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FOOTBALL

Backroom tensions flare as Neuchatel sack coach

Neuchatel Xamax coach Joaquin Caparros has been sacked after just five games at the helm, newspaper L'Express reported on Friday.

The sacking is the latest controversial move made by Neuchatel’s Chechen owner Bulat Chagaev, who has been the club’s majority shareholder since May.  

In that time he has now dispensed with the services of five coaches, with Didier Olle-Nicolle, Bernard Challandes, Sonny Anderson and Francois Ciccolini the other men to be dismissed. 

L’Express report that Caparros’ replacement will be another Spaniard, Victor Munoz.  

Munoz, 54, enjoyed a successful playing career, featuring notably for Real Zaragoza, Barcelona and Spain.  

His coaching experience includes spells at Villarreal, Zaragoza and Getafe, but he lasted a matter of weeks at the helm of Chechen club Terek Grozny earlier this year.  

Chagaev’s decision comes six days after he burst into the team’s dressing room at the end of a 2-2 draw against Lausanne, terrorising the players and having to be physically restrained from assaulting Caparros by his own bodyguards.  

In the wake of that incident, several Neuchatel players, who wished to remain anonymous, threatened to boycott the team’s next match against Grasshopper, scheduled for September 11, if their salaries were not paid in full and if Caparros were sacked.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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