Manchester City & Liverpool Among European Elite Tracking Inter Teenage Sensation

Premier League giants ?Manchester City and Liverpool are reportedly chasing Inter starlet Sebastiano Esposito, with the pair making ‘very lucrative offers’ to the young striker in an attempt to lure him away from Serie A. 

The Italy Under-19 international has broken into Antonio Conte’s first-team this season, making three league appearances for I Nerazzurri, while he also came off the bench in the Italian side’s defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday evening. 

FBL-EUR-C1-INTER-BARCELONA

Esposito’s rise to stardom has not gone unnoticed, and ?FC Inter News reports that ?Manchester City and ?Liverpool are among a cluster of European giants who have made contact with the player.

?It is believed that Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund have joined the ?Premier League sides in the hunt for the striker’s signature ‘with great persistence’, but Esposito has expressed no desire to leave San Siro and has rejected the advances of Europe’s elite thus far. 

The Italian starlet is highly rated by Inter coach Conte, who is desperate to see the striker develop and grow under his tutelage. The ?ex-Chelsea boss has been left impressed by Esposito’s ability to rise to each challenge, and the club have arranged talks with the player’s parents to discuss a new and improved contract over the Christmas period. 

Sebastiano Esposito

Esposito has also attracted the attention of Europe’s super-agents, with the likes of Mino Raiola and ex-Roma captain Francesco Totti keen to represent the wonderkid. The Inter man is currently represented by his parents however, and the family has stressed that the youngster is not interested in changing his club or agent.  

Inter suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat in Tuesday’s Champions League tie with ?Barcelona, and the loss meant that Conte’s men bowed out of the competition at the group stages, with la Blaugrana and ?Dortmund filling the top two places in Group F.

Let’

Sadio Mane Apologises to Former Club Red Bull Salzburg After Knocking Them Out of Champions League

?Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has issued an apology to former club Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday night, after beating the Austrian side 2-0 to secure their spot in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Reds’ victory, which included goals from both Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah, meant that Salzburg were eliminated from the competition, with Liverpool topping Group E with Napoli finishing as runners-up.

FBL-EUR-C1-SALZBURG-LIVERPOOL

However, the Senegalese attacker expressed his apologies to his former club, having spent two seasons with them before making his move to the Premier League with Southampton in 2014.

“It was a really tough game today,” ?Mane told BT Sport, as quoted by the ?Metro. “For sure we expected that and we were better in the second half. We create many chances and we scored. Naby scored a wonderful goal. I’m happy for him against his old club so that’s it. I think we deserved to win tonight and we are happy.

“It’s always nice to come back here because it’s where it all started for me. And I’m really grateful for this club and the fans and as well the people here. Sorry guys, but this is football and we have to do it.”

During the game, ?Salah managed to ?score from an outrageous angle in the second half, helping to secure Liverpool’s place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Andy Robertson spoke highly of the performance from the Reds’ front three as well as the Egyptian’s goal, adding: “It was his toughest chance of the game. Mo, Sadio and Bobby they put tremendous pressure on themselves to score goals.

FBL-EUR-C1-SALZBURG-LIVERPOOL

“We were just saying to Mo think of the next one and to be fair he’s just taken a ridiculous goal. I don’t know how it’s gone in from there.

“But it was absolutely fantastic, especially on his weaker foot. Credit to him he was running up and down and when he went up front he worked his socks off.”

Let’

The 8 Youngest Scorers in Champions League History

It was another pulsating evening of Champions League football on Tuesday as teams looked to secure their places in the knockout stages of the competition. 

?With Barcelona already having secured top spot in Group F, manager Ernesto Valverde decided to heavily rotate his lineup for the clash with Inter. 

The match appeared to be heading towards a draw until Ansu Fati netted the winner just one minute after entering the field. This strike saw him become the youngest goalscorer in Champions League history, having only recently turned 17. 

Yeah, you read that right. 17!

So, following the teenage sensation’s stunner for Barça, 90min walks you through the youngest players to score in the Champions League…


8. Aaron Ramsey 

Aaron Ramsey,Emmanuel Eboue

Age: 17 years and 299 days

Arsenal (vs Fenerbahçe) – 21/10/2008

?Arsenal finally won on Monday! But, other than that, it hasn’t exactly been a great season for them, has it?

Former Gunner ?Aaron Ramsey swapped north London for Turin in the summer after the club couldn’t agree a new contract with the player, much to the disbelief of many Arsenal fans. Well, at least their midfield is flourishing this season, eh? 

Back in his early days with the club, the attacking midfielder came on as a substitute to fire in a ferocious strike to make sure of the win for the away side – the game eventually ending 5-2.

Although he has been struggling for minutes at Juventus this season, he does have a goal to his name in the Champions League. He poked home a Cristiano Ronaldo strike on the line to leave the Portuguese irate. 

Was it worth it, Aaron?


7. Breel Embolo 

FBL-EUR-C1-BASEL-LUDOGORETS

Age: 17 years and 263 days

Basel (vs Ludogorets) – 04/11/2014

Aged just 16, Embolo scored four minutes into his Basel debut. There were high hopes for him and he carried his fine form into the Champions League, where he netted an expertly taken goal before setting up the third against Ludogorets. The game ended 4-0.

It appeared as though Embolo wouldn’t go on to fulfil his true potential however, due to a serious injury sustained back in 2016. But, he has since overcome his injury struggles and is excelling for Borussia Mönchengladbach, who currently top the Bundesliga.


6. Martin Klein 

FBL-EUR-C3-SPARTA

Age: 17 years and 240 days

Sparta Praha (vs Panathinaikos) – 27/02/2002

Who?!

Martin Klein takes up his place in this list thanks to his headed goal against Panathinaikos. His goal reduced the deficit, but the game, ultimately, ended 2-1. 

Two weeks later, he started the game against Real Madrid, with Petr Cech in goal behind him. It’s safe to say they went on to have slightly different careers, however.


5. Cesc Fabregas 

Francesc Fabregas

Age: 17 years and 218 days

Arsenal (vs Rosenborg) – 07/12/2004

An exceptional midfield talent and although he may have been young, the Spaniard had already built up a reputation. 

The Gunners swept aside Rosenborg 5-1 in the ?Champions League, with Fabregas scoring the third. He controlled the ball before flicking it past his man and finding the net with a left-footed finish.

The result helped put Arsenal into the last 16 of the competition, but this was as far as they got as Bayern Munich knocked them out. 

This wouldn’t be the last time that this happened. Not at all…


4. Bojan Krkic 

Barcelona's striker Bojan Krkic scores a

Age: 17 years and 218 days 

Barcelona (vs Schalke) – 01/04/2008

Bojan appeared to be the next supreme talent to come out of La Masia, with the forward ?being labelled the ‘new Messi’ in his early years. 

The Spaniard tapped home the only goal of the game against the Germans and although he continued to impress in the early parts of his career, he eventually departed. Bojan went on to play for Stoke before joining MLS side Montreal Impact. 

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi just won his sixth Ballon d’Or…


3. Mateo Kovacic 

Lyon's players celebrate after scoring a

Age: 17 years and 215 days

Dinamo Zagreb (vs Lyon) – 07/12/2011 

Dinamo Zagreb were absolutely embarrassed during the 2011/12 group stages of the competition. In their six games, they scored three times and conceded a whopping 22. 

One player who did find the back of the net was a young Mateo Kovacic. In fact, his strike gave Zagreb the lead over Lyon…but, it didn’t stay like that for long. The French side came back to win 7-1.

Kovacic is now at ?Chelsea and following a slow start to life at the club, he has now settled and is shining. The midfielder helped the Blues ?secure their place in the last 16 of the competition on Tuesday as they overcame Lille. 


2. Peter Ofori-Quaye 


Age: 17 years and 195 days

Olympiacos (vs Rosenborg) – 01/10/1997

Peter Ofori-Quaye etched his name into the history books as he came off the bench to score a sublime goal for Olympiacos aged just 17 years and 195 days. 

With his side 4-0 down, he came on and it took him just nine minutes to pull one back for the away side. As he received the ball, he shifted it quickly before firing a shot into the bottom corner. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to celebrate, instead racing to pick up the ball and charging back towards the halfway line.

Ofori-Quaye went on to score just the three goals in the Champions League, appearing 30 times. However, he did play at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations for Ghana. The striker was released by Ghanaian club Bechem United in 2012 and decided to call time on his career. 


1. Ansu Fati

Ansu Fati,Jean-Clair Todibo

Age: 17 years and 40 days

Barcelona (vs Inter) – 10/12/2019

Ansu Fati once again showed on Tuesday why he is being touted for greatness.

Aged just 16 years and 318 days, the ?Barcelona teenager became the youngest ever player in La Liga history to score and assist in the same game in his first career start. In that game, it took him just two minutes to find the net.

Well, on this occasion, it took him just the one minute as he come on as a substitute in the 85th minute before firing in a stunning winner just seconds later. As a result, he became the youngest goalscorer in the competition, aged just 17 years and 40 days. 

Oh, his goal also knocked Inter out of the competition. 

The youngster’s potential is scary.


Let’

Dortmund 2011/2012: The Double Winning BVB Side Who Were the Coolest Football Team in the World

?Dortmund 2011/2012 is part of 90min’s 20 Greatest Teams of the Decade series.


When Jurgen Klopp arrived at Borussia Dortmund at the beginning of the 2008/2009 campaign, the club were in a millions miles away from the footballing powerhouse that they would become. 

Without a trophy since 2001, their 90s heydays – where a team that bizarrely included former Norwich City boss Paul Lambert won the Champions League – were a distant memory.

In just two season, Klopp transformed a club on its knees into Bundesliga champions once again, leading BVB to a first placed finish in the 2010/2011 campaign.

Dortmund's head coach Juergen Klopp reac

That season may have been spectacular but if you really want to comprehend their irresistible appeal, it is better to use the following year as your vantage point. 

Dortmund’s 2011/2012 campaign was ‘heavy metal football’ in its most devilish form. Rebelliously defiant and breathtakingly relentless, Klopp made Dortmund a force to be reckoned with and, much more importantly, elevated them culturally to become one of the coolest teams in football. 

This uber-cool factor stemmed from a number of sources. One, they were plucky upstarts, loosening the establishment’s grip on German football by starving Bayern Munich of trophies. Who doesn’t like a rebel? 

Second, Klopp was young and exciting. He was passionate to a fault at times and spoke about football in an immensely passionate way, while also popularising sexy tactical concepts such a gegenpressing – which in the ‘proper football-men’ dictionary roughly translates to ‘getting stuck in’. 

Dortmund's Polish midfielder Jakub Blasz

The third cause of Dortmund’s coolness was their absolutely stunning kit. Produced by Kappa, it included a genius checkerboard design, the black squares presented beautifully on a radiant yellow background, with the manufacturer’s distinctive logo further enticing football hipster to join their cause. 

It was impossible to play a five-a-side match during the Dortmund’s Klopp era without spying at least one BVB shirt floating about, something that would have been unthinkable before the current Liverpool boss’ arrival in 2008.

Anyway…I can imagine my sub-editor is currently raging that we are 300 words into this all-decade piece and I have neglected to mention what the club actually achieved during the 2011/2012 campaign. 

Building on their previous season’s title success, BVB went one better – by securing a domestic double.

Dortmund's midfielder Sebastian Kehl kis

The reason they were able to overcome Bayern’s financial mite was that Klopp’s tactics made his players far more than the sum of their parts.

In a team that lacked any stars – other than 30-goals-a-season man Robert Lewandowski – BVB principally relied on the playmaking abilities of their system itself as opposed to one particular player.

It’s an abstract idea but essentially, by pressing the opposition in a well-organised fashion, Dortmund hoped to win the ball back with their side perfectly poised to complete a counter-attack. 

Klopp, influenced by his Mainz mentor Wolfgang Frank, theorised that the opposition are always at their most vulnerable when they have just lost the ball. Thus, in transition Klopp aimed to get the ball forwards as quickly as possible to provide his side his the best opportunity to exploit this. 

RESTRICTIONS / EMBARGO - DFL LIMITS THE

Dortmund’s 4-2-3-1 formation helped to facilitate this style, as when one of the central midfielders – usually Ilkay Gundogan, Sven Bender or Sebastian Kehl – won the ball back they always had at least four options to move the ball forward. 

This led to forwards Jakub Blaszczykowski, Kevin Großkreutz and Ivan Perisic being afforded a string of good creative opportunities that season and with Lewandowski in good form up front, it is no surprise that the BVB hit 80 goals.

The system required hard-work yes, but much more importantly it required supreme concentration and tactical discipline, which Dortmund had in spades.

Still, their success was pretty unbelievable especially considering the economic advantage that Bayern had over them and it has seemed particularly unlikely following their terrible start to the season.

(LtoR) Dortmund's defender Marcel Schmel

After losing to bitter rivals Schalke in the German Supercup, BVB recorded just two wins in their opening six league games, losing three and drawing once. 

Going into their seventh league fixture against Klopp’s former side Mainz, BVB were 11th in the table and already eight points off the pace of league leaders Bayern. 

Against Mainz they were again underwhelming, falling behind to a Nicolai Muller goal on the half hour mark. Clearly given whatever Klopp’s version of the hairdryer treatment at the break, Dortmund came out revitalised in the second half – eventually nicking a last minute winner through converted full-back Lukasz Piszczek. 

Dortmund's midfielder Mario Goetze, Dort

The scenes after the final whistle were typical of their manager’s emotional nature. Initially bounding onto the pitch to celebrate with his players, he then thought better of it, turning straight back around to hand out some of the hardest high fives I have ever seen to a few lucky members of the crowd (or possibly unlucky if their wrists were broken?).

The game would prove be the turning point in the season – Piczczek’s goal the instigator of a merciless Dortmund revival. 

After the Mainz victory the team would not lose another league game that season, their unbeaten run stretching to a remarkable 28 games – which is still a Bundesliga record. 

?Dortmund’s 2011/2012 Starting XI
?Roman Weidenfeller
?Lukasz Piszczek
?Neven Subotic
?Mats Hummels
?Marcel Schmelzer
?Ilkay Gündogan
?Sebastian Kehl
?Jakub Blaszczykowski
?Shinji Kagawa
?Kevin Großkreutz
?Robert Lewandowski

Some of the standout performances along the way included a 5-0 win over Koln, a 5-1 victory against Wolfsburg and 4-0 demolishing of Freiburg. Though these results were impressive, the title was really won in Dortmund’s games against Bayern. 

In many ways the league encounters between the two sides were distinctly un-Dortmund like. BVB secured a pair of well-disciplined 1-0 wins that seemed to defy Klopp’s all-action footballing philosophy – probably fitting better into José Mourinho’s playbook.

BVB were afforded a chance to rectify this in the DFB Pokal. After securing the Bundesliga title with two games to spare, second placed Bayern Munich were given a chance for revenge when they faced Dortmund in the final.

It was chance that they would not be able to take, with Klopp men putting on a showcase of heavy metal football that made for a perfect end to a near-perfect season. 

Dortmund's midfielder Sebastian Kehl (C)

Suffocating Bayern from the opening minute with their relentless pressing, Lewandowski would bag a hat trick as BVB ran out 5-2 winners. 

It was a statement to the world – Borussia Dortmund were to be taken seriously as European powerhouse. 

Well, that’s it felt like at the time. In reality this would be the last major trophy that Klopp would win at the club with Bayern dispatching of them in the Champions League final the following season. 

Fans of German soccer champions Borussia

Dortmund’s famous squad would also be gradually decimated over the next few seasons, with defensive lynchpin Mats Hummels, top scorer Lewandowski and the enigmatic Mario Gotze all being poached by Bayern within a matter of years. 

Despite this painful reality, Dortmund fans will always have the memories of the 2011/2012 season, when a man with floppy hair and a love for heavy metal transformed them into the coolest football team in the world.  


For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter!


Man Utd 2010/11: How the Brilliance of Sir Alex Ferguson Sealed a Record Breaking 19th League Title

Atletico Madrid 2013/14: The La Liga Title Which Never Should Have Been – and the Great ‘What If’

Lyon Féminin 2016/17: Retaining La Triplé & Turning Existing Dominance Into History

Ajax 2018/19: Erik ten Hag’s Underdogs Who Took the Champions League by Storm

Germany 2014: The World Cup-Winning Squad That Took 14 Years to Build

Bayern Munich 2012/13: The Robbery in Europe Where Domination Was a Criminal Understatement

?Leicester City 2015/16: The 5000/1 Underdogs Who Won Against All Odds & All Logic


Let’

Liverpool Chief Mike Gordon Unhurt After Private Jet Skidded Off Airport Runway

?Liverpool managing owner Mike Gordon has escaped unhurt after his private jet skidded off the runway at Liverpool Airport on Wednesday morning. 

The billionaire president of FSG was travelling to Liverpool to attend a scheduled meeting with German boss Jurgen Klopp and the rest of the club’s staff when the incident occurred. 

Michael Gordon,Linda Pizzuti Henry

The private jet skidded off the runway in the early hours of Wednesday morning however, but a source told the ?Liverpool Echo that Gordon and the three other passengers on board the aircraft have escaped unscathed.

“Mike Gordon was visiting in a work capacity,” a source explained to the Echo. “He was travelling alone and the other three passengers on board the plane are thought to have been staff employed by the aviation company.”

Gordon was quick to praise the staff at Liverpool Airport, who ‘looked after him superbly’. 

“It was one of his regular scheduled visits. He’s not hurt and didn’t need any treatment. He was very complimentary about the staff at the airport who looked after him superbly.

Juergen Klopp

“He flies to Liverpool from several times during the season, to meet with staff and Jurgen Klopp.”

An investigation into the incident got underway on Wednesday morning, and all flights to and from JLA were cancelled, scuppering the travel plans of hundred’s of holiday-goers. 

“He’ll be devastated it’s caused disruption to people’s travel plans. He went straight to his hotel afterwards. He will be staying to watch Liverpool’s home game with ?Watford on Saturday and will be leaving shortly afterwards.”

Mohamed Salah

?Liverpool have made an incredible start to the season, winning 15 of their 16 Premier League matches, and opening up an eight-point gap over second placed ?Leicester City in the process. 

The Reds also qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday evening, thanks to a 2-0 victory over RB Salzburg, as Klopp’s men look to defend the prestigious European trophy. 

Let’