PETR CECH has told Wayne Rooney to forget about scoring another landmark goal against Arsenal today.
This weekend marks the 15th anniversary of when Rooney scored his first Premier League goal as a 16-year-old in the same fixture at Goodison Park.
His blistering strike past then-Gunners keeper David Seaman was the first of 201 Premier League goals — seven of them against Cech when he was No 1 at Chelsea.
But Cech — still to be beaten by Rooney as an Arsenal keeper — believes his Gunners team-mates will not allow England’s all-time top goalscorer to repeat his heroics from all those years ago.
Cech said: “Wayne has a great memory of that day. I remember seeing it on TV and it was a great effort to beat Seaman.
“Wayne is one of the world’s best strikers and when you score the most goals for Manchester United it shows how good you are.
“He has gone back to Everton and keeps scoring goals. Hopefully, we’ll not allow him to shine like he did that day.
“We know a lot more about him now of course because he has been at the top of the game for 15 years.
“But Everton and Rooney are in a position where they need to take points as well. Like us they had a Europa League game on Thursday. We both need to win. It is always tough when you go to Everton but we’ll go there to be resolute, strong and ready.”
Cech knows that Arsenal must cure their travel sickness — and fast.
A hard-fought 1-0 win at Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday may have given the Gunners some slight relief.
But the fact remains that defeat at Everton today could prove disastrous for Arsenal’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Cech added: “We’ve won all the games at the Emirates — but we need to start winning away.
“OK Watford, with the bad luck, is one game. But we had lost two games prior to that — and the losses at Stoke and Liverpool were so disappointing.
“So we’re going to Everton with a need to improve on that and our position in the table as we’ve given the advantage to our rivals in the last game.
“Prior to last year, we had the best away record in the league.
“We need to go back to that. Defensively we need to be tight because away from home we’re creating chances but not scoring enough goals.”
Wenger has used the Europa League and League Cup as platforms to blood his kids.
The atmosphere in the Stadion Rajko Mitic in Belgrade was electrifying and Cech insists the Gunners boss was very clever in allowing the youngsters to experience that.
Rob Holding, 22, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 20, Reiss Nelson, 17 and Jo Willock, 18, started in the Serbian capital — while Ben Sheaf, 19, and Marcus McGuane, 18, came on for late cameos.
Cech started his first game in Europe this season and kept Red Star at bay before Arsenal striker Oliver Giroud popped up with a late winner.
And he said: “It really did feel like a Champions League game. The crowd in Belgrade made it so special.
“This was a perfect game for the young players because it was the hardest game we’ve faced in the Europa League and we had a whole bench of young boys and we had four of them playing again. They did really well.
“They’re lucky in a way that the boss gave them confidence in playing them in matches like this. It is a big game.
“It’s a European competition and we want to, as a club, ideally win it like Manchester United did if possible.
“For them to get the trust of the manager is very important.”
Barcelona: Real reason for Messi’s u-turn
“The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he didn’t end up keeping his word,” Messi said in an interview with Goal, released on Friday.
“I thought and we were sure that I was free. The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not and now they hold on to the fact that I did not say it before June 10 when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for the league in the middle of this shitty virus and this disease that altered all the dates.”
Messi, 33, added: “And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club… because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700-million-euro release clause.
“This is impossible, and then the other way was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.”
Messi had said he wanted to leave the club he joined as a boy after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in August.
His lawyers sent a burofax stating his intention to go for free on August 25 but Messi says he had made his feelings clear to Bartomeu many times before.
“I told the club, especially the president, that I wanted to go,” said Messi. “I’ve been telling him all year. I believed it was time to step aside.
‘Everything became difficult’
“I believed that the club needed more young people, new people and I thought my time in Barcelona was over, feeling very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.
“It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new goals, new horizons.
“It wasn’t because of the Champions League result against Bayern, I had been thinking about it for a long time. I told the president and the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not end up keeping his word.”
Despite his unhappiness, Messi insists he will give his all for Barcelona next season under their new coach Ronald Koeman, with his current contract due to expire in June next year.
Messi set to quit Barcelona
Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona that he wants to “unilaterally” terminate his contract with the Spanish giants, a club source confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.
Lawyers for the Argentina star sent Barca a fax in which they announced Messi’s desire to rescind his contract by triggering a release clause.
However, the club maintains the clause expired in June and he remains under contract until the end of the 2021 season.
“In principial, this clause expired on June 10, but the unusual nature of this season disrupted by the coronavirus opened the way for Messi to ask to be released from his contract now,” wrote Spanish sports daily Marca.
“It’s the first step towards opening negotiations over his departure, on the basis of which his release clause amounts to 700 million euros.”
According to Spanish media, Messi met with new Barca coach Ronald Koeman last week and told the Dutchman he saw himself “more out than in” the club.
“The end of the glorious era of Leo Messi at Barcelona seems to be close. After the arrival of Ronald Koeman, what looks like the exit of his friend Luis Suarez and a difficult and turbulent end to the season, Messi told Barcelona in a fax of his intention to leave the club,” said Once radio station.
Barcelona suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon earlier this month, resulting in the dismissal of coach Quique Setien after barely six months in charge.
Oyo govt. to spend N5.5bn on Lekan Salami sports complex’s facilities’ upgrade
Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Thursday disclosed that the contract for the remodeling of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Ibadan was awarded to Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, at a total cost of Five Billion, Five Hundred and Eighty Million, One Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty-One Naira, Sixty-Two Kobo (₦5,580,001,151:62k).
The governor stated that the Complex will be upgraded to a world class standard.
He also informed that the project will be funded through the Alternate Project Funding Approach (APFA), which entails that the contractor will fund the project, while the state will repay the contractor over a period of 29 months.
The governor, who stated this at the main bowl of the stadium, while flagging off the project, asdured that his administration will continue to walk its talk, matching policies with actions.
Contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Governor Makinde stressed, “the contractors, Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, have given us the assurance that the project will be completed in 18 months. By God’s grace, in the next 12 months, coronavirus would have left us, and we will have the opportunity to sit here, in this stadium, fully remodelled and watch my team, the 3SC beat their opponents, live! So Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns, 12 months is 12 months. No delays and you have to do a quality job that the people of Oyo State will be proud of.
“This is another step in the right direction, positioning Oyo State to attract investments. I hear some people are already saying we should slow down but I am here to tell them that this is not the time to even think of slowing down. Our administration is here to grow Oyo State and to make sure everyone in our beloved state feels the real dividends of democracy.
“When the history of this place was being traced just now, they flagged off this facility 44 years ago. It was commissioned 32 years ago; and I came here once to watch a 3SC game and, at half time, I went to the changing room to talk to and encourage the players but I could not believe what I saw: players sat on the bare floor. And I asked myself, is this where we want to mould world-beating athletes? So, I said ‘no’. I felt for both the players and the crew.
“After that, I decided to, on my own, visit this place and looked at all of the facilities that we have in here. They were all in a state of dilapidation”, he lamented.
The governor who declared that the remodelling project was another step in the direction of positioning the state to attract greater investments, said his administration would not be deterred by criticisms and that it would ensure that every resident of the state feels the real dividends of democracy.
He added that for the state to attract the right investments, it must raise its game in terms of infrastructure and matching what obtains in other places, saying that this is the path his administration has been toeing, which is responsible for its attention to fix roads, install street lights and invest heavily on infrastructure and security.
“Oyo State has had a rich sporting history. Back in 1963, the first World Boxing title fight in Africa was held here in Oyo State. We were able to host that fight and benefit from all the tourism revenue because we had the facilities to do so. And so, we are remodelling this sports complex now, so we can reap the benefits in Internally Generated Revenue, IGR. If there was a call for cities to host a national sporting event today, can Oyo State boast of having the facilities? The answer is no.
“So, in Oyo State, we cannot attract investors without the right infrastructure. If we are telling people to leave wherever they are and come here, we should be able to give them what they are benefiting where they are or even more.
“If we keep saying Oyo State is ready for business, without the right infrastructure in place, they will tell us they like our policies, but they want to see better facilities. So, we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that whenever investors come calling, we are ready to receive them and make them stay. And that means we must match our policies with action.
“We have already told them there will be no multiple taxation and that we will not wake up and impose random taxes on them. They can see that this is true. We have also promised that they will not spend hours in traffic, we are keeping our promise by investing in road construction and rehabilitation. We are putting street lights all over the place. We also have to match the tourism and recreational facilities that they have in other places.
“If the government can provide facilities that are comparable to those those in any part of the world, then we can be sure that all our talents and youths will have somewhere to come to. And we will discover more talents and we will have more record setters coming out of Oyo State. And this is why we are here.”
Earlier, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Seun Fakorede, said the remodelling is essential for the growth and survival of Sports and the engagement of youth productively.
He noted that the remodelling will attract international focus and change the economic fortune of the state, through hosting of national and international sports tournaments.
In his remarks, the managing Director of Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Limited, Mr. Adeleke Olanrewaju, said that the benefit which Lekan Salami will bring to the state will be unquantifiable through talent development and others, adding that the remodeling of the stadium will also boost the IGR, of the state.
“In the present day, stadium facilities can generate incomes; for example, the hosting of a national sports festival can bring in as much as 7billion Naira, the hosting of a national cup will also bring in as much as 10 billion Naira. Some of these funds go directly into the government purse while a larger percentage goes into the local economy to stimulate it.”
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