EPL

Adebayor joins former Man City team-mate Santa Cruz at Olimpia - could Toure be next?

By Sports Desk February 11, 2020

Emmanuel Adebayor has reunited with former Manchester City team-mate Roque Santa Cruz at OIlimpia, and Yaya Toure is also being linked with a switch to South America.

The ex-Real Madrid, Arsenal and Tottenham attacker, 35, has joined the reigning Primera Division champions for the 2020 campaign, having played alongside Santa Cruz at the Etihad Stadium between 2009 and 2010.

Olimpia president Marco Trovato last Friday said he wanted 20,000 new members to sign up in order to announce the arrival of Adebayor on Monday, though the deadline was extended by 24 hours.

Shortly after revealing that 14,922 people had signed up with the club, Olimpia made the former Togo international's arrival official.

Toure could be the next big-name veteran to arrive in South America, with Rodrigo Codas, an agent who played a role in Adebayor's move to Olimpia, claiming the Ivorian's representative has asked him to help evaluate the market.

Toure, who arrived at City from Barcelona in 2010 and won three Premier League titles, spent 2019 playing in China's second tier with Qingdao Huanghai and is reportedly a target for Olimpia's rivals Libertad, though a switch to Brazil appears more likely.

"I want to be cautious about Yaya," Codas told Fox Sports Argentina. "He is a player that is willing to come to South America.

"He is very friendly with Adebayor, the same with Roque or Carlos Tevez in South America.

"I think that Yaya would be going, if all goes well, to Brazil. Because of the country and the finances, and because of the power of Brazilian football.

"The coronavirus scares many players who are in China and want to leave."

Related items

  • Is the Premier League's new handball rule resulting in more penalties? - Investigating the Opta numbers Is the Premier League's new handball rule resulting in more penalties? - Investigating the Opta numbers

    Handball – after matchday three of the 2020-21 Premier League season, that seems to be all anyone is talking about.

    It proved decisive in three different games over the weekend, with Brighton and Hove Albion, Tottenham and Crystal Palace all on the receiving end of controversial decisions – the latter's manager, Roy Hodgson, went on a tirade regarding the "nonsense" rule change.

    But arguably the most vociferous of the hot takes regarding handball – see Jamie Carragher deriding the decision as "an absolute disgrace" – focused on the events at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where in the seventh minute of added time, Eric Dier was penalised via VAR for handball despite having his back to the ball.

    Although Mourinho refused to criticise the decision, in his own unique Jose way he left no uncertainty as to his feelings on the matter – "If I want to give money away, I'll give to charities, not the FA," he told Sky Sports.

    Steve Bruce, whose Newcastle United profited from the decision to clinch a 1-1 draw, gave the impression of being almost embarrassed at having been a beneficiary, effectively suggesting some form of football managers' mutiny against the sport's rule-makers.

    But are they exaggerating the changes? Is handball proving more prevalent? We looked at the Opta data and, as the old adage says, there's no smoke without fire…

    Premier League on course for avalanche of penalties

    Before delving into the data, we have to understand what specifically has changed with respect to handball in the Premier League. Technically, the idea that it is a "new rule" this season is a red herring – instead, the law has been altered in England to bring it into line with those adopted across Europe last season.

    It's a stricter approach that basically means a player will be penalised for handball – in a defensive context – if the struck hand/arm is away from the body or raised, or if the player leans into the path of the ball.

    On top of those points, the International Football Association Board (IFAB, the body in charge of the rules) tightened up the boundaries involved, meaning handball should be given – regardless of intent – if the ball strikes the arm below the bottom of the armpit unless it has come off another part of the player's body first or they have fallen on to the ball.

    The numbers do IFAB and FIFA no favours.

    After 28 matches in the new Premier League season, 20 penalties have been given and six of them awarded for handball.

    That means there has been an average of 0.71 penalties per match this term, a huge increase on the averages from the previous four seasons.

    Last term it was at 0.24 per game – prior to that it stood at 0.27 (2018-19), 0.21 (2017-18) and 0.28 (2016-17).

    "But those figures could be down to an increase in bad tackling!" – don't worry, we thought of that.

    While that stat of six handballs may not sound huge, it's actually the same figure for the entirety of the 2017-18 season, while it also equates to 30 per cent of all penalties this term – in 2019-20, 20.7 per cent of penalties were awarded for handball, 13.6 per cent the year before and 7.5 per cent before that.

    Put into a 'per game' context, penalties for handball are being given every 0.21 matches – almost one in four. The most it reached in the preceding four seasons was 0.05 in both 2019-20 and 2016-17.

    While it is unlikely that penalties will be given at such a frequency throughout the season, it's not impossible.

    If it does carry on, we are on course for 271 in 2020-21, just four fewer than the totals for 2019-20 (92), 2018-19 (103) and 2017-18 (80) combined. Similarly, we would expect 81 of those to have been caused by handball.

    That's 24 more than were given in total across the previous four years.

    How do the figures compare to European leagues?

    Clearly, the change that has been effected in the Premier League is significant, but compared to the other top five leagues, the differences are a little less stark… in most cases.

    Even though the rules are now supposed to be consistent across the top five leagues, we are still seeing a lot more penalties in general.

    Last season, Serie A recorded the highest frequency of penalties at 0.49 per game, with that figure dropping to 0.15 specifically for handball.

    LaLiga was next with 0.39 penalties each match and 0.13 for handball. The Bundesliga's respective figures were 0.24 and 0.06, and for Ligue 1 they were 0.32 and 0.08.

    But specifically relating to handball, the percentages are much closer. In fact, LaLiga (32.2 per cent) and the Bundesliga (30.5 per cent) saw a greater share of spot-kicks awarded for such offences than the Premier League is in 2020-21.

    Ligue 1 (25.8 per cent) and the Bundesliga (24.7 per cent) aren't far behind, either.

    So, while the data would seemingly prove the points of Bruce and Hodgson, IFAB might argue the consistency and black-and-white nature of the law make it better - football managers and players, on the other hand, disagree.

  • Sancho, Burki contract respiratory infections but test negative for COVID-19 Sancho, Burki contract respiratory infections but test negative for COVID-19

    Jadon Sancho and Roman Burki have contracted respiratory infections but both have tested negative for COVID-19, Borussia Dortmund say.

    The pair will not travel to Munich for Wednesday's DFL-Supercup against Bayern Munich after developing the infections.

    However, Dortmund stated via Twitter that the two players recorded negative coronavirus tests on Monday.

    Sancho continues to be linked with a possible move to Manchester United but Dortmund have maintained the winger will not be sold.

    The Bundesliga club are said to have set a deadline of August 12 for United to match their valuation of €120million for the England star.

    With the Red Devils apparently unwilling to meet that price, they are thought to be pursuing alternatives in the market, such as Watford's Ismaila Sarr.

    Dortmund won their first Bundesliga game of 2020-21, beating Borussia Monchengladbach 3-0, but suffered a 2-0 loss to Augsburg last week.

    Treble-winners Bayern, who were thrashed 4-1 by Hoffenheim in their last outing, also have injury concerns ahead of the Supercup showdown.

    New signing Leroy Sane is out with a knee problem and David Alaba is battling a muscle injury.

  • Drogba to receive UEFA President's Award Drogba to receive UEFA President's Award

    Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is to receive the 2020 UEFA President's Award.

    The 42-year-old is to be honoured at Thursday's draw for the 2020-21 Champions League group stage in Geneva.

    UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin described Drogba as "a pioneer" and said the award was to recognise his "commitment to excellence both on and off the pitch".

    Previous winners include Bobby Charlton, Eusebio, Raymond Kopa, Johan Cruyff, Francesco Totti, David Beckham and Eric Cantona.

    "Didier is a hero to millions of football fans for his achievements throughout his glittering playing career," Ceferin said via a UEFA statement.

    "I will remember him as a player for his skill, strength and intelligence, but above all for his insatiable appetite to succeed – a trait which is just as present in his desire to help others off the field of play."

    Drogba won the 2012 Champions League as part of a glittering career with Chelsea, in which he scored 164 goals in 381 appearances in all competitions and lifted four Premier League titles.

    The former Ivory Coast international also scored his country's first goal at a World Cup finals in 2006 and played at a further two tournaments.

    Drogba, who retired in 2018 after a final season with Phoenix Rising, has been running a charitable foundation that has helped to build schools for disadvantaged children.

    He has also been studying for UEFA's Executive Master for International Players (MIP) programme.

    "To have won a Champions League, to have played and scored for my country at a World Cup – these are things I could only have dreamed of when I was a child," Drogba said.

    "There are so many children in the developing world who have the potential to become not only footballers, but also doctors, teachers and engineers. This is why it is so important to help and support our youngsters to let them fulfil their dreams and aspirations."

    UEFA added: "From guiding his country to their first every FIFA World Cup, to helping to halt a civil war in his homeland, Didier Drogba has proved a worthy leader both on and off the pitch. As he continues to embark on his post-footballing career, the former Chelsea forward’s commitment to excellence will still remain as strong as ever."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.