Moussa Dembele backs Celtic in Europa League after Zenit draw

Moussa Dembele is confident Celtic can make an impact in the Europa League as they look ahead to a last-32 tie against Zenit St Petersburg.
The Hoops, who finished third in the Champions League group, were paired on Monday with the Russian club, who topped their Europa League section with five wins and a draw.
The first leg is at Celtic Park on February 15 with the return game in St Petersburg a week later.

Michael Owen says Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk is the player Liverpool need

Liverpool have been heavily linked with a move for Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk.
When speaking exclusively to BT Sport, ex-Reds striker Michael Owen explained how things really will be looking up for his former club if they manage to get a deal for Saints centre-back Virgil van Dijk over the line soon.
Liverpool have been quite sensational going forward this season, but question marks remain over their fragile defence, and Jürgen Klopp will surely be prioritising the addition of an established centre-back in January.
One of their prime targets is the Southampton ace, although Yahoo Sports claim that it would take £70 million to prise him away from St Mary’s.

The 26-year-old is one of the most highly-rated defenders in the league, however, and although £70 million seems rather extortionate on the face of it, in today’s currently inflated transfer market, it could very well prove to be good value for the Merseyside outfit.
And Owen labelled the Dutchman as a ‘proper player’, when speaking to BT Sport, insisting that things will be looking up for the Reds, if they manage to sign Van Dijk:
“Van Dijk is a proper player. If they can get him and Keita in midfield, things are looking up.”
With the opening of the January transfer window just three weeks away, this will certainly be one to keep an eye on.

Guardiola: I would retire if possession football did not work

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has claimed that if his tactical approach stopped working, he would give up the game

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola revealed he would retire if possession-based football was unable to achieve results.
Ahead of a huge Manchester derby against United at Old Trafford on Sunday, Guardiola’s City are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.
In a dominant start to the campaign, City have scored 46 goals and conceded only 10 in 15 league games.

Asked what he would do if possession football stopped working, former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola said he would no longer coach.
“If that is going to happen, I’m going to retire, because I don’t feel it another way,” Guardiola said.

I could defend more deep, but I want to have the ball and I want to play. From my first game with the second team in Barcelona, I always try to look for that.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work, but that’s because the other team is good or we are not good enough.
“But the idea [of changing], that is not going to happen. Never. Never in my life.”

Young gun Danny De Silva haunts Perth Glory in 1-0 loss to Mariners

Substitute Blake Powell has propelled Central Coast to a one-sided 1-0 win over a gritty Perth and into the A-League’s top four.
Last weekend, Powell marked his return from nearly a year injured with an assist against Wellington.
At Gosford on Sunday, the 26-year-old attacker replaced Kwabena Appiah with 13 minutes to play and within 60 seconds had created and scored the game’s only goal.
That the two sides could not be separated early was scarcely believable, such was the Mariners’ dominance.
They were finally rewarded when Powell played an inch-perfect pass to star playmaker Danny De Silva, who rushed to the byline and cut back for Powell to hammer it under the crossbar.
The result gives the Mariners back-to-back wins for the first time since February and lifts Paul Okon’s team to fourth, leaving travel-weary Perth seventh.
Okon said capitalising on chances was still a work in progress.
“It’s an area we’re working on, we’re improving at it,” he said.
“In the end the goal comes from a bit of Daniel De Silva magic and Powelly finishes it off,” he said.
“Delighted for Blake, he’s worked hard the past six months … and he gets his reward this evening.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Okon opted for an unchanged XI from a 4-1 away shellacking of the Phoenix.

They were met by a Glory outfit missing attacking trio Diego Castro, Adam Taggart and Andy Keogh, the skipper unable to overcome a groin issue in time.
Keogh’s strike replacement Joe Knowles made his first start since his debut two years ago and the 21-year-old might have made an impact had he been given some service.
For the Glory could barely keep 30 per cent possession early on and by halftime the home team had everything but a goal.
Jake McGing’s work rate and impeccable crossing yielded two strong chances for Appiah, who was thwarted by Liam Reddy.

Man-of-the-match De Silva pleased the 8115-strong crowd with his trickery, flicking a cute backheel to Andrew Hoole amid his constant menace.
The Glory relied on some timely last-line defending and the odd counter-attack that would have put them ahead just before the break had Ben Kennedy not expertly denied an on-target Mitch Nichols.
Central Coast could not quite maintain their first-half fluency and Perth, the most prolific side in the last 15 minutes of games, slowly circled.

But Wout Brama burst free and deftly teed up Appiah in the goal mouth, only for Joseph Mills to get there first, before Powell came off the bench.
“We weren’t disgraced here,” said Glory coach Kenny Lowe.
“First 20 minutes they were good value and probably controlled the game and then the last 25 we sussed it out and it was even.
“Second half we did quite well, took their sting away and started to get into it.”

Valverde optimistic over Dembele

Ernesto Valverde confirms Ousmane Dembele is close to returning as Gerard Deulofeu and Nelson Semedo are dropped for Barcelona’s visit of Celta Vigo.
Dembele has been out of action since tearing his hamstring on his Liga debut three months ago, but he is back training with Barca’s first team and Valverde suggested there was the possibility that the winger could play again before Christmas.
“Although past games don’t help us much, they show us that we’ll have to be vigilant,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“Unzue’s a student of the game and the fact that he knows us so well makes this game dangerous for us.
“His internal knowledge of Barca is an advantage for them and a disadvantage for us. The fact Unzue is their Coach means they have a very clear way of playing,
“They want to be the team on top and they’ll also want to be at Camp Nou.
“Dembele? His recovery is going very well, although we won’t run any risks with him, taking into account the time he’s been out inured.
“In principle, we’ll have him back after Christmas, but we’ll see how the days shape up and when he can re-join the group.
“Rafinha? We must go carefully with him, but he feels good and wants to return to the team.”
Deulofeu and Semedo will not be part of Barca squad against Celta, despite neither carrying any physical problems, and Valverde was specifically asked about the forward.
“Deulofeu? We have a big squad and often some come in and go out,” added the Basque.
“He’s expressed an insistence on trying to unbalance a match with his playing style and being decisive in attack.”
Barca squad for Celta: Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Pique, Rakitic, Busquets, Denis, Iniesta, Suarez, Messi, Paulinho, Alcacer, Alba, Digne, Sergi Roberto, Gomes, Vidal, Umtiti, Vermaelen

Real Madrid confirm they rejected Spurs midfielder bid

Tottenham made a bid for Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic last summer, according to the La Liga club.
The Croatian schemer started Tuesday’s Copa del Rey draw with CF Fuenlabrada and played 81 minutes – his first start since seriously injuring his kneecap in September.
Real Madrid CEO Jose Angel Sanchez has revealed the club received many offers for the 23-year-old Kovacic last summer, but turned them all away.
“Kovacic is not for sale, we will never sell him” Sanchez told Sportske Novosti.
“If there are any offers for him in January, we will reject them. Last summer there were a lot of offers and questions about him.
“Juventus and AC Milan didn’t send offers, but Inter must have sent one. There was one from England, it was Tottenham.”
Kovacic, who signed from Inter for £27million in August 2015, is under contract until 2021.

Zidane, Del Piero, Alonso and Kaka meet in Russia for the 2018 World Cup

Russia has been the scenario chosen for a particular meeting of gamers. With Zidane at the helm, the presentation of the new ball for the 2018 World Cup in Russia has been the perfect excuse for this meeting that has led Real Madrid coach Xabi Alonso, Kaka and Del Piero.

The Brazilian has been in charge of immortalizing the moment with a selfie he has shared through social networks. “Does anyone play a pachanga?” Kaka joked next to the snapshot. The four, with the World Cup in their palms with their respective teams and also with the Champions, have traveled to Moscow to present together with Adidas, the brand that will still be the image, with which the World Cup will be played. Russian country.

Agüero thinks of Independiente by 2019

Sergio Agüero was quoted as saying he was abandoning Manchester City with a contrato en 2019 para regresar of Independiente. Tras superar en Champions ate el en l’équipe Eric Brooks que tête el récord goleador del club con 178 goles.
Gol de Agüero (2-3) en el Nápoles 2-4 Manchester City

He said that he was commenting on the idea of a club to win, Independiente, who has been elected to the city of renovation.

“It is a matter of the city that the city has to go before, the Independent, because it is a choice,” he argues.

En en is the moment Manchester City is endured the Premier League leader con ocho puntos de ventaja sobre el Chelsea, su me inmediato perseguidor. “Ahora, estoy muy bien y con suerte podemos ganar el tituleo de la Liga, pero no es fácil”, apunta el goleador.

Russia will be awaiting

Eight days, nine tickets and 20 teams fighting to go to the World Cup in Russia 2018. Start today, with Croatia-Greece and the Northern Ireland-Switzerland (20.45 hours) a crucial week, in which the table will be completed: there are four European places to be allocated, two intercontinental playoffs and decisive matches in groups A, C and D of Africa. Repescas and dramatic days arrive. Go to Russia or abandon the World Cup dream. There are many stars in danger.

In Italy, Italy, he was queued to join the Spanish team at juega ante Suecia. La leyenda azzurra Buffon ha participado en cinco Mundiales – since 1998 hasta la última en Brasil 2014-y si va a Rusia 2018 sería el único jugador en la istoria en acudir a seis fases finales. “It is not that which is fiendish to the external press, that it is not true, and that is what the Sabbath shall be.” No hay a mundial to Italy since 1958.

Abren at jornada Croatia-Greece is Ireland del Norte-Suiza. Los Croatas son un condo poderoso con una gran calidad en sus filas, pero han pecado de irregularidad. Modric y Rakitic leader and su seleccion ante Greece, que de volte à la élite.