About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Belgium coach Martinez dismisses doubts for Real Madrid keeper Courtoisby Carlos Volcano16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBelgium coach Roberto Martinez has dismissed doubts for Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.Courtois has struggled for form and fitness this season.”It wasn’t true that he had anxiety,” Martinez said of the reports that came out following the Club Brugge match.”He is still feeling the effects of a stomach bug and needs to regain a kilogram or two.”That’s what can happen with a stomach bug.”He is a player who dreamed of playing for Real Madrid from a young age and he is ready to define an era there.”I am convinced that he is the best goalkeeper in the world.”
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic: I feel the best I ever have. I feel very confidentby Paul Vegas15 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChristian Pulisic insists he feels better than ever ahead of the USA’s clash with Cuba on Friday.The winger has had to bide his time on the Chelsea bench in recent weeks, but the 21-year-old says he is feeling in peak condition to play.”I feel the best I ever have. I feel very confident in my game. I’m not going to let any of that affect me,” Pulisic said on Wednesday. I feel very strong, and I’m really looking forward to this game (on) Friday.”Asked about his situation at Stamford Bridge, Pulisic was blunt in his response.”I’m here now to be focused with the US national team, so that’s really all that’s on my mind right now.”
TwitterWell, we’ve got a new trend emerging ahead of wedding season. Last week, we saw an Alabama fan invite Nick and Terry Saban to her wedding – and they actually responded with a heartwarming message and a gift. This week, we’ve got a couple inviting both Georgia head coach Mark Richt and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher to their nuptials. The husband-to-be, Patrick Millard, tweeted photos of both invites.@fsucoachfisher @MarkRicht Wedding Invites on the way! Hope you can make it @JekyllClubHotel. #WhenDawgsAndNolesUnite pic.twitter.com/hnBchbXJSK— Patrick Millard (@PM_Traveler) February 28, 2015It remains to be seen if either will attend or respond – if so, expect others to copy the idea and invite their favorite coaches.
Chelsea are in the midst of a very busy period both on and off the pitch, but return to Premier League action after a week of cup football.Nottingham Forest were beaten 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in last weekend’s FA Cup clash, which followed a disappointing 0-0 New Year draw with Southampton in the league.The Blues were then unlucky to lose at Wembley, as rivals Tottenham managed to hold onto a 1-0 win in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final. Meanwhile, Newcastle are very much in a relegation battle as their form took a dip over the festive period. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Chelsea Injuries It is hard to talk about Chelsea’s preparations for their game against Newcastle without talking about the transfer market, as the club looks set to be the busiest of the ‘big six’ in the January window.Alvaro Morata could return after missing The Blues’ midweek game against Spurs with a ‘minor hamstring injury’ but his future is in significant doubt, with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla interested in him.Cesc Fabregas is close to joining Monaco and may be left out, while Gary Cahill is also in talks over a move to Fulham and has missed several recent match day squads.The good news is that a host of injured players returned in the Carabao Cup match on Tuesday, including Willian, Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Mateo Kovacic.Callum Hudson-Odoi returned from a hamstring injury last weekend to face Nottingham Forest and will continue to be used as Chelsea try to resist a move to Bayern Munich, who have recently made a £35 million offer.Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be out for an extended period of time with a back injury, coming off in the 2-0 FA Cup win over Forest.Suspensions Neither Chelsea nor Newcastle have any suspensions to contend with ahead of Saturday’s match.Chelsea Potential Starting Line-Up Chelsea played a full strength team in their midweek clash against Tottenham, as Eden Hazard operated as a ‘false 9’ with Hudson-Odoi and Willian flanking him in the wide positions.They are likely to line up as strong as possible against Newcaslte and that could see Hazard continue playing down the middle.Sarri could make further rotations after a busy fixture period, but he has so far kept those changes to a minimum in his time as Chelsea boss; Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso and N’Golo Kante have started every league match this season.Mateo Kovacic and Pedro could start after returning from sickness and injury respectively.Newcastle Team News Newcaslte will be without Chelsea loanee Kenedy due to the terms of his loan deal. They are also without both Yoshinori Muto and Ki Sung-yueng who have been called up by Japan and South Korea for the Asian Cup.Federico Fernández and Mohamed Diamé are doubts as they carry minor hip injuries.TV channel & kick-off time The match at Stamford Bridge kicks off at 5:30pm GMT (12:30pm ET) on Saturday and will be shown on BT Sport in the UK.Best Opta Match Facts Chelsea have failed to score in their last two Premier League home games. They haven’t gone three without a goal in the top-flight since November 1993 under Glenn Hoddle. Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has won just one of his 14 away matches against Chelsea in all competitions (D4 L9), a 1-0 victory with Liverpool in the Premier League in October 2008. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has scored six goals and assisted one in five Premier League appearances at Stamford Bridge against Newcastle. Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has scored more Premier League goals against Newcastle than he has against any other side in the competition (8). However, those eight goals all came in his first six games against them, with the Frenchman failing to score in his last five against the Magpies. Salomon Rondon has scored each of Newcastle’s last three away games in the Premier League. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Edwin Lara might have felt a little unease heading into his first camp with the U.S. Under-20 national team, but the feeling was quickly replaced by relief.The former Mexican Under-17 World Cup defender reached out to Tab Ramos last fall and let him know that he wanted play for the United States. While the California native fell short of making the U.S. Under-20 team that eventually won the Concacaf Championship over Mexico last November, Lara remained on Ramos’ radar, and he earned a call for the recently-concluded January camp for the U-20s. It marked Lara’s first time in a U.S. camp since he was a highly-regarded defender on the same USMNT U-15 team that includes the likes of Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams, and his first time with the U.S. since making the decision to play for Mexico.If Lara had any concerns about how he would be received in U.S. camp, they didn’t last long. He was welcomed with open arms, by a coach who didn’t hold his past allegiance to Mexico against him, and a new set of teammates who didn’t care that he once wore the green jersey of the U.S. team’s biggest rival. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “I felt like it was something I wanted to do,” Lara told Goal about his return to the U.S. youth setup. “I didn’t really appreciate what (U.S. Soccer) did for me when I was younger because I was just a kid then. When I was looking back I thought about it and they invested so much into me, the process, they really cared about me and all that stuff and I just turned my back on them. That was kind of a shady part for me, that was kind of shady. At that moment I thought I want to give it a try and be there.”The decision to bring Lara back into the U.S. setup was an easy one for Ramos, who wasn’t about to hold Lara’s previous decision to play for Mexico against him.“He’s a good player, and someone we always wanted to have the door open to,” Ramos told Goal. “I think he realized he can have some good opportunities here, but he still has a long way to go. He still has to prove himself, and he has to get adjusted to being back with us.”Lara made the switch from the United States to Mexico before the 2015 Under-17 World Cup. He made the Mexican squad, though he would have been a good bet to start for the U.S. team if he had stayed with the United States. That Under-17 World Cup saw the Americans crash out of group play without a win despite featuring Pulisic. Mexico enjoyed a much better Under-17 World Cup that year, making a run to the semifinals. Lara played in just one of Mexico’s matches, starting in El Tri’s 4-2 semifinal loss to eventual champion Nigeria.Though Lara still counts the Under-17 World Cup experience as a special one in his development as a player, he admits now that the decision to play for Mexico wasn’t one he was fully on board with.”Back then my parents were still making decisions for me. I was still young, I didn’t know what was going on and how the world works,” Lara said. “I was playing in Mexico so they thought why not play for Mexico and stay in Mexico so I don’t have to be moving from place to play. Now I can make decisions for myself and honestly I always liked the U.S. They always treated me well.”Lara’s very public switch to Mexico, and his Under-17 World Cup appearance, helped generate buzz about him being a potential future star, with the Guardian putting him on a list of 60 best young talents in world football, a list that included the likes of Gianlugi Donnarumma, Reiss Nelson and Matthijs de Ligt.Lara’s career never quite took off after that promising start, and it stalled at Pachuca, where he failed to break into the first team. Lara fell out of favor with the club, and while he put some of the blame for his struggles on Pachuca going away from the practice of bringing up academy players to the first team, sources tell Goal that Lara also deserved some blame for losing focus and not putting in the work necessary to keep progressing.”Every player has moments like that. Sad moments, moments where they’re not that motivated. It happens to everyone,” Lara said. “At this moment, just coming here (to U.S. camp) has given me a breath of fresh air. it’s given me motivation again to work hard.”Lara left Pachuca for Club Leon in the summer, and is eager to make the most of his fresh start, with a new club, and back with the national team he feels he belongs with. The 19-year-old is still very much a promising left back prospect who believes he has improved, even though he is still searching for his Liga MX debut.”I feel like I’ve matured a lot more in the sense of reading the game, and knowing when to go and when to stay,” Lara said. “Back (with Mexico’s U-17s) I was just that left back that would go, go, go. I didn’t worry about defending. Now I’ve learned that I’m a defender at the end of the day so I always have to run back. Knowing when to go and when to stay and basically have that timing so I can be at the right spot at the right time.”Lara is facing plenty of stiff competition in the U.S. Under-20 national team player pool, and earning a spot on the U.S. Under-20 World Cup team is far from a sure thing. Hannover 96 defender Chris Gloster is the team’s starter at left back, while Philadelphia Union defender Matt Real and Ajax fullback Sergino Dest are also options for Ramos at left back.For now, Lara isn’t looking that far ahead. He was content to simply have the chance to be back with the U.S. program”I felt very happy. I feel proud. I feel motivation,” Lara said. “I just want to show Tab, the coaches and everybody that I deserve a spot. They’re good guys, good players and I just feel like I’m at home.”And how did Lara’s parents respond to his decision to play for the United States?”They were just happy for me. I talked to them about it and they had my back 100 percent,” Lara said. “I wasn’t that little kid that would just say yes to everything. Now I can say what I want and I feel a lot better.”Lara isn’t the first, nor will he be the last player to have to make the decision between playing for the United States and Mexico. His childhood friend Jonathan Gonzalez is one of the most high-profile examples of an American-born player choosing Mexico, but Lara is now on the same side with players such as recent U.S. Under-20 standouts Alex Mendez, Ulysses Llanez and Frankie Amaya among Mexican-Americans choosing to play for the United States.Lara’s advice for players in that position?”Every player’s situation is different,” Lara told Goal. “Maybe some players don’t feel at home over there even if they’re Mexican. Maybe some players feel more at home over here. It’s a bunch of things that can make that decision.”If you feel at home, and you feel comfortable with the U.S. team then just stay, don’t even think about it. Go wherever you feel at home.”For Lara, home is wearing the United States uniform again, and he’s happy to be back.
One thing can be said about Brazil’s new sensation Everton: he most certainly does not lack confidence.“I’m a player that’s always trying to get on top [of the opposition],’ he said after scoring on his Copa America debut.“Cutting in from the left with dribbles and good finishes. Clubs in Europe have this style of play too and maybe I can fit in at Manchester United and others.” Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? It is a bold claim, but on the evidence of Saturday’s masterful performance against Peru he might just have the talent to back it up.The 23-year-old Gremio hotshot was the subject of huge clamour to make the starting line-up after impressing off the bench in the Selecao’s first two Copa America outings. He scored his side’s third against Bolivia with a rasping shot off the left wing and set up Philippe Coutinho to perfection to break down Venezuela’s resistance, only to see VAR overturn the goal.That willingness to take on his marker, not to mention a frightening turn of pace and wicked shot, made his inclusion against Peru almost a matter of national interest, with fans and media alike pleading for him to start.And he did not disappoint, scoring a trademark stunner cutting in from out wide and generally torturing the Inca defence as Brazil secured qualification for the quarter finals with ease.Coach Tite made a statement of intent in Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians with his most offensive line-up to date in the Copa. As well as Everton, Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus was given his first start of the competition in tandem with Roberto Firmino, as Brazil set up in a daring formation not too far removed from the cavalier 4-2-4 made famous by the likes of Pele, Garrincha and the Selecao’s legends of yesteryear.Everton was key to that game-plan as the only natural wideman in an attack completed by Coutinho playing just off that front three. Luis Advincula, one of the Copa’s stand-out performers to date, was given a torrid afternoon by the youngster and, perhaps most importantly, was forced to abandon the attacking role he occupied to such effect against Venezuela and Bolivia to keep permanent watch on the winger.Dominant throughout, Brazil nevertheless had no shortage of fortune in going ahead. Casemiro knew little about the rebound that landed kindly on his head and bobbled past Pedro Gallese in the Peru net to open the scoring, before the goalkeeper committed a horrific mistake in blasting a clearance into the encroaching Roberto Firmino and allowing the Liverpool man to convert the second. At least the third goal was one to remember. Squaring up to Advincula on the left wing, Everton shook off the right-back with a swing of the hips and opened up just enough space to whip home another cracking effort to take his Copa tally to two.The entire Brazil team was galvanised, with Dani Alves finishing off a memorable team move with the aid of Firmino and the electrifying Coutinho in the second half and substitute Willian adding his own stunner to polish off a 5-0 demolition. In the short term Brazil will be delighted with Everton’s explosion. He is now the undisputed owner of the left side of attack, a spot previously occupied by David Neres in the opening two games. Where the Ajax man was erratic and wasteful, Everton has proved himself a worthy deputy to the injured Neymar and injected much-needed pace and unpredictability into a Brazil attack that had looked ponderous beforehand. In Europe, too, no few teams will have been watching Saturday’s masterclass with interest. As well as United, Manchester City have been linked with the Gremio promise, and Pep Guardiola will no doubt be receiving glowing reviews from Jesus and Fernandinho as this Copa progresses. But Old Trafford appears to be where Everton has his heart set on arriving. And if his goal against Bolivia and subsequent comments were a cry for attention from those in charge of the Red Devils purse-strings, this subsequent display should be a full-pitched scream that United would be wise to listen to as they look to strengthen their own attack this summer.
Liverpool goalkeeper Kamil Grabara has joined Huddersfield on a season-long loan deal. The 20-year-old has penned a new long-term contract at Anfield, but will spend the campaign at John Smith’s Stadium with Jan Siewert’s newly-relegated side. Grabara spent the second half of last season at Danish outfit Aarhus, and impressed for Poland at the European Under-21 Championships in Italy this summer. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Liverpool hope the highly-rated youngster will gain valuable first-team experience in the Championship.Huddersfield, meanwhile, saw last season’s first choice ‘keeper, Jonas Lossl, join Everton on a free transfer last month. Grabara will be hoping for a spell as productive as the last time the Reds loaned a goalkeeper to Huddersfield – when former Liverpool youngster Danny Ward joined the Terriers during the 2016-17 season and helped the club earn promotion to the Premier League.Ward has since moved on to Leicester, joining them on a £13 million ($17m) deal last summer.Grabara will not be the last player to leave Liverpool on loan this month, with midfielder Herbie Kane expected to complete a move to the Championship, with Brentford, Charlton and Hull among those keen. Ben Woodburn, Ryan Kent and Harry Wilson were all named in Jurgen Klopp’s 28-man travelling party for the three-game tour of the United States, which departs on Tuesday. All are the subject of strong loan interest, with decisions to be made later in the transfer window. Youngsters Bobby Duncan, Yasser Larouci, Adam Lewis and Dan Atherton have all travelled to America with the senior squad, as has newly-signed Polish goalkeeper Jakub Oryzinski. In the USA, Liverpool will play against Klopp’s old club, Borussia Dortmund on July 19 at Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana to kick off their American tour.The Reds will then travel to Fenway Park, home of the club’s owners Major League Baseball team the Boston Red Sox, in Boston, Massachusetts, for a match against Sevilla on July 21. They will close out their USA tour on July 24 when they face Sporting CP at Yankee Stadium in New York. A busy early August await the Reds as they will face Manchester City in the Community Shield on August 4, open their Premier League campaign against Norwich on August 9 and battle Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on August 15.
Mexico international Edson Alvarez is still on Ajax’s wishlist as the club prepares to replace Matthijs de Ligt.In fact, according to Marc Overmars, the Dutch club’s Director of Football, Alvarez would be on the list even if De Ligt weren’t headed for Juventus this summer.”That is not directly related to the departure of Matthijs de Ligt. Alvarez is a player who has a good reputation in our books. His arrival could indeed happen,” Overmars told reporters in Austria. “I think he has the right age – 21 years old, he’s a regular starter for the Mexico national team and we know him very well because we’ve been following him for quite some time now. He’s had good development, and he’s versatile.” Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Alvarez developed as a center back and has played at that position for both Club America and the Mexico national team. He played right back for El Tri as well in 2017 and 2018, but under Tata Martino has settled into a holding midfield role in the center of a 4-3-3. Club America manager Miguel Herrera said this summer that Alvarez’s exit from the Mexico City club wasn’t yet finalized, but the player said during the Gold Cup that his “dream I desire with all my heart” is playing in Europe.Prior to Mexico’s 1-0 win over the United States in the Gold Cup final, Alvarez insisted his head was totally on the match but allowed that his mind still is set on moving abroad.”Right now my mind is 100 per cent on tomorrow’s game. It’s a tournament and a trophy that I don’t have on my personal list yet. We’ll see about Europe later, with more calmness,” Alvarez told Goal before the Gold Cup final. “Obviously I’m really hopeful to go to European football.”That’s not always typical for Mexican players, many of whom stay in Liga MX with its lucrative contracts and the draw of living near loved ones stronger than the pull of the European game. However, Alvarez and former America teammate Diego Lainez, now with Real Betis, have been consistent in their desire to challenge themselves at a higher level.Alvarez is currently on post-Gold Cup vacation, missing out on his team’s Campeon de Campeones win on penalty kicks against Tigres on Sunday. Las Aguilas kick off their season hosting Monterrey on Saturday at the Estadio Azteca.
Can those planning to storm Area 51 expect to see another Zlatan Ibrahimovic? No, is the answer according to the man himself.Almost two million people have RSVP’d to a Facebook event to “Storm Area 51″ – a classified US Air Force training base in Nevada which conspiracy theorists believe harbours information about extraterrestrial life.A disclaimer in the Facebook event claims it is all a joke, but it has not stopped #StormArea51 from taking the internet by storm.”We can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens,” reads the description of the event. Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? When LA Galaxy superstar Ibrahimovic fronted the media on Wednesday, he was asked what might be in Area 51 and he responded with a typically “Zlatan” quip. .”Not another Zlatan. That’s for sure,” Ibrahimovic joked with reporters.Asked if they would let Ibrahimovic into Area 51, former Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona striker Ibrahimovic replied: “I have my own area 51.”What that means is anyone’s guess, and it is to be assumed that his fans don’t take him seriously and start their own attempts to locate it.In all seriousness, the US military have understandably failed to see the funny side of the social media craze. “[Area 51] is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” a spokeswoman said.Area 51 is part of a military base about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada.Its primary use is hidden from the public, however this is standard procedure for similar facilities right across the US.It would be extremely dangerous if the public took this stunt seriously and turned up in person at the base, as the entrance gates are patrolled by armed guards and any attempts to enter would be taken very seriously.Meanwhile Ibrahimovic has enjoyed another fine season in the USA, with 13 goals for the Galaxy in MLS.The 37-year-old’s goals have helped the Galaxy to third position in the Western Conference, 12 points adrift of leaders Los Angeles FC after 20 games.
CLEMSON, SC – SEPTEMBER 17: The Tiger, the Clemson University Tigers mascot, watches the game against the University of Miami Hurricanes at Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2005 in Clemson, South Carolina. Miami won 36-30. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)The Texas Tech head coaching job is quickly becoming one of the most intriguing vacancies in college football. Among the many big name candidates for the job is Brent Venables, the Clemson defensive coordinator.On Monday morning, following a report that he had spoken with Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt, Venables admitted to having spoken with Hocutt – a personal friend of his – but would not comment on any potential moves.“Kirby and I, as everybody knows, were college teammates and fellow linebackers,” Venables said, according to 247Sports. “We’re very, very good friends. I’ve talked to Kirby a lot, and I’ve talked to him recently. But that’s all I’ll say.”Venables added that he has no intentions of leveraging any interest from other schools in his services against Clemson.“But I’ve got a great job. I’ve got great loyalty and appreciation for the people that are responsible for me being here, the players, coach Swinney, Dan Radakovich, our administration, our fellow coaches,” Venables said. “I would never compromise the integrity of my job for other opportunities. Ever. Ever. That’s not who I am…”Venables has been at the helm of Clemson’s defense since 2012.He has previous ties to the Big 12 though, having served as an assistant for Kansas State and Oklahoma.However, Venables has yet to receive a head coaching job.