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Bellingham snatches late victory for Real Madrid in five-goal Clasico with Barca

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Jude Bellingham snatched Real Madrid a dramatic 3-2 Clasico win over champions Barcelona yesterday to take them 11 points clear at the top
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Jude Bellingham snatched Real Madrid a dramatic 3-2 Clasico win over champions Barcelona yesterday to take them 11 points clear at the top of La Liga with six matches remaining.

Los Blancos twice came from behind with Vinicius Junior and Lucas Vazquez netting to level Andreas Christensen and Fermin Lopez strikes, before Bellingham rammed home the winner in stoppage time to virtually guarantee his team the title.

Barcelona, second, bounced back with a strong performance after their Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain but their last stand was demolished by Bellingham.

Madrid showed the same grit to stay in the match as they did midweek against Manchester City on the way to the final four in Europe, before Bellingham’s knock-out blow left the Santiago Bernabeu crowd delighted.

The England international, Madrid’s top scorer with 21 goals across all competitions, netted twice in Madrid’s Clasico win over Barcelona in October and is shining in his first season in Spain.

“We had a great night with our fans, something we all deserved, we took a huge step towards La Liga,” Vazquez, key in all three Madrid goals, told Real Madrid TV.

“We’ve had a very good season, we’re on a very good path, now we just have to polish it off and we’ll go for everything.”

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti made three changes from the side that beat City, with Eduardo Camavinga moving to left-back to replace Ferland Mendy, while Luka Modric started in midfield.

Madrid’s penalty-saving hero against City, goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, made an early mistake to hand Barcelona the lead.

The Ukrainian strayed from his line to try and deal with a corner but got nowhere near the ball and Christensen nodded into the empty net.

However Madrid were quickly level through Vinicius, who fired over a fine chance before levelling from the spot.

The sensational Vazquez escaped Joao Cancelo far too easily and was tripped in the area by 17-year-old Barca centre-back Pau Cubarsi.

Vinicius rolled home from the spot for his 19th goal of the season across all competitions.

Barcelona were not deterred and made inroads down their right flank with Lamine Yamal giving Camavinga a torrid time.

The 16-year-old starlet thought he had equalised with a clever flick from a corner but Lunin pushed the ball to safety, with Barcelona arguing it had already crossed the line.

La Liga does not contract goal-line technology and using VAR the officials could not confirm the ball had completely entered the goal, so the Catalans were left frustrated.

Yamal appealed for a penalty minutes later when Camavinga clipped him in the area but the referee waved their cries away.

Raphinha and Ilkay Gundogan both sent free-kicks narrowly off-target, with Barcelona only having converted one since Lionel Messi departed in 2021.

Barcelona were dealt a blow on the stroke of half-time when midfielder Frenkie de Jong was taken off on a stretcher after hurting his ankle in a challenge by Fede Valverde.

Xavi also brought Lopez on for Christensen at half-time and it paid dividends for the coach after a slower start to the second half.

The midfielder was in the right place at the right time to finish after 69 minutes when Lunin could only parry Yamal’s low effort back into danger.

However Madrid, seeking a fifth league and Champions League double, swiftly struck back when Vinicius crossed to the back post and Vazquez arrived to finish having lost his marker Cancelo.

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen made a brilliant save to thwart Vinicius at his near post as the forward sprinted through on goal with Madrid looking to strike and virtually wrap up their La Liga title.

Bellingham dealt the killer blow, despite largely being kept quiet by the Catalans until he appeared to emphatically decide the match in stoppage time from Vazquez’s cross.

“We fight until the end and we never accept we’re beaten,” Vazquez added.

 

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EXCLUSIVE! Saudi Arabian club offers Osimhen €700m annually

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Napoli's talented striker, Victor Osimhen, is generating significant interest from clubs in the oil-rich country of Saudi Arabia.
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…Super Eagles star desperate to consider offer

Napoli’s talented striker, Victor Osimhen, is generating significant interest from clubs in the oil-rich country of Saudi Arabia.

An undisclosed club is reportedly preparing a substantial offer to prevent European teams from securing the services of the Super Eagles player, as reported by ThePAPERS.

It has been confirmed that Osimhen quit the Serie A this summer as Napoli has reportedly reignited interest in Crystal Palace striker Jean-Philippe Mateta as a possible replacement.

The Partenopei are ready to sell the Nigerian star this summer, a deal that’ll see them earn around €120-130m, and have started to plan out their transfer market, wanting to rejuvenate the squad after their miserable 2023-24 campaign.

According to sources from Italy, a mid-table club in the Saudi Arabian League is reportedly interested in signing Osimhen, who is already being pursued by Chelsea, Arsenal, and PSG.

The club is rumored to be offering a substantial annual sum of €700 million to any footballer, potentially impacting their participation in European competitions.

“Victor could shock everyone, just last night, he had offers in Saudi Arabia with €700m annually but the guy is breathing to see what could happen,” the source closer to Osimhen told ThePAPERS.

If the deal falls through, Victor Osimhen will become the highest-paying player in the world and will be joining the ranks of top goal scorers like Neymar Jr, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema to compete for goals.

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Lagos State FA Congratulates Madiba, Inter Lagos, Ikorodu City, On NNL Play-offs Tickets

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The Lagos State Football Association ably led by Hajji Gafar Liameed, has congratulated the trio of Lagos State based football clubs, Madiba FC, Inter Lagos and Ikorodu City, for qualifying for the NNL Super 8 payoffs.

In the press statement, Hajji Gafar Liameed described the qualification of the teams, as remarkable and very commendable.

“Lagos State Football Association, the stakeholders and indeed, all lovers of the game are very happy over the feats of these teams, and of course, what it portends for the development of the game in Lagos State.

“As we earnestly look forward to big time and top level football matches in Lagos State in the next season, Lagos FA, shall continue to give technical and every other necessary supports to all clubs, for the benefits of game in the state.”

The board of the Lagos State Football Association, also expresses its profound appreciation to the Lagos State Government and its agencies, including the Lagos State Sports Commission, for providing the enabling environment for social activities and particularly, football to thrive in the state.

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How much money Dortmund or Real Madrid will get for winning Champions League

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Champions League prize money is crucial for European clubs, boosting finances significantly based on performance.
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Champions League prize money is crucial for European clubs, boosting finances significantly based on performance.

The pay-out is split among winners, runners-up, semi-finalists, and more, with a performance-based reward system in place.

The pot includes money from performance results, coefficient pay-out, and broadcast market, significantly impacting all 32 teams involved.

With each passing year, the beautiful game has become all-too revolved around a pay-to-play structure – and continental football is the easiest way for clubs around the continent to boost their respective kitties. Winning – or even just featuring in – the Champions League has its obvious benefits.

It’s a sure-fire way of getting your side on the map for the lesser-known clubs, but the financial gain is somewhat unprecedented, particularly in comparison to those competing in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League. As a result, Europe’s top table is treated as the be all and end all of their respective seasons. Even for those who don’t reach the latter stages of the competition, strong performances can bring in additional income.

For this campaign, UEFA and the competition organisers revealed that the overall purse for Europe’s top table contenders would remain the same as 2022/23 – at €2.03 billion (£1.74bn/$2.19bn). Using figures courtesy of The Sporting News, here’s a comprehensive breakdown of how the Champions League prize money is given out: from how much the winner receives for reigning victorious to the finer details of how the rest of the teams are financially boosted.

Inside the Champions League Prize Money

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, after conquering Europe for the first time in their history last season, pocketed an eye-watering €80m (£68.4m/$86.4m). For either Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund – the two sides that have reached this season’s rendition of the Champions League final – the maximum financial pay-out they could secure after the final is concluded is €85.14m.

In order to receive a healthy bounty, however, that would require either the Spanish or German side to have a perfect European campaign from start to finish. Looking beyond the eventual winner, there are several different ways in which the overall pot of money is handed out to completing clubs.

The Champions League sees the best players in the world compete — and some are very well paid.
The heaviest portion of money, which equates to 55% of the total prize pot, is distributed among the clubs dependent on their results in the competition. The other 45% is administered and split across the complete pool of 32 participants in two separate ways – 30% of it comes from the coefficient pay-out, and the other 15% from the broadcast market.

Performance-Based Prize Money
Winner earns an extra £17.2m (€20m)
The Champions League trophy on display
Performance-Based Money Distribution

Stage

Prize Money

Winner

£17.2m (€20m/$21.5m)

Runners-up

£12.9m (€15.5m/$16.12m)

Semi-finalists

£10.8m (€12.5m/$13.2m)

Quarter-finalists

£9.1m (€10.6m/$11.4m)

Round of 16

£8.3m (€9.6m/$10.3m)

Group stage wins

£2.4m(€2.8m/$3m)

Group stage draws

£800k (€930k/$1m)

Reaching group stage

£13.5m (€15.6m/$16.8m)

Simply, on the basis of how far a team progresses in the tournament, a grand total of 55% of the prize pot is handed out. Those who reach the group stage are guaranteed a pay out of £13.5m (€15.6m/$16.8m), while the results of the group stage games also yield financial gain.

Any draws result in an additional £800k (€930k/$1m), whereas group stage wins see teams pocket a healthy £2.4m (€2.8m/$3m) per victory. Those who crash out at the group stage are not in line for extra pay-outs, however, and the 16 teams who do manage to progress are promised additional money.

A total of £8.3m (€9.6m/$10.3m) is given out to the eight teams that secure Round of 16 status, while the pay-out increases to £9.1m (€10.6m/$11.4m) should they make further progress into the quarter-final stage. All four semi-finalists of this season’s Champions League – Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Borussia Dortmund – are awarded with an extra £10.8m (€12.5m/$13.2m), regardless of whether they win or lose.

Either Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund will secure an additional £17.2m (€20m/$21.5m) when one of the aforementioned sides secures Champions League winners’ status at Wembley on June 1, 2024. The runner-up, instead, will earn £12.9m (€15.5m/$16.12m).

Coefficient Pay-Out
An additional £512m (€600m), which is equivalent to 30% of the total purse available, will be paid out across all 32 teams that participated in the 2023/24 Champions League – from the likes of Copenhagen to RC Lens to Young Boys all the way up to the final two finalists. The coefficient pay-out is based on UEFA’s algorithm that has tracked each side’s progress in UEFA tournaments, including the Champions League, Europa League and the Europa Conference League, over a 10-year period.

All 32 teams are ranked from No.1 and No.32 and there are bonus points on offer for those who have actually won trophies. All competing Champions League clubs are then paid accordingly to their position in UEFA’s club coefficient rankings, which can be viewed in full on the official UEFA website here.

The lowest-ranked team earns one share £1m (€1.137m), while the top-ranked team earns 32 shares £31m (€36.38m). The highest-ranked team left this season are Manchester City and the lowest-ranked was Newcastle United after their two-decade-long hiatus from European football.

Broadcast Market Pay-Out
Each season, a considerable chunk of prize money is up for grabs from Champions League broadcasting rights from all corners of the globe. This season, for all 32 teams, there is an additional £256m (€300m) on offer as part of the concluding broadcast revenue once all the broadcast-based deals are finalised.

For each country that is represented in Europe’s top tier club competition, from England to Switzerland, their federation is handed out a share of the final prize money, which is entirely dependent on the proportional value of each TV market.

This ensures that those leagues that are high in popularity – the Premier League, for example – are financially aided proportionally compared to other divisions – and federations – that rake in lower numbers of viewership. The total money is then split among the federations to their clubs using the following formula:

50% of the allocation to a national federation will be divided among the participating Champions League clubs from that nation based on fixed percentages determined by UEFA.

The other 50% is paid out in proportion to the number of matches played by each club in 2023/24.
The Champions League trophy on display.

As alluded to, last season’s winners Manchester City were awarded an additional £68.4m (€80m/$86.4m) for their Champions League exploits. Dortmund nor Madrid will rake in the absolute most available this term, given neither have boasted flawless records thus far. The former lost once and drew two games in their group stage – and they even lost 2-1 to Atletico Madrid at the quarter-final stage.

The Spanish side, however, have yielded the most amount of money thus far, having not lost a game. Having escaped the group stages with six wins, plus zero draws and losses, to their name, they have suffered a total of four draws from their six knockout outings. To learn how the Champions League prize money will be distributed for the 2024/25 season, please read below.

 

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Quick facts to know ahead of Real Madrid vs. Bayern

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All or nothing: Bayern aim to take the final step to the Champions League final at Wembley in the semi-final return leg against Real Madrid
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All or nothing: Bayern aim to take the final step to the Champions League final at Wembley in the semi-final return leg against Real Madrid on Wednesday at 21:00 CEST.

After the 2-2 draw in the first leg at the Allianz Arena eight days ago, there will be a winning team this time, be it after 90 or 120 minutes or after a penalty shootout. Read about that and more in the facts on the match in Madrid.

Last results at the Bernabéu as encouragement
The last match between Real and Bayern at the Bernabéu ended in a 2-2 draw. This result would lead to extra-time on Wednesday.

Bayern were eliminated in the last three Champions League duels with Real Madrid, but the last two results after 90 minutes at the Bernabéu give hope. The 2-1 after regular time in the quarter-final return leg of the 2016/17 season would mean Bayern progress to the final this time. The 2-2 after 90 minutes in the semi-final return leg in 2017/18 would lead to extra-time.

Stats in Real’s favour
The overall stats speak in favour of Real. The men from Madrid advanced in 18 out of 19 duels when they did not lose the first leg on the road.

The only exception was the 2018/19 last sixteen, when Real lost 4-1 at the Bernabéu after a 2-1 victory away to Ajax. FC Bayern were eliminated after a first-leg draw at home in four out of five cases. It’s high time to burnish the stats!

Top scorers go head-to-head – Kane set to break record
Harry Kane put Bayern in front from the penalty spot in the first leg.
Harry Kane (11) and Vinicius Junior (9), the two players involved in the most goals this campaign, go head-to-head. Kane scored his 29th Champions League in the first leg and is one goal short of Wayne Rooney, the most successful English scorer in Europe’s premier club competition so far.

Müller set to catch up with Xavi
Thomas Müller boasts an incredible 150 Champions League appearances after the first leg. Only five players have made more CL appearances. Müller can draw level with Xavi (151) in Madrid.

The two would be the players with the most Champions League appearances for one club in that case.

 

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Salah sets insane new Premier League record as Liverpool beat Tottenham 4-2

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Mohamed Salah scripted a new Premier League record on Sunday as Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur in a thrilling encounter.
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Mohamed Salah scripted a new Premier League record on Sunday as Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur in a thrilling encounter.

The Egyptian star contributed with a goal and an assist as Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur in a six-goal thriller in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday.

With his stellar show for the Reds, Salah is now the first player in the history of the league to score 10-plus goals and provide 10 or more assists in a single season for three consecutive campaigns. He also equalled Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney’s record of contributing with 10 or more goals and assists in five different seasons.

 

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Arsenal sink Bournemouth to move four points clear in title race

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 Arsenal moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League as Bukayo Saka and Leandro Trossard inspired a 3-0 win against
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Arsenal moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League as Bukayo Saka and Leandro Trossard inspired a 3-0 win against Bournemouth on Saturday.

The Gunners’ fourth successive victory ensured second placed Manchester City will not be able to knock them out of pole position this weekend even if they beat Wolves in Saturday’s late game.

Saka’s penalty put Mikel Arteta’s side ahead on the stroke of half-time at the Emirates Stadium.

Trossard and Declan Rice struck in the closing stages to secure a vital three points.

Chasing their first title since 2004, the Gunners will pray for a shock City stumble against Wolves at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s team, who have two games in hand on Arsenal, can clinch an unprecedented fourth successive English title if they win their last four matches.

Arsenal’s 26th Premier League victory this season equalled the club’s top-flight record for a single campaign.

Arteta’s men gifted the title to City last season after a blowing an eight-point lead in the closing weeks.

But the north Londoners have learned from that meltdown, winning 14 of their 16 league games in 2024 to stay firmly in the hunt.

Arsenal travel to Manchester United in their penultimate game next weekend before hosting Everton in what they hope will be a potential title clincher on May 19.

Arteta was a childhood friend of Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola back home in Spain, but there was no room for sentimentality with the title on the line.

Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers was destined for a busy afternoon and it wasn’t long before he made his first save to deny Kai Havertz from a tight angle.

Even Arsenal defender William Saliba was willing to rumble forward, cleverly cutting back to find space for a shot that Travers saved at his near post.

Travers repelled a stinging strike from Saka, with Takehiro Tomiyasu’s effort cleared off the line from the resulting corner.

Unmarked 10 yards from goal, Declan Rice lashed narrowly wide from Havertz’s knock down, a miss that left anxiety and frustration etched all over Arteta’s face.

Arteta could finally relax in the 45th minute when Havertz left his leg dangling to ensure he was tripped by the slightest contact from Travers as the German skipped around him.

Saka stepped up to calmly slot the penalty down the middle for his 20th goal in all competitions this season.

Saka should have doubled Arsenal’s lead soon after half-time, but his scuffed close-range shot from Havertz’s pass was straight at Travers.

Arsenal couldn’t rest on their laurels with a one-goal lead and Dominic Solanke nearly caught them out as the Bournemouth striker forced David Raya to save.

Havertz’s low drive was stopped at full stretch by the over-worked Travers, but Bournemouth’s Justin Kluivert went close with a shot that dipped just over.

Trossard finally delivered the knockout blow in the 70th minute, running onto Rice’s pass and slotting a clinical finish past Travers from 12 yards.

Bournemouth’s Antoine Semenyo had a goal harshly disallowed for a soft challenge by Solanke on Raya.

But Rice blasted home from close-range deep into stoppage-time as Arsenal cruised to a victory that kept their title dreams alive.

AFP

 

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