Paul Pogba’s season at Juventus is done after the 20 year old was handed a three match ban for spitting at Palermo’s Salvator Aronica.
The moment occurred in the 83rd minute of Saturday’s match. With Juventus leading 1-0 courtesy of an Arturo Vidal penalty, Pogba received a pass near the corner of Palermo’s box. Aronica was quick to close down the Frenchman with a stiff-arm to Pogba’s face that nearly knocked him to the ground. Maintaining his balance, Pogba gave a quick spit in the direction of Aronica, who immediately requested the referee issue a red card.
Despite Pogba’s protestations, he was issued his marching orders. The match ended 1-0, securing Juventus’ second successive Serie A title. On Monday, the Serie A handed down the three-match ban meaning that the former Manchester United man will miss the Bianconeri’s final three matches of the campaign against Atalanta, Cagliari and Sampdoria.
While Pogba will be disappointed to be sidelined for the season, it’s been a season to remember after a turbulent time at Manchester United.
The Le Havre youth player signed with United in 2009 as a highly regarded youngster who many anticipated would flourish at Old Trafford. But after making just three Premier League appearances, all as a substitute, Pogba quit the club in favor of a move to Turin where manager Antonio Conte promised him an opportunity to shine. The move, widely criticized by Sir Alex Ferguson, turned out to be a wonderful decision as Pogba has been a major force in Juve’s title run, featuring in 27 Serie A matches.
Pogba’s displays have been so impressive that he has even managed to work himself into the French national team. He attributes the success to Conte’s faith.
“It’s true that when I started the season I was the ‘little young ‘un’, but the coach had faith in me. He’s given me the opportunity to express myself, and I’ve shown on the pitch that he was right to do so. Progressively, I’ve had more and more starts. I’m really happy, because the coach had told me how things were going to go, and he wasn’t lying. He’s proven he’s a man of his word. My team-mates have also done everything to help me settle.”
After fan protests Liverpool’s American owners apologize, halt ticket price hike
Owner John W. Henry, Chairman Tom Werner and President Mike Gordon have issued a detailed and apologetic open letter to fans of Liverpool, in which they “apologize for the distress caused by our ticket pricing plan for the 2016-17 season” and also confirm prices will be frozen for the next two campaigns.
Henry and FSG stated they felt “troubled by the perception we don’t care about our supporters, that we are greedy, and that we are attempting to extract personal profits at the club’s expense.”
They pointed to the fact that FSG has put up the $170 million needed to build the new Main Stand at Anfield which will be completed for the 2016-17 season, while they also admit they got parts of the ticket pricing wrong.
Admitting to their mistake has left a warm feeling with most Liverpool fans as their numerous protests over the fact that some tickets would cost £77 ($111) next season were heard loud and clear by the owners.
After an intense period of consultation with LFC management we have decided to make major revisions to our ticketing structure for 2016-17:
Removal of game categorisation – regardless of the opposition fans will pay the same price for matchday tickets.
The pricing of tickets will be readjusted to result in zero revenue growth from GA ticketing on a like-for-like basis.
Though individual ticket prices may move marginally from this season, we are freezing our 2016-17 GA ticket revenue at the 2015-16 level exclusive of newly-added seats in the new Main Stand.
The price of our highest general admission ticket will be frozen at the 2015-16 level – £59.
The price of our highest season ticket will be frozen at the 2015-16 level – £869. The lowest price reducing a further £25 from the 2015-16 level to £685, as well as all other tiers being frozen or reduced.
£9 GA seats will be offered for each and every Premier League match, an allocation of more than 10,000 tickets across the season.
We would hasten to add that the other initiatives announced last week in the 2016-17 plan will remain:
17-21 young adult concession – 20,000 tickets across the Premier League season available at a 50 per cent reduction for young people.
1,000 tickets to Premier League matches across the season will be given away free of charge to Liverpool schoolchildren based on merit, as recommended by their teachers.
Since arriving from Spanish giants Barcelona at the start of the 2014-15 season the playmaker has been a revelation in the Premier League.
Despite suffering a serious knee injury midway through his debut season in England, Bojan has battled back this campaign and has scored five times in 23 outings for the Potters.
Speaking to the club website, Bojan revealed his delight in signing the contract extension that will see him stay with Stoke until the summer of 2020.
“I am very happy and motivated. Stoke City gave me the opportunity to play in the most competitive league in the world, the Premier League, and I have only words of gratitude for their trust and for the way they have treated me since the first day I arrived to England,” Bojan said. “Mark Hughes convinced me to come to Stoke, he has helped me and showed his trust in me from the beginning, he followed closely the recovery process from my injury and there is no doubt I have signed an extension of my contract thanks to him.”
With Mark Hughes’ side battling for a top six finish, being knocked out agonizingly on penalty kicks by Liverpool in the League Cup semifinal and still in the FA Cup, it’s been another stellar season for Stoke as their progress continues.
Bojan’s presence has been central to attracting top names to join him at Stoke, with the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Afellay and Mark Arnautovic all part of a new-look attack which in-turn has provided a much more attractive team to watch on the pitch.
Amid interest from plenty of other teams around the Premier League and Europe, Stoke have kept hold of their main creative hub and fans will be delighted to see the Barca academy product progress with the Potters over an extended period of time.
Despite Louis Van Gaal‘s future being questioned, United being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stage in December and being six points off the top four with just 13 games of the current Premier League season to go, the strength of their results off the pitch continue to show just how successful a business they’ve become.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward told investors that: “Our solid results off the pitch help contribute to what remains our number one priority – success on the pitch.”
Woodward has also vowed to continue United’s “strong commitment to investing in our squad, youth academy.”
Van Gaal, 64, will need a strong finish to the season on the pitch to help United to success and in turn improve those financial figures for next season. Failure to finish in the PL’s top four and qualify for the UCL will substantially impact United’s financial results next season, and the pressure remains on him and his players to claw back the deficit.