Sampaoli Praises Messi-Pavon

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli praised Cristian Pavon’s connection with Lionel Messi after his side’s comprehensive 4-0 win over Haiti.

Messi inspired his side in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, scoring a hat-trick and setting up Sergio Aguero for Argentina’s fourth.

The Barcelona star’s third was set up by Pavon, the substitute doing brilliantly down the left before cutting back for Messi to complete his hat-trick.

The duo’s combination has impressed Sampaoli, who praised their connection after the convincing friendly win.

“Cristian is a player who has very special characteristics for communicating with Messi,” he said.

“He goes to space, he is offering all the time and he has an important dynamic.”
“Guerrero Is Innocent”

Yoshimar Yotun insisted Peru are still dreaming of Paolo Guerrero featuring at the World Cup despite the star striker’s suspension.

Peru will end their 36-year absence from the World Cup in Russia but their joyous return has been overshadowed by Guerrero’s drugs ban.

Guerrero is set to miss the showpiece tournament following the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to uphold an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to extend his suspension to 14 months after the Peru star tested positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine.

The 34-year-old – who had an initial one-year ban reduced to six months by FIFA having returned a positive drugs test following Peru’s World Cup qualifier against Argentina in October 2017 – lodged a last-ditch appeal to Switzerland’s highest court on Friday.

Rival captains Hugo Lloris (France), Simon Kjaer (Denmark) and Mile Jedinak (Australia) have backed Guerrero, and Peru attacker Yotun leapt to the defence of his international team-mate and Peru’s all-time leading scorer.
Cincinnati Awarded MLS Franchise

FC Cincinnati will join MLS in 2019 after being granted an expansion franchise, the league announced on Tuesday.

Already competing in the United Soccer League – the country’s second-tier competition – Cincinnati will begin playing next season ahead of the planned opening of a new 21,000-seat stadium in 2021.

Cincinnati have been a sensation in their three years in existence, with a better average attendance than some MLS teams from the very beginning.

Those numbers are at an all-time high so far in 2018, with an average of 24,417 coming out to home games at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium.

That number is more than double the next-best average in the USL and would rank fifth among MLS’s 23 teams this year.
FA Supports Sterling Over Gun Tattoo Issue

The Football Association has expressed its support for Raheem Sterling after he offered an “honest and heartfelt account” of his reasons for getting a tattoo of an assault rifle.

Sterling recently drew criticism from sections of the media and anti-violence campaigners for his choice to have the likeness of a weapon inked onto his right leg.

In an Instagram post published on Monday, the 23-year-old Manchester City and England player said the image was a tribute to his father, who was shot dead when Sterling was just two years old.

And the governing body appears satisfied with the forward’s explanation.

“I Don’t Do Discounts”

Napoli captain Marek Hamsik will not be allowed to leave for the Chinese Super League on the cheap just because of his 11 years of service, according to president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Hamsik confirmed on Sunday that he is mulling over an offer from an unnamed CSL club reported to be Shandong Luneng after he helped Napoli mount a genuine Serie A title challenge to eventual champions Juventus.

It has been a turbulent time at the club since the campaign ended, with Carlo Ancelotti replacing Maurizio Sarri and now skipper Hamsik – who joined from Brescia in 2007 – could be following his former coach out of the exit door.

Hamsik admitted to being “tempted” by the move to China, but De Laurentiis looks set to make a departure as difficult as possible for the 30-year-old Slovakian midfielder.

 “We Can Lose Hazard”

Eidur Gudjohnsen is worried Chelsea could lose Eden Hazard after failing to qualify for the Champions League.

The Blues won the Premier League title in 2016-17 but could only finish fifth last term, amid regular speculation regarding the future of head coach Antonio Conte.

The prospect of playing in the Europa League is unlikely to entice Belgium international Hazard, who has previously been touted as a potential target for Real Madrid.

 Arsenal To Launch Sports Bar In China

ARSENAL are preparing to launch a sports bar in China featuring player holograms and even a virtual tour of their Emirates stadium.

The revolutionary bar is set to open in the Lyceum Building in Shanghai and will serve “fan favorites” like fish and chips, burgers and pies

As yet there is no opening date, but Gunners fans can look forward to a home away from home in Asia and watch live games on massive cinema screens.

The pub-restaurant is also set to show-off Arsenal player memorabilia – as well as its high-tech bells and whistles.

The deal has been put in place between Gunners and Super Halo Sports Culture Development – with the venue set to be called Arsenal Club Shanghai.

Quotebox

‘’We all go to Russia for the same reason, the World Cup is the dream of us, of the country. We are not candidates but we are very good, training and improving day by day. ‘’

Lionel Messi plays down Argentina’s chances at the World Cup.

 Did You Know?

Toni Kroos has been wearing the same make of boots, the Adidas Adipure 11pro, since 2013/2014. Adidas have stopped making the model, but the Real Madrid midfielder has convinced them to make special editions.

 

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