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Oliver Twist: Salah tells Liverpool to pay him what he’s worth with new contract

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Mohamed Salah has told Liverpool to pay him what he’s worth as he negotiates a potential new contract.

The Egyptian superstar’s current deal has 18 months left to run.

Salah, 29, has admitted that he wants to stay at Anfield.

But he feels it’s up to the Reds to stump up what’s worth.

He told GQ Magazine: “I want to stay, but it’s not in my hands. It’s in their hands.

“They know what I want. I’m not asking for crazy stuff.”

For Salah, his relationship with the fans is beyond question.

But his contract is an issue that can only be resolved by club chiefs.

He added: “The thing is when you ask for something and they show you they can give you something because they appreciate what you did for the club.

“I’ve been here for my fifth year now. I know the club very well.

“I love the fans. The fans love me.

“But with the administration, they have [been] told the situation. It’s in their hands.”

read also:Ronaldo injury not serious, says Rangnick, after missing win over Villa

Gary Neville claimed earlier this season that Salah will want to join Real Madrid, Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain before the end of his career.

On what drives him, the Reds forward admits that he wants to be recognised as the best player in the world.

He continued: “If you asked me if this was a drive for me to be here? Yeah, of course.

“I can’t really lie and say honestly I didn’t think about it. No, I think about it.

“I want to be the best player in the world.

“But I will have a good life even if I don’t win [the Ballon d’Or]. My life is OK, everything is fine.”

Salah has thrived since joining the Reds in 2017, scoring 148 goals in 229 appearances.

In this time he has won the Champions League and Premier League.

He is currently enjoying one of his best seasons to date, netting 23 strikes in 26 outings prior to flying out to Cameroon for Afcon.

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Favourite son Eto’o is pride of Cup of Nations host city Douala

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Samuel Eto’o left for Europe to become one of the greatest African footballers of all time but it was in the city of Douala that he first made his name and where residents continue to idolise the former Barcelona superstar.

 

Cameroon’s economic capital is a loud and chaotic port city, hot and humid.

It is here that the country’s Indomitable Lions will face Gambia in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals on Saturday as Cameroon come to Douala for the first time in the tournament having played their previous matches in Yaounde.

Eto’o, who also starred for Inter Milan and wore the number nine for his country, moved to Douala with his family from the capital as a young boy.

He was raised in an unremarkable house on a dusty street in New Bell, an impoverished district where the locals are only too happy to talk about the man who put their neighbourhood on the map.

“He grew up here but he was blessed by God,” says Valentine, a 49-year-old caterer sheltering from the scorching mid-afternoon sun just across the street from the Eto’o family house.

“Eto’o has helped a lot of people in this neighbourhood. Recently he came back here and laid on food for everyone in New Bell.”

IMMORTALISED

Just along the street is a bar where the exterior walls are decorated with pictures of the four-time African Footballer of the Year.

Nearby the moto-taxis that can make navigating the streets a hazardous task pass in front of a statue of Eto’o in the green, yellow and red of Cameroon, with whom he won the AFCON in 2000 and 2002.

Eto’o was just 20 when he led the Indomitable Lions to that second continental title and it would be another two years before he signed for Barcelona and teamed up with players including Ronaldinho and a very young Lionel Messi.

In Douala it was clear Eto’o was a special talent from a very young age.

“He was little, lively and loved football,” recalls Jean Rene Noubissi, who took Eto’o under his wing as he was starting out at local side UCB.

“He calls me his first president. I helped oversee his development.

“When he played for UCB he scored goals in every game and I would give him a little bonus as a reward.

“Even then you could see the discipline he had. He believed in his potential and knew where he wanted to go.”

The walls of Noubissi’s cramped office in the Akwa business district are covered in pictures of him with Eto’o, including one with Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

ROLE MODEL

Eto’o was on the books at Real Madrid and starred for Mallorca before joining Barcelona, but before all of that he went to France to try his luck only to return home with his tail between his legs.

“When he came back he had no club but he was still very famous, everybody knew about him in Douala. When he was just 14 he was the one feeding the whole family,” says Hiondi Nkam, author of a new book about Eto’o called “Les Anges et Les Demons” (Angels and Demons).

He was not yet 16 when he made his international debut and barely 17 when he went to the 1998 World Cup after newly-appointed coach Claude Le Roy decided he could not ignore such a precocious talent.

“I wanted to give a chance to all the locally-based players to see if there were any gems among them, and I saw this young player who seemed so comfortable tactically and so intelligent,” Le Roy told AFP.

“He was just a kid but he wasn’t afraid of all the big names in the team.”

Having retired from playing in 2019 aged 38, Eto’o has quickly transitioned into a leadership role off the field and in December, he was elected president of Cameroon’s Football Federation.

“People believe that he is not there for money or fame, but he is there to help,” says Nkam, who sums up what Eto’o means to New Bell.

“He is a role model. He was selfish on the field of play but very, very human off it. Some people would say that after God comes Samuel Eto’o.”

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Brazil’s Alisson sees two red cards overturned in WC draw with Ecuador

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Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker had two red cards overturned by VAR reviews as Brazil hung on for a controversial 1-1 World Cup qualifier draw with Ecuador on Thursday, with both teams having a player dismissed.

Alisson could count himself lucky after a straight red card in the first half, for a high boot on Enner Valencia, was downgraded to a yellow and then a second yellow card in injury-time was also overturned on review.

Ecuador’s Argentine coach Gustavo Alfaro was furious after four VAR reviews — two to check possible dismissals and two for penalties originally awarded by Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan — all went against the hosts in Quito.

“We’re shocked by the development of the match, by all the strange things, by everything that happened,” said Alfaro.

“I don’t want any favors, all I want is justice.

“We feel that we had the chance to achieve a historic victory taken away from us.”

Even so, the point inches Ecuador closer to World Cup qualification with three games left as they have a seven-point gap to fifth-placed Colombia.

Uruguay also boosted their hopes as Luis Suarez gave them a 1-0 win away to Paraguay.

But Chile slipped further away from qualification after a 2-1 defeat at home to Argentina.

Brazil and Argentina have already booked their tickets for Qatar.

VAR CHAOS

Casemiro gave Brazil, who were missing the injured Neymar, an early lead but Ecuador center-back Felix Torres equalized 15 minutes from time.

Ecuador should have been in front within two minutes but Valencia somehow missed the target from four yards out.

It took just four minutes for Brazil to make Ecuador pay.

Matheus Cunha headed a cross from Philippe Coutinho goalwards and while goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez blocked the ball on the line, Casemiro pounced to stab home the loose ball from a yard out.

Ecuador were a mess at the back and Dominguez compounded matters with a rash attempt to reach a Fred through ball before Cunha.

The keeper got his toe to the ball but drove his studs into the forward’s neck with his follow through and was rightly dismissed following a lengthy VAR check.

In an eventful start to the match, Emerson Royal was given his marching orders after picking up two yellow cards inside the first 20 minutes as numeric parity was almost immediately restored.

Five minutes later, Alisson was initially shown a straight red card for an almost identical offence to Dominguez’s.

Having also won the ball at head height, he brought his follow-through down in an axe kick on Valencia’s head.

But, following a VAR check, Roldan incredibly downgraded the card to a yellow.

PENALTIES OVERTURNED

Early in the second half, Valencia had another glorious chance to score but headed wide from 12 yards after once again finding space in the box.

Ecuador had the ball in the net early in the second half through Michael Estrada but it was ruled out after a linesman flagged for the ball going out of play.

Roldan then signalled a penalty after Raphinha appeared to stand on Pervis Estupinan’s foot in the box, but for the third time VAR ruled in Brazil’s favour and it was chalked off.

Ecuador finally equalized when Torres outjumped Casemiro to plant a header into the bottom corner past a helpless Alisson.

Roldan then pointed to the spot for a second time deep into injury time after Alisson connected with forward Ayrton Preciado’s head as he punched clear a bouncing ball.

The referee also showed him a second yellow card but overturned both that and the penalty after another VAR review.

Both halves included more than 10 minutes of additional time due to the lengthy checks.

In Asuncion, Suarez struck a sweet left-foot volley five minutes into the second half to energise Uruguay’s faltering qualification campaign.

Read Also: Mane and Salah on track for AFCON final showdown

Four straight defeats had seen iconic veteran coach Oscar Tabarez sacked after the last round of fixtures in November.

But this victory propelled Uruguay into the top four while also putting a serious dent in Paraguay’s hopes of making it to Qatar.

English-born Ben Brereton Diaz scored for Chile in Calama but goals from Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez gave Argentina, who rested Lionel Messi, victory.

Chile are now three points behind fourth-placed Uruguay with three matches left as seven teams aim for the remaining two automatic qualification spots.

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Lyon ‘reject €60m offer from top-five Premier League club for Paqueta’

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Lyon have rejected a €60m (£50m) offer from a top-five Premier League club for attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta, according to a report.
The 24-year-old has impressed for the Ligue 1 outfit this season, scoring eight goals and providing four assists in 25 appearances across all competitions.

According to French journalist Stephane Darmani on TV channel Canal+, a Premier League club currently sitting in the top five have seen a €60m (£50m) offer to sign Paqueta rejected by Lyon.

read also:Transfer window: Tottenham Hotspur ‘agree Ndombele’s loan deal with Valencia’
At present, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham United all occupy a position in the top five.

Paris Saint-Germain have also been credited with an interest in Paqueta, who is under contract at Parc Olympique Lyonnais until the summer of 2025.

The former AC Milan midfielder is currently away on international duty with Brazil.

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