Leaving The UCL Final Was The Worst Moment Of My Career - Salah Breaks Silence On Injury - Naijaray
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Leaving The UCL Final Was The Worst Moment Of My Career – Salah Breaks Silence On Injury

While speaking in an exlcusive interview with Marca, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, admitted that leaving the pitch injured during the UEFA Champions League final clash against Real Madrid was the worst moment of his career

The Egyptian international left the field in tears last month after tangling with Real Madrid captain, Sergio Ramos in the first half of Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat. The injury sent shock waves around Egypt with initial fears that he could miss the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Here are his full interview where he opened up about the injury, Egypt’s chances at the World Cup and many more;

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How is your injury? Will you play the first game?

“Now I’m better. I hope to play the first game against Uruguay, but that will depend on how I feel when it approaches.”

The injury in Kiev, having to leave the field in a final of the Champions League… Was it the worst moment in your career?

“Yes, it was.”

We will finally see you in Russia, but did you ever fear for your participation in the World Cup?

“When I fell to the ground, I had a mixture of physical pain and a lot of worry. Also anger and sadness for not being able to continue playing the Champions League final. Moments later, I also thought about the possibility of not playing in the World Cup and that was a devastating thought.”

Much has been said about your fall with Sergio Ramos. Do you think it was normal?

“I don’t know. Maybe?”

Sergio Ramos said days ago: “I see the play well, he grabs me first by the arm and I fall to the other side, in fact he injures the other arm.” What do you think about that?

“It’s funny… ”

Ramos also noted that “if he had an injection he could’ve even played the second half.” Do you agree?

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“[Laughs] My comment is that it’s always okay when the one who made you cry first, then makes you laugh. Maybe he could also tell me if I’m going to be ready for the World Cup?”

Sergio did send a message…

“He sent me a message, but I never told him it was ‘okay.’”

Let’s talk about the World Cup. How can you explain to a European what it means for Egypt to qualify for Russia?

“It’s the first time in 28 years that we qualified… It was not normal because we won the African Cup seven times, and we were champions in 2006, 2008 and 2010. It was common to win the African Cup, but we didn’t qualify for the World Cup. And it was something we all said: ‘wow, we have to do it, we have to do it.’ We had not achieved it for a long time and it was something very special. Maybe like for Spain to win the World Cup… ”

What is Egypt’s goal in the World Cup?

“I think we have a great team and a great coach [Hector Cuper], we want to qualify for the next round and do well.”

And your personal goal?

“Just to help the team to qualify and score goals, but mainly try to help the team do better in matches.”

What are the strengths of your national team?

“It’s hard to say, but I think our group and togetherness. We play differently with Hector Cuper than with our previous coach [Shawky Gharib]. We are strong as a group, we all have the same goal, to help the team win the game, that is the most important thing. But I can’t say only one strong point, the main one is that we all play together.”

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Will you feel pressure from your supporters, who are very passionate, to play well in Russia?

“The pressure was to qualify for the World Cup. Of course, someone can now say ‘ok, we’ve qualified, that’s it’. But for me it’s not like that, we want to make history, achieve something different. In my head the pressure is to achieve something different from what we have done. Not just going there, three games and thank you very much. That doesn’t go through my head.”

Have you considered the possibility of a game against Spain?

“Could be, Spain or Portugal. Hopefully. They have a great team and it would be hard to play against them. But you never know what can happen.”

What do you like most about the Spanish team? Do you have a predilection for any player?

“I played with Diego Costa and Azpilicueta at Chelsea (2013-15), with Alberto Moreno [not called] at Liverpool… they have some top players. I can’t say one, but I like Costa a lot, when I played with him it was amazing. As a man he is top top top, and as a footballer he is very good.”

What is your first memory of a World Cup?
“I think the first one I remember is the 2002 World Cup. I couldn’t exactly tell you a match, but I did see games from my home in my town. Brazil won it. 2-1? No, 2-0, both goals by Ronaldo.”

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Alex Iwobi Tops List For African Best Player


Super Eagles star, Alex Iwobi, is top on the list of 10 players shortlisted for the prestigious Africa Player of Year Award.

The Confederation of African Football on their official website on Friday released a trimmed list of nominees as the CAF Awards 2018 gathers momentum.

Aside from Iwobi who is the only Nigerian in the race, premier league stars, Riyad Mahrez, Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all in the race for Africa’s biggest individual award.

Unfortunately, Ahmed Musa, as well as Nigeria’s national team coach, Gernot Rohr, have both dropped out in the race for honours in the 2018 CAF Awards.

While Musa was initially shortlisted for the prestigious Africa player of year accolade, Rohr was pencilled down in the best coach category.

That notwithstanding, Nigeria still has some form of representation as two players, Onome Ebi and Asisat Oshoala, are in the run for the women’s player of the year.

The Super Falcons’ coach, Thomas Dennerby, is being nominated alongside two others in the Women’s Coach of the Year category.

Also, the Super Falcons who only recently won their ninth African title, have been nominated for Women’s National Team of the Year.

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CAF explained that the shortlisted nominees were decided by votes from the members of the CAF Technical & Development Committee.

The final phase will involve votes from CAF Media Experts, Legends, Coaches of the quarter-finalists of the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup, and Coaches & Captains of the 54 Member Associations.

The Awards Gala, to honour footballers and officials who distinguished themselves during the year under review, will be held on Tuesday, 8 January 2019 in Dakar, Senegal.

See The Full Shortlists for CAF Awards 2018

CAF-AWard
African Player of the Year

  1. Alex Iwobi (Nigeria & Arsenal)

  2. Andre Onana (Cameroon & Ajax)

  3. Anis Badri (Tunisia & Esperance)

  4. Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)

  5. Mehdi Benatia (Morocco & Juventus)

  6. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)

  7. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Arsenal)

  8. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Manchester City)

  9. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)

  10. Walid Soliman (Egypt & Ahly)

Women’s Player of the Year

  1. Abdulai Mukarama (Ghana & Northern Ladies)

  2. Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Dilian Quanjian)

  3. Bassira Toure (Mali & AS Mande)

  4. Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa & Houston Dash)

  5. Elizabeth Addo (Ghana & Seattle Reign)

  6. Francisca Ordega (Nigeria & Washington Spirit)

  7. Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Cameroon & CSKA Moskow)

  8. Janine Van Wyk (South Africa & Houston Dash)

  9. Onome Ebi (Nigeria & Hekan Huisanhang)

  10. Raissa Feudjio (Cameroon & Aland United)

  11. Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi & Jiangsu Suning)

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Youth Player of the Year

  1. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco & Borussia Dortmunmd)

  2. Franck Kessie (Cote d’Ivoire & AC Milan)

  3. Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria & Leicester City)

Men’s Coach of the Year

  1. Aliou Cisse (Senegal)

  2. Herve Renard (Morocco)

  3. Moine Chaabani (Esperance)

Women’s Coach of the Year

  1. Desiree Ellis (South Africa)

  2. Joseph Brian Ndoko (Cameroon)

  3. Thomas Dennerby (Nigeria)

Men’s National Team of the Year

  1. Madagascar

  2. Mauritania

  3. Uganda

Women’s National Team of the Year

  1. Cameroon

  2. Nigeria

  3. South Africa

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Emery reveals number of players Arsenal will sign in January 

Arsenal manager, Unai Emery has disclosed that the club will sign a centre-back when the transfer window opens in January.

Emery said this ahead of his side’s Europa League clash with Qarabag FK on Thursday night.

The Spaniard believes it would be a ‘good option’ for the Gunners to sign a centre-back after the North London club have had trouble with the position so far this season.

“I think if we can take one player to help us at centre-back, I think it’s a good option,” Emery was quoted by Daily Cannon as saying in a pre-match press conference.

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“The transfer window is not easy. Laurent Koscielny is coming back and for the team, it’s very important he is coming back.

“Then we are going to wait and see how Konstantinos Mavropanos is improving with his injuries because he is also a centre-back who can help us.”

Emery added: “Another option we can play with two, with three, and (full-backs) Nacho Monreal and (Stephan) Lichtsteiner can play in this position.

“I prefer to use, if we can, a specialist centre-back.”

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Barca And PSG Explore Dembele-Neymar Swap


Barca could be ready to take their former star Neymar back, and send the talented but problematic Dembele back to his home country

Barcelona and PSG have discussed a ​swap of Neymar in exchange for Ousmane Dembele and cash, according to Le10Sport.

PSG fear they may have to sell either Neymar or Kylian Mbappe at season’s end in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.

And Barca could be ready to take their former star back, and send the talented but problematic Dembele back to his home country to play for his former boss Thomas Tuchel.

Barcelona could be set to make a surprising move for Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata, according to the Mirror.

The Blaugrana are in dire need of cover at striker, as Luis Suarez is struggling with knee issues and Paco Alcacer is in Dortmund on loan.

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Morata is seeking a way out at Chelsea after struggling to find his best form, and could be moved on loan to Barcelona with the La Liga side holding an option to buy.

Arsenal are currently considering three targets to bolster their defence in January, The Mirror claims.

Although the Gunners are set to welcome Laurent Koscielny back from injury, they want to add another face to their options for the centre of defence.

Manchester United’s Eric Bailly is seen as the most ambitious target, but they are also eyeing up Chelsea’s Gary Cahill, who has been told he will have to find another club if he wants to play. Meanwhile, Fernando Calero of Real Valladolid is another possible signing for Unai Emery’s team.

Former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure hopes to return to the Premier League after being released by Olympiakos.

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The Ivorian star will be in London at the end of the week and believes he is still good enough to play in the English top flight.

Toure left Olympiakos on Tuesday after just three months in Greece, by mutual consent.

Arsenal and Newcastle target Miguel Almiron will cost at least £30 million, according to the Mirror.

Atlanta United’s president, Darren Eales, says he will not consider a fee any less than that as he seeks to get the maximum amount for his 24-year-old Paraguay midfielder.

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