Solskjaer Laughs Off Talk Of Ibrahimovic Return

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 24, 2019. Crystal Palace won the game 2-1.
PHOTO: Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has laughed off the idea that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could make a shock return to Manchester United.

Ibrahimovic will be out of contract at LA Galaxy in November, once the MLS season has ended, and stated in an interview earlier this week that he would be open to a return.

Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan, while Alexis Sanchez has joined the Italian club on loan for the rest of the season, and Solskjaer has openly admitted that United are now short in attack.

Ibrahimovic spent 18 months at Old Trafford under previous manager Jose Mourinho and scored 28 goals in his first season in 2016/17.

However, he then suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury and failed to recover his place in the side after Lukaku’s arrival, triggering his 2018 move to LA .

“If Zlatan was 28 at his next birthday, not 38, then maybe,” said Solskjaer. “So that is a big difference.

“Zlatan had a great time here and he is still doing well. It was just unfortunate that he got his injury here.

“I don’t think it will happen. I think he had his time at the club and he has had a fantastic career at the club.

“But he knows my number and if he is serious, I will always speak to Zlatan.”

Big enough

Solskjaer will have to rely on a forward line of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and 17-year-old Mason Greenwood for goals before the transfer window opens again in January.

But despite the lack of experience in that trio, the Norwegian believes it was the right decision to send Sanchez out on loan to Inter for the season.

The Chilean forward has had a nightmare spell at United, scoring just five times in 45 appearances since his move from Arsenal in January 2018.

“Alexis needed to go,” explained the United manager. “We know he has been here for 18 months and it has not really worked out for him.

“For him to restart and get himself playing regularly and scoring goals, that will only benefit everyone in the end.

“We had a decision to make. I am trusting Anthony, Marcus, and Mason to be our center-forwards.

“For me, it’s time for our boys to feel that pressure and responsibility, to be more robust and to know they have to play five games in a row.

“We’re mentally and physically more ready. That is the next step for our younger players.”

However, Martial will miss Saturday’s trip to Southampton due to injury, while Luke Shaw will be out for a few weeks due to a hamstring problem.

As the transfer window shuts across Europe on Monday, there is also likely to be further movement out of United.

Chris Smalling is on the verge of sealing a season-long loan to Italian giants Roma, and there could be a return to Serie A for Matteo Darmian.

“This opportunity has come up in the last couple of days for Chris,” said Solskjaer. “We sat down and discussed it and at the moment we have six fit centre-backs.

“I couldn’t promise Chris regular football, so he is on the plane over there now.

“I think he will enjoy the experience. It’s a big club, a good league and he will come back stronger and fitter from it.

“I can see Matteo maybe going as there has been some interest in Italy. But Marcos Rojo is definitely staying.

“The squad is less in numbers but we are still big enough and strong enough to have coverage in all positions.

AFP

Israeli Warplanes Hit Gaza After Palestinian Rocket Fire

A Palestinian man runs for cover during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces across the barbed-wire fence following a border demonstration east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on August 23, 2019. Said KHATIB / AFP

 

 

Israeli warplanes hit the Gaza Strip’s ruling Hamas movement early Monday in response to earlier rocket fire from the territory into Israel, the army said in a statement.

Israeli authorities also announced a punitive reduction in the flow of fuel to the strip’s main power station, meaning a deep cut in the already rationed electricity supply.

Three rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Sunday night, the Israeli army said.

“Three launches were identified from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” it said in a statement. “Two of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defence system.”

“In response, a short while ago, (Israeli air force) fighter jets struck a number of terror targets in a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip, including the office of a Hamas battalion commander,” a statement Monday morning added.

A Palestinian security source said there were no casualties.

A separate statement from Israeli defence ministry unit COGAT said the latest fuel cut was personally ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also defence minister.

“The prime minister and minister of defence, Benjamin Netanyahu, ordered to downsize the transfer of fuel through the Kerem Shalom (border) crossing to the power station in Gaza by half, effective this morning and until further notice,” it said in English.

Netanyahu is fighting for reelection in a potentially tough general election on September 17 with critics from his right-wing power base calling for tougher action against the Islamist Hamas.

Nevertheless, analysts say, he is anxious to avoid escalation ahead of the polls.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008.

Since the start of August, an uptick in rocket fire and Palestinian attempts to cross from Gaza into Israel have been met with Israeli strikes, threatening a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Israel has also used fishing restrictions and fuel supplies as weapons, harshening and easing restrictions on the blockaded coastal strip according to circumstances.

Fuel deliveries, which are coordinated with the United Nations and paid for by Gulf state Qatar, were part of the truce agreement.

They have improved electricity supply in the enclave, where until the latest cut residents were getting around 12 hours of power a day, according to the UN.

In the past, the daily power supply was regularly as low as six hours.

AFP

Messi, Ibrahimovic Nominated For FIFA Goal Of The Year

 

Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are the star names on the 10-player short-list announced on Monday by FIFA for its Puskas award for goal of the year.

They are joined by three women and five men, with goals scored between July 16, 2018 and July 19, 2019.

There are nominees from the Bundesliga, Spanish Liga and women’s World Cup and one, a jaw-dropping shot by Billie Simpson of Cliftonville Ladies, from a Northern Ireland women’s league game played on what appears to be a public pitch in front of no spectators.

Messi, who has yet to win the award, earned the seventh nomination with a delicate chip for Barcelona against Betis in Seville. Ibrahimovic netted with a balletic volley for LA Galaxy in Toronto in Major League Soccer.

The award, which was established in 2009, is named after the legendary Hungary, Spain and Real Madrid striker Ferenc Puskas.

Fans can vote until September 1 on the 10 candidates nominated by FIFA. The governing body of world football will then choose between the top three vote-getters.

The two other women candidates are Ajara Nchout for a dribble and shot for Cameroon against New Zealand in the World Cup and Amy Rodriguez of Utah for a dribble and long-range shot in the US National Women’s Soccer League.

The remaining five choices are: Brazilian Matheus Cunha, of RB Leipzig, for a spin and chip against Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, Italian veteran Fabio Quagliarella for a back-heeled volley for Sampdoria against his former club Napoli, Colombian Juan Fernando Quintero for a free-kick for River Plate against Argentine rivals Racing, Andros Townsend of Crystal Palace for a volley against Manchester City and Daniel Zsori for an overhead kick for Debrecen in the Hungarian league.

Last year the Puskas award was won by Mohamed Salah of Liverpool. Ibrahimovic won in 2013. Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar have also won.

The winner will be announced at the FIFA Football Awards in Milan on September 23.

AFP

Zlatan Scores Twice To Lift LA Galaxy

Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of Los Angeles Galaxy kicks the ball away from Zarek Valentin #16 of Portland Timbers during the second half at Dignity Health Sports Park on March 31, 2019 in Carson, California. Katharine Lotze/Getty Images/AFP

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned from injury in style Sunday, converting two penalties in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 2-1 Major League Soccer victory over the Portland Timbers.

Exactly one year after the Swedish striker made his MLS debut for Los Angeles, he returned after missing two games with an Achilles tendon injury and made an immediate impact.

Denied by the post in the 14th minute, Ibrahimovic converted his first penalty in the 33rd, easily beating Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella after drawing a foul in the penalty area against Timbers defender Claude Dielna.

Jeremy Ebobisse grabbed an equalizer in the 44th, but Ibrahimovic struck again in the second half.

Having beaten three defenders to reach the edge of the box, he was fouled by Attinella.

This time from the spot he lofted a perfectly timed “Panenka” spot-kick into the back of the net as Attinella moved to his left.

In the Eastern Conference, Wayne Rooney scored on a sensational free-kick to lift D.C. United to a 2-1 victory at Orlando City that put D.C. back atop the conference standings.

A free kick from the former England star had set up D.C.’s opening goal, which was nodded in by Steve Birnbaum for his first of the season in the sixth minute.

Rooney doubled the score in the 30th, curling a free kick from just yards (meters) away from the corner flag into the top corner past Orlando keeper Brian Rowe.

Orlando coach James O’Connor called for officials to review the goal for a potential foul on Rowe by D.C. defender Frederic Brillant, but VAR confirmed the goal.

Orlando were already irked that the free kick was awarded at all since it was unclear if Dom Dwyer’s lunge at Rooney resulted in contact.

Orlando halved the deficit thanks to Dwyer’s 63rd-minute close-range header, but D.C. held them off to notch a first away win since May 19, 2018 — a streak that included 11 games and stretched back to before Rooney arrived at mid-season last year.

Dwyer’s goal was the first conceded by D.C. this season and energized the hosts, who pushed forward relentlessly in the final 30 minutes but couldn’t find an equalizer.

AFP

Zlatan Happy To Make Toronto His 500th Goal Victim

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden, Olympics

 

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic made history on Saturday, scoring his 500th career goal in stunning fashion, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Los Angeles Galaxy to a win over Toronto FC.

The 36-year-old Ibrahimovic has always had a flair for the dramatic and he did just that in becoming the third active footballer to reach the milestone for club and country, joining Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The six-foot-five (1.95 metre) Ibrahimovic delivered a perfectly-timed roundhouse kick in the 43th minute that fooled goalkeeper Alex Bono for his 17th goal of the season.

The goal cut the deficit to 3-1 and sparked a three-goal Galaxy rally, but the defending MLS champions held on to win 5-3 in front of a crowd of 30,700 at BMO Field in Toronto.

“I am happy for Toronto because they will be remembered as my 500th victim,” said Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic came into Saturday’s game tied for second in MLS scoring. He has 17 goals and eight assists in 22 appearances with the Galaxy.

Jonathan dos Santos volleyed the ball over to the Swedish star who whipped around and tapped it home.

“I was close to the goal. It reminds me of a goal I did in Ajax,” said Ibrahimovic, who has five game winners for Los Angeles. “It came from a cross and I turned around and I hit it. I was just trying to hit the goal and it went in.”

Ibrahimovic scored 62 of his goals for Sweden with the rest coming while playing for Malmo FF, Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and now the Galaxy.

Jonathan Osorio’s 75th-minute go-ahead goal halted a three-goal Galaxy comeback and helped give Toronto some much needed points in their playoff push.

Jay Chapman added an insurance goal in stoppage time with a low shot to the corner.

Ibrahimovic left Manchester United to join the Galaxy at the start of this season.

“It is an incredible achievement,” said Galaxy coach Dominic Kinnear of Ibrahimovic’s goal. “The guy is a great goal scorer and it is a memorable one for him for many reasons.”

Asked if it was memorable one for the coach, Kinnear said, “In about 10 years from now.”

AFP

Zlatan Says Sweden Has ‘Big Chance’ To Win World Cup

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

 

Los Angeles Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic backs his homeland Sweden to win the World Cup ahead of a quarter-final showdown Saturday against England.

The Swedes have advanced to the World Cup’s last eight for the first time since 1994 and 36-year-old striker Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals, has been vocal about their trophy bid.

“They have a big chance to win the World Cup,” Ibrahimovic said. “They beat Mexico (in group stage), which was good and they made a big statement by winning against the Swiss,” Ibrahimovic said in a posting on his Major League Soccer club’s website.

“They’re going well and doing things that no one thought they could do. They believe, and they thought they could do it. They’re making good things, and hopefully, they could continue.

“We are there to push them. Every Swedish person in the world is proud and we will be proud however it goes in the coming games.”

Ibrahimovic, who has 10 goals this season for the Galaxy, has spent his career among some of Europe’s greatest clubs, including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United for the past two seasons.

Ibrahimovic’s advice for Sweden is simple — more of the same.

“They should continue doing what they’re doing,” Ibrahimovic said. “It’s difficult to play against them and to score against them. If they can keep it up, they have a good chance.

“Now, it’s not only about how good you are, but there are a lot of emotions in the game. It’s a quarterfinal, and a lot of emotions come into the game. Whoever can handle that best has an advantage.

“When Sweden wins, let’s see what David Beckham tells me.”

AFP

Ibrahimovic Warns Fans Against Repeat Of ‘Crazy’ Debut

FILE PHOTO Zlatan Ibrahimovic from LA Galaxy celebrates after scoring against LAFC during their Major League Soccer (MLS) game at the StarHub Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo Credit: Mark RALSTON / AFP

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic warned Los Angeles Galaxy fans on Friday not to expect a repeat of his remarkable debut as he prepares to face in-form Sporting Kansas City this weekend.

The Swedish superstar made a sensational start to his Major League Soccer career last week, scoring twice after coming on as a substitute in the Galaxy’s 4-3 comeback win over Los Angeles FC at the StubHub Center.

The 36-year-old striker’s brace included a spectacular 35-yard volleyed equaliser before an injury-time winner as the Galaxy overturned a 3-0 deficit to take all three points.

But Ibrahimovic cautioned fans against expecting another roller coaster when the Galaxy entertain Western Conference leaders Kansas City on Sunday.

“Crazy game like that again? I hope not,” Ibrahimovic said.

“I hope we can control the game better, more, and play under control. Let’s see. I try to do my best every game and I try to help teammates and win the game. I don’t expect crazy things every game. I’ll try, but it’s not often it goes in, so please.”

Ibrahimovic, who joined the Galaxy from Manchester United on a two-year deal last month, said he had already put last weekend’s fairytale debut behind him.

“The last game is already passed by, and now it’s a new game on Sunday,” he said.

“So let’s focus on that game, not focus on the last game. Bring the positive from the last game and make better for the negative things.”

AFP

Ibrahimovic On Bench For Los Angeles Derby

FILE COPY LA Galaxy footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic                        Photo: Mark Ralston / AFP

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was named amongst the substitutes as the Los Angeles Galaxy prepared to take on Los Angeles FC in their Major League Soccer derby on Saturday.

The 36-year-old Swedish star, who joined the Galaxy from Manchester United earlier this month, only arrived in California on Thursday night.

However, the veteran striker has indicated he is fit and ready to play a part for the Galaxy as they face expansion side LAFC in their first city derby.

The former Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Ajax, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Juventus striker has not played since appearing in a game against Burnley in December.

AFP

Manchester United Agree To Terminate Ibrahimovic’s Contract

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Earns Man Utd Third Win In A Row
FILE PHOTO

 

 

Manchester United released Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the remainder of his contract on Thursday, freeing up the 36-year-old Swedish striker to complete an expected move to American side LA Galaxy.

“Manchester United confirms that it has agreed to the termination of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract with immediate effect,” United said in a statement.

“Everyone at the club would like to thank Zlatan for his contribution to the team since his arrival and wishes him well for the future.”

Ibrahimovic had just a few months left on his deal at Old Trafford after agreeing to a one-year extension to his contract in August.

He scored 28 goals in 46 appearances during a stunning first season in England to help United win the Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League last season.

That took Ibrahimovic’s tally of trophies to an impressive 31 with a host of European giants such as Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.

But he tore knee ligaments in a Europa League tie against Anderlecht in April and struggled to re-establish himself in Jose Mourinho’s side on his return from injury.

Ibrahimovic made just seven appearances in all competitions this season, the last of which came in a 2-2 draw with Burnley on December 26.

AFP

 Cavani Breaks Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Goal-Scoring Record

Paris Saint-Germain’s Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani (L) scores his 157th goal with Paris Saint-Germain to become top scorer in the club’s history during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Montpellier (MHSC) at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on January 27, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE

Edinson Cavani broke Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s all-time goalscoring record for Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, while Neymar scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Montpellier.

The Uruguay striker tapped in his 157th PSG goal in the 11th minute at the Parc des Princes to spark wild celebrations, having levelled the Swede’s previous mark 10 days ago.

“It’s something magnificent, I’m very emotional,” Cavani told Canal+.

“In life, you’re not always given so much warmth. I’m very content, very happy to be here.”

Neymar, on his return to the starting XI after a thigh injury, slotted in a 40th-minute penalty, before following Angel Di Maria’s strike with his second goal to wrap up the win.

Unai Emery’s men are now 11 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit from second-placed Lyon, who visit Bordeaux on Sunday.

“I think it was an individual statistic that all of the fans and all of us wanted for him,” Emery said of Cavani’s mark.

“This is an important moment in the history of PSG, but as he said — we want more.”

Cavani started up front alongside Neymar, with Kylian Mbappe still recovering from injury.

Having failed to score in consecutive games, the 30-year-old didn’t have to wait long to break the record.

Neymar freed Adrien Rabiot down the left-hand side and Cavani turned in the midfielder’s cutback from close range to score his 27th goal of the season.

He celebrated by throwing his shirt into the crowd, with the referee shaking his hand in acknowledgement of the achievement before booking the striker.

Cavani’s 157th goal came in his 229th match for the capital club since joining from Napoli for 64 million euros ($79.5 million) in 2013 after Ibrahimovic managed 156 in 180 games during his four seasons in Paris before leaving for Manchester United in 2016.

He almost grabbed number 158 just minutes later, but Portuguese defender Pedro Mendes managed to toe the ball away from the onrushing striker.

– Neymar returns after jeers –

Neymar had been booed by the Paris crowd on his previous appearance when he scored four goals in an 8-0 thrashing of Dijon but took a late spot-kick that could have given Cavani the record.

The controversy from 10 days ago was put to bed before half-time, though, as when the hosts won a penalty, Cavani handed the ball to Neymar for the Brazilian to confidently slot home PSG’s 2,000th goal at the Parc des Princes.

Montpellier, who had the best defence in the French top flight before this game, managed to slow the pace down after the interval and midfielder Junior Sambia drew an uncomfortable save from home goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

But PSG finished off the away side midway through the second period, as the right-back, Thomas Meunier raced clear before squaring for Argentinian Di Maria to pick out the bottom corner and score his seventh goal in 10 games.

Neymar thought he had completed a double, but his effort was ruled out for handball.

The 25-year-old did net his second goal shortly afterwards, though, and he had Cavani to thank as his strike partner dinked the ball past Montpellier keeper Benjamin Lecomte for Neymar to tap in from inside the six-yard box.

The Brazilian has now scored 26 goals since joining from Barcelona in the close season.

Lyon, who inflicted just a second league defeat of the season on PSG last weekend, can cut the gap back to eight points on Sunday when Marseille also host Monaco in a crucial match in the battle for the top three and Champions League qualification.

AFP

Zlatan Targets Premier League Glory With Man Utd

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden, Olympics

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is targeting Premier League glory with Manchester United as he plots his return from a serious knee injury to “finish what I started”.

The 36-year-old former Sweden captain has been out of action since suffering cruciate ligament damage in a Europa League clash with Anderlecht in April.

“I said I will come back to finish what I started,” Ibrahimovic, who signed a new one-year deal with United over the summer and is expected to be available before the end of the year, told Sky Sports News.

“Everything I build up from the first season, because obviously we won the three trophies… the ending for me was not the ending I wanted, or nobody wanted, especially after how the season went.

“The target is the Premier League. That is my target to finish. So everything that I started from the first season, we will finish it in the second one.”

The injury had put Ibrahimovic’s future in doubt, given he only had an initial one-year deal, but he says it spurred him on.

“In that moment when it happened it was easier for me to say that I will come back because then I had a challenge,” he said.

“And the challenge was that I never had a major injury, and all these people talking that ‘it’s over’ or ‘he’s too old’ — all these doubts I had in my whole career.

“When that goes, it triggers me because it gives me energy, it gives me challenges, it gives me objective.”

Ibrahimovic made a big impact at United last season, scoring 28 goals in 46 appearances as the club won the Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League.

“I will not walk out limping. I will walk out the way I want to walk out – even if I have to walk on water, I will do that also!”

AFP

PFA Awards: Hazard, Kante Among Nominees

Courtsey: thesun.co.uk

Eden Hazard and N’golo Kante have been named among the six nominees for the men’s PFA Players’ Player of the year award.

The Chelsea duo are joined by Manchester United Forward, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Tottenham Striker, Harry Kane, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez on the full shortlist.

Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez scooped the prize in 2016, while Hazard won the award during the 2014/15 campaign.

The 44th PFA Awards will be hold in London on Sunday, April 23, 2017.