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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

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