Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti has acknowledged that it was a tough decision to strip Mauro Icardi from the captain’s armband. The Argentine has been the skipper of the San Siro side for the past three-and-half seasons but he has been ousted from the duties amid his poor run of form and contract dispute with the club.
Speaking to reporters, Spalletti said that it was not easy to strip Icardi from the captaincy but the club had to do so with his current situation at the club, he said: “It was a difficult and painful decision, we all know his worth. We made it together with all of the components of the club and it was done exclusively for the good of Inter and of the team. There are some things concerning the player that had to be worked out. He was disappointed, he was upset. It was difficult to tell him… These things embarrass the team, of which he was captain, and the club.”
Chelsea have reportedly reached an agreement to sign Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain on a short-term loan. The Argentine is currently on a season-long loan with AC Milan but the Rossoneri are expected to terminate the deal with the marksman seemingly keen on a reunion with manager Maurizio Sarri at the Bridge.
According to Sky Sports News, the west London giants have already agreed on a loan package for the former Napoli man and the move could go through in the next few days. It is added that the club have finalised a six-month loan for the Argentine, though they have the option to extend the deal for a further year with the choice to buy, if they wish.
Argentine Football Association Claudio Tapia is confident that Lionel Messi will return for national team duty at the turn of the year. The Barcelona superstar has not featured for the South American heavyweights since the summer World Cup where the nation were ousted by France at the round of 16 stage.
Speaking to reporters, Tapia highlighted that Messi has never put himself out of contention for national team duty and believes the attacker’s love for the shirt, should see him return for the next round of internationals in March, he said:“Lionel Messi never left the Argentina national team. I believe that the love which he has for the shirt is so great that when he will be called, he’ll be there. I have no doubt about it.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has indicated that he would welcome the prospect of managing in the Serie A in the future. The Argentine has built up his reputation since making the move to the Premier League with Southampton in January 2013 and he is presently the head coach of Spurs.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Pochettino highlighted that he would fancy a challenge in the Serie A in the future, though he currently remains content with the task of leading Spurs to a maiden Premier League crown, he said: “My contract expires in four-and-a-half years – if [Spurs chairman Daniel] Levy does not fire me first. Seriously, today I see myself here. I dream of winning a trophy with Tottenham, maybe the Premier League in our new stadium. In the future to also manage the Argentine team is my desire. The important thing is to be happy and I am right now. Me in Serie A? I have Italian origins and it would be a wonderful experience.”
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.
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.”
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].”
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.”
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.”