Benzema apologizes to Vinicius Jr

Real Madrid Karim Benzema has reportedly apologized to Vinicius ‘Akpororo’ Junior after urging his Real Madrid team-mates to not pass to him during Tuesday night’s Champions League match against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Benzema was caught on camera accusing Vinicius of ‘playing against us’, in order words calling him ‘an enemy within’ while talking with Ferland Mendy during their 2-2 draw with Monchengladbach.

But Benzema looked to clear things up with the Brazilian by approaching him at the club’s training facility to explain himself and apologize for what was said, according to Spanish outlet Marca.

In a conversation spoken in French caught on camera, Benzema tells Mendy: ‘Don’t play with him. On my mother’s life, he [Vinicius] is playing against us.

‘He [Vinicius] does not do anything useful,’ with the left back replying: ‘When he becomes scared, he loses what makes him great.’

Madrid were a goal down at half-time, they later drew the match after conceding one more in the second half.

Arteta admits to Saliba mistake

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted that he made a mistake by leaving William Saliba out of his 25-man squad for the Europa League.

The Spanish manager only has Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Magalhaes as fit and available centre-backs ahead of the game against Dundalk, with David Luiz joining Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari on the sidelines.

Fellow central defenders Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Saliba are fit but neither can be called upon after being excluded from Arsenal’s European squad, and in the case of the latter Arteta admits he is an option he would like to have had available.

I feel really bad for William Saliba,’ Arteta said. ‘Because we had so many central defenders, we decided to leave him out of the squad which was really hurtful for me to do.

‘I was hoping that Pablo would be back in two weeks but he had a setback and then we don’t have Pablo and we don’t have William when he’s fit and available to play.’ Arteta said.

Saliba joined Arsenal from St Etienne last summer but is yet to feature for the Gunners, appearing on the bench just once this season.

Scholes likens Rashford to Manchester United Great

Paul Scholes has lauded the finishing ability of Marcus Rashford on Wednesday night after the English striker came off the bench to score a brilliant hat-trick against RB Leipzig.

Scholes likened Rashford to his former Manchester United teammate Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

Rashford came on for opening goalscorer Mason Greenwood in the 63rd minute, Rashford netted twice in four minutes with two composed finishes before sealing his hattrick in stoppage-time at Old Trafford.

Rashford also scored the match-winner in last week’s victory against Paris Saint-Germain and after his first United hat-trick, ex-United midfielder Scholes was full of praise for the 22-year-old.

‘His finishing has been questioned in the past, but tonight you’re looking at 25 goals from him if he keeps that attitude.

‘That was like [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, you see him going through and you know he’s going to smash the ball into the corner.’

Antonio Martial scored the other goal as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer men made it two wins in two in the Champions League.

Liverpool Gets Fabinho Boost After Injury Fears

Liverpool makeshift centre-half Luis Fabinho was forced off the pitch after half-an-hour in the Reds’ win against Midtjylland, worsening an already serious defensive injury crisis after Virgil van Dijk’s long-term ACL injury. But manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed it is not as bad as first feared.

Concerns amongst the Liverpool staff that the Brazilian had suffered a grade-three tear, which could keep him out for up to six months, were eased after a scan on Wednesday showed a grade-one or grade-two tear.

As a result of further diagnosis, there is optimism that Fabinho could be back after the November international break, meaning he would miss just three games.

Until then, Klopp will have to cope with a shortage of options at centre-half, with Joe Gomez the only fully fit senior player currently available who naturally plays in that position.

Zidane Not Worried About Madrid’s Form

Real Madrid gaffer Zinedine Zidane insists he has no doubts that Real Madrid will reach the last-16 of the Champions League if they match the performance that rescued them a last-gasp draw at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Madrid fell behind to a Marcus Thuram brace either side of half-time in Germany before Karim Benzema and Casemiro scored late goals to rescue a point in their second Champions League group game.

However the result leaves them bottom of their group following a shock 3-2 opening day home defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, with their next two matches coming in what is now a crucial double header against Inter Milan.

‘The result shows the character in this team,’ Zidane said. ‘We deserved to draw and I think get even more. I like the reaction and it’s an important point.

‘We played well throughout the match, but it’s true that we lacked something because we didn’t win. We believe in the plan and we deserved the draw’

The result comes after an impressive win against Barcelona in the El Clasico.

Ronaldo Test Positive for Coronavirus for Third Time

Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out of Wednesday’s Champions League match against Barcelona after testing positive for coronavirus once again. Meaning the Messi-Ronaldo reunion in the Champions League will not happen, at least not in the first leg.

The Portuguese had been self-isolating at home since he tested positive for Covid-19 on October 13 and had hoped to return to action against his rival Lionel Messi in their Champions League clash in Turin.

Ronaldo had to take a new test just 48 hours before the game – due to his very low viral load – but the striker recorded another positive result.

The Portugal superstar has already missed three matches for Andrea Pirlo’s side when they beat Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League last week but were held to two draws in Serie A.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has, however, been accused of breaking coronavirus rules when he flew home from Portugal to Italy after testing positive for the illness.

Cech Better Than Chelsea Goalkeepers – Says Ex-Goalkeeper

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has claimed that Petr Cech was the best goalkeeper training at Chelsea this season before Edouard Mendy arrived at the club.

Schwarzer has heard that Cech, who was named in the Blues 25-man Premier League squad despite retiring in 2019, was performing better in training sessions than Kepa Ariba…whatever and ‘Willing’ Caballero. The Blues have had to sign Edouard Mendy before Frank Lampard becomes forced to play Cech.

‘From my understanding, he was better than the Chelsea keepers. But this was before Mendy arrived at the club.

‘He was performing and training better than the Chelsea keepers. He just was saying he felt so good.’ The Australian said.

Cech is one of the most successful goalkeepers in Chelsea’s history, having won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and both the Champions League and the Europa League competitions during his 11-year stay at Stamford Bridge.

Schwarzer added: ‘He said had he known that after having time off he would have felt so good, he would have only had six months off and wouldn’t have retired.

‘He actually believes he’s fit enough and strong enough and good enough still to play in the Premier League. I know he’s kicking the ball further than he did towards the end of his career.

‘The injuries he had, the problems he had with his ankle, his calf, they were hindering his kicking game. So apparently he has no problems with that at all any more. He’s kicking the ball as far as he [ever] did.’

Cech is one of the most successful goalkeepers in Chelsea’s history, having won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and both the Champions League and the Europa League competitions during his 11-year stay at Stamford Bridge.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Auba Envying Ozil, Barca Plan C and other talking points.

This football season could well be a pandemic season with some pandemic results here and there. After just six matches in the Premier League, all the teams have tasted defeat, with Everton top of the pile. Real Sociedad are top in La Liga, both Real Madrid and Barcelona have produced some pinkish performances.

A team lost to Ajax 13-0 in the Eredivisie, such team does not deserve the honour of having them mentioned here. There were lots of lessons the lunatic took from football actions this weekend, should be read with a lunatic mind.

Auba envying Ozil

Arsenal have a £350,000-a-week star in their team. He is however a non-playing staff. He is part of photoshoots and promotional items but does not play – you all know Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal may soon have two G-Boys in their team.

Recently, while his teammates were playing, he was running commentaries on Twitter, what a way to be useful. It seems Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is envying Ozil. Since he signed a mega deal believed to be worth up to £300,000 a week, he has become a ghost on the football pitch. He has failed to have a shot on target in three of his last four Premier League appearances, any league goal he scored in that period was on Play Station.

Very soon, Arsenal fans will turn to him if things don’t change. The manager will drop him for tactical reasons and he will join Ozil to do Twitter commentaries.

Young Progressive Boring Managers

The new generation of young managers are said to be progressive. They play exciting brands of attacking football, but we didn’t see that when Manchester United played Chelsea last weekend.

The young managers Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer served us a bore fest.

With a lot of attacking talents at their disposal, the highlight of the match was Harry Maguire practising his wrestling skills on Ceasar Azpilicueta. Which reminds us why we must not keep quiet in our quest to END VAR.

Barca Plan C

While we can not say Messi has downed tools at Barcelona, no goal from open play in five league matches is not Messi.

Barca’s plan A and B is failing

Barcelona’s plan A tactics used to be ‘get the ball to Messi’. Lots of times he bailed them out. Since Barcelona refused to let him go at the summer, the plan A is no longer working. Unfortunately, Messi was also the plan B. Ronald Koeman reportedly told Messi he wasn’t central to his plans, it is high time we start seeing that plan in play. The plan should be plan C. Then plan D and plan E. If those don’t work, it is plan F, which he won’t be able to execute because it will come in form of a sack letter.

Real Madrid have found lots of joy in the El Clasico in recent times and they did it again, the Nou Camp is beginning to feel like Santiago Bernebeau to them.

Where is Pirlo headed?

Juventus straight win used to be a banker on punters tickets. The story is not the same anymore. Another draw against Hellas Verona leaves more questions than answers..

Zinedine Zidane stepped up from failing at Real Madrid B to winning back-to-back Champions League with Real Madrid. Juve have taken Andrea Pirlo from yet to manage a game with the Reserves team to becoming first team manager. Pep Guardiola also went from Barca B team to success with the first team. Juventus will be hoping Pirlo is their own Guardiola or Zidane, but what Zidane and Guardiola have in common, Pirlo does not have. If you don’t understand where I am heading to, leave it.

We will give him time, also considering Ronaldo has been out injured. Managers have been sacked even after winning the league. His resemblance with the pictorial representations of Jesus won’t be enough if results don’t get better. Fans will forget he was once the brilliant midfielder, crucify him, they will say.

That’s all on this edition of Thoughts of a Lunatic. Till next time, no dey disguise, Soro Soke like a lunatic.

Follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

Club Announces Super Eagles Player Departure

Super Eagles Captain Ahmed Musa has left his Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr.

Musa leaves Al Nassr

Al Nassr announced Musa’s departure on their verified Twitter handle.

“Thank you Nigerian falcon,
wishing you all the best in the future! @Ahmedmusa718,” the club wrote.

Musa joined Al Nassr in 2018 from Premier League club Leicester City.

During his two seasons with the club Musa made 48 appearances and scored 10 goals.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: END VAR, Pink Boys, Chelsea Premium 33 and other talking points.

The lunatic could not wait for league matches to return after the international break, and it was really worth it. Derby drama, goals, VAR controversies, were able to drag attention with END SARS agitation in Nigeria. Maybe it is high time we start an END VAR campaign as well. Lots to get into in this edition of Thoughts of a Lunatic.

END VAR
Apologies to END SARS agitators, the lunatic will have to borrow your slogan. It is high time FIFA ends VAR and let us return to dealing with referee mistakes alone. After Jordan Pickford’s attempt to assassinate Virgil Van Dijk went unpunished, it seems anything can happen even with VAR.

And what is it with drawing offside margins like Technical Drawing? The oversabi is not necesstri. It is not that serious. How can a player be offside by the tip of his nose or eyelashes? Haba!
End VAR, reform the referees, retrain the referees, punish all referees that have been kill-joys, change FIFA… We don’t even know what we want, just END VAR.

Pickford dived into Van Dijk with cutlass, knife, hammer,…

Chelsea 33 Premium
Chelsea are really confirming there’s so much to a name. First, we know what the brand Chelsea is associated with. Now, they have taken it to a new level with 3 on their jerseys. Who does a mixture of Chelsea and 33 Lager? You can only get drunken performances.

Second time this season they have served us chilled bottles of 33. At this stage, we are confused. Who are the shirt sponsors of Chelsea? 3 network or 33 Lager beer?
Liverpool also tried to woo Seven-Up just before the international break.
Back to Chelsea, Kepa Ariba…whatever cannot just stop drinking goals like it is 33, best £72m Athletic Bilbao will ever receive in their life. 600 years for the person that recommended him to Chelsea.

Better together

Pink Boys
Thank goodness, the Pink Boys will not be wearing their costumes of shame for the El Clasico next weekend. Or are not expected to wear it. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona were clad in their pink jerseys at the weekend, and they both produced pink performances.

Who ever suggested that men’s team should wear pink? So creepy. They chose to wear their ‘anko‘ on the same day and it was a party for both of them.

Pinky pinky

Super Maguire
Manchester Sixers captain Harry Maguire has become a favourite of the lunatic. For good reasons this weekend, he was commanding for Manchester United against Newcastle United. He scored a goal, he did not mark his own teammate, he did not get sent off and he did not try to beat a police officer.
We must however commend his smartness, knowing PSG are the next opponent, his muscles found a way to tear. He has escaped from Kylian Mbappe and Neymar dragging him from the Parc de Princes to the Greek prisons.

I Conte understand
A 39-year-old that just returned from isolation sank Antonio Conte and his Inter Milan team. After signing all the Young pensioners from the Premier League, Conte should be doing better at Inter Milan.
Who else does he need? Danny Drinkwater?
AC Milan are in good form but don’t have as much quality as Inter, and definitely not with a 39-year-old striker.

So, the UEFA Champions League group stages begin today, more football for the lunatic. For the London Thursdays, we will also help them to watch the Europa League, one of them decided to share in Chelsea’s 33 Lager beer at the weekend.

Don’t follow the Lunatic anywhere, but follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal