About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Arsenal hero Keown slams quality of Leno: Cech superiorby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal hero Martin Keown has slammed the quality of Bernd Leno.The Gunners lost 5-1 at Liverpool on Saturday.Keown slammed the defenders in their poor efforts for some of Liverpool’s goals, and he also questioned the quality of goalkeeper Leno.”Leno didn’t even make the German squad,” said Keown. “Is he better than Petr Cech? No I don’t think so, but Petr Cech hasn’t played since September.”
Everton hero Tim Cahill linked with Millwallby Paul Vegas17 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton hero Tim Cahill could be returning to English football.The Telegraph says he’s a candidate for the Millwall manager’s job.Following Neil Harris’ surprise resignation last week, the Championship outfit are now eyeing a replacement and Cahill is reportedly among those linked with the post.The 39-year-old Australian is on a list of managerial candidates listed as potential suitors for the vacant role. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Inside Joao Felix: How teenage whiz bringing hope to Atletico Madridby Blair Newman15 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveAtletico Madrid underwent great change in the summer. Antoine Griezmann finally moved on after months of speculation, with Joao Felix arriving as his long-term successor. Felix, at just 19 years old, is widely believed to be one of the finest young players in the world today. While settling into a new team, in a new country, at such a young age hasn’t been plain sailing, he has already shown glimpses of the quality he can offer.Diego Simeone seems intent on evolving the tactical capabilities of his side. As well as Felix, Atletico brought in a ball-playing centre-back in Mario Hermoso as well as two energetic and forward-thinking full-backs in Kieran Trippier and Renan Lodi in the summer window. As a consequence of the personnel changes, Simeone’s side now dominate the ball more than before, averaging 51.9% possession to last season’s 49.3%. But the change has led to teething problems that have affected Felix.Atletico have failed to score in half of their eight La Liga games so far, suggesting their new, more offensive game plan isn’t quite operating at 100%. Naturally, this has reduced Felix’s potency in the final third and has led to debate over where exactly the youngster should play, but he is still one of the team’s most important attacking players.During his only full season of first-team football at Benfica, the Portuguese acted as a second striker within a 4-4-1-1 system. He had license to wander and take up different positions on the pitch, moving between the lines to connect attacks and using his awareness and passing ability to split defences and create chances for teammates. Felix has mostly played in a similar position for Atletico, as seen in the below graphic.Here, the opposition defence and midfield lines are clear, as is Felix’s position between them. These are the areas he is best in. He can drive directly at the opponent’s back line, commit defenders and thread through balls for advancing teammates, or take a shot himself.This is a similar role to the one Griezmann took up at Atletico. The Frenchman usually played off a more traditional striker who would play on the last line, look to attack space in the channels, and use their pace and direct running to drag defenders back (think Diego Costa, Kevin Gameiro or Fernando Torres). In turn, this created space between the lines for Griezmann, who was free to roam, pick up the ball in deeper areas and get more involved in build-up.However, because Atletico are in transition and have a lot of new faces, they are experimenting with their favoured 4-4-2 system. As a result, Simeone has trialled Felix in other positions, notably on both wings. Indeed, it was from a nominal wide berth that he got his first Champions League goal, opening the scoring in the 2-0 win over Lokomotiv Moscow.Playing on the right of the midfield four, Felix would tuck inside while attacking right-back Santiago Arias (in for the equally attacking Trippier) patrolled the flank. An example of this can be seen in the graphic below. This allowed Felix to get into more central positions, where he was better placed to create or shoot. His goal came from a similar situation to the one seen below, except with Alvaro Morata running wide, getting behind and pulling back for Felix to shoot and score.Afterwards, Simeone praised the 19-year-old’s performance. “It was the match in which he was most involved in the rhythm of the game,” the Atletico boss was quoted by AS, before discussing Felix’s new position, saying, “For a player who likes to have the ball and participate in the game of his team, it generates more enthusiasm.”Felix was then deployed on the left side of the midfield four for the 0-0 draw with Real Valladolid last weekend. Again, he was allowed to tuck in and take up a more central position in build-up, with left-back Lodi supplying width down that flank. This only underlines how important it was that Simeone replaced his ageing full-backs, Juanfran and Luis Filipe, with younger options who offer more output in terms of dribbles, progressive runs and crosses.The defensive responsibilities asked of Felix are different on the wing, however. When playing behind the striker, he helps to lead pressing from the front, closing down defenders whilst simultaneously blocking forward passing options. But on the wing, he is expected to drop deeper and remain part of a line of four, blocking the opposition full-back’s forward runs and ensuring compactness in midfield.Felix hasn’t been entirely consistent in his performances, and playing in three different positions so far probably hasn’t helped him adjust. Nonetheless, he is one of Atletico’s key contributors going forward. No player has scored more than his two league goals, no player averages more shots per game than his two, and no player has assisted more than his one.The only concerning statistic is that he is opening up defences less frequently now. Last season, with Benfica, he averaged 1.1 key passes to this season’s 0.3. He also averaged 0.2 through balls, while this season he is averaging a big fat zero. However, Simeone will expect these numbers to revert once the youngster has adapted properly to a tougher league, new teammates and has sorted his best position.Felix is young and inexperienced at the highest level, but he has established himself as Atletico’s key attacking player. The Griezmann comparisons are unhelpful and, in the short term, unrealistic, but – given time – he is on course to fill the void left by the Frenchman.All data supplied by WhoScored.com. TagsOpinionAbout the authorBlair NewmanShare the loveHave your say
GAINESVILLE, FL – OCTOBER 07: Tim Tebow watches the action during the game between the Florida Gators and the LSU Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow wasn’t able to make it as a professional signal-caller in the NFL, but perhaps he still has a chance to be a star athlete after all. Tebow, playing at TPC Scottsdale Wednesday, won the Phoenix Suns Charities Shot at Glory competition by putting his tee shot just 12 feet from the pin on the 16th hole. The shot won him $40,000 – which goes to his favorite charity.Okay, so maybe Tebow doesn’t really have a shot at being a professional golfer. But that’s definitely a shot that’s going to keep him coming back.
LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 30: Genreal view of the stadium during the game between the Fresno State Bulldogs and the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Woods, now in his third year with the team, has been returning to his alma mater, USC, in the offseasons to finish up the credits needed to earn his degree. This past spring, he finished his final semester – meaning he’s now graduated. The speech he gave during the ceremony was released by the school Friday, and it’s worth watching.Woods revealed what his sister, who passed away from cancer back in 2007, told him the day she died. Her wish was that Woods become a role model. He believes that by graduating from USC, which he calls the best school for both academics and athletics, he’s accomplished that. Check it out:USC WR @robertwoods made a promise to his late sister to be a role model.#USCgrad speech: https://t.co/GQ7UHBUeOG pic.twitter.com/PsgkNEmj8c— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) May 13, 2016Woods has caught 152 passes for 1,838 yards and 11 touchdowns in his three years. It’s clear he’s very proud of where he went to school.
Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari “will feel Mourinho’s breath in the coming months” according to the Portuguese’s biographer, Manuel Pereira.Mourinho’s time at Manchester United came to an end in December, following a 3-1 defeat to rivals Liverpool and the Red Devils floundering in the top-four hunt. Likewise, Real Madrid have suffered through managerial woes this season, with Julen Lopetegui sacked in his first season on the job after a humiliating loss to Barcelona in the Clasico. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? But while Manchester United have gone on to enjoy six straight wins so far under the likes of interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Madrid’s fortunes since Solari took over have been more varied.Solari oversaw Madrid victories in his first four games, and eight of his first nine contests, as well as managing the team to a Club World Cup title in December.However, there have been bumps along the way as Madrid opened 2019 with a draw and loss and though they have won their last two outings, they remain fourth in the table, 10 points behind Barcelona.That has led some to speculate whether a change might be needed once more, with Mourinho sometimes suggested for a Bernabeu return.Though Mourinho’s clashes with many in the Real Madrid dressing room, most notably Sergio Ramos, have left some question as to whether he could come back to the club, Pereira thinks it is quite possible as long as Florentino Perez is at the helm of the European Champions.“As long as Florentino Perez Reals is president, this option exists,” Pereira told Goal. “Perez likes and appreciates Mourinho very much.“He considers him the ideal coach and would never have let him go in 2013 if Mourinho had not insisted. Mourinho never had any problems with Perez or those responsible. They are not the best friends in the world, but they get along very well.“The door to return to Real is open. The moment just has to be right.”That moment, Pereira believes, is not during the season, as he thinks Solari bought himself time with victory at the Club World Cup. However, with the nature of a club like Real Madrid, Pereira thinks the spectre of Mourinho is unavoidable for Solari.“Since Solari won the Club World Cup in December, I do not expect an immediate release,” Pereira said. “But maybe in the summer, who knows. I’m sure there’ll be a lot going on at Real Madrid after this season. Solari will certainly feel Mourinho’s breath in the coming months.”Pereira also does not expect Mourinho to return to the sidelines until the summer at the earliest, dismissing talk of him taking over at Benfica.“He will not directly take over a club,” Pereira said when asked about Mourinho’s plans for the next few months. “The most probable thing is that he takes a break until summer to gather the strength needed for a new challenge.“He does not have to hurry, but has all the time in the world.”Though Mourinho’s recent ends at Chelsea and Manchester United have left some to question whether he can land another top job, Pereira believes the manager is not finished at that level just yet.“He is a very ambitious person and will not disappear into the sunset,” Pereira said. “He still has a long life as a coach before him with many challenges that excite him. He has only trained in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain so far.“For example, he still lacks the Bundesliga. If Karl-Heinz Rummenigge calls him tomorrow and offers him to train Bayern, Mourinho would agree for sure.“Also PSG would certainly be a delightful task for him.”Pereira also floated the possibility of the former United boss sliding into international management with his native Portugal, which would be a less stressful proposition for Mourinho.However, he is not writing off things changing, especially at Real Madrid.“In case he does not find a club in the summer, I can imagine that he will take over the Portuguese national team,” Pereria said. “That would mean less stress for him.“He could thereby devote himself more to his private life, which has suffered a lot in Manchester. He did not have a real home there, but spent most nights in the hotel or flew to London to be with his family.“But a lot can happen by summer. Especially at Real Madrid.”
Napoli say the decision to reject Kalidou Koulibaly’s appeal against his red card against Inter is a wasted opportunity in the battle against racism.Koulibaly was shown two yellow cards in quick succession during the 1-0 defeat at San Siro on Boxing Day, the second coming after he sarcastically applauding the referee.The Senegal defender was targeted by racist abuse from the stands throughout the game in Milan and head coach Carlo Ancelotti said Koulibaly was “nervous and the mood at the time was not his best”. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Napoli said the game should have been suspended due to the taunts from the crowd and the club’s lawyer vowed to fight any suspension.However, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) appeals court rejected his claim on Friday, leading to condemnation from Napoli, who believe the governing body have “degraded” football and hampered their fight to stop racism.The club statement read: “The decision of the FIGC appeals court to turn down our appeal against Koulibaly’s ban is a sad defeat both for football and the wider issue raised by this whole affair, namely, the fight against discrimination of all sorts, which is still part of football and society.”A battle that UEFA has been fighting for years – and which Napoli has always supported – has thus been degraded.”UEFA and FIFA have condemned what happened, saying that protocol was not respected and that the match should have been suspended. All manner of public figures, from mayors to artists, footballers and coaches have offered their solidarity while expressing their indignation.”Rarely in Italy have we witnessed such unanimous condemnation from society as a whole.”Then there was the appeal itself, where the judges said they are completely aware of what happened and that they are on Koulibaly’s side as a man. They encouraged him not to give up or feel alone, which, he explained, in a sincere and moving speech, is how he felt that evening. Just as he explained to the judges how embarrassed he felt when he had to tell his parents, and his mother in particular, what had happened.#Koulibaly appeal, a wasted opportunity https://t.co/Wfj4TXHTd2 #ForzaNapoliSempre pic.twitter.com/HzaaZ5sjxf— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) January 18, 2019″After all these extraordinary events, the appeal was turned down. A procedural rule was incapable of doing the only thing there was to do: give back to Kalidou Koulibaly – this Senegalese lad who, in light of these events, represents everything that is good and bad in Italy at the moment – the dignity he deserves.”Koulibaly, Italian football and the institutions all come out of this degraded. Koulibaly’s ban should have been overturned regardless of the rules and the bureaucracy. All this does is kill football. Because football is above all a passion that unites billions of people around the world, and it should not be derided like this.”A great opportunity has been missed today. Sadly it proves there is still much to do and many things to change.”
Former NRL star Jarryd Hayne will try his hand at yet another sport after signing with local Central Coast football team East Gosford.The 31-year-old, who was unable to pick up an NRL contract this season amid sexual assault allegations, could turn out for his new club this weekend as revealed by The Sunday Telegraph.It will be Hayne’s fourth football code in the past five years, having tried his hand in the NFL and Rugby 7s before returning to the NRL. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Hayne is the second exiled rugby league star to turn to the round ball, with Ben Barba – who was slapped with a life ban in February over a domestic violence incident – playing striker for a side in Mackay.Hayne is understood to be registered in an open men’s competition with East Gosford and may make his debut on Sunday against Ourimbah at Hylton Moore Oval at 2:55pm.He had been keeping fit by training with the Woy Woy rugby league team.The former Origin and Test player faced court in May for a second charge relating to the alleged rape of a woman in the Hunter Valley on NRL grand final night in 2018.His bail conditions have been changed, with Hayne now residing in Umina Beach and required to report to the Woy Woy police station on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.Hayne began his NRL career in 2006 at Parramatta and ascended to the top of the game three years later when he won the coveted Dally M Medal as the NRL’s best player.He claimed the award again in 2014 before setting off on his NFL journey with the San Francisco 49ers.The speedster walked away from American football in 2016, briefly playing for Fiji in Rugby 7s, before rejoining the NRL with the Gold Coast Titans.He spent one-and-a-half seasons with the Titans and then came home to the Eels, playing 15 matches for the club last year.
Real Madrid are refusing to let playmaker James Rodriguez leave the club on loan this season, instead holding out for a permanent deal amid interest from Napoli.Goal has learned that Madrid are keen to get Colombia international James off their payroll this summer as they aim to raise funds for more signings after a busy start to the transfer window.Napoli have emerged as the club to have shown the most interest in the 27-year-old, though it is understood that reports from Italy that a deal has already been reached are wide of the mark. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? James spent the previous two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, scoring 15 goals and laying on 20 assists in 67 appearances for the Bundesliga winners, but the Bavarians decided not to exercise the option to sign him permanently for €42 million (£37m/$47m).Carlo Ancelotti was the manager who brought James to the Allianz Arena before he was sacked by Bayern in September 2017 and, having now moved onto Napoli, the Italian coach wants to reunite with a player whom he also coached during his time at Santiago Bernabeu.”James Rodriguez is Ancelotti’s wish,” Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis told Radio Kiss Kiss on Wednesday. “I don’t know if we need him 100 per cent, but his talent isn’t in doubt.”I must help my coach. He wants James and I won’t bat an eyelid, even if he’s very expensive.”James’ current contract at Madrid runs until the summer of 2021, and they are reluctant to let it enter its final 12 months and face selling the player for less than his market value.As such they will not allow him to be loaned out this season, even if the deal includes the option to buy as they want to avoid another situation as occurred at Bayern this summer.They also believe that his performances at this summer’s Copa America for Colombia could increase his value and as such are keen to sell at the highest possible price tag.The 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner is one of a number of Madrid first-team players whom the club are looking to move on in the coming weeks.As many as 13 players are up for sale, with the hope that the bulk of them will be sold before the squad return for pre-season on July 9.Among them are Gareth Bale, Isco, Keylor Navas and Mateo Kovacic who, along with James, have been deemed surplus to requirements at Santiago Bernabeu.That follows an aggressive transfer window thus far from the 13-time European champions, with the arrivals of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo costing around €300m (£267m/$340m).Zinedine Zidane is keen to bolster his squad further before the start of the season, with Paul Pogba emerging as the club’s primary midfield target over Christian Eriksen.They have also not given up on tempting Neymar to the club from Paris Saint-Germain, but must sell first so as to finance either deal.
MADISON, WI – SEPTEMBER 19: The Wisconsin Badgers marching band performs before the college football game against the Troy Trojans at Camp Randall Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)If Wisconsin has any hopes of reaching the Big Ten Championship game, then they need to get back on track this week. At 5-3, they need to beat Rutgers this week before a tough game against Penn State next week.Luckily for the Badgers, they are about to get a huge injury boost with QB Alex Hornibrook set to return.In an interview this week, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst announced that his starting QB was cleared to play against Rutgers.Hornibrook missed last week’s game against Northwestern with a concussion. The Badgers lost the game 31-17.”It’s been a good week”Coach Chryst previews Rutgers and shares updates from the week, including news that QB Alex Hornibrook is cleared to play pic.twitter.com/koENFvqzDE— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) November 1, 2018Hornibrook has been a solid presence at the QB position for Wisconsin. He is averaging 8.0 yards per passing attempt and completing close to 60% of his passes.Jack Coan served as the Badgers’ QB against Northwestern, but could not generate enough offense.Wisconsin have only played Rutgers twice, but dominated both contests by a combined margin of 85-10.