Barcelona director Guillermo Amor has suggested that the club haven’t given up on signing Paul Pogba.The World Cup winner has hit the headlines throughout the summer due to his apparently strained relationship with manager Jose Mourinho, despite being named captain for the Red Devils’ opening league match of the season – a 2-1 victory over Leicester.After that game, the France star told reporters that he could not say what he really felt about the situation for fear of being fined , sparking further suggestions that he could depart for Barca. Mourinho, though, has denied such reports as “lies” . Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! The Camp Nou side have typically distanced themselves from an immediate move for the former Juventus man in recent days, and Goal understands United are unwilling to sell the midfielder this summer .Amor took an alternate stance, however, refusing to rule out the prospect of the 25-year-old arriving before the close of the transfer window on August 31.When asked specifically about Pogba following the 3-0 win over Alaves he told reporters: “We have a good squad now in order to face our objectives, we don’t know what will happen but we have a strong squad.”The debutants have been positive, they have performed to their ability, they are good footballers.”Alaves worked a lot, maybe more defensively and they were well positioned. They didn’t want to score and that the minutes went by and it needed to be Leo with a set-play to get the breakthrough.”Lionel Messi scored twice in that clash, bouncing back impressively after a disappointing World Cup, in which Argentina crashed out in the last-16 stage in a thrilling 4-3 defeat to France.He will not feature for his country in the forthcoming international matches, but Amor does not see it as a big positive for Ernesto Valverde’s squad.”If you look at it like that then maybe but we’ve never had problems that Messi plays for Argentina,” he said.”Messi’s level has not dropped after returning from Argentina. Leo has been here since he was 13 and knows our style of play, he is happy, enjoying himself and surrounded by quality.”Barca have made an encouraging start to their title defence and also won the Spanish Super Copa thanks to a 2-1 victory over Sevilla in Tangiers. They have completed four signings this summer, having swooped for Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal and a pair of Brazilians in the form of Arthur Melo and Malcom, who have arrived from Gremio and Bordeaux respectively. Clement Lenget joined up from Sevilla, and it still seems the door remains ajar for Pogba to arrive if the opportunity arises.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic considers Paul Pogba to be a “fantastic” player and credits the Frenchman with helping him to “feel like Benjamin Button” during a memorable spell at Manchester United.The enigmatic Swedish striker arrived in England back in the summer of 2016 with questions being asked of his ability to deliver in the Premier League at 35 years of age.As he has made a habit of doing throughout his career, Ibrahimovic silenced those doubters in style as he netted 28 times across his debut campaign and helped to land the Red Devils three trophies. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Working with Jose Mourinho again brought the best out of a mercurial talent, but there was also plenty of quality alongside him – with World Cup winner Pogba considered to be the pick of the bunch.Ibrahimovic told BBC Sport of his time at Old Trafford and the understanding he struck up with a much-maligned France international: “I miss all of them. I had a fantastic time at United. Wazza [Wayne Rooney], Michael Carrick, then the young guys that wanted to show the world who they are by playing football and they had a lot of hunger to show. I had a good time because I got to know everyone, I was the mature guy with all these guys who were not mature.“Paul Pogba, I had never played with him before and I didn’t know him as a person. We have the same management and when I got to know him I got to find a fantastic person and a fantastic footballer, but someone who needs to be guided.“He is a professional guy that works every game and never misses training or a game. Those are all the things that people do not see, you only get judged by what you can see on television or the 90 minutes in the stadium, that’s where you have to perform.“When you click with someone it just clicks. The connection on the field was amazing, we helped each other very well, I needed him and he needed me. The first year at United we had a fantastic year.“They made me feel like Benjamin Button. I was getting younger and younger, then unfortunately I got my injury.“The Premier League should be happy I did not come 10 years ago because it would’ve been a different story. You see all my numbers [of goals] and all of these numbers would’ve been in the Premier League. I came to the right club in United. It was the club and the shirt that I was supposed to shine in and I did it.”Ibrahimovic has already stated that he believes he could have achieved even more in England had he made a move earlier in his career, but he is still proud of having proved a point to all of those who questioned him.He added: “When I went to England I was talking to different players that I knew well and trusted that would give me an honest opinion. From all of them everyone said do not do it, they said it would not be good for my career because you put your whole career on one season. If you do not do a good season people will say the rest of the things you did before were useless because you didn’t make it in England, but that triggered me and that’s the challenge I wanted.“I went against everyone and said that’s what I wanted to do. They thought I was too old, I was 35 and I made the Premier League look old. It took me three months to convince everyone who I was. That was the challenge and I never turn down a challenge.”
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Barcelona named former Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde on Monday as the successor to Luis Enrique and he will take charge of the La Liga runners-up on a two-year contract with the option of a third.Valverde, who will be officially unveiled on Thursday, played for Barcelona as a forward between 1988 and 1990 under Johan Cruyff and is one of many of the Dutchman’s former pupils to have turned to coaching upon retiring from playing.”He’s very happy very excited, he has the ability, experience and knowledge for the job,” Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu told a news conference.”He loves youth football and he has the right style to coach this club and knows how the club works. He has a high work rate, he is passionate about football and interested in working with the latest technology.”Bartomeu thanked Luis Enrique, who rounded off his three-year tenure at Barcelona on Saturday by beating Alaves 3-1 to win the King’s Cup for a third year in a row, the ninth trophy he led the club to.”We want to thank Luis Enrique for the work he did in this time, he was excellent in these three years. A great coach and Barcelona man is leaving us but the doors of the Nou Camp will always be open to him,” he said.The president, however, said Luis Enrique’s last season in charge, which finished with only the King’s Cup in the trophy cabinet, was a disappointment.”We expected more from this season, we have diagnosed what went wrong and we are very demanding of ourselves,” he added.advertisement”We were not satisfied, neither were the players, nor the coaches and directors. But now we are beginning a new era.”Valverde, 53, began his coaching career with Athletic Bilbao’s youth set-up and is the Basque club’s longest serving coach, overseeing 308 games over six years in two different spells.As well as qualifying Athletic for Europe in five of his six years with the club, who only pick players from the Basque country, he ended a 31-year wait for a trophy by leading them to the 2015 Spanish Super Cup, beating Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate.He also coached and played for Barca’s city rivals Espanyol, reaching the 2007 UEFA Cup final while in charge although losing to Sevilla on penalties, and won three Greek league titles and two domestic Cups with Olympiakos Piraeus.Valverde brings two members of his coaching staff at Athletic to Barcelona, his assistant of 15 years Jon Aspiazu and fitness coach Jose Antonio Pozanco.Luis Enrique rounded off his three-year tenure at Barcelona on Saturday by beating Alaves 3-1 to win the King’s Cup for a third year in a row, the ninth trophy he led the club to.Valverde will be thrown in at the deep end with his first competitive game in charge being against Barca’s arch-rivals and La Liga champions Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the Nou Camp in August.Before then the team will go on a pre-season tour of the United States with friendlies against Real, Manchester United and Juventus.
World number two Rory McIlroy has recovered from a rib injury that has kept him out of action since the middle of May and has declared himself fit to compete at this month’s U.S. Open, the 28-year-old has said.The four-times major winner has been regaining fitness at the Quinta do Lago resort in Portugal and will return to action at the year’s second major in Erin Hills, Wisconsin when the tournament begins on June 15.”I am ready for Erin Hills and looking forward to playing there for the first time,” McIlroy told The Guardian newspaper.”The last few weeks have obviously been frustrating…but it was important I got back to a level of fitness where I felt like I could give myself the best possible chance at the U.S. Open.”As I have said many times before, majors will ultimately determine my golf career but I have had the rest of this busy season to consider as well.”McIlroy sustained the injury earlier this year and suffered a recurrence during the Players Championship, where he finished tied for 35th. He subsequently withdrew from the European Tour’s PGA Championship and the Memorial tournament on the PGA Tour.The Northern Irishman won the 2011 U.S. Open at Bethesda, Maryland by eight strokes and will be seeking his second title in the event.
Seasoned cricketer Gautam Gambhir was blessed with a baby girl for the second time and he shared the news on micro-blogging site Twitter.”An angel blessing our family, an angel brightening our lives, Welcome to the world, little angel!” he wrote on Twitter.An angel blessing our family,An angel brightening our lives,Welcome to the world, little angel! ? pic.twitter.com/nrJ0hhuX9Y- Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) June 21, 2017Gambhir, who has been in and out of the national team (barring recall for injury replacements sporadically), was congratulated by his former Indian teammate Irfan Pathan.”Congratulations bro :):)”Congratulations bro :):)- Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) June 21, 2017Gambhir, who has been embroiled in controversies lately for his suspension by the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) because of a spat with coach Bhaskar Pillai, has been married for six years to Natasha Jain.Congratulations Gauti bhai. Lots of love to the little angel. Bhagwan usey khoob khushiyaan aur achi sehat dey- Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) June 22, 2017Congratulations @GautamGambhir ???? Pure love.. bless you and family https://t.co/jvqKpy7YCP- Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) June 22, 2017