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Louis van Gaal: Netherlands appoint former Manchester United boss as manager for third time

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Louis van Gaal returns to manage the Netherlands for a third time; 69-year-old led his country from 2000 to 2001 and from 2012 to 2014; Van Gaal – whose contract runs until the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – replaces Frank de Boer.

The Netherlands have reappointed Louis van Gaal as their manager on a contract until the end of 2022.

Van Gaal is taking up the role as Netherlands boss for a third time, having previously led his country from 2000 to 2001 and from 2012 to 2014.

The 69-year-old will oversee the side’s bid to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, with his contract running until the end of the tournament in Qatar.

Van Gaal told the Dutch FA’s website: “Dutch football has always been close to my heart and national coaching is in my view a key position for the further advancement of our football.

“Moreover, I consider it an honour to coach the Dutch national team.

“There is little time for the next qualifying matches, which are immediately crucial for participation in the World Cup.

“The focus is therefore immediately 100 per cent on the players and the approach. After all, I was appointed for that.

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Image:Frank de Boer oversaw a disappointing Euro 2020 campaign as Netherlands boss

“It is good to be back. By now I have already spoken to a number of players and the technical staff has been put together.

“I am very much looking forward to getting the job done together.”

Van Gaal replaces Frank de Boer, who left his role following the Netherlands’ shock defeat to the Czech Republic in the last 16 of Euro 2020 this summer.

Van Gaal led the Netherlands to third place in the 2014 World Cup, with their impressive run including a 3-0 win over Brazil and a 5-1 thrashing of then-world champions Spain.

After leaving his role with the national team for a second time after that World Cup, Van Gaal joined Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup before being replaced by Jose Mourinho in 2016.

Van Gaal rose to prominence as a manager by leading Ajax to three Dutch titles, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup during the 1990s.

He then moved to Barcelona, where he won La Liga twice, while he has also won league titles with AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munch.

Van Gaal will be assisted in his new role by Danny Blind – father of former Manchester United defender Daley Blind – who was also Netherlands manager between 2015 and 2017.

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Black Stars Head Coach CK Akonnor sacked

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The Executive Council of the Ghana Football Association has taken a decision to terminate the appointment of Black Stars Coach Charles Akonnor and his two Assistants with immediate effect.

This follows the receipt of the Technical Report from the Head Coach of the Senior National Team and the report from the Black Stars Management Committee following Ghana’s Group G World Cup qualifying matches against Ethiopia and South Africa.

The Executive Council after considering the two reports have decided to terminate its relationship with the Head Coach C. K Akonnor and the two Assistants.

The Executive Council has formed a three (3) Member Committee made up of Vice President Mark Addo, Upper East Regional Football Association Chairman, Alhaji Salifu Zida and Dr. Randy Abbey to find a Head Coach and Assistant Coaches for the Black Stars within the next 72 hours.

The Association wishes C.K Akonnor and his Assistants the very best in their future endeavours.

Ghana currently have three (3) points after the two opening matches.

The Black Stars will take on Zimbabwe in the next round of games in October 2021.

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Andy Murray: Emma Raducanu win provides ‘huge opportunity’ for British tennis

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Kent teenager Emma Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown; fellow Briton Andy Murray was asked about the 18-year-old after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden

Andy Murray has hailed Emma Raducanu’s “incredible” US Open win and spoken of a “huge opportunity” for British tennis.

Kent teenager Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown.

Fellow Briton Murray was asked about the 18-year-old at a press conference on Monday after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden.

The three-time grand slam winner said: “It was incredible what she did there. I think for a lot of the people involved in British tennis, we knew she was extremely good.

“She hadn’t competed much for the last sort of 18 months or so with school and coronavirus and those sorts of things, but I think at Wimbledon (where Raducanu reached the fourth round) everyone sort of got a bit of a glimpse of how good she could be.

“I’ve spent a little bit of time around her on the practice court, but more so in the same building, training close to each other, and watching what she’s doing, and she’s obviously really, really good.

“But what she did in New York was very special, a huge boost for British tennis and gives hopefully the governing bodies an opportunity to capitalise on that and get more and more kids involved in the sport.

“It’s great what she did and a huge opportunity for British tennis now.”

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Antoine Griezmann: Atletico Madrid re-sign French forward on loan from Barcelona

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Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona from Atletico Madrid in £103m deal two years ago; forward returns to Atletico on a season-long loan; Sky Italy and Barcelona say Atletico have obligation to make deal permanent next summer, but Atletico say they instead have the option to extend the loan

Antoine Griezmann has completed his shock Deadline Day return to Atletico Madrid on loan from Barcelona.

Atletico and Barcelona said there was an option to extend the loan for a further season, with the Catalan club adding the Madrid side also had an obligation to make the deal permanent. Sky in Italy reports this permanent deal would cost £34.4m (€40m).

Atletico were able to move for the 30-year-old after sanctioning Saul Niguez’s departure to Chelsea on an initial loan with an option to buy worth £33.4m (€38.9m) overall.

Diego Simeone was keen to sign a new striker and Griezmann will have no difficulty settling back at Atletico, having worked under the Argentine between 2014 and 2019.

Barcelona stated that Atletico have agreed to pay Griezmann’s wages in full.

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Image:Saul Niguez joined Chelsea from Atletico Madrid on Deadline Day

The 2018 World Cup-winner joined Barcelona from Atletico on a £103m deal two years ago and scored 35 goals in 102 appearances for the club.

However, he has only won the Copa del Rey during his time at the Nou Camp, and the Catalan giants have been trying to lighten their wage bill this summer due to debts amounting to £1.15billion, as confirmed by club president Joan Laporta earlier in August.

The club’s reported financial struggles meant they were unable to offer Lionel Messi a new contract, prompting his shock exit to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

On Tuesday, the club announced stalwarts Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba have accepted to take a pay cut in order to aid the club’s Financial Fair Play parameters and ensure new signing Sergio Aguero could be formally registered with the Spanish Football League (LFP).

Earlier in the summer, Gerard Pique took a similar decision to allow Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia to be ratified as Barcelona players.

Griezmann originally left Atletico for Barcelona in 2019 at the end of a protracted transfer saga after his £103m (€120m) release clause was paid in full.

A year earlier, he featured in a documentary with Spanish TV station Movistar called “The Decision” which followed him as he opted to stay at Atletico despite interest from Barcelona.

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