Philippe Coutinho is not surprised by Liverpool’s success in the Premier League this season but does not have any regrets over his decision to leave the club. Coutinho, currently on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, joined the Spanish giants in January 2018 for £146m. While the Brazilian struggled to hold down a regular spot at the Camp Nou, Liverpool re-invested the money they received for him to sign defender Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Allisson.
Mauricio Pochettino admits he would love to return to the world of Premier League management. The 47-year-old currently has the relaxed air about him of a man who has spent almost three months away from the intensity of his chosen profession, detaching himself completely from football. But it is clear the ambition to return to the sport, specifically in England, burns brightly inside him. Pochettino cut a relaxed and convivial figure during an hour-long chat with Sky Sports’ Natalie Pinkham for the In The Pink podcast, but his eyes notably sparkled when talk of a potential return to English football came up. He has enough integrity to never mention the names of the clubs which have been consistently linked with his services, especially those with managers already in post.
Jurgen Klinsmann has stepped down as Hertha Berlin’s interim head coach after just 10 weeks in charge. In November, the former Tottenham, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich striker, 55, was named as the club’s boss until the end of the season. Hertha won just three of Klinsmann’s nine league matches in charge and are 14th in the Bundesliga. But Klinsmann says he cannot live up to his “potential” without the “trust” of those involved with the club.
Ferrari have launched the car they hope will finally bring Formula 1’s world titles back to Italy. In a grand and dramatic reveal of their car at the 1,000-seat Romolo Valli theatre in Reggio Emilia – a theatrical show which featured a classical concert orchestra with DJ, and several dance routines – the new SF1000 became the first 2020 challenger to be unveiled in the flesh. And Ferrari have insisted the new challenger features some “very extreme” concepts compared to last year’s SF90 as they bid to catch world champions Mercedes.
German club Wolfsburg have terminated the contract of Cameroon international Paul-Georges Ntep by mutual consent. The winger, 27, struggled for regular first-team football in Germany, making 19 appearances for Wolfsburg since he joined them in January 2017 from French club Rennes. Ntep spent the second-half of the 2018/2019 season on loan at another French outfit, Saint-Etienne. He then had another spell in Turkey this season, on loan with Super Lig side Kayserispor.
Manchester United forward Odion Ighalo will be in the squad for Monday’s Premier League game at Chelsea, says manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Ighalo missed the club’s training camp in Spain due to fears the coronavirus outbreak may have led to him being refused entry back into the UK.
Manchester United have applied for permission to install rail seating for up to 1,500 fans at Old Trafford. United, one of the major supporters of safe standing, made the request to their local Safety Advisory Group (SAG) in December 2019. The club proposes to replace some existing seats in the north-east corner of the stadium. Season ticket holders in that area have been told a safe standing trial is likely to take place later this season. In minutes published from a recent fans’ forum meeting, United said it believed the introduction of rail seating will “enhance spectator safety” in areas of “persistent standing”. It added that the SAG is still reviewing the request.
Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele will be sidelined for six months following surgery on a serious hamstring tear. The France international, 22, was on his way back to full fitness following another thigh injury when he pulled out of training last week. Dembele has suffered several injuries – in both legs – since joining the La Liga champions from Dortmund in 2017. He has played only three full games this season, missing 63 games in all competitions at Barca through injury. Dembele, a member of France’s World Cup-winning squad, is expected to miss Euro 2020.
Brazil football great Pele is reluctant to leave his house because he cannot walk unaided due to his poor health, his son has said. The three-time World Cup winner, who will be 80 in October, received treatment in Paris last April for a urinary infection. Pele, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers in history, has had hip trouble for some time and now needs a frame to walk, with many of his recent public appearances in a wheelchair.
Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery has accused some of his ex-players of not having “a good attitude” in a stout defence of his 18-month reign at the Emirates Stadium. The Spaniard was relieved of his duties in November last year after a run of seven games in all competitions without a win, with the Gunners eight points adrift of the Premier League’s top four. He departed amid claims that he had struggled to motivate the club’s biggest names, although he has hit back at those suggestions and insisted he was turning things around.
Bournemouth winger Jordon Ibe has been found guilty of failing to stop at the scene of a road traffic accident. The 24-year-old had already pleaded guilty to a charge of driving without due care and attention. The former Liverpool player had been accused of driving off after crashing into ‘The Pantry’ on Plaistow Lane in Bromley, south London, in the early hours of July 30. As well as damage caused to the shop in south London, a Mercedes car parked in front of it also suffered minor damage.
Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala is hungry for more success with Barcelona Femenino after winning her first major trophy in Spanish football. The 25-year-old scored a brace on Sunday as Barcelona thrashed Real Sociedad 10-1 to clinch the maiden Spanish Women’s Super Cup in Salamanca. “To add the Super Cup to last year’s Copa Catalunya was a great experience,” Oshoala said. “But my professional priority is to keep doing well and winning, so I can’t take my eyes off the targets.
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli has apologised for a post on social media about coronavirus, saying “I let myself down and the club”. Alli, 23, put a video on Snapchat in which he joked about the outbreak and appeared to mock an Asian man. He later deleted the post and then released a new video on Chinese social media platform Weibo to apologise.
Paraguay giants Olimpia Asuncion have agreed a deal “in principle” to sign Togo legend Emmanuel Adebayor. The 35-year-old is a free agent after ending a brief spell with Turkish side Kayserispor in December for personal reasons. The deal is expected to go through when the 43-time Primera Division champions reach 35,000 season ticket holders, according to club president Marco Trovato.
Jon ‘Bones’ Jones beat Dominick Reyes to retain his light heavyweight crown and set a new record for the most wins in UFC title fights. His 14th title fight win came via a unanimous decision over previously undefeated challenger Reyes in the main event of UFC 247 in Houston, Texas. When the scores were announced, the arena was filled with a mixture of boos and cheers. Jones, 32, was awarded the decision 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46. “To break a record, to be a part of UFC history in this way, I wouldn’t want it easy,” said Jones.
Bangladesh won the U19s World Cup for the first time after humbling heavy favourites India in the final in Potchefstroom, South Africa. India were unbeaten on their run to the final but their batting fell flat against Bangladesh’s pace bowlers. They managed just 177 in 47.2 overs – Yashasvi Jaiswal hitting 88 to end the tournament with an average of 133. Bangladesh slumped to 102-6 in their chase, but captain Akbar Ali saw them home to spark jubilant celebrations.
Sunday’s fixtures across Belgium and the Netherlands have been postponed because of the adverse weather conditions expected from Storm Ciara. The Dutch Eredivisie, the Belgian Pro League and the Belgian second tier have called off their fixtures. A statement from KNVB, the Dutch football body, read: “It is irresponsible to play football in those weather conditions.” The Eredivisie is yet to announce when the cancelled games will be played.
Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo will miss the club’s training camp in Spain because of fears the coronavirus outbreak could lead to him being refused entry back into the UK. Nigerian Ighalo, 30, flew to Manchester from China last weekend after signing on loan from Shanghai Shenhua. “He might have liked to have come with the players and got to know them,” manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told MUTV. “But the risk [of border restrictions tightening] we don’t want to take.”
McLaren have launched their IndyCar challenger for the 2020 season as they prepare for a full-time return to the series as Arrow McLaren SP. Although McLaren have entered into two recent Indianapolis 500s – with Fernando Alonso almost winning in 2017 before failing to qualify in 2019 – the iconic event was treated as a one-off race by the team. But in 2020 they are returning for their first full-time IndyCar series since 1979.
Pakistan international batsman Nasir Jamshed has been jailed for his part in a spot-fixing scandal. He was arrested with Yousef Anwar and Mohammed Ijaz last February in a National Crime Agency probe. Jamshed encouraged other players to fix a Pakistan Super League (PSL) game in February 2018 by getting batsmen to avoid scoring runs from certain balls in return for a share of £30,000.