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Maradona: Police raid doctor’s home, begin death probe

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Police in Argentina have launched an investigation into Diego Maradona’s death. Less than four days after the football legend suffered a fatal heart attack, officers raided the home and private clinic of one of his doctors. They are working to establish whether the sporting great was treated with negligence prior to his death at the age of 60.

His daughters have reportedly demanded to know what medication their father was taking. On Sunday, several officers were seen stationed outside the house of neurologist Dr Leopoldo Luque in Buenos Aires.

Afterwards, Dr Luque told reporters that he had given investigators all records of his treatment of the footballer, as well as computers, hard drives and mobile phones.

Growing tearful, he defended his treatment of the troubled star, who died on Wednesday.

“I know what I did. I know how I did it…. I am absolutely sure that I did the best for Diego, the best I could,” he said.

The doctor added that he was not Maradona’s chief physician, but part of a medical team.

The 60-year-old, one of the greatest footballers of all time, was buried on Thursday in a private ceremony attended by just two dozen people. It followed a public vigil at the country’s presidential palace where tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to file past his coffin. Maradona died in a house outside the Argentinian capital where he had been recovering from a brain operation on November 3.

He had suffered from a long series of medical issues, some related to overindulgence in drugs and alcohol.

He was reportedly near death in 2000 and 2004. Dr Luque described the former sportsman as a difficult patient, revealing that he had kicked the doctor out of his house several times.

“Diego did what he wanted,” Dr Luque said. “Diego needed help. There was no way of getting through to him.”

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Morocco’s win over Belgium thrills Okocha

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Austin Okocha

The Atlas Lions of Morocco pulled off a huge shock in a World Cup Group F clash at the Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday by beating Belgium 2-0 courtesy of goals from Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal.

With their victory over the European nation, Morocco only need to avoid suffering a defeat in their final group game against Canada to be sure of progressing to the last sixteen of the tournament.

The African side thought they had opened the scoring late in the first half through Hakim Ziyech  but the goal was chalked off for offside after a VAR review. Seventeen minutes from time, Sabiri became the first player to score from a direct freekick at the 2022 World Cup, and Aboukhlal sealed the win when he fired into the top corner in stoppage time.

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Three-time World Cupper and Nigeria legend Austin Okocha, who was on punditry duties for SuperSport, revealed shortly after the game that he loved the Atlas Lions’ win because of the way they managed the game after taking the lead.

Okocha said : “It’s a well-deserved win today and what I love about the win is after they scored they managed the game – the way they defended in numbers, the way they took responsibility to make sure that this Belgium team does not get anything against them today.

“I am overwhelmed with joy and I think we will  say congratulations to Morocco.”

Morocco will wrap up group play on Thursday evening with a game against Ike Ugbo’s Canada at the Al Thumama Stadium, Doha.

The Nation

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Four star Croatia ends Canada dream

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Croatia got their World Cup campaign back on track as Andrej Kramaric’s double inspired a 4-1 win that eliminated Canada in Sunday’s Group F grudge match in Doha.

Zlatko Dalic’s side were stunned by Alphonso Davies’s second-minute opener at the Khalifa International Stadium.

But Hoffenheim forward Kramaric equalised and Marko Livaja put the 2018 World Cup runners-up ahead just before half-time.

Second-half goals from Kramaric and Lovro Majer ensured Croatia could celebrate their first win of the tournament after a goalless draw with Morocco in their first match.

Croatia sit top of Group F, above Morocco on goal difference, and a draw in their final game against Belgium on Thursday would guarantee they reach the last 16.

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It was an especially sweet success for Croatia after Canada boss John Herdman irked Dalic’s men with his profane attempt to inspire his players after a 1-0 defeat against Belgium in their group opener.

In a television interview, Herdman told his players: “They belong here. And we’re going to go and eff Croatia.”

Dalic had taken exception to Herdman’s rant, insisting on Saturday that his team deserved “respect” from their opponents.

Croatia’s 24 Sata tabloid ran a full-page photo of a naked man below Herdman’s superimposed head, with maple leaf flags over his mouth and private parts and a headline that translated as “You have the mouth, but do you have the balls as well?”

The Croatians let their football do the talking yesterday , allowing them to seize control of a group blown wide open by Morocco’s shock 2-0 win against Belgium earlier in the afternoon.

Canada competed gamely but have now lost all five matches in their World Cup history, with their only previous appearance in 1986 also ending in group-stage elimination.

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Napoli to offer Osimhen bumper contract

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Victor Osimhen

According to reports in Italian media, Napoli are considering offering striker Victor Osimhen a bumper contract following interests from top European clubs this season.

The 23-year-old Nigerian forward’s future at Partenopei has been a subject of speculation following his decent form since the start of the 2022/23 season.

He has had an impressive start to the season with 10 goals in 14 appearances across all competitions.

Top clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle have reportedly shown interest in signing the prolific goal poacher, but the Parthenopeans are not willing to let their star player leave in January and are set to offer him a lucrative contract at the end of the season.

According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, Napoli could use a clause in the Stability Decree to raise Osimhen’s salary and ward off interest from Manchester United and Newcastle and other top clubs vying for the former Lille man’s signature.

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“This is not the time to discuss renewal, but we are trying to create the conditions to be able to talk about it, perhaps in late spring when the season will be defined and we will prepare for a long summer on the transfer market,” La Gazzetta dello Sport said, as reported by Tutton Napoli.

Osimhen’s contract expires in 2025 and the Serie A leaders want to use a clause in the ‘Stability Decree’ to raise his salary, avoiding a financial burden for the club.

 “In the Napoli renewal plan, there is also the extension of Victor Osimhen ‘s contract. Grown more than ever this year, interest has already rained down on him, from the Premier League and beyond. The Nigerian still has a long contract, expiring in June 2025, but Napoli could continue.

“Currently the forward earns 4.5m euro net plus bonuses, a figure that is still sustainable even in the new Napoli project – which provides for salaries that do not go beyond 3.5m net, i.e. almost seven gross – for a technicality.”

The Nigeria international currently earns 4.5m per season, but thanks to the Stability Decree, Napoli pay slightly less than €6m before taxes, rather than €9m. On paper, it is no longer applicable after five years, but any company can stretch its duration if an employee has a child and owns a house in the country.

“Thanks to the decree, the club pays a gross of just under €6m. It will not be possible to take advantage of this tax relief after five years unless Osimhen has a child in Italy and owns an apartment, de facto conditions possible for the Nigerian.”

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