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AL HILAL MAY REPLACE IGHALO WITH RONALDO

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Portugal Striker, Cristiano Ronaldo

Saudi Arabian champions, Al Hilal, are not keen to extend the contract of Odion Ighalo as they explore the options of landing former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo in January, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Al Hilal Striker, Odion Ighalo

Ighalo arrived Al Hilal from rivals Al Shabab in January for a fee in the region of €2.9m and his contract with the club ends June 30, 2023.

According to Sky Sports, Al Hilal are preparing to make the first mega offer to Ronaldo barely a week after the 37-year-old became a free agent.

Ronaldo and Manchester United parted ways after the Portuguese icon launched a scathing attack on the club, manager Erik Ten Haag and some of the club’s players in an explosive interview with journalist Piers Morgan.

Al Hilal are big admirers of Ronaldo and reports suggest the Saudi Arabian giants made a proposal for the former Real Madrid star’s signature during the summer transfer market. Manchester United, however, turned down their multi-million euros approach and that could change, though, with Ronaldo free to negotiate his transfer.

“He is one player Al Hilal is looking to sign but that depends on some departures,” the Sky Sports report stated.

Spanish newspaper outlet Marca, also revealed that Ronaldo sensationally agreed a two-and-a-half year deal with Al Nassr worth an eye-watering £172.9m per year, that will see him play until the age of 40.

Should Ighalo chooses to stay at Al Hilal despite Ronaldo’s arrival, the Nigerian will go head-to-head with the Portuguese superstar.

The Nigerian striker fired the goals that powered the team to win the Saudi Premier League title on the season’s final day last year.

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JUMP KING! OSIMHEN BREAKS RONALDO’S SERIE A RECORD

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Super Eagles and Napoli striker Victor Osimhen beats Cristiano Ronaldo's record for highest vertical leap for a header in Serie A

Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen on Sunday broke Cristiano Ronaldo’s four years record to become Serie A’s jump-king after a leap of 2.58 metres during Napoli’s impressive 3-0 win away to Spezia.

Osimhen achieved the incredible feat when he netted his first goal – Napoli’s second of the day – against the Little Eagles at the Stadio Alberto Picco.

The Nigeria international has scored great headers during his career, but the goal against Spezia was truly extraordinary and could go down as a contender for the greatest headed goal in football history.

After a goalless first half, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia gave Luciano Spalletti’s side the lead after converting from the penalty spot before Osimhen added the game’s second in the 68th minute with a remarkable effort.

The 24-year-old produced a staggering 71cm leap and reached a height of 8.47ft (2.58m) – higher than the crossbar (8ft) – before heading past Spezia goalkeeper Bartłomiej Drągowski.

And according to Corriere dello Sport (via Tutto Napoli), Osimhen, with that jump, climbed to a height of 2.58 metres – a mark typical of elite NBA stars.

In doing that, Osimhen set a new Italian Serie A record, rubbing off the previous 2.56 metres mark set by Ronaldo for Juventus against Sampdoria in 2019.

It is also a new personal career high for Osimhen whose previous mark was at 2.52m set against Torino at the Diego Maradona Stadium last season.

The world record of 2.62m set by Ugandan defender Bevis Mugabi in the Scottish Championship in January 2021, however, remains intact.

Osimhen has now scored 16 Serie A goals this term, the most he has ever managed in a single season in his career.

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MAN CITY FACE POINTS DEDUCTION, EXPULSION FOR VIOLATING FINANCIAL RULES

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Manchester City have been allegedly accused of breaching financial rules and face points deduction or even expulsion from the Premier League.

According to TalkSport, Premier League has charged Pep Guardiaola’s side with more than 100 charges following the release of the statement from 2009/10 season to the 2017/18 season.

The Premier League made a four-year investigation into the finances of the blue side of the Manchester.

A range of penalties could be imposed at the Etihad outfit if they have found guilty of the charges, including a points penalty or even expulsion.

The club are alleged to have flouted league rules requiring provision “in utmost good faith” of “accurate financial information that gives a true and fair view of the club’s financial position.”

The Premier League disclosed that the correct financial information required related to “revenue (including sponsorship revenue), its related parties and its operating costs.”

Manchester City’s second set of breaches relate to alleged breaking of rules “requiring a member club to include full details of manager remuneration in its relevant contracts with its manager.”

This is related to seasons 2009/10 to 2012/13, when Roberto Mancini was in charge of the club.

These breaches also refers to requirements for a club to include full details of player remuneration within the relevant contracts, for the seasons 2010/11 to 2015/16 inclusive.

There are also alleged violations that link to failure to comply with UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations, which relates from 2013/14 to 2017/18

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I WANT TO WIN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – OSIMHEN

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Napoli's Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen reacts during the Italian Serie A football match between Spezia and Napoli on February 5, 2023 at the Alberto-Picco stadium in La Spezia. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

Following their impressive run in the 2022/23 Serie A season, Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti and Nigeria international Victor Osimhen have set a Champions League target.

The Partenopei are on course to win their first Scudetto in 33 years and enjoy 13 points lead at the top of the standings, won 18 of their 21 league games of the season, drawn two and lost one.

The 24-year-old Nigerian striker scored a brace as Napoli dispatched Spezia 3-0 in a dominant match on Sunday to increase his goal tally to 16 in 17 appearances.

The Nigerian forward is now the fourth Napoli player to score 16 goals in the first 21 Serie A games of the season following in the footsteps of Luis Vinicio in 1955-56, Edinson Cavani in 2012-13 and Gonzalo Higuain in 2015-16.

According to Italian media, Gazzetta dello Sport, the Napoli striker has stated his intention of winning the Champions League title with Napoli.

The paper reported that Osimhen had already disclosed this to Azzurri president Aurelio De Laurentiis in their first meeting before signing the contract that currently binds him until 2025.

“I want to win the Champions League,” Osimhen told De Laurentiis on that occasion.

Spalletti hailed the team mentality and assured them they have every intention of going for Champions League glory too.

“You can either stick or twist and we’ve made our decision,” the Italian tactician told Sky Sport Italia.

Parthenopeans finished top of their Champions League group stage with 15 points from six matches and are also preparing for the Round of 16 matches against Eintracht Frankfurt on February 21 and Spalletti is aiming to take each day as it comes or go for it all.

“There are moments in life when you achieve results and then you can either stick or twist. We have no doubts about that, we have made our decision to gamble for double, going to attack every game and trying to achieve something for the love of these fans who were all praying for us today. We must be proud of the love Neapolitans have for us and translate that onto the pitch.”

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