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Samuel Chukwueze, Matthijs de Ligt, Joao Felix, seven others nominated for Kopa Trophy 2019


Chukwueze La Liga

Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze has been nominated alongside nine other young players across the world for the 2019 Kopa Trophee.

The Villarreal player is the only African shortlisted for the award.

The award is presented to the best under-21 player in world football and was named after former French footballer Raymond Kopa.

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Just like last year, 10 players have been announced on the shortlist for the award, which was revealed on Monday evening.

Also nominated are Jadon Sancho, Matthijs de Ligt and Joao Felix.

This is the second year of the trophy, which was last year scooped by Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, with Christian Pulisic coming in second, while Justin Kluivert took the bronze place on the podium.

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The Kopa Trophee is also a unique prize as it voted for by former Ballon d’Or winners such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric.

Full list:

Samuel Chukwueze | Villarreal | Nigeria
Joao Felix | Atletico Madrid | Portugal
Jadon Sancho | Dortmund | England
Moise Kean | Everton | Italy
Kang-in Lee | Valencia | South Korea
Matthijs de Ligt | Juventus | The Netherlands
Vinicius Junior | Real Madrid | Brazil
Kai Havertz | Bayern Leverkusen | Germany
Matteo Guendouzi | Arsenal | France
Andriy Lunin | Real Valladolid | Ukraine

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PSG sign striker Icardi on permanent deal



Mauro Icardi

French champions Paris St Germain have signed striker Mauro Icardi on a permanent deal from Inter Milan, the Serie A club said on Sunday.

Argentine Icardi, 27, joined PSG in September on a season-long loan with a buy-out option.

“FC Internazionale Milano announces the transfer of Mauro Icardi to Paris Saint-Germain FC; the striker, born in 1993, has permanently moved to the French club.

“The club thanks the player for the six seasons he spent with us and wishes him the best for his future professional career,” Inter said in a statement.

Icardi scored 20 goals in 31 matches in all competitions before the season was officially concluded on April 30, with 10 games remaining due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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He has been competing for a place in the side with Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, PSG’s all-time top scorer, whose contract expired on June 30.


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Nigeria Update

Ukrainian match postponed after footballers test positive for coronavirus



Ukraine’s top professional soccer league said on Saturday it had canceled one of its first post-lockdown matches after several players and staff at Karpaty in the western city of Lviv tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The match between Karpaty and Mariupol from the Azov Sea port of Mariupol was supposed to be played on Sunday behind closed doors.

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The football authorities did not specify how many players had been affected by the virus and when a rescheduled match may be played.

“Those infected were immediately transferred to self-isolation. They had no symptoms,” the league said in a statement.

Ukraine’s government has started easing restrictions imposed in March to prevent the spread of the virus and allowed sports events to continue if all participants are tested and comply with other safety requirements.

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The soccer authorities decided to resume competitions in the Premier League and the Cup with no spectators. Two of Ukraine’s most famous clubs, Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk, are scheduled to meet on Sunday.

Ukraine has reported 23,304 cases, including 696 deaths from the coronavirus as of May 30.

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Tennis’ world number 11 undergoes surgery on both ankles



World number 11 Fabio Fognini underwent surgery on both ankles on Saturday to cure a long-standing problem.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the 33-year-old Italian tennis player said he had hoped the two-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic would have improved his situation.

“I’ve been having a problem with my left ankle for three and a half years now and it’s an issue I’ve learned to cope with,” Fognini said. “Then my right ankle started playing up in the last two years as well.

“After a medical examination and a long discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles.

“I believe it’s the right thing to do while the Tour is on an enforced break. I will have surgery today`(Saturday).”

No professional tournaments have been played since the start of March because of the pandemic, and the ATP Tour has been suspended until at least the start of August.

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