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UCL : Real Madrid Beat Chelsea at Bernabeu



Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio struck for Real Madrid as they dominated 10-man Chelsea and opened up a 2-0 Champions League quarter-final first leg lead on Wednesday.

The record 14-time winners and reigning champions eased to a comfortable win against Frank Lampard’s side, who had Ben Chilwell sent off in the second half for pulling down Rodrygo Goes as he ran through on goal.
Benzema netted from close range after 21 minutes after Kepa Arrizabalaga tipped a Vinicius Junior effort into his path.

Despite controlling the game, Madrid had to wait until the 74th minute for their second, with Asensio drilling home from the edge of the box after a short corner routine.

In a battle between the last two Champions League winners, Madrid demonstrated their strength with an impressive display, while Chelsea showed why they are struggling in 11th in the Premier League.

“We are satisfied with the result, for the performance but it’s not over yet, we have to fight, to sacrifice for another 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge,” said Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.

“We are satisfied only for tonight, it’s not over yet. We know Chelsea will try to (give) everything next week.”

Ancelotti, who coached Lampard at Chelsea between 2009-2011, relied on veteran midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric to pull the strings.

Lampard, in his second game at the helm since replacing Graham Potter last week, threw Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante straight into the starting line-up after injury worries.

Kante shone against Madrid in the 2021 semis as Chelsea beat them en route to winning the trophy for the second time, and his performance was one positive for Lampard.

The French midfielder slipped on-loan Atletico striker Joao Felix through at the start, but he fired at former Chelsea stopper Thibaut Courtois.

Madrid fans had shown their support for Fede Valverde before the game, after he allegedly punched Villarreal’s Alex Baena on Saturday, and he nearly rewarded them with a piledriver which flew narrowly off-target.
“For me he was the best player on the pitch, he put in a lot of energy,” said Ancelotti.

“He was impeccable at recovering the ball.”
Benzema, who netted a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge last season and scored the goal which sent Madrid through against the Blues in the second leg, tapped home his sixth goal against Chelsea to open the scoring.

Dani Carvajal lofted a tempting ball over the top and although Kepa got his fingertips to Vinicius’s effort, Benzema was left with a simple tap-in.

Chelsea almost produced an instant equaliser but Courtois made a stunning save to deny Raheem Sterling from close range.

Madrid toyed with their opponents, penning them back in their box for large stretches, with Vinicius, Rodrygo and David Alaba going close

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Real Madrid named World’s Most Valuable Club



Real Madrid has been ranked as the world’s most valuable football club by Forbes for the third consecutive year, with a valuation of $6.6 billion.

The list places Real Madrid at the top with a market value of $6.6 billion (€6.08 billion), followed closely by Manchester United at $6.55 billion (€6.04 billion).

Barcelona trails significantly behind, with a market value of $5.6 billion (€5.16 billion), having seen a decline in value over recent years, especially after the departure of Lionel Messi and other high-profile players.

Liverpool and Manchester City round out the top five, valued at $5.37 billion (€4.95 billion) and $5.1 billion (€4.7 billion), respectively.

The top ten is completed by Bayern Munich, PSG, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, and Arsenal, with their valuations ranging from $5 billion to $2.6 billion.

The World’s 10 Most Valuable Football Clubs

No. 1 • $6.6 billion
Real Madrid

No. 2 • $6.55 billion
Manchester United

No. 3 • $5.6 billion

No. 4 • $5.37 billion

No. 5 • $5.1 billion
Manchester City

No. 6 • $5 billion
Bayern Munich

No. 7 • $4.4 billion
Paris Saint-Germain

No. 8 • $3.2 billion
Tottenham Hotspur

No. 10 • $2.6 billion

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Nigeria’s Lookman scores hattrick as Atalanta win Europa League



Ademola Lookman scored a stunning hat-trick to lead Atalanta to a 3-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2023/24 UEFA Europa League (UEL) final.

The Nigerian star was named player of the match as the Bergamo-based club became the first Italian team to win the UEL since its renaming in 2009.

Lookman netted twice in the first half and once in the second half at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, ending Leverkusen’s unbeaten streak in all competitions.

Three Nigerians participated in the final: Lookman spearheaded Atalanta’s attack, while Leverkusen brought on Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella as substitutes.

Atalanta started aggressively and opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Lookman fired Davide Zappacosta’s low cross into the top of the net.

The former Everton forward extended the lead in the 26th minute with an impressive goal, nutmegging Granit Xhaka before curling his shot into the top corner.

Lookman completed his hat-trick in the 75th minute, dribbling past a defender and blasting a shot into the top corner to seal a dominant final for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side.

Lookman is the first player to score a hat-trick in a UEL final and the first African to do so in a major European Cup final.

He became the seventh Nigerian to win the Europa League, joining John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, and others as UEL champions.

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Real Madrid’s Kroos To Retire From Football After Euro 2024



Real Madrid’s Tony Kroos has announced his retirement from football following Euro 2024.

The German midfielder, who won the 2014 World Cup with Germany, shared the news on Instagram, stating that his active career will conclude after the upcoming championship.

Kroos, 34, is aiming to secure his fifth Champions League title with Real Madrid before retiring.

He has been a pivotal figure for both Real Madrid and the German national team throughout his career.

Despite previously announcing his retirement from international football in 2021, he reversed his decision to play until Euro 2024 after discussions with Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Kroos expressed his gratitude for being able to conclude his career at the peak of his performance and on his own terms.

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Despite win over Everton, Arsenal Miss Premier League Title to Man City



Despite securing a 2-1 victory against Everton on the final day of the season, Arsenal fell short of claiming their first Premier League title since 2004.

Manchester City clinched the title for the fourth consecutive year. In a tense finale, Arsenal needed a win against Everton and for Manchester City to lose against West Ham to secure the championship.

However, despite their efforts and Kai Havertz’s late winner, Manchester City’s triumph over West Ham dashed Arsenal’s hopes.

The match saw ups and downs for Arsenal, including Idrissa Gueye’s deflected free-kick putting Everton in front, swiftly followed by Takehiro Tomiyasu’s equalizer.

Despite hitting the woodwork twice in the second half, Arsenal managed to find the winner through Havertz, albeit amidst controversy over a potential handball. Referee Michael Oliver eventually allowed the goal after reviewing the VAR footage.

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Ndidi Visits Sports Minister for Nigerian Football Talks



Wilfred Ndidi made a courtesy visit to the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, at his office on Wednesday.

Accompanied by his manager, Yahaya Atom, and Mr. Yemi Idowu, Ndidi discussed various aspects of Nigerian football with the Sports Minister.

During the meeting, Senator Enoh congratulated Ndidi on Leicester City’s promotion to the English Premier League and discussed the upcoming World Cup qualifying matches.

The minister emphasized the importance of preparation and encouraged Ndidi to play a key role in the Super Eagles’ journey to secure their spot in the World Cup.

Ndidi expressed his appreciation to Senator Enoh for his support, particularly during the recent Africa Cup of Nations tournament, and commended him for the care provided to the team.

The meeting ended positively, with both Ndidi and Senator Enoh expressing optimism for the future of Nigerian football and their commitment to its advancement.

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Arsenal’s Odegard, Declan Rice nominated for Premier League player of the season Award



Martin Odegaard and Declan Rice are among the eight players shortlisted for the 2023/24 Premier League Player of the Season award.

Odegaard, Arsenal’s club captain, has been nominated for the second consecutive season, while Rice, Arsenal’s record signing, is on the list for the first time.

Although Odegaard’s statistics are not as impressive as last season’s, his role in Mikel Arteta’s midfield is crucial. The Norwegian international has scored eight goals and provided eight assists in 33 appearances. He has also created 16 big chances, tying for fifth in the Premier League.

Rice has played in all 36 of Arsenal’s league games this season, achieving personal bests in goals (7) and assists (9) during his first season at the Emirates Stadium. Despite his £100 million price tag from West Ham, he’s adapted smoothly to his new club.

Phil Foden is seen as the favorite to win the award, having already been named the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year. Foden’s competition for the award includes Erling Haaland, Alexander Isak, Cole Palmer, Virgil van Dijk, and Ollie Watkins.

The full list of nominees for the Premier League Player of the Season is as follows:

– Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
– Declan Rice (Arsenal)
– Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
– Phil Foden (Manchester City)
– Cole Palmer (Chelsea)
– Alexander Isak (Newcastle)
– Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
– Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

Fans have until noon on May 13 to cast their votes. These public votes will be combined with the votes from a panel of football experts to decide the winner, who will be announced on the day before the final game of the season.

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