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Xavi Agrees to Replace Quique Setien as New Manager of the Club for £5.4 Million Deal

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Xavi Agrees to Replace Quique Setien as New Manager of the Club for £5.4 Million Deal

Xavi is set to become Barcelona manager from the beginning of next season, with a report in Spain claiming he’s already agreed to take over from Quique Setien.

Things at Barcelona are not in a good place right now, having recently lost top spot in La Liga to their rivals Real Madrid, and on Thursday night it was reported that Lionel Messi was ready to leave the club after next season.

However, the club may already be taking steps to try and keep the forward, according to Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar, the Barcelona icon ‘Xavi’ has agreed to take over the club next season.

The tweets from Aguilar say the former Barca midfielder doesn’t want to take over until after the Champions League in August but there is an agreement in principle.

“In the agreement between Barça and Xavi to train the Barça club from next season, the calls of several important members of the squad would have had great weight, asking Xavi to take the step, who had his full support.” Aguilar tweeted.

Quique Setién, is a Spanish professional football manager and former player who is the manager of La Liga club Barcelona. As a player, he played in the central midfield position.

Setien, 61, has been under intense pressure since replacing Ernesto Valverde in January, and there are speculations that the club’s board have already decided to sack him in order to pave the way for Xavi. 

According to Mundo Deportivo, a “firm agreement” has been finalized and it would see Barcelona pay Xavi, 40, a bumper £5.4million per year. He is expected to take up the reins at the end of the season.   

Part of the reports yesterday about Messi’s potential departure centered on the lack of a successful project on the pitch and some claimed the Argentine wanted either Xavi or Ronald Koeman as the next manager.

Seeing his former teammate, and the man who helped assist him on a lot of occasions, become the new boss could help persuade the club’s all time top scorer to stay beyond next summer.

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Odion Ighalo Joins Al Shabab Saudi FC on a permanent deal from Shanghai Shenhua

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Nigerian striker, Odion Ighalo has joined Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab FC on a permanent deal Shanghai Shenhua after his loan spell at Manchester United ended last month.

The 31-year-old was penned a two-and-a-half-year deal with the King Fahd Stadium outfit having passed his medical. He will wear the number 89 shirt for the club.

 

Odion Ighalo joins Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab on a permanent deal from Shanghai Shenhua (photos)

 

Ighalo, who joined  Shanghai Shenhua in 2019, scored 10 goals in 19 appearances for Shanghai Shenhua, helping them to the 2019 Chinese FA Cup.

The former Watford and Granada striker scored five goals in 23 appearances after arriving at Old Trafford on deadline day in January 2020 to sign for Manchester United.

Odion Ighalo joins Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab on a permanent deal from Shanghai Shenhua (photos)

 

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Former Leicester and Swansea boss, Paulo Sousa named new Poland coach

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Former Leicester, Swansea, and Queens Park Rangers boss, Paulo Sousa has been named Poland’s new head coach.

The 50-year-old, who has been out of work since he left Bordeaux in August, replaces Jerzy Brzeczek after he was fired this week despite helping the team qualify for Euro 2020, which was postponed to this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brzeczek had been in charge since July 2018 and had extended his contract in November. But the country FA said there was “discouragement” in the team under the 49-year-old Brzeczek, adding: “With this format, the team could not move forward”.

Announcing the appointment of Paulo Sousa, President of the Polish Football Association, Zbigniew Boniek said: “I am convinced that the new coach of the Polish national team, thanks to his coaching class, experience, and international knowledge, will give our national team a new impulse.”

Former Leicester and Swansea boss, Paulo Sousa named new Poland coach

“I am honoured and proud to be the coach of the Polish national team” Sousa said. “Poland is a country of football and I am convinced that your enthusiasm will give us strength, support, and faith in the representation.

“Together, we will be able to fight for victories at the European Championships.

“With the right mentality, discipline, organization, and approach, together with me, my staff, federation employees, and the support of the entire nation, we will be strong. I am sure that all of Poland will be proud of its national team.”

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Two-time Champions League winner Sousa was a regular for Portugal during his playing career and has coached in Hungary, Israel, Switzerland, Italy, and China in the last decade. He won the Champions League as a player with Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.

 

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Rafer Johnson, Winner of a Memorable Decathlon Is Dead

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Rafer Johnson

Rafer Johnson, Winner of a Memorable Decathlon Is Dead

His triumphant performance at the 1960 Olympics was his farewell to track and field. He went on to become a good-will ambassador for the United States and a close associate of the Kennedy family.

Rafer Johnson, who carried the American flag into Rome’s Olympic Stadium in August 1960 as the first Black captain of a United States Olympic team and went on to win gold in a memorable decathlon duel, bringing him acclaim as the world’s greatest all-around athlete, died on Wednesday at his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles. He was 86.

Michael Roth, a family friend and spokesman, confirmed the death.

Johnson never competed after that decathlon triumph. He became a good-will ambassador for the United States and a close associate of the Kennedy family, taking a leadership role in the Special Olympics, which were championed by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and joining Robert F. Kennedy’s entourage during Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1968. He was remembered especially for helping to wrestle the senator’s assassin to the ground in Los Angeles in 1968.

Johnson’s national profile was largely molded at the 1960 Olympics, one of the most celebrated in the history of the Games, a moment when a host of African-American athletes burst triumphantly onto the world stage. Muhammad Ali, known then as Cassius Clay, captured boxing gold in the light-heavyweight division.

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Wilma Rudolph swept to victory in the women’s 100- and 200-meter dashes and combined with her Tennessee State teammates for gold in the 4-x-100 relay. Oscar Robertson helped take the United States basketball team to a gold medal.

Johnson’s narrow decathlon victory over C.K. Yang of Taiwan and U.C.L.A., a good friend, provided a thrilling moment in its own right.

Johnson, a 25-year-old graduate of U.C.L.A. and a chiseled 6 feet 3 inches and 200 pounds, was the favorite going into the two-day decathlon, a 10-event test of versatility, strength, speed and endurance that included sprints, high hurdles, pole-vaulting, the high jump and broad jump, the javelin and discus throws, and the 1,500-meter run.

He had won silver in the decathlon at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, finishing behind Milt Campbell of the U.S., who turned to pro football afterward. He had bested Vasily Kuznetsov of the Soviet Union at a meet at Lenin Stadium in Moscow in 1958, inspiring spectators to put aside Cold War issues and cheer his achievement. And he scored a world-record 8,683 points in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic track and field trials in Oregon.

But he faced a stiff challenge in Rome from the 27-year-old Yang, who was representing Formosa, the Olympic designation at the time for Taiwanese athletes. Both were trained by Elvin Drake, known as Ducky, the U.C.L.A. track and field coach.

The decathlon duel was decided in its final event, the 1,500 meters, in which Yang was especially strong. Johnson, leading on points, didn’t have to win the event to capture the gold medal, but he did need to finish within 10 seconds of Yang.

“I planned to stick with him like a buddy in combat,” Johnson told The Los Angeles Times in 1990. “I had one other advantage, and I don’t think C.K. knew this at the time. This was my last decathlon. I was prepared to run as fast as I had to in this last race of my life.”

Yang, who died in 2007, recalled, “I knew he would never let go of me unless he collapsed.” Johnson finished 1.2 seconds behind Yang, good enough to capture gold, with Yang getting silver and Kuznetsov capturing bronze.

Credit…Keystone/Getty Images

Johnson later received the 1960 Sullivan Award as America’s leading amateur athlete. After that, he embarked on new chapters in his life.

He met Robert Kennedy at an awards ceremony soon after the Rome Games and became part of the senator’s campaign for the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination.

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