Kjaer and medics receive UEFA award for saving Eriksen

By Sports Desk August 24, 2021

Simon Kjaer and the medical team who acted rapidly to tend to Christian Eriksen following a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 have been recognised with the 2021 UEFA President's Award.

Eriksen collapsed during Denmark's opener against Finland in June, with Kjaer the first on the scene to place his team-mate in the recovery position before leading his side to form a protective screen while the Inter man received treatment.

The 29-year-old was subsequently taken to hospital, where he was fitted with a pacemaker before returning home, though it remains unclear if he will ever play again, despite visiting Inter's training ground in August.

For Kjaer's exemplary leadership, the centre-back – along with eight medics – have been hailed as the "true heroes of Euro 2020" and presented with the award by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.

"This year, the President’s Award transcends football," Ceferin said.

"It serves as an important and eternal reminder of just how precious life is and puts everything in our lives into the clearest perspective.

"I would also like to send my very best wishes to Christian Eriksen and his family as he continues his recovery."

After Kjaer had performed the initial CPR, the medical team responded quickly, resuscitating Eriksen before taking him off the pitch on a stretcher to rush him to hospital.

"We rushed to the field to help [Christian] and to do our job," said Mogens Kreutzfeldt, chief medical officer for Euro 2020 in Copenhagen.

"We did what we should, what we were taught, what we were trained to do.

"Everybody knew their role, everybody knew what to do.

"We were not emotional at the scene. Afterwards, we were, of course, like everybody. We're very happy and proud of the outcome."

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    Ronald Koeman has been sacked as head coach of Barcelona following a poor start to the season. 

    A 1-0 loss at Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday proved too much for the Camp Nou hierarchy, who pulled the trigger on Koeman's time with the club.

    The Dutchman was brought in to replace Quique Setien in August 2020 and led Barca to Copa del Rey success in his first season, although they finished third in LaLiga and suffered a Champions League last-16 exit, as well as losing the Supercopa de Espana final to Athletic Bilbao. 

    The hope was that Koeman could steady the ship in the face of the various financial challenges that were affecting incomings and outgoings at Barca, but after winning just 39 of his 67 games in charge, the former Southampton, Everton and Netherlands boss was relieved of his duties.

    A total of 12 draws and 16 defeats during Koeman’s 14-months at the club, with 138 goals for and 75 against, was ultimately not good enough, but was it all bad? Stats Perform takes a closer look at the numbers behind his reign.

     

    Worst record post-Pep

    Of all the coaches to take charge at the club since the departure of Pep Guardiola in 2012, Koeman had the lowest win percentage (58.2 per cent), with the next lowest being his predecessor Setien (64 per cent), who himself only lasted 25 games in the hot seat.

    Koeman is also the only Barca boss to average fewer than two points per game in LaLiga (1.96 PPG), again comfortably behind the next worst in Setien (2.21 PPG).

    There was also an undoubted, yet somewhat understandable over-reliance on Lionel Messi. The club's greatest ever player shocked the world when he left for Paris Saint Germain in the summer, but it was no shock to discover that prior to his departure, he had been holding the team up almost single-handedly.

    Despite leaving in the summer, Messi has still scored almost twice as many goals as any other Barca player during Koeman’s time as boss (38), has created more chances than anyone else (117), has taken more than twice as many shots as anyone else (271) and is still joint-second in assists (12), behind only Jordi Alba (15).

    This season, Barcelona have begun a LaLiga campaign without a win in their first four away games for the first time since 1991-92 – when Johan Cruyff was in charge. They have also failed to score in three consecutive league away games for the first time since February 2003.

    They were unable to hit the target in the first half against Real Madrid or Rayo Vallecano, which is just the second time in the last 19 LaLiga seasons they have done so in consecutive games.

    During Koeman's reign, Barca dropped 12 points from winning position in LaLiga – only Frank Rijkaard (29) and Ernesto Valverde (26) had poorer records in that regard.

    3 - Barcelona are winless in their last four away trips in LaLiga (D2 L2), failing to score in the last three - they have failed to score in three league away games for the first time since since February 2003 (3). Run. pic.twitter.com/cd1Q8QWz7f

    — OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 27, 2021

     

    Did anything go right?

    Well, his team did gain 24 points from losing positions in LaLiga – only Valverde (48) and Rijkaard (43) won more.

    While reliance on Messi last season was clear, Barca actually coped well on the rare occasions they were without their talismanic figure. 

    In the 45 games with the Argentine in all competitions, they had a win percentage of 60 per cent (27), averaged 2.2 goals for, and 1.2 goals against per game. In the nine games without the superstar, their win percentage was 77.80 per cent (seven), with an average of 2.4 goals for and 0.7 goals against.

    While his hand may have been forced, Koeman has also given plenty of chances to promising stars of Barcelona's future, in particular overseeing the emergence of Pedri.

    The 18-year-old wonderkid was the fourth most used player in Koeman's tenure, playing 56 games, behind only Sergio Busquets (63), Frenkie De Jong (62) and Jordi Alba (57). The former Las Palmas midfielder has clearly benefited from such faith, now starring for both club and country.

    Ansu Fati has played significantly fewer games under Koeman (16) but this is mostly due to injury, and would no doubt have featured more otherwise, while Gavi looks to be following in Pedri's footsteps after being given 11 opportunities by Koeman, already earning his first caps for Spain as a result. He is the youngest player to play for the country, and became the youngest Clasico starter since the turn of the century when he was named in the Barca XI on Sunday, for a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid.

    There have certainly been promising signs, but whoever comes in next at the Camp Nou will be hoping that the numbers will all start going in the right direction, and soon.

  • I haven't experienced anything like that before – Muller apologises for 'catastrophic' defeat I haven't experienced anything like that before – Muller apologises for 'catastrophic' defeat

    Thomas Muller has apologised to Bayern Munich supporters following his side's "catastrophic" 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.

    Bundesliga champions Bayern were three goals down inside 21 minutes and conceded twice more before the hour mark in the DFB-Pokal second-round tie.

    The heavy defeat at Borussia-Park marks the first time Bayern have lost a game by at least five goals since December 1978 in a Bundesliga clash with Fortuna Dusseldorf.

    Muller played a full part in the Bavarian giants' heaviest loss in 43 years and was taken aback by the manner of his side's performance, which came despite a strong line-up being fielded.

    "We never got to the point where our Bayern engine kicked in," he said. "We can only apologise to the fans and apologise to Gladbach. 

    "With the exception of [Manuel] Neuer, it was a catastrophic performance from us.

    "I haven't experienced anything like that before. It's difficult to wrap your head round. We have to put it behind us now, because we've got a game on Saturday."

     

    Bayern had scored in their previous 83 competitive matches in a run spanning back to February 2020, which includes 60 goals in 15 games in all competitions this season – at least 17 more than any other side in Europe's top five leagues,

    The visitors were pulled apart at the back, with Ramy Bensebaini and Breel Embolo helping themselves to a couple of goals each after Kouadio Kone's early opener.

    Bayern's loss came in the absence of head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who is continuing to isolate at home after testing positive for coronavirus.

    Stand-in boss Dino Toppmoller oversaw Bayern's biggest ever cup defeat and is aware of the importance of hitting back with victory at Union Berlin in Saturday's Bundesliga clash.

    "It was an absolutely bad day. I'm sorry that we disappointed our fans today," he said at his post-match news conference.

    "We were in constant contact with Julian. We prepared the game plan together and discussed the lineup via FaceTime. 

    "I don't think it was a system problem – it was just a dark day and we were late to every ball. It's difficult to accept now but we've to show a reaction."

    Bayern have now failed to reach the last 16 of the DFB-Pokal in back-to-back seasons for the first time since between 1994 and 1996, having suffered a shock loss to Holstein Kiel at the same stage last year.

  • Rumour Has It: Barcelona offer vacant coaching role to club legend Xavi Rumour Has It: Barcelona offer vacant coaching role to club legend Xavi

    The list of candidates to replace Ronald Koeman at Barcelona is already forming.

    Koeman was dismissed after Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to Rayo Vallecano which left them ninth in LaLiga.

    Barcelona are battling financial challenges and have struggled since Lionel Messi's exit in August.

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    Barcelona have offered their vacant head coaching role to club legend Xavi, reports Goal.

    The Catalans have acted fast with Koeman sacked late on Wednesday.

    Xavi is currently coaching Qatari outfit Al Sadd but has an exit clause in his contract, although Barca are prepared to pay any fee required.

    The 41-year-old long-time Barcelona midfielder retired from playing in 2019, with his final on-field stint at Al Sadd before moving into coaching.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Liverpool are in the box seat to sign Leeds United's England international midfielder Kalvin Phillips, according to the Daily Star. Phillips, who is contracted with Leeds until 2024, has been linked with Manchester United too, but the report claims Liverpool are his first choice and the deal would be worth around £60million.

    - Manchester United have conceded that agreeing a new deal with Paul Pogba is impossible and are prepared to lose the France international on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season, reports ESPN. Pogba has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain , Juventus and Real Madrid .

    - Manchester United's Amad Diallo is interested in going out on loan to Dutch club Feyenoord, according to Feyenoord TM. The 19-year-old Ivorian winger has not played this season.

    - TEAMtalk claims that PSG have joined the pursuit of Leeds United's Brazil international Raphinha. PSG is the current home of Raphinha's Brazilian team-mates Neymar and Marquinhos.

    - Chelsea are preparing for Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen's exit by lining up moves for Sevilla's Jules Kounde and Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt, reports Eurosport.

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