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UCL : Seeking revenge against Real Madrid would be a grave error – Guardiola

The City coach said his team would try and capitalise on an “opportunity” instead of aiming to make Carlo Ancelotti’s reigning champions pay for eliminating them at the same stage last season.

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Seeking Champions League revenge against Real Madrid would be a grave error by Manchester City, Pep Guardiola claimed on Monday ahead of their semi-final showdown.

The City coach said his team would try and capitalise on an “opportunity” instead of aiming to make Carlo Ancelotti’s reigning champions pay for eliminating them at the same stage last season.

The former Barcelona player and manager was at odds with City’s defensive midfielder Rodri, who said the team were hungry for revenge against the record 14-time winners on Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“It will be a huge mistake, we’re not here for revenge, just an opportunity,” Guardiola told a news conference.

“Last season we did everything, more than everything to reach the final, but (in) football… it’s not enough.”

City have never lifted the trophy but Madrid have triumphed five times in the last nine seasons.

Guardiola’s side beat Madrid 4-3 in the first leg last season and led by a goal in the return, until two late Rodrygo Goes strikes forced extra-time.

Karim Benzema scored a penalty in the additional period to send Madrid through to the Paris final, where they beat Liverpool.

“I think we did 180 minutes brilliantly but it’s not enough sometimes, you can lose the leg in five minutes,” said Spanish midfielder Rodri.

“You have to kill the opponent when you can. We’ve learnt from the past but I don’t like to talk about the past.

“We’ve learnt a lot, it’s another year, another goal, with the hunger of having revenge.”

Guardiola did agree with Rodri that City played well over both ties last season, despite their eventual elimination.

“We had an exceptional first game in Manchester, we did a really good game here,” said Guardiola.

“All we can do is congratulate them and move forward. One year later, we are here.”

The coach said he thought his side would one day triumph in Europe, after disappointment in the 2021 final, where they were beaten by Chelsea.

Guardiola praised his club’s stability, in contrast to other sides who triumph but then fall away in subsequent years.

City have reached at least the last eight in each of the past six seasons.

“One day we will reach the final and we will win it,” said Guardiola.

“I wouldn’t like to win the Champions League and then go down and down and down.

“Being stable is the most important things as a club, Madrid are an example.”

Despite his historic rivalry with Los Blancos, which grew to a bitter peak during Jose Mourinho’s time in charge of Madrid between 2010-13, Guardiola acknowledged their achievements in Europe.

“To win this competition you have to beat the best team, and Madrid are the best team in this competition in the last decade,” he added.

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Real Madrid named World’s Most Valuable Club

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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
Barcelona

No. 4 • $5.37 billion
Liverpool

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
Arsenal

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Nigeria’s Lookman scores hattrick as Atalanta win Europa League

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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