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Playing with Mbappe would be ‘really nice’ – Bellingham



Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham said Monday it would be “really nice” to play with Kylian Mbappe next season.

The France captain is expected to join Los Blancos at the end of his Paris Saint-Germain contract this summer.

Mbappe could form an all-star attack alongside Vinicius Junior, with Madrid’s top goalscorer this season, Bellingham, offering support.

“I don’t pick the team and I certainly don’t make the transfers, but Kylian Mbappe, what a player, who wouldn’t want to play with someone as good as him?”, Bellingham told reporters at a media day before the Champions League final on Saturday.

“I don’t want to put any more pressure on the situation, I know for him it’s probably difficult having everyone always talking about him, but it would be really nice.”

Real Madrid face Borussia Dortmund at Wembley aiming to win the competition for a record-extending 15th time.

Lifting the Champions League trophy is one of the challenges Mbappe, 25, has on his to-do list.
Mbappe led PSG to the French Cup last weekend in his final match for the Ligue 1 champions and said his next destination will be revealed soon.

“All I wanted was to end things well with my club, with a trophy. I think there is a time for everything and I will announce my future club in good time,” said Mbappe.

“I think it will be in a few days so there is no problem.

“I don’t know when yet. There are still some details (to be sorted out) but the most important thing was to finish on a high here.”

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Roberto Baggio robbed at gunpoint during Italy’s loss to Spain



Former world player of the year Roberto Baggio has been injured in a robbery at his home in northern Italy and had to be treated in hospital.

According to Italian media reports, five armed men forced their way into the 57-year-old’s villa near Vicenza on Thursday while he was watching Italy’s 1-0 European Championship defeat to Spain on television with his family.

One of the perpetrators is said to have hit Baggio with a rifle butt and injured him in the head as Baggio tried to defend himself.

“Fortunately, the violence I suffered only caused me stitches, bruises, and a lot of fear.” he was reported as saying by the ANSA news agency on Friday.

Baggio and his family were reportedly locked in a room.

The thieves then ransacked the house and stole watches, jewellery, and money.

After the criminals had left the villa, Baggio broke down the door and alerted the police.

Nobody else was injured apart from the 1993 World Player of the Year and 1994 World Cup runner-up.

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Finidi’s resignation and Osimhen’s video: Matters arising?



By Dr. Salau Dee Elf (NUGA Publicity Liaison Officer 1993-2001)

The recent resignation of the newly appointed Super Eagles Coach, Finidi George after a month is no longer news but circumstances surrounding the hurried decision is still a matter of discussion in the Football and Sports Arena.

FInidi’s appointment which came up due to the greater pressure for indigenous coaches to take over the Super Eagles and the fact that he has gained a lot as the Assistant Coach to the immediate past foreign Technical Adviser made him the Choice of the NFF Technical Committee searching for coaches for the Super Eagles.

Unlike it used to be, a Contractual agreement as the Super Eagles Coach was not signed between the new Coach and the NFF as the Coach. Finidi as a patriot was working on the gentleman’s agreement reached before the final signatures to a full agreement. Again, the two forthcoming World Cup Qualifiers were uppermost in his mind and that of the NFF.

On appointment, Finidi while unveiled by the NFF President, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau confirmed that Finidi’s contract extends for two years and not one year. “I don’t know where the one year information emanated from, all I know is that, as far as our contract with Finidi is concerned, he is going to be in charge of the team till the end of 2026, so I don’t think 2026 is going to be a one year contract,” he said, according to Soccer Africa a football television show in South Africa. However, other details of the contract were not forthcoming till the two World Cup Qualifiers were played.

This was not the case with Coaches Peseiro and Rohr whose contract details were given on appointments. The local coaches are treated with disdain. Why can’t NFF come out clean on how much Finidi will earn and for how long he will stay with the team. This was the scenario till the qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic were played.

Finidi was still ready to pilot the affairs of the National Team even after the match he lost against Benin Republic. He promised that he remained committed to guiding the World Cup qualification campaign back on course. The NFF didn’t consider this assurance when it decided to appoint a foreign Technical Adviser which is not in the employment agreement with Finidi and is an indication of lack of confidence in him towards the World Cup Qualification. Finidi, having read the handwriting on the wall, decided that “Given the recent changes to the Technical crew, I believe it’s time for me to step aside,” expressing his gratitude to the NFF for the opportunity given to serve and wishing the team the best in the future.

He served for less than two months with the NFF. Is it because he is a local Coach. Former foreign Technical Adviser Peseiro was in charge of the team losing so many friendly matches and drawing precariously two World Cup Qualifiers before the last African Cup of Nations yet he wasn’t fired.

It looks like some people are addicted to and gaining from this issue of Foreign Technical Adviser. Finidi still have six more matches to play towards the World Cup Qualifications, while the hurried calling for a foreign Technical Adviser. So he can come and perform magic and when he fails you will blame Finidi and tell us to give the Technical Adviser more time. Why are we like this? We give priority to foreigners while we push our own aside. We are patiently waiting.

Victor Osimhen’s video

While Finidi was battling with NFF on the issue of his contract and change of the Technical Crew albeit Technical Adviser, he was dealt another blow by one of Nigeria’s topmost goal poacher, Victor Osimhen. He recorded a personal video which he puts on the internet lambasting his Coach. The basis of his vulgar actions were based on rumours of what the Coach said concerning Osimhen.

The totality of the player’s behaviour was bad and condemnable. Even when proven that your Coach indeed said what he was alleged to, throwing caution to the wind is not the best thing to do. Professionally, it’s not the best. In football, once a player reacts like this to his Coach, it’s either the Coach leaves or the player will not get called to the team again.

If finally, Osimhen now finds out his Coach didn’t say anything like this what will he do as the damage has been done. It is advisable that response in anger does more damage than when you are more controlled and behave maturely. Many of your numerous loving fans, this writer inclusive, were taken aback on that video. You have a lot more to achieve in life and in the world of Football. Don’t allow issues that can be maturely managed like this stain your career.

Find a way to reach out to your Coach who was also a prominent National Footballer to sort out things. It pays to make more friends than enemies. We pray for more progress in your Career.

Matters Arising

While Finidi was courageous in resigning, he left some pertinent questions for the Nigerian Football managers and lovers to ponder upon. These are :

– Most Nigerian players are not committed to representing the Super Eagles.

– Nigerian players select the matches they want to play for Nigeria, he (Finidi) was not going to beg them to come and play.

– Some players were not serious in training.

-Others strolled into camp as they liked and when the Coach wants to punish them, he is told a big man owns them.

Are these issues correct or not? Seeing Ronaldo and Pepe playing with full commitment at close to 40 years for Portugal at the ongoing Euro 2024 is a great lesson to Nigerian players. The NFF and the incoming Technical Adviser have a lot to do in these areas.

Dr Salau Dee Elf writes from Lagos | [email protected]

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England draw Denmark, Spain to battle Italy for last 16 place



England struggled to show their credentials to win Euro 2024 in a 1-1 draw with Denmark that left them with work to do to reach the last 16, while Spain and Italy will battle it out to reach the knockout stages later on Thursday.

Victory for England in Frankfurt would have booked their place in the next round as Group C winners.

However, an underwhelming performance by Gareth Southgate’s men leaves more questions over their quest to becoming European champions for the first time.

In a rematch of the Euro 2020 semi-final won by England, it was Southgate’s men who got off to a perfect start when Harry Kane slotted home after Kyle Walker caught Danish defender Victor Kristiansen napping.

Denmark, though, were well worthy of at least a point and got it thanks to a spectacular strike by Morten Hjulmand before half-time.

Phil Foden hit the post for England and Denmark’s Andreas Christensen came close to a late winner in the second half.

But a share of the spoils leaves it all to play for in the final games of Group C on Tuesday.

Earlier, Luka Jovic snatched a point for Serbia in the 95th minute to hold Slovenia 1-1.

Zan Karnicnik headed Slovenia in front 21 minutes from time.

But Serbia kept their fate of reaching the last 16 in their own hands when AC Milan striker Jovic headed in a corner with virtually the last action of the game.

England top the group on four points, two clear of Denmark and Slovenia, and just need a draw when they face Slovenia in Cologne to qualify.

Gelsenkirchen plays host to one of the most-highly anticipated clashes of the group stage later as the winners of three of the last four Euros go head-to-head.

Spain’s mix of precocious youth and experience shone in a dazzling 3-0 win over World Cup semi-finalists Croatia to get their campaign off to a flying start.

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