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Skater badly injured in Olympic ceremony rehearsal accident

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A female skater was severely injured after falling to the ice from about 16 feet during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the Youth Winter Olympics in Lausanne, police said Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Russian woman’s life is in dange is reluctant to return to the Premier League this summer.The Mirror says Bale is being pushed towards the exit at Real Madrid by boss Zinedine Zidane.But the star is determined not to be forced out without his mega contract worth over £600,000-a-wer, police in the canton of Vaud said. An investigation into Tuesday’s incident is being led by police in the city of aking to Bleacher Report in a Q&A, James named manager Frank Lampard alongside three of his current Blues team-mates in an all-time Chelsea dream team.Cesar Azpilicueta earned the nod over James himself at right-back while World Cup winner N’GoloLausanne.

Police said the woman was being hoisted by a cable attached to the ceiling of the main hockey stadium in Lausanne. The skater suddenly lost balance and fell.

The inquiry must try to establish “the reasons, the circumstances and possible responsibilities in this accident,” police said.

The International Olympic Committee said in a statement a female pecan understand Arsenal’s interest in defender Tierney.“Once you’re a top quality player like he [Tierney] is, like what Callum [McGregor] is, what James [Forrest] is, you are always going to get bids. You are always going to get speculation and yourforming artist was evacuated for treatment at a hospital in Lausanne, without detailing the incident.

“The IOC and Lausanne 2020 wish the performer a fast and full recovery,” the Olympic body said.

The two-week games open Thursday with a ceremony at the new arena, which will also host games at the men’s hockey world championships in May.

Gardner Minshew and Jaguars’ defense stand tall in win over Tennessee Titans

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Minshew Mania is gaining momentum.

Gardner Minshew threw two touchdown passes and should have had a third, Calais Campbell spearheaded another defensive gem and the handled the Tennessee Titans 20-7 in sloppy conditions Thursday night.

Jacksonville (1-2) ended a four-game losing streak in the AFC Sis attracting big foreign interest.Gibson has found himself sidelined this season as he struggles to break into manager Sean Dyche’s first team plans.Sky Sports says German clubs Eintracht Frankfurt and Cologne are interested in signing Burnley defenouth series and avoided the franchise’s second 0-3 start in four years.

“This felt good,” defensive tackle Abry Jones said. “We needed this.”

With all eyes on star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who may have played his final game for Jacksonville, Minshew and a second stellar defensive outing in five days captured the spotlight.

A sixth-round draft pick starting his second consecutive game in place of injured Nick Foles (broken collarbone), Minshew completed 20 of 30 passes for 204 yards. He found James O’Shaughnessy wide open for a seven-yard score, which came one play after Adoree’ Jackson’s muffed punt. Minshew was more precise with a 22-yard touchdown pass to DJ Chark, who was blanketed by Malcolm Butler.

Fans chanted Minshew’s name each time the offense took the field, and fans everywhere adorned fake mustaches and bandanas to mimic his signature look.

Marcus Mariota got no style points in this one. Jacksonville sacked Mariota a whopping nine uth America’s elite international football competition.The ng Norwich City striker Emiliano Buendia.Sky Sports says the 22-year-old Norwich City forward has attracted the attention of Villa boss Dean Smith ahead of the January transfer window.Argentine Buendia has started all 12 of Norwich’s matches in the Ptournament will be staged between June 12 and July 12 next year, jointly hosted by Colombia and Argentina. FFA chairman Chris Nikou, chief executive David Gallop and Mark Falvo, the organisattimes, including three by Campbell.

“You seen what the D-line did,” Ramsey said, declining to talk about his potential trade. “Today was their day. Everybody got a piece of it. I was excited to see those guys have a huge game.”

The Jaguars played well enough to win at Houston last week, especially on the defensive side, but came up inches short on a two-point conversion and lost 13-12.

Ramsey then gut-punched a franchise already reeling from the loss of Foles by requesting a trade hours after the loss to the Texans. He asked to get out following his sideline confrontation with coach Doug Marrone.

Ramsey later insisted he didn’t want to be a distraction. He wasn’t, at least not on the field.

The Jaguars enjoyed a 14-point lead in the first quarter for the first time since Week 2 of last season against New England and just the third time in the last five seasons.

Ramsey hugged several teammates after the game, but didn’t say any goodbyes in the locker room.

“He didn’t have to say anything,” Jones said. “He may be going to another team, but no one’s going to be hurt by that. It’s a business decision.”

The Titans (1-2) struggled to play from behind.

With his team trailing 14-0 early in the third, coach Mike Vrabel passed on a short field goal and went for it on fourth-and-6 at the 11. Campbell abused backup guard Jamil Douglas, and Mariota had no time to get rid of the ball.

“That’s not how you want to play that football team, from behind,” Vrabel said. “We talked about that. This football team, you don’t want to play from behind. They can really rush the passer.”

Tennessee finally got on the scoreboard with Derrick Henry’s one-yard plunge early in the fourth. Henry finished with 44 yards on 17 carries, a far cry from his last game against Jacksonville. Henry ran for a franchise-record 238 yards and four touchdowns, including the second 99-yard run in history (Tony Dorsett, 1983), in December.

Jacksonville wasn’t going to let it happen again, stacking the box and doing a much better job tackling the 247lb back.

Even Ramsey got in a couple of shots on the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner.

Will resurgent Tiger Woods beat Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors?

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It was not at all unfair for Tiger Woods to stay in the moment as the rest of golf cast eyes dreamily forward. on Sunday took his major haul to 15. Suddenly, from the recent position where the discussion felt irrelevant, Jack Nicklaus’s record tally of 18 is back within view. “I don’t know if Jack is worried or not,” said Woods. “I really haven’t thought about that yet. I’m sure that I’ll probably think of it going down the road. Maybe, maybe not. But right now it’s a little soon. I’m just enjoying 15.”

It did not take long for Nicklaus to respond. Worried? You bet he is. “I thought for a long time that he was going to win again,” Nicklaus said of Woods. “The next two majors are at Bethpage, where he has won, and at Pebble Beach, where he has won. So he has got me shaking in my boots.”

As the scale of Woods’s victory, arguably his finest in an illustrious but regularly disrupted career, reverberated around the globe golf had been afforded fresh profile. The 43-year-old is now within one of Sam Snead’s 82 PGA Tour wins, a record that has stood since the mid-60s. It is the major quest, though, that sets pulses racing.

“It’s nice to get to 15; 18 isn’t a thought,” said Joe LaCava, Woods’s caddie. “Now 15’s here, let’s get to 16. Is the record in play? Sure. The guy’s 43 years old, a guy like him could win when they’re 50. Sixteen is the next mission.”

Woods credited LaCava with a key role in his one-shot Masters victory. The pair had a discussion after a dropped shot at the 5th hole on Sunday, during which the caddie urged Woods to “not carry the weighmitted interest in Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard.After an outstanding loan with Vitesse Arnhem last season, Odegaard is considering his future with Real this summer.A move to Ajax has been mooted for the Norway international, however Bayer at of the world on your shoulders”. LaCava added: “I didn’t put in all the hard work. I didn’t have all the surgeries. I wasn’t down in Florida grinding. So for me, it’s easy. I just show up, try to do a halfway decent job and he has to do all the tough work.”

As Nicklaus acknowledged, the year’s upcoming majors present Woods with an opportunity. Next month’s US PGA Championship will see Woods return to Bethpage, where he won the US Open in 2002. The latter tournament, in June, is at the Pebble Beach links where Woods marched to a 15-stroke victory 19 years ago. He has also prevailed in Tour events hosted at the Californian venue. July’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush had already seen scrambling for tickets even before Woods displayed uncharacteristic euphoria in Georgia.

“Eighteen is, I think, a lot closer than people think,” said Brooks Koepka, one of the men Woods held off to claim his fifth Masters. “I would say that’s probably what all fans, what we’re thinking. He’s definitely back and 18’s not far.”

If Nicklaus would rather retain his place in the record books, he does a fine job of endorsing why Woods might steal it. Even before a ball was struck at Augusta last Thursday the 79-year-old had volunteered Woods as a likely Masters winner on account of evidence gleaned from a recent game of golf; a certain Donald Trump.

“I don’t ever pull against anybody,” Nicklaus said. “Nobody wants their record to be broken. But I certainly wouldn’t want Tiger to be hurt and not to be able to do it. Of course he is now pretty healthy and playing well. I wish him well, I always wish the guys well and I want them to play their best and don’t want anybody to play poorly.

“Everybody has been asking me about Tiger. Can Tiger win again? Will he win another major? I kept saying, I think so, I think he will. The reason I said that was it all depended on Tiger’s health. If Tiger is healthy, then Tiger didn’t need to worry about his driver. He never drove the ball straight anyway. He always got the ball, from somewhere, up around the green. Tiger is such a great putter, has such a great short game. He has such distance control with his irons, unbelievable distance control, best I’ve seen from anybody in the game. If you get a guy that can do that – even if Tiger wasn’t healthy – he could bunt the ball off the tee somewhere. And with his iron game and his short game, he was going to win again. He topped it off this week by driving the ball. It was a special week for him.”

Monday morning delivered confirmation that Woods has risen to No 6 in the world rankings. “The No 1 player in the world is ranked sixth,” claimed Paes of success at Euro 2020 – because of the punishing fixture schedule.England strikers Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford are enduring long injury lay-offs, with both facing a battle to prove their fitness ahead of this summer’s tournament.Tottenham ‘ul Azinger, a former US Ryder Cup captain turned television analyst. Though there are still 17 months to go before the European team visits Whistling Straits, Woods has leapt to the summit of the US Ryder Cup rankings. At the end of this year,dmits they need to add to the squad after the appointment of new coach Rino Gattuso.He stated: “Rino is relying on the old guard, which seems natural for their experience, especially with these tactics.”From tomorrow we’ll think about the market.”B in what marks his own first step towards Ryder Cup captaincy, Woods will lead his country in the Presidents Cup. “I’m hoping to make my own team,” said Woods on Sunday, in proving he has playing aspirations for Royal Melbourne.

Long before then Woods is expected to make a tournament return at Quail Hollow at the start of May.

Should that transpire, a routine PGA Tour event will have been handed the kind of boost money cannot buy. The same applies to the wider golf scene.

Daniel Dubois: ‘Boxing is my calling and so I have no fear of getting hurt’

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There is a statue of a dead boxer outside the Peacock Gym in Canning Town. In this gritty little corner of east London the gold inscription on black marble reads: “In loving memory of Bradley Stone – A brave young man who died in the pursuit of his dreams.” Stone was 23 , and a British title fight against Richie Wenton, in April 1994. He was a super-bantamweight who trained at this very gym.

Twenty-five years later the new Peacock prodigy is a young heavyweight who cuts a much more formidable figure. walks past this reminder of boxing’s dangers every day. Born three and a half years after Stone died, and dreaming of becoming a world heavyweight champion, Dubois is entitled to ignore these haunting echoes of the past.

“A lot of things can do damage,” he says, quietly. “I look at it differently. is my calling and so I have no fear of getting hurt.”

After knocking out eight of the men he has beaten in , is he ever concerned about causing lasting ange after a knee injury to Calum Chambers.The defender suffered the injury in Sunday’s loss to Chelsea at the Emirates.A prognosis has yet to be given but there are fears Chambers could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.“We will discuss in thedamage to an opponent? “I never worry about that. I never take that into consideration. When I’m in a ring, I’m there to hurt you. That’s the objective in a fight. Your wellbeing is not my concern.”

Does he feel excited when he hurts his opponent? “Yeah,” he says with a soft exclamation which makes it unsurprising to learn is his favourite fighter. “Definitely. That embodies boxing. He took it to an extreme level but in this game people get hurt and their lives are are confident they can beat Tottenham Hotspur.The two Premier League clubs will clash in the Champions League final on June 1.After beating Spurs twice already this season, Matip believes the Reds can do it again.”It was a great season and we can fion the line. Tyson was my boxing hero. I took a shine to his ferociousness. I’m trying to use that to inspire me.”

Dubois is a much calmer presence than the Tyson I remember from past . But he harbours a similar relish for his dark and often chaotic calling. “I feel like, as boxers, we’re not like normal people. After a while doing this, you get that buzz. It can be wild and out of control. I have to try to control myself. That’s what boxing is about – control.”

Dubois is 21 but his reputation is growing. There have long been rumours he floored Anthony Joshua when they sparred a few years ago and that speculation flared again last week. Jarrell Miller, the talkative American who calls himself Big Baby, will be in New York on 1 June. In hyping a fight for which he will be the overwhelming underdog, Big Baby has done lots of yapping. and boasted about flying Dubois to New York to help him prepare for this world title fight: “I wanna say one name,” Miller stressed. “I heard the kid’s a badass – Daniel Dubois. I like the kid a lot. He’s thumped AJ a couple times in the gym.”

Unlike Miller or Tyson, Dubois is not a great talker. This could be down to his age but, I suspect, owes more to the fact he is a detached character. Dubois is less interested in Big Baby and New York than hearing that Tyson told me his hardest opponent was always himself. “Definitely. So much of boxing is to do with your mental state. Evander Holyfield talks about spirit. I definitely have that spirit and feel like I’ve got something special inside me. It’s about me bringing it out, controlling it and using it to become world champion.”

Will that spirit emerge fully only in adversity? “Probably. Sometimes you need to learn hard lessons. You have to look deep within yourself to bring out your best.”

What is the hardest facet of boxing? “Keeping control. Staying disciplined and in control is not easy.”

Even though Dubois starts smiling I sense the struggle to control himself when I ask about his infamous spar with Joshua. “I’m not going into that. We had a good spar and that launched my pro career. So I’ve got good memories from that sparring session when I was with the GB [amateur] squad. I caught him with some big shots. He was good work for me.”

Did he knock Joshua down? Dubois laughs, making faces to tell me his lips are sealed. He shrugs cheerfully when I say I’ll take his response as a yes. I’ve heard a big left wobbled Joshua and, apparently, put him down. “Yeah, it was a good shot.”

Was Joshua shocked by his power? “Every fighter I’ve fought has been shocked by my power.”

Did he feel Joshua’s power? “He’s a big man, throwing punches with bad intentions. You feel it. Every punch is hard. It was about avoiding them, being quick.”

Does he like being called a “badass” by Big Baby? “No. It’s irrelevant. I’m going to New York to get a wider glimpse of the world and boxing. Big Baby carries a lot of weight but he’s obviously done enough to earn a title shot. But, right now, the top heavyweights in the world are in England. America’s had its time at the top. It’s not like in Tyson’s day.”

Who does he think is the best of the three unbeaten heavyweights at the peak of his division – Joshua, Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder? “I’d go with the guy who’s got most of the belts. Joshua. He’s just ahead of Fury and Wilder but they’re all good. They need to fight each other. Then we’ll see who is the last man standing.”

How is Joshua after all the knockdown talk? “He’s fine. He understands it’s not personal. We don’t want to hurt each other outside but, in the ring, that’s our mentality. I also like Tyson Fury. We sparred once and he was very tricky. He’s got it all upstairs but I did OK and he did an interview straight after and called me an up-and-coming world champion.”

When will he be ready to challenge Fury and Joshua? “Probably in two years. I’m building towards those huge fights.”

Some boxing insiders believe Dubois turned pro too soon and he would have benefited from learning more at the highest level of amateur boxing. He fights for the 10th time as a professional on Friday at the Royal Albert Hall against .

“On paper he’s my most experienced opponent. He’s pretty tall, mobile, capable, but he’s not a hard puncher. I’m going out there to destroy him.”

It’s hard to know how good Dubois might be until he gets hit hard himself. He might crumble or he might prove to be as impressive as the hype suggests. Unlike his gifted sister Caroline, however, Dubois is not unbeaten. “I lost six times from when I was 11 to 18. I tried to bring out the emotion but I never cried. I thought: ‘What’s wrong with me?’ But I lost doing my best.”

Caroline won the Olympic youth lightweight title last year, aged 17. Her dazzling skills prompted the BBC’s venerable commentator Mike Costello to say: “I am tempted to .” Unbeaten in almost 40 amateur fights, Caroline also stuns her big brother with her talent and commitment.

“She’s so disciplined. Caroline puts me to shame sometimes. The way she’s so hard-working amazes me. We are close and [among a family of 11 children] seven of us still live together in Greenwich. Me, Caroline and our brother Prince are boxers. Prince is only six so this is a bit premature but he will be a world champion.”

It might be hard to believe but Dubois claims that, in his late teens, he would do press-ups on his knuckles for three hours without stopping. He shows me his deeply scarred knuckles. “I would do thousands of press-ups in three hours. I now only do 30 minutes in a row.”

How could he withstand the pain for a barely credible three hours? “I’m single-minded. When you get past it, pain is nothing.”

He takes off his shirt for the photo and shows off his imposing physique. I ask Dubois about Miller’s allegations that Joshua might have used performance-enhancing drugs – which the Briton . But Dubois’s friendly trainer Martin Bowers leans in: “We don’t talk about that.”

Surely there are concerns about doping and boxing? “We get tested a lot in this country,” Dubois says. “I was tested two weeks ago.”

There are other demons in boxing. Any man closing in on the world heavyweight title is bound to be stalked by admirers and hangers-on – few with good intentions. “I see them comimes has already gone through ankle surgery after his injury against Tottenham.Gomes seriously hurt his ankle after a Heung-Min Son tackle led him to awkwardly collide with Serge Aurier.But the club says he has gone through a procedure and is now recong over the hill,” Dubois says, wryly. “But they’re not here yet.”

Does he have a girlfriend? “I was seeing a girl recently but boxing’s so demanding I can’t afford to waste much time. You need a tailor‑made woman but it’s hard to find anyone who would understand this dedication. I need to be controlled – no messing around before a fight.”

The ring is darkened while Dubois shadowboxes. It’s raining outside, making the green ivy and red bricks around Stone’s statue glisten. The fallen fighter’s gloved hands are raised while, on the inscription, he is hailed as a “Little Gem” who is “Forever as proud as a Peacock”.

The same raw and compelling dreams of big fights and world titles roll on in this small corner of Canning Town.

Danielle Collins: the feisty US college star causing upsets at the Australian Open

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Early in on Tuesday, Danielle Collins challenged a line call that had gone in her opponent’s favor. Her challenge was incorrect, and a frustrated Collins complained loudly about the outcome. That reaction was unsurprising: during her run to the semi-finals, Collins has established herself as someone unafraid to make her opponents uncomfortable. Before now Collins had never won a main draw match at a major, and her boldness is one of the reasons she is deep into the second week in Melbourne.

Collins hasn’t exactly come out of nowhere – she is the world No 35 – but the casual tennis fan can be forgiven for having no idea who this vocal, unflinching American is. The 25-year-old was ranked 162nd a year ago, before she put together wins over Madison Keys on her way to the quarters at Indian Wells, Coco Vandeweghe and Venus Williams during a semi-final run in Miami, Victoria Azarenka en route to another semi-final in San Jose, and Carla Suárez-Navarro in Eastbourne.

The reason she is finding success relatively late on is simple: education. Rather than turn pro as a teenager, Collins attended the University of Virginia and graduated in 2016 with an undergraduate degree in media and a masters in business. She was national college champion twice and is the first former collegiate female player to make a major semi-final since Meredith McGrath did so at Wimbledon in 1996. She cites her college experience as a at the Australian Open as she was given the chance to mature before embarking on the grueling professional tour.

“I think not being a superstar at a young age certainly humbled me, made me work harder for things,” . “I was talented and athletic, but maybe not to the level that other players were at, like, 14, 15, 16. Not being a child prodigy, I went a different route. I wasn’t really sure if I could make it playing professional tennis when I was that age. Going to college was really crucial for me and my development. I think it’s made me hungrier.”

It shows, especially in her wins against Pavyluchenkova and in the last 16, during which the 2016 champion only won two games. At one point Collins repeated the German’s “come on!” yell after winning a point – except louder and more purposefully. It was a cry that teetered close to provocation.

She knows not everyone appreciates her on-court temperament – habits inherited from the rowdy environment of college matches – but she thrives on that discomfort, admitting: “I’m feisty. I love making it kiny Ings.The veteran frontman played a pivotal role as his side picked up a key victory against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday.Ings has seven goals in seven games, and is the third Saints player to ever score 10 Premier League goals befnd of a war. If somebody wants to get in my face on my unforced errors, I have no problem getting right back at them and making it a feisty match.” Her confidence on the court is as enjoyable to watch as her main weapon: her two-handed backhand. Indeed, it’s almost more fun to witness her succeed because she is so unapologetic.

At points, her boldness can come across as gamesmanship. Against Pavlyuchenkova she twice “forgot” new balls had been put in play and lost a point before realizing she hadn’t changed racquets to accommodate springier balls. The second time, late in the match, Pavlyuchenkova complained Collins was violating the serve clock by heading to the bench in the middle of a game to fetch her racquet. One instance, Pavlyuchenkova appeared to be suggesting, could have by moved to Juve in the summer on a free transfer, but has found it difficult to get game time.The Italian champions have a packed midfield and Rabiot is often the odd one out under Maurizio Sarri.Footmercato says Everton have contacted Rabiot’s motheeen a reasonable mistake but the second was harder to chalk up to forgetfulness.

Are her on-court escapades and interview soundbites merely her media degree emerging as another weapon in her arsenal? Or is it just her distinctive personality working to her advantage on a tour where she is a comparatively uninhibited player?

It is most likely a mix, and that mindset has got her close to winning a major. On her third match-point against Pavlyuchenkova her victory came on a slight delay when the Russian challenged the call. This time the challenge went Collins’s way and she got loud once again, screams accenting fist pumps as she celebrated. She’ll next play the two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in a rematch of a loss in Brisbane a few weeks ago, which Collins said was “one of the best matches I’ve played”, despite the outcome.

After dispatching Kerber, Collins admitted in her on-court interview: “I may not have won a grand slam match before this week but I gotta tell you, I think it’s gonna keep happening.” Her prediction hasn’t been disproved yet, and that confidence now has her two matches from on-loan with Killie this season.“The person who deals with players on loan from Liverpool came up to watch me when we played Hearts away,” he told the Kilmarnock Standard.“He said I was good, he said I was defensively decent and going forward I the title.

Tiger Woods in contention at Valspar Championship after birdie binge

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A last-hole bogey failed to take the gloss off a superb performance from as the former world No 1 continued to impress on the latest leg of his improbable comeback in the Valspar Championship.

Woods showed flashes of his brilliant best in an opening 70 in what is only his fourth event since undergoing spinal fusion surgery– his fourth back operation in three years – last April.

And thhip revenue fall €55.2 million (US$60.6 million) to €75.3 million (US$82.9 million) for the 2019/20 season, reports, /.The Serie A giants pocketed €130.5 million (US$143.6 million) in sponsorship over the 2018/19 campaign, but a new public filie 14-time major winner surged to the top of the leaderboard for the first time since August 2015 before having to settle for a share of second place on four under as the Canadian Corey Conners fired a round of 69 to go into the weekend on six under par.

Starting on the back nine of the testing Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, Woods recovered from a wayward drive on the 10th to make par and also parred the next before holing from five feet for birdie on the 12th. A superb approach to the 13th set up another birdie from a similar distance and, after a run of six straight pars, another gain on the second took Woods into a share of the lead.

Woods enjoyed a stroke of good fortune on the par-five fifth when his hooked drive appeared to hit a cart path and bounce back on to the fairway. And the 42-year-old took full advantage by finding a greenside bunker with his approach, splashing out to four feet and holing the birdie putt to take the outright lead.

The last time that happened was during the third round of thedfielder Matty Longstaff is in the sights of England U21.Aidy Boothroyd and assistant Lee Carsley have both watched Longstaff, whose thunderbolt downed Manchester United on debut last weekend.Friday’s friendly in Slovenia and Tuesday’s European Champ Wyndham Championship in August 2015 and the last time Woods led outright after a PGA Tour round was after his last win in the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone.

The prospects of the outright lead disappeared with a bogey on the ninth when he pushed his approach right of the green and it finished up in a female spectator’s handbag. After taking a free drop, Woods caught the pin with his chip but was unable to hole from six feet for par, leaving him to sign for a 68 and share of the lead on four under par.

“I’m up there,” Woods told PGA Tour Live. “I don’t think this will be leading [at the end of the day] but at least I’m there with a chance going into the weekend. Today was a good daBrad Smith admits Seattle Sounders were overawed in the opening stages of their 3-1 win over Toronto in the MLS Cup on Sunday. The Pacific Northwest club walked out to a record 69,724 crowd at Century Link Field and were thoroughly outplayed in the oy. It was cold early, then the wind started blowing a little bit – it was inconsistent and tough to get a bead on. Did a lot of guessing and guessed pretty good, also got fooled a few times.

“I keep getting a little bit better here and there, making these little subtle tweaks. I’ve done that from tournament to tournament, I just need to get a little bit more tournament time in and I think I’ve done that.

“I’m starting to get a better feel for it, I’m finding the rhythm of the rounds, I’m hitting shots, I don’t have a problem posting scores. I’m able to play more feel golf than just trying to figure out how to play golf again.”

Why are foreign soccer stars buying up lower league teams in the US?

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For years, the foreign soccer star was a fleeting sight on American soil: they came, they partied, they played a few games and then … they left. Now though, they’re not just passing through on an or seeing out their careers in MLS. A new wave of stars are putting down roots by investing in America’s professional game.

But it’s not the top league – MLS – that they’re interested in. They’re throwing themselves into second-tier competitions such as the and . They’re either joining fledgling, ambitious outfits, as , or creating new clubs altogether: , while Demba Ba, Eden Hazard, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sow recently co-founded a San Diego club .

Many American fans, to the extent that they think about the lower rungs of professional soccer at all, imagine ropey matches played in front of sparse crowds at small-college stadiums. The reality is that the experience varies widely: FC Cincinnati, for example, regularly pull in more than 20,000 fans. Still: for stars used to playing in massive stadiums to a worldwide audience, why start so small (Drogba’s Phoenix Rising play in a stadium with a capacity of 6,200)? The answer lies not only in the game’s potential in America, but also the idiosyncrasies of Stateside soccer.

For starters, MLS is a single-entity structure. It’s centrally owned and shares revenue among its teams. This business model, created from lessons learned in the aftermath of the supernova-like collapse of the Pelé and Johan Cruyff-era , has ensured the long-term health of the league. Its critics, however, say that “owning” an MLS team really means owning the rights to a team: owners essentially buy membership into the league, and agree to its terms. Likewise, every MLS player technically has a contract with the league, not with his club. For European-based players who’ve spent their lives in the system used by the rest of the world, where branding, commercialization and player transfers are the revenue-generating engines of clubs, this can all seem especially – yes – foreign.

And then there’s the cost: the franchise fee to join MLS is $150m. In addition to that, the league demands that expansion teams play in a soccer-specific stadium. In other words, to simply get a meeting with Major League Soccer requires proof you have over $100m at your disposal; the ability to build or renovate a stadium; and the full cooperation of a city government. And that’s before you put together a team of players technically owned by someone else.

Now compare that with the second-tier. For less than $10m and an agreement to rent a stadium, you’re in business. The most vivid real-world juxtaposition between MLS and the lower leagues is David Beckham’s , while across town, Italian billionaire Riccardo Silva and Paolo Maldini launched Miami FC in the NASL within one year. The club plays at Florida International University’s stadium, employs Alessandro Nesta as its coach, and recently won the league’s first-half championship in only its second season.

But it is in player acquisition and development that the differences are starkest. In transfers involving an MLS player to an outside league, the league office has a seat at the bargaining table — and it’s hard to imagine it wants its best players to leave. (this proportion rises in favor of the club if the player is “homegrown”). But of the club’s takeaway, anything beyond $650,000 must go toward team operations.

In nearly every other league around the world, player movement is one of the main drivers of revenue, since players are contracted to their team current predicament.United find themselves two points off the bottom three places in the league after a 1-0 loss away to Newcastle United.While many believe boss Ole Gunnar S Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona.The teenage defender joined Barca last summer from MVV Maastricht and has regularly been invited to train with De Jong, Lionel Messi and the rest of the first team squad.”He took me aside a little bit that (first) day anolskjaer is out of his depth at United, Neville believes the Glazers and Eds. And in America’s lower leagues, the reality is if a club sells two or three players they’ve developed, they can pay their bills for two years. And it just so happens that places like San Diego, Phoenix and Miami are not only great cities to retire for a moneyed professional athlete – Drogba is said to love life in Arizona, and has brought his family out to live with him – they’re also among the most fertile soccer regions in the country.

“You’ve got Demba Ba and looking at this and going, OK, where’s the most talent in America?” says Eric Wynalda, the TV analyst and former US international. “Well, it might be the Hispanic kids living right next to the border. OK, let’s move there.”

In fact, Ba’s San Diego team arose from an initial attempt to create a youth academy in southern California. In 2013, Alexis Gallice, the son of former France international Jean Gallice, started the French Soccer Institute in San Clemente. According to his associate, Pascal Soares, finding the money was a challenge — as was convincing local youth clubs that they wanted to work with their coaches and players, not steal them.Right call. Right tone. Right time. Kia Joorabchian had to act. The chatter was getting out of hand. It’s been humiliating. Malicious. And all designed to belittle his client, Philippe Coutinho…Someone. Maybe more than one? But there is a heavy inf Eventually the group realized that, for developing talent, a professional team was the way to go. For that, they needed stars with name recognition and money to invest.

They contacted an acquaintance, Alex Gontran, Demba Ba’s adviser. Ba in turn recruited his friends Hazard, Cabaye, Sow and Vagno Chandara, a French futsal player. , intricate network of youth clubs, and a huge hole in the city’s professional sports scene – the NFL’s Chargers recently relocated to LA – made the choice simple. Soares put Ba’s group in touch with local entrepreneur Bob Watkins, who has been involved with developing rugby in the US but was unfamiliar with soccer. He quickly saw an opportunity.

“The day I met Demba, I took them out to a soccer complex [nearby] in Del Mar,” Watkins said. “We pulled up to the field unannounced, and as we walked across the fields there were about 1,000 children playing soccer in ages from 10 to 15. As we walked closer, they all stopped playing soccer and they said, ‘That’s Demba Ba!’ They ran over and basically smothered him, while the coaches were saying, ‘Hey, you gotta go back and play!’ and the referees were blowing their whistles, and parents were saying, ‘Who is this guy?’ I said to myself, ‘There’s something magical about this.’”

After learning about the entrepreneurial limitations of MLS, Watkins said his group agreed that NASL was a better fit for their ambitions. That league, though, . Several clubs left, the league parted ways with the troubled Traffic Sports and reorganized as an owner-run operation. It currently has eight teams, with at least two (San Diego, Orange County, and possibly more to come) scheduled to start next year. The league needs to get back up to 12 teams, and be in three time zones, to have waivers removed by US Soccer that officially recognize NASL as the nation’s second-tier league. From this perspective, it’s hardly a safe investment. Ronaldo certainly couldn’t save the troubled Fort Lauderdale Strikers .

“It was an entrepreneurial risk,” Watkins said of his San Diego project. “And Demba is a very entrepreneurial fellow.” He says Ba and his group saw an untapped market: Americans are good athletes for the most part, and soccer in the US is becoming more organized. What could they accomplish if they applied the French approach to player development to the US?

While Drogba’s and Maldini’s shares of their clubs aren’t public, sources speculate that their ownership stakes are more symbolic than material – the value they bring is in their technical expertise and marketability. But according to Watkins, Ba is actually the lead investor in the San Diego team. He owns the mandated 35% minimum for a lead owner, and Ba and together, the players are majority owners of the team.

But of all the ways for an athlete to spend their wealth, why put it into soccer? Peter Wilt is a longtime soccer executive who’s currently managing director of Club 9 Sports, an investment bank and advisory organization who assisted Ba’s group with its application. He says that investing in second-tier soccer is a long-term strategy.

“There’s opportunity, whether it’s as a business or a challenge,” Wilt says. “They recognize that pro soccer in the US is not a mature industry yet, and there’s an opportunity to invest in it at a relatively low level and build it. To a certain extent, MLS is becoming a mature property, but when you look at lower division soccer in America, there’s tremendous room for growth. And I think these guys recognize that.”

So will any of these player-owned, lower-tier clubs make the leap to MLS, as many of the league’s clubs, such as Minnesota, Orlando, Portland and Vancouver did? That’s exactly what Drogba’s Phoenix side are aiming to do. MLS has visited with the team, and Phoenix is now a fixture on the shortlist of rumored expansion teams. Silva has said elsewhere that he’d consider MLS for his Miami club if the league would change some of its rules.

At the very heart of it though, owning your own soccer team is for enjoyment. Be honest: every fan has dreamed about it at some point. “To these players, the idea of owning a football club just sounds fun,” Wynalda says. “We all chip in a little bit, and we have our own team. We play games. We find talent. We create a culture. And it’s ours. It’s our club. You can’t really say that if you go the MLS route. It’s a franchise that’s part of a bigger plan, but it’s not yours, really.

“Even if you’re not part of the big show, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a show.”

Why Aaron Rodgers is an even greater NFL quarterback than we think

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It’s long been acknowledged by NFs a step away from moving to Tottenham.Barca have made Coutinho available for loan in the past fortnight and had fielded interest from Spurs and Arsenal.The Times says Spurs now have an agreement with Barca about a season-long loan for the midfielderL analysts, fans and coaches alike that quarterbacks take too much blame and too much of the credit. NFL statistics are usually created by the result of the play, which means they are decided by not only the quarterback but also by the receiver who catches – or drops – his passes. When Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Kurt Warner and Drew Brees had their historic seasons, they played with great team-mates, players who didn’t need to be elevated by their quarterback to be productive. That wasn’t the case with Aaron Rodgers last season – and explains why many don’t realize how great the quarterback is as he prepares for his first game of the season this weekend.

Sixty-seven times last season Rodgers threw an accurate pass that was turned into an incompletion by his team-mate. Those 67 plays cost him at least 875 yards, the most in the league, and at least 11 touchdowns, again the most in the league. Explaining Rodgers’ struggles over the first five games of last season – when – is easy. Twenty of his 67 lost receptions came in those games, they cost him at least 273 yards and at least two touchdowns.

Take the play above from Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rodgers finished this game with 199 yards on 34 attempts. This play alone cost him 41 yards after Davante Adams dropped the ball. Not only that, Rodgers did everything perfectly. He bailed out of the pocket as pressure arrived before making an exceptional throw while moving to his left. The defender didn’t knock the ball away from Adams or hit his hands as the ball arrives. His presence alone is enough to make Adams fluff his responsibility.

Adams was a big problem throughout last season. His raw numbers were fine – he caught 12 touchdowns during the regular season – but no other quarterback in the league would have got those numbers from him. Adams cost Rodgers . Twenty-eight teams didn’t lose that many touchdowns to receiver error last year – Adams did it on his own. Rodgers can make a receiver like Adams productive because of his superhuman consistency making difficult plays.

When Rodgers’ receivers mess up, he simply creates another opportunity for a big play. This could be seen during the in last season’s playoffs. Rodgers set up the win with a brilliant throw (). But if we go back two plays before that incredible throw, we can see Cook ruining two more opportunities created by Rodgers’ outrageous skills. Most quarterbacks can’t make those thrchester City are worthy Premier League champions.The Citizens clinched back-to-back titles with Sunday’s win over the Seagulls, finishing one point ahead of Liverpool.And Murray thinks Pep Guardiola were the Premier League’s best team over the courseows once, never mind three times in a row when the game is on the line.

The above play is the first of the final drive. Cook runs down the seam and has safety Byron Jones on his inside shoulder. Rodgers recognizes this and throws a perfect backshoulder pass to Cook. He creates the separation for his tight end by putting the ball in a spot where the defender can’t see it but Cook can grab it. The difficulty of this throw is huge because the quarterback has to time and place the ball perfectly without an angle to work with. Cook had the easiest job but instead of catching the ball he clapped his hands to applaud the throw.

On the second throw, Rodgers is flushed from the pocket, Cook is blanketed in coverage, but the quarterback still puts the ball in the perfect spot. Byron Jones has his hand in front of Cook’s chest but Cook’s hands reach the ball first and he has a clean opportunity to catch the ball – but fails. Another great play from Rodgers, and another missed opportunity by his receiver. Cook eventually made the big play down the sideline to set up the game-winning field goal, but Rodgers is the only quarterback in the league who makes those three throws so consistently that his receivers’ limitations are almost completely ignored.

That precision Rodgers shows off making difficult throws translates to simpler throws too. I created , part of which charts an accuracy percentage. It’s a relatively simple idea. Accuracy percentage doesn’t look at whether the receiver caught the ball or not, it only judges the play based on where the ball was placed. None of the throws shown so far in this article were caught, but all would go down as accurate passes for the purposes of accuracy percentage.

Rodgers ranked third in overall accuracy percentage but when you break the numbers down based on where each pass was thrown, it becomes clear that he was the most accurate passer in the league.

In the above chart there is a random selection of the top quarterbacks from last season. Each column shows off the percentage to that yard range on the field as well as where that percentage ranked league-wide. Rodgers ranks in the top five in four of the six categories and the lowest he drops in any category is seventh. That is astonishing consistency. Brees was the closest to matching Rodgers while the rest of the league looked more like Rivers, Brady and Roethlisberger: quarterbacks who had great strengths in some areas but major weaknesses in others.

With that accuracy it’s no surprise that Rodgers has avoided interceptions at an incredible rate over the course of his career.

Eleven quarterbacks have thrown as many, or more, touchdowns as Rodgers has in his career (297). Of those 11 Rodgers has not only thrown the fewest interceptions (72) but if you doubled his interception total he would . Rodgers has thrown 4,657 passes in his career. He has been intercepted on 1.55% of thominent agent believes players will remain loyal to Manchester City are being treated extremely well over the years.City are in the process of appealing a two-season Champions League ban handed down by UEFA last week after they were found guilty of bose throws. Brady has a 1.85 interception percentage, no other quarterback in history who has thrown at least 4,500 passes . Rodgers is by far the best quarterback in NFL history at taking care of the ball and the Quarterback Catalogue charting re-emphasizes that. In 2015 he threw a pass that should have been intercepted once every 70.2 attempts, almost twice as good as the second-best quarterback, Sam Bradford. In 2016 he threw an interceptable pass once every 40.89 attempts, fifth-best in the league. None of the quarterbacks ahead of him were as productive and none of them consistently threw into tight windows as regularly or with as much success.

That precision plays a big role in Rodgers’ ability to avoid turning the ball over but that’s only part of it. He’s also a very intelligent quarterback, something that is regularly discussed, and possesses rare ability to maximize his pass protection with his footwork, something that is never discussed.

Rodgers has had all this success while playing in a scheme that doesn’t use a lot of play action or create a lot of yards after the catch. Twenty-eight quarterbacks used play action more often than Rodgers last year while 17 gained a higher percentage of their yards after the catch. It’s not a scheme that creates easy reads or changes every week to attack the specific weaknesses of its opponents. The only reason the Packers offense works is because it boasts the best quarterback in the . Quarterbacks in general don’t control as much as is suggested but those at the extremes — the Blake Bortles and Jared Goffs at the bottom, or the Tom Bradys and Aaron Rodgers at the top — can drag down or elevate everyone around them.

Because the NFL focuses more on counting Super Bowls and playoff victories when it comes to evaluating quarterbacks, Rodgers – with his one championship so far – will always be regarded as one of the best quarterbacks of his generation. That’s wrong: he’s the best quarterback of his generation.

Sergio García shines at Masters to raise hopes of end to major drought

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If the weight of experience lurking with intent did not pose such a threat, this Masters could be characterised as a weekend chase for major number one.

Charley Hoffman, , Thomas Pieters and Rickie Fowler head the event at half way on four under par. At differing ages, positions in world ranking and career victory levels, their combined major haul? Zero. Hoffman is the surprise package, Pieters the surly young pretender, García the routine bridesmaid and Fowler the form horse. Cases can be made for each of them but, crucially, for another 25 competitors, too.

The cavalry in pursuit includes Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Adam Scott. Ths always confident the Barcelona starlet would make it.Fati made his debut at 16 for Sunday’s 5-2 defeat of Real Betis.Luis Pérez Mena, the director of the Seville-based Escuela de FútbolPeloteros, coached Fati as a junior and told Efe: “I’ve been e leaders are not likely to enter relaxation mode.

García’s case, in his 71st consecutive major, is without question the most fascinating. The late, great Seve Ballesteros, who lit up Augusta National when claiming two Green Jackets and triggering a European stampede on the Masters, should be celebrating his 60th birthday on Sunday. If García, forever linked to Ballesteros not only on grounds of Spanish nationality but the level of mesmerising talent as demonstrated from his youth, were to prevail here, one of the great golf storylines of our time would have unfolded. does have a habit of throwing them up.

García returned a terrific run, of 21 opening tournament holes without dropping a shot. On Friday he birdied Augusta’s first three for the first time. At the 12th he conjured up a bunker shot from a plugged lie that he considered “hands down, the best of my career”. So far, so good.

One must, nonetheless, give strong consideration to an alternative outcome, the sort García has become ominously accustomed to. García has never made much secret of his indifference towards Augusta National as a venue despite, it must be stressed, always insisting he tries his best to win here. Essentially García believes the Augusta set-up means even good shots are occasionally not properly rewarded.

Matters seemed to be conspiring against him on Friday as a scoreboard error meant he was awarded a seven rather than the five he did produce at the 10th. “The most important thing is I knew where I stood,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t one under for the tournament, I knew I was three.

“Shane Lowry hit two balls to the left and we were looking for one, we couldn’t find it, we found the second one. We are all dressed light coloured pants and blue sweater, so I can see why they might have made the mistake. But it was fine.”

The number was duly amended, Garcia later signing for 69. It should have been better but for a lame birdie attempt from all of 4ft on the 18th.

Further bad news arrives for García from a key statistic. His third-round scoring average at the Masters is the worst of anyone in three decades, at close to 75. Perhaps if he can get through Saturday, when conditions are predicted to be far more favourable than days one and two, even García himself will take his Augusta challenge seriously. Part of the intrigue around the 37-year-old is that, for one so gifted, he never appears fully confident in his own ability.

“In a lot of these shots there’s such a thin line between a good shot being next to the hole and a good shot being 40 feet away and then having a very difficult two putt,” García explained. “You try to not think about those and try to be as positive as possible.

“Things are happening at the moment. I want to make sure that I keep riding that wave and go out there tomorrow and be positive, be like I’ve been the first two days.”

There is a parallel for García to dratheir clash with Villarreal.The Croatian has started just once this season — at Granada — and has now been replaced by Carles Aleña. “Every week I am asked about those not called up,” the coach said. “If Rakitic is not [in the squad], it’s becausew on. Danny Willett, last year’s Masters champion, had claimed the Dubai Desert Classic two months earlier. It was García who lifted that trophy in the Middle East a matter of weeks ago. García is not carrying the Spanish flag alone. Jon Rahm’s outstanding 2017 shows no sign of slowing down, the rookie signing for a 70 to sit at one under par.

McIlroy was the victim of dreadful misfortune on the closing hole. An apparently perfect approach shot from 140 yards r Milan are ready to slap in a bid for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen.Off contract in June, the Dane has refused to consider new terms proposed by Spurs and is ready to leave the Londoners.PSG have been in contact, however Corriere dello Sporhit the pin, causing the ball to bound back down the fairway. McIlroy could understandably barely conceal his rage at making a bogey from there, meaning a 73 and plus one aggregate.

The Northern Irishman has not fully kicked into gear, a fact that should give him confidence given a position within touching distance of the lead with half of the Masters to play.

McIlroy has his mind set on a big Saturday move. “I’m a little disappointed with what happened at the last but these things happen and, if I can get off to a fast start tomorrow, a couple under through three, I’ll be right there,” he said.

“There are still 36 more holes left to go, a long way in this tournament. I know what can happen, good and bad, around this golf course.”

Willett was among those to encounter the negative, with a defence that ended on Friday at plus seven. A quadruple eight on the 1st fatally impacted on his cause.

A year ago Ian Woosnam insisted his Masters playing days were over on what marked the 25th anniversary of his victoryhere.

The Welshman, now 59, duly returned for 36 holes, his Friday 78 meaning a missed cut at 10 over par. “My wife made me come back,” Woosnam said. But will he – or she – do so again? “I haven’t ruled it out.” Wonderfully confusing.

Innovation helps Emirates Team New Zealand take 3-0 lead in America’s Cup

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Peter Burling and Emirates Team are threatening to sail — and cycle — away with the America’s Cup.

The 26-year-old Burling calmly steered the New Zealanders’ 50-foot catamaran to two more dominating victories against Jimmy Spithill and two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA on Sunday to remain undefeated in the showdown on the Great Sound.

Although they’ve won four races, the Kiwis lead Oracle 3-0. Because Oracle won the qualifiers, the challenger started the 35th America’s Cup match with a negative point.

Burling, an America’s Cup rookie who has won Olympic gold and silver medals with grinder Blair Tuke, steered the Kiwis to victories of 49 seconds and 1 minute 12 seconds on the turquoise waters of the Great Sound.

Team New Zealand need to win four more races to return the Auld Mug to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in d ahead of Manchester United in the battle for Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes.Real Madrid are also in contact with Sporting, though it’s Spurs which are regarded as favourites, says Record.Spurs made a €60m offer last week, which was turnedAuckland, where it resided from 1995-2003. Oracle need to win seven to keep the trophy in the hands of .

Oracle Team USA now have five days to try to come with some answers to counter the design innovations of the scrappy New Zealanders, who are getting by with much less funding. Racing resumes on Saturday and Sunday.

This is anston Reid is set to make a playing return with New Zealand.Reid has been sidelined by a knee injury since March last year, but is poised to pull on his boots once again in Dublin on Thursday evening as he captains New Zealand in their friendly clash rematch , when Team New Zealand, then skippered by Dean Barker, reached match point at 8-1 before Spithill lead Oracle Team USA to eight straight victories on San Francisco Bay to retain the oldest trophy in international sports.

So far, the New Zealanders and their cycling grinding system have proven too fast for Oracle in light, shifty wind. They’ve also made the right choices on which foils to use on the ends of their daggerboards. The New Zealanders used the same foils they did in speeding to two victories on Saturday while the American-backed crew appeared to use two different foils.

Burling and his team are using a “cyclor” grinding system. They’ve built four stationary cycling stations into each hull to tap leg power instead of traditional arm power from the grinders to power the hydraulic systems that control the wing mainsail and the daggerboards. Simon van Velthooven, who won a bronze medal in cycling at the London Olympics, was aboard for Race 3. Olympic rowing champion Joe Sullivan replaced him for Race 4.

Spithill, an Australian, is trying to win his third straight America’s Cup before he turns 38.

Oracle made an unforced error when its catamaran came off its foils early on the downwind second leg. That was enough for Burling to speed awa.City assistant manager Arteta is in advanced talks to take the manager’s job at Arsenal this week.And should Arteta leave the champions, former Feyenoord coach Van Bronckhorst is available to step in to fill the void.The Dutchman is now part of the y around the seven-leg course for a 49-second victory. In Race 4, the Kiwis held a slim lead at the first mark and simply sped away.

Phillies prospect Matt Imhof quits baseball at 23 after losing right eye

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Philadelphia Phillies pitching prospect Matt Imhof has announced his retirement from baseball at the age of 23, just seven months after losing his right eye in a freak training accident.

, Imhof confirmed he was walking away from the game young, but insisted that it wasn’t because of his injury. “My injury is not whcelotti can bring the glory days back to Goodison Park.Sharp’s goals helped the Toffees to two titles, an FA Cup triumph and success in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in a ­decade in which Merseyside led the way, Liverpool winning the First Division at’s stopping me,” Imhof wrote. “The truth is I need a change of pace after 20 years of doing the same thing.”

In June last year, Imhof was taking part in a resistance-training exercise in Florida, where he was playing for the Clearwater Thrashers, when a metal hook broke away from the wall and slammed into his face. He fractured his nose, broke two orbital bones and severely injured his right eye. “Everything went numb as I hit the ground screaming. I could feel the warmth of the blood running down my face and taste it in my mouth,” he wro Marc-Andre Ter Stegen insists there’s no problem between the players and the board.Gerard Pique has accused board members of planting stories in the local press blaming the players for their poor start to the season.But after victory in the Championte.

Doctors in Miami did their best to repair the damage to his e Arsenal legend has just taken charge of Roots Hall.He told the Mirror, “I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a firefighter. I had a couple of interviews in the summer, at clubs whose natural habitat was mid-table, but this job was like a ­boomeraneye, but after learning of the seriousness of the injury, Imhof chose to have it removed. He now wears a prosthetic eye.

published on 30 June, five days after the accident, Imhof revealed the extent of the damage.

“Doctors informed me that the damage to my eye was extreme, and essentially that my eye had been crushed like a grape,” he wrote. “The doctors told me they were going to do everything possible, but in all likelihood I would never regain the sight in my right eye. After discussions with my family, it was decided that the best chance I had to live a normal life was to have my right eye removed and a prosthetic eye put it.”

In his ESPN essay, Imhof said it had been a difficult few months, and recounted the tears and the anger and confusion – but said he was determined not to let the injury define him.

“I had two options,” he wrote. “I could let this injury define me. I could be angry – no one would blame me for that. I could be depressed, feel sorry for myself and live in the past. I could let the rest of my life be defined by the worst day of my life. Or, I could pick myself up, dust myself off and move on.”

Imhof was taken 47th in the 2014 draft. He played two-and-a-half minor league seasons with four different teams, and posted a 13-10 record with a 3.69 ERA.

“I am blessed that I was able to play this game for 18 years and will never forget the lessons it taught me along the way,” he said. “Although I am stepping away from playing the game, baseball will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Alex Rodriguez to be released by Yankees, ending controversial career

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Alex Rodriguez, one of the most talented and controversial players in the history of baseball, will be released on Friday by the effectively ending his playing career.

He will take up an advisory role with the team after his final game on Friday night.

The New York Yankees slugger announced the news at a press conference on Sunday morning, bringing an end to in which he recorded 696Paul Pogba about the public criticism from his agent Mino Raiola.Raiola recently held an inteBesiktas are pushing for Burnley defender Ben Gibson.Sky Sports says Burnley have rejected a loan offer – with a view to buy – from Besiktas for Gibson. The former Middlesbrough captain struggled to force his way into Sean Dyche’s team last season after suffering two separate hernia injuries. Gibson arrived from Boro for £14m last summer.rview with Italian publication La Repubblica, in which he stated he would not send any of his other clients to United.He also insisted United are “a club out home runs (), 2,084 RBIs and a batting average of .295. He was a 14-time All Star, a three-time American League MVP and led the AL in home runs on five occasions. He won his sole World Series with the Yankees in 2009.

“We all want to keep playing forever,” said a tearful Rodriguez on Sunday. “But it doesn’t work that way.”

Rodriguez also reflected on the game he is stepping away from. “This is a tough day. I love this game and I love this team,” he said. “And today I’m saying goodbye.”

However, the 41-year-old has been in a slump this season, batting just .204 with nine home runs in 216 at-bats. The signs that Rodriguez’s career was coming to an end have been clear since the end of last month. He has started only once in 14 games since 22 July, and has homered just twice since 3 June. He is owed $21m this season and was due to make $21m in 2017, the final season of a $275m, 10-year deal with the Yankees. It is believed the Yankees are contractually obliged to pay Rodriguez his full salary for both 2016 and 2017.

Many considered Rodriguez’s deal, the biggest in baseball history when it was signed, an albatross round the neck of the Yankees who have been paying a huge salary to an ageing player.

“After spending several days discussing this plan with Alex, I am pleased that he will remain a part of our organization moving forward and transition into a role in which I know he can flourish,” said Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. “We have an exciting group of talented young players at every level of our system. Our job as an organization is to utilize every resource possible to allow them to reach their potential, and I expect Alex to directly contribute to their growth and success. runs through his blood.

“He’s a tireless worker and an astute student of the game. Alex has already proven to be a er Tuesday’s Champions League win.Saul Niguez’s fourth minute goal was enough to hand Atleti the advantage in the last-16 tie.Liverpool were left fuming when Diego Simeone’s men celebrated wildly at the final whistle.And on Wednesday Atletico were kewilling and effective mentor to many players who have come through our clubhouse, and I am confident that this next phase of his baseball life will bring out the best in Alex and the next generation of Yankees.”

But while Rodriguez’s talents are undeniable his career will always be associated with performance enhancing drugs, something that will always raise questions about the legitimacy of his remarkable achievements. He for his part in , in which MLB players were accused of involvement with performance enhancing drugs allegedly supplied by the now defunct South Florida anti-aging clinic.

“No matter what happens, I’m at peace with myself,” Rodriguez said on Tuesday. “I think I can contribute. I think I can help out in the clubhouse but if not, I have two beautiful daughters waiting for me in Miami.”

Rodriguez returned last season, and enjoyed initial success before a late slump left him with a .250 average for the year with 33 home runs and 86 RBIs.

Swansea City’s owners to make huge profit with sale to US investors

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The owners of , whose partnership with the supporters trust has long been hailed as ideal for a British football club, are set to make millions by selling their shares to American investors. The deal, signed in principle by the chairman, Huw Jenkins, values Swansea at around £100m, exactly 100 times more than the £1m paid for the club by the nine shareholders, including the trust, during and after a financial crisis in 2002.

The agreement proposes the eight shareholders apart from the trust – which owns 21.1% of the club and whose elected director, Huw Cooze, was furious at being kept unaware of the negotiations – sell most of their shares to a consortium led by the US sports team investors Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien. Intense discussions since have led to suggestions not all the shareholders will sell, and Levien and Kaplan may buy only a 60% stake, but their valuation, for a club awaiting the next tranche of vast TV fortunes starting next season, remains around £100m.

So Jenkins’ 13.2% stake, which cost him £125,000 to buy, is valued at £13.2m. He is understood not to be planning to sell all his shares and isFormer Premier League manager Neil Warnock has hailed the improvement in Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck.Warnock says he was offered the Scot when in charge of Cardiff City.He told talkSPORT: “I think they had been tempted to let him go two or three times.“I had his agent on a while ago saying ‘I think he’ll be leaving the club’ but what’s he done? He’s done it on the pitch. He’s worked his socks off, scored important goals and been part of that dressing room.“They’ve got a great chance of getting in Europe. An absolutely great chance.” likely to remain the chairman if the takeover completes, because he is widely credited with having run the club with great acumen, alongside the other directors. The local hotelier Martin Morgan and his wife, Louisa, are the largest shareholders with a 23.7% stake, which cost £225,000 to buy; it is now valued by Kaplan and Levien at around £23.7m. Martin Morgan is said not to be intending to sell, and Levien may try to have separate discussions with Louisa Morgan, who controls more than half of their stake.

One of the original 2002 investors, the South African businessman Brian Katzen, owns 10.5% of the club, as does his business partner, Jeffrey Crevoiserat; the stakes cost each man £100,000 when Swansea were floundering near the bottom of the Football League at a rundown Vetch Field, and are now valued at £10.5m each. Robert Davies, another original investor, also a financial backer of Swansea’s Ospreys rugby union region which shares the Liberty Stadium, also has a 10.5% stake.

The Dutch investor John van Zweden, and Leigh Dineen, formerly the trust’s elected director who bought his own shares for £50,000, both have stakes of just over 5%, now valued at £5m.

The millions to be made by the shareholders who do sell follow £4m already paid to them all in dividends over the past four years – £1m, in effect their original stakes repaid, each year from 2012-15 since Swansea have been in the Premier League. Paid proportionately according to their stakes, Jenkins has received more than £500,000; Martin and Louisa Morgan £900,000; Katzen, Crevoiserat and Davies £400,000 each, and Van Zweden and Dineen around £200,000 each.

The trust, for its 21.1%, has been paid more than to catch up with Arsene Wenger over the weekend.The pair are attending a UEFA educational program.Arshavin played for the Gunners between 2009 and 2013.Arsène Wenger has been photographed with Andrey Arshavin at an event in Paris. The Russian joine £800,000, which it has used to buy new shares and for a “rainy day” fund. Established as a mutual, democratic, not-for-profit body during Swansea’s 2001 financial crisis, with the help of the fan-ownership initiative Supporters Direct, the trust’s members who have provided contributions for the £200,000 investment cannot cash in personally if the trust ever sells.

Cooze, who has told he was “pretty damned hurt” at the secrecy of the negotiations, is now seeking to rebuild bridges with his co-directors and safeguard the trust’s position. Levien’s revised suggestion to buy 60% is intended to show the trust a preparedness to work with them, after supporters’ hostile reaction to the proposed acquisition of 75.1% control.

Cooze and the trust’s chairman, Phil Sumbler, say they knew the other shareholders would sell at some point and are sanguine about them making so much money. They mostly want to know whether the sale to Levien and Kaplan, which Jenkins he believed “will help the club progress on and off the field”, will bring actual investment into the club itself.

“There is no point in a deal without money for the club; that would just be a sale for the shareholders’ personal gain,” Sumbler said. He pointed out that supporters’ unpaid work and donations have contributed to Swansea’s remarkable revival over the past 15 years and massive increase in financial value. “The shareholders are mostly lifelong fans, and we have always believed throughout our partnership with them that they have the best interests of the club at heart.”

Levien, a lawyer, is the managing general partner of Washington’s Major League Soccer team, DC United, having previously been involved at three NBA basketball franchises, including the Memphis Grizzlies, to which he introduced Kaplan as an investor. Kaplan, the principal of , is thought to be the largest proposed investor in the acquisition, with several others so far not named.

Levien has been assuring people they have substantial money and are not financing the deal with debt.

In meetings with the shareholders in Swansea last week, Levien is understood to have emphasised their plan is to develop the club but has not made firm promises that the consortium will invest new money of their own for signing players or expanding the stadium. Like other US investors increasingly taking over clubs, Levien and Kaplan are attracted by the Premier League’s success, the huge TV income, expected to be £8bn across the league for the three years from next season, and the prospect of growth in popularity and earnings, particularly in America, over the next 10-15 years.

The US culture of sports team ownership is much more avowedly commercial than British football’s traditional local “benefactor” shareholders, who have mostly sold out in the Premier League years. Investors in American sports seek to make money by growing their franchises commercially and therefore increasing their value, and that of their own stakes. Levien and Kaplan’s plan is to do the same at Swansea, and promoting the club in the US is thought to be a key feature of the proposed deal.

All of which is a world away from the crumbling, loss-making club the shareholders, galvanised by the trust and wider supporter efforts, bought for £20,000 in January 2002, putting the rerney jokes that he was at a local park when he got a call about his move being complete.The Scottish left back made a deadline day move to the Premier League giants from Celtic.When asked about how he spent the past 24 hours before the finalising of st of the money in to pay off debt. Chroniclers of Swansea’s spectacular upward flight since occasionally miss out two key boosts: a company voluntary arrangement, by which creditors settled for only 5p in every pound, and the great gift of the £27m Liberty Stadium, which is still owned by the local council.

Now, as thousands of jobs locally are , the Swansea City shareholders’ proposed gains highlight again modern football’s stand-out riches, in increasingly post-industrial cities where the clubs evolved more than a century ago.

Jenkins and Dineen declined to comment on the proposed sale, citing confidentiality agreements. Katzen said of his original motivation that he was keen on football and the challenge, and said they were all determined to make progress and run the club as a business, but never envisaged the success they have had, and these exponential profits.

“It has been 15 years, a lot of work; it’s not a quick buck,” Katzen said. “Nobody expected to get anything out of the club at the beginning.”

US Open 2015: order of play for Saturday 5 September

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Play begins on all courts at 11am ET/4pm BST

Arthur Ashe Stadium

(5) Petra Kvitova (Cze) v (32) Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Svk), (29) Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) v (2) Roger Federer (Swi), (20) Victoria Azarenka (Blr) v (11) Angelique Kerber (Ger), Shelby Rogers (USA) v (2) Simona Halep (Rom), (30) Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) v (3) Andy Murray (Gbr)

Louis Armstrong Stadium

(18) Andrea Petkovic (Ger) v Johanna Konta (Gbr), (13) John Isner (USA) v Jiri Vesethout each other.Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes have been excellent playing up front together this season.”A lot has been made of me playing two centre forwards, but I think centre forwards are the best players, in that it’s the hardest job, so if therly (Cze), Varvara Lepchenko (USA) v Mona Barthel (Ger), (5) Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi) v Ruben Bemelmans (Bel)

Grandstand

(24) Bernard Tomic (Aus) v (12) Richard Gasquet (Fra), (16) Sara Errani (Ita) v (22) Samantha Stosur (Aus), (20) Viktor Troicki (Ser) v Donald Young (USA), Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Cze) v (24) Sabine Lisicki (Ger)

Cour new goal-kick rules.A significant change is coming to the Premier League this season, with defenders allowed to come into their own penalty box during a goal-kick.Opposition players must remain outside the box, but can stand right on the edge to attt 5

Eric Butorac (USA) & Scott Lipsky (USA) v Gilles Muller (Lux) & Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (Pak), (1) Martina Hingis (Swi) & Sania Mirza (Ind) v Timea Bacsinszky (Swi) & Chia-Jung Chuang (Tpe), Jeremy Chardy (Fra) & Lukasz Kubot (Pol) v (9) Daniel Nestor (Can) & Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra), Sachia Vickery (USA) & Francis Tiafoe (USA) v Su-Wei Hsieh (Tpe) & Henri Kontinen (Fin), Eugenie Bouchard (Can) & Nick Kyrgios (Aus) v (4) Martina Hingis (Swi) & Leander Paes (Ind)

Court 6

Aliaksandr Bury (Blr) & Denis Istomin (Uzb) v Dominic Inglot (Gbr) & Robert Lindstedt (Swe), (3) Timea Babos (Hun) & Kristina Mladenovic (Fra) v Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) & Magdalena Rybarikova (Svk), Frantisek Cermak (Cze) & Jiri Vesely (Cze) v (3) Jean-Julien Rojer (Ned) & Horia Tecau (Rom)

Court 7

(7) Marcel Granollers (Spa) & Marc Lopez (Spa) v Lucas Pouille (Fra) & Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukr), (6) Rohan Bopanna (Ind) & Florin Mergea (Rom) v Mariusz Fyrstenberg (Pol) & Santiago Gonzalez (Mex), Lisa Raymond (USA) & Jamie Murray (Gbr) v (6) Yaroslava Shvurgen Klopp admits he’s a big fan of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.The Reds go to Leicester on Boxing Day having won the Club World Cup.”We will try [to stop him],” Klopp said of Vardy.”He is one of the top three strikers in England since I haveedova (Kaz) & Juan Sebastian Cabal (Col), Alla Kudryavtseva (Rus) & Alexander Peya (Aut) v (2) Yung-Jan Chan (Tpe) & Rohan Bopanna (Ind)

Court 11

(4) Marcin Matkowski (Pol) & Nenad Zimonjic (Ser) v Marco Cecchinato (Ita) & Andreas Seppi (Ita), Samuel Groth (Aus) & Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) v Colin Fleming (Gbr) & Treat Huey (Phi), Eugenie Bouchard (Can) & Elena Vesnina (Rus) v (6) Raquel Kops-Jones (USA) & Abigail Spears (USA), (11) Sara Errani (Ita) & Flavia Pennetta (Ita) v Asia Muhammed (USA) & Maria Sanchez (USA)

Court 13

(17) Karin Knapp (Ita) & Roberta Vinci (Ita) v Margarita Gasparyan (Rus) & Alexandra Panova (Rus), Adrian Mannarino (Fra) & Fabrice Martin (Fra) v (15) Raven Klaasen (Rsa) & Rajeev Ram (USA), Leonardo Mayer (Arg) & Joao Sousa (Por) v Federico Del Bonis (Arg) & Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (Arg)

Court 17

(6) Tomas Berdych (Cze) v (31) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa), (26) Flavia Pennetta (Ita) v Petra Cetkovska (Cze), Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) & Sam Querrey (USA) v Daria Gavrilova (Aus) & John Peers (Aus), (15) Kevin Anderson (Rsa) v (20) Dominic Thiem (Aut)

Deflategate: Tom Brady’s four-game suspension upheld by NFL

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Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension over the Deflategate scandal has been upheld, and the Super Bowl champions will be without their best player for a quarter of the regular season.

The league said in a statement Tuesday that “Brady wre beaten 3-1 by AFC Bournemouth thanks to goals from Harry Wilson, Callum Wilson and a Pascal Gross own-goal, and the Australian says it is vital the team uses this break in action to learn where they can improve.He said, “It was disappointing becas aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL’s Official Playing Rules,” based on evidence presented at an appeal hearing and the 243-page report compiled jointly by executive vice-president Jeff Pash and prominent attorney Ted Wells.

NFL commissioner , who heard the appeal, cited “important new information disclosed by Brady and his representatives in connection with the hearing” that had previously been withheld.

The league confirmed that Brady “directed the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed” on the day of his 6 March meeting with Wells and his colleagues, adding the destruction of the cell phone was not disclosed until 18 June, or nearly four months after the electronic information (including nearly 10,000 text messages) had been initially requested.

“The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relvant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs,” the league said.

The NFL’s report into the Deflategate scandal, , had found “it is more probable than not” that at least two Patriots employees improperly deflated footballs in the team’s over the Indianapolis Colts and that Brady was “at least generally aware” of the wrongdoing.

That led to a four-game suspension for Bradinsists he’s happy to stay with Manchester City next season.Despite there being just over a year to run on his current deal, the midfielder says he wants to stay”Personally, I do not set a deadline for day X or Y, I’m relaxed as I still have a year. y and a $1m fine for the Patriots. The team was also stripped of two draft picks.

It’s now expected that Brady will challenge the as and they have been unsuccessful in their search thus far.Names such as Chris Hughton and Lee Bowyer are being linked to the club.According to Sky Sports, West Brom want Northern Ireland boss O’Neill to take the job.He has already met with the club’ppeal in federal court. An NFL Players Association source that Brady’s argument for a reversal would center on five points:

The league’s policy for ball inflation pertains to club personnel and not players and thus doesn’t apply to Brady.The Wells Report’s finding that Brady was “at least generally aware” of the wrongdoing is an insufficient legal standard.If it’s determined the league’s policy for ball inflation did apply to Brady, he was issued a punishment without precedent, which is illegal under the collective bargaining agreement.The NFL will argue the punishment was arbitrary citing the example of the Minnesota Vikings, who last year received a letter from the league and no further reprimand after being caught playing balls in a dryer.The NFL doesn’t have proper techniques and standards for measuring the inflation and deflation of footballs.

While the Patriots accepted their punishment, Brady chose to contest his suspension with the backing of the NFLPA.