Ronaldo leads Juventus in decisive Derby d’Italia against Inter
A certain someone has been practicing his blue steel stare to be let loose today.
That someone is Cristiano Ronaldo, the impeccable, sporting specimen that a certain, misguided part of the football-watching world dared to rate as only the second-best player on the planet in 2018.
A new mission begins in a huge Derby d’Italia clash against Inter on Friday. It’s a mission to demonstrate why such a glaring mistake against the laws of the universe will not be allow to stand.
“You can’t put the mentality he offers them into words,” noted admiring Inter boss, Luciano Spalletti, on a player who has already delivered 10 Serie A goals so far this season and is battling to reach at least four times that to beat the recent tally of 36 by Gonzalo Higuain.
The word from the somewhat hysterical CR7 camp and a promise from Juventus boss, Max Allegri, is that CR7 is now focused just as much on winning the Ballon d’Or in 2019 as much as his own reflection.
Today’s monster Serie A clash is quite the starting point with two rivals who historically have a bit of beef. Inter head to Turin in third spot but a whopping eleven points behind the Old Lady in the standings with Juve having dropped just two points out of a total of 42 so far this season.
However, Allegri was gamely trying to big up the title race despite being eight points ahead of Napoli in second - “Juve haven’t killed the League. It still has to be won and there’s a long way to go.” Nice try, Max.
In other Serie A news, Genoa has appointed Cesare Prandelli as the team’s new manager, having sacked Ivan Juric for a third time. Genoa currently lies in 14th place in the Serie A standings.
Tune into the wonderful Sports Burst live show to get the thoughts of our Kay Murray and Kevin Egan ahead of today’s Serie A sizzler. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT.
‘Wrong Says Fred’ as Mourinho rues defensive imbalance
Friday sees the Manchester United focus on yet another player that the Special One has brought in and then left by the wayside – Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba, any defender the manager has brought in.
This time it’s Fred, a midfielder whose appearances have been fleeting since a move from Shakhtar Donetsk this summer for $60m.
That’s because the tactical set-up of the side is not yet right for the Brazilian claimed Jose Mourinho in a press conference ahead of Saturday’s EPL clash against Fulham.
"When the team is defensively stronger, the horizons for Fred change completely,” noted Mourinho who also urged people to spend less time looking at the league table where United currently sit in eighth, 18 points behind Manchester City at the top of the standings – “the points sometimes don't say much about the real potential of the team.”
Manchester United is facing the Fulham on Saturday and yet another rival coach in Ranieri that Mourinho has had ‘issues’ with in the past on a personal level - “he was the first who sent me a message to say welcome back. He is a very friendly friend,” declared the Italian boss.
Arsenal players…laughing gas…it really will be simpler to read this one…
Not sure where to go with this one.
A group of Arsenal players have found themselves on the front page of English tabloid, The Sun, on Friday pictured in quite the state in a club in August before the season had started.
Arsenal footie aces including Alexandre Lacazette, Matteo Guendouzi, Mesut Özil, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang filmed passing out in hippy crack, vodka and Champagne party https://t.co/jgyjy51tfA— The Sun - Arsenal (@SunArsenal) December 6, 2018
But it’s not just booze that’s the cause of an apparently relaxed state of mind from the likes of Mesut Özil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette. Nope, it’s the inhalation of nitrous oxide. Laughing gas.
“The players will be spoken to about this and reminded of their responsibilities as representatives of the club,” warned an official statement from Arsenal. And apparently, Mesut Ozil also risks worsening an existing back injury by playing Fortnite for a reported five hours a day, which does not encourage the best posture.
Elsewhere in London, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has been asked on how to beat Manchester City, the team that his players are facing on Saturday in Stamford Bridge - "I don't know, against Guardiola I lost every match, you have to ask someone else."
Fair point. Chelsea’s cause will at least be helped by the absence of the injured Kun Aguero up front for City.
Head to the XTRA for the best of the day’s news at 7PM ET / 4PM PT.
Boca boss admits sadness at Copa Libertadores Bernabeu battle
There are two days to go before the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final which is all set to take place in Madrid, after quite the kerfuffle over the past month to get this contest completed.
No-one especially seems to be happy about switching continents, especially the fans of Boca Juniors and River Plate who have quite naturally found it difficult to fund a short-notice trip across the Atlantic to the Spanish capital to watch the match.
Out of the 10,000 allocated to the supporters of both clubs, 3,000 are expected to be returned as unsold.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Boca Juniors manager, admitted that it was going to be difficult for his players to focus on the game in such extraordinary circumstances. “We are not in South America and we are used to playing matches there.
The first match was more than a month ago!” Schelotto also noted that “decision to move it away from Argentina hurts me as an Argentinean.”
Friday will also see the two coaches of the MLS Cup finalists speaking ahead of Friday’s showdown between Atlanta United and Portland Timbers. The Locker Room will bring you the big predictions ahead of the two matches at 7:30PM ET / 4:30PM PT.