Ibrahimovic Wins ‘Ligue One Player Of The Year’ Award

Zlatan Ibrahimovic-Ligue One Player of the YearParis Saint-Germain (PSG) forward, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has been named the ‘Ligue One Player of the Year’.

The 34-year-old Swedish bagged the award on Sunday, making it the third time in four seasons.

After scoring 35 goals in the French league and a total of 45 in all competitions, Ibrahimovic was handed the trophy by Dutch legend, Edgar Davids, at the UNFP Awards ceremony in Paris.

Also at the ceremony, Ousmane Dembele of Stade Rennais FC clinched the ‘Young Player of the Year’ award, beating Vincent Koziello of Nice, Thomas Lemar of AS Monaco and PSG’s Adrien Rabiot.

The French league champions’ coach, Laurent Blanc, claimed the ‘Ligue One Coach of the Year’ prize for the second successive season.

Yusuf Invites 26 Players For Super Eagles Friendlies

Super Eagles-Salisu Yusuf-Eagles FriendliesSuper Eagles Head Coach, Salisu Yusuf, has called up 26 players for the international friendlies against Mali and Luxembourg in Europe.

The three-time African champions would take on the Les Aiglons of Mali in France on May 27 before flying to Luxembourg to play the country’s national team on June 1.

Yusuf, who was installed as interim Head Coach by the Nigeria Football Federation last week, picked a relatively young squad that also includes former U-20 and former U-23 players.

All the invitees in the goalkeeper categories are: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa), and Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Sunshine Stars).

The defenders invited are: Abdullahi Shehu (Uniao da Madeira, Portugal), Musa Muhammed (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey), Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France), Kingsley Madu (AS Trencin, Slovakia), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa SK, Turkey), Leon Balogun (Mainz 05, Germany), Gbenga Arokoyo (Gaziantepspor, Turkey), William Troost Ekong (Haugesund FC, Norway), and Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal).

For the midfielders, players called up are: Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy), John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England), Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England), Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium), Raheem Lawal (Osmanlispor FK, Turkey), and Etebo Oghenekaro (SC Farense, Portugal).

The players invited in the forward category are: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium), Victor Moses (West Ham United, England), Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England), Aminu Umar (Osmanlispor FK, Turkey), Aaron Samuel (CSKA Moscow, Russia), and Brown Ideye (Olympiakos FC, Greece).

Arsenal v Monaco: I’m Not Bothered By Pressure – Wenger

Wenger UCL
Arsene Wenger

The pressure on Arsenal as favourites for their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie with Monaco is welcome, says Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, before Wednesday’s first leg at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners have exited the competition at this stage in each of the last four seasons.

“The French might give us the status of favourites. It doesn’t bother me.

“There’s a lot at stake but these are the games you want to play,” said Wenger.

The Ligue 1 side gave Wenger his big break in management in the late 1980s but the Arsenal boss was not in sentimental mood in his pre-match press conference.

On reunion with Monaco, Wenger expressed his excitement on the club’s return to the top level from the second division.

“I am happy that Monaco is back at the top level after being in the second division.

“It was my first chance at a big club but I have been manager of Arsenal for 18 years now and I am focused only on qualifying for the quarter-finals against a good side.”

On team selection, he said the only uncertainty he had was [Jack] Wilshere, “but everybody else is available”.

When asked about goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Wenger said: “I cannot tell you [who will be] goalkeeper.

“I worry about every player, but only 11 players can start. That’s the same for everyone. There’s competition for players.”

On Arsenal’s (allegedly) easy draw, the Arsenal boss said: “Easy is a word you have to ban in the Champions League, it is hard-earned every time.

“There’s always one goal between going out and staying in.

“In the last four years we’ve gone out in the last 16, twice against the winner, on goal difference or on one goal.”

Speaking on the French side, Wenger said: “They might give us the status of favourites. It doesn’t bother me.
“The worst thing that happened in my career was to play games without any pressure. There’s a lot at stake.

“These are the games you want to play when you are a player and a manager.”

The Gunners will be hosting the Ligue 1 side, AS Monaco in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last-16, at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.