He covers a fair amount of distance on the pitch ‒ and it seems Lionel Messi is happy to go the extra mile off it, too. The Barcelona superstar has stepped in to cover the unpaid wages of the Argentina national team’s security staff, according to journalist Juan Palo Varsky. Reported by Sport, the 29-year-old forward was approached by the workers, who had not been paid for ‘several months’, prior to a match in Brazil. Varsky, speaking on the programme ‘No Somos Nadie’ on Metro 95.1, said: ‘Lionel Messi was in his room waiting for the game against Brazil in Belo Horizonte, when a knock at the door came. ‘Two or three people appeared, all from the security team who look after the Argentine team and they said “Leo, we have to talk with you. For five or six months they have not paid us. The situation is complicated, you are the captain of the team, you know us, we are asking for your help.”‘
Asisat Oshoala scored four goals as Nigeria began the defence of their women’s Africa Cup of Nations title with a 6-0 drubbing of Mali in Limbe on Sunday. The Player of the Tournament at the 2014 edition was in a class of her own as she terrorised the hapless Malian defence. USA-based Francisca Ordega and Uchechi Sunday also scored as the Super Falcons sent out a chilling warning to their rivals. The Group B game produced a slow start as both sides struggled to find their rhythm. But the complexion of the match changed after 22 minutes when Ordega – the Washington Spirit midfielder – struck to give Nigeria the lead.
Victor Anichebe started for Sunderland and played full time as they beat Hull City 3 – 0 at home at the Stadium of Light . He scored the second and third goals in the match making it three goals in two starts for the big man. He is making a strong case for a recall to the Super Eagles. David Moyes came in for some ridicule when he picked up Anichebe on a free over the summer. It looks like shrewd business now.
Kelechi Iheanacho was an unused substitute for Manchester City as they beat Crystal Palace 2 – 1 away at the Selhurst Park.
Victor Moses started for Chelsea as they beat Middlesbrough 1 – 0 away at the Riverside Stadium to go top of the EPL table. He was replaced by Ivanovic in the 90th minute.
Alex Iwobi was an unused substitute for Arsenal as they drew 1 – 1 away to Manchester United at the Old Trafford.
Ahmed Musa came in at the 78th minute for Leicester as they lost 2 – 1 away to Watford at the Vicarage Road.
Odion Ighalo was an unused substitute for Watford was they won Leicester 2 – 1 at home at the Vicarage Road.
Isaac Success was not selected for Watford’s game against Leicester. Mikel Obi was also not selected for Chelsea’s game against Middlesbrough – The inspiring Super Eagles captain continues to pay the price for leaving Chelsea’s pre-season to represent Nigeria at the Rio Olympics where he won a Bronze medal. Mikel had a wonderful game over the international break where he captained Nigeria and scored a goal as the Super Eagles beat Algeria 3 – 1 in a world cup qualifier played Uyo, Nigeria.
Eden Hazard has been rewarded for his return to form with the Premier League Player of the Month Award for October. Chelsea’s dip last season was mirrored by that of their star forward, but Hazard has been reinvigorated, like the rest of his team, by the arrival of Antonio Conte as Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor. The Belgian playmaker beat his teammates Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante to the gong, as well as Liverpool’s man of the moment Philippe Coutinho and Manchester City’s most impressive summer signing Ilkay Gundogan. Hazard scored three goals and registered an assist for his side, who won all four of their games without conceding in October, including the 4-0 demolition of Manchester United. The former Lille man had been a doubt for Chelsea’s clash with Middlesbrough on Sunday, after he suffered a kick to the ankle playing for his country last week, but he is expected to have recovered in time to face Aitor Karanka’s men.
Two Nigerian soccer players have accused a Portuguese club of gross mistreatment after they allegedly refused a pay cut at the start of the 2016-2017 season. In a flurry of tweets on Thursday, BBC sports writer Oluwashina Okeliji outlined the accusations of strikers Uche Nwofor and Michael Uchebo, who alleged that top-tier team Boavista treated them “like a slave” at the end of their tenures. The players, both of whom played elsewhere in Europe, as well as on Nigeria’s 2014 World Cup team, said Boavista executives have refused to pay them their salaries. The players also say club executives isolated them from the rest of the team, including barring them from training and other events. “(It’s) a crazy situation,” Nwofor, 25, told Okeleji. “We had to start keeping evidence. You’re working, they don’t pay you and use security to harass you. This is slavery.” Nwofor and Uchebo reportedly recorded video of their interactions with Boavista security personnel, which Okeleji posted to Twitter on Thursday.
Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi is yet to make an appearance under Antonio Conte. And the Nigeria international will reportedly be offered the chance to test himself in France or China if he does so. Mikel arrived at Stamford Bridge ten years ago with a reputation as one of world football’s most exciting teen talents. And despite the fact he has failed to live up to that billing, he has been able to forge a career as a reliable defensive midfielder. Mikel has played a role in securing two Premier League titles, one Champions League, one Europa League and seven more trophies during his time at Chelsea.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been named Premier League Manager of the Month for October. The Italian led his side to victory in all four matches they played in the month, as they scored 11 goals and conceded none. Chelsea’s 4-0 drubbing of Manchester United – led by former Blues boss Jose Mourinho – was the undoubted highlight.
CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko has been banned from football for two years after testing positive for cocaine. The 29-year-old Finland international was tested after CSKA’s 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on 14 September. He scored the Russian club’s equaliser. His ban runs until 6 October 2018. A UEFA statement said: “The analysis of the A sample revealed the presence of cocaine and its metabolites.”
Gareth Southgate will meet Football Association officials on Monday for what will effectively be his interview to become the next England manager. Southgate, who has just finished a four-game spell as interim manager after the departure of Sam Allardyce, will hold talks and present his case to FA chairman Gregg Clarke, Chief Executive Martin Glenn, Technical Director Dan Ashworth and two other independent members of a panel, Howard Wilkinson and Graeme Le Saux. The meeting is expected to take place at St. George’s Park and the final decision will be taken by Clarke, Glenn and Ashworth, with Wilkinson and Le Saux invited to give their input into the process. The FA stress there is no time frame on the appointment and at this stage no other interviews have been lined up.
The Premier League has agreed its biggest-ever overseas broadcast sale in its new TV rights deal in China. The three-year contract with Chinese video streaming service PPTV could be worth up to $700m (£560m). If the reported value is confirmed, it would be worth ten times more than the league’s current China TV deal.
Congo Brazzaville have sacked coach Pierre Lechantre with 17 months left on his contract with the Red Devils. The Congo Football Federation (Fecofoot) confirmed his sacking on Tuesday, following the team’s poor recent results, the latest being a 1-0 defeat by Uganda in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on 12 November. The Frenchman, who replaced his compatriot Claude LeRoy in January, oversaw the Red Devils’ shock failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. “After the meeting on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 11:00 am, Fecofoot and Pierre Lechantre, coach of the national team, agreed an amicable breakup of the contract that binds both parties,” Fecofoot said in a statement. The 66-year-old has coached Cameroon and Mali in the past, helping the former to a third African Cup of Nations title in 2000.
Steven Gerrard has left LA Galaxy at the end of his contract, the Major League Soccer side have announced. The former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said he will now be “spending time with my family as I consider the next stage of my career”. The 36-year-old scored five goals and 14 assists in 34 appearances during his 18 months with LA Galaxy but leaves them after they were knocked out of the play-offs. Gerrard said: “When I left Liverpool, I came to Los Angeles with the goal of helping the Galaxy lift another MLS Cup. “I am of course disappointed to have not achieved that objective, but I can look back at my time at the club with pride at what we accomplished, including two straight play-off appearances and countless memorable moments on the pitch. “As someone who spent the whole of their career in Liverpool, it has been an incredible experience to come to Los Angeles and play for the LA Galaxy. “I would like to thank my team-mates, the coaching staff, all of the support staff and most importantly the fans for their fantastic support during my time at Galaxy. “I am excited to see this league and this great club continue to grow.”
Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri, now on loan at Sevilla, has been talking to French show L’Equipe du Sour about the changes Pep Guardiola has made at City. “When I came back for pre-season, he told me my weight should be 76 kilos. The last time I was that weight was when I was at Marseille. “He wants his players to be slim and fit. He banned a lot of things in the kitchen but the biggest anecdote is that he says before a day off, those who want to have (sexual) relations, it’s before midnight. And that’s with a day off the next day. “It’s because he wants you to have a good night’s sleep. He said he told that to Lionel Messi, who since then does not get muscle injuries. And with Robert Lewandowski, who he dropped to the bench to make him understand certain things.”
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is close to agreeing a new £200,000-a-week deal to stay at the Gunners. Ozil, 28, has 18 months remaining on his current £140,000-a-week deal but Arsenal are confident the German will sign the new deal to make him the club’s highest-paid player. The midfielder joined Arsenal from Real Madrid three years ago and the Mirror say he recently bought a new £10m house in London.
San Marino officials want an apology from Germany forward Thomas Muller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after comments made about the team. Muller said that playing a “team of amateurs” in the World Cup qualifier put German players at risk of injury, and Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said “San Marino has nothing to do with professional football”. San Marino officials have demanded an apology from Germany forward Thomas Muller, who made comments about the team following an 8-0 win on Friday. San Marino Olympic Committee spokesman Alan Gasperoni offered 10 reasons for the game to be played and told Muller that Germany “does not own the game”. Number 10 is interesting (via online translation)… “Even if you (Germany) wear the most beautiful model of uniforms of adidas underneath you’re always the ones that put white socks under the sandals.”
Germany midfielder Serge Gnabry feared a radio station were playing a joke on him when boss Joachim Low called to tell him he was in the squad. The 21-year-old, who left Arsenal for Werder Bremen this summer, became the first player to score a hat-trick on his Germany debut in 40 years – in an 8-0 win away to San Marino. “The coach called me and I had to consider for a while whether it was real or not,” he told RND radio. “There have been a lot of these fake calls on the radio and I just didn’t want to be the next victim.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andre Ayew, Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mane and Yaya Toure make up the five-man shortlist for the BBC African Footballer of the Year award. The five candidates were revealed during a special live launch broadcast on Saturday. The winner will be decided by fans from across the world, who have until 7pm on 28 November to vote for their choice. Vote here.