Sterling sends touching letter to young victim of racist abuse

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has written a heart-warming letter to a young fan after being made aware of the racist abuse he has suffered.

The England international has found himself at the centre of unwelcome attention this season after being subjected to more terrace taunts during a trip to Stamford Bridge.

He has continued to speak out against the narrow-minded views of certain sections of modern society, while offering support to those who find themselves in a similar position.

That has now seen the 24-year-old respond to a follower named Ethan Ross after being made aware by the youngster’s grandmother that he has been victimised.

Sterling, who also forwarded on a signed photograph, wrote: “Dear Ethan. I have recently been told from your loving Nanna Sue about the tough time you are having with racial abuse.

“Remember to stand tall and be proud of who you are and don’t let them take away your courage. You are strong and very brave, and your Nanna is also very proud of you. Keep being you kid.

“Remember speaking up doesn’t always make life easy, but easy never changed anything.

“With kind regards, Raheem Sterling”

After finding himself targeted during a Premier League trip to Chelsea on December 8, Sterling hit out at the coverage given to young black players in the modern game.

He highlighted double standards and called on those responsible to give more consideration to their coverage of certain individuals and topics.

“All I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity and give all players an equal chance,” he said.

Sterling also said he “had to laugh” and expected “no better” when addressing the alleged racist remarks he was subjected to in a post on his personal Instagram account.

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Is Team of the Year Modric the best FIFA Ultimate Team card in history?

EA Sports has revealed the complete group of the Team of the Year (TOTY) cards for FIFA 19 Ultimate Team and, for once, there is a new contender for the highest-rated card in the game alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric had a sensational 2018 , making history by helping his club to a third consecutive Champions League trophy and captaining Croatia to the country’s first-ever World Cup final.

Those incredible accomplishments led to Modric being awarded the Ballon d’Or trophy and, in turn, his TOTY card has the highest-possible rating of 99 overall.

However, Modric shines above Messi’s and Ronaldo’s blue cards with all of his stats rated at 90 and above – giving the Croatian the best overall stats in FIFA 19. The card features 90 pace, 99 dribbling, 94 shooting, 94 defending, 99 passing and 90 physicality as well as four-star skills and a four-star weak-foot making this potentially the most well-balanced card in Ultimate Team history.

The FIFA community created a very exclusive group dubbed the “Gullit Club” for any player with all ratings in 80s and above – named after Dutch legend Ruud Gullit who regularly accomplishes this feat.

The fact that so few make it into the Gullit Club speaks volumes of Modric’s achievement. The only other card to have reached all 90s is Radja Nainggolan’s TOTY from FIFA 17, aka 9golan.

However, 9Golan’s impressive 2588 total in-game stats are still dwarfed by Modric who boasts a staggering 2701 – potentially the highest in a FIFA game ever. Modric came close to having the best total stats in a game last year as he came second in FIFA 18 thanks to his upgraded World Cup mode card which sported 2542 in-game stats.

Modric is well ahead of everyone in FIFA 19 with his closest rival, TOTY Kevin De Bruyne, still lagging fairly far behind with a total of 2599 in-game stats. The Belgian himself missed out on the all 90s club due to his 87 pace and 78 defending. 

On top of Modric’s perfect rating of 99 overall, the card also has multiple perfect stats with 99 long shots, penalties, vision, short passing, agility, balance, ball control, interceptions, standing tackle and stamina.

In fact, Modric only has two stats which aren’t in the green – his heading (73) and strength (77) which are both in the yellow. There may never be a better card than Modric’s TOTY but if you want to experience for yourself, you’ll have to be willing to part with nearly 4 million coins on the FUT market.​

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Skriniar shoots down ‘sh*t’ talk of £54m Man Utd move

Milan Skriniar has hit out at the “sh*t” being written about his future, with the latest reports suggesting that the Inter defender is a £54 million ($69m) target for Manchester United.

The Slovakia international has grown accustomed to seeing his name make transfer gossip columns on a regular basis.

Ever since arriving at San Siro from Sampdoria in 2017, moves elsewhere have been mooted.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and United have all been offered up as possible landing spots for the highly-rated 23-year-old.

The Red Devils’ ongoing hunt for defensive additions is keeping their name in the frame during the January window.

It has been claimed that a big-money offer is on the table, with a formal approach having been made to Inter.

With the Nerazzurri reportedly keen on taking Diego Godin from Atletico Madrid, it was suggested that Skriniar would be sold to make room for the Uruguayan.

He has, however, reacted angrily to said rumours on his personal Instagram account.

Posting a picture of a newspaper carrying the speculation, Skriniar said: “You write things that you don’t even know.

“You are sh*t. Now write an article on this.”

Milan Skriniar transfer rumours

Skriniar had previously welcomed reports linking him with United during Jose Mourinho’s time in charge at Old Trafford while reiterating his commitment to Inter.

He told ESPN FC in October 2018: “When some coach like Jose says that he is looking for a player like me or somebody else, it’s always nice, but I don’t know why these rumours continue.

“I’ve not said anything to anybody, just what you can see on the web.

“Even if Jose is one of the most famous, best, greatest coaches in the world, it’s not something I think of because I’m playing for Inter and am happy here at Inter.

“I’m happy in Milan, it’s a great city, even when my parents or friends come here, we have a look around and I’m happy here and relaxed here. When the results are going well too, it’s all even better.”

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Chelsea vs Newcastle United Betting Tips: Latest odds, team news, preview and predictions

Rafael Benitez will be hoping to come back to haunt his former club when Newcastle United visit Chelsea on Saturday.

The Spaniard won oversaw a Europa League triumph and third-placed Premier League finish in a six-month interim spell at Stamford Bridge back in 2013, but has only won once in 14 away games at this stadium as an opposition manager.

Latest odds

With his side having won just one of their last nine fixtures in all competitions, he is a 14/1 (15.00) long shot with 888Sport to taste victory on this return to west London.

The Blues have failed to win of even find the net in their last two home matches in the league, but are 1/5 (1.20) favourites to return to form by coming out on top in this one.

Kenedy Newcastle 2018-19

Just one of the last 14 encounters between this pair has resulted in a draw, but there are odds of 11/2 (6.50) available on them cancelling each other out on this occasion.

Team news

Alvaro Morata is a doubt after missing Tuesday’s Carabao Cup defeat at Tottenham with a minor hamstring injury, although Pedro is available after returning to action at Wembley.

Ki Sung-Yueng and Yoshinori Muto are both away at the Asian Cup, but Jonjo Shelvey and Federico Fernandez could be in contention to return from respective thigh and hip injuries.

Low-scoring clash

Chelsea Newcastle graphic

After starting the season in free-flowing attacking form, Maurizio Sarri’s team have found cutting edge a little more difficult to come by in recent weeks – scoring just six goals in their last seven fixtures.

However, they have at least been able to rely on a defence that has conceded only four goals in those seven games, and just eight in 11 home games in the league – a record bettered by only leaders Liverpool.

Predictions

With the Magpies likely to set themselves up defensively, odds of 6/5 (2.20) are well worth backing on under 2.5 goals being scored for Chelsea’s seventh consecutive home game and a sixth match in seven for Newcastle.

Betting Banner - Best BetUnder 2.5 goals at 6/5 (2.20) for a 1pt stake with 888Sport

888Sport footer - bet 10 get 30

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Ex-Dynamos coach Clemens Westerhof mulls return to Zimbabwe

Former Dynamos coach Clemens Westerhof is considering returning to Zimbabwe for a job with newly-promoted Premier Soccer League (PSL) side TelOne.

Having left Zimbabwe 18 years ago after a brief spell with giants Dynamos, Westerhof is eyeing a return to the Southern African nation.

“I am currently thinking about combining a job in Zimbabwe as a coach at a telecom club in Gweru together with an advisory role at a football academy, the Peter Mubi Academy,” Westerhof told BBC Sport.

“They want me to improve the academy, build it from the ground up. I hope I can achieve there what I’ve done in Nigeria in the past and improve the level of football in Zimbabwe in general.

“Maybe two years more, by the grace of God, and then I’ll stop.”

TelOne earned promotion into the PSL last season from the Zifa Central Region Division One League are currently under the tutelage of former Zimbabwe international forward Joel Lupahla.

It is still uncertain what Westerhof’s possible arrival at TelOne would spell for Lupahla’s job.

“I’m still young. In my body and soul, I’m still young. But I know, at this moment, I must do everything one step slower,” Westerhof said.

“I will not go in front with football shoes on and kick balls left and right – no, no, no. But I will tell them how to do it. And I will choose those coaches to work with me, who must have the same idea as I have. The same feeling and passion for it that you will see.”

The Dutchman has also previously coached South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns and Umthatha Bushbucks.

He helped Nigeria reached the knockout phase of the 1994 Fifa World Cup.

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