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When goals come from the stands – Juan Mata

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Hi everyone,

I guess that you’ll be more up for reading this post than you were a week ago… It’s only normal, it’s the same for me writing it. Saturday’s win was special, without doubt, not only for how important it was but also for how it came about.

As you’re all aware, the situation was dire. We were 2-0 down early on and Newcastle were creating chances. A come back seemed a long way off. Not because scoring two or three goals was impossible, as we showed, but due to how we were feeling in that first half… However, in the second half we gave all that we had. From pushing on, courage and our football, we turned the scoreline around.

Thanks to all of this and the incredible support of our fans, of course, we were pushed towards the three points. The energy and lift that the fans gave us was key to taking the win. In the dying minutes, above all, Old Trafford transformed into the kind of stadium that every other one in the world wants to be, a stadium where goals can be scored from the stands too. It was really amazing to be able to feel that from the pitch itself. In those moments, you realise just how special our fans are. You all deserved the result from that game.

On a personal level, obviously it was important to score the first goal, the one that got us back into the game and made us believe in the chance of a comeback. It was a free kick, something which isn’t new to me (they have told me that since I’ve arrived in the Premier League, nobody has scored more goals from direct free kicks) and therefore sometimes I ask to take them. I believe that there are three key factors when it is time to take a free kick: practice (something that I really enjoy during training), concentration (in order to focus on striking the ball well) and confidence (to believe that it is going to end in a goal). After that, obviously it doesn’t always go in… but luckily on Saturday it did.

Carrying on with free kicks… I am sure that many of you are pretty good at taking them on FIFA 19 already, right? Well, I invite you all to find out more about Common Goal and join our movement through the game itself. Alex Hunter, the virtual star of FIFA, already has done, and his support won’t just stay on the screen… EA Sports have joined the Common Goal team to help the movement out financially too. It is great news, and more will be coming soon… keep an eye out!

Hugs, and I hope that you all have a good week,

Juan

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Odion Ighalo shares throwback Photos

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AFCON Qualifiers: Ighalo tops 24-man list of invited players for Seychelles tie

 

Super Eagles player, Odion Ighalo has shared his throwback photos, revealing his journey in football. Ighalo while posting the photos said, he has paid his dues.

Ighalo is the top scorer in the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

The Changchun Yatai player is the leading top scorer ahead of the tournament scheduled for Cameroon in 2019.

 

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Juventus forced me to leave

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Juventus forced me to leave

AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain said he was treated very well by Juventus — right until the moment they forced him out of the club to make way for Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Argentine moved to Milan on loan in August after two seasons at Juventus, where he won two Serie A and Coppa Italia titles.

Higuain also scored 55 goals in 105 appearances in all competitions.

His departure, which he said was not his decision, came shortly after the Turin side signed five-times world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.

Higuain, in an interview published on Thursday, said he felt something was amiss when he was left on the bench for the Coppa Italia final against AC Milan in May.

“That day, I had the feeling inside me that maybe something had broken down. And then they signed Ronaldo,” he said.

“The decision to leave was not mine. I gave everything for Juventus, I won several titles, after which Cristiano arrived.

“The club wanted to make a leap in quality and they told me that I could not stay and that they were trying to find a solution. The best solution was Milan“.

Still, Higuain said there were no hard feelings.

“Mine is a feeling of affection because they treated me very well,” he added. “Companions and supporters have given me huge affection. But I did not ask to leave. Basically, everyone says it, they sent me away.”

Higuain, who will take part in his first derby against Inter Milan on Sunday, has scored four goals in his first nine games for Milan.

“Milan have given me something more after a World Cup which wasn’t great,” he said. “I found what I was looking for.”

(Reuters/NAN)

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World number one, Halep, withdraws from WTA Finals

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World number one, Halep, withdraws from WTA Finals

World number one, Simona Halep, on Thursday pulled out of next week’s World Tennis Association (WTA) finals due to a lower back injury.

“It’s always difficult to withdraw from a big tournament. Actually, I think it’s the first time in my life. So it was a tough decision but it’s better for my health.

“My back is not OK. I didn’t practice for the last four weeks. I’m not ready to compete at this level and I’m still sore. It’s not easy to go on court and compete at this moment.

“The decision was tough for sure,” the 27-year-old Romanian said on her verified Twitter account of an injury sustained during training ahead of the Wuhan Open last month and later diagnosed as a herniated disc.

Halep has enjoyed a stellar season, which saw her reach the Australian Open final before winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open.

“I wanted to finish 2018 on a high after such an incredible year, but sadly my back injury hasn’t healed the way we hoped it would and I need to put my long-term health first.

“I’m sad I won’t be able to play the fifth and final edition in Singapore, but I’m confident this is the right decision and will do everything I can to be back fighting my place at the WTA Finals next year.

“Singapore is a special city and I’m sure the fans will enjoy seeing some fantastic women’s tennis this week,” she added.

Despite withdrawing from Singapore, Halep is guaranteed to end 2018 as world number one for the second year in a row.

In her absence, Kiki Bertens, who finished ninth in the Race to Singapore standings, will be making her WTA Finals debut in the last version of the tournament in Singapore after a five year run in Southeast Asia.
The 26-year-old will be first Dutchwoman to compete at the season-ending showpiece in more than 20 years, since Brenda Schultz-McCarthy lost in the first round in 1997.

Bertens has won three tournaments this season, including a victory over Halep to claim the Cincinnati Masters title.

Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina have also qualified for the $7 million event which will move to Shenzhen next year.

(Reuters/NAN)

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