Jorginho joins Arsenal from Chelsea on deadline day

"Welcome to The Arsenal, Jorginho," the club said in a post on their official Twitter account. ([email protected])
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Updated 31 January 2023

Jorginho joins Arsenal from Chelsea on deadline day

  • "It's an important shirt. It's an amazing club, a big one, and I'm really excited and happy to be here," Jorginho told Arsenal.com

LONDON: Jorginho joined Premier League leaders Arsenal from Chelsea on transfer deadline day on Tuesday for a reported fee of £12 million ($15 million).
“Welcome to The Arsenal, Jorginho,” the club said in a post on their official Twitter account.
Gunners manager Mikel Arteta said the 31-year-old Italy international would bring “intelligence, deep leadership skills and a huge amount of Premier League and international experience.”
The midfielder, who is understood to have signed an 18-month deal at the Emirates Stadium, told Arsenal.com: “I’m very excited for this new challenge and I just can’t wait to be on the pitch to be honest.
“Everything has happened so fast. I was a bit surprised, but I took the opportunity of this amazing challenge.
“It’s an important shirt. It’s an amazing club, a big one, and I’m really excited and happy to be here.”
The former Napoli player has made 143 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, with whom he won the Champions League in 2021.
He was also part of the Italy team that won the European Championship the same year.


Ibrahimovic announces retirement from football

Updated 05 June 2023

Ibrahimovic announces retirement from football

  • Veteran striker Ibrahimovic revealed his decision to quit the game during an on-pitch ceremony following AC Milan’s 3-1 win over Verona

MILAN: Zlatan Ibrahimovic brought the curtain down on a long, trophy-packed career on Sunday when he unexpectedly announced his retirement from football.
Veteran striker Ibrahimovic revealed his decision to quit the game during an on-pitch ceremony following AC Milan’s 3-1 win over Verona.
“It’s the moment to say goodbye to football, not just to you,” said Ibrahimovic on the San Siro pitch.
“There are too many emotions for me right now. Forza Milan and goodbye.”
The 41-year-old had been expected to simply bid farewell to Milan fans after his departure from the seven-time European champions was announced on Saturday.
He returned to Milan in late 2019 for a second spell after a previous two-year period in which he won the Serie A title in 2011.
Ibrahimovic was a key figure in Milan’s resurgence to the top of Italian football after his return to the club, helping to bring them back from the doldrums and eventually win the Scudetto last season.
“The first time I came here you gave me happiness, the second time you gave me love,” said Ibrahimovic.
“You welcomed me with open arms, you made me feel at home, I will be a Milanista for the rest of my life.”
Over the course of his career Ibrahimovic won league titles in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France, although his only major European trophy was the 2017 Europa League with Manchester United.
He has hardly featured for Stefano Pioli’s side this term after being plagued with injuries, returning in February following surgery on his left knee in May.
In July he signed a deal which netted him around one million euros ($1.02 million) in fixed salary, with large bonuses linked to appearances and achievements.
But the 41-year-old only started one match and netted once for Milan this season, a 3-1 win at Udinese in March in which he became the oldest goal scorer in Serie A history.
He then picked up a calf injury in a pre-match warm up in April and ended his career sidelined before scotching rumors that he was set to move to Monza and targeting Euro 2024 with Sweden.


Mbappe wins record 5th French golden boot, Rennes earn Europa League spot, Auxerre relegated

Updated 04 June 2023

Mbappe wins record 5th French golden boot, Rennes earn Europa League spot, Auxerre relegated

  • Mbappe celebrated by holding up a shirt with seriously injured backup goalkeeper Sergio Rico’s name on it
  • French champions PSG and second-placed Lens qualified for the group stage of the Champions League next season

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe won a record fifth straight French golden boot on Saturday while Rennes clinched a Europa League spot and Auxerre were relegated.

Mbappe’s goal in a 3-2 loss to Clermont finished his league tally on 29 and made him the top scorer for the fifth time, tied with French great Jean-Pierre Papin and retired Argentine strikers Carlos Bianchi and Delio Onnis.

French champions PSG and second-placed Lens qualified for the group stage of the Champions League next season and third-placed Marseille earned a spot in the third qualifying round of the lucrative European competition.

Rennes edged Brest 2-1 with first-half goals from Benjamin Bourigeaud to leapfrog Lille into fourth place.

Lille booked a playoff spot for the Europa Conference League after drawing with Troyes 1-1. Bafode Diakite opened the scoring for Lille in the second half and Troyes winger Rony Lopes equalized.

Monaco were third in the previous two seasons but missed out on European football after losing to Toulouse 2-1 to finish sixth. Toulouse substitute Rhys Healey scored the winner in stoppage time. After 34 rounds, Monaco had a five-point lead over Lille and were eight points clear of Rennes. But Monaco collapsed during the run-in with just one point from the last four games.

PSG finished only one point clear of Lens after the home loss to Clermont, which also marked Lionel Messi’s farewell match for the club. Messi was booed before kickoff.

PSG led 2-0 after a header from the departing Sergio Ramos and a penalty from Mbappe. Mbappe celebrated by holding up a shirt with Sergio Rico’s name on it. Rico, the PSG backup goalkeeper, was seriously injured after getting hit by a loose horse in Spain last Sunday.

Clermont leveled before halftime with goals from Johan Gatien and Mehdi Zeffane. Grejohn Kyei scored the winner by converting a cross in the 63rd.

Cameroon forward Ignatius Ganago helped former powerhouse Nantes stay up by netting the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Angers.

Nantes snapped a 14-game winless streak in the league to leapfrog Auxerre into 16th place.

Auxerre lost to Lens 3-1 and will be demoted to the second division alongside Angers, Ajaccio and Troyes. Four teams are relegated because the league will shrink from 20 clubs to 18 next season. Lens midfielder Alexis Claude-Maurice scored twice before Belgium international Lois Openda sealed the win.

Elsewhere, Clement Vidal scored in Ajaccio’s 1-0 win over Marseille.

Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette failed to find the net in a 3-1 loss at Nice, finishing with 27 goals as the second best scorer.

Montpellier beat Reims 3-1. Reims striker Folarin Balogun scored a consolation to raise his tally to 21 in his breakthrough season. Born in New York, Balogun played for England at youth level but opted to play for the United States at senior level in May.

Also Lorient beat Strasbourg 2-1.


Nkunku helps Leipzig defend German Cup title

Updated 03 June 2023

Nkunku helps Leipzig defend German Cup title

  • A year after scoring a second-half goal which sent the 2022 final to penalties, Nkunku broke the deadlock after 71 minutes
  • "When you win something like this, then you just have to celebrate -- and that's what we'll do," Leipzig midfielder Konrad Laimer told Germany's ZDF network

BERLIN: A Christopher Nkunku-inspired RB Leipzig won their second straight German Cup title on Saturday, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in Berlin.
A year after scoring a second-half goal which sent the 2022 final to penalties, Nkunku broke the deadlock after 71 minutes, his low shot taking a deflection and into the goal against the run of play.
A shellshocked Frankfurt, who had the better of the second half looked to equalize but Leipzig scored again, Dominik Szoboszlai sweeping in an Nkunku pass on the counter.
After featuring in four of the past five German Cup finals, Leipzig’s second title in two years firmly establishes themselves alongside Borussia Dortmund as challengers to Bayern Munich’s throne.
“When you win something like this, then you just have to celebrate — and that’s what we’ll do,” Leipzig midfielder Konrad Laimer told Germany’s ZDF network.
Frankfurt captain Sebastian Rode said Nkunku’s goal was the turning point, telling ZDF “we just didn’t have the power in behind” after the strike.
The victory spoiled Frankfurt manager Oliver Glasner’s farewell, with the Austrian leaving the club at the end of the season, one year after taking them to the Europa League title.
Despite the victory, the immediate future is uncertain for Leipzig, who could lose several stars including Nkunku, Szoboszlai and Laimer in the summer.
Sporting director Max Eberl confirmed a possible exit for Nkunku, telling German TV “it could be” the France striker’s last match for Leipzig.
Pre-game, the match had been billed as a clash of conflicting ideologies in German football.
In one corner, nouveau riche Leipzig, playing in just their 14th season, against the tradition of Frankfurt, one of only four clubs remaining from the first Bundesliga season in 1963-64 guaranteed to play in next year’s top division.
The Frankfurt stadium announcer played into the conflict just before kickoff, saying “tradition can’t be bought,” a direct jab at the Red Bull-owned Leipzig.
Unbeaten in their last 11 cup games, Leipzig burst out of the blocks, Werner latching onto a Dominik Szoboszlai pass just four minutes in before blasting straight at the ‘keeper.
Leipzig dominated possession but Frankfurt caused problems on the counter, France striker Kolo Muani probing a defense missing the commanding presence of the suspended Josko Gvardiol.
The best chance of the first half fell to Nkunku in the shadows of halftime, the France striker cannoning the ball into the side netting past the outstretched fingers of Frankfurt goalie Kevin Trapp.
Fresh from extending his deal in Frankfurt by one year until 2026 on Friday, 2014 World Cup winner Goetze grabbed control of the game early in the second stanza.
The veteran of four German Cup final wins, two with Dortmund and two with Bayern, put Kolo Muani through on goal with a perfect threaded path before forcing a desperate close range save from Janis Blaswich.
With a Frankfurt opener looking likely, Leipzig scored against the run of play, Nkunku’s shot from the edge of the box taking a sharp deflection of defender Evan Ndicka and into the net.
Frankfurt made multiple changes pushing for an equalizer but Leipzig scored again, Szoboszlai hammering in after a sweeping counterattack with five minutes remaining to seal the win.


Barcelona win Women’s Champions League with stunning comeback against Wolfsburg

Updated 03 June 2023

Barcelona win Women’s Champions League with stunning comeback against Wolfsburg

  • “We didn't make it easy for ourselves,” Barcelona and England defender Lucy Bronze said in a pitchside interview after securing her fourth Champions League crown
  • Fridolina Rolfö capped the fightback by calmly firing the winner into the far corner of the net after a mix-up in the Wolfsburg defense in the 70th minute

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands: Midfielder Patricia Guijarro ignited a stunning second-half comeback as Barcelona overturned a 2-0 deficit to beat Wolfsburg 3-2 and win their second Women’s Champions League title on Saturday.
“We didn’t make it easy for ourselves,” Barcelona and England defender Lucy Bronze said in a pitchside interview after securing her fourth Champions League crown.
She won it three years in a row with Lyon.
Fridolina Rolfö capped the fightback by calmly firing the winner into the far corner of the net after a mix-up in the Wolfsburg defense in the 70th minute.
Guijarro is one of 15 Spanish players, including Bonmati and four other Barcelona teammates, who renounced playing for Spain last year, citing differences with their coach. They have not played since their participation in this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand are in serious doubt.
Wolfsburg led 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Ewa Pajor and Alexandra Popp.
But Barcelona kept believing they could win, easing the pain of last year’s final when the Catalan team never recovered after Lyon scored three times in the first 35 minutes. Barcelona lost 3-1.
“We have grown up. We didn’t break down,” Guijarro. “We have improved from last year.”
Bronze added: “We were never worried about scoring three goals.”
Barcelona earned their second league crown — the first was in 2021 — from their fourth final since 2019 in front of 33,147 fans at PSV Stadium, a record crowd for a women’s game in the Netherlands.
Guijarro’s double in the 48th and 50th minutes swiftly overturned a first half in which Wolfsburg’s pressing play and clinical counterattacking earned two goals.
First, the Barcelona midfielder slammed the ball into the roof of the net in the 48th. Aitana Bonmatí then made room for herself on the right before crossing for Guijarro to head past Merle Frohms for the equalizer. Guijarro was named player of the match but wasn’t satisfied until Rolfö sealed the win.
“I thought, two goals, we needed more. We needed to keep going,” she said.
It was a remarkable turnaround for coach Jonatan Giráldez’s Barcelona in a thrilling match.
Wolfsburg took the lead inside three minutes when tournament top scorer Ewa Pajor robbed Bronze of the ball close to the Barcelona penalty area and fired a powerful shot that goalkeeper Sandra Paños touched but could not stop from flying in. The goal improved Pajor’s tally in the competition to nine.
It was a rocky start for Bronze, who returned to the Barcelona lineup for the first time since she was injured in the semifinal first leg against Chelsea and underwent knee surgery.
Wolfsburg doubled their lead when veteran forward Alexandra Popp ran into space between two defenders and headed a cross from the left by Pajor past Paños from close range in the 37th. Popp equaled Ada Hegerberg’s record of scoring in four finals.
Wolfsburg goalkeeper Merle Frohms made sure her team went into the break without conceding by racing off her line in stoppage time to smother an effort by Salma Paralluelo.
But she couldn’t stop Barcelona’s onslaught after the break.
“It really hurt,” Wolfsburg coach Tommy Stroot said. “We did so many things right. We were so close to have a big sensation here tonight, to win the title.”
With Barcelona leading and the minutes ticking down, Giráldez brought on two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who has recently recovered from an ACL injury. Barcelona’s vocal fans in Eindhoven roared as Putellas replaced Bonmatí.
It was Putellas who accepted the trophy from England coach Sarina Wiegman after Wolfsburg players formed a guard of honor for their opponents as they walked up to collect their medals.

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Ageing hero Ibrahimovic to leave Milan at season’s end

Updated 03 June 2023

Ageing hero Ibrahimovic to leave Milan at season’s end

  • "Tomorrow (Sunday) evening after the final game of the season... AC Milan will say goodbye to Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a brief ceremony," Milan said in a statement
  • The veteran striker's representatives would not comment when asked by AFP if he would retire once leaving Milan

MILAN: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s time at AC Milan is coming to an end after the Serie A club announced on Saturday that he would say his farewells following their last match of the season against Verona.
“Tomorrow (Sunday) evening after the final game of the season... AC Milan will say goodbye to Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a brief ceremony,” Milan said in a statement.
“AC Milan would like to thank Zlatan for the magnificent time that we have spent together.”
The veteran striker’s representatives would not comment when asked by AFP if he would retire once leaving Milan.
However Italian media report that Ibrahimovic could join Monza next season, which would reunite him with former Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi and his right-hand man Adriano Galliani.
Former Italian prime minister Berlusconi, who sold Milan for 740 million euros in 2017 after three decades of glory and bought Monza for a relative pittance the following year, took Ibrahimovic to Milan on loan from Barcelona in 2010.
The Swede won Serie A that campaign, which had been Milan’s most recent league title until pipping local rivals Inter Milan on the final day of last season.
Ibrahimovic was a key figure in Milan’s resurgence to the top of Italian football after his return to the club as a free agent in late 2019, helping to bring them back from the doldrums and eventually win the Scudetto last season.
He has hardly featured for Stefano Pioli’s side this term after being plagued with injuries, returning in February following surgery on his left knee in May.
In July he signed a deal which netted him around one million euros ($1.02 million) in fixed salary, with large bonuses linked to appearances and achievements.
But the 41-year-old has only started one match and netted once for Milan this season, a 3-1 win at Udinese in March in which he became the oldest goal scorer in Serie A history.
He then picked up a calf injury in a pre-match warm up in April and will end his Milan career sidelined due to the knock.
Milan sit fourth in Serie A ahead of Sunday night’s match at the San Siro and are assured of Champions League football next season.
They lost to Inter Milan in the Champions League semifinal last month.