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Spain’s Pique gets coach Lopetegui support after boos by fans

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Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has said he is unhappy with the hostile treatment Gerard Pique is receiving by some fans when he plays for the national team.

The Barcelona defender started in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Colombia in an international friendly in Murcia and was jeered by some Spanish supporters every single time he touched the ball.

In the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) game report it read: “Pique was very firm at the back, despite the rude whistles that accompanied almost all his interventions.”

“Everyone is entitled to do what they want but I don’t think it’s good that a player is booed,” Lopetegui said after the game as reported in Marca.

“Gerard gives everything on the pitch, his commitment is beyond doubt and if they boo him, they are not doing him justice.”

The outspoken Pique has been jeered by a large section of fans of Spain’s national team in recent years due to jibes he has directed at Real Madrid.
Lopetegui’s predecessor Vicente del Bosque and Spain captain Sergio Ramos have defended the Barca star in the past.

The 30-year-old, who announced last October that he would retire from the national team after next summer’s World Cup in order to allow “future generations to take his place,” has blamed the local media for keeping the issue in the spotlight.

An angry Pique told the media after Wednesday’s game as reported in AS: “Why do you pay so much attention to this? Why don’t you talk about football instead? This is news because you [media] want it.

“You make this sound important and make them whistle me. It’s not down to [Catalan] independence, have you ever heard me take a stance on this before?”

Pique says the whistles are simply because he likes riling Real Madrid players and fans with his comments and use of Twitter.

“I’ve said it 1,000 times and I’m tired of saying it again,” he said. “It’s always the same, this country is divided between Barca and Madrid fans and the latter feel annoyed by my comments.”

Earlier this year, Pique questioned Real Madrid’s values and hinted on Twitter that Madrid were getting preferential treatment from referees.

In December 2015, Pique expressed his delight when Real Madrid were expelled from the 2015-16 Copa del Rey for fielding ineligible player Denis Cheryshev in the last 32 of the competition and posted nine laughing emojis.

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Football

NFF makes new appointments

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Tuesday announced the appointments of new media officers for the various National Teams.

In a statement signed by Demola Olajire, NFF Director of Communication, Toyin Ibitoye and Miss Jane Nweze have been retained for the Super Eagles and the Super Falcons, respectively, until after the two teams’ major championships.

He said Ibitoye and Nweze will still retain their positions until the Super Eagles’ AFCON finals in Egypt and the Super Falcons’ FIFA World Cup finals in France, NAN reports.

Olajire, however, announced the appointment of Pius Ayinor as media officer for the Super Eagles B, also known as CHAN Eagles.

“Sharif Abdallah will serve as media officer for the U-23 National Team (Olympic Eagles), while Andrew Randa will take charge at the camp of the U-20 Boys National Team (Flying Eagles).

“Cecilia Omorogbe will work with the U-20 Girls (Falconets), while Francis Achi will serve the U-17 Boys (Golden Eaglets) and Faith Meremegbunam will work with the U-17 Girls (Flamingos).

“Tobi Adepoju will be media officer of the U-15 National Boys (Future Eagles),’’ Olajire said.

According to him, all the newly-appointed media officers will serve until after their next major championships, before giving way to other persons to also benefit from the experience.

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My expectations from Man United, Man City clash – Guardiola

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Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola has revealed what he expects when his side tackle Manchester United in Wednesday’s Premier League derby clash.

Guardiola says he expects the ‘best’ Manchester United team to face Man City at Old Trafford.

Man City head to the game following a 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Saturday, while Ole Gunnar Solskjear’s side were defeated 4-0 by Everton on Sunday.

“I expect the best United tomorrow, I am sure,” Guardiola was quoted by Man City’s official website as saying in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

“They are bright. Football players try to do their best and tomorrow is going to happen. We prepare for their strong points and weak points.”

Guardiola added: “I don’t make theories about what happened in the past. Every game is completely different.

“The fact is this club grew a lot in the last decade, so it is not scary to go there.

“Before that, it was maybe more difficult. The players Manchester City have had in the last decade made this game a little bit more equal.”

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Man Utd vs Man City: Solskjaer releases killer squad

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Manchester United have released a strong squad to face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in Wednesday’s Premier League derby fixture at Old Trafford.

According to Mirror UK, Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer released a list of 25 players on Tuesday.

Man United head to the game following a 4-0 defeat to Everton in the Premier League on Sunday at Goodison Park.

Below is Man United’s Premier League squad against Man City:

De Gea, Romero, Grant, Dalot, Darmian, Bailly, Valencia, Young, Jones, Shaw, Lindelof, Rojo, Smalling, Herrera, Fred, Matic, McTominay, Pereira, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Martial, Sanchez, Lukaku, Rashford.

The kick-off time for the match is 8pm.

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