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Pep Guardiola Wanted Me At Barcelona – Xabi Alonso

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Ex-Real Madrid star Xabi Alonso has said that he might have joined Barcelona earlier in his career.

Alonso who was speaking to El Pais, said that the current Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola to him about his intentions to bring him to the Camp Nou in 2008, the deal did not move on and Pep approached Sergio Busquets rather.

“It was the summer that Liverpool wanted to sell me, and there was a conversation between Rafa [Benitez] and Pep [Guardiola],” Alonso said.
“Pep told me about it in Germany. He told Rafa that he liked me a lot and I would fit very well with his way of playing, but Busquets had started in the first team and had tremendous potential. So Pep opted for him, and he was not mistaken. He turned into a great player for them.”

The Bayern Munich midfielder also added that he wasn’t uncomfortable at Madrid but wanted to try something different.

“It was not that I was uncomfortable at Madrid, but I had been there five years and after winning La Decima I wanted to try something else,” he said.

“Of course returning will affect me, it will be very emotional. I don’t know how I will manage it. I still remember when we visited Old Trafford [in 2013]. Cristiano returned to Manchester and he was overcome, stunned. It was a world-class reception. It will be my goodbye to fans who I respect and who always showed me the same respect.”

Alonso said it was very difficult for opposition coaches to work out how to stop Los Blancos, saying it was similar to trying to figure out how to shut down Barca star Lionel Messi.

“There are teams who you can analyse and see how to shut them out, stop them from playing down the wings, or through the centre,” he said.

“With Madrid you cannot think too much about them. They have so much talent, so much skill in all positions, that it is difficult to stop them — they can score against you in any way. It happened to us at Madrid with Messi. We asked ourselves how to stop him, then on the pitch he would dribble past three defenders and show up in the area.

“How do you predict this movement? Madrid have this on the level of their team. [To beat them], besides playing well, you must have a bit of luck and for them to not have a good day.”

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Premier League Set To Resume On June 17

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Premier League football is poised to return after a three-month shutdown, with top-flight games in England provisionally set to resume on Wednesday, June 17.

The resumption of soccer in England follows Germany’s Bundesliga, which began play last week. It adds momentum to a comeback of sports, with several North American leagues also making plans to find a way back to play. Serie A, which has been suspended since March 10 in hard-hit Italy, announced on Thursday that it would also return, on June 20.

The Premier League’s return would come after weeks of uncertainty amid disagreement among teams over the possibilities. Germany’s successful return to action earlier this month, with the league completing two rounds of action without incident, helped build consensus among executives of England’s leading teams who would have faced huge losses should the season be called off.

The agreement still requires final clearance from British authorities.

In recent days, momentum had been building that the league would return to action after similar moves to complete the season without fans in a growing number of leagues across Europe. English teams earlier this week agreed to protocols for the resumption of full contact practice, a necessary step before competing in games again.

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English Premier League Plans to Resume June 17
The most-watched league in the world will return, pending a signoff from health authorities, but will play in stadiums without fans and with stringent health protocols. Italy’s top league also announced its return.

The Premier League’s return adds momentum to a return of major sports leagues in the pandemic.
The Premier League’s return adds momentum to a return of major sports leagues in the pandemic.Credit…Andy Rain/EPA, via Shutterstock
By Tariq Panja
May 28, 2020

LONDON — The English Premier League, the most-watched sports league in the world, plans to resume play on June 17 after a two-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, league officials announced on Thursday.

The resumption of soccer in England follows Germany’s Bundesliga, which began play last week. It adds momentum to a comeback of sports, with several North American leagues also making plans to find a way back to play. Serie A, which has been suspended since March 10 in hard-hit Italy, announced on Thursday that it would also return, on June 20.

The Premier League’s return would come after weeks of uncertainty amid disagreement among teams over the possibilities. Germany’s successful return to action earlier this month, with the league completing two rounds of action without incident, helped build consensus among executives of England’s leading teams who would have faced huge losses should the season be called off.

The agreement still requires final clearance from British authorities.

In recent days, momentum had been building that the league would return to action after similar moves to complete the season without fans in a growing number of leagues across Europe. English teams earlier this week agreed to protocols for the resumption of full contact practice, a necessary step before competing in games again.

The first games on the schedule will be Aston Villa hosting Sheffield United and Arsenal’s visit to Manchester City. Those games were postponed earlier in the season because of a clash in the calendar.

Several setbacks had suggested that the Premier League might not find a solution to completing the season. Some players raised doubts about returning to action during the pandemic, and a number of smaller teams objected to the possibility of having to play the remaining games at neutral sites. Some of the more high-profile games are almost certain to be played at secondary venues to help manage crowds.

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Shenhua ‘Open’ To Man Utd Keeping Ighalo Until January

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Chinese club, Shanghai Shenhua are reportedly open to allowing Odion Ighalo to remain at Manchester United after it was revealed that Chinese Super League’s foreign players are banned from returning to China until October

As the border restrictions may prevent Ighalo from returning to his parent club Shanghai Shenhua, in time for the start of the new season in June, Shenhua are now willing to allow Odion Ighalo remain at Manchester United until January, according to Sky Sport.

This comes days after Ighalo’s agent Ladi Salami confirmed that an extension is close to being agreed between Manchester United, Shanghai Shenhua and Odion Ighalo.

Ladi Salami told FootMercato: “On the one hand, the Super Eagle [Nigerian] feels very good in Manchester with which it is very close to a salary agreement.

“Negotiations with the Chinese are ongoing and are going well.”

”On the other hand, in view of the latest regulations in force in the Middle Empire, it is almost impossible to offer such amounts.’

Since signing for Manchester United on a short-term loan deal from Shanghai Shenhua back in January, the Nigerian International has made a valuable contribution, scoring four times in just three starts.

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Shenhua Offers Odion Ighalo N180m-A-Week Contract

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Shanghai Shenhua has reportedly offered Odion Ighalo a new deal worth around £360,000-a-week (N180m) amid interest from Newcastle United.

According to The Times, Ighalo is set for a return to China. His Manchester United loan deal ends in six days, which was the agreed length when the Red Devils signed him in January.

Of course, things have changed since then. The global pandemic means that Ighalo hasn’t been able to see out the season at Old Trafford, as was initially intended.

Ighalo wants to stay at United, but talks between the two clubs have allegedly stalled. It now looks like the striker will be heading back to China on Sunday.

In order to try and keep Ighalo happy long-term, Shanghai Shenhua have allegedly offered him a new deal. Ighalo would be earning £75million over four years if he accepts, which is around £360,000-a-week.

Ighalo’s desire to stay in England may be a problem though. He’s a boyhood United fan, and fans have taken to him quickly despite initial bemusement at his arrival in January.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports recently claimed that Newcastle want him. Their huge takeover could go through soon, providing them with major backing in the transfer market.

Newcastle may be able to rival Shanghai Shenhua’s riches, but whether that is a good idea is another matter.

Ighalo turns 31 this summer and played just 61 minutes of Premier League action before the pandemic hit, so paying such huge money for the ex-Watford man would be a big risk.

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