Legendary English striker Jimmy Greaves dies aged 81

Jimmy Greaves
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Jimmy Greaves, the legendary Tottenham and England striker, has died at the age of 81.

Greaves is Tottenham’s all-time leading goalscorer with 266 goals and also scored 44 goals in 57 games for England, as he played for Chelsea, AC Milan and West Ham in his storied career.

Tottenham host Chelsea on Sunday, as two of Greaves’ former clubs will unite to honor a true legend as there will be a minute’s silence before the game and both players will wear black armbands.

The London native is the highest-scoring player in the top flight of English football, with 357 goals to his name. He won the Serie A with AC Milan, plus two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup with Tottenham. He was also part of the England squad which won the World Cup in 1966.

He was adored for his clinical finishing during his playing career and his broadcasting skills in his post-playing career, as he was also a star in the much-loved soccer show Saint and Greavsie.

Greaves had struggled with his health in recent years and it was announced he passed away in his home in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Tottenham released the following statement as they paid tribute to Jimmy Greaves.

Spurs, Chelsea pay tribute to legendary striker

Tottenham led the tributes to Greaves, as their top goalscorer in history will always be a legend at White Hart Lane.

“We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves, not just Tottenham Hotspur’s record goalscorer but the finest marksman this country has ever seen. Jimmy passed away at home in the early hours of this morning (Sunday 19 September), aged 81.

“Throughout his wonderful playing career, Jimmy’s strike rate was phenomenal. His Spurs return was 266 goals in 379 appearances between 1961 and 1970 – 220 goals in 321 league games, 32 goals in 36 FA Cup ties, five in just eight League Cup ties and nine in 14 European matches. The 37 league goals that he netted in the 1962/63 season remains to this day our record by any player in a single season.

“He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list at the end of 2020. Football will not see his like again. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Irene, their four children, 10 grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

Chelsea, where Greaves made his name and was a product of their youth team, also saluted his greatness.

“Chelsea Football Club mourns the loss of a truly remarkable player and one of our own. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Jimmy Greaves’s family and friends at this time of their sad loss. Those who witnessed Greaves effortlessly breeze through a defence with the ball at his feet, before passing it beyond the goalkeeper and into the back of the net, universally acclaim him as the finest goalscorer to play for Chelsea FC.

“They normally go further too, and describe the east Londoner as the best finisher English football has ever seen. The statistics reinforce the opinions, conferring true legend status on an England international who made his name at Stamford Bridge.” 

England pays tribute to Jimmy Greaves

He is the fourth-highest goalscorer in England’s history and played in the 1966 World Cup winning team in the early games of the tournament, but he did not play in the final due to injury.

Greaves is regarded as one of the best finishers in England’s history.

“Jimmy Greaves was someone who was admired by all who love football, regardless of club allegiances,” Gareth Southgate said. “I was privileged to be able to meet Jimmy’s family last year at Tottenham Hotspur as the club marked his 80th birthday. My thoughts are with them and I know the entire game will mourn his passing.

“Jimmy certainly deserves inclusion in any list of England’s best players, given his status as one of our greatest goalscorers and his part in our 1966 World Cup success. We will pay tribute to his memory at our home match with Hungary at Wembley Stadium next month. His place in our history will never be forgotten.”

Harry Kane, who is set to overtake Greaves in the scoring charts for England, and possibly Tottenham, led the tirbutes to Greaves.

Pelé in ‘semi-intensive’ care, daughter says he’s doing well

Pele
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images for 10Ten Talent
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SAO PAULO (AP) Brazilian soccer great Pele “took a little step back” in his recovery from surgery to remove a tumor from his colon but he is “recovering well” at a Sao Paulo hospital, his daughter Kely Nascimento said Friday.

However, the Albert Einstein hospital said the 80-year-old Edson Arantes do Nascimento had returned to intensive care after “a brief breathing instability” Thursday night. Pele was currently stable in “semi-intensive” care, the hospital said, and he “continues recovering.” It did not give further details.

Kely Nascimento posted a picture Friday with her father on Instagram which she said she had just taken in his room at the Albert Einstein hospital.

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“He is recovering well and within normal range. Promise!” Kely Nascimento said. “The normal recovery scenario for a man of his age after an operation like this is sometimes two steps forward and one step back. Yesterday he was tired and took a little step back.”

“Today he took two forwards!” she added, without giving more details.

The hospital had not previously issued a new statement on Pele’s health since Tuesday, when he was removed from intensive care.

Later Pele confirmed on social media that he is feeling well and that he had been visited by family members during the day.

“I continue to smile every day. Thank you for all the love I get from you,” Pele said.

The tumor was found when Pele went for routine exams at the end of August. His surgery took place on Sept. 4.

Pele won the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups, and remains Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 matches.

Christian Pulisic injury update arrives

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Christian Pulisic is stepping up his return from injury, but the USMNT superstar will not be fit to play at Tottenham this Sunday (Watch live, 11:30am ET on Peacock Premium).

On his 23rd birthday, there is some positive news about his recovery.

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Pulisic, 23, suffered an ankle injury in the USMNT’s 4-1 win at Honduras on Sept. 9 and has been out since.

The Pennsylvanian winger had only just returned from a spell out due to testing positive for COVID-19 as he then had to work his way back to full fitness.

Pulisic started the 2021-22 domestic season well, as he scored a penalty kick in Chelsea’s UEFA Super Cup final win and scored in the opening day win against Crystal Palace.

However, as has been the case for much of his young career, injuries have hampered his fast start to the new season and he hasn’t played for the Blues in over a month.

What is the latest update from Chelsea?

“There is good news on Christian Pulisic,” Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said. “Christian is in individual training and is trying to come back as fast as possible to join in with full training.

“He’s not in the squad this weekend, as the game comes too early for him, but he is working hard on his fitness.”

That would suggest that Pulisic could return for the League Cup game next week against Aston Villa, or maybe the huge Premier League clash against Manchester City on Saturday, Sept. 25.

Good news for USMNT

Whenever Pulisic returns for Chelsea, it is pretty clear that he will be fit to play in their World Cup qualifiers in October.

That is, obviously, great news for Gregg Berhalter. The USMNT face Jamaica, Panama and Costa Rica in October and they look like being pivotal clashes as the latter two nations have started well in qualifying.

Pulisic wore the captains armband in two of the USMNT’s three World Cup qualifiers last month (he only played in two after missing the game at El Salvador) and is clearly the talisman for the Stars and Stripes.

Even a 75 percent fit Pulisic has so start for the USMNT.

VIDEO: Carli Lloyd scores 5 goals to kick off USWNT farewell tour

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CLEVELAND (AP) No, Carli Lloyd isn’t reconsidering her retirement — even after a five-goal game.

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Lloyd hit a career high for goals in the USWNT’s 9-0 rout of Paraguay on Thursday night. The 39-year-old forward has just three more games with the team before she walks away from the game.

“Maybe for a split second,” Lloyd said when asked if performances like that make her want to stick around. “And then I go back to reality.”

Carli Lloyd scored a pair of goals in the opening five minutes, and added her third and fourth before halftime as the United States built a 6-0 lead. She added her final goal in the 61st.

Carli Lloyd has 133 international goals in 313 appearances with the national team. She moved in front of Kristine Lilly for third on the career list.

“She’s an absolute legend, just being on the field, she’s a threat, no matter who we play, when we play, where we play,” USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Her mentality is something that’s unseen. She’s just hungry for scoring goals, just hungry to get better, and whether we play for a medal or we play Paraguay, it makes no difference. She wants to score goals.”

Lloyd’s scoring outburst was reminiscent of the 2015 World Cup final, when she scored three goals in the first 16 minutes against Japan. She announced she plans to retire from soccer after the team’s four post-Olympic games.

“That was fun,” she said about the game. “I don’t know, I’m just trying to savor it because I want time to go a little bit slower, because one game is down and I have three left.”

It was Carli Lloyd’s first career five-goal game. She has nine career hat tricks, one fewer than Mia Hamm.

The five goals matched the USWNT record for a single game, a milestone most recently reached by Alex Morgan against Thailand during the 2019 World Cup. No player has had six.

“I wish I could do it forever, but all good things eventually come to an end and I definitely am for sure retiring,” Lloyd said. “I’m not going to come back out of retirement but you know I’m going to be the biggest cheerleader for this team and really excited to see them continue to keep crushing it.”

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Andi Sullivan scored 25th before Lynn Williams’ blast from distance in the 30th made it 4-0.

Sullivan added a second goal early in the second half, before Lloyd’s fifth. Tobin Heath scored the final goal in the 86th.

The United States is in the midst of a four-game post Olympics tour. The Americans won the bronze medal in Tokyo, a somewhat disappointing finish for the defending World Cup champions.

It is the first time that the United States has faced Paraguay, which has never played in the Olympics or the World Cup.

Paraguay lost 7-0 to Japan in April. It was the team’s only previous match this year after three scheduled games against Colombia were cancelled because of the coronavirus.

Forward Christen Press was not with the national team because she is taking time off to focus on her mental health. Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz, Sam Mewis and Megan Rapinoe were not on the roster because of injury.

The United States plays Paraguay again on Tuesday in Cincinnati. The team is scheduled to host South Korea twice next month before a possible road trip to Australia in November.

USMNT falls in latest FIFA world rankings

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The USMNT have slipped out of the top 10 in the latest FIFA world rankings, as the Stars and Stripes slumped to some disappointing results in World Cup qualifying.

[ MORE: Watch USMNT World Cup qualifying ]

Last month the USMNT were ranked No. 10 in the world, but they’ve now fallen three spots to 13th.

As World Cup qualifying began in the CONCACAF region, Gregg Berhalter’s side drew with El Salvador and Canada before a late surge saw them beat Honduras after trailing at half time.

Given those results, the USMNT would have expected to drop in the rankings, as reaching the top 10 last month was their highest ranking since 2006.

Who else is on the move?

Belgium remain top of the rankings, with Brazil steady in second and England move up one spot to third as they jump above France who sit in fourth.

Italy are in fifth, with Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Mexico and Denmark then rounding off the top 10.

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Focusing on the CONCACAF region in particular, Mexico remain the top team as they’re in ninth and then Costa Rica is next in 44th.

Canada moved up eight places to 51st after a strong start to qualifying, while Panama moved up six places to 68th after also starting well.

Below is a look at the top 20 in full.


FIFA world rankings (September 16, 2021)

1. Belgium (Even)
2. Brazil (Even)
3. England (Up 1)
4. France (Down 1)
5. Italy (Even)
6. Argentina (Even)
7. Portugal (Up 1)
8. Spain (Down 1)
9. Mexico (Even)
10. Denmark (Up 1)

11. Netherlands (Up 1)
12. Uruguay (Up 1)
13. USMNT (Down 3)
14. Germany (Up 2)
15. Switzerland (Down 1)
16. Colombia (Down 1)
17. Croatia (Up 1)
18. Sweden (Down 1)
19. Wales (Even)
20. Senegal (Up 1)