Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has backed Paulo Gazzaniga to have a big future ahead after impressing whenever he has been called up for first-team duty. The Argentine started the season as the third-choice shot-stopper behind Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm but he has slowly jumped ahead of the latter in the pecking order.

In an exclusive with Football.London, Pochettino said that he has been impressed with the progression of the former Southampton keeper and believes the Argentine has the potential to reach the top level, he quipped: “I think his progression was fantastic. Of course the credit is always for the players, but [we have] to give big credit to Toni Jimenez, the goalkeeping coach, who’s helping all the keepers to improve and grow. I think after one year and a half with us, I think his progression is fantastic and we were right when we signed him, because we believed and we knew him from Southampton. “He’s still young for a keeper and has the potential to be top.”

Gazzaniga found himself in the wilderness during his time at Southampton but he managed to change his fortunes after impressing for Rayo Vallecano during the 2016/17 season. As such, he was surprisingly recruited by Spurs last year and he has since make inroads with the occasional appearance for the north London club.

In the current campaign, the 26-year-old has made five appearances across all competitions and two of thosehave come in the Premier League when Hugo Lloris was on the sidelines with an injury. His showing has also caught the eye of interim Argentine boss Lionel Scaloni, who recently rewarded him with a maiden call-up to the national team.

Tottenham are currently on 27 points after the opening 12 league matches and this sees them occupying the final Champions League spot ahead of arch-rivals Arsenal. Next up, they are scheduled to host London rivals Chelsea following the international break before making the trip across the city to face the Gunners.

Boca Juniors were able to seal a semi-final place in the Copa Libertadores after a 1-1 draw with Cruzeiro in the second leg match. The first leg meeting between the two clubs finished as a 2-0 victory after goals from Mauro Zarate and Pablo Perez. The red card for Dede in the closing stages of the match was a key factor in deciding this outcome. As a result, Cruzeiro were under a lot of pressure in order to get a positive result in the second leg.

The decisive goal in the game came in the 58th minute when Cruzeiro broke to come up with the first goal of the match and reduce the Boca Juniors advantage in terms of aggregate score. Just as they were pushing for an equaliser that would have taken the game into extra time, Boca Juniors came up with an injury time equaliser through Christian Pavon. Incredibly, Dede was sent off for a second consecutive time – this time after picking up two yellow cards. As a result, Boca Juniors have been able to progress into the semifinals where they will face Palmeiras. The six-time champions have some key injury problems that places them in a disadvantageous position.
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Boca Juniors striker Carlos Tevez has revealed the difference between former teammates Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo during his recent interview with the Argentine press. Tevez had the opportunity to share the same dressing room with Ronaldo during his time at Manchester United whilst he has featured alongside Messi on a number of occasions when he has represented the national side.

In a report covered by Depor, Tevez highlighted that Messi has always been a natural on the playing field and he had barely witnessed Messi in the gym when the two were working together, he said: “Lionel Messi, I never saw him in the gym I’ve never seen him train in the stops or do technical exercises. It is all natural to him, but on penalties he trained: first he did not take them and now he shoots them all at the corner.”
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Boca Juniors striker Carlos Tevez believes it would be understandable if Lionel Messi decides against turning up for Argentina again. The Barcelona superstar was heavily criticised after the South American nation flopped at the recent World Cup and they has since been speculation suggesting that he may retire from national team duty.

Speaking to Tyc Sports, Tevez admitted that there could be the possibility of Messi retiring from Argentina duty altogether amidst the constant criticism surrounding him since the World Cup, he said: “It would be understandable if Messi doesn’t return to the national team. When you give and then you are criticised, it becomes very difficult. I’ve been through that and at times you don’t want to go [to the national team].”
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Carlos Tevez has highlighted that Lionel Messi remains a key player for Argentina going forward and has urged his compatriot to continue playing for the national team despite their early exit from the World Cup. The Argentines struggled to keep a clean sheet during the recent World Cup finals in Russia and they were eventually ousted by France during the round of 16 of the tournament.

 

Since then, there have been plenty of suggestions that Messi could call time on his international career permanently after prematurely doing the same in 2016 but Tevez has urged his countrymate to continue to take charge on the pitch, he told ESPN: “I think Leo has to think about himself. He has to think that, if there is not a project that makes him happy and in which he feels comfortable, it is very difficult to take the responsibility of leading Argentina to become champions by himself.  I think we are wrong in not being able to help him feel comfortable. We need him because he is the soul of Argentina and, as long as he continues playing football, it has to be that way. Now [I tell him] to rest, keep a cool head and try to be well, then we need him to take charge and on the pitch.”
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Argentina have confirmed that they have mutually parted ways with Jorge Sampaoli following a disappointing World Cup campaign. The South Americans had to scrape through the group stages of the tournament but they were thereafter eliminated in the round of 16 stage where they lost 4-3 to eventual champions France.

As a result, there had been much pressure from the country’s faithful demanding the resignation of Sampaoli and the Argentine Football Association has now confirmed that the 58-year-old has been released from the head coach position, their statement read: “Today, the Argentine Football Association and the former national team coach, Jorge Sampaoli, have mutually agreed to the termination of their contract.”
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Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli has stressed that he is not underestimating the strength of Iceland after deciding to announce the starting line-up, a day before the encounter. The pair are expected to tussle during the opening World Cup game in Group D and Sampaoli has explained that he does not need to hide the line-up which has supposedly been leaked.

He said: “No, no, no, the reason why we have named our team in advance is because we knew since Wednesday what we wanted to do.I’ve told you today because we have trained with the starting XI and I don’t believe it’s necessary to hide this information.We know Iceland’s main man, their captain [Aron Gunnarsson], is recovering from injury but they play well as a group and I’m sure it’s going to be very tough against them.They defend in depth and will probably play on the counter attack. Iceland will be a tough team to beat.”
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Former Chelsea star Hernan Crespo believes Argentina should try and secure their progress to the last 16 of the World Cup prior to their final group stage game against Nigeria. Speaking to Championat.com, the Argentine admitted that his nation won’t have an easy game against the Super Eagles in Group D and he is hopeful of seeing them qualifying prior to the encounter.

He said: “In 1999, I played in Moscow in the final of the UEFA Cup. And in St. Petersburg for the first time. Today the weather is fine, and I really like that there are so many enthusiasts here who have such a passion for football. And I’m very glad to be here, to share joy with everyone. The match against Nigeria in Petersburg will be difficult, but we in Argentina hope that by this time we will qualify for the second round ahead of schedule. I would like to see Messi win the World Cup as part of the national team.”
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Sergio Aguero should return to full fitness ahead of this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia. The Argentine had to undergo a knee surgery shortly after City’s Champions League quarter-final exit to Liverpool but Guardiola expects him to return to a good condition before the World Cup kickstarts in Russia, he said: “I have had information from [Dr Ramon] Cugat that he will arrive okay [at the World Cup].”

Aguero’s position had come into question during the backend of the previous campaign but there have been no such doubts this term. Over the course of the 2017/18 season, Aguero has netted 30 goals for the club, but he has unfortunately been stranded on 199 goals since the League Cup final triumph over Arsenal in February.Continue reading

Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay has revealed that he is not giving up on national team selection despite not being considered by Argentina since October 2015. The centre-back last featured for the South American nation during a World Cup qualifier defeat versus Ecuador, and he has since failed to return to national team reckoning.

Sources have since suggested that Garay has snubbed a call-up, but the defence has dismissed this saying: “It’s a question for the Argentina coach. I intend to do things well at my club and after that it depends on the coach. It doesn’t depend on me to decide who goes and who doesn’t. A lot of things were said. Did you hear anything coming out of my mouth? No. Listen… I never gave up. I always believe it’s a dream to be able to play for your country.”

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