Firmino hands Klopp major boost ahead of Champions League final

Roberto Firmino hands Jurgen Klopp major boost after taking part in intense training session inside empty Wanda Metropolitano ahead of Champions League final against Tottenham

  • Jurgen Klopp says Roberto Firmino should be fit for the Champions League final
  • The Brazilian striker missed Liverpool’s final three matches of the season
  • Firmino enjoyed an public training session inside the Wanda Metropolitano
  • However, the German boss was reluctant to give too much away about his lineup 

Roberto Firmino has given Jurgen Klopp the best news on the eve of the Champions League final by coming through a public workout in prime condition.

The Brazil international missed the end of the Premier League season, as well as the epic comeback against Barcelona, after tearing an adductor muscle but the gap between Liverpool’s final domestic game against Wolves and this showdown with Tottenham gave him the opportunity to recover.

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s manager, was coy when asked about Firmino’s fitness in his pre-match press conference but the evidence the German would have wanted came when his influential striker took part in an intense training session at the Wanda Metropolitano. 

Jurgen Klopp believes striker Roberto Firmino should be fit for the Champions League final

The Brazilian missed Liverpool’s final three matches of the season but has returned to fitness

Klopp oversaw his side’s training session inside an empty Wanda Metropolitano on Friday

Mohamed Salah shows off his speed as the Liverpool stars are put through their paces

Firmino was able to take part in all parts of the session, including a short-pitch 10-a-side match, and it points towards him being ready to make his first start since Liverpool beat Cardiff 2-0 on April 21; a final decision will be made once Liverpool have trained tomorrow morning.

‘He is completely fit,’ said Klopp. ‘But I will leave some question marks over my team. If Poch (Mauricio Pochettino) comes in here and tells you his team, give me a call and I will tell you mine!’

Unsurprisingly, when Pochettino was subsequently asked whether Harry Kane will be ready to start the Champions League final, he was similarly non-committal, saying: ‘We have one training session now and then we are going to decide.’

There is a mutual respect between Pochettino and Klopp, which dates back to when their paths first crossed in what was Klopp’s debut as Liverpool manager at White Hart Lane in October 2015. The two teams played out a 0-0 draw. 

Klopp has a laugh with AC Milan and Juventus great Andrea Pirlo (left) during the session

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took part in the training session at the Wanda Metropolitano

The German manager had a big smile on his face as he took the training session on Friday

Both men are now hunting their first major trophy in English football but Klopp is not concerned that he keeps falling short in finals. He has lost the last six times he has played for a trophy but that record has not led him to feel he is cursed.

‘Do you think I have had an unlucky career?’ said Klopp. ‘My career so far for sure wasn’t unlucky. The problem is, and my missus is saying this all the time, she asks when the very last game of the season is because we are usually in it.

‘Since 2012, apart from 2017, I was every year with my team in a final. I’m probably the world record holder – certainly over the last seven years – of winning semi-finals. If I wrote a book about it probably nobody would buy it.

‘If I saw myself as a loser, then we all would have a problem. But I don’t see it like this. The rest is for the outside world that you think afterwards you think I’m a winner. The obvious thing is silverware, we want to win it with all that we have.

‘But the things that didn’t happen in the past, I could still take confidence from that. Before I went to the finals, I won things like promotion at Mainz, things like that. There can be moments that are unlucky and lucky, and the finals I was part of were never on the lucky side that is true.


Sadio Mane (left) and Georginio Wijnaldum (right) both keep their eye on the ball

James Milner (centre), Adam Lallana (left) and others stretch out before the session

Defender Joel Matip (right) keeps touch-tight with Salah during the exhibition game in training

Klopp prepares his side for the Champions League final which will take place on the same pitch

‘But I can’t change that. How I understand it is that if you work for it, you have it from time to time. Apart from that, it’s not an unlucky career and it’s not over yet!’

Liverpool looked a little overawed when they contested the final in Kiev 12 months ago but Klopp says that experience will have no bearing on the outcome against Tottenham; they have certainly progressed as a team since losing 3-1 to Real Madrid.

‘We are much more mature,’ said Klopp. ‘We are older. Age is a good thing, we’re a year older. Players like Trent have 50 more games in their legs. The boys performed in that final, it’s not like we had no chance against a clear favourites.

‘Last year we were surprised ourselves to be in the final, and we had to make a step. The boys were really consistent this season. The final was like a starting point again for the next steps, that’s who we saw it and that’s how we wanted to use it. And that’s what we have done.’

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As chunky Andy Ruiz prepares for huge Anthony Joshua fight, we check out the heaviest heavyweights ever

AS Andy Ruiz gets set to face ripped Anthony Joshua — many fans are wondering if he is the heaviest heavyweight ever to tip the scales.

The Mexican-American, 29, weighed in at 18st 7lb for his April bout against Alexander Dimitrenko.

There is speculation he has cut some mass ahead of the New York bout against Britain's biggest fighter.

But that remains to be seen, with the weigh-in planned for Friday evening.

As Joshua gets set to take on Ruiz, SunSport looks at some of the porkiest punchers ever to swing a limb.

TYSON FURY — 17st 8lb (246lb)

Fury called himself “as fat as a pig” as he contemplated a return to boxing and a diet of pizza, kebabs and chocolate saw him balloon to a whopping 25 STONE (350lb).

That was just a year after he beat Wladimir Klitschko to win the world title, where the Gypsy King tipped the scales at a mere 17st 8lbs (246lbs).

And back to his smashing best, Fury weight in at 18st 2lb (256lb) for his draw with Deontay Wilder in December.

GEORGE FOREMAN – 19st 1lb (267lbs)

In 1987 former champ Foreman came out of retirement aged 38, after a 10-year break but he was badly out of shape.

He trained hard, but he was still a blubbering 19st 1lb for his comeback win over Steve Zouski.

Foreman won the world title again aged 45 in 1994, and retired four years later.

RIDDICK BOWE – 20st (280lbs)

A two-time world heavyweight champion, who beat the then-unbeaten legend Evander Holyfield, Bowe is rated one of the best of his generation.

Nicknamed Big Daddy, he came in at 16st 10lbs (234lbs) for his first Holyfield fight in 1992.

However in Bowe’s penultimate fight— against journeyman Billy Zumbrun in 2005 – he had let himself go to such an extent he weighed a whopping 20st (280lbs).

In his 43 career fights, Bowe only lost once, to Holyfield in 1993.

In 2000 he was sentenced to 17 months in jail for kidnapping and stabbing his estranged wife Judy.

SAMUEL PETER – 20st 11lbs (291lbs)

The Nigerian Nightmare held the WBC heavyweight title in 2008 and fought both the Klitschko brothers, having faced Wladimir twice and Vitali once.

At his peak Peter was a trim 16st 7lbs (231lbs).

But in a comeback fight in 2014, against Ron Aubrey, his waistline had swelled and he weighed 20st 11lbs (291lbs).

Peter retired in 2016 after losing to Kubrat Pulev in Sofia, with a record of 36 wins from his 42 bouts.

KEVIN KARUSA — 24st 10lbs (346lbs)

The New Zealand supersized heavyweight fought three times in 2009, winning one and losing two.

Karusa – who went by the nickname King Kong – lost his third and final fight to Aussie Mark de Mori who was 114lbs lighter than him.

Karusa still lost the bout thanks to a knockout in Round Five, and he hasn’t been seen in the ring again.

GABE BROWN — 25st 13 lbs (363lbs)

He weighed it at 363lbs for his fight against Samuel Peter in Ohio in December 2009.

Gabe – nicknamed Big G – retired in 2011 with a record of 18 wins from 39 fights.

In 2008 he fought Dominick Guinn on the undercard of the Roy Jones Jr vs. Joe Calzaghe fight weighing 21st 7lbs (301lbs).

But he ballooned and added another 50lbs, promptly lost the next eight fights, and retired to his home in Pensacola, Florida.

ERIC 'BUTTERBEAN' ESCH — 30st 6lb (426lbs)

Eric “Butterbean” Esch was bullied as a kid for being overweight, and hit back.

He onced tried to lose weight on a diet of butter beans, and the nickname stuck.

Although he looked like a big baby, he actually has an excellent record 91 professional career fights whilst racking up 77 victories, and has scored 58 KOs to boot.

His biggest fight was a unanimous decision loss to an ageing Larry Holmes back in 2002.

Butterbean had the words Golden Palace.com etched in henna tattoo on his back for the fight.

His heaviest weight was in his final fight with Kirk Lawton when he weighed tipped the scales at 30st 6lbs (426lbs).

DUSTIN NICHOLS — 32st 2lbs (450lbs)

The American reportedly weighed in at 28st 6lbs (398lbs) when he fought the then little known Deontay Wilder in July 2010.

The total mismatch saw Nichols – nicknamed Big Worm – stopped in the first round with a cut.

Nichols almost broke the scales in 2011 when he fought Justin Jones in Louisiana, weighing 32st 2lbs (450lbs).

The Worm turned, and he ended up retiring with a record of five defeats from nine fights and now lives in Columbus, Missiouri.


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Hazard in Spain ahead of £115m transfer as he is seen holding up Real Madrid shirt

CHELSEA star Eden Hazard has been snapped holding up a Real Madrid shirt in Spain ahead of his potential switch to the Bernabeu in the summer.

The 28-year-old is expected to sign for Los Blancos in a £115million move, where the player is set to pocket £4000,000-a-week.

Real president Florentino Perez recently stated his side are desperate to nab the Belgium international, with the club confident a deal can be reached.

Hazard all-but confirmed he would be leaving Stamford Bridge after he inspired the Blues to a 4-1 victory against Arsenal in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

And now he has been spotted proudly holding up a Real jersey in an exclusive picture obtained by the Mirror.

They show Hazard on holiday in Marbella, where he held up the white top along with a fan, before he allegedly signed it.

Speaking after the clash against the Gunners, in Baku, the ex-Lille ace said: "I think it's a goodbye but in football you never know.

"We will decide in a few days – the only target in my mind was to win this final. Maybe now it is the time for a new challenge.

"My dream was to play in the Premier League and I have done that for one of the biggest clubs."

 

Real skipper Sergio Ramos recently voiced his opinion on the winger, as he urged his club to bring him to Madrid.

He said: "Hazard seems to me a world-class player. I hope he can come.

“I am optimistic about the immediate future of the club with the new players that will arrive.

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Roma president James Pallotta says season was a ‘complete disaster’ in open letter

Roma president James Pallotta said the season was a “complete disaster” as he apologised to fans in an open letter.

His move followed reports in Italian newspaper La Repubblica of a dressing room revolt against the Serie A club’s leadership.

Roma finished sixth and missed out a place in the Champions League.

Manager Eusebio di Francesco was sacked in March and replaced by interim boss Claudio Ranieri, while legend Daniele de Rossi left the club.

“I don’t think anyone at the club has been more disappointed, more depressed or more upset with how things have gone at Roma over the past 18 months than I have been,” said Pallotta.

The businessman’s 3,151-word letter, published on the club’s website, addresses a number of issues and he says he will “not be driven out”.

The 61-year-old says he can handle “being a target and a punching bag almost on a daily basis” for fan’s anger, but goes on to describe personal attacks against his family as “disgraceful and despicable”.

“It’s obvious to me that there are certain people who are unhappy that they can’t manipulate, blackmail or berate me enough to get me to sell the team,” wrote Pallotta.

“I understand the history of almost 3,000 years of Rome and I know how this works. If people think they’re going to drive me out, it’s just not going to happen.”

‘We dealt with De Rossi in wrong way’

Earlier this month, Roma decided not to renew midfielder De Rossi’s contract and the 35-year-old has left the club after 19 years.

Palotta said the club did not handle De Rossi’s exit in the right way, adding that the player had been “lied to” about a replacement being brought in because the Italian could only play “10 to 15 games next season”.

“Did we get it completely right with Daniele in how we dealt with him? No, I don’t think we did,” said Palotta. “Our view was that this was probably going to be his last year.

“While I would love to have Daniele on the team, you only have two positions – and if one gets hurt, Roma is screwed. It’s just as simple as that.”

Palotta denied reports that De Rossi, Edin Dzeko, Kostas Manolas and Aleksandar Kolarov asked for Di Francesco to be sacked.

“My mistake was that I wanted to make changes across the board in football operations and performance training back in December and I was convinced not to make those changes,” he wrote.

“I should have made the changes when I thought we needed them, and maybe that indecisiveness cost us a place in the Champions League.”

  • Ranieri and De Rossi bid farewell to Roma

‘I didn’t want to sell Salah or Alisson’

Palotta addressed the club’s transfer strategy after selling forward Mohamed Salah (£34m) and goalkeeper Alisson (£66.8m) to Liverpool in the past two years.

“Did I want to sell Salah? No. He asked to leave with two years left on his contract to prove that he could be a success in the Premier League,” he said.

“Did I want to get rid of Alisson? No, but we had to address financial fair play [rules] and he also wanted to go to a team who could pay him a lot more than our resources would allow.

“Sometimes we sell players because we have to address financial fair play, other times we make sales that we believe are for the betterment of the team.

“Do we get it wrong sometimes? Of course, every club does. Did we get it wrong a lot last summer? Without question.”

Palotta says the biggest mistake last summer was that the players they recruited, including Steven Nzonzi, Javier Pastore and Justin Kluivert, did not fit Di Francesco’s system.

“At the end of the transfer market, I looked at what had been done and realised this probably wasn’t going to work,” said the president.

“I felt terrible for the position Di Francesco was put in.”

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Yankees don’t want Red Sox’s uphill climb to get easier

It must feel like requiring two tanks of gas to complete your journey when your competitors require only one. Or needing two cans of Red Bull.

When you stagger out of the gate, fully righting yourself constitutes a very difficult task.

The Red Sox, who arrived at Yankee Stadium on Thursday as rain postponed this rivalry series opener, stood far better than when they last visited The Bronx. The defending World Series champions own a 29-27 record, giving them a piece of the second American League wild-card spot, a considerable jump from the 6-13 mark they held on April 17 after suffering a two-game sweep to the Yankees.

They’ve lost their past two series, however, with the Astros and Indians getting the better of them, and they still appear far away from the juggernaut that won 108 regular-season games last season and lost just three postseason contests en route to a duck-boat parade.

“It doesn’t feel like we’re there yet,” Alex Cora, the eminently quotable Red Sox manager, said Thursday afternoon. “We wanted to be somewhere else, of course, record-wise, but I think overall, the last month, we’ve been playing consistent baseball.”

Reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts and young third baseman Rafael Devers have woken up the most from that early stumble, and the Red Sox found a godsend in rookie second baseman Michael Chavis — the team’s first-round draft pick in 2014, who has hit (.269/.364/.507, with 10 homers) and fielded well to fill the void left by the injured Dustin Pedroia (who might never play again thanks to a bum left knee) and Brock Holt, as well as the underperforming Eduardo Nunez.

“He brought energy to the group,” Cora said. “It’s fun to watch [his] home runs, too. I don’t know that we need a fresh face, but we needed healthy bodies. He took advantage of his situation and he’s here now.”

“It’s been a dream since I’ve started playing baseball just to be up in the major leagues,” Chavis said, “but then to have the success I’ve had, it’s built some confidence. It’s helped make me more comfortable.”

The 23-year-old made his big-league debut on April 20, when the Bosox still lived well below .500.

“There’s never really been any doubt that I’ve seen or felt since I’ve been up here,” he said. “They stay positive, they stay confident. They know what we’re capable of.”

What intrigues me more is not the spirits, but rather the bodies. It’s just tough to power through after falling on a collective face. As the Associated Press noted after that Yankees mini-sweep last month, the last club to lose 12 or more of its first 18 games and reach the playoffs was the 2002 Angels, who started 6-14 before rebounding all the way to the championship.

And the Red Sox don’t anticipate getting any breaks from the current AL East leader, who began with a more manageable 6-9 crisis before the Red Sox series turned their fortunes.

Asked whether he thought the Yankees would struggle more than they have in light of their myriad injuries, Cora said, “That’s a story for you guys, but the way I look at it, [Gio] Urshela was a top prospect with Cleveland. It just didn’t happen there. Gleyber Torres, he’s a good shortstop. [DJ] LeMahieu, he’s a great second baseman.

“So the whole story about them not having good players, that’s for you guys. They have talent. And obviously, they have talent on the [injured list]. But the guys that are playing, they’re pretty good.”

Cora continued to shower praise on his former Indians and ESPN teammate Aaron Boone, saying of the Yankees’ manager: “He knows what he’s doing. He was very calm last year. He dealt with adversity, with the media. It just happened that last year, we won 108 games.

“If you tell me I’m going to win 100 games every season, I’ll take that. And most of the time, you’re not going to finish second. He was good last year. He’s been great this year.”

Can the Red Sox be great again this year? The odds oppose them. Nevertheless, it would behoove the Yankees to stomp on them this weekend, to damage their gas tanks and energy levels even more.

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England Lionesses fixtures: Live stream, TV channel, tickets, and squad for Women's World Cup warm-ups 2019

ENGLAND WOMEN are busy preparing for this summer's Women's World Cup in France.

Phil Neville's side have high hopes for the tournament and take on some of the world's best in the lead up.

What are the upcoming England fixtures?

England have announced their 'Road to France' series with games between April and June:

  • Friday, April 5: England 0-1 Canada – REPORT
  • Tuesday, April 9: England 2-1 Spain
  • Saturday, May 25: England 2-0 Denmark
  • Saturday, June 1: England vs New Zealand, AMEX Stadium Brighton & Hove Albion FC, 1pm KO

Which channel is it on and can I live stream it?

The BBC will be showing all the Lionesses' games in the run-up to the tournament.

The first game against Canada will be live on BBC 4 and on BBC Online.

  • England vs Canada – BBC4
  • England vs Spain – BBC2
  • England vs Denmark – BBC1
  • England vs New Zealand – BBC1

What is the squad?

ENGLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley, Mary Earps, Carly Telford

Defenders: Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Steph Houghton, Abbie McManus, Demi Stokes, Leah Williamson

Midfielders: Karen Carney, Jade Moore, Jill Scott, Lucy Staniforth, Georgia Stanway, Keira Walsh

Forwards: Toni Duggan, Fran Kirby, Beth Mead, Nikita Parris, Jodie Taylor, Chioma Ubogagu, Ellen White

When is the Women's World Cup?

The tournament will be held between June 5 and July 7, 2019.

France is hosting the tournament, with the final being held at the Olympic Stadium in Lyon.

England's group D games:

  • Sunday, June 9: England vs Scotland, Allianz Arena, 6pm KO
  • Friday, June 14: England vs Argentina, Stade Oceane, 9pm KO
  • Wednesday, June 19: Japan vs England, Allianz Rivera, 9pm KO

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Cricket World Cup 2019 tickets: Which fixtures are sold out and what are ticket prices?

THE Cricket World Cup is underway and fans still have the chance to see their team play in the showpiece.

Tickets have been selling rapidly since the release of the fixtures, however selected games still have some availability.

When do Cricket World Cup 2019 tickets go on sale?

Cricket World Cup tickets are now on general sale.

Anyone can buy them but you must register on the ICC site.

How much do Cricket World Cup 2019 tickets cost?

The ICC have announced the ticket prices for the Cricket World Cup, with India and England fans set to fork out the highest sums to see their nations.

The cheapest ticket to see either team will cost £40, but these will only be available for England's matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan or India's match against Afghanistan.

Apart from that, England and India fans will pay a minimum of £55 to see their teams and £70 in the biggest games.

And most tickets cost far in excess of £100.

But the ICC have stressed that 80,000 tickets will cost £20 or less and 200,000 will cost £50 or less, so supporters of other teams are likely to find value when tickets go on sale.

Which games are sold out?

As of May 30, there is no availability for the following Cricket World Cup games:

India vs Australia

India vs New Zealand

India vs Pakistan

India vs Afghanistan

England vs India

Semi-final 1

Semi-final 2

Final

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Seven reasons the Premier League will miss Eden Hazard on and off the pitch as he prepares to leave Chelsea for Real Madrid

EDEN HAZARD is set to leave the Premier League behind and move to Real Madrid.

Signing off with a brace in the Europa League final, the Chelsea star has earned the love of Blues fans and respect of others during his seven years in England.

Los Blancos are expected to pay £115million for the winger, along with a bumper £400,000-per-week salary.

While Hazard's legacy in football is still to be completed, his time in the Premier League has been defined by skills, goals and plenty of laughter.

Here, Sun Sport details the seven reasons fans will miss him once he leaves for La Liga.

Quality on the ball

The Premier League wants to be the home of the best footballers and the simple fact is that Hazard is among the world's top attackers – and has been for years.

Leaving Chelsea behind with more than 350 appearances, scoring over 100 goals, is an incredible feat.

In all but one of his seven seasons at Stamford Bridge, he has entered double figures with two titles, an FA Cup, League Cup, and pair of Europa League trophies claimed.

And he has done all this while dazzling fans with a level of technical skill and trickery that few can reach.

Buns of steel

One of Hazard's biggest assets is his unorthodox body shape, pulling his centre of gravity low with huge glutes.

Several experts have even tried to decipher how it suits his style – which benefits from his ability to change direction quicker than taller, lankier opponents.

The Belgian's bum has become something of a sensation on social media while inspiring Dad bod fans as a footballer seemingly not obsessed with having a six pack.

As a result, a number of Twitter accounts are dedicated to Hazard's backside and English football will now have to look elsewhere for its 'bubble butt' hero… Xherdan Shaqiri, anyone?

Making Francis look like a Coq

In 2017, Arsenal and Chelsea were at completely opposite ends of the football spectrum.

One led by a vibrant coach en route to glory, the other tired and powerless.

This was embodied by how the Belgian destroyed Francis Coquelin with a ruthless run and finish.

The tough-tackling midfielder took it upon himself to stop Hazard but his initial attempt to climb over his back failed.

Hazard simply kept running at full pace and Coquelin's final attempt to take the ball – or man, more likely – ended with a painful pirouette and tumble to the floor.

Left on his backside, the Frenchman didn't even have time to look up while Hazard continued on and struck the second goal of a 3-1 win.

Cheeky wink

Some players approach serious matters such as their future with a stern face and monotone, club-written answer.

Hazard is a bit more freestyle, as witnessed by his recent wink when asked live on TV if he will be staying at Chelsea after the 1-1 draw at Manchester United in April.

It ramped up speculation that he was leaving but that evidently never bothered him.

He went as far as trolling his own fans at the club's end of season ceremony, asking "where's the pen?" when pressed on signing a new contract.

It was also on display when the young Hazard was heading to England, jokingly stating amidst the rumours he'll join Chelsea, Manchester United or City: "It's the blue that I'll be wearing next season. Definitely the blue."

And fans of all teams (bar one) enjoyed how his goal against Tottenham Hotspur ended Spurs' title hopes in 2016, handing Leicester City a famous title win.

Stiff upper lip

There are few jobs that demand you get kicked as often as Hazard does.

Statistics gathered in March showed the trickster was fouled once every 27.7 minutes during the 2018-19 season – and yet he never really complained.

Speaking at the start of the campaign, he remarked: "I’m not complaining.

"I try to do my job and when you have the ball, you get kicked so no complaints. Just try to play better.”

Win at all costs

Speaking of which, the Belgian wasn't too precious to deal out the odd cynical foul. Just ask Swansea City ballboy Charlie Morgan.

In a memorable incident in the second leg of the 2013 League Cup semi-final, the ball went for a goal kick with 15 minutes left, but with Chelsea two goals down Hazard wanted to get play going quickly.

Step in the 17-year-old ballboy, son of a then-shareholder in the Swans, who flopped on the ball as Hazard tried to grab it.

The winger kicked out – apparently towards the ball – but took the man and was sent off.

Morgan hilariously claimed he wouldn't press charges after falling victim to the winger's insatiable desire to win.

Happy feet

It is surely no surprise that Hazard is a good dancer.

With his tricky feet, the player has never shied away from strutting his stuff and fans have been wowed by his moves a number of times.

Whether before the 2016 clash with Southampton, during club photo shoots or to dismiss doubts over his fitness, Hazard never needs an excuse to crack a move.

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Sarri lifts aloft trophy from Serie D win.. 16-years before first major honour as Chelsea bag Europa League

IT was no wonder Maurizio Sarri had a big cigar ready to celebrate his 16-year wait to get his hands on a trophy.

The Italian was finally rewarded for his patience last night when he lifted the Europa League title after his side cruised past Arsenal with a 4-1 win.

Sarri, 60, has been heavily criticised throughout the campaign and was even on the brink of the sack.

But he looked just as happy to win last night's piece of silverware as he did in 2003 when he lifted the Coppa Italia Serie D cup while in charge of amateurs Sansovino.

More than 160 teams across Italy's fourth division took part in the competition and Sarri, who had quit his job to pursue his dreams of becoming a manager, guided his side to victory.

But the Europa League title remains his first ever piece of major silverware – 29 years after his first steps into management.

Fans across the world could only smile as Sarri gripped his winners medal and stared at it before raising a little grin.

Between his first piece of silverware and last night's, Sarri had managed 11 teams on his way to the top.

He came close with Empoli, before his reign at Napoli, when he lost a play-off final against Livorno in 2013.

Sarri then pushed Napoli close to the Serie A title but were pipped by Juventus.

And when Chelsea would lose the Carabao Cup final this season to Manchester City, Sarri must have thought his time would never arrive.

Now the Italian is braced for the next step in his career with Juventus.

He is expected to hold talks with the Old Lady to become their next boss following the departure of Massimiliano Allegri.

If he does make the move, it may not be long before he lifts the next one.


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