Latest Ghana Sports News Today

Messi scores 500th career goal but Barca lose

Lionel Messi scored his 500th career goal for club and country on Sunday, reaching the milestone with a simple pass into the net from a Neymar cross in Barcelona's La Liga match against Valencia.

Ronaldo magic as Madrid beat Wolfsburg 3-0

Cristiano Ronaldo's sheer wizardry, typified by his thoroughbred athleticism, irrepressible fighting spirit and impeccable mastery of the ball, gave Real Madrid the needed impetus to surmount a two-goal deficit and eliminate Wolfsburg 3-2 on aggregate in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final match played the Bernabaue in Spain.

China plans to get 50 million children and adults playing football by 2020

China has unveiled a strategy to become a "world football superpower" by 2050, with plans to get 50 million children and adults playing the game by 2020.

Other targets include having at least 20,000 football training centres and 70,000 pitches in place by 2020.


 

While China excels at the Olympics and Paralympics, it has only ever qualified for one football World Cup, in 2002.

President Xi Jinping is a football enthusiast and previously said he wants China to win the World Cup in 15 years.

The plan was published by the Chinese Football Association (in Chinese) on Monday.

It sets out short, medium and long-term targets, including ensuring there is one football pitch for every 10,000 people by 2030.

The men's football team should become one of the best in Asia, while the female football team should be ranked as a world-class team, by 2030, the plan said.

By 2050, the report added, China should be "a first-class football superpower" that "contributes to the international football world".

China's men's team currently sits 81st in the Fifa world rankings, out of 204 nations, below far smaller nations such as Haiti, Panama and Benin.

The football league has been hit by corruption in recent years, with 33 players and officials banned in 2013 for match-fixing, although efforts have been made to clean up the sport.

bbc.com

Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s United show excites Grant

Ghana Coach Avram Grant is on his way to England to hold talks with Ghanaian-born Dutch youngster Timothy Fosu-Mensah. GhanaSportsOnline.com can reveal.

The former Chelsea boss as part of his monitoring of Ghanaian players abroad has decided to visit the Manchester United youngster to persuade him to switch nationality.


 

Fosu-Mensah who is born to Ghanaian parents is eligible to feature for the Black Stars after featuring for Holland at the junior level.

Grant will be hoping to convince the 18-year-old defender to feature for his native country (Ghana).

The former Ajax player (Fosu-Mensah) has hogged the headlines in England and the Netherlands having made six appearances for Manchester United’s first team.

The versatile defender made his Premier League debut in February this year after coming on as a substitute in Manchester United’s 3-2 win at home over Arsenal.

Ghanasportsonlline.com

Neymar’s €190 million buy-out clause & €1.7m bonus leaked

The leaked documents confirm the 24-year-old has a €190 million buy-out clause at Camp Nou and could stand to earn a €1.7m bonus should his side win the treble this season.


 

Brazil international Neymar is the latest player to have details of his Barcelona contract revealed, after Football Leaks published his current Camp Nou deal.

The forward moved to the Catalan giants from Santos, signing the five-year deal in early June 2013, with his father named as his representative.

The contract states Neymar’s salary as €5 million a season, although there are numerous bonuses to be added, which ensure he will earn at least €49.5m over the duration of the deal.

The leaked documents also reveal the Brazil international also received an €8.5m signing on bonus and the contract confirms he has a buy-out clause of €190m.

Neymar, who finished third in the 2015 Ballon d’Or, also has a clause stipulating he shall receive €425,000 if he wins the award during his time at Barcelona.

There are various other clauses throughout the contract, with Neymar set to earn €637,500 each time Barcelona win La Liga, €850,000 for the Champions League and €850,000 for winning the Copa del Rey.

Barcelona remain on course to win three trophies this season and should they manage it Neymar will collect a cool €1.7m bonus and €1,062,500 if they win the Champions League and Copa del Rey.

goal.com

Arsenal stunned by Andy Carroll in drawn game

Have 10 minutes ever so encapsulated the failings of a Premier League football club?

Arsenal were cruising at Upton Park, 2-0 to the good after goals from Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez and keeping the ball from their opponents with the ease one has come to expect from Arsene Wenger’s flaky, if beautiful, team.


 

Then came the wrecking ball, ponytail swinging in the wind, to ruin the moment. Andy Carroll, the definition of a nuisance target man, planted a superb header past David Ospina, bafflingly selected ahead of Petr Cech despite the ex-Chelsea goalkeeper returning to fitness, from Aaron Cresswell’s pinpoint cross.

And then again. Carroll is equally adept at volleying the ball beyond the goalkeeper as he is at heading it and he proved that with a remarkable swinging strike after the Gunners failed to clear a corner.

From two goals up in the 44th minute to level at half-time, Arsenal had imploded. It got worse. Carroll, so abysmally marked by both Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny, rose high in the early stages of the second half to grab his hat-trick. He was Arsenal’s worst nightmares. Laurent Koscielny equalised, but the damage was done. They are now 10 points behind Leicester, and three behind Tottenham.

No matter how often Wenger talks of togetherness, or spirit, or desire the fact will always remain; he has presided over too many teams with a soft underbelly. Arsenal always fold when the going gets tough.

Can one envisage Leicester City throwing away such a lead in such comical fashion? They started the season as unfancied relegation fodder but are now careering towards the Premier League title and at the heart of their success lies a succession of 1-0 wins. Closing a game out is vital for any potential champion.

Arsenal, however, simply cannot do it. They played perfectly for those opening 44 minutes, moving the ball expertly, creating chances and then gobbling them up with ruthless efficiency. This appeared to be a statement of intent. They looked to be back in the title race, ready to breathe down the necks of Leicester and Tottenham for the remainder of this crazy season.

Every Wenger side since the Invincibles has had the same problem, though. Once exposed to the rarefied air of the Premier League summit they cower in fear and wish to climb back down whence they came. They need leaders, players who can calm the nerves and play sensibly.

Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin have both played well this season but they do not have the required voice to marshal the troops; one cannot imagine Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil doing so, nor Laurent Koscielny or the lumbering Gabriel.

Wenger knows of this weakness and has done nothing to fix it. It has cost his side for the umpteenth time.

goal.com

The fragile relationship between Pele and his hometown folks

The relationship between a king and his subjects can often be complex, and Pele's case is no exception. The legend is an illustrious citizen and the biggest gift Tres Coracoes has given to the world, but the greatest footballer of all time is not universally loved in his hometown. A daily topic in the municipality located in the interior of Minas Geraise, with around 77,000 inhabitants, the eternal Santos 10 is responsible for the city's biggest events of the past 50 years; but there is plenty of controversy around his name.


 

Besides Pele's home, another Tres Coracoes tourist attraction is a statue in homage to O Rei, smack bang in the centre of the city. The bust's unveiling in 1970 brought the city to a standstill. A friendly between Santos and Atletico Tres Coracoes (now Tricordiano) was organised to mark the occasion and ended in a 2-1 win for the hosts. It was the biggest celebration ever witnessed until his return in 2012, for the inauguration of a replica of his house.

The most popular site to stay in Tres Coracoes also catches the eye. During Goal's stay at Hotel Calabreza, the same lodgings Pele used to use on his rare visits to the city - for security reasons he tends to visit family members while avoiding staying in their homes - O Rei can be glimpsed everywhere. There is an enormous photograph in the lobby, while in the restaurant guests can take in more images and even a signed copy of his birth certificate.

The king of football is logically in the minds of the entire town and is both the main topic of conversation and a permanent source of controversy for the dwellers of Tres Coracoes. Goal spoke with several residents along the narrow streets of the town, as well as taxi drivers and store owners, and there is more than a little discontent in the air. Citizens complain that Pele abandoned Tres Coracoes and seldom visits his hometown.

Jorge Jeremias and Ana Maria, cousins of O Rei and Tres Coracoes residents, confirmed that he was scarcely to be seen in the streets of the city, but defended their relative; as did Silvia Novaes, history teacher at the Luiza Gomes school.

"People around here do not understand that he is a citizen of the world. He has a lot to do and he does not have much time to come here. He is not just ours, he is the whole world's, and he should be respected by the people because he is our greatest pride. When you talk about Tres Coracoes people remember Pele. If it was not for him, nobody would have heard of the city," she pointed out.

Fellow teacher Jose Maria agrees. "People believes that Pele does not care about the city, but he put Tres Coracoes on the map. He is a citizen of the world and that is what counts. He is a great figure and we should know how to use him, but we don't. People usually write letters asking for shirts and they do not get an answer, then they think it is because he didn't like the city, you see what I mean," he laughed.

In Varginha, for example, they throw a huge party for the 'Alien', which never goes there, here we have Pele, the best player in history and we have never fully realised it. Pele is a brand, everyone on earth knows who he is. If you travel and say you are from Pele's hometown that already stands out," he adds, referring to a rival city which claims to have seen an extra-terrestrial.

The teacher's complaint makes a lot of sense; the city government has never worked out how to make the best use out of their connection with O Rei. Usually when the municipality seeks out Pele, it is to plead for financial help. The image of the No. 10 was badly exploited by Tres Corocoes. The best ideas involving Edson Arantes do Nascimento, it might be added, were thought out with the help of Jose Maria himself.

"I am a huge admirer of our most illustrious neighbour, Pele, and a tourism enthusiast in Tres Coracoes. I carry the flag here and I have worked hard to change the mentality that persists in the city. I was part of the committee that welcomed him on his last visit, the unveiling of Casa Pele, and I started and was part of the project to create the replica of the house he grew up in. I also created projects in the school for the kids so they would have an idea of what he representes. We should give him the respect he deserves, and at the same time use his name and image to benefit Tres Coracoes, starting businesses and spreading the city's name across the world."

The love-hate relationship in Tres Coracoes with her most illustrious son seems to be related to longing. Pele moved to Bauru, in Sao Paulo, when he was just three and a half years old, according to his mother, but it was in the Mineiro town where it all began. The residents only want more visits from O Rei, something that now, at his advanced age and with his health problems, is even more difficult. The truth is that Pele deserves to be more loved across Brazil, just like Diego Maradona in Argentina. The eternal No. 10, the best player of all time, is ours, he is from Tres Coracoes, and his image should be used more by the city, which must welcome home its prodigal son.

goal.com

Bournemouth defeats Aston Villa despite Jordan Ayew goal

Ghana forward Jordan Ayew scored Aston Villa's first goal in five games as the Villans slipped to yet another defeat, losing 2-1 against Bournemouth at the Villa Park on Saturday.


 

The 24-year-old fired home to the top right corner from an acute angle in the 85th minute.

Steve Cook and King Joshua scored in either halves to put Bournemouth in firm control of the tie but Ayew pulled a goal back for Villa with five minutes left to play.

Villa should have pulled even late into the game but Kieran Richardson missed golden opportunity to equalise on the hour, failing to connect with Ayew's cross.

Jordan Ayew ran on to a Gana pass to give everybody at least something to cheer about, but it was scant consolation.

Villa's Premier League status for next season is now in serious doubt is over following the defeat.

Ayew has now scored 6 Premier League goals for Villa but would not play in the English Premier League season if he decides to stay at Villa.

Ghanasoccernet.com

Mario Balotelli told to shine at club or loose position

On-loan Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli “does not deserve” to join AC Milan on a permanent basis, says the Italian club’s chief executive.

Balotelli, 25, has scored three goals in 17 appearances this season for Milan, who sold him to the Reds for £16m in 2014.


 

“He has an immense desire to stay at the club. I hope he shows that with his performances,” said Adriano Galliani.

“I’ve told him that based on what he’s shown, he doesn’t deserve to stay.”

Italy international Balotelli is set to return to Liverpool after his loan spell ends in June.

“I told him to convince me that he should stay, as we want the best for him,” added Galliani.

“He has promised me he will do that and I hope he does.”

On Saturday sixth-placed Milan host Serie A leaders Juventus, who are six points clear of second-placed Napoli with seven games of the season remaining.

sportscrusader.com