France manager to sue Cantona over comments

France soccer coach Didier Deschamps will file a legal complaint against Eric Cantona after his former national teammate suggested the squad selection for Euro 2016 was racially motivated, Deschamps’ lawyer said on Friday. 

The two men, who played 34 times together for France, have a history of animosity since the mid-1990s when Deschamps replaced Cantona as France’s captain, going on to lead the team to World Cup and European Championship successes in 1998 and 2000.

In an interview with British daily the Guardian on Thursday, former Manchester United star Cantona questioned the motives of omitting striker Karim Benzema and forward Hatem Ben Arfa, both of North African origin, from the final squad of 23.

“Benzema is a great player. Ben Arfa is a great player,” Cantona told the Guardian. “But Deschamps, he has a really French name. Maybe he is the only one in France to have a truly French name. Nobody in his family mixed with anybody, you know. Like the Mormons in America.

“So I’m not surprised he used the situation of Benzema not to take him. Especially after Valls said he should not play for France. And Ben Arfa is maybe the best player in France today. But they have some origins. I am allowed to think about that.”

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United confirm Mourinho as new Manager

Manchester United have confirmed the appointment of Jose Mourinho as their new manager on a three-year contract with an option for a further year.

Mourinho said: “To become Manchester United manager is a special honour in the game. It is a club known and admired throughout the world. There is a mystique and a romance about it which no other club can match.

 I have always felt an affinity with Old Trafford; it has hosted some important memories for me in my career and I have always enjoyed a rapport with the United fans. I’m looking forward to being their manager and enjoying their magnificent support in the coming years

 In a statement, United said: “Jose, 53, has managed at the top level of European football for over a decade and in that time has won league titles and cups in four countries (Portugal, England, Italy and Spain), as well as winning the UEFA Champions League twice – in 2004 with FC Porto and in 2010 with Inter Milan.” Naijabet Continue reading United confirm Mourinho as new Manager

Real looking for change in fortunes

Real Madrid will be hoping that some of Gareth Bale’s magic at Giuseppe Meazza stadium will rub off on the rest of the team when they face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final at the stadium on Saturday.

A victory would be the club’s first-ever win in Milan after 14 previous attempts. Eleven of those were Champions League matches, eight of which Real lost and three of which they drew.

When Bale played for Tottenham, Inter Milan beat the London club 4-3 in a 2010 Champions League match. But he remembers that visit fondly – he scored all three Spurs goals.

“I don’t know about Real Madrid’s history at the San Siro, but it’s not important, the club’s history in that stadium, as it’s in the past,” Bale said to Marca newspaper. “I have fond memories of the San Siro. It’s a good one for me.”

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The skinny kid who become a superstar – Cristiano Ronaldo

A car park with a spectacular view of Funchal bay now stands on the site of the house where Cristiano Ronaldo grew up and became a football genius in the dusty streets.

The superstar’s name now brings tourists to the island of Madeira and the main town will again fall silent each time Ronaldo is playing for Portugal in the European Championship finals in June.

There is a three metre (11 feet) high statue in Funchal, the CR7 Museum has wax effigies of the footballer alongside some of his trophies and Ronaldo’s face stares out from holiday guides.

In Funchal, local people say the town hall decided to demolish the modest Ronaldo house to put off onlookers after the footballer’s father died in 2005. Naijabet

But they also love to recall their favourite Ronaldo tales.

“When he was six years old, Cristiano juggled the ball alone in front of his house. The ball never touched the ground,” said a neighbour from the time, 73-year-old Adelino Andrade.

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Motivation is the secret to Zidane’s success at Real

In little more than four months in charge, Zinedine Zidane has pulled Real Madrid back from the brink to where they feel they belong: the European Champions League final.

Guiding Real to victory over Madrid rivals Atletico from the dugout on May 28 would earn Zidane another place in the club’s record books to go with his history on the pitch.

Zidane’s success may owe more to his manner and aura than his abilities as a coach. He succeeded Rafael Benitez in January after just 18 months in charge of the club’s reserve team – with unconvincing results – and a season as assistant to Real’s previous coach, Carlo Ancelotti. Naijabet

He stood out only for his legacy as a player, above all his winning volley against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final. But it did not take Zidane long to get results.

Not only is he taking Real to their 14th European Cup final – he has also picked up more points over the first 20 league games than any other coach in the club’s history – winning 17, drawing two and losing one.

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Atletico plot revenge for Real Madrid in UCL final

Two years on from their defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League final, Atletico Madrid are back on the same stage against the same rival – wiser and determined not to be haunted by the memories of Lisbon.

Sergio Ramos’ 93rd-minute equalising header in 2014 snatched a maiden European Cup from their grasp, and Atletico were overpowered 4-1 in extra time. The fatigue from a gruelling season had finally caught up with them.

Seven days before that final, Atletico had played an energy-sapping 1-1 draw with Barcelona to clinch their first La Liga title in 18 years, and celebrations continued into the next week. Real had had an extra week to prepare.

“When they equalised, we knew it was going to be really difficult for us because of our physical state and we were going to struggle,” Gabi, the Atletico captain, said recently. “Real were the better team in extra time.”

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Benitez signs three-year deal at Newcastle

Rafael Benitez has signed a three-year contract to stay on as Newcastle United manager, after agreeing to lead their quest for an immediate return to the Premier League, the club said on Wednesday.

Benitez, who began last season in charge of Real Madrid, was hired by Newcastle in March to try to extricate them from the relegation zone, a feat he just failed to achieve.

The 56-year-old Spaniard won three of his 10 games in charge, but Newcastle finished 18th, two points adrift of their local rivals and Premier League survivors Sunderland in 17th.

Benitez, who took over from Steve McClaren, had a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave St James’ Park if Newcastle were relegated to the second tier Championship, but he has signed a new deal that will keep him at the club until 2019.

“I am extremely pleased to be staying at Newcastle United,” Benitez, a Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2005, said in a statement on the club website.

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Mourinho can deliver exciting football’ – Paul Scholes

Jose Mourinho will bring attacking flair back to Manchester United, having learnt from the mistakes of Louis van Gaal, the club’s former midfielder Paul Scholes has said.

The Dutch manager’s two-year tenure at Old Trafford ended on Monday, two days after his side won the FA Cup — United’s first trophy in three years — with Mourinho set to replace him.

The Portuguese coach, who was sacked by Chelsea in December, has agreed personal terms with United to take over from Van Gaal, according to reports by Sky TV.

“The fans at Man United demand entertaining football, and I’m sure Mourinho will come and try and give it,” Scholes told British media.

The former midfielder, who won 11 league titles with United, was an outspoken critic of Van Gaal’s time at the helm.

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60 000 police to be deploy for Euro 2016 in France

France said on Wednesday it will deploy more than 60 000 police to provide security for Euro 2016 as it vowed to do “everything possible to avoid a terrorist attack” during the tournament that starts next month.

The comments from Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve came after the Stade de France in Paris, which will host the event’s opening match and final, descended into chaos on Saturday before the national cup final after smoke bombs were set off inside the stadium, sparking panic among crowds that clustered at the stadium’s exits.

Cazeneuve told the sports daily l’Equipe that the match between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille “did not serve as a test” for Euro 2016.

“It was not the same public, not the same organiser, nor the same security deployment,” he said. “However, what happened will be taken into account” ahead of the month-long football tournament, which kicks off on June 10.

“Our objective is that the Euro is a big festive gathering, but we owe the French the truth. Zero percent precaution means 100 percent risk, but 100 percent precaution does not mean a zero percent risk,” he said.

“We are doing everything to avoid a terrorist attack, and we are preparing to respond. More than 60,000 police will be on the ground.” Naijabet

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United hold day two of Mourinho talks

Manchester United were locked in a second day of talks with Jose Mourinho’s agents on Wednesday, hammering out a deal to sweep the controversial Portuguese boss into Old Trafford.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager has agreed personal terms on a three-year deal with a likely annual salary of at least £10 million but issues remain over image rights, Sky News television reported.

The 53-year-old is mulling a bid for Zlatan Ibrahimovic as one of his first moves in the job, according to media reports, after the star Sweden striker played his final game for French champions Paris Saint-Germain last week.

United finally sacked Louis van Gaal on Monday, two days after the club won the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

Despite the victory, the Old Trafford club’s failure to qualify for the lucrative Champions League proved fatal to the Dutchman’s hopes of staying on as manager.

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