Every now and then Barcelona superstar Neymar gets a huge amount of criticism for what people perceive as “showboating”, showing off skills without any real necessity to allegedly humiliate the opponent. He’s been criticized by fans, opposing players, coaches and even some football legends. But Neymar continues to do it time and time again, with the support of his Barça teammates and coach Luis Enrique. They don’t want Neymar to be anything other than himself, and that’s exactly what the Brazilian thinks as well. Neymar will always be the same player, and he claims nothing will be able to change his way of playing football. Neymar said: “I am not going to change, of course I won’t change. People have to know that when you go on the pitch I have my way of playing and my way of playing is this, to dribble, to score goals, to help my teammates and I’m happy playing this way. If people aren’t, there’s nothing I can do. In football you give elbows and kicks, but not everyone can dribble. I won’t change my way of playing.”
Willian has confirmed on Facebook that his mother has lost her battle with cancer after surgery and chemotherapy treatments failed to send the disease into remission. The 28-year-old revealed that his mother, Dona Zeze, 57, was suffering from the illness back in September and that she was receiving treatment in his native Brazil. He has returned home to London and is no longer in contention to face Leicester City on Saturday, but he played and scored in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Venezuela on Sunday. In his last Premier League game against Hull City, Willian told Chelsea TV that his breakthrough goal was dedicated to his sick mother as he did his trademark pointing to the sky celebration after initially cheering with his teammates. Willian previously spoke about how his mother had a ‘two-and-a-half-year struggle’ with the illness and she will be buried on Thursday in the Ribeirao Pires district of Sao Paulo. Upon confirming the news, Willian posted a poem to his social media accounts to commemorate his mother and confirmed that he is in a period of mourning while Chelsea issued the following statement. “All of us at Chelsea Football Club are sending our love and deepest condolences to Willian and his family after the passing of his mother. We are thinking of you Willian.”
Diego Maradona says there is nothing to choose from between Real Madrid and Barcelona rivals Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The stellar pair’s ongoing rivalry has dominated the footballing landscape this decade, perhaps taking the baton from Maradona’s own dispute with Brazilian great Pele over which of them is the sport’s greatest player. Having emerged from the cursed shadow of a ‘next Maradona’ to establish his own legend, Messi has won eight Liga titles and four Champions Leagues in 12 years as a senior Barcelona player. Ronaldo, a four-time league champion in England and Spain as well as three-time Champions League winner, seized a crucial advantage over Messi in the race to be this era’s greatest this year as he captained Portugal to Euro 2016 glory. Messi has lost all four of his major finals with Argentina and reversed a retirement after going down to Chile in this year’s Copa America finale, but Maradona maintains the Barca star remains at Ronaldo’s side.
Liverpool’s Juergen Klopp has been named Premier League manager of the month after leading the club to three consecutive wins in September, the first time the German has won the award. Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min won the player of the month prize for the first time after an impressive run of form. “I went into the office of my coaches and said, ‘We are manager of the month!’ I don’t need personal prizes but it’s nice now I have another one,” Klopp said. “We are on a good way but there are so many good teams in this league and so many difficult games for us, which we have to be ready for.” Liverpool host sixth-placed Manchester United on Monday and are three points ahead of Jose Mourinho’s men in fourth place in the standings. South Korean Son has stepped up in the absence of injured striker Harry Kane, scoring three league goals in September to help lift his team to second in the table behind Manchester City. “This is my dream, to get the award. I want to get it a second time, a third time. When I take the award home my family will be crazy like you can’t believe. They will be really happy,” Son said.
Paris St-Germain defender Serge Aurier is being investigated by FIFA after appearing to make a throat-slitting gesture to supporters. Aurier, 23, celebrated an Ivory Coast goal against Mali by turning to the crowd and dragging his hand across his throat. Governing body FIFA said a “preliminary investigation is under way”. The controversial celebration was the latest in a string of incidents involving the full-back. In September, he was sentenced to two months in jail for elbowing a police officer, but remains free pending an appeal. And in February, he was suspended by PSG after appearing to use homophobic language to insult then-coach Laurent Blanc. He had also called team-mate Angel di Maria a “clown” while answering questions from fans on social media app Periscope.