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I won’t respond to Yaya Toure’s accusations -Pep Guardiola

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Pep Guardiola declined to respond to criticism from Yaya Toure after the ex-Manchester City midfielder accused his former coach of being “cruel to him” and having “problems with Africans.”

Toure, 35, was released by the City boss at the end of his contract after eight years with the club and claimed he wanted to “destroy the Guardiola myth” in an astonishing attack on the coach, for whom he also played at Barcelona.

But Guardiola — who described Toure as one of the “most important players in our history” before his emotional final farewell appearance at the Etihad Stadium — would not answer the player’s controversial remarks.

“I’m not going to comment on Toure’s words. I have nothing to say about Toure,” he said when questioned by reporters after playing in a golf tournament in Girona, Spain.

Guardiola is focusing on next season and wants to bring in at least two new faces in the summer, with Napoli’s Jorginho and Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez identified as his top targets.

Brazil forward Neymar has said he would like to work with Guardiola, while the Paris Saint-Germain forward has also been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

“I know that leaving Paris is not easy,” Guardiola replied when asked about Neymar’s potential move to the Bernabeu. “PSG is PSG.

“Will I coach him one day? I don’t think I’m going to go to PSG, I’m very happy at City.”

Guardiola has more than a month before some of his squad return ahead of their preseason summer tour to the United States in July.

Many of the first team will be given extra time off after the World Cup and may miss the tour but Leroy Sane, the Premier League’s Young Player of the Year, is likely to be involved after he was surprisingly omitted from the Germany squad by coach Joachim Low.

“I have a lot of respect for the Germany coach and he has taken that decision based on what he has seen,” Guardiola said. “He [Sane] has to rest now and return as good as he has been this season.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola will start the season with a touchline ban in the Champions League after UEFA found him guilty of improper conduct after he was sent to the stands in the quarterfinal defeat by Liverpool.

Guardiola was sent off by Antonio Miguel Lahoz after the Spanish official incorrectly ruled out a Sane goal in the second leg at the Etihad.

“Mateu Lahoz is Mateu Lahoz. I have nothing to say. I will watch the two games from the stands. One game if I behave,” he said. “Mateu sent me off. He will be the best Spanish referee to go to the World Cup.”

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Luka Modric ‘beats’ Ronaldo to win 2018 Ballon d’ Or award

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Croatia captain and Real Madrid midfielder, Luka Modric, has won the men’s Ballon d’Or award, the prestigious prize given to the best football in the world.

Modric beat five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo and World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann to the honour at a glamorous ceremony in Paris, France.

Kylian Mbappe won the inaugural Kopa Trophy for the best young player, while Lyon and Norway forward Ada Hegerberg won the first women’s Ballon d’Or.

The Croatia captain has proved a crucial part both of Real Madrid’s third successive Champions League triumph, beating Liverpool in the final 3-1, and as captain in Croatia’s impressive run to the World Cup final which earned him the tournament’s Golden Ball.

In 2018, Modric won his third consecutive Champions League trophy with club side Real Madrid and led Croatia to their first World Cup final, losing 4-2 to France.

The 33-year-old’s prize sees an end to the 10-year duopoly of Messi, who finished fifth overall in his lowest ranking since 2006, and Ronaldo, who came second. France and Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann finished third, with his France team-mate Mbappe fourth.

Harry Kane, the only English player on the 30-man shortlist, ranked 10th in the poll after winning the World Cup Golden Boot in Russia as he captained England to their best finish in 28 years.

Premier League trio Mohamed Salah (6), Eden Hazard (8) and Kevin De Bruyne (9) were also in the top 10.

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, dropped to 12th having been voted third best in last year’s poll.

World Cup winners N’Golo Kante (11) and Paul Pogba (15) finished in the top 20 after being recognised for their performances in Russia.

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Njoroge shines, wins 57th FirstBank Lagos Amateur Golf Open

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By  Golf Nigeria

 

He came, he saw and conquered; that better describes the performance of the visiting Kenyan, Sam Njoroge, who stole the show on his first ever visit to Nigeria, where he also won his first ever International tournament; the 57th in the series of the annual Firstbank sponsored Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship, which holed out at the golf section of Ikoyi Club 1938 on 18 November 2018.

The 2-handicaper arrived Nigeria on Thursday, November 15th had a feel of the course later in the day, returned on Friday for another quick survey of the course, before unleashing his golf skill on his peers, even though he said the thought of winning was far from him when he got the invitation to be part of the international amateur championship.

“I told myself this is my first visit, so I don’t expect I can win. I just want to play good golf, enjoy my game and leave the rest”, he said in a chat with Golf Nigeria.

But all that changed after his opening round of 3-over par 75 when he found himself in contention in a field of 90-contenders, mostly Nigerians, many of whom had played on the course severally.

Scaling through the half way cut, Njoroge seemed better prepared for the final round. Aided by what many described as his flawless swing, chipping and sublime putting skill, the young man instantly became the topic of discourse around the Course. Some described his as a ‘witch’ on the Course; while others simply say he is destined for a great future in golf.

Their thought and admiration for the Kenyan was eventually confirmed when he carded a level par 72, winning the competition by 4-shots over one of the tournament favourites, Monday Eze, who closed with 1-over 73, for 151-total.

Eze shots an opening 78 before, 4-shots off the winners opening 75 to duck in the second position. Eze who was disappointed at the outcome actually gave a good account of himself. He has won the coveted trophy twice and was gunning for his third title before the visitor pushed him down the leaderboard.

Emmanuel L. was two-shot further back at 11-over par, over 36-holes while another Nigerian, Emmanuel Olusegun came fourth at +12. Biodun Oyewoga completed the top-5 category in the competition at +17 over two-days.

Already, Njoroge is eyeing pro golf career in Europe, saying, all things been equal, he hopes to be in United Kingdom by June next year in pursuit of long life dream of becoming a professional golfer. His sojourn, he said would be funded by friends, admirers and supporters.

Njorige is not just good in the sport; he is Kenya’s number One amateur and holds his Club’s; Kenya Railway Corporation Golf Club’s record of 61-gross, a feat he attained early this year.

Njoroge holds a High School Certificate, has done a course in Business Studies and did a little bit of IT.

On his assessment of the Nigerians he competed with, he said, “They are good, it is just that they are not consistent,” Probed further on what he meant by their inconsistency, he simply said, “Lack of practice”.

Now 23, Njoroge started playing golf at the age of 9 and never Caddied before he turned amateur.

Analysts say his victory is a pointer to the international status of FirstBank Lagos amateur open, one of the longest running amateur event in the world and a challenge to the Nigerians he played with.

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Man United stun Juventus as City, Madrid win big

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Manchester United produced a stunning late comeback to beat Juventus 2-1 on Wednesday in what could be a turning point in their Champions League campaign, while a Gabriel Jesus hat-trick helped Manchester City all but secure a last-16 berth.
Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo Pep Guardiola’s City crushed Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 on a night which saw Real Madrid also win big, as Bayern Munich closed in on a place in the knockout stage. Juventus were within seconds of confirming their spot in the last 16 after Cristiano Ronaldo put them ahead in Turin with a superb volley in the 65th minute.
The hosts had already hit the woodwork twice before that and should have been out of sight before Juan Mata equalised from an 86th-minute free-kick. The turnaround was completed in the 90th minute when Leonardo Bonucci scored an own-goal, and United boss Jose Mourinho delighted in taking to the field at the end, cupping an ear towards the home support.
The former Inter coach said it was a response to insults from Juve supporters, and United are now two points behind the Italians in Group H. “In a beautiful Italian city, they insulted me for 90 minutes. I didn’t insult them. I just made a little thing,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“It is a big victory for us, not just because we needed the points but because it was away from home against an amazing team.” The result was a blow for Valencia, who are still two points behind in third after beating Young Boys 3-1 at Mestalla. Santi Mina scored twice either side of a Roger Assale goal, before Carlos Soler sealed the win. Young Boys, who had Sekou Sanogo sent off, cannot now qualify.
There was less drama at the Etihad Stadium, where City — whose financial dealings have come under scrutiny in a series of Football Leaks allegations — eased to their biggest win in the competition. Goals from David Silva and Riyad Mahrez bookended the victory. In between there was a stunner from Raheem Sterling, who was also awarded a penalty for kicking his own foot into the turf in the box.
Ronaldo a goal machine, money-making machine for ambitious Juventus Jesus scored the spot-kick, the first of two penalties in his hat-trick. City will head to Lyon later this month requiring a draw to secure a last-16 place.
“Unfortunately we haven’t qualified, but we are so close and will try to maintain this level,” said Guardiola, whose team play United on Sunday. City would have been through already had Lyon not squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to 10-man Hoffenheim. Nabil Fekir and Tanguy Ndombele had the French club 2-0 up at the break, and the Germans had Kasim Nuhu sent off early in the second half.
But Andrej Kramaric pulled one back and Lyon missed chances to secure the victory before Pavel Kaderabek’s stoppage-time equaliser. Reigning European champions Madrid had no trouble against Viktoria Plzen in the Czech Republic, with Karim Benzema scoring twice in a 5-0 win.
Real were four ahead at the break, Benzema’s goals taking him to 200 for the club. Casemiro and Gareth Bale also netted in the first half, and Toni Kroos completed the scoring with a delicious chip. Santiago Solari has now overseen three victories, all with clean sheets, since being put in charge of Madrid, and the Spaniards are level atop Group G with Roma. The Italians won 2-1 away to CSKA Moscow, Kostas Manolas and Lorenzo Pellegrini scoring their goals either side of Arnor Sigurdsson’s equaliser. CSKA, who had Hordur Magnusson sent off, still have a slim chance of qualifying, but Plzen are out.
Meanwhile, Bayern require just one more point to advance in Group E after Robert Lewandowski netted twice — the first a penalty — on his 100th European appearance in a 2-0 home win over AEK Athens, who are eliminated. Ajax remain well placed to progress too. They are second, four points clear of third-placed Benfica, after a 1-1 draw in Portugal. Jonas put Benfica ahead before Dusan Tadic equalised.

-Vanguard
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