Youssef El Jebli was working in a supermarket when he signed his first pro deal, now he’s an SPL assist machine

Youssef El Jebli arrived unheralded in the Saudi Professional League, but with words of encouragement from a lauded compatriot in his ears.

This football education administered on the streets of Utrecht by ex-PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona and Netherlands attacking midfielder Ibrahim Afellay has translated into exceptional performances more than 5,000 kilometres away. It is some transformation for a player who combined amateur football in the lower leagues with work at Albert Heijn, his country’s largest supermarket chain, for six years until the Eredivisie’s De Graafschap paid €50,000 for him in July 2015.

El Jebli took to the field on Tuesday evening’s restart, after five months of inaction because of coronavirus, as one of the best performers in a star-studded competition.

Al Faisaly’s astute call last August to snap the schemer up on a two-year contract has been rewarded with a leading nine assists. This is one more than fellow Dutch/Moroccan Nordin Amrabat of champions Al Nassr and three more than Al Hilal’s lauded ex-Italy maverick Sebastian Giovinco, among others.

He didn’t add to this haul in the 2-1 victory over sixth-placed Al Taawoun, but this result increases hope unfashionable Faisaly can gatecrash the top three from fifth and gain historic 2021 AFC Champions League qualification. Such success may also see a famous name pop up on his phone again.

“He [Afellay] was very inspirational,” the effusive 27-year-old tells Sport360 from his hotel base at provincial Al Majma’ah. “I know him, personally.

“I’m in contact with him. My friends know him, my whole family does.

“When I saw him at PSV, I thought ‘what a good player, I want to be like him’.

“Sometimes we played in the streets and he came with his little brother, giving me some good advice: ‘Listen to this, don’t do that, it’s not only about football,

Read More

Dana White doesn’t care about potential Pacquiao-McGregor fight

FILE — Conor McGregor (L) greets UFC President Dana White during a press conference for UFC 229 at Park Theater at Park MGM on October 04, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken/Getty Images/AFP

MANILA, Philippines—UFC President Dana White couldn’t care less if Conor McGregor goes on a cross-sport spectacle again.

Rumors have been circulating of a potential bout against boxing legend Manny Pacquiao with McGregor fanning the flames when he posted “I accept” on Twitter and followed it up with “tinatanggap ko” a day after his initial tweet.

“I don’t care about any of that [expletive],” said White in a report from BoxingScene.com.

In an interview with “My Mom’s Basement” podcast, White even guaranteed that McGregor won’t be fighting this year.

“This year, he is retired,” White said as posted on ESPN. “He doesn’t have a fight this year, and he won’t have a fight this year. Conor McGregor will not fight in 2020. … I guarantee he will not fight in 2020.”

McGregor boxed once competitively in about that ended in a 10-round technical knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather in August 2017 in one of the sport’s biggest draws that earned 4.3 million pay-per-view buys.

Earlier this year, McGregor once more expressed his desire to dabble in the Sweet Science, saying there have been talks of a fight against the eight-division World champion Pacquiao.

“I would be open to other boxing bouts,” said McGregor. “Manny, we were actually close to signing [a fight with] Manny. There’s been talks about a Manny fight as well. There was an offer made on that. Just not yet.”

McGregor, though publicly declaring he’s retired, is still under an exclusive contract with the UFC.

Although White doesn’t care about a scrap between McGregor and Pacquiao, he’s all up for the return of

Read More

Fulham beats Brentford to secure return to Premier League

Fulham celebrates with the trophy after winning the English Championship Play Off soccer final between Fulham and Brentford, at Wembley Stadium, in London, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

LONDON — Fulham secured an instant return to the Premier League on Tuesday after one season away by beating west London rival Brentford 2-1 in the Championship playoff final.

Joe Bryan scored twice in extra time at Wembley to give Fulham the win in what is widely called the most lucrative game in football. Fulham will receive at least 135 million pounds ($176 million) over three years after securing promotion, a year after being relegated from the world’s richest football league.

Fulham owner Shahid Khan failed with a bid to buy Wembley a year ago, and his team had to celebrate in an empty stadium on Tuesday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bryan broke the deadlock after catching goalkeeper David Raya by surprise with a free kick from nearly 35 yards in the 105th minute as both teams expected a cross into the box.

“The goalkeeper comes ridiculously far off his line,” Bryan said.

The left back netted again in the 117th minute after playing a one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic to clinch promotion in Scott Parker’s first full season in charge of Fulham.

Brentford, which boasted a 59-goal strike force in Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins, was kept in check in the most important match of the season.

Henrik Dalsgaard’s header in the third minute of stoppage time was too late for Brentford, which was trying to return to the top division after a 73-year absence.


Read Next


EDITORS’ PICK


MOST READ