France, the defending champions of the FIFA WC announced their 25 member squad.
Despite Raphael Varane’s recent injury issues, France head coach Didier Deschamps included him and 36-year-old striker Olivier Giroud to the World Cup roster on Wednesday. For the tournament in Qatar, where France will try to become the first side to successfully defend its World Cup title since Brazil in 1962, Deschamps chose 25 players out of a possible 26.
Eleven players from the group that won the championship in 2018 are back, including Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Hugo Lloris, and backup goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.
The 2014 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema will play in his first World Cup match since 2014 after missing several Real Madrid games this season due to injuries. Due to his involvement in the NSFW tape blackmail controversy involving Mathieu Valbuena and other members of his international team, Benzema was banned from the France team for five and a half years.
Presnel Kimpembe, a center back for Paris Saint-Germain, was chosen despite having only five appearances since the beginning of September due to thigh and Achilles issues.
By the time Varane returns to action on November 22, when France takes on Australia in their World Cup opener, he will have missed a month of action.
With William Saliba, Dayot Upamecano, Jules Kounde, and Ibrahima Konate on the team, Deschamps has a lot of options for cover in the center of the defense. Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard can also step in.
Mike Maignan, the injured calf of AC Milan’s goalie, was replaced by Mandanda, 37.
Due to the absence of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot are the likely starting for France in the midfield.
Youssouf Fofana of Monaco, Eduardo Camavinga of Real Madrid, Jordan Veretout and Matteo Guendouzi of Marseille, and others will assist them.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Steve Mandanda (Rennes/FRA), Alphonse Areola (West Ham United/ENG)
Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich/GER), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan/ITA), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool/ENG), Jules Kounde (Barcelona/ESP), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich/GER), William Saliba (Arsenal/ENG), Raphael Varane (Manchester United/ENG), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich/GER)
Midfielders: Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid/ESP), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus/ITA), Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid/ESP), Jordan Veretout (Marseille)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich/GER), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona/ESP), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan/ITA), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig/GER)
WATCH: Cristiano Ronaldo storms off pitch after throwing his runner’s-up medal into stands
Cristiano Ronaldo and his AL-Nassr side lost the Riyadh Cup to AL Hilal on Saturday. It was a clinical performance from the Al-Hilal side as they won the match 2-0. It was a frustrating night for the Portugal legend as he was heckled by the fans in the crowd.
The cameras panned to Cristiano Ronaldo who was swarmed by his teammates. There were chants cheering on Lionel Messi from the stands. Already peeved after losing the game, Ronaldo lost his cool and threw his medal at the fans.
Watch the video here:
Ronaldo thought he was getting player of the Match/tournament and then left the pitch furiously because he lost both trophies to savic and mitrovic lol 😭pic.twitter.com/1kk5fH4VH5
— ACE (fan) (@FCB_ACEE) February 9, 2024
During the game, Ronaldo was seen showing disgraceful actions towards the AL-Hilal fans. A scarf which was thrown his way saw the Portugal superstar rub it in the most inappropriate area. The 39-year-old earned the ire of the fans after this incident came to light.
AL-Hilal down AL-Nassr to win Riyadh Cup 2024 –
The 2024 Riyadh Cup final saw some amazing football being played. Cristiano Ronaldo was all smiles as WWE Superstar The Undertaker came out to place the trophy. Once the action began it was an end-to-end encounter as both teams went hard at goal.
Serbian star Sergej-Milinkovic Savic opened the scoring in the 17th minute of the game. It was two-nil 13 minutes later as Salem Aldaswari scored an amazing goal. That was the end of the contest despite an hour left in the game to be played.
There was no way back for the Al Nassr side as they looked clueless in front of goal. Not many chances were created by Ronaldo and his team. Al Hilal’s defense held their own against a rampaging Al Nassr side in the last few minutes.
There was pandemonium in the stands as the final whistle was sounded and the Al Hilal fans celebrated. There was a chorus of Messi chants which visibly irked Ronaldo at the end of the game.
Ever since his move from Manchester United in late 2022, Cristiano Ronaldo has changed Saudi Football. The likes of Karim Benzema and N Golo Kante are currently playing in the Saudi Pro League. AL Hilal themselves signed noted Brazilian sensation Neymar who sic out injured. With the veteran star in the twilight of his career, this kind of behaviour is least expected from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sandeep Lamichhane convicted of molestation, jailed for eight years
Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane has been convicted of raping a 17-year-old in 2022. During the case, he kept playing for the team, notably during the Asia Cup 2023 and ODI World Cup qualifier in June last year. After the case was filed, he was playing for eventual winners, Jamaica Tallawahs. The leg-spinner was released from the team and was taken into custody.
“I know I am facing a difficult time of conspiracy and wrongful allegation and the ramification of its effect is something unimaginable. I am sure there must be some mechanism of compensating to the accused who proven to be innocent in our legal system,” he wrote. “I will soon seek legal support against wrongful prosecution and allegation made against me and I am sure I will get the justice and will return to the cricket ground soon to make the name and fame of my beloved country and I pray for speedy trial.”
After landing home, the former Delhi Capitals player claimed that the allegations made against him were baseless.
“All these things affected me mentally on one hand and on the other hand, I had to go through illness, and due to mental stress and ill health I kept myself in isolation. I have been mentally and physically affected by the portrayal and I have reached a state of imbalance and I have been bringing myself back to a normal state under the advice of doctors. My health is gradually improving, and I am planning to return to Nepal as soon as possible to defend against the false complaint against me,” the leggie wrote on Facebook in September 2022.
Talking about the current status, the bench also slapped him with a fine of Rs 300,000 (USD 2255 approx) and ordered him to pay Rs 200,000 (USD 1500 approx) in compensation to the victim. Lamichhane’s lawyer, Saroj Ghimire, told AFP that he “will appeal the decision in a higher court.”
Sandeep Lamichhane’s career at a glance
He is the first Nepal player to play in IPL, PSL, CPL, and several other leagues. He made his international debut at the age of 18
WATCH: Gautam Gambhir makes endearing comment while answering question related to Virat Kohli
Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir is believed to have a personal dislike for former India skipper Virat Kohli. Over the years, Gambhir has been critical of the 2008 U19 World Cup-winning captain on a lot of issues. Not to forget, Gambhir has been vocal about not the media should be worshipping individual players.
During a talk show on Star Sports, the two-time World Cup winner was asked about the bowler Kohli faced while completing his 50th ODI hundred. As Gambhir gave the right answer, he also mentioned that his rivalry is with Kohli which stays on the field only.
Watch the video here
Kohli 🤝 Gambhir
That smile at the end tho 😄pic.twitter.com/jSXz2xFUE6
— Ishan Joshi (@ishanjoshii) December 23, 2023
Gambhir then smilingly went on to add:
“Ye aap baar baar dikhana, mujhe sab kuch yaad rehta hai. Ladai meri sirf on the field hai (Please show this clip again and again, I remember everything. My fight is only on the field)”
I want Virat Kohli to bat with the same intent he is known for: Gautam Gambhir
In another conversation. Gambhir said that Kohli must bat the same way against South Africa in the two-match Test series the way he does. Notably, the latter won’t play the practice game as he has come back to India for personal reasons. However, the right-hander will be available for the series.
“It will be in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma’s minds that Shreyas Iyer, who is on his first tour, will be batting after Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul, if he plays, will be playing as a wicketkeeper for the first time. However, I want Virat Kohli to bat with the same intent he is known for.”
India’s squad for Tests: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Prasidh Krishna, KS Bharat (wk)
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