• Astori was due to play in a match against Udinese on Sunday
• The defender won 14 caps for Italy during his career
Fiorentina captain Davide Astori has died aged 31, the Italian club have confirmed.
Astori was staying a hotel with his team-mates ahead of their game on Sunday away at Udinese when he passed away.
The defender won 14 caps for Italy in a career which started at AC Milan, although he never played a first team game for the club before being sold to Cagliari.
“Fiorentina are profoundly shaken and forced to announce that their captain Davide Astori has died,” read the statement.
“For this terrible and delicate situation, and above all out of respect for his family, we appeal to the sensitivity of the media.”
The match against Udinese has been postponed following the announcement of the player’s death. It was later confirmed that all Serie A games were to be postponed out of respect for Astori.
Former Cagliari team-mate Radja Nainggolan wrote on Instagram: “A great player, but even more than that, a great person. How many battles we were in together at Cagliari, then found each other again at Roma I still can’t believe it. My thoughts are with his family and those close to him. RIP.”
During his career Astori played spent time on loan at Roma and Fiorentina before joining the latter club two years ago on a permanent basis after six years as a Cagliari player. Astori was a member of the Italy squad for the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, scoring his only international goal in the third-place playoff against Uruguay, which Italy won on penalties.
Former Roma manager Rudi Garcia tweeted: “The news of the untimely death of my former player Davide Astori pains me. A professional and exemplary guy. I am close to the family and his loved ones. Rest in peace Davide.”
-The Guardian UK
BREAKING: Chelsea FC sacks manager, Maurizio Sarri to take over
Antonio Conte and his staff have been sacked by Chelsea FC, paving the way for Maurizio Sarri’s arrival.
The former Italy national coach has essentially been a lame duck at Stamford Bridge since the end of last season, but the Blues couldn’t agree a compensation deal with Napoli for Sarri.
The Blues have moved to dismiss Conte after just two years at the club after they missed out on Champions League qualification last term with a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Premier League.
The writing has been on the wall for some time with Chelsea openly on the lookout for a new boss ever since with a number of high-profile names considered.
Conte had refused to walk away unless the final year of his three-year contract was paid up in full and even returned to take pre-season training which began on Monday.
But a compensation agreement was finally reached on Thursday with Sarri set to be announced as his replacement soon.
Sarri will be joined by former Blues striker and club legend Gianfranco Zola who is set to join as part of a new-look backroom team.
Conte had taken the Chelsea team on early morning on Thursday, and gave his players the afternoon off after it became clear that the two clubs had reached a final compensation agreement.
Antonio Conte won the English Premier League in 2017, and the FA Cup in 2018.
Real Madrid considering £88m Ronaldo Juventus bid
Real Madrid are considering an offer of about 100m euros (£88m) from Juventus for Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 33-year-old Portugal forward is Real’s all-time top scorer with 451 goals.
However his age, and Real’s need to reshape a squad that finished 17 points behind La Liga champions Barcelona last season, has encouraged the Italian champions to make their move.
Ronaldo won his fifth Champions League title with Madrid in May.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s future has been the subject of intense debate over the past few years, and his relationship with Real president Florentino Perez has also been questioned.
Any move would eclipse Juventus’ record transfer fee of 90m euros (£79m), which they paid for Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain in 2016.
It would also be more than the £80m Real paid Manchester United for Ronaldo in 2009.
Reports of Cristiano Ronaldo’s unhappiness at Real Madrid have become an all-too-predictable annual occurrence, and in the past they have always resulted in the Portuguese having his ego stroked, his pay packet boosted and the problem solved.
So when Ronaldo once again revealed his disenchantment with the club in the immediate aftermath of the Champions League final victory over Liverpool, at first nobody took him seriously.
But this is starting to look a little bit different, and there’s a growing sense within Spain that this might actually be the summer when Ronaldo leaves Real Madrid.
That suspicion has arisen partly because the club has not done too much – publicly, at least – to fight to keep him, fuelling speculation that all-powerful president Florentino Perez believes this is the right time to cash in.
If Real can command a fee of 100m euros from Juventus, Perez could well see that as great business for a player who will be 34 by the end of next season.
Lurking in the background is the figure of Neymar. For a long time it has appeared to be just a matter of time before the flamboyant Brazilian ends his Parisian sojourn and moves to Madrid, where his combination of prodigious footballing talent and enormous marketing power would make him a perfect signing.
If Neymar does come this summer, it’s hard to see how both his and Ronaldo’s egos could coexist happily on the pitch or in the dressing room, and the older man would need to make way.
Even if Neymar isn’t captured, Perez is also a big admirer of another PSG star, Kylian Mbappe, whose eye-catching World Cup performances have made him an even more appealing prospect.
All things considered, it could well be time for a changing of the guard at the Bernabeu.
AITEO commends Super Eagles for a remarkable world cup outing
AITEO Group, the Official Optimum Partner of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), wishes to commend the players and officials of the Super Eagles of Nigeria for the efforts put into their performances at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Despite bowing out of the tournament at the group stage, Aiteo is very proud of how the Eagles won the hearts of Nigerians, and how in this short period, they have been able to magically pull a nation of over 180 million people together, attesting to our belief that football remains a major unifying factor in Nigeria.
Commenting on the outing, The Executive Vice Chairman of Aiteo Group, Benedict Peters says; “The moments of anxieties and excitements shared when our nation plays are priceless and unforgettable. Whilst it is disheartening that we did not proceed to the next round, we are confident that with this same passion and more preparation, victory awaits in coming years. Aiteo is motivated to continue to invest in football, having watched the Super Eagles play their hearts out and fans across the country lay their common defences aside to cheer them. Now is the time to put the World Cup exit behind us and move towards building a stronger team and a stronger nation together.”
Aiteo notes that the players put in their utmost with patriotic fervour and were so close to getting the needed draw against two-time world champions, Argentina. They epitomized the essence of the Nigerian Spirit: result-driven commitment to excellence and grit in the face of daunting challenges, all hallmarks of Aiteo’s commitment to empowering Nigeria’s burgeoning youth population.
We have only compliments for the Board of the NFF, led by Amaju Pinnick which provided effective work tools in the critical areas of: securing sponsorships, high level and adequate preparations, provisions for improvement through modern technology, hiring of quality technical staff and payment of the team’s World Cup bonus long before they kicked a ball in Russia.
Aiteo Group stands committed to fulfilling its bonuses to the Super Eagles in addition to its long-term investment in Nigerian Football. We also remain unquestionably devoted to working with Nigeria’s Football leadership to provide Nigerians with a team that will compete for the global crown by the next World Cup.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
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