Mourinho buys Afena-Gyan €800 trainers after match-winning Roma display

By Sports Desk November 22, 2021

Jose Mourinho made good on a promise to buy Felix Afena-Gyan an €800 pair of trainers after his match-winning exploits for Roma at the weekend. 

The Ghanaian 18-year-old scored a double off the bench to lead Roma to a 2-0 Serie A victory over Genoa on Sunday, ending their three-game winless streak in all competitions. 

He became the first player born since January 1, 2003 to score in the Italian top flight and the third-youngest foreigner to score at least twice in a single Serie A game. 

Afena-Gyan celebrated his first goal, which came when he slotted home Henrikh Mkhitaryan's throughball in the 82nd minute, by running over to Mourinho. 

"I promised him a very expensive pair of shoes, for 800 euros, and he came to me to make sure I didn't forget," Mourinho told broadcaster DAZN. 

"I really like his coldness, his physicality, but above all his humility." 

Afena-Gyan on Monday shared a video on Instagram of himself unboxing the new shoes in the presence of Mourinho. He included the caption: "Forever grateful Sir. I'll make you proud."

Speaking to Roma's official website after the game, Afena-Gyan said of Mourinho: "He is teaching me a lot and I am learning a lot from him. He is someone who has achieved a lot during his career and he is a great person. I am glad to be working with him. 

"He encourages me day in and day out to do everything that will help me improve in future. So I am happy to be working with Jose Mourinho. I thank him very, very much. I thank him a lot. He's a great person." 

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    Australian home hero Barty has been a hot favourite for the title since before the first ball was struck in Melbourne, and to date she has justified all the hype and expectation.

    Barty has dropped only 21 games across six matches to reach the final. Since 2000, only Serena Williams (16 games at the 2013 US Open and 19 at the 2012 US Open) and Venus Williams (20 games at Wimbledon in 2009) have lost fewer games to reach a grand slam final.

    The last player to lose fewer games en route to the final in Australia was Monica Seles in 1993 (20 games), and she went on to beat Steffi Graf in a title match that went to three sets.

    This is the level Barty is at now, as an established world number one and reigning Wimbledon champion, and a Collins victory on Saturday would be a major upset.

    Yet Barty sees the 28-year-old American as a major threat, and the evidence of Collins' destructive performance against seventh seed Iga Swiatek in Thursday's second semi-final attests to that.

    Collins won 6-4 6-1 and hit 27 winners and only 13 unforced errors, securing a place in her first slam final.

    "She's an exceptional ball striker," said Barty. "She's someone who stands on the baseline and can hit all spots of the court from any position. I think the challenge is going to be trying to get her off balance.

    "We'll do our homework and try to figure out a plan, and come Saturday try and execute. Danielle's done incredibly well here in Australia before. The way she's able to control the baseline and really take the game on, she's one of the most fierce competitors out here.

    "She loves to get in your face and loves to take it on. It's going to be a challenge for me to try to neutralise as best as I can, but it's certainly nice to see her out here playing her best stuff."

    Working out a strategy for the match, alongside Barty, will be veteran coach Craig Tyzzer. Barty trusts him implicitly to get the plan right.

    "'Tyzze' is a magician; he's able to look at a lot of different matches, look at key matches, some recent and some old, and work our plan out in looking at different conditions and things like that," Barty said in a news conference after her thumping 6-1 6-3 semi-final win against Madison Keys.

    "He's the man that does all the work. I just get to go out there and have fun with it."

    Barty is understating her role there, but she has turned singles into a team game, relying on the likes of Tyzzer and mindset coach Ben Crowe to steer her on the right path.

    She is attempting to become the first Australian player to win this title since Chris O'Neil in 1978, so the pressure is on, and it helps that those around her help to relieve the stress.

    "Everyone is equally important. We're all equal, we all play our roles," Barty said. "The most amazing thing is we all communicate really well together and get along with each other and know when it's time to back off, relax, and then when it's time to switch on and really have a crack.

    "'Tyzze' has been a massive part of my life since 2016. Before that, we'd done some work together, but the work he's done in setting up an amazing group of people around us has propelled my career for both of us. The experiences we've been able to share has been remarkable.

    "It starts with my family, my sisters, obviously my professional team who contribute as much time and energy into my career and help me try and live out my dreams. I cannot thank them enough for the time and effort they put in to someone else.

    "Being able to enjoy it all together and lighten up when we're not focused on the match is a really important part of that."

    Barty's first serve has been a huge weapon, while Collins' return of the second serve has been a significant factor behind her run. So if Barty can land enough first serves on Saturday, that could prove telling. It has helped her to save 13 of 14 break points so far in this tournament.

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    Barty ranks ninth on that list but is the leader on winning points when landing a first serve, achieving an 83 per cent success rate.

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    Erling Haaland has revealed he studies Jamie Vardy's game closely as he believes the Leicester City striker is "maybe the best in the world" at running in behind defenders.

    Borussia Dortmund star Haaland has become one of the most sought-after players in world football after scoring 80 goals in 79 games during his two years at the Bundesliga club.

    That is a tally bettered only by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (107) – who has played 11 more games – among players from teams in Europe's top five leagues.

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    Of the 80 goals scored by Haaland for Dortmund, 64 have come via his left foot, nine with his right and the other seven from headers.

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    The 39-year-old's comments around the Steelers' Wild Card Round defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs made clear his time with his only professional team was over and appeared to hint at the end of his career.

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    "I retire from football a truly grateful man."

    Roethlisberger was a two-time champion in Pittsburgh, leading the Steelers to glory at Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII. They also made Super Bowl XLV, losing to the Green Bay Packers.

    The 11th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Roethlisberger won the Steelers starting job in Week 3 of his rookie season and never looked back.

    He made 247 QB starts, the fifth-most of all time, with all of those coming as a Steeler.

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