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DANI ALVES SACKED BY CLUB OVER SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS

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Veteran Brazil Defender and Former Barcelona Star, Dani Alves

Mexico’s Pumas announced Friday that they had terminated Dani Alves’ contract after the veteran Brazil defender was arrested and remanded in custody in Spain on allegations of sexual assault.

The Pumas, who signed Alves last July, “made the decision to terminate the player’s employment contract with just cause,” club president Leopoldo Silva told reporters.

A Spanish court on Friday ordered Brazil defender Dani Alves to be held in custody without bail after he was arrested in Barcelona on allegations he sexually assaulted a woman.

A Barcelona judge took the step after questioning the 39-year-old player regarding “events that allegedly took place at a nightclub,” the court said in a statement.

A source close to the dossier said the judge had taken the step — which was requested by public prosecutors — because the court considered there was a risk Alves would try to flee.

Alves, one of football’s most successful players, was taken into custody earlier on Friday after being summoned to a Barcelona police station and was then sent before the judge.

Catalan police said they received a complaint on January 2 from a woman who accused Alves of sexual assault.

The charge of sexual assault in Spain can mean anything from unsolicited and unwanted sexual groping to rape.

While police declined to give no details on the case, a source close to the investigation told AFP that Alves is accused of rape.

The woman reiterated her accusation before the judge on Friday, the source added.

The alleged sexual assault took place at a popular Barcelona nightclub overnight December 30-31, according to Spanish media reports.

Daily newspaper ABC said Alves allegedly put his hands inside the underwear of a woman without her consent while she was dancing with friends and then followed her into a toilet.

She is said to have informed security staff in the club, who activated Barcelona city council’s protocol against assaults and sexual harassment.

– ‘Nothing wrong happened’ –

A Barcelona court said earlier this month it had opened a probe “into an alleged crime of sexual assault as a result of a complaint filed by a woman against a footballer”.

Alves has confirmed he was at the nightclub at the time but has denied any wrongdoing, telling private Spanish television station Antena 3 earlier this month that he has “never seen” the woman before.

“I was there, at that place, with more people having fun. Everybody knows I love to dance. Having a good time but without invading the space of others,” the former Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain player added.

His wife, Spanish model Joana Sanz, told Antena 3 in an interview on January 9 that her husband had gone “out to dinner with friends, to disconnect a bit” on December 30.

“He went out to dance and try to enjoy music as he likes, period. Nothing wrong happened…I know how respectful he is,” she added.

Alves, who now plays for Mexican side Pumas UNAM, was in Barcelona on holiday following his participation at the World Cup with Brazil in Qatar.

He was the oldest player to represent Brazil at the men’s World Cup.

In a phenomenally successful career, Alves made 408 appearances for Barcelona, with 391 of those coming in his first spell from 2008-2016.

During that initial stint, he won six La Liga titles, three Champions League crowns and four Copa del Rey trophies.

Alves joined PSG in July 2017 on a free transfer after leaving Juventus and spent two years at the Qatari-owned French giants.

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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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