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Soccer

Chelsea ‘in the equation’ to sign Lionel Messi in blockbuster transfer move

Chelsea are reportedly monitoring Lionel Messi’s situation at Barcelona very closely ahead of a stunning swoop next summer. The Argentine superstar was at odds with Barcelona over the summer and at one point looked likely to push through a transfer exit.

Back in August, he sent a fax to the club making clear his wish for a transfer request.

It came just weeks after Barcelona’s Champions League campaign was ended in humiliating fashion at the hands of Bayern Munich, losing 8-2 in the quarter-finals.

There was a stand-off about a clause in Messi’s contract, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner insisting it was still in place, allowing him to leave on a free.

Barcelona stood their ground though, stating the clause had now expired and any prospective team would need to pay the full £630million buyout fee.

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Manchester City were seen as the favourites for his signature but Messi later announced he would stay at Barcelona, although he made it clear that he was still unhappy.

And the 33-year-old hasn’t looked his usual best this season, scoring just three goals in 10 La Liga matches

It’s led to further speculation that Messi is set to leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Barcelona are running out of time before the Argentina international can begin speaking with potential new clubs in January.

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And La Liga expert Guillem Balague claims Chelsea are in the mix to complete a shock deal.

“Chelsea, definitely in the equation if Messi becomes available,” he said on his YouTube channel. “All that is true.

“Would City try again? Yes they would. Obviously there’s no transfer fee attached to it now.

“They will be willing to pay the €25, or £25m-plus net that they’ll have to pay for him [in wages], much more than that, this is just a minimum requirement I think.”

Frank Lampard was heavily backed in the recent summer transfer window with close to £250m spent on new signings.

Timo Werner has proved to be an instant hit with eight goals in 14 games already while Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz have also impressed.

Thiago Silva has added some much-needed solidity in central defence with Ben Chilwell solving Lampard’s issues at left back.

And Edouard Mendy has well and truly established himself as Chelsea’s No 1 having kept four clean sheets in five Premier League games.

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Soccer

FA Cup third round draw: When is it? How to watch, ball numbers confirmed, prize money

The second round of the FA Cup takes place this weekend with League One, League Two and non-league clubs looking to book showdowns with Championship and Premier League outfits in the third round of the competition. 

There are a handful of lower-league clubs dreaming of glamour ties in the next stage, with Canvey Island the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, playing in the eighth tier.

Marine and King’s Lynn are among the other non-league sides in the next round, while Chorley – bottom of the sixth-tier National League North – take on the highest-ranked team in Peterborough United.

FA Cup games this season are split across BBC and BT Sport, meaning plenty of matches will be shown on free-to-air TV. 

The third round proper is not until the weekend of Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 January 2021, when non-league clubs could be back in regular league action following the recent nationwide lockdown.

The 32 clubs who progress to the next round are looking to pick up £82,000 in winnings but they will most be looking forward to the draw and finding out whether or not they face a big team.

So when is the draw? Express Sport is on hand with all the details, including how you can follow it live.

When is the FA Cup third round draw?

The draw will take place tonight (Monday, November 30).

What time is the FA Cup third round draw?

The draw is due to be held at 7.10pm GMT.

How can I watch the FA Cup first round draw?

There are several ways you can follow the FA Cup draw on Monday evening.

It will be shown live on FA Cup’s official YouTube, Twitter and Facebook channels.

The third round draw will be broadcast live on BT Sport’s build-up coverage of the second-round tie between Canvey Island and Boreham Wood.

Alternatively, Express Sport will also have a live blog to cover the events.

FA Cup 2020/21 prize money

Third round: £82,000

Fourth round: £90,000

Fifth round: £180,000

Quarter-finals: £360,000

Semi-finals: £900,000 (losers receive £450,000)

Final: £1,800,000 (runners-up receive £900,000)

FA Cup third round draw ball numbers

1 AFC Bournemouth
2 Arsenal
3 Aston Villa
4 Barnsley
5 Birmingham City
6 Blackburn Rovers
7 Brentford
8 Brighton & Hove Albion
9 Bristol City
10 Burnley
11 Cardiff City
12 Chelsea
13 Coventry City
14 Crystal Palace
15 Derby County
16 Everton
17 Fulham
18 Huddersfield Town
19 Leeds United
20 Leicester City
21 Liverpool
22 Luton Town
23 Manchester City
24 Manchester United
25 Middlesbrough
26 Millwall
27 Newcastle United
28 Norwich City
29 Nottingham Forest
30 Preston North End
31 Queens Park Rangers
32 Reading

33 Rotherham United
34 Sheffield United
35 Sheffield Wednesday
36 Southampton
37 Stoke City
38 Swansea City
39 Tottenham Hotspur
40 Watford
41 West Bromwich Albion
42 West Ham United
43 Wolverhampton Wanderers
44 Wycombe Wanderers
45 Stevenage or Hull City
46 Harrogate Town or Blackpool
47 Tranmere Rovers or Brackley Town
48 AFC Wimbledon or Crawley Town
49 Stockport County or Yeovil Town
50 Plymouth Argyle or Lincoln City
51 Portsmouth or King’s Lynn Town
52 Cheltenham Town or Crewe Alexandra
53 Peterborough United or Chorley
54 Morecambe or Solihull Moors
55 Shrewsbury Town or Oxford City
56 Mansfield Town or Dagenham & Redbridge
57 Newport County or Salford City
58 Marine or Havant & Waterlooville
59 Gillingham or Exeter City
60 Canvey Island or Boreham Wood
61 Carlisle United or Doncaster Rovers 
62 Barnet or Milton Keynes Dons
63 Bristol Rovers or Darlington
64 Bradford City or Oldham Athletic

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Soccer

Chelsea hero Joe Cole says Frank Lampard set to make big transfer decision in January

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has a big decision to make over the future of Olivier Giroud, according to Blues hero Joe Cole. Giroud is out of contract at Chelsea at the end of the season. But the Frenchman is keen to play more first-team football having not started a Premier League match this term.

Giroud is closing in on Thierry Henry’s all-time France goalscoring record.

But his international boss Didier Deschamps has suggested the 34-year-old may have to leave Chelsea to make sure of his place in the squad for next summer’s European Championship.

Giroud scored a vital late winner against Rennes on Wednesday to send Chelsea through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

And Cole says Lampard has to weigh up whether to make a decision to benefit Giroud or benefit his team.

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“Do you know what, it’s a big test for Frank now,” Cole said on BT Sport.

“Olivier Giroud, it’s special for him to play for France clearly, he’s a World Cup winner, he knows he needs to play, his manager’s told him that.

“Frank knows what a great lad he is and he knows what a great servant he has been to the club and how much he produces when called upon.

“And it’s going to be one of those situations come January where you’re like: ‘Do you let him go for the lad? Or do you do what’s right for the club?’.

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“It’s a real tough decision Frank’s going to have to make because Giroud is such a good professional, but more importantly such a good affective player for the club.

“I’d love to see him stay because that won’t be the last time he bails Chelsea out.

“He’s brilliant off the bench and I think he’s one of the most underrated players we’ve seen over the last five years in the Premier League.”

Following the 2-1 win at Rennes, Lampard insisted Giroud would play more if he stayed at the club.

“Oli will get his minutes because we have a busy schedule, we play every few days,” Lampard said.

“And the things behind the scenes, everybody kind of feels from the outside what a great professional he is and how highly regarded he is by his team-mates and myself.

“So for him to get a goal, you saw the reaction of his team-mates, he’s so professional in how he trains and looks after himself that age isn’t even a factor for him.

“He’s getting better with age if anything in terms of how he looks after himself.

“So he offers a lot for us and I keep saying it but the big schedule coming up and the way we play means I will rely on players.”

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Soccer

Man Utd eye move for ‘new Lionel Messi’ as transfer alternative to Jadon Sancho

Manchester United are reportedly watching teenage Argentine star Thiago Almada ahead of the transfer window opening as they target an alternative to Jadon Sancho. Almada has scored four goals in seven games for Velez Sarsfield in his home country this season and has been dubbed the new Lionel Messi.

The 19-year-old is on the radar of some of Europe’s top clubs, with United said to be among his suitors after Ed Woodward refused to meet Borussia Dortmund’s £108million price tag for Sancho over the summer.

His idol growing up was Carlos Tevez, who played for both United and neighbours Manchester City, but Almada has drawn more comparisons to Barcelona star Messi.

At 5ft 7ins he has the same low centre of gravity as Messi, while he is known for his dribbling ability and acceleration which ensures he can escape from the tightest of spaces.

Almada also tends to cut infield onto his stronger right foot when playing in wide positions, either to fire towards goal or carve out chances for teammates.

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The teenager was the subject of a £10m bid from Manchester City over the summer, according to the Manchester Evening News.

But City were rebuffed with Velez wanting closer to £16m, and Almada ended up signing a new deal committing him to the club until 2023.

The contract contains a £22m release clause – but if his form continues that won’t deter Europe’s biggest clubs, with Arsenal, Inter Milan, Valencia, and Ajax all interested according to Tuttomercato.

Pablo Cavallero, Velez’s technical secretary, admitted there have been enquiries for Almada.

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He told TNT Sports: “Yes, there are calls. We have received some from club intermediaries, but they are only questions. The difficulty [of selling] or not depends on the offers that come in when the market opens.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could have an advantage, however. The man who gave Almada his debut at age 17 was former Red Devils right-back Gabriel Heinze, who was manager of Velez at the time.

It was Heinze who played the midfielder in a wide position within a 4-3-3 formation, helping him to develop his game.

And with Almada having been aware of interest in him from across the Atlantic ocean, his former manager will no doubt have had positive things to say about a career at Old Trafford, where Heinze won the 2006/7 Premier League title.

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Fighting

Mike Tyson net worth: Heavyweight boxer has made a fortune – how much is he worth?

Mike Tyson, 54, is the former undisputed heavyweight champion who was the first boxer to hold all three heavyweight titles at the same time. After making millions in prize money, and then subsequently declaring bankruptcy, how much is Iron Mike worth now?

Tyson started his professional boxing career in 1985, with a knockout victory over Hector Mercedes.

He would go on to win his first 37 fights; almost exclusively by knockout.

He beat previously undefeated Michael Spinks in 1988 to claim all three heavyweight belts, making him the first undisputed heavyweight champion.

After taking part in a total of 56 fights – 50 of which he won – how much is Mike Tyson worth?

Mike Tyson net worth

Iron Mike has a net worth of around £2.2 million ($3m), according to website Celebrity Net Worth.

Despite earning hundreds of millions in purse money from fights, Tyson filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

At the time of bankruptcy, he was reportedly around £17.2m ($23m) in debt.

Tyson spent the majority of his earnings on homes and cars, including a 21-room mansion in Connecticut, as well as houses in Las Vegas, Ohio and Maryland.

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The former champ bought more than 100 cars; some of which were worth up £374,000 ($500,000).

One of his most expensive purchases as a £1.5m ($2m) golden bathtub for his wife.

But, after earning so much money from his career, he was entitled to spend it.

It’s believed that Tyson gained almost £300m ($400m) from purse fees.

His largest income came from the 2002 heavyweight clash against Lennox Lewis, in Las Vegas.

Tyson lost the fight by knockout in the eighth round, allowing Lewis to keep all three of his heavyweight title belts.

Iron Mike earned £77m ($103m) from the fight, despite losing against his heavyweight rival.

Of that £77m, about £56m ($75m) came from a pay-per-view bonus, after millions tuned in to watch the fight.

Ahead of the highly-anticipated exhibition fight between Tyson and Roy Jones Jr, both fighters agreed to take a 50-50 split on the match purse.

Most of the money will be coming from pay-per-view earnings, with the fight being broadcast around the world.

Both fighters are expected to pocket around £7.5m for the event, but that could significantly rise if more fans tune in.

The fight is set to begin on Saturday November 28, with ring walks expected somewhere between 4am and 5am on Sunday November 29 in the UK.

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Soccer

Jose Mourinho jokes why he is ‘not happy’ with Harry Winks after Tottenham win

Jose Mourinho has jokingly poked fun at Harry Winks for being too honest after the midfielder explained whether he meant his wonder goal in the 4-0 win over Ludogorets on Thursday night. Tottenham ran riot in the Europa League against Ludogorets to put themselves on nine points after four matches.

Mourinho made a number of changes to his squad with the likes of Carlos Vinicius, Dele Alli, Gareth Bale and Japhet Tanganga given opportunities to start.

And Vinicius got the ball rolling for Spurs with two excellent goals.

Spurs always looked in control and could have had a handful more goals before the third came in unbelievable circumstances.

Harry Winks picked up the ball 56 yards out from goal and launched an arcing effort which caught the goalkeeper out as it crashed over the line off the underside of the bar.

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The midfielder looked in disbelief himself as he had a huge smile on his face as his team-mates ran to celebrate with him.

Lucas Moura added a fourth late on after excellent work from Vinicius and Alli, but the biggest talking point remained Winks’ effort.

The English midfielder was asked after the game whether he meant it, to which he said: “I’d love to stand here and say that I did but I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t mean it,” he said on BT Sport.

“I saw Gaz [Bale] making that run and I just over hit it.

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“But it’s a goal at the end of the day and I’m really happy to get on the scoresheet.”

When Mourinho was made aware that Winks admitted to not meaning his effort, the Tottenham boss jokingly criticised the 24-year-old.

“He is too honest!” he told BT Sport. “I am not happy with him!

“With a goal like that you have to say you meant it, but a good kid. He is honest.”

Mourinho handed debuts to a host of young players in the latter stages of the game with Dane Scarlett becoming the youngest player in Spurs’ history aged 16 years and 247 days old.

Alfie Whiteman was also subbed on to replace Joe Hart in goal and Mourinho admitted he felt it was the right game to give some of Spurs’ talented young players some competitive minutes.

“I am happy for them, some players had really nice performances.

“Japhet Tanganga had his first match after long injury, nice chance for the kids to make history. 4-0 and three points, that’s good.

“I know the kids well. Harvey White works with us every day in our squad, same as Jack Clarke, Dane Scarlett did pre-season with us.

“We know what they can do but it has to be the right moment and today was the right pressure for them.”

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Soccer

Arsenal fans make Nicolas Pepe demand to Mikel Arteta amid midfield struggles

Arsenal are without a win in the Premier League since the 1-0 win over Manchester United on November 1, and underwhelmed in the games against Aston Villa and Leeds. The Gunners take on Molde this evening though, knowing a win might kick start an upturn in form.

Arsenal fans are demanding Mikel Arteta give Nicolas Pepe a new role amid their recent midfield struggles.

The Gunners failed to beat Aston Villa and Leeds in their recent meetings, with their men in the middle of the park coming in for criticism in particular.

So ahead of this evening’s Europa League clash with Molde, some fans reckon Arteta should go back to the drawing board and go with a different tactical approach.

Many feel that switching to a 4-4-2 formation would be a good idea, based on previous results.

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And that would see usual-winger Pepe play up front with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Alexandre Lacazette would likely drop to the bench.

Both men have played alongside the Frenchman as wingers in a front three most typically, though that method has not proved successful in recent weeks.

Taking to the r/Gunners Reddit page, one fan wrote: “What formation did we play vs Liverpool away in Emery’s second season? The one where it looked like Pepe was the one up top. It looked like 442.

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“It’s probably the best game I’ve seen him play for us. He did it all minus finishing. Almost that Lille PSG game but where he finishes.

“If it was 442, he should be tried central again.”

While a second added: “It’s probably the best game I’ve seen him play for us.”

“4-4-2 variation with Auba and Pepe as CFs would be my go to,” a third contributed.

But others felt it was a bad move, insisting that the issue was not necessarily the formation.

“Please no feels like every few days somebody suggested this outdayed tactic we don’t even have the players for,” one supporter countered.

As a second put: “Honestly I think the amount of tinkering is part of the problem right now.”

“It does not matter one bit what formation we have if we keep playing negative,” a slightly gloomy third replied. “We could switch to a 442 and still keep passing sideways.”

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Soccer

Sergio Aguero wife: Who is Giannina Maradona? Meet the mother of Aguero’s son

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed Sergio Aguero is back training with his Man City teammates. Aguero has missed four months after a serious knee injury which needed surgery in June. However, Guardiola suggested Man City’s clash against Olympiacos would not see Aguero play.

Aguero was back on the pitch for the Premier League clash against Arsenal in October but was substituted at half-time with another injury concern.

Who is Giannina Maradona? Meet the mother of Aguero’s son

Aguero met his most serious partner three years before he joined City, while he was hitting the net for Spanish club Atletico Madrid in 2008.

Giannina Maradona, the daughter of Argentina legend Diego Maradona, first encountered Aguero in 2008.

Now news has come of the footballing legend’s death at the age of 60.

A fiery figure with a high profile in Argentina, Giannina Maradona has more than 654.3K followers on Instagram.

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She is the doting mother of Aguero’s son, Ben, having given birth in 2009.

The couple parted ways in 2012 and have experienced a turbulent relationship since then.

Maradona was furious after Aguero was pictured taking a break with Argentinian singer Karina Tejeda, telling him on social media: “It makes me very sad that having so many people around you, not one of them can tell you that your son comes first.”

Aguero, who was labelled a “wimp” by Maradona’s iconic father in the aftermath of the pair’s split, told Argentine newspaper Ole of the heartache he felt at being separated from his son.

Maradona took Ben with her when she returned home to Buenos Aires, causing Aguero to admit: “In these last few months I’ve been trying to adapt myself to a new stage of my life following my separation.

“It’s not easy after so many intense years living together and so many experiences with Gianni.

“I try to be as professional as possible. I believe it doesn’t affect my sporting performance, but to be so far away from your child is not easy. It’s impossible not to miss Ben.”

Writing to her fans on her 30th birthday yesterday, Maradona issued an emotional message but did not name Aguero.

She said: “I reached this age with a billion moments and anecdotes that make me who I am today.

“I would not change anything I have lived through. I have the best family in the world – dysfunctional, unorthodox, different but unique.

“I am crazy at times, stubborn, good-natured and love my family unconditionally.”

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Soccer

Man Utd devise new director of football plan after £108m transfer failure

Manchester United haven’t started drawing up a shortlist for potential candidates for a new director of football-style role at the club, but could bring in a new official to work within the current transfer setup. That’s the belief of The Athletic’s David Ornstein.

United have long been tipped to hire a director of football to help with transfers.

Currently, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer works closely with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and chief negotiator Matt Judge to find and sign new players.

The three were criticised during the summer due to the club’s failure to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

The winger was United’s top transfer target this summer, and Dortmund stated early on in the summer that they would not sell for less than £108million.

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However, United failed to match their asking price, and were ultimately left scrambling around for an alternative.

After the window closed, fans again called for the club to make changes to their transfer structure before the next transfer window.

And according to Ornstein, there is a chance they will look to recruit someone to come in and work within the existing framework at the club.

Speaking on his Ask Ornstein YouTube show, he explained that while there are plans to bring someone in, they are yet to create a shortlist or formally act on those plans in any way.

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Reports have suggested United are looking at Marcel Brands, who currently holds the director of football role at Everton.

Brands is out of contract at the end of the season, but still has a good relationship with Carlo Ancellotti.

But former Arsenal player Perry Groves believes the Toffees chief wouldn’t be the best candidate for the role.

He explained: “I’m not keen on directors of football and directors of recruitment.

“If you get the right manager, then the manager should have the final say on who comes into the football club.

“There has to be a trust between the manager and the director of football.

“If you look at Marcel Brands who you were talking about, he’s one who spent £80million on [Jean-Philippe] Gbamin, [Michael] Keane and Alex Iwobi. £80m.

“I said at the time for Alex Iwobi when he left Arsenal for £35m that I’d have driven up there myself to be honest.

“He played well in the wing-back position yesterday against Fulham but as a winger and as a forward he didn’t have enough end product, he didn’t score enough goals.

“So that sort of baffles me, why Manchester United would want someone like Marcel Brands when he hasn’t got an exemplary record, completely not proven.

“There’s too many players that have gone in that they’ve paid big money for that haven’t performed.

“Richarlison has been a brilliant signing for them but there’s too many that they’ve got wrong.”

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Soccer

Heavy D dead: Arsenal fans pay tribute to former AFTV regular

Heavy D, who was best known as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother and Storage Hunters, has died; a friend of the reality star has confirmed.

Real name, Colin Newell, shot to fame as The Boominator on Storage Hunters which airs on Dave. 

His success on the show led to an appearance on the 18th season of Celebrity Big Brother in 2016. 

Nick Nevern, a friend of Heavy D, confirmed the reality star had died this week. 

He tweeted: “I’m very shocked & saddened to hear of the passing of my friend @HeavyHeavyd.

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“u lived ur life the way u wanted to & f**k anyone who didn’t like it! U always brought a smile to my face bro & lifted any room you where in. #RIPHeavyD.”

Away from television, Heavy D was also well known for his love of Arsenal football club, and was previously a regular on YouTube channel AFTV, which was formerly known as Arsenal Fan TV. 

AFTV themselves paid tribute to Newell, writing: “We are shocked to hear the sad news that Heavy D has passed away today. Our condolences go to his family at this very sad time. #RIPHeavyD.”

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Arsenal supporters were quick to pay their respects on social media, by responding to AFTV’s post.

One fan tweeted: “He and his belt will go down as AFTV legends! #RIPheavyD.” 

Another wrote: “He was such an upbeat guy and always spread positive energy. Rest In Peace Heavy D.”

A third posted: “That’s so sad, he was such an upbeat guy with good vibes, RIP.”

Another Arsenal fan said: “His interviews were a joy to watch however rare it might be, but always loved his passion and his take on Arsenal.

“Made me laugh a few times and brought me a smile to my face when most times we were sad watching arsenal. RIP Heavy D. you’ll be missed.”

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