Latest Nigerian News | Naija News | Breaking News


“Neymar will soon beat Messi to be the best in the world”, says Belletti.

Neymar is ready to assume the mantle of being the best player in the world, according to former Barcelona full-back, Juliano Belletti.

Brazil captain, Neymar is one shy of bringing up his 100th Barca goal and continues to be viewed as a supreme part of a forward collective alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Messi and Real Madrid rival, Cristiano Ronaldo have engaged in a two-way fight for the Ballon d’Or for most of the past decade, but Belletti, who scored the winning goal in the 2006 Champions League final against Arsenal, believes his countryman is improving all the time.

“Neymar can be the best player in the world soon,” he said, speaking at the launch of the 2017 International Champions Cup in New York.

“So it is good for Neymar. We will see a better Neymar in all of the [coming] years.”

Neymar stepped up with two late goals and a superb all-round display as Barcelona sensationally overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit in their 6-1 Champions League last-16 win over Paris Saint-Germain at Camp Nou.

Belletti feels the confidence gained from such an incredible victory could propel Luis Enrique’s team to a second European title in the past three seasons.

“I think it is about confidence now,” he added, with Serie A giants Juventus awaiting Barca in the quarter-finals and eyeing revenge for their 2015 final defeat.

“After that victory against Paris Saint-Germain the players have more confidence to fight for the title.”

Meanwhile, it looks like another club likes Angel Di Maria. Tuttosport claim (via le10Sport) that Juventus have entered the fray for the former Manchester United man.

Di Maria has enjoyed a bit of a resurrection in 2017, after ending last year on some poor form.

The Argentine international is, however, part of PSG’s future plans. The Ligue 1 champions don’t want to give up on the 29-year-old, who has scored six goals and made seven assists between the league and the Champions League.

A recent report confirmed, in fact, that Angel Di Maria wanted to join Barcelona, something Le10 Sport had revealed last summer.

Part of the reason was his desire to play with friend Lionel Messi.
Di Maria recently revealed, however, that he was “very happy here. I still have two years on my deal.

“My family is happy here. There have, of course, been rumours. I’ll stay here until the end of my deal. Everybody has their way of thinking.

“The people can wish to play in China, it’s true that with the amounts of money we’re talking about, that can attract certain players. But that’s not my case, I prefer to stay here.”


Source: The Guardian

My performance against PSG remains the best of my career – Neymar

Neymar described his two-goal display as the “best game” of his career as he inspired the greatest comeback in Champions League history Barcelona thrashed Paris Saint-Germain 6-1.

The Catalans became the first side to come back from a 4-0 first leg deficit as Neymar scored twice in the final two minutes and then teed up a 95th-minute winner by Sergi Roberto to reach the quarter-finals 6-5 on aggregate.

“This is the best game I have ever played. For what it meant, for what we experienced and because I am in great form,” the Brazilian told BeIN Sports.

However, the Spanish champions looked down and out when Edison Cavani volleyed home what seemed to be the clinching away goal for PSG.

“Before… we believed and now even more,” Neymar added on Barca’s chances winning a sixth Champions League.

“When they scored the goal we had a little dip but then there was the fourth and the penalty. We concentrated and Sergi’s goal came.

“I know that we have made history. A team like this can do anything. The game was lost and we went out to play without pressure and with joy, throwing everything forward.”

Barca boss Luis Enrique announced last week that he will leave the club at the end of the season after he was heavily criticised following their 4-0 humiliation in Paris three weeks ago.

And Enrique took the chance to round on his critics as he thanked the “faith” of the Barca players and fans.

“First we had the mourning and that was especially hard on one person,” he said.

“This victory is dedicated to all Barca fans, but especially those that had faith in their team even after a day in which they were clearly outplayed by a team like PSG.”

– Baby boom –
Defender Gerard Pique even predicted a baby boom in the Catalan capital set off by Roberto’s outstretched right leg sparking delirium among nearly 100,000 at the Camp Nou.

“I would say to the hospitals of Barcelona to hire nurses. Tonight people will make a lot of love,” said Pique, the partner of Colombian pop star Shakira.

“It’s a miracle. We are in the quarters, which was the objective before it got a lot more complicated in Paris,” said Pique.

“We never stopped believing, even the fans, who are normally the most pessimistic. It seems this new generation believes in the team more.

“We have done it all together and that helps a lot.”

Despite Neymar, Suarez and Messi’s heroics, it was Roberto who proved to be Barca’s unlikely hero as he choose the perfect time to score his first goal of the season.

“I threw myself at it with everything,” said the Spanish international.

“We left Paris very down and now this is incredible. We were prepared for all this. The fans were like 10 extra players and in the end this is all for them.”

And Enrique confessed he had questioned why Roberto doesn’t find the net with more regularity.

“I saw him score a lot of goals in the youth team and it is always a joke between us ‘why doesn’t Sergi Roberto score?’ And then he scores tonight,” added Enrique.

“This sport is indescribable.”


Source: AFP

We fear UK may deny Messi and Neymar entry visas – UEFA

European football’s governing body, UEFA has said that the body fears Barcelona stars Lionel Messi & Neymar may be denied entry visas into the U.K for the Champions league final in Cardiff this May if they qualify, due to ongoing legal battles with the Spanish government.

Lionel Messi and Neymar have been embroiled in tax evasion court battles for over a year which has led to the resignation of former Barca president Sandro Rosell, with tax prosecutors alleging Messi evaded tax with offshore accounts while Barca hid the actual value of Neymar’s transfer so as to reduce money paid to former club, Santos and tax given to the Spanish government.

New laws in Britain could hinder people who have ongoing legal battles from entering the U.K and with Brexit set to be formalized, the entrance of non-British citizens into the U.K could become harder.

“Neymar and Lionel Messi both have [tax evasion] procedures going on,” UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin told the New York Times.

“This year, the Champions League final is in Cardiff. “Imagine if they did not let them in.”That is a big thing for us, if players from England can travel anywhere, but players from other teams cannot travel to [the UK].”With free movement in Europe, it is much better.”If we see that players cannot enter because they have any sort of procedure ongoing then we will simply think if we should play our European matches there.”

He also talked about PSG/Ivory coast player, Serge Aurier’s incident during the group stages, when he was denied entry for a match against Arsenal.

“I was very disappointed when Aurier, from PSG, was not allowed to enter England, That will worsen when Brexit happens, especially if the reasons were as formal. “We could have a serious problem.”

BREAKING: Neymar loses final appeal, to stand trial for transfer fraud.

Neymar, Barcelona and Santos will stand trial on fraud and corruption charges over the transfer of the Brazilian forward after their appeals were turned down by Spain’s High Court today.

Neymar’s mother Nadine Goncalves and the family company N&N also had appeals rejected.

They cannot appeal against the Court’s decision.

The case stems from a complaint by Brazilian investment group DIS, which owned part of Neymar’s transfer rights and alleges that it received less money than it was entitled to when Neymar joined Barcelona from Santos in 2013.

Investigations were carried out in Spain and Brazil into whether any part of Neymar’s transfer fee had been concealed when he moved to Barcelona from Santos.

Neymar’s clubmates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano were both convicted of tax fraud last year, while former Barca and current Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez admitted to fraud of almost €1m last month.

All three cases related to income from the players’ image rights.


Source: RTE

Barcelona Star Neymar Faces Two Years In Prison Over Transfer Corruption

Brazil and Barcelona star Neymar could end up in jail after Spanish prosecutors recommended that he be sent to prison for two years for his part in a corruption case over his transfer from Brazilian club Santos in 2013.

Judge Jose Perals also called for a five-year sentence for former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and a fine of 8.4million euros (£7.2m) for the club, according to the BBC.

Rosell, Neymar and Neymar’s father are set to stand trial.

The case is as a result of a complaint by a Brazilian company which owned 40% of Neymar’s transfer rights and complained that it was not given its fair share from the transfer fee.

The club struck a deal with prosecutors in June to settle a separate case, paid a £4.7m fine and avoided trial on charges of tax evasion over the transfer.

Neymar to face trial after judge accepts corruption charges.

Neymar looks set to stand trial after a judge accepted charges of corruption against the Barcelona star.

It is the latest development in a case brought by Brazilian investment company DIS following Neymar’s move from Santos to Camp Nou in 2013, which has come under scrutiny.

National Court judge Jose de la Mata initially threw out the case in July over a lack of evidence, but that decision was overturned and the charges are now set to be processed.

DIS claims it is due a 40 per cent cut of the fee that Barca paid to sign Neymar from Santos in 2013 – something it says it has not received in full, given the secrecy over the full cost of the transfer.

The Brazil forward’s father and Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu are also implicated, along with predecessor Sandro Rosell.

The case is unrelated to a second legal proceeding against Barca and Neymar, which concerned allegations of tax fraud in relation to his transfer.

Barca made a payment of €14.8m to Spanish authorities in back taxes and fines, while they also reportedly made a voluntary payment of a further €13.5m to settle the complaint.

Court Freezes Neymar’s $50m Assets

Brazilian authorities have blocked assets of Barcelona star Neymar, including a yacht, a jet and several properties worth almost $50 million. A Sao Paulo federal court rejected an appeal from the Brazilian striker last week and started issuing warrants to freeze the assets worth 192 million reals (almost $50 million), Brazilian media reported on Monday.

Last year, Neymar, his family and related businesses were found guilty of evading 63 million reals in taxes (almost $16ay. million) between 2011 and 2013 when he was playing for Brazilian club Santos. He has denied any wrongdoing. The 23-year-old Neymar used the jet to travel to Brazil for World Cup qualifying matches and holidays.

Iagaro Jung Martins, an auditor with Brazil’s federal tax agency, told The Associated Press that Neymar isn’t likely to go to jail if he pays what regulators say he owes. “He can still appeal that decision, but it is a step forward,” Martins told the AP. “Nothing changed to what was in place last year: if he pays what he owes, the case is closed. Our legislation isn’t too harsh.” The assets seizure is the latest in a streak of bad news for the Brazilian star off the pitch.

Credit: vanguardngr

Suarez Rules Out Neymar Leaving Barcelona

The former Liverpool striker insists there is no chance of the Brazil international leaving the Spanish champions despite reported interest from Real Madrid and Manchester United

Luis Suarez insists there is no chance of Neymar leaving Barcelona in the summer, despite the mounting speculation over his future.

The Brazil international is currently involved in a protracted wrangle over a new contract which has alerted the likes of Manchester United and even Real Madrid.

The 23-year-old’s situation has been further complicated by the ongoing investigations into alleged fraud and corruption relating to his move to Barcelona in 2013.

But Suarez, speaking after he and Lionel Messi scored all seven goals in the thumping Copa del Rey first leg win over Valencia on Wednesday, dismissed any notion of Neymar swapping Camp Nou for the Bernabeu or the Premier League in the near future.

“I am convinced that Neymar will remain at” Barcelona,” he said.

“The club supports him, and I am sure that he will play here for many years.”

Ramos: Neymar to Real Madrid? Football Is Unpredictable

The defender has admitted he wouldn’t be surprised to see the forward move to the Bernabeu in the future but ruled out ever joining Barcelona

Sergio Ramos has admitted “football is unpredictable” after being asked if he thought Neymar would ever join Real Madrid.

The former Santos man was reported to have met with a Madrid delegation ahead of the Fifa Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich.

The 23-year-old quickly denied such a meeting ever took place, while Barcelona coach Luis Enrique revealed last week that he expects Neymar to sign a new contract sooner rather than later.

That has not stopped Ramos from hailing the Brazil captain’s talents, however.

“Neymar is a great player who can make the difference,” the defender told reporters.

“Football is unpredictable and there will always be transfer rumours.

“But the one thing you will never see is Sergio Ramos joining Barcelona.”

Madrid supposedly see Neymar as the long-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been linked with Manchester United, PSG and a move to MLS in recent months.

However, Ramos is keen for the Portugal international to stay at the Bernabeu for many more years to come.

“As Madrid captain, I would like to see Cristiano here for many more years,” he added. “He is a real star.”

Neymar Returns, But Arda Out For Barcelona-Athletic Copa Clash

Luis Enrique’s side take a 2-1 lead into the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final against and are boosted by the Brazilian’s return.

Neymar is set to return to action for Barcelona in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey quarter-final clash against Athletic Bilbao.

The Brazil captain sat out Barca’s 2-1 Liga victory at Malaga on Saturday with a hamstring injury but has been named in Luis Enrique’s 18-man matchday squad alongside fellow forward Luis Suarez, who has completed a two-match Copa del Rey suspension.

Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta have recovered from a bout of flu, but fellow midfielder Arda Turan is still laid low and will miss the match.

Holders Barcelona take a 2-1 aggregate advantage into the Camp Nou encounter against last season’s beaten finalists following last week’s first leg.

Munir and Neymar scored first-half goals before prolific striker Aritz Aduriz struck a minute from time to give Athletic hope.

Ronaldo Doesn’t Deserve To Be A Ballon d’Or Finalist – Dani Alves

The Portuguese has been named among the finalists to win the award, along with Lionel Messi and Neymar, but the Barca star has now criticised his Real Madrid rival

Barcelona right-back Dani Alves insists Cristiano Ronaldo does not deserve to be a Ballon d’Or finalist, and says Neymar has become the second best player in the world behind Lionel Messi.

Both Messi and Neymar have been named among the finalists to win the award, along with the Real Madrid superstar, who has scored 16 goals in 18 appearances thus far this season.

Alves, though, does not think Ronaldo should not still be in the running.

“Messi is a bit ahead, because of his influence on the game,” Alves told reporters. “I think at this moment, Neymar is second best in the world.

“Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t deserve to be among the Ballon d’Or finalists. It’s not only about scoring goals.”

The Usual Suspects Messi & Ronaldo And A New Nominee Neymar, Make Ballon d’Or Final Shortlist

The original 23-man list has been reduced to just three names and includes two Barcelona players, with the winner to be revealed at a ceremony in Zurich on January 11, 2016

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar will contest the 2015 Ballon d’Or competition after the shortlist was whittled down from 23 names to just three.

Messi is the favourite to land the accolade, having led Barcelona to a famous treble last season, while Ronaldo is looking to defend his crown and draw level with the Argentine for overall wins.

Were he to pick up the Ballon d’Or at the ceremony in Zurich on January 11, 2016, it would be Messi’s fifth World Player of the Year title, more than any other player.

This year he is joined on the podium by Barca team-mate Neymar, who netted 10 goals en route to Champions League glory, including scoring in the final against Juventus in Berlin.

The Brazilian was also the joint-third top scorer in La Liga last season with 22 goals – and already has 14 this term – though his haul was put in the shade by those of Messi (43 goals) and topscorer Ronaldo (48).

For the sixth straight time, the final three-man Ballon d’Or shortlist does not include a single Premier League player, while it is a decade since an Englishman last made the final three (Frank Lampard in 2005).

The women’s nominees for their respective prize are the USA’s Carli Lloyd, Japan’s Aya Miyama and Germany’s Celia Sasic.

I Was Right To Leave Liverpool For Barcelona, Admits Suarez

The former Reds striker left the club last summer and, after winning four major honours since his arrival at Camp Nou, he is sure that he made the correct choice to move to Spain

Luis Suarez says that winning the treble in his first season at Barcelona more than justified his decision to leave Liverpool last summer.

Suarez made the switch from Anfield to Camp Nou last August and was immediately rewarded with silverware as Barca swept the board last term.

Luis Enrique’s side added the Uefa Super Cup to their bulging trophy cabinet on Tuesday, meaning Suarez has now won four major honours in a little over 12 months at the club – a feat that convinced the Uruguayan a move away from Anfield was definitely the right option.

Speaking to Sport360, Suarez revealed: “It was the right decision [to sign for Barca].”

“Winning trophies was a part of my decision in joining Barcelona, but also as a family we knew it was the right decision even before I won a trophy.

“I am very happy at Barcelona – I am at the best club in the world.

“It couldn’t have gone better, to achieve what we did in my first season was a dream.”

And Suarez is eager to replicate last season’s success.

He added: “If you look at some of the players here they have won trophies season after season, and that is my aim now.

“We enjoyed our moment last season, but now it is about a new challenge.”

Neymar Deserves Uefa Award Over Ronaldo – Luis Enrique

The Barcelona boss argued that the top three places in the Best Player in Europe gong should go to his all-star forward line and talked up the threat posed by Supercopa rivals Athletico madrid


Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique believes that Neymar was more deserving of a place in the top three of the Uefa Best Player in Europe award than Cristiano Ronaldo.

The governing body announced on Wednesday that the Real Madrid star would be on the podium alongside Barca stars Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.

However, the former Celta Vigo boss believes the Brazilian forward would have been a better choice than the Portuguese attacker, following his exploits in Barca’s treble-winning campaign.

“Who decided that Neymar isn’t one of the candidates for the Uefa trophy?” he asked at a press conference.

“I think it should be Neymar, Messi and Suarez, without a doubt.”

Luis Enrique went on to say that he feels his side are the team to beat in Spain and in Europe as he prepares for the first leg of their Supercopa tie against Athletic Bilbao on Friday.

“The pre-season schedule was set up so we can be the best we can be,” he said. “We have to be competitive from the start of the season and still be the team to beat. I would also say the same in Europe.

“The sextuple is a goal we have in mind and one that motivates us but we are focused on is winning the fifth title first – the sixth is still far away.”

Luis Enrique is expecting a tough game against Athletic and feels the Basques could try to man-mark Lionel Messi.

“Both teams know each other well, it [man-marking Messi] may be an option, but there are others,” said the former Camp Nou midfielder.

“They press very well and always make things difficult for their opponents. It will be an uncomfortable match and it will only be resolved over the two games.”

Neymar Denies Copa America Fracas: “I Was Waiting For The Ref… But Nothing Happened”!

The Barcelona superstar was dismissed against Colombia but he maintains that he is innocent, while claiming that Dunga’s side can win the tournament without him

Neymar has denied trying to attack referee Enrique Ossess after Brazil‘s 1-0 loss to Colombia last week, and insists that he left the Copa America voluntarily.

The forward departed Chile on Monday after receiving a four-match suspension for attempting to headbutt Jeison Murillo during the Selecao’s 1-0 defeat to Colombia last Thursday before allegedly insulting the official.

Neymar, though, says that the decision for him to leave Brazil’s base was a joint one, and he has defended his innocence over the furore in Santiago.

“It was a family decision to leave,” he told Jornal Nacional. “I talked to my father, and then I told Dunga and team manager Gilmar Rinaldi. They agreed.

“Nothing happened at the tunnel, basically. I was inside of it, and waiting to ask the ref why he dismissed me. Then a huddle took place and security guards came in, thinking I was nervous, that I wanted to attack him.

“That’s how it came to this.”

Despite his absence, Neymar remains confident that his compatriots will eventually win the tournament after seeing them progress to the quarter-finals from Group C.

“I think there’s a lot of life in Selecao without Neymar. The players have shown that they can win games and win Copa America,” the Barcelona forward told Jornal Nacional.

“Brazil has plenty of great players. I’m absolutely confident of this team and the players that are there representing it. They are all big names who’ll take care of business.”

Brazil will face Paraguay, the team that knocked them out on penalties at the same stage in 2011, this Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo Named World’s Richest Footballer has named Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo as the wealthiest footballer in the world with a personal fortune of £152m, about £7m more than his rival, Lionel Messi (£145m). Neymar, comes third in the list with a fortune of £97.9m.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris Saint-Germain and Sweden is worth £76.1m, while Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney is the highest-ranked Englishman on the list in fifth on £74.6m.

Brazilian star Kaka who just signed to MLS club Orlando City, is sixth in the rankings on £69.6m, followed by Samuel Eto’o (£63.1m), Raul (£61.6m) and Ronaldinho (£60.2m).

Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is in tenth with a personal fortune of £58m.