<![CDATA[rss-Sports]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Sports]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[A sad story, Salah may miss World Cup]]>


Real Madrid defeated the Reds, Liverpool, 3-1 in the final game to clinch their 13th Champions League title and the third consecutive one.

A sad way for Salah's season to finish. It was shameful from Sergio Ramos who intentionally wrapped the Egyptian's arm and pushed him down on his shoulder.


As soon as the action occurred, the severity of the action could be seen. Salah tried to return to the field, but he lasted a short time on it before being substituted.


Salah took off from the field in tears. He lost the final, left his teammates alone and saw the World Cup in Russia endangered. Salah had to be one of the protagonists of the final and ended up crying and retiring early.


BBC reports that Salah had a shoulder dislocation. He could miss the World Cup.

5/26/2018 11:23:04 PM
<![CDATA[Super Bale sinks Liverpool as Madrid make it three in a row]]>
Substitute Bale, who also scored in Real's 2014 final win over Atletico Madrid, had only been on the pitch for three minutes when he rose to meet Marcelo’s cross in the air from outside the box, sending it flying into the net to restore Real’s lead in the 64th minute at the NSC Olympic Stadium.

French forward Karim Benzema had put Madrid ahead in the 51st minute by sticking out a leg as Liverpool’s German keeper Karius attempted to throw the ball to a team mate, sending it trickling over the line, but Sadio Mane levelled from close range in the 55th for Juergen Klopp's side.

Bale then sealed Madrid's record-extending 13th European Cup win and piled more misery on Karius with a long-range strike in the 83rd minute which went straight through the hands of the hapless goalkeeper.

Real become the first side since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win the trophy three years in a row and Zinedine Zidane the is the first coach to win three back-to-back titles.

Liverpool’s talismanic forward Mohamed Salah was forced off in the first half with a suspected dislocated shoulder after tangling with Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, while Real defender Dani Carvajal also left the pitch in tears after getting injured before halftime.]]>
5/26/2018 11:01:19 PM
<![CDATA[Froome on brink of Giro d'Italia triumph as Nieve wins 20th stage]]>
Spain's Mikel Nieve, a former teammate of Froome's at Team Sky, capped a long breakaway with victory at the end of the 214km run from Susa to Cervinia.

Four-time Tour de France winner Froome, 33, now only has to survive the final stage in Rome on Sunday, a 115 km closed circuit race, to win his third successive Grand Tour after his wins in the Tour of Spain and Tour de France.

"I felt very in control. I felt everyone had such a hard day yesterday that nobody really had the legs to go anywhere," said Froome.

"This Giro has been brutal, when someone tends to have a bad day here it's not just 30 seconds or a minute, it's 10-15 minutes.

"You could see today (Thibaut) Pinot was in trouble and Astana turned the screw, so for us it was just to keep an eye on Tom. I sprinted to the finish just to keep in front of everything."

It would signal a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for the Kenyan-born Briton, who before the start of Friday's 19th stage was over three minutes behind leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton) and looked virtually out of victory contention.

The team Sky rider had suffered two falls in the first week and struggled in summit finishes.

Thanks to an audacious plan concocted by his team, Froome went on the attack 80 km from the finish on the notoriously difficult Colle delle Finestre climb on Friday, leaving a struggling Yates to trail home over half an hour in arrears.

The impressive stage win gave Froome the pink jersey and left his closest rival, defending champion Tom Dumoulin, 45secs in arrears.

With overall victory in sight, Froome gave little to the Dutchman on the 20th stage. Both crossed the finish line together as Nieve handed Mitchelton a consolation stage victory.

Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), meanwhile, saw his hopes of a podium finish in Rome dashed. He began the stage in third overall, but suffered a spectacular collapse.

Nieve, meanwhile, broke clear on the steepest part of Saint Pantaleon, 32km from the line with the Basque climber crossing over two minutes ahead of Dutch rider Robert Gesink of Team Lotto.

The Spaniard celebrated his third stage win after 2011 and 2016 on the day of his 34th birthday.

Nieve said: “After what happened yesterday, it was very important for our team to make it up with a stage victory. Five stage wins are a lot! I couldn't have dreamt of a better birthday."

Froome is attempting to become only the third man in history to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time.

He escaped a provisional suspension over the adverse analytical finding in his urine sample at the Vuelta because salbutamol is allowed in certain doses.

The Sky rider remains free to race pending the resolution of the case by cycling's governing body the UCI.

5/26/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Real Madrid, Liverpool official line-ups revealed]]>
Both managers, Madrid’s Zidane and Liverpool’s Klopp, revealed the 11-players line-up which will feature in the awaited encounter.

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane’s line-up for the game consists of: (GK) Keylor Navas; (DEF) Rafael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo Vieira, Dani Carvajal; (MID) Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Isco; (ATT) Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s line-up for the game consists of: (GK) Karius, (DEF) Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; (DEF) Milner, Henderson, Winaldum; (ATT) Mane, Firmino, Salah

Liverpool, with Egyptian star Mohamed Salah, aspires to achieve its sixth CL title in Kiev. Liverpool hadn’t qualified to the final since 2007, when it lost from AC Milan, and its last title was in 2005 after beating AC Milan in the penalty shootouts.

This is the second time in history that the two teams meet in the final of the Champions League, as they facedeach other in 1981, which Liverpool won 1-0.

All the Arab world and Egyptians around the world are praying for Mohamed Salah to lead his team to win the most important title for clubs in Europe, and to continue his path to be nominated for the best player of the year.
5/26/2018 8:00:44 PM
<![CDATA[Relentless Ronaldo can break more Champions League records in final]]>
Ronaldo, 33, leads the competition's scoring charts for a remarkable fifth year in a row and a goal against Liverpool in Kiev will see him surpass Di Stefano and become the only player to score in four European Cup finals.

Slowed down by a five-game suspension for pushing a referee in the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona back in August, Ronaldo endured a barren spell of only four goals in the first half of the Liga season as Madrid fell way behind runaway leaders and eventual champions Barca.

Ronaldo continued to reign supreme in Europe's top club competition, however, and goes into Saturday's final with 15 goals in 12 games this season.

He became the first player ever to score in all six matches in a Champions League group stage in December and with further strikes against Paris St Germain and Juventus in the knockout rounds he set yet another record in the competition by scoring in 10 consecutive games in the same season.

He recovered his domestic form, too, finishing the Liga campaign with 26 goals, only trailing Lionel Messi who finished top scorer with 34.

Ronaldo's outrageous bicycle kick against Juventus in Turin was widely hailed as the greatest goal in the competition's history.

He also showed nerves of steel to strike the decisive injury-time penalty in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu to pull Madrid through to the semis 4-3 on aggregate.

"I've had an amazing season in the Champions League," said Ronaldo, who has scored a record 120 goals in the competition overall.

"You need to be up for it and in this club you can never let up, let alone in this competition, with the history this club has in it. On a personal level it motivates me a lot."

Ronaldo struck for Manchester United against Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final and hit the last goal from the penalty spot in Real's 4-1 win in extra-time over Atletico Madrid in the 2014 final.


He could not score against Atletico in the 2016 final although he buried the final penalty in their shoot-out win, while he netted twice in last year's 4-1 win over Juventus in Cardiff.

"I want to be fine on Saturday, play well, to score if I can, but the important thing is to win – it doesn't matter who scores, what matters is making history," Ronaldo added.

Ronaldo is bidding to join a group of players who have won the European Cup five times, including former Real great Di Stefano. Former Real winger Paco Gento holds the record with six European Cup winners medals.

Ronaldo's preparations for the Kiev final hit a snag when he sprained his ankle while scoring against Barca on May 6, although he played and netted in their final Liga game of the season against Villarreal last Saturday.

"I can see that he is feeling very good, he'll be at 150 percent although if he is 149 percent that's ok," Real coach Zinedine Zidane said of his talisman on Friday.

"He lives to play games like this."]]>
5/26/2018 5:12:49 PM
<![CDATA[Platini says cleared by Swiss authorities, plans return]]>
The Frenchman was banned from all soccer-related activities over a two million Swiss francs ($2.02 million) payment FIFA made to him in 2011, with former chief Sepp Blatter's approval, for work done a decade earlier.

FIFA's ethics committee said the payment, made at a time when Blatter was seeking re-election, lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest. Both men denied wrongdoing.

A criminal investigation was opened against Platini, but the former France captain said on Saturday he had been told by the Swiss authorities that had now been closed.

"After (three) years of investigation, the Public Ministry of the (Swiss) Confederation has just restored the truth by officially confirming that no charge has been at any time or will be in the future held against me in connection with my activities for FIFA," Platini said in a statement.

"This official information from an authority of justice attests definitely of my innocence."

Platini was initially banned from all soccer-related activities for eight years. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced the suspension to four years.

The 62-year-old added he and his family had been living a nightmare for the last three years.

"These years were difficult and painful," Platini said.

"My honour and integrity have been tarnished. I was robbed for three years of professional life.

"I will come back: where, when, how? It is too early to tell. But I will come back to football."]]>
5/26/2018 4:27:26 PM
<![CDATA[Kiev re-opens closed metro stations before CL final]]>
The bomb threat came on the same day of the UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Liverpool, with Egyptian star Mohamed Salah, aspires to achieve its sixth CL title in Kiev. Liverpool hadn’t qualified to the final since 2007, when it lost from AC Milan, and its last title was in 2005 after beating AC Milan in the penalty shootouts.

The closed stations are located in the central part of the Ukrainian capital.

The official Facebook account of the Kiev Metro said on Saturday, "The necessary tests are underway to ensure the safety of the stations from bombs."

After a few hours of searching, the five metro stations were re-opened. "The stations are checked and open for passengers. Explosive items were not found," the subway operator said on the official Facebook account.

This is the second time in history that the two teams meet in the final of the Champions League, as they facedeach other in 1981, which Liverpool won 1-0.

All the Arab world and Egyptians around the world are praying for Mohamed Salah to lead his team to win the most important title for clubs in Europe, and to continue his path to be nominated for the best player of the year.
5/26/2018 3:35:27 PM
<![CDATA[National football team leaves for Tunisia]]>
Egypt will play a friendly match against Tunisia on Tuesday, EFA said in a Facebook post on its official page.

Then, the Egyptian team will leave for Algeria to play two friendly matches against the Algerian national football team due on June 3 and 6, in preparation for the 2020 Summer Olympics. ]]>
5/26/2018 12:41:01 PM
<![CDATA[Unselfishness key to Liverpool's free-scoring front three - Salah]]>
However, Salah says he would be happy if Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane grabs the goal that takes the Reds to a sixth European crown.

Salah has won a series of individual prizes as he has contributed 44 of the 90 goals Liverpool's front three have scored this season.

But the goals have been far more evenly spread in the Champions League.

"It doesn't matter who scores," Salah told UEFA.com.

"Winning games, getting points, that's the most important thing for us because as you can see, I've scored ten goals in the Champions League, Sadio nine, Firmino ten, so all of us are the same.

"None of us is selfish or only wants to score. We try to help each other to score goals."

The Egyptian, who had a disappointing spell at Chelsea, has been a revelation since his return to England last summer from Roma.

His form has led to Saturday's clash in Kiev being billed as a Ballon d'Or decider against five-time World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo.

And he stressed the importance of maintaining that form for a number of years to match Ronaldo or Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

"The most important thing is to maintain that level, to (keep) doing what I've done next season as well," he said.

"I believed (that I was capable of this form). I was at Roma for two years, had two great seasons there and everyone told me to stay, but it was in my mind to come and be successful in England."

The contrast in experience will be stark in the Ukrainian capital as Madrid seek a fourth Champions League in five seasons.

By contrast, despite Liverpool's storied history in the competition, none of Jurgen Klopp's squad have ever played in a Champions League final.

"They've won the Champions League three times in the past four years, so they have a lot of experience," Salah said.

But he said the single-game format improves Liverpool's chances.

"It's one game, not two, so we just need to focus and not think about anything in the past. When you get to the game it's just 11 against 11."]]>
5/26/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Shapovalov 'has nothing to lose', targeting future Grand Slam title]]>
The 19-year-old reached his second Masters semi-final in Madrid earlier this month and is widely-regarded as one of the best young players in the game.

Rafael Nadal won the first of his 10 French Open titles 13 years ago at the age of 19, but Shapovalov can't see himself pulling off the same feat as his fellow left-hander.

"I was talking about it yesterday... How Rafa won it when he was 19 and now it seems absolutely impossible," he told reporters at Roland Garros on Friday.

"I don't think it's possible to do something like this at this stage of the tennis life. What they (Nadal and Roger Federer) have done at such a young age is not something that you're going to see a lot."

Shapovalov announced himself at the top level with a stunning victory over Nadal on home soil in Montreal last year, and has since risen to 26 in the world rankings.

With 31-year-old Nadal and Federer, 36, having won the last five Grand Slam titles between them, the fight is on between the youngsters to take over the mantle at the top of the game.

Shapovalov has set his sights on emulating current world number three Alexander Zverev, 21, by heading into major tournaments among the favourites within the next two years.

"Obviously I don't expect such crazy results from myself this early on and hopefully a couple of years from now I can be a contender for the titles, kind of like Zverev is right now," he said.

"He's at that stage where he's looking to get his first (Grand Slam title), so hopefully I can get there as fast as Zverev."

Shapovalov's best results last year came on hard courts, so his run to the last four on clay in Madrid was a surprise.

But despite relying on an attacking and powerful playing style, he thinks he can win the French Open in the future.

"It's honestly not about this year, next year, it's about three or four years down the road when I want to be a contender for the Roland Garros title.

"I'm still a very erratic tennis player, I'm young. Some days I can play unbelievable and then I can have a phase when I'm not playing so good."

Shapovalov, seeded 24th in Paris, starts his campaign against Australian John Millman, and could face Nadal in the last 16.

"It's a tough draw, I have (Jack) Sock in my draw and potentially, if I get there, Rafa," he added. "So for me, there's nothing to lose. Every round I win is a bonus."]]>
5/26/2018 8:12:00 AM
<![CDATA[Liverpool aim to end Real reign in Champions League final]]>
The Spanish giants have seen the Champions League as their competition ever since winning the first five European Cups in a row, and they are in the midst of another golden era, dreaming of making it a fourth Champions League in five years.

Neither Atletico Madrid (twice) nor Juventus have been able to stop Cristiano Ronaldo from inflicting pain on them in recent finals.

But Liverpool's own attacking quality gives them reason to believe and suggests the Olympic Stadium in the Ukrainian capital could be the scene of an unforgettable encounter.

In terms of history alone, this is a dream final.

Real's 12 European Cup wins puts them way ahead of the rest, but Liverpool have lifted the famous trophy five times themselves, most recently in 2005, defying all the odds against AC Milan in Istanbul.

This time, under Klopp, their adventure started against Hoffenheim in the play-offs last August, continued with a 3-3 draw in Seville when they had been three goals up, before blossoming into stunning wins over Manchester City and Roma.

- Goals galore -

They have scored a record 46 goals in all in this season's Champions League, with Salah netting 11 of those -- the Egyptian has 44 in all competitions since joining from Roma last year.

"If we win the competition then the road to Kiev plus the final would be one of the most exceptional rides ever," Klopp told Liverpool's website.

Klopp has lost his last five major finals as a coach, including the 2013 Champions League with Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich, and the 2016 Europa League with Liverpool against Sevilla.

Experience means his team have to be the outsiders in Kiev -- none of the squad have ever played in a Champions League final before -- but Klopp knows Zinedine Zidane's side cannot dismiss them.

"Do Real Madrid, sitting in Madrid at the moment, think, 'thank God it's Liverpool!'? I can't imagine that," added the coach, who has welcomed Emre Can back into his squad.

Salah will of course be so important, especially if Marcelo is unable to resist the temptation to abandon his left-back position and join the Real attack.

Salah said Real's past dominance would count for nothing once the whistle blew.

"They've won it before, but it's one game, not two, so we just need to focus and not think about anything in the past," he said in an interview for UEFA's website. "When you get to the game it's just 11 against 11."

While Gareth Bale is unlikely to make Zidane's line-up, how will the Liverpool midfield cope against Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, their central defence against Ronaldo?

- Five for CR7? -

Real can became the first team since Bayern in 1976 to lift the European Cup three years running, and thereby make it five consecutive titles for Spain.

Ronaldo could win his fifth Champions League. That would equal the individual record, and leave him in sight of yet another Ballon d'Or.

Zidane, meanwhile, is on the brink of a third straight Champions League win as a coach.

"We have already made history and we want to keep on doing it. It would be incredible," defender Raphael Varane told Madrid sports daily Marca.

"I still don't think we have realised the scale of what we are doing, but when all this is over we will.

"Through experience we know how difficult it is going to be, but experience gives more security and serenity as well."


The build-up to the game itself has been overshadowed by complaints from fans of both sides that getting to Kiev -- and finding accommodation there -- has been too expensive.

With fans undertaking arduous over-land journeys to get to Ukraine, and paying extortionate rates for rooms, Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore has claimed the city cannot cope with such a big event.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin confirmed on Thursday that 1,000 tickets allocated to Real fans had been handed back because they could not get there.

Those tickets will -- officially at least -- be sold to locals, but those coming from afar at great cost will at least be hoping the match itself lives up to its billing.

5/26/2018 6:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Liverpool fans stranded by Ukraine flight problems]]>
Chartered flights had been lined up to transport supporters to the game against Real Madrid.

But operator World Choice Sports was forced to cancel them after not being able to secure landing slots at Boryspil Airport, it said on its website.

Liverpool fans have been frantically trying to make last-minute alternative travel arrangements.

"My 18-year-old son's flight to Kiev has just been cancelled by World Choice Sports. He is devastated. Anyone got a seat on a private plane?" asked Twitter user Raf B.

Supporter Chris Bolland commented: "I am gutted, to say the least. I am absolutely disgusted and there is nothing I can do about it."

Many fans booked with the tour operator owing to the expense and difficulty of getting into Kiev.

Those who have made it to the final have admitted to paying up to $7,000 to see their team in action.

The club said in a statement on its website that around 1,000 fans have been affected by the travel chaos. In total three flights have been cancelled.

A statement released on World Choice Sports' website on May 24 said: "With deep regret we can not get a flight on the 26th May from Liverpool or Manchester."

But help may be at hand in the bulky form of former heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko who is nowadays the Mayor of Kiev.

Liverpool mayor, Joe Anderson, has been talking to him in an effort to resolve the problem and said on Friday he was talking to a carrier that may be able to fly two or three planes to Kiev by the early evening on Saturday.]]>
5/26/2018 4:05:00 AM
<![CDATA[World Cup divides fans with "Live It Up" Will Smith anthem]]>

Some on social media asked how the tune's Latin American feel fitted in with the tournament's host country Russia - and compared it unfavourably with past efforts including Shakira's "Waka Waka" theme for the 2010 contest in South Africa.

Some more were puzzled by the choice of performers - Will Smith is joined by Puerto Rico-born Reggaeton artist Nicky Jam and singer Era Istrefi, who describes herself as "Albanian Kosovar" - none of them from countries competing in this year's contest.

"The World Cup song doesn't have any football ring to it. Blegh. How is Messi gonna dance to Live it up?!" Twitter user @arla_I said, referring to Argentina star Lionel Messi.

Others were won over by the energetic track, with its affirming chorus "One life, live it up/'Cos we got one life."

"This one definitely has the World Cup vibe to it," one user wrote, calling the song "awesome".

The trio will perform "Live It Up" in front of spectators before the World Cup final in Moscow on July 15.

"It's an honour to be asked to perform at the 2018 FIFA World Cup," Smith said in a statement.

"Collaborating with Nicky, (producer) Diplo and Era on this track represents harmony, eclectic flavours and genres coming together. At the end of the day, we just want to see the world dance."

Smith has focused on his acting career for years, but the "Independence Day" star has recently hinted about a return to music.

This week, he posted a clip of himself rapping in a music booth on his Instagram page titled "Gettin' back in the studio. Just warmin' Up".]]>
5/26/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Germany's Bierhoff welcomes real-time data for coaches at World Cup]]>
World soccer's governing body FIFA earlier this month approved the use of two statistic tablets for coaching staff and communicating data directly with the bench at next month's tournament in Russia.

"I welcome the use of tablets for coaches at the World Cup," Bierhoff told reporters at the world champions' training camp in northern Italy.

"There are many more options available such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, things that are not necessarily well heard within football but will be part of the future."

FIFA's plan is that each team is offered two devices; one for a team analyst observing the match from the stands and another for the coaching team on the bench.

Cameras then track the positional data of players and the ball and the information can be shared between the analyst and the bench during the game.

"We will test it in the warmup games because we have to see how much information is useful and can actually be processed during a match," Bierhoff added.

The introduction of tablets at the World Cup comes long after other sports, such as American football and rugby, have allowed the use of technology during coaching as well as direct communication between team officials and analysts in the stands.

Football has long resisted the introduction of technology in matches, such as video replays for referees or goal-line technology, and is only now gradually introducing video assistant referees.

Bierhoff said smaller teams could also benefit from data exchange at the World Cup as it now gave them more options to react during a game and coaches would gradually come to rely more on experts.

"I think the games may become a bit more flexible and a coach of a smaller team at the World Cup can now react based on the data," the former striker said.

"It may also change roles. You expect a head coach to know everything from fitness to tactics and skills. Nowadays he is more a leader, a coach working with experts."

The Germans are in World Cup Group F with Sweden, South Korea and Mexico.]]>
5/25/2018 6:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Salah breaks fast for three days, Liverpool’s physical trainer says]]>
His physical trainer, Rubén Pons, who was being interviewed by Spanish radio station Cadena SER, confirmed that Salah will not fast in Ramadan for three days [Thursday, Friday and Saturday] so that it does not affect him in the encounter of the final.

"We were in Marbella and the nutritionist established a work plan," he said. "For three days including the day of the match he won't, so it's not going to affect him."

It has been reported that Salah refused to break the fast for the final in Kiev and that he would train on an empty stomach. But it is permissible for the fasting Muslim to break their fast if they travel, and that is Salah’s case.

Salah has had a stunning debut season with Liverpool, scoring 44 goals in all competitions, including 32 goals at the league that crowned him the Premier League top goal scorer.

The 25-year-old shined this season at the UEFA Champions League, scoring 10 goals at the competition. His best performance came against his former club at the semi-finals first leg when he scored two goals, provided two assists to lead his team to win 5-2.

The Egyptian King is expected to be one of the contenders for the Ballon d’Or award especially if he manages to win the Champions League title.
5/25/2018 5:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Cuper to find answers as Egypt faces Kuwait]]>

Egypt’s coach Hector Cuper hopes to find answers to fans’ questions in the next three friendly matches before starting the World Cup journey on June 15.
Egypt faces Kuwait on May 25, Colombia on June 1 and Belgium on June 6.

First question: how will the national team benefit from the selected 30-player squad especially after including new faces which will fight to book a place in the final 23-player squad?


The announced 30-player squad is as follows:


Essam al-Hadary (Al-Taawon), Sherif Ekramy (Al-Ahly), Mohamed Awaad (Al-Ahly), Mohamed al-Shenawi (Al-Ahly)


Ahmed al-Mohammadi (Aston Villa), Mohamed Abdel Shafy (Al-Fateh), Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion), Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC), Ali Gabr (West Bromwich Albion), Amr Tarek (Orlando City), Karim Hafez (RC Lens), Ahmed Fathy (Al-Ahly), Saad Samir (Al-Ahly), Ayman Ashraf (Al-Ahly), Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek)


Mohamed el-Nenny (Arsenal), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic), Abdallah al-Said (Al-Ahly), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mahmoud Abdel Aziz (Zamalek)


Mahmoud Abdel Razek “Shikabala” (Al-Raed), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Ahmed Hassan“Koka” (Sporting Braga), Mahmoud Hassan “Trezeguet” ( Kasimpasa)
Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City), Amr Warda (Atromitos Athen)
Marwan Mohsen (Al-Ahly), Ahmed Gomaa (Al-Masry)


Second question: how will the national team managers find the best substitute for Abdallah El-Said who plays in the playmaker position? Cuper has to settle on a player who can make a difference if Abdallah El-Said is absent for any reason. The best option for the Argentinean coach is Shikabala. Cuper aims to give former Zamalek’s player the chance to show his skills in the playmaker position. Other options that may seem to be suitable for Cuper are Amr Warda, Kahraba and Ramadan Sobhi.

Third and hardest question: who will be the main striker for Egypt in the World Cup? The Egyptian national team suffered for more than three years in finding the best striker who can score goals for the national team alongside Mohamed Salah. Recently, Cuper turned to search for a striker who could help Salah and Trezeguet (Egypt’s wingers). He will use the three friendly matches to settle on a striker from the following: Ahmed Hassan Kouka, Marwan Mohsen and Ahmed Gomaa.


This is the expected line-up for Egypt against Kuwait:

(GK) Sherif Ekramy, (DEF) Omar Gaber, Amr Tarek, Saad Samir, Karim Hafez, (MID) Sam Morsy, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Amr Warda, (ATT) Trezeguet, Ramadan Sobhi, Marwan Mohsen]]>
5/25/2018 3:54:26 PM
<![CDATA[El Deraa joins Zamalek]]>
Zamalek won the battle to sign the player as Al-Ahly were also interested in signing the player.

El Deraa signed a two-year contract with Zamalek on Thursday after he met with Zamalek’s president Mortada Mansour.

Deraa, 22, joined Esbjerg in summer 2017 from Heliopolis and since then has established himself as one of the top players at the club.

Deraa is one of the key players on the national team and has shined when participating with them at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the 2017 World Cup in France, but he missed the 2018 African Handball Championship due to injury.

Zamalek’s new manager Bassem El Sobky hopes Deraa will help his team in the domestic and African competitions next season.

Zamalek had a disastrous season on domestic levels as they lost the League to their rivals, Al-Ahly, and was eliminated from the Egyptian Cup at quarter finals.

El Deraa represented Al-Ahly on a loan in 2017 and represented the club in the Super African Cup, African Cup of League Champions and the African Cup of Cups.
5/25/2018 3:44:30 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly honorary president Turki Al-Sheikh resigns ]]>
“It was a great honor to be Al-Ahly honorary president in the recent months. Al-Ahly will stay in my heart and I hope the club will keep improving and will keep making fans happy,” Al-Sheikh’s statement read.

Al-Sheikh, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority, played a great role at the club with financial support.

Al-Sheikh‘s statement added: “I was keen on making Al-Ahly and their fans my top priorities and I followed their worries and ambitions with much interest.”

The relation between Turki Al-Sheikh and Al-Ahly fans came to an end when Al-Ahly’s negotiations with Argentinean manager Ramon Diaz failed and he was appointed Al-Ittihad Jeddah’s new manager.

“Diaz was so close to sign for an Arab club (Al-Ahly), but the Saudi Arabian teams have the priority,” Al-Sheikh said on Wednesday after Diaz’s agreement with Ittihad Jeddah.

Al-Sheikh was named Al-Ahly’s honorary president on Dec. 31, 2017.
5/25/2018 3:39:56 PM
<![CDATA[Swedish tennis needs a star like Zlatan, says Soederling]]>
The two-time French Open finalist, who lost to Roger Federer in 2009 and Rafael Nadal in 2010, was speaking ahead of the French Open, the event where his compatriots notched some of their biggest successes from the late 1970s to 2010.

"It started with Bjorn Borg, we had a big star and tennis was very popular. Success breeds interest, and tennis was featured a lot in the media, and I think a lot of kids had tennis as their first choice of sport," Soederling explained.

"We had (Stefan) Edberg, (Mats) Wilander and the rest, and then the next generation, and that was the reason I started. There was always Swedes to follow at tournaments. I didn't have a favourite player but I liked to follow the Swedes," the 33-year-old said.

"Success breeds success, so I think we're going to see the same thing in soccer with Zlatan (Ibrahimovic). In a number of years there'll be a lot of kids who started playing because of him."

The current biggest hope for the Swedes is 22-year-old Elias Ymer, who qualified for the French Open by beating Prajnesh Gunneswaran on Friday.

Ymer, who is coached by Soederling and is just outside the top 100 in the ATP world rankings, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Bjorn Borg who claimed the title at Roland Garros four years in a row from 1978 to 1981.

When Borg failed to make the final in 1982, it was left to his compatriot Mats Wilander to raise the trophy after defeating Argentina's Guillermo Vilas in the final.

Wilander went on to win again in 1985 and 1988 and he lost the final in 1987, with fellow Swedes Mikael Pernfors and Stefan Edberg also finishing as runners-up during a golden decade for Swedish tennis.


Since then it's been slim pickings for the Swedes, with a losing appearance by Magnus Norman in the 2000 final and consecutive defeats for Soederling the closest they have come to winning since Wilander's 1988 victory.

Many in Swedish tennis thought that Soederling himself might be that shining light that would convince kids to turn to tennis, but his career was cut short by illness and he played his last match aged just 26.

Soederling says that the competition is much tougher these days and kids are choosing other sports like ice hockey and soccer, but that there is still hope for tennis.

"I think the Swedish people were spoiled in previous years, having so many stars during our heyday, but there are kids of 14, 15 who are very talented and we will see in the coming years how it goes for them," Soederling said.

"Even if we have developed within the association and as coaches, we need to attract the most talented athletes to the sport of tennis." ]]>
5/25/2018 1:48:20 PM
<![CDATA[Mancini puts trust in matured Balotelli]]>
Mancini has been given the daunting task of rebuilding Italy after their failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia and one of his first moves was to recall Balotelli for the first time since the 2014 World Cup.

"It's been four years since we last met and he's matured a bit since then," Mancini, who had a fraught relationship with Balotelli when the pair were at Manchester City, told reporters. "He has kids now and I think that helps."

"Mario is a special kind of player, he was a great player at a very young age but he has not been able to stay at that level," Mancini added. "It all depends on him. He's done well in the last two years, now he needs to do his best and behave well."

Mancini suggested that he wanted 40-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to continue playing for Italy.

Buffon has yet to decide on his future after ending his 17-year stint at Juventus but, according to Mancini, intends to carry on at another club.

"He wants to continue playing, and anyone who plays and is at their best can be called to the national team," he said.


Mancini, whose side meet Saudi Arabia in a friendly in Switzerland on Monday, recognised that Italy no longer boasts the wealth of talent that it used to, but was confident he could make the most of what they have got.

"I'm not a magician and neither is any other coach. We need time, one, two or five games are not enough," he said.

"There was a period with an incredible abundance of players which is not the case any more. But I think these players, if they have our trust, can become really good and give a lot to the national team.

"Many have not played in European (club) competitions. It will be a more tiring job than in the past, but the national team has always made players better with time.

"Sometimes the victories come when you do not expect them."

5/25/2018 1:43:41 PM
<![CDATA[Kagawa could provide spark for humdrum Japan]]>
The 29-year-old midfielder has had a frustrating career for club and country, flashing brilliance at times while failing to deliver at others during stints with Borussia Dortmund either side of a patchy two years at Manchester United.

However, when Dortmund boss Peter Stoeger took over in December Kagawa was a player instantly re-born, racking up goals and assists and looking like the man who lit up the Bundesliga during his first spell in Germany.

Unfortunately for Dortmund and Japan, Kagawa has been out with a series of ankle injuries since the turn of the year.

He returned to the first-team squad for Dortmund's clash with Werder Bremen at the end of April and played in the 3-1 defeat by Hoffenheim on May 12.

Kagawa faces a race against time if he is to add to his 89 international appearances in Russia but Nishino, along with an expectant nation rightly proud of Kagawa’s impact on European soccer, knows his presence could be crucial.

In a Japanese side full of experienced, solid starters Kagawa would be the man tasked with unlocking opposing defences with the sort of deft passing and rare vision that has seen him amass 17 assists for his country along with 29 goals.

Japan may have been joint top-scorers in the third round of Asian qualifying but they had to call on 12 different goal scorers in a disjointed and uninspiring campaign.

With a fully-fit and on-form Kagawa providing the assists for Shinji Okazaki and Genki Haraguchi -– Japan’s top scorer in qualifying with four goals -– the Japanese may have enough firepower to reach the second round for the third time in their history. ]]>
5/25/2018 7:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Queiroz to quit as Iran coach after World Cup]]>
Queiroz, who has been in charge of Team Melli since April 2011, had been offered an extension to his contract by the Iranian Football Federation until January's Asian Cup finals in the United Arab Emirates.

But the 65-year-old has decided to call time on his seven-year stint with the Iranians after the World Cup, where they have been drawn to take on Morocco, Spain and Portugal in Group B.

"It's almost one year since we qualified for the World Cup and it's true that they gave me an offer to go for six months to the Asian Cup in the Emirates, but it didn't meet my expectations," Queiroz said by telephone from his team's training camp in Turkey.

"After all these years, for the Iranian federation to only extend the contract for six months is a decision that shows no appreciation or recognition for what I've done. It's an offer that isn't acceptable from my point of view.

"The negotiations are closed, they are behind me.

"Before we came here to Istanbul the federation was supposed to review the position and they did not come back to me, so from now on it's time to move forward."


Queiroz had considered retiring after the World Cup to spend more time with his family, but now wants to become the first coach to secure qualification for the World Cup finals on five occasions.

Brazilian Carlos Alberto Pereira and Serbian Bora Milutinovic have coached five times at the World Cup, with both taking charge of teams that had either qualified as hosts or stepped in as replacement coaches for already qualified nations.

Queiroz, however, qualified South Africa for the World Cup in 2002 only to step down from his position before the finals in Japan and Korea.

He then led Portugal to the 2010 tournament in South Africa before becoming the first coach to secure back-to-back World Cup appearances with Iran, and he is keen to lead another country to the finals in Qatar in 2022.

"After all these years in Iran there was the possibility that I would retire after the World Cup," said Queiroz.

"But, in the meantime, the dissatisfaction at not qualifying for a fifth World Cup started to grow.

"It started to speak louder and the more I started to think more about that unique historical opportunity, to be the only coach in football history to have five World Cup qualifications under my belt, my anger and desire started to grow and this is now my main goal and my expectation.

"I've had two offers, one from Africa and one from Asia with the chance to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, and if that doesn't happen then I can look at one or two options that I have in England after the World Cup." ]]>
5/25/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Germany's Neuer injury-free at start of pre-World Cup camp-Loew]]>
Speaking at the start of a training camp in northern Italy ahead of the tournament, Loew sounded confident that the 32-year-old Germany captain, part of his 2014 World Cup-winning team, would play in Russia.

Bayern Munich keeper Neuer has not played since breaking a bone in his foot back in September that required surgery, putting his chances of making the finals in doubt.

"He trained a week at Bayern, here he is training fully and can also deal with the intensity level," Loew told reporters.

"We will see from day-to-day. If he has the feeling that he is at 100 percent then he can be there in Russia. Should there be any problems we would need to discuss it. But as things stand now he has no problems whatsoever and things look good."

Loew is also expecting to have Jerome Boateng back in the squad later this week as the central defender has recovered from a groin injury suffered last month.

"Everything is going according to plan and by next week I expect him to be taking part in training," said the 58-year-old coach, who this month extended his contract to 2022.

The Germans are preparing for the fourth time in Eppan, high in the Italian Alps, with Loew praising the conditions for his players as they get ready for their title defence.

"We have the best conditions here, proximity to the pitch, a good hotel, the pitch is in a very good state, short travel times, so everything to have a good preparation."

Germany will remain in Italy until June 5, a day after the deadline for the final squad announcement. Loew has taken 27 players to the training camp with four facing the cut.

The Germans, who will travel to play a warm-up match away to Austria in Klagenfurt on June 2 before returning to Italy and then going home to face Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen six days later, are in Group F with Sweden, South Korea and Mexico.]]>
5/25/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Salah gives us a bigger chance to win: Wijnaldum ]]>
“Mo (Salah) has been incredible this season, the way he has scored goals has been unbelievable, not only for him, but also for us and the supporters. I really hope he can do it in the final, because it will help us and give us a bigger chance to win," Wijnaldum told ESPN on Thursday.

Salah has had a stunning debut season with Liverpool, scoring 44 goals in all competitions, including 32 goals at the league that crowned him the Premier League top goal scorer.

Salah shined this season at the UEFA Champions League, scoring 10 goals at the competition. His best performance came against his former club at the semi-finals first leg when he scored two goals, provided two assists to lead his team to win 5-2.

Asked about the comparison between Salah and Ballon d’Or winners, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Wijnaldum said “It's difficult to say. Messi and Ronaldo do it for years, but this season, he can definitely compete with them.”

Salah is expected to be one of the contenders for Ballon d’Or award especially if he manages to win the Champions League title.

“But if you want to speak about the level of Messi and Ronaldo, a player has to do it for many more years,” added Wijnaldum. ]]>
5/25/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Pochettino signs new five-year contract with Tottenham]]>
Pochettino, who joined Spurs in 2014, led the club to a third-placed finish in the league this past season, ensuring they would play in the Champions League for a third campaign in a row.

The Argentine's success at Tottenham has made him one of the most coveted managers in world football and under his leadership Spurs have evolved into a high-pressing team that plays an energetic and attractive brand of football.

The 46-year-old is yet to win a trophy with Spurs, who will move into their new 63,000-seater stadium next season after spending the last campaign playing their home games at Wembley Stadium.

"I am delighted that we have agreed a new, extended contract with Mauricio," Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said in a statement on the club's website

"We have been on an extraordinary journey and the times ahead look even more exciting as the club enters the next phase in its history.

"Mauricio has fostered an incredible spirit in the team and has embraced a style of play our fans have loved watching. I know they will welcome this commitment by Mauricio."

Pochettino said his decision to sign an extension at Spurs had followed extensive talks with Levy over the direction the club would take in future.

The chairman operates a strict wage structure at Tottenham with the club's salary budget and transfer spending dwarfed by their top-six rivals.

"I am honoured to have signed a new long-term contract as we approach one of the most significant periods in the club's history and be the manager that will lead this team into our new world-class stadium," Pochettino said.

"Daniel and I have spoken at length about our aspirations for this football club. We both share the same philosophies to achieve long-term, sustainable success.

"This is a special club - we always strive to be creative in the way we work both on and off the pitch and will continue to stick to our principles in order to achieve the success this club deserves."]]>
5/25/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Klopp announces squad for Champions League final ]]>
German midfielder, Emre Can, was included in the squad despite the doubts about his participation at the game.

“It looked good. It is really positive but we have to wait until tomorrow. The door is open. It is really nice to have him back in the group. He is really desperate to be part of it,” Klopp commented on Can’s return to the squad.

Klopp’s chosen squad for the game consisted of :

Loris Karius, Simon Mignolet and Danny Ward

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Phillips, Nathaniel Clyne, Andrew Robertson, Joe Gomez, Alberto Moreno and Ragnar Klavan

Adam Lallana, James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Rafael Camacho, Curtis Jones and Emre Can.

Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Danny Ings, Ben Woodburn, Dominic Solanke and Mohamed Salah.

The game starts on Saturday at 8:45 p.m. (CLT). ]]>
5/24/2018 10:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Bologna sack "excellent" coach Donadoni]]>
Bologna, who finished 15th this past season, decided to dismiss the 54-year-old with a year to run on his contract despite recognising him as an "excellent" coach.

"Bologna FC 1909 announce that Roberto Donadoni will not be the first team coach for next season," said the club in a statement on Twitter, thanking him and his staff for working with "passion and professionalism".

"I consider Donadoni an excellent coach who has made an important contribution to our club's credibility," said club president Joey Saputo.

"We felt, however, that after three years, his cycle in Bologna had come to an end despite the commitment and dedication that he and his staff have always shown."

Donadoni, a former winger who played for Italy for a decade, won six Serie A and three European Cup titles as a player, all with AC Milan.

Despite being widely respected, he has never managed to emulate that success as a coach and has yet to win a major title in a career that has taken him to Lecco, Livorno, Genoa, Cagliari, Napoli and Parma.

He was widely praised for the dignified manner in which he conducted himself during his final season at Parma, who were relegated amid financial and administrative turmoil at the club.

Donadoni coached Italy from 2006 to 2008, leading them to the quarter-finals at Euro 2008.

He was the second Serie A coach to part company with his club since the end of the 2017-18 season, with Napoli replacing Maurizio Sarri with Carlo Ancelotti on Wednesday.]]>
5/24/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ismaily appoint Madoui as new head coach ]]>
Madoui, 41, will succeed Portuguese manager, Pedro Barny, who led the team to finish second in the league and qualify to the CAF Champions League.

Madoui has a massive managerial experience; he became the youngest manager ever to win the CAF Champions League when he led his hometown club, Entente de Sétif, to achieve the title.

The manager, commonly known in Africa as the Algerian Guardiola, started his life with football when he joined Entente de Sétif as a kid and got promoted through the club rankings till he joined the first team in 1997.

Madoui moved to CR Belouizdad three years later where he played two years then he returned to Sétif where he played three seasons.

Madoui was forced to retire at 28 due to injury and he decided to start his career as a manager.


Madoui managed Etoile du Sahel in Tunisia and Saudi Arabian club, Al Wahda, but he could not find the same success he achieved with Setif.
5/24/2018 7:28:09 PM
<![CDATA[No difference between a main player and a sub: Hadary]]>
“Everyone in the national team wants to play in the World Cup; it is a great competition. All the 29 players support each other; there is no difference between a main player and a sub,” Hadary said.

Egypt qualified to the World Cup in Russia, ending 28 years of absence, as the national team last played in the World Cup in 1990 in Italy.

“We will inform the coaching staff of our decision on Ramadan’s fasting issue after we have a meeting together,” Hadary added.

Egypt will face Kuwait in a friendly match on May 26 at Gaber Al-Ahmed stadium, ahead of the upcoming World Cup in Russia.

“We want to reach the top level by playing the friendly matches,” Hadary concluded.

Egypt plays in Group A alongside Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and the host nation, Russia.
5/24/2018 4:27:55 PM
<![CDATA[Istanbul to stage 2020 Champions League final - UEFA]]>
The 76,000-capacity stadium hosted the thrilling 2005 showpiece where Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at halftime to draw 3-3 with AC Milan and win a penalty shoot-out. The venue beat competition from Lisbon's Estadio da Luz, where Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid 4-1 after extra-time in the 2014 final.

Ceferin also announced that the Gdansk Arena in Poland will host the 2020 Europa League final, while the Austria Arena was chosen as the venue for the 2020 Women's Champions League final.

The 43,000-capacity Gdansk Arena was chosen ahead of FC Porto's Estadio do Dragao, although the latter was named as the venue for the 2020 UEFA Super Cup final, played between the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League.

Real Madrid meet Liverpool in Saturday's Champions League final in Kiev, while Olympique Lyonnais were in action against VfL Wolfsburg later on Thursday in the women's showpiece in the same city.

Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano stadium hosts the 2019 men's final, with the Groupama Arena in Budapest staging the women's final.]]>
5/24/2018 3:54:05 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian orphans score with football academy]]>
Founded by former professional football player Tamer Begato, Children Without Shelter organises matches between young boys willing to demonstrate their football skills before asking them to join the academy.

"I started observing stories of the young children and how their whole dream was to become a hero or champion. They were taken with becoming a football champion," Begato said.

"I felt that through football I can bring out a talent inside a boy, without him already knowing he has the talent. He could become very big in football, or a any other field."

Funded by Begato, the academy was founded this year and now trains over fifty children between the ages of eight and fourteen.

While the training is largely focused on football skills and tactics, children also receive behavioural and psychological care in hope to eventually help them integrate into society.

"There has to be psychological support and rehabilitation before they start playing football (full time)" said psychologist and trainer Ghada Abdelrahim.

"They could play football but the main goal and psychological comfort for the child would not be achieved. This is what we work on in our program," she added.

According to the United Nations there are around 150 million street children around the world, and a 2014 study by Egypt's National Institute for Social and Criminal Studies estimated that there are more than 16,000 street children in Egypt, a country of more than 95 million.]]>
5/24/2018 2:32:38 PM
<![CDATA[Cuper speaks ahead of Kuwait’s friendly match]]>
“We don’t need a Psychiatrist before the World Cup; everything is OK,” Cuper assured.

“The players’ psychological side is very important especially that we have amazing talents; we can win if we have confidence in ourselves,” Cuper added.

“I agree that perhaps the style of play does not please everyone, but we needed it in order to qualify and achieve good results in the past three years,” Cuper explained.

Cuper pointed out that the aim of these three friendly matches is to settle on the 23-player squad that will play in the World Cup.

Egypt will face Kuwait on May 26, Colombia on June 1 and Belgium on June 6.

“We will play against three different teams with different tactical schools in football. I think that we will benefit from facing them; and that’s why we chose 29 players in our squad,” Cuper concluded.

The announced 29-player squad is as follows:


Essam al-Hadary (Al-Taawon)
Sherif Ekramy (Al-Ahly)
Mohamed Awaad (Al-Ahly)
Mohamed al-Shenawi (Al-Ahly)


Ahmed al-Mohammadi (Aston Villa)
Mohamed Abdel Shafy (Al-Fateh)
Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion)
Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC)
Ali Gabr (West Bromwich Albion)
Amr Tarek (Orlando City)
Karim Hafez (RC Lens)
Ahmed Fathy (Al-Ahly)
Saad Samir (Al-Ahly)
Ayman Ashraf (Al-Ahly)
Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek)


Mohamed el-Nenny (Arsenal)
Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic)
Abdallah al-Said (Al-Ahly)
Tarek Hamed (Zamalek)
Mahmoud Abdel Aziz (Zamalek)


Mahmoud Abdel Razek “Shikabala” (Al-Raed)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Ahmed Hassan “Koka” (Sporting Braga)
Mahmoud Hassan “Trezeguet” ( Kasimpasa)
Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City)
Amr Warda (Atromitos Athen)
Marwan Mohsen (Al-Ahly)
Ahmed Gomaa (Al-Masry)
5/24/2018 2:20:14 PM
<![CDATA[Watch: Ronaldo’s response when asked about similarities with Salah]]>
Ronaldo had an interview with BT Sport ahead of the two teams' encounter in the UEFA Champions League final which will take place in Kiev on Saturday night.

The reporter didn’t hold back and asked the five-time Ballon D’Or winner if he sees any similarities between him and the Egyptian King.

"He is completely different. He plays with the left; I play with the right. I'm tall and he's a little bit shorter; I play with the head. We are completely different," he said.

"People want to compare me with other players but I'm different from everyone. Salah is different but I have to say he has had a fantastic Champions League, a fantastic league season, but Saturday, let's see," FIFA 2017 Best Player concluded.

Salah’s 44 goals this season with Liverpool were enough to give him 36 individual awards. He is one step away from achieving a new goal for himself and his team; a Champions League’s title would be decisive in claiming the Ballon D’Or award.

However, it is obvious that Salah is not a fan of comparisons too as he shared the same point of view with Ronaldo when he had an interview with Amr Adib at ON E Egyptian Channel.

Amr Adib: People always like to rank players and to know who the first, second and third players are and so on. Do comparisons with Ronaldo and Messi bother you?

Salah: Not at all. But I don’t want to say that I am happy with these kinds of comparisons, because each of them was at the top level for 10 or 11 years. Their performance level is stable. I need to maintain my high performance level for many seasons. I hope I can do so. Definitely, they are great players.

5/24/2018 1:47:16 PM
<![CDATA[Napoli appoint Ancelotti in bid to end Juventus dominance]]>
Ancelotti will replace Maurizio Sarri, who led Napoli to two second-place and one third-place finish during his three seasons in charge.

"SSC Napoli is delighted to announce that an agreement has been reached with Carlo Ancelotti for him to become the head coach of the first team for three seasons starting in 2018/19," the club said in a statement on its website http://www.sscnapoli.it/static/news/Welcome-Carlo-14855.aspx.

Although Sarri's team won plaudits for their free-flowing, attacking football, they lacked the killer punch needed to unseat Juventus who have won Serie A for the last seven seasons.

Napoli amassed a club record 91 points in the season which finished on Sunday to become the first team to pass the 90-point mark but fail to win the title.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis thanked outgoing manager Sarri for his contribution to the club earlier on Wednesday.

"I'd like to thank Maurizio Sarri for his valuable contribution to the Napoli cause," De Laurentiis said on his official Twitter account.

"He brought joy and prestige to Naples and Napoli fans all over the world with an entertaining brand of football that drew praise from all quarters. Well done, Maurizio."

The 58-year-old Ancelotti, who returns to Serie A after a nine-year absence, had been out of work since being fired by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in September, a rare failure in his illustrious career.

He has coached Reggiana, Parma, Juventus and AC Milan in his homeland, plus Chelsea, Real Madrid, Paris St Germain and Bayern.

He won the Champions League twice with AC Milan and once with Real Madrid plus domestic league titles with Chelsea, AC Milan, Paris St Germain and Bayern.

Ancelotti is unlikely to have the sort of money to spend in the transfer market that he enjoyed at his previous clubs as De Laurentiis has often said that his club cannot match the spending power of Europe's elite clubs. ]]>
5/24/2018 1:20:13 PM
<![CDATA[Iniesta begins new chapter at J.League's Kobe]]>
The 34-year-old former Barca captain, who had spent his entire career at the Nou Camp, was introduced at a news conference in Tokyo by Kobe owner Hiroshi Mikitani and will wear his familiar number eight jersey for the J.League side.

"This is a very special day. This is a very important challenge for me and my career," Iniesta said, noting that he had a lot of respect for Japanese soccer which had many high-level players.

"Therefore, I would like to contribute to my team and show my style of play. That is why I came to Japan and through my play I hope to make contributions for further development for the club and Japanese soccer."

Mikitani called Iniesta "the most respected soccer player in the world" and said his signing would not only contribute to the club but also help promote the league through his name recognition.

"I hope the J.League will grow into a league that the whole world wants to watch," said Mikitani, who is also the chief executive of Barca's main sponsor Rakuten.

The move will see Iniesta, who bid a tearful farewell when he played his final game for Barcelona on Sunday, link up with former German international Lukas Podolski, who joined the Japanese side last year.

Barcelona and Denmark great Michael Laudrup also played for Kobe for one season between 1996-97.

Iniesta will try to help Kobe, currently sixth in the J1 League after 15 games, win a first ever Japanese championship. The club's highest ever finish was seventh in 2016.

At Barcelona, he won nine La Liga titles, four Champions League titles and six King's Cups.

Before he embarks on his Japanese adventure, Iniesta will join up with the Spain team to prepare for the World Cup in Russia, where they will be seeking a second title.

Iniesta scored the only goal in the 2010 final against the Netherlands to give Spain their first World Cup. This year, they kick off their Group B campaign against Portugal in Sochi on June 15. Morocco and Iran are the other teams in the pool.]]>
5/24/2018 12:50:52 PM
<![CDATA[French Open organisers launch assault on tardy diners]]>
While numbers at Roland Garros have been climbing steadily in recent years -- there were a record 472,000 visitors in 2017, up 16,000 from 2016 -- the stands are often half-empty during the lunch hour, which at the French Open can run from around 1130 a.m. until 3 p.m. and is frequently fuelled by Champagne.

Early round women's matches have been particularly affected but even the 2016 semi-final between Serena Williams and Kiki Bertens did not escape. Photos showed Philippe Chatrier, the main show court, largely deserted. The other semi-final between Garbine Muguruza and Sam Stosur was not much better attended.

As well as disappointing players -- Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has expressed irritation -- it does not look good on TV and is a source of embarrassment for the French Tennis Federation, which has been looking at ways to resolve it.

Wimbledon, with its hordes of tennis fans arriving from the world over to camp out for days or even weeks to get hold of tickets, has not faced the same problem.

Last year, Roland Garros sold tickets to the men's semi-finals separately, so rather than someone being able to buy a day pass and fit in a liquid lunch in between matches, spectators had to buy a ticket for one semi-final or the other.

This year, with the main tournament beginning on May 27 and running until June 10, organisers are hoping other minor tweaks will keep the show courts nicely filled.

"The problem arises especially during the first week with games starting at 11 a.m.," a spokesman for the French Tennis Federation acknowledged.

"To help fill the courts, we're giving our hospitality customers a lot of flexibility in the ticketing, so they are able to host several guests on the same ticket at different times during the day," he explained.

That means that while one guest may be enjoying one of the famously lavish hospitality lunches, another invited by the same sponsor could be sitting in the stands watching a game.

Of course, the federation is also keen to ensure sponsors can entertain as they see fit, and that everyone has a good time.

Top-notch hospitality tickets for the men's semi-finals, including a gourmet lunch, all-day open bar and direct access to Philippe Chatrier, cost around 2,500 euros per ticket this year. At that price, punters want to make the most of everything -- both the tennis and the hospitality.

"We want to offer our spectators an experience that's rich on both the sporting and the non-sporting front," the federation spokesman said.]]>
5/24/2018 9:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Goals will flow as Klopp's pretenders eye up Real's crown]]>
"They will want to do it again. It would be big 100 percent. If we did it, it would be big, too. We will try," said Liverpool's manager with an understatement at odds with his belief that his team will succeed.

The narrative of young pretenders challenging the established order appeals to Klopp, who made his name taking aim at Bayern Munich with Borussia Dortmund, but Liverpool are hardly ingenues when it comes to winning European titles.

Victory on Saturday would bring their sixth European Cup and reinforce their status as by far England's most successful team in the competition. Predictably, advice from their legion of past winners has flowed all week.

To Steven Gerrard, hero of the 2005 win over AC Milan, they must simply seize the moment; to Alan Kennedy, who scored the goal which beat Real in the 1981 European Cup final it is about courage; to Kenny Dalglish, a three-times winner in 1978, 1981 and 1984 the secret lies in understanding how to react when the pressure bites.

With pedigree like that, Liverpool are rather more than cocky upstarts out to take a swipe at Real and it will be a surprise if Klopp does not keep faith with the free-flowing brand of football that has made them the competition's leading scorers with 40 goals.

Porto, Manchester City and AS Roma were all blown away in the knockout stages with stunning first-leg performances that delivered 13 goals, most from their frontline trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian maestro whose 44 goals have spearheaded their season.

Liverpool tend to score in bursts, often in the first half, and if they seize the initiative on Saturday Real may struggle to play catch up against a team never so dangerous as when they defend.

But the English side are unlikely to have it their own way against the serial winners from Spain.

Another triumph would make Real the fourth team to claim three successive European crowns – and the only ones to do it twice – while Cristiano Ronaldo is hoping to become the first player in the Champions League era to win five titles, four with Real.


Already the tournament's record scorer, the five-times Ballon d'Or winner netted in every Champions League game this season before twice missing out in the 4-3 semi-final aggregate triumph over Bayern Munich when he struggled to assert himself.

While some viewed that as a blip, Graeme Souness, another of Liverpool's European Cup winners, saw it as a sign of decline and suggested that Klopp should not construct a gameplan around a fading 33-year-old.

"He spends a lot of time on his bum now, complaining he's been fouled, and plays the width of the box," Souness wrote in the Sunday Times. "He's still capable of great things but, like Real, nowhere near where he was even 12 months ago."

Ronaldo's double in Real's quarter-final win over Juventus suggests Liverpool would do well not to write him off just yet and their promising but inexperienced fullbacks Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will have to be at their sharpest to deal with his threat and that of Gareth Bale if he starts.

Marcelo, Real's marauding left back, could prove equally key in a game where goals appear guaranteed.

So far this season Liverpool have never failed to impose themselves in Europe and their early defensive frailties which saw them squander a three-goal lead against Sevilla in the group stage appear to have been rectified by a new goalkeeper, Loris Karius, and the calming presence of the world's most expensive defender, Virgil van Dijk.

Whether they will be sufficient to withstand the force of Europe's most successful but ageing team is one of Saturday's most intriguing sub-plots, as is Klopp's ability to finally emerge a winner after five successive defeats in finals.

In reaching this far, Liverpool have overcome a series crippling injuries, the mid-season departure of star midfielder Philippe Coutinho and the still unexplained absence of Klopp's assistant Zeljko Buvac.

To negotiate all that and end up with the biggest prize of all would assure them a place in Anfield's bulging hall of fame. You can almost feel Klopp urging them on.]]>
5/24/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Current Liverpool side better than 2005 champions - Benitez]]>
Forwards Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have plundered 29 goals between them in Europe's elite club competition this season heading into Saturday's final against Real Madrid in Kiev.

"We achieved what we achieved, they talk about the 'Miracle of Istanbul' but this team is better," Benitez, who led the team to a fifth European crown in Turkey when they rallied from 3-0 down at halftime to win on penalties, told British media.

That Liverpool squad was hardly short of quality with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Dietmar Hamann pulling the strings in midfield, but Benitez said Juergen Klopp's side had more players capable of settling a contest on their own.

"We had Stevie, of course, also some players with experience and quality... we had players who worked very hard, we had a good balance," Newcastle United boss Benitez, who also had a stint at Real Madrid, added.

"This team also has good balance, but the front three can make a difference on their own. We had one player who maybe could make a difference on his own, and here they have three.

"If we talk about the money spent, my budget was 20 million pounds ($26.82 million). The value of this team is so much higher," the Spaniard added.

Liverpool are looking to deny holders Real a 13th title and a third in a row in the competition. Saturday's clash at Kiev's Olympic Stadium is a repeat of the 1981 final, when Liverpool prevailed 1-0 in Paris.

5/24/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Returning Serena Williams ready to deny Paris convention]]>
But then Serena Williams has never been one to take too much notice of convention.

The 23-times grand slam singles champion will be back at Roland Garros having missed last year's event as she prepared to have her first child, Alexis Olympia, who was born in September.

Following a tumultuous birth, when she needed emergency surgery after suffering a blood clot, just being back on the court is a remarkable achievement.

When she returned to the Tour in March, playing in Indian Wells and Miami, she looked short of fitness and form, going out in the third round and first round respectively.

Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admits she returned too soon but the pair have been working hard together ever since.

At 36, Williams is chasing the record of 24 grand slam title wins, held by Australia's Margaret Court, and if she lines up at Roland Garros, she will be fitter, fresh and dangerous.

"Serena will play the French Open to win it," Mouratoglou told the WTA website recently.

"Can she do it? Serena can achieve anything -- after being her coach for six years, I'm even more sure of that statement."

It was the arrival of Mouratoglou as Williams' coach in 2012 that sparked the most successful period of her career.

Having been knocked out of the French Open in the first round, Williams turned to the Frenchman to revive her fortunes; they have won 10 grand slam titles together since.

With organisers sticking strictly to the world rankings, Williams, currently ranked 453, will be unseeded in Paris, which means she could face any of the highest-ranked players in the first or second round.

But even with her lack of match practice, if anyone can hit the ground running it is Williams, the winner there in 2002, 2013 and 2015.

"I hear when she was down in Palm Beach she was training very hard with her physical trainer (Mackie Shilstone)," seven-times French Open champion Chris Evert, an analyst for broadcaster ESPN, told Reuters.

"At the end of the day she knows how to play tennis. It's more about fitness, getting the cardio up, the first step.

"We know she will have the fire, the fight and the heart and the drive but you don't know about seven matches in a row to keep that level up. That's what it's going to take."

Jim Courier, who twice won the title at Roland Garros, also believes Serena can defy logic.

"One can never count Serena out if she's in a draw," the American, who will be part of ITV's French Open coverage, said.

"She lacks match play and will be vulnerable in the early rounds as she seeks form and confidence. If she does reach the second week she will be hard to stop."

Last weekend, Williams was a guest at the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

But she was quickly back on court at Roland Garros the following day, smashing groundstrokes with Mouratoglou.

"She obviously comes back to win and the wait has been long, so she will probably start Roland Garros with a mix of stress because she will want to do well and excitement because playing those events is the reason why she made such huge efforts to come back," he said.

No one will want to see their name alongside that of the 23-times grand slam champion in Thursday's draw. ]]>
5/23/2018 10:00:00 PM
<![CDATA["I have biological age of 23", says Ronaldo]]>
"Right now I have a biological age of 23," the five-times world player of the year said in an interview with Spanish television programme El Chiringuito broadcast on Wednesday.

"I've still got a long time left, I can keep playing until I'm 41. I'm feeling good, happy, I can't complain. We are playing another final on Saturday and the fans are behind Cristiano."

Ronaldo is top scorer in the Champions League for a remarkable sixth year in a row, with 15 goals in 12 games in this season's competition. If he hits the net against Liverpool on Saturday in Kiev, he will become the first ever player to score in four European Cup finals.

The Portuguese has had to take extra responsibility in attack this season for Madrid as Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have struggled for form at various stages of the season.

Ronaldo, however, did not appear enthusiastic about press speculation linking Paris St Germain forward Neymar with a move to Real and gave his backing to his current team mates.

"I've been here for eight years and people always say 50 players are coming here but in the end no-one comes. In September people think lots of players are going to come but the ones who take us to finals are always the same ones," he said.

"The best players are already at Madrid. Bale, Benzema, (Lucas) Vazquez, (Marco) Asensio. They are all here."]]>
5/23/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Arsenal appoints Unai Emery as the new coach]]>

Former Paris Saint-Germain coach, Emery, announced earlier that he would leave the French champion by the end of the season without mentioning his destination, which has been revealed today on Arsenal official website.

Emery, coached around seven teams, but his name rose with Sevilla where he managed to lead the team to achieve three UEFA Europa League titles in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Afterwards, he took the lead of the French PSG in June 2016, where he led the team to win the French Premiere League title 2017/2018; two French Cups in 2017,2018; French League Cup 2016/2017 and two French Super Cups in 2017, 2018.

Arsenal posted on their official Twitter account a video showing Unai Emery arriving in Emirates stadium, and taking a tour inside the players’ locker room and his new office.

5/23/2018 3:41:07 PM
<![CDATA[Iniesta on way to Japanese club Vissel Kobe]]>
Barcelona-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo said the midfielder, who played his final game for Barca on Sunday after a glittering 16-year career, flew to Japan on Wednesday and is expected to hold a news conference the next day.

Kobe are owned by Hiroshi Mikitani, who is also the chief executive of Barcelona's main sponsor Rakuten. They have never won Japan's league championship and are currently placed seventh in the J-League.

If Iniesta completes the move he will join up with former German international Lukas Podolski, who joined Kobe last year.

Barcelona and Denmark great Michael Laudrup played for Kobe for one season between 1996 and 1997, while former Barca striker Gary Lineker saw out his playing career in Japan with Nagoya Grampus.

Iniesta announced at a news conference in April that he was calling time on his long career with Barca, where he moved to aged 12 in 1996 to join the club's academy.

He lifted a ninth La Liga title on Sunday in a fitting send off at Barca's stadium, with his team mates all giving him a guard of honour and wearing his name and number eight on the back of their shirts during the title celebrations.

After signing his contract with his new club, Iniesta will join up with the Spain squad next Monday to begin preparations for the World Cup in Russia.

They will be looking to lift the trophy for a second time after Iniesta's goal in the 2010 final against the Netherlands gave them their first triumph. ]]>
5/23/2018 2:41:30 PM
<![CDATA[Video: How Iniesta lived his last night at Camp Nou ]]>
Barcelona fans packed the stadium to honor their historic player and enjoy his last moments at Camp Nou.

Iniesta joined the Barcelona youth academy when he was 12; he found his way to the first team six years later and since then became a vital player on the Catalan team, putting his name as one of the greatest in the history of the club.

The midfielder was on the starting line-up in Barcelona’s last league game of the season, and he entered the pitch wearing Barca’s arm band for the last time in his career.

The Spaniard was highly received by the fans, who chanted his name with every touch. He enjoyed his last minutes on the same pitch where he experienced being a footballer for the first time.

Philippe Coutinho, the man who Barcelona signed to replace Iniesta, opened the score for Barcelona seven minutes after half-time.

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde substituted Coutinho for Lionel Messi, who had the chance to play the last 15 minutes alongside Iniesta.

Messi and Iniesta shared Barca’s dressing room ever since they were youngsters dreaming of being world-class players.

The minute everyone was afraid of came eight minutes before the final whistle when Don Andres was substituted. Andres gave the captain armband to his friend, Lionel Messi.

Iniesta received applauds from the fans, his teammates, Sociedad players and every football fan around the world.

Iniesta left Barcelona after achieving the domestic double in his last season with the club, and he also scored in the Cup final.

He received the league title after the game and celebrated with his teammates, who wore jerseys with his name on the back.

Iniesta has left a legacy at Camp Nou and earned a special place in football fans’ hearts forever.

5/23/2018 12:34:04 PM
<![CDATA[Real coach Zidane praises 'formidable' rival Klopp]]>
Zidane was full of praise for the English club's German coach, who has led Liverpool to two European finals since he took the helm towards the end of 2015.

“I don’t know him personally, I’ve never spoken with him, but I’ve seen his work and it’s formidable,” Zidane said.

“He has shown it over the years, not only at Dortmund but also now with Liverpool, too. I respect him a lot for what he’s doing in the Champions League and Premier League.”

The Frenchman also said he expects a clash of styles when the two sides meet on Saturday.

“I don’t think we play the same kind of football as a team,” he said, adding that Real will be fully prepared and do not expect any surprises.

“Everyone speaks about the three up front [Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane] and says they’re less at the back, but they’re a team unit. They’ve got to the final and deserve to be there, just like us.

"My work with the staff is to prepare for the game well, as we always do, and try to do them damage." ]]>
5/23/2018 10:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly, Zamalek in transfer battle to sign Deraa ]]>
Deraa, 22, joined Esbjerg in summer 2017 from Heliopolis and since then has established himself as one of the top players at the club.

Deraa joined Al-Ahly on a loan in 2017 and represented the club in the Super African Cup, African Cup of League Champions and the African Cup of Cups.

Deraa is one of the key players on the national team and he shined during their participation at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the 2017 World Cup in France, but he missed the 2018 African Handball Championship due to injury.

Al-Ahly manager Essam Hammad hopes to sign Deraa to strengthen his squad, which achieved the League title this season.

On the other hand, Zamalek’s new manager, Bassem El Sobky, hopes to win the race for Deraa to help his team in the domestic and African competitions next season. ]]>
5/23/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ronaldo praises Liverpool attack but says Madrid are better]]>
"They remind me of Madrid from a couple of years ago, with three quick players up top," he said, looking forward to the Champions League final on Saturday.

"If they are in the final, they're there for a reason and are in it on merit," he added.

Ronaldo, formerly of Liverpool's arch-rivals Manchester United, is looking to win a fifth Champions League title in his career, with Madrid seeking their third straight trophy. He is confident they will do it.

"I have a lot of respect for them, but I think Madrid are better. We have to realise the history we can make and we need to show our experience," said the Portuguese attacker.

"It'll be something historic, we're really up for it," he added.

Ronaldo injured his ankle in the 2-2 draw with Barcelona in El Clasico this month, however he appears to have shaken off any lingering doubts about his fitness after playing an hour of last weekend's 2-2 draw with Villarreal. He netted his 17th goal in his last 10 La Liga appearances in the process.

"I want to be fine on Saturday, play well, to score if I can, but the important thing is to win – it doesn't matter who scores, what matters is making history,” he said.

While Madrid’s domestic title defence fell flat, finishing third, 13 points behind winners Barca and three points off city rivals Atletico, Ronaldo feels a Champions League win would more than make up for any disappointment.

"I love this competition. They're always good games and to win it you need to beat the world's best teams. It's a competition in which something always happens, as we saw with Juventus," he said, referring to the scrambled win in the quarter-final.

"I've had an amazing season in the Champions League, scoring in all the group games. You need to be up for it and in this club you can never let up, let alone in this competition, with the history of the club. On a personal level it motivates me a lot." ]]>
5/23/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Peru captain Guerrero draws a blank after meeting Infantino]]>
Infantino expressed "deep understanding" of the 34-year-old's plight, FIFA said in a statement, but stressed that the sanction was imposed by sport's highest tribunal following standard disciplinary procedure.

Guerrero will be barred from the World Cup, where Peru will be making their first appearance for 36 years, after testing positive for cocaine -- contained in a tea -- following the World Cup qualifier away to Argentina in October.

He was initially barred for 12 months by FIFA's disciplinary committee but this was cut to six months on appeal, which would have allowed him to play in the June 14-July 15 World Cup in Russia.

However, last week, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) increased the ban to 14 months after an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Committee (WADA) which argued that six months was too lenient.

FIFA confirmed that Infantino met Guerrero and the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) president Edwin Oviedo on Tuesday.

"Gianni Infantino expressed his deep understanding of Guerrero’s disappointment in not being able to join the Peruvian squad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup," said FIFA.

"However, the FIFA President also stressed the fact that the sanction had been imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, after an appeal lodged against a decision of an independent FIFA judicial body."

The world players' union FIFPro has criticised the ban as too harsh, pointing out that CAS itself recognised that Guerrero ingested the substance unknowingly and did not intend to enhance his performance.

On Monday, the captains of the three teams drawn to play Peru at the World Cup wrote to FIFA asking that Guerrero be allowed to play.

France captain Hugo Lloris, Australia’s Mile Jedinak and Denmark skipper Simon Kjaer asked FIFA to show compassion to Guerrero and said it was "plainly wrong" to deny him the highlight of his career. ]]>
5/23/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Diaa el Sayed appointed as Nogoom El Mostakbal new manager]]>
Sayed will lead Nogoom El Mostakbal in their campaign at the Egyptian top division for the first time in their history.

Nogoom El Mostakbal had a great battle with Tersana to promote to the first division; they earned the promotion at the last game of the season.

Tersana entered the last game of the season against Gomhoriat Shebin leading the group with 57 points, one point ahead of Nogoom El-Mostakbal who faced Suez.

Shebin defeated Tersana 1-0 and granted Nogoom El-Mostakbal, who defeated Suez, their first promotion to the Egyptian League's first division.

Sayed is a veteran Egyptian manager and he led the national youth team at the 2011 U 20 World Cup in Colombia.

The club board also reached an agreement with former Egyptian international player, Abdel Zaher el Saka, to be the assistant coach and Ehab Galal to be the goalkeeping coach. ]]>
5/22/2018 9:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Kane named captain of English team in World Cup ]]>
“It is an amazing honour. You always dream of playing for England growing up and to be the captain is that little bit more," Kane told skysports.

Kane, 24, is the youngest player to be named captain of an English team for a World Cup tournament.

Asked about the reasons behind choosing Kane, Southgate said, “Harry has some outstanding personal qualities. He is a meticulous professional and one of the most important things for a captain is that they set the standard every day.”

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier captained England under Southgate but at the end he decided to grant Kane the armband.

“He has belief and high standards and it is a great message for the team to have a captain who has shown that it is possible to be one of the best in the world over,” added Southgate.

England plays in Group G alongside Panama, Tunisia and Belgium. ]]>
5/22/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Kroos insists Real ready for 'animals' Liverpool]]>
The playmaker is well-acquainted with Juergen Klopp, the Liverpool coach, from their days in the Bundesliga when Klopp's Borussia Dortmund frequently got the better of Kroos's Bayern Munich.

"When we played against his team, it was difficult. At Bayern Munich, we always had a lot of problems against Dortmund," Kroos said. "We're expecting an aggressive Liverpool who have a really quick forward line, but we can stop them. It will be tough.

"That is what I expect on Saturday. His teams are always aggressive, they press you a lot – for 90 minutes. They are highly motivated. I expect a very tough game for us but with opportunities to win.

"They will be 11 animals, all up for it. We might be better on the ball but they're going to put us under pressure for 90 minutes and will be at 100 percent or even more."

Just like his manager Zinedine Zidane earlier on Tuesday, Kroos refuted the claim that Liverpool might be hungrier given Madrid have won the past two editions of the competition.

"I think both are hungry and I don't see a favourite. To reach a Champions League final you can't be a bad team. Liverpool beat Manchester City, one of the big favourites," the German said.

"I don't see Liverpool having more hunger or anything. If you arrive in three Champions League finals in a row it shows you must be top in terms of motivation. If not, you don't beat Paris (St Germain), Juventus and Bayern."

Kroos was full of praise for Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who is enjoying a stunning first year with the club scoring 44 goals in all competitions.

"I have been very impressed by his numbers. I have not seen him that much but the numbers in the Premier League are impressive," he said, before warning it would be an error just to focus on the Egyptian.

"We have to beat the Liverpool team – not just one player," Kroos added.

With Madrid seeking a third consecutive Champions League crown and Klopp looking to end a run of five consecutive major cup finals without a win, one record will come to an end in Kiev - and Kroos is hoping it is not the reigning champions'.

"I didn't know (Klopp's record) but to arrive in the final is difficult enough," he said. "I hope this record doesn't change."]]>
5/22/2018 7:23:41 PM
<![CDATA[Argentina announces final World Cup squad ]]>
Internazionale’s top goal scorer, Mauro Icardi, was ruled out of the squad after he was selected for the preliminary list.

Sampaoli’s chosen squad for the tournament consists of:


Sergio Romero, Willy Caballero and Franco Armani


Cristian Ansaldi, Gabriel Mercado, Federico Fazio, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Otamend and Marcos Acuna


Javier Mascherano, Maximiliano Meza, Angel Di Maria, Manuel Lanzini, Giovani Lo Celso, Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, Eduardo Salvio and Cristian Pavon


Gonzalo Higuain, Paolo Dybala, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi

“From the list of 35, we did comparisons with their teams, with the national team and our process; it was clear from this balance why we chose these players," Sampaoli told press after announcing the final list.

Argentina players hope to achieve their third World Cup title, as they achieved the title in 1978 and 1986.

Sampaoli believes that their biggest star, Messi, will shine at the tournament in Russia, saying, “I think Messi is very optimistic, excited about what is ahead. We won't count on Messi much for the friendly matches, but I think for the World Cup he will be very good."

Argentina plays in Group D alongside Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria. ]]>
5/22/2018 4:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mane trusts his team’s ability to win Champions League title]]>
“We have players to beat any team in the world. We are going to go there and try to do our best, cause them the most problems we can and try to win the game,” Mane told press on Monday.

Liverpool reached the UEFA Champions League final for the first time since 2007 and they will face the back to back title holders, Real Madrid, on May 26 in Kiev.

Mane spoke about his team’s strengths, saying, “The power of Liverpool Football Club is the collective; we always do everything together; this is our power. As a team, we are close together; we have suffered together, but now we are in the final.”

Mane has had an amazing season with Liverpool, scoring 19 goals, and he hopes to score his 20th goal of the season at the most important game in his career.

“It is a dream come true. It’s one of the most important games in our careers. Maybe that is a surprise for some people, but for us it's something we have always believed in,” Mane admitted. ]]>
5/22/2018 2:06:15 PM
<![CDATA[Lovren hails Salah ahead of Champions League final ]]>
“He has the quality, he has this world-class experience already and he is still calm; a man down to earth. He deserves every credit, every goal he has scored. He deserves to be in the top three,” Lovren told Liverpool’s website.

Salah has had a great relationship with the Croatian defender since joining the club from Roma last summer. Salah revealed many times that he considers Lovren his closest friend inside the club.

Asked about Salah’s chances to achieve the Ballon d’ Or award, he said, “I spoke to Salah about that, but it's still quite early. If we win the Champions League final, definitely he’s one of the contenders.”

Liverpool reached the UEFA Champions League final for the first time since 2007 and they will face the title holders, Real Madrid, on May 26 in Kiev.

Lovren spoke about the Champions League final, saying, “Now we have the biggest chance of our lives; for some of us, maybe it’s the only one. We need to be proud of ourselves; we did a great job from the beginning.” ]]>
5/22/2018 1:53:19 PM
<![CDATA[Cazorla to leave Arsenal ]]>
Cazorla, 33, did not play a game since October 2016, as he suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury that ruled him out of playing since then.

“Santi is always one of my favorite players to watch. He plays with a joy and freedom which is very rare,” Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal chief executive, commented on Cazorla’s departure.

Cazorla joined Arsenal in 2012 from Malaga and since then established himself as one of the key players on the team.

Cazorla achieved back-to-back FA Cup titles with Arsenal in 2014 and 2015, and he also won the Community Shield in 2014 and 2015.

Cazorla was named Arsenal Player of the Season in his first season with the club.
"We wish him well for the future and thank him for his important contribution to our club," Gazidis added.

Cazorla wore Arsenal’s jersey in 180 games and he scored 29 goals for the Gunners. ]]>
5/22/2018 1:51:58 PM
<![CDATA[Swiss coach Favre takes over Dortmund with deal to 2020]]>
Dortmund parted ways with coach Peter Stoeger at the end of the season after the club finished fourth in the Bundesliga. His departure capped an inconsistent campaign that began with Dutchman Peter Bosz at the helm.

The 60-year-old Favre, who left French club Nice two days ago, has considerable Bundesliga experience. He enjoyed successful spells at Hertha Berlin and Borussia Moenchengladbach. ]]>
5/22/2018 10:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Nadal back at number one ahead of bid for 11th French Open crown]]>
Sunday's 6-1 1-6 6-3 victory over German Alexander Zverev on the Rome dirt ensured the 31-year-old would leapfrog Roger Federer and become world number one for a sixth time ahead of the French Open.

If the rankings were based solely on claycourt play, however, the Spaniard would rarely have left the pinnacle in the 13 years since he won the first of his 10 Roland Garros crowns.

With Federer skipping the claycourt season and top seeding long assured, Nadal will head to Paris next week a strong favourite to get his hands on the Coupe des Mousquetaires for a record-extending 11th time.

"Everything will be different in Paris," Nadal said somewhat disingenuously after his victory at the Foro Italico.

"Of course a win like this helps but in Paris the conditions will be different in every respect. Today is the time to enjoy this victory, not for thinking about Roland Garros."

Despite losing his first service game on Sunday, Nadal removed any doubts over his fitness and form for the year's second major in the opening set.

"I played one of the best sets that I played on clay this year. First set was fantastic, in my opinion, in terms of everything," he added.

"Feeling, good shots, tactically -- everything was, in my opinion great in the first set, no. Returning great. All the things that I wanted to do happened. So, it was a great set."

Zverev, who had won back-to-back claycourt titles over the previous two weeks in Munich and Madrid, hit back to win the second set but a rain delay disrupted his rhythm and Nadal reeled off the last five games to seal his 78th career title.

The 21-year-old German will be second seed at Roland Garros and he took some positives from his performance in Rome.

"I was not far away from beating Rafa on a clay court in a Masters final," he said.

"So I guess I can take that to Paris."]]>
5/22/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Iran youngster Azmoun carries the hopes of a nation]]>
Azmoun's spinning turn and deft finish against Qatar in the group phase of the Asian Cup finals in Australia in 2015 came less than a year after he made his debut for Team Melli and prompted Queiroz to liken the then 20-year-old to the Dutch forward.

With Iran hoping for their first foray past the group stage of the World Cup in Russia after four previous unsuccessful tournament appearances, Azmoun is set to be the figurehead of their charge.

Hailing from a sporting family, the 23-year-old eschewed his father's favoured sport of volleyball -- Khalil Azmoun had played for Iran's national team and has coached several of the country's leading teams -- to take up football.

He soon excelled, representing Iran at youth level before moving to Russian Premier League side Rubin Kazan at 18, where he struck up a close relationship with coach Kurban Berdyev.

Azmoun's talent in the air and with the ball at his feet prompted Berdyev to take him to Rostov and he played there for two seasons, while attracting the attention of clubs from some of Europe's biggest leagues.

Despite rumours of a possible move to Lazio and elsewhere, Azmoun stayed in Russia and returned to Kazan having featured for Rostov against clubs such as Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Manchester United in European competition.

While seen as the long-term successor to Iran great Ali Daei, Azmoun's hero is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With 23 goals in 31 games for Iran to date, Azmoun is on track to match Daei's scoring record, which helped the country to qualify for the 1998 and 2006 World Cup finals. ]]>
5/22/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sigurdsson included in Iceland's World Cup squad despite knee injury]]>
Sigurdsson, Everton's record signing after his move from Swansea City last year, has not played since picking up the injury against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on March 10.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who enjoyed an impressive campaign with Burnley, and Cardiff City's Aron Gunnarsson have also been included in the 23-man squad for the country's first World Cup appearance by Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson.

Iceland, with a population of 340,000 and a pool of only around 100 professional footballers, are the smallest country to have qualified for a World Cup.

They made their debut at a major tournament at Euro 2016 where they beat Austria and England and finally lost to hosts France in the quarter-finals of an extraordinary campaign.

Iceland will kick off their campaign against 2014 World Cup runners-up Argentina in Moscow on June 16. Croatia and Nigeria are the other two teams featuring in Group D.


Goalkeepers: Hannes Thor Halldorsson (Randers FC), Runar Alex Runarsson (FC Nordsjaelland), Frederik Schram (FC Roskilde).

Defenders: Kari Arnason (Aberdeen), Ari Freyr Skulason (Lokeren), Birkir Mar Saevarsson (Valur), Sverrir Ingi Ingason (FC Rostov), Hordur Magnusson (Bristol City), Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson (Levski Sofia), Ragnar Sigurdsson (FC Rostov).

Midfielders: Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley), Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa), Arnor Ingvi Traustason (Malmo FF), Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Olafur Ingi Skulason (Kardemir Karabukspor), Rurik Gislason (Sandhausen), Samuel Fridjonsson (Valerenga), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City).

Forwards: Alfred Finnbogason (FC Augsburg), Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson (FC Rostov), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Reading), Albert Gudmundsson (PSV Eindhoven).]]>
5/22/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Pogba evasive over Manchester United future]]>
The £89 million ($119 million) France international has had a tricky second season back at United, being left out of the side or substituted early many times.

On other occasions manager Mourinho has publicly questioned his contributions, while transfer talk refuses to die down.

Asked by French television station Canal Plus if he would remain a United player, the 25-year-old declined to give a cast-iron commitment.

"You can never be sure of anything," he said. "But contractually, it's sure, yes.

"I can never look far into the future. It also depends how it goes with the club, how things work out."

Pogba also discussed his relationship with Mourinho, saying the pair did not have to have the perfect bond to work together professionally.

"There were times where I wasn't playing, I was on the bench," he said. "There was a lot of talk, people thought it wasn't working out, but a coach and a player don't have to be best friends, we don't have to go to restaurants together.

"I had a few little problems too... football is sometimes all about the mental side. He put me on the bench and I gave my response on the pitch. I always give everything I've got."

And Pogba said being handed the captain's armband in certain matches had helped him.

"I was made captain by Mourinho, it was the first time for me with a club and that is important for me," he said. "It also made me grow as a leader in the France team."

Pogba has been linked with a move to hometown club Paris Saint-Germain but said such a move did not hold special appeal.

"I grew up with a father and a mother who were Marseille supporters," he said. "Paris (PSG) was never really part of my daily life. But later on, yes why not play at the Parc des Princes? It's a great pitch and a nice stadium."

5/22/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Iraq to host first international football tournament]]>
Iraqi authorities late Sunday hailed WAFF's invitation to host the tournament, following the decision in March of world football's governing body FIFA to lift a three-decade ban on Iraq hosting international football.

Iraq is now "eager to organise a major footballing event and to show that it is ready at all levels", Iraqi Football Association spokesman Kamel Zaghir told AFP, confirming Basra would host the tournament between 12 Arab countries.

For years, Iraq has been busily building and upgrading stadiums and campaigning for its return to the international fold.

FIFA's decision followed an international friendly between Iraq and Saudi Arabia in the ultra-modern stadium in Basra on February 28.

Iraq has not played competitive internationals on home turf since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The ban, covering all but domestic matches, stayed in place after the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

5/22/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sunderland under new ownership as consortium completes takeover]]>
The consortium, led by Stewart Donald, the former owner of fifth tier side Eastleigh, paid 40 million pounds ($54 million)to buy Sunderland from American businessman Ellis Short, who ended a nine-year spell in charge by writing off the club's debts.

"We've given Ellis 40 million pounds, so that's the deal, and in return Ellis has tidied up his debt and that's now gone from the football club," Donald told a news conference after the club confirmed the English Football League had ratified the change of ownership.

"Ellis was very clear he didn't want the debt, but we didn't want the debt either so we refused that. The reality is Sunderland is debt-free which, for the fans, is good news."]]>
5/21/2018 10:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Netherlands wins UEFA EURO U 17 ]]>
The Dutch team dominated the game since its start and they had two chances to open the score but their winger, Ryan Gravenberg, lost his first chance which hit the post and the second also missed the target.

Italy had a chance before the half time through Emmanuel Gyabuaa but the Dutch goalkeeper saved it to end the first half 0-0.

At the second half, the Dutch team needed only five minutes to open the score by Jurriën Timber.

Italy returned in the game 15 minutes later when Samuele Ricci equalized for the Italian side and they surprised the Dutch defense after two minutes when Alessio Riccardi scored the second goal by a stunning wide shot.

Netherlands equalized the score five minutes before the final whistle by Brian Brobbey to end the regular time 2-2 and take the game to penalties.

Netherlands scored four penalty kicks while the Italian team lost two and scored only one to crown the Dutch team champions.

“It was such an emotional game, even on the bench. Playing well, starting well, losing grip of the game then getting control in the second half, scoring, then in a couple of minutes going 2-1 down. It looked difficult to come back, but the team kept fighting and the subs made a difference,” Netherlands coach, Kees can Wonderen, told UEFA website after the game.

Netherlands achieved the third title in their history as they won back to back titles in 2011 and 2012.

England hosted the competition on May 4-20, 2018. ]]>
5/21/2018 8:43:20 PM
<![CDATA[Lopetegui announces Spain’s squad list for World Cup]]>
The biggest surprise was the absence of Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata, as well as his teammate Marcos Alonso and Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin.

It is worth mentioning that the Spanish team is in the second group in the World Cup, alongside Portugal, Morocco and Iran.

The squad list came as follows:


• David de Gea (Manchester United)
• Pepe Reina (Napoli)
• Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao)


• Gerard Piqué (Barcelona)
• Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
• Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
• Alvaro Odriozola (Real Soceidad)
• Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
• Monreal (Arsenal)
• Nacho (Real Madrid)
• Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid)


• Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
• Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona)
• Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
• David Silva (Manchester City)
• Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)
• Isco (Real Madrid)
• Koke (Atlético Madrid)
• Saúl Ñíguez (Atletico Madrid)


• Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid)
• Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo)
• Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia)
• Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)

5/21/2018 5:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Nainggolan ends Belgium career after World Cup snub]]>
Despite past clashes over discipline, Martinez insisted he took what he knew was an unpopular decision for the good of the team.

"Very reluctantly my international career comes to an end," the 29-year-old Nainggolan wrote in English on Instagram an hour after Martinez made public a decision which he had broken to the player in person the night before in Rome.

Martinez said his offensive strategy since he took over following the team's Euro 2016 disappointment no longer offered a role to Nainggolan, despite his huge part in Roma's charge to the Champions League semi-finals this year.

The player himself, who also announced plans to retire last year after Martinez left him out, made clear he saw a clash of personality as an issue.

"I’ve always done everything I could to represent my country. Being yourself can be bothering" he said.

In his native Dutch, he said; "Unfortunately, being REAL is not enough for SOME PEOPLE", adding that the decision to quit international soccer gave him "much pain in my heart".

Martinez, who also sprung a surprise by not naming his final 23-man squad, declined to give details of what he called an "honest" talk with the player, who cemented his popularity among fans at Euro 2016 where Belgium reached the quarter-finals.

But his decision was tactical.

"We know that Radja has a very important role in his club and we cannot give him that role in our squad," Martinez told a news conference.

Contrary to expectations, Martinez listed 28 players on Monday. These will be whittled down to the final 23 for Russia on June 4, two days after a friendly against fellow World Cup finalists Portugal in Brussels.

Giving himself an extra couple of weeks until FIFA's last squad deadline would give the likes of experienced Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen time to prove his fitness.

Third in the world rankings and hungry for the success that has eluded them despite boasting some of Europe's most gifted players, England's Group G opponents head to Russia with Premier League stars including Chelsea forward Eden Hazard and midfielder Kevin De Bruyne from champions Manchester City.

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku also makes the preliminary squad despite recent injury issues, along with 32-year-old Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany in defence.

Among fresher faces given a chance are winger Adnan Januzaj from Real Sociedad and 21-year-old Monaco midfielder Youri Tielemans.

The 28-man provisional squad is:

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg), Matz Sels (Newcastle United).

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Christian Kabasele (Watford), Jordan Lukaku (Lazio), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Taida), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Youri Tielemans (Monaco)

Forwards: Moussa Dembele (Celtic), Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/Dortmund), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli)]]>
5/21/2018 4:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Foreign Ministry establishes page to guide Egyptians in Russia]]>
Abu Zeid added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinates daily with all the concerned state agencies and the Russian side through the Egyptian Embassy in Moscow to provide the necessary instructions for Egyptian citizens. The instructions issued on the ministry's website include identification documents the citizen must carry when traveling to Russia, the arrival and departure dates according to the applicable visa rules, instructions for accommodation, hotel reservation and transfers, and the maximum amount of money allowed to enter with the citizen.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman further revealed that the guidelines also include general tips that facilitate reaching the locations where the fans can get their Fan ID cards in the Russian cities that will host the Egyptian team's matches, the addresses of some passport sections that can be registered upon arrival, in addition to emergency numbers of the Russian authorities and the Egyptian Embassy in Moscow. It is worth mentioning that additional hotlines, soon to be announced, will be allocated around the clock to receive Egyptian fans' questions.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman affirmed that the ministry is following up the final preparations for this important event in cooperation with all concerned state organizations and that final arrangements are being carried out in this regard in order to facilitate the accommodation of Egyptian fans in Russia.

5/21/2018 3:50:50 PM
<![CDATA[Curry leads Warriors' onslaught over Rockets for 2-1 lead]]>
Curry, who had been held to a total of 34 points in the first two games of the series, exploded for 35 points in 34 minutes, propelling the Warriors into a 2-1 lead over the top-seeded Rockets in the best-of-seven series.

"That's what I expected to do, but just like my approach after every game is you don't get too high after highs, don't get too low after lows." Curry said in an on-court interview after the game. "Obviously thankful to hit some shots tonight, eventually."

Game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday night, also in Oakland.

Kevin Durant had 25 points, while teammate Draymond Green had a game-high 17 rebounds to complement 10 points, as the Warriors rebounded from a 127-105 shellacking Wednesday in Game 2 in Houston.

The Warriors have lost three games in their three series this postseason, and have rebounded to win the next contest by a combined 65 points.

"Tonight was all about defense and taking care of the ball," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. "That's it. When we defend at that level and take care of the ball, we're usually in pretty good shape."

James Harden had 20 points and a game-high nine assists to lead the Rockets, who had won three of their previous four road games in the postseason. Houston had the best road record in the NBA during the regular season at 31-10.

"As a team, we played a lot better defense today, which I think got everybody more involved," Curry said.

The 41-point margin of defeat was the largest in the Rockets' postseason history.

"It was not a very good game, and we're going to have to play a lot better Tuesday," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We have short memories. Have to."

The Rockets led by as many as four points in the first quarter and trailed just 54-43 at halftime before Curry almost single-handedly left them in the dust in the third period.

Curry, just 1-for-7 on 3-pointers in the first half after going just 2-for-13 in the first two games of the series, connected from 28 and 25 feet during a 14-0 burst midway through the third period that turned a 70-56 game into an 84-56 demolition.

"He's good, and sooner or later he's going to erupt," D'Antoni said. "You can analyze him all you want, but at the end of the day, he's still a pretty good basketball player."

Curry made four of his five 3-point attempts in the second half to finish 5-for-12. He hit 13 of 23 shots overall.

Asked what the Warriors had to do to keep rolling in Game 4, Curry answered, "Just do everything we didn't do in Game 2 and we should be in good shape."

Klay Thompson (13), Quinn Cook (11) and Andre Iguodala (10) also scored in double figures for the Warriors, who have won 26 of their last 30 playoff games.

Harden's 20 points came on 7-for-16 shooting for the Rockets, who shot just 39.5 percent overall in the game and 32.4 percent (11-for-34) on 3-pointers.

Clint Capela added 13 points, while Chris Paul logged a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Rockets.

Eric Gordon (11), P.J. Tucker (six) and Trevor Ariza (six), who combined for 68 points in the Game 2 win, combined for just 23 points in Game 3.

5/21/2018 2:50:42 PM
<![CDATA[Fabregas celebrates his exceptional week]]>
Fabregas tweeted two photos of his major events last week, the first one was from his wedding, and the second while celebrating the FA Cup trophy; he wrote, "What a week it’s been for me personally, getting married on Monday to the best person I’ve met in my life and going on to win the FA Cup on Saturday. I could not ask for anything else. Feeling very blessed."

The Spanish midfielder joined Chelsea coming from Barcelona on July 2014, and it was his second time to join a Premier League team; he had joined Arsenal as his first team in his senior career, coming from Barcelona Juvenil A (the youth team). He played with the Blues 181 games in all competitions, scored 21 goals and assisted another 55; he won with Chelsea two Premier League titles and an English League Cup title.
5/21/2018 2:16:15 PM
<![CDATA[Griezmann’s contract with Barcelona revealed: SPORT]]>
SPORT revealed that FC Barcelona reached an agreement with Griezmeann’s sister and his representative to be in the Spanish team next season with a salary of around €15 million per year. The report pointed out that the contract between the club and the player extends till 2023.

Barcelona is set to pay Griezmann’s release clause of €100 million to Atletico Madrid. Griezmann’s contract with the Rojiblancos ends next July.
The French striker’s salary equalizes that of Luis Suarez. Both of them will be in the second category after Lionel Messi.

Report claimed that Real Madrid can pay Griezmann a bigger salary of €25 millon per year, but Griezmann wants to play alongside Messi and Suarez, forming a deadly trio.

5/21/2018 2:12:49 PM
<![CDATA[England to prep players for eventual racism in Russia]]>
There are concerns that racism has become endemic within Russian football and earlier this month the country's football association was fined 30,000 Swiss francs (25,000 euros) by global governing body FIFA following racist chants by supporters during a friendly international against France in March.

France's Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele were the target of monkey chants during their side's 3-1 win over Russia in Saint Petersburg.

"We work with our players on how we will support each other if anything like that was to happen," said Southgate. "There would be some official protocol to follow if it did happen but we really hope it is a situation that doesn't emerge, and that it's a festival of football we are talking about on the pitch and not talking about things off the field."

Southgate, a former England international, added: "The most important thing is that internally we are able to support our players if something does happen and they understand how their team-mates and our staff are going to go about that.

"There are some sessions we will do with them about that, and then there is the official protocol to be followed. As a federation I think we would be strong in pushing for the right solutions within that.

"So we have everything in place, but most importantly is that internally the players feel they have that level of support."

England open their World Cup campaign against Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18.

Racism has plagued Russian football since clubs began purchasing foreign players after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

The Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) anti-discrimination network reported 89 racist and far-right incidents at Russian games in the 2016-2017 season.

The number was about the same as that recorded in the preceding three seasons -- an indication that the Russian Football Union's attempts to eradicate the problem have yet to succeed.

5/21/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Marquez cruises at Le Mans as Zarco crashes out]]>
Marquez took his 38th success in the top category unchallenged from Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Pramac) with Italian veteran Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) in third.

Zarco had the home fans at Le Mans' Bugatti circuit dreaming of a rare French win after his record-setting pole 24 hours earlier but the Yamaha Tech star slid out of contention on lap seven.

Zarco's premature exit left Marquez in control in a race that after early drama turned into something of a procession.

The result tightened Marquez's grip on the MotoGP standings with the defending four-time champion on 95 points.

His closest pursuer is Maverick Vinales, albeit 36 points behind, with Zarco on 58 points in third, and seven-time world champion Rossi two points further adrift.

At the start, Zarco was quickly displaced at the front by track specialist Jorge Lorenzo, as behind Andrea Iannone on a Suzuki came to grief at the sixth corner.

Andrea Dovizioso's Ducati then swept past Lorenzo but no sooner had the Italian made his move than he too crashed.

It was then hapless Zarco's turn to exit, stage left, as the French MotoGP idol parted company with his bike with 20 laps remaining.

With the great gallic home hope out of the picture it didn't take long for Marquez to make his decisive move as Lorenzo back pedalled, eventually finishing sixth.

If the MotoGP race was lacking in whiteknuckle excitement, the same was certainly not the case in the Moto3 Grand Prix with Spain's Albert Arenas awarded the win after Fabio Di Giannantonio was demoted to fourth for cutting a corner.

Honda's Italian rider crossed the line first at Le Mans' Bugatti circuit but was hit with a three-second penalty, with KTM's Arenas promoted from second to first.

"That's fantastic, it's hard to believe," said the 21-year-old, celebrating his first win since his debut season in 2014.

Andrea Migno and Marcos Ramirez joined Arenas on the all KTM podium.

Another KTM rider, Marco Bezzecchi leads the championship standings on 63 points, with Di Giannantonio four points behind in second and his Honda teammate Aron Canet in third, three points further back.

Bezzecchi held onto the championship lead despite a final bend crash with Honda's Jorge Martin.

In Moto2, championship leader Francesco Bagnaia then made it three wins out of five this season. Kalex's Italian rider set off from pole and held off all challengers to add this to his wins in the opening race in Qatar and at the Grand Prix of the Americas.

Joining him on the Kalex-dominated podium were Spaniards Alex Marquez and reigning Moto3 champion Joan Mir.

Bagnaia moved up to 98 points in the Moto2 standings, 19 points clear of Miguel Oliveira.]]>
5/21/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Monaco and Lyon clinch Champions League spots]]>
Monaco finished runners-up to Paris St Germain after their 3-0 win at Troyes sent their opponents down to Ligue 2, while Lyon ended third after coming from behind to beat Nice 3-2, thanks to Memphis Depay's treble.

Fourth-placed Marseille, who lost to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on Wednesday, beat visiting Amiens 2-1 but it was not enough to put them on the podium.

They end up with 77 points, one behind Lyon, while Monaco have 80.

But PSG, who had already been crowned, finished well clear on 93 points after a 0-0 draw at Caen that kept the Normandy side in the elite.

Marseille will play in the Europa League, along with fifth-placed Stade Rennais and sixth-placed Girondins de Bordeaux, who respectively drew 1-1 at home to Montpellier and won 4-0 at Metz.

Troyes join bottom club Metz in Ligue 2 while Toulouse beat En Avant Guingamp 2-1 to finish 18th and will play either AC Ajaccio or Le Havre in a playoff.

The game between Ajaccio and Le Havre, due to be played on Friday, was postponed until Sunday after fans attacked the Le Havre bus, the French League said on Saturday, condemning "serious incidents".

Monaco needed a draw to secure a Champions League spot but went further, defeating Troyes.

Rony Lopes beat Erwin Zelazny on 21 minutes after the keeper had parried Youri Telemans' shot into the Portugal striker's path.

Lopes made sure there would be no late drama when he scored again with a low shot in the 71st minute and Jordi Mboul added a third in stoppage time.

At Lyon's Groupama stadium, Nice went ahead in the 18th minute when Alassane Plea collected a fine through ball from Mario Balotelli and shot between keeper Mathieu Gorgelin's legs.

Lyon hit the woodwork before the break, but Depay struck three times in the second half.

The Dutch striker poked the ball home from Nabil Fekir's cross in the 48th minute and he made it 2-1 on 65 minutes with a low free kick that went under the wall.

Four minutes before time, Depay chipped the ball past Walter Benitez to wrap up the game. Plea pulled one back two minutes later with a powerful strike for his second of the game.

Marseille, too, did what they needed to, but it proved to be in vain.

They opened the scoring after 10 minutes when Morgan Sanson found the back of the net with a half-volley from inside the box.

They doubled the tally eight minutes later, Kostas Mitroglou heading home from Lucas Ocampos's cross. Amiens reduced the arrears on the half-hour when Moussa Konate beat Steve Mandanda from close range.

But while Marseille hung on, it was not enough to take them into a Champions League place. ]]>
5/21/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Wellington qualify for Club World Cup with Oceania triumph]]>
A 4-3 second leg win in Fiji on Sunday gave Wellington a 10-3 aggregate victory over Lautoka and a spot in the seven-team FIFA tournament, which will take place in the United Arab Emirates from Dec. 12-22.

Mexico's Guadalajara and Al Ain, who qualify as champions of the host country, have also already qualified and will be joined by the other winners of the top club competition in each of football's continental confederations.

Liverpool and Club World Cup champions Real Madrid will face off in the European Champions League final next weekend but the winner of South America's Libertadores Cup will not be known until November.

Team Wellington are the junior professional team in the New Zealand capital as Wellington Phoenix play in the A-League in Australia, which moved from the Oceania to the Asian confederation in 2006.

Their triumph ended a run of seven straight Oceania Champions League titles for Auckland City, who have managed three wins from 15 matches over nine Club World Cup appearances.]]>
5/21/2018 2:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Sherbini wins British Open Squash]]>
World No. 1 El Sherbini won the title after defeating her compatriot World No. 2 Raneem El Welily in the final game by 3-0.

The tough game lasted for 47 minutes.

This year's British Open will mark the last opportunity for players to earn points for the season-ending Dubai World Series Finals as players vie for a top eight finish on the PSA World Series Standings to qualify.]]>
5/20/2018 9:54:23 PM
<![CDATA[Zidane continues Real family dynasty by playing son Luca]]>
Frenchman Zidane was expected to rest first-choice players in their last game before next Saturday's Champions League final against Liverpool but fielded a full-strength side against Villarreal, with the exception of the 20-year-old goalkeeper.

The second oldest of Zinedine's four sons, Luca had a relatively quiet first half as his side took a 2-0 lead into and he made an impressive save by tipping a free kick from Nicola Sansone over the bar after the interval.

His hopes of keeping a clean sheet were ended by Roger Martinez's sweeping shot into the top corner which he could do little about but his inexperience became more evident when he misjudged a long ball into the path of Samuel Castillejo and the Villarreal forward dribbled past him to equalise.

"He has been waiting a long time to play and he is like any other player in the squad. He did well and I'm happy that he made his debut," Zidane said.

"It's not difficult for me to separate the role of coach and father, I'm pleased for him as his dad and as his coach, and we'll see each other later at home."


Before making his competitive debut on Sunday, Luca had only played two friendly games for Madrid's first team, pre-season matches against an MLS all-star team and Serie A side Fiorentina last August.

The former Real midfielder's oldest son Enzo Fernandez made one appearance for the Spanish side in last season's King's Cup, scoring in a 6-1 win over Cultural Leonesa. He now plays for Lausanne Sport in Switzerland.

Zidane's youngest two sons Theo and Elyaz are part of Real's youth set-up, creating the possibility that all four children will follow their father in turning out for the club.

They might struggle, however, to have the same impact as their father, who inspired Real to the 2002 Champions League and is one game away from becoming the first coach to guide them to three successive European Cups.

5/20/2018 3:43:49 PM
<![CDATA[Red Star Belgrade's bus catches fire during celebrations]]>
The Red Star players were celebrating winning the title on an open bus with their fans, who stood on both sides celebrating the players and lighting fireworks, the Sun reported.

But things did not end well after the bus caught fire, because the crowd accidentally threw a firework on it; the fire spread very fast and engulfed the bus.

The firefighters could successfully put out the fire, but the bus was completely destroyed.

Red Star Belgrade won their tenth Serbian title in the current season; the team has also previously won 18 league titles, in addition to a European Cup title when it was among the Yugoslavian territory, before breaking up in the early 90's.
5/20/2018 3:16:37 PM
<![CDATA[Cavs blow out Celtics 116-86, cut series deficit to 2-1]]>
Kyle Korver had 14 points and Kevin Love added 13 with 14 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who lost the first two games of the series on the road in Boston. George Hill totaled 13 points, JR Smith had 11 and Tristan Thompson scored 10.

“I have a huge responsibility for this team,” James told the ABC broadcast after the game. “I have to score, I have to rebound and defend, make sure guys get involved, and I’m OK with that. I’m absolutely OK with that.

“I also have to inspire my teammates to be better. They answered the call tonight, and they need to answer the call at another time (in Game 4) on Monday.”

Jayson Tatum scored 18 points to lead Boston. Terry Rozier contributed 13 points and both Jaylen Brown and Greg Monroe finished with 10 for the Celtics, who dropped to 1-5 on the road this postseason.

Boston, which is a perfect 9-0 at home in the playoffs, was trying to become the third team ever to take a 3-0 series lead against a James-led squad, which has only been accomplished by the 2007 San Antonio Spurs and the 2017 Golden State Warriors.
“I don’t want to take away from their performance by talking about us,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “They deserve all the credit. They deserve to be talked about, because they played great.”

Cleveland shot 48.7 percent (37 of 76) for the game and 50 percent (17 of 34) from 3-point range while outrebounding the visitors 45-34. Boston was limited to 39.2 percent (29 of 74) shooting, going 6-for-22 (27.3 percent) from 3.

The Cavaliers led 61-41 at halftime.

Boston, which never led, fell behind by as many as 30 after that. Cleveland’s lead never shrank below 19 in the second half.

Terry Rozier’s layup with 9:26 left in the first quarter had the Celtics within three, but James’ layup at the 9:03 mark sparked a 13-0 run that put Cleveland ahead 20-4. The Cavaliers were up 32-17 after the first.

James improved to 13-0 in the playoffs when his team has led by 15 or more after one quarter.]]>
5/20/2018 3:14:09 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly faces Al-Masry in last Egyptian league’s match]]>
Despite the fact that the match is not important for both teams and will not change anything in their rankings, but Al-Ahlyconsider the game as a good chance to satisfy their fans.

Al-Ahly suffered in their last four matches, encountering two losses and two draws. These bad results led Al-Ahly’s football committee to sack Al-Ahly’s coach, Hossam el-Badry.

Temporary manager, Ahmed Ayoub, is set to manage his first game as a coach after being an assistant coach for Badry in the last two seasons.

Al-Masry enters the game with high spirits as they came back from Sudan with a valuable point against the Sudanese team, Al-Hilal, in the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup competition.

Ayoub announced Al-Ahly’s squad:

Goalkeepers: Sherif Ikramy - Ali Lotfi - Ramadan Mostafa

Defenders: Karim Yahya - Ayman Ashraf - Mahmoud al Jazzar - Sabri Rahil - Bassem Ali

Midfielders: Hisham Mohamed - Amr Sulouia - Akram Tawfiq - Islam Mohareb - Ahmed Hamdy - Mohamed Sharif - Ahmed Ramadan "Beckham" - Mohamed Fakhri - Amr Saadawi

Forward: Salah Mohsen - Ahmed Yasser Rayan - Mustafa Ezzat
5/20/2018 2:21:40 PM
<![CDATA[Rebic double as Frankfurt stun Bayern 3-1 to win German Cup]]>
Croatian Rebic scored either side of a Robert Lewandowski equaliser and Frankfurt added a third in stoppage-time to make amends for last season's final loss.

It was a bittersweet farewell for Bayern's Heynckes, who will go back into retirement after taking over in October and leading them to their sixth straight Bundesliga title. Heynckes had coached them to the treble in 2013.

In a contrast of emotions, his Frankfurt counterpart Niko Kovac, who will take charge of Bayern next season, was lost in the arms of his players as he celebrated Frankfurt's first Cup win in 30 years.

"That's life," Kovac said. "I am happy for these amazing fans and for my team.

"When you stand together you can do everything. That is what marked this team for my two-and-a-half years here. Last year we missed out but this year we made it. We deserved it."

Bayern could have scored early when Lewandowski's free kick bounced off the crossbar but it was the underdogs who went in front when their pressing paid off in the 11th minute and Rebic was sent through to slot in.

Bayern squandered half a dozen golden chances through Bundesliga top scorer Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller and Joshua Kimmich before the break rescued Frankfurt.

Poland striker Lewandowski made amends in the 53rd, sliding in to drill home a Kimmich cutback.

The game had lost some of its earlier pace but Frankfurt again pounced on sloppy Bayern defending for Rebic to put them back ahead.

The Bavarians desperately searched for a late equaliser and hit the bar through Mats Hummels but they gave Frankfurt far too much space and Mijat Gacinovic found plenty of it to complete a break deep in stoppage-time and score into an empty net.

"We did not use our chances," Heynckes said. "In sports there are wins as well as defeats.

"Tonight was an avoidable defeat. But Frankfurt were ambitious, strong and with passion and they also had the necessary luck. They are deserved Cup winners," the 73-year-old added. ]]>
5/20/2018 12:32:58 PM
<![CDATA[Galatasaray win Turkish title for record 21st time]]>
The victory sealed a triumphant return to the club for veteran coach Fatih Terim, who took the reins for the fourth time last December, months after leaving his job as Turkey coach amid controversy over a street brawl.

Gomis, who has spearheaded Galatasaray's attack, took his season's goal tally to 29 with his 66th-minute spot-kick.

Fans of Galatasaray drove through the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, honking car horns and waving flags in the clubs red-and-yellow colours, while others set off fireworks and flares.

Galatasaray's nearest challengers, Fenerbahce and Basaksehir, both three points adrift, each won their final matches 3-2.

Istanbul's other major club, Besiktas, won the title in each of the last two seasons.

Galatasaray, who also won the UEFA Cup in 2000, last won the domestic title in 2015. They are now two titles ahead of Fenerbahce, who won it most recently in 2014. ]]>
5/20/2018 12:29:37 PM
<![CDATA[Hazard the difference as Chelsea edge Man United in Cup final]]>
The Belgian's searing pace earned the spot-kick in the 21st minute after forcing Phil Jones into a desperate lunging tackle and he coolly tucked it away for what proved to be the winner.

Jose Mourinho's United were dismal in a scrappy first half and although they improved significantly after the break they were denied a record-equalling 13th FA Cup triumph.

Chelsea, whose Premier League title defence fizzled out into a fifth-placed finish, survived several scares but defended superbly as Conte celebrated his first domestic cup honour as a manager having seen his side beaten by Arsenal a year ago.

It was only Mourinho's third defeat in 15 Cup finals as a manager and his first in an English showpiece final.

In a poignant end to the afternoon, Chelsea captain Gary Cahill was presented with the cup by Jackie Wilkins -- wife of former Chelsea and United great Ray Wilkins who died last month.

"This was to save our season, we haven't had a magnificent season by any stretch. We are used to winning, I'm not saying that in an arrogant way," said Cahill, whose assured display would have impressed England manager Gareth Southgate.

"We had a lot of defending to do, they pushed us until the very end. We are buzzing. This a dream come true because it is my first trophy win as captain of the club."

The sunshine that illuminated the day's other big occasion down the road at Windsor helped provide a carnival-like atmosphere as red and blue clad fans streamed into Wembley.

Pre-match pyrotechnics aside, however, the opening stages of the showpiece hardly offered up party football with a predictably cagey approach.

Hazard, also rumoured to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge, stood out from the crowd, though, and the Belgian served notice of his threat in the eighth minute when he jinked past Jones and fired in a shot that David de Gea saved with his feet.

Soccer Football - FA Cup Final - Chelsea vs Manchester United - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - May 19, 2018 Chelsea's Eden Hazard scores their first goal from the penalty spot Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY


In a portent of what might await England when they face Belgium in the World Cup next month, Hazard's pace proved calamitous for United in the 21st minute.

Again Jones was cruelly exposed as Hazard latched on to Cesc Fabregas's first-time pass and accelerated into the area where the lumbering defender felled him with a desperate lunge.

Michael Oliver pointed to the spot and booked Jones, although Chelsea manager Conte screamed for a red card, and side-footed his spot-kick to De Gea's left.

Jones should have made amends just before the break but headed wastefully wide.

Kicking towards their own fans on the resumption, United raised the tempo and Chelsea's defence came under pressure with Marcus Rashford forcing a first save by Thibaut Courtois.

Suddenly Chelsea were pinned back and Alexis Sanchez slid the ball into their net after Courtois had clawed out a Jones header, but the Chilean was adjudged to have been offside.

Chelsea were reduced to the odd breakaway and from one N'Golo Kante burst into the area before teeing up Marcos Alonso who delayed his shot and was denied by De Gea.

England World Cup duo Rashford and Jesse Lingard were hauled off by Mourinho in the 73rd minute with strikers Romelu Lukaku, who had not played since getting injured last month, and Anthony Martial sent on to try and rescue United's day.

United pressed and former Chelsea player Nemanja Matic's shot nearly deceived Courtois while the largely anonymous Paul Pogba glanced a header agonisingly wide of the post.
5/20/2018 12:24:04 PM
<![CDATA[Clinical Svitolina sails into Italian Open final]]>
The Ukrainian fourth seed bided her time and struck at key moments in the match in a display that bodes well for her chances at the French Open later this month.

The 22-year-old Kontaveit offered stiff resistance, hitting 24 winners to Svitolina's 18, but her opponent converted four of her five break point opportunities while making seven fewer unforced errors in a contest of tight margins.

Svitolina, who beat former world number one Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals, started well, breaking early in the first set to go 2-0 up, but Kontaveit held her nerve to take the next three games and edge in front.

With the opener tied at 3-3, Svitolina made her move, coming to the net behind a deep cross-court forehand and displaying a delicate touch to guide a volley into the open court and coax another break point from her opponent that she converted.

The 23-year-old then saved two break points on her own serve and held on to take the opener.

With Svitolina's speed proving decisive, Kontaveit was forced to mix things up, but the baseliner's touch deserted her at times in the second set, allowing the speedy Ukrainian to run down a couple of poorly disguised drop shots.

The world number four rode her forehand to an early break in the second set, taking a 2-1 lead, and won the match on her opponent's serve, converting her second match point with a deep forehand that left Kontaveit flailing.

World number one Simona Halep faces Russian Maria Sharapova in the other semi-final later on Saturday.]]>
5/20/2018 10:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Babbel takes over at Western Sydney Wanderers]]>
Babbel, who won Euro 96 with Germany and the UEFA Cup with Liverpool during a successful playing career, most recently coached Luzern in the Swiss league after spells in charge at Stuttgart, Hertha Berlin and Hoffenheim in Germany.

The 45-year-old takes over a club which became Asian champions in only its third year of existence and reached the A-League final in three of its first four seasons under inaugural coach Tony Popovic.

The former Bayern Munich defender coached former Wanderers striker Tomi Juric at Luzern and said the Australia international had given him an idea of what to expect.

"Tommy Juric was telling me that the crowds are totally crazy and after Switzerland (where) the supporters are very quiet ... I'm really looking forward to good support," Babbel told a news conference.

"I am ready for a new experience and I thank you for the trust, I will give 100 percent to bring our vision nearer and nearer."

Babbel takes over from Spaniard Josep Gombau, who was sacked when Wanderers failed to secure a spot in the playoffs at the end of last season.

Wanderers have become one of the most fanatically followed clubs in Australia over their first six seasons and the club is clearly keen to get back among the frontrunners before their new 30,000-seater stadium is finished next year.

"Today we have made a statement about our future," said club chairman Paul Lederer.

"In the next 18-months we will have our new training facility finished, our new stadium open and our club ready to take another giant (leap).

"Having a coach like Markus involved with this club will make us a force in this league as we strive to win trophies, return to the AFC Champions League and make a statement not only in Australia but internationally as a football club."]]>
5/20/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Record-setting Zarco on pole and targeting maiden MotoGP win]]>
Zarco, who has secured a contract with KTM next season on the back of a lightning start in motorcycling's queen category, set a new lap record of 1min 31.185sec on his way to pipping reigning world champion Marc Marquez to first place on the grid.

Championship leader Marquez, on a Honda, finished second with Italian Danilo Petrucci, on a Ducati, in third.

Zarco, voted rookie of the year after his maiden MotoGP season last year, is still looking for his maiden victory in the category.

But a year after climbing on to the podium for the first time in the category at Le Mans, the 27-year-old underlined his readiness to end his MotoGP victory drought.

"It's unbelievable, an amazing feeling," said Zarco.

"I didn't expect to be so good out there. I'm surprised at how fast I went, I couldn't really believe it when I looked up at the times.

"A big thanks to the fans because they gave me a huge boost. We'll see tomorrow if it's enough for victory."

A maiden win on Sunday would underpin the promise that Zarco has shown throughout this early part of the campaign.

He finished runner-up in Argentina and, more recently, Spain to sit second in the world championship standings at just 12 points behind Marquez.

On the second row Italians Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), who had set a track record in free practice on Friday, will joust with Spain's Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) for the early positions.

Australian Jack Miller (Ducati Pramac) and Yamaha pair Maverick Vinales of Spain and Italy's seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi are on the third row.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), who won in Argentina, suffered a heavy crash earlier in qualifying.]]>
5/20/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Lambert leaves Stoke after Premier League relegation]]>
The 48-year-old took over from Mark Hughes in January on a two-and-a-half year contract, with the club 18th in the league.

Results, however, failed to improve as Stoke won just two of his 15 matches in charge to finish second-bottom in the league with 33 points.

"The club would like to thank Paul for his work over the past four months and wish him well for the future," Stoke said in a statement.

"Whilst he was unable to guide us to Premier League safety after being appointed in January, it certainly wasn't due to a lack of effort, professionalism and dedication on his part."

"Paul would like to thank the Board, players and staff for the opportunity and their support. Whilst looking forward to his next challenge, he would like to wish the Club every success next season."

The departure of former Aston Villa and Norwich City boss Lambert leaves Stoke looking for a third permanent manager in a year.

British media reports have linked former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes with the Stoke hot seat after the Scot parted company with West Ham United on Wednesday.]]>
5/20/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Moore named West Brom manager on permanent basis]]>
The former West Brom defender, 44, guided the club on an unbeaten run in April as caretaker manager after replacing the sacked Alan Pardew, with two wins and two draws.

Despite the upturn in form, West Brom finished bottom of the top-flight standings with 31 points.

"He (Moore) embodies the spirit of the club and the spirit of what we are striving to achieve in this new chapter ahead," West Brom chief executive Mark Jenkins said in a statement.

"We conducted a thorough process of recruitment but Darren's powerful impact on the pitch and across all areas of the Club established him as the outstanding candidate.

"We suffered a torrid season but if there was a redeeming feature it was to see Darren at work over those final weeks, galvanising the Club and getting everyone positive again."

Moore's successful stint on the touchline in the final phase of the campaign saw him named as the Premier League's manager of the month in April.

"I am obviously extremely proud to accept this role and also extremely excited," he said.

"We have a big summer ahead of us, a lot of hard work we need to get in now. I'm going all out to try to get those plans and personnel in place to make sure we've got everything ready."]]>
5/20/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt Youth team lose to Senegal in U-20 African Cup qualifiers]]>
The first leg in Dakar on Saturday ended with a goalless draw; the Egyptian team needed to achieve victory to reach the next round.

The penalty shootout saw dramatic events as Senegalese players harassed the Egyptian players before kicking.

The 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations will be held in Niger between February 24 and March 10, 2019.

The top four teams of the tournament will qualify to 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland between May 25 and June 16.

Egypt achieved Africa U-20 Cup of Nations title four times in 1981, 1991, 2003 and 2013.
5/20/2018 4:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Svitolina sinks Kontaveit to return to Rome final]]>
The Ukrainian will play for the trophy in Sunday against the winner of the high-profile semi-final between Maria Sharapova and top seed Simona Halep.

The first meeting between Svitolina and Kontaveit featured four breaks of serve in the first eight games, with the fourth-seeded defending champion snatching the early lead after 39 minutes.

Svitolina moved to 3-1 in the second set, reached 5-3 with an ace and served out victory a game later on her second match point.

"I'm very proud of myself already that I reached the final. You know, it was really tough, from the beginning, from the first match," world number four Svitolina said.

"I work for these kind of matches, I work on it every day. When my opponent tries to hit everything, I have an answer.

"And when my opponent tries to play maybe a little bit more into court I can attack, so that's an answer.

"Today, I think I was very solid with my performance. And this was really, really good. I'm very proud of this, that I could stay really consistent all match."

Kontaveit, ranked 26th, has been on a roll against top-10 opponents, upsetting second-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and No.9 Venus Williams this week.

"It was definitely a really good week for me. She was really tough today and played really great. I'm only taking the positives from this week," the Estonian said.

"She had an answer to everything I gave her, it made me maybe try and do too much or do things I didn't want to do."

Svitolina will be bidding to win her eighth successive final dating back to last season as she bids for a third title this year after winning in Brisbane and Dubai.]]>
5/20/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[PSG goalkeeper Areola keen to stay amid Buffon rumours]]>
"I think I've shown this season I have exactly the level it takes to be the number one goalkeeper," Areola said in an interview with French daily Le Parisien published on Saturday.

"If I don't remain the first choice that would mean the season I've just had will be for nothing," added the 25-year-old who is part of France's squad for the World Cup.

"What happens next in my PSG career will be sorted out after the World Cup."

After splitting time with Kevin Trapp last season, Areola played every minute of PSG's Champions League campaign this term while keeping 16 clean sheets in 33 Ligue 1 appearances.

"For the moment, I haven't been in touch with management," Areola said. "I don't know what they want to do. One thing is certain: if they give me the chance to stay at PSG, I will accept it without hesitation."

"Now, if they don't let me have the same amount of playing time, things will certainly be different."

Reports in both France and Italy this week have suggested Buffon, 40, could move to PSG this summer after he announced he will leave Juventus at the end of the season.]]>
5/20/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[It will be a great final: Firmino ]]>
“We know there is an equally well-qualified team on the other side," said Firmino, according to Daily Star.

"It will be a great final. We know about Real Madrid; they are always winning titles in the Champions League, and in the Spanish league, too,” he added.

Firmino has established himself as one of Europe's elite strikers, with his tally of 10 Champions League goals only bettered by Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Real Madrid is a great team and is very tough to play against. I’ve never played [against them]; however, I’ve watched their games, and they’re very competitive. However, this is a final,” he said.

“This is a final and a one-off game, a one-off moment. But they’ll also be up against, in Liverpool, a team and a club with a great pedigree. We are going to fight until the end,” Firmino continued.

Liverpool will look to end their six-year trophy drought when they face 12-time European champions and current holders Real Madrid on May 26.
5/19/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Watford offers €6 million for Trezeguet: reports]]>
Turkish channel Fanatic revealed that Watford presented an offer to Kasimpasa to sign their Egyptian winger in the next transfer market for €6 million ($7 million).

Kasimpasa prefers to wait until the end of the 2018 World Cup, as Trezeguet is set to participate with the Egyptian national team. The Turkish club believes that Trezeguet’s market value will increase after the World Cup.

Previously, it had been reported by Turkish media that giant club Galatasaray showed interest in signing the Egyptian player next summer in a €2 million transfer move.

Reports claimed that Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim is interested in including the winger on his squad as soon as possible.

The Egyptian has an amazing goal-record in the Turkish league, as he scored 16 goals and provided eight assists in all competitions to lead the top scorers of his team.

Trezeguet is an Al-Ahly academy product. He joined the club when he was 9 and joined the club’s first team when he was 19.

He played four years for Al-Ahly before leaving in 2016 to Anderlecht, who loaned him to Mouscron and Kasimpasa.
5/19/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Buffon bids tearful farewell to Juve after 656 games]]>
The Turin side, who clinched their seventh consecutive Serie A title a week ago, were leading 2-0 at the time, meaning that Buffon kept his 301st clean sheet in 656 appearances in all competitions.

The 2006 World Cup winner hugged several team mates and rival players as he left the field in tears to a standing ovation. He then walked around the perimeter, shaking hands with supporters in the front row.

Buffon, who won nine Serie A and four Coppa Italia titles with Juventus, was replaced by third choice goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio, who made his first appearance of the season.]]>
5/19/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Etoile Sportive requests $1.1m to sell Amr Marei]]>
For his part, Nabil Abu Zeid, Marei’s agent, said that Etoile Sportive doesn’t want Amr Marie to leave the club, especially after his brilliant performance in the recent period, including the team’s matches in the CAF Champions League, so it has set $1.1 million to approve the sale of Marei to any club.

Abu Zeid revealed that Etoile Sportive refused to sign an exchange deal with Zamalek after Zamalek officials offered their Ghanaian striker, Nana Poku, to the Tunisian club, which refused the offer, preferring a financial incentive for selling Marei.

Marei joined Etoile Sportive on July 17, 2017 on a free-transfer deal from Enppi; he participated with the team in 32 games in all competitions, scoring seven goals and assisting another six goals.
5/19/2018 5:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Queen of tennis Serena Williams preps for royal wedding]]>
Former world number one Williams, 36, posted videos on her Instagram account of herself and her partner Alexis Ohanian getting ready in their hotel room before heading to the ceremony at Windsor Castle.

"Hey y’all, so my friend's getting married today," she said as she filmed herself standing in front of the mirror in a towel.

"I've known her (Meghan) for so many years and I'm super happy for her."

Williams plans to play at the French Open later this month in a bid for her record 24th major championship. She returned to professional tennis in March after giving birth to her first child in September, although her coach has since said she has come back too soon. Sitting on the hotel bed, Williams kissed and cuddled her baby daughter, named Alexis after her father, before putting on a gold facial treatment mask.

"I’m shaping my brows today, but not for you, just because I want to," she said, later adding that she was wearing her hair in braids.

"Do you like my necklace ... Do you like my braids?" she asked her partner. She said her chunky gold necklace was from the Heritage Collection by Italian luxury brand Bulgari.

By the time she was having her make-up applied, Williams said she was exhausted.

"I had this amazing energy but now I am incredible sleepy. I didn’t go to bed till three. I didn't go to bed till 3 a.m.," she said.

The tennis player teased her partner as he pulled up the trousers of his morning suit: "Are those high-waisted? This is not appropriate. This is uncool."

In her last video from her morning preparations, she and her partner were seen in full regalia before heading out to the ceremony.

"What's the verdict?" Williams asked, to which her partner replied, in a fake British accent: "Smashing. Where's my monocle?" ]]>
5/19/2018 3:30:22 PM
<![CDATA[Manchester United, Chelsea to save season in FA Cup final]]>
Both teams are set to play at Wembley Stadium at 6:15 p.m. (CLT). The match will be the first in the history of the FA Cup that will feature VAR (Video Assistant Referee).

Manchester United coach José Mourinho, whose team was the runner-up in the Premier League after the champions, Manchester City, and suffered elimination from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of the Spanish team Sevilla in the 16th round, seeks to end the season with the prestigious title to equal Arsenal’s thirteen FA Cup titles.

On the other hand, Chelsea also has the urgent need to win the title, after a horrible season ended by failing to qualify to the UEFA Champions League next season, as the Blues placed fifth in the Premier League’s table.

The injured David Luiz, Emerson, Danny Drinkwater and Ampadu will be out of the game, while Conte's main doubts lie in the attacking line and the goalkeeper position.

Olivier Giroud could be chosen as the main attacker, while Thibaut Courtois is likely to start in the goal, with Willy Caballero relegated to the bench.

Probable squads:

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rüdiger, Moses, Kanté, Fàbregas, Alonso, Hazard, Willian and Giroud.

Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Young, Pogba, Matic, Mata, Alexis, Lingard and Lukaku.

Referee: Michael Oliver (England)
5/19/2018 3:24:23 PM
<![CDATA[Parma back in Serie A after third successive promotion]]>
The club, which also won the European Cup Winners' Cup and three Coppa Italias during their heyday of the 1990s and early 2000s, was relegated to Serie D after going bankrupt in 2015.

A reconstituted club easily secured promotion from Serie D in 2015-16 and won the Serie C promotion playoff the following year to move into the second flight.

The victory over Spezia, secured courtesy of goals from Fabio Ceravolo and Amato Ciciretti, combined with Frosinone's 2-2 draw against Foggia ensured they finished second in Serie B behind Empoli and will return to the top division.

The return was particularly emotional for club captain Alessandro Lucarelli, who stuck with the Parma through their journey down the divisions and deferred his retirement to complete the trip back up.

"I made a promise. I said I'd take Parma back to Serie A. I kept my promise," the tearful 41-year-old defender told Sky Sport Italia.

"This is a journey we started three years ago in front of these amazing fans. We had difficult moments, we always got back on our feet. They never gave up and I am proud to have been their captain.

"Now I can stop. I don't know, we'll see. I just need to celebrate right now."

Frosinone were leading Foggia 2-1 with a minute remaining but conceded an equaliser to miss out on automatic promotion due to an inferior head-to-head record against Parma.

That led to dramatic scenes at Spezia as the news came through from Lazio.

"It can't be real, it's impossible," Lucarelli added. "Nobody could've imagined a finale like this, not even in my wildest dreams. The others were celebrating, then we heard a huge cheer from the stands. I don't know what happened."

Frosinone, who spent one season in Serie A two years ago, could still return to the top flight through the promotion playoffs, which also feature Venezia, Perugia, Bari, Cittadella and Palermo. ]]>
5/19/2018 1:48:59 PM
<![CDATA[Rubiales elected Spanish Federation President]]>
The election of Rubiales, 40, represented a changing in the Federation’s old school administration and his mandate includes modernising its structure, increasing turnover and turning it into a more transparent organisation.

“I’ll give my everything for the Federation,” he said. “Women, football sala, beach soccer. All of those games need to be involved with us here. We have taken a step towards the future. Nobody will beat us in terms of work; the change is unstoppable.”

The RFEF had been without a permanent president since December following the sacking of Angel Maria Villar who had held the position for 29 years.

He was arrested in July along with his son Gorka and other soccer officials on corruption charges.

Villar had stepped down from vice presidency roles at FIFA and UEFA, but refused to leave his post as head of the RFEF, forcing Spain’s Administrative Court for Sport to step in to relieve him of his duties.

Rubiales played for several lower league clubs after coming through the Valencia and Atletico Madrid youth systems and finished his playing career in 2009 with Hamilton Academical in Scotland.

A year later he was named President of the Association of Spanish Footballers, a position he held until announcing his candidacy for the RFEF's top job last year. ]]>
5/19/2018 8:12:00 AM
<![CDATA[Neuer in Bayern's cup final squad to stay on course for World Cup]]>
The 32-year-old Germany captain and goalkeeper has not played since fracturing his foot last September, but has been included in the squad, the first time since his injury, for Saturday's final against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Neuer will start on the bench at Berlin's Olympic Stadium with Sven Ulreich in goal for Bayern.

"He's physically in top condition because he's spent so much time in the gym and has been training well with the team, but he won't start," said Heynckes.

"I don't have a specific plan for Manuel Neuer, but I do have a match plan and he's part of that," added Heynckes when asked if he will use Neuer off the bench.

Bayern captain Thomas Mueller has recovered from gastroenteritis, but Arjen Robben is out with a groin strain.

"Thomas Mueller has gotten over his infection and will take part in training today," said Heynckes.

Making the cup final squad is a significant boost to Neuer's hopes of being fit for Germany's opening World Cup match on June 17 against Mexico in Moscow.

Heynckes is convinced the national goalkeeper will be ready for Russia 2018.

"I watched him train in the gym and he's always said 'I'll make it (the World Cup)', under the proviso that he had to be careful with the injury," said the Bayern boss.


"My impression since last Friday is very positive.

"He has such a presence and authority in goal that you can't compare to anyone else.

"He's got too much class and talent, I think the nation can be relaxed in terms of him playing for Germany and being fit for the World Cup."

Neuer has been included in the extended Germany squad for the World Cup, but will need to prove his fitness at a fortnight-long training camp which starts on Wednesday in north Italy.

Germany play friendlies away to Austria in Klagenfurt on June 2 and home to Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen on June 8 before the team fly to Russia on June 12.

Meanwhile, emotions will be high for the cup final as it is the last match in charge for both Heynckes, 73, who is going back into retirement, and Eintracht coach Niko Kovac, 46, who will take over as Bayern's head coach next season.

"I thought my career at Bayern had ended in 2013 with the triple, coming back wasn't part of the plan and I can't predict what will happen after the final," said Heynckes.

"I'm looking forward to it, when the emotions will be up.

"The venue in Berlin is Germany's 'Wembley'.

"It will be a highlight with Bayern, with my players.

"There has been a wonderful unity I have rarely felt in a team, which will make for nice memories."


Kovac, 46, is in the unique situation of wanting to deny his future employers the league and cup double after Bayern won the Bundesliga title by a massive 21 points.

"Believe me, only the game on Saturday counts for me," said Berlin-born Kovac.

"Everything that comes after that does not currently matter at all. We want to win the final."]]>
5/19/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[O'Donovan gets 10-match ban for A-League final kung fu kick]]>
The Newcastle Jets forward received a straight red card for his desperate lunge at the head of Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas as he sought an equaliser in the Australian championship match.

Victory held on to claim the title for a record fourth time courtesy of a goal from Kosta Barbarouses in the ninth minute, with Thomas named Man of the Match for a string of fine saves.

The A-League later admitted that a TV feed had broken down when the only goal was scored, leaving the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) unable to rule on what looked like a clear offside in the run-up.]]>
5/19/2018 6:06:00 AM
<![CDATA[Germany win World Cup... according to computers]]>
Germany win again.

Switzerland's UBS has released its quadrennial report into the best bet punters can make during the most watched sports event in the world.

The 29-page analysis is not kind to the hosts.

Russia are given a 1.6 percent chance of winning the football extravaganza when it kicks off in a month -- which puts them one spot below Mexico and Switzerland.

Defending champions Germany come out tops with a 24 percent chance of claiming the trophy while Brazil and Spain round out the top three.

"It is almost a given that the new champion will come from either Europe or Latin America," UBS said.

"The likelihood of a champion from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or North America is almost nil."

The report is part a tongue-and-cheek look at the June 14 to July 15 competition and part a serious analysis of Russia's investment climate.

It includes Italy in its permutations despite the four-time winners failing to make their first final since 1958.

"The tournament doesn't seem quite the same without them," UBS wrote in a section called "A tribute to Italy".

The Azzurri are given the same odds of winning as Russia.

It also identified five must-watch matches that are sure to be "nail-biters".

UBS predicts that Spain will win the Iberian darby over Portugal and that England will edge out highly fancies Belgium in the decisive group stage round.

And it takes a slight departure to note that Russia has the same surface area as the dwarf planet Pluto.

UBS says in more sombre tones that Russia is still a nation recovering from economic sanctions imposed by the West over its actions in Ukraine.

A growing list of diplomatic standoffs has cast a shadow over the first tournament ever staged in eastern Europe.

Several nations will not be sending dignitaries to the opening ceremony in protest over the March poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in England.

Moscow furiously denied trying to kill him with a nerve agent in retaliation for his work for British intelligence.

"Russia's role as a host nation has resulted in significant controversy," UBS notes.

But the bank tries to look past the disputes to focus on the beautiful game itself and the emotions that it carries for millions across the world.

"While we hope that the best team wins, we also hope that the outcome is less devastating than last time, when our colleagues in Sao Paulo were depressed for several weeks afterwards," UBS wrote in reference to host nation Brazil's 7-1 loss to Germany in the 2014 semi-final.

That result put UBS computers to shame -- the bank had picked Brazil to win the whole thing.]]>
5/19/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mourinho says Conte feud over ahead of FA Cup final]]>
The duo have been involved in a war of words since the 2016-17 season, when Mourinho criticised Conte for celebrating wildly after Chelsea's 4-0 win over United, while the Italian accused his Portuguese rival of being obsessed with the Blues.

The feud continued into this season as Mourinho labelled the Italian's touchline manner as clown-like and alluded to a match-fixing allegation against the former Juventus boss, which he was cleared of in Italy.

Conte, in turn, described former Chelsea manager Mourinho as a "little man" and "a fake". "It's okay. It's okay. He stretched out (to shake hands), I stretched out. We got bored," Mourinho told Portuguese news outlet Record.

"After the game in Manchester, I invited him to come to my office. We talked. Nothing's wrong."

Mourinho previously managed Chelsea for five seasons across two stints before joining United in 2016.

The Portuguese boss led United to a second-placed league finish this season, while Conte has fared worse, with defending champions Chelsea ending the campaign in fifth and failing to qualify for the Champions League.

The pair will face off once again when United aim to win a record-equalling 13th FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.

United midfielder Scott McTominay says the team will be gunning to clinch the trophy for former boss Alex Ferguson, who is recovering after undergoing surgery for a brain haemorrhage earlier this month.

"It's so important after a long season. It hasn't quite gone to plan in the league and other cup competitions but we want to go for the FA Cup and win silverware," McTominay told United's website http://www.manutd.com.

"That's what Manchester United is built around and we really want to do it for Sir Alex Ferguson as well, as he's obviously not so well at this moment in time. It's so important to bring home the silverware for him."

Chelsea's seventh and most recent FA Cup triumph was under Roberto Di Matteo in 2012, and the London outfit were defeated in last year's final by Arsenal. ]]>
5/19/2018 4:02:00 AM
<![CDATA[Nadal bounces back from slow start to reach Rome semis]]>
The world number two needs to lift an eighth career title at the Foro Italico on Sunday to return to the top of the ATP rankings after losing that position to Roger Federer last week.

Spaniard Nadal dropped the opening set in an hour but re-grouped effortlessly as he swept past the Italian in the one-sided second and third sets of their quarter-final tie.

"I'm not used to playing so early," Nadal said of his midday start. "But I'm very happy to be in the semi-finals.

"This was a very important win for me today."

Nadal also beat Fognini in Rome in 2013 in their first ever meeting.

This was his 11th victory in 14 meetings with the 21st-ranked Italian, and sixth in a row.

He is working towards Roland Garros, where he will aim for an unprecedented 11th title.

"My clay court season has been, I think, fantastic. It will be much better if I finish here with another title," added the 16-time Grand Slam winner.

"But I can't forget that I had five months without competing, from Shanghai (October 2017) until Monte-Carlo (last month). I didn't complete -- not one event.

"The comeback has been great, I am happy with everything."

It was the first time in four years that Nadal managed to win his quarter-final tie in Rome and next up he will face either fellow former world number one Novak Djokovic or Japan's Kei Nishikori.

Marin Cilic beat Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-3 to reach the Rome semi-finals for the first time in his career.

The Croatian fourth seed lost in the 2011 and 2017 quarter-finals at the Foro Italico, but dismissed Busta in 65 minutes.

Nadal and Cilic were joined as semi-finalist by women's fourth seed Elina Svitolina, who recovered from a slow start to defeat former world number one Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-4, 6-4.

"I had to really step up and play really aggressive in important moments," Svitolina said. "I think that was the key for today.

"I played really good on the important points. That's what made a difference."]]>
5/19/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Real Madrid eyes Alisson as future goalkeeper]]>
As Josep Pedrerol told the Spanish program “El Chiringuito” that Alisson has become the number one goal of Real Madrid for the goalkeeper position.

Real Madrid has already made the first approach to Alisson, 25, whose market value is about €70 million ($82.5 million). However, Roma’s sporting director, Monchi, has already rejected the first offer for Alisson.

"Now I only think about the present, the match against Sassuolo and the World Cup with Brazil," said Alisson.

Roma is not willing to negotiate over Alisson if the offer is below €100 million, an amount that Real Madrid surely will not spend.

"Madrid wants Keylor to be the goalkeeper of Real Madrid, but it is also true that a goalkeeper of the future is the best option for Madrid, and now Alisson is the best option," Pedrerol said to the El Chiringuito program.
5/19/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Real's Ramos releases debut single]]>
Ramos, 32, announced debut rap composition 'SR4' little more than a week ahead of Real's Champions League final against Liverpool in Kiev.

Revealing the news on his Instagram page, Ramos indicated that there would be more to come from Sergio the singer: "My house, some friends, plenty of magic and this is the result. My life in a song... and lots of verses still to write."

Footballers have a long history of trying their hand on the music scene. Former Barcelona star Ronaldinho, American international Clint Dempsey, Brazil international Neymar and former Real midfielder Royston Drenthe all attempted a foray into music and released singles over the past few years.

The England national football team have previously had chart success with 'Back Home' reaching number one in 1970 and 'World in Motion' also topping the charts ahead of the 1990 World Cup.

In Spain success has been more mixed, with Paris St Germain forward Jese Rodriguez, who spent last season on loan at Stoke City, part of a Reggaeton music group called Big Flow.

It remains to be seen whether or not Ramos will hit the right notes.]]>
5/18/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mourinho faces anxious wait over Lukaku fitness]]>
Lukaku, who has netted 27 goals in all competitions in his debut season, has missed United's past three matches after suffering an ankle injury in last month's Premier League victory against Arsenal.

"We have to wait until the last moment," Mourinho told a news conference on Friday.

"I don't want to lie to you and say he doesn’t play and then plays, so with Lukaku we have to wait."

Mourinho confirmed that Anthony Martial is available for selection after a knee injury ruled out the French winger for United's win against Watford on the final day of the season.

United head into the Wembley final after finishing second in the Premier league, their best season in the top flight for five years.

It is also an opportunity for United to claim their third major trophy under Mourinho, having won the Europa League and League Cup last season.

But the Portuguese manager chose to play down the significance of the match, saying he will not regard United's season as a failure even if they lose against Chelsea.

"You can analyse the way you want, and I can analyse the way I want," Mourinho added.

"I know what my players did. I know the effort they gave. The positive things, the negative things. I'm not going to change my opinion on one match, not at all."]]>
5/18/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Platini admits to manipulating France’s 1998 World Cup draw]]>
Platini says that everyone wanted that World Cup to end with a final between the two best national teams at that moment.

The FIFA Organizing Committee decided to arbitrarily place Brazil in group A and France in group C, two tables that do not meet until the final. It was obviously a manipulation against the regulations of FIFA itself, which forces the placement by pure chance.

"France-Brazil in the final, it was the dream of everyone," Platini told radio station France Bleu Sport in an interview to be broadcast in full on Sunday.

Platini tried to justify himself in the interview, saying that it was done to please everyone. "We did not spend six years organizing the World Cup to not do some little shenanigans. Do you think other World Cup hosts did not?" he stated.

In addition, he affirms that it is a practice that has been carried out on more occasions during the history of football. "Do you think others did not?" he snapped at the interviewer.
5/18/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Germany boss Loew fires back at Wagner's criticism]]>
"I took it as a criticism of his fellow players and he portrays some, who have played for us for an eternity and are senior players, as if they were complete idiots," said Loew at an event in Berlin on Friday.

"He makes out that they are only with us (in the national squad) because they don't speak their minds.

"He says that others don't open their mouths. What should the likes of Jerome (Boateng) and Mats (Hummels) think? It's completely outrageous."

The out-spoken Wagner, who scored five goals as Germany qualified for Russia 2018 with a perfect record of ten wins, resigned from international duty in protest after being left out of the 27-man extended squad on Tuesday.

"For me, it is clear that I do not seem to fit with the coaching team in the way I am always open, honest and address things directly," fumed Wagner, who has made eight appearances for Germany.

The burly forward, who is Robert Lewandowski's back-up at Bayern, was furious as Loew opted to include RB Leipzig's Timo Werner, Mario Gomez of VfB Stuttgart and Freiburg's Nils Petersen as his strikers.

Wagner indirectly accused the German squad of being packed with "yes men", a notion Loew rejects.

"I can understand a little bit that he is disappointed, that's clear," said Germany's World Cup-winning coach.

"But I find his reaction a bit over the top.

"Everyone who knows us knows how we always encourage players to voice their opinions, to be open and honest, to be critical of ourselves.

"These things are very important to us."

Germany open their World Cup campaign against Mexico in Moscow on June 17 and also face South Korea and Sweden in Group F.]]>
5/18/2018 4:53:33 PM
<![CDATA[Know every World Cup preliminary squad ]]>
FIFA gives managers the right to send their preliminary lists including 35 players until the final 23-player lists, which will be announced on June 4.

Most of the teams have already announced their squads, but a few haven’t yet.

Egypt Today presents the participating teams’ squads:

Group A

Russia - Uruguay – Egypt – Saudi Arabia

Russia's 28-man preliminary squad: Igor Akinfeev, Vladimir Gabulov, Soslan Dzhanaev, Andrey Lunev, Vladimir Granat, Sergei Ignashevich, Fedor Kudryashov, Ilya Kutepov, Roman Neustadter, Konstantin Rausch, Andrey Semenov, Igor Smolnikov, Mario Fernandes, Yuri Gazinskiy, Alexsandr Golovin, Alan Dzagoev, Alexsandr Erokhin, Yuri Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyaev, Roman Zobnin, Alexsandr Samedov, Anton Miranchuk, Alexsandr Tashaev, Denis Cheryshev, Artem Dzyuba, Aleksey Miranchuk, Fedor Smolov and Fedor Chalov.

Uruguay's 26-man preliminary squad: Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Martin Campana, Diego Godin, Sebastian Coates, Jose Maria Gimenez, Maximiliano Pereira, Gaston Silva, Martin Caceres, Guillermo Varela, Nahitan Nandez, Lucas Torreira, Matias Vecino, Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur, Carlos Sanchez, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Diego Laxalt, Cristian Rodriguez, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Nicolas Lodeiro, Gaston Ramirez, Cristhian Stuani, Maximiliano Gomez, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.


Egypt's 29-man preliminary squad: Essam El Hadary, Mohamed El-Shennawy, Sherif Ekramy, Mohamed Awad, Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf, Mahmoud Hamdy, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr, Ahmed Elmohamady, Karim Hafez, Omar Gaber, Amro Tarek, Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Shikabala, Abdallah Said, Sam Morsy, Mohamed Elneny, Kahraba, Ramadan Sobhi, Trezeguet, Amr Warda, Marwan Mohsen, Ahmed Gomaa, Kouka and Mohamed Salah.

Saudi Arabia’s 28-man squad: Assaf Al-Qarny, Mohammed Al-Owais, Yasser Al-Musailem, Abdullah Al-Mayuf, Mansoor Al-Harbi, Yasser Al-Shahrani, Mohammed Al-Breik, Saeed Al-Mowalad, Motaz Hawsawi, Osama Hawsawi, Omar Hawsawi, Mohammed Jahfali, Ali Al-Bulaihi, Abdullah Al-Khaibari, Abdulmalek Al-Khaibri, Abdullah Otayf, Taiseer Al-Jassim, Houssain Al-Mogahwi, Salman Al-Faraj, Nawaf Al-Abed, Mohamed Kanno, Hattan Bahebri, Mohammed Al-Kwikbi, Salem Al-Dawsari, Yehya Al-Shehri, Fahad Al-Muwallad, Mohammad Al-Sahlawi and Muhannad Assiri.

Group B

Portugal – Spain – Morocco – Iran

Portugal's 23-man final squad: Anthony Lopes, Beto, Rui Patricio, Bruno Alves, Cedric Soares, Jose Fonte, Mario Rui, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, Ricardo Pereira, Ruben Dias, Adrien Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Mario, Joao Moutinho, Manuel Fernandes, William Carvalho, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gelson Martins, Goncalo Guedes and Ricardo Quaresma.

Spain's World Cup 2018 squad: Not announced yet.


Morocco's 23-man squad: Munir El Mohammadi, Yassine Bounou, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti, Medhi Benatia, Romain Ghannam Saiss, Manuel Da Costa, Badr Banoun, Nabil Dirar, Hamza Mendyl, Achraf Hakimi, Karim El Ahmadi, Moubarak Boussoufa, Youness Belhanda, Hakim Ziyech, Sofyan Amrabat, Amine Harit, Youssef Ait Bennasser, Faycal Fajr, Mehdi Carcela-Gonzales, Nordin Amrabat, Khalid Boutaib, Aziz Bouhaddouz and Ayoub El Kaabi.

Iran's 35-man preliminary squad: Alireza Beiranvand, Seyed Hossein Hosseini, Rashid Mazaheri, Amir Abedzadeh, Ramin Rezaeian, Voria Ghafouri, Steven Beitashour, Seyed Jalal Hosseini, Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh, Morteza Pouraliganji, Mohammad Ansari, Pejman Montazeri, Seyed Majid Hosseini, Milad Mohammadi, Omid Norafkan, Saeid AGhaei, Roozbeh Cheshmi, Saeid Ezatolahi, Masoud Shojaei, Ahmad Abdolahzadeh, Saman Ghoddos, Mahdi Torabi, Ashkan Dejagah, Omid Ebrahimi, Ehsan Hajsafi, Ali Karimi, Soroush Rafiei, Ali Gholizadeh, Vahid Amiri, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Karim Ansarifard, Mahdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun, Reza Ghoochannejhad and Kaveh Rezaei

Group C

France – Australia – Denmark – Peru


France's 23-man final squad: Alphonse Areola, Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, Benjamin Pavard, Adil Rami, Djibril Sidibe, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Steven N'Zonzi, Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso, Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Kylian Mbappe and Florian Thauvin.

Australia's 26-man preliminary squad: Brad Jones, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic, Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Matthew Jurman, Fran Karacic, James Meredith, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Josh Brillante, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi, Daniel Arzani, Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Mathew Leckie, Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos and Nikita Rukavytsya.

Peru's 24-man preliminary squad: Carlos Caceda, Jose Carvallo, Pedro Gallese, Luis Abram, Luis Advincula, Pedro Aquino, Miguel Araujo, Andre Carrillo, Wilder Cartagena, Aldo Corzo, Christian Cueva, Jefferson Farfan, Edison Flores, Paolo Hurtado, Nilson Loyola, Sergio Pena, Andy Polo, Christian Ramos, Alberto Rodriguez, Raul Ruidiaz, Anderson Santamaria, Renato Tapia, Miguel Trauco and Yoshimar Yotun.

Denmark's 35-man preliminary squad: Kasper Schmeichel, Jonas Lossl, Frederik Ronow, Jesper Hansen, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Mathias Jorgensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Andreas Bjelland, Henrik Dalsgaard, Peter Ankersen, Jens Stryger, Riza Durmisi, Jonas Knudsen, Nicolai Boilesen, William Kvist, Thomas Delaney, Lukas Lerager, Lasse Schone, Mike Jensen, Christian Eriksen, Daniel Wass, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Mathias Jensen, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Robert Skov, Pione Sisto, Martin Braithwaite, Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer, Yussuf Poulsen, Nicolai Jorgensen, Nicklas Bendtner, Kasper Dolberg and Kenneth Zohore.

Group D

Argentina – Croatia – Nigeria – Iceland


Argentina's 35-man preliminary squad: Sergio Romero, Nahuel Guzman, Willy Caballero, Franco Armani, Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi, Federico Fazio, Nicolas Tagliafico, Marcos Rojo, Marcos Acuna, Ramiro Funes Mori, Cristian Ansaldi, Eduardo Salvio, German Pezzella, Javier Mascherano, Angel Di Maria, Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, Manuel Lanzini, Gio Lo Celso, Ricardo Centurion, Guido Pizarro, Leandro Paredes, Maximiliano Meza, Enzo Perez, Pablo Perez, Rodrigo Battaglia, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi Cristian Pavon, Lautaro Martinez and Diego Perotti.

Iceland's 23-man preliminary squad: Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Runar Alex Runarsson, Frederik Schram, Kari Arnason, Ari Freyr Skulason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Hordur Magnusson, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Arnor Ingvi Traustason, Emil Hallfredsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason, Rurik Gislason, Samuel Fridjonsson, Aron Gunnarsson, Alfred Finnbogason, Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Albert Gudmundsson.


Croatia's 32-man preliminary squad: Danijel Subasic, Lovre Kalinic, Dominik Livakovic, Karlo Letica, Vedran Corluka, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic, Dejan Lovren, Sime Vrsaljko, Josip Pivaric, Tin Jedvaj, Matej Mitrovic, Borna Barisic, Zoran Nizic, Duje Caleta-Car, Borna Sosa, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic, Milan Badelj, Marcelo Brozovic, Marko Rog, Mario Pasalic, Filip Bradaric, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Nikola Kalinic, Andrej Kramaric, Marko Pjaca, Ante Rebic, Duje Cop and Ivan Santini.

Nigeria's 30-man preliminary squad: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi, Francis Uzoho, Dele Ajiboye, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Olaoluwa Aina, Kenneth Omeruo, Bryan Idowu, Chidozie Awaziem, Abdullahi Shehu, Elderson Echiejile, Tyronne Ebuehi, Stephen Eze, John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu, Wilfred Ndidi, Uche Agbo, Oghenekaro Etebo, Joel Obi, Mikel Agu, Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Junior Lokosa and Simeon Nwankwo

Group E

Brazil – Switzerland – Costa Rica – Serbia


Brazil's 23-man final squad: Alisson Becker, Ederson, Cassio, Danilo, Fagner, Marcelo, Filipe Luis, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Miranda, Pedro Geromel, Casemiro, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Fred, Renato Augusto, Philippe Coutinho, Willian, Douglas Costa, Neymar, Taison, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino.

Switzerland's World Cup 2018 squad: Not announced yet.

Costa Rica's 23-man final squad: Keylor Navas, Patrick Pemberton, Leonel Moreira, Cristian Gamboa, Ian Smith, Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Oviedo, Oscar Duarte, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Francisco Calvo, Kendall Waston, Johnny Acosta, David Guzman, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Randall Azofeifa, Rodney Wallace, Bryan Ruiz, Daniel Colindres, Christian Bolanos, Johan Venegas, Joel Campbell and Marco Urena.

Serbia's World Cup 2018 squad: Not announced yet.

Group F

Germany – Mexico – Sweden – South Korea


Germany's 27-man preliminary squad: Bernd Leno, Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp, Jerome Boateng, Matthias Ginter, Jonas Hector, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Marvin Plattenhardt, Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule, Jonathan Tah, Julian Brandt, Julian Draxler, Mario Gomez, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gundogan, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Nils Petersen, Marco Reus, Sebastian Rudy, Leroy Sane and Timo Werner.

Mexico's 28-man preliminary squad: Guillermo Ochoa, Jesus Corona, Alfredo Talavera, Diego Reyes, Héctor Moreno, Miguel Layún, Carlos Salcedo, Edson Álvarez, Néstor Araujo, Jesús Gallardo, Hugo Ayala, Rafael Márquez, Jonathan dos Santos, Andrés Guardado, Héctor Herrera, Marco Fabián, Javier Aquino, Jonathan González, Jesús Molina y Erick Gutiérrez, Tecatito Corona, Hirving Lozano, Chicharito Hernández, Raúl Jiménez, Carlos Vela, Javier Aquino, Jurgen Damm and Giovani dos Santos.

Sweden's 23-man final squad: Robin Olsen, Karl-Johan Johnsson, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist, Martin Olsson, Ludwig Augustinsson, Filip Helander, Emil Krafth, Pontus Jansson, Sebastian Larsson, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg, Gustav Svensson, Oscar Hiljemark, Viktor Claesson, Marcus Rohden, Jimmy Durmaz, Marcus Berg, John Guidetti, Ola Toivonen and Isaac Kiese Thelin.

South Korea's 28-man preliminary squad: Kim Seunggyu, Kim Jinhyeon, Cho Hyeonwoo, Kim Younggwon, Jang Hyunsoo, Jeong Seunghyeon, Yun Yeongseon, Kwon Kyungwon, Oh Bansuk, Kim Jinsu, Kim Minwoo, Park Jooho, Hong Chul, Go Yohan, Lee Yong, Ki Sungyueng, Jeong Wooyoung, Kwon Changhoon, Ju Sejong, Koo Jacheol, Lee Jaesung, Lee Seungwoo, Moon Sunmin, Lee Chungyong, Kim Shinwook, Son Heungmin, Hwang Heechan and Lee Keunho.

Group G

Belgium – England – Panama – Tunisia

Belgium's World Cup 2018 squad: Not announced yet.


England's 23-man final squad: Jack Butland, Nick Pope, Jordan Pickford, Fabian Delph, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ashley Young, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck.

Panama's 35-man preliminary squad: Jose Calderon, Jaime Penedo, Alex Rodríguez, Azmahar Ariano, Felipe Baloy, Harold Cummings, Eric Davis, Fidel Escobar, Adolfo Machado, Michael Murillo, Luis Ovalle, Francisco Palacios, Richard Peralta, Roman Torres, Ricardo Avila, Edgar Barcenas, Ricardo Buitrago, Miguel Camargo, Adalberto Carrasquilla, Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Gabriel Gomez, Jose Gonzalez, Cristian Martinez, Valentin Pimentel, Alberto Quintero, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Abdiel Arroyo, Rolando Blackburn, Ismael Diaz, Jose Fajardo, Roberto Nurse, Blas Perez, Luis Tejada and Gabriel Torres.

Tunisia's 29-man preliminary squad: Aymen Mathlouthi, Mouez Hassen, Farouk Ben Mustapha, Moez Ben Cherifia, Syam Ben Youssef, Yohan Benalouane, Yassine Meriah, Bilel Mohsni, Hamdi Nagguez, Ali Maaloul, Khalil Chemmam, Oussema Haddadi, Dylan Bronn, Ellyes Skhiri, Ferjani Sassi, Karim Laribi, Ahmed Khalil, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Ghailene Chaalali, Mohamed Larbi, Anice Bardi, Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Saber Khalifa, Naim Sliti, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Whabi Khazri, Bassem Srarfi and Ahmed Akaichi.

Group H

Poland – Colombia – Senegal – Japan

Poland's 35-man preliminary squad: Bartosz Bialkowski, Lukasz Fabianski, Lukasz Skorupski, Wojciech Szczesny, Jan Bednarek, Bartosz Bereszynski, Thiago Cionek, Kamil Glik, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Marcin Kaminski, Tomasz Kedziora, Michal Pazdan, Lukasz Piszczek, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Pawel Dawidowicz, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Jacek Goralski, Maciej Rybus, Sebastian Szymanski, Piotr Zielinski, Szymon Zurkowski, Dawid Kownacki, Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik, Krzysztof Piatek, Lukasz Teodorczyk and Kamil Wilczek.

Senegal's 23-man final squad: Abdoulaye Diallo, Khadim Ndiaye, Alfred Gomis, Lamine Gassama, Moussa Wague, Saliou Ciss, Youssouf Sabaly, Kalidou Kalidou, Salif Sane, Cheikhou Kouyate, Kara Mbodji, Idrisa Gana Gueye, Cheikh Ndoye, Alfred Ndiaye, Pape Alioune Ndiaye, Moussa Sow, Moussa Konate, Diafra Sakho, Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr, Mame Biram Diouf, Mbaye Niang and Diao Keita Balde.

Colombia's 35-man preliminary squad: David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Ivan Arboleda, Jose Fernando Cuadrado, Cristian Zapata, Davinson Sanchez, Santiago Arias, Oscar Murillo, Frank Fabra, Johan Mojica, Yerry Mina, William Tesillo, Bernardo Espinosa, Stefan Medina, Farid Diaz, Wilmar Barrios, Carlos Sanchez, Jefferson Lerma, Jose Izquierdo, James Rodriguez, Giovanni Moreno, Abel Aguilar, Mateus Uribe, Yimmi Chara, Juan Fernando Quintero, Edwin Cardona, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, Gustavo Cuellar, Sebastian Perez, Radamel Falcao Garcia, Duvan Zapata, Miguel Borja, Carlos Bacca, Luis Fernando Muriel and Teofilo Gutierrez.


Japan's World Cup 2018 squad: Eiji Kawashima, Masaaki Higashiguchi, Kosuke Nakamura, Yuto Nagatomo, Tomoaki Makino, Wataru Endo, Maya Yoshida, Hiroki Sakai, Gotoku Sakai, Gen Shoji, Naomichi Ueda, Makoto Hasebe, Toshihiro Aoyama, Keisuke Honda, Takashi Inui, Shinji Kagawa, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Genki Haraguchi, Takashi Usami, Gaku Shibasaki, Ryota Oshima, Kento Misao, Yosuke Ideguchi, Shinji Okazaki, Yuya Osako, Yoshinori Muto, Takuma Asano]]>
5/18/2018 4:02:02 PM
<![CDATA[Biggest Ramadan company tournament starts Friday]]>
The tournament first started in 2006 with 25 participating teams; it reached 66 teams in 2017, before reaching 80 teams in the 13th edition this year.

The Ramadan tournament is expected to be attended by about 8,000 people, including colleagues, families and friends of the participating players.


“Don’t miss the amazing entertaining shows for both adults and kids and the chance to win valuable gifts presented by our sponsors,” The Employer’s Corporate Football Tournaments stated through the tournament’s official page.

Representatives of the 80 participating company’s teams attended the tournament’s draw, which was held at Tolip El Narges Hotel on May 11.

Participating companies in the tournament are offering great surprises and valuable gifts in the opening ceremony at Tolip El Narges Hotel.

5/18/2018 3:17:15 PM
<![CDATA[Al Masry loses two points against Al Hilal]]>Al Masry opened the score after 10 minutes by Islam Essa'sheader after a wonderful pass from Mohamed Shatta.

The good news continued for Al Masry when Al Hilal's defender, El-Tahir El-Haj Hassan, was sent off after a dangerous tackle against Al Masry’sFaridShawky.

Al Masry had many chances to double the score before half time but Al Hilal defense blocked all their attempts to end the first half 1-0.

At the second half, Al Hilal dominated the game; they won a penalty 10 minutes before the final whistle when Al Masry defender, Mohammed Koffi, stopped the ball with his hands inside the area and GeovaneMaranhão converted it to make the score 1-1.

Al Masry lost the chance to achieve the first Egyptian victory in Sudan since 2010 when Ismaily defeated Al Hilal 1-0 at CAF Champions League.

Al Masry are in the second position with four points.
5/18/2018 2:59:54 PM
<![CDATA[Buffon may live new adventure with PSG]]>
The French and Italian news media highlighted on their covers the offer that PSG has made to the Italian international goalkeeper; however, it is Gazzetta dello Sport who gives more details of this offer.

It is reported that PSG believes that Buffon can improve the current goalkeepers, Alphonse Areola and Kevin Trapp.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, PSG has already presented an offer to Buffon for two years. The Italian newspaper advances that the offer is about €8 million.

PSG’s Qatari owner believes that Buffon would also become one of the ambassadors of the 2022 World Cup, which is set to be held in Qatar.


Buffon, 40 years old, will conclude his long spell at Juventus on Saturday against Hellas Verona on the final day of Serie A. In this match, Buffon will celebrate with Juventus’ fans with the achieved trophies this year, the Scudetto and Copa Italia.

Buffon, who made his professional debut for Parma in 1995 before joining Juve in 2001, had planned to end his career at the 2018 World Cup, which would have been his sixth, but Italy astonishingly failed to qualify for the first time since 1958.

The keeper has remained remarkably loyal to the Turin side, refusing to leave them even after they were relegated to Serie B in 2006 over the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, which also saw them stripped of a further two Serie A titles.

5/18/2018 2:18:44 PM
<![CDATA[Italy reaches EURO U 17 Final]]>
Italy opened the score after 30 minutes when Emmanuel Gyabuaa met a cross from the left flank to make the score 1-0.

Belgium equalized the score after 12 minutes from the second half start by a strikefrom YorbeVertessen.

Italy scored the winning goal 20 minutes before the final whistle by EdoardoVergani from a screamer to make the score 2-1 and grant his team a ticket to the final.

“It was a really good match. Two strong teams and we played very well in the first half. At the start of the second half, we suffered from their pressing game but after they equalized, we started to play football and I think we deserved the result,” Italy coach, Carmine Nunziata, told press after the victory.

Italy will face the winner between Netherlands and the hosts, England, at the final.

The final is scheduled on SundayMay 20, 2018.
5/18/2018 1:44:19 PM
<![CDATA[Guardiola extends Man City contract to 2021]]>
Spaniard Guardiola joined City in 2016 on a three-year contract and led them to the Premier League title this year, 19 points ahead of second-placed Manchester United.

City became the first top-flight club to collect 100 points in a season and broke records for goals scored in a Premier League campaign (106), the most victories and best goal difference.

"We are delighted to announce the extension of Pep's contract through to 2021," club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in a statement on City's website https://www.mancity.com/news/first-team/first-team-news/2018/may/pep-guardiola-man-city-contract-extension.

"In his two seasons with us, he has fostered an incredible spirit within the squad and significantly contributed to our progress both on and off the field. In doing so he has embodied the passion and commitment we all have for the club."

If Guardiola sees out the deal, it will represent his longest spell in charge of one club. The 47-year-old managed Barcelona from 2008-12 and spent three years in charge of Germany's Bayern Munich before joining City.

"I am so happy and excited. It's a pleasure to be able to work here," said Guardiola, who was named Manager of the Year by League Managers Association on Tuesday. "As a manager, you have to feel good to be with the players - and I feel good.

"I will focus on the desire of my players to become a better team and every day that's what I will try to do – to improve on the pitch and improve our players."

City also won the League Cup this year, giving Guardiola a total of 23 major trophies in nine seasons as a manager, but they were knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage by Premier League rivals Liverpool.]]>
5/18/2018 1:08:29 PM
<![CDATA[Alexander-Arnold excited about his first World Cup ]]>
“It was an unbelievable moment to find out I was going to go to the World Cup, especially at a young age. It’s probably capped off a really good season for me,” Arnold told Liverpool official website on Thursday.
Arnold has represented the English national team since he was 15 but he never wore the first team jersey in any game; he only trained with the first team last march, ahead of their friendly matches against Italy and the Netherlands.

“I’m honored, excited and feeling really proud,” added Arnold.

A post shared by TAA (@trentarnold98) on

The defender is getting ready with his Liverpool teammates in Marbella, Spain for the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 26.

Arnold, born in Liverpool in 1998, joined the club academy when he was six and he got promoted through the club rankings till he joined the first team in 2016.

The defender established himself as Liverpool starting right back and he played a great role in the team successes this season.
5/18/2018 11:46:28 AM
<![CDATA[Man United edge champions Man City in Premier League payments]]>
United, who finished second in the league, received 149.7 million pounds as they had two more games televised than City during the campaign.

Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal were the only other clubs to earn more than 140 million pounds.

West Bromwich Albion, who were relegated to the Championship (second-tier) after finishing last, received 94.7 million pounds.

The 2017-18 campaign was the second under a 5.1 billion pound domestic TV rights deal signed in 2015, with 20 clubs splitting a total of 2.4 billion pounds in central payments.

The payments include broadcast and commercial income plus prize money. Commercial income, overseas broadcast income, and a percentage of domestic broadcast income is shared equally between the league's 20 clubs.

The rest is divided according to each club's league position and the number of televised games they feature in each season.

Premier League payments to clubs at the end of 2017-18 season (in pounds, clubs listed by league position):

Manchester City - 149,438,654

Manchester United - 149,767,145

Tottenham Hotspur - 144,446,238

Liverpool - 145,904,609

Chelsea - 141,713,582

Arsenal - 142,042,073

Burnley - 119,772,976

Everton - 128,010,622

Leicester City - 118,170,198

Newcastle United - 123,018,207

Crystal Palace - 114,307,662

Bournemouth - 111,246,515

West Ham United - 116,094,523

Watford - 106,254,100

Brighton and Hove Albion - 107,712,470

Huddersfield Town - 102,391,564

Southampton - 107,239,572

Swansea City - 98,529,028

Stoke City - 98,857,518

West Bromwich Albion - 94,666,492]]>
5/18/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Brazil lucky to have both Jesus and Firmino, says Guardiola]]>
Jesus scored 17 goals across all competitions for Premier League champions City this season while Firmino has netted 27 to help Liverpool secure a fourth-placed league finish and reach the Champions League final.

Brazil manager Tite suggested during his squad announcement on Monday that Jesus' record of nine goals in 15 international matches could see the 21-year-old start over Firmino at the World Cup.

Guardiola, however, remained neutral on the selection debate, saying both players had their qualities.

"Lucky for Brazil that they have two incredible strikers. Gabriel has an energy, his desire is contagious, his movement... I think that this will calm down with age. Firmino is older, has already played in other places," Guardiola told ESPN.

"I can imagine what Brazil can be like in a World Cup on a media level. If you play one, you have to play the other, if you play the other, you have to play the one. It's an endless discussion.

"It's Tite's problem, not mine. But it's a debate."

City have flourished under Guardiola this campaign, embarking on a record-breaking run to seal the title, but his first season at the club was not as successful with the Etihad outfit failing to win any silverware.

"Last season has helped us to understand a lot of things so that we apply this season," Guardiola said. "People usually believe that coaches, no matter who they are, arrive at a club and things start working fine. And it is not like that."

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss dismissed the notion that he doubted himself during City's poor run, saying he was "very clear and psychologically strong" about the club's playing style.]]>
5/18/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Fabregas says he owes debt of gratitude to Mourinho]]>
The Spanish midfielder will hope to ruin Mourinho's day in Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester United and salvage something from a disappointing campaign.

But win or lose, Fabregas says he is full of admiration for the man who signed him for Chelsea in 2014, during Mourinho's second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.

After three years at boyhood club Barcelona, following a move from Arsenal where Fabregas spent almost a decade, the 31-year-old proved a pivotal figure as Chelsea claimed the 2014-15 title, providing a league-leading 18 goal assists.

"I love him. I always say that. I owe him a lot because he brought me here, I will always remember that," Fabregas told reporters at Chelsea's training ground this week.

"My first year here, (former Arsenal manager) Arsene (Wenger) had always treated me like a son. But the closest anyone has been to him was Jose.

"The way he treated me, the way he made me feel, how he let me be a leader of the team from day one. This was fantastic and in all the four years since I joined Chelsea now they will always stay with me.

"This experience is thanks to him."

Yet Fabregas has spent a large part of his career in opposition to Mourinho -- as he will do again at Wembley on Saturday when Chelsea hope to make up for finishing fifth in the Premier League with a first FA Cup win since 2012.

The early years of Fabregas's stint at Arsenal coincided with Mourinho's arrival as manager of Chelsea, while he was also part of a Barcelona side that was vying for Spanish supremacy with Mourinho's Real Madrid.

"We have our history between us," Fabregas said. "I played for Arsenal and him at Chelsea. Barcelona with him Real Madrid. We were confronting each other, but then we humbled ourselves and started a good relationship.

"This is very nice but hopefully it will not be his day (on Saturday) and Chelsea can win."

Apart from Fabregas, several other players from the 2014-15 title-winning team including Gary Cahill, Willian and Eden Hazard will be involved on Saturday.

While they will all be familiar with Mourinho's methods, Fabregas knows their old manager will conjure something new for a one-off game that means so much to both teams.

"In the last two years we played many games against them and he has changed the system many times," Fabregas said.

"I am sure he will change something again on Saturday. You can expect that. We just need to prepare our game and focus on ourselves. We don't need to be thinking too much about what they are going to do and we have to do what we do."

United finished runners-up in the Premier League and are favourites against a Chelsea side who ended the league season with a 3-0 defeat by Newcastle United.

Fabregas said last season's final when Chelsea lost to Arsenal after winning the Premier League title showed why the Wembley showpiece is so hard to call.

"Anything can happen really," he said. "Last year everyone was saying Chelsea will win it and we played one of our worst games of last season. Mourinho prepares finals very well and I am sure Antonio (Conte) will do the same."]]>
5/18/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Discounted tickets for Egypt U 20 clash against Senegal ]]>
The first leg in Dakar on Saturday ended with a goalless draw; the Egyptian team needs to achieve victory to reach the next round.

Egypt youth team, under their manager, Hamada Sedki, arrived in Port Said on Tuesday to start their preparations for the game.

The winner between Egypt and Senegal will face the winner between Botswana and Congo at the last round of the qualifiers.

The 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations will be held in Niger between February 24 and March 10, 2019.

The top four teams of the tournament will qualify to 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland between 25 May and 16 June.

Egypt achieved Africa U-20 Cup of Nations title four times in 1981, 1991, 2003 and 2013. ]]>
5/18/2018 5:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Griezmann warned he will 'never go down in history' at Barcelona]]>
Griezmann stole the headlines by scoring twice as Atletico beat Olympique de Marseille 3-0 in the Europa League final on Wednesday, although his decisive display could be one of his last acts for the club.

Barca can capture the France international for 100 million euros ($118 million) when his buy-out clause is cut in half on July 1.

Gil Marin, however, told him to consider the fact that he would be seen as just another player in Ernesto Valverde's side, where he would line up alongside fellow attackers Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

"He needs to decide if he wants to make history at Atletico where everything is built around him or go to a club where he will never go down in history," Gil Marin told reporters.

"A few days ago I spoke to his sister and agent to make them an offer and they will have to give us an answer in a few days. I don't know what will happen, it's not something he can decide in the heat of the moment after winning the final."

Griezmann's starring role in the final was hailed by Madrid newspaper AS, who headlined their edition on Thursday "Super Griezmann, Super Atletico".

The Frenchman was also lauded by Barcelona-based dailies Mundo Deportivo and Sport, who described him as "colossal" and "magical", rubbing their hands at the prospect of him moving to Barca.

The striker said he would not discuss his future after the final, but added that he had grown ever more fond of Atletico and his team mates in the four years since he joined from Real Sociedad for 25 million euros.

Griezmann was substituted in stoppage time to allow Atletico's long-serving, departing forward Fernando Torres to come on for the final minutes and win his first major trophy for the club.

Spanish media reported Griezmann had volunteered to go off in order to give Torres the chance to play.

Atletico defender Juanfran said the departing veteran striker had warned Griezmann to give careful consideration to his next move.

"In the dressing room Torres said to Griezmann that first of all he should enjoy the night," Juanfran said. "And then in a couple of days he should think long and hard about what he does next."]]>
5/18/2018 4:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Owen praises Salah ahead of Champions League final ]]>
“He has been absolutely brilliant this year, and has done very well in the Egypt team, taking them to the World Cup,” Owen told Marca on Thursday.

Salah has had an amazing season with Liverpool, scoring 43 goals at all competitions, including 32 goals at the Premier League that crowned him the league's Top goal scorer.

The winger also led Egypt to qualify to the World Cup for the first time since 1990 in Italy, scoring five goals out of Egypt’s seven at the qualifiers.

Asked about Salah’s chances to achieve Ballon d’ Or award, he said, “I think it will depend on who wins the Champions League. If Real Madrid wins, then Cristiano will be there once more. If Liverpool does it, Salah would be favorite.”

Salah led Liverpool to Champions League final for the first time since 2007 and he hopes to lead his team to achieve the title when they face Real Madrid at the final in Kiev on May 26.

Owen believes that Salah will reject all offers to stay at Liverpool; he said, “I don't think Salah is going to leave. I think Salah is very happy at Liverpool, he has had a great season and will be a key part in the exciting times ahead."]]>
5/18/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Rockets romp to level NBA series with Warriors]]>
Houston's Most Valuable Player candidate James Harden scored 27 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Eric Gordon added 27 off the bench as five players scored in double figures for a Rockets team chastened by a 119-106 series-opening defeat on their home floor on Monday.

"Total team effort," Harden said. "We played harder and smarter than game one. That was the only difference."

The Rockets signalled their intentions early. Their seven fast-break points in the opening quarter more than doubled the three they mustered in all of game one.

Houston connected on three-of-10 from three-point range in the first period while the Warriors were zero-for-seven and coughed up seven turnovers.

Up 26-21 after one quarter, the Rockets wouldn't trail from there.

They led 64-50 by halftime, with four players already in double figures as they stepped up the pace and tightened the defensive screws.

"Everything was fueled off our defense," Gordon said. "We hit the open man at the right time and guys were knocking down shots and when we play that way it's just a fun game."

Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said there was no major change in strategy -- just more intensity and better execution from a Houston team that led the league with 65 regular-season wins.

"I don't want to be cantankerous," D'Antoni said. "You have one of the best offenses of all time, at least, with Golden State and we're trying to prove we're up there with them. You're not going to come in and change the way you play.

"We are who we are. We just did it better and longer."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the Rockets' energy made all the difference.

"I just think this game was a matter of the Rockets bringing the force that's necessary to win a game and we didn't," Kerr said.

"We had seven turnovers in the first quarter. We set the tone early with our own play and allowed them to get some confidence and some easy buckets in transition.

"But give them the credit they came out and played a great game. They got everybody going.

"We got what we deserved. They kicked our butts, no other way to say it."

Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 38 points, but Stephen Curry was the only other Golden State player in double figures with 16.

Klay Thompson scored just eight points, Draymond Green six and Andre Iguodala five.

Curry connected on seven of 19 shots from the floor, making just one of eight three-point attempts in what he called a "frustrating night."

Overall the Warriors were just nine of 30 from three-point range.

They finished the game with 15 turnovers -- 11 of those coming before halftime, by when most of the damage was done.

- Ready for Game 3 -

PJ Tucker, who scored just one point in game one, scored 14 of his 22 points in the first half for Houston. Trevor Ariza, another who struggled in game one, added 19 points and Chris Paul scored 16 for the Rockets.

"Defensively we were more aggressive. We were smarter," said Harden, whose Rockets travel to Oakland for game three on Sunday with renewed confidence.

"We still made some mistakes that we can get better at," Harden said. "We know how tough it is to win (at Golden State) but we're ready for it."

The winners of the series will face either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. The Celtics lead the Eastern Conference finals 2-0.

"For us right now the most important game is game three," Paul said. "That's a tough environment to play in there. But we are who we are and we'll be ready."]]>
5/18/2018 2:25:00 AM
<![CDATA[Winks signs new Tottenham deal until 2023]]>
The 22-year-old academy graduate has committed his future to the north London club with an improved deal to 2023, including a one-year extension on the previous contract he signed in February last year.

Winks made 16 Premier League appearances this season but missed the latter stages because of an ankle injury and is scheduled for surgery.

The club said that Winks is likely to return to full fitness before the start of next season.]]>
5/17/2018 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[I am sure we will win the Super Cup: Bassem Morsy]]>
Zamalek won Egypt’s Cup after defeating Smouha 5-4 in the penalty shootout as both teams ended the full time with a 1-1 draw.

“We expected winning the cup; even if we faced Al-Ahly in Egypt’s Cup final, we would win,” Morsy told DMC sports.

“I am sure we will win the Super Cup. I like playing against Al-Ahly; I will do my best,” Morsy added.

Al-Ahly won the Egyptian league for 2017/2018 season six weeks before its end.
“If we keep this good performance, we will win the Egyptian league next season as well,” Morsy concluded.

Egyptian Football Federation sponsor, Presentation, has had many offers to host the Egyptian Super Cup this year, according to Presentation CEO, Mohamed Kamel.

The last three Egyptian Super Cup games were played in UAE. Al-Ahly defeated Zamalek 3-2 in the first one, while Zamalek won the second after defeating Al-Ahly in a penalty shootout.

5/17/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Salah sets his name alongside ancient Egyptian kings at British Museum]]>
Salah’s 44 goals this season with Liverpool were enough to give him this amazing honor. The X17 Deadly Strike boots now sit alongside objects from ancient Egypt.

The British Museum stated on its official Twitter account: “We’ve made an exciting new acquisition! To celebrate Egyptian footballing star Mohamed Salah being top scorer in the Premier League this season, we’ll be displaying his boots alongside objects from ancient Egypt in the run up to the Champions League final.”

Neal Spencer, Keeper of Ancient Egypt & Sudan section at the British Museum stated: “The boots tell a story of a modern Egyptian icon, performing in the UK, with a truly global impact, and building on our recent project to acquire objects to tell the story of daily life in 20th and 21st century Egypt.”

Salah, who was voted the Premier League's Player of the Year, has scored 44 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool this season. He scored in 17 teams’ nets out of 19 participating teams in the English Premier League.

Liverpool is set to face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 26 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

More statements from the Ancient Egypt & Sudan section to be followed later.]]>
5/17/2018 3:43:44 PM
<![CDATA[Failed Ronaldo bid is Wenger's biggest Arsenal transfer regret]]>
Wenger signed some of the league's best players during his reign, including Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Cesc Fabregas and Mesut Ozil, but Arsenal lost out on signing Ronaldo to rivals Manchester United in 2003.

Ronaldo went on to help United win three league titles along with an FA Cup and Champions League triumph, before joining Real Madrid in 2009.

"The obvious player (that we missed out on) that comes to mind is (Cristiano) Ronaldo," Wenger told Arsenal's website https://www.arsenal.com.

"He was here with his mother and we were very close. Then Man United came in and they had Carlos Queiroz at the time, who was their coach. United played against Sporting Lisbon and Ronaldo was outstanding and they signed him.

"You could imagine at the time what it would have been like to have Thierry Henry and Ronaldo together... That would certainly have changed a little bit the history of my stay here as well."

Wenger said the north London outfit were unable to compete with United's 12 million pounds ($16.23 million) offer for the Portugal international.

"There is always something you could have done differently, but the problem of negotiations is to know when you give in and when you don't give in," Wenger said.

"Once we were at 4.5 million pounds, we were still in negotiations... so we were very close. But Man United went to 12 million pounds, which we could not afford at the time."

Wenger took charge of his 1,235th and final Arsenal match as the club ended their league campaign with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield Town last Sunday.

Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, will be aiming to clinch his fifth Champions League winners' medal when Real clash with Liverpool in the final on May 26.]]>
5/17/2018 3:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Griezmann reaps Atletico’s 3rd European title by confidence]]>
Atlético Madrid added their third European League title, after the ones achieved in 2010 and 2012, when they thrashed Olympique de Marseille 3-0 on Wednesday in the final played in Lyon.

The French player analyzed the clash against the French team, highlighting the difficulty of the victory as they played in France, Olympique Marseille’s home.

"When I left home at the age of 14, I wanted to live these moments; I hope I can win more titles. Marseille is a team that works very well; we have taken advantage of every mistake. My goals have been scored due to confidence or coolness; I do not know what to call it," he said to BeIn Sports network.

This triumph assured the dominance of the Spanish teams in this competition as Spain dominates the list of winners with a total of 17 titles - Sevilla (5), Barcelona (3), Atlético Madrid (3), Valencia (3), Real Madrid (2) and Zaragoza (1).

Atlético Madrid's Argentinean coach, Diego Simeone, won his sixth title with the Rojiblancos in six and a half years. He has won all the major competitions (one La Liga, one Copa del Rey, one Spanish Super Cup and one European Super Cup and two European League titles). It is worth mentioning that Atletico Madrid reached the Champions League final twice in 2014 and 2016; but they lost both times against their eternal rivals Real Madrid.
5/17/2018 2:01:29 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt keeps its 46th place in FIFA monthly ranking ]]>
World Cup title holders, Germany, kept their leadership this month over Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, Argentina, Switzerland, France, Spain, Chile and Poland.

Egypt maintained its position in the 46th place, coming fifth in the African ranking after Tunisia (14), Senegal (28), Congo DR (38) and Morocco (42).

Saudi Arabia jumped three places to be in the 67th place as they didn’t play a lot of international friendly matches since April 2018.

Saudi Arabia defeated Algeria and Greece 2-0 in international friendly matches played this May.

Saudi Arabia plays in Group A alongside Egypt, Uruguay and the hosts, Russia. Saudi Arabia will play the opening World Cup game on June 14 at 5 p.m. against Russia.

The Arab teams will face each other at their last group stage match on June 25.
5/17/2018 1:59:30 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Embassy in Burundi celebrates Egyptian winners in African Judo Championship]]>
The Egyptian players won 31 medals in the Championship that held in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, from May 10 to 13.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday the ceremony was attended by Burundian judo federation’s president Valery Manirakiza, the treasurer, Burundian organizers of the championship, key figures of the Egyptian community in Bujumbura and members of the Egyptian delegation
to the tournament.

Egypt’s delegation, chaired by the Egyptian judo federation board member Amr Makram, included 30 athletes, five coaches and a referee. They won six gold medals, 11 silver and 14 bronze.]]>
5/17/2018 1:56:57 PM
<![CDATA[Italy's Buffon to leave Juventus after 17 years]]>
Yet the 40-year-old, who has won nine Serie A titles with Juventus including the last seven in a row, stopped short of announcing his retirement from the sport in a news conference on Thursday.

The 2006 World Cup winner, close to tears at times, said that until two weeks ago he had been set to end his playing career, but changed his mind after receiving "very interesting" proposals.

"Saturday will be my last game for Juventus. I think it's the best way to end this wonderful adventure," said Buffon, who has kept 300 clean sheets in his 655 appearances for the Turin side in all competitions.

"For now, I only know that Saturday I will play a game. Until a few days ago it was certain that I would stop playing. Now there are some very interesting proposals," he said.

Buffon, who made his professional debut for Parma in 1995 before joining Juve in 2001, had planned to end his career at the 2018 World Cup, which would have been his sixth, but Italy astonishingly failed to qualify for the first time since 1958.

The keeper has remained remarkably loyal to the Turin side, refusing to leave them even after they were relegated to Serie B in 2006 over the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, which also saw them stripped of a further two Serie A titles.

Buffon, who set a fashion trend during his career by becoming one of the first goalkeepers to wear short-sleeved shirts, said he would not consider playing for a lower league team.

"I am certainly not someone who thinks it is right to end my career in the third or fourth level division. I am a competitive animal and I wouldn't be able to live or feel at ease in that situation," he said.

Juventus won a league and cup double this season, their fourth in a row, but also suffered a bitter Champions League quarter-final exit against Real Madrid, who won with a stoppage-time penalty.

Buffon was sent off for protesting the decision and then launched a furious tirade against referee Michael Oliver and said that UEFA were right to open a disciplinary case against him.

"I stepped over the line and I am extremely disappointed. If I had seen him (the referee) two days later, I would have embraced him and asked for forgiveness."

That defeat ensured Buffon would not leave Juve with a Champions League winners' medal, the only major title he has never won in his career.

"It has been a season with some shocking and unexpected lows but also incredible highs and, yet again, we gave an incredible response," he said.]]>
5/17/2018 12:25:48 PM
<![CDATA[Atletico Madrid win Europa League title]]>
The Spanish team managed to win the first title in the current season after Barcelona dominated the Spanish local titles, as they won La Liga and La Copa del Rey.

French star, Antoine Greizman, opened the score with his first goal at the 21st minute, before strengthening his team's situation at the 49th minute of the game by scoring his second goal. Gabi, the Spanish midfielder, gave Marseille the mercy shot at the 89th minute to ensure that Atletico Madrid has won the Europa League title.

Atletico Madrid has won three Europa League titles, including the 2009/2010, 2011/2012 and the 2017/2018 editions.
5/17/2018 12:21:32 PM
<![CDATA[Chelsea must show ambition with new signings, says Hazard]]>
The 27-year-old's current deal expires in 2020 and Chelsea have been keen to tie him to the club amid persistent speculation about a move to Spain.

Chelsea finished fifth in the league, and while they have the chance to end the season on a high with Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester United, Hazard said the club must look to improve the squad for a title challenge.

"I'm waiting for new players next season. I want good players, because I want to win the Premier League next season," Hazard told British media.

The Belgium forward said that his next contract might be the last one he signs while he is in the prime of his career.

"That's why I' m taking my time. It's something big, so I need to think about a lot of things. But one thing is for sure: I'm happy here," he added.

"I think the FA Cup final is not my last game for Chelsea. It's the last game of the season, that's it. "]]>
5/17/2018 8:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Aston Villa to face Fulham in Championship Play-off final ]]>
Aston Villa players entered the game with an away victory advantage, as they defeated Middlesbrough 1-0 in the first leg.

Aston Villa missed their Egyptian defender Ahmed Elmohamady due to injury, and he was replaced by James Bree in the starting line-up.

Aston Villa defender James Chester had a chance to open the score minutes before the half time, but his shot missed the target, ending the first half 0-0.

In the second half, the hosts continued their attempts to open the score through their striker Lewis Grabban, but the opponent’s goalkeeper, Darren Randolph, blocked all his shots.

Both teams failed to find the back of the net in the remaining minutes of the game, ending the clash 0-0.

Aston Villa is set to face Fulham in the Championship play-off final on May 26 at Wembley Stadium. ]]>
5/17/2018 6:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Kuwait close to hosting Egyptian Super Cup]]>
“We have many offers from Arab and European countries to host the Super Cup; however, Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait is so close to hosting the game after three years of playing the game in UAE,” Kamel told press on Wednesday.

The last three Egyptian Super Cup games were played in UAE. Al-Ahly defeated Zamalek 3-2 in the first one, while Zamalek won the second after defeating Al-Ahly in a penalty shootout.

Al-Ahly returned to win the Cup when they went on to defeat Al-Masry 1-0.

Zamalek will feature in the Super Cup as the Egyptian Cup champions after defeating Smouha in a penalty shootout on Tuesday night to achieve their 26th Cup title.

Kamel commented on Zamalek’s victory, saying: “It was a very good game between two great teams.”

Zamalek will face their local rivals and the League champions, Al-Ahly, in the Super Cup. ]]>
5/17/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[FA Cup triumph can boost Man United's League title bid, Jones]]>
Having finished the league campaign 19 points behind Pep Guardiola's title-winning Manchester City, United are looking to collect a piece of silverware in their final game of the season when they face Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

"It will be our last game of the season - if you win that, you finish on a positive note and you go into the next season feeling confident, ready to go and ready to battle again for the title," Jones told the British media.

"I really don't think we're far away. In another season we might have been challenging. Sometimes you've got to hold your hands up and say that Man City have done ever so well to win the league this year.

"They've competed well in every game and won games where you're thinking they probably would have drawn. I think winning the FA Cup and going into next season will be good for us."

Jose Mourinho's side defeated Chelsea, Liverpool, City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur over the last three months of the season.

Antonio Conte's Chelsea lost 2-1 at Old Trafford in February and Jones believed United's form against their domestic rivals gives them confidence heading into the next campaign.

"We're moving in the right direction," the 26-year-old said.

"We'll always have our critics because we're Man United and ultimately it's been like that since I've been here, but it shows that we're moving in the right direction under him (Mourinho).

"I think finishing second and winning the FA Cup probably would be satisfactory for Man United but we always want to win more." ]]>
5/17/2018 3:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[West Ham part company with manager Moyes]]>
The 55-year-old Moyes, who replaced the sacked Slaven Bilic in November, guided the relegation-threatened Premier League club to a 13th-placed finish.

"Having taken stock of the situation and reflected now the campaign is complete, we feel that it is right to move in a different direction," the club's co-chairman David Sullivan said in a statement. ]]>
5/17/2018 2:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ramos expects tough final against Liverpool ]]>
“They're a good team; they have a great coach and a very difficult match awaits us. But we will be prepared," Ramos told press on Tuesday.

Real Madrid is set to face Liverpool in the Champions League final in Kiev, Ukraine. The Spanish team’s players hope to achieve their third consecutive Champions League title.

Ramos spoke about the dream to win the third Champions League title, saying, “To claim it for a third year in a row would be a dream. I hope we can bring home a third consecutive Champions League title."

Real Madrid has had a tough run towards the final, defeating Paris Saint Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich in the knockout stage.

Ramos added, “To have a new opportunity to show once again that we are kings of Europe is very positive; we can enjoy another final and try to repay this happiness.”

The game is scheduled for May 26 at 8:45 p.m. (CLT). ]]>
5/16/2018 9:40:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ultras Ahlawy declares self-dissolution ]]>
The group published a statement on their Facebook page saying that the decision was taken for the safety of the group members.

“We are supporting the state since our establishment and we will never be otherwise. We are a small part of Al-Ahly fans and we will never miss a game and will support the team,” the Ultras Ahlawy statement read.

Ultras fans have been associated with a cycle of violence since the outbreak of the January 25 Revolution in 2011. Members of both the Ultras White Knights (Zamalek fans) and Ultras Ahlawy were handed prison sentences over charges of enticing violence and protesting against security forces. They were also engaged in clashes with the police.

Fans are currently banned from domestic matches, but permitted to attend teams’ games at African competitions and national team games in the World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

A ban was imposed on fans attending matches since the deadly clashes that took place in February 2012, which killed dozens of fans in Port Said. Later demands to overturn the decision were only met with a limited scope. ]]>
5/16/2018 7:20:34 PM
<![CDATA[Europa League final preview ]]>
The Spanish team is searching for their third title in the competition, as they won the title in 2010 and 2012, while the French team is hoping for their first title in the history of the tournament.

Marseille is the only French team to achieve the UEFA Champions League title, in 1993, and they hope to be the first team to win the Europa League final.

“This is the 25th anniversary of the only win of a French team in the Champions League. We all want to imitate what our famous predecessors did, although we know it's going to be very difficult and quite a mission, but that would make it even more of a sensation if we win tomorrow," Marseille manager Rudi Garcia told press ahead of the game.

On the other hand, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone hopes to win the title and save the team’s season, as they failed to win any title and were ruled out of the UEFA Champions League since the group stage.

Simeone expects a tough game against the French team. He said, “It will be a tense game with a lot of friction. The two teams are similar in terms of play – we are both very direct – and in terms of hope and enthusiasm, so it will be a great final."

The game starts at 8:45 p.m. (CLT). ]]>
5/16/2018 7:15:04 PM
<![CDATA[Restless Firmino eyes Champions League glory]]>
The 26-year-old Brazil international has netted 27 goals for Liverpool in all competitions so far this campaign and was recently rewarded with a new long-term contract.

"This year is my best year as a professional footballer... (but) I am still a little bit 'restless', as I always want more, to grow and grow even further," Firmino told UEFA.

"(It would be) a unique moment (to win the final). It's a very special trophy, because it's the Champions League.

"If we're fortunate enough to be able to win it, it will be a very emotional moment for me and the whole team."

Firmino has established himself as one of Europe's elite strikers, with his tally of 10 Champions League goals only bettered by Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Although I am a little bit annoyed, because (in general) I always want more and I am never satisfied," Firmino added.

"However, you cannot beat yourselves up about these things all the time and you must always keep moving forward.

"It is my first season in the Champions League and I am one of the leading scorers, alongside Cristiano and (Mohamed) Salah. I am pretty pleased and very happy with my performance and the entire team's performance."

Liverpool will look to end their six-year trophy drought when they face 12-time European champions and current holders Real Madrid on May 26. ]]>
5/16/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Courtois expects Mourinho 'surprises' in FA Cup final]]>
Mourinho has switched to a back-three as well as used midfielder Ander Herrera to man-mark Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard in the two teams the last few encounters.

Courtois, who won the Premier League title under the Portuguese in the 2014-15 season, said Chelsea are now better prepared for the challenge as they hope to finish the season with a piece of silverware.

"He always has surprises in the games he has played against us," Courtois told the London Evening Standard. "He has different systems to play. Sometimes he played three at the back, sometimes four. He will always find something.

"I think it'll be a good game, lots of familiar faces on both sides. I hope it'll be a good game with Chelsea as the winner.

"We can know a little bit how he set up in the last two years against us, but that's it."

A 3-0 defeat at Newcastle United on the final day of the league season ended Chelsea's hopes of Champions League qualification as they finished fifth in the standings.

However, Courtois is confident the recent results will have no impact on their preparations for the final at Wembley Stadium.

"The confidence is all right," he added. "It was not a good performance from us. But we've showed we can bounce back the game after.

"This is a different cup, different to the Premier League and we just have to go for it. That's most important. After a season of ups and downs, we can finish on an up."]]>
5/16/2018 6:32:20 PM
<![CDATA[Olympique hope to continue "long-lasting love story" in Europe]]>
Garcia's side will be outsiders as they face Atletico Madrid in Wednesday's Europa League final in Lyon, a quarter of a century after the club's 1-0 win over AC Milan in the 1993 Champions League final.

"This is the 25th anniversary of the only win of a French team in the Champions League," Garcia told reporters.

"We have a long-lasting love story with the European cups which goes back to the nineties. We all want to imitate what our famous predecessors did although we know it's going to be very difficult and quite a mission, but that would make it even more of a sensation if we win tomorrow."

French teams have lost four times in the Europa League and its predecessor the UEFA Cup -- Marseille themselves on two occasions, Corsican side Bastia once and Girondins Bordeaux once. The only other French team to have won a European trophy are Paris St Germain, in the extinct Cup Winners Cup.

Garcia accepted that his side were outsiders.

"We know they have a lot of experience, they have played three European finals in six years, two in the Champions League," he said.

"They came into this tournament from the Champions League while we had to go through qualifying," added Garcia, whose side began the road to the final in the third qualifying round against Oostende.

"They have more experience than us, but it feels like anything is possible when it's just one game."

Garcia said that he was sad that Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone would not be prowling the touchline as the Argentine serves the second game of a four-match touchline ban.

"It's always hard for a coach to be kept away from your players, it would be an idea to find another solution that doesn't isolate the coaches on match day," Garcia said.

"It's a shame he is suspended, and it will be very difficult for them. I am very disappointed, it would have been a great moment to be together.

"It doesn't take anything away from the tremendous coach he is," added Garcia. "He has done a great job for Atletico Madrid, which has been a major actor for years now." ]]>
5/16/2018 6:28:38 PM
<![CDATA[Uruguay announces preliminary World Cup list ]]>
Tabarez named 26 players at the provisional squad; he has to reduce the number to 23 players for the final squad.

Tabarez chosen provisional squad consists of:

Fernando Muslera, Martín Silva, Martín Campaña.

Maxi Pereira, Diego Godín, Martín Cáceres, José María Giménez, Sebastián Coates, Gastón Silva and Guillermo Varela.

Nahitan Nández, Matías Vecino, Lucas Torreira, Rodrigo Bentancur, Federico Valverde, Carlos Sánchez, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Diego Laxalt Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Cristian Rodríguez, Nicolás Lodeiro and Gastón Ramírez.

Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Cristhian Stuani and Maximiliano Gomez.

Uruguay, who achieved the World Cup title twice, plays in Group A at the World Cup alongside Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the host nation, Russia.

Uruguay will open their participation at the competition on June 15 against Egypt and they will face Saudi Arabia on June 20 before facing Russia at their last group stage game on June 25.

Tabarez will announce the final squad on June 4. ]]>
5/16/2018 6:10:42 PM
<![CDATA[Said to play his last game with Palloseura on Friday]]>
Kuopion Pallaseura wrote on their official Twitter account that Said will play his last game with the team on Friday, and he hopes to witness a great number of fans during the match.

In April, the Egyptian midfielder was loaned from Al Ahly to the Finnish club for 60 days. He chose to join the club to get ready for his participation with the national team at the 2018 World Cup.

Said was a key player at Al-Ahly since he joined the club in 2011 but the club board decided to freeze him as he signed for Al-Ahly rivals, Zamalek, before renewing his contract with Al-Ahly.

Said is expected to play for the national team in a friendly match against Kuwait on May 25, 2018.
5/16/2018 2:30:59 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia defeats Greece in international friendly ]]>
Saudi Arabia opened the score after 20 minutes through a header by Salem al-Dawsari after an assist from Mohammed al-burayk.

Saudi Arabia had many chances to double the score but all their attempts were blocked by the Greek defense to end the first half 1-0 for Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia doubled the score 10 minutes before the final whistle when Mohammed Kanoo received an amazing pass from Abdullah Otayf and dribbled the Greek defender, putting the ball in the back of the net to make the score 2-0 for Saudi Arabia.

Before the game against Greece, Saudi Arabia played five friendly games since their qualification to the World Cup. They lost to Iraq and Belgium, defeated Moldova and Algeria and their game against Ukraine ended with a draw.

Saudi Arabia plays in Group A alongside Egypt, Uruguay and the hosts, Russia. The Arab teams will face each other at their last group stage match.
5/16/2018 1:45:55 PM
<![CDATA[Kane leads England’s squad for World Cup ]]>
The manager ruled Liverpool’s James Milner and West Ham’s Joe Hart from the final squad.

Southgate’s chosen squad for the World Cup consists of:


Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope.


Gary Cahill, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Phil Jones, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire and Danny Rose.


Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Eric Dier, Ashley Young, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Fabian Delph.


Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck and Marcus Rashford.

“I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about. It is a young group, but with some really important senior players, so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance,” Southgate told press.

The World Cup draw put England in Group G alongside Tunisia, Panama and Belgium.

English fans are putting all their hopes on the players’ shoulders to win their second World Cup title. ]]>
5/16/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptians use mania over soccer star Salah to sell Ramadan products]]>
Manufacturers have plastered his image on traditional Ramadan products ranging from pillows to lanterns "famous" and paper cut-outs as they try to cash in on his success to offset economic hardships caused by the government's financial reforms.

"The Mohamed Salah lantern is the highest selling lantern this year," said Essam, a shopkeeper, who did not give his last name. Other shopkeepers at a market in Cairo's Sayeda Zainab neighborhood said "Salah mania" was also helping them sell.

Salah scored 44 goals in 51 games in his debut campaign and last week won the Football Writers Association award. Next month, the 25-year-old will lead Egypt's first team for 28 years at the World Cup.

"Mohamed Salah is a role model for all Egyptians at the moment," said Omnia, a shopper. "All of Egypt loves Mo' Salah, as they call him in England."

Demand for food and traditional items soars during Ramadan, a month whose start date depends on the sighting of a crescent moon.]]>
5/16/2018 4:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Payet says he is fit to play in Europa League final]]>
"I feel a lot better - yes, I feel I can play tomorrow," he told reporters ahead of Wednesday's match in Lyon, France.

Payet, who has propelled Olympique to the final with three goals and six assists in the knockout stages, missed Friday's Ligue 1 match at Guingamp with an unspecified injury and had been considered slightly doubtful.

"I've been feeling very good, especially since the beginning of 2018," he added. "I haven't changed anything except I have been injured less and when you have no injuries it's must easier to play and feel better on the pitch."]]>
5/16/2018 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Dost injured by hooded training ground attackers]]>
Dost was cut on the head and assistant coaches Mario Monteiro and Raul Jose suffered unspecified injuries, the reports said.

The attackers also brandished weapons at coach Jorge Jesus and other players, who were caught by surprise in their changing room after training.

The attack was condemned by both Sporting and the Portuguese league. ]]>
5/16/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Smouha wins Egyptian Handball Cup ]]>
El-Gaish players were confident before the game after defeating Zamalek and Al-Ahly in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively, while Smouha players were searching for their first title in the history of the competition.

El-Gaish dominated the game since the first moment and managed to end the first half leading 16-13.

Smouha returned in the game in the second half and managed to equalize the score seconds before the final whistle, ending the regular time 30-30; the game went to two overtimes.

After a goalless draw in the first overtime, Smouha scored two goals in the second overtime, while El-Gaish scored only one goal, granting Smouha the title.

Smouha achieved their first title in history and qualified to the African Handball Cup Winners' Cup.

On the other hand, Al-Ahly defeated Port Said 33-23 to achieve the bronze medal.
5/16/2018 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Zamalek defeats Smouha, wins Egyptian Cup title ]]>
1 (14)

Smouha opened the score after five minutes by Hossam Hassan who received a wonderful pass from Mohamed Hamdy Zaki to grant his team an early lead in the game.

Zamalek players had many chances to score through Mohamed Antar, Kabongo Kasongo and Youssef Obama, but Smouha goalkeeper El Mahdi Soliman saved all their attempts to end the first half 1-0 for Smouha.

In the second half, Smouha players were shocked when the referee, Mohamed Farouk, sent Hossam Hassan off and they had to continue the game with 10 players.


Zamalek equalized the score 10 minutes before the final whistle by Kasongo, who met Hamdi Nagguez’s cross by a stunning header to make the score 1-1.

Both teams failed to score in the remaining minutes of the regular time and the game went into extra time, which ended with the same result, so the title had to be decided in penalty shootouts.

Zamalek players scored five penalties, while Smouha defender Abdullah Bakry missed a penalty, granting Zamalek the title.

Zamalek repeated their victory over Smouha in 2014 in the Cup final, when Zamalek went on to defeat Smouha 1-0 and achieve the title.

Zamalek is set to face the league champions, Al-Ahly, in the Egyptian Super Cup. ]]>
5/15/2018 10:57:39 PM
<![CDATA[Tottenham's Colombia defender Sanchez signs new deal]]>
Sanchez, 21, joined Spurs from Ajax Amsterdam in August and became first-choice alongside Jan Vertonghen after the Belgian's regular partner Toby Alderweireld was injured in November.

He has played 41 times for Spurs this season as they finished third to qualify for the Champions League and he came off the bench in their 5-4 win over Leicester City on Sunday.

Sanchez made his debut for Colombia in November, 2016 and has seven caps ahead of next month's World Cup where Colombia have been drawn to face Poland, Senegal and Japan.

Sanchez was on Monday named in Colombia's 30-man preliminary squad for the tournament in Russia which starts on June 14. ]]>
5/15/2018 8:54:19 PM
<![CDATA[Hossam el-Badry resigns as Al-Ahly's coach]]>
"Al-Ahly’s football committee, headed by Mahmoud Al-Khatib, agreed to accept Hossam el-Badry's resignation from the team coach position," Al-Ahly said in a statement published on its official website.

"And [the committee] tasked Ahmed Ayoub, the general coach, to lead the team in the remaining game against Al-Masry in the last match of the Egyptian League scheduled for next Sunday. The football committee will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss the future vision of the team," the statement continued.

Al-Ahly continued their recent bad results, as they suffered a 2-0 loss against Kampala City FC on Tuesday in the second round of the CAF Champions League group stage.

Al-Ahly now places fourth in the first group with only one point, while Kampala places second with three points.

The Reds have been suffering since they were defeated 1-2 by Zamalek in the Egyptian League. Since then, Al-Ahly hasn’t won a single game, as they were eliminated from the Egyptian Cup by Al-Assiouty in the quarter-final with a 0-1 loss, followed by a 0-0 draw against Tunisia’s Esperance Sportive at Borg El Arab Stadium. Then comes the loss against Kampala and it seems Al-Ahly is in a real crisis.

However, Badry led Al-Ahly for almost two years. He achieved the Egyptian League twice, the 2017 Egyptian Cup after seven years of absence, the 2018 Egyptian Super Cup and reached the 2017 CAF Champions League final.]]>
5/15/2018 8:47:09 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly loses 2 -0 to Kampala in CAF Champions League]]>Al-Ahly now places fourth in the first group with only one point, while Kampala places second with three points.
Previously, the Reds suffered a 1-2 defeat against Zamalek in the Egyptian League; since then, Al-Ahly haven’t won any game; they were eliminated from Egypt's Cup against Al-Assiouty in the quarter final with a 0-1 loss, and ended their match against Tunisian Esperance Sportive in Borg El-Arab stadium with a 0-0 draw.
Al-Ahly's line-up in Kampala's match was: (GK) Mohamed el-Shenawy, (DEF) Mohamed Hany, Mohamed Naguib, Saad Samir, Sabry Raheel, (MID) Amr el-Soleya, Hossam Ashour, Walid Soliman, Baka, Mido Gaber, (ATT) Marwan Mohsen.
Al-Ahly started the game by pressing Kampala's back-line as it is considered the weakest line in Uganda's team which resulted in many mistakes on Kampala's side, leading the referee to rule a penalty for Al-Ahly in the 24th minute as it was a handball inside the box. Al-Ahly's midfielder, Walid Soliman, wasted the penalty to keep the score 0-0.
In the second half, Al-Ahly's coach Hossam el-Badry seemed pleased by the score until Kampala surprised him with the first goal in the 75th minute.
Al-Ahly's players tried to revive their hopes and score the equalizer but Kampala doubled the score in the 88th minute from the penalty spot.

5/15/2018 6:29:57 PM
<![CDATA[Mancini wants to take Italy back to the top]]>
The 53-year-old has been handed the daunting task of lifting Italy out of the doldrums after their failure to qualify for this year's World Cup, the first time they will miss the tournament in 60 years.

The four-times world champions have also slumped to a record low of 20th in the FIFA rankings.

"I would like to be the coach who brings Italy back to the top. It will not be easy but we can do it," he said, suggesting that he would aim to win Euro 2020.

"We have not won the European championship for many years and that is our first big event."

Remembering that he first walked through the doors of Italy's Coverciano training camp in 1978 with the under-14 team, Mancini said it was the right moment in his career to take on the challenge of coaching his country.

"Becoming a national team coach is not something trivial. The federation made me understand that they wanted me 100 percent and that made it easy for me to choose," added the former Inter Milan, Manchester City, Galatasaray and Zenit St Petersburg coach.

"Being here in this role is important, and this was the right moment in my career."

Although Mancini and Balotelli had several run-ins when the pair were at Manchester City, he suggested the Nice forward would be given another chance.

"We'll talk, we'll probably call him. We want to see him play the way he did at the European Championship (in 2012)," he said.

Balotelli has not been called up for Italy since the last World Cup when his attitude was the subject of barely-veiled criticism from some senior players.

After scoring in the 2-1 win over England, Balotelli covered the entire Italy page in a Panini album with stickers of himself and then posted it on his Facebook page. ]]>
5/15/2018 4:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Amr Warda wins Best Player of the Greek league Award]]>
Warda posted on his Twitter account a photo of him holding the Best Player Award and captioned it, “Officially Best Player in Greece.”

The Egyptian forward has had a great season with his team, as he participated in 23 games in the league where he scored eight goals and assisted seven others; Warda also scored three goals at the Greek Cup competition in five matches.

Warda joined Atromitos in June 2017, coming from PAOK Saloniki on a loan transfer which ends at the end of season; he was called among the preliminary squad list for the World Cup, made by Hector Cuper, the Egyptian national team head coach.
5/15/2018 3:18:57 PM
<![CDATA[Reus, Neuer on Loew’s list for World Cup]]>
The German FA decided to extend the 2014 World Cup winner’s contract until 2022, as it’s supposed to end after Euro 2020.

Loew’s chosen squad came with a number of surprises, as he decided to include Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, although he isn’t ready yet, as some press reports said that he’s not fully recovered from the injury he had suffered last September. Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus was among Loew’s surprises, as the coach didn’t rely on him in his entire career with the national team, as the player always suffers from injuries before the national tournaments such as the World Cup and Euro.

The preliminary list missed two of the most important players in Germany – Borussia Dortmund forward Mario Gotze, who scored the 2014 World Cup winning goal over Argentina in the final, and Bayern Munich striker Sandro Wagner.

Joachim Loew has chosen 27 players and is supposed to exclude four players before sending the final squad list for the World Cup by June 4. The squad list is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona, Spain) and Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain, France).

Defenders: Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule and Joshua Kimmich (all Bayern Munich), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea, England), and Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen).

Midfielders/forwards: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain, France), Mario Gomez (Vfb Stuttgart), Leon Goretzka (Schalke 04), Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane (Manchester City, England), Sami Khedira (Juventus, Italy), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid, Spain), Thomas Muller and Sebastien Rudy (both Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal, England), Nils Petersen (SC Freiburg), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), and Timo Werner (RB Leipzig).

5/15/2018 3:00:13 PM
<![CDATA[Badry: we came to Uganda to win]]>Badry said in press releases, “we respect the competitor; we respect all our local and African competitors. Coming to Uganda, we have only one aim which is to win the game.”
Al-Ahly coach declared that despite the skill and historical differences between Al-Ahly and Kampala, football recognizes only effort, sweat and commitment inside the pitch, adding that they will try to win the Tuesday’s game to collect their first three points in the group stage.
It is worth mentioning that Al-Ahly ended their first game in the group stage with a goalless draw against Esperance Sportive de Tunis.
Al-Ahly announced on their official website the starting squad badry has chosen for the game, which came as follows:
• Mohamed al-Shennawi
• Sabry Raheel
• Mohamed Naguib
• Saad Samir
• Mohamed Hany
• Hossam Ashour
• Amr al-Solaya
• Walid Solaiman
• Mohamed Gaber
• Marwan Mohsen
• Phakamani Mahlambi
5/15/2018 2:12:12 PM
<![CDATA[Corinthians pair in 23-man Brazil squad for Russia]]>
Geromel has just two caps but was outstanding in leading the Porto Alegre side to the Copa Libertadores last season.

Fagner and Manchester City's Danilo are the two right backs drafted in to replace Dani Alves, who was ruled out with a knee injury last weekend.

Cassio, who has just one cap, was selected as the third goalkeeper behind regulars Alisson (Roma) and Ederson (Manchester City).

Neymar, who was been out with an injured foot since Feb. 25, is in the squad and expected to be fit by early June.

The only country to win the World Cup five times, Brazil kick off their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17 before playing Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E. ]]>
5/15/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Maaloul announces Tunisia's preliminary list for World Cup]]>
Maaloul’s preliminary list consists of:


Aymen Mathlouthi, Moez Ben Cherifia, Farouk Ben Mustapha and Mouez Hassen


Hamdi Nagguez, Ali Maaloul, Yohan Benalouane, Dylan Bronn, Rami Bedoui, Oussama Haddadi, Yassine Meriah, Khalil Chemmam, Syam Ben Youssef and Bilel Mohsni.


Ellyes Skhiri, Ferjani Sassi, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Karim Laribi, Saîf-Eddine Khaoui, Ghaylène Chaalali, Mohamed Larbi , Ahmed Khalil and Wahbi Khazri.


Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Anice Badri, Naïm Sliti, Ahmed Akaïchi, Bassem Srarfi and Saber Khalifa.

The Tunisian team will miss their biggest star of the qualification campaign, Youssef Msakni, as he picked up a knee injury during his participation with his Qatari club, Al Duhail, and he will be ruled out for four months.

The team will also miss Esperence’s striker, Taha Yassine Khenissi, who picked a muscle injury during the last game of the Tunisian League against JS Kairouan.

Tunisia started their preparation for the World Cup on Sunday at home and they will travel to Portugal on May 25 to face their national team three days later.

Tunisia will also play two friendly games against Turkey and Spain before their participation in the World Cup.

Tunisia plays in Group G alongside England, Belgium and Panama. ]]>
5/15/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mansour motivates Zamalek players ahead of Cup final ]]>
“Smouha is an amazing team, but you defeated better teams then Smouha; you defeated Al-Ahly and Ismaily, and you can defeat Smouha to win the title,” Mansour told Zamalek players after their last training session before the final.

Zamalek players have had an amazing run over the last month, defeating the League champions, Al-Ahly, 2-1 in the Cairo Derby, and they destroyed the League runner-up, Ismaily, 4-1 in the Cup semi-finals.


Zamalek reached the Egyptian Cup final for the 39th time in their history, and Zamalek players hope to reconcile their fans after a disastrous season by achieving their 26th Cup title, while Smouha players hope to achieve their first Cup title.

Smouha reached the final after defeating Al-Assiouty in the Egyptian Cup semi-finals on penalties at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria.

This final could be a repeat of the 2014 final, when Zamalek went on to defeat Smouha 1-0 and achieve the title.

The game is scheduled for 8:00 pm (CLT).
5/15/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[El-Gaish defeats Al-Ahly, faces Smouha in Handball Cup final]]>
The first half ended with a 15-15 draw and both teams failed to decide the game in the second half, ending the regular time with a 30-30 draw.

Each team scored only one goal in the first overtime, which ended with a 31-31 draw, and each team also scored another goal to end the second overtime with a 32-32 draw.

Al-Ahly led the game in the third overtime, scoring two goals, but El-Gaish managed to score a late goal to end the third overtime score 34-33 for Al-Ahly.

El-Gaish returned in the game in the fourth overtime, scoring two goals, while Al-Ahly scored only one goal to make the score 35-35, and then the game went into a penalty shootout.

El-Gaish won the game on penalties after scoring two goals, while Al-Ahly scored only one goal.

Al-Ahly failed to achieve the domestic double, as they defeated Zamalek 27-26 in the title playoff match of the Egyptian Handball League on May 7.

El-Gaish is set to meet Smouha in the final on Tuesday in Suez. ]]>
5/15/2018 12:42:47 AM
<![CDATA[Belgium faces Italy in UEFA EURO U-17 semis]]>
The Belgian team has had a great run in the competition, as they achieved three victories in the group stage over the Republic of Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Denmark to reach the quarter-finals on top of the group.

Belgium faced nine-time champions Spain in the quarter-finals and conceded an early goal from Alejandro Baena, but they returned in the game with two goals by Yorbe Vertessen and Jamie Yayi Mpie to win 2-1.

“At half-time, I changed a player and asked the players to put on more pressure. The first half was no good, but in the second half we played very well. We dominated from the 41st minute to the 80th minute,” Belgium manager Thierry Siquet told press after the victory over Spain.

The Belgian team is now set to face Italy, who has had a better history in the competition, as they won the title in 1982 and came second in four tournaments.

The game is scheduled for Thursday, May 17 at 1 p.m. (GMT) at New York Stadium in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England.

England hosts the competition from May 4-20, 2018.]]>
5/14/2018 9:29:12 PM
<![CDATA[Video: Salah’s award overshadowed by his daughter’s cuteness]]>
Salah won the award after scoring 32 goals in his debut season with Liverpool in the Premier League, and he set a new record for the most goals in a 38-game campaign, surpassing the 31-goal record of Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.


Salah’s wife and his daughter, Macca, accompanied him during the celebration, and his daughter stole the show when she displayed her football skills in front of Liverpool fans.

The Egyptian winger, who was highly cheered by the fans during the season, was booed when he took the ball from his daughter, so he returned the ball to her.

Salah plays with his daughter after the game, Photo Courtesy of Gulf Daily News

Salah took photos with his family and the Golden Boot, and he embarked on a lap of appreciation with his teammates to applaud the fans after a great season.

Salah has had a stunning season with Liverpool, scoring 44 goals in all competitions and leading his team to the Champions League final for the first time since 2007. ]]>
5/14/2018 9:22:51 PM
<![CDATA[PSG turn to uncompromising Tuchel to boost European chances]]>
Former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund coach Tuchel signed a two-year contract to succeed Spain's Unai Emery, who achieved a domestic treble but failed to establish PSG as top contenders in Europe's elite club competition.

Despite spending a world record 222 million euros ($265.8 million) to attract Neymar during the close season, the Ligue 1 side were eliminated in the last-16 of the Champions League by Real Madrid. The Brazil forward missed the second leg through injury.

PSG also signed Kylian Mbappe last year, but France's hottest prospect could not help them reach the semi-finals, which was the team's goal this season.

The Ligue 1 champions have failed to go past the quarter-finals of the Champions League since big-spending Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) took over in June, 2011.

"It is with much joy, pride and ambition that I am joining this big club, Paris St Germain," said Tuchel.

"I can't wait to start working with all these great players who are all amongst the best in the world. With my coaching staff, we will do everything we can to help the team reach success, including on the international scene.

"Paris St Germain has enormous potential and it is by so far the most exciting proposition in football. I am also impatient to get to know the Parc des Princes, a famous European stadium and one that boasts an incredible atmosphere."

It is undoubtedly on the European scene that Tuchel will be expected to deliver, PSG having this season won the Ligue 1 title as well as the French and League Cups.

Tuchel left Dortmund last year with one year left on his contract because of a strained relationship with the club's board, just after winning the German Cup.

His ability to deal with a locker room filled with big names will be closely monitored.

German media reported that the 47-year-old had met with Neymar on Sunday.

The Brazilian has been linked with a possible transfer to Real Madrid, but Neymar hinted he would be staying in Paris when he posted a picture on himself on social media wearing the 2018-19 PSG shirt.

Club president Nasser al-Khelaifi was also quoted as saying on Sunday that Neymar would stay at PSG at "2,000 percent".]]>
5/14/2018 7:53:19 PM
<![CDATA[Salah deserves Golden Boot: Kane ]]>
“It's good to have competition; it's great for the Premier League to have two players at the 30-goal mark," Kane told Sky Sports on Monday.

Salah has had a great debut season with Liverpool, scoring 44 goals in all competitions, including 32 goals in the Premier League, which crowned him the top goal scorer, two goals ahead of Kane.

Kane showed his admiration for the Egyptian winger, saying, “Mo has done great this year; he deserves it. He deserves the Golden Boot; he has done amazing this year and he looks like a great player and we'll see if we can both continue it next season.”

Despite Tottenham Hotspur’s failure to achieve any title this season, they finished the League in the third position and won a spot in the UEFA Champions League for the third consecutive year, which is a great achievement, according to Kane.

“It has been a good year. The top six now is so strong; everyone's really competitive. So for us to finish in the top three for the third year in a row is brilliant," the striker added.]]>
5/14/2018 5:42:17 PM
<![CDATA[Cuper depends on Shikabala as Said's substitute ]]>The Argentinean coach stressed that he relies on Mahmoud Abdel Razek “Shikabala” to be the best strategic substitute for Abdallah al-Said in the playmaker position, referring that he determines his needs according to the formation he uses in the games.

Concerning the friendly against Kuwait, Cuper said that it will be competitive and important, as there are no weak and strong teams now, especially that this game will play a great role in choosing the final squad, scheduled to travel to Russia in June to represent Egypt at the World Cup.

The Pharaohs will start their last training camp before the World Cup on May 22; then the team will face Kuwait on May 26, Colombia on June 1 and Belgium on June 6.
5/14/2018 4:09:12 PM
<![CDATA[Palace must keep players and improve squad, says Hodgson]]>
Palace started the season with seven consecutive defeats under former boss Frank de Boer before Hodgson took over in September and they cruised to a 2-0 win over relegated West Bromwich Albion on Sunday to finish 11th in the table.

"We want to keep the nucleus of this team together and hopefully strengthen in one or two areas to make certain that next season we can finish 11th again, which if we do will be a good achievement," Hodgson told Palace's website https://www.cpfc.co.uk.

"We have to be satisfied with that because we have modest expectations at the moment."

Former Liverpool and England manager Hodgson is determined to keep influential winger Wilfried Zaha, who scored nine goals and played in all Palace's 11 league wins in the season.

"Wilf knows exactly how we value him as a player and as a person because he's an important figure for us... ," he added.

"He has a long-term contract and is one of our best paid players, and the last thing on anyone's mind here is letting him go.

"As far as I'm concerned, until a day comes where an offer is made that the club accepts, that speculation can wash over my head." ]]>
5/14/2018 3:50:41 PM
<![CDATA[Barcelona doubled up but still feeling the blues]]>
That followed their Champions League capitulation in Rome, leaving a bitter taste despite the satisfaction of wresting the Spanish title back from Real Madrid and trouncing Sevilla in the King's Cup final.

"I feel very angry but I have to look forwards, because what makes me angry isn't going to give me solutions," said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, who rested his talisman Lionel Messi for the Levante game.

"We've played games without Messi before and come through them."

Barcelona had last tasted league defeat 13 months ago against Malaga, going 43 games unbeaten, but they failed in the 37th match of this season to tarnish an otherwise flawless domestic campaign.

Before the 3-0 quarter-final second-leg defeat by AS Roma there was a genuine belief Barca could win the treble, and after licking their wounds following that disappointment the focus was switched to finishing the season unbeaten.

"We're all annoyed to lose. It's come in the 37th game, so it hurts to lose it now, but it could have come in the first, third or 14th game," Valverde said.]]>
5/14/2018 2:56:54 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek awaits Etoile du Sahel’s decision on the exchange deal]]>
Zamalek officials are now waiting for the Tunisian team’s reply on the exchange deal; Nabil Abu Zeid, Marei’s agent, is the mediator who can finalize the deal with Etoile Sportive du Sahel officials for Zamalek. But the Tunisian team postponed their final decision after they play the Tunisian Cup final against Club Africain scheduled for Sunday May 13.

Zamalek board wants to sign Marei to strengthen their attacking line for the next season; it is worth mentioning that Zamalek wanted to sign him before the beginning of the current season when he was still playing for Enppi, before joining the Tunisian team in a free transfer.

5/14/2018 11:34:58 AM
<![CDATA[Chelsea miss out on Champions League]]>
It left last year’s champions with only Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester United to redeem a season in which they have finished a poor fifth.

Manager Antonio Conte made eight changes with the final in mind and saw an unimpressive performance.

Newcastle deservedly ended a run of four successive defeats under former Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez to earn a top-10 finish.

Dwight Gayle scored the opening goal in the first half and Spanish striker Ayoze Perez added the second and third after the break.

Conte agreed his team had looked “less determined” than Newcastle.

“At the start we lost every single ball,” he said. “To finish this way is not good. But if we didn’t have this will and desire, I’m the first person to answer (for it).”

The Italian was defiant about reports that he will leave in the close season.

“I have a contract and I’m committed for this club,” he insisted.

Benitez was delighted to finish on a high for his club’s supporters and make the top half of the table 12 months after coming up from the Championship.

“When you have the fans behind the team all season, this is the best way to finish,” he told Sky Sports.

“With good spells and bad spells through the season we are happy to finish 10th.”]]>
5/14/2018 9:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Wenger bows out with Arsenal victory at Huddersfield]]>
Frenchman Wenger, who is leaving the club after almost 22 years in charge, was given a guard of honour by both sets of players before the kickoff and then walked to the visiting Arsenal supporters to acknowledge them.

The decisive goal came when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slid in at the back post to convert a low cross from Aaron Ramsey in the 38th minute but the match itself was almost an afterthought on a day when Wenger said goodbye to his club and English football.

Huddersfield were fitting hosts for the occasion. Not only did their officials and supporters show warmth and appreciation for Wenger but there was also a historic connection that was not lost on the Frenchman.

"Herbert Chapman, maybe our greatest manager, was from here and for me to come here for my last day, had a special meaning," said Wenger referring to the Yorkshireman who won two titles with Huddersfield in the 1920s before enjoying two more with Arsenal in the following decade.

"When you know the history of our club, for me it had a special meaning. There was a photo just in front of the dressing room where Chapman smiled at me," noted Wenger.

Arsenal ended the season in sixth place, their lowest finish during Wenger's time at the club, but at least they managed their first away win of 2018.

"We wanted that away win. We hadn't managed to do that yet so it was important to end Arsene's final game with a win," said Ramsey.

"He told us to go out, play how we wanted and win. It is going to be strange without him next season but he has been brilliant and we will forever be thankful," he added.

With Huddersfield celebrating survival at the end of their first Premier League campaign, acknowledgment of Wenger's final -- and 1,235th -- game in charge took place before the kickoff.

Once the action was under way, a plane flew over the ground carrying the banner "Merci Arsene - we'll miss you".

In the 22nd minute, the entire ground stood to applaud Wenger, whose achievements -- including three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and a 49 game unbeaten run -- were celebrated in song by the travelling North London supporters.

"Of course it is very emotional after 1,235 games for the same club. To enjoy it we had to win it, winning football games is what makes me happy and the boys did it. It was a good day for everyone with Huddersfield staying up too," said Wenger.

He added that there was no sense of relief that his farewell period had come to a close.

"Not really, I'm sad," he said. "At some stage it has to end, I wish everyone well, the fans have been great until the end and I wish the club well for the future.

"It will be hard to adjust of course but I will have to deal with that. I want to wish this group of players well and the staff coming in, I will remain an Arsenal fan above everything else." ]]>
5/14/2018 6:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Swansea relegated after seven seasons]]>
The Welsh club needed a 10-goal turnaround to send Southampton down instead, which, unsurprisingly, was never a serious possibility.

They did take the lead through midfielder Andy King, leading to optimistic chants of “we want 10” from home supporters.

But by halftime Swansea, without an away win in 13 previous away games, led with goals by Senegal’s Badou Ndiaye and then Peter Crouch. Xherdan Shaqiri even missed a penalty for Stoke.

Swansea’s Portuguese manager Carlos Carvalhal is widely expected to leave, five months after arriving.

“I talked with the owners yesterday, we will talk again on Monday,” he said.

“I will think about Swansea and myself. I must talk with my family. After that I will make the right decision about my future.

“I know the Championship and reached the play-offs twice. It’s not common for a team to reach the play-offs two years in a row.”

Stoke manager Paul Lambert also said his time in charge was not enough to turn things round after being appointed in January.

“There were things wrong, without a doubt,” he told the BBC.

“We drew games that we should have won. A little bit more quality across the top (positions) and we wouldn’t be in this position.

“There’s a core of players, but there’s a turnaround that needs to happen.”

5/14/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Dominant Hamilton wins in Spain, Vettel fourth]]>
The victory, from pole position in a race that stayed dry despite the threat of rain, was the Briton’s second of the season, 64th of his career and third at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Finland’s Valtteri Bottas was second, a hefty 20.5 seconds behind, with Dutch 20-year-old Max Verstappen completing the podium for Red Bull and Vettel fourth.

Hamilton’s win followed on from the lucky victory that fell into his lap in Azerbaijan two weekends ago, but Sunday had nothing to do with chance and all to do with champions back to their best.

“This is more like it, let’s keep this up,” Hamilton told his celebrating team over the radio as he swept past the chequered flag.

“Today the car and myself, I felt that synergy which I hadn’t been feeling for the whole year,” he added in a pre-podium interview after parking up in pit lane. “It’s a good feeling.

“We’ve got our Mercedes board with us... so it’s great to have them all here and see that true force within the team, strength in depth, so I hope we can continue.”

Hamilton now has 95 points to Vettel’s 78 after five rounds of the 21-race championship.

Mercedes regained the lead in the constructors’ standings from Ferrari, who had 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen retire from the race.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull, ahead of Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen for Haas and Spaniards Carlos Sainz (Renault) and Fernando Alonso (eighth for McLaren).

Mexican Sergio Perez was ninth for Force India and Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc took the final point for Sauber.

While Hamilton pulled away cleanly at the start, and Vettel passed Bottas into the first corner for second place, there was carnage behind as Romain Grosjean spun his Haas in a cloud of smoke.

The Frenchman then collected the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso in a major smash, fortunately without injury, that brought out the safety car for the first six laps.

When racing resumed Vettel was first of the leading group to pit but the Mercedes pair stayed out on what turned out to be a one-stop strategy, with Hamilton immediately smashing the lap record.

When Vettel made his second stop during a late virtual safety car period, after Esteban Ocon parked up his Force India by the side of the track, it backfired and he lost a place instead of gaining anything.

Verstappen, whose season has been littered with collisions, also nearly wrecked his race when he hit the rear of Canadian Lance Stroll’s Williams and lost a front wing end-plate.]]>
5/14/2018 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[How the favourites are shaping up a month from the World Cup]]>
- Germany -

Germany's build-up has been marred by uncertainty as to the fitness of first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. The 32-year-old Bayern Munich man has been on the sidelines since suffering a fractured foot in September.

"I do not think it's imaginable that I go into such a tournament without match practice," Neuer admitted last week. His natural replacement is the excellent Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona.

Low has a core of the team that won the 2014 title, and can also call on the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Timo Werner. Marco Reus will hope to be fit this time too.

After winning all their qualifiers, Germany have failed to win recent friendlies against England, France, Spain and Brazil. Nevertheless, they are the world's top-ranked side and almost always deliver at the World Cup.

- Brazil -

In 2014, Brazil's hopes rested on the shoulders of Neymar, and the back injury he suffered in the quarter-final win over Colombia sparked the meltdown which led to the 7-1 humiliation against Germany in the semis.

Fast forward four years and the nation is again sweating on his fitness. The world's most expensive player is recovering from a foot injury suffered playing for Paris Saint-Germain in February.

The absence of his PSG colleague Dani Alves with a knee injury is a huge blow too, but Brazil still look far better now under Tite than they did in 2014.

They comfortably topped South American qualifying and there is greater strength in depth. Add to that a kind-looking draw, and Brazil have a genuine chance of a sixth title.

- Spain -

After poor showings in their last two major tournaments under Vicente del Bosque, Spain are on the up again under his successor Julen Lopetegui.

The former goalkeeper has yet to lose a game in charge, with Spain dropping just two points in qualifying and recently destroying Argentina 6-1 in a friendly.

With Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique still there in front of David de Gea, they have one of the best defences in the business. Further forward, it will be difficult to stop the likes of David Silva and Isco in full flow, and then there is Andres Iniesta.

"We are delighted that he keeps playing this well and are excited about him keeping it up at the World Cup," Lopetegui recently told FIFA.com.

- France -

France fell short on home soil at Euro 2016, losing in extra time to Portugal in the final. That increases the pressure on coach Didier Deschamps to deliver this time with a gifted squad.

Deschamps' team won their qualifying group despite some unconvincing performances, including a goalless home draw with Luxembourg, and the coach has his critics.

To silence them he needs to find the right system to bring the best out of his squad, especially in attack, where Antoine Griezmann is the main man but teen sensation Kylian Mbappe will be one to watch too. This is also surely the stage for Paul Pogba to really step up.

- Argentina -

After their defeat in the 2014 final, this is Lionel Messi's big chance to finally get his hands on the trophy.

However, Messi only rescued a shambolic qualifying campaign by scoring a vital hat-trick in Ecuador in the last game to take the team to Russia. There are huge doubts about the rest of Jorge Sampaoli's squad, and the coach recently said Messi "can carry the team on his shoulders."

Lionel Messi's Argentina coach has suggested the star 'can carry the team on his shoulders' at the World Cup

But Sampaoli must also get the best out of the many undoubted talents at his disposal, including Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala, to help his side's chances of reaching the latter stages.]]>
5/14/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Resurgent Bale gives Zidane welcome selection dilemma for Kiev]]>
Bale put the burners on to race on to a through ball from Luka Modric and fire his side into the lead with a thumping low finish.

He then knocked the ball through the legs of Celta's Jonny Castro on the right wing and, with his next touch, lashed the ball into the roof of the net to the delight of the usually hard-to-please Santiago Bernabeu faithful, who gave him a standing ovation when he was substituted late in the game.

"He played very well today and I'm very happy for him, but the important thing is that everyone is in great form heading to the final," Real coach Zinedine Zidane told a news conference.

Zidane has left Bale in the margins for most of Madrid's run to a third consecutive Champions League final, starting him in only one of their six knockout games this season and taking him off at halftime in that game at home to Juventus.

But with six goals and an assist in his last five Liga starts, including the equaliser in last week's thrilling 2-2 draw at Barcelona, the Wales forward has made a late bid for a return to the starting line-up in the May 26 final in Kiev.

"It's better like this, to have everyone firing on all cylinders," added Zidane.

"Of course now deciding a starting 11 for the final is going to give me a real headache."

Madrid's top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo was rested against Celta to continue his recovery from a sprained ankle although there is no danger of him missing the final against Liverpool.

Bale's biggest competitors for a place in the starting line-up against Juergen Klopp's side are midfielder Isco, who also scored in the win over Celta and has now recovered from a shoulder injury, and Spanish wingers Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio. ]]>
5/13/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Man United beat Watford 1-0 on Carrick's farewell]]>
Carrick, who is unlikely to be picked for Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday and will assume a coaching role at United next season, was treated to a guard of honour by both teams before kick off.

The 36-year-old midfielder also received a standing ovation from the fans when he was substituted in the 85th minute by Paul Pogba, drawing the curtain on a trophy-laden career at United since he joined them from Tottenham Hotspur in 2006.

Once described by former United captain Nemanja Vidic as “the glue that holds it all together,” Carrick said he was looking forward to a new role in the dugout next to the club’s manager Jose Mourinho.

“It’s not a sad goodbye by any means, I’ve got a lot to look forward to,” said Carrick.

“I’m looking to create more memories on the other side of the fence with Jose and his staff and bring success back to this club.

“The reception was incredible. I’ve had ups and downs at the club over the years. It’s the greatest club in the world so it’s been beyond my wildest dreams as a young kid.”

Carrick has won five Premier League titles with United, the 2008 Champions League and the 2017 Europa League.

United’s second-place finish in the Premier League is their best since they won their 20th title under Alex Ferguson in 2013.

Although both teams seemed to go through the motions on a sunny day at Old Trafford, a moment of magic from Carrick settled the contest when he rolled back the years to delight the home crowd.

He found Juan Mata with a delightful pass and the Spaniard squared it back for Rashford to tap the ball in from close range in the 34th minute.

United’s stand-in goalkeeper Sergio Romero pulled off a fine double save on the stroke of halftime, keeping out a close-range header by Richarlison and then smothered a Gerard Deulofeu shot with the game fizzing out after the break.

Carrick added it was an emotional farewell as he captained United one last time, having walked on to the pitch with his children.

“It’s an emotional day,” he said. “This morning it hit me a little bit. I was fine once I got here but in the hotel before I left, it was mixed emotions.

“It was nice to play and win, the reception was very special. Being out there with the kids is something that you always cherish.”]]>
5/13/2018 8:12:38 PM
<![CDATA[Salah sets new Premier League goal tally]]>
Salah went into the last day of the season at Anfield with a share of the record alongside Alan Shearer (Blackburn in 1995-96), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United in 2007-08) and Luis Suarez (Liverpool in 2013-14).

But the Egypt forward needed only 26 minutes to make the record his personal property as he produced a clinical left-footed finish from inside the Brighton penalty area.

Salah, who was voted the Premier League's Player of the Year earlier in the day, has now scored 44 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool this season.

Shearer (Newcastle in 1993-94) and Andy Cole (Manchester United in 1993-94) jointly hold the Premier League record of 34 goals in a 42-match season.]]>
5/13/2018 6:46:31 PM
<![CDATA[Larger than life Burgos will be Simeone's sideline spirit]]>
With his colleague Diego Simeone serving a touchline ban, the former goalkeeper once nicknamed 'the gorilla' and now known as 'the monkey' will lead Atletico out in Lyon against Olympique de Marseille in pursuit of a first trophy since 2014.

Simeone appointed his old Atletico team mate as assistant at Argentine club Racing Club de Avellaneda in 2011 and brought him back to Madrid a few months later, tasked with returning the declining Spanish giants back to glory.

Within five months, the Argentine duo had won the Europa League and the King's Cup and an unlikely Liga title soon followed. They have also reached the Champions League final in 2014 and 2016, losing both times to city rivals Real Madrid.

Burgos has compared his working relationship with Simeone to that of movie actors Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci, and rather like the gangster characters they portrayed, both coaches have a habit of losing their heads.

The Argentine famously punched Espanyol's Manolo Serrano during a game for Real Mallorca in 1999, while as Atletico assistant he confronted then Real coach Jose Mourinho during a tense Madrid derby, shouting at the Portuguese: "I'm not Tito Vilanova, I'll rip your head off".

In another derby, Burgos had to be restrained by Simeone and then Real coach Carlo Ancelotti as he charged towards a referee.

Simeone is also no stranger to losing his temper and is serving a four-game touchline ban for insulting an official and improper conduct during Atletico's Europa League semi-final first leg at Arsenal.


Rather like Simeone, Burgos seems to relish the tension of big games, once remarking that what he missed most about being a player was being insulted by opposition fans.

But there is more to the assistant than angry outbursts and punch ups. Inspired by his love for The Rolling Stones, he founded a hard rock band in Argentina called The Garb, recording several albums as lead singer.

In an interview with newspaper El Mundo last year, Burgos recounted his recovery from kidney cancer in 2003 and said people who have been diagnosed with the disease frequently come to him for advice. He continues to smoke, however.

Simeone has always spoken highly of his assistant.

"The best thing about our relationship is loyalty, something rare in football, and when you add to that his ability, it explains why things have gone so well for us," he said after Atletico beat Arsenal 1-0 to reach the Europa League final.

Before the second leg against Arsenal, Simeone was asked by reporters if he was worried how the team would get on while he served his touchline ban.

He quickly dismissed the question by replying: "We have Burgos. We don't even need to look at each other to know what we want." ]]>
5/13/2018 5:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek awaits Etoile du Sahel’s decision on the exchange deal]]>
Zamalek officials are now waiting for the Tunisian team’s reply on the exchange deal; Nabil Abu Zeid, Marei’s agent, is the mediator who can finalize the deal with Etoile Sportive du Sahel officials for Zamalek. But the Tunisian team postponed their final decision after they play the Tunisian Cup final against Club Africain scheduled for Sunday May 13.

Zamalek board wants to sign Marei to strengthen their attacking line for the next season; it is worth mentioning that Zamalek wanted to sign him before the beginning of the current season when he was still playing for Enppi, before joining the Tunisian team in a free transfer.]]>
5/13/2018 4:01:21 PM
<![CDATA[Zenit terminate Mancini's contract amid Italy interest]]>
Mancini, one of the highest-profile foreign coaches to join the Russian Premier League in recent years, signed a three-year contract with Zenit in 2017.

However, the club said the contract, which will come to an end on Monday, had been severed through mutual consent and without any compensation payable.

This month, Italian soccer federation commissioner Roberto Fabbricini said Mancini had held talks with Italian soccer officials but that no deal had been reached.

Zenit, bankrolled by Russian energy giant Gazprom, have used their deep pockets to attract foreign managers in the past, including Dick Advocaat, Luciano Spalletti and Andre Villas-Boas.

Mancini, who has coached a number of elite sides including Inter Milan, Galatasaray and Manchester City, led the latter to a first English title in 44 years in 2012. Zenit are currently fifth in the Russian Premier League with one game remaining.

Italy have a managerial vacancy after Gian Piero Ventura was sacked when the four-times champions failed to qualify for this year's World Cup finals taking place in Russia from June 14 to July 15.]]>
5/13/2018 2:53:19 PM
<![CDATA[29 names in Egypt’s list for World Cup last camp]]>Director of the Egyptian national team Ehab Leheta declared the 29 names called to join the team’s camp; the players will participate in friendly matches against Kuwait on May 26, Colombia on June 1, and Belgium on June 6.

The announced squad list came as follows:

Essam al-Hadary (Al-Taawon)
Sherif Ekramy (Al-Ahly)
Mohamed Awaad (Al-Ahly)
Mohamed al-Shenawi (Al-Ahly)

Ahmed al-Mohammadi (Aston Villa)
Mohamed Abdel Shafy (Al-Fateh)
Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion)
Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC)
Ali Gabr (West Bromwich Albion)
Amr Tarek (Orlando City)
Karim Hafez (RC Lens)
Ahmed Fathy (Al-Ahly)
Saad Samir (Al-Ahly)
Ayman Ashraf (Al-Ahly)
Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek)

Mohamed el-Nenny (Arsenal)
Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic)
Abdallah al-Said (Al-Ahly)
Tarek Hamed (Zamalek)
Mahmoud Abdel Aziz (Zamalek)

Mahmoud Abdel Razek “Shikabala” (Al-Raed)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Ahmed Hassan “Koka” (Sporting Braga)
Mahmoud Hassan “Trezeguet” ( Kasimpasa)
Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City)
Amr Warda (Atromitos Athen)
Marwan Mohsen (Al-Ahly)
Ahmed Gomaa (Al-Masry)

5/13/2018 2:01:53 PM
<![CDATA[Salah wins another Player of the Season award]]>
The Premier League official website announced on Sunday that the sponsor of the league, EA Sports, has named Salah the Player of the Season 2017/18, after he has won PFA Player of the Year and FWA Player of the Year.

The Egyptian king has had a wonderful season with Liverpool; he is now the Premier League top scorer with 31 goals, scoring 43 goals in all competitions, which left him in need of only four goals to equalize the historic record of Ian Rush who scored the largest number of goals for Liverpool in a single season. Salah played a big role in leading Liverpool to the Champions League’s final after 11 years of absence.
5/13/2018 12:54:02 PM
<![CDATA[Thiem storms past Anderson and into Madrid final]]>
The fifth-seeded Austrian, who ended Nadal's 21-match and 50-set winning streak on clay Friday, needed just 85 minutes to dispose of his South African opponent, seeded sixth.

Thiem, the runner-up to Nadal in the 2017 Madrid final and still chasing a maiden Masters title, will face either German second seed Alexander Zverev or Denis Shapovalov of Canada in Sunday's championship match.

"I will try everything on Sunday. A Masters 1000 title would mean a lot to me because it's obviously really tough to win one," said Thiem.

"To be honest, I thought also myself that I was pretty far away before this week started. Now I'm in the finals again, which is amazing for me."

Thiem is playing in just his third tournament since a right ankle fracture suffered at Indian Wells while US Open runner-up Anderson was competing in his first semi-final at Masters level, ending a run of 10 prior losses in quarter-finals at this level.

The 24-year-old Austrian broke Anderson in a nine-minute opening game which was enough to secure the first set in 49 minutes.

A double fault gave Thiem the decisive break to open the second set and he broke again for a 4-1 lead before securing victory with a service winner as he reached his 15th career final and fifth in a row on clay.

Thiem said he is feeling stronger after his ankle injury as he builds up to the French Open later this month and has tried to forget recent losses to Nadal in Monte Carlo and his shock exit at the hands of Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas in Barcelona.

"There was a little bit of lack of confidence in Monte Carlo and Barcelona," he said.

"It took me a while until I was moving my best again, until I was playing my best again. I think the level of my game increased especially in this week."

Later Saturday, Zverev will be playing in his third straight Masters semi-final.

Coming off a successful title defence in Munich last week, Zverev has faced just one break point all week.

In the quarter-finals on Friday, he downed John Isner to avenge his defeat to the American in the Miami final earlier this season.

Canada's Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the Madrid semi-finals with a fiesty three-set win over Britain's Kyle Edmund.

The 19-year-old Shapovalov, who lost to Zverev in the Montreal Masters semi-finals last year, is assured of breaking the world top 30 as a result of his efforts in Madrid.

Before this week, he had never won a main tour clay-court match.]]>
5/13/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Lewandowski’s dream of Real Madrid stopped]]>
Bayern's position of strength, which insists on not selling, leads Madrid to believe that the operation is beyond its reach, as explained by the German television network.

This information supports the statements made on May 9 by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, general manager of Bayern, insisting that the striker will continue at Bayern next season. "We are very fortunate to have Lewandowski and even more that he has signed a long contract with us. There is nothing to worry about. He will also play at Bayern Munich next season," he said.

Real Madrid once again comes up against Bayern's strong stance with regard to Lewandowski, who has a contract until 2021.

"No one can sign a Bayern player against the will of Bayern," Rummenigge says. In 2009, when the Whites wanted to sign Ribéry, the German leaders cut short their intentions. "We will denounce Madrid to FIFA if it insists, because he has a contract," said Hoeness.

But Lewandowski, who turns 30 in August, is still determined to leave Bayern. He changed his agent (Kucharski gave way to Pini Zahavi) with the plan of “softening” Bayern to make his move to Real Madrid possible.

"Robert's transfer is a difficult and delicate operation. No one can say if Lewandowski will be here or there,” his agent warned in an interview with the newspaper Przeglad Sportowy.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane had already given the green light to the signing, but everything has been postponed by the demands of the club in Munich.
5/13/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Neymar hints at PSG stay after social media picture post]]>
"Proud to wear the new jersey and to continue giving you joy," the 26-year-old striker, who is recovering from foot surgery, posted on his verified Twitter account.

Media reports claim that Neymar, who joined the Ligue 1 club from Barcelona for a world record 222 million euros ($265.11 million) last August, has told PSG directors he wanted to leave the club after only one season.

The most recent articles say the Brazilian wants to move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, who originally tried to sign him in 2013 before he opted to join Barcelona from Santos.

Spanish newspaper Marca reported on Friday that the player's father and agent, Neymar Sr, had told PSG his son wanted to leave immediately.

It said his father met Real directors in December on the day Cristiano Ronaldo received the Ballon d'Or in Paris.

Neymar has been out of action since spraining his ankle and fracturing his fifth metatarsal on Feb. 25, which led him to undergo surgery in Brazil as he bids to regain fitness in time for the June-July World Cup in Russia.
5/13/2018 3:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Zlatan to be at World Cup, but not with Sweden]]>
The former striker of Barcelona, Juventus, Milan, Inter and Manchester United, now at Los Angeles Galaxy, has launched several messages over the last weeks that could suggest he could return to the Scandinavian squad.

Sweden qualified to the 2018 World Cup in Russia after eliminating Italy in the play-off games.

However, at the end of April, the Swedish Football Federation confirmed that the national team’s squad will be the same, so Zlatan will not be eligible.

Finally, Ibrahimovic and Visa confirmed this week that the striker will go to Russia 2018, but as an image for the credit card company.
5/13/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[DC United coach Olsen confirms Rooney interest]]>
Former England captain Rooney has been subject to intense speculation over the last few days, with multiple British media reports saying that a deal had been agreed "in principle" for him to move to the U.S.

"Certainly the deal is not done but obviously there is some interest from our end," Olsen told American website TMZ on Friday.

Rooney, who rejoined his boyhood club Everton from Manchester United in July last year, scored 11 goals in the first half of the campaign but has failed to nail down a starting place under manager Sam Allardyce.

Allardyce said on Friday that Rooney has not requested to leave the Merseyside club but he would be "comfortable" if any player wanted to move on.

The 32-year-old Rooney will have an opportunity to complete a move to DC United when the MLS mid-season transfer window opens on July 10.]]>
5/13/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[United stalwart Carrick deserves special send-off: Herrera]]>
The 36-year-old club skipper -- who during his 12 years at the club has won 18 trophies, including five Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008 -- will join manager Jose Mourinho's coaching staff for next term.

Mourinho has said Carrick will definitely start Sunday's game at home to Watford before he takes him off so the 34-times capped former West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur star can take the accolades from the fans.

"It's all about having a beautiful day and saying goodbye to Michael Carrick in the best way possible," said Herrera.

"Let's try and make it a beautiful day for him. He's a legend of the club...I really respect him and look up to him because of the way he plays."

Herrera says Carrick may not be a man of many words but what he says carries real weight.

"He doesn't speak that much but he always does it in a serious and right way," said Herrera.

"He trains hard every day, even when he's not playing too much, and is so professional.

"I've been so lucky to play with him for years and hopefully I can enjoy him as an assistant.

"He has been very successful for the club, one of the best midfielders in the last 10 years in the world, and he is a big loss."]]>
5/12/2018 7:52:01 PM
<![CDATA[Video: Mohamed Salah's interview with Amr Adib ]]>
To watch the full interview:

Amr Adib : When was the magical moment? How was this surprising excellence achieved?

Salah : If you compared me now to myself a year ago, you would definitely find a change. Two years ago is different from a year ago, three years ago is different from two years ago and so on. There is quite a change by time, thank God. I am always trying to improve my performance every year. That’s why I see myself always in a better position. So, I try to develop myself in various aspects.

Another thing, since the day I left Egypt, I made a decision that I will stay in Europe. I said to myself that I don’t want to be like anyone else who travelled to Europe and returned back. I wanted to adapt to the atmosphere here and I wanted to be someone different in all aspects. This was from the very first day, literally.

Amr Adib : Did you meet Mourinho after getting back to England?

Salah : I did meet him twice – in our match here at Anfield [Liverpool vs Manchester United] and in the other match in Manchester; he told me that he is happy with what I am doing. So, I thanked him. We didn’t talk much; I just said “hi” to him and he told me that he was happy for me.

Amr Adib Can a football coach [Klopp] affect a player that much?

Salah : A coach makes a difference, as does the way of playing. Even your teammates make a big difference. But, the scale of the players’ development is the most essential. It looks like a puzzle with all of its pieces; you can’t make a complete scene with some pieces only. Both my teammates and the coach helped me a lot; nothing is solo.

Amr Adib : What are his pros as a coach?

Salah : He knows how to deal with each match as a single match. And he knows how to play with each team in accordance with their strengths and weaknesses. He also knows how to deal with his players very well.

Amr Adib : People always like to rank players and to know who is the first, second, third and so on. Do comparisons with Ronaldo and Messi bother you?

Salah : Not at all. But I don’t want to say that I am happy with these kinds of comparisons, because each of them was at top level for 10 or 11 years. Their performance level is stable. Yet, I need to maintain my high performance level for many seasons. I hope I can do so. Definitely, they are great players.

Amr Adib : Who is Liverpool’s closest player to you?

Salah : As for now, Dejan Lovren is the closest one, as well as Van Dijk and Emre Can; he is now injured, so I wish him speedy recovery.

Amr Adib : Which world star’s evaluation matters to you? Maradona, Pele or Gerard?

Salah : All of them. The names you mentioned are such icons in football. I feel so happy whenever a football icon praises me, regardless of who he is.

Amr Adib : Tell me about your feelings after Congo’s equalizer? [Salah scored the winning goal in the 95th minute of Egypt’s match against Congo in the fifth round of the World Cup qualifiers. But before this historical moment, Congo scored the equalizer in the 87th minute, which let the fans and Salah down for a few minutes.]

Salah : These may be the most difficult moments I have experienced in my whole life. This is my first time to say this; I mean I have never said this in any interview before. It was really tough. When I fell on the ground [after the equalizer], I was watching the referee, hoping to see a flag or hear it was offside, as I couldn’t believe they scored a goal in our net. I looked at the screen to see how much time we still had; I found it was the 87th minute. I lowered my head again hopelessly, as I didn’t understand what happened. I was thinking whether this would be the final result or not. I said to myself that I would never accept this as a final result. Although I knew from inside that this was super difficult, as we had only four or three minutes remaining. At the same time, I was telling myself that if other players saw me so disappointed like this, none of them would be able to play enthusiastically. All of these feelings were in less than 10 seconds. I decided to stand up and motivate other players. I was burning by the fire of rejection of a final result like this. I screamed, pretending to be motivating them, but it was the fire. It was a very hard moment.

Amr Adib : Are you leaving Liverpool or staying?

Salah : All that I can say is that I’m happy to be here and I’m adapted to the prevailing atmosphere. I’m thinking to end the season in the perfect way.

Amr Adib : You’re playing Fantasy [Football]? Tell me, who are the 10 players you chose to play on your team? [Fantasy Football is a game in which the participants serve as the general managers of virtual professional gridiron football teams.]

Salah : I frequently change players; I feel I have to change players. No one is permanent on the team, but I can tell you who I remember. The goalkeeper Courtois from Chelsea, Hegazi, Elneny was on my team but I sold him [laughing], Mane, Firmino from Liverpool, Vardy from Leicester City, Matic from Manchester United, Hazard from Chelsea and Kevin de Bruyne from Manchester City.

Amr Adib : Imagine if your career had a different direction and you signed for Zamalek before going to Europe. What would have happened?

Salah : I think if I had signed for Zamalek, I wouldn’t have been here. Nobody knows, but what I want to say is that Al-Ahly and Zamalek let only a few players to leave their clubs. So when I didn’t sign for Zamalek, I signed for FC Basel a month later, where I started my career abroad.
5/12/2018 7:12:27 PM
<![CDATA[Hamburg relegated for first time amid crowd trouble]]>
VfL Wolfsburg's 4-1 win over bottom club Cologne meant Hamburg's 2-1 home victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach, which was interrupted for 15 minutes due to the crowd trouble in stoppage time, was rendered meaningless.

Hamburg will join Cologne in the second division next season, while Wolfsburg go into a relegation playoff.

Dozens of riot police, several on horses, charged onto the pitch and lined up in front of the Hamburg fans, who lit several flares and threw them behind the Gladbach goal when it became clear that the team was on its way to the second division.

Hamburg were leading 2-1 in stoppage time when referee Felix Brych stopped the game.

The fires were put out and police gradually left the field so the game could resume and the final seconds be played out.

Hamburg had taken an early lead through Aaron Hunt and went in front again with a Lewis Holtby goal just past the hour after Gladbach had levelled the score before halftime.

Even when Hamburg went down to 10 men after the dismissal of Bobby Wood in the 71st minute, they kept battling, hoping for a miracle but events at Wolfsburg ensured it never came.]]>
5/12/2018 6:09:25 PM
<![CDATA['Underdogs' Australia can reach knockouts in Russia - Luongo]]>
Coach Bert van Marwijk has set the Socceroos the goal of reaching the last 16 from a group that also features France, Peru and Denmark.

Avoiding three straight defeats might be classed an achievement for 40th-ranked Australia, who lost all three group games in Brazil four years ago, but Luongo said they could spring a surprise, particularly if they have a good opener against France in Kazan.

"If we get a result against them we've got two games to go and anything can happen," Luongo said in comments published by state broadcaster ABC.

"I'm confident we can qualify from our group.

"As far as the teams we're playing against, I think they all look at us as, maybe, the weakest side in the group.

"We use that to our advantage ... we've been the underdog before."

The 25-year-old, who plays for Queens Park Rangers in England's second tier, has scored five goals in 34 internationals and is one of a slew of classy midfielders van Marwijk can choose from.

The coach will hope Luongo can share the scoring burden for a team that lacks top-shelf strikers and still calls on 38-year-old veteran Tim Cahill to help get out of tight spots.

"Obviously I think scoring a goal would be massive," said Luongo, who netted in the 2015 Asian Cup final win over South Korea that gave Australia's their biggest piece of soccer silverware.

"But my goal is to start every game and I believe I put myself in the best situation to do so."

Like many players, Luongo hopes to use the World Cup as a shop window to earn a move to England's top flight.

"I think everyone would want to be in the Premier League," Luongo said.

"Having a good World Cup won't hurt the chances; ideally I want to do it with QPR.

"If I have an amazing World Cup, look what happened with James Rodriguez -- amazing World Cup and he ended up at Real Madrid.]]>
5/12/2018 5:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ferdinand admits to placing club above country at major finals]]>
The 39-year-old former central defender won 81 caps for England from 1997-2011, most of them while at Manchester United.

He told The Times that having competed against fellow members of England's so-called "golden generation" such as Chelsea legends John Terry and Frank Lampard and Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard, during a league season he did not feel like opening up to them when they came together for a major finals.

Ferdinand played in two World Cups, both times reaching the quarterfinals. In 2002, England lost 2-1 to eventual champions Brazil and in 2006 on penalties to Portugal after Ferdinand's club-mate Wayne Rooney was sent off.

"It overshadowed things. It killed that England team, that generation," said Ferdinand.

"One year we would have been fighting Liverpool to win the league, another year it would be Chelsea.

"So I was never going to walk into the England dressing room and open up to Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry or Joe Cole at Chelsea, or Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher at Liverpool because of the fear they would take something back to their club and use it against us."

Ferdinand, now a respected pundit who recently tried to take up professional boxing but was refused a licence, said that he regrets putting club before country.

"I didn't realise that what I was doing was hurting England at the time," said Ferdinand.

"I was so engrossed, so obsessed with winning with Man United -- nothing else mattered."

Ferdinand says he was most marked by cutting off almost all communication with childhood friend Lampard once they moved away From West Ham.

However, he added "the managers not being good enough" also played a role in England under-achieving at World Cups.

England qualified comfortably for the finals under Gareth Southgate and are hoping to do significantly better than their efforts in their last two major finals appearances.

Roy Hodgson lost his job after England's embarrassing exit in the last 16 of Euro 2016 to Iceland after he had been give another chance when his team failed to get through the group stage at the 2014 World Cup.]]>
5/12/2018 4:18:58 PM
<![CDATA[Brazil defender Alves out of World Cup with knee injury]]>
Alves, who plays for French champions Paris St Germain, limped off near the end of Tuesday's French Cup Final win over third-tier Les Herbiers.

The Brazilian team doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, flew to Paris to examine the player and decided surgery was necessary after diagnosing an injury to his right anterior cruciate ligament.

"It is clear that the Daniel Alves’s call up for the period of preparation, friendlies and consequently the World Cup, is impossible," the Brazilian Football Confederation CBF said.

Brazil will play warm-up matches against Croatia on June 3 and Austria seven days later, before kicking off their World Cup campaign on June 17 against Switzerland.

The five-times world champions will then play Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E.

Alves, 35, is one of the squad's most experienced players with 107 caps.

His absence in Russia will be a blow to Brazil coach Tite, who values not just his technical ability but also his effect on the dressing room, where he is one of the most popular players.

The right back, who is a fine crosser of the ball, is expected to be out for up to six months and Brazil's players past and present expressed their support for Alves. "I am so sad to hear this. Footballers hate missing games but I know first-hand that missing World Cup games is the worst feeling," Pele, who was forced out of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup tournaments because of injury, said on twitter.

Manchester City's Danilo and Fagner of Corinthians are among the players most likely to replace Alves when Tite announces his 23-man squad for the finals on Monday.]]>
5/12/2018 3:59:47 PM
<![CDATA[Tennis-Revamped Davis Cup could be held in Madrid or France next year - RFET]]>
In February, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced a massive shake-up of the competition, which will see the formation of an 18-nation World Cup of Tennis Finals played in one location, after agreeing a 25-year, $3 billion partnership with investment group Kosmos, founded and chaired by Pique.

"We are looking at a formula whereby the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will be held in Madrid or in France so it doesn't have to go to Asia," Diaz told reporters at the Madrid Open on Friday.

"We've had a couple of meetings with Gerard Pique and we will have one more but we still need data. We are looking at the final format and still nothing has been decided. We will make the decision at our board meeting at the end of May."

The ITF did not respond to a request from Reuters to comment on the proposal.

Pique, who is set to be named in Spain's squad for next month's World Cup in Russia, was photographed watching countryman Rafael Nadal's quarter-final defeat by Dominic Thiem on Friday at the Madrid Open alongside Real Madrid players Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio.

The new Davis Cup event represents a huge revamp for a competition which has been in existence since 1900 but has suffered in recent years with top players not competing.

ITF President David Haggerty has said the new format will be "a game-changer for tennis" but the proposed event, which would bring an end to traditional home and away ties, has been criticised by Belgian tennis chief Gijs Kooken, who said it risked "killing the soul" of the competition. ]]>
5/12/2018 3:35:09 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly travels to Kampala with 18 players]]>
Badry has chosen the players to travel to Uganda with the team from UAE after its game against Ajax on Friday in the retirement ceremony for Al-Ahly captain Hossam Ghaly; the squad list is as follows:

• Sherif Ekramy
• Mohamed Al-Shennawy

• Saad Samir
• Mohamed Naguib
• Ahmed Fathy
• Mohamed Hany
• Sabry Raheel
• Bassem Aly

• Amr Al-Solaya
• Walid Solaiman
• Ahmed Hamoudi
• Mohamed Gaber
• Hossam Ashour
• Ahmed Hamdy
• Islam Mohareb
• Phakamani Mahlambi

• Salah Mosen
• Marwan Mohsen

The squad list for the Uganda trip is missing a number of players who returned to Cairo, such as Aly Lotfy and Hesham Mohamed, who have final exams in their universities; Mohamed Al-Gazzar, Akram Tawfeq and Amr Al-Saadawy, who are not registered on the team’s African list; Ayman Ashraf due to suspension; and Karim Karim Waild due to injury. Al-Ahly left back Aly Maaloul returned to his country Tunisia from the UAE because he wasn’t ready to participate with the team in the Champions League game.
5/12/2018 1:39:21 PM
<![CDATA[EFA: Alassyouty will not play Egyptian Cup final]]>
Smouha faced Alassyouty last Tuesday in the Egyptian Cup semi-final and managed to reach the final after beating Alassyouty 4-3 in the penalty kick shootout, after the two teams tied 1-1 in the game’s regular time.

Farag Amer, Smouha president, threatened to withdraw from the Egyptian Cup final after the EFA refused to assign foreign referees for the final against Zamalek.

Amer Hussein, head of the EFA’s Competitions Committee, said in remarks on a TV show, “In case of the withdrawal of Smouha, Alassyouty will not play in the final, and Zamalek will be named the champion of the Egyptian Cup.”

Hussein also assured that Smouha will play the final and that the crisis will end within hours, declaring, “The penalty of withdrawal from the Egyptian Cup is a financial penalty with the prevention of participation in the Egyptian Cup next season.”

5/12/2018 12:22:37 PM
<![CDATA[Bottas fastest as Mercedes lead Spanish GP practice]]>
Bottas put down an impressive marker with a best lap of one minute 18.148 seconds on the soft tyres, 0.849 faster than his team mate who won from pole last year.

Vettel, who will be chasing his fourth successive pole position on Saturday, was on the quicker supersofts but 0.950 slower than the Finn around a sunny but windy Circuit de Catalunya.

Hamilton leads the German, also a four-times world champion, by four points after four races but owes his advantage to a healthy slice of luck.

"At the moment I am punching below my weight, and that is not sufficient to win a world championship," the Briton, a four times champion, told reporters on Thursday.

"I have zero comfortability... I'll take it for now but in the long term l can't continue to rely on it."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fourth fastest but Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo crashed in his first track session since the two drivers collided in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix 12 days ago.

The virtual safety car was deployed briefly, with Ricciardo's car running across the gravel and into the barriers, with several others also spinning. The Australian was classified seventh.

"Thankfully the damage is pretty light," team principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports television. "It was the old front wing so he's a lucky boy."

Home hero Fernando Alonso started the weekend a morale-boosting sixth, behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, with his McLaren displaying a heavily-revised three-pronged nose -- one of several conspicuous upgrades around the pit lane.

Ferrari caught the eye with wing mirrors mounted on the halo head protection device.

Williams had another trying session as Polish reserve Robert Kubica took part in a race weekend for the first time since 2010, three months before he suffered serious injuries in a rally crash.

The former race winner was 19th, in 1:21.510, and faster than teenage Canadian team mate Lance Stroll in last place on the timesheets with a best of 1:22.756 after his car went off into the gravel.

Kubica's car had a newer floor than Stroll's, however.

"Unbelievable how bad the balance is," Stroll complained over the radio.

Kubica was replacing Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin, who returns for second practice and the race but has a three-place grid penalty.

"It's a good feeling, for sure, being a part of a race weekend after seven and a half years," said the Pole.]]>
5/12/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Liverpool are still Man United's biggest rivals, says Carrick]]>
City have become genuine powerhouses in recent years and wrapped up their third Premier League title in seven seasons in April.

United, on the other hand, have gone five years without winning the domestic championship, while Liverpool's wait for the league title stretches back to 1990.

Yet Carrick, who will play his last league game for United against Watford on Sunday before retirement, said the historical rivalry between English football's two most successful clubs, makes it a more significant fixture in the United dressing room.

"I think the Liverpool game is special," Carrick, who joined United in 2006, told ESPN. "I think they're different games really.

"I think if you're looking at the City game now... I think the Liverpool game, because of the history and the tradition and everything that goes behind it, it run deeps doesn't it?

"The City one obviously runs deep as well, but for me, it (Liverpool) has got a slightly different feel."

City have risen to become one of Europe's elite clubs since Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Mansour took them over in 2008.

Under manager Pep Guardiola, City have produced a series of dazzling displays and remain on course to become the first English team to reach 100 points in a top-flight season.

"It's been a big change since I came," added Carrick.

"We were always favourites to go there and win and obviously, as the years have gone by, they have developed and spent more money and they've obviously improved an awful lot.

"Now they're up there challenging every year, like ourselves, Chelsea and Arsenal."]]>
5/12/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Buffon hit with UEFA charge after rant at referee]]>
The Juve captain was enraged by Oliver's decision to award Real a decisive stoppage-time penalty during the second-leg tie at the Bernabeu and lost control, screaming at and jostling the English referee until he was shown a red card.

Forward Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to convert the penalty and send Real through to the semi-finals 4-3 on aggregate.

Buffon, 40, criticised Oliver after the match, saying the referee had been out of his depth, should have been in the stands eating crisps and must have had a garbage bin for a heart.

UEFA said in a statement on its website https://www.uefa.com/insideuefa/disciplinary that Buffon had been charged both for receiving a direct red card and with violating the governing body's "general principles of conduct".

The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on May 31. (]]>
5/12/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Conte defends Chelsea record ahead of final league game]]>
The Italian took over after a season in which Chelsea finished 10th and led the team to the Premier League title in his first campaign in charge.

That success has not been repeated in the current campaign and though Chelsea have reached the FA Cup final, the club is likely to miss out on a place in the top four in their final league match of the season at Newcastle United on Sunday.

"For sure, we worked two years and worked very hard to try to build something, to create a base," Conte told a news conference. "I think we did this.

"I'm the last person to judge the moment of the club. My task is to work, to do my job in the best possible way, and to work very hard with this team, with these players for the fans. Other people will judge our position."

Fifth-placed Chelsea must beat Newcastle and hope Liverpool lose to Brighton and Hove Albion to secure Champions League football, but Conte said failing to finish in the top four was always a risk given the competition in England.

"Don't forget two years ago, Chelsea ended the season 10th and not in the FA Cup final, not in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, and they were eliminated in the last 16 against PSG in the Champions League. It can happen," he added.

"But last season after a 10th place we won the league. It was difficult. We worked very hard, but we won it... Now, probably, you can finish fifth and start with a bit of an advantage compared to when you finish 10th."

Conte's future is under a cloud given the team's failure to defend their title. British media have also reported that he has a strained relationship with members of the club's hierarchy. The Italian, however, said he paid no attention to speculation.

"I always said to you, my only thought is to do my job in the best possible way. To work very hard with my players," he added.

"This is my only worry. Since the start of the first game, I think... the time I start listening to the speculation about me, this is the moment I start to be worried."]]>
5/12/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Robben and Rafinha to stay at Bayern until 2019]]>
The 34-year-old Dutchman Robben has been at Bayern since 2009, winning seven league titles and one Champions League crown with the Bavarians, while Brazilian Rafinha, 32, joined in 2011.

"We are delighted to have extended for one more year with these deserving players," said Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic in a statement. "Because both Arjen Robben as well as Rafinha play an important role in our plans for next season."

Bayern won the German league for a sixth successive time and face Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Cup final next week.

Fellow Bayern veteran Franck Ribery, 35, also extended his contract to 2019 earlier this month. ]]>
5/11/2018 7:30:00 PM