Saudi appoint Pizzi to replace former UAE coach Bauza

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The Chilean will represent Saudi Arabia at the World Cup 2018 draw.

Saudi Arabia have turned to ex-Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi as the latest man to lead them at World Cup 2018 after last week’s swift dismissal of ex-UAE supremo Edgardo Bauza.

The Saudi Football Federation last Wednesday sacked Bauza just two months and five friendlies after his shock defection from the Whites.

This followed a terminal breakdown in relations with the Netherlands’ Bert van Maarwijk, despite him ending a wait since 2006 to feature in the globe’s grandest football tournament.

Pizzi, 49, is expected to represent the country on Friday in Moscow at the draw for next year’s event.

Pizzi replaces Edgardo Bauza who was dismissed last week.

Pizzi replaces Edgardo Bauza who was dismissed last week.

The ex-Barcelona striker coached Chile to the 2016 Copa America title and also coached Valencia between 2013-14.

“We wanted Pizzi because of his achievements in the past and his ambitions for the future,” Saudi Arabian Football Federation president Abdel bin Mohammed Ezzat said in a statement. “We will do all we can to support him during preparations for the World Cup.”

Saudi Arabia, whose best World Cup effort came with a run to the last 16 on their tournament debut in 1994, booked their ticket for Russia by finishing second to Japan in Asian qualifying Group B.

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The most goals in football history - Brazil legend Pele tops all-time list with 1,281 strikes

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Legend of the game: Pele.

Quite simply, one of the best players to have ever laced up a pair of boots. That age-old debate about who is the greatest player of all time is hard to settle, but the brilliant Brazilian is considered by many as the ultimate legend of the game.

At the age of just 17, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, but known the world-over as Pele, emerged to help the Yellows to World Cup success in 1958. Pace, trickery, skill, bravery, poise, temperament, flair and an eye for goal – even in his early years – it was easy to see what a special talent he was.

Pele went on to win two further World Cups, in 1962 and 1970, with his starring role in the 4-1 demolition of Italy in the ’70 final going a long way to confirm his greatness and indeed that Brazil side as being the perfect XI.

While he never played for a European club team, Pele scored an incredible 1,281 goals in 1,363 games in total, with the vast bulk of those coming for boyhood team Santos in his native Brazil before a two-year stint at New York Cosmos in the twilight of his career.

Pele embraces Brazilian goalkeeper Ado after Brazil beat Italy 4-1 to win the World Cup

Pele comfortably leads the goalscoring charts, with fellow Brazilian Romario a fair way behind him with 743 strikes to his name.

Octo Finissimo Automatic A Third World Record for Bulgari

Bulgari is once again the spotlight, proudly presenting its third successive world record.

The Octo Finissimo Automatic is the slimmest ultra-thin self-winding watch on the market to date.

After introducing its Tourbillon in 2014 and the Minute Repeater in 2016, the Maison unveils its new creation featuring a total thickness of just 5.15mm, while its self-winding movement is just 2.23mm thick for a 40mm diameter.

The iconic Octo is once again pushing the boundaries of watchmaking feasibility.

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Bulgari-Finissimo-Octo-3 (1)

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Chris Coleman departs Wales with a nation's thanks, but Dragons youngsters prove the future is bright

Matt Jones 18/11/2017
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Chris Coleman’s resignation is the climax to one of the most successful eras in recent memory for Welsh football, but it shouldn’t be seen as its death knell.

It should be viewed for what it is, a chance to carry on the great work predecessor Gary Speed began, which he progressed.

And that starts by nurturing an exciting crop of new, young talent that could provide an even more exciting future. In order to do that, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) must make the right appointment.

And the right man is Osian Roberts – Coleman’s number two and a key figure in Wales’ rise to a FIFA world ranking of 13th. They were as high as eighth in 2015, heady progress indeed from the 117th place out of the world’s 204 teams they occupied in August 2011.

That nadir was reached under Speed himself – although by the former Newcastle and Leeds United midfielder’s death in November 2011, Wales had vaulted into the top 50.

Of his 10 games at the helm, Speed won five and lost five. But it was the effort exerted and finances invested at youth level and drastic improvements made to the nutritional and fitness infrastructure in the Welsh set-up that would serve as his legacy.

It has been carried on brilliantly by Coleman, although it was a rough transition – five of his first six games ended in defeat, including a humiliating 6-1 defeat in Serbia.

Since then, Coleman has breathed new life into Welsh football – culminating in qualifying for a first major tournament in 58 years, Euro 2016, where the Dragons defied all the odds to reach the semi-finals, beaten by eventual champions Portugal.

North Walian Roberts has been Coleman’s assistant from the start but has been involved in the national team set-up since the mid-1990s.

He has been key in developing the likes of Gareth Bale, Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies and Wayne Hennessey – who form the current spine of the team.

Once described as “the most influential man in Welsh football”, Roberts himself, on Saturday, threw his backing behind former Manchester United star and 64-times capped Ryan Giggs.

Giggs is seen by many as raw, though Speed had only four months of managerial experience at Sheffield United before his country came calling in December 2010.

WalesOnline have instilled Giggs as the favourite to replace Coleman, although some of the names on the list – Thierry Henry and Craig Bellamy – seem far-fetched.

Their head of sport, Delme Parfitt, even suggested former England coach Glenn Hoddle – a man who hasn’t held a managerial appointment in over a decade.

Giggs would be a sound appointment in many ways, as would West Brom boss Tony Pulis, but having been at the core of Welsh football for so long and so often the man in the background, many believe Roberts would both relish the role and maintain the standards that have seen Wales rise both on and off the field.

Ryan Giggs at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo last April.

Ryan Giggs at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo last April.

To many, Coleman’s departure is not a surprise. His contract was up after the World Cup. The peculiar thing is he is set to leave to take over at Sunderland – a club bottom of England’s second tier.

Of more pressing concern now is safeguarding Wales’ stars of the future – many of whom are beginning to stir.

The sight of Ben Woodburn (18), already a match-winner twice for Wales during their unsuccessful World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign, David Brooks (20) and Ethan Ampadu (17) simultaneously introduced from the bench in their recent 2-0 friendly defeat to France had Dragons fans dreaming of a bright future. Just because Coleman has gone, does not mean those dreams are dashed.

He has gone, and he leaves with the grateful thanks of a nation. It is now time to turn the page. And if their recent storybook success is to continue, Roberts has to be the man to pen the next tale.

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