Italy Football Star Davide Astori Found Dead

Italy international defender Davide Astori died in his hotel room during the night of Saturday to Sunday, his club Fiorentina said on Sunday.

“Fiorentina are profoundly shocked to have to announce the death of captain Davide Astori after a sudden illness,” the Serie A club said on Twitter.

The 31-year-old, who leaves behind a two-year-old daughter, was in Udine to prepare for Sunday’s match against Udinese, who announced the game has been postponed.

Italian media reported that Astori died of a heart attack during the night.

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Ibrahimovic Set To Leave Manchester United

Manchester United striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is likely to leave the club at the end of the season.

Ibrahimovic, 36, is out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of the current campaign and has been heavily linked with a move to MLS club Los Angeles Galaxy.

The former Paris Saint-Germain forward has not played for United since their 2-2 draw against Burnley on December 26, having decided that he was not in the right shape after recovering from career-threatening cruciate knee ligament damage sustained in April.

“For Zlatan, we all think it’s his last season at Manchester United and it will be a very personal decision for him to play or to stop,” Mourinho told reporters on Friday.

“I think he won the right to choose his life, his future, such an amazing player and an amazing career.

“Only that awful injury in the wrong moment broke a fantastic couple of seasons he could and should have with us.

“This season has been really difficult for him. He’s not injured. Does he feel totally happy, ready and convinced that he’s in the condition to help the team in this moment? No.

“But he’s such an honest guy and such a champion he only wants to be back with that feeling of: ‘I’m totally ready for it’.

“So he’s working hard and hopefully his evolution brings him to that level he wants to have a positive answer.”

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Russia 2018: FIFA Insists No Security Threat

World football body, FIFA, has insisted there is no security threat to the forthcoming World football competition scheduled to hold in June this year in Russia.

This assurance follows the wake of violent incidents involving Spartak Moscow supporters on Thursday in which a policeman died of a heart attack.

The street battles had occured before their UEFA Europa League last 32 second leg tie at the San Mames stadium.

Nine people were arrested following the clashes.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo said two Russian ultras were taken to hospital with injuries, one with stab wounds.

The 2018 World Cup begins on June 14 in Russia and local authorities are putting strict security procedures in place to control hooligans, including Russian fans.

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FG Set To Host FIFA Executive Summit In Lagos

Twelve presidents from African and six from the Caribbean are scheduled to report on their experiences and country-specific issues and bring themselves up to date on the global game in the summit that will provide all of the delegates with an opportunity to share their knowledge and coordinate next steps.

This was confirmed by the Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick in an address to the press.

Also expected is CAF President , Ahmad Ahmad  together with FIFA General Secretary, Fatima Samba Samoura, President of the Dutch FA, Michael Van Praag and Slavisa Ikokezia, who is current President of Serbia Federation

“Gianni Infantino will be in Nigeria on Monday for the FIFA Executive Summit which will be a three-day event and this will bring all international media down to Nigeria,” Pinnick said.

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CHAN: Nigeria Beats Angola, Grabs Semi-Final Ticket

In what has been described as the best match of the championship so far, Super Eagles defeated Angola and seal their place in the semi-finals of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Okechukwu Gabriel scored an extra-time winner as Nigeria sealed their place in the semi-finals of the 2018 CHAN with a 2-1 win over Angola at the Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier, Morocco.

Nigeria will now tackle Sudan in Marrakesh in Wednesday’s semi-final match.

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Serena Williams Returns To Tennis After Giving Birth

Serena Williams will return to tennis in Abu Dhabi next week, almost four months after giving birth.

The 36 year old American will play world number Seven Jelena Ostapenko In an exhibition match on December 30 during the Mubadala world tennis championship.

Williams, who has won an open-era record 23 grand slams, said she is delightedto be returning to the court.

She gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian in September.

Former world number one Williams has not played since winning the Australian open in January.

Australian open director Craig Tilley has said Williams is “very likely” to defend her title at the 2018 tournament, which starts on January 15.

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Ex-Arsenal Star Rosicky Retires From Football

The former Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund star, Tomas Rosicky sprung a surprise on Wednesday by announcing that he has played his last game of professional football.

The 37-year-old played 105 times for the Czech Republic, and spent a decade at Arsenal wher he was known for stylish passing and slick skills.

“I have never played either for the money or the glory – I just love football,” Rosicky, who appeared at four European Championships finals, told his club Sparta Prague’s website.

“But I have realised I am no longer able to fully prepare my body for what the professional football requires,” the injury-prone number 10 said.

“I would like to thank Sparta for raising me, for being the first step in my career in big clubs, and for allowing me to say goodbye at the place I love the most,” Rosický said.

“I’ve had a lovely career despite all the setbacks, I have known both wonderful and difficult moments,” he said.

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2018 World Cup: Nigeria To Play Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

At the 2018 World Cup draw which took place on Friday at the Kremlin, Russia, Nigeria’s Super Eagles, will again be facing Argentina national football team.

This is also the third straight World Cup that has placed Nigeria and Argentina in the same first-round group, and the fifth over all.

Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

Group C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama

Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal, Japan

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Messi Extends Barcelona Contract Until 2021

Lionel Messi has extended his contract with Barcelona until 2021.

The Spanish club announced this on Saturday, making official an agreement reached in July.

The contract of the soccer star with the Camp Nou side is supposed to expire in 2018.

“FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the club through the 2020/21 season,” the club said in a statement.

“The buyout clause was set at 700 million euros ($835 million).”

The new deal with the club comes with a €700m release fee.

He has played 602 times for the Catalans and has scored 523 goals, helping them to 30 trophies.

Among the trophies are La Liga (8 times), Copa del Rey crowns (five times) and four Champions League titles.

A goalscorer and creative playmaker, Messi takes credit for the most official goals scored in La Liga.

He made his debut for the Spanish team in 2004 when he was 17 years.

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International Friendlies: Sergio Aguero Hospitalised As Nigeria Defeats Argentina

Sergio Aguero reportedly fainted during half-time and was taken to hospital as Nigeria stunned Argentina in a friendly.The Manchester City striker fell ill in the changing room. He was replaced by Dario Benedetto.

Aguero had earlier scored to put his side 2-0 up, becoming the Albiceleste’s third-highest scorer in the process.

But he suffered health issues at the break and was forced to leave the Stadion FK in Krasnodar to be given medical attention.

Aguero underwent tests in hospital as Nigeria came back to record a famous 4-2 win.

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