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.”
Report: Man City, Guardiola to discuss new contract this summer
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given City’s outstanding sophomore season under Guardiola.
Unbeaten City has an 11-point lead on the Premier League table after 18 weeks, with one draw and a PL record 16-straight wins. They have 56 goals scored, conceding just 12.
They’ve won five of six UEFA Champions League matches, only losing a match their opposition needed and they did not, 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. City faces Basel next, and visits Leicester City in the League Cup quarterfinals Wednesday.
West Ham pulled out of the drop zone with the win, but has three bottom-half battles coming up over the festive fixtures: Saturday versus Newcastle, Dec. 26 at Bournemouth, and Jan. 2 versus West Brom.
U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) and Keylor Navas of Costa Rica and Real Madrid each earned Female and Male Player of the Year honors, after boasting tremendous 2017 seasons.
Morgan who primarily plays for Orlando in the NWSL, was also a member of Lyon, who went on to win the Women’s Champions League this past season.
Navas, on the other hand, played a key role in Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League run, as well as Los Blancos’ La Liga title.
For Morgan, the award is her third since CONCACAF began handing out its annual awards in 2013. Meanwhile, Navas has now won Male Player of the Year on two occasions.