Football: International legends to play in Iraq

Hernan Crespo (R), retired Argentine footballer, and Michel Salgado, retired Spanish footballer, answer reporters questions at the stadium in Basra on August 14, 2017 ahead of a match between International footballers and Iraqi footballers. (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2017
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Football: International legends to play in Iraq

BASRA, IRAQ: International legends will play in Iraq next month in an exhibition match aimed at helping people in the war-torn country to forget hardship, organizers said Monday.
The game in the southern city of Basra on September 9 is expected attract about 65,000 fans, and will feature former stars of top European clubs.
“We are going to give our best along with our Iraqi friends,” former Argentina and Inter Milan striker Hernan Crespo told reporters in Basra.
He was joined at the news conference by former Spain defender Michel Salgado, who will also play in the match.
Salgado, a former Real Madrid right-back, said he hoped the “match of legends in Iraq” can help people to forget for at least 90 minutes “their hard conditions of life.”
Among the other players who are to take part in the game are Brazil legends Zico and Rivaldo, as well as former Barcelona midfielder Deco, of Portugal.
Younes Mahmoud, Iraq’s record international goalscorer and appearance holder, said he would participate in the match along with others who played in the side that won the Asian Cup in 2007.
“This is an important game for us Iraqis,” he said.
Basra hosted Iraq’s national team in June for their first home match since 2013, after the lifting of sanctions by world football’s governing body FIFA.
The ban was imposed after a series of jihadist attacks that targeted football pitches and cafes during the broadcast of hugely popular matches.
FIFA lifted the restrictions in early May, limiting the holding of international matches to three stadiums in the country.


Jurgen Klopp tells out-of-form Mohamed Salah to use teammate Sadio Mane as inspiration

Updated 23 min 32 sec ago
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Jurgen Klopp tells out-of-form Mohamed Salah to use teammate Sadio Mane as inspiration

  • Egyptian ace hasn't scored for seven matches, his worst run since 2015.
  • Klopp cool over form but tells star man Mane is the one to learn from.

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Mohamed Salah should use Sadio Mane as inspiration as the Egypt star looks to hit peak form after an inconsistent season.
Salah scored 44 times in his debut season with Liverpool, but his second campaign has not been so smooth.
Although Salah has 20 goals in the current campaign, his goalless run of seven matches is the longest he has experienced since a 10-game streak for Roma in 2015-16.
That is a concern, with Liverpool chasing their first top-flight title since 1990 and also through to the Champions League quarterfinals.
Fortunately for Liverpool, Senegal winger Mane is in fine form and has moved level on 20 goals with Salah, after netting 11 in as many games.
Mane had gone goalless in eight outings in November and December during a spell of 17 matches in which he scored just three times.
Having seen Mane work through his drought successfully, Klopp believes Salah will soon see his luck change in front of goal as well.
“Sadio played pretty much always like this but now he is always in the right spot in the right moment. In football it’s sometimes like this,” Klopp told Liverpool’s website.
“He is in a really good moment, of course. The only thing he did when he was not always in the right spot was work and work and work.
“That’s exactly what Mo has to do, exactly the same, just work, do the right things and it will come again.
“He’s just rather unlucky, where Sadio is lucky in the moment — he is in brilliant shape, that’s true.
“But then, he is in the right shape and maybe a yard away from him is Mo, but somebody else scored. That’s how it is, all good.”