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Carlo Ancelotti & Toni Kroos praise ‘clinical’ Eden Hazard

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Eden Hazard has been singled out for praise by Carlo Ancelotti and his Real Madrid teammates after impressing against Celtic.

As he usually does these days, Hazard started the Champions League match on the bench, but was brought on after 30 minutes for the injured Karim Benzema.

Playing as a false nine, the Belgian performed well, getting on the scoresheet and creating a number of chances for his teammates. In Ancelotti’s eyes, it was the perfect match for his player.

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“I thought this was a game for Eden,” said the Italian.

“His position, a bit deeper, could help us… He was clinical, we scored the second thanks to him and he was in the box to score the third. A perfect game for him.”

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It was one of the highlights of what has been a difficult three years at Real Madrid for Hazard, with the forward struggling with both form and fitness throughout that time.

Toni Kroos never doubted him though, saying that it was always obvious that he was a quality player, and that injuries have prevented him from showing it.

“It’s never been a question of quality [with Hazard],” the midfielder said.

“It’s been his physical condition, his injuries. Today he came on and did well, let’s hope he carries on like that.”

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Whether Hazard starts the next match up front depends on Benzema’s fitness, but he probably shouldn’t hold his breath with Ancelotti saying the Frenchman’s injury doesn’t seem too serious.

“It doesn’t seem worrying. We’ll have to wait [until] tomorrow for tests. The first evaluation doesn’t seem very serious, but we’ll have to wait for tomorrow,” he said.





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Tajon Buchanan fit and ready for Canada after ‘tough process’ of recovery

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Canadian Men’s National Team forward Tajon Buchanan faces arguably the most crucial game of his life against Uruguay on Tuesday.

Sure, the clash in Bratislava, Slovakia, is just a mere friendly. However, it’s the CanMNT’s last match before John Herdman names his roster for the nation’s first World Cup since 1986 and second-ever.

And for Buchanan, it’s a chance to return to the field for the first time since Club Brugge’s match against Anderlecht in May after nursing a quad injury. Now, the 23-year-old must prove to Herdman that he’s fit and ready for Qatar 2022 – as he’ll continue to do when he returns to Belgium following this international break.

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“I was injured for two months, so it’s been a tough process but now that I feel good again, I can start training and get some games in. I feel good, so I am happy,” Buchanan said on Sunday. “I was just in warm-ups in the first game of the season — a [Belgian] Super Cup game — and I took a shot in warmups and I felt something in my quad. Ever since then, it’s been an up-and-down journey.

“I tried to come back in training and hurt it again so it was a tough period, but I am good now and ready to play some games.”

It was quite a surprise to see Buchanan travel with the national team considering he hasn’t managed a single appearance for Brugge this season.

However, it’s vital the 23-year-old gets minutes not just for the World Cup, but to prepare him for the rest of the Belgian season, and Herdman has praised the First Division A champions for their handling of Buchanan’s situation.

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“I think Brugge have done a good job the last few weeks getting him ready to return to play,” Herdman said. “And for a player, a first injury, it takes time to trust your body again. He had some good moments [on Sunday] and he fit right back into our structure.”

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Eric Cantona suggests David Beckham has made ‘big mistake’ with World Cup ambassadorship

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Eric Cantona has insisted that ex-professional footballers such as former Manchester United teammate David Beckham have made a ‘big mistake’ in becoming ambassadors for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.

There have been several major criticisms regarding the showpiece tournament, largely relating to Qatar’s human rights record and its treatment of migrant workers.

Cantona, one of football’s most outspoken and charismatic figures, revealed in January that he would be boycotting this year’s World Cup.

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“It’s only about money and the way they treated the people who built the stadiums, it’s horrible. And thousands of people died. And yet we will celebrate this World Cup. Personally, I will not watch it. I understand football is a business. But I thought it was the only place where everybody could have a chance,” he told The Athletic.

He also said that he does not expect players to take up the same stance, adding: “If you have a player who says, ‘I will boycott the World Cup’, you say, ‘Bravo’. But you cannot condemn a 20-year-old player, who has a 10-year career, who lives in a world surrounded by people from football 24 hours per day.

“But do speak about the federations, speak about the politicians, who have the power to say, ‘No, we do not go to the World Cup’. We cannot be disappointed if players don’t want to boycott the World Cup, because at the top, the politicians, the presidents, the federations, the ministers…the real power, everywhere in the world, they have the power to boycott it. It is too easy to say the players.”

Cantona was then asked what he thought of ex-players, such as global icon Beckham, endorsing the World Cup and Qatar’s efforts in ambassadorial roles and if he would take on such a job.

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“I would not do it at all. I do completely the opposite. In January 2022, I started to say that. Maybe I was the first one,” he replied.

“But I am free to do it. And of course, an ex-player paid to do this kind of thing…It could be they don’t know what has happened there.

“Or, if they know it, I think they did wrong. I think they made a big mistake. A big, big mistake.”



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Mohamed Salah to return to Liverpool after being released from Egypt duty

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Mohamed Salah is set to leave the Egypt national team camp ahead of schedule and return to Liverpool training.

The forward scored twice in a 3-0 win against Niger on Friday, but manager Rui Vitoria has confirmed that his star man will be rested for Tuesday’s friendly with Liberia.

Salah will not be at risk of injury while on international duty and will now head back to Merseyside ahead of Liverpool’s return to Premier League action.

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The Reds welcome Brighton to Anfield on Saturday, with Roberto De Zerbi taking charge of his first Seagulls match after replacing Graham Potter in the dugout.

Jurgen Klopp’s side head into the encounter having won just two of their opening six Premier League games, and sit four points behind Brighton in the table.

Scott SaundersGraeme BaileyToby Cudworth and Sean Walsh bring you a brand new episode of Talking Transfers. The team discuss Jude Bellingham’s future, Bayern Munich’s interest in Harry Kane, widespread Premier League interest in Mykhaylo Mudryk and plenty more. Available on all audio platforms.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

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Salah has scored just two Premier League goals so far this season, while Liverpool are yet to see the best of summer signing Darwin Nunez.

Liverpool’s last two matches have both come in the Champions League – a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Napoli and a narrow 2-1 win over Ajax – due to postponements in relation to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Their last league outing was their 0-0 draw in the Merseyside derby at Everton on September 3.





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