“We took it a bit as a joke and…in the locker room we started putting ‘Messi’, ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’. We were sh*tting ourselves.” Zabaleta, who left City for West Ham in 2017, is nearing retirement from club football and admits the coronavirus pandemic may accelerate those plans. “I think about it every day. I wake up thinking, ‘Is this what awaits me after retirement?’ Now, somehow, we’ll go back to training and we will see. But it’s all still uncertain,” he said. “I had even come to think, at the end of this season, to give myself the joy of playing one more season in another league, perhaps in Italy, but now I don’t know. read also:Ex-Man City Nasri blames LA clinic for doping ban “The chances are you won’t play in front of a crowd, so what motivation could I have left? Why go to Italy if mythical stadiums like the Olimpico in Rome or San Siro will be closed?” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Loading… Promoted ContentTop 8 Best Looking US First Ladies EverBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For Them6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A Drone8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its Growth7 Truly Incredible Facts About Black Holes7 Things That Actually Ruin Your PhoneWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A TattooA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic BombsBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever MadeWho Earns More Than Ronaldo?7 Black Hole Facts That Will Change Your View Of The Universe Pablo Zabaleta revealed Manchester City players were putting Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo up in the locker room after being taken over in 2008. Barcelona’s Messi and Juventus Ronaldo tipped to break Rooney’s record at Old Trafford Zabaleta joined City from Espanyol in that year as the Abu Dhabi United Group took over the club, leading to big spending by the Premier League outfit. The full-back said City players were preparing to welcome Barcelona star Messi and Ronaldo to the club. “Ten days after my arrival, the purchase of the club by the people of Abu Dhabi is executed,” Zabaleta told La Nacion. “Four days later, they invest £40 million for Robinho and there I said, ‘Now what do I do? I’m going to last six months here.’Advertisement
Lookman came on in stoppage time of Everton’s 4-0 win over Manchester City on Sunday to score the fourth goal after capitalising on a mistake from John Stones despite being on the pitch for just for minutes.The £7.5m signing from Charlton was delighted with his performance and said afterward: “The gaffer just said ‘play behind Rom. I was lucky to anticipate the ball and put it in the back of the net. My first premier league goal, this is my chance to score it – and I took it well.”With his goal-scoring debut for Everton, 19-year-old Lookman is already dreaming beyond the Toffees. “One day I want to win trophies. Of course I want to play at the highest level – whether in England or Spain, I want to be at the top. You have teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid. As a kid, I dreamt of playing for one of those teams,” he said. When Everton poached Leicester’s head of recruitment Steve Walsh in the summer, it was easy to understand the logic. The 52-year-old’s reputation had hit new heights after he unearthed Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante to inspire Leicester’s title triumph, and Everton were eager to apply the same expertise at Goodison Park.Idrissa Gueye, Yannick Bolasie and Ashley Williams were the headline arrivals in Walsh’s first transfer window as Everton’s director of football. Penultimate week, they began their January spending with a less familiar addition, when Lookman arrived from Charlton as a little-known teenager with no Premier League experience. At £10m, he is the most expensive ever signing from League One.The fee reflects just how highly he is regarded by Everton. A rapid rise into Charlton’s first team convinced Walsh that the speedy, skillful little forward could be the next breakout star from the lower leagues, and Ronald Koeman has already described him as an important part of his long-term vision for the club.Like many of Walsh’s best signings, Lookman has had an unconventional route to the top. The jump from League One to Premier League has drawn parallels with Dele Alli’s move to Tottenham, but while Alli was on MK Dons’ books from the age of 11, Lookman did not set foot in a professional academy until he was 16. Charlton U21 coach and former Wimbledon striker, Jason Euell remembers how Lookman came to the club’s attention. “It was right at the end of the U-16 year in 2014,” he tells Sky Sports. “The majority of scholarship decisions had already been made, but every year our U-16s play a game against Inner London, an FA side for the best players in South London.”Charlton had received a tip-off about Lookman. The youngster was playing what Euell describes as “innocent Sunday football” for an amateur team called Waterloo FC in the London borough of Lambeth, but he produced a dazzling performance for the county side in front of Charlton’s watching coaching staff.“He had no academy background at all,” says Euell. “Sometimes it can happen that a player slips through the net, but we were lucky to already have a relationship with the county and with Waterloo FC. We signed him on a scholarship straight away.”Lookman was drafted into Charlton’s U18 side during his first season at the club, scoring 17 goals in 29 appearances as they clinched both regional and national titles. It wasn’t long before Premier League clubs started to take note, but Charlton are experts in youth coaching and understood the need to be cautious with his development.“We knew the talent he had but sometimes it’s about taking your time with someone like him,” says Euell. “He had been training once or twice a week but he had to get used to every day, professional football while doing his school work. He had growing to do and he had to start a full-time weight programme, so we had to be careful with how we used him.”Lookman was eventually promoted to Euell’s U21s, and in November 2015 he made his senior debut in a 1-0 defeat to MK Dons. Charlton’s season would end in relegation to League One, but a little over a year on from playing Sunday league football, Lookman took the step up in his stride, scoring five goals in 24 appearances and landing the 2015/16 Championship Apprentice of the Year award.Lookman’s breakthrough was recognised with his first England U19 call-up last May. His outstanding attributes are his pace, dribbling and powerful finishing ability with both feet, but without any professional coaching before he joined Charlton, there were areas of his game which required extra attention.“There were a lot of things he missed out on, and that was the learning and understanding of the game,” says Euell. “Young lads always say they can play football, but then comes the tactical side of it, the game understanding and the decision-making process.“We didn’t want to stop Ademola from doing what he does because that’s what makes him special, it was just about getting him to understand when and where to do certain things. At every level, every game is different. He had to learn what was needed from him in and out of possession.”Charlton rejected an offer from Crystal Palace in the summer, but Lookman never lost focus and added seven goals in 25 appearances for Charlton in the first-half of this season. Euell chuckles as he recalls having to drag him off the training pitch at Charlton’s Sparrow’s Lane headquarters. That determination to improve should serve him well at Everton.“He’s a great character and everyone else at the training ground would say exactly the same thing,” says Euell. “He is just a humble boy who loves his football. He hates being injured and he always wants to do extra work. He just wants the ball at his feet and wants to improve. He’s one of those guys who absolutely hate losing.”Charlton manager Karl Robinson only coached Lookman for a few weeks having taken over at The Valley in November, but he described the teenager as an “incredible talent” and a “joy to work with” when the deal was confirmed. Lookman has made a positive impression on just about everyone who has known him, and he heads to Everton hoping for more of the same.“He called me up to say goodbye,” says Euell. “I said: ‘Goodbye? It’s only a see you later; you’re only going up north!’ We had a nice chat. I gave him a bit of advice and wished him well.” Lookman is still learning, but he has the talent and he has the temperament too. In his new Merseyside surroundings, he might just become Walsh’s latest success story.Former Nigerian international, Paul Okoku, is of the opinion that it would be a right decision in the right direction if the NFF should make a move to convince Lookman to don the colours of the Super Eagles.In a telephone chat with Okoku from his base in the United States, the St. Finbarrs College of Lagos graduate, who claims he has been watching the progress of Lookman from his days at Charlton Athletic, said it would not be a bad idea if the NFF starts monitoring the progress of the 19-year old from now on and try to woo him to play for Nigeria.“I think he is the kind of player that will fit into the style of the Super Eagles. I’m not saying he should just be drafted into the Super Eagles just like that. Of course, he would have to earn the national team’s shirt to justify his inclusion when the time comes. However, the federation should first try to convince him on the need to play for his fatherland and not another country,” Okuku said.The 1988 Africa Cup of Nations silver medalist is of the opinion that with the performance of Nigeria in the World Cup qualifier, it won’t be too difficult to convince Lookman as the Super Eagles is in a good stead to hoist its flag at the 2018 Mundial in Russia.“Unpalatable experiences of some Nigerians that had tried to play for England in the past are enough for any Nigerian player to think twice in their choice of country to play for. Moreover, Eagles’ dominance of their group in the World Cup qualifying rounds is enough to lure any player of Nigeria extraction to play for the country. “Also, at this time, we need young players that would play for the country for 10 or more years and dominate the world stage like what we witnessed during Clemence Westerhof’s era. That is why players such as Lookman is important to the Super Eagles’ project,” the defunct Union Bank of Lagos player said.Born as Ademola Olajade Lookman October 20, 1997, in Wandsworth, London to Nigerian parents, he attended St. Thomas the Apostle College in Peckham where he achieved three As asteriks and five As at GCSE.Lookman signed for Everton on January 5, 2017 for a fee of £7.5m rising to £11m on a four-and-a-half year contract and made his debut for the club 10 days later. He scored on his debut.He received his first international call up on May 16, 2016 being named in the England U19 squad for a double header against Mexico. He was subsequently named in the England squad for the European U19 Championships the same summerShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram From Playing on the Streets to Everton WonderkidPep Guardiola is regarded as one of the best coaches in world football, especially with the successes he recorded with FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich not only in terms of trophies but the way he transformed the clubs. But last Sunday, against Everton, the Spaniard was handed his worst defeat in his coaching career. One of the players that orchestrated Everton’s victory was Nigerian-born England Under-21, Ademola Lookman. His performance has been enjoying media attention since then. Kunle Adewale, in this report, writes about Lookman’s spectacular performance and the lad’s possibility of earning a call to the Super Eagles squad or choose to play for the Three LionsWith the attention Ademola Lookman is enjoying, it may not be too long before the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) starts making move for the England Under21 player to play for Nigeria as against the country of his birth, like the federation had done in the case of many English players with Nigerian descents. Victor Moses and recently, Alex Iwobi are good examples.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m. Each parent will have a day with the boys this weekend, Kaplan said during a short news conference after the hearing. Gordon has previously said there was evidence that Spears is a “habitual, frequent and continuous” user of drugs and alcohol, withdrew approval for her to even visit the children after finding she had failed to comply with some conditions for shared custody. He later withdrew the ban and allowed her to visit Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1 – but only in the presence of a court-approved monitor. Hours earlier, Spears arrived at the courthouse eating cheese puffs in her white Mercedes-Benz convertible and giggled when asked by reporters outside the courtroom if she was nervous. She was escorted by sheriff’s deputies and wore a black print dress and cowgirl boots. Her brown hair was lightly streaked with blonde highlights and she carried a large handbag. A bid by Britney Spears for custody of her two young sons with Kevin Federline was put on hold Friday by a court commissioner after a three-hour closed hearing, a lawyer for Federline said. Lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan said Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon was expected to issue a written ruling by next Tuesday after hearing extensive testimony on a number of issues in the case. Spears did not comment after the hearing. But during an earlier break in the proceedings, she uttered an epithet at a reporter in the hallway who asked how the proceedings were going. Attorney Sorrell Trope, who represents Spears, said “something has changed, but I can’t say what.” He said Spears was pleased, but he declined further comment. Federline arrived a few minutes after Spears, wearing a gray pinstriped suit and an earring in his right ear. Both were under court order to attend the proceedings. They were asked to stand, raise their right hands and swear to tell the truth, which they did. A few moments later, Gordon closed the hearing to the media at the request of Trope, who was expected to argue that Spears had complied with court orders and should regain the shared custody she lost earlier this month. During a morning hearing, another lawyer for Spears won a motion to bar videotaping of deposition testimony in the case. Attorney Thomas Paine Dunlap argued that video of the depositions would almost certainly wind up on YouTube. He said his celebrity client had a right to be protected from that exposure. Gordon made his ruling on that matter despite his concern that Spears is constantly courting “inordinate amounts of media,” which he said runs counter to her expressed desire for privacy. “I’m not chastising her,” Gordon said. “She’s an adult. But what I’m saying is someone who is always going to places where there is an inordinate amount of media, it doesn’t square.” Dunlap countered that the pop star was not trying to create media attention. “If she goes to Starbucks, there’s media there. If she goes shopping, there’s media there,” he said. Kaplan said his client wanted the depositions to be videotaped to preserve the demeanor of witnesses who testify during the closed sessions. After the commissioner’s ruling, Kaplan asked that experts and other parties be allowed to be present to see how witnesses responded. Gordon said he would allow two people to observe the witnesses. In preparation for the day’s proceedings, a special metal detector was installed outside the courtroom. Officials confiscated cell phones from people arriving on the floor to prevent media, attorneys and spectators from taking pictures in the courtroom. The process caused a backup of lawyers who had to empty brief cases for inspection. Dunlap complained in court that he was being forced to do things he had never done before to get into a courtroom. Gordon responded dryly, “This may be the manufacture of your client.” Outside the courthouse, about 40 members of the media gathered several hours before the afternoon hearing. A half-dozen satellite TV broadcast trucks lined the busy, downtown street. Reporters and photographers snacked and chatted, trying to figure out which of the several courthouse entrances the celebrities might use. Larry Mays, 59, stood among the crowd wearing a banner reading, “Ask Jesus to Save You Now.” He said he routinely stakes out court proceedings involving celebrities. “The cameras help me get the message out,” he said. The previous court order by Gordon was tough and unambiguous. Spears was to undergo random drug and alcohol tests and meet weekly with a parenting coach who would report back to the court about her parenting skills. Spears and Federline also were prohibited from making derogatory remarks about each other in their children’s presence and from using “corporal punishment” to discipline them. Both parents also were ordered to complete the court’s “Parenting Without Conflict” class. The custody fight has played out on a public stage, with paparazzi and celebrity Web sites reporting on the former couple’s every move – including sightings of Spears driving with her sons and a monitor in Beverly Hills.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!