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Real Madrid considering £88m Ronaldo Juventus bid

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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.

Since that victory over Liverpool in Kiev, Real boss Zinedine Zidane has left the club and been replaced by former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui.

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.

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Fraud: Man United boss, Mourinho sentenced to one year imprisonment

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly accepted a one-year suspended prison sentence for tax fraud in Spain.

Mourinho is alleged to have defrauded the Spanish authorities of €1.9 million (£1.78 million) during his time in charge of Real Madrid, using offshore companies in Ireland, the British Virgin Islands and New Zealand to conceal his earnings.

The Portuguese is thought to have earned around €3.3 million (£2.9 million) from image rights in 2011 and 2012, of which he has been fined 60 per cent.

El Mundo claims that Mourinho will accept in writing that he concealed that income from the authorities, avoiding the need for a trial and ensuring that he will not serve any jail time.

Mourinho is the latest high-profile football name to be penalised for tax evasion by the Spanish authorities, with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alexis Sanchez and Javier Mascherano also being caught in recent years.

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Fashanu, Tonto Dike, Siasia, others named Freestyle Football ambassadors

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Feet and Tricks International, organisers of the first ever African Football Freestyle Championship in Africa has named former professional English footballer, John Fashanu; Former Nigerian defender and former Head of Lagos State Football Association, Waidi Akanni; and former Super Eagles Coach, Samson Siasia, Superstar actresses, Kate Henshaw and Tonto Dikeh as brand ambassadors for this year’s Championship. All with enviable careers and celebrated globally are undoubtedly a perfect representation of the sporting excellence the brand stands for.

Confirming this, the Chairman, Feet ‘n’ Tricks International, Valentine Ozigbo noted that ” Feet ‘n’ Tricks is on a mission to making Africa the home of freestyle football and providing a new platform for self-expression of skills in order to ultimately exploit the global appeal of the sport. In order to realize this, we decided to look for ambassadors, who exemplify the same passion for the sport like we do, and decided to work together with John Fashanu, Waidi Akanni, Samson Siasia, Kate Henshaw and Tonto Dikeh to actualize this dream”.

“Without a doubt, they have over the years demonstrated leadership in the sports and entertainment scene and beyond. To this end, we trust in their ability to help engage and inspire our target audience to accept as well as  promote freestyle football to the lofty height and the global phenomenon that it is now fast developing into. The infusion of Kate Henshaw and Tonto Dikeh into the event is to create an entertainment appeal to the sport and quip the interest of the youths. We are glad to have them onboard as brand ambassadors.” Ozigbo said.

The qualifying rounds and Nigerian championship will hold on September 13th -14th, 2018 at the Balmoral Convention Centre, Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos. After the qualifying rounds, the best 16 male and 8 female freestyle athletes in Africa will emerge to battle it out at the grand finale on September 15, 2018 in a keenly contested competition that is expected to produce the first African male and female Freestyle Football Champions.

The new ambassadors, while commenting on their new role as ambassadors of Feet ‘n’ Tricks International, took turns to commend the firm for the hard work that has seen it rise to the height attained within a short period, while also noting that the gesture is indeed an honour.

“I am in-tune with the mission of this tournament, to develop and sustain the growth of the art of freestyle football because I have a passion for the development of grassroot football. What feet and tricks is doing is basically creating an avenue to accommodate these freestylers who have been neglected all over the continent.” said Fashanu.

“My interest in this sport grew when I realised the huge potential it has to impact grassroots football and make an otherwise overlooked freestyler a celebrity, at no cost at all. I am happy to be part of this and I encourage people to register to attend the event.” Kate Henshaw said.

Waidi Akanni said, “Freestyle football is the foundation of beautiful football, and it is an honor to be an ambassador of a tournament that is determined to touch lives and mine this huge reserve of talent in Africa. Because of the lack of structure in the sport, it has been impossible to harness the economic and entertainment potentials it possesses.  This championship by Feet ‘n’ Tricks International brings structure and reward to the table, making it possible for freestyle football to be more than just a hobby.”

Tonto Dikeh said “Last year,  it was just a Nigerian Championship but this year, Feet ‘n’ Tricks has extended the event reach to Africa. It shows a growing company with a vision and I am happy to be brought on board as an ambassador. I am here to also encourage more women to be part of this game, because I have seen that this is one football sport that women find incredibly entertaining and awesomely beautiful. ”

The 2018 Africa Freestyle Football Championship is a perfect fusion of freestyle football and entertainment as top musical and dance artistes will be performing, including Falz, Vanessa Mdee, Kcee, Mayorkun, Slim Case and Mr Real. The championship will also host international freestyle professionals; Guinness world record holder, Iya Traore and Female freestyle legend, Raquel Benetti from Brazil.

While appreciating Feet ‘n’ Tricks, Samson Siasia said: “Associating with an organization that is poised to project and reward talent in Africa is a good one for me because I am particularly happy with the positive impact this championship is having on the youths in Africa, who have only their freestyle skills to survive. This puts them on a pedestal for the world stage, and I foresee a world freestyle football championship from Africa. Anything is possible”,

This event is endorsed by World Freestyle Football Association and proudly sponsored by Heritage Bank, Sprite,  GAC Motors, MTN, Startimes, FIRS, Eko Disco, Goal.com among others.

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EPL: Brighton beat Manchester United 3-2

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MANCHESTER UNITED slumped to a 3-2 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion as Jose Mourinho’s men lost early ground on their title rivals.

United went into Sunday’s showdown at the Amex Stadium having watched reigning champions Manchester City and Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea secure three points against Huddersfield and Arsenal respectively.

Manchester United will have to come from behind in order to win their first Premier League title since 2013 though thanks to goals from Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and Pascal Gross.

Murray put Brighton a goal to the good after 25 minutes with a cute flick at the near post and Duffy was on hand two minutes later to extend their advantage.

Romelu Lukaku got United back into the game 10 minutes before the break but Jose Mourinho’s men failed to stay close to Brighton for long.

Gross stepped up and dispatched his penalty thanks to a deflection off David De Gea after Eric Bailly had a rush of blood to the head in the box.

United failed to muster a response in the second half and Paul Pogba’s late penalty came too late to threaten Brighton’s hopes of gaining three points.

The result leaves an increasingly under-pressure Mourinho down in the dumps while the Seagulls soar following their first win of the new season.

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