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Roma’s American owner Pallotta banned for three months by UEFA

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AS Roma owner James Pallotta has been punished by UEFA for calling the officiating “an absolute joke” after Roma were bounced by Liverpool in last year’s UEFA Champions League.

UEFA announced on Friday that Pallotta had been given a three-month ban for “improper conduct.” UEFA stated that Pallotta is banned “from carrying out his function during UEFA competition matches in which he would otherwise participate, starting from AS Roma’s first UEFA competition match of the 2018/2019 season. In particular, the official may not be in the technical area or communicate directly or indirectly with the team’s players and/or technical staff during the match and may not enter the dressing room or tunnel before or during the match.”

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pallotta made headlines around the world for his reactions in Rome, including jumping into one of the city’s many famous fountains after Roma knocked out Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals.

However, against Liverpool, Roma’s dream run came to an end, with the Reds winning 7-6 on aggregate in a wild 180 minutes of action. Pallotta, speaking after Roma was knocked out, stated it was “an absolute joke” that UEFA didn’t have video assistant refereeing, which may have helped give Roma a penalty kick on two occasions.

While Pallotta may appeal, this suspension isn’t too serious. It appears that Pallotta can still sit in the owners box and attend UEFA matches, just not be in the technical area or in the tunnel before and during the game.

Mahrez, Man City share No. 1 goal: Win Champions League

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After winning the Premier League in historically dominant fashion last season — Pep Guardiola‘s second at the club — every new signing Manchester City make from here on out will be made, and judged, with one goal in mind: winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Southgate “the backbone of this team; the man’s a gentleman” ]

Guardiola and Co., won’t be splashing out $80 million for a player with the lowly intent of consolidating domestic power and merely hanging on to the PL title, Riyad Mahrez, who completed his transfer from Leicester City for that very fee on Tuesday, knows it. It’s why he’s at the club.

Having already led the Foxes to the unlikeliest of PL titles two seasons ago, Mahrez has bigger fish to fry, and his targets are perfectly aligned with those of his new employer — quotes from the BBC and the Guardian:

“The Champions League is for big clubs, they’re a big club, they have everything to try to win it.

“City have ambition to go further than the Champions League quarterfinals like they did last season. I made the decision to come here because I want to be part of that.

“Pep [Guardiola] is a big manager, he’s won a lot of things and made history with this club. I’ll give my best to achieve for the club.”

“I haven’t talked about my precise position with the manager yet, but City wanted me and that means a lot. The price tag doesn’t affect me — fees for players have got very big in the last couple of years. I am very happy to be here and will try to give my best for the club. I thought what City did last year was amazing, it was unbelievable to break all those Premier League records, but I am confident about myself. I want to help this team improve and I believe that is what the manager wants.”

“Players at top clubs always have to face competition for places, it is normal for big clubs to have a lot of great players and City are a big club with a big manager.”

Mahrez is an ideal signing for a side with Man City’s ambitions and embarrassment of mega-bucks talent. Sure, he cost the club $80 million — a club-record fee — and you can say that he won’t get enough games with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, David Silva and Bernardo Silva also in the team, but injuries will inevitably rear their ugly heads, and Mahrez’s presence will make City two-deep at three positions behind strikers Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero.

[ MORE: Mourinho: England needs to keep coaches for next World Cup ]

The goal is to win the Champions League while retaining the PL title as an absolute bare minimum expectation. They made it look easy in 2017-18, but their pursuit of all-time records likely played a part in coming up short in European competition. City have an unfair advantage in terms of resources and weapons, but winning a treble (or a quadruple) would amount to a massively unfair achievement.

Klopp: Karius “100 percent” had concussion

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Jurgen Klopp believes Loris Karius suffered a concussion during the second half of Liverpool’s 3-1 UEFA Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid and that’s why he made two horrendous goalkeeping errors.

Karius was hit by Real’s Sergio Ramos off the ball, was treated on the pitch but carried on.

Minutes later he made two massive errors, throwing the ball straight against Karim Benzema and then letting a long range effort from Gareth Bale slip right through his grasp.

The German goalkeeper had a concussion test and evaluation in Massachusetts days after the final which determined he had suffered a concussion and now Klopp has had his say on it all.

“We don’t use it as an excuse, we use it as an explanation,” said Klopp. “For me, it is 100% the explanation [for his performance]. He was influenced by that knock – that is 100%. I got all the pictures from different perspectives, saw it and thought ‘how can we all think that the boy who didn’t show any weakness in that game until then made these big mistakes in a very important game and nobody thinks it’s because of the knock he got?’ How can we think that? That was, for me, the explanation and I thought: ‘OK, come on, we need to check that.’

“I thought it was too late, you cannot check that. But now I know a concussion isn’t coming and going in a day – if you have one, you see it days later. Five days after the final, Loris had 26 of 30 markers for a concussion still. That’s clear.”

Several reports have linked Liverpool with signing a new goalkeeper this summer but moves for Alisson and others have faltered, so it appears Karius will remain at Anfield.

Buffon gets three-match European ban for Oliver reaction, rant

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Should Gianluigi Buffon continue his illustrious career, he’s set to miss three matches of Europa League or UEFA Champions League play.

[ MORE: Argentina cancels Israel friendly after Messi threats ]

Buffon, 40, was suspended three games by UEFA for his reaction to a late penalty call against Juventus by referee Michael Oliver following a Mehdi Benatia foul on Lucas Vazquez in the second leg of the UCL quarterfinal second leg.

The goalkeeper was given a red card for his reaction, and proceeded to tear into Oliver with vigor after the match, saying he had a garbage can for a heart and lacked the courage to referee on such a stage.

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli called Oliver’s performance “total chaos.”

Sergio Ramos hits out after Salah, Karius injury fury

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Real Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos isn’t going to make any more friends with these comments.

The captain of Real Madrid — who won his third-straight UEFA Champions League title and fourth in his last five years against Liverpool less than 10 days ago — has been speaking about the incidents which saw him pull Mohamed Salah to the ground and injure the left shoulder of the Egyptian winger, as well as being accused of concussing goalkeeper Loris Karius with an off-the-ball barge.

Ramos, via Spanish outlet AS, revealed he has been in touch with Salah and has sent him a message and that everything was fine on that score.

He then launched into the following…

“Bloody hell, they’ve given this a lot of attention, the Salah thing…” Ramos said. “I didn’t want to speak because everything is magnified. I see the play well, he grabs my arm first and I fell to the other side, the injury happened to the other arm and they said that I gave him a judo hold. After the goalkeeper said that I dazed him with a clash with me I am only missing Firmino saying that he got a cold because a drop of my sweat.”

“I spoke with Salah through messages, he was quite good. He could have played if he had an injection for the second half. I have done it sometimes. But when Ramos does something like this, it sticks a little bit more. I don’t know if it’s because you’re at Madrid for so long and win for so long that people look at it in a different way.”

Okay, so Sergio isn’t about all of the blame being put on his shoulders (no pun intended) as the robust Real defender has been accused of injuring Salah and Karius on purpose.

With no player in La Liga history getting more red cards than Ramos, his reputation as a no-nonsense defender naturally precedes his supreme ability as a player and a leader.

These comments will not be looked upon kindly by anyone connected with Liverpool as their fans felt that Ramos single-handedly took out their best player and it now appears he also impacted their goalkeeper who went on to make costly errors.