‘It annoyed me’ – Vidal hits back at former Juventus team-mate Chiellini’s alcohol claims

Arturo Vidal, BarcelonaJUVENTUSARTURO VIDALSERIE ABARCELONAPRIMERA DIVISIÓNGIORGIO CHIELLINIThe veteran defender suggested that the Chilean had a weakness for drink, which didn’t sit well with the Barcelona manArticle continues below

Arturo Vidal has hit back at former Juventus team-mate Giorgio Chiellini, who said in his autobiography thatthe Chilean’s weakness was alcohol.

Chiellini spent four seasons at Juve with Vidal, who is now at Barcelona, and said that although the midfielder was a “champion,” his fondness for partying held him back.

“A footballer isn’t a devil or a saint. The distinction to be made is quite another. That is, between those who are real and those who are fake,” Chiellini wrote in an excerpt printed by SOS Fanta.

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“Someone like Vidal sometimes went out and drank more than they should’ve. Everyone knew it. It can be said that alcohol was a bit of a weakness for him.Article continues below

“However, that doesn’t put into question whether he is a champion or which type of person he is. Weaknesses are part of human nature. What matters are the consequences they can have on a squad.”

Vidal didn’t take kindly to his former team-mate’s words, suggesting that he broke a code of silence in the dressing room, although he did add that the 35-year-old had called him to explain his comments. 

“People have focused on the worst things Chiellini said. I don’t see why one should say those things, it annoyed me,” Vidal said in an Instagram Live chat.

“But he also said that I was a champion. He called me and explained to me. I didn’t do anything I couldn’t do. I was allowed to go out. I am a human being like everyone else. I work hard and if friends meet for an asado [social event] with the club’s permission, I’ll go too.

“If I have to stay focused, I do it, but when it’s my turn to have fun I take advantage of it, I’m just like the others. When I was wrong, I paid and got up.”https://player.daznservices.com/player/v4/assets/amp-iframe-loader.html#1bf2717752d22173e833c11d28.1ridsjotzemy41hieicm5u3c8c$s=1

He added: “In football there are codes.”

Vidal isn’t the first player Chiellini has crossed with his words in his autobiography, as the centre-back also hit out at former team-mates Mario Balotelli and Felipe Melo.

Chiellini apologised to Balotelli for saying the striker “deserved a slap” for his attitude during Italy’s 2013 Confederations Cup campaign. The veteran defender also called former team-mate Melo “the worst of the worst” and “a bad apple.” 

‘We will never forget you’ – Former PSG academy player Diakiese dies aged 24

Jordan Diakiese PSGPSGLIGUE 1The defender was playing for fifth-tier French side AS Furiani-Agliani, who released a statement to confirm his passing on FridayArticle continues below

Former Paris Saint-Germain academy defender Jordan Diakiese has died at the age of just 24.

The right-back played alongside the likes of Presnel Kimpembe and Kingsley Coman during his time as part of the youth structure at the Ligue 1 club before leaving in 2015.

After moving to Switzerland to play for FC La Chaux-de-Fonds, Diakiese joined Croatian side NK Rudes before heading back to France to play for AS Furiani.

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And the fifth-tier side confirmed the news of Diakiese’s death on Friday, tweeting on their official account: “Our club is in mourning today. It’s with deep and immense sadness that we’ve learnt of the death of our player Jordan D, 24, yesterday afternoon in Paris.Article continues below

“After arriving last July, this amazing kid was a winner both on the pitch and beyond. Always smiling, discreet, hard-working, he settled in very quickly.

“The whole Furianinca family is reeling from the news. The staff, Jordan’s team-mates, as well as all the directors and volunteers have been hit hard.

“Our thoughts are, first and foremost, with his family, friends and loved ones. Rest in peace, Jordan. You’ll always be a Furianincu lion.”

While he didn’t make a senior appearance for PSG, Diakiese played in the UEFA Youth League in the 2013-14 season, helping his side reach the quarter-finals of the competition before they were knocked out by Real Madrid.

The Ligue 1 champions also posted a note of condolence on their social media pages as they expressed their sadness and well-wishes to their former player’s family and all those associated with AS Furiani.

They wrote: “We will never forget you, Jordan.”

The post continued: “Born in Paris and arriving at the club academy at 13, Jordan Diakiese left only good memories with his coaches and team-mates. We learnt about his death today at the age of 24 with great sorrow.

“PSG offers its condolences to his family and friends, and to his club.”

Reality check Solskjaer suggests some Man United players aren’t as good as they think

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called for a ‘reality check’ among some of his players after an alarming run of form.

The Red Devils’ resurgence has been halted by five defeats in their last seven games, which have sent them crashing out of the Champions League and the FA Cup .

Solskjaer’s men are also struggling to make the top four and face Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea in the next eight days.

The Norwegian warns there is ‘no hiding place’ for his under-performing stars and issued a wake-up call ahead of the club’s run in.

“I’ve learned a lot about them over the months here now and you get to know them,” he said.

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“Most of them have really impressed in their attitude and some need to get a reality check of where they’re at. But most of these know they can improve if they keep working as they do.

“Every day in training, every game when you’re playing, there’s no hiding place and everyone can see what your level is at. We’re working with fantastic staff to create this culture.

“Players have to take ownership of what’s happening here as well, but the performance on the pitch will determine where they’re at – if it’s short-term or long-term every single day.

“That’s what we spoke about at Barcelona (on Tuesday); when you’re at big stadiums, you’ve got to step up, make good decisions and I’m looking forward to this period.

“There’s no quick fix, it’s not like we buy seven players and suddenly we’re in the right shape, we are where we are.

“We have to take it step-by-step and of course there will be signings made in the summer.”

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By Emfis

Barcelona can wait as Klopp eyes Cardiff, Huddersfield

Jurgen Klopp is adamant that their upcoming Premier League matches against Cardiff and Huddersfield are just as important as their mouth-watering Champions League semi-final against Barcelona as they chase down a domestic and European double.

They will be huge favourites to beat both strugglers Cardiff and already relegated Huddersfield, but Klopp is taking nothing for granted in the Reds’ quest to win their first domestic title since 1990 as they tussle with champions Manchester City.

“These are all massive games,” said Klopp ahead of Sunday’s match in Cardiff.

“None of them are won before we start.

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“Everybody thinks a lot about Barcelona but before Barcelona, it’s Cardiff and Huddersfield and it’s exactly the same importance to us as the other games.”

While Liverpool eased into the last four of the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Porto, City saw their bid for an unprecedented quadruple ended by Tottenham Hotspur after what would have been a decisive goal in stoppage time was ruled out by the video assistant referees.

By a bizarre quirk of the fixture list, City plays Spurs in the Premier League on Saturday, and Liverpool now turn their attention to a Cardiff side whose bid to remain in English football’s top flight was revived by their 2-0 win at Brighton on Tuesday.

“Neil (Warnock) and Cardiff have gained a lot of confidence in the last game and rightly so,” he said.

“It was a massive game against Brighton, if Cardiff had lost that game then the fight for the league would be finished but now it starts again for all the teams.

“Everything came together and that’s what makes football so exciting. They believe in their chances and I would do the same, so we have to show we are ready for this battle.”

By Noeryliwa

ROLLS-ROYCE ‘This is the Liverpool of old’ – Flying Reds tipped to win Premier League title

Vinnie Jones has hailed Liverpool for their ‘Rolls-Royce’ performance against Chelsea and firmly believes the Reds will beat Manchester City to the Premier League title.

Jurgen Klopp’s side issued the perfect response to City’s earlier 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace by beating Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield – with Mohamed Salah scoring a stunning ‘thunderbolt’ goal – to reclaim their two point lead at the top of the table.

Liverpool have now come through the two biggest tests of their run-in – beating Chelsea and Tottenham – and now have just four games remaining as they aim for a first league win in 29 years.

Cruelly, though, the title race is out of their hands.

City still have a game in hand and five wins from their final five games will see the trophy stay in Manchester after the Etihad club’s success last season.

However, Pep Guardiola’s side do have a tougher run-in, with back-to-back crunch clashes against Spurs and red rivals Man United.

And famous football hard-man Jones believes Liverpool may just edge it.

Premier League title run-ins…

Arsenal Vs Watford: Top four awaits

Scooper

Arsenal travel to Watford on Monday night in a crucial Premier League contest. Win at Vicarage Rd and a top-four finish awaits the Gunners.

For Arsenal , the target in the Premier League has always been the same: finish in the top four. Whether that was a realistic aim at the start of the year or not, no one really knew. But Unai Emery , in his first season at the helm, was tasked with resurrecting the team from the latter years of the Arsene Wenger tenure. And getting back into the Champions League was the first step on the road to recovery.

Find the latest episode of the Pain in the Arsenal Podcast here — Napoli brilliance; top four chances

With an extended break during late-March, there was time to take stock of the season. And at that point, the Gunners were in an excellent position to reclaim a top-four place. Coming off a win against Manchester United in the league, they were seen as the favourites for potentially a third-placed finish.

And upon the return of the Premier League after the international break, a home win over Newcastle put the team in an ideal situation to finish the season well. But then Sunday happened. An awkward trip to Goodison Park. Pressure knowing that a victory would be another step towards the ultimate goal. Capitulation. Not only did Arsenal lose the match, but they utterly crumbled in the process, putting in one of their worst performances of the season.

Now, a week later, after wins for Chelsea and Spurs, the picture is far more unclear. Prior to this weekend’s fixtures, Arsenal sit in fifth position. They are two points clear of Manchester United, who are not completely out of the top-four race just yet, one point behind Spurs, and three points behind Chelsea, though they have a game-in-hand on the latter. They have a better goal difference than United and Chelsea but are one behind Spurs.

You do not need me to tell you that it is an extremely tight picture indeed. And so, this brings me to Monday night’s trip to Vicarage Rd to face a Watford side that have just squeezed into the FA Cup final.

Scooper

In the final six matches of the year, Arsenal have four away games. As everyone knows, that is not a good thing. Watford is one of those away matches — Wolves, Leicester City and Burnley are the others. It is likely that three wins from those four games are required to secure a top-four finish. Losing at Watford could be catastrophic.

Conversely, win and Emery’s team are on the cusp of the top four. Yes, they still have to finish off the season well. But the extra three points along with shedding the moniker of struggling away from home would set them up perfectly for the run-in. Chelsea travel to Liverpool. Next week, Spurs face Manchester City. Chelsea and Manchester United still have to play each other. And there is also a Manchester derby to come as well.

Next: Arsenal Vs Napoli: 5 things we learned

What a position it would be for Arsenal to be in if they can win on Monday. I believe that if they beat Watford, they will finish in the top four. Sadly, though, that if is a big one.

By Edson Aigbe

GUNNER TO-BY Arsenal ‘plotting shock summer swoop’ for Spurs ace also wanted by Man United

Arsenal are plotting a shock summer move for Tottenham defender and Manchester United target Toby Alderweireld, according to reports.

Spurs triggered a 12-month extension on the Belgian’s deal at the beginning of the year after failing to reach an agreement over a new contract.

By taking up the extension, Spurs activated a £25million release clause which kicks in when the summer transfer window opens.

So far there have been no official approaches for the 30-year-old, though any bid that matches the release clause has to be accepted up to July 26 – two weeks before the transfer deadline.

According to The Sun, Arsenal are said to monitoring the situation of the centre-back, with the Gunners reportedly looking for cut-price deals in the market.

By Sparkle