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COVID-19: UEFA Still Confident Of Hosting Champions League In Lisbon

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UEFA insists there is “no reason to prepare a Plan B” for the final eight of the Champions League in Lisbon despite Portuguese authorities reintroducing restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“We hope everything will be fine and that it will be possible to organise the tournament in Portugal. For the moment there is no reason to prepare a Plan B,” a UEFA spokesperson told AFP.

The spokesperson added that European football’s governing body is in “constant contact with the Portuguese Football Federation and the local authorities”.

UEFA announced earlier this month that the latter stages of the Champions League would be staged exceptionally as a straight knockout competition from the quarter-finals onwards with all matches in Lisbon.

Earlier this month, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “For now things look well, and we hope everything will be fine until we organise the final eight.”

He added: “We are assessing the situation, not week by week but day by day, and we will adapt when the time comes, if necessary.”

Portugal had not suffered to the same extent as other western European countries during the pandemic but last week Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced that some coronavirus restrictions would be reimposed in and around the capital to help control fresh outbreaks.

From Wednesday, 19 neighbourhoods on the northern edges of Lisbon will go back into lockdown.

Gatherings will be limited to a maximum of five people in these areas, compared to 10 people in the wider Lisbon area and 20 people across the rest of Portugal.

The final eight is due, to begin with the first quarter-final on August 12, with the final scheduled for August 23.

Matches will be played at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz and the nearby Estadio Jose Alvalade, home of Sporting.

Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Atalanta all qualified for the quarter-finals before the competition was suspended in March.

The remaining last 16, second legs are Juventus v Lyon; Manchester City v Real Madrid; Bayern Munich v Chelsea and Barcelona v Napoli.

It is hoped those matches — set for August 7 and 8 — will not need to be played on neutral ground but they could also be moved to Portugal, with UEFA standing by to spread the matches around the country, in Lisbon as well as in the northern cities of Porto and Guimaraes.

Ceferin has admitted that it is unlikely any of the matches will be played in front of crowds but said UEFA would re-assess the situation in July.

(AFP)

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Former Senegalese Footballer, Papa Diop Dies At 42

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Former Senegalese International, Papa Bouba Diop has died at the age of 42, according to reports. Canal+. The former Fulham and Portsmouth midfielder passed away following a long illness.

Diop also represented West Ham and Birmingham in England, as well as winning 63 caps for his country Senegal.

Diop retired from professional football in 2013 after leaving Birmingham.

He started his career at Senegalese club ASC Diaraf in 1996 and had spells in Switzerland with Vevey, Neuchatel Xamax and Grasshoppers.

Diop moved to France to play for Lens in 2002 before he joined Fulham in 2004.

He spent three years at Craven Cottage, scoring nine goals in 84 appearances, before his switch to Portsmouth in 2007.

He was part of the Pompey side that won the 2008 FA Cup, coming on as a 78th minute substitute in the 1-0 win over Cardiff.

Diop played 72 times for Portsmouth before leaving to join AEK Athens.

He only had a brief spell at AEK between 2010 and 2011 before moving back to England with West Ham in 2011.

Diop’s international career began in 2001 and he played for his country at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

He will be remembered for scoring the goal to beat defending champions France 1-0 in the first game of the tournament.

Tributes have flooded in for the former midfielder.

Lens posted a message on their Twitter account shortly after the news of Diop’s death.

The tweet read: “It is with great sadness that Racing Club de Lens has just learned of the disappearance of its former player Papa Bouba Diop, at the age of 42.

“We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted: “How terribly sad. Taken so young. RIP Papa Bouba Diop.”

(SOURCE: Express UK)

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Maradona No Longer Wanted To Live, Says Manager

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Diego Armando Maradona’s manager and friend, Stefano Ceci, said the legend ‘was tired and let himself die’ while the family around him was ‘tearing each other’s hair out.’
The Napoli and Argentina icon died on Wednesday at the age of 60 after numerous health problems and addictions that ravaged his life and career.
“There’s an investigation into Diego’s death and people now point the finger at what could’ve been done, but that’s a concept that should be extended to his entire life,” manager Stefano Ceci told Radio Kiss Kiss.
“Diego was always alone: people only ever thought about Maradona. Diego stopped being Diego when he turned 17. He was very difficult to deal with as a person, because he was fragile, full of insecurities, humble and good-natured. I have 20 years of wonderful memories.
“Recently he was letting himself go, physically and mentally. I think he was tired and let himself die, he no longer really wanted to live.
“The family chaos that surrounded Diego meant he never had real peace. Even now that he’s dead, they are still tearing each other’s hair out.
“At least now he can be with those he loved the most, his mother and father. Now Diego is in peace.”
Maradona was buried next to his parents in Buenos Aires.

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Football Legend, Maradona Is Dead 

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Football legend Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60 as a result of cardiac arrest.
He recently underwent an operation to remove a blood clot on his brain on October 30.
Mirror reports that the Gimnasia boss fell unwell after his side beat Patronato 3-0 and was taken to hospital in La Plata, near the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.
Scans discovered a subdural hemetoma, requiring Maradona to undergo immediate surgery to remove the problem before being sent home to continue his recovery.
Reports in Argentina say Maradona was showing signs of recovery, but the 60-year-old then suffered a cardiac arrest and has passed away.
A tweet by the Argentine Football Association through its President Claudio Tapia, expressed its deepest pain at Maradona’s death saying he will always be in their hearts.
Gary Lineker referred to Maradona as “arguably the greatest of all time”.
Lineker tweeted: “By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time. After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God.”

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