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(FILES) French world champion Blaise Matuidi on August 12, 2020 ended his contract with Juventus Turin by mutual agreement. (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP)

 

 

France’s World Cup-winning midfielder Blaise Matuidi is leaving Juventus by mutual consent after three years, the Italian champions announced on Wednesday.

Matuidi, 33, joined the...

(FILES) French world champion Blaise Matuidi on August 12, 2020 ended his contract with Juventus Turin by mutual agreement. (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP)

 

 

France’s World Cup-winning midfielder Blaise Matuidi is leaving Juventus by mutual consent after three years, the Italian champions announced on Wednesday.

Matuidi, 33, joined the Turin giants from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 and had one year left on his contract.

It is reported he is set to move to the United States to join David Beckham’s Major League Soccer club Inter Miami.

“Blaise Matuidi and Juventus say goodbye with the consensual termination of the player’s contract,” Juventus said in a statement.

“With our colours on his back, he fought and played his heart out in every single game; placing constant pressure on the opponents, tearing apart the run of play and ever so eloquently relaunching the ball into action.”

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 07, 2019 Juventus’ French midfielder Blaise Matuidi eyes the ball during the Italian Serie A football match lazio Rome vs Juventus Turin on December 7, 2019 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. – French world champion Blaise Matuidi on August 12, 2020 ended his contract with Juventus Turin by mutual agreement. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

 

Matudi, who played in the 2018 World Cup final when France beat Croatia 4-2, won three Serie A titles, one Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup at Juventus.

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He also won four Ligue 1 titles during six years at PSG, having previously played for French clubs Troyes and Saint Etienne.

Matuidi played 98 games for Juventus in Serie A and 133 times in all competitions, second only to Argentine forward Paulo Dybala (134).

He helped Juventus win a ninth Serie A title in a row this season.

But the club’s failure to advance past the Champions League last 16 led to the sacking of coach Maurizio Sarri after a single season. He has been replaced by former Juventus and Italy star Andrea Pirlo.

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 21, 2019 Juventus’ French midfielder Blaise Matuidi controls the ball during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Verona on September 21, 2019 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. – French world champion Blaise Matuidi on August 12, 2020 ended his contract with Juventus Turin by mutual agreement. (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP)

 

“To have been a member of the Juventus family is a dream come true, an honour,” Matuidi wrote on Instagram.

“I discovered an incredible institution, teammates who have become more than that.

“I will always remain your number 1 fan, or rather number 14. Thank you Juventus, a very real thank you.”

 

 

-AFP

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  1.   12 August 2020
  2.   swordpress.com.ng
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (L) and Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe celebrate after winning at the end of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by David Ramos / POOL / AFP)

 

Brazilian superstar...

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (L) and Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe celebrate after winning at the end of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by David Ramos / POOL / AFP)

 

Brazilian superstar Neymar insisted that Paris Saint-Germain always believed they could come back from the brink to defeat Atalanta with two goals in the dying moments of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.

“I never thought of going home. From start to finish, from the warm-up, we only thought of qualifying for the semi-finals,” the world’s most expensive footballer told RMC Sport.

Substitute Eric Choupo-Moting’s goal three minutes into added time allowed PSG to beat the Italian outsiders 2-1.

Mario Pasalic gave Atalanta a 27th-minute lead but PSG were rescued when Marquinhos came forward to scramble in a last-minute equaliser.

Kylian Mbappe set up fellow substitute Choupo-Moting to win the tie right at the end.

The French champions will play RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid next Tuesday for a place in the final.

“Nobody is going to take my mind off that I want to go to the final,” added 28-year-old Neymar as PSG made the last-four for the first time since 1995.

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“We really have a great group, we’re a family, we know that with this state of mind it’s impossible. to put us out of competition.

“We knew that a ball could arrive, that even after the equaliser we could score a second goal.”

Neymar hailed Atalanta, the team which captured the imagination of neutrals, reaching this stage despite their city of Bergamo being one of the worst hit by the coronavirus.

“Atalanta are a great team, they played very well, they are the surprise of the competition. They were very aggressive, we knew they were going to press us,” said Neymar.

“Now we’re going to have to rest, it was a tough game mentally.

“Another very difficult match is coming.”

 

 

-AFP

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  1.   12 August 2020
  2.   swordpress.com.ng
President Muhammadu Buhari mourns former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington.

The President in a tribute on Thursday evening described the late diplomat as Nigeria’s ‘Long Time Friend’ who was courageous.

He said the...

President Muhammadu Buhari mourns former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington.

The President in a tribute on Thursday evening described the late diplomat as Nigeria’s ‘Long Time Friend’ who was courageous.

He said the late Carrington “openly supported the people of this country when they fought for the return of democracy following the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential elections won by the late Moshood Abiola.”

President Buhari said the story of the Nigerian democracy under the Fourth Republic will not complete without a mention of the heroic roles of the likes of Ambassador Carrington.

“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Nigeria, I commiserate with the family of the deceased, his friends and admirers as well as the government and people of the United States,” the President added.

Walter C. Carrington

Biography

The late Walter Carrington was an American diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Senegal and Nigeria.

He served as the US Ambassador to Senegal from 1980 to 1981 and was appointed by U.S President Bill Clinton in 1993 as the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, where he remained until 1997.

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His ties to Nigeria were deep; he had married into a Nigerian family and had lived in three Nigerian cities since the late 1960s.

In 1981, he was named Director of the Department of International Affairs of Howard University. He published several articles on Africa. He served as US Ambassador to Nigeria from 1993 to 1997. On 1 September 2004, Carrington was named the Warburg Professor of International Relations at Simmons College in Boston.

Carrington is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. In 1997, he received an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Humane Letters) from Livingstone College, North Carolina.

In 1991, he published Africa in the Minds and Deeds of Black American Leaders (with Edwin Dorn).

In 2010, he published A Duty to Speak: Refusing to Remain Silent in a Time of Tyranny, a compilation of his speeches supporting democracy and human rights in Nigeria during the Abacha military dictatorship.

He has written many Africa-related articles for national magazines.

The late US ambassador to Nigeria died on Tuesday at the age of 90.

 

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  1.   12 August 2020
  2.   swordpress.com.ng
Paris Saint-Germain’s Cameroon forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by RAFAEL MARCHANTE / POOL / AFP)

Paris Saint-Germain snatched a...

Paris Saint-Germain’s Cameroon forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by RAFAEL MARCHANTE / POOL / AFP)

Paris Saint-Germain snatched a dramatic victory from the jaws of defeat as substitute Eric Choupo-Moting’s goal three minutes into added time allowed them to beat Atalanta 2-1 in their Champions League quarter-final in Lisbon on Wednesday.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Spanish goalkeeper Sergio Rico, Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian defender Thiago Silva and Paris Saint-Germain’s French defender Presnel Kimpembe celebrate after winning at the end of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by RAFAEL MARCHANTE / POOL / AFP)

 

Atalanta were on the brink of extending their remarkable run on into the last four after Mario Pasalic gave the Italians a 27th-minute lead in the first game of the ‘Final Eight’ at an empty Estadio da Luz.

But PSG were rescued as Marquinhos came forward to scramble in a last-minute equaliser and they did not even need extra time to complete the turnaround, with Kylian Mbappe setting up fellow substitute Choupo-Moting to win the tie right at the end.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian defender Marquinhos celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by RAFAEL MARCHANTE / POOL / AFP)

 

The French champions’ reward is a place in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since 1995. They will play RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid next Tuesday for a place in the final.

It is the first time PSG have gone beyond the last eight of the Champions League since the Qatari takeover of the club almost a decade ago and all the huge investment that has followed.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian defender Marquinhos celebrates at the end of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by RAFAEL MARCHANTE / POOL / AFP)

 

The result is heartbreaking for Atalanta, who were hoping to continue their fairytale campaign for at least a few more days and give the people of Bergamo more reason to cheer.

The northern Italian city suffered terribly at the height of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. Bergamo’s death toll from COVID-19 has made it one of the worst-hit regions anywhere during the health crisis.

However, this will still go down as a highly successful season for Gian Piero Gasperini’s team, who scored eight goals over two legs to beat Valencia in the last 16 in March.

 

Atalanta’s Argentinian defender Jose Luis Palomino (R) reacts at the end of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by David Ramos / POOL / AFP)

 

That tie was completed just before football across Europe ground to a halt in the face of the pandemic, but Atalanta have since come back to finish third in Serie A for the second year running, scoring 98 goals in the process.

Beating PSG was ultimately a step too far, but that Atalanta came so close is remarkable enough. After all, their annual wage bill is believed to be equivalent to what PSG pay Neymar alone.

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Paris Saint-Germain’s Cameroon forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by RAFAEL MARCHANTE / POOL / AFP)

 

It was because of the pandemic that UEFA decided to bring the Champions League to Lisbon for a straight knockout tournament from the quarter-finals onwards, with all games being played behind closed doors and as one-off ties.

Mbappe’s half-hour

PSG therefore knew they would get no second chance to turn the tie around and coach Thomas Tuchel’s gamble on Mbappe’s fitness ultimately paid off.

Mbappe was left in a race against time to make this match after spraining his ankle in the French Cup final against Saint-Etienne on July 24.

He was only deemed fit enough to come on for the final 30 minutes, with PSG already diminished without the injured Marco Verratti and the suspended Angel Di Maria.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (L) and Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe celebrate after winning at the end of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by David Ramos / POOL / AFP)

 

Neymar was there, but the world’s most expensive player failed to take a glorious early chance, shooting wide with only Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Sportiello to beat after bursting through on goal from halfway.

Instead it was Atalanta who broke through just before the half-hour mark as Pasalic fired home first-time from 15 yards after the ball fell to him in the box.

Berat Djimsiti might have made it 2-0 just before the hour, but then Mbappe came on and PSG stepped up the pressure.

Atalanta’s Italian goalkeeper Marco Sportiello reacts at the end of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by David Ramos / POOL / AFP)

 

The French side lost goalkeeper Keylor Navas to injury late on and looked to be down and out until Marquinhos bundled in a Neymar assist from inside the six-yard box in the 90th minute, the ball going in off Mattia Caldara’s leg.

 

Atalanta’s Italian goalkeeper Francesco Rossi reacts at the end of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon on August 12, 2020. (Photo by David Ramos / POOL / AFP)

 

And Choupo-Moting — who signed a two-month contract extension to stay at PSG for the ‘Final Eight’ after his deal expired in June — was on hand to grab the dramatic winner.

Neymar supplied Mbappe and his low ball across the face of goal was converted by Choupo-Moting, often derided as not good enough for PSG but this time their hero.

 

 

-AFP

Read more

  1.   12 August 2020
  2.   swordpress.com.ng
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks during a hearing before Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at Dirksen Senate Office Building August 6, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / POOL / AFP

 

 

Kamala Harris’s late mother left her native India in 1960, but half a world away from Washington the uncle and...

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks during a hearing before Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at Dirksen Senate Office Building August 6, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / POOL / AFP

 

 

Kamala Harris’s late mother left her native India in 1960, but half a world away from Washington the uncle and aunt of the US vice-president hopeful follow her every move — and are very proud.

Harris was born in California in 1964 to a Jamaican father, economics professor John Harris, and breast cancer specialist Shyamala Gopalan.

She was the first black attorney general of California — the first woman to hold the post — and the first woman of South Asian heritage to be elected to the US Senate.

Following her nomination on Tuesday as presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s running mate, the 55-year-old is now seeking to become the first female vice president of the United States.

“There is no question about how happy we are,” Harris’s maternal uncle Balachandran Gopalan, an academic in the Indian capital New Delhi, told AFP on Wednesday.

“She is a very committed personality — committed to public service and most importantly committed to common human decency,” he said.

Shyamala would often bring her daughters to India, the uncle said, and when she died in 2009 Harris returned “to immerse her ashes in the Bay of Bengal”.

He added that while Harris can’t speak Tamil, the language of the southern state of Tamil Nadu that the family comes from, “she can understand a little bit”.

He believes the nomination of Kamala — her name meaning “lotus” in Tamil, as well as in Sanskrit and Hindi — is a “big deal” for Indian Americans.

“So far they have only achieved high professional jobs, but this is one of the highest political jobs,” he said.

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– Up since 4 am – Harris’s aunt Sarala Gopalan, who still lives in the city her big sister left at 19 — Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai, formerly Madras — said the entire family is “thrilled and happy”.

“A friend of mine in the United States gave us the message at 4 am in the morning, and we have been up, since then,” Gopalan, a doctor, told news channel CNN-News18.

“She is a person who never forgets her roots and believes in family values,” she told the Deccan Herald daily.

“Even today she calls me ‘chithi’ and she has always been a caring person,” she said, using the Tamil word for a mother’s younger sister.

And since Shyamala is no longer alive, “we will always be available for Kamala and (her sister) Maya”, she said.

Besides her mother, Harris has said that a major influence was her maternal grandfather P.V. Gopalan — father of Shyamala, Balachandran, Sarala and another daughter, Mahalakshmi — a senior Indian civil servant.

“He would take walks every morning along the beach with his buddies who were all retired government officials and they would talk about politics, about how corruption must be fought and about justice,” Harris said in a 2009 interview.

“My grandfather was really one of my favourite people in my world.”

 

 

-AFP

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  1.   12 August 2020
  2.   swordpress.com.ng
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