Chiellini to miss date with Suarez in Champions League Final

first_imgJuventus’s hopes of winning the Champions League suffered a devastating blow as key defender Giorgio Chiellini was ruled out with an injury.Chiellini had reportedly been struggling with a calf problem on Wednesday, but it was not initially thought to be serious. But on Thursday Juventus confirmed that a scan had revealed a first grade tear to the player’s soleus muscle in his left leg, which rules him out of contention for the match.The 30-year-old centre-back has been one of Juventus’s key players this season, with some suggesting he is the key to stopping Barcelona’s mighty strike force of Leo Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. Juventus were already a long shot before Chiellini’s injury, with bookmakers pricing them at 5-1 to win the match in 90 minutes and 12-5 to lift the trophy, against Barcelona at 13-20 and 4-11 respectively. But without the Italian international, Juventus’s hopes of winning the tournament – and with it, a historic treble – will lengthen further.WHO WILL REPLACE HIM?Chiellini’s place in the starting line-up will undoubtedly be taken by Andrea Barzagli, who has been in and out of the side since returning from a serious ankle injury just a few months ago. Since his return the 34-year-old Italy international has played a key role, either at the heart of a back-four or on the right of a back three, producing solid defensive performances in key matches including the Serie A-clinching victory away at Sampdoria at the beginning of May.Chiellini has made 44 appearances for the Turin giants this season scoring a single goal. –last_img read more

Six Nations 2019: England’s ‘remarkable’ depth softens Maro Itoje loss

first_img“This is no discredit to Maro because he’s an absolutely wonderful player and I love watching him, but where England are at the minute compared to other home nations is just the remarkable strength in depth,” Moody, speaking on behalf of Land Rover, told Omnisport.”Maro went off and you ended up with [number eight] Nathan Hughes playing in the second row. To bring Courtney Lawes on — he’s a world-class player, in any other side in the world he’d be starting and there’s also Joe Launchbury. “You’ve got four second-rows there that could start in any other team in the home nations, they are absolutely brilliant.”So, the amount of pressure coming on each and every player to perform week in and week out [is high] because the amount of players queueing up underneath them is remarkable.”As a coach that is exactly what you want, you don’t want players resting on their laurels thinking their place is assured, you want everyone thinking ‘Christ, if I don’t play well today I could potentially lose my spot.’ “And that just drives everyone’s performance and that’s why we’re seeing England play as they did at the weekend because it’s not just in the second row, it’s in the back row, the front row, fly-half, centres, wing, it’s just wonderful to watch at the minute and wonderful to watch Eddie Jones pick from virtually a fully fit squad.”Countdown to #LeCrunch #ENGvFRA #CarryThemHome  pic.twitter.com/IcSr79jzeE— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 6, 2019Powerhouses Manu Tuilagi and Billy Vunipola have seen their respective England careers marred by injuries in recent years, but both started in Dublin and Moody believes the duo make a huge difference to Jones’ side.”There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that without Billy Vunipola, England are a different team,” he said.”I think the players he plays against, they know how dangerous he is and it’s not just the danger he poses of running over you as a defender, it’s getting past the gainline and being able to offload out of contact.”His presence creates space outside him because it attracts more defenders into the hit. It’s one thing trying to make the tackle [but] it’s another trying to stop the offload, all of a sudden that drags defenders in and creates space out wide for everyone else. “It’s the same case for Manu Tuilagi, you look at the opportunities created at the weekend and many of them were off the back of them two carrying the ball hard and creating space out wide in attack for others.”On the flip side in defense, look at some of the hits Manu put in. So many were just well timed and that’s what he can bring, that destructive power in the tackle in the centres. “It wasn’t just Manu or Bill on Saturday, you look at the defensive prowess across the board. The stat that blew me away at the weekend – the tackle count was quite equal – but it was the dominant hits, it was nearly 50 dominant hits, which is a crazy amount.”Normally you’re looking at 10 to 20 if you’re lucky. Nearly 50 in a game, you as a defender smashing the attacker back over his own gainline, that to me just says this is a proper team performance.”Lewis Moody is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover shares and understands the values of rugby. @LandRoverRugby England confirmed Tuesday that Itoje definitely will miss this weekend’s contest against France at Twickenham, while reports suggest he also will be out for the trip to Wales on Feb. 23.Itoje is expected to play a part in the closing rounds of the tournament and, in the meantime, Moody — a member of England’s victorious 2003 World Cup team — is sure the likes of George Kruis, Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes will fill the void. Related News Maro Itoje’s absence will not hit England too hard because of the “remarkable” depth at coach Eddie Jones’ disposal, Rugby World Cup winner Lewis Moody says.Itoje, considered one of the best locks in rugby, sustained a ligament injury to his right knee during the superb 32-20 opening-round Six Nations win Saturday against defending Grand Slam champion Ireland.center_img Six Nations 2019: Camille Chat replaces injured Julien Marchand (knee) for France Six Nations 2019: England forward Itoje (knee) to miss France clashlast_img read more

Agent of LaLiga star ‘to meet’ Arsenal representatives in London ahead of move

first_imgFollowing Jack Wilshere’s revelation he will leave his boyhood club this summer, central midfield is an area which will be strengthened by Emery.A move for Lucas Torreira is on the verge of completion and now Sevilla man Banega has emerged as a strong possibility too.With his release clause reportedly set at a reasonably modest £17.5 million, the 29-year-old represents good value for money and Emery knows all about him having managed him in Spain. Unai Emery and Ever Banega worked together in the past at Sevilla 2 Banega in action for Argentina at the World Cup in Russia 2 Now ABC de Sevilla has reported that Banega’s agent Marcelo Simonian is set to hold talks with Arsenal about a switch to north London.The midfielder, who is currently away with Argentina at the World Cup, made 31 La Liga appearances for Sevilla last term, scoring three goals.Despite the low price being offered, Gunners fans have taken to Twitter in the past week to complain about their potential new signing, with many believing the money can be better spent elsewhere. The agent of Arsenal target Ever Banega is due in London this week to discuss a possible £17.5 million switch to the Gunners.According to reports in Spain, manager Unai Emery is keen to add the Argentinean to his new-look squad as quickly as possible.last_img read more