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Injury: Super Eagles star Boniface back in Bayer Leverkusen squad — Alonso

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Bayer Leverkusen striker, Victor Boniface will be back in the squad for Wednesday’s German Cup semi-final against Fortuna Dusseldorf following a three-month injury absence, coach Xabi Alonso said on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Super Eagles forward underwent surgery on an adductor muscle injury in January after being injured while preparing with Nigeria for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote D’Ivoire.

“We are in a super situation. We have no injuries and a full squad. Boni (Boniface) is also back in the squad,” Alonso told a press conference, with the Bundesliga leaders in the hunt for three trophies this season.

Asked how long Boniface could play in the game, Alonso said: “Not 90 minutes. 45 maybe not. But maybe 30. He has done a good recovery and has trained well.

“He has a strong mentality to come back. He can’t wait to get back.”

Boniface had scored 10 goals and set up another seven in the Bundesliga before his injury.

Leverkusen are on course for a first ever Bundesliga title with a 13-point lead over second-placed Bayern Munich and seven games remaining.

They are also through to the Europa League quarter-finals having gone 39 matches unbeaten across all competitions this season.

“We have to take it one game at a time. That’s the way we have done it until now and we will not change that,” said the Spaniard, who confirmed last week he would be staying at Leverkusen despite interest from major European clubs.

“We have done a lot but have won nothing so far. We still have a lot of work to do. We have done a few things well to get here but we should not speak too early.”

“We have to remain focused and that is the message I give my players and they know it,” he said.

Saarbruecken face Kaiserslautern in the other semi-final on Tuesday.

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Juventus releases statement after order to pay Cristiano Ronaldo’s unpaid wages

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Italian giants Juventus have released a statement after being ordered to pay their former player, Cristiano Ronaldo his unpaid wages.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, ordered the Serie A giants to pay Cristiano Ronaldo his unpaid wages.

The court gave the verdict following a dispute arising from pay reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ronaldo, who now laces his boots for Saudi Super League side, Al-Nassr, told the court he was owed €19.5 million ($20.81 million) by the Turin giants in unpaid wages.

The Court ruling will see Juventus pay Ronaldo around half that amount, with a €9.8 million settlement reached.

The Italian giants quickly moved to make a statement after the ruling, stating, “The arbitration tribunal ruled Juve had to pay half of the sum requested by the 39-year-old Portugal striker.

“They partially granted the request made by [Ronaldo]… ascertaining Juventus’ pre-contractual liability resulting from the failure of negotiations and ordered the defendant to pay an amount of approximately Euro 9.8 million.”

Juventus have also hinted at their desire to contest the ruling in their statement, saying:
“The Company, also with the support of its legal counsel, is reviewing the decision made by the arbitration board, reserving all assessments and initiatives to preserve its rights.”

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Real Madrid knock Man City out of Champions League on penalty shootout

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Real Madrid have progressed to the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League after knocking out Man City 4-3 on penalty shootouts on Wednesday.

The Premier League and La Liga giants played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at the Bernabeu last week and continued to inflict blows on each other at the Etihad.

Rodrygo put Real Madrid ahead on 12 minutes and for a long time it appeared as though his goal would be enough, but Kevin de Bruyne scored with 15 minutes remaining to send the tie to extra-time.

Neither side found a winner in the extra 30 minutes and Real emerged triumphant from a tense penalty shootout.

Real Madrid will face Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals after the German giants knocked out Arsenal.

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Aruna lose to Freitas, exit ITTF World Cup

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Quadri Aruna, Nigeria’s top table tennis player, has exited the International Table Tennis (ITTF) World Cup after losing by 1-3 (12-10, 11-9, 11-9, 3-11) to Portuguese Marcos Freitas in the group stage.

The Men’s singles game on Wednesday at the Galaxy Arena, Macao, China, saw the Portuguese claim the first three sets but a comeback from the Nigerian in the last set was not enough to scale over the line.
Aruna had started his campaign at the World Cup on a good note with a 4-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6) convincing win over Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez to set the final group 15 tie against Freitas.

Aruna occupied the top spot in the group as Freitas had earlier beaten Gonzalez 4-0 (17-15, 11-7, 11-7, 11-1), but the Nigerian had more points than the Portuguese and was rated number one in the group.

The tie between Aruna and Freitas decides the winner of the group and who will then advance to the knockout of the competition.

With Aruna falling short, Freitas will face Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan in the Round of 16 on Thursday.

The tournament which began on Monday will end on April 21.

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