Former Oklahoma State turned Dallas Cowboy Dez Bryant is No. 1 on the NFLPA top 50 player sales in quarter 1 of the 2016 year, according to a release from the NFLPA.Bryant is the first player since the list was created in 2013 to top the list that isn’t a quarterback. And apparently, it pays to be a Dallas Cowboy. Four of the top five players listed in the top sales are Dallas Cowboys: No. 1 Dez Bryant, No. 2 Tony Romo, No. 3 Ezekiel Elliott, No. 5 Jason Witten.The list is based on total sales of all officially licensed NFL player merchandise, and this specific list references March 1-May 31 of this year.Check out the full list below:Source: NFLPAIf you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
U17 World Cup U17 World Cup: Ghana’s Fabin Samuel – Miss chances and get punished Rahul Bali Last updated 2 years ago 18:15 10/9/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) U17 World Cup Ghana U17 v United States U17 United States U17 Ghana U17 The African team missed several chances against USMNT and coach Samuel was left disappointed… Ghana Under-17 coach Fabin Samuel stated that his side paid the price for not taking the chances which came their way. They suffered a 1-0 defeat against USMNT in their second Group A fixture of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.“I think the last time we trained; we had a good scoring session. Maybe we need to keep working. If you have seen this game, we could have won by a wider margin. We had so many chances. If you miss chances, you get punished,” said Samuel.Abdul Yusuf was stretchered off towards the closing stages of the game as Ghana were down to 10 after having used all their substitutes. “He has been sent to hospital because he lost consciousness. He has been sent for a proper medical check-up.” 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. On being asked if the heat and humidity was a factor, Samuel said, “Maybe it has an effect but then we have trained physically. We are very strong except that you get the advantage and don’t take your chances, then you lose the match like we did.”Ghana next face India on the 12th in what will be a crucial game for the African giants. “We have to beat India and qualify. Now it’s critical that we need to win to get the qualification ticket. We will work more on goal scoring. We create opportunities but don’t take them. Once we get it right, the goals will flow.”
Juventus What the hell has happened to the great Juventus defence? Mark Doyle Deputy Features Editor Last updated 2 years ago 15:00 10/25/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images Juventus Serie A Juventus v SPAL SPAL Opinion The Bianconeri have already conceded 16 times in 13 games this season, casting doubts on their ability to retain their Serie A title and win in Europe At a shareholders meeting at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on Tuesday, Juventus president Andrea Agnelli confirmed that the club was in rude financial health, revealing an annual profit of €42 million.In his address, he reserved particular praise for six players: Gigi Buffon, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Claudio Marchisio and Leonardo Bonucci – the only ever-presents in the Bianconeri’s unprecedented run of six consecutive Scudetti.Juve 4/9 to beat Spal to nil 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 It was an acknowledgement that after the Calciopoli-induced collapse, Juventus had been rebuilt on the most solid of foundations.While Lichtsteiner and Marchisio had not always been regulars, goalkeeper Buffon and the three men in front of him – Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini, affectionately known as the BBC – had been constants in the most dominant era in Serie A history. It was they who had allowed the likes of Andrea Pirlo to go and play.Now, though, Juve’s greatest strength looks like their biggest weakness.The Bianconeri won 6-2 at Udinese on Saturday, meaning they have now scored 27 times in Serie A already this season – their best tally after nine rounds since 1960.However, Juve have now conceded nine goals, which is why Buffon wasn’t entirely satisfied by the result in Friuli – even though Juve had played with 10 men for 64 minutes.”You don’t win titles with 6-2 victories,” he declared. “We’ll take it tonight due to the unusual circumstances, but we still need to improve.”Bianconeri director Beppe Marotta was quick to point out that Massimiliano Allegri’s men are hardly in crisis but it was no coincidence that a meeting between the players and the coach was held after last week’s 2-1 reversal at home to Lazio – Juve’s first defeat in Turin in all competitions in 57 games.That loss had been coming, even Allegri admitted as much. “We had the warning signs against Torino, Sassuolo and Atalanta,” he acknowledged.In truth, Juve did not look right as far back as the Supercoppa Italiana clash with Lazio in August. The understandable feeling at the time was that the 3-2 defeat counted for little given the game was essentially a glorified friendly, but it was cast in a whole new light when the Bianconeri were undone by the same side 10 days ago.Lazio are the only top-six side that Juve have faced so far this season – yet only once in the past six seasons, in 2013-14, have they conceded more goals (10) after nine Serie A outings.Furthermore, while Juve sit second in their Champions League group, they were brutally exposed by a Barcelona side that they had completely nullified over the course of 180 minutes last season.Indeed, the contrast between their 3-0 loss at Camp Nou and the defensive masterclass they put on in Catalunya in March was stark and cast serious aspersions on their hopes of conquering Europe for the first time since 1996, particularly when one considers that they have shipped 16 goals in just 13 games already this season.The obvious explanation for Juve’s defensive deficiencies is that they miss Bonucci as much as he misses them, with the Italy international enduring a horrendous start to his AC Milan career, which culminated in a red card against Genoa on Sunday.Certainly, Bonucci’s distribution skills have been noticeable by their absence but his departure does not account for the worrying and persistent lapses in concentration, which both Chiellini and Allegri have referred to as “black-outs”.Dani Alves’ defection has also left a gaping void at full-back that Mattia De Sciglio unsurprisingly looks incapable of filling, while Alex Sandro suddenly looks more comparable to Danilo than Marcelo, suggesting that perhaps he is disappointed that his proposed moved to Chelsea never materialised.The 39-year-old Buffon continues to defy physics with his heroic displays – he produced two vintage saves at a crucial point in Saturday’s win in Udine – but there is no denying that the under-rated Barzagli, at 36, is starting to lose his admirable battle with Father Time, while even the remarkably consistent Chiellini, 33, is starting to look his age.However, the latter has quite rightly pointed out that this season the defence are not benefitting from the same level of midfield protection as years gone by.“With all due respect, when we don’t concede goals I’m the first to say it’s not thanks to me, or we defenders,” Chiellini said last week.“The defensive phase is about the team, so it’s about balance.”And Allegri has certainly yet to find it, with the Juve boss having taken a noticeably more attacking approach so far this term, perhaps stung by the criticism from the likes of Arrigo Sacchi that Juve have failed to clear the final hurdle in Europe in two of the past three years because they are more reactive than proactive.“I like Juventus very much when they take the initiative, but they only play like that for 15 minutes and then retreat, just defend and seek the counter-attack,” the iconic Italian coach told Mediaset Premium.”I fear it is a physical issue, so the team cannot handle playing in a certain way for an entire half of football.”The fear now is that in placing a greater emphasis on attack, Allegri has put an ageing backline under too much pressure.Certainly, tired bodies lead to tired minds, which would account for the concentration issues this season, but it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Juve should have rejuvenated their backline during the summer.Indeed, Marotta was asked at the stakeholders meeting on Tuesday if Juve had erred in failing to sign a dominant centre-half during the summer and he bit back. “Absolutely not. We have a point more than last year and we have the best attack but we need to improve in defence.”He knew that in the summer, though. As has already proven, Daniele Rugani still does not look ready to hold down a regular starting berth, while Medhi Benatia has never looked the same player since leaving Roma for Bayern Munich three years ago.The impressive Mattia Caldara has been acquired from Atalanta but will not arrive until next year, which is why Marotta picked up Benedikt Howedes late in the transfer window.It was a bizarre signing and nobody is in the least bit surprised that the injury-prone defender has yet to make his debut.As a result, Juve are left relying on veterans Buffon, Barzagli & Chiellini to support the bid for a seventh successive Scudetto.It’s a gamble but Juve need it to reap dividends. Otherwise, next year’s shareholders meeting will be a rather less ebullient affair.
MLS VIDEO: New York Red Bulls put four past Chicago in MLS playoffs Goal Last updated 2 years ago 10:38 10/26/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Mike DiNovo MLS Chicago Fire v New York RB New York RB Chicago Fire Videos The visiting side ran all over the Chicago Fire in a dominant win to open the MLS playoffs The New York Red Bulls wasted no time in taking control of their MLS knockout round match against the Chicago Fire, jumping out to an early lead before cruising to a 4-0 win. Despite being on the road for the midweek contest, the visiting side stormed out to a 2-0 lead inside the opening 15 minutes.Bradley Wright-Phillips opened the scoring in the seventh minute, taking the ball down and rounding Chicago goalkeeper Matt Lampson before slotting home. The goal was the 99th for Wright-Phillips in all competitions for the Red Bulls. 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 Bradley Wright-Phillips grabs the 1st goal of the #MLSCupPlayoffs (with a little help from Lampson). #CHIvNY https://t.co/Rgh85dM3ca — FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 26, 2017 Sacha Kljestan doubled the lead in the 11th minute, sliding in to finish a Tyler Adams cross from the right side to give his club a commanding lead early in the one-off playoff contest. Sacha Kljestan had just 2 goals in the regular season. Now he’s got the Red Bulls up by 2 in the playoffs. #CHIvNY https://t.co/ewRMcfxvBb — FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 26, 2017 Daniel Royer tacked on New York’s third of the night with a calm turn and finish in the 70th minute. That’s how you put a team away. Daniel Royer’s 1st career playoff goal has the Red Bulls moving on. #CHIvNY https://t.co/nIyZLGeaQR — FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 26, 2017 And a fourth from Gonzalo Veron in the final minutes of the match gave the game its final 4-0 scoreline. The Red Bulls will face Supporters’ Shield winner Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Transfers Balotelli will not be sold in January, says Nice president Stephen Crawford 00:00 12/27/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Transfers Ligue 1 Nice Mario Balotelli The striker is looking to get back to a top-level club but will not leave until the end of the season at the earliest Mario Balotelli will not be sold in the January transfer window, Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere has said.Rivere spoke earlier in December about the difficulty in being able to hold on to the Italian without the money provided by European football as Nice sit sixth in Ligue 1, two spots shy of a Europa League spot.Additionally, Balotelli himself admitted that he is hoping to get back to a top-level club when his current deal comes to an end, having rebuilt his reputation in France after failed spells at AC Milan and 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 Rivere, however, had made it clear that Nice will hold on to the striker for as long as they can and ruled out a January exit for their star man.”No. It’s impossible,” the president said in an interview with Nice-Matin.”We can’t even consider it. You know his importance. Thanks to his performances, he gained a financial value one year and a half before his contract ends.“That’s not what we are looking for regarding Mario. We want him to lift the team higher.”It’s actually a nice story. It’s comforting to see that we do not make only mistakes.”The Nice chief also took time to address rumours that had arisen regarding coach Lucien Favre during a testing time for the club in October, stating the 60-year-old was never in any real danger of losing his job.”We never doubted Lucien,” he said. “It’s false. We never threw him to the wolves.”When you know you’re dealing with the right guy to fix the issues there’s no reason to flinch. You just have to be united.”We were and we made it together in the end. We did everything we had to do in order to keep the house from cracking.”
match reports Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Read more Topics Sean Dyche called for a review of diving protocols after Huddersfield’s Rajiv van La Parra took what the Burnley manager called an “unacceptable” tumble in pursuit of a penalty.Both sides walked away with a point after gritting their teeth for a goalless draw at Turf Moor but the Terriers might have won it had the referee, Chris Kavanagh, been taken in when Van La Parra hit the turf after instigating contact with Matt Lowton. Twitter The Observer Dyche suggested he would have harsh words with any Burnley player who went to ground as easily as Van La Parra, suggesting they would be invited to the manager’s office for a dressing down, and Wagner said his player had already pleaded guilty.“I was too far away and Sean was even further away than I was. I haven’t seen it again but I have spoken with Van La Parra and it was a dive,” said the German.“It was nothing we like to see. He gets booked, he gets a fine and we go on.” Liverpool dig in for victory after Simon Mignolet penalty save denies Leicester Huddersfield Wagner was otherwise content to rack up a ninth point of the campaign and a fourth clean sheet – both numbers few would have backed the Terriers to reach after just six matches in the top flight. The centre-half Christopher Schindler’s shackling of Burnley’s £15m striker Chris Wood was the highlight of an otherwise dreary game. Schindler has been a staple of the Huddersfield defence that has conceded just three goals.“It was a deserved point in a tight and even game, both sides are very difficult to break down,” Wagner said.“Everybody worked hard and I’m pleased with the clean sheet, of course, everybody feels responsibility for the defence in our team. Every player on the grass – defence, offence, midfielder – feels responsibility for the hard yards.” Share on WhatsApp Premier League David Wagner, the Huddersfield manager, accepted the Dutchman was deserving of both his booking and a fine, but Dyche came in with a full-blooded tirade. “It would have been an absolute farce,” said the Burnley manager about the prospect of a spot-kick. “It’s unacceptable in my book. I can’t abide it. I feel for the referee and I thought he was excellent in the moment. But he should be protected from that. “If it is a penalty they score, we lose and then he gets banned. How does that work?“I’ve been harping on about this for three years and no one wants to listen. It’s for the good of the game … I travel across the country with my kid playing football and I’m watching 14-year-olds diving all over the place. Where do they get it from? They copy players.“It’s got to be clamped down on. Maybe the video thing will give the refs a chance to look at it. But it’s got to go.” Read more Burnley Facebook Pinterest Burnley’s James Tarkowski, left, and Matthew Lowton react to Huddersfield Town’s Rajiv van La Parra going down in the box. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Romelu Lukaku strike enough to give Manchester United win at Southampton Reuse this content
After Arsenal landed in Belarus to begin the knockout stages of the Europa League against Bate Borisov, their goalkeeper Petr Cech, who retires at the end of the season, outlined his dream to bid farewell by winning the trophy.“That would be an ideal scenario for me to finish my career,” he said. “We prepare every day for every competition and this is what we are aiming for. We try to win every game and progress step by step and as a club it is important for us to try to go as far as possible. Share on Facebook Maurizio Sarri still seeking solutions for Chelsea’s mental fragility “Winning the Europa League is a great memory for everyone involved and secondly it can book you a place in the Champions League, so you can see there is a lot to play for.”Cech, whose career has included 14 trophies and the accolade of being the most capped Czech footballer with 124 appearances, intends to savour every moment he gets on the pitch this season and give every last ounce of professionalism he has.“I don’t think if it is my last game or not,” he said. “I prepare for every game like I did all through my career and I want to put the best performance on the pitch and win the game.”With Bernd Leno taking over Premier League duties for Arsenal, the 36-year-old Cech is adopting the role of cup keeper and is highly focused on trying to help Arsenal go even further than they did last season in the Europa League, when they were beaten by the eventual winners, Atlético Madrid, in the semi-finals.Cech is urging his team to step up a gear after a canter through the group stage. “We are the favourites for the tie but you have to do it on the pitch, be focused home and away, if you want to progress,” he said.Unai Emery has brought a strong squad for the game against Bate Borisov. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang returns after illness but Mesut Özil, who was also off colour last weekend, did not make enough of a recovery to make the journey.Now Arsenal are out of both domestic cups, and with the search for a top-four finish an uncertain route back into the Champions League, the Europa League holds major significance in their ambitions for the remainder of the season.“Our target is clear: to play next year in the Champions League,” Emery said. “But we know it’s not easy. We have two ways now, one is the Europa League, and to win it is very difficult. In the Premier League we also have the possibility. The big challenge is thinking only about the next match, improving individually and collectively, creating a big mentality for us.” Share on Messenger Unai Emery Arsenal Europa League Declan Rice switches allegiance from Republic of Ireland to England Read more Share on WhatsApp Bate Borisov news Share on LinkedIn They take on a Bate team who have not played since December. They are in their pre-season and have had an overhaul of their squad, with seven departures and three players coming in. The midfielder Alexander Hleb, once of north London, is still playing at the age of 37.Arsenal struck 10 goals past Bate when the teams met last season but they are taking nothing for granted. “Bate are involved in European competition every year and have a lot of experience playing in Europe, so it is not going to be easy,” Cech said.Emery was also keen to point out that, even if it is snood weather, the conditions will not in any way phase Arsenal. When Chelsea visited last December Maurizio Sarri was not too impressed with the state of the pitch in the chilly Borisov Arena in Barysaw.“We played against Vorskla in Kiev when it was snowing,” Emery said. “It’s not an excuse for us, the weather or the pitch. We play 90 minutes that are the same for them and for us.”Bate Borisov (4-3-3, possible): Scherbitskiy; Ryas, Volkov, Filipenko, Filipovic; Yablonskiy, Drahun, Hleb; Stasevich, Skavysh, Mukhamedov Arsenal (4-2-3-1, possible): Cech; Maitland-Niles, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Xhaka, Guendouzi; Iwobi, Lacazette, Mkhitaryan; Aubameyang Share on Twitter Read more Share on Pinterest Topics Share via Email Reuse this content
Read more Share on WhatsApp California Topics Share on Messenger “It’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interest, finally, of the athletes on par with the interests of the institutions,” California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, said on a show hosted by NBA superstar LeBron James. “Now we’re rebalancing that power arrangement.” He predicted other states will introduce similar legislation. … 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. California has defied US college sports’ governing body, the NCAA, after the state’s governor signed a law on Monday that will let college athletes hire agents and make money from endorsements. The move could upend amateur sports in America and trigger a legal challenge.Under the law, which takes effect in 2023, students at public and private universities in the state will be allowed to sign deals with sportswear firms, soft-drink makers or other businesses and profit from their images, names or likenesses, as professional athletes do. Will a California bill give players a slice of college sports’ $14bn pie? NCAA College sports Share on Pinterest Share via Email Share on Twitter Since you’re here… US sports Reuse this content LeBron James LeBron James (@KingJames)I’m so incredibly proud to share this moment with all of you. @gavinnewsom came to The Shop to do something that will change the lives for countless athletes who deserve it! @uninterrupted hosted the formal signing for SB 206 allowing college athletes to responsibly get paid. pic.twitter.com/NZQGg6PY9dSeptember 30, 2019 Share on Facebook news Share on LinkedIn Support The Guardian The new law bans colleges from kicking athletes off the team if they get paid. It does not apply to community colleges and bars athletes from accepting endorsement deals that conflict with their schools’ existing contracts.The NCAA had asked Newsom to veto the bill, saying it “would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletes.” The board also warned that the law would give California universities an unfair recruiting advantage, which could prompt the NCAA to bar them from competition. Powerhouse programs with rich sporting histories such as the University of Southern California, the University of California, Los Angeles, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, could find themselves barred. But while the NCAA is the top governing body for college sports, membership is voluntary. If the California schools are forced out, they could form a new league.Professional athletes have endorsed the law, including NBA superstar James, whose 14-year-old son is a closely watched basketball prospect in Los Angeles and will be 18 when the measure takes effect.On social media, James celebrated the signing of the law, saying it will “change the lives for countless athletes who deserve it!” He added: “NCAA, you got the next move. We can solve this for everyone!California senator Nancy Skinner, the bill’s author, said the measure lets athletes share in the wealth they create. “For decades, college sports has generated billions for all involved except the very people most responsible for creating the wealth. That’s wrong,” she said.The NCAA has steadfastly refused to pay players in most cases. But a committee is studying other ways players could make money. Its report is expected in October.The NCAA does let some athletes accept money in some instances. Tennis players can accept up to $10,000 in prize money per year, and Olympians can accept winnings from their competitions. Plus, schools in the big “Power 5” conferences can paplayers yearly cost-of-living stipends of between $2,000 and $4,000.The NCAA reported $1.1bn in revenue in 2017.
Read more Japan marks shining moment at Rugby World Cup in wake of Typhoon Hagibis It’s a country that is desperately passionate, it wants its nation to do well. It’s a very proud nation and happy to show it off. Next year Japan will become the first country in the world that has staged a rugby World Cup, the Olympics and the football World Cup this century. There is a reason why they have all descended on Japan. We’re talking about a nation of more than 126 million people who are growing to love our sport, so why wouldn’t we do everything to make it work?There is directive from World Rugby to get out into new territories. It is oscillating between expanding and growing fresh areas and then consolidating strongholds, which is what France 2023 is all about. Four years later there is talk of going to the US. It would be a challenge. And I’m sure World Rugby has a long-sighted vision for Japan but we are living and breathing it every single day at the moment. The supporters are loving it, the infrastructure is tailor-made for sport and that’s why all those big competitions have been hosted here.Is rugby so buoyant that we can’t look for new opportunities? Is rugby so stable that we’re so comfortable where we live in this holy huddle and don’t need anyone else? We have to be more ambitious and perhaps be more uncomfortable in seeking new markets and openings. That’s just where we’re at. There is a reason why we’ve had the Champions Cup final staged in Bilbao and Newcastle. There is a reason why the rugby World Cup has been taken to new territories – because we need to expand our game. It’s not often you get opportunities to grow like this and it’s important to seize them. Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook comment Rugby World Cup: how the quarter-finalists shape up Rugby World Cup 2019 Share on LinkedIn Rugby World Cup Share via Email To be frank, after what Japan have done I would argue rugby’s superpowers need Japan more than Japan need them. There is no doubting Japan will be in demand to join a major yearly competition and from a selfish point of view, as someone who loves northern hemisphere rugby, I hope the Six Nations give it some consideration.To address some of the logistical issues, Japan is a long way from Europe but that said, it’s a long way from all of the nations in the Rugby Championship too. I do not want to dismiss the extra strain it could put on players and supporters but if the Six Nations needs a bit of restructuring to make it work, then so be it. In any given year, the three existing teams who play away in Japan could have a rest week immediately afterwards. Japan could then base themselves in Europe to play their away matches in a block.From a supporters’ point of view it would mean change but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I love the historic rivalries in the Six Nations, the tribalism it brings. I appreciate introducing Japan would come with an added expense and I do not wish to make light of that but I have met lots of supporters from the home nations since the World Cup started and if I were to ask each of them whether they would want to come back on a regular basis the overwhelming answer would be “absolutely, yes”.And that’s all before you consider the benefits that a team like Japan would bring, as well as the financial and commercial incentives. They have played some mesmerising stuff, they have broken through the glass ceiling and they have won the hearts and the minds of the nation. Now is the time to capitalise and make sure the legacy is not lost.Part of the advertising campaign over here has been that you do not need to learn all of the laws to fall in love with rugby and that’s absolutely been the case. A friend of mine was watching the Japan v Samoa game in a pub with some locals and they had no idea what was going on in the final minute with the scrum, but when the try was scored they were crying in celebration. That’s a perfect snapshot of where rugby is in Japan at the moment but let’s take the next step.Just under 30 million people in Japan watched that match against Samoa with an audience share of almost 50%, which is just remarkable. Compare that to England v Croatia in the football World Cup semi-final last year. That had a one-minute peak of 26.6 million. Yes, Japan has a much bigger population, so you would expect bigger numbers, but that’s a pool stage match compared to a semi-final in a football-mad country. It goes to show how much appetite there is for rugby in Japan. Support The Guardian Share on Twitter Topics Reuse this content Sportblog And imagine if we had regular rugby of this kind of quality in Japan. There’s already this excitement but how about these viewing figures every single year for a consistent period of time. Read more Share on Messenger Japan rugby union team Rugby union I had a conversation with some Japan supporters a few days before the Scotland match and they asked me if I thought their team might be able to cause any more upsets at the World Cup. I can safely say that is not a conversation I will be having any more because the tournament’s narrative has changed. Japan are no longer causing upsets but producing world‑class performances, and they are making a mockery of their tier-two label.I want to start a different conversation. How about Japan joining the Six Nations? I may be inviting ridicule and there are obvious logistical hurdles that would have to be overcome but can rugby union really say it is in rude enough health that it is not a question worth asking? Share on WhatsApp … 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. The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Since you’re here…
Transfers January transfer news & rumours: Ronaldo ready to leave Real Madrid Goal Last updated 1 year ago 04:20 1/17/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(6) Transfers Premier League Serie A Ligue 1 Bundesliga Primera División Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond as we head into the winter window Cristiano Ronaldo ready to leave Real MadridCristiano Ronaldo is ready to leave Real Madrid as a direct result of the club’s procrastination over a new contract, according to a report from ESPN.The 32-year-old believes a lucrative new deal should be on the table following a formidable 2016-17 campaign, while seeing Lionel Messi and Neymar both being rewarded bumper contracts of their own at Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain respectively. And although initial talks have started in regards to a new deal, Real chief Florentino Perez is delaying a renewal as the Portugal international’s current contract still has three years to run. 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 Unwilling to wait, however, Ronaldo is said to be ready to leave because of the slow progress.Mourinho to sign contract extensionManchester United are set to announce a contract extension for manager Jose Mourinho, according to The National.Mourinho’s current three-year deal runs until 2019, and negotiations that began earlier in the season have now been concluded successfully.United currently sit second in the Premier League table after Mourinho led the Red Devils to League Cup and Europa League titles last year in his first season with the club. PSG will make Ronaldo offer on one conditionParis Saint-Germain will make a big-money offer for Cristiano Ronaldo if Real Madrid president Florentino Perez can assure the French club that he will give up his pursuit of Neymar, according to Don Balon .The report claims Ronaldo has made it clear to club officials that he wants to leave the Santiago Bernabeu, but will not accept a move to a perceived ‘smaller league’ such as China or MLS.As such, very few sides will want to bid for the Portuguese, who will soon turn 33 years old. Perez, it is said, is not willing to cooperate with PSG’s wishes.Inter and Barca reach agreement over RafinhaInter are closing on their second signing of the January transfer window after advancing in talks with Barcelona over midfielder Rafinha, sources tell Goal . Goal understands that Inter director Piero Ausilio is currently in Catalunya to discuss terms for the player, who has struggled to break back into the first team at Camp Nou after returning from a serious knee injury.And after some discussion, Barcelona are now ready to release Rafinha on loan to San Siro in a deal that will agree a purchase option.Read the full story right here on Goal! Sturridge is Sevilla’s Plan BLiverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is being lined up as an alternative option by Sevilla, if they fail to sign Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi, reports AS .Sevilla are keen to sign Batshuayi on loan for the rest of the season, but Chelsea are reluctant to sanction a deal until a replacement has been brought in.That has led Sevilla to consider other targets and Sturridge, who is reportedly interested in a January move in search of regular first-team football, is the back-up option.Liverpool & Arsenal target Mahrez to cost £100mLeicester City manager Claude Puel believes star attacker Riyad Mahrez could “cost even more than £100 million” in the summer transfer window.Mahrez, 26, has been linked with a move away from the Premier League side, with Arsenal and Liverpool among those reportedly interested.Read the full story right here on Goal! Conte: I don’t think Chelsea want AlexisAntonio Conte has claimed that he doesn’t think Chelsea have joined the race to sign Alexis Sanchez, although refused to give a definite answer.The Chilean has agreed personal terms with Manchester United and is likely to join the Red Devils, if Henrikh Mkhitaryan agrees to go in the opposite direction, although there had been rumours the Blues were looking to hijack the deal.That has been played down by Conte, however, who revealed in a press conference on Tuesday that he doesn’t think his side are looking at bringing in the 29-year-old forward.Read the full story right here on Goal! Man Utd yet to trigger Mata dealManchester United are yet to trigger the one-year option on Juan Mata’s contract, but the playmaker wants to stay at Old Trafford, according to ESPN .Mata’s current deal expires at the end of the season, and he has been linked with summer moves to Inter Milan and former club Valencia.United have a 12-month option on Mata’s contract and the club are still expected to exercise the deal to keep the Spaniard for at least another season.PSG & Madrid track Arsenal teenagerArsenal teenager Reiss Nelson is being chased by Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, claims the Daily Mail .The 18-year-old is out of contract next year and there has yet to be agreement over a long-term deal for the winger to stay at the Emirates Stadium.The situation has led to PSG and Madrid taking an interest, while rival Premier League clubs are also keeping a watching brief.Liverpool & City chase £20m-rated Norwich midfielderNorwich City midfielder James Maddison is attracting interest from leading Premier League clubs after an impressive season at Carrow Road, reports the Evening Standard .The England Under 21 international is a target for Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham, and would likely cost in the region of £20 million.However, Norwich don’t want to sell the 21-year-old during the January transfer window, with a summer deal a more likely option.Raiola demands key to Alexis-Mkhitaryan dealArsenal’s pursuit of Henrikh Mkhitaryan hinges on whether the attacker is paid off by Manchester United due to his contract running for another two years, Goal understands. The Gunners are keen for a swap deal with United, but neither club are prepared to sanction the transfer unless the Armenia international agrees to move to north London.Mkhitaryan’s agent Mino Raiola is also determined to secure a fee for himself as part of his involvement in brokering the deal.Read the full story right here on Goal! Walcott agrees £20m Everton moveArsenal winger Theo Walcott is on the verge of signing for Everton for a fee of £20 million, Goal understands.Everton offered the most attractive financial package to Walcott, who is due to undergo a medical on Tuesday afternoon and could be included in Sam Allardyce’s squad for Saturday’s Premier League game at home to West Brom.The proceeds from the 28-year-old’s sale, which could rise to £25m with add-ons, will go towards Arsenal’s efforts to sign Brazilian winger Malcom from Bordeaux and West Brom centre-back Jonny Evans.Read the full story right here on Goal! Mignolet considering Liverpool futureSimon Mignolet is considering his Liverpool future due to what he described as an “unhealthy” goalkeeper situation at the club.Loris Karius, whose appearances this season have largely been restricted to the Champions League, started ahead of Mignolet for the FA Cup tie with Everton and Sunday’s dramatic 4-3 win over Manchester City.Read the full story right here on Goal! Wilshere offered new Arsenal contractArsenal have offered midfielder Jack Wilshere a new contract, but on a lower salary than he currently earns, claims the BBC .Wilshere is out of contract at the end of the season and is not expecting to sign a new deal during the January transfer window .The Gunners have made moves to keep the England international, although the fresh terms would put the 26-year-old on a reduced basic salary, but with heavily incentivised clauses.Newcastle explore other loan optionsNewcastle United are exploring other loan options as they wait for Chelsea to make a decision on the future of Kenedy, according to the Shields Gazette .Rafa Benitez wants to bring Kenedy to St. James’ Park, but Chelsea are reluctant to let the Brazilian leave until they have signed another left-sided player as a replacement.With Benitez desperate to improve his squad during the January transfer window, Newcastle are now considering a loan move for Crystal Palace left-back Pape Souare.Madrid to meet €110m Icardi release clauseReal Madrid have identified Mauro Icardi as their top summer transfer target and are ready to meet the Inter Milan striker’s €110 million release clause, reports Corriere dello Sport .Madrid president Florentino Perez wants to sign a new No.9 at the end of the season due to the disappointing form of Karim Benzema this term.The likes of Tottenham’s Harry Kane have been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu, but Icardi is now the striker Perez wants to sign in the summer.Aubameyang set for showdown talksPierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to hold crunch talks with Dortmund bosses over his future with the club.The Gabon international has reportedly asked to leave on two occasions and will now hold discussions with head coach Peter Stoger and sporting director Michael Zorc.Check out the full story right here on Goal! Gameiro wants to stay at AtleticoKevin Gameiro is not looking to leave Atletico Madrid in the January transfer window amid reports of interest from Swansea, according to L’Equipe .Swansea are rumoured to be preparing a club-record £25 million bid for Gameiro, who has previously been linked with a move to Everton.However, the France international is happy to finish the season at Atletico as the striker aims to force his way into his country’s World Cup squad.Man Utd doubt Ronaldo returnManchester United are not convinced Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Real Madrid to return to Old Trafford in the summer, according to ESPN .A report in AS on Monday claimed that Ronaldo is keen to quit Madrid in the summer due to broken promises over a new contract and that the Portugal international wants to go back to United.However, United doubt the 32-year-old is seriously looking for a way out of Madrid and feel the speculation is part of the plan for the forward to secure a new contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.Chelsea in for Alexis after Man City withdrawalManchester United’s main rivals for Alexis Sanchez’s transfer now appear to be Chelsea after Man City dropped out of the race, reports the Manchester Evening News .City had appeared close to signing the Arsenal star, but have now withdrawn from contention frustrated at the pace of negotiations.But United have not landed their man yet, and could even see a reported £35 million fee pushed up by the Blues’ late interest. RB Leipzig make Kluivert approachRB Leipzig have made contact with Ajax regarding a possible deal to sign teenage winger Justin Kluivert, claims Gianluca Di Marzio .Kluivert, the son of former Ajax and Netherlands striker Patrick, is one of the brightest talents in Dutch football, and is a target for Barcelona and Manchester United.However, Leipzig are keen to win the race for the 18-year-old and have been in touch with the player’s representatives and Ajax.Liverpool to loan out GrujicLiverpool are ready to send midfielder Marko Grujic on loan to a Championship club, according to the Liverpool Echo .Grujic has made just six appearances for the Liverpool this season, and is a target for Premier League duo Huddersfield and West Ham.However, Jurgen Klopp is keen to ensure the 21-year-old is playing regularly in the second half of the season and a move to the Championship is now on the agenda.Napoli turn to Lucas MouraParis Saint-Germain’s Lucas Moura has emerged as an option for Napoli in the Serie A side’s search for a new winger, reports Sky Sport Italia .Simone Verdi of Bologna is Napoli’s primary target, but a January deal is looking unlikely, while a move for Barcelona’s Gerard Deulofeu is also proving difficult.Now Lucas, who is keen to leave PSG and has been linked with Manchester United , is a possibility due to his availability, with Napoli exploring a loan deal with a view to a €25 million permanent transfer.Bayern consider Martins moveBayern Munich have been scouting Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins with a view to a potential summer move, reports O Jogo .Martins has been repeatedly linked with a move to Liverpool, but now Bayern are stepping up their interest as the Bundesliga club search for long-term replacements for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.The 22-year-old has a €60 million release clause in his contract, but Sporting want to increase that figure to €100m and delay a sale until at least the end of the season.Arsenal to get Auba update on TuesdayTuesday will be an important day for Arsenal’s pursuit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to Sky Sports reporter Guillem Balague .Balague claims the striker is keen to join the Gunners but the German club are yet to relay whether they are willing to let the Gabon international leave in the January window.Arsenal are expecting to hear BVB’s stance on Tuesday.Giroud to be offered in Auba dealArsenal are set to offer striker Olivier Giroud as part of their bid to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to The Sun .The Gunners are keen to bring Aubameyang to the Emirates Stadium as they prepare for life after Alexis Sanchez.And they are set to make an offer of £30 million plus Giroud – who has struggled for starts this season – to the Bundesliga outfit.Can hints at Liverpool stayEmre Can has suggested that he could yet sign a new contract at Liverpool.The Germany international midfielder is out of contract this summer and has consistently been linked with a move to Juventus.Read the full story on Goal! Man United agree cash + Mkhitaryan move for AlexisManchester United have agreed a deal for Alexis Sanchez which will see Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to Arsenal, claims the Daily Express .According to the newspaper, Arsenal will receive £40 million for the Chile star, who is out of contract in the summer. Mkhitaryan will move the other way after being frozen out of the Red Devils first team this season.Mou confident over Alexis despite Chelsea reportsJose Mourinho is “relaxed” in the face of reports that Chelsea are planning to hijack Manchester United’s approach for Alexis Sanchez. “Other big clubs are probably interested – who knows?” he told reporters after Monday’s 3-0 win against Stoke City.Read the full story on Goal! Pep keen on Asensio signingManchester City manager Pep Guardiola has turned his attentions to young Real Madrid star Marco Asensio, according to Diario Gol . The Citizens have given up their chase of Alexis Sanchez, having started January as favourites to sign the Arsenal man. And Asensio, who has struggled for playing time in recent weeks at Madrid, would be a more than acceptable alternative, as Pep is a big admirer of the forward.Napoli to make fresh Deulofeu moveNapoli are set to make a new approach for Barcelona outcast Gerard Deulofeu, according to Sport .The winger has found himself surplus to requirements and available for transfer following the arrival of Philippe Coutinho. And after struggling to land first choice, Bologna’s Simone Verdi, Napoli could return to Deulofeu if they fail to sign the young forward.Madrid inform Athletic of Kepa interestReal Madrid have officially informed Athletic of their interest in signing goalkeeper Kepa, according to Euskal Telebista . The Liga champions have been inactive so far in the transfer window, but have been plagued by poor form throughout the current season. And with Keylor Navas coming in for criticism from some sectors, a move for Kepa could yet take place in the current window.Giggs to call Scholes as Wales No. 2New Wales manager Ryan Giggs is keen to name ex-Manchester United team-mate Paul Scholes as his assistant, according to The Sun .The 44-year-old was unveiled as Chris Coleman’s successor on Monday, and will be tasked with securing qualification for Euro 2020 after the World Cup finals. Giggs and Scholes have past experience working together, as interim bosses at United in 2014 prior to Louis van Gaal’s arrival.Liverpool target Mahrez set on moveLiverpool target Riyad Mahrez is determined to seal a move away from Leicester City in the current window, claims The Sun .The Algeria international has been linked strongly with the Reds, fitting the profile of the attacking playmaker needed to replace Philippe Coutinho, while Arsenal are also reported suitors. And while Leicester have insisted he is going nowhere, Mahrez will not give up in his attempts to force a sale. Sources: Rubin weighing MLS, Liga MX interestMLS is in negotiations with U.S. national team forward Rubio Rubin, sources confirmed to Goal on Monday.The 21-year-old is a free agent after leaving Norwegian side Stabaek at the end of last season, the second of two unsuccessful club stints in 2017. At least four MLS teams are interest in acquiring Rubin, who will have to go through the allocation order, which is used to determine where returning U.S. national team players go in MLS.The interested teams, which one source says includes MLS Cup winner Toronto FC and expansion side Los Angeles FC, are hoping to land the player who looked so good with the U.S. at the 2015 U-20 World Cup.Read the full story on Goal! West Ham fear Chelsea interest has distracted CarrollWest Ham fear that a reported loan move to Chelsea has distracted Andy Carroll’s attention, according to the Daily Mirror .The former Liverpool striker has emerged as a surprise target at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues desperately short of goals in recent weeks and in the market for a frontman.Lambert handed Stoke survival fundNew Stoke City manager Paul Lambert has been handed a transfer fund to stave off relegation to the Championship, reports the Daily Mirror .Lambert, who takes over from Mark Hughes, comes in with his new team currently in 18th place, one point shy of safety.’Alexis signing shouldn’t be at Martial’s expense’ Manchester United’s pursuit of Alexis Sanchez should not come at the expense of Anthony Martial, believes United correspondent Kris Voakes.Martial was in fine form on Monday as the Red Devils downed Stoke City 3-0 at Old Trafford. Read the full analysis on Goal! Neville: Mou would happily swap Mkhitaryan for AlexisFormer Manchester United captain Gary Neville said manager Jose Mourinho would happily swap out-of-favour playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez.”He wanted to keep the player clear, saying that he does rate him, but I think he’d happily swap him in any deal for Alexis Sanchez,” he said. “Anybody would.”Read the full story on Goal! Orlando sign Paraguay starlet ColmanOrlando City have completed the signing of 19-year-old Paraguay starlet Josue Colman from Cerro Porteno.The Under-20 international comes in after the retirement of Kaka, and faces the challenge of filling the Brazilian’s shoes in the playmaker role in Florida.Read the full story on Goal! Neville set for England Women’s jobPhil Neville is set to be confirmed as the new manager of the England Women’s team, according to the Guardian . Neville, who has had previous spells as an assistant with Valencia, Manchester United and England Under-21s, emerged as a front-runner after several of the FA’s leading candidates became unavailable.
Guardiola Guardiola was a born leader – but money has helped, says Stoichkov Ufuk Kaan Karacan Last updated 1 year ago 19:10 1/24/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments() Getty Guardiola Manchester City Cardiff City v Manchester City Cardiff City FA Cup While the Catalan was a “born leader” and has enjoyed terrific success in the dugout, his former team-mate believes that finances have played a role Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov has paid tribute to former team-mate Pep Guardiola, though he did say that the achievements of the Manchester City boss need to be put in the context of the clubs he has managed.Stoichkov played with Guardiola from 1990-95 at Camp Nou, with the latter going on to enjoy a successful managerial career at the club before moving to Bayern Munich and Manchester City.Wherever Pep has gone, trophies have followed. He has won six domestic league titles, and is red-hot favourite to make it seven with City this season, four domestic cup competitions and the Champions League twice. 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 Stoichkov believes this is down to the natural leadership abilities of the 47-year-old, but also the type of financial support he has enjoyed at these sides.“He was a born leader,” the Bulgarian told Goal at the Turkey Sport Awards. “Everyone was connected to him on the pitch due to his position in the midfield. Each play started through him. Ronald Koeman got the ball to Guardiola and he did the rest.“He became the leader of the play at such a young age for that position. He had a long career with Spain, too. “But, of course, as a coach, when you have the money, you can get the best players in your side. It’s been like that in Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.”Jose Mourinho was at the club working in the coaching staff during Stoichkov’s era, and the Bulgarian was impressed by the manner in which the Portuguese conducted himself, facilitating his meteoric rise to Manchester United manager.“Mourinho was always a coach, but few knew about it,” he revealed of the man better known as Sir Bobby Robson’s interpreter at that point. “Mourinho had a special position. He was writing down what each player did, or could not do in the training. Then he was telling Robson about it all. That’s why he is one of the greatest managers in the world. He was always one step ahead.”Stoichkov also spoke of Barca attacker Lionel Messi, explaining that he wants Argentina to win the World Cup this summer in order for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to answer those final few critics.“Messi cannot be compared to anyone. He is the greatest,” he said. “I want him to win the World Cup, so people will stop comparing to the others. Nobody can do what he does at Barcelona.”
Transfers Good riddance, Alexis! Arsenal better off with former BVB buddies Aubameyang & Mkhitaryan Chris Wheatley Arsenal correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 19:37 1/31/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(88) Getty Transfers Arsenal Premier League The ex-Dortmund duo combined for 62 goals in all competitions two seasons ago and Arsenal will be getting them in the prime of their careers After weeks of negotiations, Arsene Wenger has finally reunited two of the Bundesliga’s most talented attacking duos.Last week, the Arsenal manager secured Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s arrival as part of the deal which saw Alexis Sanchez head to Manchester United. And now the Frenchman has sanctioned a club record transfer of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang , who will join a rich array of talent up front including Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette.It was only last summer when protracted negotiations with Lyon saw Arsenal break their transfer record for 26-year-old Lacazette. Five months on, the Gunners were put under even more pressure to seal the Aubameyang deal after photographs emerged of the contract negotiating team out in Germany ahead of talks with Borussia Dortmund officials. 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 Arsenal have lost a player who scored 30 goals last season in Alexis Sanchez but they are undoubtedly better off without him.The Chilean’s frustrations with his fellow team-mates throughout the past year negatively affected the squad and many players were relieved when the transfer saga finally came to an end.While there can be no questioning Sanchez’s imperious talent, it should be noted that he struggled to replicate his form of last season and the uncertainty surrounding a key player’s contract situation – coupled with the common knowledge that he wanted to leave the club last summer – certainly did not help team morale.The Gunners’ new contract negotiating team were joined by Sven Mislintat in Germany, a man who knows Borussia Dortmund rather well considering he only officially became an Arsenal employee from January 1, having left the German giants on unsavoury terms following a falling out with former head coach Thomas Tuchel.Although Mislintat’s strengths are centred around player recruitment, the fact that he was pictured with chief executive Ivan Gazidis and new contracts expert Huss Fahmy reinforced the notion that Wenger’s absolute power is gradually being decreased, even if he does have the final say on who leaves and joins the club.There can be no arguments over what Arsenal are getting; two players in the prime of their careers who have an almost telepathic understanding of each other on the pitch.Aubameyang, a winger turned striker blessed with blistering speed, has scored 100 goals in his last 119 games in all competitions for Dortmund. He has the second best minutes to goal record in Bundesliga history and scored 39 goals for the season back in 2015-16 when he was playing in the same team as Mkhitaryan.Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang combined for 62 goals that campaign and it’s clear that the two will add the necessary bite to an Arsenal attack which would have been lacking following Sanchez’s departure. Ozil’s incisiveness in the final third and ability to pick out any player with a pass makes the prospect of all three in the same team a mouth-watering one for Arsenal fans.Aubameyang scored 31 league goals last season and finished ahead of Robert Lewandowski as the Bundesliga’s top scorer. Meanwhile, Armenian international Mkhitaryan hit 23 goals in his final campaign for Dortmund and netted six in 10 starts for United during their successful Europa League campaign. Despite falling out of favour with Jose Mourinho, those who are quick to criticise the 29-year-old’s time in England as a failure should be reminded of what he has achieved in the space of 18 months.When asked how Arsenal’s new signings will fit into a team already bloated by attacking talent, Wenger replied by saying: “Just play the good players! They can always play together.”Today what do you have on the pitch? They’re all attacking players. [Alex] Iwobi, Ozil, [Jack] Wilshere, Lacazette, [Granit] Xhaka. They’re all offensive players, basically.”Indeed, the lack of a defensive presence in midfield may see Wilshere switch to an even deeper lying role.What is certain is Arsenal have managed to come out of the transfer window stronger than they were when it opened. A solid defensive addition is still needed to bolster the squad but there can be no arguments that Wenger and his team have done everything possible to strengthen the club’s position and challenge for a top four spot, a possible League Cup success and maybe even a Europa League triumph.
Brazil Brazil’s qualifying hero Renato Augusto determined to fight for World Cup starting berth Raisa Simplicio 01:40 5/31/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Getty Brazil World Cup Friendlies Brazil v Croatia Brazil v Switzerland Brazil v Costa Rica Serbia v Brazil Croatia Switzerland Costa Rica Serbia The China-based midfielder shined during qualifying but he faces a fierce challenge from Fernandinho to anchor the Selecao at the upcoming finals One of Tite’s cornerstones during the road to Russia, Renato Augusto now faces a tough challenge to push himself into World Cup contention. The hard-working midfielder will need to prove to his coach that he is still an essential cog in Brazil’s machine. Renato is the only player in the Selecao that plays in China’s Super League, and has seen his stock rise immeasurably since he starred in the arduous South American qualifying campaign. His biggest rival for a starting spot, however, is Fernandinho, who also left a brilliant impression during Manchester City’s all-conquering Premier League season. The vagaries of the Chinese season, moreover, means that Renato goes to Russia with less playing time than his team-mates. He has racked up just 1,800 minutes since August, compared to Alisson’s 4,400 in the Roma goal. And he is still way behind even Pedro Geromel, who with 3,172 minutes is the player directly above him in that ranking. Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash 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 (Foto: CBF / Divulgação)In the most recent Brasil Global Tour friendlies held in March, Tite decided to try out a team without Renato Augusto. Against Russia, Willian was given the chance to roam in midfield, with Philippe Coutinho pulling inside to support the Chelsea star and Douglas Costa, who deputised for the injured Neymar. For the clash with Germany, meanwhile, the coach opted to start Fernandinho for added bite in the engine room. The Selecao won both their games but looked more impressive against Germany, even taking into account the stiff challenge posed by the reigning World Cup holders. But Renato has one card up his sleeve. He knows Tite well, having starred under the coach at Corinthians as the Brazilian giants romped to Serie A glory in 2015. (Foto: Rodrigo Gazzanel/Ag. Corinthians)The player is also used to playing under pressure. At just 18 he took on Flamengo’s No. 10 shirt in the Copa do Brasil final, against bitter Rio rivals Vasco da Gama and at a time where the club had suffered an acute trophy drought. In front of a packed Maracana, Renato showed he was different. He did not flinch from the challenge and was one of the stars of the show. Since then technical ability and tactical awareness have been two of his hallmarks. Just two years after that wonderful introduction he had earned a move to Germany. Injury, however, interrupted his European adventure and led to a loan move back to Brazil with Corinthians, coincidentally under the same coaching staff now in charge of the national team. Renato’s Brazil career could have started even earlier if it were not for those physical problems. He was called up by Mano Menezes in 2011 at the start of a new World Cup cycle but failed to carve out a regular place. Tite is yet to hint at his starting line-up for Sunday’s Brasil Global Tour friendly against Croatia. But the coach is keen to pick a side that can carry Brazil into the World Cup and enter the finals in Russia in the best shape possible.
The Australian team narrowly lost in the pivotal 18’s Mixed division 6-4.With a powerful and heartfelt pre-game address by coach Michael McDonald, the 18’s Mixed were pumped to do their country proud.Some flashy footwork and accurate long balls from the Kiwis tested the Aussie defence as New Zealand ran out to an early lead. Haylee Henderson scored in the corner to open the Aussies account but a lot of work was needed in the second half to bridge the gap.Australia improved greatly in the second half but unfortunately half chances did not eventuate through no lack of trying from the Aussies. Sam Brisby in particular was the architect of many attacking raids.The Australians should take great heart that they can compete and win against the Kiwis in their pet division and will challenge over two games on Saturday. For more information, please visit the Youth World Challenge website – http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=1-6458-0-0-0
Congratulations to the award winners at the 2014 State of Origin Series. Men’s Open Game 1 – NSW (10) def QLD (7)Game 2 – QLD (9) def NSW (6)Game 3 – NSW (3) def QLD (1)Player of the Series – Sam Brisby (NSW)Women’s OpenGame 1 – NSW (6) def QLD (5)Game 2 – QLD (8) def NSW (3)Game 3 – NSW (5) def QLD (3)Player of the Series – Louise Winchester (NSW)Mixed Open Game 1 – QLD (9) def NSW (8)Game 2 – NSW (10) def QLD (9)Game 3 – QLD (9) def NSW (8)Female Player of the Series – Justine Johnstone (NSW)Male Player of Series – Tim Glazebrook (QLD)Men’s 20’s Game 1 – QLD (6) def NSW (5)Game 2 – NSW (8) def QLD (7)Game 3 – QLD (6) def NSW (5)Player of the Series – Cormac Hoch (QLD)Women’s 20’s Game 1 – NSW (4) def QLD (3)Game 2 – QLD (8) def NSW (7)Game 3 – QLD (4) def NSW (3)Player of the Series – Ash Kearney (QLD)Men’s 30’s Game 1 – QLD (9) def NSW (4)Game 2 – NSW (3) def QLD (2)Game 3 – NSW (5) def QLD (3)Player of the Series – Manu Wakely (NSW)Women’s 30’s Game 1 – NSW (8) def QLD (6)Game 2 – NSW (6) def QLD (0)Game 3 – NSW (6) def QLD (0)Player of the Series – Belinda Grech (NSW)Men’s 35’s Game 1 – NSW (8) def QLD (5)Game 2 – NSW (9) def QLD (5)Game 3 – NSW (3) def QLD (0)Player of the Series – Dean Wilbow (NSW)Women’s 35’s Game 1 – QLD (7) def NSW (6)Game 2 – NSW (3) def QLD (2)Game 3 – QLD (3) def NSW (2)Player of the Series – Tracy Upton (QLD)Men’s 40’s Game 1 – NSW (8) def QLD (6)Game 2 – QLD (9) def NSW (7)Game 3 – NSW (6) def QLD (2)Player of the Series – Tony Eltakchi (NSW)Women’s 40’sGame 1 – QLD (6) def NSW (1)Game 2 – QLD (2) def NSW (1)Game 3 – NSW (3) def QLD (2)Player of the Series – Jennine Gyemore (QLD)Men’s 45’s Game 1 – NSW (5) def QLD (2)Game 2 – QLD (3) def NSW (2)Game 3 – NSW (3) def QLD (2)Player of the Series – Derek Duguid (NSW)Men’s 50’s Game 1 – NSW (4) def QLD (2)Game 2 – NSW (4) def QLD (2)Game 3 – NSW (4) def QLD (3)Player of the Series – Mark Hearnden (NSW)Men’s 55’s (Invitational)Game 1 – NSW (6) def QLD (3)Game 2 – QLD (3) def NSW (1)Game 3 – QLD (4) def NSW (2)Player of the Series – Terry Harrison (QLD)Congratulations to New South Wales who retained the State of Origin shield winning eight divisions to five. Related LinksSOO Award Winners
Man City midfielder Bernardo Silva: Gabriel Jesus goals will do him goodby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva was pleased for Gabriel Jesus after his two goals in victory over Everton.The opener marked the striker’s first Premier League goal since August.”It was good after the defeat against Chelsea to give an answer,” Bernardo explained. “It was not an easy game.”To have difficult games against Hoffenheim and Everton, it was good to come back from that.”The next two months are hard, we need to be focused and fit, get as many wins as can to recover first position and go as far as we can in other competitions.””We are happy with Jesus’ two goals and hopefully he can score more and win more titles.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Tottenham boss Pochettino: No need to prioritise competitionsby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says they won’t prioritise competitions this season.Their current run of four successive victories equals their best of the campaign and their manager is keen for them to avoid any slip-ups which may interfere with that, starting at home to Bournemouth today.”Two seasons ago when we were fighting with Leicester we went to the end but the gap was so big (they finished 11 points behind in third),” he said.”It wasn’t enough. Now we are close but we need to be cautious, go step-by-step, game-by-game.”We need to be conscious about that, we need to fight a lot, and there is still a long way for work and to be consistent.”Being involved in four competitions will be tough but we are going to try.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Bournemouth boss Howe: Our huge incentive going into Southampton clashby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveBournemouth boss Eddie Howe admits their clash with Southampton can lay down a marker.It is still early days in the Premier League, but playing first on Friday night means a win for Bournemouth will take them up to third in the table.”It’s a huge incentive going into this game,” Howe admitted. “We’re looking for back-to-back wins in the Premier League, which is a very difficult thing to do.”We’ve enjoyed the games against Southampton which have been tight and tough, from both clubs’ perspectives. We’re looking forward to another entertaining match.”
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Norwich midfielder Alex Tettey shuts down Rosenborg talkby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveAlexander Tettey insists he’s happy where he is at Norwich City.The midfielder, 33, is consistently being linked with a return to Norway at Rosenborg.But he told VG: “It is important that what is written is true, and that it is not portrayed that I’m hunting anything. “I’m not chasing a contract with Rosenborg, I’m not chasing to portray it as ‘I’ll be back, make room for me’. Absolutely not.”Tettey added: “I love Rosenborg, they mean a lot to me, but I don’t want to go to Rosenborg as a 34-year-old who everyone just wants to remember how he was before. It gives me nothing, it gives the club nothing, it gives the fans nothing.”