Tuesday Kickoff: Ibrahimovic denies elbowing Alaba; Pogba set for extension; and more

Tuesday Kickoff: Ibrahimovic denies elbowing Alaba; Pogba set for extension; and more

European Soccer

Tuesday Kickoff: Ibrahimovic denies elbowing Alaba; Pogba set for extension; and more

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DavidAlabaZlatanIbrahimovicAustriaSweden1-Euro2016quals (AP)

By DAN KARELL

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played down suggestions that he should have been sent off in Monday evening’s 1-1 draw between Sweden and Austria.

Video replays show that Ibrahimovic caught Austria’s David Alaba with a stray elbow while shielding the ball, much to the discontent of the Austrian players. While a number of Austrians hit out at the referee following the game, Ibrahimovic insisted it was only accidental.

“He [Alaba] goes into me twice and the third time I try to shield the ball and he [Alaba] is 1.50m or 1.60m tall and then it’s clear that he’s struck by my elbow,” Ibrahimovic told reporters after the game.

“But the referee blew for a free-kick so of course he has got the situation under control. But if not, I should get a 40-match ban!” Ibrahimovic joked.

The match marked the 100th cap of Ibrahimovic’s international career, having passed the 50 goal mark in his 99th appearance.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Tuesday:

POGBA TO RECEIVE PAY RAISE, EXTENSION

After swatting away numerous offers this summer, Juventus are set to reward Paul Pogba for his growth and loyalty to the club.

According to a report in Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport, Juventus and Pogba have agreed on a contract extension through 2019 with a salary of €4 per season, making him one of the league’s highest earners. Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, and Juventus CEO Beppe Marrotta reportedly met on Aug. 29 to hammer out the foundation of the contract.

The deal is expected to be announced later this month.

Paris Saint-Germain looked set to sign Pogba last summer for a reported €70 million until Financial Fair Play restraints scuppered the deal.

Pogba’s career has seen a very quick and steep rise, from making his first team debut with Juventus two years ago to starring with the French National Team at the World Cup in Brazil this past summer. Pogba is one of the central cogs to Juventus’ success this season, and he’ll be looking to repeat as Serie A champions for the fourth consecutive year.

QUICK KICKS

Manchester City could be without Stevan Jovetic after suffering a hamstring injury in Montenegro training. (REPORT)

Karl Hopfner has been elected chairman of the Bayern Munich board. (REPORT)

Dutch FA (KNVB) president Michael van Praag said that his association will not be voting for Sepp Blatter to win a fifth term in office. (REPORT)

Benfica have invested €30 million in buying back parts of the economic rights to some of their players, including Maxi Pereira, Nelson Oliveira, and Nicolas Gaitan. (REPORT)

Cruz Azul defender Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez will miss the next two weeks with a calf injury suffered while on international duty. (REPORT)

Ricardo Lunari has been named the new head coach of Colombian side Millonarios. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with Ibrahimovic’s take? Think he should have been sent off? Do you see Pogba staying with Juventus through 2019?

Share your thoughts below.

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