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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang breaks silence amid Arsenal exile with telling Christmas comment

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future at Arsenal remains in doubt after being banished from the first-team squad by Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners head coach has refused to give any guarantees over Aubameyang’s future after the player’s latest “disciplinary breach”.

The 32-year-old was dropped for the win over Southampton early in the month and has not featured since – at a time when the club have moved into the top four in the Premier League and claimed a Carabao Cup semi-final spot.

While Arteta has been quizzed on Aubameyang’s absence, the striker has remained silent – although his agent did take aim at Arteta on December 14.

But the exiled former Arsenal captain posted a snap of he and members of his family on Christmas Eve on Instagram, succinctly captioned “Merry Christmas #Familyfirst”.

It is his first Instagram post since December 3 and since falling foul of his Arsenal manager with his trip to France to see his ill mother and bring her back to the UK.

That trip was agreed upon with the club, but it’s understood Aubameyang failed to return in the time-frame expected and laid out.

Certainly, that hashtag posted alongside the initial comment, appears telling, at a time when Arteta has made clear his belief that Aubameyang has fallen below the standards he demands in North London.

It remains to be seen whether Aubameyang will have a future at the Emirates, with previous stars such as Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil both having fallen out with Arteta and finding no way back.

The Gabonese forward, the club’s highest-paid player, has been linked with potential January moves to both Barcelona and Juventus.

Arteta hit out during a press conference this week when quizzed on Aubameyang’s punishment, amid criticism in some sections for banishing the ex-Borussia Dortmund hitman from first-team training.

But it is not the first time Aubameyang has been punished in public after the 32-year-old was also dropped in March for the visit of Tottenham due to another disciplinary breach.

And Arteta pointed out his belief that he is far from a dictator when it comes to discipline, insisting: “I don’t establish my authority by being dictatorial or being ruthless.

“I just ask for respect and commitment. At this level, if I don’t get that I pack my bags and go somewhere else because that is the minimum I can ask for.

“I am sorry but I am going to expect that from everybody who works for the club. First of all myself, and the day I don’t do that I walk through that door and go and do something else. It is as clear as that.

“To be successful you have to be passionate about something and you want to represent a club of this size with its history, that is the minimum standard you have to bring.

“I am not going to ask anybody to put the ball into the top corner every time they hit it, but I will ask them to do the right things every single day for this club. That is for sure.”

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U.S. swimmer Alvarez saved from drowning by coach at world championships in Budapest (Photos)

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Anita Alvarez loses consciousness in pool at world championships in Budapest

American artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was in danger of drowning after losing consciousness in the pool at the world championships in Budapest before being rescued by her coach Andrea Fuentes.

Spaniard Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming, jumped into the pool after she saw Alvarez sink to the bottom at the end of her solo free final routine.

She was given medical attention beside the pool before being taken away on a stretcher.

It was the second time Fuentes has had to rescue Alvarez after she leapt into the pool during an Olympic qualification event last year and pulled her to safety along with the American’s swim partner Lindi Schroeder.

“Anita is much better, she is already at her best. It was a good scare, to be honest,” Fuentes told Spanish newspaper Marca.

“I jumped into the water again because I saw that no one, no lifeguard, was jumping in. I got a little scared because she wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine. She has to rest.”

In a statement on the US Artistic Swimming Instagram page, Fuentes said 25-year-old Alvarez would be assessed by doctors on Thursday before a decision was made on her participation in Friday’s team event.

SEE PHOTOS BELOW

A member of Team USA (R) swims to recover USA's Anita Alvarez (L), from the bottom of the pool.
A member of Team USA (R) swims to recover USA’s Anita Alvarez (L), from the bottom of the pool.
USA's Anita Alvarez is recovered from the bottom of the pool by a team member after the incident.
USA’s Anita Alvarez is recovered from the bottom of the pool by a team member after the incident.
She was given medical attention beside the pool before being taken away on a stretcher.
She was given medical attention beside the pool before being taken away on a stretcher.

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Serie A: Pogba agrees deal with Juventus

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Juventus have reached an agreement in principle to sign Paul Pogba, according to Sky Italia.

Pogba is a free agent after leaving Manchester United this summer.

It is believed that small details of the contract are being sorted out. It will either be a four-year contract or a three-year deal with an option for a further year.

Pogba will officially sign the contract at the start of July.

The move to Juventus would mark a return to a club where Pogba spent four years before rejoining United in 2016.

Manchester City also made a bid to sign Pogba from their bitter rivals, but the player opted against it and has now gone back to Italy.

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LaLiga fixtures for 2022/2023 season confirmed

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LaLiga fixtures for 2022/2023 season

The LaLiga fixture list for the 2022/2023 season was released by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Thursday.

Real Madrid will open their campaign with a trip to newly promoted Almeria, while Barcelona are home to Rayo Vallecano.

The two rivals will face off in the first Clasico on the weekend of October 16.

The game on Match Day 9, will be played at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with the return fixture at Barcelona’s Camp Nou taking place on the weekend of March 19, 2023.

Atletico Madrid, who finished third last season, begin the season away at Getafe while Sevilla, who finished fourth in the final Champions League spot, will travel to Osasuna.

The 2022/23 LaLiga season will begin on the weekend of August 14, 2022, and end on the weekend of June 4, 2023.

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