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  • Brown loaned to Brighton after signing C...

    Chelsea have confirmed that Izzy Brown has been loaned to Brighton and Hove Albion after signing a new contract with the Premier League champions. Brighton 5/4 to be relegated in 2017-18 The 20-year-old, who spent last season with Huddersfield Town as they earned promotion thro...

    Brown loaned to Brighton after signing Chelsea contract

    Chelsea have confirmed that Izzy Brown has been loaned to Brighton and Hove Albion after signing a new contract with the Premier League champions. Brighton 5/4 to be relegated in 2017-18 The 20-year-old, who spent last season with Huddersfield Town as they earned promotion through the Championship play-offs, will spend 2017-18 on the south coast after extending his Chelsea deal until 2021. Brighton boss Chris Hughton said of the forward: "The natural progression for Izzy, having enjoyed such a successful season in the Championship last season, was to step up to the Premier League and we are delighted he will be doing that with us, here at Brighton. "He is a player with great potential and will bring a different dimension to our attacking options for the season ahead, alongside our existing strikers." Brown, who began his career with West Brom, has made only one senior appearance for Chelsea and had loan spells with Vitesse and Rotherham United prior to joining Huddersfield. He follows team-mates Tammy Abraham (Swansea City), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) and Kurt Zouma (Stoke City) in moving on loan from Chelsea to other clubs in England's top flight.

  • VAR would have ruled out 'Hand of God' g...

    Diego Maradona has thrown his backing behind the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and conceded the system would have seen his "Hand of God" goal against England ruled out. Maradona etched himself into the history of the World Cup at the tournament in Mexico in 1...

    VAR would have ruled out 'Hand of God' goal, Maradona admits

    Diego Maradona has thrown his backing behind the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and conceded the system would have seen his "Hand of God" goal against England ruled out. Maradona etched himself into the history of the World Cup at the tournament in Mexico in 1986. Argentina 17/2 to win 2018 World Cup As he rose to challenge England's Peter Shilton, the Argentina captain used his hand to flick the ball past the goalkeeper and give his side the lead. The mercurial playmaker went on to score a sensational second that proved crucial in La Albiceleste's 2-1 quarter-final victory, Argentina going on to lift the title. With the VAR system - which was used during the Confederations Cup and will be available during the upcoming Bundesliga campaign - Tunisian referee Ali Bin Nasser would have been able to check the validity of Maradona's iconic goal, and the 56-year-old knows it would have been chalked off. "I thought about it and, sure, that goal wouldn't have stood if technology had been around," Maradona told FIFA.com. "And I'll tell you something else: at the 1990 World Cup I used my hand to clear the ball off the line against the Soviet Union. We were lucky because the referee didn't see it. "You couldn't use technology back then, but it's a different story today." "It's not just my goal in '86 that wouldn't have counted," Maradona added. "Let's not forget that England won the World Cup in '66 with a shot that didn't go over the line.  "Then it happened to them in 2010, when [Frank] Lampard's shot crossed the line against Germany but wasn't given. England had the ball and scored the goal they deserved, but Germany grew in confidence after that and it changed the match completely." And Maradona believes now is the time to embrace technology to reduce the danger of controversy at future tournaments. "There have been lots of incidents where World Cup history would have been different if technology had been used. It's time to change all that," he said. "People used to say that we'd waste a lot of time, that it would cause a lot of annoyance. But that's not the case. "People get annoyed when something that shouldn't be given is given, or when you have a goal wrongly disallowed.  "Technology brings transparency and quality, and it provides a positive outcome for teams who decide to attack and take risks."

  • Depay back to Man Utd? Dutch winger quiz...

    Memphis Depay has refused to be drawn into a debate regarding a possible return to Manchester United just six months after leaving for Lyon. The Netherlands international brought a frustrating 18-month stint at Old Trafford to a close during the winter transfer window when he co...

    Depay back to Man Utd? Dutch winger quizzed on Old Trafford return prospects

    Memphis Depay has refused to be drawn into a debate regarding a possible return to Manchester United just six months after leaving for Lyon. The Netherlands international brought a frustrating 18-month stint at Old Trafford to a close during the winter transfer window when he completed a £21.6 million move to France. Get Lyon at 18/1 to win Ligue 1 title He was allowed to take on a new challenge after making just eight appearances under Jose Mourinho, and 53 in total following a 2015 arrival under Louis van Gaal. Depay struggled to make his mark in England, but the door has been left open for him to return to United should he rediscover his best form in the future. Quizzed by TuttoMercatoWeb on whether he has given any thought to such a switch, the 23-year-old said: "No, to be honest. It’s not in my thoughts. "I’m very focused on Lyon, and I’m very happy about my choice, and I don’t think of anything else other than to do the best for this team." Despite offering him limited game time over the first half of the 2016-17 campaign, Mourinho admitted upon Depay’s departure that he would continue to monitor the forward. Depay ends 2016-17 on highest high He said: "Potentially, he is a very good player. "I think when Mr Van Gaal decided to buy him, he did well. He knew him well from the national team, when he was young in the World Cup he had flashes of top quality. "He was playing well in Holland but not the same here, but he was showing very good things. "He didn't succeed in his 18 months but he is very young, so I think it is very important for the club to keep control of this talent, and we all wish he plays very well at Olympique Lyon and why not come back, because everyone really likes him." WATCH: Memphis' new rap song While he was quick to head for the Old Trafford exits once transfer talk escalated, Depay is reluctant to speculate on whether former team-mate Anthony Martial could do likewise this summer. The France international is not a guaranteed starter for United and has been heavily linked with a move to Serie A outfit Inter – potentially as part of a deal to take Ivan Perisic in the opposite direction. On those rumours, Depay said: “Anthony is a great player, no doubt, and he is also a great person, I cannot do anything but wish him the best for the continuation of his career." Depay did start to find form after linking up with Lyon in the New Year, with five goals netted in 18 appearances – including an audacious effort from the halfway line against Toulouse in March.

  • Who is Ricardo Centurion? The nightclub ...

    When Roberto Baggio speaks about football, it is wise to pay attention. The man dubbed the Divine Ponytail for his distinctive look on the field was one of the finest playmakers of the 1990s, his languid skills lighting up the No. 10 shirt for Fiorentina, Juventus and Italy, wi...

    Who is Ricardo Centurion? The nightclub fighting star Roberto Baggio labelled as his heir

    When Roberto Baggio speaks about football, it is wise to pay attention. The man dubbed the Divine Ponytail for his distinctive look on the field was one of the finest playmakers of the 1990s, his languid skills lighting up the No. 10 shirt for Fiorentina, Juventus and Italy, with whom he came agonisingly close to lifting the World Cup title. Baggio was a firm adherent of the idea first introduced by the likes of Diego Maradona and Michel Platini that a No. 10 need not stand static in the middle of the field, but rather is free to push forward and score. His record in front of goal in a league as unforgiving to offensive players as Serie A circa 1990 speaks for itself - 205 career goals - and now he has deigned to speak out and name his successor. Real Madrid favourites to retain La Liga “I love South American football and am a Boca Juniors fan,” the legend said on Monday in an interview with Corriere dello Sport. Indeed, Baggio owns an estate in the Patagonia region of Argentina and is a frequent visitor, while also enjoying a warm relationship with the Pibe de Oro himself, Maradona. And it was to his beloved Boca that he looked to identify his new favourite player: “My heir? I like [Ricardo] Centurion a lot”. His timing, as always, could not have been better. Centurion starred on loan at the Xeneize from Sao Paulo over the last 12 months, his incredible dribbling skills helping to compensate for the body blow that Carlos Tevez’s move to China inflicted on Boca midway through the season. If Tevez drove the team forward in the first half of 2016-17 and Dario Benedetto’s goals formed the bread and butter of a title-winning campaign, then it can equally be said that without Ricky Boca might well have fallen short in the final stretch. As it was the club pulled through to take the crown, and this week Centurion had been set to sign a permanent deal after bizarrely pulling out of a Genoa move having travelled to Italy to undergo his medical. Earlier in the summer, both Roma and Baggio's former club AC Milan had been interested in the player. At the tender age of 24 the winger who can also slot in as second striker now boasts two Primera Division titles, having previously taken the lap of honour with boyhood club Racing. His creative play and unbounded confidence to take on his marker proved vital to Boca’s chase, but no less important were the eight goals he snaffled to finish third top scorer behind Benedetto and Cristian Pavon in the Xeneize ranks. And no matter how hard the Primera bruisers hit him, Centurion always got back up to run rings around them the next time. It was not all positive for the young star, however. Baggio added in his evaluation that Ricky “still must improve himself away from the field,” in reference to a string of incidents that have seen him labelled in some circles, despite his undeniable talent, as a potential liability. In the last 12 months alone Centurion has been accused of walking away from a traffic incident caused driving while drunk, and fighting in hotels and in the dark streets of an Avellaneda shanty town in the early hours of the morning. More seriously, the 24-year-old faces domestic violence charges laid down by an ex-girlfriend, who alleges she was physically and emotionally abused during their time together. As recently as last weekend, fresh off the plane from Italy and soon to sign terms with Boca, he was involved in an unseemly nightclub fracas that meant once again he made the headlines for the wrong reasons. “He threatened me with death, but I hope he stays in Boca and this doesn’t affect the negotiations,” Fabian Comande, one of the group assaulted by Centurion and his entourage on Saturday evening, told Ole.  Bayern hold off Chelsea fightback Fabian’s wishes, however, will go unmet. The latest scandal appears to have been one too many for Boca, who have cut short talks at the last minute. On Tuesday the player sent a rambling, almost illegible missive on Instagram explaining the deal was off. “When one makes a mistake instead of supporting you they let you go, what a shame Boca, to have this done to you with a joke of a board and president I left everything behind and came to sign for Boca, you never wanted me,” he fired at the Xeneize, as his career entered limbo. He would not be the first gifted Argentine footballer to throw away his career due to an inability to control himself, and must work on this side of his personality. Whatever club now comes for Centurion must take on the responsibility of keeping him away from the temptations that fame and money bring to a kid who just five years ago used to travel to training at Racing by bicycle from the shanty town he called home. Only then can Baggio’s prophecy be fulfilled, as a young man who has all the talent in the world continues to fight a battle against his own self-destructive character.

  • Barca star Neymar backed by Kaka to make...

    As Paris Saint-Germain reportedly target Neymar for a world-record fee, Kaka says the Barcelona star will flourish wherever he decides to play. The Ligue 1 giants are reportedly ready to meet Neymar's €222million release clause, with head coach Unai Emery hoping to add the Brazi...

    Barca star Neymar backed by Kaka to make right future call amid Paris Saint-Germain links

    As Paris Saint-Germain reportedly target Neymar for a world-record fee, Kaka says the Barcelona star will flourish wherever he decides to play. The Ligue 1 giants are reportedly ready to meet Neymar's €222million release clause, with head coach Unai Emery hoping to add the Brazil star as PSG attempt to make their mark on the Champions League. dabblebet: Barca odds-on to beat Man Utd According to reports in his homeland, Neymar is open to making the move to Parc des Princes, despite signing a five-year contract with Barca in October last year and scoring more than 100 goals since arriving from Santos in 2013. Barca defender Gerard Pique and coach Ernesto Valverde have led the way publicly in trying to convince Neymar to remain at Camp Nou, but Kaka says his compatriot must do what is right by himself. Asked about the forward's future, World Cup and Ballon d'Or winner Kaka told Omnisport: "In this period of the season when the market is open, there is lot of speculation. "Big numbers, everybody wants the big players and of course Neymar is one of them.   "But it is a personal choice. I don't know what is in his mind or what he wants, if he thinks his time in Barca is finishing and it's time to move. Neymar needs to confirm Barca future "What I can say is that Neymar is a very good player, amazing. Wherever he plays the next few years, he will be great. "We will see. I wish him luck to decide. It's not easy to decide what is best for you in the future. He has a very good team, support, father and family to decide for his career." Amid the mounting speculation, Neymar scored twice as Barca kicked off their International Champions Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Juventus in New Jersey on Saturday. Barca are back in action against Manchester United on Wednesday.

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