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Robben pondered Netherlands retirement



Arjen Robben decided against retiring from international football after holding talks with his family and Netherlands boss Danny Blind.

Arjen Robben has set his sights on the 2018 World Cup with Netherlands after putting thoughts of international retirement to one side.

The Bayern Munich forward has struggled with injuries in recent seasons and that left him pondering whether he should focus on playing club football to prolong his career.

In the end the 33-year-old chose to continue with the national team and now hopes to be part of Danny Blind’s squad for the next World Cup in Russia – providing Netherlands qualify.

« I told myself to make a choice between focusing solely on Bayern or continuing with both Bayern and the national team, » Robben told De Telegraaf.

« I discussed it with my wife and family as well as with national team coach Danny Blind.

« I have been match fit for quite some time now. That is why I made the decision to continue with both Bayern and Oranje [Netherlands].

« I want to go to the World Cup again with Netherlands. »

Netherlands – who missed out on Euro 2016 – sit second in Group A of World Cup qualification with seven points from four games, trailing leaders France by three.

They meet fourth-placed Bulgaria on Saturday in Sofia.


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Zidane speaks on the rift between Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos




– Zinedine Zidane has admitted that there is a rift between Ronaldo and Ramos

– But the Frenchman stated clearly that the issue will be solved by the club

– Ronaldo and Ramos have recently been involved in a dressing room row

Real Madrid gaffer Zinedine Zidane has admitted that there is a growing rift between captain Sergio Ramos and Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo.

But the Frenchman stressed that the current situation will be fixed by the reigning and Spanish League champions.

There have been many reports recently that Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos have been scolding each other since the club’s Champions League defeat at Tottenham.

Zidane speaks on the rift between Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos

Zidane speaks on the rift between Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos (photo: Sun)

Ronaldo was said to be livid with the players Los Blancos sold last summer, while Ramos was said to have condemned the statement of the former Manchester United star.

« Sergio is very smart, he can say what he wants.

« Cristiano Ronaldo too, they are smart and when one thinks one thing and the other another, nothing happens.

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« Things get fixed and fixed, there will be no problem between Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio. » Zidane was quoted to have said by UK Sun.

Previously, had reported how the relationship of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos is getting worse at Spanish club Real Madrid.

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Sampdoria shock Juve in five-goal thriller




Sampdoria ran riot as Serie A champions Juventus lost their both their cool and ground on leaders Napoli in the Italian title race on Sunday suffering a 3-2 setback in Genoa.

Colombian striker Duvan Zapata, Uruguayan Lucas Torreira and Italian defender Gian Marco Ferrari all found the net in the second half as Sampdoria maintained their perfect home record in Genoa this season.

Juventus got two goals back in injury time with Gonzalo Higuain scoring from the spot and substitute Paulo Dybala grabbing a second just before the final whistle.

But it was too late as Juventus fell four points behind leaders Napoli — 2-0 winners over AC Milan on Saturday.

« This was an unexpected slap in the face that really made us lose our cool, » said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

« We should have been patient, even if things weren’t going our way. It’s a long game, you have to stay calm. »

Napoli have 35 points from 13 games, with Juventus on 31 and Roma third on 30 with a game in hand, after beating Lazio in a pulsating Rome derby on Saturday.

Inter Milan can move second ahead of Juventus later Sunday when they host Atalanta.

Allegri took a risk as he rested Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli after Italy’s World Cup play-off defeat with Dybala starting on the bench against a Sampdoria side who have made their home ground a fortress this season.

Sampdoria kept Juventus reined in in the first half with Zapata breaking the deadlock when he headed in after 52 minutes with Torreira firing in the second on 71 minutes and Ferrari a third eight minutes later.

Juventus were awarded a penalty after Ivan Strinic fouled Douglas Costa in the box with Higuain getting the visitors first after 91 minutes, with Dybala added the second in the final action of the game.

Juventus conceded just their second defeat of the season after Lazio, in a blow for Allegri’s side as they prepare to face Barcelona in Champions League next Wednesday.

Earlier Luca Rigoni’s first half goal got new Genoa boss Davide Ballardini off to a winning start with a 1-0 victory at Crotone.

Promoted Benevento suffered their 13th defeat in as many games, falling 2-1 to Sassuolo, as Fiorentina were held 1-1 by SPAL.

Lorenzo Insigne washed away his World Cup woes by starring in Napoli’s 2-1 victory over a struggling but spirited AC Milan on Saturday.

The 26-year-old’s goal in the 33rd minute was given thanks to referee Daniele Doveri consulting the video assistant referee.

Insigne also drew a fine save from Gianluigi Donnarumma on the stroke of half-time and laid on Dries Mertens for a simple chance that the Belgian fired right at the Milan stopper.

Substitute Piotr Zielinski sealed the three points with 17 minutes left.

Milan coach Vincenzo Montella remains under pressure despite a strong second-half performance as his side stay seventh on just 19 points, 11 points away from the Champions League placings, after their sixth defeat in 13 games.

Roma beat Lazio in a pulsating Rome derby thanks to goals from Diego Perotti and Radja Nainggolan.

Ciro Immobile pulled one back from the spot with 18 minutes left after Kostas Manolas’ handball was spotted by the VAR, but Roma held out for a huge win over their local rivals.

For Perotti, his 49th-minute penalty and an assist for Nainggolan’s drilled strike was the continuation of a « rebirth » that saw him called up for Argentina for the first time in six years earlier in the month.


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Feyenoord fans’ touching tribute to Brad Jones’ deceased son




Staggering scenes at De Kuip stadium in the early stages of Feyenoord’s 1-1 draw with VVV Venlo, as the home fans paid tribute to Brad Jones’ son, who passed away six years ago on Saturday, in spectacular fashion.

The home crowd lit up the inside of the stadium with their mobile phones and lighters, followed by a rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for former Liverpool keeper Brad Jones.

The Australian lost his five-year-old son Luca six years ago after a battle with leukaemia and the Dutch fans honoured his memory with a touching tribute.

Jones and his wife Dani are vocal supporters of the Anthony Nolan organisation which finds blood stem cell and bone marrow donors for those who are suffering from blood cancers.


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