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Ivan Rakitic gets Lionel Messi fans fuming with the choice of photo in his latest Instagram post

Ivan Rakitic has had a mixed bag at Barcelona. He is a Champions League winner and a World Cup finalist with Croatia. You would expect him to be a regular starter in the team.

Yet, this season he has warmed the benches more often than not. The amount of talented midfielders at Barca’s disposal has seen him lose game time.

Backlash for an Instagram post featuring Messi

He recently uploaded a picture reminiscing Croatia’s victory over Argentina in the World Cup.

The picture in question involved Lionel Messi attempting a challenge, with Rakitic avoiding the maestro and dribbling past him.

It is a well-known fact that Messi is adored and revered by the Blaugrana faithful. Some Barca fans were furious with the choice of picture. Seeing their hero in that position was intolerable in their eyes.

They made sure that Rakitic knew what they felt about him, and they were vocal in their request for him to leave Barca.

Check out the reaction below –

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Kieran Tierney lavishes praise on Gabriel Martinelli during his AMA on Reddit

Gabriel Martinelli has had a sensational start to his life as an Arsenal player as the Brazilian has gone from a new signing to playing for the side regularly inside eight months.

You could argue that the rest of the forwards, bar Aubameyang, have been lackluster. But to shine in a forward line consisting of Lacazette, Pepe, Ozil and others, shows the supreme talent that Martinelli possesses.

Fellow new summer arrival, Kieran Tierney, echoes those very same thoughts. In an AMA on Reddit, he was asked which Arsenal player impressed him the most in the first few training sessions.

Tierney had no qualms while claiming that Martinelli was that player. He also mentioned that Martinelli’s intensity of play was so good that he used that as the standard he needed to be at if he wanted to play for the Gunners.

A screenshot of Tierney’s reply on Reddit, Image via Twitter

To see someone who’s only 18 years old receive that sort of praise from a player with more experience is an attestation of Martinelli’s ability.

The Brazilian has already proven to be a shrewd acquisition. His teammates can stand to learn from his work rate and passion if they want to remain at Arsenal.

The Gunners fans will hope that he continues to inspire his teammates the way he has inspired Tierney.

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Everything Troy Deeney said regarding the Paul Pogba situation was spot on

Paul Pogba was suppose to take Manchester United back to the heights they were accustomed to when the Frenchman returned to the Red Devils back in 2016 .

Fair to say that hasn’t been the case entirely. He has shown flashes of brilliance for which United paid the big bucks for but it has been few and far between. Since his return United have been 6, 2, 6 and 5 in the league table. So it’s safe to say neither party got what it hoped for.

Pogba’s future has been in the air since the beginning of the season as clubs like Juventus and Real Madrid seemed to be particularly interested in securing his services. He has fared scarcely for United this season’s ankle injury has forced him to spend the majority of his time on the sidelines.

His brother Mathias Pogba and agent Mino Raiola have made it no secret that Pogba wants to move elsewhere as he is seeking a “new challenge”. Safe to say all this shenanigans surrounding him have turned a lot of Manchester United faithfuls against him.

Deeney launches staunch defence of Pogba

Troy Deeney recently appeared live on a United fan channel on YouTube. The outspoken Watford forward discussed the various aspects concerning Man United, including what it’s like to face them on the pitch, Bruno Fernandes, their links to Jadon Sancho, and more.

The most interesting part of the interview, however, was his defence of Paul Pogba’s comments in the summer.

He claimed that Pogba might have been wrong in the way he announced his intentions, but he was justified in seeking a new challenge. 

Given United’s plethora of resources one would expect them to build a capable squad.

That has been a pipe dream of sorts, with the Red Devils going through multiple managers like sheets in a notebook over the past few seasons.

Pogba feels his talents are being wasted at United, and Deeney was supportive of Pogba’s behavior, as well.

Deeney claims Pogba has always been respectful of players and a man of his talents deserves better.

What lies ahead for Manchester United and Pogba

The good news is that United have turned a corner, playing attractive football since the start of February and they were unbeaten in all competitions until the pandemic put a cruel stop to all footballing action.

The signing of Bruno Fernandes seems to be a masterclass and another window of good signings will give United the chance to compete for the Premier League title again.

Pogba, however, will have to evaluate his options. Whether he wants to be a part of a rebuild at United, or he wants to win titles elsewhere, is up to him.

However, United have shown they are capable of winning without Pogba this season, and they have a young, hungry squad that is competitive.

But, time and again, it has been proved that United are a much better team with Pogba in it. So, Pogba will have a conundrum and his decision will have major ramifications for both parties.  

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Photo – Man United star Bruno Fernandes shows off his brand new beard on Instagram

The coronavirus pandemic has played the role of a massive party pooper for football fans around the world.

As the football season entered it’s most interesting phase, action had to be suspended to prevent the flow of the virus.

As a result, the players have been given time to pursue other interests while being in self-quarantine.

Many of the players have utilized this break to make changes to their personal styles.

Players have mostly gone bald but Bruno Fernandes put on a new spin to that trend by unveiling a fresh new beard as the Manchester United playmaker converted his stubble into a goatee –

Image via Instagram

The fans reacted hilariously, likening him to characters that were portrayed in hit TV shows such as Breaking Bad and Narcos.

Check out the reaction from United fans below –

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Virgil van Dijk tops the list at €115m as KPMG releases list of most valuable defenders in the world

From being a very highly-rated defender at Celtic Park and St. Mary’s, Virgil van Dijk has been a player transformed since his arrival at Anfield.

This season has been no different as Liverpool have only conceded 22 goals, while they have added a Super Cup and Club World Cup to their trophy cabinet.

They are also in line to lift their first League title in 30 years and that is thanks to, in no small part, Virgil van Dijk. Those performances have seen his transfer value grow exponentially.

In a recent report by KPMG Football Benchmark, the Liverpool man-mountain was valued at € 115 million, making him the highest-valued defender in the world.

https://twitter.com/Football_BM/status/1244602517205454849

At €86 million, next on the list is Van Dijk’s compatriot and Juventus teenager Matthijs de Ligt.

French duo Raphael Varane and Aymeric Laporte come in 3rd and 5th, with values of €83 million and €76 million, respectively.

What is surprising about the list is the fact that Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, currently the most expensive defender, is valued at €73 million, which leaves him on 4th in the list.

This list just shows how far ahead Van Dijk is in the race for the best centre-back on the planet and he is not likely to fall behind any time soon.

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French TV Channel features photo of lookalike instead of Messi in a massive gaffe

Mistakes in media are rare. They are usually meticulous when it comes to the preparation of any news and they are constantly alert, to check whether they are committing any mistakes.

Mistakes can lead to a loss of face for any media organization. The threshold for error is minimum as the public is ruthless when it comes to tolerance of mistakes.

Hence, it is surprising and almost uncommon to see large media houses commit foolish errors.

Recently, M6 Channel in France did a segment on one of their shows, portraying the mobilization of funds from athletes all over the world. These funds were to be donated to various charities, to tackle the coronavirus epidemic.

The segment was in good nature, but a gaffe during the segment has caught the eyes of millions of people.

Among the athletes whose photos were displayed, Lionel Messi and Roger Federer were featured.

Except for the fact, that the photo that was meant to be Messi, was actually a lookalike of Messi, named Reza Parastesh.

The similarity between the Barcelona legend and his lookalike might be uncanny but it is extremely surprising that the mistake escaped the eyes of everybody working for the channel.

M6 is the third most-watched television network in the French-speaking world. An error of that proportion is bound to backfire at them.

Messi fans are calling out the network for their mistake and they have become a laughing stock on Twitter, as photos of the gaffe continue to circulate.

Lionel Messi is one of the most instantly recognizable people on the planet and to mess up a photo of him, is an error that should hopefully not happen again.

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Jadon Sancho rumors about to go into overdrive after Man Utd striker sends birthday message to Dortmund star

With football taking a backseat amidst the current pandemic, the fans have turned to transfer rumors to satisfy their need for entertainment.

Various rumors have linked several players with different clubs but none more so than Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.

Sancho had been linked with Europe’s biggest clubs and the team that is reportedly leading the pack are Premier League giants Manchester United.

Due to the break and an abundance of free time, the littlest of things done by players can set the fans abuzz.

The reaction was no different when Manchester United winger Marcus Rashford took to Twitter with a message for Sancho on his birthday –

Rashford’s tweet excited United fans as David Ornstein and Fabrizio Romano, two of football’s most reliable journalists, did confirm that talks had taken place between the club and the player.

The Borussia Dortmund star also sent Man United fans into frenzy with his actions during an Instagram live stream session yesterday.

Only time will confirm whether Sancho will move to United, but the validity of these rumors mean United fans might have a chance to welcome another superstar at Old Trafford.

Check out the reaction from Man Utd fans below –

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Photo – Class act Jose Mourinho snapped helping the elderly amid coronavirus outbreak

When people get some free time, away from their jobs and family, what they do with that time will tell you the kind of person they are.

And with the current situation where people are left scared and out of supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak, it takes a man of class to step up and help those in need.

Enter the Special One: Jose Mourinho. The football community might perceive him as an egoistic, self-driven character who gives little thoughts on other’s feelings.

Although we won’t completely deny his abrasive personality, the Tottenham Hotspur boss certainly has a soft side to him as well which was apparent as he was seen (via @MichaelBridge_) helping deliver food to the elderly –

Given the higher vulnerability to elders from the virus, the fact that Mourinho,57, is out on the streets at Enfield helping to deliver the essentials to the ones in need, is truly fantastic to see him.

Love him or hate him, he has truly led by example on this occasion and showing all the people that if we need to fight this crisis, we need to help each and everybody, as much as we can.

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Photo – Memphis Depay spotted rocking remake of the classic Manchester United 83-84 home kit

Despite having all the talent in the world, current Lyon forward Memphis Depay failed miserably in his 18-month stint at Manchester United.

Fingers could be pointed at his work ethic during his time, the club’s fans’ gigantic expectations or the burden brought on him by the No.7 shirt, a shirt whose previous holders were stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, and Eric Cantona among others.

Depay had a torrid time at United, yet even three years after leaving the club, he still has a place in his heart for the Red Devils.

This season was going particularly well for Memphis, as he registered 9 goals and 2 assists in 13 games for Lyon in Ligue 1 until he tore his ACL in December. He was also instrumental in their Champions League campaign registering 5 goals in 5 UCL matches.

From being a Manchester United reject to consistently performing for club and country since making the switch to Lyon, it’s safe to say he is one of the hottest properties in Europe.

Manchester United had a buy-back clause inserted in his sale, so Depay could still move back to United.

To keep the rumors churning, he recently posted a picture of him rocking the classic Manchester United 83-84 retro home kit –

Despite having a bitter end to his stint at Manchester United, both the fans and Depay himself would wish to turn back the clock a bit and hope to have done things a bit differently.

However, given the recent resurgence in form, a return to Manchester might still be on the cards for Memphis owing to the buy-back clause in his contract.

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(Video) How Harry Kane is spending his time in quarantine

When everything around you is in a lockdown, and the world is going through a pandemic it has never experienced before, surely a simple video of a man training on a bike in his home wouldn’t be the source of much excitement, would it?

Perhaps, but not if you were a Tottenham Hotspur fan as star striker Harry Kane recently posted a video of him making progress in his recovery from the ruptured tendon he suffered in January.

Kane has been out since January 1st, after suffering the injury against Southampton. He underwent surgery since then, after which he took some time off to give himself some rest.

He was initially ruled out for the season by Jose Mourinho. But, the optimism of his return grew, after he responded positively during rehabilitation.

This was good news for Gareth Southgate as well, as he would have recovered in time for Euro 2020. All that changed, when all football action was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

This meant that Euro 2020 was postponed for a year, while Premier League football was suspended until April 30th.

The break has been a blessing in disguise for many injured players, and Kane is no different.

The Spurs talisman was seen putting his time in self-quarantine to good use as he posted a story on Instagram to provide fans with an update on what he was up to –

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“Every Liverpool player” – LeBron James’ reply when asked about his favorite soccer player during a Q&A on Instagram

LeBron James is one of the greatest sportspersons in the history of all sports. He is a legend in the NBA and one of the few players who could go toe-to-toe with various athletes in different sports. So when he has favorite players in any sport, you can bet that he knows the quality of those players.

He might be aging like fine-wine on the court and he is yet to meet his match. Off the court though, James has met his match: Technology. He was baffled by the technology he was using. It was hilarious to see him fail to understand the concept of screen recording.

But, he pulled through and handled it like a boss. James went live on Instagram while he was in self-isolation. He covered various topics while answering questions posed by his fans.

Football fans in particular were interested to know whether LeBron James had any favorite football players (not the NFL ones). He had a few football players, whom he liked, namely every player in Liverpool’s squad.

The other names he mentioned were Neymar Jr., Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe. What was surprising was that he never mentioned Barcelona star, Lionel Messi, until somebody prompted it to him.

There might be a hint of partiality in his affinity for all Liverpool players, owing to the NBA star’s stake in Liverpool. However, when you consider the season they are enjoying under Jurgen Klopp, can you really blame him? They have been excellent all season long and are in line to hoist the league title at Anfield, for the first time in 30 years.

LeBron James and Ronaldo share a mutual admiration, owing to their status in their respective sports. He is also good friends with both Neymar and Mbappe, due to their interest in the NBA.

They have been seen at basketball games when they are not fulfilling professional commitments. What’s oddly common between the trio and him, is that they are all sponsored by Nike.

James has a 2% stake in Liverpool since 2011, and he has been a keen follower of their achievements. He famously celebrated on Twitter, when Liverpool lifted their sixth European crown last summer.

James is certainly going to savor every bit of Liverpool’s title win, when the league resumes after April 30th.  

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Photo – Man Utd star Victor Lindelof dons ladies’ garments to celebrate wife’s new dress collection

In the modern world, as both husbands and wives look to be more successful in their professional careers, it has become paramount for them to support each other. Nowadays, it is more and more important for men to support their spouses as they achieve greater heights, and that is exactly what Victor Lindelof did.

The Manchester United centre-back did what could possibly be one of the most supportive and adorable gestures of all-time. His wife, Maja Nilsson, is a blogger and she hosts her own podcast. She was recently launching her own clothing line.

To support his wife, Lindelof celebrated the launch of the clothing line by pouring champagne and bringing her flowers, while wearing one of the dresses from her clothing line.

Maja was in awe of the gesture and you cannot blame her for it. It was a sweet way of celebrating the woman he loves and simultaneously, breaking a few stereotypes along the way.

This was the perfect beginning for her clothing line and even she couldn’t have written the script any better.

In these testing times, it is nice to see everyone cherishing their families and this break may be a reminder for all to continue to love and support their loved ones, like Lindelof.

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Christian Pulisic makes a surprise appearance as Chelsea star releases coronavirus awareness video for football fans

As the coronavirus pandemic has taken over Europe, with many countries in shutdown and several more taking precautionary measures to control the spread of the virus, everything has come to a standstill.

This has especially impacted European football, as most of the leagues across Europe have been suspended in the past three weeks.

The Premier League was one of the final leagues to be suspended as the threat of the virus was not deemed to be as serious as it was made to be. But, it was a serious concern and there were fears among a lot of people, politicians and many more, that the lack of action could lead to a large increase in cases of the virus.

Those fears were true, as some players and staff were reported to have cases of the virus and Callum Hudson-Odoi was one of the first, who was confirmed to be infected with coronavirus.

Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, was soon confirmed to be infected, as more and more cases trickled. These cases finally were enough proof for the Premier League, to suspend the league, so as to not endanger the lives of any more of the players or the staff.

With the virus affecting all parts of the globe, many footballers used their reach on social media, to warn their fans about the dangers of this virus and spread awareness as to how to keep themselves safe.

For players such as Chelsea winger, Christian Pulisic, this break was a welcome piece of news. Pulisic has missed the last eight Premier League matches with an adductor injury and has not featured in a Premier League game for them since New Year’s Day.

Since Chelsea’s Cobham Training Ground has been closed, Pulisic has been in self-quarantine and he recently posted a video, showing him doing keepie-uppies in his garden, as he was working on his return to fitness. The video was accompanied by the caption ‘Stay home and stay safe my people! At least I have my ball.’

This video was among many others from various footballers, asking people to stay safe and to stay at home, as many people have been asked to self-quarantine.

This is a welcome break for most footballers and let’s hope they make full use of it to spend time with their families, while also keeping themselves in shape, so that they will be ready to play football, when the Premier League inevitably returns.

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Chelsea admin savages Liverpool as Premier League clubs play a game of Goal Chain on Twitter

The suspension of leagues all over Europe has been a blow for all football fans. These leagues were a source of entertainment, passion, joy and ecstasy. People could relax watching football during the weekend, after working hard all week.

That routine changed once the coronavirus pandemic entered Europe, with country after country suffering due to the nature of the virus. This has led to the suspension of football and there have been more measures adopted to ensure the safety of all the people. People have been requested to self-quarantine and to not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.

The clubs, especially in the Premier League, have taken it upon themselves to keep the fans entertained during these terrible times. They have been flooding their social media pages with throwback goals, highlights, interviews, podcasts, and whatnot.

They have also been keeping up the banter amongst themselves.

Case in point, this recent Twitter trend created by Burnley FC, wherein other clubs were asked to post one of the best goals ever scored by one of their players while also tagging the side against whom the goal was scored.

Burnley started the goal chain with a screamer from Jeff Hendrick against Bournemouth.

Bournemouth continued the chain with a Harry Wilson free-kick against Man City.

Man City tagged Arsenal, courtesy of de Bruyne’s wonder goal against them this season.

Arsenal decided to troll Spurs by uploading the goal Patrick Vieira’s goal against them during their Invincibles season of 2003-04, which won them the league at White Hart Lane.

Spurs went all the way back to the 1992-93 season for Nayim’s stunning volley against Liverpool

The biggest troll of the evening was yet to come, as when Liverpool uploaded Mohamed Salah’s wonder goal against Chelsea in front of the Kop last season, and Chelsea decided to exact revenge in the most ultimate piece of shithousery ever seen.

The Blues’ official account re-tagged Liverpool in Demba Ba’s goal against them in the 2013-14 season.

A goal which became universally infamous after Steven Gerrard slipped to cost Liverpool their first title in 24 years.

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Sky journo reveals devastating claim about the immediate future of coronavirus-hit Premier League

Sky Sports journalist Kaveh Solhekol revealed a piece of news last night that would disappoint a lot of football fans all over the globe.

His revelation came in the wake of the recent move to suspend the Premier League due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a virus which has already infected a few people in the footballing world including Arsenal boss, Mikel Arteta and Chelsea youngster, Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Kaveh revealed that all the Premier League clubs supported the move to suspend the season and while some clubs believed that if it resumed by April 3rd, the season would be able to be completed by the scheduled date, most of the clubs believed that the pandemic could go on for months and that this season was mostly done, with one club even going on to say that there is a 75% chance that this season would not be completed.

He even said that the start of next season could be threatened due to the rising threat of the pandemic.

The Premier League is the most-watched football league in the world, with TV audiences rising up to hundreds of millions.

With a high chance that this season will remain incomplete, it will come as a blow to all these fans as they want to see all the teams fighting it out until the very end. If this season is suspended completely, it will hit Liverpool fans the hardest, as their team was cruising towards their first Premier League title, with a 22 point lead over second-placed Manchester City.

Although it is very, very likely that Mo Salah and his Liverpool team will win the league – it isn’t certain.

While there is hope that the action will resume on April 3rd, the ground reality is that there might be no action at all.

How the Premier League champions will be decided, whether there will be champions at all and who gets promoted, and who gets relegated, and how will that be decided, are just some of the questions that the FA and the Premier League will need to answer, but the most important question would be whether they would risk sustaining massive losses by suspending the remaining season or would they risk the health and safety of all those involved, just to ensure that the balance sheet tallies.

Whatever the decision, these next few days are going to be very critical for the world in general.

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Ugly fight breaks out as Libertadores fixture between Gremio and Internacional ends with 8 red cards

Yes, you read the headline correctly. In a single match, the referee issued red cards to 8 players from Gremio and Internacional, two sides who have a history of intense rivalry amongst themselves. They compete in one of the fiercest derbies in South America, locally known as ‘Grenal’.

A minor scuffle between two opposing players in the 88th minute resulted in a major blowout between the two rivals, as players and substitutes and even the manager of Gremio, Renato Portaluppi, was involved.

The match was dramatic for the entire duration of the game as the failure to find a winner, led to a lot of frustration, drama and intensity from both sides, which boiled down to the raging fight between the two squads towards the end of the game.

Tempers were flaring and the fans in the stadium were raging as players of both the sides went at each other, as seen in the video below.

There were fistfights, kicks, and players grabbing each other’s throats. The four match officials were exasperated as they attempted to calm the situation.

It was like a battle being fought on various fronts as there were arguments and violence all over the pitch. What didn’t help the situation was the fact that the score line was 0-0 and thus, whichever team scored the goal, would have the bragging rights over their rivals.

This was Gremio and Internacional’s first meeting in the Copa Libertadores and you can understand why they wanted the victory so bad.

South American football is known for its passion and intensity, with a lot of the matches played in packed stadiums and noisy crowds. So, the tension of these matches can get to you, but this was completely against the spirit of the game.

The referee took strict action when all players were calmed as he sent off four players of Gremio and four players of Internacional. There have also been talks of strict action against both clubs for this completely blatant violation of the spirit of the game.

This was the second most number of red cards issued in a Copa Libertadores game and that stat conveys how serious of a fight it was.

Let’s hope the spirit and the beauty of the game can be maintained when the Copa Libertadores returns to action after all games were suspended due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Check out the nasty fight below –