David Alaba ‘Offered’ to Barcelona in Exchange for Ousmane Dembele After Failed Leroy Sane Bid

?Bayern Munich are said to have offered David Alaba to Barcelona as part of a player-plus-cash deal for winger Ousmane Dembele.

The Bundesliga giants are believed to be on the lookout for a number of young wingers this summer, having seen both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben walk away from the club.

Ousmane Dembele

?Dembele is one of their primary transfer targets, and ?Mundo Deportivo claim ?Bayern have offered Alaba to ?Barcelona to try and tempt them to part ways with Dembele.

However, Barcelona have rejected the offer, as they remain committed to the Frenchman. They fear signing ?Neymar is an almost impossible task, so club officials want to keep Dembele around as competition for the likes of Antoine Griezmann, ?Luis Suarez and ?Lionel Messi.

Despite this rejection, they remain keen on signing Alaba as they are on the lookout for some competition to Jordi Alba at left-back, but they are not prepared to sacrifice Dembele to get him. Barcelona may make a separate offer for the 27-year-old, but are also monitoring Junior Firpo and Philipp Max.

David Alaba

Bayern are seemingly eager to part ways with Alaba, having spent heavily on Lucas Hernandez from ?Atletico Madrid. The Frenchman can play as a centre-back, but also on the left of defence, and it is thought that he could push Alaba down the pecking order at the Allianz Arena.

Mundo Deportivo add that, before turning to Barcelona, Bayern made a similar offer to ?Manchester City to sign Leroy Sane.

Again, their offer was rejected, with Pep Guardiola determined to hang on to Sane and eventually tie him down to a new contract.

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With Bayern linked with a number of high-profile signings, their attempts to save some money by parting ways with Alaba certainly make sense. However, their efforts to sign their preferred targets – including ?Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi – have been unsuccessful so far.

90min understands that they are now ?considering a move for ?Crystal Palace’s ?Wilfried Zaha, given ?Arsenal are yet to come close to agreeing a deal for the Ivorian.

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Antoine Griezmann Reveals Why He ‘Can’t Wait’ to Play Alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona

?Following his €120m move to Barcelona this summer, Antoine Griezmann has confessed that he cannot wait to play and train alongside his new team mate Lionel Messi.

Messi is currently being afforded an extended break due to his involvement with Argentina’s Copa America campaign earlier this summer, but will join up with the squad after they have returned from a pre-season trip to Japan.


Speaking to ?Marca, Griezmann admitted that he is excited for ?Messi’s return, saying: “Yes, it will be amazing [to play alongside him]. 

“I’m excited to see what he’s like day to day, what he’s like in training, [I want to] catch him doing things in training that I will try to repeat or do in my own way and get to know him on and off the pitch. I can’t wait for him to arrive. I will be ready to do whatever it takes: for him, for the club and for the players.”

Griezmann was the main man at ?Atletico Madrid, but for the Blaugrana he will probably have to adjust to playing in the shadow of ?Barcelona‘s all-time top goalscorer.

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The Frenchman’s natural position is similar to that of Messi, but when questioned on whether he foresaw any problems in his relationship with the Argentine, Griezmann was not too worried, as he said: “Well, I’m not a difficult person. 

“I like to be around people, to enjoy their company and I’m sure that we’ll get on really well.”

Barca continue their pre-season preparations on Tuesday against ?Chelsea in Midori-ku, Japan, but the first game in which fans will get to see Griezmann and Messi team up may come against ?Arsenal on August 4 at Camp Nou.

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Barcelona vs Chelsea Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?This pre-season clash sees La Liga champions Barcelona face off against Europa League winners Chelsea in the Rakuten Cup on Tuesday.

The match will be Barcelona’s first runabout of pre-season and with a number of their B team players called up into the travelling squad, it’s a great opportunity for the youngsters to impress ahead of the La Liga season.

Chelsea boss Lampard may look to tinker with his squad to find the winning formula as the Blues prepare for the Premier League season with a transfer ban looming the club. 

If previous meetings between these two are anything to go by, Tuesday’s match looks set to be a cracker. 


Here is 90min’s preview of the game.


Where to Watch

?

When Is Kick Off? Tuesday 23 July
What Time Is Kick Off? 11:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Saitama Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Chelsea TV/ESPN 2
Referee? TBC

Team News

A number of key players have been left out of the travelling ?Barcelona squad due to their participation in the Copa America. Ernesto Valverde has given extended leave to the likes of ?Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho and ?Luis Suarez.

Kawasaki Frontale v Chelsea - Preseason Friendly

For Chelsea, both Tammy Abraham and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga missed out against Kawasaki Frontale through illness.

Midfielder N’Golo Kante has ?returned to the UK as he steps up his rehabilitation for a knee injury suffered at the end of last season. The Frenchmen has been unable to play a part in Chelsea’s pre-season thus far.

Chelsea are also without ?Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, ?Willian and ?Antonio Rudiger as they continue their rehabilitation from long-term injuries. 


Predicted Lineups

Barcelona Neto; Semedo, Todibo, Umtiti, Alba; Monchu, Busquets, De Jong; Malcom, Abe, Griezmann.
Chelsea Caballero; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Christensen, Alonso; Barkley, Mount, Bakayoko; Pedro, Kenedy, Giroud. 

Recent Form

?

?Barcelona’s game against ?Chelsea will be their first pre-season fixture of the year. The Catalan giants ended the season with only one win in their last five, including a shock 4-0 loss to ?Liverpool that sent them crashing out of the ?Champions League. ?

Ernesto Valverde

?Chelsea have had a mixed bag of results in their recent fixtures. The Blues suffered their first defeat under Lampard in a 1-0 loss to Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale. Despite this pre-season blip, Chelsea ended last season well, securing the Europa League title after beating rivals ?Arsenal in Baku. 

Barcelona Chelsea
Barcelona 1-2 Valencia (25/5) Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 Chelsea (19/7)
Eibar 2-2 Barcelona (19/5) St Patrick’s Athletic 0-4 Chelsea (13/7)
Barcelona 2-0 Getafe (12/5) Bohemians 1-1 Chelsea (10/7)
Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (7/5) Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal (29/5)
Celta Vigo 2-0 Barcelona (4/5) New England Revolution 0-3 Chelsea (16/5)

Prediction

?

Barcelona look set to field a team missing a number of key senior players, whereas the Chelsea lineup will be formidable and eager to avenge their loss against Kawasaki Frontale. 

A tight encounter is expected, but Chelsea might just edge it.

Prediction: Barcelona 1-2 Chelsea.

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PSG Sporting Director Claims ‘No Concrete Offer’ Has Been Made for Barcelona Target Neymar

Another twist in the Neymar saga? Well I never. 

The Brazilian has made no secret about his desire to return to Barcelona just two years after joining the French side. Despite scoring 51 goals in 57 games in France, a combination of personal and injury issues as well as the club’s failure in the Champions League have meant the move is perceived as a failure, and it is clear he already wants out. 

Reports last week claimed ?Barca had indeed submitted a huge bid to secure his return, worth £90m plus PSG’s pick of two players, but the sporting director of the Ligue 1 champions has thrown a spanner in the works, saying that they have received no ‘concrete offers’ for the Brazilian.

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“Honestly, there is nothing different than the last time I talked about [Neymar],” he said via Le Parisien (as per ?Calcio Mercato).

“Nothing has changed since then and there is no concrete offer for him. Today he is a player of PSG but we will see what will happen in the future.”

While ?Neymar has been the major story in Paris this summer, Les Parisiens have also been busy, as ever, on the signings front. They have brought in five so far, including Pablo Sarabia and former ?Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera.

Leonardo, however, also said that as things stand, we shouldn’t expect too much more incoming business, after discussions with coach Thomas Tuchel. 

Thomas Tuchel

“We talked a lot with Tuchel about where the team lacked in the past, but now I think this squad is almost complete,” he added.

“It’s already very competitive. It has a bit of everything from young players to very experienced players. However, the market is still open and we will evaluate all the possibilities.”

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Antoine Griezmann Reveals He Cried Tears of Joy After Completing Move to Barcelona

Antoine Griezmann has admitted to crying tears of joy upon his move to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid earlier this month.

After months of speculation and countless updates regarding the Griezmann’s situation, the French striker finally joined Barcelona after La Blaugrana activated his €120m release clause.

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Speaking in a recent interview with ?Marca, Griezmann was asked to comment on how he has found life at ?Barcelona, to which he responded:  “Good, really good. With lots of stress and pressure to finalise it all. I just wanted to end my holiday and start this new challenge.

“The dressing room have welcomed me very well: players, coaching staff and doctors and, for the moment, I’m enjoying it and let’s hope I can get enough confidence to speak, be myself and enjoy.”

Griezmann also revealed his initial reaction after the move was completed, adding: “Well, I called my father and I started to cry with happiness because I was there, everything was done. I was with my friends, my wife and my children and it was an incredible moment.”


Atletico Madrid supporters have reacted poorly to Griezmann’s departure, ?recently defacing the 28-year-old’s plaque outside the Wanda Metropolitano, and he went on to admit that he is expecting a hostile reception when he returns to face his former side.

“I know there will be whistling. It’s part of football: they really loved me and when someone leaves, it can hurt. It was like that at Real Sociedad: my first visit back wasn’t easy, but I will always have La Real and Atleti in my heart because they gave me so much.”

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Barcelona Enter Race to Sign Moise Kean as Juventus Youngster’s Future Remains Uncertain

Barcelona are the latest side to be linked with a potential approach for Moise Kean, as the Juventus youngster’s future remains increasingly uncertain.

Despite enjoying an impressive breakout season with Juventus, Kean has been touted with a move away from the Italian champions this season with the likes of Inter, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Everton all being cited as potential suitors for the 19-year-old.

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Now, according to a report from Italian journalist ?Gianluca Di Marzio, ?Barcelona have entered the fray and could be prepared to pay the €25m to €30m fee ?Juventus are currently demanding. If Barcelona were successful in their quest to sign the Italian forward, then they would consider sending him out on loan to Sevilla.

However, in contrast to those reports, ?Mundo Deportivo are suggesting that Sevilla are not interested in pursuing a loan deal for Kean, as they are instead focused on keeping Wissam Ben Yedder at the club. 

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?Manchester United have been eyeing up a move for the French striker and 

Sevilla-based outlet La Colina de Nervion have gone as far as to say that he has agreed personal terms with the Red Devils. 

While Juventus will be willing to let Kean go this summer, they would still be looking to include a buy-back clause to ensure that they can bring him back to Turin if he achieves his full potential elsewhere.

Moise Kean

Juventus have already been busy in the transfer market so far this summer, securing deals for Matthijs de Ligt, Adrien Rabiot and Cristian Romero, but they are yet to strengthen their options up top, which could indicate that they have a number of replacements for Kean in their sights.

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Transfer Window: 6 Players That are Vying for Moves But Have Absolutely Nowhere to Go

?With the summer transfer window in full flow, there is a lot of business still yet to be done by clubs and players. While teams around Europe and worldwide are looking for new recruitments ahead of the season, there are a lot of players who are also looking to leave their respective sides.

However, this summer more than any other in recent memory, a lot of players vying for big-money moves have nowhere to go. 

Here are just a few of the players who are pushing for moves this summer, but seem unlikely to get their wish.


Neymar

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Despite joining Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee just two summers ago, ?Neymar already wants to move on. The Brazilian star didn’t turn up to pre-season training earlier this month, which infuriated the Parisian club, who stated they were to take “appropriate action”.

PSG’s sporting director Leonardo has said that Neymar can leave “if there is an offer that suits everyone”, and ?Barcelona have been heavily linked with bringing him back to the Camp Nou two years after his departure. 

Although Neymar is in a tough situation at the moment, it looks like he’ll be staying in Paris. Barcelona would need to pay a huge fee to re-sign him, and although PSG say that Neymar can leave it would be daft to let a £200m record signing exit the Parc des Princes after two seasons.


Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba

?Paul Pogba has been at the heart of another transfer saga this summer, this time involving big-spending ?Real Madrid. The ?Manchester United midfielder is one of Los Blancos’ key targets, as Florentino Pérez aims to continue his summer spending spree in style.

Although the Spanish side are willing to pay a large fee and give up big players to acquire Pogba’s services, the problem lies with whether United will part ways with arguably their best and most important player and whether Real will follow through with their pursuit.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a summer of rebuilding to do, and Pogba is likely to be apart of his plans. While the Frenchman may feel that it is best for him to move on, the Red Devils are not as eager and look like they will fight to keep him at Old Trafford, whatever it takes.


Nicolas Pépé

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After bagging 23 goals and 12 assists for Lille last season, Nicolas Pépé is hot property in the European market. A number of clubs have been vying for his signature, with European champions ?Liverpool and ?Arsenal battling to sign him.

Pépé himself also seems eager to join one of Europe’s biggest clubs, with ?Inter and PSG also in contention. However, Lille have set an €80m price tag for their star forward, and even then they seem reluctant to part ways with Pépé.

Lille and Pépé are waiting for the right offer from the right club, and while there are plenty of options staying in northern France and helping the club in their ?Champions League campaign may turn out to be a priority for Pépé as he decides the next step in his career.


Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen

Rumours have been flying around White Hart Lane over midfielder ?Christian Eriksen, who could be ?La Liga bound. Eriksen has been linked with Real Madrid and Barcelona this summer, and has been delaying a possible contract renewal with ?Tottenham for months.

The Dane is believed to be eager to move to Spain, and has been waiting for one of their top clubs to make an offer. However, Spurs have shown no sign of letting Eriksen go, despite not tying him down with a new contract amid the speculation.

Spurs don’t look like they’ll be letting any players go, especially not ones like Eriksen. He will continue to wait for a breakthrough in the transfer saga, but with a few weeks of the transfer window to go, he may be spending another season in north London.


Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha

?Crystal Palace and ?Wilfried Zaha are stuck in an internal conflict with one another, with the Ivorian telling the club that he wants to leave this summer. Zaha has been with the Eagles since 2004 as a youth player, but looks like he now wants a move to Arsenal.

Manager Roy Hodgson has hinted at the fact that the club would let him go, but with Aaron Wan-Bissaka already leaving for Manchester United, it would be a fatal blow for Crystal Palace if another one of their star players left for pastures new.

Zaha will no doubt keep pushing for a move, but if Palace continue to reject big money offers then he will have no choice but to stay. The Ivorian will keep trying to find a compromise with the club, as he hopes to make a huge move in his career.


Danny Rose

Danny Rose

With Spurs already facing a battle with Eriksen, they are now preparing for one with ?Danny Rose too. PSG, ?Juventus and Manchester United have all expressed interest in the England full-back, with Rose left out of Spurs’ pre-season tour squad so he can “explore other opportunities”.

Although Rose will be deciding whether he wants to move on, Tottenham may be wiser to keep ahold of him. They are already short of full-backs ?having sold Kieran Trippier to Atlético Madrid, and if they can’t replace Trippier and Rose in time then they’ll have to hold onto the latter.

Rose does look very likely to leave at the moment, but the rumours and interest in signing him may not hold up. If Spurs cannot reach a deal with another club or make a decision regarding Rose, then he will likely be stuck at White Hart Lane for a while longer.


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Liverpool & Barcelona to Battle for €20m-Rated Left-Back as Race for Quality Backup Continues

?Liverpool and Barcelona are set to go head-to-head for the signature of Augsburg left-back Philipp Max, who is valued at around €20m.

Both clubs are believed to be on the lookout for a backup left-back this summer, with Andy Robertson and Jordi Alba still set to dominate each club’s respective lineups.

Philipp Max

Neither club wants to spend heavily on a reserve option, so ?Sport claim the two sides are looking at Max who – at €20m – is expected to be well within both sides’ budgets.

?Barcelona are said to be in advanced negotiations with the 25-year-old, although ?Champions League holders ?Liverpool have expressed a serious interest in Max after Alberto Moreno was allowed to leave the club this summer.

The Blaugrana are so concerned by Liverpool’s interest – manager Jurgen Klopp recently admitted they ?may need a new left-back this summer – that they have lined up Wolfsburg’s Jerome Roussillon as a potential alternative, although they will push for Max as they believe he would be the cheaper of the two.

Jerome Roussillon

Moves for Junior Firpo, ?Danny Rose and Raphael Guerreiro have already collapsed after Barcelona could not negotiate an acceptable price, so they are desperate to fend off Liverpool’s interest in Max.

An attack-minded full-back, Max would certainly fit in at both clubs. He managed four goals and seven assists last season, whilst he even managed to create a breathtaking 13 goals in the previous campaign.

However, with Augsburg languishing towards the bottom of the ?Bundesliga standings last year, it is believed that they would be prepared to part ways with Max if they receive a reasonable offer of €20m.

Philipp Max

Should he move to either Barcelona or Liverpool, Max would have to accept that game time may be hard to come by, and there is a fear that he may accept a move to a less competitive side in order to ensure regular minutes.

The Germany international has been one of his country’s finest left-backs in recent seasons, and it seems just a matter of time before he leaves the WWK Arena.

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Transfer Rumours: Man Utd & Spurs Ready Fernandes Bids, Rose to PSG, Fekir to Delay Lyon Exit & More

?By this time in the transfer window, we’re starting to get a good idea of what most clubs are going to look like by the time next season comes around, but that can all change instantly.

Even the most insignificant move can trigger an entire chain reaction, and it seems almost certain that there’ll be plenty more business before the window slams shut.

Here are seven stories for you to look out for.?


Everton Ready Bid for Wantaway Lyon Midfielder Lucas Tousart

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It looks like Lyon are ready to move on from midfielder Lucas Tousart, having already recruited Jean Lucas and Thiago Mendes this summer to play in his position, which sounds like bad news for the 22-year-old.

?Le Quotidien du Foot state that nobody really knows what he wants to do right now, but it appears likely that he might want to leave in search of regular game time. ?Everton are ready to offer him an escape route, but only if they lose Idrissa Gueye this summer.

Should Gueye seal a move to ?Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain, then Tousart will likely be their preferred replacement. However, if Gueye stays, then so does Tousart. Basically, it’s all up in the air.


Sean Longstaff ‘Key’ to Steve Bruce’s Newcastle Plans

Sean Longstaff

Steve Bruce may be facing an uphill battle to win over many ?Newcastle United fans, but his latest plan will likely help.

According to ?Sky Sports, Bruce plans to sit down with young midfielder Sean Longstaff to try convince him to remain at the club, insisting that he would be a key part of the team if he rejects Manchester United’s advances.

?Whilst Longstaff is keen to talk to the Red Devils, he would also be happy to remain with Newcastle going forward. Finally, something positive to come out of the club.


Daniel Sturridge Linked With Move Overseas Following Betting Scandal

Daniel Sturridge

It has been a busy few days for Daniel Sturridge. The former ?Liverpool man has been on the lookout for a new club after being released from Anfield, but now has to wait a few weeks after the ?FA banned him following a betting scandal. Wild.

After the fiasco, a spokesman for Sturridge confirmed (via ?The Mirror) that the striker has attracted interest from “teams in many countries, including America, China, Italy, Spain and France, as well as clubs closer to home in the ?Premier League“, so it looks like Sturridge might have some choices to make this summer.

Well, that’s if he is actually allowed to join a new club. The FA are pushing to extend his ban, which could put an end to talk of a move for Sturridge.


Danny Rose Unsuccessfully Offers Himself to Barcelona as PSG Ready £20m Bid

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We don’t know who ?Danny Rose will be playing for next season, but it definitely looks like it’s not going to be ?Tottenham Hotspur.

He was left behind as the rest of the squad travelled for pre-season to allow him to find a move elsewhere, and ?Sport claim Rose has offered his services to ?Barcelona, who are on the lookout for someone to operate as backup to Jordi Alba.

However, the Blaugrana turned him down as a result of Spurs’ £20m asking price, and now Paris Saint-Germain are now believed to be leading the race for his signature.


Nabil Fekir Delaying Real Betis Move in Hope of Receiving Better Offer

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A year after he was supposed to leave Lyon for ?Liverpool, it looks like Nabil Fekir might finally be on his way out of the club. Well, maybe not just yet.

?L’Equipe state that Fekir has agreed a €25m move to Real Betis to replace the outgoing Giovani Lo Celso, but the Frenchman has opted to delay finalising the move in the hope of receiving a better offer.

His entourage believe that one of Europe’s elite are ready to involve themselves in negotiations – is he still stuck in 2018?


Atletico Line Up Christian Eriksen as James Rodriguez Alternative With Angel Correa Linked in Swap Deal

Christian Eriksen

?Atletico Madrid have stepped up their pursuit of forgotten ?Real Madrid man ?James Rodriguez, but convincing Los Blancos to sell to a direct rival likely won’t be easy. Fortunately, they look to have a backup plan.

Diego Simeone is known to be a huge fan of ?Tottenham Hotspur’s ?Christian Eriksen, but Marca claim that he will only push to sign the Dane if he misses out on Rodriguez this summer.?

?Atletico could even look to include Angel Correa in a player-plus-cash deal for Eriksen, after ?Sky Sports claimed they tried something similar with Correa in their pursuit of ?Kieran Trippier. However, Spurs weren’t too keen on the deal then, so they probably wouldn’t be now.


Bruno Fernandes’ Agent Arrives in England With Man Utd & Spurs Expected to Lodge Bids

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How are we so deep into this Bruno Fernandes saga, yet it still feels like nothing has actually happened? United and Spurs both want him, but neither appear to have actually moved ahead in the race for his signature.

Fortunately, this could all soon be coming to an end, as ?A Bola claim that both clubs are ready to make their first official approaches to Sporting CP, whilst Correio de Manha (via ?Sport Witness) add that his agent, Miguel Pinho, is in England to get two concrete offers for Fernandes.

Sporting want €70m, but the two clubs are expected to offer closer to €50m. Can somebody please just offer €60m and call it quits there?

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Africa Cup of Nations: An All-Time XI From AFCON History

The Africa Cup of Nations 2019 edition comes to a close on Friday evening as Senegal vie for their first-ever title against a free-scoring Algeria in Cairo.

Bonafide superstars of European football like Kalidou Koulibaly, Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane all have the chance to become card-carrying legends for their countries, while the latter even admitted that winning ?AFCON would mean more to him than the Champions League medal he picked up with Liverpool just a month and a bit ago.

As the class of 2019 eye immortality, here’s an all-time XI of the tournament’s greatest stars…


Goalkeeper & Defenders

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Essam El Hadary (GK) – The incomparable El Hadary (gloriously nicknamed the ‘High Dam’) made 159 appearances for Egypt between 1996 and 2018, when he became the oldest player ever to feature in a World Cup finals at 45. He has won AFCON four times (1998, 2006, 2008, 2010) and was named as the tournament’s best keeper on three occasions. 

Honourable mention: Thomas N’Kono

Lauren (RB) – An ‘Invincible’ with Arsenal in 2004, Lauren is a two-time AFCON winner (2000, 2002) with the dominant Cameroon side of the early noughties that also won Olympic gold in 2000. His AFCON highlight came when he scored in the penalty shootout victory against Senegal in the 2002 final to retain the trophy.

Arthur Boka (LB) – Although never an AFCON winner, Ivory Coast’s Arthur Boka earns a place in the side for playing at five tournaments between 2006 and 2013, twice finishing on the wrong end of a penalty shootout defeat in the final. The pacey full back once dubbed the ‘African Roberto Carlos’ also won the Bundesliga against the odds with Stuttgart in 2007.

Rigobert Song (CB) – With eight tournaments under his belt, no-one has played at more AFCONs than former Liverpool, West Ham and Galatasaray star Song. He was captain as the Indomitable Lions won in 2000 and 2002 and was still wearing the armband in 2008 when they lost to Egypt in the final. The uncle of former Arsenal star Alex Song, he finished his international career in 2010 with 137 caps.

Wael Gomaa (CB) – One of the finest defenders never to play in Europe, Gomaa was a key member of the Egypt side that won the 2006 trophy and then defended it in 2008 and in 2010. 

The bald enforcer, who featured in all three of those tournaments’ Best XIs, retired in 2014 with six CAF Champions League titles to go with his AFCON medals.


Midfielders

Jay Jay Okocha and Pierre Wome Nlend

Geremi (CM) – An invaluably versatile operator, Geremi could play at the back on the right or in central midfield. He made seven AFCON squads for Cameroon winning twice in 2000 and 2002 alongside Lauren and Song. Among his other career honours, the free-kick specialist won two Premier Leagues, the UEFA Champions League and an Olympic gold.

Honourable mention: Yaya Toure

Abedi Pele (CM) – Regarded as one of the finest African footballers of all time and one of the first to make waves on the European game, Pele was also successful on his own continent, winning AFCON with Ghana in 1982 as a teenager. He scored three times and was named the tournament’s Best Player as the Black Stars returned to the final in 1992.

Jay-Jay Okocha (CM) – One of the most entertaining footballers to watch in the history of the modern game, Okocha’s dribbling, skill and invention saw him crowned Nigerian Footballer of the Year seven times. A key part of the 1994 AFCON winning Nigeria team, Okocha also won the tournament’s Golden Boot and Best Player award in 2004.


Forwards

Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the match

??Samuel Eto’o (FW) – Eto’o might well be the greatest African footballer there has ever been. A three-time Champions League winner with Barcelona and Internazionale, the prolific striker was named African Player of the Year on four occasions, won AFCON twice (2000, 2002) and is the all-time top scorer in the competition’s history with 18 goals.

Honourable mention: Roger Milla

Mohamed Aboutrika (FW) – The talisman of Egypt’s AFCON wins in 2006 and 2008, the tricky forward is a bonafide legend in his homeland whose popularity is perhaps only just being matched by Mohamed Salah. The ‘Prince of Hearts’ scored the winning penalty against Ivory Coast in the final of AFCON 2006, while he coolly slotted a second-half winner past Carlos Kameni in 2008 to give Egypt a 1-0 win over Cameroon in the 2008 final.

Hossam Hassan (FW) – Representing the Pharaohs at seven AFCONs, Hassan is still Egypt’s all-time top scorer with 69 goals and, with 169 caps, is the second-most capped player in international football history. First winning AFCON in 1986, he then captained Egypt to their win on home soil in 2006 at the grand old age of 40.


Manager

Zambian coach Frenchman Herve Renard smi

Herve Renard – There can be only one. The immaculately dressed, unbuttoned Frenchman is the only manager to have won the tournament with two different nations, having led underdogs Zambia to improbable success in 2012 before repeating the feat three years later with Ivory Coast. 


Let’