Ahmed Musa applauds fans despite losing World Cup best goal award

Ahmed Musa has applauded fans despite losing the 2018 World Cup best goal award to France defender Benjamin Pavard.

The Leicester City forward’s second goal for Nigeria in their 2-0 victory over Iceland was shortlisted along 17 others for the individual prize.

And on Wednesday, Fifa announced Pavard’s stunner against Argentina as the best in the tournament with Musa’s effort settling for the eighth spot.

The former CSKA Moscow man then took to the social media to appreciate his supporters for voting for him.

“I just want to thank you all for voting,” Musa wrote on Twitter.

“This goal is bigger than me it has shown the world that Nigeria has quality on the world stage and we look to improve in the future.

“I am humbled by the love and encouragement. Thank you all again.”

 

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Ozil thanks Arsenal fans for support amid row with DFB

Mesut Ozil has thanked Arsenal fans for their support amid a continuing row with the German Football Federation (DFB) that led to the World Cup winner quitting international duty.

Ozil was criticised after meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to the World Cup, alongside team-mate Ilkay Gundogan.

After Germany’s World Cup defence fell at the first hurdle, the Arsenal playmaker complained about the DFB’s handling of the affair and accused the body of discrimination.

Ozil suggested he was made a scapegoat due to his Turkish heritage, stating: “If we win, I’m German. If we lose, I’m an immigrant.”

DFB president Reinhard Grindel has rejected Ozil’s accusations and said he will not be resigning from his post over the row.

Ozil was in Singapore with Arsenal on Thursday as the Gunners continued their pre-season campaign with an International Champions Cup defeat to Atletico Madrid on penalties.

And Ozil used a social media message to express his gratitude for the strong support he received from fans at the National Stadium.

“Thanks to the Gunners in Singapore for showing so much love tonight,” Ozil wrote with a picture of himself signing autographs for supporters.

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Aberdeen 1 Burnley 1: Vokes strikes late leveller in Europa League tie

Sam Vokes struck a late equaliser as Burnley came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen in the Europa League’s second qualifying round.

Substitute Vokes controlled a knockdown from strike partner Chris Wood to lash home with 10 minutes to play in Burnley’s first European tie for over 50 years.

Gary Mackay-Steven’s penalty looked set to earn Derek McInnes’ side a 1-0 home win at Pittodrie on Thursday, Anders Lindegaard beaten from 12 yards five minutes into his debut.

But Vokes fired home to ensure the Premier League side will be expected to progress to a third-round tie with Istanbul Basaksehir in next week’s second leg at Turf Moor.


Sean Dyche’s side suffered an early blow when they lost Nick Pope to injury, the England goalkeeper hurting his left wrist.

With Pope’s colleague Tom Heaton sidelined due to a calf injury, former Manchester United goalkeeper Lindegaard was introduced for his Burnley debut and one of his first tasks was to pick the ball out of the net.

Referee Daniel Siebert pointed to the penalty spot after judging James Tarkowski had fouled Sam Cosgrove in the area and Mackay-Steven made no mistake, sending Lindegaard the wrong way to open the scoring in the 19th minute.

Johann Gudmundsson and Wood fired efforts off target and Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis made a sensational save to keep out Jack Cork’s header in the 51st minute.

At the other end, Lindegaard turned away Mackay-Steven’s header as Aberdeen threatened to extend their lead, but Burnley levelled with 10 minutes to go.

Wood headed a long pass on for Vokes and the Wales striker controlled a bouncing ball well, held off two Aberdeen defenders and thumped a powerful finish into the roof of the net.

With neither side able to nudge ahead in the closing stages it is all to play for when the tie resumes next Thursday.

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Easy on the flop! Neymar shows off poker skills in Brazil

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has been accused of bluffing his way to penalties and free-kicks in the past, but he is also a dab hand at another kind of bluff, it seems. 

The Brazil forward is currently on holiday in his home country after a difficult World Cup that ended with quarter-final defeat to Belgium. 

A series of elaborate falls in Russia saw Neymar attract headlines for the wrong reasons, with only flashes of his usual prowess across the field. 

And while he recovers from those exertions, he is turning his hand to new hobbies, such as poker. 

Neymar finished sixth out of 288 participants in a Brazilian Series of Poker event, organisers confirmed to Reuters

The star won more than $20,000 before finally bowing out in the latter stages of the tournament, having signed up to play with five friends. 

After battling through to a nine-player final Neymar was finally eliminated four hours in, but appears to have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 

“I’m very happy to be playing this tournament for the first time and for reaching the final with some great players,” he said before the final began.

“This is a new experience for me.”

Plenty of big-name players have lent their name to poker in the past, including both Cristiano Ronaldo and his Brazilian namesake, O Fenomeno. 

Now Neymar has caught the bug – we can only hope his opponents resist the temptation to joke about his occasional flops.

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‘Does this ever stop?’ – Ajax star De Jong tired of Barcelona transfer speculation

Frenkie de Jong insists he is no clearer on reported interest from Barcelona as rumours of a switch from Ajax continue to swirl. 

The 21-year-old laid on seven assists in 22 Eredivisie appearances last season and his impressive performances have led to rumours that La Liga champions Barca are considering a move for the Netherlands Under-21 international.

Ajax, however, have continued to deny a deal with be struck.

It is thought that a transfer could be dependent upon whether Ajax qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, with De Jong playing the full 90 minutes of Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Sturm Graz in the first leg of their second round of qualifying tie.

And De Jong remains none the wiser over the possibility of a move.

 

“The talks about a possible transfer are still going on. I see all the newsflashes, everybody tells me stuff,” he told Voetbal International.

“At first I thought it was kind of funny, but after a while I was thinking ‘does this ever stop?’ But besides all that, my summer was quite normal.”

Barcelona have already flexed their financial muscle in the transfer market this window, signing Bordeaux’s young Brazilian star Malcom for €41 million (£36.5m/$48m) this week.

The winger joins compatriot Arthur and Sevilla centre-back Clement Lenglet in moving to Camp Nou.

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