Valencia have reported death threats made to president Anil Murthy to the police.

Murthy, members of his family and employees at the LaLiga club have also been targeted by fans.

Valencia revealed back in October 2019 that the club had informed police of death threats made to Murthy.

With Jose Bordalas' side 11th in LaLiga and losing to Real Betis on penalties in the Copa del Rey final, supporters are alleged to have crossed the line again.

A club statement said: "Valencia CF, through the club's legal services, are compiling all death threats, insults and other actions against president Anil Murthy, his relatives and club employees.

"This Wednesday morning, these actions have been reported to the police, and in the coming days an update of the complaint will be carried out, including reporting demonstrations of hatred and threats of acts of violence carried out on social networks.

"This type of behaviour is not acceptable in society, it does not represent any of the values of Valencia CF and may lead to legal consequences."

The club earlier this month called on their supporters to respect Bordalas as they condemned "the harassment" of the coach and his players.

Bordalas was appointed as Valencia before the start of the 2021-22 campaign, just two days after departing Getafe following a successful five-season spell.

The 58-year-old was chosen by Valencia owner Peter Lim as the successor to Javi Gracia, who became the 11th coach to leave the club in the past nine years.

Thomas Tuchel has no idea if Andreas Christensen will play for Chelsea again after the defender ruled himself out of the FA Cup final for "private" reasons.

Christensen's contract expires at the end of the month and Barcelona are the favourites to sign him on a free transfer.

The Denmark international started in the 3-0 Premier League win at Leeds United, but was not in the squad for a defeat to Liverpool on penalties on the FA Cup final at Wembley last Saturday.

Blues boss Tuchel on Wednesday confirmed the centre-back told him he was unavailable on the morning of the game.

Tuchel is unsure if Christensen will play in the London club's two remaining Premier League games against Leicester City on Thursday and Watford three days later, as they strive to secure third place. 

Asked if Christensen will return, the German said in a press conference: "Not sure yet if he's involved tomorrow and at the weekend.

"Andreas came on the morning of the match and told me he was not ready to play.

"He had his reasons, they stay private and confidential, but it was not the first time as you can see over the last weeks we had some of the same situations why he did not play so regularly.

"We thought that we are in a good progression and good development because he played very strong in the match before the final against Leeds but the conversation took place and we have to respect it and we of course respected it and he has our support.

"It is unlikely for the weekend, it was on very short notice before the cup final and other matches in the weeks before. So no chance I have any prediction for tomorrow and the weekend."

Timo Werner will miss the clash with Leicester due to a thigh injury, while Kai Havertz also has a thigh problem and will be monitored ahead of the game.

United States Soccer has announced that collective bargaining agreements have been put in place to ensure the men's and women's national teams will receive equal pay.

This means that World Cup prize money received by FIFA will be combined and split evenly between the two teams.

The men's team will compete in the World Cup in Qatar later this year, having been drawn in the same group as England, Iran and the winner of the final European playoff.

The women's team won the 2019 World Cup in France and will be among the favourites for the 2023 event in Australia and New Zealand.

An announcement by U.S. Soccer on Wednesday stated: "The United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the United States Women's National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association (USNSTPA) have agreed to terms of historic, first-of-their-kind collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that achieve equal pay and set the global standard moving forward in international soccer.

"The two CBAs, which run through 2028, achieve equal pay through identical economic terms. These economic terms include identical compensation for all competitions, including the FIFA World Cup, and the introduction of the same commercial revenue sharing mechanism for both teams.

"The agreements will ensure that U.S. Soccer’s Senior National Team players remain among the highest paid in the world.

"Under these agreements, U.S. Soccer becomes the first Federation in the world to equalise FIFA World Cup prize money awarded to the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) and the U.S. Men's National Team (USMNT) for participation in their respective World Cups.

"Equally as important, the new CBAs improve non-economic terms, including player health and safety, data privacy and the need to balance responsibilities to both club and country."

The total purse for the 2019 women's World Cup was $30million, with the United States receiving $4m as winners.

France took home $38m for winning the men's World Cup in 2018 in Russia from an overall purse of $400m.

The President of U.S. Soccer, Cindy Parlow Cone, called it a "historic moment" and said the agreement has "changed the game forever in the United States"

"I am grateful for the commitment and collaboration of both the men’s and women's national teams and I am incredibly proud of the hard work that has led to this moment. Everyone who cares about our sport should share in this pride as we look forward to working together to grow soccer for generations to come," Cone added.

In a pre-match news conference lacking much talk of the opposition, there was one question that stood out in that regard ahead of Rangers' Europa League final clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Gers captain James Tavernier was pointedly asked for his opinion on Eintracht wing-back Filip Kostic, given the pair are likely to see a lot of each other on the flank they'll share.

"Obviously I respect how he's been playing, he's a top player," Tavernier said. "But, I've just got to bring the best version of myself when the game starts and try to cause him all the problems, try to make him deal with me for the majority of the game. That's all I can really do."

Tavernier's response didn't offer any particularly great insight, but his mentality of wanting to cause Kostic as many problems was at least another identifier of how their duel could be such a key battle.

Of course, it's worth pointing out that Tavernier, a right-back, remarkably heads into Wednesday's game as the Europa League's top scorer on seven goals, and realistically – or, unrealistically – only a hat-trick from Eintracht's Daichi Kamada can prevent the Englishman from at least ending the season with a share of the competition's golden boot.

Further to that, he netted 19 times over the course of the 2020-21 season and could yet match that figure this term – he also has an impressive assists haul of 17.

If it needs reiterating, he's a huge contributor for Rangers in the final third.

So, given he's technically a right-back, there's obviously an element of Tavernier needing to be solid defensively on Wednesday, but some might suggest it's even more essential he's as sharp as ever going forward as that would not only give Rangers a credible threat on the right, but it would potentially keep Kostic occupied in a deeper position.

Granted, Eintracht's set-up with a back three should always ensure they have an extra man to cover for Kostic's runs forward, while the two attacking midfielders supporting Rafael Borre up top often occupy narrow, deeper berths in order to maximise the space out wide for their biggest threat.

Yet there's always the possibility of an overload in behind Kostic if the conditions are right, such is his attacking influence.

 

After all, the frequency at which Kostic delivers into the box is frankly astonishing. This season, he has been the executor of 519 crosses and corners, 140 more than any other player in the top five leagues – Trent Alexander-Arnold is second with 379.

Kostic's 78 successful crosses from open play is also a season-high. Of course, you would expect him to lead the way given he's attempted so many more than anyone else, but his 26.8 per cent accuracy (crosses/corners) is right in line with the average (among players with at least 100 attempted). That in itself is impressive given his greater frequency.

Another way of looking at it is, he is producing one accurate open-play cross every 45.4 minutes. While that may not sound incredible on the face of it, his 12.4 expected assists (xA) is the 10th highest among players in the top five leagues, highlighting just how much of a weapon he is in terms of his creative quality.

So, while he may be classed as a wing-back in terms of his position on a team line-up graphic, the Serbian is there for his attacking tendencies.

A cursory glance at his map of open-play chances created proves that point.

 

But Rangers must also be aware of the danger posed on the opposite flank.

Ansgar Knauff has been one of the stars of Eintracht's journey to the final, with the 20-year-old becoming something of a revelation in the past few months.

As recently as mid-January he was turning out for Borussia Dortmund's second team in the third tier. Then he joined Eintracht on loan and has since scored important Europa League goals against Barcelona and West Ham.

His impact on the road to Seville has been significant, with his brilliant athleticism, bravery and confidence on the ball making him a real asset on the right-hand side.

Before Knauff's arrival, Eintracht were rather lopsided, with their other options on the right far from convincing. Sure, Kostic remains their main outlet, but Knauff's emergence has provided them with another – albeit stylistically different – threat on the other side, giving them greater balance.

 

Across all competitions since his Eintracht debut in early February, only Kostic (5.6) and Jesper Lindstrom (2.6) have amassed better xA records than Knauff, who is also fifth to those two, Borre and Kamada in terms of xA and xG (expected goals) combined.

He may not be their deadliest weapon, but he's proven he can offer them a lot, and his team-high 61 dribble attempts in that period proves he's happy to make his markers work for their money.

Oliver Glasner's team is full of neat, technical players and is also blessed with fine work ethic, as it would need to be to play their high-pressing football.

But their width and desire to attack from the flanks is fundamental to how they play – while it may be easier said than done, limiting their effectiveness out wide would go a long way to ending Rangers' 50-year European trophy drought.

Nottingham Forest's Championship play-off semi-final win over Sheffield United on Tuesday was marred by an attack on Billy Sharp following the final whistle.

Forest, who held a 2-1 lead from the first leg away from home, were beaten by the same scoreline back at The City Ground but advanced to a Wembley showpiece on penalties.

The two-time European champions are bidding to return to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years and will face Huddersfield Town in the May 29 final.

However, the pitch invasion that followed Forest's dramatic victory saw Sharp – a former Forest loanee and the Sheffield United captain – shockingly assaulted.

Video footage appears to show Sharp stood at the side of the pitch when a supporter ran directly towards him, flattening the 36-year-old striker with a headbutt.

Nottinghamshire Police confirmed a 31-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of assault. He remains in custody ahead of questioning while enquiries continue.

"We have spoken to the player concerned, and we are working with both clubs who are supporting us with our investigation," chief inspector Paul Hennessy added.

A Forest statement late on Tuesday read: "Nottingham Forest Football Club are appalled to learn that our former player, Billy Sharp, was assaulted leaving the pitch after tonight's match at The City Ground.

"The club will work with the authorities to locate the individual in order they are held to account for their actions, which will include a life ban from Nottingham Forest.

"The club would also like to apologise to Billy personally and to Sheffield United Football Club."

A furious Paul Heckingbottom, the Sheffield United manager, said: "We watch every TV game and there are always things thrown on the pitch, fan invasions, and the commentators, especially the ex-players, are always talking about the safety of the players, but nothing's ever been done.

"Bill was minding his own business off the pitch, trying to get our players away. He was blindsided, it was cowardly. He was knocked to the ground [and needed] stitches, he was shook up.

"How can our safety be put at risk like that in our place of work?"

While his old club Liverpool battle to finish in first place in the Premier League, Xherdan Shaqiri is top of the money tree in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire.

Switzerland international Shaqiri is the highest-earning player in the US-centred top flight, new figures released on Tuesday by the MLS Players' Association (MLSPA) revealed.

The 30-year-old is on a base annual salary of $7.35million, with guaranteed compensation of $8.15million.

Shaqiri left Liverpool at the end of last season to join French club Lyon, but he spent less than six months in Ligue 1 before being signed as a designated player by Chicago in February.

He became the Fire's most expensive acquisition, reportedly costing €6.5million ($7.5million), and was described by Chicago sporting director Georg Heitz as "a game-changing player".

The club's new number 10 has scored two goals and had three assists in nine games to date for Chicago.

On the money list, he sits ahead of LA Galaxy's former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward Javier Hernandez ($6million base salary) and Inter Miami's Gonzalo Higuain ($5.1million), another Madrid old boy.

Top five highest base salary earners in MLS, according to MLSPA (players under contract on April 15 2022):

1. Xherdan Shaqiri, Chicago Fire, $7.35million ($8.15million guaranteed compensation)
2. Javier Hernandez, LA Galaxy, $6million ($6million guaranteed)
3. Gonzalo Higuain, Inter Miami, $5.1million ($5.79million guaranteed)
4. Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC, $3.8million ($4.69million guaranteed)
5. Josef Martinez, Atlanta United, $3.7million ($4.14million guaranteed)

Departing Jamaica Reggae Girlz coach, Vin Blaine, has insisted the toxic environment surrounding his tenure with the national team had left the situation untenable.

Blaine brought an end to a weeks-long saga yesterday when he announced that he would officially resign as coach of the team, following a dispute with some senior members of the Reggae Girlz.

The players in question wrote a letter of no confidence, to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), signed by 19 members, which suggested the coach lacked detailed training sessions, did not provide video analysis, had issues with set pieces, and provided no post-match reviews for player improvement.

 A review of the situation by the JFF technical committee, however, cleared the coach of any wrongdoing and recommended Blaine stay in the post.  From his perspective, however, making that decision would not have been in anyone’s best interest. 

“Based on the situation, if everyone knew the entire process I went through; It was a toxic environment,” Blaine told the SportsMax Zone.

 “Sad to say from day one or two, in the program, you had staff undermining the program, the previous staff.  You had players telling you who should be the equipment person, who should be the fitness coach, those are things that went on,” he added.

“I came out with a smile on my face because it’s not for me to disclose those things in a training camp.  So, I don’t think I could move forward although the federation said they were clearing me for that.  For the program to go forward and for my own peace of mind, I did not need that kind of toxicity.”

Ousmane Dembele is considering a move away from Barcelona, but Joan Laporta hopes the winger will decide to stay put. 

Barcelona paid an initial €105million to sign Dembele from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 and the five-year contract he received is set to run out next month.

Bayern Munich and Chelsea are reported to be keen on the World Cup-winning winger, who could be available on a free transfer.

Laporta acknowledged that Dembele is intrigued by the interest being shown in him, but the Barcelona president believes he could well choose to stay at Camp Nou.

"He wants to stay but is very tempted by other options that offer conditions that may be considered better than ours," Laporta told Radio Catalunya.

"The offer has been on the table for some time. They will respond when the season is over. We would've liked to have an answer sooner, but we can't force it.

"The coach likes him and I like him. We've made a very important effort to make him stay. He looks very comfortable and has a good relationship with everyone. Auba [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang] has come, and they are very good friends.

"He has representatives who are in control of the situation, but I hope he stays. If not, we will reinforce that position."

Laporta sounded more confident on the prospects of teenage midfielder Gavi signing a contract extension after an impressive breakthrough campaign with the first team.

"Let's let the technical secretariat work. He has received an offer. I hope that Ivan de la Pena [Gavi's agent] responds favourably to the proposal," Laporta said.

A renewal for Dani Alves could also be on the cards as the 39-year-old right-back, who signed a cut-price deal to return to Barca, eyes a place in Brazil's World Cup squad.

Laporta said: "I would like him to continue. He adjusted a lot so as not to hurt us in the [financial] fair play issue. He is excited to play in the World Cup and if he continues with that attitude, he doesn't endanger our accounts. We'll see."

Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe wants a salary of €50million net and Barcelona had no interest in going that high, according to Joan Laporta. 

World Cup-winning attacker Mbappe has reportedly agreed personal terms to make a free-transfer switch to Madrid after his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires next month, though the Ligue 1 champions still hope to persuade him to stay.

The 23-year-old, who has scored 168 goals and supplied 77 assists in 216 games in all competitions for PSG, had also been linked with a switch to Barca.

However, the Catalan giants' president insists they would not have been willing or able to get anywhere near his demands.

"There are things that even if we had the money to do it, we wouldn't because it distorts our wage bill and that cannot happen again. It is something we are instilling in the club in all areas," Laporta told Catalunya Radio.

"We can't go past a certain level of spending. Mbappe is asking for 40-50 million [euros] net. He wants 50 [million euros] net. Mbappe is at the highest level but hasn't won the Champions League. That must also be taken into account.

"We will not talk about salaries of 25, 30 or 40 [million euros] net. It would be offensive to players who are expected to be a reference in world football and are just starting out at Barcelona. We are not going to do that, nor do we want to."

Barca have been tipped to sign another of European football's elite strikers in the form of Robert Lewandowski, though.

Lewandowski does not wish to extend his Bayern Munich contract, which has a year to run, and he could become available for a transfer before the start of the 2022-23 season.

Asked if the Poland international will sign for Barca, Laporta said: "Let's let the football management and technical secretariat work. I don't want to answer in detail.

"We are working to be more competitive, but it's not easy due to the economic situation. We are working to clean up the club's finances. Then we can do things.

"I hope to be able to say that in a year we have largely cleaned up the club's finances. If we manage to clean it up, all the operations we are contemplating will be able to be dealt with."

A departure for Frenkie de Jong could be one way Barca look to raise funds, but Laporta was unwilling to divulge much when asked about the Netherlands midfielder.

"There are Barcelona players who are coveted on the market and we will do what is best for Barcelona," he said.

"If we manage to clean up the club's finances, we will have fair play, cash … I don't know if there will be sales."

Vin Blaine has confirmed his resignation from his position as head coach of the Jamaica Senior Women’s Football Team.

The former Harbour View head coach took the decision to walk away after 19 Reggae Girlz squad members signed a letter to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts asking that he be replaced.

“The Jamaica Football Federation would like to express sincere thanks and appreciation for the work that coach Vin Blaine has done with the Senior Women’s National Team. Unfortunately, he has decided against taking the team to the next level. We hoped that the relationship shared with the Federation would not end this abruptly, but we appreciate his take on the situation at hand. The JFF wishes him all the very best for the future,” the JFF said in a statement on Tuesday.

Blaine coached the Reggae Girlz at all levels for more than a decade before becoming director of football for the JFF from 2014 to 2017.

He took up Grenada's post of Technical Director in 2017 then had a brief stint as US Virgin Islands coach before his reappointment as Reggae Girlz head coach in December.

He was unbeaten in his four matches as coach and led the Reggae Girlz to four straight victories in Group C of the Concacaf Women's Championship qualifying.

The Reggae Girlz next assignment will be the final round of the Concacaf Women’s Championship beginning on June 4th in Mexico.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) on Tuesday unveiled a 20-man squad for the Reggae Boyz international friendly against Catalonia on May 25, 2022.

The squad includes several overseas-based players including Peterborough United’s Jonson Clarke-Harris, Huddersfield Town’s Rolando Aarons and Arsenal’s Omari Hutchinson who will be sporting the Jamaican colours for the first time.

The full squad is as follows: Corey Addai (Esbjerg fB), Dillon Barnes (Queens Park Rangers), Kaheem Parris (FC Koper), Ajeanie Talbot (Harbour View FC), Jordan Cousins (Wigan Athletic), Blair Turgott (BK Hacken) Oquassa Chong (Esbjerg fB), Omari Hutchinson (Arsenal), Joel Latibeaudiere (Swansea City), Tarick Ximines (Mount Pleasant), Jonson Clarke-Harris (Peterborough United), Ramone Howell (Waterhouse FC), Junior Flemmings (Toulouse), Tyreek Magee (Eupen), Neco Brett (New Mexico United), Kenroy Campbell (Cavalier SC), Ricardo Thomas (Waterhouse FC), Rolando Aarons (Huddersfield Town), Kameron Lacey (Charlotte 49ers), Jamoi Topey (Mount Pleasant).

 

Hoffenheim have parted company with coach Sebastian Hoeness by mutual consent.

The decision comes after Hoffenheim's dreadful end to the Bundesliga season, which they finished on a nine-game winless run.

Hoffenheim took just three points from the final 27 on offer, their last win coming at Cologne on March 6.

As a result of that streak, Hoffenheim missed out on a European spot, ending the campaign in ninth, six points behind Cologne in seventh – the Bundesliga's Europa Conference League qualification place.

Appointed before the 2020-21 season after leading Bayern Munich's reserves to the 3. Liga title, Hoeness guided Hoffenheim to 11th and the Europa League round of 32 in his first season in charge.

Hoffenheim had at one point been firmly in the mix for Champions League qualification this season, but their slump and failure to qualify for Europe altogether reportedly led to owner Dietmar Hopp losing patience.

Hoeness said: "In the past few weeks we have carried out an intensive analysis of our joint work and have not found any consensus on the future direction. Therefore, from my point of view, an amicable separation is logical."

Jurgen Klopp is interested in signing Kylian Mbappe, but accepts Liverpool are not able to compete with Real Madrid for the Paris Saint-Germain forward's signature.

Mbappe is due to be out of contract with PSG next month and revealed last week he is close to making a decision over his future.

Madrid are the strong favourites to sign the France international, while a number of other clubs – Liverpool among them – have also been linked in the past.

According to reports from Spain this week, Liverpool made a late attempt to persuade Mbappe to make the switch to Anfield, rather than the Santiago Bernabeu.

But while Klopp is a fan of Mbappe, he insists Liverpool have no intention of attempting to sign the 23-year-old in the next window.

"Of course we're interested in Kylian. We're not blind," he said ahead of Tuesday's crucial Premier League clash with Southampton.

"I have nothing to say about [the reported contact] between Kylian and Liverpool... it's all fine.

"We like him and if you don’t like him then you have to question yourself. But we cannot be part of these battles; there must be other clubs. He's still a great player."

 

Mbappe has scored 36 goals and provided 21 assists for PSG this season, firing the Parisians to the 10th Ligue 1 title in the club's history.

His total of 57 goal contributions this season can only be bettered by international team-mate Karim Benzema (59) among players in the top-five European leagues this season.

He has been involved in 245 goals in all competitions since his PSG debut in September 2017, which is at least 98 more than any other player for the club over that period.

Paul Pogba lauded Paulo Dybala after the forward played his final home game for Juventus, and possibly hinted at a link-up with the Argentine.

Dybala is leaving Juve at the end of the season, with the 28-year-old having failed to agree a new contract.

He has been linked with a move to fellow Serie A giants Inter and made his final home appearance for Juve in a 2-2 draw with Lazio on Monday.

Pogba, meanwhile, is set to leave Manchester United on a free transfer, six years after he re-joined the Premier League club from Juve.

The France midfielder has reportedly been lined up as an option for Juve, with Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid having also been suggested as possible destinations.

However, in a congratulatory tweet to Dybala, Pogba suggested a reunion with his former team-mate may well be on the cards.

"Hermano, you're a top player and a top man! It's great to have you as a friend and to have shared moments with you at Juventus," Pogba tweeted, tagging in Dybala. "Hope to see you soon."

Dybala is not the only player who is leaving Juve, with stalwart Giorgio Chiellini also departing.

Chiellini, 37, joined Juve in 2004 and has helped the Bianconeri to nine Serie A titles and five Coppa Italia triumphs, as well as having reached two Champions League finals, and Pogba also hailed the Italy defender.

He tweeted: "What a fantastic career @chiellini! Feel privileged to have shared the pitch with you, a phenomenal player and an even better person #THEGR3ATCHIELLO."

 

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