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Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts

Friday, December 31, 2021

December 31, 2021

Napoli Striker, Victor Osimhen Pulls Out Of AFCON 2022


Super Eagles Striker, Victor Osimhen, yesterday, pulled out of the Cameroun 2022 African Cup of Nations to “allow the injury he copped during a Serie A game heal properly.”

Osimhen, who was in Nigeria for the Christmas holidays, was reported to have tested positive to COVID-19, yesterday, the second time the former Wolfsburg striker would be afflicted by the ailment.

He was listed by Coach Augustine Eguavoen in Nigeria’s 28-man squad for the African Cup of Nations, but the U-17 World Cup winner has now informed the coach that he will not be available for the competition.

Earlier yesterday, Osimhen’s club, Napoli, said they ‘will not rule out’ a legal battle with the NFF after the player tested positive for COVID-19, potentially excluding him from Africa Cup of Nations duty.

According to, Osimhen returned home for the Christmas break and was meant to undergo a specialist check-up with doctor Gianpaolo Tartaro today in Naples, the surgeon who operated on his multiple facial fractures last month.

Before Osimhen took the decision to opt of the African Cup of Nations, Napoli wanted to use COVID-19 as a base to force Nigeria to give up the player, or at least leave him at the club until after the game with Juventus.

“With an agreement between Napoli and the NFF, Osimhen could have played against Juventus on January 6 and then left immediately after the game,” club lawyer Enrico Lubrano told Radio Punto Nuovo.

“However, COVID complicates everything. The club can say the player is unavailable, but the situation must be verified by the Federation’s medic. What the FIFA rules do not state is the place where the medical verification is made.

“The FIFA rules note that if a player does not go on international duty because of injury, he cannot be used by his club during the same period that he would’ve played for his country, even if he recovers earlier.”

Lubrano was asked if there could potentially be a legal battle should Napoli ask for Osimhen to be examined by doctor Tartaro and Nigeria refuse to let him leave?

“It is a realistic scenario. Medicine is not an exact science, one doctor can say one thing and another medic give a different opinion.

“FIFA give the final word to the Nigerian Federation. We won’t rule out taking legal action against the Nigerian Federation, seeking compensation.”

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

December 29, 2021

NFF Appoints Jose Peseiro As Super Eagles New Coach

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has announced Jose Peseiro as the coach of the Super Eagles.

The NFF announced Peseiro's appointment on Wednesday.

"After careful consideration of a memo presented by Chairman of the Technical and Development Sub-Committee Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, the Executive Committee endorsed a proposal for the appointment of Mr Jose Peseiro as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

. "However, the Committee resolved that Mr Augustine Eguavoen, named the interim Head Coach, will lead the Super Eagles to the AFCON 2021 in Cameroon with Mr Peseiro only playing the role of Observer.

"It was unanimously agreed that the AFCON is a good avenue for Mr Peseiro to launch a working relationship with Mr Eguavoen, who will revert to his role as Technical Director (hence Mr Peseiro’s immediate boss) after the AFCON." The NFF said in a statement.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

December 26, 2021

AFCON 2022: Super Eagles Team List Released

Super Eagles


Nigeria Head Coach Augustine Eguavoen has named his 28-final list of the Super Eagles of Nigeria for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Cameroon 9th January – 6th February 2022, with Captain Ahmed Musa, midfield enforcer Wilfred Ndidi and effervescent forward Victor Osimhen all making the cut for the big houseparty.

The three –time winners will confront seven-time and record winners Egypt, Sudan and debutants Guinea Bissau with venue in the northern town of Garoua, and a mouth-watering clash with the Pharaohs in the group opener on Tuesday, 11th January means the Eagles must hit the ground at blistering pace.

Former Nigeria captain Eguavoen, who coached the Super Eagles to third-place finish at the finals in Egypt 15 years ago, has selected four goalkeepers, nine defenders, five midfielders and 10 forwards to aim for Nigeria’s fourth diadem in Cameroon.

Goalkeepers Maduka Okoye and Francis Uzoho, defenders Kenneth Omeruo, Olaoluwa Aina and Abdullahi Shehu, midfielders Joseph Ayodele-Aribo and Chidera Ejuke and forwards Moses Simon, Odion Ighalo and Samuel Chukwueze are also on the roster.

There is a return to the group for former U17 World Cup –winning captain Kelechi Nwakali, forward Emmanuel Dennis and 2016 Olympics star Sadiq Umar.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

December 16, 2021

Argentine International, Sergio Aguero In Tears As He Retires From Football (See why)


Sergio Aguero said he was “proud” of his career after accepting the “very difficult” reality of retiring from the sport to protect his health.

The 33-year-old sobbed while announcing the news yesterday, fewer than six months after joining Barcelona.

The former Manchester City striker was taken to hospital on 30 October after experiencing “chest discomfort” during a 1-1 draw with Alaves.

“The decision I have made, I have taken it for my health,” said Aguero.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was among a small crowd watching Aguero make the announcement next to the Nou Camp pitch.

Aguero, who ends his career with 427 goals in 786 games, took time to compose himself after crying at the start of the event and added: “This conference is to communicate that I have decided to stop playing football. It’s a very difficult moment.”

“When they did the first physical test on me in the clinic, the medical staff called me to tell me there was a very big possibility that I wouldn’t be able to keep playing. From that point I was processing it all but it wasn’t easy. One of the doctors told me straight up, ‘that’s enough’.

“I want to tell everyone that I did everything possible. I dreamt about playing football since I was five years old and I first touched a ball. I never thought I would get to Europe, so I want to show my gratitude to everyone regardless of where I trained.

“I’m proud of the career I’ve had and am fortunate it is happening to me now rather than before. I don’t know what awaits me in the next life but I know there are a lot of people who love me and want the best for me.”

Monday, December 13, 2021

December 13, 2021

UEFA Champions League Last 16 Re-draw After Error Involving Atletico Madrid, Liverpool & Man Utd (See The Original Draw)


UEFA will conduct a new Champions League last-16 draw at 2pm after a mistake involving Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United.

UEFA said a "technical problem" was to blame and resulted in the original draw being declared void.

The issue arose when Group B runners-up Atletico were drawn and their possible last-16 opponents - all group winners - were then put into a separate pot, but United were not included.

How original Champions League last-16 draw unfolded

Teams who met in the group stages are supposed to be kept apart in the last-16 draw. United did not face Atletico in the groups, but Liverpool did, and Jurgen Klopp's side were mistakenly put into the pot to potentially face Atletico - who were then drawn against Bayern Munich.

The original draw had seen United set to play Paris Saint-Germain, while Liverpool had been drawn against Salzburg.

Champions League - original last-16 draw

RB Salzburg vs Bayern Munich

Sporting CP vs Manchester City

Benfica vs Ajax

Chelsea vs Lille

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United

Villarreal vs Juventus

Inter vs Liverpool

PSG vs Real Madrid

UEFA said in a statement: "Following a technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

"As a result of this, the draw has been declared void and will be entirely redone."

December 13, 2021

UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Fixtures Confirmed ( See Full Fixtures)


The draw for the Champions League round of 16 has been conducted on Monday.

Holders Chelsea have been paired against Lille in the first knockout round.

In other games, Manchester City will take on Villarreal, Salzburg face Liverpool and Juventus play Sporting Lisbon.

Real Madrid will clash with Benfica, Atletico Madrid take on Bayern Munich and Inter Milan face Ajax.

Draw in full:

Benfica vs Real Madrid

Villarreal vs Man City

Atletico vs Bayern Munich

FC Salzburg vs Liverpool

Inter Milan vs Ajax

Sporting vs Juventus

Chelsea vs Lille

Man Utd vs PSG

Sunday, December 12, 2021

December 12, 2021

NFF Sack Gernot Rohr, Appoints Eguavoen Super As Eagles Coach


The Nigeria Football Federation has appointed Mr Augustine Eguavoen, currently its Technical Director, as the Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles on an interim basis.

This is with immediate effect, and follows the termination of the relationship with Franco-German Gernot Rohr, who has been in charge of the three –time African champions for the past 64 months, and is Nigeria’s longest –serving manager.

Following a virtual meeting of the NFF Executive Committee on Sunday, it was decided that Eguavoen will work with Salisu Yusuf (Chief Coach); Paul Aigbogun (Assistant Coach); Joseph Yobo (Assistant Coach); Dr Terry Eguaoje (Assistant Coach) and Aloysius Agu (Goalkeeper Trainer). Former Nigeria captains Augustine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Garba Lawal have been appointed to provide technical and ambassadorial support for the crew.

General Secretary of the NFF, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said: “The relationship between the Nigeria Football Federation and Mr Rohr has come to an end. We thank him for his services to the Super Eagles and Nigeria.

“We also want to thank the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports for their collaboration and guidance all through.”

Eguavoen, a former Nigeria captain, was coach of the squad when it finished in third place at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2006. He was on-field captain when the Super Eagles lifted the Africa Cup for the first time on away ground, in Tunisia 27 years ago.

He will now take charge of the team as it begins preparations for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Cameroon 9th January – 6th February 2022, and until the appointment of a substantive Head Coach

Saturday, December 11, 2021

December 11, 2021

Former Barcelona Striker, Samuel Eto'o Elected President Of Cameroonian Football Federation


 Former Barcelona and Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o has been elected as the President of the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot) on Saturday.

Eto’o saw off challenge from the interim President of Fecafoot, Seidou Mbombo Njoya after five other candidates opted out of the electoral race.

Prior to the election, Eto’o was acting as the global ambassador for the Qatar 2022 World Cup while Mbombo Njoya is currently the fourth vice-president of the Confederation of African Football.

Other candidates who pulled out of the race are Maboang Kessack, Nyamsi Soter, Justin Tagouh, Jules Denis Onana and Zacharie Wandja.

The election took place at the Hotel Mont Febe in Yaounde and it was supervised by the president of the Fecafoot electoral commission, Glibert Schlick.

Eto’o’s triumph at the poll means he will now take charge of the smooth running of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon between January 9 and February 6.

The 40-year-old won the continental title twice with the Indomitable Lions in 2000 and 2002, and he is celebrated as one of the icons of Cameroon football after claiming the African Player of the Year award for a record four times (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010).

Back in September, Eto'o declared his candidacy for the top leadership position in Cameroonian football with the target of revamping the sport in the Central African nation.

Eto'o, who spent the majority of his playing career in Spain, had stints at Real Madrid, Leganes, Espanyol, Mallorca and Barcelona between 1997 and 2009 where he won several laurels including La Liga, Copa del Rey, Uefa Champions League, Fifa Club World Cup amongst others.

He continued his winning sojourn at Inter Milan for two years before he moved to Turkey's Anzhi Makhachkala and England where he turned out for Chelsea and Everton.

The African legend ended his playing career in Qatar in 2019, four years after he called time on his international career that produced 56 goals in 118 games for Cameroon.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

December 08, 2021

Good News For Super Eagles As Napoli Striker, Victor Osimhen Returns To Training

Nigeria international Victor Osimhen has returned to training, after suffering a serious face injury in a league game, reports.

Napoli and striker confirmed this on their Twitter handles on Wednesday.

Osimhen wrote: "Thankful To GOD, I Sincerely Appreciate Those Who Reached Out To Me,God Bless You And Yours🙏🏽No Time To Dwell On Past Transgressions,Looking Forward To The Greater Things Ahead💯God Is The Greatest🙌🏽We Move @sscnapoli"

"Special thanks to everyone associated with @sscnapoli I really appreciate y’all 💯💙🤍"

"Special mention to the medical staffs of @sscnapoli and Gianpaolo tartaro (THE SURGEON) God bless y’all❤️"

Osimhen suffered a fractured eye socket and cheekbone after a head collision with Inter’s Milan Skriniar, during a Serie A clash which ended in favour of the Italian champions.

He had to be substituted and rushed to hospital for proper examination before being operated upon.

Following the surgery, Napoli announced that the striker will be out of action for three months.

But on Wednesday, Napoli published a short video of Osimhen doing light jogging at Napoli’s training ground.

The club accompanied the video with the caption”Victor is back in training 😍

💙 #ForzaNapoliSempre.”

This will be good news for the Super Eagles ahead of next year’s AFCON in Cameroon.

It remains to be seen if he will recover in time for the tournament after he had been initially ruled out.


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

December 07, 2021

Victor Moses To Return To Super Eagles

Victor Moses is ready to return to the Super Eagles three years after quitting international football.

Moses, who is currently in the books of Russian Premier League club Spartak Moscow announced his retirement from international football on August 15, 2018.

The 30-year-old last appearance for the Super Eagles was against Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The winger scored from the spot as the Super Eagles lost 2-1 to Argentina, failing to progress into the Round of 16.

“He (Moses) will come back, but he’s not fussy about it,” sports agent Drew Uyi told The Football Show on YouTube.

“He could come for a year.

“He is a professional, he will always deliver.

“I remember I got him an endorsement around the time he quit the Super Eagles and because the deal was tied to the national team, they pulled the plug on it.”

The former Chelsea player made 37 appearances for Nigeria and scored 12 goals before his retirement.

Friday, December 3, 2021

December 03, 2021

Man Utd Interim Manager, Michael Carrick Leaves Club Minutes After Defeating Arsenal


Michael Carrick has stepped down as Manchester United first-team coach and will leave the club following the conclusion of his spell as caretaker manager.

The 40-year-old's decision to walk away ahead of interim boss Ralf Rangnick's arrival was announced just minutes after he took charge of Thursday night's 3-2 Premier League victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Carrick, who played 464 games for United between 2006 and 2018 and won five Premier League titles, the FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League, the Europa League and the Club World Cup, served on the staff under both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He said: "My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career. When I first signed over 15 years ago, I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined winning so many trophies and I will certainly never forget the fantastic memories both as a player and as a member of the coaching team.

"However, after a lot of thought and deliberation, I have decided that now is the right time for me to leave the club.

"I want to place on record my thanks to all of the players and a special mention goes to the backroom staff, working long hours with such a great group of people has been a real pleasure and I have made some long-lasting friendships.

Carrick says he only told the Manchester United players he was leaving the club at full-time after their 3-2 victory against Arsenal

"I am, and will always be, a Manchester United fan and will come to as many matches as possible. I would like to wish Ralf, the staff, the players and the fans all the best for the future and I look forward to being in the stands and supporting the boys as a fan."

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

November 30, 2021

FULL LIST: Messi And Other Winners At 2021 Ballon d’Or Awards


Lionel Messi won the men’s Ballon d’Or award for a record-extending seventh time at a ceremony in Paris on Monday.

The Argentine beat, Polish forward, Roberto Lewandowski, to win the prize on the same night that Italian goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, also clinched the Yashin Trophy.

Below is a list of winners at the 2021 Ballon d’Or awards:

Men’s Ballon d’Or top 10

1. Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona)

2. Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich)

3. Jorginho (ITA/Chelsea)

4. Karim Benzema (FRA/Real Madrid)

5. N’Golo Kante (FRA/Chelsea)

6. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus – Manchester United)

7. Mohamed Salah (EGY/Liverpool)

8. Kevin De Bruyne (BEL/Manchester City)

9. Kylian Mbappe (FRA/Paris SG)

10. Gianluigi Donnarumma (ITA/AC Milan – Paris SG)

Women’s Ballon d’Or top 10

1. Alexia Putellas (ESP/Barcelona)

2. Jennifer Hermoso (ESP/Barcelona)

3. Sam Kerr (AUS/Chelsea)

4. Vivianne Miedema (NED/Arsenal)

5. Lieke Martens(NED/Barcelona)

6. Christine Sinclair (CAN/Portland Storms)

7. Pernille Harder (DAN/Chelsea)

8. Ashley Lawrence (CAN/Paris SG)

9. Jessie Fleming (CAN/Chelsea)

10. Fran Kirby (ENG/Chelsea)

Kopa Trophy top 3 (young players)

1. Pedri (ESP/Barcelona)

2. Jude Bellingham (ENG/Borussia Dortmund)

3. Jamal Musiala (GER/Bayern Munich)

Yashin Trophy top 3 (goalkeepers)

1. Gianluigi Donnarumma (ITA/AC Milan – Paris SG)

2. Edouard Mendy (SEN/Chelsea)

3. Jan Oblak (SLO/Atletico Madrid)


Saturday, November 20, 2021

November 20, 2021

FIFA Ranking: Super Eagles Maintain 36th In The World, Fifth Best In Africa


The Super Eagles retained 36th position in the FIFA/Coca-Cola world ranking that was released by the world soccer governing body on Friday.

The West Africans recorded a a win and draw in their two outings in November.

The three-time African defeated the Lone Star of Liberia 2-0 in Tangier, Morocco, and were held to a 1-1 draw at home by the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde.

The Super Eagles also maintained fifth position in Africa.

Senegal remain the number one team on the continent , while Morocco jumped ahead of North African rivals Tunisia into second position.

The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia now occupy third position, with African champions Algeria and Nigeria and Algeria in fourth and fifth positions respectIvey

Friday, November 19, 2021

November 19, 2021

Former French International, Eric Abidal’s Wife Seeks Divorce Over Alleged Affair With PSG’s Kheira Hamraoui

The wife of former French international Eric Abidal said Friday that she was seeking a divorce after learning of his alleged relationship with Paris Saint-Germain women’s footballer Kheira Hamraoui.

The links emerged as investigators try to learn who was behind a mysterious attack against Hamraoui this month, when her legs were beaten after she was dragged out of a car with her teammate Aminata Diallo.

Earlier this week, Hamraoui appealed to the media to respect her privacy after police discovered she was using a telephone SIM card registered in Abidal’s name on the night of the attack.

“Hayet Abidal is going to file a divorce request in Barcelona,” her lawyers said in a statement. 

Eric Abidal, a household name in France, was Barcelona’s sporting director from 2018 to 2020, during which time Hamraoui was with the women’s team.

The statement claimed that he “admitted to his spouse” having an affair with Hamraoui after French prosecutors in the Paris suburb of Versailles announced the SIM card link.

Hayet Abidal “reiterates her request to be questioned very soon on a case that has already had several collateral victims,” the statement added.

The Abidals, who know each other from their native Lyon in southeast France, have been married since 2007 and have four daughters and a son.

Diallo, who was not injured in the attack, was held for questioning for nearly 35 hours last week before being released without charge.

The attack and its aftermath sent shockwaves through the PSG club, with the two players considered friendly rivals for midfield positions. 

Hamraoui was left out of the squad in PSG’s 2-0 defeat of Real Madrid on Thursday, which saw them clinch their place in the quarter-finals of the Women’s Champions League.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

November 18, 2021

Former Cameroon International, Eto’o Submits Bid For Cameroon FA Presidency


Former Cameroon star Samuel Eto’o officially filed his candidacy for the presidency of the country’s football federation on Wednesday, promising he would be the “next president despite the cheating”.

Eto’o, a four-time African footballer of the year, was accompanied by a crowd of supporters as he submitted his bid at the Cameroonian federation’s headquarters in Yaounde.

“I urge the opposite camp to be careful because we have accepted lots of things,” Eto’o told reporters.

The 40-year-old ex-Barcelona and Inter Milan striker said the current leadership had offered him a position as vice-president, a proposition he rejected.

“I will be the next president of the federation despite all the cheating,” he declared.

Eto’o said it was “time to rebuild our football” when he announced his intention to run for president in September.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in January annulled the 2018 elections won by Seidou Mbombo Njoya, who Eto’o described as having “failed miserably”.

New elections are scheduled for December, a month before Cameroon hosts the Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament delayed a year by the Covid-19 pandemic.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

November 16, 2021

English Premier League Chairman Hoffman Set To Resign



Premier League chairman Gary Hoffman is set to resign following the backlash to the controversial Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle, according to reports on Tuesday.

Several British media outlets said Hoffman is close to stepping down in the aftermath of the Premier League’s handling of the blockbuster Newcastle takeover last month.

Top-flight clubs reportedly complained to the Premier League in October after the protracted £305 million ($409 million) deal went through.

The takeover has been criticised with regard to Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record.

The Premier League approved the takeover, which saw Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) take an 80 per cent stake in Newcastle, after receiving “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi state would not control the club.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, is listed as chair of PIF, but the Premier League was satisfied the state would have no dealings with the club.

It is understood Premier League clubs subsequently voted through a one-month ban on sponsorship deals linked to owners to allow time for further debate on the issue and possibly force through a permanent ban.

Hoffman has been Premier League chairman for 18 months.

The organisation refused to comment on his future on Tuesday.

November 16, 2021

World Cup Qualifiers: Super Eagles Qualifies For Next Round


By Emmanuel Okogba

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have booked a play-off spot after playing out a 1-1 draw with Cape Verde at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Tuesday.

Although uninspiring, the result was enough to send the team on their way to the final round of qualifiers for the global showpiece event.

A Victor Osimhen’s first minute opener was quickly cancelled in the sixth minute and the remaining 84 minutes was a nerve-wrecking encounter.

Nigeria needed just a draw while Cape Verde had to win outrightly for a chance to qualify to their first World Cup.

Monday, November 15, 2021

November 15, 2021

World Cup Qualifiers: South Africa To Challenge Disputed Penalty


File photo of SAFA CEO Tebogo Motlanthe

South Africa’s football federation said Monday it will petition both FIFA and CAF to probe the performance of match officials during their crucial World Cup qualifying defeat over the weekend.

Ghana were awarded a penalty when the Senegalese referee ruled that Leicester City defender Daniel Amartey had been pushed, but TV replays suggested the home player dived.

The controversial penalty catapulted Ghana into the African World Cup qualifying play-offs with a bruising 1-0 victory over South Africa.

But the South African Football Association (SAFA) has vowed to challenge.

“The association has decided to lodge a formal complaint so that the conduct of the match officials are closely investigated by both FIFA and CAF,” Tebogo Motlanthe, SAFA’s CEO said on Twitter.

He said he would hold a news conference later to provide more details.


Saturday, November 13, 2021

November 13, 2021

Barcelona Re-sign Dani Alves


Dani Alves Returns to Barcelona

Barcelona announced on Friday that veteran defender Dani Alves will be returning to the club as new coach Xavi Hernandez’s first signing.

Alves, 38, has been a free agent since leaving Sao Paulo in September but is ineligible until the transfer window opens early next window.

He played for the Camp Nou outfit between 2008-2016 when he lifted the Champions League title three times alongside Xavi.

“Barcelona and Dani Alves have reached an agreement in principle for the player to join the football first team for the remainder of the current season,” they said.

“The Brazilian will be joining training from next week but will not be able to play until January.

“In the Catalan capital, he made the right back slot his own across eight seasons, making 391 official appearances and scoring 23 goals.

“Alves has also played for Brazil, winning six major titles, most recently the Tokyo Olympic Games, where he lined up in the final against what are now his team-mates Oscar Mingueza, Eric Garcia and Pedri,” they added.

Alves will compete with USA youngster Sergino Dest for a starting berth with Spain centre-back Oscar Mingueza also able to cover at right-back.

Xavi was presented as the club’s new boss on Monday to replace the sacked Ronald Koeman returning to the side where he won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues as a player.

Despite club debts of more than a billion euros ($1.16billion), Xavi is tasked with returning Barcelona to Europe’s elite and recovering a style of play most associated with Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola.

Xavi’s priority this term will be to ensure Barcelona qualify for next season’s Champions League by finishing in La Liga’s top four. 

They also face a fight to make the last 16 of this season’s tournament, with a crunch game away to Benfica to come later this month.

The Catalans’ next match after the international break is on November 20 at home against city rivals Espanyol.