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LA LIGA: Barca Finally Pay Griezmann’s Buyout Clause.

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Antoine Griezmann’s move to FC Barcelona is entering its final stretch. The deal was only held up because there was a belief an agreement could be reached between Barça and Atletico Madrid. However, that hasn’t been possible and now Josep Maria Bartomeu has sanctioned depositing the €120m buyout clause with LaLiga.

Atletico turned down any attempt to negotiate a package which included instalments. This forced Barça to study all the available options and ultimately found they could pay Griezmann’s clause in full, just as Atletico wanted. A deal should be made official within the next few days.

The transfer will be between the two clubs rather than the player himself depositing his buyout clause with LaLiga.

Griezmann will remain in Ibiza, alongside his family, until that payment has been made. He won’t travel to Madrid and join up with Diego Simeone in Los Angeles de San Rafael. The forward believes he is still allowed time away after finishing his season on the 11th June.

Despite threats of being fined by his current club, that won’t happen.

The forward will be waiting to receive a phone call from FC Barcelona so that he can head to the Cuidad Condal and begin to work under Ernesto Valverde. Griezmann hopes to have everything sorted out so he can attend the first day of preseason (14th July) to undergo medical tests before the physical work starts on Monday 15th July.

Barça have informed the player to remain calm and that it’ll be sorted soon. Whilst waiting for the confirmation, Griezmann has been working hard alongside his own personal trainer so that he’s in the best possible shape for the new season.

After either opening a new line of credit or extending a current one, Barça are doing all they can to make sure Griezmann is part of the club’s preseason plans.

Once everything has been signed off then it’ll bring an end to a transfer saga which has lasted almost two months. Griezmann released a video saying goodbye to Atletico on the 14th May and since then, the forward’s future has been unknown.

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Bale In Outrageous £1m-a-Week Deal Daily Record.

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Gareth Bale has been offered an outrageous £1million-a-week deal in the Chinese Super League.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is desperate to offload the Welshman and took the unprecedented step of publicly attempting to force him out of the club.

Zidane pulled no punches as he insisted he wants the winger gone as soon as possible, prompting Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett to label him "a disgrace".

But the French legend may be about to get his wish as Beijing Guoan tabled a staggering contract for the 30-year-old, as reported by our colleagues at The Mirror .

Bale already earns a mind-boggling £650,000-a-week at Madrid but a switch to China would make him the highest paid player on the planet.

Zinedine Zidane standing in front of a crowd: Zidane confirmed Real Madrid's intention to sell Bale in the near future
© SIPA USA/PA Images Zidane confirmed Real Madrid's intention to sell Bale in the near future

And if he heads to the Far East, he'd be granting Zidane his wish to see the back of him.

Zidane said: "We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team.

"I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done."

Those comments prompted an angry response from Bale's representative Barnett.

Gareth Bale holding a football ball
© SIPA USA/PA Images

The former Spurs star has won four Champions Leagues, three Super Cups, three World Club Cups, a La Liga title and the Copa del Rey.

And Barnett said: "Zidane is a disgrace - he shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid."

Bale is expected to remain in Europe amid reports Paris Saint-Germain have told Madrid they would accept him in a cash-plus-player deal for Neymar .

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AZUMAH NELSON: First African Inducted To The International Boxing Hall Of Fame.

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Azumah Nelson, born on 19th July 1958 in the newly independent Ghana is widely considered as the best boxer to come out of the African continent.

In his fighting days, the Ghanaian boxing legend’s thudding jabs and powerful overhands earned him the moniker “The Professor,” named for the lessons he’d teach opponents inside the ring. His daring feats inside the four corners of the ring made him a national hero in the West African country, while in 2004 he became the first African to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Azumah Nelson: First African Inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame

Born the year after his home nation of Ghana gained independence, he played a major part in putting this new country on the world map. A glittering amateur career saw him win every title – competing at the 1978 Commonwealth Games where he won a gold medal in the Featherweight class, except an Olympic medal, as Ghana boycotted the 1980 Games – even when he was a favourite to win.

From the Ghetto of Bokum…

Azumah grew up in the harsh environment of the Bokum province in the Accra Region of Ghana.  Fighting was a hobby for Azumah and a way of life for the children of the region.  In the then Bokum, kids were allowed to fight on the streets as long as they are the same age and used no weapons. Outsiders knew about the kids from Bokum, and even if you were a talented fighter, you did not mess with the kids from Bokum even if you were older.

Like many champions, he rose from humble beginnings, suffered tragedy along the way, but he won and remained a world champion at featherweight and super featherweight for eleven years. Very few champions have carried such a burden of expectation, and Azumah delivered success at a time when his country needed a hero. He never faltered and won the respect of many across the world.

Azumah Nelson picked up gold in the featherweight division at the Edmonton games in 1978. After this success he turned professional and within 10 fights he was the holder of the Ghanaian, African and Commonwealth belts.

He went 13-0 to start his professional career. In his 14th fight as a professional, he showed the stuff that spawn legends as he stepped up against the legendary WBC featherweight champion Salvador Sanchez.

International scene…

Azumah Nelson made his first international bout at Madisen Square against the great Salvador Sanchez. After turning professional, he took a last-minute bout for the world title with Salvador Sanchez, even though he was overwhelmed in the 15th and final round, it was that bout that changed his life. From there his fame started spreading and his boxing career spiraled upwards never to decend. Two years later, in 1984, he won the WBC Featherweight World Title.

As a pro, Azumah Nelson took on all comers. The two epic battles with Jeff Fenech, the four with Jesse James Leija, the two with Gabriel Ruelas, and the two with Marcos Villasana, his one round demolition of Pat Cowdell, the epic bout against lion-hearted Jim McDonnell at the Royal Albert Hall. Jim got up from four knockdowns at the Royal Albert Hall and yet, was overcome by Azumah firing on all cylinders.

Charlie Magri, a former World Champion himself, doffed his hat to Azumah’s magnificence. Time and time again, his opponents have praised Azumah as the consummate professional, a gentleman and a road warrior “who’d go to an opponent’s back garden or the gates of hell, and still most of the time achieve a staggering, if not swaggering victory.”

Nelson is widely considered the greatest African boxer of all time, as he held the WBC featherweight title once and the WBC super featherweight title twice.

He ended his career with a record of 47 fights; 39 wins (28 KOs), 6 losses and 2 draws.

Beyond the Ring…

After he retired in 1998, he made a brief comeback to engage lifelong rival Jeff Fenech in Australia in 2008 to raise funds for a charity project being undertaken by the Azumah Nelson Foundation.

Further, he has been actively engaged with inspiring Ghanaian high school students to focus on their studies with a programme dubbed “Time With The Professor”, which he uses to interact with selected students in the various schools across the country. Also, he is involved in boxing promotion in Ghana, partnering ‘Hemann Promotions’ to stage the popular Azumah Nelson Fight Night series.

He is also the brand ambassador of oil marketing company, GOIL and a Director at Director at Kenpong Construction & Telecom Limited. Likewise, he is into farming. His plantations produce teak wood used for telephone poles and furniture.

“I like farming. I’ve been spending a lot of my time on my farms in between travelling for WBC events. I spend part of my time to also train and mentor young boxers in Accra.”

Azumah Nelson built his career on willingness to fight anywhere at any time and having a warrior’s mentality. Nelson was a superb boxer, a slugger who throws punches from strange angles. It is no surprise he is the very FIRST African to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

(Source: Aprecon)

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AFCON’19: Bounedjah’s 1st Half Fluke Enough To Secure Continental Trophy For Algeria.

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Baghdad Bounedjah’s first minute deflected effort handed Algeria their second Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title after a 29-year wait with a 1-0 victory over Senegal in a highly charged final at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday night.

Algeria who were playing only their second final since 2010 held on to the slim advantage for the rest of the 90 minutes while Senegal’s wait for a maiden AFCON title still lingers on. It is another case of so near yet so far away, the Lions of Teranga having lost another final in 2002 in Mali.

Within the opening minute, Algeria was one goal up. Bounedjah picked the ball after Chekou Kouyate had missed his attempted tackle on the left, drifted in and struck a shot that came off Salif Sane, the man coming in for the suspended Koulubaly.

The ball took a punishing dip beyond the keeper into the net with one half of the stadium stunned into silence while the other half in green and white of Les Fennecs roared in deafening crescendo.

Algeria’s tact of starting off quick and playing the ball in Senegal’s half worked perfectly until halfway through when the Teranga Lions started roaring slowly into the game.

In the 26th minute, Henry Saivet attempted to catch keeper Adi-Rais Mbohli off his guard with a freekick from range, but the hawk-eyed shot stopper adjusted quickly to gather.

Mbaye Niang had a brilliant effort later with a superbly struck volley from range. The burly forward chested the ball down from 20 yards out and took a sweet volley on the half turn, his stinging effort going just over.

At the stroke of halftime, Sane akmost made amends in exact same fashion he had conceded in the first minute, but this time is strike from range off a corner was deflected over the bar.

The second half started in as much pace as the first had ended and Senegal thought they had been given a lifeline on the hour mark when Djamel Benlamri seemed to have handled the ball inside the box off a Sarr cross.

However, after consulting the VAR, the referee overturned his earlier decision of a penalty and gave possession back to the Algerians.

Senegal kept their push on and came close again in the 65th minute when Sarr beautifully picked up a long ball from Lamine Gassama before striding into the box, gliding past the keeper but his eventual shot came off the side netting.

Youssef Sabaly was next to line up an effort when he picked the ball on the left from Sadio Mane before moving into good shooting range, but his rocket of a shot was smothered behind for a corner by Mbohli.

On the other end, Algeria who were pushed on the wall by Senegal managed to conjure a chance at goal off a set piece, but Youcef Bellaili’s curling effort was deflected for another corner that was well defended.

With the clock ticking and a goal urgently needed, Senegal boss Aliou Cisse made changes, Saivet coming off for Mbaye Diagne, Niang came off for Keita Balde while earlier, Krepin Diatta had come on for Papa Ndiaye.

Djamel Belmadi responded by making a defensive change, Sofiane Feghouli paving way for Mehdi Jean.

Algeria managed to hold on to the score-line and secured the Cup of Nations crown with an unbeaten run.

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PRE-SEASON: Kawasaki Inflict First Loss On Lampard.

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Frank Lampard suffered his first defeat as Chelsea manager as Leandro Damiao's late strike gave Kawasaki a 1-0 friendly win in Yokohama.

The pre-season contest had appeared to be heading for a goalless draw at the Nissan Stadium, until Brazil striker Damiao headed home with just two minutes to go.

Despite the result, however, Lampard will still have taken much from his side's run out in searing temperatures against the J-League champions, with midfielder Mason Mount once again catching the eye ahead of the new campaign.

How Lampard suffered first reverse

Frank Lampard talking on a cell phone: Lampard saw plenty of positives in his side's loss
© Getty Lampard saw plenty of positives in his side's loss

Lampard again opted to start with Mount - who recently signed a new five-year contract at Stamford Bridge - as part of a midfield three, and the 20-year-old impressed in a first period of few clear-cut openings.

However, it was the introduction of Ross Barkley as one of several half-time changes that gave Chelsea's play some much-needed impetus in the second half, only for Shota Arai to thwart the visitors with a number of smart stops.

Kenedy et al. playing football on a field: Chelsea midfielder Kenedy (left) in action against Kawasaki
© Getty Chelsea midfielder Kenedy (left) in action against Kawasaki

As the clock ticked down, though, the home team sensed a famous win, twice going close when first Damiao thumped the bar five minutes from time, before Willy Caballero - standing in for the ill Kepa Arrizabalaga - produced a brilliant one-handed save.

But Chelsea - who brought on Christian Pulisic for his debut midway through the second half - did not heed the warning and from the resulting corner, Damiao was left totally unmarked at the far post to head home the winner.

Mount stakes a claim

Mason Mount caught the eye again for Chelsea
© Getty Mason Mount caught the eye again for Chelsea

Lampard clearly has great faith in his young charge, handing the England U21 international another start in midfield ahead of some more experienced players.

And the 20-year-old - who spent last season playing under the Chelsea boss while out on loan at Derby - did not let his manager down with another assured display in midfield.

Mount's passing, running off the ball and closing down were all impressive, with his best moment coming when he nearly opened the scoring with a delightful curler that was only just off target at the start of the second half.

Frank Lampard standing in front of a crowd: Lampard with assistant Jody Morris (right) on the touchline against Kawasaki
© Getty Lampard with assistant Jody Morris (right) on the touchline against Kawasaki

And on his showings so far in preseason, Mount could very well have already played his way into Chelsea's starting XI for their opening Premier League clash at Man Utd on August 11.

Pulisic's long-waited Blues debut

Chelsea fans have been waiting some time to catch a glimpse of their new £57.6m midfielder from Borussia Dortmund, who they signed back in the January transfer window.

(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
© Getty (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Twenty minutes into the second half at the Nissan Stadium, though, the US international finally entered the fray to make his Blues bow in place of the tiring Mount

However, in the short time he had on the field, the cultured Pulisic impressed with some neat touches in his position on the right of a midfield three.

'We were not clinical in front of goal'

a group of people playing football on a field: Pulisic (left) made his Chelsea debut
© Getty Pulisic (left) made his Chelsea debut

Despite suffering his first loss as Chelsea boss, Frank Lampard still saw plenty of positives in his team's performance in Yokohama.

"Obviously we want to win matches no matter what," he said after the game. "But 10 days into preseason, having flown into Japan three days ago, brings up a lot of difficulties for us physically.

"And that is where I was very pleased with the players today, I thought they gave everything in strong humidity. Some good individual performances, some people finding their fitness and form. The normal things in preseason that take a bit of time, which is probably being clinical in front of goal, which we were not.

"But that comes and some small details, which we will work on. So I have no fears, I was happy with big parts of the performance."

What's next?

Damiao headed a late winner against Chelsea
© Getty Damiao headed a late winner against Chelsea

Chelsea's remaining pre-season fixtures...

July 23: Barcelona - Saitama Stadium, Japan

July 28: Reading - Madejski Stadium

July 31: RB Salzburg - Red Bull Arena, Salzburg

August 3: Borussia Monchengladbach - Borussia Park, Germany

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