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Messi’s Decision To Stay At Barcelona Excites Griezmann

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Barcelona striker, Antoine Griezmann has expressed delight in the decision of the club’s playmaker, Lionel Messi to stay at the club for one more season.

There were claims that Griezmann was intending to quit Barcelona, but Messi’s U-turn to stay at the club has also influenced the French striker to stay back at the Spanish side.

However, he insisted his on-field relationship with Messi is improving.

“Yes, it’s going well. We get along very well off the pitch. Afterward, it’s like with Kylian (Mbappé), at the beginning, I couldn’t find the passes. It took me a long time to find him. But it will come with Leo. I can’t wait to get there and have fun,” he told RTL after France’s victory over Croatia.

“I really want to get to know the new coach (Ronald Koeman) personally, even though I’ve spoken to him on the phone before, but it’s not the same face to face. I can’t wait to find my teammates and want to do everything to win trophies. It’s been a blank season, it’s been a long time for Barça, and I want to help my teammates to win.”

Barcelona finished last season without silverware, the first time in many years, while the club has gone on a five year Champions League drought.

They were dumped out of last season’s Champions League semi-final by eventual winners and German Champions, Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals in a game that ended 8-2.

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It’s Carabao Cup Or Nothing, Klopp Insists

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says victory at Arsenal is proof how much they take seriously the Carabao Cup.

The Reds are into the final against Chelsea after the 2-0 second-leg semifinal win in London.

Afterwards, Klopp denied that the League Cup has never mattered to him during his time at the club.

“No, it is not true,” Klopp said. “The situation is always around what time of the year is it? Who is available? How many games have they played?

“I cannot just pick a team by looking at the full squad on paper and just pick an 11 for the game based on that.

“We have to consider a lot of things and we always did that, but you need a lot of luck in certain times and specific moments.

“We have never had that and we have always had really tricky draws on top of that early on and in games we could not line up a Premier League team [in the Cup] three days before [a Premier League game].

“It hasn’t always been unlucky but it is not always the easiest draw. So it is all good, we want to go for everything.

“It doesn’t mean we have won this already but we will be there at the end of February but unfortunately the opponent will as well.”

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NFF Considers Appointing Eguavoen Permanent Super Eagles Coach

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The Nigeria Football Federation is considering the possibility of appointing Augustine Eguavoen permanent Super Eagles coach.

Eguavoen was named to the post last month in an interim capacity after the NFF fired former coach Gernot Rohr on the eve of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The NFF later appointed Portuguese Jose Peseiro as the new head coach of the three-time African champions.

Peseiro is expected to take charge of the team after the AFCON finals in Cameroon.

Eguavoen put himself in the frame for the job after guiding the Super Eagles to three successive wins in Cameroon.

“He is not in Cameroon because we have not signed a contract with him yet,” a member of the NFF executive council who does not want to be named stated this.

“If he had signed a contract, he would have definitely been in Cameroon as planned.”

“We are managing the public trust. So we have to look at what the people want and we also know what we want as well,” added the official.

“What we all agree on is that we want the team to do well, to play good football, to make Nigerians happy and to win trophies.

“It doesn’t matter who the coach is, what matters is the objective. If that objective can be achieved with Eguavoen as we can see now, then why not?

“We removed Rohr because Nigerians were not happy with the play and we were not blind to see that we were not going in the right direction the way we were playing.”

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Win AFCON 2021 Trophy, Get N102m, Otedola Promises Super Eagles

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Billionaire businessman Femi Otedola has promised the Super Eagles the equivalent of $250,000 in naira (N102,895,000) if they win the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The Eagles will also receive N49,389,600 ($120,000) for the six goals they scored in the group stage of the ongoing continental showpiece, thanks to the Coalition Against COVID-19.

CACOVID, a private sector-led platform established to assist the government in combating Coronavirus in the country, praised the team for their performance at the AFCON and promised to reward the squad with the naira equivalent of $20,000 for each goal scored in the group stage.

The Eagles finished the group stage with six goals, which amounted to $120,000.

According to Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, who represented CACOVID during a visit to the team’s camp in Cameroon, their impressive group stage performance convinced CACOVID to increase the amount for every goal scored to $50,000 in the round of 16.

“I came with a message from the CACOVID. The CACOVID is the coalition of private-sector companies that was set up to fight COVID-19 in Nigeria and they have been happy with the performance of the team,” Emefiele said in a video posted by the Eagles media department on Thursday.

“During the meeting I had with the captain (Ahmed Musa) and the coach (Austin Eguavoen), I delivered a message from CACOVID and the message is that, for every goal that is scored, the team will receive the naira equivalent of $20,000 so far, you have earned for yourself the naira equivalent of $120,000.

“We held a CACOVID meeting again because everyone is overjoyed for everything you’ve done so far, CACOVID has asked me to raise the ante.

“From the round of 16, for every goal scored, you will earn for yourselves as a team the naira equivalent of $50,000.

“Also, Femi Otedola, who is a member of CACOVID, has asked me to tell you that if you lift the trophy, he has in the bank for you, the naira equivalent of $250,000. This is just the beginning and I can assure you that if you win your round of 16 games, another promise might be made,” Emefiele added.

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