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Dembele’s ice-cool goal for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid.



Ousmane Dembele

Action all the time. Excellent goals. Controversies galore. Sensational passes. Unreal drama. After a weekend of football in Europe, there are almost always things to talk about, but there is so much going on that it can be hard to remember the biggest things. We try to pick one moment from the action in Europe’s top five leagues (only league action) that really stood out over the weekend.

Ousmane Dembele, one of sports’ most unconventional talents, picked the winner of the game between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, which was the first big moment of the weekend.

The ball is in the middle of the field, which is where Barcelona has always liked it. Sergio Busquets gets the ball on the left side and passes it back to Pedri on the inside. That’s when he turns into Pedri.

In one smooth move, he does a body feint that sends Koke off to get a coffee and speeds up so fast that Antoine Griezmann is left far behind. Pablo Barrios comes in to stop him, but “full Pedri” can’t really be stopped. He goes around Barrios, draws in Jose Gimenez and Stefan Savic, and then pokes the ball to Gavi. When Pedri and Gavi, or Gavi and Pedri, play together, Barcelona looks like it’s from the past.

Gavi holds off Reinildo with a surprising amount of strength and puts him down with a stiff arm and a quick turn. He then gives Ousmane Dembele a lot of space on the right side of the box, well inside the box, and sends him on his way.

Dembele, Reinildo Mandava , Jose Gimenez.

This is where time pauses to soak in the narrative.

Ousmane Dembele was not welcome at Barcelona in January 2022. Four and a half years earlier, he had joined the club after being bought for 140 million Euros after just two seasons as a professional (at Rennes and Borussia Dortmund). The money was thrown at him as a way for Barca to get over losing Neymar to PSG. He had since started just a third of the games he could have, suffering 12 injuries along the way.

The hospital memes were no longer funny. They were now cruel. Everyone could see that he had talent, but he didn’t show it on the field, so Barcelona decided it didn’t matter. They told the public that he wasn’t committed to their future and that he had to leave. Stubbornly, he held on.

The crowd at the Nou Camp booed him at first, as they often do when they think an athlete isn’t giving it their all or isn’t good enough for their club. However, Dembele soon turned the boos into cheers after Xavi made it clear that he was behind him. He seemed to have a manager who believed in him for the first time. Dembele has paid back that faith since that messy January. Since Xavi took over as manager of Barcelona in November 2021, no other player has been involved in as many goals as he has (28: 20 goals, 8 assists). Griezmann is the only other player in LaLiga this season who has scored 5+ goals and set up 5+ goals.

Dembele doing so well that Didier Deschamps and the French national team liked him again just in time for the 2022 World Cup. He was a key part of France’s run to the final. He was disciplined and tough on defense, and he was the perfect balance to Kylian Mbappe’s speed on the other side. But in the end, it felt like an old nightmare had come back to life. He gave away a penalty and did nothing to help the team move forward. He did so little that he was taken out of the game before halftime. Another big game, maybe the biggest of them all, and Dembele’s performance was again terrible, maybe the worst of them all. For a career that was being brought back to life so slowly, this could have been a hard blow that ended it.

Dembele got the ball in the Atleti box while all of this was going on.

Unpause, time.

Dembele knows that when he takes a shot, people will come flying at him. That’s what Atletico Madrid does. Two amazing blocks from Savic and Gimenez had already stopped Ansu Fati. Pedri had a one-on-one chance with the goalkeeper, but Nahuel Molina came flying in from the other side. Dembele knows he can’t get away with trying to touch the ball twice. Even though the game had only been going for 20 minutes, they didn’t have a chance against Atletico.

So, when the ball is right in front of him and two people try to stop it, he hits it hard and low. It goes through the far post and into the side net. 1-0 Barcelona.

The score would stay “1-0 Barcelona,” and the three points would put Barcelona three points ahead of Real Madrid and fourteen points ahead of fifth-placed Atletico. And it all happened because Ousmane Dembele did what he had always said he would do: use a moment of magic to decide the outcome of an important game.


Luis Rubiales FIFA Ban: Three-Year Prohibition by FIFA




Luis Rubiales delivering a speech at a press conference

The global governing body of football, FIFA, delivered a strong message on Monday as it issued the Luis Rubiales FIFA ban, prohibiting former Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales from all activities related to the sport for a period of three years. This consequential decision comes in the wake of a controversy that emerged during the Women’s World Cup earlier this year. Reports revealed that Rubiales was found guilty of gross misconduct, specifically for an incident that overshadowed Spain’s victory at the World Cup trophy ceremony in Sydney.

The Controversial Incident

A disciplinary committee was promptly assembled to investigate the disturbing incident, yet the specifics of the verdict have not been disclosed to the public. Rubiales faced severe charges related to what FIFA described as a violation of the “basic rules of decent conduct” and “behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.” The episode in question pertains to an incident where Rubiales forcibly kissed a Spanish player on the lips during the trophy ceremony, tainting what should have been a moment of triumph for the nation’s football team.

Misconduct and Resignation

The aftermath of the incident was marked by Rubiales’s initial defiance and refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing, leading to a prolonged period of controversy. However, mounting pressure from various quarters, including the Spanish government and the national team players, eventually forced Rubiales to resign from his esteemed position within the Spanish football hierarchy. The incident not only tarnished Rubiales’s reputation but also cast a shadow over the accomplishments of the national team.

Ban and Appeal

While the FIFA ban on Luis Rubiales has been imposed for a duration of three years, Rubiales still has the option to contest the verdict. FIFA has granted him a window of ten days to request a review of the decision, following which he can file an appeal with the governing body. It remains to be seen how Rubiales will proceed in light of this substantial ban.

Luis Rubiales wearing a black blazer at an event

The Response and Controversy

Despite facing widespread backlash, Rubiales has garnered some support, notably from his mother, Angeles Bejar. In a bold demonstration of solidarity, she initiated a hunger strike to protest what she described as “the inhumane and bloody hunt” against her son. While some may sympathize with Rubiales, the gravity of the incident and the subsequent ban imposed by FIFA underscore the importance of maintaining integrity and respect within the world of professional sports.

In conclusion, FIFA’s decisive action against Luis Rubiales serves as a reminder that no individual, regardless of their position, is above the fundamental values of respect and sportsmanship that form the bedrock of football’s global community. As the sport continues to evolve, the need for upholding ethical standards remains paramount, ensuring that the spirit of fair play and camaraderie endures for generations to come.

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Rubiales Scandal: Soccer’s Integrity Unveiled




Rubiales and Jenni Hermoso

Exploring the Rubiales Scandal and Its Implications
In the world of soccer, where triumphs and controversies intertwine, the recent incident involving the president of the Spanish soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, has ignited a fiery debate. Reports from Spanish media suggest that Rubiales might resign from his position after five years of leading the body. The controversy stems from an episode where he kissed a player during a celebration and his subsequent actions during a significant match. This article delves into the details of the incident, the potential repercussions, and the broader implications for both Rubiales and the soccer community.

The Kiss that Stirred Controversy
The Spanish soccer federation president found himself in hot water due to an unexpected gesture. Following Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final, Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy and medal ceremony. This gesture, intended to be celebratory, quickly became the center of attention and sparked a wave of discussions.
The incident prompted FIFA, the global governing body of soccer, to intervene. FIFA’s disciplinary committee initiated an inquiry to determine whether Rubiales’ actions violated the organization’s code of conduct and brought the sport and FIFA into disrepute. The core issue here is whether Rubiales’ behavior aligns with the principles of decency expected from a soccer official.

Amidst the uproar, reports surfaced indicating that Rubiales might step down from his role as the president of the Spanish soccer federation. The speculation has fueled further debates about whether resignation is an appropriate response to the controversy. If Rubiales indeed resigns, it would mark the end of his five-year tenure at the helm of the organization.The incident has drawn mixed reactions from both the public and the players. While some view the kiss as a harmless expression of celebration, others see it as an inappropriate breach of professional boundaries. Player Jenni Hermoso expressed discomfort with the kiss, and the national players’ union, once led by Rubiales, called for accountability regarding his actions.
FIFA issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to upholding the integrity of all individuals associated with the sport. The organization condemned any behavior that contradicts this commitment. While FIFA did not specify the exact acts under investigation, their emphasis on maintaining the sport’s reputation is clear.
Beyond the kiss, Rubiales’ conduct during the match drew attention. He was seen making a gesture by grabbing his crotch as a victory celebration. This action further added to the controversy, raising questions about appropriate behavior for a soccer official, especially in the presence of dignitaries.
The FIFA disciplinary panel has the authority to impose various sanctions on individuals found in violation of its code of conduct. These sanctions can range from warnings and fines to suspensions from soccer-related activities. The severity of the punishment will depend on the outcome of the investigation and the panel’s assessment of the situation.
Luis Rubiales holds the position of vice president at UEFA, the governing body for soccer in Europe. This role carries both prestige and responsibilities. The controversy has yet to garner a response from UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, leaving the soccer community curious about the organization’s stance on the issue.
Rubiales is currently spearheading a bid to host the men’s World Cup in 2030, a joint effort involving Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and possibly Ukraine. However, his involvement in the Rubiales Scandal has raised concerns about the bid’s viability and the image projected to potential supporters.
The incident has wider implications for both the Spanish soccer federation and the broader soccer landscape. It highlights the importance of maintaining professionalism and ethical conduct within the sport’s leadership. The outcome of this controversy could set a precedent for addressing similar situations in the future.
As the Spanish soccer federation holds an emergency meeting to address the situation, the soccer community awaits a decision. The meeting’s outcome will not only impact Rubiales’ future but also shape the federation’s trajectory. The controversies surrounding this incident underscore the need for open discussions about behavior expectations and consequences.
The Rubiales Scandal serves as a reminder that even in the world of sports, actions can have far-reaching consequences. The incident involving the kiss and subsequent gestures has ignited discussions about leadership, professionalism, and the image projected by soccer officials. As FIFA investigates the matter, the soccer community anticipates the outcome and the potential shifts it may bring.

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Vlahovic Double Helps Juventus beat Salernitana 3-0.



Dusan Vlahovic

Juventus beat Salernitana 3-0 in Serie A on Tuesday, with striker Dusan Vlahovic scoring two goals and setting up another to lift the visitors to 10th in the table.

Vlahovic, a Serb who has been injured a lot this season but played in the league for the first time since October, found his old form again in this match.

Hans Nicolussi gave Juventus a penalty kick when he sent Manuel Locatelli off in the 26th minute. Vlahovic converted the penalty.

Vlahovic almost scored a second goal in the 37th minute, but his shot from the edge of the box from an acute angle went just past the post.

At the end of the first half, Filip Kostic made it 2-0 when he tapped the ball in from close range after Vlahovic’s initial shot had bounced into his path.

In the last seconds before the halftime break, Locatelli ran into the penalty area unchallenged and gave Juventus a chance to score a third goal. However, Salernitana goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa reacted quickly to prevent Locatelli from lobbing the ball over him.

80 seconds into the second half, Vlahovic scored his second goal when he ran through the penalty area and shot the ball flat into the right corner.

In the 51st minute, Junior Zambia hit a cross that reached almost everyone in the box, but Salernitana striker Boulaye Dia could not stretch far enough to put the ball in the open net.

“The team responded well and we played a good first half. But after taking a 3-0 lead, we got a little too comfortable and allowed too many shots on goal. We did not move enough and stayed in the same places, and the players know we have to do better,” Allegri said.

“In the first 10 minutes we played the ball too often down the right side. We need to improve the passing game, become more supple and keep things simple.”

Angel Di Maria hit the crossbar after 53 minutes and Moise Kean hit the post just before the end of the game, preventing Juve from adding to their tally.

The win moved Juventus to 26 points after 21 games, while Salernitana dropped to 21 points and 16th place.

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