Serge Aurier

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Real Madrid 1-1 Spurs: Lovely Lloris!

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An error from each time in its own box and outstanding goalkeeping gave Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid a 1-1 draw in UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday at the Bernabeu. (video)

Raphael Varane recorded a 28th minute own goal, but Serge Aurier gave away a penalty as Cristiano Ronaldo equalized for Real Madrid at home in the 43rd minute.

Hugo Lloris and Keylor Navas were the stars of the show, with Lloris making the lion’s share of saves.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Both teams are well-positioned to advance, with seven points. Spurs have the tiebreaker advantage, but both Tottenham and Real are six points clear of Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia after a surprising draw in Cyprus.

Early nerves were apparent for Mauricio Pochettino‘s men, but Tottenham grew into the game and took an early lead.

Concerned with the presence of Harry Kane, Real defender Raphael Varane saw a cross move off his pegs and behind Keylor Navas to put Spurs ahead.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The lead was short-lived, however, as Spurs back Serge Aurier cut short Toni Kroos’ rare foray into the 18, and Ronaldo buried the ensuing penalty kick.

Lloris made an outstanding save on a point-blank Karim Benzema header in the 54th minute.

A moment later, offside Ronaldo flashed a sitter over the goal before the whistle alerted viewers to his offense.

Ronaldo had another chance stymied by Lloris as Real really began to pile on pressure past the hour mark.

Kane had a 71st minute chance against the run of play off a gorgeous pass from Fernando Llorente, but Navas got low quickly to redirect Kane’s point-blank shot wide of the far post.

Navas made another save when Llorente cued up Christian Eriksen for a chance, and the Dane then sent in a corner that led to a Davinson Sanchez’s header wide of goal.

Llorente was quite good in the second half in this surprise two-striker move from Mauricio Pochettino, and the Spurs boss also deployed Danny Rose for a season debut off the bench.

Pochettino: “We did everything to win,” but more Wembley woes

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It’s the running stat that will haunt Tottenham Hotspur all season — for as long as their shoddy form at Wembley Stadium (in the Premier League, at least) continues: Mauricio Pochettino‘s side has already dropped more points at home this season (7) than all of last season (4).

[ PL ROUNDUP: Man City unstoppable; Liverpool, Spurs held ]

Saturday’s scoreless draw with Swansea City, in which Pochettino’s side fired 26 shots and put eight on target but ultimately failed to break down Paul Clement‘s resolute defensive unit, was but the latest disappointing at Tottenham’s temporary home ground — quotes from the BBC:

“Very disappointing because we did everything to win. We created chances and dominated the game but were a little unlucky.

“I am happy with the performance although it is another game we draw here at Wembley and that is no good.

“I like to talk about my team, we created a lot of chances to score. It is true after the draw to say well done to Swansea and congratulate them for taking a draw.”

It’s probably worth noting that 1) Harry Kane smashed the crossbar with Spurs’ best chance of the game — one he buries 99 times out of 100, post-August; 2) Lukasz Fabianski put in a man-of-the-match performance in goal; 3) referee Mike Dean was woeful and denied Spurs one, if not two, clear-cut penalties — the last of which points Serge Aurier, the player who was deemed to have handled the ball inside Swansea’s box (he didn’t) and was then tripped from behind, was quick to point out in his post-game interview:

“It is so clear. What is not clear why Mike Dean justify in front of our players that it was handball but it was not handball. If you are not sure about the situation then why say it was handball? It was unlucky but we need to look at ourselves and try to be better next time and score before this situation.

“It was unlucky for us. We did not get the one penalty we deserved. In that situation the referee had a no good afternoon.”

Tottenham complete $30 million deal for Serge Aurier

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Tottenham have completed a $30 million deal to sign Serge Aurier from Paris Saint-Germain.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ] 

Aurier, 24, has signed a five-year contract with Spurs and has vowed to make the most of his “fresh start” after plenty of problems off the pitch at PSG in the past few years. 

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The marauding right back is currently on international duty with the Ivory Coast but had the following to say about his move to the Premier League.

“This is a huge and exciting opportunity at a massive football club and I am determined to prove myself as a professional both on and off the pitch,” Aurier said. “This is a fresh start for me and I will do everything to make the Spurs fanbase, which is huge and diverse, proud of me. The fans are the most important people at any club and I am looking forward to showing them and everyone at Spurs the real Serge Aurier.”

With Spurs selling Kyle Walker for over $65 million to Manchester City earlier this summer, they now seem to have found his replacement.

Kieran Trippier has had some problems early in the season and Aurier will push him all the way for the starting spot at right back or right wing-back.

Aurier is Spurs’ fourth signing of the summer after the $55 million move for Colombian center back Davinson Sanchez from Ajax, plus adding goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga from Southampton and young center back Juan Foyth from Estudiantes.

Serge Aurier receives work permit ahead of Spurs move

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Serge Aurier has been granted a UK work permit and everything is in place for his move to Tottenham Hotspur to be secured.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ] 

Aurier, 24, was previously denied entry to the UK last November for a UEFA Champions League game against Arsenal following his conviction for assaulting a police officer in Paris.

The Paris Saint-Germain right back appealed the two-month suspended prison sentence he was handed, which has now been reduced to a large fine.

[ STREAM: Deadline Day show ] 

With the work permit now granted it is believed Tottenham will complete the deal imminently with Aurier expected to cost around $30 million from PSG.

A powerful right back who loves to surge forward, Aurier will likely become a starter for Spurs in that position after they sold Kyle Walker to Manchester City for $65 million earlier this summer.

Kieran Trippier has struggled in that position early in the campaign and Spurs only have youngster Kyle Walker-Peters as back up at right back.

Aurier can also play in several other positions across the defense and although he comes with considerable bagged (summarized brilliantly by Rob Dauster here) there’s no questioning that at least on the pitch he is an international caliber right back who has all the tools to succeed in the Premier League.

The Ivory Coast international was linked with moves to Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Juventus but Spurs will

Should Serge Aurier’s baggage impact Tottenham move?

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By Rob Dauster

Serge Aurier is everything that Tottenham needs in a right back.

He’s pacy. He’s strong. He’s attack-minded. He’s the prototype of what manager Mauricio Pochettino looks for in a fullback; Kyle Walker at half the price.

[ MORE: All the latest transfer news

Anyone that watched Kieran Trippier struggle to do anything against Chelsea early in the season is already well aware that kind of speed out wide is something Spurs are missing, potentially the difference between competing for the top four and competing for a title.

Serge Aurier also comes with a significant amount of baggage, not the least of which is an issue getting a visa and work permit to actually enter the UK.

He was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer outside a Paris nightclub. He received a two-month jail sentence and is currently appealing the ruling. In November, he was not allowed to enter the country for a Champions League group stage match against Arsenal.

But assuming he wins his appeal, and assuming the reports linking the want-away PSG defender with Tottenham — according to L’Equipe, terms have been agreed upon and Aurier has already undergone a medical — are true, then the bigger issue Spurs chairman Daniel Levy faces is the fact that he’ll be bringing in a player with a documented history of using homophobic language.

For those that are unaware, last spring, during a Q-and-A that Aurier did on the app Periscope, the Ivorian insulted a number of his teammates and called then manager Laurent Blanc “une fiotte,” which, in French, translates to “f—-t”.

After initially denying that it was him on the video, Aurier released a half-hearted apology, attempting to clear the air with his teammates and coaching staff:

“I made a big mistake, I am here to say sorry to the coach, the club and my team-mates, and to the supporters because they are the most important people,” he said. “I want to apologize especially to the coach, I can only thank him for all he has done for me since I arrived in Paris. He wanted me and since I came here everything has gone really well. I owe him a lot and that is why I apologize sincerely to him for what was said, which I deeply regret.”

“I will accept any sanction the club impose on me regarding this incident. I made a mistake, it was unforgivable and I am ready to face all the consequences.”

Nowhere in that statement does Aurier apologize for the use of homophobic language. Nowhere in there does he accept responsibility for the pain he caused LGBT PSG fans that had to hear him say those things. Nowhere does he acknowledge that using that word is wrong.

And therein lies the problem.

Every time a member of the LGBT community hears homophobic language like this, it triggers something in them. They hearken back to the days when it wasn’t okay to be gay. It reminds them of every time they were discriminated against for their sexual orientation. The mere presence of Serge Aurier on Tottenham’s roster will do this to LGBT Spurs supporters.

Think about it like this: How many times have you found yourself lying awake at night, replaying the most awkward, embarrassing and painful moments of your past over and over in your head?

Now imagine having that feeling every single time you watch your favorite soccer club play simply because they decided to sign a player that may actually be homophobic. Imagine being put into a position where you have to decide whether or not to continue cheering for your club because something as normal as hearing an announcer say the right back’s name reminds you of every single person that has hated and ridiculed you for who you are.

Sports are supposed to be the place we go to get away from all of that, particularly at a club like Tottenham, where the Proud Lilywhites supporters group’s rainbow flag was clearly visible on every television broadcast from White Hart Lane:

Ben Daniels and Michael Caley of Cartilage Free Captain, SB Nation’s Tottenham website, wrote a sensational piece on this topic and I encourage everyone to go read it.

Where I differ is that I do not believe that Aurier is off-limits to the club, but that is assuming the player is willing to make amends, to become a face fighting for equality within the league.

According to reports in France, PSG’s chairman punched a door over the lack of sincerity in Aurier’s apology. Compare that to Manchester United star Paul Pogba, who has spoken openly about respect that gay footballers deserve and shaved “#EQUAL” into his hair to support the cause.

Frankly, I’m not sure even that would be enough. Anyone can read a PR crafted apology when they know millions of dollars and a career’s worth of earning power is on the line.

Sit Aurier down with the LGBT supporter’s groups. Reach out to at-risk, LGBT youth. An apology is not as impactful as educating someone with his platform as to why using that language is such a problem.

Because I promise you Aurier is not alone in thinking it is OK to call people “f—-t”. I can also promise you I’m not the only one that is thankful that I didn’t have a platform and an app that could broadcast everything I said in my late-teens and early-20s to the entire world.

People should be allowed to make mistakes like this as long as they learn from them. Young athletes saying ignorant things should be a teaching point. Getting through to Aurier means reaching all the people that pay attention to what he has to say.

Which is why Tottenham, should they opt to sign Aurier, have a responsibility here.

But it’s about more than forcing an apology and a few public appearances. It’s more than a couple of well-produced twitter videos featuring

Aurier trying to make amends.

It is on the club to make Aurier prove that he wants to learn, and that he truly understands what he did and why it’s wrong.

And if he doesn’t, then he doesn’t deserve a place at Tottenham, and the club should be ashamed of putting the pursuit of a trophy ahead of the people willing to spend their life supporting Spurs without one.