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From cancer to AFCON glory: The interesting story of Sebastien Haller

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AFCON hero Haller

Ivory Coast, officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire men’s national football team on Sunday night won the Africa Cup of Nations after thrashing rivals Nigeria 2-1 at the end of 90 minutes.

William Troost-Ekong had put Nigeria ahead seven minutes before the end of a cagey first half.

Franck Kessie nodded in the equaliser in the 62nd minute when he was left unmarked at the back post from Adingra’s corner.

Sebastien Haller was the hero for Ivory Coast after he netted the winner as he tapped a cross by the tip of his boot into Nigeria’s goalpost.

He is the same man who scored the winner for Ivory Coast in their Semi-final match against DR Congo.

A lot of things stood out in the competition that saw Ivory Coast start as underdogs. Because of poor performance, which saw them lose the first two opening matches, Coach Jean-Louis Gasset was dismissed and his assistant Emerse Fae had to step in as Interim coach.

This is Ivory Coast’s third AFCON victory.

Here is what you need to know about Sebastien Haller

Sébastien Romain Teddy Haller was born on June 22, 1994 in Ris-Orangis, France to a French dad and Ivorian mum.

Haller played at every youth level for France-Under-16 to Under-21 but in 2020, he pledged his senior international future to the Ivory Coast.

In 2022, was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which he overcame, returning to professional football in January 2023, after two surgeries and various rounds of chemotherapy. He returned to full training in early January 2023.

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The diagnosis came about two weeks after he had signed for Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, where he is a striker.

His first call-up to the Ivorian national team was in the 2021 AFCON.

Haller began his career in France with Auxerre, and moved on loan to Dutch Eredivisie side Utrecht in 2015, before signing permanently.

He then joined German club Eintracht Frankfurt and later English Premier League side West Ham United signed him.

In 2021, Haller returned to the Netherlands signing with Ajax, where he became the first player to score across seven consecutive UEFA Champions League matches during the 2021–22 season.

He later on joined Borussia Dortmund where he currently plays.

The Star

 

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UEFA releases new club rankings [Top 20]

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UEFA releases new club rankings [Top 20]

UEFA published the latest club rankings on Friday. It places Manchester City at number one, despite their failure to win back-to-back Champions League titles.

Real Madrid, who eventually won the trophy, are in second place.

Bayern Munich are ranked third, despite losing out on the Bundesliga title to Bayer Leverkusen.

Rounding out the top five are Liverpool followed by Roma.

The next Premier League side to feature in the coefficient are Chelsea in ninth, followed by Manchester United in 14th, West Ham in 16th and Arsenal in 19th.

The UEFA club coefficients are calculated based on a team’s performances in European competitions from the previous five seasons.

The rankings also affect how clubs are seeded in UEFA draws for upcoming European competitions.

UEFA club rankings for 2024/25 season (Top 20)

1. Manchester City

2. Real Madrid

3. Bayern Munich

4. Liverpool

5. Roma

6. PSG

7. Villarreal

8. Borussia Dortmund

9. Chelsea

10. Inter Milan

11. Bayer Leverkusen

12. FC Porto

13. RB Leipzig

14. Manchester United

15. Benfica

16. West Ham

17. Atletico Madrid

18. Barcelona

19. Arsenal

20. Atalanta

 

READ ALSO  UEFA releases new club rankings [Top 20]
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Euro 2024: UEFA told to ‘blacklist’ referee Zwayer after England’s win over Netherlands

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UEFA told to ‘blacklist’ referee Zwayer after England’s win over Netherlands

Former Netherlands striker, Pierre van Hooijdonk has called on UEFA to ‘blacklist’ referee, Felix Zwayer following England’s recent Euro 2024 semi-final win over Netherlands.

England will face Spain in the Euro 2024 final on Sunday in Berlin after Ollie Watkins’ 90th minute winner sealed a 2-1 victory for Gareth Southgate’s side.

The Three Lions were gifted a penalty in the first half of the match when Denzel Dumfries attempted to block Harry Kane’s shot, judged to have clipped the England captain in the process.

A VAR review resulted in referee Zwayer overturning his original decision and awarded England a penalty which Kane converted.

However, Van Hooijdonk wants Zwayer to be banned from major matches in the future.

“They [England] can thank Felix Zwayer. He really needs to be blacklisted. Terrible,” van Hooijdonk told NOS.

“Also in the second half. A duel with Cody Gakpo where he simply blew his whistle again, ten meters from the linesman. Those are moments that were crucial in this match.”

He added, “We can talk about it at length, but if you’re going to award a penalty for this. Then you could end up with eight of them on the spot in the final. Really terrible.”

 

READ ALSO  Euro 2024: UEFA told to ‘blacklist’ referee Zwayer after England’s win over Netherlands
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Van de Beek joins Girona from Man Utd

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Van de Beek joins Girona from Man Utd

Donny van de Beek has completed a permanent move to LaLiga side Girona from Manchester United.

The Dutchman struggled in his four years at Old Trafford after he moved to the club from Ajax in a £39m deal in September 2020.

Man Utd are understood to have received a fixed fee of £500k from Girona for the 27-year-old, while bonuses could increase this to an eventual £7.6m (€9.1m), as well as a sizeable share of any sell-on.

Van de Beek made 62 appearances for Man Utd in all competitions and scored just twice.

Source: Sky Sport

READ ALSO  Euro 2024: UEFA told to ‘blacklist’ referee Zwayer after England’s win over Netherlands
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Athletic president: We don’t need to sell Williams

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Athletic president: We don't need to sell Williams

Athletic Bilbao’s president has hit out at the “bombardment” of transfer questions made to Nico Williams, adding the Spanish club can safely keep players such as the Spanish winger.

Williams has shone for Spain at Euro 2024 but has faced lots of speculation over his future at Athletic.

“Nico is a footballer very committed to Athletic Club, who has been subjected to an excessive and uncontrolled bombardment of questions while at the Euro Cup. The Spanish Federation has not known how to protect him,” said Athletic president Jon Uriarte.

“Athletic aims for the maximum, without limits,” he added. “We are showing that we have a winning project for footballers and coaches.

“We have renewed the contracts of players who are playing in the Euro Cup, such as Unai Simón or Dani Vivian, and coveted players such as Benat Prados, Oihan Sancet, Julen Aggirezabala or Aitor Paredes have also signed for several seasons, to give some examples.

“Athletic Club is economically, socially and sportingly capable of keeping footballers of the calibre of those named in its structure, including Nico Williams.”

Source: Sky Sport

READ ALSO  Euro 2024: UEFA told to ‘blacklist’ referee Zwayer after England’s win over Netherlands
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Man Utd agree deal for Zirkzee

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Man Utd agree deal for Zirkzee

Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Bologna forward Joshua Zirkzee.

The fee is understood to be just over £35m (€42.5m) – above the £33.6m (€40m) release clause.

However, it is in exchange for more favorable payment terms.

It means United will not pay a lump sum up-front but pay over a three-year period.

Personal terms are agreed.

Zirkzee is expected to have a medical this week before signing a five-year contract with the option of a further year.

Source: Sky Sport

READ ALSO  Euro 2024: UEFA told to ‘blacklist’ referee Zwayer after England’s win over Netherlands
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Chelsea not interested in signing Olmo

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Chelsea not interested in signing Olmo

Chelsea have no interest in triggering Dani Olmo’s release clause at RB Leipzig.

The club are happy with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Christopher Nkunku and Cole Palmer as attacking-midfield options, Sky Sports News understands.

Olmo’s £50m release clause at the German club reportedly expires next week.

He has been sensational for Spain during their march to the Euro 2024 final, scoring in the semi-final victory over France last night.

Source: Sky Sport

READ ALSO  UEFA releases new club rankings [Top 20]
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