On Monday afternoon Aston Villa and Derby County, the numbers five and six of the last season in the Championship, compete for promotion to the Premier League. The final of the play-offs is known as the most lucrative football match in the world: at least 193 million euros is at stake, as the English media calculated in recent weeks. For many involved players, the final is the biggest match in their career so far.
John Terry is assistant manager at Villa, Frank Lampard is manager of Derby and Ashley Cole is a player for Derby. Three Chelsea and England legends. So it has added spice.
Richard Keogh turns 33 in August so it could be his last chance to go up with Derby after so many close calls. It was his mistake that blew Derby's chances in the Playoff final in 2014 against QPR so it could be a nice story of redemption for him if Derby succeed.
The Playoff semi finals were thrilling affairs so my prediction for this one is naturally a 0-0 draw and penalties.
I'm rooting for Villa.
Barcelona lost the Copa Del Rey final against Valencia today. Can't see Ernesto Valverde lasting much longer as manager for them. Both Real Madrid and Barca need a huge rebuild this summer. Could be an opportunity for Atletico Madrid to take advantage next season but they're losing Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin. Hopefully they can invest the money they get for Griezmann very wisely. I personally feel Griezmann is a bit overrated anyway.
Matthijs de Ligt is 'moving away' from Barcelona , reports the Spanish radio program Sin Concesiones on Monday evening. The defender of Ajax listens to other offers, now that an agreement with the superpower from Spain remains far away. According to journalist Marçal Lorente of the radio program, Barcelona believes that De Ligt has become unaffordable.
After a long search, Newcastle United seems to get a new owner. Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, cousin of Manchester City owner Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, tells Sky Sports that he has reached agreement with current owner Mike Ashley to take over the Premier League club for 396 million euros. Newcastle has not yet issued a statement about the impending sale.