Gerard Pique wants his team – and fans – to know that the turmoil surrounding the leadership of the Spanish national team is bringing the squad together not tearing it apart.
Also, he knows there’s precedent for the situation they’re in.
Pique posted on Twitter that they’re channeling the 1989 Michigan Wolverines basketball team that won the NCAA Tournament under interim head coach Steve Fisher. Pique seems well versed in the American sports comeback story.
Pique’s tweet reads, “University of Michigan. Basketball. 1989. NCAA Champion. It wouldn’t be the first time it happened. All together, now more than ever.”
Just prior to the 1989 NCAA Tournament, Michigan basketball coach Bill Frieder announced he had accepted a position as the head coach of Arizona State – a position which he would take at the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament. Michigan athletic director Bo Schembechler was so angry at the announcement that he fired Frieder on the spot, and hired top assistant Fisher to take his place and coach the tournament. The Wolverines went on to win the entire thing, toppling 2-seed North Carolina, 1-seed Illinois, and 3-seed Seton Hall on the way, winning the title by a single point in overtime over the Pirates.
Upon the coaching change, Schembechler announced, “a Michigan man is going to coach a Michigan team,” spawning the popular phrase “Michigan man.” Spain’s interim coach Fernando Hierro is certainly a “Spanish man” himself, having appeared 89 times for the Spanish national team in his playing days, scoring 29 goals as a defender and appearing in four World Cups.
This weekend in Premier League preseason friendlies sees Liverpool taking on a pair of top European foes, while four PL foes trade blows in Shanghai.
Man City and Wolves move on from significant defeats of Newcastle and West Ham, who in turn will face each other on Saturday.
You can watch Saturday’s Premier League Asia Trophy matches between Wolves and Man City, and Newcastle versus West Ham here on NBC Sports Live.
Meanwhile, Manchester United will tangle with Romelu Lukaku-chasing Inter Milan on Saturday (and, no, the Belgian striker won’t be in uniform).
There’s also a sneaky good match-up of Watford and Bayer Leverkusen in Austria on Saturday, while Sunday’s light docket has Spurs facing Matthijs de Ligt and Juventus in Singapore.
Borussia Dortmund v. Liverpool (Notre Dame, Indiana)
Girona v. Bournemouth
Arsenal v. Fiorentina (Charlotte)
Fulham v. Brighton and Hove Albion
Cheltenham Town v. Leicester City
Crewe Alexandra v. Burnley
Port Vale v. Burnley
Bromley v. Crystal Palace
Man City v. Wolves (Shanghai)
Inter Milan v. Manchester United (Singapore)
Newcastle United v. West Ham (Shanghai)
Northampton Town v. Sheffield United
Preston North End v. Southampton
Watford v. Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)
Shrewsbury Town v. Aston Villa
Liverpool v. Sevilla (Boston)
Juventus v. Spurs (Singapore)
London sides went 0-2, while three other Premier League sides won ahead of Friday night’s friendly between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund in Indiana.
[ MORE: Algeria wins AFCON ]
The wins included defeats of Schalke and Monaco, while Brighton and Hove Albion topped lower league Crawley Town.
Schalke 1-2 Norwich City
Teemu Pukki had a goal and an assist, giving hope that the Championship goal collector can bring his game to the Premier League.
Pukki’s 13th minute goal was assisted by Man City loanee Patrick Roberts, and the Finn later assisted Moritz Leitner‘s winner.
Rabbi Matondo scored Schalke’s only goal, and American midfielder Weston McKennie was neither with the starters nor the bench.
Everton 1-0 Monaco
Seamus Coleman scored and Maarten Stekelenburg stopped a penalty as the Toffees handled their Ligue 1 opposition in Switzerland.
Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 Chelsea — RECAP
Leandro Damaio scored the lone goal as Chelsea had plenty of chances to win in Christian Pulisic‘s debut. The American came off the bench for the final 25 minutes in Japan.
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Crystal Palace
Albert Adomah scored the lone goal in a win for the Championship side.
Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 Crawley Town
New signing Taylor Richards‘ late penalty kick was enough for the Seagulls to get a result at home. The Man City midfielder arrived on Thursday.
Liverpool v. Borussia Dortmund (Notre Dame, Indiana) — 8 p.m. ET
In the words of a Missouri-born rapper, you only get one shot. In Algeria’s case in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, that was true and it was all the Desert Foxes needed to claim their first AFCON title since 1990 with a 1-0 defeat of Senegal on Friday at Cairo International Stadium in Cairo.
Baghdad Bounedjah’s wildly-deflected second minute shot was enough to give Algeria its second AFCON crown.
Senegal out shot Algeria 11-1 on the day, but Sadio Mane and Co. couldn’t find their way over the goal line.
One-time Man City and Southampton player Djamel Belmadi has now managed an AFCON winner and a Gulf Cup of Nations champion (Qatar, 2014).
[ MORE: Ballon d’Or w/o Messi, Ronaldo? ]
Bounedjah’s wild rip after a cut-in from the left bounded into the air and looped into the far corner. Senegal goalkeeper Amigo Gomis made it look more odd with his befuddlement (Scramble, my guy!).
Referee Neant Alioum’s ruling of a penalty to Senegal after Ismaila Sarr’s rip hit the arm of Adlene Guedioura was overturned when review showed the Algeria midfielder’s arm was at his side.
We mean, was this going to be the goal that won Africa’s most important tournament? Yep.
Ajax has developed a ton of youngsters, and now has a pair of CONCACAF starlets in the fold for 2019-20.
A day after selling Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus for a reported $84 million, the Dutch side has delivered on reports that it wanted Edson Alvarez.
That puts the 21-year-old Mexican defender/defensive midfielder in the Eredivisie side with 18-year-old Dutch-American defender Sergino Dest.
While Dest has yet to break into the full USMNT, playing in the U-20 World Cup this summer, Alvarez already has 28 caps and five goals for El Tri.
He’ll bring a relative wealth of experience from Club America, and Ajax could use him to help offset the sale of Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona. While Alvarez has played a lot of center back in Liga MX, he’s been used at defensive midfielder by Tata Martino with the national team.
The reported fee is $17 million, according to Goal.