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FC Barcelona asked Brazil to look after Raphinha — Tite



Tite has revealed that FC Barcelona asked Brazil to be careful with Raphinha after losing four players to injury during the international break.

Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Frenkie De Jong and Memphis Depay have sustained injuries while they have been away playing for their countries.

Raphinha played 80 minutes of Brazil’s 3-0 friendly win over Ghana on Friday and could face Tunisia on Tuesday.

Selecao head coach Tite says Barca requested that the winger’s workload is managed.

He said: “In order for there to be maximum transparency, I tell you that today the FC Barcelona coaching staff spoke to our physical trainer and asked us to be careful of Raphinha.

“They have lost Araujo and for this reason they are worried. They asked us how the player is, if he is training well.

“The calendar of the big clubs is very congested and this worries us because until we meet for the Qatar World Cup, the players will play two games a week.”

Raphinha has started four of the Blaugrana’s six La Liga matches this season following his big-money move from Leeds United.

He was on the field for just over an hour in a 2022/2023 UEFA Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.

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No bad blood with Joshua – Fury



WBC heavy-weight champion Tyson Fury has insisted that there is no bad blood between him and Anthony Joshua and he would be willing to share a meal with him to prove it.

The two boxing titans have spent years rivalling each other building towards a Battle of Britain bout and Joshua revealed he will use Fury’s decade of trash-talking to fuel a spiteful performance over his heavyweight rival.

But Fury has now played down a feud with the British-Nigerian saying, “What, because I called him a sausage? Has he ever said anything bad to me that’s personal, or me to him?

“If he was here now, we’d go for a beer and a jam sandwich, or I’d take him out for fish and chips. I’d take him back to my house to meet my kids and take a picture. What, you think there’s bad blood between two boxers? Behave yourself.”

Joshua once revealed that Fury would randomly call him on the phone and claim he was going to knock him out and Fury has never held back when it comes to aiming a verbal jab at his rival.

And Joshua said on The Jonathan Ross Show, “This is one of my rivals, this is someone I want to compete with one day.

“So everything he says, I’ve got it all stored in the back of my memory and when the fight happens, I’m going to use it as a lot of fuel.”

The 34-year-old is coming off the back of four wins on the bounce, most recently knocking out MMA star Francis Ngannou in March.

Ngannou, 37, dropped Fury in October on his boxing debut only to lose a controversial split-decision.

Fury now prepares for a potential double header against Oleksandr Usyk, 37, starting with their May 18 unification bout and Joshua will be waiting in the wings with the hopes of facing Fury if he prevails with the heavyweight crown.

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EPL: Five-star Man City go top, Spurs smashed by Newcastle



Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League as lowly Luton were eased aside 5-1 at the Etihad while Newcastle thrashed Tottenham 4-0 on Saturday.

Amid a gruelling schedule, Pep Guardiola could hardly have wished for a kinder fixture in between the two legs of his side’s Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.

Guardiola made six changes from a thrilling 3-3 draw in the Spanish capital on Tuesday and City seemed set for a stress-free afternoon from the moment they opened the scoring after just two minutes.

Erling Haaland’s shot deflected off the unfortunate Daiki Hashioka into his own net.

Yet the floodgates refused to open as the English champions had to wait until after the hour mark before making the points safe when Mateo Kovacic smashed in Julian Alvarez’s cross at the edge of the box.

Haaland scored five then the sides met in the FA Cup in February.

The Norwegian had to settle for just one time this time when scored from the penalty spot for his 20th Premier League goal of the season.

Ross Barkley netted a late consolation for Luton but they have just five games left to save their top-flight status.

Jeremy Doku fired into the far corner after jinking through the Luton defence before Josko Gvardiol scored his second goal in a week after opening his City account in Madrid.

Victory takes City two points clear of Arsenal and Liverpool, who both have a game in hand, and are in action on Sunday.

Liverpool host Crystal Palace at Anfield looking to bounce back from their shock Europa League defeat to Atalanta.

Arsenal entertain Aston Villa, who moved back into the top four without kicking a ball on Saturday thanks to Tottenham’s trouncing at St. James’ Park.

Alexander Isak scored twice, while Anthony Gordon and Fabian Schar were also on target as the Magpies moved up to sixth and kept their slim chances of Champions League football next season alive.

Newcastle are 10 points adrift of Tottenham and Villa with six games remaining but have the far easier run-in.

“We’ve just got to keep doing our bit which is trying to win every game,” said Newcastle boss Eddie Howe.

“We’re hopefully returning to somewhere near our best and we’ve got to keep heading in that direction.”

Manchester United can move back above Newcastle into sixth with a victory away to Bournemouth later on Saturday.

At the bottom of the table, Nottingham Forest edged one point clear of the bottom three after a thrilling 2-2 draw against Wolves.

Matheus Cunha struck twice for the visitors at the City Ground to deny Forest a vital three points after goals from Morgan Gibbs White and Danilo had put them 2-1 in front.

Brentford’s first win in 10 games pulled the Bees seven points clear of the drop zone as Ollie Arblaster’s own goal and Frank Onyeka earned a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United.

Burnley’s chances of survival are fading fast after a 1-1 draw at home to Brighton left them still second bottom, six points adrift of safety.

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Boniface eyes historic title with Leverkusen



Bayer Leverkusen striker Victor Boniface says he is looking forward to helping his team record a win against Werder Bremen at home, which will see them crowned Bundesliga champions for the first time in the club’s history.

The 23-year-old striker came off the bench late on to score with a trademark header in stoppage time for Bayer Leverkusen, who beat West Ham 2-0 in a UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg in Leverkusen on Thursday.

The goal was his first in 2024 and his 17th in 26 games across all competition, following a four-month injury layoff.

Boniface goal-scoring prowess is proving invaluable to Bayer Leverkusen as they march towards a potential historic Bundesliga title.

In January, Boniface suffered a muscle tendon injury in the right adductor area during Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations pre-tournament camping in Dubai.

“I am looking forward to helping my team any time I am called upon,” Boniface said.

“We have a game on Sunday (against Werder Bremen), which is a big game for us.”

Leverkusen who are still unbeaten after 42 games this season, currently lead the Bundesliga by 16 points over second-placed Bayern Munich. He also expressed delight overcoming the challenges posed by his recent injury setback after the surgery.

“It was not easy being injured for two or three months.

“I missed a lot of games, and I am still trying to come back,” Boniface said.

“I feel good, I feel happy to be playing football again. I am happy to come and help my team.”

West Ham held out against Bundesliga table-toppers Bayer Leverkusen before subs Jonas Hofmann and Boniface made the difference in the closing minutes.

“We played West Ham in pre-season, and so we know the type of game they play,” he said.

“The important thing was to be patient, play our style, and convert our chances when they came.”

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