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Manchester United to Battle Chelsea for Signing of Aubameyang

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Manchester United are ready to rival Chelsea for the signature of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Barcelona have already set a price for the Gabon international, who is valued at 30 million pounds Erik Ten Hag is keen on bolstering his squad, amid growing uncertainty over Cristiano Ronaldo’s future
Aubameyang,31, only moved to Catalonia last season from Arsenal, but is already poised to return to the Premier League.
As per The Sun, Barcelona are currently engaged in some financial gymnastics, which allowed them to register four key players; Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen, just in time for their league opener against Rayo Vallecano.
But the club is still not out of the woods, as far as their financial structure is concerned.
     Man United’s uphill task to get Aubameyang While Aubameyang is up for grabs, the general feeling is that the former Arsenal star would need some convincing to choose United over Chelsea for the simple fact that the Red Devils are playing in the Europa League.
    With Barcelona, Aubameyang is guaranteed of Champions League football, although he faces competition for a place in the squad from Robert Lewandowski. The front line is not the only place Erik Ten Hag’s side needs reinforcements as they also need an experienced holding midfielder. Currently, United are tracking Adrien Rabiot and Football director John Murtough has just returned from Turin where he held discussions about signing him.

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BREAKING: Nigeria drop to 38th, Argentina maintain top spot in FIFA rankings

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BREAKING: Nigeria drop to 38th, Argentina maintain top spot in FIFA rankings

In the latest FIFA rankings released on Thursday, Nigeria has fallen to the 38th position.

The Super Eagles now have 1498.93 points, a decrease from their previous 1520.27 points.

 

Also read: FULL LIST: Top 20 African teams in latest FIFA ranking

 

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This drop marks a significant shift in the global football landscape, as Nigeria continues to face challenges on the international stage.

Formerly ranked 30th, Nigeria’s decline follows its performance in the two matches after the African Cup of Nations, where they emerged as runners-up after losing 2-1 to the host nation.

In their recent games, the Super Eagles played a 1-1 draw against Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, and suffered a 2-1 defeat to Benin Republic in a match played in Ivory Coast.

Nigeria’s hopes for the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers remain doubtful, as the nation failed to secure victories in these crucial matches.

Meanwhile, Argentina maintained its top position in the rankings, solidifying its status as the leading football nation in the world.

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The South American giants gained 2.14 points, bringing their total to 1860.14, reflecting their consistent high-level performance in recent tournaments.

The FIFA rankings, reported by Theheute, are calculated using the Elo model, which considers team strength, match importance, and results.

Liberia remain the biggest climber in the rankings, moving up 10 positions to a new highest rank of 142nd.

Liberia also scored the most points, gaining 37.47 points.

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Equatorial Guinea experienced the biggest drop, falling 10 positions and losing 47.53 points, marking a significant downturn in their ranking.

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Euro 2024: Conceicao snatches Portugal comeback win over Czech Republic

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Euro 2024: Conceicao snatches Portugal comeback win over Czech Republic

Youngster Francisco Conceicao snatched Portugal a last-gasp 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in their Euro 2024 Group F opener on Tuesday just minutes after coming off the bench.

The 21-year-old Porto winger capitalised from close range after the Czechs were unable to clear a cross, completing his team’s comeback.

 

Also read: Euro 2024: Haaland, Rashford, 20 other big stars to miss out

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The Czechs went ahead against the run of play through Lukas Provod’s fine strike from the edge of the box after the hour mark.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal did not shine but dug just deep enough to claim victory, with Robin Hranac’s own goal pulling them level before Conceicao’s dramatic winner.

Ronaldo, 39, playing at a record-extending sixth European Championship, was denied by Stanek on three occasions as Portugal constantly looked to find the competition’s all-time top goalscorer.

The striker hit the post with the score tied and Diogo Jota nodded in the rebound but the goal was disallowed for offside against Ronaldo.

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“We showed all our coolness and resilience,” said Portugal midfielder Vitinha.

“We remained calm, got the draw and always believed until the end to get the win.

“Luckily we managed to do it with the help of the players who came on… we are truly a team.”

Portugal coach Roberto Martinez selected 41-year-old defender Pepe, who became the oldest player in Euros history, beating the record set by Hungary goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly aged 40 in 2016, as part of a three centre-back defence.

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Portugal won that tournament in 2016 to claim the trophy for the first time and captain Ronaldo said they deserve another, although they got off to a stuttering start in Germany.

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In coach Ivan Hasek’s first competitive game after taking over in January, the Czech Republic largely frustrated Martinez’s side, who qualified unbeaten while scoring more goals than any other team.

Ronaldo sent an effort wide with his shoulder after Rafael Leao cut inside with menace early on, as the Portuguese controlled the ball.

Bruno Fernandes’ deflected dipping effort had some Portugal fans out of their seats and Leao was inches away from connecting with a low cross from the Manchester United playmaker.

Czech goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek thwarted Ronaldo twice in the first half of his record 26th Euros appearance, but on both occasions the striker appeared marginally offside.

The Al Nassr hitman’s brightest moment came with a clever backheel which played in Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Vitinha, but the Czech defence swarmed around him quickly and blocked his shot.

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Debate over whether Ronaldo should still be a starter or not has rumbled on since the 2022 World Cup and at times Portugal looked short on ideas beyond slinging crosses in towards him.

– ‘Enormous pressure’ –

Stanek comfortably saved a Ronaldo free-kick from distance before the Czechs made their breakthrough.

Slavia Prague midfielder Provod whipped a superb strike past Diogo Costa from the edge of the box after Portugal failed to fully clear a cross just past the hour mark.

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However Portugal were quickly level when Hranac unfortunately turned the ball into his own net, after Stanek palmed Nuno Mendes’ header straight at him from point-blank range.

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Ronaldo and Czech Republic striker Patrik Schick finished as joint top scorers at Euro 2020 with five goals each but neither was at their lethal best in Leipzig.

Jota thought he had grabbed a last-gasp winner after Ronaldo’s header bounced off the woodwork into his path, but VAR showed the veteran forward was offside.

It didn’t matter for Martinez’s men though after Conceicao came on to fire them to the three points, putting Portugal level with Turkey at the top of Group F.

“Of course it hurts extremely (badly), although nobody completely thought we would prevail today,” Provod told Czech national television.

“The goals we conceded did not come after well put together attacks, but we have to acknowledge Portugal’s quality. The (goals) came from the enormous pressure.”

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Osimhen prefers Arsenal, Chelsea to PSG move

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Osimhen prefers Arsenal, Chelsea to PSG move

Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen would rather join one of his Premier League suitors that moved to PSG League, as the 25-year-old is set to leave Napoli this summer.

Arsenal and Chelsea have emerged as frontrunners for his signature, and the former Lille striker is eagerly awaiting calls from the duo, according to reports in Itlay.

Also read: Osimhen may consider Saudi move

PSG initially earmarked him as a replacement for Kylian Mbappe, who is on his way to Real Madrid, but according to Monday’s Corriere dello Sport, Osimhen is not interested in joining the French giants, being unconvinced about playing in Ligue 1. Instead, he considers the Premier League his dream destination, making Arsenal and Chelsea the favourites to land him ahead of the 2024–25 season.

Osimhen, who won the Serie A Golden Boot award in the 2022–23 season, signed a new contract with Napoli in December, which has a release clause reportedly set at €120–€130 million (£101 million).

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The player recently missed his national team’s 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin Republic due to injury and now looks to a new challenge after leading Napoli’s Scudetto charge in the 2022–23 season.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is notoriously difficult to negotiate with, holding firm on Osimhen’s release clause, but the striker appears set on a move to England.

Arsenal and Chelsea have regularly been linked with the Nigerian international, but it could take an offer of over £100 million to strike a deal with Napoli, who are unlikely to stray from his release clause.

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The Gunners are reported to have cooled their interest recently due to the fee involved.

As Osimhen pushes for the Premier League instead of a PSG or Saudi switch, this transfer saga could drag on for months due to De Laurentiis’ demands.

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