De Gea: It’s a dream to be at Man Utd

first_imgManchester United De Gea: It’s a dream to be at Manchester United Stephen Darwin Last updated 2 years ago 15:25 9/4/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) David De Gea Manchester United 2017 Getty Images Manchester United David de Gea Premier League The Spain goalkeeper, who has consistently been linked with a move to Real Madrid, insists he is proud of the high praise that has been coming his way David De Gea insists that it is a dream to be a Manchester United player, despite constantly being linked with a switch to Real Madrid.Despite a difficult start to his United career following his switch from Atletico Madrid back in 2011, De Gea has flourished at Old Trafford and is considered one of the best goalkeepers in world football.Red Devils 9/4 for PL title Article continues below Editors’ Picks Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina He did, however, look all set for a return to Madrid to join Real in 2015, although issues over the completion of paperwork on deadline day scuppered that move and he remained in Manchester.De Gea signed a new deal at Old Trafford soon after that ties him to the club until 2019 and, despite the rumours of a big-money transfer to Zinedine Zidane’s side refusing to go away, he is adamant it remains a dream to play for United.David de Gea Manchester UnitedWhen asked about the widespread praise he has received for his performances, De Gea told MUTV: “Of course, you feel really proud when people think this about you. “It’s really good, but I like to keep my focus, keep working hard and doing my best. To be fair, when you are really young, you don’t think about the future too much, you just want to play with your friends.”When you get older, you start to dream about being there, about being at a top team, so of course it’s a dream to be at a team like Manchester United.”De Gea also discussed how he got into football and, when asked when he knew he was going to be a top goalkeeper, he added: “It’s difficult. I don’t know. I never thought that when I was young.”Maybe when I was 15 or 16 years old, I started feeling better, thinking that I could play at a high level. At the same time, I was also playing tennis and things like that, but I was always better at football. I played some basketball too, but football is what I love.”last_img read more

Bosz: Difficult for BVB to progress in UCL

first_imgBorussia Dortmund We know it’s difficult now, admits Dortmund boss Bosz following Champions League draw Rob Lancaster Last updated 2 years ago 07:00 10/18/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) peter bosz - cropped Getty Images Borussia Dortmund APOEL v Borussia Dortmund APOEL UEFA Champions League The BVB head coach conceded his side’s hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout round are fading Peter Bosz acknowledged Borussia Dortmund face an uphill struggle to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League after they failed to beat APOEL on Tuesday.The Bundesliga side are still searching for their first win in Group H following a 1-1 draw in Cyprus that leaves Dortmund still six points behind titleholders Real Madrid and Tottenham in the standings.BVB 15/2 to beat Frankfurt 2-0 Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ towering header cancelled out an opening goal from Mickael Pote that was gift-wrapped by Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki, who compounded a stray pass by spilling a shot from Lorenzo Ebecilio straight into the scorer’s path.Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a wonderful chance to win the game at the death, only for the forward to see his close-range header kept out by a combination of substitute keeper Raul Gudino’s body and a post.”The result is disappointing. We started well, but did not go on. Then we played more slowly and worse,” Bosz told”We have to look at ourselves. We did not get the ball forward quickly enough, we tried to improve that but did not manage to do so.”In such a game it is important to score the first goal. We had the chances in the first half, but failed to do so.”The result in Madrid was not good for us. We know it’s difficult now, but we will have to win the home game against APOEL and then see what the two last matches bring.”Bosz was also quick to defend Burki, who came in for criticism earlier in the European campaign after conceding twice at his near post in the 3-1 defeat to Tottenham at Wembley.”Roman has often helped the team this season,” he added.”This happens in football, he has to carry on. The team will not blame him.”Dortmund – who saw defender Omer Toprak forced off in the second half through injury – now go on the road for their next three matches before hosting APOEL in a must-win European fixture on November 1.last_img read more

Klopp relishing magnitude of Spartak showdown

first_imgLiverpool Klopp relishing THE game of Liverpool’s season against Spartak Harry West Last updated 1 year ago 00:02 12/6/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) JurgenKlopp - Cropped Getty Images Liverpool UEFA Champions League Jürgen Klopp Liverpool v Spartak Moskva Spartak Moskva The Reds’ Champions League fate rests on their final group game and their manager cannot wait for the opportunity to run out at Anfield Jurgen Klopp described the Champions League meeting with Spartak Moscow on Wednesday as “the” game of Liverpool’s season.The Reds head into the clash at Anfield top of Group E, one point clear of Sevilla and three ahead of their visitors.A win will guarantee qualification as group winners, while a draw will also be enough to seal their place in the knockouts but could see them leapfrogged by Sevilla. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player A defeat, coupled with a Sevilla win at Maribor, will mean Klopp’s men drop into the Europa League and having worked so hard to return to the continent’s premier club competition, the German is eager to stay there.Klopp: ‘It will be an exciting game. That’s how Champions League should be.”I cannot take it for granted and we have to prove our quality every day. Tomorrow is a very good match for us.’— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 5, 2017When asked how important the fixture was to his club, Klopp replied: “The game. It’s the game. It’s a home game, and if we win we are through so that’s cool.”I’m really looking forward to it. They have important players back, so it will be an exciting game and that’s how the Champions League should be.”I don’t want to make it bigger than it is but it’s very big.”Liverpool face the prospect of a Merseyside derby on Sunday with Everton coming to Anfield, but Klopp insists focus cannot be drawn away from the task at hand.”I don’t think about Sunday already, we have enough time,” Klopp said. “We will not hesitate to line up our best team. We will line up for this game and we cannot line up for the derby as well.”I think the atmosphere can and should help us tomorrow, we all know how special this place can be and that’s what I’m looking for.”Thank God it’s a little bit cold so everybody needs to move to keep warm! I’m really excited about the opportunity. You don’t have guarantees in life, the only thing is if you don’t try, you get nothing.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Toronto FC transforms from joke to juggernaut

first_imgMLS MLS Cup crown caps Toronto FC’s transformation from joke to juggernaut Thomas Floyd @thomasfloyd10 Last updated 1 year ago 12:48 12/10/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Toronto FC celebrations MLS Cup Nick Turchiaro MLS Toronto Seattle Sounders Toronto v Seattle Sounders Not so recently dismissed as a perennial bottom-feeder, TFC rode star power and a change in culture to perhaps the finest campaign in MLS history TORONTO — When Toronto FC lore looks back upon the 2017 MLS Cup final, a chapter will be devoted to Jozy Altidore and the finish that brought the treble to BMO Field. Greg Vanney’s tactical masterclass has to make an appearance, as well. A redemption arc looms large after Sebastian Giovinco and Co. dethroned a Seattle Sounders team that celebrated here a year ago.And then there’s the Uber driver who inadvertently put fate in Michael Bradley’s back pocket.It was in 2014 that Bradley kick-started TFC’s transformation from joke to juggernaut, joining Jermain Defoe in the dual signing famously pegged as a “Bloody Big Deal.” As Bradley touched down in Toronto for the first time, the driver steered him to BMO Field via the Gardiner Expressway along Lake Ontario. Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player In the nearly four years since, Bradley never again took the route to his home field — until his driver went that way Friday for the final training session before the MLS Cup final.”I’m not necessarily a huge believer in fate and things like that,” Bradley said. “But to kind of have it come full circle, to finish things off this year in this way … it was indescribable.”Watch MLS live and On-Demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial)While Defoe spent just a single season in Toronto, those signings changed the perception of a TFC team that had finished ninth in the Eastern Conference in 2013 — marking seven straight campaigns without a trip to the playoffs.The market’s potential was always evident. An obsessive supporters’ culture took root in the club’s inaugural 2007 season, with all of the ingredients seemingly in place for a flagship MLS franchise. But a series of personnel misfires followed, as European journeymen — often aging, expensive and ineffective — arrived one after the other. A once-intense atmosphere gave way to empty seats and fans with paper bags over their heads.”I’ve been in this league since TFC’s been around, and it’s an organization that seems like it’s always tried to do the right things,” Toronto defender Drew Moor said. “They had a bit of learning curve.”Sebastian Giovinco quote GFXA year after the “Bloody Big Deal,” TFC took a second crack at splashing the cash on a core of stars: Defoe returned to England, with Giovinco and Altidore joining Bradley at BMO Field.Giovinco has been a sensation from day one, to the tune of 59 goals and 42 assists since he arrived from Juventus. The physical Altidore has been the ideal complement up top, recording a double-digit goal haul the past three seasons. Bradley has set the tone on and off the field, commanding the midfield with a blend of tenacity and soccer IQ.”We went through adding just the right people first and foremost, and guys who are able to focus and able to give everything they can to a project and do that every single day,” said Vanney, who took over late in the 2014 season. “The second part is creating an environment where everybody feels like they’re bought in and they’re a part of something special and what they’re doing is going to make a difference, and is going to be a reason why, at the end of the day, they’re going to lift trophies.”Toronto finally ended that postseason drought in 2015, but the run lasted just one game — an emphatic loss in Montreal. Yet there was enough progress to convince a veteran free agent like Moor that this team was on the cusp of a title. A BMO Field expansion that pushed the capacity past 30,000 gave TFC even more gravitas. By the time Toronto dropped the 2016 MLS Cup final to the Sounders, there was no doubting the club’s powerhouse credentials.The moment @torontofc have been waiting for. #MLSCup— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 9, 2017When Altidore connected with that Giovinco through ball Saturday, lifting his shot over the onrushing Stefan Frei and into the back of the net, BMO Field erupted. That goal was a year in the making, as a pinned-back Seattle side managed to hold TFC scoreless through 187 minutes spanning two MLS Cup finals. But the fans’ euphoria also stemmed from a decade of misery and heartbreak that unfolded before the moment arrived.”It’s special because the city waited for a long time for this win,” Giovinco said. “This is what I came for — to win. I’m very happy, for the team especially, for the city and the fans.”Altidore added: “The way [the fans] celebrate our goals, it’s like they’re living and dying with us. I know it’s like that with a lot of fan bases, but these people have suffered for a long time. They’ve had to come watch games where their team is getting dominated, and people who really didn’t care about the city, about what’s being built here, would have left the team.”And this TFC side isn’t any old champion. Toronto is the first MLS team to complete the treble, having claimed the Canadian Championship and won the Supporters’ Shield in record-breaking fashion. By whatever metric a club’s success can be measured — trophies, star power, passion — TFC has taken its place atop the MLS crowd.”A lot of people didn’t want us to win a treble,” midfielder Jonathan Osorio said. “Don’t question me ever again about that — we’re the best team in MLS history.”last_img read more

City stars dominate Manchester XI

first_imgPremier League No Lukaku or Martial: Man City’s attacking stars dominate Manchester derby combined XI Patrick Gleeson Last updated 1 year ago 19:15 12/10/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(22) Sergio Aguero Raheem Sterling Leroy Sane Man City Getty/Goal Premier League Manchester United v Manchester City David de Gea Kevin De Bruyne Sergio Agüero Raheem Sterling Leroy Sané Manchester United Manchester City The two Manchester giants will face off at Old Trafford this weekend, but who makes it into the Goal combined XI? Manchester United host Manchester City on Sunday in a derby game which will give us an indicator of where the Premier League title will end up in May.Pep Guardiola’s side have opened an eight-point gap at the top of the table after just 15 games and remain unbeaten going into this weekend’s meeting at Old Trafford. Should City claim a victory against Jose Mourinho’s men it would blow a major hole in their neighbours’ chances of claiming the title, despite it still being relatively early in the campaign. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player City have now won 13 successive league matches – a joint-record within a single top-flight season – while United are unbeaten in their last 40 home games in all competitions, a record of their own.The game is the biggest of the season so far, but which players available for selection from each side would make a combined XI judged on their form so far this season?  Goal  takes a shot at picking the team…David de Gea Manchester UnitedDAVID DE GEA (United) –  As impressive as City goalkeeper Ederson has been this term, David De Gea’s show-stopping performance during the Red Devils’ 3-1 victory at Arsenal last time out made it impossible to overlook the Spain international.  De Gea made an incredible 14 saves at the Emirates and is arguably the form ‘keeper in Europe at present.ANTONIO VALENCIA (United) – The full-back areas were the most difficult to fill, with the right-back spot a straight battle between Valencia and Kyle Walker. The United defender was outstanding at Arsenal last weekend and followed it up with another solid performance in the Champions League in United’s 2-1 win at home to CSKA Moscow.NICOLAS OTAMENDI (City) – While it is United players who dominate the back five of our combined XI, Otamendi’s inclusion is fully deserved. The City centre-back’s partnership with John Stones, who misses the game with a hamstring injury, has been the basis of a solid defence for Guardiola this term.MARCOS ROJO (United) – Mourinho has ruled Eric Bailly out of the game, while Phil Jones is a major doubt. With Stones also unavailable, Marcos Rojo claims the second centre-back slot in our four-man backline having been rested in the week.ASHLEY YOUNG (United) – The inclusion of Young at left-back is a result of both Benjamin Mendy’s absence and Luke Shaw’s exile, though the latter returned to the United starting XI against CSKA. Young’s stint in the left wing-back role has been a successful one, similarly to that of Fabian Delph’s in the same position at City.KEVIN DE BRUYNE (City) – Undoubtedly one of the performers of the season across Europe so far this season, De Bruyne’s selection comes as no surprise. The Belgian playmaker has scored four goals and assisted eight while averaging over three key passes per league outing.Kevin De Bruyne Premier League Team of the WeekNEMANJA MATIC (United) – While the defensive positions are stacked with the red of United, the front two thirds of the team is top-heavy with City stars. Every attack requires a pivot, though, and with Paul Pogba missing out on Sunday’s game through suspension, it is up to Matic to govern the central spot in midfield.DAVID SILVA (City) – Guardiola is unsure regarding the availability of Silva ahead of the tie but if he is passed fit then he will almost certainly be selected in City’s XI. The 31-year-old’s importance to the club has again been highlighted this season and his two goals and eight assists in 14 starts is a very sturdy return.RAHEEM STERLING (City) – Ten starts for the England international so far this season, nine goals. Sterling has blossomed under the tutelage of Guardiola and has proved himself as a consistent match-winner across the campaign. The 22-year-old gets into the team ahead of the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.SERGIO AGUERO (City) – To choose a single forward from Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero is difficult, though it is the latter who gets the nod in our combined XI following his nine goals this term. Jesus was a close second having been directly involved in 21 goals in his 24 Premier League appearances so far in his career (15 goals, six assists). LEROY SANE (City) – A slow start to life in Manchester has been followed by an outstanding season this time around, with Sane’s displays on the left of the attack a crucial part of City’s success. The 21-year-old has so far claimed six goals and six assists from 14 appearances in the top flight this season.Manchester combined XIAnd here’s how they line up! Disagree with our selection? Who would make your combined XI? Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Report: Barcelona 4 Deportivo 0

first_imgBarcelona 4 Deportivo La Coruna 0: Suarez, Paulinho at the double in Clasico warm-up Iain Strachan Last updated 1 year ago 05:37 12/18/17 Lionel Messi - cropped Getty Images Luis Suarez and Paulinho helped LaLiga leaders Barcelona to brush aside Deportivo La Coruna ahead of the meeting with Real Madrid. Barcelona eased to a 4-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday and restored their six-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of LaLiga, but lost Paco Alcacer to injury ahead of El Clasico. Doubles for Luis Suarez and Paulinho secured the victory for Ernesto Valverde’s side at Camp Nou, where Deportivo, who are battling to avoid relegation, offered little to trouble the Catalan giants.While the hosts won with ease, the absence of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system from Spain’s top flight, where it will be introduced next season, again appeared to cost Barca what would have been a stunning rabona goal from Suarez in first-half injury time.    Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player The Blaugrana also lost Alcacer to a muscle injury in the first half, leaving the forward out for three weeks and rendering him unavailable for the all-important showdown with struggling title holders Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu next Saturday.Andres Iniesta was withdrawn as a precaution with the match won early in the second half, while key men Suarez and Lionel Messi, who was impressive throughout and orchestrated his team’s attack but missed a second-half penalty, appeared to emerge unscathed. The match was played at a low-key tempo for much of the first half, but Barcelona were firmly in charge throughout and saw a Suarez goal ruled out for offside as early as the sixth minute.Messi twice drew saves from Ruben Martinez, as did Aleix Vidal, who came on as a substitute to replace Alcacer with 21 minutes gone.INJURY NEWS | @paco93alcacer will be out for 3 weeks with muscle injury in his left leg— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 17, 2017The deadlock was broken in the 29th minute, when Ivan Rakitic’s corner was only cleared as far as Iniesta, who lifted the ball back into the area and picked out Messi perfectly. The Argentine in turn squared for Suarez to stroke home from close range.The former Liverpool star turned provider for Messi to hit the crossbar in the 37th minute and it was 2-0 four minutes later, the woodwork this time unable to save Deportivo. A Messi shot struck the inside of the upright and bounced clear, but Paulinho was on hand to poke home the rebound.5 – Midfielders with the most goals+assists in La Liga this season:8 – Gonçalo Guedes 3+87 – PAULINHO 5+27 – Isco Alarcón 4+37 – Marco Asensio 4+37 – Andres Guardado 1+6Piranha.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 17, 2017Suarez thought he had netted a third in injury time, the Uruguayan conjuring up a brilliant rabona finish at a tight angle, only for Ruben to claw the ball away. The presence of VAR might have seen a goal awarded in Barca’s favour, but the hosts had to be content with a 2-0 lead going into the half-time break. They did not have to wait long for that third goal to arrive, though, Sergi Roberto swinging a pass into the back post for Suarez to smash past Ruben and complete a slick counter-attack just a minute into the second half.  Iniesta, increasingly fragile in the twilight of his career, was replaced by Andre Gomes in the 56th minute.Messi only had himself to blame for spurning a chance to score from 12 yards out in the 70th minute, the Argentine hitting the frame of the goal yet again after Suarez was fouled by Federico Valverde.Instead it was Paulinho in the right place at the right time with 15 minutes to go, the Brazilian bundling the ball home after Jordi Alba’s shot struck the post and left Ruben stranded. Key Opta stats:- Luis Suarez has scored eight goals against Deportivo in LaLiga, his favourite opponent in terms of goals scored, alongside Sporting Gijon.- Barcelona have not lost any of their 23 La Liga games (W20 D3) – only Manchester City have a longer current unbeaten run in Europe’s top five leagues (W23 D3). – Lionel Messi has provided more assists than any other LaLiga player in 2017 in all competitions (15).- The Argentinian has provided more assists for Luis Suarez in La Liga than any other teammate (19). – Barcelona have hit the woodwork more times than any other side in Europe’s top five leagues this season (19).  read morelast_img read more

Talking Horses: betting firms told to cut out unfair terms online

first_imgShare on Messenger Blaklion to prepare for Grand National at Haydock and skip Gold Cup Horse racing tips Topics Quick guide Thursday’s racing tips Support The Guardian Talking Horses Read more Was this helpful? Share on Pinterest features Chris Cook’s Thursday tipsWincanton 1.20 Turbotim 1.50 San Pedro De Senam 2.25 Rosemary Russet (nb) 3.00 Captain Cattistock 3.35 Sirruh Du Lac 4.10 Unioniste 4.45 Hideaway VicSouthwell 1.30 Something Lucky 2.05 Ignacio Zuloaga 2.40 Ray Purchase 3.15 Magic Pulse 3.50 Dose 4.25 Kody RidgeTowcester 1.40 The Vocalist 2.15 Doc Carver 2.50 Black Narcissus 3.25 Dr Des 4.00 Norse Light 4.35 Cafe Au LaitKempton 5.55 Freebe Rocks 6.30 Princess De Lune 7.00 Mercers 7.30 Thaqaffa (nap) 8.00 Time To Reason 8.30 Western Way- Share on Facebook Share on WhatsAppcenter_img Show The CMA says gamblers must no longer be required to play multiple times before they can withdraw their own money. Restrictions on gameplay must be made clear to gamblers and not couched in vague terms that allow the firm latitude about when it can keep a gambler’s money. And gamblers cannot be required to take part in publicity in order to collect winnings due to them. These problems and others were said by the CMA to be “common” in the online gambling sector and it is continuing to look at obstacles faced by gamblers when trying to withdraw their money after betting online. It’s all very encouraging to see some of the ‘Wild West’ being taken out of internet gambling and credit is due to groups like Justice For Punters and the Horserace Bettors Forum, who have been talking at length to government agencies about these issues in recent years. At Towcester today, there’s been just enough interest in Black Narcissus (2.50) to get my attention, the veteran having come down to 11-1 from an opening 16s. From the very sharp yard of Alexandra Dunn, she’s come down to an attractive mark, 5lb below the one from which she won at the start of last February. Most of her runs this season have been hopeless but she ran well at Ffos Las in November, when third. Perhaps it was no coincidence that that was her first run in a tongue tie. Since her last run, 32 days ago, she’s had a wind op. Blinkers are fitted for the first time. The in-form Gavin Sheehan rides her for the first time. It looks like connections mean business.At Wincanton, there’s 7-1 about Rosemary Russet (2.25), who showed a high level of form in winning a bumper in March. She raced prominently but didn’t get home in her first two starts over hurdles but a 52-day absence followed by the fitting of a tongue tie suggests a reason for that. We may see her take a significant step forward here, especially with Harry Fry going well. Half an hour later, Captain Cattistock (3.00) is fairly priced at 11-8 for his handicap debut. Bryony Frost takes off 5lb, which looks significant to me because I think Paul Nicholls is using her claim sparingly just now. They’re two from three together in the past fortnight. The nap is Thaqaffa (7.30) at Kempton tonight, where he is a 4-1 shot to get a third consecutive win. He’s not thrown in with a penalty and would actually be 2lb better off if he could just run off his revised mark but this place suits him and he has more to offer. Share on Twitter Since you’re here… … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Hide Share via Email Today’s best bets, by Chris CookThe firm now known as Ladbrokes Coral have provided us all with a cheap laugh this morning, saying in a statement as it agreed to make changes to the way it offers bonus promotions that “things had unintentionally gone too far”. Oh well, so long as it was unintentional… They are one of three firms that have agreed to make changes, following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority, which was concerned about “unfair online promotions that trap players’ money”. The other firms which have agreed to make changes are William Hill and PT Entertainment (which runs the Titanbet and Winner websites) and all other firms are also now expected to comply with the terms set out by the CMA, or face regulatory action from the Gambling Commission. Share on LinkedIn Thank you for your feedback. Horse racing Reuse this contentlast_img read more

What next for Pep Guardiola? It has to be the Champions League trophy

first_imgPep Guardiola Reuse this content Share via Email Manchester City crowned Premier League champions after shock United defeat With this in mind next season presents another kind of opportunity. It may be harsh to say Guardiola must win the Champions League for his time at City to be judged an unqualified success but it is also true, as it was at Bayern Munich. Albeit this time around there is a chance to enter, for the first time, a frontier territory.Winning the Champions League would be undeniably Guardiola’s own work, at least with this current City, who are not a collection of ready-made global stars but a team with an attacking unit aged 21, 22 and 23, where nobody in the regular first XI has won this competition before.This may well change as City strengthen in the summer. No doubt Guardiola’s obsession with the Champions League will contribute to this. Seven years on from his last victorious semi-final, this competition has undeniably got away from him, evolving instead into a series of tactical glitches, Pep blinking first in the glare.Never mind, for now, the money spent, the will-to-power of the Premier League’s Emirati overlords. If this title has been a freewheeling joy, next season presents something else, a chance for Guardiola to do something different, to win for the first time against the prevailing tide. In the event United’s expensive brand of stodge is a reminder of just how difficult it is to engineer drive and fluency in a standard modern team of expensive bolt-on parts. By contrast, the champions have been a rare gift, a reminder that for all its vested interests, its fixed hierarchies, elite modern football can still be a genuinely uplifting thing.At which point the wheels start to clank, the screen dissolves and another version of this movie begins to roll. This is the alternative history of Pep. For all its brilliance this City team are also a ruthlessly assembled winning machine. Just as for the manager another league title is another season spent exclusively in the company of the sport’s financially incontinent elite.En route to winning the title and a League Cup Guardiola has spent £448m on players in two seasons, the greatest single transfer splurge in history. And so that paradox kicks in: a brilliant team who also have a sense of inevitability about them, a project that simply cannot be allowed to fail.How to resolve this contradiction is not immediately clear. There are shades of a footballing version of the Peter Principle. Guardiola has been so good at managing teams he only ever gets to manage the ones who are so powerful they cannot fail. Vulnerable channels and 20 zones: the tactics behind Guardiola’s title win Read more Sign up for The Fiver, our daily football email comment Read more You won. Fine. Now win again. Win better. Even in a moment of triumph, with his beautifully engineered seventh domestic title safely stowed away, it is hard to avoid that nagging paradox that runs through Pep Guardiola’s managerial career.Although not before making space for a little grateful applause. It was fitting Manchester City’s Premier League title arrived at a canter in the end, leaving some clarity around the edges, some time to step back and simply admire. A prolonged stutter to the line may have confirmed a few hard-to-shift Proper Football Man Prejudices. But it would also have been misleading. Sportblog Manchester City Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Topics Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger Read more What Pep Guardiola must do to make Manchester City even better City have the most points, most shots, most goals and most passes. They’ve been strolling away at the top of the league since the fifth week of the season, a 6-0 win at Watford nestled in the middle of a 5-0, a 4-0, a 5-0 and a 7-2.In reality it is not possible to win more convincingly than this. Not least when, besides the numbers, there is also the basic tone and texture of this league title, the sense of players stretching out into the fringes of their own talent, finding new patterns and rhythms.From August into April these Premier League champions have been a rare joy, a team that keep the ball with the usual Pep-issue mania but come forward in a relentless swarm, spreading the game into every available part of the space whatever the score, whatever the time on the clock, always unapologetically itself.It is worth noting that had City failed to deliver this season the same Manchester United team who clanked their way to a square-headed title-sealing defeat by West Brom may now be in line to win the Premier League. Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Even through this glaze there are other contradictions. For all this, Guardiola has somehow managed to retain not just the moral high ground but an air of likable asceticism. He seems an oddly monk-like figure, known for the purity of his methods, the idealistic obsession with detail.At times this can be endearingly comical. Even in the middle of the title stroll Guardiola spent Christmas Day watching videos of Newcastle, the kind of festive viewing choice that brings to mind the response of one exasperated friend to the news that the dying poet Philip Larkin was seeing out his days drinking “nothing but cheap red wine” – the suggestion that he could, at least, try some expensive red wine.At the same time he is clearly a brilliant manager on a very basic level, venerated in England partly because so much of what he does is an upgrade on the old managerial tropes. Like a George Graham for the non-contact age, Guardiola spends hours drilling his defensive line, enacting what is in effect a more fluid version of moving up and down together holding a piece of rope.In the old Don Revie style he makes a point of knowing the first name of everyone at the club, of urging his players to bond and spend time together socially, although rather than nine pints of lager it is breakfast with the club nutritionist and quinoa doggy bags after training.Yet for all the graft and detail, there are those obvious blind spots. Guardiola has never managed a team where success would not have arrived anyway in some form or other. He is rightly feted for his 12 trophies at the Camp Nou. But Barcelona have won almost as many since he left and as many Champions Leagues without him since Lionel Messi showed up.Similarly with City, where this season’s achievements on trophies alone are an exact replica of what Manuel Pellegrini rustled up in his first season. There is nothing here to compare with Porto winning the Champions League, or Inter, or Atlético Madrid’s rise. Winning a title he had no right to win, wrestling against the tide of history. This remains the unticked box for a manager routinely venerated as the best of his generation.last_img read more

Joker, thinker, friend, dictator: the many faces of Jürgen Klopp

first_imgIn Dortmund Klopp had smiled when hearing Reus’s quote about happiness. “What they discover when they leave the club is that we have a very special dressing room. The secret of a manager like Alex Ferguson comes through when you hear what former players say about him. They can have had boots flying in their face like David Beckham but they still love the idea they were coached by him. That’s the biggest honour or accolade you can give to a coach.“It’s important you have maximum respect for your players but remember you are the guy who is most responsible. As managers we all have rules and so there is no discussion with my players about how much we train … But in every other case they can come to me with a problem and if I have a solution I will help them. If I don’t know I bring in someone else to find an answer. On the pitch, it’s work. But football without fun is not great. If we don’t have some fun it would be strange. Are we not lucky guys? We are so silly when we get too worried about football. It’s not too serious and I don’t see the point of being at war with the team.” Jürgen Klopp Share on WhatsApp Klopp v Zidane: the Champions League final in the managers’ words – video Jürgen Klopp knew we had met before but, at Liverpool’s training ground last month, he could not recall the exact setting of our first interview. The answer made him groan. Five years ago this month in Dortmund, 10 days before the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley, Klopp had been in a sparkling mood. As he prepared to lead Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich in an all-German battle for European football’s greatest prize, he offered engaging insights into his managerial style while urging the neutral fan to support his team.“If you want the new story, the special story, it must be Dortmund,” Klopp said. “You have to be on our side.” Five years on, with neutrals enraptured again as Klopp inspires an often thrilling Liverpool to Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev against Real Madrid, his charisma was equally obvious. But before Klopp could engage with subjects ranging from football to politics he remembered how Dortmund had conceded the winning goal in the 89th minute against Bayern. Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Facebook “It was too painful,” he said softly. “I’ve cancelled pretty much everything around that game and never watched it back.” He shook his head and repeated one word. “Never.”In that moment it was possible to sense the depth of Klopp’s desire to win the Champions League. He might be the most likable of interviewees but this quest for success drives him. It hurts to have won only one of the six cup finals in which his teams have played. In 2012, in his first, Dortmund beat Bayern 5-2 in the German Cup. He has since lost five in a row. That curious statistic is less interesting than the way in which he galvanises his teams.I also interviewed Marco Reus in 2013 and the Dortmund forward responded simply when asked how Klopp helped the team. “He makes us happy,” Reus said. Such joy means there is heartache when Klopp loses players to richer clubs. He was only half-joking when he told me how: “We cried for 20 minutes, in each other’s arms, when Shinji Kagawa left Dortmund for Manchester United,” and how “it was like a heart attack” after Mario Götze agreed to join Bayern Munich.Since Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool in January for Barcelona, Klopp has been hugely impressive in improving the team without their former star player. Tactical acumen, astute signings and Klopp’s enduring motivational powers mean Coutinho has hardly been missed.Klopp’s seemingly magical touch is felt throughout the club. It was instructive last month to see the warmth of his interaction with the tea lady and to hear snippets from Liverpool staff. One of them told me how Klopp might be the first person on the dance floor at a club function but, as soon as everyone joins in, he retreats discreetly to watch with beaming pride.His charm works and, in Dortmund, he convinced me “this is a very special club – a workers’ club” as he railed, wittily, against Bayern’s economic powerhouse. Of course he would have laughed at the irony that, when the interview ran in the Guardian, we had to feature this tagline: “Jürgen Klopp is proud to wear Puma – a partner of Borussia Dortmund.” There was no sponsor involvement when I met Klopp in Liverpool and his pleasure in football and life echoed again. “How can you not love this club, this city, these players?” he asked.Five years ago Klopp said: “I got more in life than I was ever supposed to get – family, money, football. None of my teachers, or my parents, ever believed this would happen to me. So how can this perfect life be spoilt because they take our players?”Life is never perfect, in Dortmund or Liverpool, and Klopp knows that glory in a Champions League final can be painfully elusive. But, whether Liverpool win or lose in Kiev, he will be back for another crack next season – while making his players happy as, yet again, they run and tackle and try their hearts out for him. features Liverpool We were the first team in Germany to play 4-4-2 without a libero. It was the best thing I ever learnt about football Facebook Real Madrid Twitter Jürgen Klopp celebrates after Borussia Dortmund reach the 2013 Champions League semi-final. Dortmund lost the final and Klopp has never watched it back. Photograph: Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Pinterest Share on Messenger Read more Topics Share on LinkedIn Champions League In a more layered way Andy Robertson, the Liverpool left-back who has been a revelation since Klopp signed him from Hull 11 months ago, told me last week how “the gaffer uses humour very cleverly. If he feels the lads are uptight or things aren’t going our way he’ll relieve the tension. He’ll crack a joke or you’ll hear his big laugh. He’s a fantastic manager who knows exactly what to do and when to do it. His personality is so good that when you see him on the touchline you just want to run for him. You want to tackle for him, you want to do well for him. But, most of all, he’s a calming influence.”Klopp’s calm in a one-to-one setting, even more than his humour or warmth, remains my clearest impression from our interviews. Rather than a joker or cheerleader, he is a bright thinker with an even deeper emotional intelligence which enables him to connect powerfully with people.He spoke so fondly of his players, I wondered if he felt like a father to some of them? “A stepfather,” he exclaimed before becoming more reflective. “Look, I am an absolutely normal guy and sometimes I want be their friend. Sometimes I have to be a teacher. It’s not so difficult to find a moment to be a friend or … well … [Klopp laughed] a North Korean dictator.”“My biggest skill is common sense. It’s important they understand football is only one part of life. Coming into a Champions League final you tell them to appreciate this moment. Of course they are young and considered superstars. But in big moments they need help to find calm. It’s not important if you won or lost the last game, if you played well or kicked the ball like your grandmother. I need to help settle their heads and hearts before such a massive match.” Barcelona, says Klopp, ‘celebrate goal number 5,868 like they’ve never scored before. This is what you should always feel – until you die.’ Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images Twitter The sense of fun and pleasure that ripples through Klopp would be meaningless without the work and intensity that characterises his best teams. He also places great store in tactics and, as he told me in Dortmund: “My first inspiration was Wolfgang Frank – my coach for years in the second division with Mainz. He took his inspiration from Arrigo Sacchi [who managed Milan to successive European Cup final victories in 1989 and 1990]. We were the first team in Germany to play 4-4-2 without a libero. It was the best thing I ever learned about football. Before we looked at Sacchi’s methods we used to think if the other players are better you have to lose. But we learned you can beat a better team by using tactics.“What Sacchi did with Maldini, Baresi, Costacurta and Tassotti was amazing. There was a video of them training and with Wolfgang Frank we watched it 500 times. They put sticks in the field and had to move in formation like birds … wooomf … wooomf … training without the ball. No one in Germany did this. In Germany you either run until you [Klopp pretended to vomit] or play football – nothing between. No tactics. Then we saw this. It was boring but one of the best coaches in the world, maybe the best, does this with the best players – because it’s necessary. So we did it. With a team that was in danger of going down to the third division; in another six months we were the best team in the second division.”Liverpool’s defence might be their undoing in Kiev – but Klopp’s trademark lightning transitions and the breathtaking prowess of his front three mean he has a real chance of breaking his losing streak in cup finals. The unity and conviction that surged through Liverpool against Manchester City in the quarter-finals and at home against Roma in the semi-final seem rooted in the close bond he forges with his players.In both interviews he spoke about how, at Dortmund, he did not show his team videos of Barcelona scoring beautiful goals. Instead, he showed them “photographs of Messi and his team-mates celebrating every goal like it’s the first they’ve ever scored. I don’t use videos because I don’t copy Barça’s style. But you see them celebrate goal number 5,868 like they’ve never scored before. This is what you should always feel – until you die.” Share via Email Reuse this content Pinterest Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson intent on taking final step against Real Share on Facebook Play Video 1:32last_img read more

Bahrain-Merida cycling team being used to ‘sportswash’, campaigners say

first_imgCampaign groups have written to the UCI, cycling’s governing body, protesting at its licensing of the Bahrain-Merida team, and the team’s participation in the Tour de France, due to concerns for human rights.In the letter, under the umbrella of the Sport and Rights Alliance and led by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird), the signatories claim that the team, led by the 2014 Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali, is a vehicle for the Bahrain government to “sportswash” its appalling human rights abuses. The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Reuse this content Human rights Sportswashing and the tangled web of Europe’s biggest clubs Read more Since you’re here… Bahrain … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Support The Guardian Topics Tour de France 2019 Tour de France Read more Share on WhatsApp Cycling Share on Messenger Share on Facebook The spokesperson did not explain what approach the UCI took to the human rights concerns, or why they were not a barrier to the team’s registration. He added: “For the upcoming season, the independent licence commission will review the applicable criteria, including ethical, based on all available information pertaining to the team. The assessment … concentrates on the team and its members.”Sayed Alwadaei, the director of advocacy at Bird, described that as a “very disappointing” response. “We raised similar concerns in 2016 and despite the severity of our concerns the UCI awarded Bahrain-Merida team the WorldTeam licence,” he said. “We are asking the UCI now to be transparent about their due diligence and to disclose their assessment, as a rational assessment must account for a history of severe rights abuses.” “The Bahraini government has a reputation for using high-profile sporting events to divert international attention from the country’s appalling human rights record,” the letter states, “and we are concerned that Bahrain-Merida’s participation in UCI competitions is consistent with these aims.”Addressed personally to the UCI president, David Lappartient, the letter alleges that the Bahrain-Merida team may be in violation of the UCI’s code of ethics, which requires participants to “show commitment to an ethical attitude”.The signatories, also including Transparency International Germany and the Committee to Protect Journalists, urge the UCI to disclose its review of the team’s ethical compliance conducted as part of the licensing process and to consider the human rights abuses highlighted when reviewing the team’s licence for next season.Bahrain-Merida has strongly denied the allegations, arguing that they are ill-targeted and illogical because the team are completely distinct and separate from the Bahraini government.International concern for human rights has focused on the gulf kingdom of Bahrain since the regime’s brutal crackdown of popular demonstrations during the 2011 Arab spring, in which 28 civilians died, including five people who had been tortured while in government custody.The most recent Amnesty international report, for 2017-18, referred to in the letter, noted deepening repression, including the deaths of five men and one child, and hundreds of people injured, due to excessive force including live ammunition being used against protestors; “scores of people sentenced to long prison terms after unfair trials”, and at least 150 people stripped of their nationality.Citing “a large-scale campaign to clamp down on all forms of dissent”, Amnesty cited media restrictions including the closure of Bahrain’s only independent newspaper, al-Wasat, the targeting of journalists, and the reported torture of human rights defenders and political activists. The signatories draw attention in their letter to the fact that the Bahrain-Merida team was launched in 2017 by a son of the ruling king of Bahrain, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, who is still described as the team’s leader on its website. The website states that the team project began “with a casual bike ride in the desert of Bahrain between His Highness Sheikh Nasser and Vincenzo Nibali”.A brigadier-general in the Bahrain army and commander of the Royal Guard, Sheikh Nasser is a senior figure in the country’s sports institutions, chairing the Olympic committee until March this year. In 2011 he called publicly, on television, for the punishment of sportspeople who had taken part in demonstrations, saying: “To everyone that demands the fall of the regime, may a wall fall on their heads … whether he is an athlete, an activist or a politician … Today is the judgment day.”More than 150 professional sportspeople were reported to have been arrested, detained, tortured, imprisoned or excluded from their sports during the crackdown, for taking part in pro democracy demonstrations. Representatives of Sheikh Nasser say that he had no personal involvement in identifying any athletes nor in any suspensions or arrests.“Sportswashing” is a term coined by Amnesty to describe repressive regimes sanitising their countries’ reputations by becoming associated with sport’s appeal. The Tour de France and other cycling competitions offer all sponsors weeks of coverage with logos worn by great athletes in some of the world’s most spectacular locations. Representatives of the Bahrain-Merida team and Sheikh Nasser told the Guardian that the team is not associated with the country’s human rights record, is not in breach of the UCI’s ethics code nor engaged in sportswashing because it is completely distinct and separate from the government. They say that the team is funded by private sponsors, including Merida, the cycling manufacturer listed on the Taiwanese stock exchange, although several of the sponsors – which include the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat and the oil company Bapco which itself says that it is wholly owned by the government – are described as “semi-government companies”. A UCI spokesperson told the Guardian that it had been aware of the “allegations of human rights violations by the Bahrain regime … prior to the initial registration of Bahrain-Merida as a UCI WorldTeam late 2016.” Middle East and North Africa Share on Pinterest Share via Email Share on Twitter Share on LinkedInlast_img read more

‘Monster’ Mourinho gives Rashford assurance

first_imgManchester United ‘Monster that kills little kids’ Mourinho hails youngster Rashford as future star Sacha Pisani Last updated 1 year ago 12:06 1/31/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Marcus RashfordManchester United Premier League Michael Regan Manchester United Marcus Rashford José Mourinho Premier League Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United The Manchester United boss insisted his young star is still a key player for the side following the signing of Alexis Sanchez Jose Mourinho mocked himself “the monster that kills kids” as he insisted Marcus Rashford remains a crucial member of Manchester United’s side after Alexis Sanchez’s arrival.Mourinho’s attacking riches now include star forward Sanchez after the Chile international swapped Arsenal for Premier League rivals United last week .The signing of Sanchez has raised doubts over Rashford’s game time at Old Trafford , with Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard also vying for starting spots. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Rashford has featured in all 36 of United’s matches this season, the 20-year-old named in the starting XI on 20 occasions.But Mourinho – who has a reputation for not giving youth a chance – reassured Rashford over his role in Manchester.”Marcus’ story is quite interesting because he started playing with Mr [Louis] Van Gaal, when the team was really in trouble, to have options,” said Mourinho.”Then the monster that kills the little kids arrived, but he plays every game since then. He plays every game, starting or coming from the bench, as a striker, as a left winger, as a right winger. Then he goes to the national team.”The kid is having a hell of an experience at every level, so an amazing future waits for him and being surrounded by these players can only help him. But the whole story of Marcus — will he get minutes and matches? — that story is really old, because he’s a very important player for us.”Mourinho added: “In attack, it’s difficult for us to improve. Where are we going to get a better combination of players than we have? We cannot buy Lionel Messi, we cannot buy Cristiano Ronaldo – these are the best players of the last decade.”Where can we get better players than Mata, Martial, Lingard, Rashford, Alexis, Lukaku? In attack, we have an amazing group of players.”Mourinho’s Man United – second and eight points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham – travel to London to face Spurs at Wembley Wednesday.last_img read more

Report: Eibar 0 Barcelona 2

first_imgEIbar 0 Barcelona 2: Suarez and Alba seal points as Orellana sees red Dom Farrell Last updated 1 year ago 01:08 2/18/18 LuisSuarez - cropped Getty Images Barcelona were made to fight at 10-man Eibar, where Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba scored the goals and Fabian Orellana was sent off. Luis Suarez’s 17th LaLiga goal of the season helped Barcelona return to winning ways with a hard-earned 2-0 win at 10-man Eibar.On the back of consecutive league draws against Espanyol and Getafe, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde resisted the urge to shuffle his pack and named an XI it would be no surprise to see line up for Tuesday’s Champions League match at Chelsea.It was just as well, with Barca forced to repel wave after wave of attacks from Jose Luis Mendilibar’s relentlessly high-pressing side. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Respite arrived courtesy of Suarez’s well-taken 16th-minute goal, which was beautifully created by Lionel Messi’s left boot.Messi hit the post after Eibar’s Fabian Orellana struck an effort against the crossbar, although the gifted but temperamental Chilean right-winger undermined the hosts’ efforts by receiving his third red card in 12 appearances against Barca midway through the second half.Remarkably, that did not check Eibar’s ambition but Jordi Alba was able to seal the points two minutes from time.Valverde’s team have now equalled a club record by going 31 LaLiga games unbeaten and enjoy a 10-point lead at the summit, at least until Atletico Madrid host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.Half-time in Ipurua!#EibarBarça (0-1) @LuisSuarez9 #ForçaBarça— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 17, 2018Eibar went straight for Barcelona from kick-off, with Jose Angel heading over from Ruben Pena’s cross inside the first minute.The hosts’ bold approach left room for the league leaders at the other end and Alba had a shot blocked after Suarez rounded goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic.There was still no escaping the fact Mendilibar’s men were making the sharper start, with Orellana and Kike Garcia finding room in behind left-back Alba to fire goalwards in quick succession.It meant the opening goal came both against the run of play and with a touch of genius, as Messi’s sumptuous throughball left centre-back Anaitz Arbilla splayed on the turf and Suarez skipped past Dmitrovic more effectively on this occasion to finish.Eibar were not cowed and lively right winger Orellana unleashed a dipping effort against the bar before Joan Jordan dragged wastefully wide from the edge of the box.To repeat the theme of his afternoon, the wandering Dmitrovic found himself rounded by Suarez again in the 36th minute and cut the ball back for Messi to rattle the far post.A deft flick from Pape Diop sent Orellana into space down the right in the 55th minute and Takashi Inui lashed wide from his cutback.Barcelona were struggling to halt Eibar’s rumbling momentum, only for Orellana to foolishly do it for them.The 32-year-old previously received red cards versus Barca while playing for Xerez and Celta Vigo and, having made a rash lunge on Andres Iniesta inside the opposition penalty area, he punched the ball away in frustration when Diop was punished for a 66th-minute foul on Sergio Busquets and received a second booking for dissent.Mendilibar was furious, initially it seemed with his player, and continued haranguing the officials before being sent to the stand himself.His players continued to push in vain despite the deck being stacked against them, ambition that contributed to a game-sealing second.Philippe Coutinho – who will be cup-tied in midweek – picked out fellow substitute Aleix Vidal with a superb cross-field ball and, although Dmitrovic denied Messi from a cushioned pass into the box, Alba was on hand to slot home. KEY OPTA STATS- Luis Suárez has scored in his last five games against Eibar in La Liga (seven goals)- Lionel Messi is Luis Suárez’s  top assistant in all competitions for Barcelona (25 assists)- Jordi Alba has been involved in eight goals in La Liga this season, the most for a defender in the competition (two goals & six assists). – Barcelona have won their eight La Liga games against Eibar (3.5 goals per game), the only side which have won all their games in La Liga against Eibar alongside Atletico (seven). – Barcelona have kept 26 clean sheets in 40 games in all competitions this season (65%). read morelast_img read more

Transfer latest: PSG want Mbappe & Coutinho swap

first_imgTransfers Transfer news & rumours LIVE: PSG want Mbappe & Coutinho exchange to keep Neymar happy Goal Last updated 1 year ago 18:10 2/26/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(9) Kylian Mbappe PSG Paris Saint-Germain Getty Images Transfers Premier League Primera División Bundesliga Ligue 1 Serie A Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond PSG want Coutinho & Mbappe exchange to satisfy NeymarParis Saint-Germain are willing to offer Kylian Mbappe to Barcelona in exchange for money and Philippe Coutinho in order to keep Neymar happy, El Pais  reports.Neymar is said to feel uncomfortable playing alongside potential Ballon d’Or rival Mbappe, whose €180 million move from Monaco will be made permanent at the end of the season.And PSG are already willing to let the 19-year-old sensation go, if they can lure Neymar’s friend and Brazil team-mate Coutinho from Barca, despite his recent big-money move from Liverpool.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Man Utd and Chelsea could enter Alisson raceAlissonManchester United and Chelsea are both set to enter the battle to sign Alisson should either side lose their goalkeeper this summer, reports the Mirror . With both David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois strongly linked to Real Madrid, the two Premier League sides could turn to the Roma shot-stopper as a replacement. Bayern Munich open Malcom talksMalcom BordeauxBayern Munich have opened talks with representatives of Bordeaux star Malcom, according to Sport Bild . The German side made contact with the Brazilian several weeks ago, and have begun working on terms of a five-year deal.Arsenal and Tottenham have been heavily linked with the 20-year-old, whom the Ligue 1 side value at £52 million.Real Madrid to buy back Omar MascarellOmar Mascarell Eintracht FrankfurtReal Madrid will pay Eintracht Frankfurt €4 million to sign Omar Mascarell back from the Bundesliga club, according to  AS . The midfielder spent six years with Madrid, playing mostly for the B and C teams before moving to Germany in 2016. Mascarell was a pivotal player for Frankfurt last season until picking up an injury towards the end of the campaign, which has limited him to just a handful of appearances this term.Although the 25-year-old is injured again, Madrid are determined to bring him back and will activate a buy-back option in their deal with the German side to bring him back, while Eintracht are expected to ask for Marcos Llorente in return.Jorginho is Liverpool’s top targetJorginho NapoliNapoli midfielder Jorginho has emerged as Liverpool’s top target for the summer, according to  The Times. Jurgen Klopp believes the 26-year-old would be an ideal No. 6 for the Reds, but faces competition for the Italy international from several of Europe’s biggest sides.Real Madrid interested in Milinkovic-Savic Sergej Milinkovic-Savic LazioReal Madrid are hoping to land Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic this summer, according to Marca . The 22-year-old midfielder has emerged as a top target for several big European sides, with Lazio sporting director Igli Tare revealing Sunday the club  turned down a €70 million offer for the Serbian in the summer. Tottenham chase Sheffield United strikerDavid Brooks, Sheffield UnitedTottenham are hoping to land Sheffield United striker David Brooks in a £10 million deal, reports The Sun . Spurs are convinced the 20-year-old is a star in the making, and feel they can develop the striker into a long-term replacement for Harry Kane. Gaitan set for €18m China moveNicolas Gaitan Atletico MadridAtletico Madrid winger Nicolas Gaitan will join Chinese side Dalian Yigang in an €18 million move, according to AS .   The 30-year-old Argentine joined Atletico from Benfica in the summer of 2016, but has been used sparingly by manager Diego Simeone. Reina to leave NapoliPepe Reina, Napoli, Feyenoord, UEFA Champions League, 26092017Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has revealed he will leave the Serie A leaders after this season, according to  Il Mattino .The Spaniard’s contract expires at the end of the current campaign and he has yet to be offered a new deal. Reports in Italy have suggested that Milan will move for the 35-year-old if Gianluigi Donnarumma departs in the summer. Henry wants to be Arsenal managerHD Thierry HenryArsenal legend Thierry Henry has admitted that succeeding Arsene Wenger as Gunners boss would be a “dream”. Following Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, the Frenchman revealed his interest in one day taking over for his countryman in the Arsenal hot seat. Read the full story on Goal! Madrid will go all out for new goalkeeperDavid de Gea Manchester United Sevilla Champions LeagueReal Madrid will do everything they can to bring in a new goalkeeper in the summer, reports Mundo Deportivo . Manchester United’s David de Gea is still the top target for the Blancos, but the club feel he may be out of their reach.Madrid won’t pay more than €90 million for a new shot-stopper, meaning Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois could be the best option for the La Liga giants. Tah pens Leverkusen extension HD Jonathan TahHighly rated centre-back Jonathan Tah has extended his contract at Bayer Leverkusen until 2023. The 22-year-old is considered one of the most promising talents in Germany, and has been linked with Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.Read the full story on Goal!  Skriniar wants to spend ‘many years’ at InterSkriniar - InterIn-demand Inter defender Milan Skriniar could be set to frustrate a host of suitors after he declared his intent to stay with the Nerazzurri for “many years”.The 23-year-old has been linked with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona after impressing in his first season with Inter. Read what Skriniar had to say right here! Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Iniesta impossible to replace for Barca – Abidal

first_imgBarcelona Impossible for Barcelona to replace Iniesta, says Abidal Stephen Creek Last updated 1 year ago 21:03 6/19/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Andres Iniesta Barcelona Getty Images Barcelona Primera División Antoine Griezmann Transfers The midfielder ended a glorious spell at Camp Nou to continue his career in Japan, leaving the Catalans with an unfillable hole in the squad Newly appointed Barcelona technical director Eric Abidal admitted that Andres Iniesta is irreplaceable at Camp Nou.Abidal, who made 125 league appearances for the club between 2007 and 2013, replaced Robert Hernandez after the Spaniard’s contract expired and will work alongside head coach Ernesto Valverde in the 2018-19 season.Barca have been linked with the likes of Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan and Frenkie de Jong of Ajax as potential midfield signings this summer, but Abidal feels that no one can fill the void of the man who broke Catalan hearts when he left for Japanese club Vissel Kobe at the end of the season. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move “We will make the decisions according to the needs of the team,” the former Monaco and Lyon defender said at his presentation to the media.”But we cannot replace Iniesta with a player of the same quality, that’s impossible.”Abidal was asked about his young compatriot Ousmane Dembele, who has faced criticism in the wake of an uncertain debut season following a big-money move from Borussia Dortmund.However, the ex-France international is confident the 21-year-old’s form will pick up next season.”We want Dembele to have a brilliant World Cup, after that he can rest and then return here.”We are looking forward to bringing the best out of him.”Abidal refused to be drawn into the discussion about Antoine Griezmann, or whether the club’s failure to sign the Frenchman left them searching for other strikers.Griezmann committed his future to Atletico Madrid shortly before the World Cup, ending weeks of speculation over a possible move to Barcelona.”Griezmann’s decision is his and I do not want to enter this debate. The most important thing is the planning of next season and the future of the team.”We will have to talk internally. I talked to Valverde but we did not talk about players because he was on vacation.”last_img read more

Sportscover Launches Sports and Leisure Travel Insurance

first_imgMr Chris Nash, CEO of Sportscover Australia, explained this was a natural progression for Sportscover. “Sportscover covers millions of people for their sports and leisure activities all over the world. Therefore, it’s a natural progression for us to provide cover for these people when they are travelling around the world for their sports and leisure activities,” he said. For more information please flick the following link or contact sports cover on 03 8562 9100.last_img read more

Three weeks left to register for Bundaberg Cup!

first_imgIf you’re looking to compete in the richest Touch Football knockout in Australia, travelling to, playing in and staying at the event and location just got a whole lot easier!Touch Football Australia and Queensland Touch Football have partnered with local travel and accommodation operators making it easier and more affordable for you and your team to not only play in this year’s Bundaberg Cup, but also stay and enjoy the great tourism destination options synonymous with the Southern Great Barrier Reef region.The more streamlined process to get to and compete in the event has been made possible through the great support and collaboration of event partners, Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism, Bundaberg Regional Council and Queensland Rail. Following the success of the inaugural Bundaberg Cup in 2015, teams from around the country are registering now in pursuit of the $20,000 prize purse across men’s, women’s, mixed and junior divisions. The event will be held at the Greg Duncan Touch Fields on the weekend of 19 and 20 November 2016.With less than 50 days to go, check out the top 50 things to do in location in coming weeks: see 41-50 of the best tourism experiences in the Bundaberg-North Burnett region on the event website and to continue up to the event date.  We will provide you with the hottest tips on things to do and places to stay while you are participating and for all your friends and family to consider as well. Event Ambassador and ex-NRL star, Scott Prince will be in location sampling the local tourism sights and delights on Tuesday, 18 October to give you an insider’s view of the best attractions on offer. With an exciting event format planning for this second instalment of the Bundy Cup, Prince is looking forward to returning to Bundaberg to compete in the event…and stay for a few days. “I’m really excited to be returning to Bundaberg to not only take part in the Bundaberg Cup but also to re-visit what the Bundaberg and North Burnett Region has to offer,” he said. “it’s a great time of year as the turtles are coming to shore to lay their eggs – a moment the family and I and I’m sure others would love to see,” Prince said.“The prizemoney on offer is outstanding which should see the best of the best in town but also a strong social contingent as well. “I am hopeful that our team can go back-to-back,” Prince added.The Bundaberg Cup is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland in partnership with the Bundaberg Regional Council, Bundaberg and North Burnett Tourism and promoted as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland event calendar.To register your team and take advantage of the many accommodation and travel offers, download the Bundaberg Cup Offers PDF here , or visit the Official Bundaberg Cup website. Hurry, registrations close soon, and this touch tournament is not one to miss! Discover 50-41 top tourist attractions in Bundaberg now!Related LinksBundaberg Cuplast_img read more

9 months agoLazio coach Simone Inzaghi: We’re serious about Coppa Italia

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi: We’re serious about Coppa Italiaby Carlos Volcano9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLazio coach Simone Inzaghi says he’ll select a strong line-up for their Coppa Italia tie with Novara.Lazio meet Novara today in the round of 16.”Tomorrow’s match is going to be important and there is a place in the quarter-final up for grabs,” said Inzaghi.“We have always achieved good results in the Coppa Italia and want to continue that trend in the current campaign. The lads are in good shape and returned from vacation with a lot of motivation. We’ll put in a great performance, because our objective is to keep pushing hard in this tournament.“Over the last two years, we played in the Final and the semi-final. We know Novara are going to take this seriously and I want my team to take it seriously too, as we want to do well at all costs.” last_img read more

22 days agoBoly stoppage-time header steals late win for Wolves over Besiktas

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Boly stoppage-time header steals late win for Wolves over Besiktasby Freddie Taylor22 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveNuno was proud of his players after Wolves secured their first ever Europa League group stage win over Besiktas on Thursday.Most teams in the world struggle to deal with the ferocious atmosphere in Istanbul, but the Premier League outfit showed grit and determination to grab all three points. With the game destined for a draw, defender Willy Boly popped up in stoppage time to score the winner.Speaking after the game, Nuno said: “The performance wasn’t the best, we competed well but we were sloppy, we weren’t accurate when we should be and we’ve got to improve that. It’s a tough stadium and environment but we managed the game well and we kept pushing.”I was trying to find solutions with our substitutions, Adama [Traore] did well but we struggled with the final touch, that’s something we’ve got to improve.”We’ll keep on fighting, it’s a competitive group but we’ll just keep looking forward. We were in the Championship two years ago, we must be proud, the fans were superb tonight. We have to improve and keep believing in the things that we do.” last_img read more

16 days ago​Sir Alex Ferguson hails ‘absolute legend’ Wenger

first_imgAbout the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say ​Sir Alex Ferguson hails ‘absolute legend’ Wengerby Ansser Sadiq16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has gushed praise on his old rival Arsene Wenger.The two set the standard in the Premier League in the 1990s and early 2000s.Despite being bitter rivals in those years, Ferguson and Wenger have developed mutual respect in their later years.And Ferguson was not afraid to speak out in praise of Wenger, as the Frenchman received recognition at the Nordoff Robbins charity award dinner.Ferguson said via video: “The career you had as a manager at Arsenal was absolutely fantastic – an absolute legend.”I loved the competition against you. “We had some great times and it’s wonderful you’re getting this award tonight. “So good luck, my blessing [is] with you.” last_img read more

11 days agoRedknapp insists no chance Spurs will sack Pochettino

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Redknapp insists no chance Spurs will sack Pochettinoby Paul Vegas11 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveHarry Redknapp says there is no chance Spurs will sack Mauricio Pochettino.The Argentine is under pressure to keep his job after a spluttering start to the Premier League season.But former Tottenham boss Redknapp believes Pochettino’s future at the North London club is secured.”Yeah, absolutely, that is not going to happen,” Redknapp told the Daily Mail. “I don’t know if they’ve overachieved. They should be finishing in the top three with that squad, that’s where they should be, there’s no doubt about that in my opinion.”But to get to a Champions League final was great for them. It was great to see them reach the final. “At the start of the year I really thought Spurs would push Man City and Liverpool a lot, lot closer. Tottenham have got a great team, with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Son – I thought this could be their year. “But it’s been a disappointing start for them for sure and they need to turn it around quickly, but I still think they’ll finish third.” last_img read more