EPL

Digne takes aim at Everton boss Benitez ahead of Villa move

By Sports Desk January 12, 2022

Lucas Digne appeared to aim a parting shot at Everton boss Rafael Benitez ahead of his move to Aston Villa, stating "sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair".

Digne is on his way out of the Toffees to join Premier League rivals Villa in a deal reportedly worth up to £25million.

The France left-back has fallen out of favour since Benitez arrived at Goodison Park and the Everton manager last week accused Digne of putting his own interests ahead of the team.

Benitez said: "I have had a couple of conversations with him, he told me what he thought. What do you expect a manager to do when a player tells a manager he doesn’t want to be here?

"I think he was very clear. I want to ask a question to any fan or former player, what [former Everton player] Peter Reid will say if a player doesn't want to be here? He told me what he thought, so what do you expect the manager to do?

"I have no explanation. We are professionals, we are paid big money to do our job. In modern football, maybe the priorities have changed and people think about themselves ahead of the team."

Digne took to Instagram on Wednesday to express his gratitude to Everton fans and made it clear he could no longer work with former Liverpool manager Benitez.

He posted: "Only one year ago I signed a new contract with the ambition of staying in this club for a long time, giving everything for my club, for the development and project, that I believed in – and for the passionate fans.

"My dream was helping the club back to where it belongs. Wearing the captain's armband in some matches always made me proud.

"Everything must come to an end. I just did not expect it to end this way.

"What has happened and some things that was said about me in the last month has made me very sad. But I will not enter a war of words with anyone.

"The club doesn't deserve that, the fans don't deserve that – and to be honest, I don't feel that I deserve that.

"There are so many good and decent people in and around Everton who want the best for this club and not only for themself – and to them I can only say from my heart: I wish you the best!

"Thank you, to all the wonderful, proud and passionate true Evertonians. It has been an honour and a true pleasure to play for you, the fans, the people – because a club does not belong to a player or a manager, but to the fans. I will always carry you with me in my heart wherever I go.

"Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair."

Related items

  • Page sacked as Wales manager Page sacked as Wales manager

    Wales have sacked manager Rob Page following the country's failure to qualify for Euro 2024.

    The 49-year-old was initially given the job on an interim basis in November 2020, taking over from Ryan Giggs, before being appointed permanently in September 2022.

    Page took charge of 45 games for the national team, winning 15 of those matches.

    He oversaw the team at two major tournaments, reaching the round of 16 at Euro 2020, and led Wales to the World Cup for the first time in 64 years, though they exited in the group stage after earning only one point.

    Wales were agonisingly short of qualifying for a third consecutive European Championships, losing on penalties to Poland in their play-off final in March.

    Despite being backed by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) following that result, Page then came under heavy criticism following a goalless draw with minnows Gibraltar and a 4-0 thrashing by Slovakia in their June friendlies, leading to his contract being terminated.

  • Romeu named new head coach of Barcelona Femeni Romeu named new head coach of Barcelona Femeni

    Barcelona have announced Pere Romeu as their new head coach following Jonatan Giraldez's departure.

    Romeu, who was an assistant coach at the club in the last three seasons, has signed a two-year contract until 2026.

    The 30-year-old takes over following a successful season for Barcelona in which they won the quadruple, lifting the Champions League, Liga F, Copa de la Reina and the Supercopa de Espana Femenia.

    Giraldez had confirmed in December 2023 that he would be leaving the club at the end of the campaign, and it was announced in January he would be joining NWSL club Washington Spirit.

    "I have been with the team for three seasons, and I know their day-to-day life. I'm 100 per cent ready," Romeu said in his first interview as head coach.

    Romeu coached in Barcelona men's youth set-up between 2017 and 2020 before joining Romanian side Viitorul Constanta as an assistant coach before making the move back to Catalonia to join Barcelona Femeni in 2021.

  • Italy fortunate to only lose by one, concedes Spalletti Italy fortunate to only lose by one, concedes Spalletti

    Italy boss Luciano Spalletti conceded the Azzurri were never in their Euro 2024 game against Spain and felt the defending champions were fortunate not to lose by more than a one-goal margin.

    Riccardo Calafiori's second-half own goal made the difference as Spain defeated Italy 1-0 in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday.

    The defender became the first Italy player to ever put through his own net in a European Championship match and a poor loss left the Azzurri with work still to do to secure progression from Group B.

    Spain fired off 20 shots to Italy's four, also creating 1.9 expected goals (xG) to the Azzurri's 0.18 and enjoying 57.2 per cent of the possession, with La Roja clinching their place in the knockout rounds.

    Spalletti was honest in his post-match assessment, with a huge clash against Croatia in Leipzig to follow on Monday.

    "It is a result they [Spain] deserved and beyond the one-goal difference," Spalletti told reporters.

    "They deserved to win it and we were never in the game

    "Besides the final 20 minutes of the match we were never able to create situations which would allow us to actually compete against a brand of football of this level.

    "They caused us problems larger than the scoreline suggested, let’s not beat around the bush. 

    "Spain were a team on the night and we were not able to be a team."

    If they are to lift more silverware in Berlin next month, Italy will need a dramatic improvement, as attempting just four shots in the match meant it was their fewest on record (since 1980) in any Euros game.

    By contrast Spain, who were drawn into what many believed to be the toughest group at the tournament, have  made light work of some difficult opponents, thrashing Croatia 3-0 before comfortably overcoming Italy.

    They have clinched top spot in Group B with a game to spare, while Italy are second on three points, two clear of Croatia and Albania going into the final round of games.

    Finding a way to increase his players' energy levels was on Spalletti's mind going into the clash with Zlatko Dalic's side.

    Spalletti added: "Maybe I needed to give them more rest, I probably need to give them more days off.

    "We gave them a day and a half off in terms of rest and we saw that was the right decision in terms of our data.

    "But there was too much of a gulf, we were constantly stretched, we probably didn't recover very well in terms of just how demanding and important the [start of the] tournament was itself, because there was too much of a gulf in terms of sharpness and freshness.

    "You can't necessarily talk about anything else, overall. If you don't have the same stamina as the opposition, obviously you can't do things with the same reactivity, the same speed of reaction."

    If Italy are able to secure second place in Group B, they will face the runners-up in Group A, a position currently held by Switzerland, in the last 16.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.