Origi To Leave Liverpool End Of Season, Says Klopp

Liverpool’s Belgium striker Divock Origi celebrates with the trophy after winning the English FA Cup final football match between Chelsea and Liverpool, at Wembley Stadium, in London, on May 14, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Friday that striker Divock Origi will leave the Premier League club at the end of the season.

The Belgium international has not played enough matches to trigger an extension to his contract and has been heavily linked with a move to AC Milan.

The 27-year-old has been a bit-part player since he joined Liverpool in 2014 but has scored vital goals including two in an astonishing comeback against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.

Origi also scored in the final that year as Liverpool lifted their sixth European Cup against Tottenham.

“I expect Div to get a special reception, or farewell, or whatever,” said Klopp, whose side are just one point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with one game left.

“He is and will be for me, forever a Liverpool legend (and) one of the most important players I ever had.

“That sounds completely strange with the number of games he had, but it is, and was, a pure joy to work together with him.”

Klopp, whose side host Wolves on Sunday, said it would be a “harsh moment” when Origi leaves Anfield.

“I remember so many things when I think about Div that’s incredible — important goals, injuries… bad injuries, and all these kinds of things — ups and downs,” he said. “He is a Liverpool legend, no doubt.”

Liverpool, who are still in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple, must win on Sunday and hope Pep Guardiola’s City slip up at home against Aston Villa.

-AFP

Antonio Rudiger Bids Chelsea Goodbye

Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Rudiger (C) celebrates scoring his team’s third goal with Chelsea’s German striker Timo Werner (R) during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on September 19, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Antonio Rudiger has penned down his final farewell note to the Chelsea faithful ahead of his move to Real Madrid.

The stalwart German defender who signed from Roma in 2017 for a fee of £29 million won the FA Cup in his first season, followed by the UEFA Europa League in his second season, and the UEFA Champions League in 2021.

Discussions between the centre-back’s representatives and Chelsea had taken place in January but, no new, improved official offer was tabled.

Real Madrid emerged favourites to secure Rudiger’s services on a pre-contract agreement – after successful; talks with Rudiger’s representatives.

The 29-year-old on Wednesday confirmed his exit from the club in an open letter to Chelsea fans titled “Dear Chelsea.”

Ngolo Kante AFP

 

“I don’t like goodbyes. But I will try to make this one special, from the heart,” Rudiger opened with.

Rudiger was full of praise for his fellow teammate Ngolo Kante, whom he described as “one of the nicest guys in football.”

“Before I came to Chelsea, I had heard all the beautiful stories about him. They said he is always smiling. They said he still drives an old Mini Cooper. They said he never raises his voice. But you know how it goes in football, right? No one is really like that. There is too much pressure, too much disappointment. We are all human. No one is that cool all the time. It’s impossible.,” he said.

“Then I met N’Golo.”

Rudiger also cited Thomas Tuchel as instrumental in his resurgence at the club also thanking the German for his belief in him.

Chelsea’s German pairing of Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Rudiger (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP

 

“When Tuchel came in as manager and gave me a chance, it was a new life for me. Actually, he did something right away that I think a lot of managers could learn from. It had nothing to do with tactics. He just came up to me and he said, “Toni, tell me about yourself.”

“He wanted to know where my aggression and hunger came from, and I told him about growing up in Berlin-Neukölln and how I used to play so hard on the concrete pitches that all the older kids started calling me Rambo.”

Speaking on his failed contract situation at the club, Rudiger said, “Unfortunately, my contract negotiations had already started to get difficult last fall. Business is business, but the situation becomes complicated when you don’t hear any news from the club from August to January.”

“After the first offer, there was a long gap of just nothing. We’re not robots, you know? You cannot wait for months with so much uncertainty about your future. Obviously, no one saw the sanctions coming, but in the end, other big clubs were showing interest, and I had to make a decision. I will leave it at that, because business aside, I have nothing bad to say about this club. “

“Chelsea will always be in my heart. London will always be my home. I came here alone, and now I have a wife and two beautiful kids. I also have a new brother for life named Kova. I have an FA Cup, a Europa League and a Champions League medal. And of course, I have hundreds of memories that will stay with me forever.”

France Reports First Monkeypox Case

Monkeypox virus was first identified by Preben von Magnus in 1958 as a pathogen of crab-eating macaque monkeys
Monkeypox virus was first identified by Preben von Magnus in 1958 as a pathogen of crab-eating macaque monkeys

 

France on Friday reported its first case of monkeypox, joining a number of other European and North American nations in detecting the disease endemic in parts of Africa.

Monkeypox was identified in a 29-year-old man in the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris, who had not recently returned from a country where the virus is circulating, France’s health authorities said Friday.

Cases of monkeypox have also been detected in Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden as well as in the United States and Canada, leading to fears that the disease — normally concentrated in Central and West Africa — may be spreading.

The rare disease — which is not usually fatal — often manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets of a contaminated person, as well as through shared items such as bedding and towels.

Monkeypox usually clears up after two to four weeks, according to the World Health Organization.

-AFP

Most Okada Riders In Lagos Are Criminals- Police Commissioner

 

The Lagos State Commissioner Of Police, Abiodun Alabi, has stated that many motorcycle operators are criminals in disguise who perpetrate nefarious acts across the state.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced a ban on motorcycles, popularly known as Okadas, in six local government areas on Wednesday after what he described as “a critical review” on the “menace that has not abated.”

Speaking on Channels Television’s flagship show Sunrise Daily on Thursday, commissioner Alabi disclosed that many of the riders were unlicensed after consultations with executive bodies within the state.

“I want to be emphatic here, most of them are criminals masquerading as okada riders,” Abiodun said

“We have arrested so many of them with locally made pistols in the course of their operations and many of them have been charged to court.”

The commissioner also lamented the level of crime committed with the aid of motorcycles in communities across the nation’s economic hub.

“They use these okadas to commit a lot of crimes in so many communities; that is why we have been having a lot of dialogue and consultations with their unions,” he said.

“The best way out is to get them off our roads because a lot of them are masquerading as okada riders but are criminals.”

Commissioner Alabi was however not reluctant to admit that the ban had some drawbacks.

“We know that banning the Okada riders can actually increase the crime rate. And we are not unmindful of that and we are already putting in place a lot of strategies to contend with it,” he said.

“We know that it will send a lot of them to unemployment. We are aware of that and are preparing for it.”

 

Oshiomhole’s Allegation Laughable, ‘Figment’ Of His Imagination – Fayemi

File COMBO of Governor Fayemi of Ekiti and Adams Oshiomole

 

The Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, has dismissed allegations made against him by the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.

Oshiomhole had accused Governor Fayemi who is a presidential aspirant in the APC of asking him (Oshiomhole) to rig an election in his favour.

But Governor Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, rubbished the allegation.

The statement read in part, “The allegation, which was made on national television, is not only false, puerile and laughable, it is a figment of the imagination of the former APC Chairman as Governor Fayemi has never asked Oshiomhole to rig an election for him or any other person and never had any reason to ask for such.

“Members of the public are therefore urged to disregard the allegations by Comrade Oshiomhole, who apparently is still experiencing a post-traumatic stress disorder on account of his removal as Chairman of APC.”

Stressing that he had no reason to approach Oshiomhole for favours for any election, the statement said “Governor Fayemi has a stellar track record of being a consummate democrat even in difficult times”.

“Many Nigerians can easily recall his historic concession speech in 2014 in an election that was clearly lost to electoral sleight of hand at the behest of the then People’s Democratic Party (PDP)–led Federal Government,” the statement added.

“Others will also recall how he spent years in court patiently pursuing the retrieval of his stolen mandate between 2007 and 2010. He has demonstrated nothing but decency, decorum and fidelity to the rule of law in all his years in politics and public office.”

He called on the former APC chairman to back his claim with evidence.

“We challenge Mr Oshiomhole to provide the public with independently verifiable evidence of his unsubstantiated claims, if true,” he said.

 

 

Arsenal Got What They Deserved, Says Arteta

Photo of Mikel Arteta

 

A disappointed Mikel Arteta has commented on his side’s defeat to Newcastle on Monday night, insisting Arsenal deserved the result.

Ben White’s own goal and Bruno Guimaraes’ late strike was the difference between the sides on the scoreboard.

A victory for Arsenal would have moved them above Tottenham into the Champions League places with one game left.

But the manner of the Newcastle performance changed the tempo of the game with an impressive showing from Eddie Howe’s men that sent a message that  they could be challenging for a top-four finish themselves next season.

Facing the media and fielding questions on the defeat, the 40-year old was critical of the North London club’s performance.

“It’s a really tough night. Normally, I can sit here and I can defend, but what we’ve done today, it’s not easy,” a dissatisfied Arteta said.

“Newcastle were one hundred times better than us in every department from the beginning to the end and it’s hard to accept but you have to accept it and that’s the reality of what happened today on that pitch.”

Asked what he puts the performance down to, Arteta said, “We knew [what was at stake], but we didn’t cope with it. We didn’t compete, we never got into the game, we put ourselves in trouble time after time, we lost every duel.”

“In every aspect of the game, we were second best and Newcastle totally deserved to win the match, probably by a bigger margin as well.”

Equally vocal on his side’s defeat was Granit Xhaka, who felt his teammates display showed they could not handle the pressure of chasing a top-four spot.

“If someone isn’t ready for this game, stay at home,” Xhaka told BBC sport on 

“It doesn’t matter your age. If you’re nervous, stay on the bench or stay at home. You need people to come here and play. It’s one of the most important games for us. We’re feeling very disappointed for the people who came over here.”

Arsenal will need to beat Everton at home on Sunday and hope Tottenham – two points ahead and with a much better goal difference – lose at relegated Norwich to stand any chance of making it to the Champions League next season.

 

 

Doctor Strange Actress, Husband Jailed 22 Years For Underage Sex Offences

Photo of Zara Phythian (AFP)

 

Doctor Strange actress Zara Phythian has been jailed for eight years for the underage sexual abuse of a girl who was aged between 13 and 15.

Victor Marke, Phythian’s husband was also sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for jointly abusing the same victim, as well as the indecent assault of a second girl.

Both were remanded at the Nottingham Crown Court.

Phythian, who starred alonsgside Benedict Cumberbatch in the Marvel movie Doctor Strange, was said to have gottent the teen intoxicated with rum before making her perform sexual acts on her partner.

Presiding Judge, Mark Watson maintained the couple pre-planned the sexual abuse of the joint victim.

“I regard you as the driving force behind the abuse. You were clearly aware of the first incident but pretended to be asleep,” Judge Watson told Marke

“This could only have been a ruse agreed in advance.”

Marke, who is a martial artist was accused of assaulting the schoolgirl about 20 times on different occasions.

The victim, who cannot be named, described the couple as ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ characters and said Marke threatened her while ordering her to film the abuse.

The couple were found guilty of 14 counts of sexual activity, while Marke was convicted of four further charges of indecent assault against another teen.

McDonald’s To Exit Russia, Sell Business In Country

A man walks past a closed McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow on May 16, 2022. American fast-food giant McDonald’s will exit the Russian market and sell its business in the increasingly isolated country, the company said on May 16, 2022.  Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

American fast-food giant McDonald’s will exit the Russian market and sell its business in the increasingly isolated country, the company said Monday.

Many Western businesses have pulled out of Russia since its invasion of Ukraine in February.

And earlier on Monday, French automaker Renault announced it had handed over its Russian assets to the government in Moscow, marking the first major nationalisation of the economic disentanglement.

McDonald’s in March closed all of its 850 restaurants in the country, where it says it employs 62,000 people.

But on Monday it went a step further, saying in a statement: “After more than 30 years of operations in the country, McDonald’s Corporation announced it will exit the Russian market and has initiated a process to sell its Russian business.

“The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values.”

It said it was looking to sell “its entire portfolio of McDonald’s restaurants in Russia to a local buyer”.

The company added that after the sale, the restaurants would no longer be able to use the McDonald’s name, logo, branding or menu.

Russia, where McDonald’s directly manages more than 80 per cent of the restaurants bearing its name, accounts for 9 per cent of the company’s revenue and 3 per cent of its operating profit.

Chief executive Chris Kempczinski said in a statement: “We’re exceptionally proud of the 62,000 employees who work in our restaurants, along with the hundreds of Russian suppliers who support our business, and our local franchisees. Their dedication and loyalty to McDonald’s make today’s announcement extremely difficult.

“However, we have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values. And our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the Arches shining there.”

On February 24, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into pro-Western Ukraine, triggering unprecedented Western sanctions against Russia and sparking an exodus of foreign corporations including H&M, Starbucks and Ikea.

The authorities said they were ready to nationalise foreign assets — as happened with Renault — and some officials assured Russians that their favourite brands would have domestic alternatives.

Officials in Moscow have sought to downplay the gravity of the Western sanctions, promising that Russia will adapt and take steps to stop the flight of foreign currency and capital.

-AFP

Tuchel Hints At Christensen Chelsea Exit

Photo of Chelsea defender, Andreas Christensen

 

Chelsea boss, Thomas Tuchel, has appeared to have given up hope on keeping Andreas Christensen at Stamford bridge come next season. 

Christensen pulled himself out of contention for Saturday’s in a repeat final defeat against Liverpool just hours before kick-off.

Barcelona are firm favourites to secure the Denmark international at the end of the season

Speaking in a post-match interview, the German bemoaned the difficulty the club is facing at the moment with regards to ownership uncertainty and the UK Government sanctions on the club in recent months which had caused players to want to leave,

‘Maybe it’s impossible because they are improving their squad in every transfer window they have and it seems like we are losing key players.”

“We are of course losing Toni [Rudiger] and we are losing Andreas [Christensen]. It’s tough because we already have a gap to close,” Tuchel said.

Christensen’s unexpected withdrawal from the team hotel on Saturday morning is understood to have bothered team-mates.

It has also been speculated that Christensen had indicated that he felt unwell in the days prior to the final, something that the Blues star relayed to his head coach before deciding on the morning of the game that he wasn’t physically ready to play.

Tuchel pinpointed consistency as the key as his side have drawn all four games against the Reds in normal time this season.

‘We proved four times this season that we can produce peak performances to compete with them on this kind of level. The difference for me throughout the season is that they can do it on Wednesday again and then they do it on Saturday and Wednesday again, and we struggle,” he said.

‘They have a bigger squad available. They arrived with everybody except Fabinho fresh and in the rhythm in a final like this. We struggled with three or four players out. N’Golo Kante had one training session at 50 per cent intensity, Mateo Kovacic played with an ankle that I didn’t know it was possible you can fit into a shoe.

However, Tuchel has maintained that the Champions League winners have what it takes to challenge for titles.

‘We have everything it takes to win trophies and we proved it already. Someone was trying to convince me that we have had a trophyless season but we have a World Cup and a European Super Cup so I will take that for a trophyless season. I don’t feel sorry just because it happened earlier in the season.’

Asisat Oshoala Claims Golden Boot In Women’s Spanish Primera Division

Photo of Super falcons captain, Asisat Oshoala

 

Super Falcons forward, Asisat Oshoala, has picked up the top scorer award for the Barcelona Fermeni side with a goal tally of 20.

Oshoala also became the first African woman to win the highest goalscorer gong in the Spanish Primera Division since it began in 2011.

She was also instrumental in guiding her Barcelona team to history as the first team in Spanish football history to win the league title with a perfect record

The Spanish champions finished the season with 30 wins in 30 matches, with 159 goals scored and just 11 conceded.

Despite her impressive tally, the 27-year-old was unable to increase her number of goals after being introduced in the 63rd minute for Jenifer Hermoso in the match against Atletico Madrid On Sunday.

The Nigerian captain was the highest goal scorer at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and was named the best player at the tournament.

She was also named best player and second top goalscorer with the Super Falcons team who won the 2014 African Women’s Championship.

In September 2014, Oshoala was made a Member of the Order of the Niger by President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan. In 2021, she was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30.

 

Ukraine Pushes Enemy Troops Back To Russian Border

This handout picture of Ukraine Defence Ministry taken in an unknown place in Ukraine and released on May 16, 2022, shows Ukrainian servicemen examining a destroyed Russian tank, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. STR / UKRAINIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENCE / AFP

 

 

Ukraine has announced that its troops have regained control of territory on the Russian border near the country’s second-largest city of Kharkiv, which has been under constant fire since Moscow’s invasion began.

The defence ministry said in a statement on social media late Sunday that the Ukrainian troops of the 127th brigade in the Kharkiv region “drove out the Russians and claimed the state border”.

In a video released with the statement, a clutch of Ukrainian soldiers in camouflage and holding weapons are gathered around a yellow-and-blue-painted border demarkation post and address President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military has “reached the border with the Russian Federation — with the occupying country — we’ve done it; we’re here,” one of the soldiers says.

Ukraine presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich on Sunday told local television that Russian troops were being redeployed towards the Donbas region south of Kharkiv after withdrawing, following a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Since failing to take the capital at the beginning of the invasion in late February, control of Donbas has become one of Moscow’s primary objectives — but Western intelligence has predicted its campaign will stall amid heavy losses and fierce resistance.

“We thank everyone who, risking their lives, liberates Ukraine from Russian invaders,” Kharkiv regional governor Oleg Synegubov said in a statement on social media.

“We still have a lot of work ahead of us,” he added.

The Ukraine presidency said in a briefing Monday that Russia had continued strikes on the Lugansk region south of Kharkiv.

“Two people were killed and nine were wounded, including a child, as a result of shelling on a Severodonetsk hospital,” it said, referring to a major urban hub.

In the western city of Lviv, city authorities said official infrastructure had been hit on May 13 by a cyberattack and that the Ukrainian SBU security services were working to limit the fallout.

-AFP

Ronaldo, Mane Missing As EPL Unveils Player of The Season Nominees

File COMBO of the shortlisted EASports Player of the year 2021/2022 awards nominees

 

EA SPORTS on Friday unveiled nominees for the 2021/2022 Premier League Player of the Season award and surprising exclusions were Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s forward Sadio Mane.

Ronaldo, who won the Premier League Player of the Month for April, and Mane – a key man in Liverpool’s quadruple-chasing side – did not make the cut in a list that included Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been a shining light in United’s dismal season with 18 goals in 30 league matches. He has also twice been named as the Premier League’s player of the month. Similarly, the Senegalese star has scored 15 goals in 33 league appearances as the Anfield club bid for the unprecedented quadruple. His Liverpool teammates Mohammed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been important to Jurgen Klopp team’s blistering form this season.

File COMBO of Sadio Mane and Cristiano Ronaldo

 

Salah, who was  2017/18 EA SPORTS Player of the Season and also the leader in the Golden Boot race with 22 goals, was shortlisted for the prize. Arnold, on the other hand, has contributed at both ends of the pitch, dominating the right flank for the second-best defence in 2021/22 as well as scoring two goals and setting up 12 more, the second-most of all players.

The shortlist also included Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Jaoa Cancelo. Both have also been vital to Guardiola’s dream of lifting a consecutive Premier League title. The 2019/20 winner is aiming to be only the fourth player to claim more than one EA SPORTS Player of the Season award.

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, who has been important to the side’s resurgence with 21 goals – only one behind Salah in the Golden Boot race – is also in the running for the top award. 

Having been a key part of a top-four chasing Arsenal, Saka’s contributions to the Gunners this season were rewarded with a nomination. 

Also included in the shortlist is Jarrod Bowen. He is the second West Ham United player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in a Premier League season. Bowen scored 10 and set up 10, justifying his inclusion on the list.

James Ward-Prowse completes the list of nominees for the award. He has been an unsung hero in the heart of the midfield for Southampton. The Saints have caught the eye with some magnificent performances leading to nine goals. Five of them came from trademark direct free-kicks.