Friday, May 12, 2017

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!

With the current domestic football season nearing its close, clubs across Europe are planning for next season, as they scout for new players and in some cases new managers and backroom staff, both at home and abroad, in an attempt to strengthen their clubs for the 2017/18 season.

Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino, Jamie Vardy, Alexis Sanchez, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Alvaro Morata, Gareth Bale, Diego Costa, Arsene Wenger, Antonio Conte, Harry Redknapp, Arsenal, Barcelona, Leicester, West Ham and Brighton to name but a few!

Inter Milan are ready to double the salary Mauricio Pochettino earns at Tottenham Hotspur to make him their new head coach - Football Italia (Italian Football website)

Arsenal will join Chelsea and Manchester United in the £50m race to sign Real Madrid's Spanish striker Alvaro Morata this summer. Morata, 24, has managed just 13 La Liga starts this season - The Sun

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has fired a warning ahead of talks over a new contract by telling Chelsea to pay him what he is worth - Daily Mail

Wales forward Gareth Bale, 27, is willing to move to Manchester United if Real Madrid decide to sell him in the summer - Independent

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho’s No.1 summer transfer target is a left-back, according to Le10 Sport, who claim Manchester United are plotting a move for Monaco star Benjamin Mendy - Le10 Sport (French Sports News publication)

Chelsea's Diego Costa and Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez are wanted by Atletico Madrid if Antoine Griezmann leaves - The Sun

Atletico Madrid are interested in Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, 30, and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez - Independent and Daily Star

Turkish giants Galatasaray are keen on signing Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck - Daily Mail

Arsenal are set to reassure manager Arsene Wenger they do not have plans to restrict his power - Daily Telegraph

Everton manager Ronald Koeman says Ross Barkley has a week to decide whether to sign a new contract -

Everton want to sign Swansea City midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer. Sky Sports News HQ understands the Toffees are hoping to strike a deal in the region of £25m for the Iceland international. Everton are likely to face competition from Southampton

Hull City defender Harry Maguire has shelved all contract talk until the club's Premier League survival battle has been decided. The 24-year-old defender, who has a year left to run on his current deal, has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs, while the Tigers have two games left in their bid to retain their top-flight status.

Claude Puel's days at Southampton look numbered - with Hull City boss Marco Silva already approached about replacing the under-fire Frenchman - Daily Express

Eddie Howe says Jack Wilshere will return to Arsenal following his loan spell at Bournemouth -

Slaven Bilic has confirmed Andy Carroll will miss West Ham’s Sunday clash with Liverpool, but denied claims the striker had played his last game for the Hammers -

Slaven Bilic says it's great Michail Antonio has signed a new four-year contract at West Ham -

Harry Redknapp has signed a one-year contract to stay on in his role as manager of Birmingham City, the club have announced -

Jesus Navas has been offered a new deal to stay at Manchester City after impressive recent performances - Daily Mirror

Brighton are among a host of clubs considering signing Crystal Palace striker Fraizer Campbell on a free transfer this summer. The 29-year-old’s contract at Crystal Palace expires in June and the Eagles are yet to offer him an extension -

Burnley may cash in on striker Andre Gray, who has one year left on his current deal and could demand much more than his current £30,000-per-week if he were to agree a new contract - Daily Mail

Craig Shakespeare wants his Leicester stars to stay, irrespective of any verbal gentlemen's agreements they may have with the club. Riyad Mahrez, Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy are all set to be in demand again this summer - Daily Mirror

Barcelona are reportedly eyeing a move for Southampton midfielder Oriol Romeu. He moved to St Mary’s in 2015 but Marca claim Spaniard could be on his way back to the Camp Nou, six years after he left - Marca (Spanish national daily sport newspaper) and Daily Star

Everton boss Ronald Koeman is interested in signing Ajax captain Davy Klaassen. The Netherlands attacking midfielder has enjoyed an exceptional season, scoring 18 goals in 43 matches -

Chelsea are keeping tabs on Bournemouth defender Adam Smith and sent a scout to watch him play in the 2-2 draw with Stoke last Saturday - The Sun

Paul Lambert could quit as Wolves manager over plans for agent Jorge Mendes to handle the club's transfers - Daily Telegraph

Manchester United are considering approaching Paul Mitchell, who found Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli, after he resigned from his role as Spurs' head of recruitment - Manchester Evening News

Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes, 23, has been offered to rivals Real Madrid, according to reports in Spain - Don Balon (Spanish weekly sports magazine)

Newly promoted Brighton want to sign Liverpool's long-serving Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva, 30, for their first season in the Premier League - Daily Mirror

Fabian Johnson has signed a new two-and-a-half-year deal at Borussia Monchengladbach. The 29-year-old USA international, who moved to Gladbach from Hoffenheim in 2014, will remain at the club until 2020 -

Chelsea want to bring Germany Under-17 star Jann-Fiete Arp to Stamford Bridge this summer. The Blues have been keeping tabs on the Hamburg forward for over six months - Daily Mirror

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has confirmed midfielder Gianelli Imbula – the Potters' £18.3m club-record signing – can move on if a deal can be reached that satisfies all parties -

West Brom hope to agree a compensation fee with Leeds for Charlie Taylor rather than go to a tribunal. Baggies boss Tony Pulis has confirmed his interest in Taylor, who is out of contract at Elland Road, and is prepared to offer between £3million and £5million for the left-back - Daily Mirror

Middlesbrough have made a £300,000 bid for Hartlepool winger Nathan Thomas, 22, after Sheffield United had an offer accepted earlier in the week - Daily Mail

Brentford have triggered the clause in Florian Jozefzoon's contract that will keep him at the club until next summer. The winger signed from PSV Eindhoven in January on a short-term deal with the option of a further year -

Stevenage have completed the signing of youngster James Ferry from Brentford on a two-year contract -

Monday, May 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - From Glamour Model to FA referee!

Amy Christophers was born on 6th October 1986 in Truro, Cornwall, England and is a British TV sports columnist and presenter on Sports Tonight Live, a qualified Football Association Referee and an international model.

She attended stage school and worked as a travel agent and night club assistant manager.

At the age of 18 Amy went from commercial modelling into the world of glamour, under the stage name Brandy Brewer. In 2008 she won Loaded magazine's 'Rear of the Year' - which really shot her to fame with the lad mags.

Amy went on to become a page 3 girl for The Sun newspaper and the Daily Star, and in her ten years in the industry she graced the covers and pages of all the top men's magazines in Great Britain and abroad including FHM, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo to name but a few.

As a teenager Amy was also signed as a solo artist to a German independent label, she then went on to have a number one record for six weeks in the Swedish dance charts with a song called 'Cheaterz' with her band Cashbeatz.

Amy's Cornish roots resulted in her being 'branded' the 'Hottest export since the pasty' by former men's magazine FHM.

But it isn't all about stripping off for the cameras.

In the Summer of 2014, Amy retired from the magazines and dropped her stage name to pursue a career full time in Sports.

Amy always had a huge interest in sports, especially football; she's a huge Chelsea FC fan. She followed her passion for sports and made a career in the sporting industry and started presenting on 'Sports Tonight Live' focusing on football and hosted her own show called '90 MFS' (90 minute football show) and reporting sporting news as lead anchor.

Amy's late Grandad founded Mawnan Football Club, of the Cornwall County Football Association back in the 1960's, and it has been a big part of her life, growing up at the club, so when her grandmother Jean (The President) passed away in February 2015 I applied to be on the committee and carry on the family name.

My part in the club is running their social media and helping organise events such as fundraisers and end of season do and also helping with sponsorship deals.

Miss Christophers is also a Level 7 qualified Referee for the FA, When news got out about this she received international press coverage about her pursuits in the game.

In early 2016 Amy had a spell on Radio at 'The Hub 106 FM' co-hosting her own Saturday Sports show. Then returning to London in summer of 2016 she hosted her own Sports Radio show on YDN called 'Starting 11' along side her TV and radio presenting Amy is also concentrating on writing and is studying journalism, and is due to graduate in July 2017, but  Amy has already had her first published article with the 'Daily Star Sunday' in June 2016 with her guide to the euros, since her first article she has been snapped up by Yahoo Sport for her writing talents and has also written for popular websites such as JOE.CO.UK and the Huffington Post, she recently became the sports columnist for U.K. Men's lifestyle magazine 'Front.'

Amy is currently freelance but working with major media brands including newly formed 'Sport Convo' a new social media network owned by Gareth Bale and Indian cricket hero Virat Kholi. The company headhunted Miss Christophers, stating they knew that she was their girl! She interviews fans, sports stars and films a weekly sports round up. Amy had to learn some Hindi to film certain videos for their Indian cricket audience.

Now, Amy is also a FA qualified football referee, meaning she is allowed to take charge of local matches and youth games.

Although she is still a number of levels away from being a top-tier official, Chelsea fan Amy is desperate to progress – even if the men she’s officiating don’t always know what to make of her.

Amy said: “I think when guys see me walk on to the pitch in my make-up they don’t always think 'Oh she knows what she’s doing’ but they’re always shocked when I know more than them. I absolutely love it and I’m improving with every game. The Premier League would be a dream but I’m just excited to see how far I can get.”

The babe is following in the footsteps of lineswoman Sian Massey-Ellis, an official in the Premier League. Amy said: “Sian is an inspiration to all women thinking about getting involved in the game."

Previously speaking about her love of the beautiful game, Brandy said: "I’ve always loved football and thought becoming a referee would be a great way to get closer to the action."

“There aren’t enough women being represented and it’s fantastic to show that girls can do it just as well. This isn’t just a hobby, it’s a passion. I take this very seriously."

You can follow Amy on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Statistically, the ICT index score of the best performing players in the English Premier League so far this season!

The ICT Index (Influence, Creativity, Threat) is a new feature for the 2016/17 Premier League campaign.

A football statistical index, it has been developed specifically to give a verdict on a player as a Football Premier League asset.

It condenses more than 40 match event statistics for three key areas – Influence, Creativity and Threat, to generate the data into a single score.

This score is what is known as an individual’s ICT Index score, and via this data is able to offer an accurate summary on player performance.

Season 2016/17 - Last update: 21/04/17 at 12 noon

For those of you currently playing 'Fantasy Premier League Football' you may want to take note!


1. Tom Heaton (Burnley) 90.4 ICT Index 
2. Jordan Pickford (Sunderland) 77.3
3. Artur Boruc (Bournemouth) 74.2 (pictured right)
4. Ben Foster (West Brom) 69.5
5. Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 69.4
6. Heurelho Gomes (Watford) 66.8
7. Lee Grant (Stoke City) 64.7
8. Víctor Valdés (Middlesbrough) 61.0
9. Petr Cech (Arsenal) 60.6
10. Peter Schmechiel (Leicester) 57.8


1. Michael Keane (Burnley) 148.8 ICT Index
2. Steve Cook (Bournemouth) 142.7
3. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) 137.0
4. Patrick van Aanholt (C. Palace) 135.3
5. Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth) 133.8
6. Antonio Valencia (Man Utd) 133.3
7. Kyle Walker (Tottenham) 133.1
8. Christian Fuchs (Leicester) 131.6
9. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) 131.0
10. Craig Dawson (West Brom) 128.5


1. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) 382.0 ICT Index
2. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) 327.9
3. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 326.2
4. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea) 285.9
5. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 285.7
6. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) 267.5
7. Ross Barkley (Everton) 257.2 (pictured right)
8. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) 254.6
9. David Silva (Man City) 250.9
10. Dele Alli (Tottenham) 247.6


1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man Utd) 327.3 ICT Index
2. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 313.9
3. Diego Costa (Chelsea) 288.9
4. Sergio Agüero (Man City) 261.2
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham) 243.4
6. Christian Benteke (C. Palace) 242.2 (pictured right)
7. Troy Deeney (Watford) 195.1
8. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) 194.4
9. Salomón Rondón (West Brom) 187.3
10. Álvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough) 180.7

1. Influence

Influence is the first measurement. This evaluates the degree to which that player has made an impact on a single match or throughout the season.

It takes into account events and actions that could directly or indirectly effect the outcome of the fixture.

At the top level these are decisive actions like goals and assists. But the Influence score also processes significant defensive actions to analyse the effectiveness of defenders and goalkeepers.

2. Creativity

Creativity assesses player performance in terms of producing goalscoring opportunities for others. It can be used as a guide to identify the players most likely to supply assists.

While this analyses frequency of passing and crossing, it also considers pitch location and quality of the final ball.

3. Threat

This is the third measure, producing a value that examines a player's threat on goal. It gauges individuals most likely to score goals.

While attempts are the key action, the Index looks at pitch location, giving greater weight to actions that are regarded as the best chances to score.

All three of these scores are combined to create an overall ICT Index score. That then offers a single figure that presents a view on that player as a Football Premier League asset.

Friday, April 07, 2017

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!

With only about six weeks or so to go of the current 2016/17 football season, there is plenty of transfer talk going on as we speak. Many clubs across Europe are already 'provisionally planning' on how they are going to strengthen and develop their squads and infrastructure ahead of next season, despite the fact that many clubs are unsure in what division of their respective leagues they will be playing in at the start of the 2017/18 season. Some clubs may have to wait until the final game of the season before they know their fate, whilst others will have to go through the nerve-racking play-off scenario at the end of May before they can truly plan for next season.

Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Slaven Bilic, Antonio Conte, Tottenham, Manchester City, Sunderland, Newcastle, Juventus, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Benfica and Arsene Wenger to name but a few!

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski is being lined up to succeed Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United if the latter elects to leave Old Trafford this summer - The Sun

West Ham are considering sacking manager Slaven Bilic if they lose to Swansea on Saturday. Defeat would be their sixth in a row in the Premier League - Daily Telegraph

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has insisted he is committed to the Blues despite interest in the Italian from Inter Milan - Daily Mirror

Arsene Wenger is locked in a power struggle over his new contract. Wenger is almost certain to stay at Arsenal and sign a new two-year deal, but there is major concern behind the scenes about his unwillingness to embrace change - Daily Mirror

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, 28, is ready to give the club one more year, as long as they prove their ambition in this summer's transfer market - Daily Mirror

Jose Mourinho has phoned Alexis Sanchez about a possible move to Manchester United this summer. The wantaway Arsenal star has also been contacted by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola - Daily Mail

Marseille are planning to spend £85m on three England-based France internationals this summer - striker Olivier Giroud and defender Laurent Koscielny from Arsenal and midfielder Moussa Sissoko from Tottenham - L'Equipe (French nationwide daily sports newspaper)

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, 26, is reconsidering a planned £89m move to Manchester United because he wants to play Champions League football - The Sun

France international Griezmann says he is "tired" of speculation over his future. Asked where he will be next season he replied: "I certainly see myself at Atletico." - AS (Spanish daily sports newspaper)

Atletico Madrid will move for Genoa striker Giovanni Simeone, son of manager Diego, if their transfer ban is lifted this summer - Il Messaggero (Italian newspaper based in Rome)

Manchester United are preparing a £51m bid for Inter Milan and Croatia winger Ivan Perisic, 28, who is also wanted by Chelsea - Gazzetta dello Sport (Italian Sports newspaper)

Arsenal could be set for a summer swoop for 22 year-old Schalke and German international midfielder Leon Goretzka. Schalke may be willing to part with Goretzka for £21m - The Sun and Bild (German tabloid newspaper)

Arsenal have made contact with Kingsley Coman over a proposed summer transfer. The French international winger/forward is currently on loan at Bayern Munich from Juventus - The Sun

Tottenham are confident of keeping hold of 20-year-old England midfielder Dele Alli despite interest from Real Madrid and Manchester City - Daily Mail

It's being reported Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is attracting interest from North-East rivals Newcastle, who look set to win promotion back to the Premier League. The Black Cats looked doomed for relegation and Defoe is likely to move on for top-flight football. Bournemouth and West Ham are also reportedly interested in the 34 year-old - The Sun

Alvaro Morata will leave Real Madrid this summer if the club do not sell France striker Karim Benzema. The Spain forward, 24, is a target for Premier League leaders Chelsea - Diario Gol (Spanish news publication), via Daily Star

Isco has stated he is not going to Barcelona after he published a photo which featured a packet of Barcelona-branded crips on social media. The Real Madrid playmaker, who is inside the final 15 months of his Bernabeu deal, has been linked with a 2018 free-transfer move to fierce rivals Barca -

Barcelona will re-sign Gerard Deulofeu for €12m this summer. The Everton winger is currently on loan in Serie A with AC Milan - Mundo Deportivo (Spanish nationwide daily sports newspaper)

The fall-out from the Liverpool tapping-up ban intensified after Stoke City chairman Peter Coates revealed he was pursuing compensation over the matter - Daily Telegraph

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has revealed a decision on the future of midfielder Giannelli Imbula will not be made until the end of the season. Imbula has featured just 15 times for Stoke this season and has been linked with a summer move away from the bet365 Stadium -

Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, 20, would be prepared to put in a transfer request to force a move to Manchester United, according to sources close to the Nigeria international's agent - Own Goal Nigeria (Nigerian football website) and Daily Express

Scouts from Manchester United, Arsenal and West Brom were all at Benfica's Portuguese Cup tie against Estoril, all believed to be watching Swedish centre-back Victor Lindelof, 22 - The Sun

Serie A side Napoli are interested in signing Sunderland's Jeremain Lens, but the 29-year-old Netherlands winger is only interested in making his season-long loan at Turkish club Fenerbahce permanent - ChronicleLive (North-East football website)

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - Fitness Model Caitlin Rice

Caitlin Rice was born on 7th November, 1991 in Dallas, Texas, United States. She is a famous fitness model and as a result has has become a huge Social Media Personality. Caitlin constantly moved around America during her childhood; her father served in the army, and was frequently re-stationed in different locations.

Caitlin started in fashion modeling at the age of 16 in Atlanta, Georgia but quit modelling to focus on her college career and attended Southern Methodist University in Texas studying Political Science.

In her final year of college, Caitlin decided to make a lifestyle change, packed in drinking, eating junk food, and partying, and dedicated her time to the gym in an effort to sculpt her dream figure. Caitlin started hitting the weights and did some research.

"I learned how to lift weights properly and quite simply fell in love with it. Lifting became a lifestyle and pretty much the best part of my day. I always strive for progress. 
Being fit is so much more than just looking good and having a good body. I became addicted to the feeling of being healthy and full of energy. 
In addition to learning how to lift weights properly, I taught myself all about proper nutrition as well. 

Always looking online at videos and tutorials on proper form and different routines etc. I finally started putting my own routine together made up of the exercises that I found were the most beneficial to me – the exercises and combinations of exercises that were giving me the most results."

Towards the end of 2012, Caitlin created social media profiles to share her journey with the fitness community. Caitlin realized how much of an opportunity social media could be and decided to turn her new found notoriety into an outlet through which she could help others.

Caitlin's social media profile rose dramatically as she inspired her followers by posting pictures and videos of her lifestyle, fitness journey, healthy eating and workout routines. Caitlin now has 1.4 million followers on Instagram alone.

Caitlin currently lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

Caitlin's Stats:

Profession - Fitness Model and Social Media Personality
Born - Dallas, TX, United States
Lives In - Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Date of Birth - 7th November, 1991
Age - 25 years
Height - 5 feet 5 inches
Weight - 47-48 Kg Approx
Measurements - 34D-24-32
Hair Colour - Brown
Eye Colour - Green
Husband - Braden Matejka - married in 2015
Education - Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Nationality - American-Canadian


Caitlin knows the importance of nutrition when aiming to sculpt a great figure. She follows a well-planned diet all year round, eating 6 meals per day – based around lean protein, complex carbs, vegetables, and healthy fats.

But she has to curb her sweet tooth. To do this, she bakes protein cookies, muffins, pancakes, and mug cakes to satisfy her cravings without over-consuming calories.

The fitness icon allows herself one cheat meal per week, usually in the form of pepperoni pizza.

Supplement Stack:

These are the supplements that Caitlin uses:

# Whey Protein
# Casein Protein
# Pre Workout
# Fat Burner
# Multi-vitamin

Caitlin is also an Entrepreneur, having founded Caitlin Stance Supplements and Caitlin Rice Fit. She is also a co-owner of FitNut Training.

You can follow Caitlin on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or visit her website

Thursday, March 09, 2017

The Origin of Football Shirt Numbering

The reason behind the printing of jersey numbers is simple: it helps referees and fans distinguish players on the pitch.

The first documented instance of numbers being used in association football was on 30th March 1924 when the Fall River Marksmen, an American football club, based in Fall River, Massachusetts played St. Louis Vesper Buick, in St. Louis, Missouri during the 1923–24 National Challenge Cup,

According to history, numbered shirts were first worn in association football in Europe on 25th August 1928, by English clubs Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday. In the mythology of Arsenal Football Club, it is often stated that Herbert Chapman, (right) the manager at the time, “invented” the notion of numbered shirts.

Certainly before the first match of the 1928/29 season no league team in England had turned out in numbered shirts, but on the same day Chelsea played Swansea and they had their shirts numbered. The difference between the two games was that at Chelsea the goalkeeper did not wear a number – a tradition that continued in English football once numbering of players became common.

So if Mr.Chapman was the keen advocate of numbering as the stories say, he rather cleverly managed to persuade Chelsea to undertake the same experiment on the same day.

The Monday newspapers on 27th August picked up on the story and deemed the idea a success, and it is reported in some sources that for both these matches one team would wear numbers 1 to 11, according to their positions on the field, and the other team 12 to 22, but there aren't any pictures to confirm this, and verification is vague.

Either way the Football Association didn’t like the idea and ordered the experiment to be abandoned. I don’t know what justification they gave for this.

In the 1934 AGM of the Football League Management Committee numbers was however once again rejected but finally on 5th July, 1939 the Management Committee decided that players should wear numbered shirts, with both sides wearing 1 to 11 in the format described for the first games in 1928.

However the 1939/40 season had hardly got underway when war was declared and the League programme abandoned. But the decision had been taken, and when League football returned on 31st August 1946, numbered shirts were available for all teams, both in England and Scotland.

As most teams still played the same tactical formation as existed during the 1928 experiment the standard numbering of shirts followed the classic 2-3-5 formation, with numbers 2 and 3 assigned to the full backs, 4, 5, 6 to the half backs, and 7 to 11 the forwards.

When substitutions were introduced to the game in 1965, the substitute typically took the number 12; when a second substitute was allowed, they wore 14. Players were not compelled to wear the number 13 if they were superstitious.

In 1993, The Football Association (The FA) switched to persistent squad numbers, abandoning the mandatory use of 1–11 for the starting line-up. The first league event to feature this was the 1993 Football League Cup Final between Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday, and it became standard in the FA Premier League the following season.

Squad numbers became optional in the three divisions of The Football League at the same time, but only 10 out of 70 clubs utilized them. Most European top leagues adopted the system during the 1990's.

The Football League made squad numbers compulsory for the 1999–2000 season, and the Football Conference followed suit for the 2002–03 season.

Players may now wear any number (as long as it is unique within their squad) between 1 and 99. To date, the highest number worn by a player in the Premier League is 78, by Manchester City's former Spanish striker José Ángel Pozo (below) against Sunderland on 3 December 2014.

Some players keep the number they start their career at a club with, such as Chelsea defender John Terry, who has worn the number 26 from when he became part of the first-team squad. On occasion, players have moved numbers to accommodate a new player; for example, Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun handed new signing Juan Mata the number 10 shirt, and changed to the number 30, which doubles his "lucky" number 15. Upon signing for Everton in 2007, Yakubu refused the prestigious number 9 shirt and asked to be assigned number 22, setting this number as a goal-scoring target for his first season, a feat he ultimately fell one goal short of achieving.

As commercialization has crept into the game, the decisions these players make are becoming an increasingly big deal for the marketability of them and their clubs; to be a bespoke commodity in a game saturated with personalities is becoming increasingly difficult, after all.

So players hold few concerns for the traditional associations with various numbers. Now players will pick lucky numbers, year of birth or numbers that their boyhood idols wore and even numbers to symbolize their rapper alter-egos! And that’s to name but a few.

But there are still some nods to tradition and heritage. When England play their friendly games they'll wear the classic number arrangement based on their positions on the pitch, as will a host of various national teams, something that'll still make purists purr with nostalgia.

You may have come across the term “retired jersey number.” In football, like in other sports, a retired jersey number is one which can no longer be used by other players of the same squad.

Numbers are retired to honor a player who has given significant contributions to a club or national team. Below are some retired jersey numbers:

* Number 3 of Milan – for Paolo Maldini, the greatest player of italian giants AC Milan.

* Number 6 of Milan – for Franco Baresi, one of the finest defenders in football history.

* Number 6 of Roma – for Aldair, one of the best Brazilian full-backs.

* Number 6 of West Ham United – for Bobby Moore, one of England’s greatest footballers.

* Number 10 of Brescia – for Roberto Baggio, the Italian is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all-time.

* Number 10 of Kispest AC/Honvéd – for Ferench Puskas, considered one of the best Hungarian players of all time.

* Number 10 of Napoli – for Diego Maradona, who help turn them from one of the poorest to one of the most successful clubs in Serie A between 1984 and 1991.

* Number 14 of Ajax – for Johan Cruijff, considered as Netherland’s best ever player.

* Number 17 of  Helsingborgs IF - for Henrik Larsson, the highly decorated Sweden striker.

* Number 17 of Lens - Cameroon's Marc-Vivien Foé (below), who began his professional career at Lens in 1994, and died while playing for his country on 26th June 2003.

* Number 23 of Manchester City - for Marc-Vivien Foe, who was a City player when he collapsed and died while playing for Cameroon, aged 28. An autopsy found he been suffering from a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Over the years, achievements of world-class footballers and their fame has rubbed off on the numbers they wore.

From the legendary number ten shirt of Diego Maradona to the iconic number three shirt of Paolo Maldini, here are some of the most famous shirt numbers and the players who made them famous.

# Number One: Gianluigi Buffon, Oliver Kahn, Iker Casillas.

# Number Two: Cafu, Gary Neville.

# Number Three: Paolo Maldini (below), Roberto Carlos and Ashley Cole.

# Number Four: Patrick Vieira and Aldair.

# Number Five: Franz Beckenbauer, Zinedine Zidane, Rio Ferdinand and Fabio Cannavaro.

# Number Six: Franco Baresi, Xavi, Aldair.

# Number Seven: Cristiano Ronaldo (below), George Best (below), Luis Figo, David Beckham (below), Marc Overmars, Pierre Littbarski, Garrincha, Raul, Pato, David Villa, Bebeto, Andriy Shevchenko, Bryan Robson (below) and Eric Cantona (below).

# Number Eight: Socrates, Steven Gerrard, Andres Iniesta, Dunga and Hristo Stoichkov,

# Number Nine: Ronaldo de Lima, Marco Van Basten, Alfredo Di Stefano, Gabriel Batistuta, Marco Van Basten, Samuel Eto’o Hugo Hugo Sanchez and Alan Shearer.

# Number Ten: Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Pele, Michel Platini, Eusebio, Zico, Ferenc Puskás, Kaka, Rooney and Zinedine Zidane and Dennis Bergkamp.

# Number 11: Ryan Giggs and Romario.

In football, the fans are dubbed the 12th player because their support is equal to having an additional player on the field. Some football clubs that received strong support from fans retire the number 12 jersey to honor them.

Thus, Bayern Munich, Feyenoord, Portsmouth, Fenerbahce, RC Lens, Dynamo Kiev, Lazio, Zenith St. Petersburg and Glasgow Rangers are some of the clubs where the number 12 shirt has been permanently withdrawn to pay tribute to the loyalty of supporters.

Unusual or notable shirt numbers in football include the following:

* In 1996 when Portuguese star Paulo Futre learned he would have to wear the No.16 shirt at West Ham, rather than his preferred No.10, he brought in a legal team to resolve the issue.
Harry Redknapp, in his autobiography Always Managing, wrote: "Eddie Gillam, our trainer, had given him the No.16 shirt and got it thrown back in his face (before the first game of the season against Arsenal). Next thing, Paulo was in my face, too: 'Futre 10, not 16,' he said. ‘Eusebio 10, Maradona 10, Pele 10; Futre 10, not f***ing 16."

Redknapp said: "I tried to be firm. "Paulo, put your shirt on, get changed, please, we have a big game. If you don’t want to wear it, Paulo, off you go," And he did.
"The following Monday, Paulo came back in with his team of lawyers to negotiate for the No.10 shirt."

He then paid £100,000 to secure it.

* From 1997 to 2000 Chilean striker Iván Zamorano, wore number "1+8", or number 18 with a plus symbol between the two digits, for Internazionale of Milan , after his number 9 was given to Ronaldo.

* In 2000, Moroccan international Hicham Zerouali was allowed to wear the number 0 for Scottish Premier League club Aberdeen after the fans nicknamed him "Zero."

* In 2000, Gianluigi Buffon, the Italian shot-stopper caused a right fuss when he opted to wear the 88 shirt at Parma. At first his choice seemed innocuous enough, though suddenly, Italy's Jewish community were outraged.

The number, they explained, was a neo-Nazi symbol; 'H' is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so putting two together makes 'HH', or, more chillingly, 'Heil Hitler'.
Buffon was quick to defend his actions. "I have chosen 88 because it reminds me of four balls," he said. "And in Italy we all know what it means to have balls: strength and determination. And this season I will have to have balls to get back my place in the Italy team."

"At first I didn't choose 88. I wanted 00 but the league told me that was impossible. I also considered 01 but that was not considered a proper number. I liked 01 because it was the number on the General Lee car in the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard."

* In 2004, Porto goalkeeper Vítor Baía became the first player to wear 99 in the final of a major European competition, the UEFA Champions League.

* In 2004 Juan Pablo Sorín was allowed to use the number "1+2" for Villarreal because the number 3 shirt was already taken.

* In 2005 French international left-back Bixente Lizarazu signed for Bayern Munich, and chose to wear shirt number 69. Though referred to as a commonly lewd number due to certain connotations, Lizarazu actually chose it due to a range of rather coincidental measurements:- he was born in 1969, weighed 69kg and had a height of 1.69 metres. Hence the choice of the number.

*In 2008, Milan's three new signings each chose a number indicating the year of his birth: 80 (Ronaldinho, born 1980), 76 (Andriy Shevchenko, born 1976) and 84 (Mathieu Flamini, born 1984).

* At the beginning of the 2013–14 season, Barnet midfielder and player-manager Edgar Davids allocated himself the number 1 shirt, announcing he intended to "set a trend". Davids was hardly a trailblazer however:- Ruud Geels (Holland, 1974), Ossie Ardiles (Argentina, 1978) and Stuart Balmer (Charlton 1990) had all worn the number one shirt before him.

Shirt numbers are not the most important facet of the game by any means, but they have brought wonderful symbolism and esteemed relevance to a host of players throughout the history of football. And as the struggle to be unique becomes increasingly critical for the big players that dominate the footballing landscape, it’ll be interesting to see what’s next in store for us when it comes to what’s printed on the back of a shirt!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - Sexy Russian referee Ekaterina Kostyunina

Ekaterina Kostyunina was born 27 February 1995, and she celebrated her 22nd birthday last Monday! Ekaterina's love for football began when she was 13. At first she played football in the company of her male friends but soon became a player in the local women's team.

In 2013, she was offered the opportunity to be a referee for several matches and that’s when her meteoric rise started.
Referees usually raise eyebrows with their controversial or dubious on-field decisions, but this Russian official is attracting attention for a very different reason!

Kostyunina, who describes herself as a football referee, footballer and a university student, has made a name for herself on the social media platform with a number of pictures on Instagram.

Ekaterina has set pulses racing off the pitch with her sexy social media snaps, and has a built up a huge following of over 85,000 followers on Instagram with flirtatious posts and sultry selfies.

Talking about her secret for keeping an amazing figure, the referee said that she actively goes to the gym, eats healthy and works hard at Krasnoyarsk Pedagogical University, where she is studying to become a physical education teacher.

The fact that Ekaterina was given the unofficial title of Russia's most beautiful female referee (by the website came as quite a shock to her, as she had not expected to gain so much popularity literally overnight, right across Russia.

She said that she gets thousands of messages, not only from her compatriots, but also from fans of football [including girls] from around Europe and America.

You can follow Ekaterina on Facebook and Instagram

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Statistically, the ICT index score of the best performing players in the English Premier League so far this season!

The ICT Index (Influence, Creativity, Threat) is a new feature for the 2016/17 Premier League campaign.

A football statistical index, it has been developed specifically to give a verdict on a player as a Football Premier League asset.

It condenses more than 40 match event statistics for three key areas – Influence, Creativity and Threat, to generate the data into a single score.

This score is what is known as an individual’s ICT Index score, and via this data is able to offer an accurate summary on player performance.

Season 2016/17 - Last update: 21/02/17 at 9.30am

For those of you currently playing 'Fantasy Premier League Football' you may want to take note!


1. Tom Heaton (Burnley) 74.0 ICT Index 
2. Ben Foster (West Brom) 60.7 (pictured right)
3. Heurelho Gomes (Watford) 53.3
4. Petr Cech (Arsenal) 52.0
5. Jordan Pickford (Sunderland) 51.9
6. Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 50.3
7. Víctor Valdés (Middlesbrough) 48.8
8. Artur Boruc (Bournemouth) 48.2
9. Lee Grant (Stoke City) 45.7
10. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) 43.8


1. Patrick van Aanholt (C. Palace) 123.3 ICT Index
2. Kyle Walker (Tottenham) 116.0
3. Michael Keane (Burnley) 111.7
4. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) 110.7
4. Antonio Valencia (Man Utd) 110.7
6. Steve Cook (Bournemouth) 108.4
7. Séamus Coleman (Everton) 103.9
8. Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth) 103.8
9. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) 103.3
10. Gareth McAuley (West Brom) 102.5


1. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) 333.0 ICT Index
2. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) 250.0
3. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 239.2
4. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) 229.4
5. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea) 216.2 (pictured right)
6. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 215.6
7. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) 209.7
8. Paul Pogba (Man Utd) 206.7
9. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) 205.4
10. Michail AntonioTheo (West Ham) 192.4


1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man Utd) 291.6 ICT Index
2. Diego Costa (Chelsea) 241.0
3. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 219.0 (pictured right)
4. Harry Kane (Tottenham) 183.1
5. Sergio Agüero (Man City) 178.7.
6. Christian Benteke (C. Palace) 171.8
7. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) 165.2
8. Salomón Rondón (West Brom) 161.1
9. Troy Deeney (Watford) 152.4
10. Fernando Llorente (Swansea) 145.8

1. Influence

Influence is the first measurement. This evaluates the degree to which that player has made an impact on a single match or throughout the season.

It takes into account events and actions that could directly or indirectly effect the outcome of the fixture.

At the top level these are decisive actions like goals and assists. But the Influence score also processes significant defensive actions to analyse the effectiveness of defenders and goalkeepers.

2. Creativity

Creativity assesses player performance in terms of producing goalscoring opportunities for others. It can be used as a guide to identify the players most likely to supply assists.

While this analyses frequency of passing and crossing, it also considers pitch location and quality of the final ball.

3. Threat

This is the third measure, producing a value that examines a player's threat on goal. It gauges individuals most likely to score goals.

While attempts are the key action, the Index looks at pitch location, giving greater weight to actions that are regarded as the best chances to score.

All three of these scores are combined to create an overall ICT Index score. That then offers a single figure that presents a view on that player as a Football Premier League asset.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Babe of the Month - Lindsey Vonn, alpine skiing legend!

Lindsey Caroline Vonn, alpine skiing's poster girl, is as ruthless, brilliant and successful as they come in the competitive world of alpine racing.

Born Lindsey Caroline Kildow on 18th October 1984, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Lindsey Vonn is one of the world's top female skiers. Growing up in Minnesota, with her four siblings, Vonn began her ascent to sports stardom as a toddler, when her father, former competitive skier Alan Kildow, first put her on skis. He would later serve as her first coach. Vonn started racing at the age of 7 years.

Vonn then trained locally with coach Erich Sailer before moving to Vail, Colorado, in the late 1990's. In 1999, the 14-year-old Vonn made history when she won the slalom at Trofeo Topolino in Italy, becoming the first American woman to attain this honor. Over the next few years, she excelled as a junior competitor, and at 17 years old she was selected for the U.S. Ski team for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she came 6th in the combined. The following year, she won a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in Puy Saint-Vincent, France.

In 2005, Vonn joined the Red Bull Athletes Special Projects and began working with a new coaching team. Around this time, Vonn wrote on her website: "I had a feeling this was going to be my big chance." Vonn had high hopes for the 2006 Olympic Games in San Sicario, Italy; but during a practice run, she had a terrible accident she was evacuated by helicopter to Turin and was hospitalized overnight. She still competed, however, coming in seventh in the Super G and eighth in the downhill events.

Vonn made an impressive comeback the following year, winning two silver medals at the 2007 World Championships in Sweden, in the downhill and the Super G.
Vonn then began her winning streak at the World Cup in 2008, with a downhill championship victory — marking her domination of the sport.

In 2009, she took the gold in the downhill and Super G competitions at the World Championships and won both the downhill and Super G events at the World Cup.

In 2010, Vonn got the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. She won two medals at the Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada; she earned the top honor - her first gold medal - in the downhill, and took home the bronze in the Super G. Over the next few years, Vonn continued to dominate the sport. She took top honors at the World Cup in the downhill, Super G and combined events over three consecutive seasons.

On 5th February 2013, Vonn suffered a debilitating injury at the World Championships in Austria. After tearing both her ACL and MCL, along with fracturing her lateral tibial plateau, she underwent reconstructive knee surgery soon after. It took several months of recovery for Vonn to recover before she would be able to hit the slopes once again. She was next seen skiing at a training camp in August.

All seemed well as Vonn stated that her injured right knee felt as good as her left on the slopes, but she aggravated her injury while training on November 19. She competed and placed 40th, 11th and fifth in the Super G at Lake Louise, Alberta, the following month. Unfortunately, only two weeks later, she had to remove herself from a World Cup downhill competition in Val d'lsere, France, after her MCL was sprained. The sprain, in addition to her torn ACL, made Vonn's likelihood in competing during the 2014 Winter Olympics unlikely. She announced on 7th January 2014, that she would not be able to compete in the Winter Olympics.

Vonn made her comeback on 6th December 2014 at the Women’s World Cup downhill race at Lake Louise, Alberta, winning the event in only her second race back. On 18th March 2015, Vonn won the last World Cup downhill race at Meribel, France and claimed the World Cup downhill title for the seventh time. The next day, Vonn notched her eighth victory of the season by winning the last super-G race. With this win, Vonn took the super-G season title for a fifth time, tying a record shared by German Katja Seizinger, Austrian Hermann Maier and Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal.

On 11th November 2016, Vonn announced that she had severely fractured the humerus bone of her right arm in a training crash. She had undergone surgery to repair the bone. Vonn returned to the World Cup on 15th January 2017, in the downhill race at Altenmarkt, Austria where she finished 13th. On 20th January in her second race back from injury, she won the downhill event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, capturing her 77th win, an all-time women's record, passing Annemarie Moser-Pröll of Austria who had held the record since the 1970's.

Vonn made headlines in 2012, when it was reported that she was dating American golf superstar Tiger Woods, after meeting him at a charity event in 2012. The pair went public with their romance in March 2013, but they announced their breakup in May 2015 due to their busy schedules.
Vonn was previously married to former competitive skier Thomas Vonn from 2007 to 2011.

Lindsey's hobbies include cycling, tennis, reading, and watching NBC's Law & Order.

Though she makes many public appearances, Vonn says training takes up most of her life except for a few weeks after the ski season. Her hobbies include cycling, tennis, reading, and watching NBC's Law & Order.

Vonn appeared in the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition which featured Olympians from the 2010 Winter Games, and in 2016 she took part in a photo shoot for Sports Illustrated, wearing only body paint.

You can follow Lindsey on: FacebookTwitter and Instagram and also on her Website 

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Murky Side of Hope Solo

Hope Amelia Solo, the gorgeous looking cover girl of American sport, often the darling of the United States Women's football team IS also the perpetrator of an assorted array of various shenanigans over the years, which has unfortunately damaged both her sporting and celebrity image.

Here are a list of some of Hope's transgressions over the years?


Solo was the starting goalkeeper for the United States in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.
Heading into the semi-final match against Brazil, U.S. coach Greg Ryan benched Solo in favor of 36-year-old veteran U.S. keeper Briana Scurry, who had a strong history of performance against the Brazilians but had not played a complete game in three months. Scurry had a bad match, and Brazil ran away with the game in a 4-0 win over the United States.
Solo was unable to keep her frustration under wraps, and launched a tirade against the coach and Scurry: "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves," she said. "And the fact of the matter is, it's not 2004 anymore…It's 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past. It doesn't matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold-medal game in the Olympics three years ago."
Following her outburst Solo released an apologetic statement the following day but Greg Ryan announced that Solo would not be with the team and would not play in the third-place match against Norway the following day. Team captain Kristine Lilly stated that the decision on Solo was made by the team as a group.


In 2008, it was announced Solo would be the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In a reversal of roles from the 2004 Olympics, Briana Scurry did not make the team, though she was an alternate. On 21 August, the U.S. women's team won the gold medal by defeating Brazil 1–0 in extra time, in no small measure due to Solo's outstanding performance in goal. After the team won gold, Solo appeared on NBC Today Show, and she stated in a 2012 article appearing in ESPN The Magazine that she was drunk while on air:-
"When we were done partying, we got out of our dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 a.m with no sleep, went on the Today show drunk. Needless to say, we looked like hell."


Solo apparently didn't learn her lesson after the 2007 incident with Scurry. Solo signed with WPS expansion team, Atlanta Beat in May 2010. However following a play-off loss against Washington Freedom in September 2010, Solo took to social media and laid down a blistering Twitter attack directed on two fronts, accusing Boston Breakers supporters of offensive chanting and racist remarks towards a teammate, then questioning the integrity of match officials and the league itself.
"It's official, the refs are straight bad," she said (via The Washington Post). "It's clear the league wanted DC in the playoffs. I have truly never seen anything like this. It's sad. I am done playing in a league where the game is no longer in control of the players."
According to The Washington Post, those comments (among others in her tirade) earned her a $2,500 fine, eight hours of community service, and a one-game suspension from her team.


Leading up to the Summer Olympics, Solo received a public warning from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after a 15 June urine test concluded the banned substance Canrenone had been detected. Solo said in a statement she had been prescribed a pre-menstrual medication and was not aware it contained any banned substances. She cooperated with the USADA and provided them with the necessary information to prove that it was a mistake. Her story checked out and she was cleared with a public warning. The positive test did not require Solo to withdraw from any pre-Olympic matches.

During the 2012 summer Olympics in London, Solo raised eyebrows when she went on the record about the sex, drinking, and other debauchery that happens inside the Olympic Village. She told quite the wild tale to ESPN magazine: "I've seen people having sex right out in the open. On the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty." Solo also admitted to sneaking celebrities and other non-Olympians into the Village after-hours

Hope Solo can't even get married without some sort of incident. Early on the morning of her wedding day on 12 November 2012, Solo, her brother Marcus Solo, and her husband-to-be Jerramy Stevens were involved in an alleged drunken altercation during a soiree at her home. Around 3a.m, Marcus made a series of four calls to 911 to request medical assistance resulting from a brawl involving a stun gun. According to ABC News, a female house guest suffered injuries to her hip, Hope had a bloody elbow, Marcus had blood on his forehead and knees, and police said Stevens "appeared to be hiding" between the bed and the wall of the mater bedroom. Authorities believed Stevens caused Hope's injuries and arrested him for domestic violence assault, reported ABC News. The pair wed later that same day, and police reportedly dropped the charges when the alleged victims refused to co-operate.


In 2014, Solo was one of the victims of the iCloud leaks of celebrity photos, during which several nude pictures of her were leaked online. She expressed solidarity with the other women affected and criticized the perpetrators: "This act goes beyond the bounds of human decency"

On 21 June 2014, Solo was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault in the fourth degree; one against her half-sister and the other against her nephew. At the police station, while cops were trying to book her into jail, ESPN said Solo "was so combative that she had to be forced to the ground, prompting her to yell at one officer, you're such a b***h. You're scared of me because you know that if the handcuffs were off, I'd kick your ass." When asked by an officer to remove a necklace, Solo reportedly "told the officer that the piece of jewellery was worth more than he made in a year." She was booked under her married name of Hope Amelia Stevens.
After pleading not guilty, she was released the following day. In August, her trial was scheduled for 4 November 2014, but this was later delayed until 20 January 2015. On 30 December 2014, the judge ordered more depositions from the defendants and delayed a decision on whether charges against Solo would be dropped until 6 January 6 2015.

Following her arrest, Solo sat out one game for the Seattle Reign and the NWSL allowed her to continue playing soccer through the end of the 2014 season. There was some debate in the media about whether this exemplified a double standard in professional American sports.


On 13 January 2015, the judge dismissed the assault charges against Solo based on a lack of cooperation from both alleged victims
However, prosecutors filed an appeal with the Superior Court of Washington. Prosecutors were scheduled to file their argument by 13 July 2015, with the defense due to respond by 10 August 2015. Oral arguments were then scheduled for 11 September 2015.
The charges were reinstated in October 2015. On 8 June 2016, KING5 Seattle reported that the state appeals court denied a discretionary review to dismiss the reinstated domestic violence charges. Solo can appeal the ruling to the Washington state Supreme Court

During the semi-final match of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada between the United States and Germany, she used a stalling tactic - almost to the point of impropriety. Solo wasted a lot of time pointing to the referees and her teammates, then taking a long drink of water and even pouring some down her neck.
The tactic worked: as the tournament's high scorer, Célia Šašić, missed her penalty kick, to keep the game scoreless. This marked the first time a German team, men's or women's, had missed a penalty in a World Cup. The US went on to defeat Germany and lift the World Cup trophy and Solo received the Golden Glove trophy as the best goalkeeper.

During a training camp for the U.S. women's national team in 2015, Solo reportedly slipped away from the facilities in a U.S. soccer team van for a rendezvous with her husband, former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens. Allegedly, Stevens was too sloshed to be driving, and the pair were pulled over by police in Manhattan Beach, Califiornia. Stevens was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, reported ESPN W. Solo wasn't arrested, but the run-in with cops was embarrassing to the national team and coaches, particularly because they didn't learn about the incident until it was reported on TMZ. As a result,
Solo found herself serving yet another 30-day suspension from the national team.


At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Solo found herself at the center of two controversies that angered many soccer fans around the world. First, she became the target of offended Brazilians after she posted pictures on Twitter of her mosquito net and an arsenal of bug repellent, with the hashtag #zikaproof. Brazilian soccer fans responded by hounding Solo during the U.S. Team's matches at the Olympics. Each time Solo touched the ball, they chanted "Zika" at the top of their lungs.
Solo attracted more controversy in the United States' quarter-final defeat by Sweden. During the penalty shootout she caused an interruption of several minutes when changing her gloves before Sweden's final kick, in an apparent act of gamesmanship. Lisa Dahlkvist was seen to laugh at Solo's antics, before calmly converting the penalty to eliminate the United States.
Following the match Solo called her opponents "a bunch of cowards" in reference to their ultra-defensive tactics, adding "The best team did not win today, I strongly, firmly believe that."
The remark was made to Grant Wahl (an American sports journalist) in the raw aftermath of the defeat, part of a wide-ranging interview in which she also praised her team's Scandinavian conquerors. The comments sparked outrage from athletes, coaches, and fans around the world.
The International Olympic Committee called Solo's comments "disappointing" but said she was unlikely to face formal disciplinary action adding: "People are free to say those things. We wouldn’t stop their right to express themselves, within boundaries, obviously." Swedish coach Pia Sundhage was more blunt in her assessment: "I don't give a crap. I'm going to Rio, she's going home" and later said, "I think she was just stressed, and that she did not really mean it."

On 24 August 2016, following Solo's comments at the Rio Olympics, US Soccer suspended Solo for six months and terminated her national team contract, making it her second suspension from the USWNT. The governing body said that Solo's previous misconduct had influenced its decision. Solo reacted angrily, saying that her comments had been used as a pretext to force her out, due to her prominent role in the national team's campaign for equal pay.
Teammate Megan Rapinoe speculated that Solo's termination was "probably some legal strategy" on the part of US Soccer. In announcing a legal challenge to US Soccer's action, the players' lawyer Rich Nichols termed it: "excessive, unprecedented, disproportionate, and a violation of Ms. Solo’s First Amendment rights."

Friday, January 13, 2017

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!

With the January transfer window in full swing, there is plenty of transfer talk and a few deals have been done! Many clubs across Europe are doing their best to strengthen their squads as the second half of the season gets underway. Some clubs are trying to push on in an attempt to lift some silverware, others to consolidate their current situation, and needless to say their are plenty of clubs busy looking to bring in new personnel as they attempt to save their seasons!

Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: West Ham, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Dimitri Payet, Jack Wilshire, Alvaro Morata, Real Madrid, Lyon, Atletico Madrid, Virgil van Dijk, Patrice Evra, Robbie Brady, Southampton, Everton, PSG, Michy Batshuayi, Robert Snodgrass, Morgan Schneiderlin, Carl Jenkinson, Liverpool, Sevilla, Middlesbrough, Fulham and Slaven Bilic to name but a few!

Dimitri Payet will be sold by West Ham this month. The Hammers will hold out for the highest price they can get for the 29-year-old, who is refusing to play for the club, according to manager Slaven Bilic. Payet has reportedly told West Ham he wants to return to France for "personal reasons" - Daily Mirror

Premier League leaders Chelsea will move for 29-year-old West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet, who Hammers boss Slaven Bilic says is refusing to play for the club - The Sun

PSG want to sign Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian, who signed from Marseille for £33m in the summer, is yet to start a Premier League game for Antonio Conte's side, making 12 substitute appearances - L'Equipe (French nationwide daily newspaper devoted to sport)

Manchester City, Everton and Italian side AC Milan are monitoring the future of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere. The 25-year-old is on loan at Bournemouth and his contract with the Gunners expires next season - Daily Star

According to latest rumours coming from Italian sources, Liverpool and German international defensive midfielder Emre Can, who turned 23 just yesterday, has become a main target for Juventus. Can is currently on a deal with The Reds until June 2018, the player is likely to cost about 16 million euros -

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been speaking to Mesut Ozil's agent, and says he's very relaxed about the contract situation with the German -

Crystal Palace are close to signing former 35 year-old Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra - Sky in Italy, via Sky Sports

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is preparing to make a bid for 24 year-old Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata - OK Diario (Spanish digital newspaper

Jeff Schlupp has joined Crystal Palace on a four and a half year deal from Leicester City. He will be available to play in Palace’s match at West Ham tomorrow -

Everton have confirmed the signing of Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester United -

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke will block any efforts by manager Sam Allardyce to offload him to West Brom - Daily Mirror

Sevilla are the latest club to cool their interest in signing Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho. The Reds are thought to want around £20m for the French international centre back. However, several clubs, including Southampton and Swansea, have been unwilling to match his wages, understood to be around £105,000 a week -

Jesse Lingard has agreed a new Manchester United contract worth £95,000 per week-

Eddie Howe has said there have been no talks with Chelsea about John Terry going to Bournemouth on loan -

Lyon are the only club trying to sign Manchester United winger Memphis Depay, 22, on a permanent deal but have offered substantially less than the £15m asking price - ESPN and

Arsenal full-back Carl Jenkinson looks set to go on loan to Crystal Palace, with a deal expected in the next two or three days. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: “With Carl, yes, there is a possibility that he will move, in the next two or three days.” -

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has revealed talks have reopened with West Brom in a bid to finally thrash out a deal for Saido Berahino. West Brom Head Coach Tony Pulis says it's not just Stoke interested in signing striker Saido Berahino -

Burnley have made an offer worth up to £13m for Norwich winger Robbie Brady, 24. The Republic of Ireland international is also wanted by Crystal Palace and Sunderland - Daily Mirror

Burnley and Leicester have bid around £10m for Norwich midfielder Robbie Brady. The 24-year-old is reportedly valued at £13m by the EFL Championship side, with Hull City due 25 per cent of any deal. Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Aston Villa are also reportedly interested in Brady - Daily Mail

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, 25, is believed to be a transfer target for Everton - Daily Star

Dutch international winger Luciano Narsingh (26), has officially joined Swansea City from PSV Eindhoven on a deal until June 2019, after four seasons with the Eredivisie club -

Wolfsburg are weighing up the chance of signing 29 year-old Argentinian forward Mauro Matias Zarate from Fiorentina. The former Inter Milan, Lazio and West Ham player has a contract with Fiorentina until June 2018, and has recently started new contract talks with the Serie A club - Corriere dello Sport - Stadio (Italian national sports newspaper)

Simone Zaza has accepted an offer from Valencia, according to Sky in Italy. The Juventus striker, currently on loan at West Ham, will move on loan to the Spanish side for 2m euros, with an obligation to buy for an extra 16m euros - Sky in Italy

Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce has made an initial £6m bid for Sunderland full-back Patrick van Aanholt, 26, who is rated at £10m by the Black Cats - Daily Mail

David Moyes has admitted Sunderland have knocked back a bid from Crystal Palace for Patrick van Aanholt. Sky sources understand the bid to be in the region of £6-7m -

Hull City have announced the signing of Everton's froward Oumar Niasse on a six-month loan and midfielder Evandro Goebel on a permanent deal from Porto. Everton forward Niasse will be available for the clash with Bournemouth tomorrow, while the Goebel deal is down to international clearance.
Niasse, who has had a torrid time since joining Everton from Lokomotic Moscow, will be at the KCOM Stadium until the end of the season -

Aitor Karanka would like to keep Ben Gibson at Middlesbrough for his entire career amid speculation in the British press that Chelsea are lining him up as a £30m replacement for John Terry -

Middlesbrough are closing in on the signing of Bojan from Stoke. It's understood Stoke would want around £12m if the deal were to be a permanent move. West Brom made an enquiry earlier in the transfer window. Daily Star and

West Brom are set to join West Ham in the race for Hull's Robert Snodgrass. The Scot, 29, has rejected a new contract offer at Hull, while West Ham have had a bid rejected for Snodgrass - Daily Mirror

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admits Tom Carroll could be set to leave the club, due to a lack of first team opportunities -

Derby County midfielder Will Hughes has signed a new contract with the club until 2020 -

Championship side Leeds have rejected offers of £7m for full-back Charlie Taylor, 23, from Premier League sides West Brom, Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace - Guardian

Atletico Madrid midfielder Tiago has revealed that he turned down three offers from elsewhere after coach Diego Simeone told him to stay at the club. Recent reports from Spain claimed that the Portuguese midfielder, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was contemplating leaving the club to head to China-

Sheffield United have announced the signing of Daniel Lafferty from Burnley with the defender penning a two-and-a-half year deal at Bramall Lane for an undisclosed fee -

Norwich boss Alex Neil has been chatting with the media and has confirmed the club are in talks with Swansea over the transfer of Martin Olsson -

Brentford’s valuation of striker Scott Hogan has still not been met, despite bids having been received from more than one club. Hogan trained yesterday and today and will be in the squad to face Newcastle at Griffin Park tomorrow. It is understood the club value him at around £15m, with a 30 per cent sell on clause due to his former club Rochdale -

Aston Villa are eyeing up a bid for Fulham's Tom Cairney. The midfielder, 25, is valued at around £10m, and was sold by Villa manager Steve Bruce while at Hull three years ago. Newcastle are also reportedly keen on Cairney - Daily Mirror

Fulham midfielder Jozabed has joined La Liga side Celta Vigo on loan for the remainder of the season -

Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has confirmed that Chris Martin is available again for selection after refusing to play since Boxing Day -

David Davis has signed a new three-and-a-half year deal with Birmingham City, the club announced this afternoon -

Aberdeen have rejected a reported £500,000 bid from Cardiff for winger Jonny Hayes -

Doncaster Rovers have signed goalkeeper Ian Lawlor from Premier League giants Manchester City. The 22-year-old failed to make a senior appearance during seven years at City, although he has gained first-team experience during loan spells at Barnet and Bury -