Football

Football News: Inter win Super Cup; Klopp announce departure from Liverpool; Balde out for season

A lot took place in the world of football in this particular week. However, in this article we will be covering only some of the major news that shook the footballing world. So, without further ado let’s take a look at the top football news from the week.

Inter Milan 0-1 Napoli: Nerazzuris claim hattrick of Italian Super Cup triumphs after a late Lautaro Martinez strike helps edge past Napoli

Inter Milan completed a three-peat of Italian Super Cups as they defeated Napoli in the final minutes at Riyadh, with skipper Lautaro Martinez striking a 91st-minute goal. With this victory, Inzaghi’s men garnered the first silverware of this season as they continue to maintain their unbeaten streak.

Inter Milan dashes hopes of Napoli

Inter Milan has proved to the football world that they are in for the long run, establishing their supremacy on the Italian Super Cup, after they achieved the milestone of winning the title for three consecutive years. Last night maybe a tough one for Simone Inzaghi’s men as they were made to toil hard for every goal and assists, but it was Lautaro Martinez, the skipper, who made the only breakthrough by scoring a flashy goal on the dying minutes, thus dashing any hopes of Napoli, who aimed to break the streak for Nerazzuris. 

With a title glory at stake, both teams had decided to field a full-strength team, with Lautaro and Thuram spearheading the attack for Nerazzuris, followed by a five-throng midfield, comprising the likes of Dimarco, Mkhitaryan, Darmian, Calhanoglu and Barella. Defensive duties were vested upon Acerbi, De Vrij and Pavard, with Sommer between the sticks. 

As for Napoli, it was a traditional 3-4-3 formation employed by Walter Mazzarri, with a three-fold attack led by Simeone, flanked by Kvaratskhelia and Politano on the wings. Midfield comprised a sweet juxtaposition of youth and experience, having Mazzocchi, Cajuste, Lobotka and Zerbin, with Jesus, Rrahmani and Di Lorenzo completing the line-up in the defence. 

Napoli goes one man down after Martinez goal gets disallowed

Lautaro Martinez, the World Cup winning skipper from Argentina, had previously given his side an anticipated lead, but it was unfortunately disallowed owing to an offside foul by Frenchman Marcus Thuram, thus keeping the scoreline intact at 0-0.

But, Napoli found themselves in a disadvantageous position as striker Simeone was sent off, after he fetched himself a second yellow card, following a cagey encounter. From that point, Napoli seemed to have lost their zeal and enthusiasm to run for the title, as they were one man down, and Inter ramping up their attacking force. 

With the clock striking ninety minutes, and fans expecting further actions for penalties and extra time, El Toro decided to take matters in his own hands, as he sweeped home a close range shot from former Bayern defender Benjamin Pavard, as the Frenchman’s cutback from the byline met the Argentine, who smashed home the winner, thus having one hand on the trophy. 

With last night’s glory, Inter overhauled their city rivals AC Milan with eighth Supercoppa title, reducing the deficit with Juventus, who have etched their name on the history books by winning the prestigious cup for record nine times. 

Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool manager announces shock decision to leave Reds at the end of the season

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season has taken everyone by surprise as the German manager has expressed his decision to the club ownership. A shock move, which has prompted football pundits to look for Klopp’s replacement as the former Borussia Dortmund manager is slated to depart the club in June.

Jurgen Klopp: a legendary manager

Jurgen Klopp has been one of the legends ever to grace the sidelines of the Reds. Joining the side in 2015, the German gaffer has led the side to numerous prestigious titles, which include the most anticipated Premier League, and has triumphed UEFA Champions League with the side, which had reached the pinnacle of success a few years ago. Chipping in with a few domestic titles like FA Cup, Klopp could indeed be named as one of the successful managers for the Reds.

He has roped in several legends in the club, which include Egyptian Pharaoh Mohamed Salah and Senegalese legend Sadio Mane, and has made them into one of the famous tridents in English football, which included Brazilian stalwart Roberto Firmino, as the enterprising troika has accomplished every trophy in the colors of Liverpool.

“I will leave the club” says Klopp

Klopp had announced the decision with a press conference on Friday, saying that he is “running out of energy.” His announcement followed next, which was a blend of sorrow and satisfaction. He was heard saying, “I will leave the club at the end of the season. I understand that it’s a shock.”

He further continued, “When we sat there together talking about potential signings, the next summer camp and can we go wherever, the thought came up, ‘I am not sure I am here then anymore’ and I was surprised myself by that. I obviously start thinking about it.”

Frontrunners to replace Klopp

With Klopp leaving at the end of the season, football pundits have named their choices to replace the legend, as whoever comes, he will have huge boots to fill in, as the Gaffer is leaving behind a legacy. Former Liverpool legend and current Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso is considered to be the frontrunner, along with several managers who are currently being looked out for managerial jobs. 

Jamie Carraghar, former English football legend said, “This news was always going to be a body blow to the club whenever it came. I just thought it would be another few years away. What a manager, what a man, let’s go out with a bang Jurgen!”

As of the current season, Liverpool are reigning at the top of the Premier League table, closely followed by Manchester City. They have the chance to win the quadruple as they have reached the finals of Carabao Cup, with their legacies at Europa League and FA Cup still at fray. 

Pep Guardiola: Manchester City boss breathes sigh of relief, says he will “sleep better” as Klopp will leave Liverpool

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp has been the masterminds of English football since last decade, as Manchester City boss has explained his camaraderie with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who made a bombshell announcement of him departing the Reds at the end of the season, last day, thus ending a stellar career on the sidelines for Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp: Legendary camaraderie in Premier League 

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, are by far, considered to be two of the best masterminds which have ruled English football over the years. Since the rivalry between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, Premier League has never seen a competitive duo on the sidelines, but Pep and Klopp have revisited those old times, rekindling their fighting spirit whenever the two heavyweights used to play. 

Among trophies, it could be safe to say that the German-Spanish duo might have created great memories within England, as the treble winners from Manchester have triumphed in the last four occasions of five Premier League seasons, with Klopp’s win at 2020 being the blot in Pep’s perfect record. 

“I will sleep better” says Pep

Last night, Manchester City created a record of defeating Spurs at their stadium after more than six years, and knocked out the Lilywhites from FA Cup, thus proceeding to the next stages. When Pep was asked post-game about Klopp’s shock announcement, the former FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach jokingly said, “I will sleep better. The games against Liverpool have almost been a nightmare. Of course he will be missed. I was shocked like everyone. I felt listening to the news that a part of Man City will lose something.”

He further added, “We cannot define our period together here without him. We cannot define our period without Liverpool. It’s impossible. They’ve been our biggest rival and personally he’s been the best rival I’ve ever had in my life.”

“He will be back”, Pep hinting at Klopp’s return?

When asked about Klopp’s charismatic outlook along the sidelines, Pep blurted, “The Premier League are going to miss him, the charisma and his personality. And especially the way his teams play. It’s always been a pleasure to respect his approach, how positive it is no matter what. The fans are going to try to win the game. Of course, I wish him all the best. It’s always tough, but from now on Liverpool will be tougher.”

He further mentioned, “Maybe it’s my opinion, he won’t admit it, but he will be back. I know it. Maybe in 10 years’ time, I don’t know, he said he needs to recharge his energy. That’s his personality and his energy. He’ll be back at the national team, another team, somewhere, I don’t know. Football needs personalities like him. My dream is I hope we can have dinners together and all the drink we deserve to take.”

While asked about his extension at Manchester City, Pep mentioned, “You want to sack me? I’m fine.”

“I’ve still got one more year, I want to do it, maybe I’ll extend. I’m fine. What we did [in winning the treble] last season, you want more and more? It’s not going to happen.”

“What is important is just one step at a time. What I feel now is we cannot lose, otherwise Liverpool will leave [us behind in the title race]. We still have the FA Cup, you have to be close [in the Premier League], around the corner is the Champions League.”

Alejandro Balde: FC Barcelona youngster suffers season-ending knock, set to undergo surgery

FC Barcelona’s timid season gets more gruesome as La Masia youngster and a prominent starter with the first team Alejandro Balde has suffered a horrific injury, which has potentially ended his season. He is set to undergo surgery, as official reports have suggested about his exclusion from the squad.

Alejandro Balde: a La Masia prodigy

Alejandro Balde has been a promising star for the Catalans since his induction into the starting eleven last season. The La Masia star, who has showcased his meteoric rise through the ranks of Barcelona, has etched his name into the history book last season, when he formed a formidable quartet at the defensive sector for the Blaugranas, using the acronym of “B-A-C-K”, comprising Araujo, Christensen and Kounde along with him. His sheer pace, coupled with penetrative run-ins into the opponent box, had fetched him several laurels, and has registered his name among the permanent starters for Xavi.

With Balde’s injury, Barcelona’s injury woes continue as they have lost quite a number of players this season, owing to several different knocks, including Gavi’s ACL injury to Marc Andre Ter Stegen’s knock. Along with Gavi, Balde is set to miss the rest of the season, as is informed by the official reports of FC Barcelona, who play against Villareal at home today.

Set to go under the knife

FC Barcelona has released an official statement regarding Balde’s injury update, as they have mentioned, “Tests show that first team player Alejandro Balde has an injury to the tendon in his right hamstring. In the coming days he will undergo a surgical procedure at the hands of Dr. Lasse Lempainen, under the supervision of the Club’s medical staff, in Turku, Finland. Once the procedure has been carried out a new statement will be released.”

With a mid-week catastrophe against Athletic Bilbao, where the Basque country has knocked out the Catalans after scoring two extra-time goals, Balde was taken off the field around the 20th minute, thus exposing the Catalan’s defensive frailties which have once again taken a centre-stage. According to statements and official reports, it is seen that a surgical intervention is required for the left-back, thus potentially ending his season. 

As of the current scenario, Barca would look to reinforce their defensive sector by including another La Masia gem Hector Fort, as against Villareal, Xavi might go with his four-throng defensive strength of Kounde, Araujo, Cancelo and Christensen, as upcoming star Pau Cubarsi might also be an option in the set-up. 

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