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Sky Blue News: Julian Gets His Flowers, KDB Boost, Girona Preview, and More...

Thursday morning news for the discerning Cityzen.

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Argentina v Croatia: Semi Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Manchester City are just 2 days from kicking their season back into full gear. Catch up on all the latest from around the web with Sky Blue News.

What Lionel Messi said about Man City ace Julian Alvarez after ‘extraordinary’ World Cup performance - Dan Brown - Manchester Evening News

The City frontman has now scored four goals at the World Cup in Qatar, having also been on the scoresheet against Poland and Australia. His strong showings are keeping Lautaro Martinez, Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria out of the starting line-up.

Messi was keen to speak about Alvarez’s performance after the victory over Croatia, with the 35-year-old insisting that the Blues star had earned the man-of-the-match award.

“Every player did very well, but if I have to choose I would give this [Man of the Match] award to Julian Alvarez. He had an extraordinary game,” he said, via AlbicelesteTalk.

Alvarez has registered seven goals in 18 appearances for Argentina and is expected to start in the final on Sunday. Scaloni’s men will come up against either France or Morocco.

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane also praised the striker’s composure after his incredible solo goal, claiming that he loved the 22-year-old’s determination.

“You’ve got to run in this game, especially when it’s direct,” Keane exclaimed. “What I love about this is you’ve got a set piece and a striker going back to do the job properly.

World Cup: Julian Alvarez Making a Statement with Argentina - Emmanuel Odey - Bitter and Blue

His performance has elicited reactions from several quarters with most City faithful excited about the player’s showing. Although the focus has been on Messi as the star player in the team, Alvarez is making a statement that he be relied upon to deliver the goods when necessary.

After Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 34th minute of the game, Alvarez took over. Two minutes later, the City forward made a darting run forward from the centre of the pitch, taking on the entire Croatian defence before slotting home the second goal. He was on hand to also score the third to end the contest and take his nation to a second World Cup final in eight years.

Whatever happens from here, whether Argentina go on to lift the trophy or fail again at the last hurdle, Alvarez has demonstrated that he is one of the best forwards around today.

Rocket Man: Julian Alvarez -

Alvarez was just a 14-year-old playing for his local club in the small village of Calchin the last time Argentina reached a World Cup final eight years ago.

City stars Pablo Zabaleta, Sergio Aguero and Martin Demichelis were all on the pitch when Argentina hearts were broken by Mario Gotze’s strike for Germany deep into extra time.

Four years later in Russia, Alvarez was one of a group of young Argentinian players invited to travel with the country’s senior squad to the World Cup finals and take part in training sessions.

His debut for the national team came just 18 months ago but now Alvarez is the latest City player hoping to end the wait for Albiceleste success which stretches back to 1986 and the heroics of Diego Maradona.

It’s been a steady journey to City and the national team which began in Calchin, a north Argentinian village with a population of just over 2,000 people that now has a welcome sign featuring a picture of Alvarez as you drive in.

Man City given Kevin de Bruyne boost ahead of Carabao Cup clash vs Liverpool - Alex Brotherton - Manchester Evening News

De Bruyne was one of 16 City players to jet off to Qatar to take part in the World Cup, but his Belgium side suffered a surprise group-stage exit. The Red Devils failed to make it out of their group after picking up four points from three games, and after their goalless draw with Croatia on 1st December returned home.

Since then De Bruyne has enjoyed a well-earned rest with his family, and he returned to the fold on Tuesday looking in good condition.

City will return to competitive action on Thursday, December 22 when they take on Liverpool in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. City are looking to reclaim the title they held on to for four straight seasons between 2018 and 2021, and against a side as strong as Jurgen Klopp’s they will need their big guns available.

Arsenal to replace Gabriel Jesus with former Manchester City forward Ferran Torres? Read reports - The Economic Times

Arsenal’s manager, Mikel Arteta, has a lot of options in the frontline in Nketiah, Martinelli, Saka, Smith Rowe, Nelson, and Marquinhos.

Still, if he gets Torres, who Guardiola praised, their attack would have a lot of depth. Maybe with Guardiola giving a double thumbs up to Torres, he could be the best option for Arsenal.

Arsenal has plans to have Mkhaylo Mudryk of Ukraine join them in January after many months of discussion. Torres is a good option, and the veteran Spanish Manager Guardiola compared him to Jamie Vardy after the lad netted a hattrick against Leicester City. Pep was all praises for Torres as the striker is a good finisher, and he makes movements like the best strikers and comes up from behind like Jamie Vardy.


Girona have won the Segunda Division B, fourth-tier of Spanish football, once in 2007/08 and the Tercera Division, fifth tier, five times – the most recent coming in 2005/06.

Michel’s side were promoted to La Liga last season after winning the Segunda Division play-offs, following a sixth-placed finish at the end of the season.

The 2022/23 campaign represents the Blanquivermells’ third season at the top table in Spanish football.

And finally... Maybe Los Blancos do have a limit to the amount of money they will spend. Maybe.


According to Sport, the Norweigian international is no longer a target for Madrid with Los Blancos changing their stance on Haaland following the signing of Endrick, who will move to Spain in 2024 once the attacker turns 18-years-old.

As per the report, Madrid are keen to develop the Brazilian sensation rather than go all-out to sign Haaland, which the La Liga giants estimate could cost as much as €180m (£154m) in 2024, with the City sensation breaking numerous scoring records this campaign.

Haaland joined City this summer from Borussia Dortmund and has already established himself as something of a phenom for Pep Guardiola’s side, with the attacker leading the Premier League scoring charts with an astonishing 18 goals in 13 appearances.

There you have it. Come back tomorrow for more from SBN, and stay with Bitter and Blue for all the latest from Man City.