EPL

I wanted to win the league before I was 21 - Sterling on move to City

By Sports Desk May 16, 2019

Raheem Sterling explained why he moved from Liverpool to Man City after he picked up the Football Writers' Association Football of the Year award.

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  • Atletico braced for Ronaldo meeting, PSG out to continue home form - Champions League in Opta numbers Atletico braced for Ronaldo meeting, PSG out to continue home form - Champions League in Opta numbers

    Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid begin their respective Champions League campaigns with huge tests against Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus in the pick of Wednesday's action.

    Atletico will be smarting from last season's 3-2 aggregate defeat to Juve in the round of 16, when Cristiano Ronaldo – a consistent nemesis of theirs during his time in LaLiga – netted a hat-trick in a 3-0 second-leg win to see the Old Lady into the quarter-finals.

    Madrid get started away to PSG, who will be aiming to continue their fine run at home in the group stage despite being without Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

    Last term's beaten finalists Tottenham, Premier League champions Manchester City and German giants Bayern Munich are also in action.

    Below, we have highlighted the key data ahead of Wednesday's contests.

    Club Brugge v Galatasaray

    4 - After losing their first two matches in the 2018-19 Champions League, Club Brugge remained undefeated in their final four (W1 D3) – should they avoid a loss in this match, it will be the best unbeaten run by a Belgian side in the competition took on its current format in 1992.

    12 - Galatasaray's new striker Radamel Falcao has scored 12 goals in the Champions League, just one goal off the record by a Colombian player in the competition: Jackson Martinez with 13.

     

    Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid

    21- PSG are unbeaten in 21 Champions League home games in the group stage (W15 D6), not losing since December 2004 against CSKA Moscow (1-3). 

    1.97 - Real Madrid have averaged the most goals per game (2.13) in Champions League history. PSG are third on 1.97, with Barcelona the only club separating them in the rankings (2.02).

    Olympiacos v Tottenham

    8 - Olympiacos are winless in eight Champions League matches (D1 L7) since a 2-1 win against Dinamo Zagreb in November 2015. It is their joint-longest winless run in the competition alongside a streak that ended in October 2003.

    50 - Mauricio Pochettino's will oversee his 50th European game as manager of Spurs on Wednesday. Only Bill Nicholson (55) has presided over more for the club.

     

    Bayern Munich v Red Star Belgrade

    36 - Robert Lewandowski has scored 36 goals in just 52 Champions League appearances for Bayern – only Thomas Muller has scored more for the club in the competition (42 goals in 105 games).

    17 -  Red Star conceded more goals in the group stage of the 2018-19 Champions League than any other team (17).

    Dinamo Zagreb v Atalanta

    11 - Dinamo Zagreb have lost their last 11 consecutive Champions League matches, their joint-worst run in the competition. Only Anderlecht have lost 12 successive matches in Europe's elite competition, that run coming between December 2003 and November 2005.

    3 - Just three of the nine Italian clubs to have participated in the Champions League before Atalanta have won their opening match in the competition: AC Milan in 1992, Juventus in 1995 and Udinese in 2005.

     

    Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City

    79 - Excluding own goals, 79 of Shakhtar's 124 Champions League goals have been scored by Brazilians (64 per cent) – only Barcelona (85) have seen more goals scored by Brazilians than Shakhtar, while Braga (11-12 – 92%) are the only team to have had a higher proportion of goals scored by players from Brazil.

    124 - Gabriel Jesus scored a hat-trick for City in their last meeting against Shakhtar in November last year, inspiring a 6-0 win. Of the 73 Brazilians to have scored four or more goals in the Champions League, Jesus has the best minutes-per-goal (124) ratio.

    Atletico Madrid v Juventus

    54 - Atletico will be competing in their first Champions League season without Antoine Griezmann since 2013-14. He scored or assisted 54 per cent of their goals in the competitions (19 goals, 7 assists) between September 2015 and March 2019 before leaving this year for Barcelona.

    25 - Juventus star Ronaldo has scored 25 goals in his career against Atletico, having tormented them regularly in derbies with Madrid and netted a hat-trick last term for the Bianconeri. Only against Sevilla (27) has he scored more in all competitions.

     

    Bayer Leverkusen v Lokomotiv Moscow

    0 - Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz has yet to win a Champions League game as a manager (D2 L4, with Dortmund). Each of Leverkusen's past four managers have failed to win their first Champions League match in charge.

    7 - Lokomotiv forward Jefferson Farfan will be looking to score in his seventh different Champions League campaign (2004-05, 2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2012-13 and 2018-19). The only Peruvian to have scored in more seasons is Claudio Pizarro (eight).

  • Rumour Has It: Barca, Madrid and Liverpool targeting Napoli's Fabian Rumour Has It: Barca, Madrid and Liverpool targeting Napoli's Fabian

    There could be a fight to prise Fabian Ruiz from Napoli.

    Fabian has established himself as one of Europe's premier midfielders and the Spaniard is reportedly attracting interest.

    Two LaLiga giants and the Champions League holders are said to be eyeing Fabian.

     

    TOP STORY - THREE-WAY BATTLE FOR FABIAN

    Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool are chasing Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to the Daily Mail.

    Fabian swapped Real Betis for Napoli in 2018 and the Spain international has quickly become one of Europe's most sought-after midfielders.

    Now three of the biggest clubs in the world are reportedly eyeing the 23-year-old.

    ROUND-UP

    - The Sun reports Manchester United are preparing a January move for Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson. The Red Devils have limited options up front following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. Wilson, who has already scored three goals this season, fits the bill at Old Trafford as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes talented English players.

    Juventus, Liverpool and Manchester City are all interested in Real Madrid playmaker Isco, claims Calciomercato.

    Barcelona are set to offer 16-year-old sensation Ansu Fati a new five-year deal to fend off interest from European rivals, claims the Daily Mail.

    - League One side Southend United want to hire former Celtic, Barca and Manchester United striker Henrik Larsson as their manager, says the Daily Mail. Southend are second bottom in the league after eight games, while Larsson was last in charge of Helsingborg before quitting in August.

    - According to Globo Esporte, Flamengo are negotiating to bring Fredy Guarin to the club. The 33-year-old former Inter midfielder is a free agent after leaving Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.

  • If Liverpool lose to Napoli, they win the Champions League – Ancelotti reassures Klopp If Liverpool lose to Napoli, they win the Champions League – Ancelotti reassures Klopp

    ‪Carlo Ancelotti joked with Jurgen Klopp following Napoli's win over Liverpool, reassuring the Reds manager that his side usually go on to win the Champions League after losing to the Serie A team.

    Napoli emerged victorious in their Champions League opener on Tuesday, beating last season's winners 2-0 thanks to goals from Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente.

    A controversial 82nd-minute penalty converted by Mertens and Llorente's first goal for Napoli saw Ancelotti's men to victory in the Group E blockbuster.

    It was the second successive season Liverpool lost away to Napoli in the group stage following their 1-0 loss in last term's corresponding fixture.

    Liverpool went on to lift the Champions League title in 2018-19 and head coach Ancelotti reminded Klopp of that fact following the match.

    "I told him not to worry, because if he loses here, he tends to go on and win the Champions League. I reassured him," Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia.

    "It's always tough against Liverpool, from the first minute to the last. We had to sacrifice ourselves, but without losing our identity," Ancelotti said.

    "We tried a bit too hard to play it out from the back and lost some dangerous balls, while they were aggressive in their pressing.

    "The game was always in the balance, but I particularly appreciated the way we defended with the basics when it was still 0-0 and that's what allowed us to have those late chances.

    "I want to see a team that believes in themselves and their quality. I really liked the way we played when we weren't in control. Llorente helped out, the players were tired and the first goal was from a long ball – which isn't our usual approach, but it's not an insult to do that sometimes. This team must know how to do everything.

    "We brought in important players who improve the quality level of the squad and have different characteristics to what we had before. I have to keep them motivated and that's not easy, especially when UEFA still have this rule forcing you to keep a short bench and it's painful sending players to the stands."

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