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‘I’m saying goodbye’: Maria Sharapova announces tennis retirement

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, who announced her retirement from tennis on Wednesday, will be remembered in many corners of her sport with respect more than affection – and it will not worry her much at all.

The 32-year-old Russian who arrived in America from Sochi with her father in 1994 as refugees from the poison of Chernobyl – with $700 and not a word of English between them – won five grand slam titles and was ranked the highest earner in women’s sport for 11 years in a row. But it is her icy demeanour and failure to build on an early victory over Serena Williams that grab the imagination as much as those fine achievements.

Sharapova, who beat Williams to when just 17, then lost 20 of their following 21 matches, was never universally popular in the locker room. She cared little about courting popularity, but she had the professional respect of her rivals for her single-mindedness and fighting spirit. Petra Kvitova, who beat Sharapova to win Wimbledon in 2011, was one of her few rivals to give her warm praise on Wednesday, describing her as a, “big champion”.

The Czech, who was sidelined from tennis after a knife attack in her apartment in 2016 but has returned to the upper reaches of the game, : “I know how tough it is to come back and play. She has been injured a lot. Of course she wanted probably bigger success than … her body allowed her to have.” She added: “It was a pleasure to be with her on the tour, sharing the court with her. It was always great battles when we play together. So it’s been always nice to share the court with her and I do always have respect to her.”

More than most players on the tennis circuit, Sharapova divided opinion. There were many players who objected to her early return from a drugs ban in 2017, after she had . Sharapova, who protested her innocence, had her two-year ban cut to 15 months, but was never the same player in a comeback that stuttered from one disappointing setback to the next, on the court and off. Her last tournament win was in a low-ranked event in China three years ago.

Long-time problems with her serving shoulder recurred and, towards the end, she was losing to lesser players on a regular basis. There was a suspicion among some of her rivals and critics that she was playing merely for publicity to drive her many commr Kostas Manolas recognises they’re underdogs facing Lazio this weekend.Manolas admits Lazio are having an “extraordinary season”.“We’ll give everything we’ve got to pick up points. It’s a very complicated time for Napoli, but the only way out is tercial interests, although she claimed she played for the love of the game and the competition. That was certainly evident in her trademark screeching and her relentless pursuit of lost causes on court, mainly from the baseline and with a two-handed backhand that was among the best in tennis. She made the most of the weapons she had – including a powerful serve early in her career until injury struck on a regular basis – and was rarely found close to the net. Hers was a game of calculation rather than inspira the battle for exciting Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare.The youngster is rated among the best prospects emerging in French football.LOSC president Gerard Lopez is ready to sell land La Provence says a move to England is likely with United and Spution.

In her last match, a at the Australian Open in January, Sharapova was ranked 373 in the world, a long way from her five separate reigns as world No 1, the first of them in 2005. It was her third first-round exit from a major in a row.

However, five grand slam titles – encompassing all the four venues, on clay, grass and hardcourt – and career earnings of $38.7m tell a story of longevity and persistence, which Sharapova regarded as her greatest asset.

Her rivalry with the younger of the two Williams sister was fierce but doomed – and it defined Sharapova’s struggle. Their last encounter – in the first round of the 2019 US Open, when Sharapova needed pain killers to get on court and could win only two games – summed up the physical decline of the Russian.

“Behind closed doors, 30 minutes before taking the court, I had a procedure to numb my shoulder to get through the match,” , her chosen platform to confirm her retirement. “I’ve had multiple surgeries – once in 2008; another procedure last year – and s missing Champions League qualification is a frustrating blow.The Gunners missed their chance after being beaten by Chelsea in the Europa League final.Asked if it was painful to be in the Europa League again, Arsenal midfielder Xhaka said: “Yeah, of pent countless months in physical therapy. Just stepping on to the court that day felt like a final victory, when of course it should have been merely the first step toward victory. I share this not to garner pity, but to paint my new reality: My body had become a distraction.”

It always was. Sharapova regularly turned back questions about her looks as irrelevant, and protested that her many fashion shoots did not form the centrepiece of her career.

“Behind the photo shoots and the pretty tennis dresses, [the courts] exposed my imperfections – every wrinkle, every drop of sweat,” she wrote. “They tested my character, my will, my ability to channel my raw emotions into a place where they worked for me instead of against me. Between their lines, my vulnerabilities felt safe.”

Saracens front an American gold rush still seeking the nugget of success

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The American gold rush is showing no signs of slowing down. Last week the Champions Cup organisers were the latest to announce plans to plant a flag on American soil, the Pro14 is casting a covetous eye Stateside, the Six Nations and the British & Irish Lions too. Ireland return to Chicago this autumn, having largely based their bid to host the 2023 World Cup on a promise to break America.

The list goes on: in June, the Sevens World Cup took place in San Francisco in July and in the immediate aftermath, World Rugby encouraged the USA to bid for the 2027 World Cup. Premiership Rugby solidified its relationship at the start of this season when Gallagherce James says he grew up a Blues supporter.The 20-year-old has excelled since returning to west London after a spell on loan with Wigan Athletic.Discussing growing up with siblings Josh and Lauren, he told Chelsea magazine: “We all used to play every took over as its title sponsor. The American market, it seems, is considered an endless source of riches.

Look a little closer and the pitfalls of rugby’s search for Sutter’s Mill are all too evident. Wales’s victory over the Springboks was a washout. The Sevens World Cup generated huge revenues but considerable losses for USA Rugby, which has undergone an overhaul amid the financial plight of its commercial arm, Rugby International Marketing, in which the Rugby Football Union and were investors. There is always a danger of killing the golden goose.

All of which Sport says an offer worth £8.9million has been lodged to commence the bidding on Benrahma.Brentford are braced for a number of clubs showing an interest in the 23-year-old Algerian.In his first year at Griffin Park, Benrahma smashed 11 goals and 17 brings us to the Stoop. Harlequins play Saracens at 7.30 on Saturday night as the first Premiership match to be screened live on NBC’s main channel. There will no matcA coach. The club announced the decision midday Monday. Franc Artiga, from Juvenil B, takes over the role.Valdes’s dismissal was a widely known ‘secret’ since Friday. The coach had an argument with Patrick Kluivert, the head of youth football and thah staged in the US this season, despite a four-year deal agreed last May – the next is likely to be in 2020 – so this is Rugby’s day in the sun. A chance to cement its place in the American landscape.

Ordinarily Premiership Rugby is shown on NBC Sports or Gold service but Saturday’s match is the first club fixture on free-to-air TV in the US. It will be shown at 2.30pm ET and the hope is that – with NBC demonstrating a commitment to broadcasting rugby, having acquired Six Nations and World Cup rights – viewing figures back up the optimism that abounds. “It’s a massive opportunity for us to cast a wider net,” says the New York-born former England international since 2016. “We’ve had a good two-year base, growing our ex-pat, traditional audience but now we have the opportunity to showcase the Premiership brand to a wide audience and pull in new fans – that’s our big emphasis here.”

This is a big deal for Premiership Rugby because of the huge reach NBC possesses – 116 million homes according to the former Bath, Leicester and USA No 8 Dan Lyle, who broadcasts alongside Corbisiero. On both a domestic and international level, administrators have talked plenty recently about unlocking commercial opportunities and unquestionably, this is a shop window for Premiership Rugby. “It’s about organic growth but we’re hoping it will accelerate our curve a little bit and the proof will be in the coming weeks,” says Lyle, the director of the promoter AEG Rugby. “Hopefully, if we get good numbers we can have more windows in the future.”

Rugby may have been identified as the fast-growing team sport in the US but it must be said that short-termism, and with it attempts to make a quick buck, have hindered progress. As Corbisiero says: “If you look in the past, there are some examples where people have been guilty of that but when you’re starting in a market from scratch, there is no best practice or the right way to do it. Sometimes we’ve had to make some mistakes and experience growing pains to get where we are now.”

Premiership Rugby says it is in for the long haul. If its success is to measured by attendances at matches hosted in New York (2016) and Philadelphia (2017) it has been a failure but Dom Hayes, the Premiership Rugby commercial director, argues otherwise. “We’ve tried to be the opposite of the flash in the pan scenario,” he says. “In Philly, everyone focuses on the crowd size but in the week leading up to that we had coaching programmes up and down the eastern seaboard and referee groups coming in to share expertise and best practice. We’re at the very beginning of the journey.”

The quality of the product will determine how well it sells and another try-fest on Saturday, in keeping with the start to the season, should help. “People recognise who are as the defending champions,” Corbisiero says. “There’s almost a Patriots-esque vibe to them. It’s a great story to tell.” There are few better placed to tell it, provided the audience is listening.

Los Angeles FC mark arrival with Hollywood ending to open new stadium

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On a grimy corner of downtown , LAFC were selling a dream from the unpromising surroundings of a warehouse adjacent to a freeway underpass.

Construction had only just begun on the 20-month project to create a new 22,000-seater stadium on the site of the former LA Memorial Sports Arena, and the freshly-launched club needed something to show potential supporters other than a building plot.

A couple of miles away from their home ground in-the-making, LAFC created their Experience Center. The surroundings were underwhelming, but the message was overwhelming. Visiting Angelinos received a thorough briefing on the club’s plans and were able to envisage the new $350m home ground twill monitor Nicolas Pepe’s progress in training before deciding if he will face Newcastle United this weekend.The £72m signing did not play in Sunday’s loss to Barcelona, with Emery confirming he stayed behind to train in London.Speaking after the hrough 3D models and virtual reality films.

“I took the tour and I was hooked. I paid my $100 deposit straightaway,” fan Hector Marrujo reminisces as he took his inaugural journey to the Banc of California Stadium on Sunday.

“I’m Mexican so I’ve always supported Club America, but I never likefielder Sean Longstaff has dismissed critics of his form this season.The North-Shields born midfielder has drawn criticism from some as this season’s performances fail to hit the heights of the 2018-19 campaign.The 22-year-old reveals that he is welld the Galaxy – even the name ‘Galaxy’ has always seemed lame to me – and LAFC are actually in the city. I don’t have to travel to Carson, there’s an LA zip code. But what really got me was this is something new and exciting. There’s a vision with young, exciting players.”

The 17,500 season ticket holders who took that leap of faith were rewarded on Sunday evening, as the LAFC dream became a reality.

Downtown Los Angeles’ first professional open-air sporting venue since Dodger Stadium opened its doors in 1962 was not graced by a classic opening fixture, although there was an ear-splitting finale after captain Laurent Ciman’s stoppage time free-kick was haplessly spilled by Seattle Sounders keeper Stefan Frei.

It may have been a slightly comical opening goal at the stadium after LAFC had largely huffed and puffed in their attempts to break down the 2016 Cup winners. But that’s five wins out of seven Western Conference games now. There has been no teething period for Bob Bradley’s side.

“It’s nice not to inaugurate the stadium with a 0-0. Maybe someone was looking down on us!” said a beaming Bradley afterwards.

However, this was about more than 90 minutes. After playing their opening six games away from home (although one of those was the LA derby), this was the day where it felt that Major League Soccer’s newest franchise had truly arrived.

Well, it was more touchdown than take-off after Navy Seals parachuted onto the turf carrying the match ball. The expected pre-match palava continued with fireworks, a fan-led rendition of the national anthem and, oh yes, co-owner Will Ferrell carrying a trained falcon called Olly onto the pitch sporting an LAFC headdress.

The gold and black clad fanbase didn’t need any fancy gimmicks to capture their attention, though. Whether it’s the geographical advantage that LAFC possess over neighbors Galaxy (who are 10 miles away in the outlying city of Carson) or the idea of a new, fresh and exciting venture, supporters have become instantly invested in a team boasting a history of just seven competitive games.

The rowdy safe standing terraced North Stand had an air of the Bundesliga to it, as members of the ‘3253’ supporters group bounced and waved frantically to the rhythm of a bass drum orchestra.

Although there was little slickness on show against Seattle, LAFC’s open, attacking philosophy will surely attract even more supporters after Bradley’s men have averaged more than two goals per game during the season’s formative stages.

It comes at the cost of defensive rigidity. Yes, LAFC registered a third clean sheet of the campaign, but they shipped 13 in the other four games. There is a definite air of susceptibility to the back three: the Sounders spurning two glorious opportunities within the opening 10 minutes to silence the excitable home crowd.

But in a front three of Diego Rossi, Marco Urena and Carlos Vela, LAFC possess an attack arguably good enough to rival reigning MLS ch revelation in the new book of BVB chief Hans-Joachim Watzke – ‘REAL LIEBE – end of Leben mit dem BVB’.The Reds manager is quoted, stating: “As a lifesaver when the club really needs my help. “Why wouldn’t I do it? It’s just nice to get that chance. ampions Toronto. Vela, in particular, shines bright in his ability to persistently find pockets of space and dictate proceedings in the final third.

Bradley said: “We’re not Barcelona yet. Our football’s not perfect, but we go out every game and try to play. Every team has to come up with its identity and its way of playing, but I think it’s clear we’ll try to continue going in that direction.”

General manager John Thorrington deserves enormous credit for putting together such an attacking line-up. LAFC’s 30-strong ownership group of Hollywood and Malaysian business, sporting and entertainment heavyweights have clearly shown their acumen in building the club from scratch over the last four years after the collapse of Chivas left a gap in the southern California market.

But Thorrington, the former US international, crucially avoided the temptation to follow Galaxy’s example of bringing household names to Los Angeles. Instead, this is a project more akin to Atlanta United, with young, hungry, accomplished players from Central and South America.

Although Galaxy’s star turn Zlatan Ibrahimovic has proved to be a media darling since arriving in California and inflicted such a memorable wound in the inaugural derby between the two clubs, LAFC already boast the infrastructure to challenge their neighbors in the long-term.

Encouragingly, they’re only at the start of the journey.

Stubbornness and lack of talent: the factors that doomed USA’s World Cup

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The shock is just now beginning to subside after the US men’s national team was eliminated from contention for the next summer’s World Cup in Russia. Every result that could have doomed them on Tuesday night came about, with combining with to knock Bruce Arena’s men out.

The list of what didn’t doom the United States’ qualifying campaign is lengthy – vastly greater resources and spending power relative to the rest of the Concacaf region, first and foremost – but before the autopsy begins in earnest, below are four things that consigned the US to desperate failure.

Coach Bruce Arena’s comment that the , and the insinuation that it is somehow more challenging than in other federations, inspired much guffawing.

Those scorning Arena had justification. (Good luck surviving a bad draw in Uefa or CAF, Bruce). There’s a case to be made that Concacaf has the most lenient road to the . In few other regions could Mexico have made it to Brazil three years ago with just two wins out of 10 qualifiernal to the end of the season.Aubameyang pulled out of talks with the club over a contract extension.He won the Premier League golden boot last season and is Arsenal’s top scorer again this term, with 13 goals in 20 Premier League games so far despites, for example, or with just three, as the US would have if El Tri and Costa Rica had done them a favor on Tuesday night.

What Arena was alluding to, however, were the logistical and practical concerns that are unique to Central America and the Caribbean. In few other regions, for example, do visitors have to to get to practice the day before the match. Stories of inhospitable kickoff times and late-night phone calls to team hotels .

What that all means is that taking care of business at home is paramount. Win your home games, and you’re in, no matter what happens on those pesky road trips.

The United States failed to obey that cardinal rule. in what had previously been the fortress of Mapfre Stadium – two days after the election of President Donald Trump, some of a certain political persuasion will remind you with the same dark comedy that inspired Omar Gonzalez’s own goal on Tuesday – and in New Jersey last month.

That Costa Rica loss, especially, coming when it did, put the US in a position in which they absolutely needed an away result. As we saw so vividly, that can come back to bite teams.

earlier this month, the USMNT are plagued by a puzzling dearth of talent between the ages of 23 and 27. The reasons behind that glaring development gap are myriad – that players those ages were born before Major League Soccer came into existence, that every nation ebbs and flows with its talent production – but its impact was clear enough this campaign.

The US leaned too heavily on veterans who had clearly lost a step, like poor Tim Howard, who was so lauded for his heroics against Belgium in Brazil but has lacked his former reflexes for a while now. It has also heaped far too much responsibility onto the shoulders of 19-year-old Christian Pulisic.

Pulisic has legitimate, game-changing quality. He’s already as gifted as just about any other American soccer player, ever, and it is a great shame for football fans everywhere was that he has been robbed of a turn on the World Cup stage. Pulisic was dominant last Friday night against Panama and . He’s also young, and sometimes inconsistent, like when he struggled to establish himself in that aforementioned Costa Rica match.

Such are the dangers of leaning too heavily on players either on the back end of their careers or still growing into their prime.

To write off this collapse as merely a function of a down talent cycle is to be far nager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to get his side back firing and be better than they were last term.”I understand that we’ve only picked two points up from three games but it feels like we should have a lot more,” the former defender said.”We might have totoo lenient on the powers that be. Even without difference-makers in that age group, this team had more than enough talent to qualify. MLS, the domestic league, is as strong as it’s ever been. Pulisic plays for Borussia Dortmund, one of the biggest club teams in the world.

Blame should also be pointed squarely at Arena, at former coach Jürgen Klinsmann, who oversaw the home loss to Mexico and the 4-0 hiding in Costa Rica, as well as at federation president Sunil Gulati, who hired both of them.

This has been a trend since the first time Arena was in charge.

His 2002 squad made the deepest run of any US team in the modern era, in the World Cup quarter-finals. At the end of his second cycle in 2006, though, the team flopped, going three-and-out in Germany. Bob Bradley also guided the US to the World Cup knockout rounds a year after a stirring run to the 2009 Confederations Cup final … and was let go midway through his second cycle after the team’s form fell off.

So Klinsmann’s trajectory should’ve been easily to chart when he inked a contract extension the year before his USforward Lucas Boye on a season-long loan from Italian side Torino.The 23-year-old spent last season on loan at Greek club AEK Athens, playing in four Champions League group games.Boye has made 41 Serie A appearances for Torino and has also previously team reached the round of 16 in 2014. Instead, he stuck around long enough to dig the hole this group could not climb out of.

Any of the three fluky plays that sank the US would’ve been extraordinary on its own.

First, Gonzalez sliced an attempted clearance off the outside of his boot and into his own net, an own goal that would’ve been stylish even if he had been attempting to score. Then Honduras boinked their game-winner off the crossbar, off the back of the Mexican goalkeeper’s head and over the line. didn’t even make it that far – replays conclusively showed that Blas Perez’s shot next made it completely over the goalline – but it was credited anyway (fans hoping for a reprieve on that one may well be disappointed: it sounds like US Soccer won’t appeal. “As far as I know there is no recourse. Decisions of the referee are final,” spokesman .)

Taken together, it’s fine to acknowledge that this was a remarkable bit of ill fortune to strike in the same night.

It’s also fair to point out that the US has so much going for it relative to its peers that it never should have been so susceptible to bad luck so late in the campaign – and that this result will have repercussions for years to come.

USA World Cup winners Rapinoe and Morgan join Mata’s charity wage project

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Two members of the World Cup-winning USA women’s team of 2015 have signed up to for footballers to donate 1% of their wages to charity.

Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan have joined Manchester United’s Mata and the Bayern Munich defender to Common Goal, which supports global football initiatives for disadvantaged children.

“Myself and Alex felt it was important that women’s football was represented from the outset,” said Rapinoe, a midfielder with Seattle Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League. “We’re really looking forward to building the movement with Juan and Mats from here.”

Rapinoe and Morgan each have more than 120 caps and have played in two World Cup finals, suffering defeat by Japan in 2011 before beating the same opponents four years later. Morgan, a striker with Orlando Pride, was recently .

“As the global profile of women’s football continues to grow, players like myself and Megan will have an increasing number of opportunities to use our status for good,” Morgan said. “I’m thrilled to join Common Goal at this early stage and hope we can inspire many others to become part of the movement.”

Mata is aiming to put together an XI of professional footballers for the project, which is overseen by , a group of more than 120 local charities.

“In Europe, we’ve just experienced a record-breaking transfer window,” Hummels said. “I think some fans are starting to feel alie Ballon d’Or.The Barcelona star was this evening named the Ballon d’Or winner for 2019 – for the sixth time.Yet Bordas feels the gap with Juventus ace Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five, should be far greater.”MessDavid Silva as one of the best players he has seen.The Spaniard managed his 400th game for City, helping them to a 3-1 win at Bournemouth.The fact that Silva has maintained his excellent standards for nearly a decade at City is unbelievable to his mai should have ten Ballon d’Or [prizes]enated from the gameo win the Premier League title with Liverpool.The Swiss proved his worth to the Reds after capitalising on a rare start by scoring in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Everton.Speaking after the game, Shaqiri said: “Obviously I am really happy. Especially aga in light of these kinds of developments. But as more players join Common Goal, we hope to show the world that football still has its heart in the right place.”

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.

Life as a Muslim-American Olympic champion: ‘Travel has become a worry’

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When she slowed to a stop in the Olympic stadium on that warm night in Rio, Dalilah Muhammad knew life would never quite be the same.

The New Yorker had just , catapulting herself into a limelight she never anticipated, offering her a platform she never expected. In the six months since, she has kept her counsel on the issues dividing her country, but now she feels it’s time to make her voice heard.

“It’s insane what’s going on and what America is becoming,” Muhammad told the Guardian in New York this weekend, where she opened her season with a 500m race at the . “It’s frightening and a little scary.”

, where she grew up in what she describes as a liberal Muslim household, and where her father, Askia, is an imam who leads prayers at a local mosque. When Donald Trump was inaugurated as US president last month and swiftly issued an executive order , Muhammad was watching on from her training base in Los Angeles.

Her reaction?

“It’s kind of crazy,” she says. “It’s just an unfortunate situation.”

While the background of her US Olympic team-mate and fellow Muslim, Ibtihaj Muhammad, , Dalilah Muhammad’s faith passed largely under the radar despite her winning gold, in part, she believes, because of her decision not to wear a hijab.

“A lot of people said it to me: ‘you’re not the stereotypical Muslim’, but there are a lot of people who are Muslim and we express our religion in different ways,” says Muhammad, who admits that her parents have been concerned with events in the US in recent months.

“I definitely think it’s scary for my mother, more for me and having a daughter who is now so much in the public eye,” says Muhammad. “My father is more with it, and he loves it. He wants the world to see Muslims in a different light. They’re different but we all have the same beliefs.”

On Thursday last a court ruling blocked Trump’s travel ban, though the US president has since said he is confident he would win a court battle and that he as early as this week.

Though Muhammad is a US citizen, she admits there are lingering concerns about travelling abroad to race on the track and field circuit. Later this week she will fly to the UK, where she will compete over 400m.

“My Nike reps were a little nervous about me travelling just because of my name,” she says. “It makes me a little bit worried, given I travel so much. To have the name Muhammad attached to me makes it a little scary.”

At the Millrose Games on Saturday night, other Muslim athletes echoed Muhammad’s concerns about the travel ban, such as Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed, who was born in Somalia who lives and trains in Portland, Oregon.

“Because of my place of birth and my name, I’m always going to get stopped at airports and get extra screening,” he said. “I’ve had to deal with that my whole life. I’ve spent a lot of hours at airports, missed flights. When I was younger it annoyed me a bit, because I was like: what’s wrong with me? As I’ve got to experience that more, I’ve come to realise that they’re doing it for a reason, as bigoted as it might seem.”

Sifan Hassan, a Muslim athlete from the Netherlands, admitted that she had similar concerns after relocating to Portland in recent months to train under famed coach Alberto Salazar. “I feel so bad,” said Hassan, who fled Ethiopis time with Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.This season, Immobile has scored 26 goals and is leading the race for European Golden Boot.But his time with Liverpool boss Klopp at BVB was anything but successful and he conceded: “Our roads were crossea as a refugee at the age of 16. “It’s very painful. In the Netherlands it’s much better. What Trump is planning to do to Muslims, it’s not good. It’s just going to cause more problems.”

Hassan, who took victory in the prestigi Bergwijn.The new Tottenham signing scored on debut in victory over Manchester City on Sunday.Van Hanegem told AD: “I heard that at PSV they thought he was five kilos overweight after the winter break. I thought it was not nice to say that here andous Wanamaker mile on Saturday night in 4:19.89, the fourth fastest indoor time in history, said she has been encouraged by the response of the American people to Trump’s travel ban. “The people are so fantastic here,” she said. “But I just wish [Trump] would look at everybody like himself.”

And as for Muhammad, what words would she offer to her Real Madrid goalkeeper Santiago Canizares says no-one wanted Keylor Navas to leave.Keylor was sold by Real to PSG on transfer deadline day on Monday.Canizares told L’Equipe: “This season, the club has relied on (Thibaut) Courtois and did not allow Kepresident, if given the chance? “Oh man,” she says, before pausing for thought. “I guess I would say to him we’re all the same, no matter what our beliefs.”

Dak Prescott continues strong start to lead Cowboys past Bears

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Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass, and the Cowboys beat the 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.

With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without injured quarterback Tony Romo over three seasons before the rookie fourth-round pick showed up.

Prescott’swas a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he’s up to 99 throws without an interception to starenging Arsenal for Sampdoria defender Joachim Anderson.Arsenal have failed with two offers for the stopper and the Denmark international is open to a departure.Gazzetta dello Sport says Juventus, Tottenham, Arsenal and Lyon are all in contact with Sat his career.has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals in NFL history.

Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Chicago offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox.

Making his 27th career start for his fourth different team, Hoyer was 30 of 49 for 317 yards — a good portion of that with the game out of each late in the fourth quarter — and threw for two scores to Zach Miller.

Rookie fourth overall pick Ezekiel Elliott had his first 100-yard game for Dallasnged the format of the tournament which will now be played once every four years.That means Liverpool – who beat Tottenham 2-0 in Saturday’s Euro showdown- will eventually face world’s best clubs.But not earlier than in 2021 – when the competition is, finishing with 140 yards on 30 carries and awhen he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski.

It didn’t even bother Prescott that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith missed just the second game of his six-year career after his back tightened up during the week.

Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas’ first home win since last year’s opener, which was a Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri – for naming rights to a new ground.The Toffees revealed plans to build a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.The club confirmedAlisher Usmanov’s holding company, USM, will pay the club £30m this year for the option of becomweek before the first of two broken left collarbones that kept Romo out of 12 games last season. Romo is expected to miss about another month after breaking a bone in his back in the preseason.

Prescott hadfor the Cowboys, who have seven this season after getting eight all of last year, when they finished 4-12.

Because the Bears fell behind again, they couldn’t do much with the running game. They had just 15 carries for 73 yards and lost leading rusher Jeremy Langford to an ankle injury in the second half.

Ryder Cup 2016: US face pressure test as Darren Clarke backs young team

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For all that the involves two sides, it is difficult to deviate from the notion that the narrative of this, the 41st playing of the event, focuses mainly onone.

The desire of the United States to end a dismal run against Europe has taken them from one luminary, Tom Watson, to a taskforce and renaissance man in the form of . The US wildcard process has been modified, Tiger Woods has completed a journey of full circle from Ryder Cup indifference to the heart of the backroom team and an already fevered scenario has been ramped up even further. One is left to wonder what on earth the Americans will do if they have not wrestled back the Ryder Cup when time is called at Hazeltine next Sunday. Abandon all hope, perhaps.

US favouritism may be merited on the basis they have, on paper, the stronger team. They are also at home, but determination can become desperation pretty easily and to a team’s detriment. The involvement of Woods and Phil Mickelson may present Love with an issue over strong personalities above whom he should, in theory, exert authority. One glance at US preparations reveals a seriousness that has so often proved their undoing.

The Europeans have no need whatsoever to modify a team approach that has leaving Tottenham.Kicker says Vertonghen has not featured under Mauricio Pochettino this season despite making 22 appearances last term.Pochettino seems to have axed the Belgian from his first-team plans after several contract refusals from the playereturned the Ryder Cup three times in succession. In Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Sergio García they have a formidable backbone. Lee Westwood would cherish celebrating his 10th appearance with yet another win. For all the fresh-faced nature of the European contingent has been heavily played upon, there is a natural team evolution that need not necessarily be harmful. One of Darren Clarke’s rookies, Daity are moving for PSG striker Kylian Mbappe.El Pais says, however, PSG will attempt to block a huge offer from City for Mbappe by offering him a whopping £860,000-a-week new contract.However, it all depends on Barcelona buying back wantaway Neymar nny Willett, is .

“It’s unquestionable that it’s going to be a very, very big task ahead of us,” Clarke said. “Davis’s team is also shaping up very, very strongly. But with this team, those guys have earned their right to be on the team. They have embraced the challenge. They have got on there and they are world-class players in their own right.

“With adding Thomas Pieters to that list, there are six rookies there, but with the talent that they all possess, I’ve got no worries at all about the strength of that team going to America. I’m proud of that team. It’s a team that’s going to go there and do everything we possibly can to bring that trophy back home again.”

The fearsome length of Hazeltine – it can stretch to 7,600 yards – will only have been intensified by the deluge of rain that has battered that corner of Minnesota in recent days. Still, it would be curious if Love insisted upon the venue playing at its full distance. A slog fest appeals to nobody; birdie and eagle putts to win holes provide enduri form slump after defeat at home to Tottenham.The Hammers held their own for 36 minutes in Jose Mourinho’s first game in charge of the visitors, only to concede twice before half-time to Heung-min Son and Lucas Moura.Harry Kane’s header seemingly putng Ryder Cup memories.

“If we don’t win, if Europe doesn’t win, Darren and I are going to have a lot of explaining to do,” said Love. “That’s part of it. But we’re used to the pressure. We’re used to wins and losses. One thing [the sport psychologist] Bob Rotella told me: if you’re going to base your happiness on winning and losing, golf is not a good sport to be in because you’re going to lose a lot. Tiger Woods has won more than anybody but he’s lost a lot of tournaments.

“But we enjoy the challenge and we love being on the stage and you’ve got to take the wins with the losses. I certainly hope that these 12 guys understand that this is their team. It’s not about me. I’m not playing. Tiger Woods is not playing.”

Mickelson is and, coincidentally, the USA’s horror shows have matched the left-hander’s involvement. Mickelson first featured in the Ryder Cup of 1995; in 10 appearances, the USA has won twice. Two years ago Mickelson’s provided an epic Gleneagles denouement. But here is the crunch; having been so outspoken and taken on increased prominence thereafter, Mickelson has a pressure of his own to deliver.

Since announcing his captain’s picks in late August, Clarke has been absent from the public eye. A perfectionist to the point of obsession on occasion – there is no chance whatsoever of a Medinah/Rory McIlroy-esque timing issue at Hazeltine – Clarke will leave nothing to chance. By his own admission, though, the challenge is a formidable one, not least because the next European captain who does not continue a run of glory will automatically be criticised.

There is logic behind bookmakers having a fancy for the US. There is considerably more in the sense that such an outcome would benefit the Ryder Cup as a whole. Nonetheless, recent history has served valuable lessons; they all intensify focus on Love and his players. Three intense days will tell whether or not Europe can quietly benefit from that.

Team USA avoid repeat of the basketball disaster of 2004 against Argentina

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The last dark day for USA basketball came 12 years ago in an Athens arena. That was when Argentina beat them in an Olympic semi-final that marked a massive restructuring for the American national team, and a vow to never return the shock defeat. And for the next two Olympics the US dominated just as the US should. But then came the last week and three near losses to Australia, Serbia and France.

But Wednesday would not be another 27 August 2004. The US plato the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday. City did so with a placid 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donestk at the Etihad.Ilkay Gündoğan put City ahead in the second-half, only for Solomon to equalise 13 minutes later.Speaking after the gam, Guardiola saiyed played a stifling defense against Argentina, on the way to a 105-78 Olympic quarter-final victory. It was a performance as dominating as those the US had in early wins over China and Venezuela. Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Paul George 17.

And yet the dominance was not obvious early. For the Americans, who have struggled to play cohesively in these Olympics, the last thing they needed was to walk into an Argentina home game. But that’s essentially what they did on Wednesday night. The fans at their other games had generally been polite and mostly supportive. But Argentina is a neighbor of Brazil and their fans lined up outside the Carioca Arena 1 clutching banners and chanting.

A group of supporters stood on a balcony outside the stadium holding a giant sign with hand-drawn pictures of the team’s stars on the front. Below them, a joyous group of Argentinians clad in blue and white jerseys sang and screamed and chanted. The singing continued as they moved into the arena’s concourses. They sang before their national anthem, they sang during their national anthem and they sang acio Pochettino.There are some fans and pundits who believe that Pochettino is on the edge of losing his job.Spurs have endured a poor start to the season, while they were defeated 7-2 at home by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.However, Sherwoodfter their national anthem. They sang almost through the whole first quarter as 25-year-old guard Facundo Campazzo, who plays for Real Madrid, sliced through the American defense throwing up gentle one-handed shots that fell in the rim.

Behind his shooting and dazzling behind-the-back passes Argentina built up a 19-9 lead on the befuddled American players. The Argentina fans went berserk.

Then the fun stopped. The American machine surged forward. Campazzo’s shifting, dancing moves suddenly didn’t dazzle quite as much as before. The shots that fell in so easily during the early parts of the game clanked off the rim. The US defense, which had been missing their last several games, suddenly reappeared. With Argentina’s guards unable to break down the US inside they passed the ball to their outside shooters, who couldn’t hit their long jumpers. These misses were turned into rebounds, which were tuned into fast breaks.

Quickly, Argentina’s lead disappeared in a blizzard of layups and dunks. By the end of the first quarter the US had gone up 25-21 and Argentina were in trouble. The start of the second quarter was much of the same. The US defense shut down Argentina’s guards and then turned mistakes and missed shots into easy baskets. For the first time in more than a week the American players looked confident, even flashy. Durant hit several open jump shots but he also took the ball into the lane, playing more aggressively than he had in earlier games. At one point he faked to one side and cut to the other before thundering to the rim.

Late in the half the US had gone on a 29-9 run to lead 54-29 and the game was essentially over. And yet the singing went on and on and on. As the US played out the last minutes of a blowout, Argentina’s fans sang and danced, bouncing up and down in the aisles. They sang for almost the entire fourth quarter as the US fs cast doubt over his future at Old Trafford.After two loan spells – first at Crystal Palace and then to relegated Fulham last year – his United career is at a cross-roads.He is currently rehabilitating from a cruciate ligament injury, which may previnished a blowout of their beloved team and maybe found their form in this tournament.

Dallas Seavey wins fourth Iditarod dog race in competition marred by violence

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A new dynasty has been claimed in the world’s most high profile sled-dog race. Running alongside his sled to the finish in Nome, Dallas Seavey won his fourth . He’s onlyteran Antonio Valencia. The Ecuadorian fullback will become a free agent at the end of this month and is wanted by a number of teams in MLS.The Valencia.html”>Daily Mail says United are looking to give the 33-year-old a chance to stay in the Premier the seventh musher ever to win the race four times, and at just 29 years old, by far the youngest.

“It was a tough one. This one was a little bit harder than last time,” Seavey said from beneath the Burled Arch at the trail’s end shortly after his victory at 2.20am.

It’s the fastest time in the race’s history: eight days, 11 hours, 20 minutes and 16 seconds. When Seavey’s grandfather, Dan Seavey, ran the original race in 1973, the winner took just over 20 days reaching the finish.

“There’s really a changing of the guard happening,” said four-time winner Jeff King during his mandatory eight-hour rest in White Mountain, a community of 209 and the penultimate checkpoint before Nome.

King and other mushers drank Tang and re-heated breakfast burritos in a small office in between quick naps and checking in on their dogs, frequently consulting leaderboards and their wristwatches. Half a dozen gathered around a television to watch a live broadcast of the finish, few saying very Ndombele has explained why he chose to move to the Champions League finalists.Ndombele has left Lyon for Spurs in a deal worth up to €70m.He told L’Equipe: “When we look at it, I think it’s a very good choice. What guided me is the Premier Leaguey much as yet another Seavey title was claimed. The only year in the last five that Dallas didn’t win was 2013, when the champion was his father, Mitch.

“The next generation is no longer kids,” King said, referring to a crop of young mushers that are filling out the race’s top ranks. Beating King into White Mountain were Wade Marrs, Pete Kaiser, and Joar Leifseth Ulsom – all of them under 30.

Many of the sport’s most accomplished champions had a rough time along this year’s trail. Four-time winner Lance Mackey scratched mid-way through the race, citing concerns for his personal health. Martin Buser, another four-time victor, injured his leg so badly heading in to Unalakleet that he struggled to feed and water his dogs during a rest. And King himself lost a dog named Nash when an during a run along the Yukon River early Saturday morning.

The death, along with injuries to another three dogs, put him at a strategic loss for the second half of the race.

“The other two I dropped are two of my best leaders,” King said, emotion creeping into his voice. “They were really a significant loss to the leadership of the team.”

State Troopers arrested 26-year-old Arnold Demoski of Nulato shortly after he contacted local law-enforcement officer the morning of the incident to confess.

“I don’t know how I can make it right,” Demoski said during an interview with a local television station before his arrest.

Though the incident was first reported as an intentional attack, Demoski said he’d been drinking heavily and didn’t remember striking King, or musher Aliy Zirkle, who was further along the trail, and told race officials what happened upon reaching Nulato. Accoridng to Zirkle’s report to law enforcement, the snowmachiner made multiple passes at her team before pointing the vehicle at her, revving the engine, then driving off.

It was a dark spot on a race that was otherwise marked by its cooperative weather, fast trail conditions and an exceptionally high level of competitiveness among the top 30 teams.

For much of the trail, Dallas Seavey pushing at an aggressive clip to keep up with Brent Sass, a musher from the remote Interior community of Eureka who is a top performer and past winner of the Yukon Quest, Alaska’s other prominent thousand-mile sled-dog race between Fairbanks and Canada.

Sass arrived into White Mountain about two hours behind Seavey. But as he got ready to leave for the last leg of the trail, his team quit on him.

“They don’t want to run anymore,” Sass said during a brief interview after he’d walked his team back to the checkpoint, spread out bundles of straw, and removed their racing booties.

“It was my responsibility to control that. And obviously I didn’t,” Sass said, petting his team. “Sorry guys.”

The protest along the banks of the Fish River, Sass believed, came from pushing the dogs too hard on the last two legs of his run, when he was trying to maintain an edge over Seavey. The tempo had taken its toll.

“I pushed ‘em too hard. Bottom line,” Sass said. “I feel horrible about it. It’s totally my fault.”

As Sass rested both himself and hre targeting midfielder Isaac Hayden from Newcastle United.The Hammers are persisting with a move for Andre Gomes from Barcelona, but their bids have been rebuffed so far.According to the Evening Standard, they see Hayden as an alternative if they cais team, Aliy Zirkle, the fourth musher into the White Mountain checkpoint, left ahead of him. Ultimately she took third place in the race – the fourth time she’s been locked out of a victory by either Dallas or Mitch Seavey.

Mushers will continue to race until the conclusion of festivities on Sunday during the Red Lantern Banquet in Nome.

Largest police union renews call for NFL to end concealed-carry ban

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The United States’ largest police union has written to the National Football League asking the sporting body to reconsider its ban on carrying concealed firearms at its stadiums, in the wake of heightened fears of terrorist attacks.

The National Fraternal Order of Police has been lobbying the unsuccessfully since 2013, when the ban was introduced. But the recent attacks in Paris by Islamic State-affiliated operatives have prompted another push.

One of the Paris saw three suicide bombers attempt to enter the soccer stadium where the French national team, watched by their president, François Hollande, was playing a match. They were foiled as they tried to gain access, and blew themselves up.

Union president Chuck Canterbury sent a letter to the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, on 20 November, urging him “to rescind this policy, which weakens the safety and security of NFL players, personnel and fans”.

“The terrorist attacks and threats of attacks from organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) are selecting targets based on the amount of death and injury they can inflict – mass murder and casualty events,” Canterbury wrote.

The letter : “Well-attended venues and areas are being deliberately targeted by the radical killers who do not intend or expect to survive the assault. Law enforcement, even when working r 1-1 Europa League draw at Vitoria.Martinez was just four minutes away from keeping his 11th clean sheet in an Arsenal shirt. The Argentine stopper had made a string of fine stops during Wednesday’s Europa League clash with Vitoria but then in the factively with highly trained and skilled security professionals, cannot be certain that all threats will be detected and neutralized.”

On a more local level, the Ohiregrets.Foster has enjoyed late career success with the Hornets.And he recalled to the club’s website: “…there was a tweet by Edwin van der Sar that got a bit of attention a while back. I said that goalkeepers are the hardest workers and he repliedo Fraternal Order of Police has the state’s leading football teams, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, to overturn the policy.

The unions are especially keen for off-duty police officers to be permitted to takh Manchester United for the signature of Jadon Sancho.The 19-year-old forward spent two seasons at City’s academy after leaving Watford in 2015.BILD says Old Trafford chiefs have already met with Borussia Dortmund bosses to discuss a transfer, but Une concealed firearms to football games.

In New York City, the Sergeants Benevolent Association police union, has started a petition to overturn the ban on the basis that it “compromises public safety”, according to a local .

And Detroit police union leaders have also written to the NFL, saying: “Law enforcement officers often carry a weapon while off duty not only for their own personal protection but to provide a critical response when circumstances call for immediate police action,” according to a Detroit media .

The letter went on to say: “Current events, not least the unconscionable acts of terrorism we have recently experienced, only add to the desirability of having readily ­available armed law enforcement officers, even if they are not officially ‘on duty’.”

Currently, only the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys have been granted an exemption from the ban – the NFL concluded that Texas state law the league’s policy.

An attempt to overturn the ban in Minnesota was by an appeals court.

The NFL explained in a to Canterbury in 2013 that while the organization had every respect for members of law enforcement and did not consider off duty officers carrying firearms to be a risk to the public or players, “we believe that public safety inside our stadiums is best served by limiting the carrying of firearms to on-duty law enforcement officers specifically assigned to work the game”.

A spokesman has that stance in response to the latest flurry of lobbying by police unions.

Lamar Odom ‘overdosed on cocaine’ after being found in Nevada brothel

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Lamar Odom is believed to have overdosed on cocaine and other drugs before he was , according to search warrant records.

The court document includes testimony to a Nevada state judge from Michael Eisenloffel, a Nye County sheriff’s detective, on 13 October after the former player was found at the Love Ranch in Crystal.

“I believe that Mr Odom may be – or may have been – under the influence of a controlled substance,” Eisenloffel told the Fifth Judicial District judge Robert Lane.

On Wednesday, Odom and the reality TV star Khloe Kardashian filed a court petition dismissing a divorce filing from December 2013. A clerk granted the request in such a way that the divorce papers can be refiled at a later date.

Kardashian has been by Odom’s side since he was found in extremely critical condition at the brothel.

Odom has been transferred from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, where his family said he was undergoing therapy and showing improvement.

“He is beginning to gradually flourish both mentally and physically,” said a statement from Alvina Alston, publicist for Odom’s aunt JaNean Mercer. “His use of speech has increased, and he’s more cognitively responsive.” Alston called Odom’s therapy regimen “aggressive” but did not elaborate.

Brothel staff have said workers saw Odom drink alcohol and take supplements sold as herbal Viagra but no employees saw him take illegal drugs. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2013 against one brand of supplement they said he took, Reload, after it was found to contain sildenafil, the active ingredient in prescription Viagra.

A six-page transcript of the detective’s request for the search warrant said Odom was seen by witnesses and on security video taking an unidentified pill from an unmarked plastic bag in his pocket, and two prostitutes told police they had “vague knowledge” that Odom was using illicit narcotics.

The court document said the women told police they believed Odom snorted cocaine in a bathroom while they were in the adjacent bedroom.

The Love Ranch owner, Dennis Hof, has said Odom arrived on 10 October for a four-day stay and spent $75,000 (£49,000) on two women who accompanied him in a VIP suite.

The by AC Milan.Prandelli says the players were not up to Giampaolo’s demands.“Seeing the team from the outside, I did develop a theory as to why things went so wrong,” Prandelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport.“Giampaolo loves a reasoned-out style of Nevada judge issued a search warrant authorising police to obtain a blood sample from Odom after hed out.The Bln Rodgers among the highest paid managers in the world.The Sun says the 46-year-old is believed to have DOUBLED his previous salary at Leicester – taking from £5million-a-year to £10million.This means that only old foes Pep Guardiola and Jose Mouriues lost at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.”I watch Chelsea a lot and if you can get through the first 20 minutes against them, their confidence seems to go,” Merson told Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday.”They’ve got a lot of young players ae was taken to the Las Vegas hospital but test results are pending. The authorities have not ruled out the possibility of taking action against the brothel or Odom.

Odom spent most of his 14-year NBA career in Los Angeles with the Lakers and Clippers.

Do the Pirates have a chance against the Cubs’ unstoppable destroyer of worlds?

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The Pittsburgh Pirates were officially eliminated from the postseason on Wednesday night after an 11-1 loss to St Louis .

OK, not exactly “officially.” The Pirates have the second-best record in all of Major League and clinched a postseason berth more than a week ago. But there is a feeling of impending doom hanging over the team because six days from now in the National League wildcard game they will face the unstoppable destroyer of baseball worlds: Jake Arrieta.

After a good start to the season, the 29-year old Cubs ace has put together one of the most dominant second halves in baseball history. Since the start of August, he’s given up four earned runs in 82 1/3 innings. That’s a 0.43 ERA over 11 starts. Not once in that span has he allowed more than two earned runs. In seven of those 11 outings, he didn’t allow a single run. He no-hit the playoff-bound Dodgers at the end of August, and has faced the Pirates three times in the past two months, giving up just nine hits and one earned run in 22 innings. To crush the hopes and dreams of his wildcard foe even more, Arrieta blasted an opposite field home run off the Pirates in his last start against them on Sunday. He didn’t give up a run and he created the only run he needed. Pittsburgh hasn’t face a single man this hellbent on its destruction since Bane.

Somewhere in Baltimore this week there is a man or woman emerging from a two-year coma. He will hear the name “Jake Arrieta” on TV and think: “No way! That guy is still in the majors?” And then he will hear that Arrieta is the greatest pitcher in all of baseball and he will immediately go back into a coma after suffering a brain aneurysm.

Because two years ago, Arrieta was as bad as he is good now. Maybe even more so, as hard as that is to fathom. In nearly 70 games and 63 starts with the Orioles over four years, he had a 5.46 ERA. You know, just 5.03 above his ERA over the past two months. He couldn’t even hold down a rotation spot in an Oriole rotation desperate for arms and Baltimore repeatedly shuttled him back and forth to Triple-A – and he wasn’t even any good there.

Check the timestamp. That tweet is from June of 2013. Just two years ago, Arrieta was a 27-year old pitcher putting up an ERA over 4.00 in the minors. Guys like that are much closer in their careers to becoming gym teachers than lights-out, don’t-even-bother-showing-up, major league aces. In early July of 2013, the Cubs traded Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Cubs for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger and soon after, things finally started to click for him. There was no dramatic overhaul of his motion or life-changing visits to a sports psychologist. Some slight tweaks to his mechanics found Arrieta able to spot his mid-90s fastball better and make his slider dip and turn at varying speeds most any way he wants it to, making and left and right-handed hitters alike look foolish.

So now the Pirates and their ace, Gerrit Cole, face the reality that if they allow a single run next Wednesday, odds are their 96-plus-win season will end after a few hours of “postseason”. While the Pirates themselves, as confident and accomplished athletes, no doubt feel they have a great chance of beating Arrieta, many Pirates fans are either depressed or left grasping at unrelated, random minutiae and irrational hope.

“Hey, Clayton Kershaw is a generational pitcher and he loses a lot in the postseason. Maybe Arrieta will be the same!”

“Remember when the Pirates roughed up Madison Bumgarner late last season and then he dominated them in the wildcard game? The opposite could happen this year with Arrieta!”

“Kris Medlen had a 0.97 ERA in his final 12 starts of 2013, but then he got shelled in the wildcard game. What if Arrieta is the new Medlen?!”

“He’s been pitching great games for months. He’s due for a bad one, right?”

It’s kind of sad. No, it’s just sad. No “kind of.”

But the Pirates’ best hope might be this: If the worst pitcher in all of baseball can miraculously become the best pitcher in just two years, then it’s really true that anything is possible. Maybe even Jake Arrieta losing a baseball game.

“Sometimes, emotions spill over and that’s what happened today. It’s happened for hundreds of years in this game and I think it will continue to happen.” – Jonathan Papelbon, Washington Nationals closer, on fighting teammate Bryce Harper in the dugout on Monday.

Papelbon is not only an expert on baseball’s “code,” but he is also a student of history. A sport called “base-ball” was first referenced in a British publication in 1744, so the game truly has been around for “hundreds” of years. The American Revolution may have come to a head over taxation without representation, but for all we know, the first fractures between America and Great Britain came when the scrappy colonists were outraged by the entitled British failing to run out pop-ups.

– Astros outfielder Marwin Gonzalez hit the 24th home run of his career Tuesday night in a loss to the Mariners. It was also the 24th solo home run of Gonzalez’s career. Yes, every home run in his four-year career has been a solo shot. Amazing. Gonzalez better hope Papelbon doesn’t land on the Astros next year because that sort of selfish home run hitting would not be tolerated.

Johnny Giavotella, 2B, Angels – 7-for-15, 4 RBI

Matt den Dekker, OF, Nationals – 8-for-18, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Rays – 7-for-16, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB

Jarrett Parker, OF, Giants – 7-for-17, 5 HR, 9 RBI

Nick Tropeano, P, Angels – 11 innings, 16 strikeouts, 1 win, 0.82 ERA

Adam Conley, P, Marlins – 12 innings, 13 strive completed the signing of Porto defender Chidozie Awaziem.The Nigeria international arrives on a straight 12-month loan.Awaziem becomes the ninth summer signing made by Leganes and was due to undergo his first training session today under coach Maukeouts, 2.25 ERA

Thank you for this important question. If the unwritten rules of baseball were ever published, the answer to this would no doubt be revealed. And at considerable risk of being strangled by a Knight of The Baseball Code for answering your question in print, I will attempt to do so anyway. I am not afraid to put my life on the line for you, my dear readers.

Most would assume that you want to choke up, because the top of the human neck is narrower than the base, allowing you to wrap more of your hands around the neck of the baseball code-breaker. And choking up on the bassing out on the England squad.The centre-back was hoping that he would get a call up to the Three Lions squad by manager Gareth Southgate.However, he was left out for their Euro 2020 qualifiers. And the 26-year-old wants to continue focusing on doint is something gritty baseball players who play the game the right way do. Yet choking up on a neck is wrong. The right way to strangle is to grab the neck at the base and dig your thumbs in hard below the Adam’s apple to cut off the wind pipe. At least that’s the way my Little League coach taught me.

The Phillies have won thof manager Nigel Pearson.The Hornets were nine points adrift at the foot of the table prior to their home game against Manchester United and the goalkeeper has revealed that he feared the worst.”When we had nine points just before the Man United gameree in a row and four of five, including two in a row over the playoff-bound Mets. Are they the best team in baseball as the calendar flips to October? (No.)

There is intrigue left in the Phillies season, however. While the franchise has the most losses in the history of American professional sports, the Phillies haven’t lost 100 games in a season since 1961. If they can close the season 2-2 or better, they’ll keep that streak alive. At the same time, the Phillies stand just two games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds in the race for the worst record in baseball and the No1 overall pick. They really need to get back to losing to clinch. Choose how you end your season wisely, Phillies. Think what Ruben Amaro would do and then do the opposite.

The Cubs clinched their first postseason appearance since 2008 this week (assuming we’re all pretending the play-in game counts as the real postseason). The franchise made the Divisional Series in 2007 and 2008, but got swept both times. The Cubs haven’t won a playoff game since 2003 and the Steve Bartman NLCS. That’s so long ago now that . No ear buds. No smartphone (the iPhone didn’t come out until 2007). No social media. The Bartman incident essentially happened in ancient history. Hopefully Cubs fans can finally get over it and let the guy live his life in peace. I’m sure he’d love to be able to go out in public and buy one of these fancy smartphones we have now.

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman this week who believe A-Rod’s bat speed has slowed down as the season has progressed, but Rodriguez “remains a wily hitter who works counts well and can play to his strengths.” His No1 strength, of course? Wiliness.

The Post also ran a headline this week asking “” I didn’t bother to read the article, but if they meant: “Is Bryce Harper a great player who will spend the majority of his career on the Yankees?”, then I wholeheartedly answer “yes.”

1) I never played baseball at a high level, so I am no expert on the game’s locker room/strangulation culture. What I do know, however, is that if I was a MLB closer like Jonathan Papelbon, I’d probably keep my opinions of my team-mates to myself. Closers are pitchers – – whose entire job is to pitch one single inning AFTER THE REST OF THE TEAM HAS ALREADY TAKEN THE LEAD. If my employment and large income was contingent on everyone else playing well for eight innings every game before I showed up to try to get three outs a few times a week, I’d do everything I could to stay in my lane and hope nobody noticed how unimportant and overpaid I am. I especially wouldn’t call out the best player on my team and the guy whose performance had given me so many save opportunities. I mean, the guy who locked the doors at night at Apple probably never ripped into Steve Jobs for how he did his job, right? Or maybe he did. The tech world may have an uncoded code I don’t know about.

2) Former major league pitcher CJ Nitkowski got a lot of attention this week for his column that gave on the Papelbon-Harper dust-up and featured more than a dozen quotes from current and former major leaguers, all of whom sided with Papelbon. Nitkowski’s piece as advocating for the strangulation of players. Yet I know him to be a thoughtful and intelligent person, and seemingly not the kind of man who would push for mandatory chokings of the non-scrappy. So I contacted Mr Nitkowski and asked him straight out: “Do you support the public strangling of players for not running full speed to first?”

His response, exclusive to the Guardian: “I do not. These kind of things should take place behind closed doors where a player can be properly waterboarded or caned in private. No one is above the hustle.”

So there you go. I think we can all agree with that.

3) And now the dramatic conclusion to : I dug around more and still couldn’t determine if the rules forbid an American League player from being on the lineup card as both a pitcher and the DH, allowing him to stay in the game as a hitter even after being removed from the mound. So I asked ESPN baseball writer David Schoenfield if he knew the answer and he claims that it is not allowed. “You can choose not use the DH – this happened a few times in the 1970s, including twice with Ken Brett (George’s brother) – but you can’t DH the pitcher and let him stay in the game.”

And if you do try to do it? The manager must get waterboarded in the locker room.

4) And since we’re running out of baseball season and time for readers to ask questions, let’s throw in another one this week:

With great feats of consumption, the natural inclination is to think that the larger-bodied are ideal for the task. Someone like Matt Adams or Bartolo Colon. But if you look at the top competitive eaters, none of them are overweight. And Boggs played at a relatively svelte 6ft 2in 190lbs. So I think you want to go with a player who is in shape. There are obviously a lot to choose from in baseball, but just don’t expect Bryce Harper to be the one who pulls this off.

5) Every year since the wildcard was invented, baseball’s more curmudgeonly fans have tsk’d teams for celebrating making the postseason. “You’ve only made the wildcard! You have nothing to celebrate!” these people grunt while eating dinner out of a can in their dimly lit living rooms reeking of cat litter. But I think these people would be the first to say that practice makes perfect, and baseball teams clearly need to practice their celebration fundamentals.

6) The Astros are 8-13 since Taylor Swift performed at Minute Maid Park, falling out of a playoff spot in the process. The Padres are 11-17 since Swift played Petco Park in late August. And the Nationals have gone from first place to fighting each other since Swift performed in their stadium.

It sounds like Taylor Swift has become a major baseball curse. But I’m sorry, the Bambino had one of the best baseball curses of all-time!

7) Fan anthems are almost exclusively horrific. That’s what makes this new St Louis Cardinals anthem remarkable: it’s so awful it has been able to break through and get noticed, like a dirty needle in a rotten haystack.

Congratulations to the Cardinals. You’re the best at baseball AND the best at embarrassing music. That’s two things you’re the best at!

8) Lest we think baseball’s Papelbonian culture is a recent development, behold this note that Phillies manager Pat Moran wrote to Philadelphia fans 100 years ago in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

He references grit with “hustling.” He’s got some traditional sports cliches in there with “a team that goes out there and plays baseball the best it knows how.” But most remarkable of all is this sentence: “Some of these fellows may think that I haven’t a championship ball club, but they have been saying a lot of other things all summer long that they will now have to back water on.” I’m pretty sure this is the first-ever sports instance of “they hate us ‘cause they ain’t us,” but delivered in old timey words. Amazing.

9) You know, maybe Moran’s guts-over-brains viewpoint on baseball is what prompted the infamous “Get A BRAIN! MORANS” sign from this . That has to be it. Cardinals fans know how to spell the right way.

10) It’s October! Playoff baseball is almost here! Who’s pumped to over-analyze every manager move while we try to convince ourselves again that back-to-back playoff participant Ned Yost has no idea at all what he’s doing? Woo! Yes!

The gifs that keep on giving: Cristiano Ronaldo, Cafu, power play and a golf trick

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