net.

Turkey’s Arda Guler, whose first season in Spain was hit by injury, came on as a substitute and scored his first goal for Madrid while injured.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid were forced to play without the league’s top scorer this season, Jude Bellingham, who was suspended for two matches due to a red card against Valencia last weekend.

Madrid drew 1-1 against RB Leipzig on Wednesday, but did enough to take them into the quarter-finals of the European Champions League with a 2-1 win on aggregate.

Foden Is The Best Player In Premier League – Guardiola

MANCHESTER, England: Phil Foden is the best player in the Premier League on his current form and is already a Manchester City legend, manager Pep Guardiola said after his second-half brace sparked a 3-1 win over Manchester United late last night.

City were clearly in control but fell behind thanks to Marcus Rashford’s fine goal in the eighth minute before striker Foden stole the show in the second half.

The 23-year-old local fired a powerful left-footed shot into the top corner in the 56th minute and then beat Andre Onana with a finish just after 80 minutes.

Erling Haaland’s 18th goal of the season completed the injury-time scoring – his sixth in the past week – but nothing could take the focus off Foden who now has 11 league goals this season to equal his personal best.

“It’s about the number of games he’s played. He’s had talent for a long time but now he’s more mature and understands the game more, especially when defending,” Guardiola told the BBC.

“He can play in the middle, on the right, create moments and break in, play on the left, score goals from the left. What can I say? He’s the best player in the Premier League right now with the amount of contributions he makes. It’s incredible.”

Foden’s quality and level of consistency make him difficult to drop in a squad filled with world-class players. His current performance has also made him a mainstay in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

“We don’t compromise on that,” Guardiola said when asked about Foden’s discipline in defence.

“Players who don’t do that don’t stay in the team. He loves football, he lives for football. He’s a fun guy and his work ethic is amazing.”

Guardiola was no less effusive in his praise of Foden when speaking to Sky Sports.

“He is already a legendary player because in his short age, the games played, the minutes, the goals scored, the titles won and he is a local player and that is why the relationship with the fans is amazing,” said Guardiola.

“He is the best player of the season. No one has determined the outcome of matches for us more than him this season.”

Man United Considering Selling Antony

LONDON: Manchester United are set to listen to offers for Antony next summer as the Brazilian winger’s career at Old Trafford looks to be over.

United, however, may struggle to recoup half of the £86 million (paid to Ajax Amsterdam 18 months ago, making him the second most expensive player in the club’s history.

Antony has started just once in the last eight games – at Newport County in the FA Cup – and was a substitute again when United lost to Fulham at Old Trafford last Saturday.

Teenager Omari Forson was selected instead and manager Erik ten Hag fielded three substitutes including another teenage winger Amad Diallo, before bringing on Antony in the final minutes of stoppage time.

Antony has now played 20 English Premier League games this season without any goals or assists for his team.

As new co-owners INEOS monitor the cost and effectiveness of United’s squad following Jim Ratcliffe’s £1.3 billion investment, the player’s stats are indeed in the spotlight.

Ten Hag returned to his old club Ajax to sign Antony in the summer of 2022 and it is understood the Dutchman has not yet given up on the player, believing he still has the ability to turn his career fortunes around in England.

But Ten Hag admitted last month Antony was affected by allegations of domestic abuse, which he vehemently denies, which led to him being dropped by Brazil last September and spending several days in South America to clear his name.

Following the defeat to Fulham, the United boss was candid in his explanation of playing Alejandro Garnacho, Forson and Diallo instead of the failed Brazilian.

“It has nothing to do with fitness level,” Ten Hag said. “He is fit but we have a lot of options on the right.

“You’ve seen Antony’s performance and he needs to step up. I saw it in the training session but Omari Forson, Amad Diallo and Garnacho deserve to play.”

Mbappe Cuts Salary For Real Madrid

PARIS: Kylian Mbappe has agreed to a significant reduction in his salary to join Real Madrid next summer.

The 25-year-old, who earns a net salary of 25 million euros in Paris, will earn 15 million euros a season at Madrid, but is still the club’s highest-paid player behind the scenes. large number of pieces.

Mbappe has agreed to personal terms with the Spanish club even though neither Paris Saint-Germain nor Madrid will make an official statement when the two clubs can still compete in the Champions League.

Despite the huge cut to his basic salary, Mbappe will receive a signing fee believed to be more than 100 million euros and will receive 80 percent of the image rights share in any commercial agreements he signed after becoming a Madrid player.

He also broke the tradition of 50-50 distribution that the club usually imposes on new players.

Mbappe is expected to wear the number 10 jersey currently worn by Luka Modric next season with the 38-year-old Croatian star not being offered a new contract.

Marca reported last night Modric was offered the opportunity to remain at the club as part of the coaching staff under Carlo Ancelotti.

The confirmation in Madrid of Mbappe’s presence ends their seven-year hunt for the World Cup winner with France.

His decision to leave Paris was welcomed in the Spanish capital as the final straw for Ancelotti to lead a team that could dominate European football for the next decade.

New York Hosts The 2026 World Cup Final

MIAMI, United States: The final match of the 2026 World Cup will be held in New York on the website of the American football teams, the New York Giants and the New York Jets, world soccer’s governing body FIFA announced earlier this morning.

The 48-team World Cup, which ends July 19 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, is co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Canada will host 13 matches in total, including 10 in the group stage held between Toronto and Vancouver.

Mexico also got 13 matches, including 10 in the group stage in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.

The remaining matches in the tournament will be held in 11 US cities.

Toronto, Mexico City and Los Angeles will host the opening matches for each of their respective national teams.

The final’s open-air stadium, which opened in 2010 and has a capacity of 82,500, hosted the Copa America Centenario final in 2016 when Chile denied Lionel Messi and Argentina a second time through penalty kicks.

FIFA however does not announce the kick-off for each match.

The 2026 World Cup will feature 104 matches instead of the traditional 64 matches, including the addition of a knockout round following the previous announcement increasing the number of teams to 48 from 32.

Four Trophies Within Liverpool’s Reach

LIVERPOOL, England: Liverpool remain in the hunt to give Jurgen Klopp four farewell trophies after thrashing Norwich 5-2 in the English FA Cup earlier this morning, with the manager admitting he would have to be “made of wood” not to be touched by what he went through.

Klopp was greeted with an emotional “You’ll Never Walk Alone” before kick-off and a thank you banner in the first game since the German announced his decision to leave the Merseyside club at the end of the season.

The 56-year-old manager made the surprise announcement last Friday of his departure hoping “the best memories will live on” after winning the Premier League and Champions League during his tenure.

If Liverpool qualify for the FA Cup final, Klopp’s last game will be at Wembley and they are favorites to qualify for the quarter-finals after being drawn at home to face either Watford or Southampton in the last 16.

“It’s emotional but I have to keep calm. I’m getting too many messages. I’m not made of wood,” Klopp said of his efforts to deal with emotions in recent days.

“There will be a moment at the end of the season where we will say ‘goodbye’ and it will be emotional, but between now and then we have a big job to do.”

Klopp’s counterpart, Norwich boss David Wagner, was his best man on his wedding day after the pair played together at Mainz.

The two briefly embraced in the tunnel before kick-off, but Liverpool showed no mercy for Wagner’s men despite Klopp giving some of his youngsters the chance to shine.

James McConnell was handed his full debut in midfield and the 19-year-old opened the scoring when his cross was headed in by Curtis Jones.

Norwich hit back moments later when Ben Gibson fired a powerful shot past Alisson Becker following Gabriel Sara’s corner.

Liverpool led 2-1 at the break when Darwin Nunez headed home his 11th goal of the season after Conor Bradley’s hard work down the right wing.

The Reds have so far not felt the absence of Mohamed Salah following the Africa Cup of Nations to lead by five points at the top of the English Premier League and chase three more trophies – the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League.

Diogo Jota did his goal-scoring duties in Salah’s absence and the Portuguese fired home after Gibson headed the ball towards him.

Dominik Szoboszlai’s corner was headed in by Virgil van Dijk to make it 4-1 after an hour.

Borja Sainz’s powerful shot from outside the penalty box reduced the deficit for Norwich but the hosts did not remain silent when Ryan Gravenberch scored the fifth goal in stoppage time.

PSG Is The Best Club For Mbappe – Al-Khelaifi

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi says he wants Kylian Mbappe to stay in Paris, claiming PSG is the best club for him.

Mbappe’s contract with the Ligue 1 champions expires this June and he is free to join any club next season.

“I want Kylian to stay here. The best player in the world is Kylian and the best club for him is Paris,” said Al-Khelaifi.

However, PSG has not yet been able to win the European Champions League despite having spent billions of ringgit since the presence of the owner from Qatar in 2011.

Mbappe has been linked with a move to 14-time European champions Real Madrid, who have twice been disappointed with the transfer of the player before.

Last week, Mbappe was reported to be willing to give up a million ringgit bonus from PSG to ensure that a move out of Paris would become a reality this time.

Mbappe signed an extended contract in 2022 that offers a salary of 72 million euros a year, a bonus of 150 million euros for signing the contract and a loyalty bonus of up to 90 million euros a year.

However, Al-Khelaifi emphasized that money is not a factor that will determine whether Mbappe will stay or not.

“We have many important matches, I want you not to disturb Kylian,” he said.

Mbappe has scored 24 goals in all competitions for the Ligue 1 leaders this season.