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Former German international football Mesut Ozil was married in Istanbul on Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his best man.

The 30-year-old Ozil, who has Turkish family roots, sparked controversy last year when he was photographed with Erdogan, raising questions about the footballer’s loyalty to Germany on the eve of their disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign.

The Turkish leader arrived in the early evening for Friday’s ceremony at a luxury hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus to see the former Arsenal midfielder marry his fiancee, former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse.

A smiling Erdogan and his wife Emine were seen standing next to the young couple as their marriage was formalized

After 92 appearances for Germany, including a key role in the 2014 World Cup victory, Ozil suddenly quit the national squad last July, accusing German football officials of racism.

Ozil announced in March that he had asked Erdogan to be his best man.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff was part of a chorus of criticism of the invitation.

Helge Braun, a CDU told the Bild newspaper then that it “makes one sad” that Ozil would make a such a move despite having already been sharply criticised by the German public over his first meeting with Erdogan.

Ozil has dated Gulse since 2017 and the couple announced their engagement in June 2018.

The footballer, a third-generation German, whipped up a political storm when he was pictured alongside Erdogan last May.

Criticism intensified after the red-faced defending champions crashed out of the first round of the World Cup in Russia.

In the wake of the World Cup fiasco, Ozil announced his resignation from the national squad, saying: “I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose”.

Erdogan often attends marriages in Turkey of celebrities, whom he particularly seeks out during election campaigns.

His presence at Ozil’s marriage comes ahead of a mayoral election in Istanbul on June 23, required after the original voting in March was annulled following a narrow victory for the main opposition Republican People’s Party.

Ozil marries in Istanbul, with Erdogan as best man

Former German international football Mesut Ozil was married in Istanbul on Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his … Read more

Jurgen Klopp admitted his Liverpool team were overcome with emotion after beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 to win Saturday’s all-English Champions League final in Madrid and take the trophy for the sixth time in the club’s history.

Mohamed Salah’s second-minute penalty and a late Divock Origi goal settled what was not a classic at the Metropolitano Stadium, as Liverpool made up for their defeat in last year’s final against Real Madrid and the deflation of missing out on the Premier League title to Manchester City.

“We were all pretty much crying on the pitch because it was so emotional, it was so big, it means so much to us,” Klopp said.

The revered German has his first trophy as Liverpool manager, three and a half years on from his arrival at the club. This result saw him end a run of six straight defeats in finals.

For Salah there was redemption after injury ruined his night against Real a year ago, and for Liverpool, it is now half a dozen European Cups, as they further cement their status as one of football’s most storied clubs.

They now have more than Barcelona or Bayern Munich, and twice as many as their greatest rivals, Manchester United. The biggest party is still to come.

“Tomorrow, going to Liverpool and having something to celebrate, that is big, and I am really looking forward to that,” said Klopp.

READ ALSO: Ruiz Shocks Joshua For Three Heavyweight World Titles

“When we drive through the city then we will all realise what these boys have done.”

Perhaps the occasion was just too much for Tottenham in their first-ever appearance in the Champions League final. They have now lost all three meetings with these opponents this season, winning just one of their last 15 encounters.

Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to start Harry Kane after nearly two months out did not pay off, and he is still looking for his first trophy after five years in charge.

– Kane fails to make impact –
Nevertheless, if they can keep him, and with the impetus from the move to their new stadium, maybe they will be back on such a stage before long.

“It is so painful but at the same time we need to be calm and feel proud. The season was fantastic,” he said.

That Spurs were here at all was remarkable, Lucas Moura’s sensational hat-trick that dumped out Ajax in the semi-finals capping a memorable Champions League season all round.

The stage was set for this match, only the second all-English final, but after all the hype and the stories of fans paying thousands for tickets for a game they simply could not miss, this was a strangely subdued affair between the two goals.

– Suffocating heat –
Perhaps the stakes were simply too high, or perhaps the three-week break since the end of the Premier League season was to blame.

Most likely the suffocating Madrid heat — Klopp’s description of “pretty warm” was an understatement — impacted on the players and prevented this from being like a typical Premier League clash.

However, it might also have been a result of the opening goal coming so early, badly affecting Tottenham’s confidence.

Pochettino had opted to start Kane after an ankle injury, meaning Lucas was on the bench. Kane hardly touched the ball.

Eight members of Liverpool’s team also started last season’s final, when Salah went off injured and in tears in the first half.

This time Liverpool were the ones celebrating early on, Slovenian referee Damir Skomina pointing to the spot inside 25 seconds when Moussa Sissoko blocked Sadio Mane’s cross with his arm.

Salah confidently blasted home the penalty for the second-fastest goal ever in the final of the modern Champions League.

The only faster effort was Paolo Maldini’s goal for AC Milan against Liverpool in Istanbul in 2005, when the Anfield side famously won on penalties.

Spurs just did not get going, and there was none of the frenzied pressing and attacking associated with Klopp’s side, although Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson both came close in the first half.

Tottenham improved after the break, but Virgil van Dijk was immense for Liverpool and there was no way past Alisson, the Brazilian saving well from Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen late on.

It was left to Origi, one of the heroes of the stunning semi-final win over Barcelona, to wrap it up with three minutes left as he swept home inside the box.

‘It Means So Much’- Liverpool’s Klopp Reacts To Victory

Jurgen Klopp admitted his Liverpool team were overcome with emotion after beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 to win Saturday’s all-English Champions … Read more

Shock As Anthony Joshua Knocked Out By Mexican-American Underdog

Nigerian-born pugilist Anthony Joshua on Saturday night, lost his world heavyweight titles after being sensationally and unexpectedly knocked out technically by underdog challenger, Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr.

Joshua made his debut in the United States at New York’s Madison Square Garden at approximately 03:30 BST today, Sunday, June 2, 2019.

He however lost his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles after being TKOd in the seventh round in what is his first loss in his illustrious career.

Incidentally, Ruiz only took the fight at six weeks’ notice and now he has dethroned Joshua to become the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion.

The boxing world is reacting with shock to the development, with some boxing greats tipping Joshua to bounce back later and reclaim his titles.

Shock As Anthony Joshua Knocked Out By Mexican-American Underdog

Shock As Anthony Joshua Knocked Out By Mexican-American Underdog Nigerian-born pugilist Anthony Joshua on Saturday night, lost his world heavyweight … Read more

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are aiming to make up for several recent near misses while Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham can dream of winning the Champions League for the first time as the two English clubs meet in Saturday’s final in Madrid.

The Spanish capital is being taken over by a sea of English supporters on a searingly hot weekend ahead of the 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) kickoff in the Metropolitano Stadium.

For Liverpool, it is a chance to become European champions for a sixth time and end the season on the highest of highs after they agonisingly missed out to Manchester City in the Premier League title race, despite losing only once all season.

A year ago Liverpool lost the Champions League final 3-1 to Real Madrid in Kiev after Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah was forced to go off injured and in tears.

Underdogs then, they are the clear favorites now against opponents appearing in their first final in this competition since it started life as the European Cup in the 1950s.

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said Liverpool were not taking anything for granted against Spurs.

“Personally, the games I’ve played against them in the Premier League have been the toughest games we’ve played,” the Scottish left-back said.

In terms of European pedigree, Liverpool are clearly ahead as they prepare for a ninth appearance in the final of this competition. Their last win was the memorable come-from-behind victory over AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005.

In contrast, it is 35 years since Spurs were in any European final, so just being here is a huge achievement — and it comes only weeks after they moved into a sparkling new stadium.

“We are in football because we want to win but I think to get to the final in the Champions League, that journey is the most difficult thing,” said Pochettino.

Kane to start?

Tottenham could bring back top scorer Harry Kane after an ankle injury.

Form is against the London club as Liverpool have already beaten Spurs twice this season and have lost just one of their last 14 meetings.

Klopp, however, has lost his last six finals as a coach.

The German put a positive spin on that record.

“I am probably at the moment a world-record holder, in the last seven years at least, in winning semi-finals,” Klopp said. “But if I wrote a book about that probably nobody would buy it.”

Liverpool reached the Madrid final after their incredible comeback to beat Barcelona in the semi-finals, a 4-0 win at Anfield overturning a 3-0 first-leg deficit as Lionel Messi’s side crumbled.

Salah missed that second leg but is fit now, while Klopp confirmed Brazilian livewire Roberto Firmino is ready after a groin injury.

Tottenham were 3-0 down on aggregate at half-time in the second leg of their tie against Ajax, yet went through on away goals thanks to Lucas Moura’s dramatic hat-trick.

That ensured an English sweep in the European finals this season, but while UEFA’s decision to play the Europa League showpiece between Chelsea and Arsenal in distant Baku on Wednesday was heavily criticised, nobody doubts Madrid is a fitting venue.

Real’s grand Santiago Bernabeu stadium has staged four finals in the past in this competition, as well as the final of a World Cup and a European Championship. This time the venue is Atletico Madrid’s new 68,000-seat home.

But there has been controversy over the ticket allocation with fans of both teams sharing just 33,226 tickets.

Tickets have been changing hands for as much as 25,000 ($31,600, 28,200 euros), according to the London Evening Standard.

Security Challenge

The lack of tickets mean as many as 50,000 English fans will watch outside the ground, and organisers have set up two separate fan zones in the centre of Madrid.

With Spain still haunted by the image of the old-school English football hooligan, police are worried.

Francisco Pardo, director general of Spain’s National Police, promised “probably the biggest deployment to guarantee security which we will carry out at a sporting event”.

Whoever wins, the celebrations will be wild.

Victory for Liverpool would put them ahead of Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the list of the competition’s most successful clubs.

Spurs reached the final despite not outscoring their opponents in the quarter-finals or semi-finals — a statistical quirk also achieved by PSV Eindhoven when they won the trophy in 1988.

If they can upset the odds, theirs will be the first new name on the cup since Chelsea in 2012.

Liverpool And Tottenham Set For All-English Champions League Showdown

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are aiming to make up for several recent near misses while Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham can dream of … Read more