Wayne Rooney signs for Everton



England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney completed a move back to his first club Everton on Sunday.

The 31-year-old — who had become a peripheral figure under Jose Mourinho last season — signed a two year contract for an undisclosed fee bringing the curtain down on 13 trophy-laden years at Old Trafford.

Rooney — whose move comes the day after United announced they had agreed terms with Everton over buying their leading scorer Romelu Lukaku — will hope the move also revives his international career which also stalled last season.

“It is some time since I said that the only Premier League club I would play for other than Manchester United was Everton, so I am delighted that the move has happened,” he said in a statement to The Press Association.

“Thirteen years ago I went to United with the intention of winning trophies and I have been fortunate to be a part of one of the most successful periods in the club’s history.

“I have come back to Everton because I believe (Everton manager) Ronald Koeman is building a team that can win something and I look forward to playing my part in making that a reality for the club I have supported since a boy.”

Koeman said in Rooney — who in his time at United won among other trophies five Premier League titles and a Champions League — he was buying a player with a surefire winner’s mentality.

“Wayne has shown me that ambition that we need and that winning mentality — he knows how to win titles and I’m really happy he’s decided to come home,” said Koeman.

“He loves Everton and he was desperate to come back. He is still only 31 and I don’t have any doubts about his qualities. It’s fantastic he’s here.”

Breaking>>Barcelona extend Messi contract until 2021


Spain’s FC Barcelona extended the contract of star striker Lionel Messi until June 30, 2021, the club announced Wednesday, just days after he wed his childhood sweetheart in Argentina.

“The deal will be signed in the coming weeks, when Messi returns to the team for pre-season training,” the club said in a statement.

The club gave no details about the contract that will keep the Argentinian megastar and five times Ballon d’Or winner at Camp Nou until his reaches the age of 34.

But Spain’s Marca sports daily reported on Tuesday that it included a 300-million-euro ($340-million) termination clause.

His current contract was due to run out in June 2018.

The 30-year-old Argentina international joined FC Barcelona in 2000 when he was just 13 years old in the youth training centre.

“He made his first team debut at just 16 years of age in a friendly against FC Porto, before making his debut the following season against Espanyol at 17,” it said.

“Shortly after, he scored his first senior goal with a clever lob against Albacete at the Camp Nou.”

Now, with 507 goals scored in 583 official matches, Messi is the club’s all time leading scorer and is widely considered one of the world’s best players.


Why I rejected new contract Messi

Lionel Messi has turned down Barcelona’s offer of a new contract worth between £25m-30m a year.

Spanish newspaper, AS, reports that the 28-year-old wants an improved offer from the club.

Messi’s current deal at the Nou Camp runs out in June 2018 and he has been in discussions with the La Liga champions over an extension for months.

However, negotiations between Messi’s father and agent, Jorge and Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, have not been


Riyad Mahrez: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger interested in Leicester


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he is willing to sign Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez when the transfer window opens.


The 26-year old, who won the PFA Player of the Season award at the end of 2015/2016 season, scored 10 goals and provided seven assists as Leicester finished 12th in the league and reached the Champions League quarter-finals this season.

But he has asked the club to let him leave though he only just signed a four-year deal last August.


Despite expressing his interest in Mahrez publicly, Wenger did not confirm if a bid has been made yet.


“Have we made a bid for him? No. Not yet. Not yet means it could happen, it could not happen,” said Wenger.


“I think he had a huge impact at Leicester when they won the championship, like everybody else,” Wenger told Bein Sports.


“It’s been a different season this year but it doesn’t take anything away from his qualities.”

Leicester City fret as West Ham bids £24m for Iheanacho


Former English champions, Leicester City are reportedly worried that West Ham will beat them to the signature of Super Eagles striker, Kelechi Iheanacho. Iheanacho has left the Super Eagles’ training camp in Paris to sort out his future in England.

Iheanacho is one of the youngsters lined up by the 2015/2016 champions for next season amid the uncertainty surrounding Riyad Mahrez’s future at the club. But the club is worried that West Ham, who has bid £24 million for the Nigerian will beat them to the signature of the 2013 U-17 World Cup most valuable player.

Aside the Hammers, several other clubs have been linked to the striker. Iheanacho returned to Manchester on Saturday from the Nigeria training camp in Paris, where the young striker had been with team-mates including Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi. Nigeria are due to play Togo in Paris on Thursday.

Already, West Ham fans have taken to social media to express their delight with Kelechi Iheanacho reportedly set to join the club from Manchester City. The news comes one day after the club announced the signing of Pablo Zabaleta from City on a free transfer on a two-year deal.

Slaven Bilic has been on the lookout for a new striker and it looks like he has made his move early to sign the talented striker for £24 million.

The young striker is apparently hoping to sort out his future with Everton, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion plus clubs in the Bundesliga also showing an interest, along with Leicester City and West Ham.


Arsenal Vow To Stop Hazard

Chelsea have to put on a “high level” performance to beat a strong Arsenal side in today’s FA Cup final at Wembley, the Premier League champions’ defender David Luiz has said.

In-form Chelsea are on course to win a domestic double and can select from a fully fit squad, while Arsenal are struggling with an ongoing injury crisis as four defenders are expected to miss the final.

“We have to concentrate to train hard every day to be in the best shape to play this final,” Luiz told British media.”I think when you play for a big club… we know we’ll play against a fantastic team, fantastic players in good shape.

“They have fantastic players and an amazing coach, so we need to be in our high level to win this final.”Fellow defender Kurt Zouma added that Arsenal would be tough to beat as Chelsea aim to win the double for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

“We won the league and we are very happy with that but we have another difficult game to play and if we get the double, it will be good for us,” Zouma said.”We haven’t won the game yet, we haven’t played yet. We are focused. We know it is going to be difficult. We know it is just one game, one final and we know that finals are always tough.

“Especially when at Wembley. A big crowd, the stadium will be full and it is a London derby. So let’s see what’s going on there but we are ready to win.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal must make a quick start in today’s FA Cup final and clamp down on Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard to reduce his impact on the game, midfielder Aaron Ramsey has said.

Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-0 in a thrilling Premier League encounter at home in September but Hazard drove Chelsea to a 3-1 win in February, scoring the second goal and being named Man of the Match at Stamford Bridge.

“I think the way we started the (home) game in the first half was very good. … We were very quick, we counter-attacked well, closed them down, got about them.” Ramsey told the club’s website. (www.arsenal.com)

“It was a different game (away) and we perhaps let individuals have a bit too much space. Hazard went on a bit of a run and put the ball in the net.”We can’t let that happen again, we have to be right in his face and stop that at source.”

Arsenal are looking to seal their third FA Cup trophy in four years and win the competition for a record 13th time.
Culled from Supersport.com

Muslim cleric called on Fifa to ban Christian players from making sign of the cross

A muslim cleric has called on the football body, Fifa to ban Christian football players form making the sign of the cross after scoring or coming onto the pitch. According to the Sun Mohammed al Arefe asked FIFA’S governing body step in to outlaw the prayer symbol.


Mourinho: Arsenal fans are happy and I’m happy for them

Al Arefe wrote: “I have seen lots video clips of athletes, soccer players running, shooting and when they win they make the symbol of the cross on their chests and my question is do FIFA’s rules not forbid this.

Emmanuel Adebayor of Real Madrid performs the cross symbol after scoring Also the Sun report that controversy erupted after Real Madrid agreed to remove a Christian cross symbol from its kits on sale in the Middle East. The Spanish club, which is sponsored by Dubai-based Emirates airline, has its kits made by a company named Marka in the region.

Marka’s Vice Chairman Khaled al-Mheiri said: “We have to be sensitive to other parts of the Gulf that are quite sensitive to products that hold the cross

Mourinho: Arsenal fans are happy and I’m happy for them

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho stoked the embers of his rivalry with Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger after his side’s damaging 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.

Second-half goals by Granit Xhaka and United alumnus Danny Welbeck earned Arsenal victory on Sunday as Wenger overcame Mourinho in a Premier League game for the first time in 13 attempts. Mourinho and Wenger Mourinho had claimed that “peace” reigned between himself and Wenger prior to the game, but he questioned the Frenchman’s poor record against him afterwards and accused him of putting unfair pressure on the fourth official. “Arsenal fans are happy and I’m happy for them Continue reading “Mourinho: Arsenal fans are happy and I’m happy for them”

Arsene Wenger: Only one London team worth playing for

Sanchez is yet to sign a new deal with the Gunners amid suggestions he had demanded a transfer following a heated row with Wenger earlier this season. The Chile forward told South American media this week that he is happy in London and keen to see out his Arsenal contract, which expires next year. But, in the same interviews, Sanchez said he wants to play in a team with a “winning mentality”, sparking speculation he covets a move from the London club.

Despite Arsenal currently languishing 19 points behind Chelsea, Gunners boss Wenger doesn’t believe his star wants to leave the Emirates Stadium because he already plays for the capital’s biggest club. Asked how he interpreted what Sanchez had said, Wenger replied: “In a very positive way. There’s only one team in London, so he is happy. “It’s true we have not extended his contract yet but I hope he will stay at the club. “I think you have to be cautious when people give interviews in their home countries because the interpretation is not always exactly what they wanted to say. “But I don’t see anything negative (in Sanchez’s comments). He said he wants to win the championship, that’s what everybody wants and I can understand that completely.

Sanchez has cut a frustrated figure in recent weeks as Arsenal’s season has unravelled. Both he and team-mate Mesut Ozil are reportedly holding out for parity with the Premier League’s top earners. Asked about Arsenal losing stars like Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas in the past, Wenger said: “That is true that it happened before when we were in positions where we had to sell financially our best players. That’s not the case anymore. “They (Sanchez and Ozil) are not out of contract at the end of the season. I personally believe that both of them want to stay and I hope that the club will find an agreement.

Wenger’s future is still unresolved, with his current contract expiring at the end of the season, but the Frenchman called on his players to “be men” and not blame the uncertainty for their recent struggles. “It would be an easy excuse,” he said. “For me whether I stay three years or 10 years I have exactly the same commitment and the same desire to win the next game. “I believe as well we are in the position where we do not have to find easy excuses. Our job is to perform — can you perform despite that? “My attachment to this club, at the moment it is as it is and I do not see any escape route to have less responsibilities because I might not be here. “We have to be men and focus on what matters and what is our job.”


WAR!!! Napoli fans preparing hostile reception for Higuain

Higuain was worshipped in the balmy southern port city as the striker banged home a historic 36 goals last season as Napoli made the cut for the Champions League. But after a secret medical in Madrid, Juventus paid Napoli 90 million euros ($96 million) for his services and the Argentine reportedly left the city without saying goodbye.

The club’s 60,000 fans are apparently preparing to blow a collective raspberry to greet Higuain as he comes onto the pitch. Another former favourite son of Naples, Paris Saint Germain star Edinson Cavani, told Football Italia this week he found the hostility breathtaking at his return there during a 2014 friendly. “I could not explain the reason for such a strong hostility. Of course, I wasn’t expecting flowers and applause but I remember climbing the stairs to go onto the pitch and I was excited. But it was like entering a cold shower,” Cavani said. “I believe that Higuain will be upset to hear the whistles, but the situation is different,” added Cavani, whose departure from Napoli was far less acrimonious than Higuain’s. “He’s at Juventus, and that’s a blow for Napoli, but he knows the difference and will be prepared.” With nine games to go, Juventus top Serie A with 73 points while Roma have 65 and Napoli 63 in the final Champions Leagie qualifying place, before a six-point cushion to fourth placed Lazio. Neither Higuain nor Juventus are on particularly good form right now and also go into the game with an eye on their up April 11 Champions League quarter-final clash with Barcelona.

Before the international break they squeezed past Sampdoria 1-0 in a game that saw their coach Massimiliano Allegri kicking kit bags around in frustration despite the three points. The match is also notable for it being the 1001st official game for the 39-year-old Juventus stopper Gigi Buffon, who made his professional debut in 1995 as a 17-year-old in goal for Parma. Ahead of the Sunday showdown, second placed Roma could reduce the gap at the top to five points with a home win over 17th placed Empoli, while Lazio face a trip to Sassuolo.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Saturday Sassuolo v Lazio (1700)

Roma v Empoli (1945)

Sunday Torino v Udinese (1130)

Chievo Crotone

Fiorentina v Bologna

Palermo v Cagliari

Genoa v Atalanta

Pescara v AC Milan (1400)

Napoli v Juventus (1945)

Monday Inter Milan v Sampdoria