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Evra reveals death threats after Suarez racism row

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Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has said he received death threats following a racism row involving then-Liverpool forward Luis Suarez in 2011.

Uruguay striker Suarez was banned for eight matches by the English Football Association after being found guilty of misconduct for insulting comments to Evra, which included a reference to the left-back’s skin colour, at Anfield in October that year.

Liverpool, however, mounted a prolonged and public defence of Suarez’s conduct as the row between the rival clubs escalated.

Evra said one consequence of the backlash included letters threatening the Frenchman and his family.

“Manchester United received so many threatening letters about me,” Evra told the club’s UTD podcast.

“People said: ‘We’re in jail, we’re Liverpool fans. When we get out, we’re going to kill you and your family’.”

Evra said the nature of the threats meant he had to be protected by bodyguards.

“For two months, I had security everywhere I went. They were sleeping in front of my house. Everywhere I went, the security followed me.

“It was a tough time, but I wasn’t scared. My family were scared: my wife and brother, but I wasn’t.

“I couldn’t understand why people hated me so much. They didn’t know the truth.”

Evra, who saw his attempt to shake hands with Suarez before a match the following February rebuffed by the striker, said he had forgiven his old antagonist and even spoke to the now Barcelona star before the 2015 Champions League final when playing for Juventus.

But it was a very different story at the time , which saw Evra forcing himself to control his emotions after reporting the incident to match referee Andre Marriner, who said it would be dealt with after the game and that both players should continue.

“I remember, during that game, I was talking to myself saying: ‘If you punch him now, people will see you as the bad one, people will forget about what he said’,” recalled Evra.

“I was talking to myself: ‘Don’t do… do it…’ I wasn’t focused for the game.”

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Union Berlin 0-2 Bayern Munich: Lewandowski hits 40-goals mark as champions cruise

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Bayern Munich recommenced their Bundesliga title defence with a 2-0 win at Union Berlin, with Robert Lewandowski reaching the 40-goal mark for a fifth successive season on his return from a knee injury.

Hansi Flick’s men had been put under a little pressure by Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 thrashing of Schalke on Saturday to go within a point of the pacesetters, but Bayern picked up where they left off before the coronavirus pause – Lewandowski and Benjamin Pavard securing the points.

Although Bayern were guilty of a somewhat slow start, once they found their groove the champions played some fine football and were deserving of the lead when Lewandowski – who likely would have missed most of the rest of the season were it not for the lengthy hiatus – rolled home his penalty with 40 minutes played.

Although the visitors failed to pile on the misery against a Union side who offered little in attack after the first 10 minutes, they did eventually wrap up the victory late on with Pavard’s header, Flick’s side restoring their four-point cushion.

Union looked the sharper of the two sides in the early exchanges, with Marius Bulter testing Manuel Neuer and Anthony Ujah sending a rasping drive just over.

But Bayern grew into the encounter – Thomas Muller having a goal disallowed for offside in the 19th minute, before Union goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz got just enough on Alphonso Davies’ low cross to prevent Lewandowski a tap-in.

Their dominance eventually paid off late in the first half, as Neven Subotic clumsily caught Leon Goretzka in the box while attempting to clear and Lewandowski confidently slotted in the spot-kick.

The contest followed a similar pattern after the restart and Bayern nearly got a second – Goretzka lashing a fierce strike just wide of the bottom-left corner after a one-two with the excellent Thomas Muller.

Union’s hopes of rescuing a late draw were ended when Pavard headed in Joshua Kimmich’s right-wing with 10 minutes to go.

What does it mean? Bayern have little problem producing a response

Dortmund win on Saturday was impressive and will have given Bayern a reminder that they are up for a fight, but Die Roten’s performance on Sunday was laudable for different reasons.

Despite having over two months off and coming back against a physical side, some of Bayern’s football was gorgeous. While they only managed two goals, you never got the impression they were playing at full tilt.

Muller a delight

While he will not necessarily get the plaudits, Muller was in fine form on Sunday. The experienced forward regularly popped up in dangerous spaces and his use of the ball was excellent, summed up by his two key passes – one being a clever improvised effort to tee up Goretzka in the second half.

Subotic pays the price

Players could be forgiven for a little rustiness given the circumstances, but it cost Subotic – and Union – dear. The former Dortmund centre-back gave away the penalty that allowed Bayern the lead as he failed to react quickly enough to clear.

What’s next?

Bayern return to the Allianz Arena next weekend when they host Eintracht Frankfurt. Union travel to local rivals Hertha for only the second Berlin derby between the clubs in Bundesliga history.

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Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi arrested after alleged row with model during lockdown breach

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Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi has been arrested after an alleged row with a model. The England international, 19, was arrested by Metropolitan Police in the early hours of Sunday morning at his West London apartment after officers investigated a call from the woman in question. Hudson-Odoi was arrested by officers and taken into custody.

Chelsea declined to comment when contacted by the Evening Standard, but a spokesperson for the Met Police said: “Police and London Ambulance Service were called at 03:53hrs on Sunday 17 May to a report of an unwell woman.”

Hudson-Odoi has been spending lockdown at home, with professional football in England suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. He was one the first footballers to test positive for Covid-19, but experienced only minor symptoms.

Speaking at the start of April, he said: “I had the virus which has cleared now. I fully feel good, I feel fit, so I am feeling back to myself so it is all good. “I had it [the illness] three weeks ago now I think, on a Monday when I felt a bit hot and I was thinking this is a bit unusual, why do I feel this hot. The next day I was feeling back to normal.

“I thought it was just a minor temperature thing, but obviously it wasn’t. I said to myself this wasn’t actually that bad, the symptoms, and I said to myself “I feel good, I feel better.”

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Messi hails Martinez

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Over 600 career goals, 10 La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League trophies, six Ballon d’Or awards – Lionel Messi’s list of accomplishments seem never-ending. Here’s a look at some of the Argentine’s spectacular accolades so far.

All statistics correct as of Dec. 3, 2019.   

Lionel Messi described Lautaro Martinez as a “very complete forward” amid growing links to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Inter star Martinez has been tipped to leave the Nerazzurri for Barca, with the Spanish giants reportedly determined to sign a long-term replacement for veteran Luis Suarez.

Messi has previously hailed Argentina team-mate Martinez, who had scored 16 goals in 31 games across all competitions in 2019-20 before the coronavirus pandemic brought sport to a standstill.

Asked about Martinez, Barca superstar Messi told Mundo Deportivo: “If I’m honest I don’t know very well if there were or are negotiations right now, I have no idea. 

“I think I already mentioned it, that Lautaro is an impressive striker, especially because I think he is a very complete forward. 

“He is strong, he dribbles well, he scores goals, he knows how to protect the ball …But well, we will have to see what happens finally with him and with other players.”

On transfers amid links with former star and Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, Messi added: “There are a few people at the club who are in charge of the theme of signings and they are the ones who select who they think are best for the team.

“It’s obvious that the situation we are in will make the market a bit strange and you have to be sure to improve on what we have.”

Barca were two points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid through 27 matches when LaLiga was postponed in March due to COVID-19.

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