Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba meet up at Dubai celebrity hot spot

David Cooper 17/11/2018
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The Nusr-Et eatery in Dubai has become one of the most trendy restaurants around thanks to its iconic owner Salt Bae.

As a result, celebrities from all around the world flock to the Turkish steakhouse for their taste of Dubai flavour.

The latest to indulge are football superstars Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba.

The Barcelona and Manchester United players ran into each other at the restaurant on Friday and seemed to enjoy each other’s company.

Neither were involved with their respective national teams and instead took some time off in Dubai.

The pair even found time to strike up a lengthy conversation which has fuelled speculation of the Frenchman’s potential move to Barcelona.

Even if a transfer doesn’t come to fruition, both Pogba and Messi seemed to be more than satisfied with their dining choice.

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Ryan Giggs says his young Wales side will learn from defeat to Denmark

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Gareth Bale scored his 31st goal for Wales late on to give the Dragons hope.

Ryan Giggs admitted that his Wales team were beaten by a Denmark side that “get the job done” in their Nations League clash.

Wales missed out on promotion to the top tier of the Nations League as Denmark won a passionate contest 2-1 at Cardiff City Stadium.

Nicolai Jorgensen gave Denmark a half-time lead and Martin Braithwaite’s superb volley two minutes from time doubled their advantage to seemingly end Welsh hopes.

But Gareth Bale’s instant response as he slid home his 31st international goal after rounding Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, had the visitors hanging on at the end.

“You are always disappointed when you lose, obviously, but I am proud of the players, I am proud of the performances they put in in two games against a very good team,” said Wales manager Giggs, whose team lost 2-0 to Denmark in September.

“You saw tonight that Denmark are efficient, experienced and disciplined and get the job done, and we can learn from that.

Ryan Giggs (1)

“Also, in both games we were more than a match for them. We are disappointed, but I told them they should be proud of themselves.

“You can learn maybe more from defeats, and we will certainly do that. All the experience these players have had will stand them in good stead going into the Euro qualifiers (next year).”

Giggs, meanwhile, said he felt that Ethan Ampadu had been the victim of “a cheap shot” following a poor high challenge by Kasper Dolberg.

It saw Ampadu hit the advertising boards before it sparked a melee and prompted Giggs to voice his feelings to Denmark boss Age Hareide.

“I just thought it was a cheap shot,” Giggs added. “You have got a lad just turned 18 who broke his leg when he was 17. It was a late tackle.

“I realise we are not playing tiddlywinks. It is a competitive game, and there are going to be tackles, which is part of the game and I like that.

“But for a young lad who has been injured badly recently, it was a cheap shot. That’s why I reacted, and I was proud of the players how they reacted, protecting a young player, which is how it should be.

“It shows that they care and shows they are not going to be bullied, and I like that in a team.”

Wales now travel to Tirana to face Albania in a friendly on Tuesday, with Paul Dummett and James Chester unlikely to recover from injuries that forced them off.

Defender Chris Gunter, meanwhile, is set to break Neville Southall’s all-time Wales cap record when he makes his 93rd appearance.

Denmark are also guaranteed a play-off to qualify for Euro 2020, should they fail to reach the tournament during the regular qualifying process, while a youthful Wales side should be better for this experience when the qualifiers start in March.

Asked about Dolberg’s challenge, Hareide said: “If you knew him, he is one of the nicest kids you could ever think of. He wouldn’t harm a fly.

“The boards were too close to the line. It wasn’t the knock from Dolberg, it was the boards that put him (Ampadu) to the ground.

“Throughout 2018 we have been very, very stable with our performances, and we were very good today. It is a good hard-working side.

“The players deserve a lot of credit for putting Denmark as high as possible in the world rankings.

“This Welsh side is a very promising side. We have watched them a lot, and they have so many talented young players. They are good on the ball.

“They have so much to look forward to, and I think they will have a really good European qualification.”

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Henry winless in first six games and a look at how other former pundits have fared

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Thierry Henry hasn't made a great start to his managerial career.

Thierry Henry‘s arrival as manager at former club Monaco was greeted with enthusiasm and intrigue, but things have quickly gone sour after his first six games went without a win.

The last two of those games have been consecutive 4-0 losses at home, first against Club Brugge in the Champions League and then against Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Henry’s struggles as manager seem familiar. Despite having had a legendary playing career and then earning respect for his punditry after hanging up his boots, the step up to management – which has included an apprenticeship as assistant coach of the Belgian national team, which finished third at the World Cup this year, their best-ever finish – has not been smooth.

Here’s a look at how other pundits-turned-managers have fared in recent times.

Gary Neville

Gary Neville is perhaps the most high-profile example in recent times of how tough the move from punditry to management can be. Like Henry, the former Manchester United captain also had a stint as an assistant coach for a national team – England – before taking the reigns at Valencia in 2015.

Given his tactical acumen as a pundit, most expected Neville to be a good manager. Yet he lasted just four months as Valencia boss, winning three of 16 league games. His nadir came at the Camp Nou, as he oversaw a 7-0 defeat to Barcelona. Even Henry hasn’t hit a low like that.

Gary Neville's spell in charge of Valencia was disastrous.

Gary Neville’s spell in charge of Valencia was disastrous.

Alan Shearer

Much like Neville, Alan Shearer had made a name for himself as an insightful pundit after joining BBC‘s ‘Match of the Day’ following his retirement in 2006.

But when his beloved Newcastle came calling in 2009, mired in a relegation battle, Shearer left the safety of the BBC sofa to try to save his former club from dropping out of the Premier League. Alas, he could win only once in eight games, and the Magpies were relegated on the final day of the 2008-09 season.

Shearer couldn't save boyhood club Newcastle from relegation.

Shearer couldn’t save boyhood club Newcastle from relegation.

Frank Lampard

Lampard had started his commentary career even before finishing his playing career, which he finally did in early 2017. For the next year, the Englishman was a constant presence in the studio, though he made no secret of his managerial ambitions.

Those were finally given a kick-start in May 2018, when he was appointed Derby County manager. The Rams have been flirting with promotion to the Premier League in recent seasons without getting over the hump, which means there’s plenty of pressure on the former Chelsea man. But he’s made a decent start, winning 11 out of 20 games, including a famous Carabao Cup win over Manchester United and former manager Jose Mourinho.

Lampard is looking to lead Derby back into the Premier League.

Lampard is looking to lead Derby back into the Premier League.

Steven Gerrard

Lampard may be under some pressure at Derby, but it’s nothing compared to what former England colleague Steven Gerrard is facing. The Liverpool legend, who combined punditry duties with a stint as academy manager at his boyhood club, took on the herculean task of restoring Rangers to former glory.

So far Gerrard has acquitted himself well, leading the Glasgow club through Europa League qualifying to bring European football back to Ibrox. The club are locked in a battle to make the knockout stages, while they’re only two points behind fierce rivals Celtic in the Scottish Premiership table – though the gap on the pitch still feels larger than that.

Gerrard has been leading a Rangers revival.

Gerrard has been leading a Rangers revival.

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