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Menotti worried about ´very tired´ Messi

Menotti worried about ´very tired´ Messi 1

Cesar Luis Menotti would be “afraid” if Lionel Messi was to feature for Argentina against Venezuela in a friendly on Friday.

Messi, 31, is set to make his international return after missing his nation’s matches since last year’s World Cup in Russia.

The superstar has been in fine form, scoring six goals in his past three matches for Barcelona, including netting a hat-trick against Real Betis.

But Menotti, who coached Argentina to World Cup success in 1978 and is now the country’s director of national teams, is worried about Messi’s wellbeing.

“I’m afraid that Messi plays,” he told FM 94.7.

“I see him with important emotional fatigue between the Champions League and the national team. I see him very tired.

“If he wants to play with Argentina, better.”

Argentina will face Venezuela on Friday before taking on Morocco four days later.

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Giggs fires back at Ibrahimovic´s ´Circle of Ferguson´ jibe

Giggs fires back at Ibrahimovic´s ´Circle of Ferguson´ jibe 2

Ryan Giggs sarcastically suggested Zlatan Ibrahimovic might know Manchester United better than he and his Class of 92 team-mates in response to the enigmatic Swede claiming they are a negative influence on their former club.

Ibrahimovic played for United for a season-and-a-half under Jose Mourinho before joining LA Galaxy 12 months ago.

The 37-year-old claimed Mourinho and United midfielder Paul Pogba were among those hindered by a desire to hark back to the glory days under Alex Ferguson, who stepped down after winning a 13th league title in 2012-13.

Ibrahimovic reserved particular criticism for the likes of Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville and their negative takes on the Mourinho era while working as media pundits, labelling them “the Circle of Ferguson”.

Wales manager Giggs, who is United’s all-time record appearance maker, offered a withering response at a news conference on Tuesday.

“Only Nicky [Butt] is connected with the club now but when you play over 2,000 games between us, we are going to have an opinion,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s positive, sometimes negative, but I don’t think that has any bearing on results or anything.

“We’re supporters, like other former players in the media. That’s what football is about, having different opinions. But he [Ibrahimovic] obviously knows more about the club than us.”

Giggs starred in the United team that famously won the treble in 1999, collecting the Champions League and FA Cup alongside the Premier League title.

Neighbours Manchester City remain in contention for all of those honours this time around, having already retained the EFL Cup via a penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea.

“I’ve got enough to worry about, please don’t bring that up,” Giggs chuckled.

“They’re a fantastic team, aren’t they? They’ve already got one and United going out of the FA Cup makes it a little bit easier for them.

“They’ve got a long way to go but just like us in the treble season, you need a lot of things to go for you.

“That bit of luck, which they had at the weekend [in a 3-2 comeback win over Swansea City in the FA Cup quarter-finals]. But they are a brilliant team. It will be interesting to see what they can achieve.”

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Championship Review – Matchday 38

Championship Review - Matchday 38 3

Norwich City have extended their lead at the top of the Championship after beating Rotherham United by two goals to one at the New York Stadium.

Kenny McLean put the Canaries ahead on the stroke of half-time, only for Semi Ajayi to draw the Millers level though Ben Godfrey restored the leaders’ advantage shortly after.

The win was the eighth in nine attempts for Daniel Farke’s side, who managed to move four points clear at the summit after Leeds United were beaten by Sheffield United.

Chris Basham scored the only goal of the game at Elland Road, and it was enough to see the Blades leapfrog Marcelo Bielsa’s men into second place.

Narrow

There was also just the one goal at Griffin Park, where West Bromwich Albion began life after Darren Moore with victory over Brentford.

Kyle Edwards netted six minutes into the second half, with the result putting the Baggies ten points clear of seventh place, and seven behind the automatic promotion spots.

Aston Villa made it four wins on the spin with a comprehensive victory over Middlesbrough, and in doing so move into the play-off places – one point behind the North East side who have lost their last three.

A last-ditch goal from Sean Maguire was enough to see Preston North End edge past Birmingham City, and to within touching distance of the top six while Sheffield Wednesday are just two points further back after they beat Blackburn Rovers 4-2 at Hillsborough.

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Steven Fletcher, Atdhe Nuhiu, Dominic Iorfa and Marco Matias were all on the scoresheet as the Owls extended their unbeaten run under Steve Bruce.

It’s been over two months since Wednesday tasted defeat in the league, so you may be tempted to back them to finish in the top six at 16/1.

Nottingham Forest have slipped to eleventh place after only managing to pick up a point at Portman Road, with Ipswich Town now thirteen from safety while Hull City squandered a two-nil lead at home to Queens Park Rangers – the game finishing all square.

Tally

Jared Bowen took his season’s tally to twenty-one league goals with a first half brace, though strikes from Josh Scowen and Tomer Hemed gave Steve McClaren’s men a share of the spoils.

There were no goals at the Bet 365 Stadium where Stoke City faced Reading while there were seven at the DW, with Wigan Athletic triumphing over Bolton Wanderers.

The Latics were three-up by fifty-five minutes, with Gary O’Neil giving the Trotters hope just past the hour mark.

However, the hosts’ three-goal advantage was soon restored by Michael Jacobs, with Leon Clarke concluding the scoring just after Sammy Ameobi had pulled another back.

Wigan are now three points clear of the drop zone, while Bolton sit eight from safety.

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