Zlatan says Mings “jumped into my elbow”

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Oh Zlatan.

[ MORE: Mings denies Zlatan stamp ]

Following a fiery 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Saturday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a day to forget.

Throughout the game Ibrahimovic and Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings went at it –at one point Zlatan threw Mings to the floor — and before half time a big flashpoint arrived. Then Mings appeared to stamp on Zlatan’s head with the United striker on the ground and from a corner soon after Ibrahimovic sent an elbow into Mings’ head.

In the ensuing melee Andrew Surman was sent off for pushing Zlatan but neither Zlatan or Mings were sent off by referee Kevin Friend. However, retrospective action is expected for both with the officials not spotting the incident.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game — Zlatan had a second half penalty saved by Artur Boruc — the 35-year-old said Mings jumped into his elbow.

“With the stamp, I don’t see it. I just felt something hit me behind my neck,” Ibrahimovic said. “With the elbow I see it clearly. I jump up, I jump high to protect myself. At the same time I jump for the ball and he jumps into my elbow. Hopefully he didn’t get injured or something. My intention was not to injure, it was the opposite, to protect myself to go for the ball. It was unlucky he jumped into the elbow. This happens many time.”

Ibrahimovic denied his action was one of retribution and said he didn’t know that Mings was the one who stamped on his head.

“I didn’t know who stamped on my head in that moment, I didn’t see the replay. If it was him, it was him,” Ibrahimovic said. “That’s nothing that I think about because all the defenders they tried to stop you and me, as a striker, I try to score goals.”

Do we really think that was the case? For anyone who has played the game, if a bad challenge comes in and there’s no action from the referee, word soon gets round as to who the guilty party is.

Ibrahimovic was seen chatting to Mings just before the corner came in and when asked about that chat he simply said “I talk a lot when I play” and said he couldn’t remember what was said.

Hmmm.

Despite Mings and Ibrahimovic both saying their actions were unintentional it seems like the FA will be getting involved and three game retrospective bans will be dished out to both.

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Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

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Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

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Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

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Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

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Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.

Everton announce lifetime ban for fan involved in altercation with Lyon player

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On a night when UEFA unveiled a new campaign for respect, there wasn’t enough of it shown both on and off the field.

Everton has followed up on UEFA opening up disciplinary proceedings against them by banning a fan from Everton matches after the fan was seen to punch at an Olympique Lyon player in the second half of Lyon’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park.

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“Club Officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players,” Everton said in a statement. “We have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the Club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police.”

The video below shows a fan – amazingly, holding onto a small boy in one arm – throwing some punches at Lyon players after a fracas on the field.

The punch and ban is yet another dark moment for Everton, which has just one point from its first three Europa League matches and sits in 16th place in the Premier League with eight points from eight games.