Janssen slams AZ for blocking 'dream' Tottenham move

Spurs have had a €17 million (£14.1m) bid rejected for last season’s Eredivisie top scorer and the striker claims the Dutch club’s valuation of him is “ridiculous”


AZ striker Vincent Janssen has slammed the Dutch club for blocking his “dream” summer move to Tottenham.

Spurs have already had a €17 million (£14.1m) offer rejected for the 22-year-old, who was the top scorer in the Eredivisie last season with 27 goals in 34 games.

The Netherlands international is keen to join Mauricio Pochettino’s side and admits he is disappointed by the way AZ have handled negotiations so far.

“I want nothing more than the front door, with everyone shaking hands, because I’ve had a fantastic year here and I have developed well under John van den Brom. It is best if Tottenham, AZ and Vincent Janssen are all satisfied,” he told De Telegraaf.

“But AZ are blocking my dream transfer and that’s incredibly disappointing for me.

“I trust AZ will talk to Spurs. If AZ do not, despite the offered amount and Spurs drop out, then that is a blow to me.

“I’m not one to make a quick war, but how I will react, I do not know. I assume that AZ realises that a transfer for everyone is for the best.”

Janssen has also criticised AZ for commanding a higher fee and believes the €17m asking price being demanded is “ridiculous”.

”That was the asking price. Apparently, AZ has a much higher amount in mind,” said the striker.

“AZ refuses even to reveal the price that would allow me to leave. I find that frustrating because it relates to me.

“But remember that my team-mates and I have achieved results together which AZ financially reaped the benefits from. The amount they want from Spurs is ridiculous.”

Belgium need to win Euro 2016 to save Premier League's reputation

After England’s embarrassing exit against Iceland, Marc Wilmots’ men and quarter-final opponents Wales are the only two teams with players primarily based in the UK


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It is a perennial debate: which is the best league in Europe? Recent results in continental competition suggest La Liga is way out in front, while the Premier League has been dubbed as overrated once again following England’s calamitous exit from Euro 2016. And there is now only one team that can save its reputation: Belgium.

Spanish sides have dominated in European club football, with Sevilla winning the last three Europa Leagues and Real Madrid and Barcelona between them claiming the last three Champions League crowns. In total, 47 of the last 51 ties involving teams from La Liga and elsehwere have been won by the Spanish representatives. 

So even though Spain may have left this tournament early, their league still leads they way. Not least because most of the world’s finest footballers – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Gareth Bale, Sergio Busquets, Antoine Griezmann and Luka Modric among them – all ply their trade in the Primera Division. 

At Euro 2016, Dmitri Payet and N’Golo Kante (both based in the Premier League) have made their mark for France, but the majority of the top performers come from the Spanish and Italian leagues. Belgium, though, could change that.

Marc Wilmots’ squad is made up of 11 players currently in England: Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Tottenham trio Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen, Liverpool three Christian Benteke, Divock Origi and Simon Mignolet, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini.

On top of that, Marseille forward Michy Batshuayi is on the verge of signing for Chelsea as well, which would mean over half of Belgium’s roster is made of Premier League players.

Ironically, Belgium now face the other team in this tournament comprised mainly of English-based players: Wales. Because although Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is their star man, the vast majority of the players in Chris Coleman’s squad turn out for teams in the Premier League.

Wales have come further than many expected already, but they will be hopeful of beaing Belgium and advancing to the last four –  a result that would be their best ever after their 1958 generation reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup before losing to eventual winners Brazil.

For Belgium, meanwhile, this is a chance to show they can cut it on the biggest stage of all after the disappointment of losing to Argentina at the 2014 World Cup.

Back then, there was the sensation that more could have been done to stay in the competition and, as the side ranked second in the world this time around, Wilmots’ men need to go all the way to the final and maybe even win the tournament altogether to cement their reputation – and also to save that of the Premier League at Euro 2016 this month.

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Ronaldo: Retiring Messi has abandoned us

The Brazil legend is willing for his fellow South American forward to take back his shock decision to never play again for Argentina


World Cup winner and Brazil legend Ronaldo feels “abandoned” by Lionel Messi and hopes he reneges on his retirement from international football.

The Barcelona forward, 29, lost his third major final with Argentina in as many years last Sunday when Chile won the Copa America Centenario final on penalties.

Messi, having missed a spot kick in the shootout, stunned the world in the aftermath by revealing he would never again play for Argentina, triggering a slew of people – including Diego Maradona and the country’s own president – publicly pleading with him to reconsider.

Ronaldo, who himself lost World Cup and Copa America finals before going on to win both, sympathises with Messi but, like most self-respecting football fans, is praying for a change of heart.

“It is an extremely personal choice for Messi and we have to respect,” Ronaldo told China’s official Xinhua news agency.

“We all feel abandoned by Messi and hope he can change his decision.”

With World Cup 2018 qualification already under way and Argentina far from comfortable in the South American standings, there are fears that a team shorn of Messi could fail to qualify for the finals in Russia.

Messi retreated to Rosario, Argentina after the painful defeat to Chile on US soil and is now holidaying with his family as he rebuilds mentally and physically for a new season at Camp Nou.

In stark contrast, Messi’s arch-rival at Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo, experienced spot kick euphoria on Thursday as he converted Portugal’s first effort in their Euro 2016 quarter-final penalty shootout win over Poland.

Next week Ronaldo will experience his third European Championship semi-final, having won one (2004) and lost one (2012) in his career, as he searches for his first taste of international silverware.

Alexis Sanchez's horror ankle injury looks even worse three days later!

The Chile star posted a gruesome update of the problem he picked up in the Copa America final against Argentina and insists he is feeling better despite the shocking images


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Arsenal fans worried about the injury Alexis Sanchez picked up in his side’s Copa America Centenario final against Argentina are in for an even greater shock!

A few days after the Chile star posted pictures on social media of the terrifyingly swollen ankle that he picked up just four minutes into the clash with the Albiceleste, the former Barcelona star has posted an update on his recovery and it does not seem to be going well.

Going by the picture he posted on Twitter on Thursday, it seems that his ankle is even worse than it was three days ago.

Cuarto día de mis vacaciones, encerrado en el hotel aburrido jajaja … Pero ya estoy mucho mejor.pic.twitter.com/i0KN0JBsnE

— Alexis Sánchez (@Alexis_Sanchez) June 30, 2016

The Chilean insisted that he is feeling better, however – even if it has somewhat ruined his holiday as he says he is still stuck in his hotel room.

“Fourth day of my vacation, locked in the hotel bored,” he tweeted. “But I’m much better now.”

It looks rather grim at the moment, but if he says so!

Santos praises 'immense' Ronaldo in Portugal victory

Portugal coach Fernando Santos hailed Cristiano Ronaldo after his goalless performance against Poland in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, insisting his captain does not have to score to have a good game.

Ronaldo scored Portugal’s first penalty of the shoot-out, which they won 5-3, after the sides were tied at 1-1 after 120 minutes of open play in Marseille on Thursday.

Robert Lewandowski scored the opener for Poland less than two minutes after the game started before Renato Sanches levelled just before half-time.

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And while Ronaldo did not have his best night in front of goal, Santos was full of praise for his skipper, who he said was inspirational alongside fellow Real Madrid man Pepe in defence.

“I don’t talk about Individuals but Pepe and Cristiano played an amazing game, I think people undervalue them. People focus on CR – he has to score goals, goals, goals, but he has been playing amazing, he’s an amazing captain,” he said.

“Pepe was immense. The first few mins didn’t go our way; it was an experience for our players as they have reached this stage for the first time, some of their heads are up in the clouds as they are dreaming about what’s happened.

“We got our feet back on the ground and we managed to play our type of football.”

Goalscorer Sanches, who showed maturity beyond his 19 years to coolly slot his team’s second penalty, also came in for high praise.

“Renato played a great game, he still has a lot to offer, he’s still growing, the Renato Sanches you saw today is not the finished article, he will be better in the future,” he said.

“I said the same thing about Ricardo Carvalho when he was 18. Renato is still growing, he’ll have to take all his qualities, put it all on the pitch and it’s my job to help him. He’s an amazing player, when he gets older he’ll come into his own.”