Lewandowski extends Bayern contract until 2021

Bayern Munich have announced that Robert Lewandowski has extended his contract until 2021.

The 28-year-old, who joined from Borussia Dortmund in 2014, has been in talks with the club in recent weeks over the renewal of a deal that was due to expire in 2019.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness stated last week that he was “pretty sure” that Lewandowski would commit his future to the club, despite speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid.

And the striker says he is delighted to have brought rumours over his future to an end with a new four-and-a-half-year deal.

“I am very pleased that negotiations have led to a positive outcome and that I’ve still got a few years ahead at FC Bayern,” Lewandowski, who has won back-to-back Bundesliga titles since moving to the Allianz Arena, told the club’s website.

“We still have some great objectives together.”

Lewandowski added via his official Twitter account: “This club gives me all i need to make my dreams come true! New challenges ahead of us!”

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said of the deal: “I’m delighted that we were able to tie one of the world’s best centre-forwards to the club for the long term.”

Deputy chairman of the board Jan-Christian Dreesen added: “They were intense but always respectful and fair discussions. I want to thank the representatives of Robert Lewandowski for the constructive negotiations.”

Poland captain Lewandowski has been in strong form this season, scoring 19 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions.

The former Lech Poznan forward, who finished as the Bundesliga’s top scorer last term, is four behind leading marksman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2016-17.


Youngster Player of the Week : Felix Passlack

Name: Felix Passlack,

Nationality: German,

Born: 29 May 1998,

Club: Borussia Dortmund,

Position: Defender,

Preferred foot: Right,

Height: 170cm.

Felix Passlack shone at the UEFA European U17 Championship in 2015 and he received Fritz-Walter-Award in gold as Germany’s best U17 newcomer. His fierce duel with Ribéry during the Super Cup brought more national attention, however, and in Dortmund’s 8-4 victory against Legia Warszawa in November he became Germany’s youngest ever UEFA Champions League goalscorer.


Europa League draw: Manchester United to face Saint-Etienne in last 32

Manchester United have been drawn to play Saint-Etienne in the last 32 of the Europa League.

The tie will see United’s world-record signing Paul Pogba come up against his brother Florentin, a Saint-Etienne defender.

Jose Mourinho’s side were runners-up to Fenerbahce in Group A, while Saint-Etienne topped Anderlecht, Mainz and Gabala in Group C to reach the first knockout round.

Elsewhere, a standout tie sees LaLiga side Villarreal take on Serie A heavyweights Roma, while Tottenham play Belgian team Gent.

The last-32 draw in full, ties to be played February 16 and 23:

Athletic Bilbao v APOEL
Legia Warsaw v Ajax
Anderlecht v Zenit
Astra v Genk
Manchester United v Saint-Etienne
Villarreal v Roma
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Copenhagen
Celta Vigo v Shakhtar Donetsk
Olympiacos v Osmanlıspor
Gent v Tottenham
Rostov v Sparta Prague
Krasnodar v Fenerbahce
Borussia Monchengladbach v Fiorentina
AZ Alkmaar v Lyon
Hapoel Beer-Sheva v Besiktas
PAOK v Schalke


Last 16 #UCLDraw: Arsenal get Bayern, Barca to face PSG

Arsenal have been drawn to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16, while Paris Saint-Germain will take on Barcelona.

Holders Real Madrid are up against Napoli and Leicester City will come up against Sevilla.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are to play Monaco and Italian champions Juventus face Porto.

Borussia Dortmund are set to do battle with Benfica, while Bayer Leverkusen have a tough test having been picked out against Atletico Madrid.

Arsene Wenger would have hoped for a favourable opponent after his side beat PSG to top spot in Group A, but instead Arsenal face Bayern for the fourth time in five seasons.

Bayern put Arsenal out of the competition at the last 16 in 2013 and 2014, while they met in the group stages of last season’s competition.

The last-16 draw in full, first-leg ties to be played February 14-15 and 21-22:

Manchester City v Monaco
Real Madrid v Napoli
Benfica v Borussia Dortmund
Bayern Munich v Arsenal
Porto v Juventus
Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid
Paris Saint-Germain v Barcelona
Sevilla v Leicester City


Why Jose Mourinho is Being referred to as ‘a Draw Specialist‘

Manchester United under the auspices of Jose Mourihno began the 2016/2017 season as clear favourites to win the Premier League alongside their rivals Manchester City. But have slipped surprisingly with the ‘Special One’ suddenly now being referred to ‘a draw specialist ‘

The Portuguese coach has continued to wallow his perceived misfortunes after 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park. Mourihno claims his side should have won that match.

With no lady luck smiling, Mourinho has watched his team draw six matches out of 14 this season, but believes they have paid a heavy price for failing to convert their chances when playing.

“We are not getting the results we deserve,” he said. “We are getting draws but deserving victory. Opposition are leaving the stadium super happy with points they don’t deserve and we are leaving the stadium with a feeling we deserved more.”

Does he have point about the dropped points? Some statistics though confirms worst fears prompting more gloom.

United’s habit of conceding goals in the final 10 minutes has in turn cost them seven points. This is the most of any other team in the Premier League
Man United are at 21 points from their first 14 games which is worse than David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, who managed 22 and 25 respectively
Mourinho has won only nine of his past 30 matches in the Premier League at Chelsea and United
United are sixth in the standings, 13 points behind leaders Chelsea and only Phil Jagielka has given away more pens this season (3) than Marouane Fellaini in the Premier League (2).
United have won just one of their last eight games in the Premier League, with six draws and one defeat
Unfortunately, Mourinho has also been handed £145m to inspire United to produce a first challenge for a title they last lifted in 2013 under Sir Alex Ferguson and it continues being elusive as weeks go by.

His transfer budget has been the real noose around his neck. If this doesn’t translate to results it may be hard for him going forward.

It is all about results as Mourinho knows this following his successful stints at Porto, Inter, Chelsea and Real Madrid. Nobody will sympathise with him in the end if the current run continues.


The Impact of Injuries and Suspensions on Star Football Players.

The English Premier league is among the most followed and watched football league worldwide because for among many reasons the entertainment value.

Having started decades ago, different teams have battled it out for the coveted premier league trophy with some privileged than others to have hoisted the trophy many times than the others.

Among the most of fiercest of rivals in the league include, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspurs among others.

The battle for supremacy has always been intense and the current season of 2016/17 is no any different with as all teams are doing all it takes to topple each other’s record.

New managers have been contracted as well as world class footballers brought in from various clubs and all the fans worldwide can hope for is football galore.

Some of the coaches have clicked very well with their new teams for example, Antonio Conte for Chelsea, Jurgen Kloop for Liverpool and Mauriccio Pochetino for Tottenham Hotspurs, have breathed fresh breath of air to their new teams because they seem to have delivered the Blues, Reds and Spurs respectively, back to their heydays.

For others however, the struggle to regain form and return to winning ways seem to be taking longer than expected with Jose Mourinho feeling the heat even after bringing in some renowned names in the current century to ply their trade for Manchester United.

Arsenal on the other hand looks like the only team to have struck its winning formula after Arsene Wenger finally broke the bank in order to bring in some world class players to his side.

However even with all this put into consideration, player injuries and suspension bans are the other major contributing factors that can diminish any team’s hope of a podium finish.

For instance, it is a well-known fact that Arsenal’s major shortcoming to claiming the Premier League trophy is the endless list of injured players denying them playing time and influence to the teams winning mentality.

Some of Arsenal’s injured players include high rising and demanded left back Hector Bellerin (ankle injury) Per Merteseker (knee injury) and Santiago Carzola (Achilles tendon injury).

Chelsea too is not spared as among the players in the injury list include current top scorer Diego Costa (unknown) Nemanja Matic (calf injury) and John Terry (hip injury).

Liverpool’s chances of glory were dealt a major blow after one of their star players, Phillipe Coutinho was ruled out for several weeks with an ankle injury.

For a team like Manchester City under Pep Guardiola will be missing services of some of the star players because of suspension bans picked up after some cynical challenges in previous games.

In the end of the day, injuries and suspensions are the major hindrances these teams have to contend with in their bid to becoming the best they ever was hence most mangers try all they can to make sure that each position in the squad consists of more than three players to act as back up fillers in what is referred to as depth of squad


MLS MVP Villa has no interest in Premier League move

MLS MVP David Villa says a move to the Premier League is not something that he will consider at this stage of his career.

New York City FC striker Villa saw off competition from Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan of rivals New York Red Bulls to collect the prestigious honour after a season in which he scored 23 goals in 33 appearances.

The former Spain international, 35, was asked about the possibility of playing in English football, with the likes of Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane having all enjoyed loan spells in the Premier League while playing in MLS.

But the ex-Barcelona forward is only concentrating on his career in New York.

“I had the opportunity in the past, it is not in my plans. I like a lot the Premier League, I watch it all the time and I am excited by every game in the Premier League,” he told Sky Sports.

“It is one of the best leagues in the world. I had the opportunity to go there, but now it’s not in my thinking now. I feel good at New York City FC and I am still here.”

Villa also spoke of his pride at being recognised as MVP and is delighted to have achieved one of the main objectives he set when moving to America.

“I’m very proud to represent New York City FC and to receive this award,” he said.

“It’s a big day for me because this is one of the things I said I wanted to do when I came here two years ago.

“This is an important day in my career – this is an important moment for me. This award is for the best player in this amazing league which has many quality players so this is a very happy and proud day for me.”


Arda Barca future brighter after hat-trick

Arda Turan could have secured his Camp Nou future after a hat-trick impressed Luis Enrique as Barcelona thrashed Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0 in the Champions League.

Turkey captain Arda hit the net three times after the break, having assisted Lionel Messi’s first-half opener, on his first Champions League start of the season.

The 29-year-old was linked with a move away from the Catalan giants in the close-season in an attempt to raise transfer funds, with a January switch also mooted after a struggle to earn regular first-team football.

But his coach spoke glowingly following a stand-out performance that underlined Barca’s position as Group C winners.

“He has created lots of goals this year,” Luis Enrique told Spanish television.

“He has many chances when he plays on the left of our attack. I also like him in midfield.”

Aleix Vidal was another to make a rare outing, and he too impressed by playing a part in Arda’s first two goals, including an assist for his second.

“He was spectacular,” Luis Enrique beamed.

“He has a unique physical condition despite not having played for a long time and he was very good, in attack, in defence, with the ball and without the ball.

“The more players join the bandwagon, the better.”


Gladbach’s Alvaro Dominguez retires at 27

Borussia Monchengladbach defender Alvaro Dominguez has been forced to retire due to ongoing back problems.

The 27-year-old Spaniard made the announcement on social media on Tuesday, succumbing to persistent injuries.

Dominguez underwent back surgery for a second time in September, with the former Atletico Madrid player without a Bundesliga appearance since November last year.

Hasta siempre

— Alvaro Dominguez (@Adominguez15) December 6, 2016

“I’ve been playing in a terrible condition the last few years and been obliged to carry on playing,” he said in a video published via his official Twitter account.

“This has led me to two operations and has led me to some consequences that I’m still suffering today.

“This means that today I have to say goodbye to you and this sport that I am so passionate about. No one would like to be an invalid at 27-years old. This is the price that I will have to pay.”

Despite fighting to return, @Adominguez15 has had to retire from football at 27 years old Thanks for everything, Alvaro! #fohlenelf

— Gladbach (@borussia_en) December 6, 2016

After joining Gladbach in 2012, Dominguez made over 80 appearances for the German outfit, though he only played in six games last term.

During his four years at Atletico, he featured in more than 75 matches.


Mourinho ‘has nothing to hide’ over tax affairs

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has insisted he has nothing to hide over his tax affairs.

A consortium of 12 European newspapers has said it will publish the findings of what is described as “the largest leak in the history of sport” under the banner ‘Football Leaks’ over the next three weeks.

As part of that leak, several media outlets have alleged that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Mourinho avoided taxes using tax havens through structures set up by their agent Jorge Mendes’ company, Gestifute.

However, Gestifute described the accusations as “unfounded” in a statement on Friday, saying the duo are “fully compliant with their tax obligations”.

Mourinho issued a similarly strong denial when asked about the matter after United’s 1-1 draw with Everton on Sunday.

“I have lodged the documents in Italy, Spain and England,” Mourinho told reporters.

“I have nothing to hide. They prove that I have done nothing wrong.”

Mourinho’s response comes after MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the public accounts committee in the United Kingdom, told The Sunday Times that the claims needed “close examination”.
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Kane wants to see out career at Tottenham

Harry Kane says there is no reason why he will not spend the rest of his playing career at Tottenham, so long as the club keeps progressing.

The England striker penned a new deal at White Hart Lane that runs until 2022 this week and celebrated by scoring twice in a 5-0 battering of Swansea City in the Premier League on Saturday.

The 23-year-old, who has hit five goals in his last four Tottenham appearances, is targeting winning trophies with Spurs and expects to be in north London beyond the length of his new contract.

“From my point of view, as long as the club’s always progressing and has got a vision and going forward, then I’d love to do that [stay for the rest of my career],” Kane said.

“At the moment, that’s the case, so there is no reason for me to move anywhere else. My ambitions at Tottenham are to win trophies. Premier Leagues, Champions Leagues. We’ve got to aim high, we have everything in the right place.

“You see the stadium being built every time we come here, little by little. It’s exciting. We’ve got everything in place to be one of the top clubs in Europe.

“That’s the aim, that’s my goal and I’m sure it is the club’s too. I’m happy here, I feel the club’s progressing, we’ve got a great manager who I believe in a lot and the players believe in a lot, the stadium, the training ground, they are exciting times.

“There was no hesitation about signing a new contract.”

An ankle injury disrupted the start of Kane’s season but with seven Premier League goals to his name he is hitting top form again.

“When you are injured, you’re always thinking what is it going to feel like when you are playing again,” Kane said. “I did a lot of rehab work and a lot of stuff in the gym to be as ready as possible.

“It’s very pleasing to come back from a period out and still be scoring goals. Hopefully I can keep doing that for the rest of the season. We know in the last couple of months we could have done a lot better.

“We spoke about how these next couple are very important. Last year in December and January we really pushed on and put a good string of results together. That is what we have got to do now.

“We have definitely got some winnable games coming up, some good games at home that we should definitely win. We are looking at these next two months to build on this win against Swansea, hopefully get a few wins in a row and push us up the league and start fighting for the title.”
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Wenger to field ‘mixed’ side against Southampton

Arsene Wenger said he would field a strong but mixed squad in Arsenal’s EFL Cup quarter-final against Southampton, and that Carl Jenkinson is in line for a start.

Wenger also insisted Sunday’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth in the Premier League relieved pressure after three straight draws in all competitions.

Alexis Sanchez scored a brace for Arsenal, with his goals coming either side of a Theo Walcott header, meaning that Wenger’s side are heading into Wednesday’s cup clash at the Emirates Stadium full of confidence.

“We will have a mixture of youth and experience, but still 90 per cent of a first-team squad,” Wenger told the club’s website.

“We were in a winning momentum and suddenly you only make draws, so it gets a little bit in the head of the players. For us, I think it was an important step to win against Bournemouth, and having watched the game again, I think we played better than I thought after the game.”

Wenger feels Jenkinson is a player who benefits from having a run of games, and he is hopeful the 24-year-old will showcase his improvement.

“Carl Jenkinson will play. I rested him completely against Bournemouth because he played two big games and I felt he needed a breather. Sometimes, mentally three games in a week demands a lot. Carl’s back in tomorrow and we’ll put Gabriel in the centre, and then we will see for Saturday,” he said.

“You forget that it’s a big ask. Carl is very conscientious and it takes him time to play completely with freedom. He needs a run of games to play with freedom, so the fact that he can get another game tomorrow, I think we’ll already see a different Carl.”

Arsenal’s next Premier League clash comes at the London Stadium against West Ham on Saturday, with Wenger’s team sitting just three points off top spot.
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CONMEBOL suspends all activities following Chapecoense crash

CONMEBOL has decided to suspend all its activities following the plane crash involving Brazilian side Chapecoense ahead of their Copa Sudamericana final first leg against Atletico Nacional.

The plane, carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, crashed on its way to Medellin from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

“The South American Football Confederation confirms that it has been notified by Colombian authorities that the plane on which the Atletico Chapecoense of Brazil delegation suffered an accident on its arrival to Colombia,” an official statement reads.

“We are in contact with the authorities and we are awaiting for official updates.

“The CONMEBOL family enormously laments what has happened.

“All activities of the confederation will remain suspended until further notice.

“President Alejandro Dominguez is currently in transit to Medellin.”

A press release sent out by the Jose Maria Cordova airport said authorities were working to rescue the survivors.

Chapecoense, meanwhile, have released a statement on their official Facebook page as they await further news and updates.

“Given the conflicting reports emerging from different journalistic sources concerning the crash of the plane carrying the Chapecoense players, the Chapecoense football association through it vice-president, Ivan Tozzo, is refraining from comment and awaiting official announcements from the Colombian air authorities,” the statement reads.

“May God be with our athletes, leaders, journalists and the other guests who are with the delegation.”
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Messi: Barcelona are not dependent on me

Lionel Messi insists Barcelona are not dependent on him, despite producing more match-winning goal heroics with a brace in the 2-0 Champions League victory at Celtic on Wednesday.

Messi opened the scoring by converting Neymar’s chipped pass then slotted in from the penalty spot to wrap up the win and secure top spot in Group C.

The striker’s double took his tally for the season to 18 goals in all competitions for Barcelona, but he played down his importance to Luis Enrique’s team.

“I don’t consider talk of Barca being Messi-dependent to be praise or a concern, because it’s not the case,” Messi said at an Adidas promotional event on Thursday.

“I’m in the best team in the world, [Barca] don’t depend on one player.”

Messi did not take questions about his future, amid speculation he is set to sign a new Barcelona contract, but he accepted his side’s next LaLiga match, at Real Sociedad on Sunday, where they have not won since 2007, will be tough.

“Anoeta is a complicated stadium where we haven’t won in years,” he said. “[Sociedad] always make things tough for us there and it’s going to be a hard game.

“In football these days it’s important to be organised. To have a team that is well-organised is the most important thing. To have a good team, everything starts there.”

Barcelona are four points adrift of leaders Real Madrid heading into this weekend.
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It’s hope for Lewis Hamilton and mettle for Nico Rosberg in Abu Dhabi

The 2016 Formula 1 season comes to an end this Sunday with Nico Rosberg leading the charts with 367 points, 12 points ahead of his closest rival and Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton.

This is the third time in its eight years in F1 that Abu Dhabi will host the championship showdown and on the face of it, it is hard to see how Nico Rosberg cannot end the weekend with his first title.

He has been sticking to a mantra of “one race at a time” all season, but admitted he might change that for such a crucial event, at which he could win the World Championship for the first time.

Hamilton on the other hand has to win the race and hope Rosberg finishes fourth or lower in order for him to lift a fourth title.

Hamilton has a perfect record in Abu Dhabi especially in the last sector where the sequence of right-angled corners fit perfectly with the way he brakes late and rotates the car into the corner using a combination of oversteer and impeccable feel and skill.

It goes without saying that both Rosberg and Hamilton have been nothing short of great and any one of them would make a worthy champion.
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Buffon denies ‘step aside’ claims

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon denied claims he said other Serie A clubs step aside when facing the champions. A La Gazzetta dello Sport report suggested the 38-year-old told his team-mates the difference between their domestic campaign and the Champions League was that their rivals moved aside in Italy.

However, Buffon – whose team have won five straight league titles – rubbished those claims, saying such a conversation never took place. “What has happened is part of a fantasy life,” he told a news conference on Friday.
“I live in real life. “I never talked about anything. I shouldn’t even be here to say it.”


Buffon was speaking ahead of Italy’s World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein on Saturday. Despite being expected to win the Group G clash comfortably, Buffon warned his team against complacency. “We’re favourites because individually we’re stronger than them,” he said.

“But without humility and the right ruthlessness you run the risk of messing and we can’t let this happen as we’re developing and have to carry on.” Italy are second in the group but level on points with leaders Spain, while Liechtenstein are bottom, point-less and having conceded 12 goals in three games.

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