Kompany Explains Why Liverpool’s Van Dijk Is Best-Ever Premier League Defender

Van-Dijk
File: Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg football match between FC Porto and Liverpool at the Dragao Stadium in Porto on April 17, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Ex-Manchester City star, Vincent Kompany believes Liverpool defender, Virgil Van Dijk made the Merseyside less “vulnerable” and thus the greatest defender in Premier League history.

Van Dijk teamed up with Jurgen Klopp’s side in January 2018 from Southampton and has been a mainstay in the heart of Liverpool’s defence which saw them reaching the final of the Champions League the same year.

His contributions to the team in the following season was instrumental as the Premier League side claimed the Champions League crown and they are also on the verge of winning the domestic title this term.

READ ALSO: Pochettino Wants To Manage Another Premier League Team

Although Kompany, now a coach with Anderlecht, has played against defenders like Rio Ferdinand and John Terry in his time at the Etihad Stadium, the Belgian rates the Dutchman above them.

Van Dijk has been able to combine “old-school defending with a modern twist” and helped Liverpool push for honours on both domestic and European fronts, Kompany argued.

He explained that he has never seen Klopp’s side show the kind of “supremacy” they are exhibiting this year.

“It’s very difficult to have a player that has such a big impact at a big club,” the Belgian told BBC Football Focus. “He has brought back old-school defending with a modern twist – and I respect that.”

Bauchi Discharges 20 Recovered COVID-19 Patients

A health worker helps his colleague with his PPE during a community testing as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

The Bauchi State government has discharged 20 coronavirus (COVID-19) patients from its treatment facility in the state.

Governor Bala Mohammed announced this on Monday via his verified Twitter handle.

He noted that the latest recovery has raised the number of COVID-19 patients successfully managed and discharged in the state to 89.

Governor Mohammed thanked the medical personnel in the State for their steadfastness in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also commended the State Task Force on COVID-19 and security officials, among other stakeholders for their efforts in curbing the spread of the disease in Bauchi.

As of May 17, Bauchi has 215 COVID-19 infections with 143 active cases, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Read the governor’s tweets below:

Messi Has To Win World Cup To Be Better Than Me – Ex-Brazilian Star Edilson

(FILE) Argentine forward Lionel Messi gestures during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on February 2, 2020. LLUIS GENE / AFP.

 

 

Former Brazilian star, Edilson says Lionel Messi has to win the World Cup to prove he is better than him.

The 49-year-old was part of the Brazilian side that won the Japan/Korea 2002 World Cup title.

He also claimed that during his prime, he was better than Messi and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Similarly, Edilson said compatriot Neymar has to win the competition to be better than him, insisting that he was more skillful than the trio.

Messi and Ronaldo have won 11 of the last 12 Ballon d’Or and have a number of individual prizes to their names.

But Edilson, who played for Palmeiras and Corinthians in his home country and was never nominated or won the Ballon d’Or, stressed that his World Cup medal gave him an edge over them.

“At my best, I played better than Neymar,” he was quoted as telling TV Bandeirantes.

He added, “He (Neymar) needs to win the World Cup in order to be better than me. I have personality, and for Messi to be better than me, he also has to win the World Cup.”

For Ronaldo, Edilson believes the Portuguese is good with both feet and has strength but still does not match his skills.

Messi played the final match of the 2014 World Cup with Argentina where his side lost narrowly to Germany one to nil in Brazil.

Ronaldo and Neymar have also made it to the semi-final of the competition with their respective nations.

Nigerian Officials Signing Loan Documents Written In Chinese Language, Lawmaker Claims

 

A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Ben Ibakpa has claimed some Nigerian officials signed loan documents from China written in the Chinese language.

Mr Ibakpa said this on Thursday when he appeared on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, claiming that the National Assembly is not carried along when the country takes loans from China.

He claimed that some Nigerian officials do not critically look into the loan documents before signing, adding that, “Some of these documents come in the Chinese language”

According to the member representing Ethiope Federal Constituency, the National Assembly has been kept in the dark before now concerning the Chinese loans.

“The National Assembly is kept in the dark in all these loans. The National Assembly is not part of it. Even the Bureau for Public Procurement is not aware of these loans.

“These loans are collected via the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).  They bring a bill, the Federal executive approves the bill,” the lawmaker said.

He said the present administration, having campaigned with an anti-corruption mantra, should do better in checking these loans as corruption is fueled by awarding of contracts.

While admitting that the National Assembly may not have done the right thing over the years, he added that whatever has been done in the past that it is not correct, needs to be corrected.

Speaking concerning the 2020 budget, Ibakpa said little is known about how the money is being spent.

“We are talking about over N2 trillion appropriated for debt servicing. We appropriate and we don’t know how this money is being spent. That is why we need to look into what has been happening since 2002.”

Dortmund Braced For ‘Most Unusual Derby In History’ As Bundesliga Fixtures Return

Dortmund's Norwegian forward Erling Braut Haaland celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match Werder Bremen vs BVB Borussia Dortmund, in Bremen, northern Germany on February 22, 2020. Patrik Stollarz / AFP
File: Dortmund’s Norwegian forward Erling Braut Haaland celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match Werder Bremen vs BVB Borussia Dortmund, in Bremen, northern Germany on February 22, 2020. Patrik Stollarz / AFP

 

Borussia Dortmund’s young stars Erling Braut Haaland and Jadon Sancho will be hunting more goals on Saturday in “the most unusual derby in history” against Schalke as the German Bundesliga returns behind locked doors.

Dortmund usually expect 82,000 spectators at Signal Iduna Park for a home derby, but the stadium will be near-empty with only a handful of media and officials admitted.

Even national team coach Joachim Loew will not be allowed in to watch his Germany players live on their return to action.

READ ALSO: Tottenham Boss Mourinho ‘Desperate’ For Premier League Return

“It will be the most unusual derby in history,” former Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl told German daily Welt.

Normally, a home derby against Schalke comes alive “through the fans, from their emotions, from the enthusiasm in the stadium,” Kehl added.

Dortmund are looking to close the four-point gap behind leaders Bayern Munich, who visit Union Berlin on Sunday.

However, Dortmund’s iconic south stand, dubbed “The Yellow Wall” and normally packed with 25,000 passionate fans will – like the rest of the stadium – stand empty.

“The players will miss the chance for extra motivation by the fans and the atmosphere,” admitted Kehl.

While league action in England, Spain and Italy is still at least a month away, the German Football League (DFL) has drawn up detailed hygiene guidelines to restart.

The Bundesliga is set to become the first top European league to return during the pandemic, which has so far claimed around 7,700 lives in Germany.

At games around the country, substitutes will wear masks, goal celebrations will be replaced by elbow taps while handshakes and hugs before kick-off are a no-go.

“A lot of things will start from scratch on Saturday,” Dortmund winger Julian Brandt told Sky.

“There will be no real advantages and disadvantages to playing home or away.

“In the end, it depends on who best accepts this situation and can best deal with it.”

The pressure is on Haaland, 19, and Sancho, 20, to continue their goal-rich partnership, despite the empty terraces, and steer injury-depleted Dortmund to victory.

Midfield enforcers Emre Can and Axel Witsel are out with muscle strains, while playmaker Marco Reus is recovering from a groin problem.

Haaland was in stunning form when the league was suspended in mid-March with nine goals in eight Bundesliga appearances since joining from Salzburg.

Sancho also terrorised defences with 14 goals and 16 assists in 23 league games.

At third-placed RB Leipzig, Germany striker Timo Werner is aiming to move closer to his goal target for the season against Freiburg on Saturday.

“Not many players my age have scored 20 goals in a season once and I’ve done it twice,” said the 24-year-old Werner who has netted 21 times this term. “I’d like to score 30 in a season.”

Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig trail leaders Bayern by five points following draws against Leverkusen and Wolfsburg before matches were halted due to the virus outbreak.

One to watch: Robert Lewandowski

The league’s top scorer is back from injury and looking to add to his 25 goals this season on Sunday against Union in Berlin.

With nine games left, the 31-year-old Poland international is set to beat his previous best haul of 30 league goals, achieved in both 2015/16 and 2016/17.

It will also be worth watching Bayern’s Canadian teen Alphonso Davies, 19, who has extended his contract until 2025 after several impressive displays at left-back.

Key stats
39 – the goals Lewandowski has scored in 33 matches in all competitions this season.

40 – the record number of league goals scored for Bayern by West Germany legend Gerd Mueller in 1971/72.

40 – the goals Haaland has scored this season in 33 games for Dortmund and former club Salzburg, including 10 in the Champions League.

Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT unless stated)

Saturday

Borussia Dortmund v Schalke 04

RB Leipzig v Freiburg

Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin

Fortuna Dusseldorf v Paderborn

Augsburg v VfL Wolfsburg

Eintracht Frankfurt v Bor. Moenchengladbach (1630)

Sunday

Cologne v Mainz

FC Union Berlin v Bayern Munich (1600)

Monday

Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen (1830)

AFP

Tottenham Boss Mourinho ‘Desperate’ For Premier League Return

File: Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho reacts during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton and Hove Albion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 26, 2019. Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho says he is “desperate” for the return of Premier League action despite mounting concerns about the English top-flight’s restart plans.

Several stars including Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Danny Rose have gone public with fears about resuming the season during the coronavirus crisis.

Some top-flight bosses are also understood to have expressed concerns about the plan to play from mid-June when they spoke during a League Managers Association meeting on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Eight Staff Of Turkish Club Besiktas Test Positive For Coronavirus

But Mourinho said he would relish the chance to get back to work despite the challenges and risks posed by the pandemic.

“I have not asked for any delay,” Mourinho said in a statement on Thursday.

“I want to train, and I am desperate for the Premier League to return as soon as it is safe to do so, particularly now we are seeing other leagues preparing to return to action.”

Mourinho was forced to apologise in April after being spotted breaking lockdown restrictions to hold a training session with midfielder Tanguy Ndombele in a public park.

Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko also had to say sorry after the Tottenham pair flouted social-distancing guidelines to train together.

Despite those incidents, Mourinho is happy with the way his squad have kept themselves fit during the lockdown.

“I am extremely proud of the way my players have maintained their fitness,” he said. “They have shown great professionalism, passion and dedication.

“We have all been working extremely hard through remote squad training sessions and isolated running now the pitches are available to use again at the training centre.

“Every player has been extremely committed in terms of their individual work and now we wait for clearance to commence working in small groups again, which I will fully support.”

AFP

Eight Staff Of Turkish Club Besiktas Test Positive For Coronavirus

File: Besiktas

 

Eight people at Istanbul giants Besiktas have tested positive for coronavirus after players and other employees underwent medical checks, the club said Thursday, a month before games resume.

The tests were conducted on footballers, technical committee members and facility staff, Besiktas said in a statement, without giving specific details on who has the virus.

The results will raise further concerns after the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) said games in the top league would resume on June 12 after they were suspended in March.

TFF chief Nihat Ozdemir said the matches would be played without spectators but this could change depending on how the pandemic evolves.

Second division club Erzurumspor said Wednesday 11 cases of COVID-19 had been recorded, including four players.

Turkey has officially recorded 143,114 cases of the new coronavirus while 3,952 people have died, according to the health minister Wednesday.

In March, Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim tested positive for the virus as well as former Turkish national team and ex-Barcelona goalkeeper Rustu Recber.

Both have since recovered.

AFP

 

Tottenham Star Alli ‘Okay’ After ‘Horrible’ Knifepoint Burglary

File: Tottenham’s English midfielder Dele Alli listens during a press conference on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match between Leipzig and Tottenham, in Leipzig, eastern Germany on March 9, 2020. Ronny Hartmann / AFP

 

Knife-carrying burglars broke into Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli’s home in London early Wednesday, the England playmaker escaping serious injury after being hit in a scuffle with the robbers.

Alli, 24, has been in isolation at his house with his brother, their partners and a close friend, the Daily Mail reported, ahead of Tottenham resuming training.

Two men broke in after midnight and following an altercation with Alli they made off with jewellery.

READ ALSO: Italian Serie A Clubs Plan To Restart Championship On June 13

Alli and the other occupants in the house were said to be shaken by the ordeal, but otherwise unharmed.

“Thank you for all the messages. Horrible experience but we’re all okay now. Appreciate the support,” Alli tweeted.

A police spokesperson told the Mail: “Police were called at approximately 00:35hrs on Wednesday, 13 May to reports of a robbery at a residential address in Barnet.

“Two males gained entry to the property and stole items of jewellery, including watches, before fleeing.

“One male occupant of the property, aged in his 20s, suffered a minor facial injury after being assaulted. He did not require hospital treatment.”

No arrests have yet been made.

Alli is due to start training with Spurs next week ahead of the Premier League’s intended resumption next month.

AFP

Italian Serie A Clubs Plan To Restart Championship On June 13

Juventus' French midfielder Blaise Matuidi (R) kicks the ball past Inter Milan's Italian forward Antonio Candreva during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Inter Milan, at the Juventus stadium in Turin on March 8, 2020. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP
File: Juventus’ French midfielder Blaise Matuidi (R) kicks the ball past Inter Milan’s Italian forward Antonio Candreva during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Inter Milan, at the Juventus stadium in Turin on March 8, 2020. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

 

Italian Serie A clubs want to restart the championship on June 13 after the league’s general assembly met on Wednesday via videoconference.

The general assembly approved the date for resumption “in accordance with government decisions and medical protocols”.

In early May, clubs in the Serie A restarted training with players only training individually.

READ ALSO: Premier League Players Face Strict New Training Protocols

The Italian Serie A was suspended on March 9 with 12 rounds of games and four outstanding fixtures yet to be played.

Juventus are gunning for their ninth straight Serie A crown and are top of the log, just a point ahead of Lazio.

On Monday, Serie A teams will be able to train collectively in one of the countries worst hit by coronavirus.

A number of players have been infected in Italy with three Fiorentina players and three members of the club’s support staff testing positive for coronavirus,

Also, a Torino player also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Nigerian Star Ighalo Eager To Extend Man United Deal

A file photo of Odion Ighalo. Source: [email protected]

 

Former Super Eagles star, Odion Ighalo, is eager to extend his stay with Manchester United until the end of the Premier League season. 

Ighalo, 30, joined the Premier League side from Chinese Super League outfit, Shanghai Shenhua in January and his contract with the Old Trafford side will expire on May 31.

The Premier League is expected to restart in June after going on a break due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but with the Chinese league set to resume, the Nigerian may return to the Asian nation.

READ ALSO: Football To Allow Five Substitutions When Play Restarts

Staying back with Red Devils until the end of the season, however, is something the former Watford man wants

“I would like to finish the season if it’s possible,” Ighalo was quoted as telling BBC Sport.

The player noted that before the season went on a break, he was in a good form, and scoring goals for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

According to him, he gave his best to the team and is hoping that play will restart soon.

Reflecting on the team’s form before the league was paused, Ighalo said United was having a “good momentum” but expressed worries that since he is on loan, his time with the club may be cut short.

The Premier League giants are keen to extend Ighalo’s contract with the player having scored four goals in eight matches in all competitions for the club.

Clubs and players are passing through a lot this period as they have not been able to do what they love, according to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) highest goalscorer.

He explained that as efforts are being made to restart and finish the season, contract talks would not be on the radar at the moment.

“I just want everyone to be safe and see what the future holds,” he added.

With nine games remaining, Solskjaer’s men are fifth on the league log and Ighalo hopes the Premier League will take the right decision and restart play when it is safe to do so.

Clubs in England’s top division will meet on Monday to discuss a possible resumption date for the season.

COVID-19: US Loses 20.5m Jobs In April 2020

us-jobs
File: Laborers wait in a parking lot for day jobs, in Arlington, Virginia, on May 6, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

 

The coronavirus lockdown wiped out 20.5 million US jobs in April, destroying nearly all the positions created in the prior decade in the world’s largest economy, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The unprecedented collapse drove the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent — well beyond the peak hit in late 2009 during the global financial crisis — from 4.4 percent in March.

And job losses in March were worse than initially reported, falling 870,000 even though the business closures mostly happened in the second half of the month.

The plunge in nonfarm payroll employment was the largest ever recorded since 1939, while the jobless rate was the highest and the biggest increase since 1948, the report said.

Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors, with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality, the first sector hit and the one bearing the brunt of the impact of the lockdowns.

However, the Labor Department noted that the some workers were misclassified in the report as employed when they should have been counted as laid off. Had they been listed properly, the unemployment rate would have been nearly five percentage points higher.

AFP

Football To Allow Five Substitutions When Play Restarts

File: Soccer balls are seen on the ground prior to the opening game of South Korea’s K-League football match between Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Suwon Samsung Bluewings at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju on May 8, 2020. JUNG YEON-JE / AFP

 

Football teams will be allowed to use five substitutes when play resumes after the coronavirus pandemic, the sport’s law-making body announced on Friday.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) said in as statement that it had agreed to a proposal by world governing body FIFA for a temporary change to the rules “to protect player welfare”.

Teams face likely fixture congestion in a packed calendar as they attempt to make up for lost time when play can resume.

The lay off is expected to have an impact on player fitness levels too.

It also said that competitions which were using video assistant referee (VAR) would be allowed to drop it for the time being.

The change will apply to competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 December of this year, although FIFA and IFAB left open the possibility that the period could be extended.

While teams will be able to make five substitutions, “to avoid disruption to the game, each team will only have three opportunities to make substitutions” as well as at half time or before extra time.

In competitions that allow an another replacement in extra time, teams will have an additional substitution opportunity.

The previous limit on outfield substitutes for top-level competitions has been three in regulation time.

– Euro possibility –

The IFAB said the change had been made “as matches may be played in a condensed period in different weather conditions, both of which could have impacts on player welfare.”

It added that “the decision on whether to apply this temporary amendment will remain at the discretion of each individual competition organiser.”

It said that, together with FIFA, it “will determine at a later stage whether this temporary amendment would need to be extended further.

That means the measure could be maintained for the whole of the 2020-21 season and right through to the next European Championship, which was postponed by a year until June and July 2021 because of the pandemic.

“If the measure is still in force, UEFA could then adopt it for the Euro,” a source said.

It remains to be seen if the measure could be left in place permanently, but doing so may play into the hands of the wealthiest clubs with the largest squads and greatest strength in depth.

The announcement comes a day after the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said it had proposed allowing teams in Spain to make five substitutions if matches resumed in the country.

Thursday’s statement said that it was the RFEF who raised the possibility of introducing the measure to FIFA “more than a month ago”.

The statement also said that La Liga chief Javier Tebas had shown support for the move, which takes a similar format to IFAB’s.

“With this proposal, the federation wants to go ahead and propose measures that favour the health of footballers,” said RFEF president Luis Rubiales.

AFP