Lille Sporting Director Luís Campos Rejects Huge Offer from Newcastle United Amid Growing Inner Turmoil

Lille’s director of football Luís Campos is reported to have turned down a huge offer from Newcastle United.

Having made his name at AS Monaco, where he helped to bring through the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Anthony Martial and Thomas Lemar, the 55-year-old joined Lille in 2017, helping the club transform from a relegation-threatened side to a team competing at the top end of Ligue 1, thanks to some shrewd transfer moves.

Yet with rumours of discontent with the internal dealings at the French club, and amid growing speculation that manager Christopher Galtier could be headed for Marseille, the Portuguese director is said to be considering his future at Les Dogues, with a reunion with former colleague José Mourinho said to be a major possibility at Tottenham.

But French publication L’Équipe are now reporting that another Premier League team in Newcastle have already reached out to Campos, with their soon-to-be Saudi owners having extended a massive offer for him to come to St James’ Park and build a team to compete at the top end of the Premier League.

Yet it appears that the man himself has turned down the proposal, and has instead offered to make scouting recommendations for the Tyneside club via his company Scoutly, provided that Lille president Gérard Lopez gives him permission to.

The media outlet further states that Campos instead apparently has no intention of leaving Lille, but wants changes to be implemented regarding the club’s inner hierachy.

But it also concedes in its report that there’s certainly a chance that the 55-year-old moves to Spurs, where Lille’s former assistant coaches João Sacramento and Nuno Santos are working under Mourinho. His former club AS Monaco are also mentioned as a possible destination, given that it is where his company are registered.

José Mourinho is apparently keen to reunite with Campos

The move could have helped Newcastle in the market, given their reported links with Lille’s midfield star Boubakary Soumaré, and with striker Victor Oshimen rumoured to want a move to the Premier League.


Roberto Carlos Reveals He Was ‘Very Close’ to Signing for Chelsea in 2007

Roberto Carlos has revealed that he was “very close” to joining Chelsea following the expiry of his Real Madrid contract in 2007, stating that the move had been “agreed” but didn’t “work out”.

The Brazilian full-back had announced that he would be leaving Real Madrid in 2007 following a trophy-laden 11 years at the Bernabeu, with both Chelsea and Fenerbahçe interested in snapping up the free agent. A move to Stamford Bridge fell through however, and Roberto Carlos joined Fener, where he spent two and a half-seasons before returning to Brazil with Corinthians in 2010.

Speaking to Goal, Roberto Carlos stated: “I had two proposals, Fenerbahçe and Chelsea. Chelsea didn’t work out, so I signed for Fenerbahçe.

“But with Chelsea, it got very close. It was literally agreed and I just had to go there and sign the contract.

“It was just a week before I signed for Fenerbahçe and I had been to Paris to meet both Roman Abramovich and [former chief executive] Peter Kenyon. Unfortunately in the final moments something didn’t work out just before finalising, which happens a lot in football. There was an issue with the lawyer.

“It was all agreed though, and I am 100 per cent sure I would have done well in the Premier League and it would have suited my characteristics.”

Considered to be one of the greatest left-backs of all time, Roberto Carlos was a legend for club and country. He enjoyed success with Palmeiras in his native Brazil before earning a move to Europe with Internazionale, where he failed to make an impression. El Hombre Bala joined Real Madrid after just one season in Italy, and went on to spend over a decade with the club, helping them to win four league titles and four Champions Leagues.

After subsequent spells with Fenerbahçe and Corinthians, Roberto Carlos ended his career with a stints in Russia with Anzhi Makhachkala and a stint in India with Delhi Dynamos, who he also managed.

The most notable achievement of his career, however, was helping Brazil to win the World Cup in 2002, a competition they have failed to win since.


Felipe Anderson on Adapting to ‘Incredible’ Premier League Football Intensity & His Ideal XI of Teammates

West Ham winger Felipe Anderson has admitted that he was surprised by the pace of the Premier League, despite being warned prior to his arrival from Lazio that the intensity of English football would be completely different.

The 27-year-old is approaching the halfway stage of the four-year deal he signed in the summer of 2018; a move that saw him become the Hammers’ then club-record signing.

Anderson netted an impressive nine Premier League goals in his first season as West Ham secured a top ten finish under Manuel Pellegrini, transitioning seamlessly – or so it seemed – from life in Naples to the east end of London.

But in an interview with 90min, conducted in his native language of Portuguese, Anderson has acknowledged the vast difference in intensity between English and Italian football, revealing he struggled early on in his West Ham career to last the full 90 minutes.

“The difference is incredible. It’s a big difference. I felt, in my first 10 games, I couldn’t play more than 70 minutes because of the intensity,” Anderson said.

“Because in Italy it was more compact, the team went out more together. Here is a lot of running, a lot of speed. There were 10 games saying: Wow, they told me it was intense, but I didn’t expect all of that. Then I had to work on the physical part, to be able to take it – because it is very close, it is very strong.”

Anderson shields the ball from Bournemouth’s Philip Billing.

Anderson, like so many others, has been forced to isolate at home and train individually because of the coronavirus outbreak, but a return to action could be on the cards after the government approved plans to resume training in ‘small groups’.

Despite that promising move, it’s unlikely that Anderson will be back in Premier League action for at least a month – while details of how to safely proceed are worked out – but he did have a message for West Ham’s supporters about a potential resumption.

“Hello West Ham fans. I miss you, to see you filling the stadium, but we still have to stay home” he added. “I hope, as soon as I have the opportunity to play, to do my best to you, for you and for our West Ham. A big hug, be with God.”

Felipe named Declan Rice in his ideal XI of teammates he’s played with.

Anderson also included teammates Pablo Zabaleta, Declan Rice and Manuel Lanzini in his ideal XI of teammates that he’s played with over the course of his career, as well as Brazil megastar Neymar and Bayern Munich’s German legend Miroslav Klose.


Remembering the Euro ’96 Team of the Tournament

Euro ’96 was the ultimate festival of football. So many classic teams, so many classic players, so many classic kits and so many classic moments dictated that magical summer.

Germany went all the way to lift the trophy. But an emerging France shone, as did England on home soil, as well as surprise showings from Czech Republic and Croatia.

24 (?!) years on, here’s a look back at the team of the tournament…

GK – Andreas Kopke (Germany)

Andreas Kopke

Club: Eintracht Frankfurt

Andreas Kopke took over from 1990 World Cup winner Bodo Illgner following the 1994 World Cup and held onto the gloves for four years until 1998.

He didn’t concede a single goal during the Euro ’96 group stage and saved the penalty shootout spot-kick from Gareth Southgate that put Germany into the final at the expense of England.

DF – Paolo Maldini (Italy)

Paolo Maldini of Italy

Club: AC Milan

Italy exited Euro ’96 at the group stage after winning only one of their three games, but it is a testament to Paolo Maldini’s quality that he was still chosen for the Team of the Tournament.

Maldini inherited the AC Milan captaincy that summer and remained among the world’s very best defender until the day he retired aged 40 in May 2009.

DF – Laurent Blanc (France)

Laurent Blanc of France

Club: Auxerre

The seeds of France’s 1998 World Cup win on home soil had already been sewn at Euro ’96 and Les Bleus actually got within a penalty shootout of reaching the final.

Laurent Blanc, who joined Barcelona after the tournament, was a significant part of that. His defence kept consecutive clean sheets in 240 minutes of quarter and semi-final action.

DF – Marcel Desailly (France)

Marcel Desailly of France

Club: AC Milan

Lining up alongside Blanc for France was Marcel Desailly. The versatile star was already a two-time Champions League winner and added World Cup and Euro glory in 1998 and 2000 respectively.

Desailly played every minute of France’s tournament, with the team navigating a very difficult group that featured Spain, Romania and Bulgaria – the latter two enjoying golden generations.

DF – Matthias Sammer (Germany)

Matthias Sammer of Germany (L)

Club: Borussia Dortmund

Matthias Sammer won the Ballon d’Or in 1996, making him the first defender to win the prestigious individual accolade since fellow countryman Franz Beckenbauer 20 years earlier.

Operating as a sweeper à la Beckenbauer had done, Sammer marshalled Germany’s supreme defensive efforts that ultimately paved the way for their overall triumph.

MF – Paul Gascoigne (England)

Paul Gascoigne scores England v Scotland 1996 UEFA Euro Championships

Club: Rangers

That goal against Scotland will perhaps be the lasting image of Paul Gascoigne’s maverick brilliance, with the midfielder proving once more to be England’s X-factor in resurgent displays.

Gazza only played at two major international tournaments in his career and reached the semi-finals both times. On each occasion, however, he was knocked out by Germany in cruel fashion.

MF – Dieter Eilts (Germany)

Dieter Eilts (left) of Germany tackles Pavel Kuka of the Czech Republic

Club: Werder Bremen

German midfielder Dieter Eilts made the only international competition of his career count, helping his country lift the trophy and earning a place in the Team of the Tournament at the end of it.

Although 31 at the time, Elits was far less experienced at international level than many of his colleagues. But his functional performances contributed to Germany’s defensive strength.

MF – Karel Poborsky (Czech Republic)

Karel Poborsky of the Czech Republic

Club: Slavia Prague

Karel Poborsky’s improvised scoop lob that knocked out a strong Portugal side at the quarter-final stage remains one of the more iconic moments of Euro ’96.

The Czech Republic winger helped his country get to the final at their first international tournament since the break-up of Czechoslovakia, and joined Manchester United soon after.

FW – Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)

Hristo Stoichkov of Bulgaria

Club: Parma

A former Ballon d’Or and World Cup Golden Boot winner, Hristo Stoichkov was joint second top scorer at Euro ’96 despite going no further than the competition’s group stage.

He netted in each of his country’s three games and was the only Bulgarian to score. After this tournament he returned to Barcelona at club level, having previously been part of the ‘Dream Team’.

FW – Alan Shearer (England)

England v Holland

Club: Blackburn Rovers

Going into Euro ’96, Alan Shearer hadn’t scored an international goal in nearly two years – a run lasing 12 games, but he netted in England’s Wembley opener and didn’t look back.

Shearer finished the tournament as the top scorer with five goals to his name and was soon the subject of a world record transfer battle between Newcastle and Manchester United.

FW – Davor Suker (Croatia)

Croatian striker Davor Suker celebrates

Club: Sevilla

Croatia’s first international tournament since declaring independence from Yugoslavia was a positive one and paved the way to finish third at the 1998 World Cup two years later.

Davor Suker was a star at both, netting three times at Euro ’96. One of those included an effortlessly elegant chip against reigning champions Denmark over the head of Peter Schmeichel.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!


Serie A Officials Vote Against Playoffs to Decide Champions & Relegation – Season Must End by 31 August

Serie A officials have ruled out the possibility of completing the season via playoffs, insisting that all fixtures can be fulfilled – but the 2019/20 campaign must be completed by 31 August.

Italian football has been put on hold since the beginning of March, after the nation became Europe’s most affected country by the coronavirus. But many believe that calcio can now continue as the number of new cases and deaths drops each day.

US Sassuolo v Brescia Calcio – Serie A

Sky Sport Italia reports that the FIGC has voted against playoffs being used to settle the eventual winners, as well as the relegation places in Italy’s top three leagues – while Serie A, B and C must be finished by 20 August, with all football ending no later than ten days after.

This end date is crucial to the football governing body, as their intention is to begin the 2020/21 Serie A campaign on 1 September, according to Football Italia. The Italian football outlet also reports that it is becoming increasingly likely that football from Serie D and below will be cancelled, with no intention of completing the remaining fixtures.

The football landscape is constantly shifting in Italy as they look to find a fair and appropriate way to end the 2019/20 season. But many are aware that there is the unprecedented possibility of Juventus missing out on the title for the first time in nine years, as dark horses Lazio have mounted an incredible attack on their scudetto reign.

SS Lazio Training Session

Le Aquile currently sit one point behind I Bianconeri in the table, and Serie A viewers are desperate to see this season play out in an authentic and fitting manner – with plenty hoping for an upset in the title race.

So it would appear that calcio is nearing its return – or not, perhaps. The Italian Federation confirmed on Tuesday that no matches will take place before 14 June, leaving only a six-week period to complete the campaign.