Juventus have officially signed Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny for an initial fee in the region of  €12.2million. If certain clauses are met in his time with Juventus, the transfer fee could however rise to €15.3 Million.

Szczesny has agreed a four-year deal which will see him with the Sere A Champions until 2021 and the former Arsenal man is well pleased with joining the team.

"I'm delighted to be at Juventus. I've spoken to Gigi Buffon – a true legend of the game. When you join Juve, it's because you've been chosen. I didn't hesitate one moment before coming here and I'm ready to take on this challenge. Juventus is the best possible choice for my career. I'm 27 years old and I want to win. At this club there's the right mentality to do so," he told a news conference.

The Poland international joined Arsenal from Legia Warsaw and made 181 appearances for the Gunners before joining AS Roma on loan for two seasons.

 

Comment

Arsenal took three points after beating Bayern Munich on post-match penalties after a 1-1 draw on Wednesday July 19, 2017. This was in the ongoing ICC Cup in Shanghai, China.

Bayern Munich however dominated most of the match and played more experienced players compared to the Gunners who gave match time to almost all their young players.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring for Bayern in the 9th minute from the penalty spot after Maitland-Niles was adjudged to have bundled over Bernat in the box. Despite complaints from Arsenal players, the referee stuck to his decision and Lewandowski stepped up to send Petr Cech the wrong way to give Bayern the lead.

Arsenal would however equalize late in the game from a terrific counter attack, Ramsey clipping a perfect cross in for Iwobi to head into the far corner and make it 1-1 in the 93rd minute.

Arsenal then went on to win the penalties 3-2, Iwobi the man again to score the winning kick with Emiliano Martinez saving two spot kicks to hand Arsenal the win.

 

Comment

Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice to inspire Borussia Dortmund to a 3-1 win over AC Milan on Tuesday July 18 in the International Champions Cup.

Nuri Sahin opened account for Dortmund in the 15th minute, driving a low shot into the left corner past Storari before Aubameyang made it 2-0 from the spot four minutes later. 

In the 23rd minute, Milan striker Carlos Bacca displayed an incredible solo moment, getting past a handful of Dortmund players from midfielders before beating Weidenfeller. In the 61st minute, Dortmund broke into a quick counter attack, with Pulisic being fed with the ball in the left flank before teeing up Aubameyang to tap the ball home and seal the win for the Bundesliga team.

BVB Statring XI: Weidenfeller, Zagadou, Bartra, Sokratis, Piszczek, Sahin, Castro, Rode, Aubameyang, Dembele, Pulisic.

AC Milan Starting XI: Storari; Abate, Paletta, Zapata, Rodriguez; Kessié, Mauri, Bonaventura; Borini, Bacca, Niang.

 

Comment

FIFA Vice President and head of the Spanish Football Association Angel Maria Villar has been arrested in Spain in an anti-corruption operation. 

Other people reportedly arrested include his son Gorka, secretary of the Tenerife Federation Ramón Hernández Baussou and Finance Vice President at the RFEF and member of Uefa's Finance Commission Juan Padrón.

Maria Villar was arrested for alleged misuse of the federation's finances including to support his re-election to the role for an eighth consecutive term. He has been the President of the Spanish Football Federation for 29 years and was re-elected less than two months ago for another term in the office.

In 2015, Villar was fined more than 20,000 Euros by Fifa for failing to co-operate with an investigation into the awarding of the controversial 2018 World Cup.

 

Comment

Francesco Totti has confirmed that he will be staying put with AS Roma, but this time as the Director.

Totti retired from football at the end of the 2016-17 season after 24 years with AS Roma and there were rumours that he has received offers to play in Japan from next season. The Italian international has however quelled those stories after confirming that he is indeed Roma’s next Director.

“The first part of my life as football player is finished, now a second part begins as director, and I am hoping to do well as on the pitch. Now begins a new phase and a new adventure.” Totti told Roma TV

“It will take time, step by step, to understand the role most suitable for me, and I will try to help all, from the youth team to the chairman. I don’t know how long it will take. There are people who think about their new role outside the field while they play; until 28 May I thought only about the field, he added.

The Italian international further revealed his eagerness to work with the entire Roma fraternity, stressing that he is confident that he will thrive in that position.

“Now I have the opportunity to work with AS Roma, with the sports director Monchi, the president [James] Pallotta and the coach [Eusebio] Di Francesco. I am lucky to know this club so well, I just have to understand what I want to do, and find the right role. At the moment I want to be everything and anything, an important character for Roma. I think that my future will be beautiful; I will choose a perfect role for me. Di Francesco? I have a great relationship with him.’’

During his 24-year spell with Roma, Totti made over 786 appearances for the clubs where he scored a club-record 307 goals and lifted the Serie A title twice. The 40-year old also also made 58 appearances for Italy with his most successful moment with his country being 2006 where they won the World Cup

Comment

Arsenal continued with their impressive pre-season with a 3-1 win in a friendly agaisbt Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday July 15, 2017.

Unsettled striker Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for the Gunners in the 32nd minute from close range before Ramsey making the scores 2-0 from a well-timed run to connect with Nacho Monreal’s cross from the back.

Egypt international Mohammed Elneny made it three for Arsenal three minutes before the break after his deflected shot went into the net. Lustica pulled one back for the Ausrtralian team in the second half from an indirect free kick after Ramsey had been adjudged to have passed the ball back to keeper Emiliano Martinez.

The match ended 3-1 in favour of Arsenal. The Gunners are engaging in pre- season to gain fitness after the summer holidays. It is also an opportunity for new players like Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac to gel in with the team before the 2017-18 season starts.

Comment

Former Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu is now a Barcelona after completing his move back to the LaLiga giants.

Comment

Everton FC striker Wayne Rooney is a happy man after scoring for the toffees in his first match since his return t the club.

Rooney made a return to his boyhood club from Manchester United and needed only 34 minutes to announce his arrival with a goal. Picking the ball from 30 yards, the England international unleashed a superb strike that went into the top-left corner past Gor Mahia keeper Boniface Oluoch. 

Rooney's goal was instrumental in Thursday's match, with Everton registering a narrow 2-1 win over KPL league leaders Gor Mahia. Two minutes after the former Manchester United man's goal, Jacques Tuyisenge equalized for Gor Before Kieran Dowle's late strike sealed the win for Everton.

“To score for Everton again is a great feeling. It’s something I’ve been thinking of for the last couple of weeks, once I knew [the move] was happening. Thankfully, I’ve done it in today’s game and that 45 minutes will only help,'' Rooney told Evertontv.

“I just received the ball from out wide and I was in a bit of space so I took my chance and thankfully it went in. I was pleased with it. It’s a good start but I think we have to improve still. It’s early days and we knew it would be a tough game in tough conditions but I thought we did well,” added the 30-year old.

Rooney will be instrumental for Ronald Koeman's side this season as they try to challenge for the EPL title and the Europa League.

 

Comment

On Tuesday, Juventus announced the arrival of Douglas Costa on an initial loan from Bayern Munich. The Brazil international arrived in Turin on Tuesday and is set to undergo a medical at the club on Wednesday.

Comment

Record Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have signed James Rodriguez from Real Madrid on a two-year loan deal. 

Comment

Arsenal club-record signing striker Alexandre Lacazette has been given the No.9 shirt. This was revealed as Arsenal disclosed squad numbers for the 2017-18 season.

The 27-year old France international was signed by the Gunners from Lyon for a club record fee region of £46 million and inherits the No.9 shirt from Lucas Perez, who has been handed No.28. Perez' future at Arsenal is however in doubt after seeing limited game time in his first season at the Emirates.

Sead Kolasinac, who joined Arsenal o a free transfer from Shalke 04, will wear jersey No.31. Kolasinac wore the No.6 shirt for the Bundesliga club last season but inherits the number previously worn at Arsenal by the likes of Ashley Cole when he first broke into the side and Sol Campbell during his second spell at the club.

 

 

Comment

Manchester United record goalscorer Wayne Rooney has rejoined Everton on a free transfer, 13 years after leaving the Merseyside club.

Rooney, 31, played 559 times for the Red Devils, scoring 253 goals.

He won five Premier League titles and each of the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup once after joining from the Toffees for £27m in 2004.

Rooney, who has signed a two-year deal, said he was "ecstatic" and his "first game back will be an emotional day".

"It's a great feeling to be back. I cannot wait to meet the lads, get on the training pitch and then get on the pitch to play," he added.

Rooney's return comes as United look set to sign Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, with a £75m deal for the Belgium international agreed between the two clubs.

Comment

The official draw for 17th edition of the 2017 U-17 World Cup to be held in India was conducted on Friday July 7, 2017 in Mumbai. 24 teams will contention for the title that is held after every two years and has seen eight different winners, with Nigeria being the most successful country after winning it five times.

India, who will be hosting such an event for the first time in history have been paired in Group A alongside USA, Ghana, Canada and Colombia. This will also be the first time the hosts will be competing in the finals of a global soccer tournament.

Group B consists of Paraguay, Mali New Zealand and Turkey. In Group C, Germany have been paired alongside Iran, Guinea and Costa Rica while Group D has North Korea, Niger, Spain and 2003 winners Brazil.

France have been placed in Group E alongside Honduras, Japan and New Caledonia. Group F has Chile, England, Iraq and 2011 winners Mexico. 

The last two U-17 World Cups have been won by Nigeria, who are not participating in this year's edition. India will kick off their campaign in the opening match of the competition against USA on October 6th 2017.

 

Group A: India, USA, Colombia, Ghana

Group B: Paraguay, Mali, New Zealand, Turkey

Group C: Iran, Guinea, Germany, Costa Rica

Group D: North Korea, Niger, Brazil, Spain 

Group E: Honduras, Japan, New Caledonia, France

Group F: Iraq, Mexico, Chile, England

 

Comment

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has reached a decision in the case related to Mexico’s national team coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, following the FIFA Confederations Cup match for third place between Portugal and Mexico on 2 July 2017, during which Mr Osorio used insulting words towards the match officials while displaying an aggressive attitude towards them.

After taking into account all circumstances of the case, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided that Mr Osorio is regarded as having breached article 49.1 a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. As a result, and given the gravity of the incident, Mr Osorio is to be suspended for six official matches and has also been sanctioned with a warning and a fine of CHF 5,000.

The decision, which has been duly notified today, comes into force immediately. Therefore, in line with art. 38 par. 2 c) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, the sanction shall be served during the Mexican national team’s next official matches, which will take place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017.

Depending on the stage at which the final match of the Mexican national team takes place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017, any remaining matches of this six-match suspension shall be served during the national team’s subsequent official matches.

Comment

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have released fixtures for the 2018 African Nations Championships (CHAN) that is set to be held in Kenya in January.

CHAN is a football tournament which was first announced on 11 September 2007. It is administered by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and is played between the best national teams of Africa, exclusively featuring players who are active in the national championships and qualified to play in the ongoing season. Expatriate players, regardless of where they play, even in Africa, are not qualified to take part in the African Championship of Nations.

The first tournament was held in 2009. It was hosted by Ivory Coast and won by The Democratic Republic of the Congo. The competition was expanded to 16 teams for the second tournament, held in Sudan in 2011. The tournament was won by Tunisia, in the wake of the Tunisian Revolution. The tournament is held every two years, alternating with the Africa Cup of Nations.

The fixtures have been divided into four groups; West zone A, West Zone B, Central East Zone and Southern Zone. Teams in both West Zones will be playing in their second round of the qualifiers while those in Central East and Southern Zones will be competing in the first round.

In West Zone A, Sierra Leone face Senegal while Guinea clash with neighbours Guinea-Bissau on Saturday July 15, 2017 with the return matches expected to be played a fortnight later. 

In West Zone B, Togo will battle it out with Benin on Sunday July 16, 2017 with the return match a week later in Cotonou, Benin.

Four fixtures will be staged in Central East Zone with South Sudan lined up against Uganda, Tanzania with Rwanda and Djibouti with Ethiopia.

In Southern East Zone, Botswana host South Africa on Saturday 15 July while Zimbabwe visit Namibia a day later.

West Zone A

1.Sierra Leone vs Senegal -15.7.2017 (16:30,Freetown/Siaka Stevens Stadium)

  Senegal vs Sierra Leone-22.7.2017 (17:00,Dakar/Stade Demba Diop)

2.Guinea-Bissau vs Guinea-15.7.2017 (16:00,Bissau/Estadio 24 de Setembro)

  Guinea vs Guinea-Bissau-22.7.2017  (16:30,Conakry/Stade 28 Septembre)

3. Liberia vs Mauritania-16.7.2017 (16:00,Paynesville/Samuel Kayon Doe Sports Complex)

  Mauritania vs Liberia-23.7.2017 (17:00)

4.Gambia vs Mali-15.7.2017 (16:30,Bakau/Independence Stadium)

  Mali vs Gambia-22.7.2017 (17:00,Bamako/Stade Modibo Keita)

West Zone B

1.Togo vs Benin-16.7.2017 (15:00,Lomé/Stade de Kégué de Lomé)

  Benin vs Togo-23.7.2017 (16:00,Cotonou/Stade de l'Amitié de Kouhounou)

*Exempted  Burkina Faso, Côte D'Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria

Central East Zone

1.South Sudan vs Uganda-14.7.2017 (16:30,/Juba stadum)

  Uganda vs South Sudan-22.7.2017 (16:00,Kampala/Phillip Omondi Stadium)

2.Tanzania vs Rwanda-15.7.2017 (16:00,Mwanza/CCM KIRUMBA Stadium)

  Rwanda vs Tanzania-22.7.2017 (15:30,Kigali/STADE REGIONAL DE NYAMIRAMBO)

3.Djibouti vs Ethiopia-15.7.2017 (15:00,Djibouti Ville/Stade Gouled)

   Ethiopia vs Djibouti-23.7.2017 (19:00,hawass/Hawass International Stadium)

4.Burundi vs Sudan-15.7.2017 (15:00,Bujumbura/Stade Prince Louis Rwagasore)

  Sudan vs Burundi-21.7.2017 (20:00,Khartoum/Khartoum Stadium)

Southern Zone

1.Madagascar vs Mozambique-16.7.2017 (14:30,Antananarivo/Stade Municipal de Mahamasina)

  Mozambique vs Madagascar-23.7.2017 (15:00,Maputo/Estadio Nacional do Zimpeto)

2.Maurice vs Angola-16.7.2017 (15:30,Belle Vue/Anjalay Stadium)

  Angola vs Maurice-23.7.2017 (16:30,Luanda/Estadio 11 de Novembro)

3.Comoros vs Lesotho-15.7.2017 (15:00,Moroni/Stade de Moroni)

  Lesotho vs Comoros-23.7.2017 (15:00,Maseru/Setsoto Stadium)

4.Namibia vs Zimbabwe-16.7.2017 (15:00,Windhoek/Sam Nujoma Stadium)

  Zimbabwe vs Namibia-23.7.2017 (15:00,Harare/National Sports Stadium)

5.Botswana vs South Africa-15.7.2017 (15:30,City of Francistown/Francistown Sports Complex Stadium)

  South Africa vs Botswana-22.7.2017 (15:00,Moruleng/Moruleng Stadium)

6.Swaziland vs Zambia-16.7.2017 (15:00,Lobamba/Somhlolo National Stadium)

  Zambia vs Swaziland-22.7.2017 (15:00,Lusaka/Heroes National Stadium)

 

 

 

Comment

On Thursday 6 July 2017, The IAAF released a statement following the cyber attack on their systems that was announced in April but dates back to February 2017.

There were fears and doubts among athletes globally that some of their personal information such as private details and medical data might have been tempered with. Others also believed that there might have been some releasing of information on informants. 

IAAF President Sebastian Coe has insisted that there can be no excuse for the leaking of personal data and acknowledged that they need to carefully look at their processes. He however said that they will continue investigating any suspicion of doping in accordance with the laid protocols.

"There can be no excuse for the leaking of personal and medical data or the releasing of information on informants and ongoing investigations as this puts those individuals involved at risk and harms the fight against doping" said IAAF President Sebastian Coe. "However we must acknowledge that we need to look at our processes."

It is alleged that The Fancy Bear hackers, believed to be sponsored by Russia's main intelligence arm, the GRU are the ones behind the attack on IAAF's records. The same group attacked World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 2016, where data on Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) applications were targeted.

Full IAAF Statement

The IAAF offers its sincerest apologies to the athletes who believed their personal and medical information was secure with us. We will continue to work with cyber incident response (CIR) firm Context Information Security, who identified the Fancy Bear cyber-attack which we announced in April - link [13] - to create a safe environment. Context believes that the information published yesterday emanates from that attack.

"There can be no excuse for the leaking of personal and medical data or the releasing of information on informants and ongoing investigations as this puts those individuals involved at risk and harms the fight against doping" said IAAF President Sebastian Coe. "However we must acknowledge that we need to look at our processes."

We continue to investigate any suspicion of doping in a robust way in accordance with applicable protocols and under WADA's supervision. It would be wrong to make assumptions based upon leaked documents without the full evidence and that evidence being put in context. Single data readings of an Athlete's Biological Passport (ABP) cannot alone constitute evidence of doping. All atypical ABP Profiles are automatically reviewed in the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) following the processes and protocols of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

INFORMATION ON ATHLETE BIOLOGICAL PASSPORT PROCESS:

The monitoring and review of ABP profiles recorded under the IAAF's Anti-Doping Programme are conducted in strict accordance with the applicable WADA Regulations, by external independent experts and through ADAMS. It consists of a multi-stage review process with a specific official terminology set out in accordance with WADA's Result Management Regulations to assist Anti-Doping Organisation in the implementation and prioritization of their ABP Programme.

 

The official terminology which includes "Likely doping", "Passport suspicious; Further data is required", "Likely medical condition", "Normal", "Cancelled by APMU" (Athletes Passport Management Unit) are used to classify profiles flagged as "atypical" by the ADAMS mathematical model, indicating whether or not an athlete's biological passport profile should be further investigated. It does not provide a final determination on whether or not an athlete has committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation. It is a dynamic process in which the status of an athlete's profile can change at any time.

 

Comment

British No 3 Dan Evans has announced that he tested positive for cocaine in April and he will be provisionally suspended from 26 June.

Evans, who is ranked 50th in the world, claims he took the illegal substance out of competition and for reasons "completely unrelated to tennis".

The 27-year-old called an impromptu press conference at the Novotel hotel in London on Friday afternoon, where he took no questions but made a statement

Evans said: "This is a very difficult day for me and I wanted to come here in person to tell you guys face to face.

"I was notified a few days ago that I failed a drugs test in April where I tested positive for cocaine. It's really important you know this was taken out of competition and the context was completely unrelated to tennis.

"I made a mistake and I must face up to it. I do not condone for one second to anyone that this was acceptable behaviour.

"I've let a lot of people down - my family, my coach, my team, sponsors, British tennis and my fans.

"I can only deeply apologise from the bottom of my heart. This has been an extremely sad and humbling experience."

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have released a statement stating they were "very disappointed" at the news.

"We are very disappointed at the news that Dan Evans has tested positive for a recreational substance. We absolutely condemn any form of drug-taking and will support the process which needs to take place.

"We are in touch with Dan and we will offer appropriate guidance, support and education to him on how best to address the issues he now faces."

The Birmingham-born player climbed into the world's top 50 earlier this year after an excellent upturn in results, which included reaching the last 16 of the Australian Open in January. In May 2015, he had dropped as low as 772nd.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said Evans provided the positive sample at the Barcelona Open on 24 April and he will be provisionally suspended from 26 June.

A player can be banned for up to four years for an anti-doping violation, according to ITF rules.

Report by Skyports

 

Comment

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is reportedly demanding a new contract with wages of £200,000 per week – the same as Blues team-mate Eden Hazard and as Manchester United ‘keeper David de Gea.

The Belgium international has established himself as one of Europe’s top shot-stoppers in his time at Stamford Bridge, and is now looking to more than double his current earnings.Courtois, 25, is currently on £90,000 a week, and his current deal runs until 2019, meaning the Blues may want to get the dispute resolved soon.

Real Madrid have been linked with Courtois in recent times, with the Spanish giants also looking at the likes of De Gea as they plan a big-name signing in goal this summer.Courtois’ demands have reportedly seen Chelsea put off contract talks for the time being, though they hope to reach an agreement with the former Atletico Madrid man before the start of the new season, according to the Daily Mail.

Comment

Manchester United are in talks to complete the transfer of Alvaro Morata, who has reportedly ignored Zinedine Zidane’s pleas to stay with Real Madrid.

The Spain international has been strongly linked with a move away from the Bernabeu for much of the summer, and is now being tipped to finalise his switch to Old Trafford.United are in need of strengthening up front after the departure of veteran front-man Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Morata has done all he can to help force a move through.

Marca claim that Los Blancos boss Zidane had been keen to keep hold of the 24-year-old after some fine performances as a squad player last season, but his attempts have proven unsuccessful.

Jose Mourinho is said to have swayed Morata by guaranteeing him a key role in his United side for next season, something he has been unable to achieve at Real.Morata started his career with the Spanish giants before spending two seasons at Juventus, where he impressed with more regular football, convincing Real to buy him back last summer.

Comment

Galatasaray coach Igor Tudor has blasted outgoing winger Bruma‘s attitude and behaviour, saying the new RB Leipzig signing is harder to deal with than Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Bruma’s excellent form for Galatasaray in the second half of the season – in particular since Tudor took over at the Turkish club in February – has earned the Portuguese winger a move to German side Leipzig.

The 22-year-old scored 11 league goals this campaign for Galatasaray, finishing the campaign as their top goalscorer, although the club was only able to finish fourth in the Super Lig.

However, despite his impressive form, Tudor has claimed Bruma is suffering from an attitude problem and was not thrilled with how the wide-man behaved both on and off the field this season.

And the 39-year-old coach – who played at Juventus with Zlatan Ibrahimovic – believes that Bruma’s temperment is worse than what the Swedish icon displayed during their time together in Italy.

The Galatasaray coach told Bild: “I like Bruma a lot, he is still young, but already a top player.

“But the fact is that there are 20 more players in a squad. They all listen to you, except Bruma. I played with Ibrahimovic at some point and have experienced a lot throughout my career.

“But I have never seen someone behave like Bruma. It might be the way he was raised. He crossed a line.”

 

Comment

Bastia have confirmed that they have been further demoted to the third tier of French football after the DNCG found financial irregularities.

Bastia were relegated from Ligue 1 this season, finishing bottom of the division, and had been preparing to start the new campaign in Ligue 2.

However the DNCG, the organisation responsible for monitoring the financial accounts of professional football clubs in France, have recommended a further demotion for the club.

Bastia were the subject of an audit on their books on Thursday and the club have shared a statement from the regulation officers, which shows that the club have been sent down another division after failing to guarentee they had the finances to compete in Ligue 2.

The statement read: “Following it’s audit today before the DNCG, Sporting Club Bastia has been given notice of a provisional relegation.

“The delays obtained via appeal will allow the club to sell it’s players as best as it can and balance the books before the next audit.”

Bastia – who will now play in National 1 – have endured a torrid campaign with the side only relegated by three points.

The club recently lost an appeal over a forfeited match against Lyon in April, during which the match was suspended due to crowd trouble. The French Footbal Federation determined that Bastia fans were responsible and awarded the result to Lyon.

Had Bastia won that game they would have remained in Ligue 1 on goal difference.

 

 

Comment

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez has made history for the Chile national team tonight by moving ahead of Marcelo Salas to become their all-time leading scorer on 38 goals.

The 28-year-old scuffed home a left-footed effort from close range after a woeful error by Gunners team-mate Shkodran Mustafi in the Germany defence to confirm his status as an all-time great for his country.

Sanchez has been a Chile international since all the way back in 2006, and managed his feat in his 111th appearance for the South American giants.

It is worth noting that Eduardo Vargas is also still active for the Chile squad and is just four goals behind Sanchez in the all-time leading scorer ranks.

 

Comment

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly growing in confidence that he can sign Kylian Mbappe in a world-record transfer deal this summer.

The France international is one of the most in-demand players in world football at the moment after a stunning breakthrough season for Monaco in 2016/17.

Real Madrid are also among the contenders for the 18-year-old’s signature, while reports today claimed Paris Saint-Germain had made a world-record £123million bid for him.

However, Arsenal believe they can pip Europe’s top clubs to Mbappe, with Wenger apparently gaining confidence over a deal in the last 48 hours.

The Gunners boss is now said to be preparing a rival bid to Monaco for the teenage forward, which would exceed the amount PSG have put on the table, according to football.london.

Arsenal need signings up front this summer due to fears over Alexis Sanchez’s contract situation and apparent desire to leave for rivals Manchester City.

 

Comment

Manchester United have been given the green light to make a move for Gareth Bale after Real Madrid admitted that they would be willing to sell the 27-year-old, according to reports in France.

L’Equipe claims that Zinedine Zidane and Madrid president Florentino Perez met with Kylian Mbappe last week in order to persuade the Monaco forward to move to the Spanish capital this summer.

During their conversation, Zidane and Perez reportedly told Mbappe that they would be willing to offload one of Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema in order to guarantee him more playing time next season.

L’Equipe claim that out of those three players, Bale’s transfer would be the most likely and United could now follow up with a bid, given their long-standing interest in the Wales international.

Earlier this month, reports claimed that Bale was open to the idea of joining United but Madrid would command a £100 million transfer fee.

United have held talks with over a deal for Bale, although Madrid’s hierarchy are reportedly split over their decision to sell the forward they signed from Tottenham for £86m four years ago.

 

Comment

New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson confirmed Wednesday night that he has received calls in recent days from teams interested in trading for future star Kristaps Porzingis.

"We're getting calls. As much as we value Kristaps and what he's done for us, when a guy doesn't show up for an exit meeting, everybody starts speculating on the duration or movability from a club," Jackson said in an interview on MSG Network.

"So we've been getting calls and we're listening, but we're not intrigued yet at this level. But as much as we love this guy, we have to do what's good for our club."

Teams in touch with the Knicks indicated New York has not ruled out the possibility of trading Porzingis, though one opposing club said it came away with the impression that the price tag for the star forward was extremely high.

Jackson was asked why he would consider trading Porzingis, the Knicks' young star and a player regarded around the NBA as someone whom a franchise can be built around.

"The future, you know, what it brings," Jackson said. "Does it bring us two starters and a draft pick or something that's even beyond that? [That's] something we have to look at as far as going down the road. We know what he is. He's a unicorn and he's special.''

Porzingis skipped exit meetings with Jackson and general manager Steve Mills in April because of frustration over the dysfunction and drama surrounding the Knicks, who finished with a 31-51 record.

On Wednesday night, Jackson addressed Porzingis skipping the meeting.

"I don't think I've ever had a player over 25 years of coaching, maybe 30, not coming to an exit meeting, so it's not happened to me," Jackson said. "I know it happens to other people and other players. His brother and his agent have downplayed it, but still, it's a chance for a person to express themselves, and I had a real good relationship with Kristaps over the last two years. So it was kind of surprising.''

 

 

Comment

Lakers guard Nick Young will decline his $5.6 million player option for next season with Los Angeles to become an unrestricted free agent.

The Lakers announced Young's decision on Wednesday.

Young, 32, faced a deadline of June 21 to make a decision on his option. The 10-year veteran guard, who averaged 13.2 points in 60 games last season, will hit the open market July 1.

In four seasons with the Lakers, Young started 71 of the 220 games he appeared in, averaging 24.5 minutes and 13.1 points per game.

The Los Angeles native realized a childhood dream by joining the Lakers, but Young's tenure has coincided with the worst four-year stretch in the history of the 16-time NBA champions.

After struggling on the court during the 2015-16 season and enduring upheaval in his personal life due to an infamous video scandal with then-rookie D'Angelo Russell, Young enjoyed a career revival last season under new coach Luke Walton.

Young also has had stints with the Washington Wizards, LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers throughout his career.

 

Comment

Juventus could lose youngstar Moise Kean this summer but not because he’s seeking higher wages elsewhere but because his father hasn’t received the tractors the club promised him.

The 17-year-old, who broke into Juve’s first-team back in November, is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in Turin and has been closely monitored by Arsenal for some time.

Kean was born in Vercelli, Italy to Ivorian parents and his dad claims the club owe him farming equipment to use back home as it was included in a deal which saw the youngster sign on the dotted line at the J Stadium.

Biorou Kean said: “They promised me agricultural equipment for my company in the Ivory Coast.”

“There, I own several hectares of land, which I’d like to start growing rice and corn on. I’m an agronomist, I’ve worked in rice paddies and I asked for agricultural equipment.”

“They told me that there was no problem but then Juve’s lawyer contacted me to tell me their contract offer had been revoked because my requests were out of their means.”

 

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Luis Suarez has revealed how former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique helped him become more calm on the pitch.

The Uruguayan international was known for being a fiery character during his time in the Premier League with Liverpool, often running the risk of picking up needless yellow cards for arguing with officials over decisions that did not go his way.

However, the 30-year-old insists he’s improved his temperament since being under the guidance of Luis Enrique over the past three seasons. 

He said:

“He told me not to waste energy arguing with the officials because it damaged the team and it was beneficial for me to be aware to press and help my team-mates,” Suarez told Sport.

“[Luis Enrique] taught me a lot, even if that doesn’t seem to be the case. Obviously a lot in football terms, he was also a forward so he knew the movements to make to benefit the team.”

 “I was a player that lost the ball and gave up, waiting for the next play, but he taught me how to press after losing the ball.”

Suarez did pick up eight yellow cards in 35 La Liga appearances for the Catalan giants during the season just gone, although none were as a result of dissent – which maintains that particular record since he arrived at the club in the summer of 2014.

 

Comment

Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) were one of the more amusing real-life buddy cop comedies we’ve ever seen from NBA teammates.

On one hand you have Bryant, a cutthroat competitor on the court who couldn’t really turn it off when off the court until his final season. On the other was World Peace, who was like being defended by a grizzly bear with quicker hands on the court but more similar to a teddy bear off of it.

World Peace’s tendency to deliver quotes, anecdotes, stories and predictions with a smile was one of the things that quickly made him a fan favorite during his first year with the Los Angeles Lakers, especially because he helped them knock off their hated rival, the Boston Celtics, in the NBA Finals.

In a recent feature on championship trophy presentations in Sports Illustrated, however, TNT broadcaster Ernie Johnson shared a story of Bryant not wanting to let World Peace’s tendency for brash statements give the Celtics any further fuel going into that series:

In an interview last week he said that his favorite presentation was for the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers in 2010 following a Game 6 road win at Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals. After the game, in which Ron Artest scored 25 points, Johnson wanted to ask the veteran small forward on the podium how he felt about playing in his first NBA Finals.

“I knew I would get Phil [Jackson] and Kobe and maybe another player, but I thought it would be cool to hear what Ron Artest had to say,” Johnson said. “So I’m standing with the Lakers outside their locker room during a commercial break, and I asked Ron if he wanted to answer some questions. But before Ron could answer, Kobe steps in and said, ‘No, you are not talking to Ron Artest.’ I said, ‘Why, Kobe?’ He said, ‘I am the leader of this team. You are talking to me.’ I looked at Phil, and he shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘Hey, he’s the captain.’ Kobe was not going to have Ron Artest as part of trophy presentation equation because, I guess, he didn’t want to give the Celtics any extra motivation.”

 

Comment

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has responded to the transfer speculation and tax fraud allegations surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo. 

The Portugal international capped off a stellar 12 months by winning the fourth Champions League title of his career this month, scoring twice in the final against Juventus.

Late last week, reports emerged claiming the superstar wants to leave the world’s biggest club, as he was frustrated by the Spanish authorities’ investigation on his tax records.

The days since have been dominated by transfer rumours featuring Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, LA Galaxy and more, while Perez has remained silent.

On Monday evening,Perez told Spanish radio station El Transistor:

 “All this is very strange. Cristiano is a good guy – I have to talk to him and see what happens.

“It has affected me how the media treated Cristiano; the presumption of innocence was not respected. Everyone must comply with their tax obligations and I know that Cristiano always wants to meet his.

“I am sure that Cristiano complies with his tax duties, it must be a confusion that will be cleared. Cristiano has the same corporate structure which he had in England, where spent many years without a problem.

“I will always defend Cristiano as a footballer and as a person. He is a good person, very supportive.

“The sheikh of PSG is friend of mine and has not called me, I have not spoken with him or with anyone. We’ve not received any offer for Cristiano.

“I have a good relationship and a good friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo and I want to talk to him.”

 

 

Comment

Tiger Woods said Monday he is getting "professional help" to deal with medications used for back pain and sleep issues.

The 14-time major champion, who is recovering from April 19 back surgery and on May 29 was arrested on DUI charges, took to Twitter on Monday to make the announcement.

Woods, 41, was asleep at the wheel of his car in the early-morning hours on Memorial Day. Later, in a statement, he said alcohol was not involved but that he had an "unexpected reaction" to prescription medication.

"I'm not at liberty to say where he is, but he is receiving in-patient treatment," said Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, in a phone interview. "Tiger has been dealing with so much pain physically. And that leads to insomnia and sleep issues. This has been going on for a long time."

On May 24, in Woods' first extensive comments since the fusion surgery, his fourth back surgery in just over three years, he explained in a website post that he had been dealing with nerve pain that caused quality of life issues.

"It is hard to express how much better I feel," Woods wrote. "It was instant nerve relief. I haven't felt this good in years."

Five days later, Woods was observed by police pulled over near the side of a road some 9 miles from his home in Jupiter, Florida. He failed multiple field-sobriety tests but blew a 0.00 on a breathalyzer after being taken into custody.

"Was the night in question a tipping point?" Steinberg said. "He's now gone and checked himself into a facility.

"He's been in pain for so long. He's had to handle the pain, which then potentially leads to the lack of sleep because you're in so much pain."

Asked about Woods' comments on his website that he felt relief after the latest surgery, Steinberg said: "I don't think you can put two and two together. It's such a complicated state, such a complicated situation. If you're in that much pain for so many years. ... Tiger has been trying to figure out how to live a life and actually have a life. He is where he is right now. I'm glad he is taking responsibility."

Woods had his first back surgery on March 31, 2014, and he has not been anywhere near the same golfer who just a year earlier won five times on the PGA Tour to run his career victory total to 79.

He had another surgery in September 2015, then a third six weeks later. From that point, Woods went more than a year without competing, returning for what seemed a promising restart at the Hero World Challenge in December.

But after plotting an ambitious early-season schedule, Woods made it through just three rounds before eventually shutting it down again. He missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, then the following week played just one round at the European Tour event in Dubai, withdrawing the next day with back spasms.

Woods told police on May 29 that he had taken four prescription pain medications, including Vicodin. The Golf Channel, which obtained an unredacted version of the Jupiter Police Department report, reported that Woods said he was also taking Xanax. The arraignment for his arrest is scheduled for Aug. 9.

Report by Bob Harig

 

 

Comment

In a significant statement from the International Olympic Committee, their executive board have announced that they will retain all 28 sports that featured at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for the 2024 Olympic Games programme. The move means that Olympic sevens will go on beyond the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

As they said in their statement today: “In another decision regarding the Olympic programme, the Executive Board approved the overall composition of the sports programme for the Olympic Games 2024 to include all 28 sports on the programme of the Olympic Games Rio 2016.”

Talking of the announcement, World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “While the IOC Session will ultimately consider this recommendation, World Rugby, like the entire global rugby family, is very excited by today’s Executive Board’s recommendation.

“I would like to thank the IOC President Thomas Bach and the IOC Executive Board for placing their continued trust in rugby, and our national member unions, players and passionate fans for making sevens the best it can possibly be.

“We now await the decision of the IOC Session and continue to be fully committed to the Olympic Charter and the highest standards of anti-doping as we look to what promises to be a spectacular Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and, hopefully, beyond.”

The IOC are expected to announce where the 2024 Olympic Games will be held in an extraordinary IOC session in Lausanne over 11 and 12 July. They will decide which city out of Paris and Los Angeles will hold the games in 2024 – with the city losing out to be slated as the hosts for 2028.

-Report by Rugby World

 

Comment

Bayern Munich are concerned that Arsenal attacker Alexis Sanchez is attempting to price himself out of a move to the Allianz Arena so that he can instead join Manchester City.

Sanchez, who is valued at £50 million, has just over a year remaining on his current deal at Arsenal and has been heavily linked with a switch away from the club.

Bayern had appeared favourites to sign him, but the Chilean is demanding a package of £21.85 million-a-year from the Bundesliga champions, which would see him earn £420,000-a-week, as reported by the Mirror.

The German club are hesitant to alter their wage structure and it now appears that Sanchez’s most likely destination is Manchester City, despite Arsenal’s reluctance to sell one of their major assets to a Premier League rival.

Sanchez was Arsenal’s outstanding performer last season as he scored 24 goals in the Premier League and created 78 chances, and, should an outcome occur, his departure would be a major setback.

 

Comment

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill should hand manager Antonio Conte his Premier League winner’s medal, according to Stoke City legend Mike Pejic.

The England international, 31, was a regular for the Blues in the season just gone as he featured in all but one game and often wore the captain’s armband in the absence of club legend John Terry. However, his defensive qualities have been called into question by Pejic.

“I felt sorry for him [Butland] having to play behind a player like Gary Cahill, one of the worst defenders I’ve seen in one-v-one situations,” the Potters legend said, as reported by Goal.com

“He gets so easily exposed and it was him, as much as David Luiz, who needed the protection of a three-man defence in that Chelsea rearguard last season.

“Chelsea boss Antonio Conte deserves a medal – possibly Cahill’s title-winning medal – for spotting so quickly that Luiz and Cahill needed such protection.”

Despite his six goals, Cahill managed two defensive errors throughout the campaign – no player across the entire squad had more – although he did average six defensive actions per game, including 170 clearances and 51 interceptions.

 

Comment

European champions, Portugal had to settle for a point against Mexico, as the two nations played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in their FIFA Confederations Cup tie.

The Mexicans dominated the possession in the opening 15 minutes, but they were unable to carve out a chance in the 18-yard area.

Selecao had the ball in the back of the net after 20 minutes through Pepe, but the Video Assistant Referee deemed the goal offside just moments before Cristiano Ronaldo had struck the crossbar.

Portugal eventually broke the deadlock in the 34th minute when Ronaldo did well to pick out an un-marked Ricardo Quaresma, who skipped past Ochoa and slotted into an empty net.

Mexico could have hit back four minutes later when Carlos Vela picked out Javier Hernandez in the box, but the striker's header sailed straight at Rui Patricio.

The equaliser arrived just before the halftime break for Mexico, as Vela crossed for Hernandez, who sent a powerful header into the bottom corner.

The second started off much like the first, with the Mexicans seeing a lot of the possession.

Both sides opted for a change after 57 minutes, as Giovani Dos Santos replaced Vela, while Gelson Martins came on for Nani.

Mexico continued to dominate as the second half went on, but they were finding it tough to break down the Portugal defence.

Portugal upped the tempo and went close in the 79th minute when Quaresma forced Ochoa into a low save from distance, while Dos Santos fired wide at the other end.

Fernando Santos threw on the highly-rated Andre Silva a minute later, and he nearly restored Portugal's lead in the 84th minute but Ochoa produced a super save to keep out the striker's header.

Selecao were not to be denied two minutes later when Cedric broke into the box fired a deflected effort past Ochoa from close range.

However, Mexico secured a point in stoppage time when defender Hector Moreno rose well to head home from close range, 2-2.

 

Comment

Arturo Vidal and Eduardo Vargas struck late in the second half to earn Chile a 2-0 win over African champions, Cameroon in their FIFA Confederations Cup opening clash.

Chile were without first choice goalkeeper, Claudio Bravio, while Alexis Sanchez started on the bench.

La Roja started like a house on fire as Vargas rattled the upright before Fabrice Ondoa denied Fuenzalida inside the opening five minutes.

Cameroon carved out their first chance after 11 minutes as Vincent Aboubakar forced Herrera into a good save from close range, following a swift counter attack.

Chile continued to dominate possession as they looked for an opener, but Ondoa was at his best in the 25th minute to keep out Puch's low effort from distance.

La Roja squandered another golden chance in the 40th minute when Vargas was played through on goal, however the striker blazed horribly over the crossbar.

Chile had the ball in the back of the net on the stroke of halftime, however the Video Assistant Referee ruled that Vargas was offside.

After a quiet opening to the half, Juan Antonio Pizzi introduced Arsenal star Sanchez in the 57th minute as they pushed for an opening goal.

Benjamin Moukandjo went close to breaking the deadlock for Cameroon in the 66th minute but his curling free-kick sailed inches wide of the upright.

La Roja eventually broke the deadlock in the 80th minute when Vidal rose above his marker to head home Sanchez's cross from the left, 0-1.

Chile sealed the win in stoppage time, as Vargas got on the score-sheet with a finish from close range after Sanchez had been denied, 0-2.

 

Comment

Former Chelsea player Jason Cundy has claimed that Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is a better attacking option at present that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and also went on to claim that the England international is “twice the player” that Everton striker Romelu Lukaku is.

Cundy told talkSPORT : “If you are giving me the option to buy either one of those players, I’d take Kane every single day of the week over Lukaku.

“I would rather Harry Kane over Cristiano Ronaldo, too.

“All-round, the value he’s going to bring, because of what he can do, the player he’s going to turn into. I have faith in my judgement.

“Harry Kane is twice the player Lukaku is – based on my eyes, based on my knowledge, based on what I see.

“He’s twice the player, Kane is twice the player.

“Harry Kane is a better player, he can hold the ball up with his back to goal and Lukaku can’t.

“However you dress it up, the better player is Harry Kane.”

Despite Ronaldo being the current Ballon d’Or holder, Kane enjoyed a better season statistically, as the Tottenham player scored more goals, provided more assists and created a higher amount of chances per game in the league, while he also boasted a superior average shot accuracy.

 

Comment

In an exclusive interview with SunSport former Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon revealed that Ronaldo’s heart may be at Manchester United.

“I remember when I signed Cristiano, he phoned me and said everyone at Manchester United was really happy and kind to him.

“Sir Alex Ferguson was like a father and he loved the fans.

“The club has been very important in his career. Manchester United is a club he has in his heart.” He said.

Ronaldo and Ferguson remain very close and embraced at last month’s Champions League final in Cardiff, after which Fergie presented his former star with the man-of-the- match award.

Ronaldo wants out of Madrid believing they have failed to back him over a charge of defrauding the Spanish taxman to the tune of £13million.

It is said his decision to quit the Bernabeu after eight years is irreversible.

Calderon added: “I had the same situation with Manchester United when he decided to leave and I signed him.

“He says I want to leave and that’s it, as a president you can’t do anything other than let him go and get the best possible deal.”

Jose Mourinho will have the final say, of course, and he and Ronaldo fell out towards the end of the Special One’s final season in charge at Real.

 

Comment

1.   76ers via trade with Celtics

Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington

Is Fultz "can't-miss"? He's as close as there is to can't-miss as there is in this draft, which is loaded with great talents but devoid of a Karl-Anthony Towns-like, Kyrie Irving-like, LeBron James-like transcendent and surefire superstar. It remains to be seen how Fultz and Ben Simmons, both players who flourish with the ball in their hands, will mesh together on the basketball court. But whatever. The Sixers are going with the player with the highest ceiling, and building a team that could be a juggernaut in the future. Fultz does it all: He's got phenomenal size for an NBA guard, a diverse set of offensive weapons and elite athleticism. Yes, I wonder about his decision to play his one-and-done season at a floundering collegiate program like Washington, and winning only nine games there. But the talent? Yeah, it's undeniable.

2.  Lakers

De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky

Oh, what the hell. The Lakers have been sending out signals (or perhaps just misinformation) that Lonzo Ball isn't as done of a deal as it has been portrayed. Do I think the Lakers will pass on Ball? In the end, probably not. In the end, that's probably the pick. Do I think they could? Absolutely. And if they do, Fox is a fun, fast, Showtime-type player (and personality) who could play well into the Lakers' post-Kobe rebuild. The shooting stroke is a concern for Fox; he shot 24.6 percent from three at Kentucky. But (small sample size alert!) he did shoot 47.4 percent in his final 10 games. If he were more reliable of a shooter, everyone would be talking about him as a possible No. 1 pick in this draft, as he's got the size, length, athleticism and speed to become a John Wall-like player in the NBA. "Speed kills," one NBA scout told me about Fox - and you can't teach speed. It remains to be seen whether you can teach consistent shooting.

3.  Celtics via trade with 76ers

Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas

There's been lots of talk lately of Jackson as a possible No. 1 pick. I never bought it, but I always saw where it was coming from, because the Jackson is a gritty Brad Stevens type of two-way player in a way that Fultz never seemed to be. I love this kid's potential. Jackson is a phenomenal athlete with a ridiculous motor. He gets after it on both ends of the floor. His ceiling will depend on whether he can develop into a dynamic small-ball four in the NBA. I think he will. One word of caution: The incident at Kansas in December, where Jackson allegedly vandalized a car and threatened to beat up a women's basketball player, made at least one coach tell me he'd be wary. I'm surprised a bigger deal hasn't been made of this in the lead-up to this draft. Clearly, any worries Danny Ainge may have had about Jackson's legal troubles have been quelled.

4.  Suns

Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA

The Suns win the lottery's lottery ticket as, somehow, Lonzo Ball falls to them. Ball falling to fourth is a dream scenario for the Suns. He may not be the scorer that Fultz is, or the athlete that Fox is, but as his dad loooooves to say, the kid is simply a winner. Yes, this is bad news for Eric Bledsoe. He has two years left on his contract, so perhaps this marks the beginning of the end. Or perhaps it's not that at all, and Ball and Bledsoe can play together. Man, what a fun starting five that could be on offense: Ball, Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss and Tyson Chandler now, Dragan Bender later. And by the way: I don't buy all the concern about LaVar Ball. Sure, he's loud and obnoxious, but he's raising a great, talented, grounded son.

5.  Kings

Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke

This is the easiest pick in the entire draft. Conventional wisdom has the very top tier of this draft ending at the fifth pick. (I would argue that Florida State's Jonathan Isaac could belong in this tier as well, because his potential is sky-high, and possibly Lauri Markannen as well.) All the Kings have to do is take whichever player falls to them. I worry about a player of Tatum's abilities going to a franchise that has struggled like the Kings, but this team does have some intriguing young pieces in Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere, Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis. Tatum may be the best natural scorer in this draft, someone who can score effectively from all three levels. He does all the little things - the footwork and the hard work - that can turn a big talent into a star. And I love the mature head on this young man's shoulders. The floor is very high for a player like Tatum.

6.  Magic

Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona

Hey! I got a nickname for Markannen! Let's call him "The Whooper Swan." Because that's Finland's national bird, and Markannen is kind of like a Finnish (Larry) Bird (this, by the way, is why I don't work in marketing). Anyway: I think Markannen could be a near-star in this league, a Dirk Nowitzki Lite. He's one of the top 3-point-shooting 7-footers in college basketball history, and was one of the most efficient scorers in all of college basketball last season. The Magic need everything. Markannen is the type of unique package you can't pass up on. He's versatile on offense, mobile on defense and has great instincts.

7.  Timberwolves

Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State

A home-run swing for a team that's one young star away from making some serious noise in the Western Conference. I loooove Isaac's potential. Think it's the highest ceiling in this draft, in fact. He's 6-11 and, according to his college coach, still may be growing. A late growth spurt meant that he grew up playing guard positions before he shot up in height, a la Anthony Davis. Coaches have raved about his unselfishness and work ethic. Florida State's Leonard Hamilton, a onetime NBA coach, told me Isaac has one of the best basketball IQs he has ever seen. And a near-seven-foot athlete who can shoot, pass and blocks shots is a huge asset in today's NBA. While his offensive game is far from complete and he needs to pack muscle onto his thin frame, Isaac is a helluva shooter for a big man, making 34.8 percent of his 3s and shooting 78 percent from the free-throw line. "He has the versatility to be whatever a coach wants him to be," Hamilton told me. If this pick hits, the Timberwolves will be contending in the West in a few years. And I think it'll hit.

8.  Knicks

Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky

The most electric player in this draft playing at Madison Square Garden? Gimme that. Monk is a superb athlete and a fantastic (if streaky) shooter. Monk can light it up from deep like no other player in this draft. I can't wait for him to go on one of his signature three-minute tears at MSG, where he's the only guy who matters on the court. In practices you can see how his work ethic ends up paying off in games. Yes, he's incredibly streaky, and yes, his size -- 6-3 -- is more the size of a point guard than an NBA two. But Monk is an exciting young player who, paired with Kristaps Porzingis, breathes more life into a struggling franchise. 

9.  Mavericks

Frank Ntilikina, PG, France

A high-IQ basketball player with remarkable perimeter defensive skills and great game management talents -- and I don't mean that as faint praise. Ntilikina's physical profile -- 6-5 with long arms -- is impressive for a point guard. In time, he'll learn to be more aggressive, which is something he needs to do.

 

10.  Kings

Dennis Smith, PG, NC State

The Kings, once again, have an easy decision: Take whoever falls to you. The Kings' fifth pick may be the end of the elite tier, and the 10th pick is the end of that next tier, I believe. We'll see if they end up shopping these two picks to move up, as has been rumored, but that makes no sense to me (unless they're swinging some deal to get Fultz, which is highly unlikely). Smith is a bit small but an absolute stick of athletic dynamite on the court. His inconsistency might make teams worried. In January, he scored 32 points in a stunning upset at Duke, but in his last collegiate game he had seven points and four turnovers.

11.  Hornets

Luke Kennard, SG, Duke

I have long had an unabashed love of Kennard's game (every mock needs to have a hipster element: "I thought this was cool before everyone else thought this was cool"). As a shooter Kennard was one of the best in college basketball last season, but to pigeon hole him as only a shooter is a mistake. Kennard is an all-around scorer who leverages the respect teams give his outside shot to score effectively from all three levels. He's a surprisingly good ball-handler who, when he doesn't have the ball, knows how to move well off it. Will he be able to defend at the next level? I don't know. I mean, he's not going to lock down Russell Westbrook, but who can? I believe that Kennard will be competent as a team defender and more than make up for it on the offensive end as a J.J. Redick-like presence. He might be the steal of the draft.

 

12.  Pistons

Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville

Mitchell is an absurd athlete with terrific measurements, as evidenced by his showing at the NBA combine. His wingspan is 8.75 inches longer than his height (which at just shy of 6-2 is subpar for an NBA shooting guard). He is speedy and an incredible leaper, and he was Rick Pitino's most-trusted player last season at Louisville. With improved 3-point shooting his sophomore year (35.4 percent), Mitchell can score from anywhere he wants. Yes, there's the hero-ball element to Mitchell that NBA coaches will have to pound out of him. But the dude is a high-motor both-ends-of-the-floor type of guy.

13.  Nuggets

Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina

Long and lanky with a high IQ and a variety of offensive tools, Jackson came back for a junior season determined to improve the parts of his game NBA scouts told him were lacking. And he did. He improved his 3-point shooting to a respectable 37 percent, which was key in showing NBA teams he can play the three in the league. A star? No. A reliable NBA starter if he can add strength to his lanky frame? Absolutely. Jackson took a while a while to develop into a star at the college level -- he was a higher-ranked recruit than future one-and-doners Karl-Anthony Towns, Justise Winslow and UNLINK' data-slug="" data-subtype="">D'Angelo Russell -- but by his junior season, that's exactly what he was, the most talented player on a title-winning UNC team. 

14. Heat

Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga

Christmas in June for Pat Riley's team, as Collins falls to 14. The young big man is just solid, solid, solid. We got to see Zach Collins' best college game on the biggest of stages when he dropped 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks on South Carolina in the Final Four. While he'll never be called spectacular, there are few holes in Collins' game. He combines size and mobility, touch and strength. If Collins can stretch his range and become a consistent NBA 3-point shooter, he could be a very impactful player. Not a star, but you'll have a great chance at getting a very solid all-around two-way big man, and that's a valuable thing. 

15.  Trail Blazers

Harry Giles, PF, Duke

A surprise pick here. With three first-round picks the Trail Blazers can afford to take a home-run swing on the biggest risk-reward pick since Joel Embiid. And I don't believe Giles will last until 20, when the Trail Blazers have their next selection. Leading into Giles' senior year of high school, he was one of the top three or so talents in this stacked draft -- then he tore an ACL for the second time. Giles is a gifted athlete who talent evaluators would mention in the same breath as Chris Webber and Kevin Garnett. If you watched Giles last season, you barely caught glimpses of that as he recovered from two knee injuries over the past calendar year. But he was once that good. The risk here is huge; so is the reward. He could become an All-Star, or he could never see a minute of NBA playing time.

16.  Bulls

OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana

Also a risky pick, as Anunoby's injury during his senior year might keep him off the floor during his rookie season. But if his health improves he could be the Draymond Green of this draft. Yes, he is a bit of a tweener, but that's not nearly as much a negative in the NBA as it was even five years ago. He can guard multiple positions. He's a great athlete. He plays bigger than his height (6-7 with a 7-2 1/2 wingspan). His offensive skills are very much a work in progress. But there aren't any sure things at this point of the draft anyway.

17.  Bucks

Jarrett Allen, C, Texas

The size is there. The potential is there. I worry about the shooting (56 percent from the free-throw line in college) and the lack of offensive tools. But a college coach who recruited Allen raved to me about his focus and work ethic. He's not the type of kid who will get in trouble, instead just staying in the gym and working on his game. At the very least he can be an intimidating, explosive low-post presence. That's a pretty nice floor.

18.  Pacers

John Collins, PF, Wake Forest

Guess who had the highest player efficiency rating in college basketball last season? It was Collins, who was incredibly efficient around the rim. Collins made 62 percent of his shots, and he was one of the best rebounders in college hoops, especially on the offensive glass. And he's incredible at getting fouled, drawing more fouls per 40 minutes than any projected draftee. He's not effective away from the basket, but remember: Collins made a huge jump from his freshman to his sophomore season under coach Danny Manning. He's a coachable player motivated to improve his game. Can he play alongside Myles Turner? I believe so.

 

19.  Hawks

Ike Anigbogu, PF, UCLA

Anigbogu is a project, especially on offense. He's an 18-year-old freshman who plays with energy -- a tall, strong and athletic big man with long arms and loads of potential. He has a long way to go to develop his offensive game, but being so young and such a remarkable raw talent means Anigbogu still has lots of room to grow, both physically and as a player. He has an ideal frame, athleticism and energy for a high-level shot-blocking, rebounding, dunking NBA center.

20.  Trail Blazers

TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA

A tall, white power forward from UCLA who can rebound and make 3s? Wait, I think I've heard this one before. No, Leaf isn't Kevin Love 2.0, but the comparison has some merit. Leaf is the type of guy who will fit on any NBA team, as that 46.8 percent 3-point shooting clip in college would suggest. A safe pick for the Blazers after the risky Giles pick at 15.

21.  Thunder

Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia

Russell Westbrook needs another shooter next to him, and Ferguson has the prettiest shooting stroke in this draft, with length and elite-level athleticism to boot. Ferguson has the tools to become a special wing in the NBA. One scout told me his season playing in Australia against grown men would be a better transition to the NBA for Ferguson than a year in college would have been. If he can become a more dynamic half-court player, Ferguson could be an absolute steal at this point. If not, he could still be a useful 3-and-D wing.

22.  Nets

Justin Patton, C, Creighton

The worst franchise in the NBA doesn't have a pick until No. 22. Rough spot, and the penance for trading away all your draft picks to try and do the win-now thing with aging players. It's a tough place to draft, because at 22 we're long since past sure things and are starting to run out of the risky home-run type of guys. Patton, I believe, is the last home run possibility left (assuming he lasts this late). He is a great athlete for a 7-footer. Though he certainly needs to add some muscle to his thin frame, Patton's offensive versatility and efficiency (he was one of the most efficient shooters in college basketball last season) and shot-blocking skills make me believe there's a high ceiling here. The Nets will have to be patient with him. But it's not like they'll be playing for anything over the next few years anyway. 

23.  Raptors

Alec Peters, PF, Valparaiso 

Peters was one of college basketball's top shooters last season, with a remarkable 60.4 percent true shooting percentage. As the best player in the Horizon League last season, teams ganged up on Peters, so ignore his 36.3 percent from 3-point land and look at his previous two seasons, where he shot 46.6 and 44 percent from three respectively. Is he going to be a star? No. He's far from the "elite NBA athlete" level. But shooting like he does -- and being able to score from all over the court -- means he'll be able to be a productive player in this league for a long time.

24.  Jazz

Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue

Not only is he the most heart-warming story of this draft but "Biggie" also is the most NBA-ready player available late in the first round. He's simply going to outwork everybody on the floor. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever been around. And he knows his role in the NBA. He told me there will always be a place for a rebounder in the NBA. That's where he's going to butter his bread, and he knows it. The questions about his body, size and athleticism are overwrought. He's a winner, pure and simple. Fans should want this inspiring and inspired young man on their squad.

25.  Magic

Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Lithuania

A lefty 7-footer, Hartenstein is big and agile, physical on the boards and a guy who gets after it on both ends. It remains to be seen whether he can become an asset on the offensive end aside from crashing the glass and getting putbacks.

26.  Trail Blazers

Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky

Is he a tight end or a basketball player? Well, if the NBA doesn't work out, the NFL is only a phone call away. Adebayo was one of the most physically imposing players in college basketball last season, and at a cut 6-10 and 250 pounds, he'll be able to come into the league immediately and bang with 10-year veterans down low. He's no creative offensive force, but Adebayo can make a difference on both ends of the court based on sheer size, athleticism and motor. He could easily go eight to 10 spots higher than this.

27.  Nets

Kyle Kuzma, SF, Utah 

A solid stretch four type, Kuzma is a rare high-ceiling guy who will be available late in the first round. And that's what the Nets need instead of pieces that fit their needs, because this franchise needs just about everything. Kuzma is an excellent, versatile athlete who doesn't have many glaring holes in his game. His solid offensive performance at the NBA combine opened a lot of eyes about his potential.

28.  Lakers

Tony Bradley, PF, North Carolina 

Bradley is a huge -- 6-10 with a 7-4 wingspan, weighing in at 250 pounds -- and physical big man who doesn't shy away from contact. He may need some time in the D-League -- er, the G-League -- before he can make an impact at the NBA level. But if he develops a more refined offensive game, this could turn into a solid pick.

29.  Spurs

Josh Hart, SG, Villanova 

Hart could be the Malcolm Brogdon of this draft, a player who came into college underrecruited, got better and better each of his four collegiate years under a great coach, is full of intangibles, and simply is a winner. If that doesn't sound like a prototypical San Antonio Spur, I don't know what does. He's a high-IQ, hard-working consistent player who can play multiple positions. He can shoot, he can rebound, he can defend. If Hart slips into the second round, he'll be an absolute steal there. He can help a team immediately.

30.  Jazz

Frank Jackson, SG, Duke 

Jackson could add an exciting scoring threat to one of the NBA's most plodding (though efficient) offensive teams. Yes, he's a tweener, and there's plenty of uncertainty around whether he'll fit as a point guard or shooting guard at the next level. But he's a natural scorer, an excellent 3-point shooter and a guy who can flat-out get to the rim.

 

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The Boston Celtics are engaged in talks with the Philadelphia 76ers on a trade for the No. 1 pick in next week's NBA draft, sources said Friday.

League sources said the Sixers and Celtics are working on a trade that, in its current iteration, would send a package of Sixers draft picks to Boston -- including Philadelphia's No. 3 overall selection in Thursday's draft -- in exchange for Boston's turn at No. 1.

Completing such a deal would put the Sixers in position to draft Washington guard Markelle Fultz and pair him in their backcourt with Ben Simmons, last year's No. 1 overall pick who has yet to make his NBA debut due to injury.

While it is widely assumed in league circles that the Sixers would target Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick, sources say Philadelphia and Boston are likewise high on Kansas forward Josh Jackson.

Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo was in Sacramento, California, on Friday to attend a private workout for Jackson. Philadelphia also will hold an individual workout with Kentucky guard De'Aaron Fox on Saturday.

A source told ESPN's Ian Begley that as of Friday night, a meeting between Fultz and the Sixers had not been planned.

ESPN's Chad Ford reported Thursday that the Celtics, already flush with a stable of guards featuring Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart, have contemplated using the No. 1 overall pick on Jackson, a forward.

One source close to the talks expressed confidence Friday that the deal would go through, telling ESPN: "They are swapping 1 and 3."

The Celtics already have a wealth of picks in future drafts:

Boston last traded a No. 1 pick in 1980, when it dealt it to the Golden State Warriors, who chose Purdue's Joe Barry Carroll. The Celtics netted two eventual Hall of Famers in the transaction, getting four-year veteran Robert Parish and the No. 3 overall pick, which was used on Kevin McHale.

 

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Real Madrid star Alvaro Morata is very keen to get his transfer move to Manchester United wrapped up as quickly as possible, according to reports in Spain.

It’s understood the Red Devils are closing in on a deal for Morata this summer off the back of the Spaniard’s frustrating season at the Bernabeu.

Morata managed 20 goals last term but struggled for regular game-time under Zinedine Zidane and Jose Mourinho is ready to make the 24-year-old the main man at Old Trafford.

 

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Manchester United have opened talks with Barcelona over the signing of £30m-rated midfielder Andre Gomes, according to reports in Spain.

Gomes, 23, opted to join the Catalans from Valencia last summer despite interest from Real Madrid and United.

Barcelona paid their La Liga rivals £29.3m for Gomes but the Portugal international’s first season at the Camp Nou was far from ideal.

The Portuguese made just 17 league starts under Luis Enrique and was subbed off in 12 of those as Barcelona finished behind Real Madrid.

Mourinho, though, remains a huge fan of his compatriot and AS claim United and Juventus have made Barcelona aware of their interest in Gomes.

The report claims Barcelona have been left unimpressed by Gomes’ first season at the club and want to recoup as much as possible for the midfielder.

 

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Chelsea are reportedly set to show their trust in unsettled manager Antonio Conte by giving him a £250million transfer budget to sign top targets such as Romelu Lukaku and Leonardo Bonucci this summer.

There have been reports of tension between Conte and Blues owner Roman Abramovich in the last couple of days, with the Italian frustrated that the club won’t spend what it takes to sign the players he wants.

However, the Daily Mirror now claim that the row has settled and Chelsea are ready to hand their manager a whopping transfer kitty to strengthen his squad for next season.

The Premier League champions are expected to complete deals for Romelu Lukaku and Tiemoue Bakayoko, while they are also keen to make moves for Juventus pair Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro.

Chelsea won the Premier League in the 47-year-old’s first season in charge, but he is well aware that the squad will need more depth to adjust to the challenge of Champions League football in 2017/18.

Chelsea could also do with renewing the contracts of key duo Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, whose futures have not yet been resolved.

 

 

 

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Cristiano Ronaldo has decided to leave Real Madrid this summer, according to a report in Portugal.

Portugal newspaper A Bola’s front page on today led with their story which claims that the former Manchester United forward is ‘outraged’ after being accused of evading €14.7 million (£13m) in tax by Spanish prosecutors.

The report also claims that Ronaldo’s decision to leave the Spanish champions is ‘irreversible’ and the player has already informed Madrid president Florentino Perez of his desire to quit. 

Earlier this week, the prosecutor’s office in Madrid confirmed that a lawsuit has been filed against the 32-year-old.

The Portugal captain has since been asked about the charges levied against him and replied: ‘I have a clear conscience.’

Madrid have also released a statement confirming that they have ‘full confidence’ in the Portuguese forward being able to prove his innocence.

Ronaldo is currently on international duty with Portugal as the national team are making their final preparations for this summer’s Confederations Cup.

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Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed Arsenal have made a ‘very nice’ offer for £60m-rated forward Alexandre Lacazette.

The France international had agreed a deal to join Atletico Madrid this summer but the La Liga giants had their transfer ban upheld and are now unable to sign players until 2018.

And, in a Q&A session today Aulas said,

“Lacazette was told he could leave. We now have a very nice offer from Arsenal. But for us he will not leave.”

Lacazette, 26, came through Lyon’s academy and has scored 129 goals in 275 appearances for the Ligue 1 club.

The striker netted 27 Ligue 1 goals for Lyon in 30 games this season.  He fueled speculation over a move to the Emirates earlier this month when he said he was open to joining a club in the Europa League.

 

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Paris Saint-Germain were interested in signing N’Golo Kante last summer, but a discussion with Antonio Conte was key to his decision to join Chelsea.

Kante enjoyed a spectacular debut campaign in England in 2015/16, as he helped Leicester City to Premier League glory. The France international then became Conte’s first signing in west London.

The transfer has proven to be an exceptional as Kante again lifted the Premier League title this season.

He boasted the best pass accuracy (89%) of any regular Blues starter, while also making more interceptions (83) than any teammate.  He won 41% of his duels in the Premier League this season – down 5% on his 2015/16 rate while at Leicester.

Kante has now revealed that he had the opportunity to return to his homeland last summer, but turned down a move to PSG – a choice he doesn’t regret.

The 26-year-old told Le Parisien, “It is true that the PSG were there like the other clubs after my beautiful season in Leicester. But I chose Chelsea after talking with the coach and the sporting director. And I do not regret it. In addition, I like the league and the style of play in England.”

N’Golo Kante won 41% of his duels in the Premier League this season – down 5% on his 2015/16 rate.

 

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Tanzanian government have informed SportPesa Limited that they also want to see a Tanzanian team play against Everton on July 12 at the National Stadium. Gor Mahia are the ones with the opportunity after winning the SportPesa Super Cup finals.

Director of Sports Development in the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports Yusuph Singo confirmed that they have asked the betting firm to organize a friendly match between Everton and one of Tanzania's bigwigs.

``We have asked them (SportPesa) to organse a special friendly match between Yanga and Simba later this month,'' said Singo.

``If all goes well, the winner of the match will confront Everton at the National Stadium. I am sure many local soccer fans would like to see the English Premier League team face one of the top teams in the country,'' he added.

 

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Federico Allende of Argentine club Sport Pacifico, is set to be sacked after he admitted that he used a needle to stab opponents during a game.

The defender stated that he used the needle on several occasions against players from top division team Estudiantes last weekend  where Sport Pacifico prevailed past Estudiantes with a 3-2 victory in the Copa Argentina first round.

According to BBC News, Allende told Vorterix Radio, “We knew that we had to play dirty against them and I kept piercing the Estudiantes strikers with a needle.

“We know that top division players don’t like contact, they don’t like if we waste time or if we play dirty. So that was the way to do. Football is like that. Football is for the clever.”

Estudiantes striker Juan Otero said that Allende frequently attacked him with the needle during the game.

Allende said: “I completely nullified Otero. He must hate me.”

Otero subsequently referred to Allende as “a nasty man”.

Sport Pacifico president Hector Moncada said: “We are devastated. This incident has tarnished the team’s good work. I will expel him from the club.”

Although they went into the game as underdogs, Sport Pacifico established a two goal lead courtesy of efforts from Federico Amaya and Ivo Hong.

Otero reduced the deficit as he found the net for Estudiantes, but Maximiliano Montiveros struck after the break to put Sport Pacifico 3-1 in front.

Although Lucas Rodriguez pulled a goal back, Sport Pacifico still managed to run out 3-2 winners.

 

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Manchester United and Liverpool are reportedly considering Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins, who been compared to Luis Figo by the Portugal legend himself. 

“The player who most resembles me is Gelson Martins of Sporting, he is 21 years old,” Figo told Gazzetta dello Sport in April. “I wish him a great career, he has the qualities to win. He must continue to work and grow as an athlete.”

 

Martins moved to Portugal in 2008 from Cape Verde as a 13-year old and spent two years with CF Benfica before moving to the Lions in 2010.

The 22-year old speedy winger loves to dribble past players and create chances for his teammates and plays mainly on the right but can play on both sides and even has some experience as a right back with the Sporting and Portugal youth sides. 

The winger played in 44 of Sporting’s 47 games last season including each of their Champions League group games and scored seven goals, six in the league, and racked up 14 assists to lead the Primera Liga. He is valued at £12.75m by transfermarkt.com.

 

Sporting signed Martins to a contract extension in February that has a €60m release clause, which could reportedly fall to €50m with Sporting’s failure to directly qualify for the Champions League group stage.

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has described Ander Herrera as “one of the smartest players” he’s ever coached.

The 27-year-old been a pivotal figure in the Portuguese tactician’s first season at Old Trafford which culminated by winning the Europa League.

It was during that final against Ajax the Spanish international produced a moment which greatly impressed his manager who made the detailed account whilst giving a recent lecture at the University of Lisbon.

“Mourinho talked a lot about Herrera, saying he is one of the smartest players he has had during his career,” wrote Petter Skogsletten, one of the students present, on Reddit.

“Herrera took hold of [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan and sent him in front of the keeper, while Herrera would take the pitch outside the box. Mourinho said he was so frustrated that he said ‘What the hell is going on?’

“It turned out Herrera had taken responsibility in the situation – Mkhitaryan had a yellow card. If Ajax suddenly counter-attacked and Mkhitaryan had fouled the player, he would have been sent off.

“Mourinho said he is incredibly pleased to have such players who can handle situations on their own and adjust.”

Renowned for his tenacity and strong passing ability, Herrera joined the Red Devils in the summer of 2014 for a reported £30.6m after a prospective move from Athletic Bilbao broke down 12 months prior.

After a slow start under former boss Louis van Gaal he established himself as one of United’s most important midfielder a reputation he’s carried into Mourinho’s debut campaign. To date he has made 122 appearances for the red devils, registering 15 goals and 22 assists in the process.

 

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Southampton have confirmed they’ve parted company with manager Claude Puel after just one season in charge.

The Frenchman was appointed last summer following Ronald Koeman’s departure to Premier League rivals Everton and led the club to the EFL Cup final where they were narrowly beaten by Manchester United 3-2 at Wembley.

However the Saints’ form following that game plummeted which ultimately led to Puel’s contract being terminated with immediate effect as his side registered four league wins between then and the end of the campaign.

An official statement via the club’s website read: “Southampton Football Club can today confirm that it has terminated the contract of Claude Puel with immediate effect.

“Everyone at Southampton would like to express our thanks to Claude for his hard work and commitment this year. The highlight of the season was a memorable day at Wembley in the EFL Cup Final, a day our fans will always treasure.We wish Claude well for the future.The search for a new management team is underway. We are confident that we will find the right fit in line with the long term vision of the club.”

Under Puel’s guidance the south Coast outfit claimed an eighth-placed finish in the top flight of English football, two places back and 17 points less than where they accomplished in the 2015/2016 campaign.

 

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Many expect LeBron James to finish his NBA career in his hometown team the Cleveland Cavaliers after his return in 2014. However, he may go to another team when he can opt out of his contract after the 2017-18 season.

Just a few days since James lost the 2017 NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors in five games, the Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski(h/t Pro Basketball Talk's Dan Feldman) reported on his podcast that the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers may be destinations for James in free agency:

"Not only is there no guarantee he’s coming back, I’m not sure there’s an expectation he’s re-signing there. I think they feel, I think within Cleveland and around the league, they feel that he’s very much in play to leave again and likely head out West to one of the two L.A. teams. The Lakers could very well be a target."

Wojnarowski speculated James would feel more comfortable leaving Cleveland a second time since he helped the Cavaliers win an NBA championship in 2016. And being in Los Angeles would allow the four-time MVP to pursue ventures he has outside of basketball.

Having his representatives float the idea he could sign with another team could be a way for LeBron to shake the Cavaliers front office out of any contentedness it may feel with reaching three straight NBA Finals and beating the Golden State Warriors a year ago.

It's not like Cavs general manager David Griffin rested on his laurels during Cleveland's title defense—trading for Kyle Korver and signing Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut in the middle of the year. The threat of LeBron departing again would ensure that remains the case.

Of course, James may simply want to play for another team. The Cavaliers are almost $27 million over the cap heading into next year so they have little flexibility with which they can improve the roster. 

The Clippers or the Lakers, on the other hand, may be better positioned in 2018 to challenge Golden State. The Clippers would need to re-sign both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, while the Lakers would need to acquire a top star before then.

 

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The Mayweather McGregor fight all boxing and MMA fans have been waiting for is now official.

Former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. made the announcement on Instagram, confirming that the champion in five weight classes will exit a 23-month retirement at age 40 to face Conor McGregor, the UFC superstar, in a boxing match on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas. Many believe the fight will approach the 4.6 million buy record set by Mayweather-Pacquiao in their bout in May 2015.

Mayweather did not say how many rounds the fight would be scheduled for, what weight the bout would be at or the specific location, though it will be at either the MGM Grand Garden Arena or the T-Mobile Arena.The fight will be broadcasted on Showtime PPV.

The announcement brings to an end rampant speculation that began two years ago when McGregor threw out the prospect of the fantasy match during a July 2015 appearance on Conan O'Brien's talk show, telling the host, "I would box him if the opportunity arose."

28-year-old Ireland's McGregor (21-3) is the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold titles in two different divisions and one of the best MMA fighters in the world, but he will be making his professional boxing debut against Mayweather, one of the greatest boxers in history.

With no major titles on the line and Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) an astronomical favorite, the fight is merely an opportunity for both make huge money.

Mayweather is a -1,000 favorite at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, with McGregor paying back +700.

McGregor has been outspoken about his desire for a fight that will dwarf his largest UFC payday while Mayweather, who earned some $250 million for his record-shattering victory against Manny Pacquiao in May 2015, stands to earn a second nine-figure windfall.

Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) also has the chance to finish off his career at a perfect 50-0 in a fight that few expect to be competitive but has nonetheless piqued the public's interest because of the boxing-versus-MMA angle, not to mention the big personalities and trash-talk ability of both combatants.

Mayweather has not fought since easily beating Andre Berto in September 2015 to retain his Welterweight World Title and then retiring. But he has been vocal about his desire to exit retirement for only one fight -- the big one against McGregor.

The Mayweather-McGregor card will be boxing only and Mayweather has said he wants two of his company's top fighters to appear on it, Badou Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs), a former super middleweight world titleholder who vacated his belt in January to move up to light heavyweight, and junior lightweight world titlist Gervonta Davis (18-0, 17 KOs).

 

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Victor Lindelof has arrived to undergo a medical at Manchester United ahead of his move from Benfica.

The 22-year-old Swedish international relocates to Old Trafford for a reported £30.7m, ending a five-year association with the record Portuguese champions.

READ MORE: Man United agree fee with Benfica for Sweden International

A central defender by trade, Lindelof rolled into United’s training ground Carrington driving a Chevrolet, the club’s shirt sponsor, and if he successfully completes his examination will become Jose Mourinho’s first major acquisition of the summer as he looks to fight on four fronts next season.With Mourinho all-but guaranteeing Eric Bailly a starting berth, and reports suggest Lindelof and Bailly will be the Portuguese tactician’s first-choice central defensive pairing spelling trouble for England Internationals Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

 

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The 2017-18 Premier League fixture list has been released.

There are in total 380 games in the Premier League fixture list, all of which were announced on Wednesday morning.

It should however be noted that all fixtures are subject to change. Spurs, for instance, instantly informed their following on twitter that the August 26 away game against Burnley clashes with the Rugby League Challenge Cup and therefore will be rescheduled.

Please note: Burnley (H) Aug 26 is the same day as the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final and will need to be rescheduled (1/2)

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) June 14, 2017

Reigning champions Chelsea take on Burnley in their first game of the season while the 2016-17 Championship winners Newcastle play Tottenham on their return to the English top flight. Their last meeting ended 5-1 to the Magpies in a season that saw Spurs finish second.

Brighton and Hove Albion, in what is also their first ever Premier League game, take on Manchester City. Huddersfield Town, who qualified through the play-offs last season, will play Crystal Palace in the club’s first Premier League fixture ever. 

The first fixture between two top-six sides is Tottenham vs Chelsea. That will take place on the weekend of August 19, the second game week of the Premier League fixture list.

The Manchester and Merseyside derbies take place on the same weekend beginning December 9, while the respective reverse ties will take place on the weekend beginning April 7.

Here is the full 2017-18 Premier League fixture list:

 Saturday, 12 August, 2017

Arsenal v Leicester City

Brighton v Manchester City

Chelsea v Burnley

Crystal Palace v Huddersfield Town

Everton v Stoke City

Manchester United v West Ham United

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur

Southampton v Swansea City

Watford v Liverpool

West Bromwich Albion v AFC Bournemouth

 Saturday, 19 August, 2017

AFC Bournemouth v Watford

Burnley v West Bromwich Albion

Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United

Leicester City v Brighton

Liverpool v Crystal Palace

Manchester City v Everton

Stoke City v Arsenal

Swansea City v Manchester United

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea

West Ham United v Southampton

 Saturday, 26 August, 2017

AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City

Chelsea v Everton

Crystal Palace v Swansea City

Huddersfield Town v Southampton

Liverpool v Arsenal

Manchester United v Leicester City

Newcastle United v West Ham United

Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley

Watford v Brighton

West Bromwich Albion v Stoke City

 Saturday, 9 September, 2017

Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth

Brighton v West Bromwich Albion

Burnley v Crystal Palace

Everton v Tottenham Hotspur

Leicester City v Chelsea

Manchester City v Liverpool

Southampton v Watford

Stoke City v Manchester United

Swansea City v Newcastle United

West Ham United v Huddersfield Town

 Saturday, 16 September, 2017

AFC Bournemouth v Brighton

Chelsea v Arsenal

Crystal Palace v Southampton

Huddersfield Town v Leicester City

Liverpool v Burnley

Manchester United v Everton

Newcastle United v Stoke City

Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City

Watford v Manchester City

West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United

 Saturday, 23 September, 2017

Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion

Brighton v Newcastle United

Burnley v Huddersfield Town

Everton v AFC Bournemouth

Leicester City v Liverpool

Manchester City v Crystal Palace

Southampton v Manchester United

Stoke City v Chelsea

Swansea City v Watford

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur

 Saturday, 30 September, 2017

AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City

Arsenal v Brighton

Chelsea v Manchester City

Everton v Burnley

Huddersfield Town v Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Newcastle United v Liverpool

Stoke City v Southampton

West Bromwich Albion v Watford

West Ham United v Swansea City

 Saturday, 14 October, 2017

Brighton v Everton

Burnley v West Ham United

Crystal Palace v Chelsea

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion

Liverpool v Manchester United

Manchester City v Stoke City

Southampton v Newcastle United

Swansea City v Huddersfield Town

Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth

Watford v Arsenal

 Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Chelsea v Watford

Everton v Arsenal

Huddersfield Town v Manchester United

Manchester City v Burnley

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace

Southampton v West Bromwich Albion

Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth

Swansea City v Leicester City

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool

West Ham United v Brighton

 Saturday, 28 October , 2017

AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea

Arsenal v Swansea City

Brighton v Southampton

Burnley v Newcastle United

Crystal Palace v West Ham United

Leicester City v Everton

Liverpool v Huddersfield Town

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur

Watford v Stoke City

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City

 Saturday, 4 November, 2017

Chelsea v Manchester United

Everton v Watford

Huddersfield Town v West Bromwich Albion

Manchester City v Arsenal

Newcastle United v AFC Bournemouth

Southampton v Burnley

Stoke City v Leicester City

Swansea City v Brighton

Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace

West Ham United v Liverpool

 Saturday, 18 November, 2017

AFC Bournemouth v Huddersfield Town

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur

Brighton v Stoke City

Burnley v Swansea City

Crystal Palace v Everton

Leicester City v Manchester City

Liverpool v Southampton

Manchester United v Newcastle United

Watford v West Ham United

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea

 Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Burnley v Arsenal

Crystal Palace v Stoke City

Huddersfield Town v Manchester City

Liverpool v Chelsea

Manchester United v Brighton

Newcastle United v Watford

Southampton v Everton

Swansea City v AFC Bournemouth

Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion

West Ham United v Leicester City

 Tuesday, 28 November, 2017

AFC Bournemouth v Burnley

Arsenal v Huddersfield Town

Brighton v Crystal Palace

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur

Watford v Manchester United

West Bromwich Albion v Newcastle United (8pm)

 Wednesday, 29 November, 2017

Chelsea v Swansea City

Everton v West Ham United

Manchester City v Southampton (8pm)

Stoke City v Liverpool (8pm)

Saturday, 2 December, 2017

AFC Bournemouth v Southampton

Arsenal v Manchester United

Brighton v Liverpool

Chelsea v Newcastle United

Everton v Huddersfield Town

Leicester City v Burnley

Manchester City v West Ham United

Stoke City v Swansea City

Watford v Tottenham Hotspur

West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace

 Saturday, 9 December, 2017

Burnley v Watford

Crystal Palace v AFC Bournemouth

Huddersfield Town v Brighton

Liverpool v Everton

Manchester United v Manchester City

Newcastle United v Leicester City

Southampton v Arsenal

Swansea City v West Bromwich Albion

Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City

West Ham United v Chelsea

 Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

Burnley v Stoke City

Crystal Palace v Watford (8pm)

Huddersfield Town v Chelsea

Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth (8pm)

Swansea City v Manchester City

West Ham United v Arsenal

 Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion (8pm)

Newcastle United v Everton

Southampton v Leicester City

Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton (8pm)

 Saturday, 16 December, 2017

AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool

Arsenal v Newcastle United

Brighton v Burnley

Chelsea v Southampton

Everton v Swansea City

Leicester City v Crystal Palace

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur

Stoke City v West Ham United

Watford v Huddersfield Town

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United

 Saturday, 23 December, 2017

Arsenal v Liverpool

Brighton v Watford

Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur

Everton v Chelsea

Leicester City v Manchester United

Manchester City v AFC. Bournemouth

Southampton v Huddersfield Town

Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion

Swansea City v Crystal Palace

West Ham United v Newcastle United

 Tuesday, 26 December, 2017

AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United

Chelsea v Brighton

Crystal Palace v Arsenal

Huddersfield Town v Stoke City

Liverpool v Swansea City

Manchester United v Burnley

Newcastle United v Manchester City

Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton

Watford v Leicester City

West Bromwich Albion v Everton

 Saturday, 30 December, 2017

AFC Bournemouth v Everton

Chelsea v Stoke City

Crystal Palace v Manchester City

Huddersfield Town v Burnley

Liverpool v Leicester City

Manchester United v Southampton

Newcastle United v Brighton

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United

Watford v Swansea City

West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal

 Monday, 1 January, 2018

Arsenal v Chelsea

Brighton v AFC Bournemouth

Burnley v Liverpool

Everton v Manchester United

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town

Manchester City v Watford

Southampton v Crystal Palace

Stoke City v Newcastle United

Swansea City v Tottenham Hotspur

West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion

 Saturday, 13 January, 2018

AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal

Chelsea v Leicester City

Crystal Palace v Burnley

Huddersfield Town v West Ham United

Liverpool v Manchester City

Manchester United v Stoke City

Newcastle United v Swansea City

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton

Watford v Southampton

West Bromwich Albion v Brighton

 Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Arsenal v Crystal Palace

Brighton v Chelsea

Burnley v Manchester United

Everton v West Bromwich Albion

Leicester City v Watford

Manchester City v Newcastle United

Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur

Stoke City v Huddersfield Town

Swansea City v Liverpool

West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth

 Tuesday, 30 January, 2018

Huddersfield Town v Liverpool

Swansea City v Arsenal

West Ham United v Crystal Palace

 Wednesday, 31 January, 2018

Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth

Everton v Leicester City

Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion 

Newcastle United v Burnley

Southampton v Brighton

Stoke City v Watford 

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United 

 Saturday, 3 February, 2018

AFC Bournemouth v Stoke City

Arsenal v Everton

Brighton v West Ham United

Burnley v Manchester City

Crystal Palace v Newcastle United

Leicester City v Swansea City

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester United v Huddersfield Town

Watford v Chelsea

West Bromwich Albion v Southampton

 Saturday, 10 February, 2018

Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion

Everton v Crystal Palace

Huddersfield Town v AFC Bournemouth

Manchester City v Leicester City

Newcastle United v Manchester United

Southampton v Liverpool

Stoke City v Brighton

Swansea City v Burnley

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal

West Ham United v Watford

 Saturday, 24 February, 2018

AFC Bournemouth v Newcastle United

Arsenal v Manchester City

Brighton v Swansea City

Burnley v Southampton

Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur

Leicester City v Stoke City

Liverpool v West Ham United

Manchester United v Chelsea

Watford v Everton

West Bromwich Albion v Huddersfield Town

 Saturday, 3 March, 2018

Brighton v Arsenal

Burnley v Everton

Crystal Palace v Manchester United

Leicester City v AFC Bournemouth

Liverpool v Newcastle United

Manchester City v Chelsea

Southampton v Stoke City

Swansea City v West Ham United

Tottenham Hotspur v Huddersfield Town

Watford v West Bromwich Albion

 Saturday, 10 March, 2018

AFC Bournemouth v Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal v Watford

Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Everton v Brighton

Huddersfield Town v Swansea City

Manchester United v Liverpool

Newcastle United v Southampton

Stoke City v Manchester City

West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City

West Ham United v Burnley

 Saturday, 17 March, 2018

AFC Bournemouth v West Bromwich Albion

Burnley v Chelsea

Huddersfield Town v Crystal Palace

Leicester City v Arsenal

Liverpool v Watford

Manchester City v Brighton

Stoke City v Everton

Swansea City v Southampton

Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United

West Ham United v Manchester United

 Saturday, 31 March, 2018

Arsenal v Stoke City

Brighton v Leicester City

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur

Crystal Palace v Liverpool

Everton v Manchester City

Manchester United v Swansea City

Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town

Southampton v West Ham United

Watford v AFC Bournemouth

West Bromwich Albion v Burnley

 Saturday, 7 April, 2018

AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace

Arsenal v Southampton

Brighton v Huddersfield Town

Chelsea v West Ham United

Everton v Liverpool

Leicester City v Newcastle United

Manchester City v Manchester United

Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur

Watford v Burnley

West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City

 Saturday, 14 April, 2018

Burnley v Leicester City

Crystal Palace v Brighton

Huddersfield Town v Watford

Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth

Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion

Newcastle United v Arsenal

Southampton v Chelsea

Swansea City v Everton

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City

West Ham United v Stoke City

 Saturday, 21 April, 2018

AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United

Arsenal v West Ham United

Brighton v Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea v Huddersfield Town

Everton v Newcastle United

Leicester City v Southampton

Manchester City v Swansea City

Stoke City v Burnley

Watford v Crystal Palace

West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool

 Saturday, 28 April, 2018

Burnley v Brighton

Crystal Palace v Leicester City

Huddersfield Town v Everton

Liverpool v Stoke City

Manchester United v Arsenal

Newcastle United v West Bromwich Albion

Southampton v AFC Bournemouth

Swansea City v Chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur v Watford

West Ham United v Manchester City

 Saturday, 5 May, 2018

AFC Bournemouth v Swansea City

Arsenal v Burnley

Brighton v Manchester United

Chelsea v Liverpool

Everton v Southampton

Leicester City v West Ham United

Manchester City v Huddersfield Town

Stoke City v Crystal Palace

Watford v Newcastle United

West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur

 Sunday, 13 May, 2018

Burnley v AFC Bournemouth

Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion

Huddersfield Town v Arsenal

Liverpool v Brighton

Manchester United v Watford

Newcastle United v Chelsea

Southampton v Manchester City

Swansea City v Stoke City

Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City

West Ham United v Everton

 

Comment

Ousmane Dembele gave 10-man France the victory after finding the bottom corner from 15 yards as England were outclassed by ten-man France.

England Captain Harry Kane's seventh England goal came after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's diagonal ball was picked up by Raheem Sterling, whose clever back-heel allowed Ryan Bertrand to centre for the Tottenham striker who scored from close range on the 9th minute.

France equalised on 22 minutes through Samuel Umtiti as he finished low with his right foot after Tom Heaton had parried Olivier Giroud's header into the path of the Barcelona defender following Thomas Lemar's fine cross.

Burnley stopper Heaton then kept out Kylian Mbappe's low effort with his feet, but again parried Dembele's shot into the path of Sidibe inside the area three minutes before the break, allowing the Monaco man to pounce on the rebound for 2-1.

Raphael Varane was penalised for brushing the feet of Alli in the area just after the break, and was dismissed after the VAR (video assistant referee) was called in, before Kane slotted the spot kick low down the middle of Hugo Lloris' goal.

Despite being a man down, Mbappe hit the bar after a fine piece of skill in the box, before young Dortmund forward Dembele found the bottom left corner past sub goalkeeper Jack Butland from the right of the penalty area after 78 minues as England failed to make their numerical advantage count.

 

Comment

Africa champions Cameroon were thumped 4-0 in Tuesday's international friendly against Colombia only five days before their Confederations Cup opener.

The Indomitable Lions beat Egypt to win the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon earlier this year, but despite downing Morocco at the weekend, they were thoroughly outclassed by Jose Pekerman's side at Getafe's Coliseum Alfonso Perez Stadium

James Rodriguez opened the scoring with a fine effort from a narrow angle after 16 minutes when he beat Andre Onana with a thunderous effort, before Yerry Mina doubled the South Americans' lead 15 minutes later with a header. Mina added a second in the 52nd minute when he converted a fine delivery from Giovanni Moreno, but not before Spartak Trnava's Ndip Tambe had been sent off after tangling with Wilmar Barrios.

Substitute Jose Izquierdo completed the rout five minutes before time when he broke his international duck with a powerful strike.

The result adds to a troubled Confederations Cup build-up for Cameroon, who have lost first-choice left-back Ambroise Oyongo ahead of the tournament after he ruptured his patellar tendon against Morocco.

Similarly, FIFA has acknowledged the internal problems within the country's football administration, with some within the nation convinced that Tombi A Roko Sidiki's current regime has no authority to run the football federation.

Cameroon are competing in their first Confederations Cup since 2003, and have been drawn alongside Germany, Chile and Australia.

 

Comment

A Spanish state prosecutor has accused Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo with defrauding Spain's tax office of KSH 1.7 billion (€14.7 million) in unpaid taxes.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Madrid's regional state prosecutor accused Ronaldo, 32, of four accounts of tax fraud from 2011 to 2014.

It said the Portugal captain "took advantage of a business structure created in 2010 to hide from fiscal authorities income generated in Spain from image rights."

The statement said Ronaldo used what it deems a shell company in the Virgin Islands to "create a screen in order to hide his total income from Spain's Tax Office."

Ronaldo's agency had previously said he was up to date on his taxes. Last month, tax officials said he adjusted his tax declarations and paid an extra €6m in 2014.

The issue is similar to the one that saw Barcelona's Lionel Messi found guilty of tax evasion last summer, with Spain's Supreme Court having recently ratified a sentence of 21 months for the forward, although the punishment was suspended as it was less than two years and he was a first-time offender

 

Comment

Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann has extended his contract with Atletico Madrid until June 2022.

Griezmann, whose previous deal was due to end in June 2021, has long been linked with United but the France international is now set to remain a leading player in La Liga under Atletico coach Diego Simeone.

A club statement read: "Atletico Madrid has reached an agreement with Antoine Griezmann for the extension of his contract for one more season. The French forward signed his new contract with our club, which now extends until June 30, 2022."

Griezmann said: "I'm very happy to live one more season with all of you. I will thank the fans by giving my best on the pitch, as always. Now, I will be resting for a few days to recover and return with my teammates and the coaching staff to prepare for the new season."

Atletico sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero added: "It's great news because he is one of the best players in the world and all of us Atleticos should congratulate ourselves for counting with him. Antoine is a different football player, capable of changing a match, with spectacular qualities, a very complete player.

"He is also a football player willing to sacrifice himself for the team when it's needed and works on defensive tasks too, something that makes him different from the rest of the world's greatest players."

According to Atletico president Enrique Cerezo, Griezmann's release clause of €100 million is to remain the same.

Griezmann's decision to stay put is a big boost for Atletico, who cannot register any new players until January 2018 after FIFA's transfer ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Atletico were punished by FIFA in January 2016 for breaching rules regarding international transfers of players aged under 16.

The Spanish club are still, nevertheless, being linked with their former striker Diego Costa, who scored 26 goals in 46 games in all competitions last season as Chelsea won the Premier League title.

 

Comment

Tottenham's Harry Kane and Dele Alli are worth more than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, according to a new study by CIES Football Observatory.

 

England pair Kane, 24, and Alli, 21, are valued at £135.5 million and £136.9m, respectively, ranking them behind only Barcelona's Neymar (£185.9m), and above fourth-placed Messi (£133.9m) and evergreen Ronaldo (£99.2m), the oldest player on the list, in 11th.

 

Antoine Griezmann (£132.6m), Luis Suarez (£124.2m), Manchester United's world-record signing Paul Pogba (£118.5m), Gonzalo Higuain (£106.1m), Chelsea's Eden Hazard (£103.4m) and Paulo Dybala (£101.7m) make up the top 10.

 

The list is determined on a number of factors, including performance of both players and the international status of their clubs, contract, age and position and the ages of Messi, 29, and Ronaldo, 32, appear to have counted against them.

 

The rankings are dominated by the Premier League, with even the 10th most expensive English-based player -- Kane and Alli's Tottenham teammate Eric Dier -- worth £75m, compared to just £41.6m for the tenth most-valuable in the German Bundesliga.

 

Tottenham have nine players on the 110-man list, with Manchester City (7), Chelsea (7) Liverpool (5), Arsenal (4), United (4) the other English sides to feature prominently.

 

In the top 50, Spurs have five players, the same number as City while United, Chelsea and Liverpool have three each.

 

The findings suggest that any club wishing to sign Arsenal's sole representative in the top 50, Alexis Sanchez, will have to pay £84.7m and that Kylian Mbappe -- the Chile international's potential successor at the Emirates -- is already worth £81.7m, despite being the youngest player in the rankings.

 

Kyle Walker, Tottenham's right-back who has been linked to Manchester City -- is named as the 110th and last player on the list, valued at £35.4m.

 

Gareth Bale, the world's most expensive player until last summer, is down at 43 on the list, valued at £59m.

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

Nigeria football officials will hold two crisis meetings this week following the Super Eagles' 2-0 defeat by South Africa in 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying.

The Technical and Development Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation will meet with national coach Gernot Rohr on Tuesday morning and then with Nigeria Sports Minister Solomon Dalung later in the day.

Committee chairman Christopher Green said the issue of the World Cup qualifying matches against Cameroon in September will be top of the agenda.

"It was not the result we worked or prayed for, but the truth is we have only lost one of six matches in the series, and this wake-up call has come at the right time. It has also come when we still have the opportunity to rectify things and prepare harder for the remaining matches of the FIFA World Cup qualifying race," Green said.

"Losing to South Africa was never in our calculation, but it has happened. Someone once said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Now, everyone, including the technical crew and the players, know that we must work harder than we have ever done, dig deeper than we have ever done and show the kind of commitment greater than we have ever shown in the two qualifying campaigns.

"Now, we have to focus squarely on the FIFA World Cup qualifiers because the race to the Cup of Nations will only resume in nine months' time. In two-and-a-half months, we have classical World Cup battles with Cameroon. That is the only issue on our minds at the moment."

The meeting with Dalung, however, will be focused on what went wrong against South Africa, including the reasons for the NFF's inability to clear their allocation of official match balls.

"This is a temporary setback which is surmountable. We need to sit with the Technical Committee and crew to find out the immediate and remote causes of this setback," Dalung said.

"We have very young talented players in the Super Eagles and we trust that with more hard work and determination, this result can be reversed when we go to South Africa.

"This is just the beginning of a long journey. The Super Eagles will definitely be in Cameroon because we can't afford to be absent at the Africa Cup of Nations for a third consecutive time.

"We must do all within our means to support the team when they win and when there's a setback. We will ensure that no stone is left unturned in our pursuit of a ticket to Cameroon."

Report by Collin Udoh

Comment

Scoring 39 points in a fast-and-furious, finals-clinching 129-120 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, Kevin Durant capped his spectacular first season with the Warriors by bringing home that coveted NBA championship he joined Golden State last July so determined to get.

Stephen Curry added 34 points, 10 assists and six rebounds as Golden State closed out its second title in three years after squandering a 3-1 lead a year ago to the Cavs to miss a repeat. That stung ever since, and even Durant understood, because he gave up the same lead to the Warriors a round earlier with Oklahoma City.

"We learned from everything we've been through," Curry said during the trophy celebration. "Our perspective, being blessed to play on this stage three years in a row, it's for these fans, for our organization, for these families. To be back here, bring ol' Larry back home, I'm just excited to do something special. I'm ready to do it again."

James wound up with 41 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving followed up his 40-point gem in Friday's Game 4 with 26 points but shot 9 for 22.

"It's just a great group of guys, great community, great arena, great fans," Durant said. "I'm just so happy to be a part of it. I can't wait to celebrate with my teammates in the locker room."

Durant drove left, right and down the middle, knocked down 3-pointers, dished and dunked. He knocked down a 17-foot fadeaway over James early in the fourth quarter, then assisted on a 3-pointer by Andre Iguodala the next time down as the Warriors pulled away.

Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, came up big again with his 2017 postseason-best 20 points off the bench and stingy defense on James in a testy, tightly called finale to this trilogy Finals that everyone had stamped on the calendar from the moment Durant departed Oklahoma City to join Curry and Co.

The Warriors won in 2015 before the Cavs made their historic comeback last year. Then it was Golden State's time again, with Durant as the prized addition.

Durant who was named Finals MVP shot 14 for 20 and Curry -- the two-time reigning MVP who took a backseat as the new big star got acclimated -- finished off a brilliant postseason. Not to mention a healthy one after his 2016 injuries.

Draymond Green stayed on the court in a game that featured three technicals on one play 3:08 before halftime. David West fought for the ball with Irving, then they got tangled up and Tristan Thompson entered the fray and he and West went at each other face-to-face. West, Thompson and J.R. Smith received techs after a replay review.

Green had sat out this very game a year ago, suspended because of flagrant foul point accumulation after he swiped at James' groin in Game 4. He had 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the clincher.

With a much-improved bench led by Iguodala, JaVale McGee, Shaun Livingstonand West, that "Strength In Numbers" slogan that has become such a staple the past two seasons shined all season long, from Durant's 19-game absence late in the regular season with a left knee injury to assistant coach Mike Brown stepping in for 11 postseason games to lead the way while Steve Kerr was ailing.

On Monday, Golden State used a 27-4 second-quarter run to take charge -- just after it appeared Durant should have been called for a third foul on a basket by James -- and got to celebrate right at home in Oakland surrounded by a deafening home crowd waving yellow rally towels and holding up phones to shoot video and photos as the final minute of the clock ticked away.

With the win, the Warriors became the first Bay Area team to capture a championship at home since the A's finished the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1974 World Series.

 

Comment

The summer transfer window is open and teams across Europe are already making moves.

Everton are considering a move for Paul Pogba's brother Florentin. The Premier League side are hoping to strengthen their side with their return to the Europa League hence manager Ronald Koeman will subsequently want to bring in new signings to boost his squad. However, they will face competition from last season's Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig.

The Guinean international, who has 12 caps to his name, impressed against Manchester United and his brother Paul Pogba in the Europa League earlier this year, which has seemingly attracted interest.

Standing at over 6ft 3in tall, Pogba is a physically imposing player with superb strength, and his versatility to play at left back may also be appealing to Everton given Leighton Baines' injury problems and advancing years.

The 26 year old currently has one year left on his contract with Saint-Etienne and will be allowed to leave the club unless imminent new manager Oscar Garcia decides otherwise.

 

Comment

Bayern Munich have signed former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry on a three-year deal.

The 21-year-old made his Gunners breakthrough in 2012 but after struggling to command a regular berth - and a loan spell with West Brom - joined Werder Bremen last summer.

An impressive season which yielded 11 goals from 27 appearances brought him to Bayern's attention and the two-time Germany international has now joined the Bundesliga champions.

"It is a great honour to be part of FC Bayern," he said. "Before me lies an exciting time, which I am very much looking forward to."

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added on his club's official website: "We are delighted to see another young German national player in FC Bayern in Serge Gnabry. Serge has developed very well in Bremen."

 

Comment

New Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti has hinted Ivan Perisic should leave the club for Manchester United if the winger is not committed to playing for him. 

Perisic has been linked with a big money move to United this summer with reports suggesting that Jose Mourinho has already made an offer of £36m for the Croatian.

Inter are believed to want £44m for Perisic who has proven himself to be one of the club’s star players after scoring 11 goals in Serie A this season.

But Spalletti, who was confirmed as Inter’s new manager, has indicated that he does not want to keep players who don’t want to be at the club.

The former Roma boss seems to have suggested that if Perisic has had his head turned by a potential move to United then the 28-year-old, and Inter, would be better off completing the deal.

Spalletti told reporters: “We shouldn’t convince anyone to stay at Inter. I am already convincing others to join Inter and that is the most we can aspire to do.

“I have arrived here at Inter with enthusiasm, if there are people who do not feel this enthusiasm then it’s better to go where they feel inclined to do their job well.”

Inter signed Perisic from Wolfsburg in 2015 and now seem set to make a handsome profit on the winger as United look to further enhance their squad ahead of the new season.

 

 

Comment

Former Arsenal and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor has described joining Crystal Palace as the “worst decision” of his career.

The 33-year-old Togolese striker is currently playing for Turkish side ?stanbul Ba?ak?ehir after being released by the Eagles in the summer of 2016.

Adebayor signed a six-month deal with Palace at the beginning of 2016 – a decision he says he would reverse if given the opportunity.

“I had some great experiences in England in clubs who are among the best in the country,” he told L’Équipe, as reported by the Daily Mirror.

“I was happy there, my family too. The only error that I made was to sign for Crystal Palace in January 2016.

“I did it just to please my entourage, who were saying to me: ‘Manu, you have to start playing again!’ It was the worst decision of my career.”

He would played 15 senior matches for Palace under then boss Alan Pardew scoring once in a losing effort to Watford.

It turned out to be his worst return for a single club since turning professional nearly 20 years ago with hometown side AC Merlan Lome.

Prior to relocating to Selhurst Park, the enigmatic centre-forward had already plied his trade with three different English clubs, most notably Arsenal from whom he joined Manchester City before returning to North London with Tottenham Hotspur.

In his first season with Ba?ak?ehir, the former Monaco man, has managed to register six goals across 11 league appearances including a hat-trick against Galatasaray.

 

Comment

An emotional Usain Bolt recovered from a moderate start to win his final 100 meters sprint, clocking 10.03 seconds at the 2nd Racers Grand Prix in Kingston on Saturday in his last race on Jamaican soil. 

Bolt confessed to being a nervous wreck before running.

"The run, it was just ok. I must say it was ok. I don't think I've ever been that nervous running a 100m," Bolt said after a lap of honor before a packed stadium.

"I think that was possibly one of my worst races. My execution was poor, my start was poor as always. I think in the last bit I lost it a little.

"But I didn't expect anything spectacular... my first race since January when I ran a 150m and some relays in Australia so I just wanted to stay injury free, put on a show for the crowd and shown them I'm thankful for the support over the years.

"Just the atmosphere and the people, the support they came out and give me tonight, it was really nerve racking. I never expected this, I knew it was going to be Big, the stadium was ram packed so thank you guys for coming out and supporting me."

He took control of the race before the halfway mark and pulled away to the delight of more than 30,000 spectators.

"It's Big to see everybody that turned out. It shows that what I've done for the sport is a big deal to them and they really appreciate it," said the 30-year-old.

"So thank you and it was my honor to put the sport of track and field at the top and to continue to dominate. I'll try my best even when I've hung up my spikes, to really continue to push track and field in anyway possible."

The double sprint world record holder, who has amassed eight Olympic golds and 13 world championship medals, will make his final bow in August in the British capital, where he will only run the shorter sprint despite having a wildcard for the 200m.

"It will definitely just be the 100. I know a lot of people really want to see me run it (200m) but the 100m will be the one because I know people really want to see that also," Bolt said.

"I'm just going there to do my best and to come through victorious as always."

 

Comment

Guinea, Mozambique and South Africa all produced surprise away wins on the opening weekend of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers to suggest the form book will have a few pages torn out before the 16 finalists for Cameroon 2019 are decided.

Saturday’s extensive list of matches saw Guinea upset 2015 winners Ivory Coast in Bouake, Mozambique beat 2012 winners Zambia in Ndola and second-half goals from Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau give South Africa a first-ever victory in a competitive international over Nigeria, who were Nations Cup winners in 2013.

There was also a rare away win for Mauritania, whose 1-0 triumph against Botswana was only their second ever on the road in a qualifying game.

The Democratic Republic of Congo beat neighbours Congo 3-1 while Burkina Faso, third at the finals in Gabon earlier this year, registered the same scoreline at home to Angola.

There were also wins for holders Cameroon, Burundi, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mali and Sierra Leone, while the Cape Verde Islands' game against Uganda was postponed by 24 hours after the visitors were late in arriving.

Seydou Doumbia returned to the Ivory Coast side to score a double but Guinea twice came from behind to snatch a 3-2 win with Bundesliga-based Naby Keita securing the winner 11 minutes from time.

It was a further setback for new Ivorian coach Marc Wilmots, the Belgian boss at last year’s European Championship, who lost his debut game 5-0 in the Netherlands last Sunday in a warm-up match.

Both teams paid tribute before the game to Cheikh Tiote, the former Ivorian international midfielder who collapsed and died in training with his Chinese club on Monday.

Mozambique had lost 14 and drawn four of their previous clashes with neighbours Zambia but German-born Stanley Ratifio, an amateur with FC Cologne’s reserve team playing just his second international, forced home a late goal to break a four-decade drought.

South Africa gave English coach Stuart Baxter, on his return for a second spell in charge, a winning start to his tenure as they weathered Nigeria’s early attacks and then dominated in Uyo.

Rantie headed home while Tau broke from his own half to beat the offside trap for the second goal with his first touch after coming on as substitute.

Mauritania scored 10 minutes from the end through substitute Abdullahi Soudani for a 1-0 triumph in Francistown.

Cedric Bakambu scored twice and Chancel Mbemba added the third for DR Congo to win in Kinshasa while Aristide Bance got two and Bertrand Traore the other in Burkina Faso’s victory.

As Cameroon are hosting the next finals, their results in the qualifiers do not count, but the 1-0 win over Morocco with a 29th-minute goal from Vincent Aboubaker served as preparation for the Confederation Cup, which starts in Russia next weekend.

There are six more qualifying matches on Sunday with Egypt's game in Tunisia the main attraction.

By Supersport

Comment

Manchester United have agreed a fee with Benfica for central defender Victor Lindelof.

United will pay the Portuguese club £30.7m to sign the Sweden international.

Lindelof is yet to agree personal terms, with his proposed move to Old Trafford also subject to a medical and international clearance.

A United statement read: "Manchester United is pleased to announce that it has reached agreement with Benfica for the transfer of Victor Lindelof, subject to a medical examination, international clearance and personal terms.

"A further announcement will be made once the transfer is complete."

The 22-year-old joined Benfica from Swedish side Vasteras SK in 2011 and has since featured 73 times for the first-team, helping them win the Portuguese league title on three occasions.

Lindelof has also enjoyed success on the international stage, having helped Sweden win the U21 European Championship in 2015 and appeared in all three group matches for the senior team at Euro 2016.

Like a traditional centre-back and standing at 6ft 2in, Lindelof possesses the mobility and technical ability to play as a right-back, as he has done on several occasions at international level.

He also has an ability to read the game that is reminiscent of Rio Ferdinand, rarely conceding fouls and picking up very few yellow cards.

According to reports in Portugal, Mourinho is understood to be particularly impressed with his speed as well as his defensive capabilities, seeing similarities between the Swede and Raphael Varane, who he managed at Real Madrid.

That Lindelof is known as "The Iceman" at Benfica due to his confidence and composure. Thrust into the side at such an important part of the season, Lindelof's ability to remain cool under pressure was a vital component of their run to the Portuguese title last season.

 

Comment

A Ghanaian football player in Gävle, Sweden, has been sentenced to two years in prison for raping and assaulting his wife.

A Swedish court on Friday sentenced a Ghanaian football player in Sweden's second division to two years in prison for raping and beating his then wife.

After serving his sentence, 22-year-old Kwame Bonsu, who played for the Gefle IF club, will be expelled from the Scandinavian country where he has lived since 2013, Gävle District Court said.

Gefle on Friday said Bonsu was dismissed from the team with immediate effect.

According to court documents seen by The Local he will also have to pay 122,600 kronor ($14,000) in compensation to his wife, who is a Swedish national.

He first met her in 2014 when he was playing in the southern Swedish city of Mjölby. They married the following year.

A few months after the wedding he signed a transfer to the town of Gävle, located about 300 kilometres away from Mjölby.

Bonsu's wife had wanted him to stay to continue his studies.

The victim said the rape and beatings took place in the couple's apartment during an evening in November 2015 when he had refused to let her out.

Bonsu repeatedly denied the charges, but testimony from his wife's relatives led the court to believe the victim's version of events.

His lawyer has appealed the sentence, reports Gefle Dagblad.

 

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The Cavs used an NBA Finals record 24 three-pointers to take Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena and force a Game 5 back at Oracle Arena.

In a 137-116 victory to avoid the Finals sweep, Cleveland used a 49-point first quarter and a barrage of long range bombs to bury the Warriors every time they tried to make it a game. Kyrie Irving continued his hot streak from Game 3, leading the Cavs with 40 points on 15-of-27 shooting from the floor and 5-of-7 shooting from deep.

LeBron James was masterful again, passing Magic Johnson for the most triple-doubles in NBA Finals history (nine) and finishing his night with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Kevin Love chipped in 23 points on 6-of-8 shooting from deep, while J.R. Smith added 15.

Though Kevin Durant played another superb game for the Warriors with 35 points, Stephen Curry (14 points and 10 assists on 4-of-13 shooting), Klay Thompson (13 points on 4-of-11 shooting) and Draymond Green (16 points and 14 boards) didn’t show up on the offensive end.

In their first loss of the postseason, the Warriors shot 11-for-39 from deep (26.3 percent), while the Cavs were a smoking hot 24-for-45 from downtown (53.3 percent).

In the tone-setting first quarter, the Cleveland Cavaliers made it known they were not ready to roll over and die just yet, with a 14-5 start forcing Steve Kerr to call timeout early.

Tristan Thompson was active on the offensive boards, while LeBron James passed Michael Jordan for the third-most points in NBA Finals history.

Cleveland built a 29-13 lead, its largest of the Finals to that point, before the Warriors kicked it back into high gear. After holding Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant scoreless for the first 6:33, KD led Golden State’s first charge with 10 straight points during a 12-2 Dubs run, cutting the deficit down to six.

In what became the highest-scoring half in NBA Finals history, the Cavaliers took an 86-68 lead into the break. Their 86 points were the most by any team in a single half in Finals history, with a staggering 13 three-pointers leading the way.

Kyrie Irving was sensational, boasting a game-high 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting. LeBron orchestrated everything else in the first half with a jaw-dropping 22-8-6 stat line, while Kevin Love chipped in 17 points for a team that shot 60 percent from the floor in the first two quarters.

With the Cavs taking Game 4 and the series shifts back to Oracle Arena for Game 5 Monday night.

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Patrick Kluivert has quit Paris Saint-Germain following an underwhelming campaign for the club.

The Dutchman was appointed to the role last year and worked with both the first-team and the academy but has now departed as part of a re-structuring at the club.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “As part of the restructuring of the club’s sporting sector, the two parties ended their collaboration on Wednesday. Patrick Kluivert had been executing the duties of Director of Football since 14 July 2016.

“The club would like to underline the quality of the relationships Patrick developed, over recent months, with the senior-team players and staff as well as with the administrators, educators and players at the Youth Academy and their families.

“The club would like to thank Patrick Kluivert for the great professionalism he always showed and wishes him all the best for the challenges he chooses to take on in the years to come.”

PSG won the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue this season but were left frustrated after missing out on the Ligue 1 title to Monaco, who finished eight points above them.

Unai Emery is expected to remain as PSG manager but there could be several other changes this summer with regards to the club’s hierarchy.

 

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