Messi protests ban as he claims insults had been ‘to the air’

Argentina captain Lionel Messi has protested his innocence right after becoming handed a four-match ban for abusing an official, insisting his insults were aimed “to the air”.

The Barcelona star scored the only purpose of the game in a Planet Cup qualifying win against Chile, but his second-half clash with an assistant led to a ban in the hours just before a second important clash with Bolivia.
Argentina lost 2-0 in La Paz with no their star player and Messi is adamant that the ban is unfair as he didn’t direct his frustrations towards the officials.
“My sayings were by no means addressed towards the assistant, however they have been said for the air,” he said within a statement reported by La Nacion.
Argentina have already announced an intention to appeal the ban, which would see Messi also absent for qualifying matches against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru.
“We are surprised by the choice which has been taken,” national team secretary Jorge Miadosqui said on Tuesday. “We are very angry due to the way it was handled hours prior to playing.
“We are going to appeal the FIFA sanction. There are earlier [examples] to think the punishment may be decreased. Messi is sad, as all of us are. We do not agree together with the way in which this was handled.”
Argentina are in fifth place within the CONMEBOL section with six games of the campaign remaining. The best 4 teams progress automatically to Russia, although the side in fifth will enter the play-offs.

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Mourinho: Coaching Brazil could be thrilling

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho would obtain it thrilling to coach Brazil, but stated he would be searching for something easier.

Mourinho is regarded amongst the top club tacticians within the world, possessing had a lot of accomplishment – such as at True Madrid and Chelsea – prior to joining United.
The Portuguese boss would seemingly think about moving into international management, despite the fact that he said he wanted a simpler job when he moved on from life at Old Trafford.
“I think following Manchester United I need an simpler job than Manchester United,” Mourinho told ESPN Brasil.
“Coaching the Brazilian group need to be more challenging. Naturally it would be thrilling. Any coach desires to operate with all the very best clubs and with all the finest.
“The Brazilian team is naturally a leader of good results, naturally with talent, irrespective of the generation, talent usually seems.
“But I have to confess that it must be tricky. In each and every Brazilian there’s a coach, in each and every journalist there is a superior coach than the coach.
“I feel it has to be a tricky country to work for, but also a passionate 1.”
Brazil are flying high below Tite and on Tuesday became the first nation to qualify for the 2018 Planet Cup in Russia.
Mourinho stated he understood the job of Brazil coach was to get a local, having a foreigner having never been in charge from the Selecao.
“I recognise that the Brazilian national group is for any Brazilian coach,” he said.

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Ventura explains Barzagli’s ‘problems’ following Italy withdrawal

Italy coach Giampiero Ventura has explained that Andrea Barzagli withdrew from their squad as a consequence of “problems with his wife” amid allegations he went out partying following his release.

Just after featuring inside a 2-0 victory more than Albania in the weekend, Barzagli asked to not be regarded for selection for Tuesday’s friendly with Netherlands as a consequence of off-field difficulties.
The defender was subsequently incorporated within a photograph a DJ shared on social media inside the early hours of Sunday morning, attracting criticism from supporters.
The DJ later insisted that the photo was taken within a restaurant a lot earlier in the evening, with Ventura also saying that Barzagli spoke to him to clear the predicament up.
Ventura has no worries concerning the 35-year-old’s professionalism, though, and revealed the entire group had a say in no matter whether or not Barzagli could leave the group.
“Barzagli told me that he had challenges at household with his wife,” Ventura told reporters at a media conference. “It took me totally by surprise.
The pictures seemed to possess been taken at 3 within the morning, but then we contacted him and he explained the scenario to us.
“I was shocked by the photographs, but when someone’s outdoors Coverciano [Italy’s coaching base], what they do no longer affects me.
“If a player features a dilemma, his non-inclusion is taken into consideration. We also had a meeting together with the group prior to producing our decision.
“Barzagli’s a professional by definition. He revealed some critical individual troubles to me and we decided to let him go and handle them.
“There was nothing agreed with Juventus.”
Ventura also hit back at legendary Italian coach Arrigo Sacchi for criticisms produced immediately after win over Albania, using the former AC Milan tactician claiming the present national team desires rejuvenating.
“I study Sacchi’s criticism immediately after Albania,” Ventura said. “I’m a bit disappointed – even his Italy side had difficulties.

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Verratti accepts L’Equipe apology just after partying accusations

Marco Verratti mentioned he holds no grudges obtaining accepting an apology from L’Equipe just after the French publication produced inaccurate claims about him and Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Blaise Matuidi.

L’Equipe claimed Verratti and Matuidi partied two days ahead of PSG’s humiliating 6-1 defeat to Barcelona which sent the French giants crashing out of the Champions League 6-5 on aggregate.
According to apparent witnesses in a Paris nightclub, these accusations proved to become incorrect, major to an apology immediately after PSG had hit out at L’Equipe in the aftermath of your post.
“Excuses accepted, no grudges,” Verratti wrote via Instagram following uploading a photo of L’Equipe’s apology.
A statement from L’Equipe study: “On last March 9, in the course of L’Equipe Kind, we claimed PSG players Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi were within a nightclub two days just before the second leg on the Champions League clash against Barcelona.
“The next day, this info appeared within the printed and around the on the internet editions of L’Equipe.
“Wwe know for specific that this info is false and was provided to us by external sources with terrible intentions. We would like to apologise.
“We also apologise to gentlemen Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi for our wrongdoing against them, at the same time as their club and employer Paris Saint-Germain

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Lukaku can turn into world’s best striker – Martinez

Belgium boss and former Everton manager Roberto Martinez heaped praise on Romelu Lukaku by claiming he can become the ideal striker in the planet.

Lukaku has flourished considering that he was lured to Everton by then-manager Martinez in a club-record deal in 2014, and tops the Premier League’s goalscoring charts with 21 this season.
The 23-year-old Belgium international has refused to sign a new deal at Goodison Park amid interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Martinez – who is back working with Lukaku within the national team – believes the sky is definitely the limit for the ex-Chelsea striker.
“When you perform with Rom, you comprehend he lives for the games. It really is all about football in his life. He always wants to do far more in instruction,” Martinez told BBC’s Football Concentrate.
“From a very young age, he had an amazing goalscoring threat. Any footballer that is specific in the highest level, has to be outstanding at anything.
“Rom is the goalscoring threat. From the age of 21 to 23, he has changed a good deal. He wants to increase, he performs on hold-up play and working with his body. He has been functioning on his movement within the box.
“He’s never lost the outstanding good quality of scoring objectives.
“At the age of 23, I usually believed he had the possibility of becoming the best number nine in planet football for the reason that he has certainly everything.”
Lukaku will take towards the field on Saturday when Group H leaders Belgium host second-placed Greece in Brussels.

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