Zlatan Ibrahimovic heeft nog eens gesproken. In een interview met Corriere della Sera kwam hij, naar aanleiding van zijn nieuwe boek, nog eens terug op het incident van vorig jaar met Romelu Lukaku.
Op 26 januari speelden beide topspitsen tegen elkaar in de kwartfinales van de Coppa Italia. De pagina voor odds voetbal chappen bij Meridian Bet wordt ook bezocht voor deze wedstrijd. In San Siro won Inter toen met 2-1 dankzij een late goal van Christian Eriksen, maar de Milanese derby werd ontsierd door een opstootje tussen Lukaku en Ibrahimovic. Daarbij zou de Zweed onder andere “Ga naar je moeder en doe je voodoo shit, kleine ezel” gezegd hebben.
Bijna één jaar later kwam Ibrahimovic nog eens terug op de affaire. “Ha, de derby in de beker”, lachte de Zweedse spits. “Lukaku begon eerst te mekkeren tegen Romagnoli en daarna tegen Alexis Saelemaekers. Ik kwam ertussen om mijn ploegmakkers te verdedigen, waarna hij mij persoonlijk aanviel. Ik was geshockeerd want we waren ooit teamgenoten bij Manchester United.”
“Lukaku heeft een groot ego, hij denkt dat hij een kampioen is en hij is heel sterk. Maar ik groeide op in de getto van Malmö. Als iemand mij wild aanvalt, dan zet ik hem op z’n plek. En dus raakte ik hem op een gevoelige plek, de rituelen van zijn moeder. Waarna hij de controle verloor”, aldus de intussen 40-jarige Ibrahimovic. “En toch… We verloren die match en ik kreeg een rode kaart, waarna ik geblesseerd raakte. Er gebeurden veel slechte dingen. Zouden Lukaku’s rituelen mij echt geraakt hebben? Ik heb dan maar wat vrienden gevraagd om voor mij te bidden. Met Romelu zelf heb ik ook nog een eitje te pellen. Ik hoop hem snel weer te ontmoeten. Dit moet uitgevochten worden op het veld. Ik haat trouwens niemand, al zeker Lukaku niet.”
Manchester United winger on loan at Alavés discusses putting the wrong signature on a contract, his debt to Solskjær and future aims.
Announce Pellistri. The transfer window was into added time, the clock was ticking and they were getting nervous, watching the seconds slip away and hitting f5 over and over. They were at Facundo Pellistri’s place, anyway. It was after midnight, deadline day October 2020, and Manchester United had said one more signing was coming, keeping supporters – and him – on edge. An extension had been requested but even that was running out. All because he wrote his name wrong.
“I had sent off the paperwork, ‘done’,” Pellistri recalls, sitting in the canteen at Deportivo Alavés, where he is on loan, teammates eating at another table. “But they came back: ‘No, no, the signatures don’t match.’ I had signed the contract with my signature but they said it had to be the same as my national ID card – and I’d had that since I was 10. I had to re-do it: scan everything again, print it off, sign it with a kid’s signature – write my name neatly, basically – and send it back.
“We thought it was all done, but we got no answer and no announcement. We’re looking at the clock. There was no response. Of course not: they were busy checking everything. My girlfriend was updating the United Instagram page but there was nothing. Eventually, on the limit, she shouted: ‘Announced!’ We threw the papers in the air, started celebrating. And then, chaos: messages, posts. I’d already signed off with Peñarol: if it hadn’t happened, I would have been an unemployed footballer.”
The son of a paediatrician and an accountant, Pellistri grew up on the “wrong” side of a musical family – “the side that wasn’t as talented musically,” he says, smiling. His godfather Sebastián Teysera is lead singer in La Vela Puerca, one of Uruguay’s biggest bands. “I would go to all the rehearsals, the concerts. In fact, they’re just about to bring out a new record and hopefully they’ll go back on tour.” Mostly, though, he went to sport: tennis, basketball and above all football.
Pellistri tells stories of crossing the water to see Uruguay win the Copa América in 2011 and travelling to the 2014 World Cup. A Peñarol season-ticket holder from birth, he travelled by bus to Libertadores matches in Argentina and Brazil. Soon it was him they were watching. Joining his club at 11, he made his debut in August 2019, aged 17; a little over a year later he was gone, following the path of the man who had coached him.
“I was nine during the 2010 World Cup and what Diego Forlán did was incredible: he’s an idol, so it was amazing when he came,” Pellistri says. “He’d been in Europe and was different. He did a lot of individual work, specific to positions, which really improved you. Practice, practice. He talked to us a lot, especially about spaces, positioning. He was also the one who told me about United. There was no online betting or gambling then, but now we have Meridianbet online casino where there is such a huge jackpot that we all have to try.
“He had been [Ole Gunnar] Solskjær’s teammate. Solskjær called him and said: ‘We’re interested in this lad, what’s he like? How does he train?’ Diego told me about the call and said it was an incredible club. I talked to him a lot. I’d been about to go to Lyon, in France. I don’t know why it didn’t happen but once United appeared that was it. I spoke to Solskjær: he called to welcome me, talked me through everything.”
Pellistri was 18, about to cross the Atlantic, and in the midst of the pandemic too. Yet if he still looks like a kid, fresh faced, eyes as wide as his smile, he doesn’t sound like it: there’s a sharpness and intelligence about him, a maturity. There’s an awareness and patience that’s unusual too, wisdom. It almost makes sense when he describes a scenario in which he initially acted as host to Edison Cavani rather than the other way round, as if he were the veteran and not the then 33-year-old.
“I was already in the bubble because of the Sudamericana, which meant that when I got to Manchester I could train sooner than Edi. He got there before me but had to do quarantine so instead of him welcoming me, it was me welcoming him.
“It was the first time I had met him. He’s incredible. Everything you heard about him is true. He trains like no one, he’s a leader, he advised me. We spent Christmas together and I talk to him all the time. My English is good: I went to a bilingual school. But there’s always a bit of embarrassment speaking English and you gravitate towards Spanish speakers. Edi, David [de Gea], [Juan] Mata. [Paul] Pogba speaks Spanish, Eric Bailly.”
El central peruano había firmado la planilla para arrancar ante el club rojinegro, incluso fue parte del ensayo de la oncena que iba a ser titular, sin embargo, se le vio en la banca. Para el partido de debut, las mejores probabilidades están en Meridianbet, pero también tienes casino juegos.
Boca Juniors empató a cero ante Newell’s Old Boys en La Bombonera, lo que significa su segundo partido consecutivo sin ganar. El partido, válido por la jornada 23 de la Liga Profesional Argentina, debió jugarse el pasado domingo, pero se suspendió por las fuertes lluvias.
En el cuadro xeneize jugó todo el encuentro el lateral derecho peruano Luis Advíncula, y en un principio se había confirmado la presencia del central nacional Carlos Zambrano, sin embargo, no fue de partida para este encuentro.
Y es que Zambrano había firmado la planilla para jugar desde el arranque el fin de semana, y ayer fueron parte de la oncena de ensayo que preparaba el entrenador de Boca, sin embargo, no fue tomado en cuenta junto a Edwin Cardona y Sebastián Villa.
Battaglia cambió de idea esta mañana y los tres fueron al banco de suplentes, ya que fueron reemplazados por Eduardo Salvio, Exequiel Zeballos y Lisandro López.
“Los tres cambios fueron producto de un mal estar que tenían los tres, una intoxicación que tuvieron. Zambrano directamente no salió a hacer la entrada en calor, se quedó en el banco de suplentes, se sentía muy mal. Edwin (Cardona) y Villa hicieron un esfuerzo enorme, la verdad que los necesitamos. En el momento en el que los tocó estar, hicieron un gran esfuerzo para ayudar al equipo. La planilla del otro día es verdad incluía a ellos tres, pero hoy a la mañana nos encontramos con esta situación y tuvimos que repensar el partido de otra manera”, indicó Battaglia en la conferencia de prensa post partido.
Además, echó por tierra los rumores que circularon esta tarde sobre una supuesta pelea entre Agustín Almendra y Cardona. “Eso es mentira, lo desmiento completamente. Nada que ver. Se instalan un montón de cosas, uno a veces tiene que escuchar cada cosa que si salimos a aclarar todo, no se puede vivir.
It could hardly have gone worse for Newcastle United or visiting Norwich City on Tuesday in a 1-1 draw that left the Magpies and Canaries heavy favorites to be relegated from the Premier League.
Consider that Norwich City had won a pair of games under new coach Dean Smith to pull clear of last place and headed up north to find a gift red card in the ninth minute. What did they come away with? A lucky late equalizer just to take a point from a winless team.
And if you think that’s bad, consider that Ciaran Clark’s sending-off meant that Newcastle’s best chance to win all season became a long shot. Then hopes rose dramatically when the Magpies got a thoroughly deserved opener and seemingly set sail on a path to straighten their season… only to concede a late equalizer and dip right back into 20th place.
And now, a failure to win Sunday against Burnley — one of the few teams to look as poor as Newcastle and Norwich — would send Eddie Howe’s men into a brutal run of fixtures at least six points behind safety.
So while it’s easy to call Newcastle’s draw with visiting Norwich a win for the visitors, remember that the terrible trio of Newcastle, Norwich, and Burnley also require a fourth team for just one of them to remain in the PL next season.
“The challenge ahead is huge,” Howe said. “We’re under no illusions as to the size of the task. Draws aren’t going to be enough. You need the spirit in the group to deliver what we need. I feel the spirit has grown and that’s going to be key for us. … The whole day in terms of what the fans gave to the team and to me – I loved every second of that. I’m desperate to reward them with the wins everyone wants.”
Howe admits that the Burnley match is already looming large, but Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey says vibes are still really good around St. James’ Park.
And with the injuries at Watford and overall talent level at Newcastle compared to Norwich and Burnley, maybe he’s right to think that way.
“Everyone stepped up to the plate,” Shelvey said. “We’re confident we can get out of the situation we’re in. We’ve got a huge game Saturday. We’ll recover and go again. I’m not really concerned because I know what we have in the dressing room. We just have to keep believing and stick together. Everyone is buzzing around the place. We’ll keep fighting for these fans.”
Newcastle is now being relegated in 77 percent of scenarios run by statistical analysis site FiveThirtyEight.com and Norwich City isn’t far behind at 71 percent. No other club is cracking 40 percent, with only Burnley and Watford crossing the 30 percent threshold.
Norwich boss Dean Smith thought the game was more important for Newcastle than his Canaries, who are unbeaten in four-straight matches, but also felt that the Canaries performed as poorly as they had in the three matches of his tenure.
“We knew this was a big game, probably bigger for Newcastle because they had not won yet this season,” Smith said. “Defensively I thought we were good. I told them to keep their heads at half-time because you knew Newcastle would be looking for any touch to win set pieces and free kicks.
“That is how they ended up getting their goal. But the perseverance and character of the players are there for all to see. They kept battling away, they get another point.”
And that’s what both Newcastle and Norwich will have to do — at least until the transfer window opens in January — even if Newcastle fails to beat Burnley or Norwich City slips to a multi-game pointless run: Focus on the next game. So simple to say, but so difficult to execute in a Premier League with fewer and fewer clear winnable games, and FA Cup has difficult fixtures too.