Aubameyang: Black Panther mask was for Gabon

By Sports Desk March 14, 2019

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said wearing a Black Panther mask after scoring a Europa League goal for Arsenal was a tribute to Gabon.

The striker claimed a brace and created another goal for Ainsley Maitland-Niles as Arsenal beat Rennes 3-0 to progress 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

Gabon international Aubameyang opened the scoring in the fifth minute then settled nerves at Emirates Stadium with the Gunners' third goal in the second half.

And Aubameyang - who has previously celebrated goals with Batman and Spider-Man masks - had a special celebration up his sleeve, wearing Black Panther headgear from the Marvel superhero film.

"I needed the mask to represent me," Aubameyang said to BT Sport after his sixth brace of the season in all competitions.

"Black Panther...in Africa and Gabon we are called the Black Panthers so it represents me - that's it."

The second leg was a bad-tempered affair with four yellow cards shown to each side by referee Andris Treimanis.

"I think they [Rennes] were a bit nervous and angry as well," Aubameyang added. "But that's football and sometimes this happens.

"I missed two chances to close the game but, okay, most important we won today and we are all happy and proud."

Related items

  • The Bale Sales: Gareth's options as Zidane shows Real Madrid forward the door The Bale Sales: Gareth's options as Zidane shows Real Madrid forward the door

    Gareth Bale's days at Real Madrid appear to be numbered after head coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed the club are working on a transfer for the forward.

    Zidane was billed a "disgrace" by Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett, who has previously confirmed the coach and player have a fraught relationship, with the Frenchman seemingly not valuing Bale's ability despite his contribution to three consecutive Champions League titles.

    It was Bale's double that sealed Madrid's last European crown a year ago, a stunning overhead kick contributing to a 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in Kiev that proved Zidane's last match in charge - soon after he announced his shock resignation.

    But Zidane is back and seemingly set on selling Bale, so what are the options available to the Wales international now the Madrid coach has clearly signalled he has no place for him?

     

    TOTTENHAM

    The romantic option, a return to Tottenham would enable Bale to play first-team football and slot back into a club where he became a global superstar. Finances would surely scupper a permanent move although Spurs have smashed their club record to buy Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and are reportedly considering doing so again to sign Giovani Lo Celso from Real Betis. An initial loan has been mooted but Madrid would still likely have to cover a large portion of Bale's massive wages - how desperate are they to move him on? Bale would certainly improve Mauricio Pochettino's forward options and a front three of Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Bale looks incredibly strong on paper.


    MANCHESTER UNITED

    Bale has long been linked with United, but their failure to qualify for the Champions League does not make them an attractive option for top-level players right now although they remain among the world's biggest clubs. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also indicated he is willing to put his faith in young players such as the talented teenager Mason Greenwood, who has impressed in pre-season to force his way into first-team contention at Old Trafford despite being just 17. Bale would be an upgrade on United's wing options but they seem to be going in a different direction with the arrivals of Dan James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka signalling a long-needed change in transfer policy. Madrid's reported interest in Paul Pogba could see Bale offered to United as part of a potential deal, though.


    PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

    If PSG lose Neymar - the club confirmed recently he wants to leave - they will have room for another elite talent and Bale might just fit the bill. Whether moving to what is essentially a one-team league due to PSG's financial firepower is attractive to the Welshman is unclear, but teaming up with a thrilling talent like Kylian Mbappe could be persuasive. PSG are also one of a very small number of teams who could pay Bale the wages he has become accustomed to earning in Madrid and he has plenty of experience of winning the Champions League, which remains PSG's goal.


    CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE

    According to the bookmakers, Bale's most likely next destination is the Chinese Super League. Finances are again the key here, although CSL clubs have shown a reduced willingness over the last 12 months to pursue the most expensive players on the market due to a change in the league's regulations, which means they must pay considerable taxes on top of large transfer fees. Bale has been unable - or perhaps unwilling - to learn Spanish while in Madrid so it would be interesting to see how he would fare with the culture clash in China.


    STAY AT REAL MADRID

    Reports in Spain previously claimed Bale is happy to see out his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, which still has three years to run. It would be a tempting option given no other clubs are likely to match his pay packet, while the lack of stability in the dugout could play in his favour. Zidane was Madrid's third permanent head coach last term and failed to inspire any significant improvement in the latter weeks of the 2018-19 campaign. Although the Frenchman has considerable credit from his trio of consecutive Champions League titles, it is not impossible to see Madrid starting the season poorly and president Florentino Perez opting for yet another change of head coach. Another man in charge could see Bale as an asset so the 30-year-old may choose to stay put for now.

  • Rodrygo ready for central role after scoring on Real Madrid debut Rodrygo ready for central role after scoring on Real Madrid debut

    Zinedine Zidane intends to use Rodrgyo Goes in a central position at Real Madrid, the teenager revealed after marking his debut for the club with a goal on Sunday.

    Rodrygo was one of four Madrid debutants in the International Champions Cup defeat to Bayern Munich, along with Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy, and he scored a superb late free-kick as Zidane's men went down 3-1 in Houston.

    After the game, the former Santos forward was quoted by Marca as saying: "Zidane [Madrid's head coach] wants me to play more down the middle.

    "I am typically more used to operating on the wings, but that is what the coach wants. It's a position in which I am comfortable and enjoy."

    Still only 18, Rodrygo is unsure whether he will see regular action in his first season in Spain.

    "I am not sure whether I will be playing in the first team yet. It is up to Zidane and his staff to decide where best to utilise me," he added.

    Discussing his superb debut goal, Rodrygo said: "I always used to take free-kicks at Santos. That is why I asked to take it."

  • Liverpool perfectly placed to win more trophies - Lovren Liverpool perfectly placed to win more trophies - Lovren

    Liverpool keeping a settled squad under Jurgen Klopp means they are set up to challenge for honours over the next few years, according to Dejan Lovren.

    The Reds won last season's Champions League – a year after losing in the final to Real Madrid – and finished just a point behind Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title.

    Centre-back Lovren believes the Reds' ability to hold on to their best players puts them in the perfect position to enjoy a period of sustained success, both domestically and in Europe.

    "There are quite a lot of players who stayed in this team, which is quite important," he told the club's official website.

    "If we keep this focus for the next couple of years we can reflect on last season and hopefully win many more trophies.

    "We are a team with special characteristics, with fantastic individual players who can change the game in a second."

    Jurgen Klopp's side face Sevilla in Boston on Sunday amid a heatwave that has hit much of the United States.

    Lovren, however, has backed his team-mates to cope with the challenging conditions.  

    "We adapt to everything," he added. "It's an important tour for us, playing against big teams.

    "It will be a challenge again to play in the heat and to adapt. There are no easy opponents. But it's about our character and we are used to it already."

    "It's always a pleasure to come to the States and see so many fans behind us. It's a privilege to be here."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.