Salah beats Ronaldo and Bale to Puskas Award

Mohamed Salah has beaten Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo to the 2018 Puskas Award with his strike against Everton last December.

The award for the Liverpool star came as a surprise to many, with Gareth Bale heavily tipped to win the prize following his acrobatic overhead kick that gave Real Madrid the lead in last seasons Champions League final.

The Egyptian also had strong competition from Cristiano Ronaldo for his impressive finish against current club Juventus in April, a goal that was awarded UEFA goal of the season.

In total, there were ten goals nominated for the award, but Salah’s strike in the Merseyside derby was announced as the winner at a ceremony in London on Monday evening.

The goal saw Salah shrug off two players on the right hand side of the penalty area before curling in a beautiful effort into the top corner of the net from an improbable angle to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead in their Premier League tie against Everton last year. 

The match eventually ended 1-1 with Wayne Rooney equalising from the penalty spot after a controversial decision from referee Craig Pawson.

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It was a remarkable debut campaign at Anfield for Salah, who arrived from Roma in June 2017. The 26-year-old netted 44 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season and was also nominated for the FIFA Best Men’s Player of 2018 award.

The other goals nominated for this years Puskas award included Benjamin Pavard’s thumping effort in France’s World Cup last 16 clash against Argentina, a strike which went on to be chosen as goal of the tournament.

World Cup goals from Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma and Russia’s Denis Cheryshev were also nominated.

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Paris Saint-Germain FFP case referred by UEFA back to CFCB Investigatory Chamber

Paris Saint-Germain’s finances will again be assessed by the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), UEFA has confirmed.

The chief investigator of the CFCB previously closed an investigation into whether PSG broke UEFA’s financial fair play (FFP) regulations.

But the CFCB’s chairman later announced the decision would be assessed by the CFCB Adjudicatory Chamber.

And UEFA confirmed on Monday the CFCB will once again examine PSG’s finances to assess whether the club broke FFP rules.

A UEFA statement said: “Following the decision of the Chief Investigator of the CFCB to close the investigation into Paris Saint-Germain and the subsequent decision of the CFCB chairman to send it for review by the CFCB Adjudicatory Chamber, the latter decided on September 19 and announced today its decision to refer the case back to the CFCB Investigatory Chamber for further investigation.”

PSG broke the world-record transfer fee by signing Neymar from Barcelona in a €222million move last August.

The Ligue 1 champions also spent €180m to sign France forward Kylian Mbappe from domestic rivals Monaco in the same month.

That deal was an initial one-season loan move that was widely reported to be an attempt to ensure PSG’s finances complied with FFP.

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PSG’s spending for the 2018-19 campaign was more muted, with arrivals including Thilo Kehrer and Juan Bernat, while Gianluigi Buffon and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting signed on free transfers.

Funds were raised through the sales of players including Goncalo Guedes, Javier Pastore, Yuri Berchiche and Odsonne Edouard.

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Tottenham target Grealish signs new five-year Aston Villa deal

Jack Grealish has signed a new five-year contract at Aston Villa, following a summer in which he was courted by Tottenham.

The 23-year-old was identified as a key target by Spurs, but the deal dragged on, with manager Steve Bruce claiming that the Premier League club were “nowhere near” Villa’s valuation the player.

Reports subsequently claimed that Tottenham’s first bid was worth £3 million plus young midfielder Josh Onomah, with Villa reportedly keen on receiving above £30m.

Grealish has now committed his future to Villa, ending any lingering doubts at the club that he may leave in January, and CEO Christian Purslow has expressed his delight at tying down the star.

“Securing the long-term future of Jack, a player we believe will play a pivotal role in leading Aston Villa back to where it belongs, is fantastic news for everybody associated with our football club,” he said in a statement.

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“He is a tremendous talent who has been with us since he was a child and naturally we are delighted that he has now committed the next five years of his career to Aston Villa.”

Grealish made his debut in 2013-14, and has been with the club since 2001.

He has won seven caps for England’s Under-21 side, but has not yet been capped at senior level.

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De Jong’s agent refuses to clarify future amid Man Utd & Real Madrid rumours

Frenkie de Jong appears set to see talk of big-money moves to the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United continue after his agent refused to clarify his future.

The 21-year-old midfielder has emerged as a top target for leading sides across Europe, with Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Tottenham also reported to be keen on acquiring his services.

Ajax have refused to enter into discussions regarding a possible deal, with there no intention on the part of the Dutch giants to part with a prized asset at this stage of his career.

Their resolve has been tested, with Goal revealing that a €30 million (£27m/$35m) bid was tabled by Barcelona over the summer.

The Catalan giants remain keen, with De Jong having hinted a switch to Camp Nou as he pursues his dream of one day playing alongside Lionel Messi.

There is, however, no suggestion as to when a deal may be done, with Ali Dursun unwilling to speculate on what could happen.

Quizzed on the latest reported interest from Madrid and United, and whether those two clubs had approachied him, De Jong’s representative told De Telegraaf: “I can neither confirm nor deny this.

“You should ask Marc Overmars. I send all clubs that contact me over to him.”

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Former Arsenal and Barcelona star Overmars is currently director of football at Ajax.

He is among those to have stated that De Jong is not for sale, with his current employers under no financial pressure to cash in.

The door is being left open to a future move, though, with the Amsterdam-based outfit aware that they will struggle to retain the services of a player who is now a senior Netherlands international for much longer.
 

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De Jong’s agent refuses to clarify future as Barcelona & Man City talk rumbles on

Frenkie de Jong appears set to see talk of big-money moves to the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City continue after his agent refused to clarify his future.

The 21-year-old midfielder has emerged as a top target for leading sides across Europe, with Bayern Munich and Tottenham also reported to be keen on acquiring his services.

Ajax have refused to enter into discussions regarding a possible deal, with there no intention on the part of the Dutch giants to part with a prized asset at this stage of his career.

Their resolve has been tested, with Goal revealing that a €30 million (£27m/$35m) bid was tabled by Barcelona over the summer.

The Catalan giants remain keen, with De Jong having hinted a switch to Camp Nou as he pursues his dream of one day playing alongside Lionel Messi.

There is, however, no suggestion as to when a deal may be done, with Ali Dursun unwilling to speculate on what could happen.

Quizzed on the reported interest from Barca and City, De Jong’s representative told De Telegraaf: “I can neither confirm nor deny this.

“You should ask Marc Overmars. I send all clubs that contact me over to him.”

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Former Arsenal and Barcelona star Overmars is currently director of football at Ajax.

He is among those to have stated that De Jong is not for sale, with his current employers under no financial pressure to cash in.

The door is being left open to a future move, though, with the Amsterdam-based outfit aware that they will struggle to retain the services of a player who is now a senior Netherlands international for much longer.
 

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