Friday, May 27, 2022

Soccer notebook: Zlatan Ibrahimović advises Kylian Mbappé to leave PSG, coach changes galore, more storylines

We are approaching the end of another week of European soccer with midweek slates in several the top leagues across the continent. Heading toward the winter period, some clubs have opted to make managerial changes in Germany and Spain while Zlatan Ibrahimović is never one to stray too far from the headlines and one fallen French giant remains mired in trouble.

Some of the stories which might have escaped your attention.

Hertha swap Dardai for Korkut

Hertha Berlin have moved to arrest their slump in form by dismissing Pal Dardai as boss and appointing Tayfun Korkut as his replacement. The Bundesliga outfit are currently 14th and one point above the relegation playoff spot with the second-worst record of seven losses this season which is only topped by Greuther Furth’s shocking solitary point from 13 outings.

“We would like to thank Pal Dardai for his work,” said sporting chief Fredi Bobic in a Hertha statement. “He took over the team in a difficult situation last season and kept us in the Bundesliga under difficult circumstances.

“We want Tayfun Korkut to provide the team with a fresh impetus and new ideas. Tayfun has shown in the past that he can not only stabilize a team but also develop a side with his knowledgeable and passionate work, as well as his idea of playing football.”

“I keep a close eye on the Bundesliga,” added Korkut. “My perception of Hertha BSC as a club and the team is that it has been a journey filled with ups and downs. I want to use my way of working and my ideas to help us develop in a positive direction. I am full of energy and am very much looking forward to this challenge.”

Pereira out in Levante

Spanish strugglers Levante have also axed their coach Javier Pereira with the team rock bottom of La Liga and five points from safety with Manolo Salvador, David Navarro, and Manuel Fajardo also exiting the Ciutat de Valencia.

The club’s leaders held a meeting on Monday before deciding that termination of Pereira’s contract was the only course of action with their second foray together unsuccessful as Alessio Lisci steps in to fill the role on an interim basis.

“Levante UD would like to thank the four staff members for their work and commitment,” read part of a club statement. “We wish them the best of luck both professionally and personally from now on.”

Zlatan ne regrette rien

Zlatan Ibrahimović has reflected on his time in France with Corriere della Sera and stood by his opinion from 2015 that France is a “shit” country which does not deserve a club like Paris Saint-Germain.

“Marine Le Pen had asked for me to be deported,” said the Swedish superstar. “The day after, I was worried about the reaction on the streets. Instead, French people came up to me to congratulate me and said: ‘Ibra, you are right — France really is a shit country.'”

Ibrahimović, now 40, also justified why he has advised Kylian Mbappé to leave PSG but the French giants to do everything in their power to keep hold of their star man.

“It is true,” he said when asked if he had advised Mbappé to leave. “He needs a more structured environment, like that of Real Madrid. However, I then told the PSG president (Chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi) not to sell him.”

Bordeaux owner in bother

Not only are things going dreadfully for Girondins de Bordeaux on the pitch after a 5-2 humiliation at the hands of RC Strasbourg in Ligue 1 on Wednesday night, but President Gerard Lopez is also in economic strife already with the fallen giants struggling financially while his other clubs suffer.

Royal Excel Mouscron in the Belgian second tier have been handed a transfer ban due to unpaid wages as the Luxembourgish businessman looks to find a new owner for the stricken club on top of his interest in Boavista who have multiple players on loan at Bordeaux.

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