The Toffees boss had suggested that a Colombian playmaker would be unable to face the Saints, but he has now trained and could be in contention
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James Rodriguez is now in contention to make Everton’s trip to Southampton, claims Carlo Ancelotti, with fitness concerns easing around the Colombian playmaker.
The Toffees boss revealed on Thursday that his South American star was nursing a knock picked up in an eventful Merseyside derby date with Liverpool.
Ancelotti told evertontv: “Unfortunately, James had a problem during the game [against Liverpool].
“He had a mistimed tackle with Virgil van Dijk at the beginning of the game and I think he will not be available for the game against Southampton.”
That update was considered to represent quite a blow to Everton’s ambition.
Ancelotti’s side have burst out of the blocks in 2020-21, going unbeaten through their opening five Premier League fixtures.
James, fresh from being snapped up from La Liga giants Real Madrid over the summer, has quickly become an influential figure at Goodison Park.
His creativity and eye for goal have endeared him to the Everton natives, with the 29-year-old’s presence helping the Toffees to tick.
Being without him for a trip to St Mary’s Stadium would have forced Ancelotti into shuffling his pack.
It may, however, be that James comes into contention after all after making a return to training on Friday.
Ancelotti told reporters when asked for a fitness update: “He is not definitely out. Fortunately his recovery was really good and he trained today, just a partial training session.
“I hope he is going to train tomorrow and we will see if he is condition to play on Sunday. He is really better now and we are confident that maybe he can play. He was not able to train until today. I hope tomorrow is going to be better.
“Today’s was quite good, the training, but he had only partial training.”
Everton will definitely be without club captain Seamus Coleman for their trip to the south coast, but having James back would offer their pre-match preparations a timely boost.
He has slotted seamlessly into the fold on Merseyside and become a key part of Ancelotti’s plans.
James has three goals and four assists to his name through six appearances in all competitions, with the former Madrid star proving to be the perfect foil for 10-goal top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Ronaldo Scores 750th Career Goal In First UCL Match To Be Officiated By A Woman
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 750th career goal as Juventus eased to victory against Dynamo Kyiv in a match refereed by Stephanie Frappart, who became the first woman to take charge of a men’s Champions League fixture.
The Portuguese forward scored the second for the Italian champions, already through to the last 16, when he tapped in after Georgi Bushchan’s attempted block rebounded off Juve striker Alvaro Morata.
Ronaldo was a made to wait a few seconds before the VAR team signalled to the French referee the goal would stand.
That was the only major contentious issue Frappart had to deal with, although Kyiv might point to an incident in the first half when penalty appeals were waved away after defender Leonardo Bonucci had his arms around forward Benjamin Verbic.
Juve took the lead in the 21st minute when loan signing Federico Chiesa scored his first for the club, with a header from Alex Sandro’s cross.
After Ronaldo added a second, Morata made it 3-0 when he slotted home his sixth Champions League goal of the season following good work from Weston McKennie and Chiesa on the right.
Kyiv, who have now taken only a point from five group games, impressed in patches and were twice thwarted by former Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny, who denied winger Viktor Tsygankov with two great reflex saves.
Juventus are at Barcelona in their final Group G match next week, with both sides vying to finish top of the pool.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 750 career goals
Real Madrid 450
Manchester United 118
Sporting Lisbon 5
FG Charges Flying Eagles To Win WAFU Cup
The minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has charged the Flying Eagles to make Nigeria proud by winning the WAFU competition in Cotonou, Benin.
Speaking during a visit to the team’s training in Abuja, Dare said, “The Flying Eagles have always made us proud. Go there and make Nigerians proud. We believe you are young, talented and determined. Your coaches have impacted much on you, go there and come back victorious ”
The team is expected to depart for the competition on Friday via Lagos.
The team will play their first match against Cote d’ Ivoire on Sunday.
Messi Slammed With £540 Fine For Diego Maradona Shirt Celebration
LIONEL MESSI has been hit with a £540 fine for his tribute to Diego Maradona after the legend’s death.
The Barcelona superstar started his career at Newell’s Old Boys and unveiled their shirt in tribute to his fellow Argentine – who also played there – after scoring in Sunday’s 4-0 win against Osasuna.
The goal had striking similarities to a goal scored by Maradona on his Newell’s debut 27 years ago.
He picked up the ball outside of the box, beat two defenders then fired a shot into the far corner of the net.
The celebration forced referee Mateu Lahoz to book Messi for removing his Barca shirt, in line with the Spanish FA’s rules.
It has now been confirmed that the 33-year-old has now been sanctioned.
The forward, who earns over £60m-a-year, should have to cough up a £540 fine.
And Barcelona have also been hit with a fine of £316 over the incident – although they plan to appeal.
The rule which imposes a fine for celebrations like Messi’s is not exclusive to the Spanish league, it is also applied by FIFA.
On FIFA’s official website, it states: “The IFAB, the body responsible for the Laws of the Game, decided to add a detail to Law 12 relating to ‘Fouls and Misconduct’, stating: “A player who removes his jersey after scoring a goal will be cautioned for unsporting behaviour.”
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