Into the Zone: 5+ stories giving us hope for the weekend
ZonalSports summarizes the most news-worthy footballing headlines from Thursday, May 5
RAM-ifications: Salah vows to avenge 2018 Madrid loss
Liverpool star, Mohamed Salah, expressed optimism that his side might win four championships this season after earning the English player of the year award at an event held in London on Thursday evening.
Despite his consistency in the English colony, Salah wins this honour for just the second time since his blistering season of 2017/2018.
After Liverpool great Ian Rush presented Salah with the prize, the Egypt international stated of the Champions League, "I am really delighted... and I'm sure the club is as well."
He continued, "I am certain that it will be a tough encounter, as Real Madrid has defeated a number of quality opponents. We just need to concentrate. Yes (this is a quest for retribution), we lost the 2018 championship (to Merengue) and it was a terrible day for all of us. It is time for retribution."
Mourin-yes: Roma reach first European final since 1991
Thursday evening, in the second leg of the European Conference League semi-finals, Jose Mourinho battled to maintain his composure as the final whistle sounded in his team's encounter against Leicester City after the Giallorossi defeated Leicester 1-0 to scale to the final with a 2-1 aggregate win.
A photograph of the Portuguese coach sobbing after the final whistle was blown was uploaded by Bleacher Report and quickly went viral on social media.
The event marked Mourinho's return to the European finals after a five-year absence, while Roma qualified for their first European final since 1991 in their first season under the Special One.
Mourinho is also the first coach to reach the European Championships final with four different clubs. The Portuguese coach guided Porto to the final of the Champions League and the Federation Cup before leading Inter Milan to the final of the Champions League and, more recently, Manchester United to the final of the Europa League.
Roma will face Feyenoord in the final of the European Conference League on May 25, after Feyenoord eliminated Marseille in the other semifinal match-up.
Saint-Maximin: 'I have no decent teammates; I'm as good as Sadio Mane'
Newcastle forward, Allan Saint-Maximin, feels he has comparable characteristics to Senegalese and Liverpool star Sadio Mane, ZonalSports understands.
Despite the fact that he only scored 5 goals in 34 games this season, a sharp contrast to Mane's 21 goals in 46 games for Liverpool, Saint-Maximin said in a comment quoted by the Daily Mail, "Everyone who has played with me knows how excellent I am."
"Therefore, I have no cause to be envious of Sadio Mane," he said.
The Newcastle striker lamented the absence of a teammate who could capitalise on his passes, stating, "The day I discover a teammate who can convert the opportunities I generate into goals, I will achieve 10 or 15 assists each season."
The 25-year-old feels that this will boost his image in the eyes of everyone, leading some to consider him a great player, adding, "My objective is to leave a lasting impression on people."
Allan is yet to make a full debut for France.
Abramovich: My view on selling Chelsea has not changed
Russian Roman Abramovich, on Thursday, insisted that his stance on the sale of the English football club Chelsea has not changed as he denied claims that he was rescinding his promise to forfeit the club's loan.
Some sources claimed, according to the British news agency, that the Russian billionaire, who was the recipient of sanctions from the UK government on March 10 after Russia invaded Ukraine, may demand repayment of the £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) loan he made to Chelsea.
In a statement issued on Chelsea's official website, a representative for the club's owner said, "Mr. Abramovich's initial intention to donate the proceeds from the sale of Chelsea to charity remains unaltered."
"Since the first announcement, Mr. Abramovich's team has disclosed high-level officials from United Nations entities and important worldwide charity organisations entrusted with founding a foundation and drafting a strategy for its activities," he continued.
"The independent expert in charge engaged into discussions with government officials and outlined the framework and preliminary proposals," he added.
The statement highlighted that Mr. Abramovich was not engaged in this effort and that it was administered independently by specialists with years of experience in humanitarian groups.
"Secondly, Mr. Abramovich did not request the repayment of any debt. Such signals are entirely erroneous, as is the rumour that Mr. Abramovich wanted to boost the selling price of the club at the eleventh hour," concluded the address.
Paulo dort Com: Dortmund advance on Dybala
Borussia Dortmund are attempting to sign Juventus striker Paulo Dybala, who will leave the club at the end of the season.
Dybala's contract with Juventus is set to end this summer, and the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension, ensuring the exit of the Tango diamond after a 7-year voyage in a Juventus jersey.
Now, the Italian tabloid Corriere dello Sport believes that Dortmund is Dybala's lone concrete option. In addition to a yearly salary of 4.5 million euros, the German club also promised Dybala image rights-related benefits.
The report claims that Dybala is yet to accept Borussia Dortmund's offer because "he is not in a rush to decide his future."
The same publication stated that Borussia wished to add Dybala in preparation of the likely departure of Erling Haaland next summer, due to the interest of several European teams in his services.
No CHILL: Chile demands FIFA disqualify Ecuador ahead of World Cup
The Chilean Football Association has requested that FIFA examine suspicions that the Ecuadorian national team used an ineligible player during South American qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The national body said in a statement that it believes right-back Byron Castillo was born in Colombia in 1995 and not in Ecuador in 1998, as was previously assumed.
Castillo competed in eight World Cup qualifying matches with the Ecuador national team helping them to the flagship tournament where they will compete in Group A with Qatar, Senegal, and the Netherlands in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, while after finishing seventh in the qualifying round, Chile were unable to qualify for the World Cup.
The Chilean Football Association said,
"According to all the evidence and papers we have gathered, the facts are quite grave and FIFA must conduct an investigation."
"Investigations were conducted in Ecuador, including the filing of a criminal complaint by the National Civil Registry Administration, the country's top authority on this subject. We are aware that the birth document presented by the athlete was inconsistent."
The statement concluded, "This document does not exist in the internal files, and it has other red flags, which causes us to believe it may be a fabrication."