M23 rebels have announced that they are ready to disengage and withdraw territories they have occupied in eastern DRC after almost a year which ... has led to simmering tension between Rwanda president Paul Kagame and his DRC counterpart Félix Tshiskedi.
Liverpudlians had a bad weekend and so did all the Brits who were hoping to see Liverpool FC bring home the seventh Champions League trophy. As if the fatal goal by Madrid’s Brazilian Vinícius José Paixão de Oliveira Júnior wasn’t enough, other things colluded to make it a bitter brew.
With a strike on the B line of the Parisian RER train serving the Stade de France, which was hosting the final, a counterproductive double screening of spectators, huge queues poorly managed by outdated security methods, free riders breaking in and the grumbling of ticket holders who had paid €550 ($589) in some cases… The match started 36 minutes late.
There was chaos at the gates, with tear gas reminiscent of the ‘Gilet Jaunes’ demonstrations. It was an unwelcome message sent by a French capital still groggy from the defeat of its Paris Saint-Germain team in the last 16, and host of the 2024 Olympic Games.
The tears from the debacle and the tear gas irritations had barely dried when a rumour went round late that evening to reactivate the tear glands.
After the match at the Stade de France, some say that the Senegalese Sadio Mané told his teammates: “I want to thank the fans for everything and the coach too. I wish this team all the best in the world. I want to thank the fans for everything and the coach as well. I wish this team all the best in the world…”
His words did not indicate an official departure except that a day before the match, the Senegalese player had said: “I am entirely focused on Saturday’s game, that’s the answer I must give before the final, but come back to me on Saturday and I’ll give you the answer.”
The African champion’s communications adviser, Bacary Cisse, denied the allegation, saying Mané had “left the stadium through a back door” to avoid “being questioned by journalists about his future at Liverpool”.
This is true. The Reds’ coach Jurgen Klopp refused to comment on the rumours of his player’s possible departure.
Buzz and deception
Fans of contemporary football know that the transfer of stars has become an endless series of leaks and false leaks, misleading clues and prefabricated missteps designed to fuel the buzz and even the bidding.
The fact remains that Sadio Mané is being courted by several big-name European clubs, which Liverpool has reportedly set a transfer price – just over €41m according to the Daily Mail, €58m according to The Sun – and that Bayern Munich are the most frequently mentioned, ahead of Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan and the Paris Saint-Germain of the Leonardo era.
The Germans are said to have offered a three-year contract to the player and the Senegalese’s agent has reportedly met with Hasan Salihamidžić, Bayern’s sporting director.
As they wait for the official conclusions of this case, the British people – depressed by the emotional rollercoaster of the weekend – will console themselves, from 2 to 5 June, with the celebrations of the platinum Jubilee of their Queen Elizabeth II, the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne. God save the queen and Sadio Mané?
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