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Ralf Rangnick To Take Over From Michael Carrick As Manchester United Interim Coach

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Ralf Rangnick To Take Over From Michael Carrick As Manchester United Interim Coach

Manchester United have moved to appoint an interim coach, with an agreement reached between the club and Ralf Rangnick for the former Schalke coach to take charge at Old Trafford until the end of the season.

Michael Carrick’s spell as caretaker coach will come to an end after the clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with work permit formalities preventing Rangnick from taking charge before then.

READ ALSO: Barcelona’s Hope Of Knockout Stage On The Brinkhttps://www.newtimes.com.ng/14303-2-ucl-barcelonas-hope-of-knockout-stage-on-the-brink/

In a story published by The Athletic, Rangnick has reached an agreement that will release him to work at Old Trafford for six months, and then he will take up a consultancy role with power over club decisions, for two years after that.

This move is similar to the power he held at Lokomotiv Moscow, with his consultancy company having been employed by the Russian club.

It’s reported that an agreement is subject to Lokomotiv Moscow being willing to release him from his obligations to the Russian club, although that isn’t thought to be a problem.

Just which direction the club plans to move in during the summer is unknown, although the presence of Rangnick in theory will allow a style and pressing culture to be installed prior to the new coach’s arrival.

He is credited with the rise of German football after the millennium, with the country totally shifting its focus away from the methods which worked whilst the country was split between East and West, and looking towards a more modern approach.

 

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Abiodun Congratulates Super Eagles On Qualifying For AFCON Semi-final

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Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has congratulated the national ream, the Super Eagles on qualifying for the semi-final at the ongoing African Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

The Super Eagles on Friday evening beat their Angolan counterpart by one goal to nil, scored in the 41 minutes by Ademola Lookman.

Governor Abiodun praised the resilience, tenacity and the team spirit displayed by the players in overcoming their opponents.

He urged the team to do Nigeria proud by qualifying for the finals of the African football showpiece.

He said: “I extend my warmest congratulations to our beloved Super Eagles on their impressive triumph over Angola, securing a well-deserved spot in the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations.

“The team’s extraordinary display of skill, tenacity, and teamwork has made our nation proud. This victory is a testament to their hard work and dedication, and I commend every player and member of the coaching staff for their exceptional performance.

“As a state, we stand firmly behind our national team and will continue to support them as they strive for further success.”

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Ballon d’Or 2023: Messi Beats Haaland To Win For Eighth Time

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Lionel Messi

Inter Miami CF star Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for a record eighth time, fending off competition from Manchester City striker Erling Haaland after leading Argentina to the World Cup last year.

Messi, 36, becomes the first MLS-based player to claim the coveted prize, although the triumph comes largely on the back of his exploits with his country in Qatar. Former Manchester United player and Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham handed his prize-signing Messi the award in Paris.

Haaland, who scored 52 goals last season as City won the Treble in 2022-23, finished second in the voting and won the Gerd Muller Trophy given to the best striker of the year.

“I couldn’t imagine having the career that I’ve had. Everything that I’ve achieved,” Messi said after getting his award. “The fortune I’ve had playing for the best team in the world, the best team in history. It’s nice to win these individual trophies.

“To win the Copa America and then the World Cup, to get it done is amazing. All of them [Ballon d’Or awards] are special for different reasons.”

Prior to Messi receiving his award, Barcelona and Spain midfielder Aitana Bonmatí won the Ballon d’Or Féminin after a record-breaking year with club and country. She helped Barça win Liga F and the Champions League last season, before leading Spain to World Cup glory in the summer.

In other awards handed out on Monday, Messi’s Argentina teammate Emiliano Martinez won the Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper and England and Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham was handed the Kopa Trophy as the world’s top player under the age of 21.

During his acceptance speech, Messi made a point of wishing Argentina countryman Diego Maradona happy birthday. The 1986 World Cup winner, who died on Nov. 22, 2020, would have been 63 on Monday.

“My last mention is for Diego [Maradona],” Messi said. “Today is his birthday. So I would like to remember him from here, surrounded by the best players, coaches and people who love football like he did.

“Wherever you are, Diego, happy birthday. This goes also to you.”

Even prior to Monday’s ceremony in Paris, no player had won the Ballon d’Or more times than Messi, who first won it in 2009 and then again in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won it five times, while Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten are all three-time winners.

Messi scored 21 goals in 41 appearances last season as Paris Saint-Germain retained the Ligue 1 title before moving to Inter Miami earlier this year.

Since moving to the U.S., he has scored 11 goals in 14 games for Miami, helping the franchise win its first-ever piece of silverware, the Leagues Cup.

However, he missed several matches through injury at the end of the regular MLS season as Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s side came up short in their late push for a playoff spot.

It is Messi’s performances at the World Cup at the end of 2022 which have earned him an eighth Ballon d’Or, though, as Argentina ended a 36-year wait to be crowned world champions for the third time.

Messi, as captain, was instrumental to Argentina’s success in Qatar, scoring seven goals and assisting three more as he was named as the Player of the Tournament.

He scored twice in the final and again in the penalty shootout against France as Lionel Scaloni’s team edged one of the most memorable showpieces in the competition’s history.

Having come up short with Argentina at four previous World Cups, including losing the 2014 final to Germany, it was deemed by many to be his last chance to get his hands on football’s biggest prize.

At 36 years and four months old, he also becomes the second oldest player to ever win the Ballon d’Or, replacing last year’s winner Karim Benzema. Only the inaugural winner, Stanley Matthews in 1956, was older when he won it aged 41.

Messi’s first six Ballons d’Or were won while he played for Barcelona, where he is the club’s record goalscorer and appearance holder, while he won it for a seventh time shortly after joining PSG in 2021 following Copa America success with Argentina.

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Paul Onuora Football Tournament Begins

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Participants and others in the Hon. Paul Onuora and St. Eve football competition

By Esther Kainebi-Daniel

Committed to promoting unity among Nigerians through sports, especially football and empowering more than 500 youths between ages 15 and 17, the maiden edition of Hon. Paul Onuora and St. Eve football competition, has commenced.

Dubbed Hon. Paul Onuora League Tournament, the football competition which began on Sunday with the official flag-off and unveiling of the participating teams from across 20 local government areas in Lagos is taking place at three venues – The Training Pitch, National Stadium; Eagles Club football field, and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) field, all in Surulere, Lagos.

At the flag-off ceremony the sponsor, Hon. Paul Onuora aka Nwa Jesus said the tournament is a vehicle to extract the best potential from the youths, stressing that it doesn’t matter who the youths are, where they come from or the tribe they are of.

His words: “What matters is how those youth become successful in life, and when they become successful, the new life, they will live. Even if he touches 10 people, their lives will be changed because he has succeeded.

“That’s why anytime, anyday, in my closet, anywhere I’m, I think about how we can better the life of the youth, not even of you going to lie for the poor people in our society. This is very important.”

Asked his expectations from the participants, Onuora said, “I expect them to be of good behaviour, character and association. You can’t be a youth maybe playing football or any other sports and you are into drugs, cultism, armed robbery and other nefarious activities. You cannot succeed because you will go half way.”

“If you are a youth, you have talents, you have good behaviour, you will go far even in the shortest of time, because there is nobody that will see you as a hard working young man that will say no, I will not take this. Anybody who sees you would like to associate with you because of your character and your behaviour,” he added.

On what motivated him to finance the tournament, the businessman, who also plays active football and recently scored against one-time Nigeria number one choice goalkeeper, Peter Rufai aka Dodo Mayana said, “Beyond the tournament, we want to expose the participants to scouts from Europe.

“We are bringing in some managers, scouts that will be looking for players. Some of them are playing football but they have not really played in a good competition. So if they play this competition they will be exposed and they will have more sense of belonging because they will meet people they have not one way or the other interacted with. Because I believe this is from all the local governments and they will see more players that are more talented than them, which will inspire them to do more in what we are doing.”

On her part, Evelyn Okereke, founder of St. Eve, and brain behind the league tournament said the initiative is to encourage the youths, keep them busy during this long vacation, adding that they could play this competition and get opportunities.

He words, “You see what’s happening in Nigeria. As a mother, we thought of a way to help bring our youths and close that gap between the rich and the poor, and there is no better way than sport. Sport (football) is something that is very unique and is a unifying force.”

“Football is one of the biggest sports in the world. Whether you’re a man or you’re a woman, you know when your club or team is winning, you’re jumping and you’re excited; you’re all sharing ideas. Very soon we’re going to be having people worshipping football. It’s going to be the latest thing in the world,” she added.

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