Ryan Mason We thought he was the one – Mason retirement saddens former Tottenham coach Ferdinand Joe Wright 00:47 2/14/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Tottenham Hotspur Hull City Championship Videos Les Ferdinand, who coached the midfielder in his early career with Spurs, was left disappointed at the news of the his retirement Former Tottenham coach Les Ferdinand was saddened by the news of Ryan Mason’s retirement from football.Hull City midfielder Mason suffered a fractured skull in an FA Cup match against Chelsea last January and confirmed on Tuesday that he has been advised by specialists not to return to playing.The 26-year-old, who said he felt “lucky to be alive” after the incident, had hoped to resume his career but said in a statement he was left with no option but to retire “due to the risks involved given the nature of my injury”. Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Former England and Spurs striker Ferdinand, who was a coach at White Hart Lane for six years before becoming QPR director of football in 2014, felt Mason had the potential to become an excellent player.”It’s a real disappointment for him. He was a talented boy,” Ferdinand, speaking ahead of the London Football Awards, told Omnisport.”When we were at Spurs, we thought he was the one that was really going to scoot on and be everything we thought he had the ability to be.”It just goes to show, you find yourself fortunate in this game because sometimes you can have a career… I retired when I was nearly 40 and then there are some people that have injuries in their early 20s and are never able to play again.”I’m really sad for him, it’s disappointing news, disappointing for me to find out that he had to retire. It was a horrible clash but I thought he would come back from it. That’s sad news because you hate to hear of someone retiring early from football.” Ferdinand was speaking after the QPR in the Community Trust was nominated for the LFA’s Community Project of the Year award, after their work to host the ‘Game4Grenfell’ match in support of those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire last June.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. ESPN released their midseason All-American Team earlier this week, and Oklahoma State star wideout James Washington has earned midseason honors. Washington is the only representative from the Big 12 conference on the list.Washington ranks ninth nationally in receiving yards per game, and ranks No. 2 nationally in that same category since week 3 after a slow start to the season.Through 6 games, he already has 36 receptions for 731 yards through the air and 6 touchdowns, averaging a gaudy 20.3 yards per catch nearly matching the 20.5 he finished with last season.Oklahoma State also placed two players on the midseason All-Big 12 list in senior safety Jordan Sterns, and junior defensive tackle Vincent Taylor.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. The most surprising part of these poll results is that those of you who voted that the Big 12 will actually thrive crept into the double digits. I told Carson this on our podcast, but I think I’m more optimistic than most about the future of the Big 12. I think I might be with the “will thrive” people.I’ve really struggled with how to think properly about this because there are so many tentacles to try and get your arms wrapped around, but the reality is that the Big 12 is currently making money. A lot of it. $300M last year ($30M to each team) and will make even more with a conference championship game.There is no incentive for anyone to go anywhere except for maybe OU (and even that is pretty debatable). The issue for the Big 12 is going to be this: Figure out how to keep pace with future contracts with TV networks on a per/team basis. You don’t have to make SEC or Big 10 money, but you do have to make per-team SEC money (which you are currently pretty close to).The issue is that now your properties are not as valuable, and those other conference are beginning to sign some outrageous contracts. So where does the Big 12 go? Does it try and contend with those conference in terms of ESPN and FOX or does it try to ink deals with, say, Netflix and Hulu? Is that a wise financial move in the future or does it just sound sexy?These are the decisions the Big 12 will have to make now that it has decided to stay at 10 teams. I think there’s a space for the Big 12 to really thrive over the next decade and beyond. I’m just not sure who I trust to find it. Tuesday poll question: Following the no expansion announcement, the Big 12 will …— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) October 18, 2016Let’s get to your comments.okstate1990: The B12 will be fine. The Conference, the Universities and the Networks will figure it out — there are some pretty smart people involved despite the arrogance of UT. 2025 is a long way off. There’s no need to panic and add teams (especially the ones available) just because the media and fans think they should.At some point, people may realize that the B12’s round robin schedule is the way to do it and the 14/16 member conference idea wasn’t so great. TV Networks are evolving very rapidly now; how do we know what the networks are going to even look like much less be able to afford in 9 years? It may turn out that the B12 is at an advantage only having 10 teams splitting fewer pie pieces.Levin: there are only a few P5 caliber schools not yet in a P5 conference. (BYU, Houston, Cincy) Those schools will add value to whatever conference they join, no question. The Big 12 will be fine without them for now, but will we be kicking ourselves later for not adding them when we had the chance?Chris: Wonder how other leagues are viewing the petulant behavior of OU during all this? Not a team player at all having constant tantrums since 2011. The league is dead, but I bet Ou doesn’t get an offer until Boren is gone.TJ: I think maybe the big 12 accidentally is ahead of the curve on this. They protected their recruiting base just as much their financial base.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Despite the game, there were still winners all over the field on Saturday. Let’s take a look at the Bedlam winners and losers as we mourn yet another Bedlam L.Kyle BooneWinner: The running game (again) — Justice Hill and Chris Carson got the work done in the first half and they were the reason Oklahoma State even had a chance. They each nearly got 200 yards on the ground but, unfortunately, were the only real bright spot on offense.Loser: Mike Gundy — Riding a 7-game win streak they seemed to have some serious momentum, even as an 11-point dog in Norman. Winning on the road is tough no matter where you go. But you have to take risks to reap rewards (see Kliff Kingsburys game plan in Stillwater).I don’t care if Masons fingers were frozen cold with sleet. OU’s secondary has been borderline Kansas bad all year. They didn’t take risks downfield and, like many, I thought the conservative coaching potentially cost them a chance at their second Big 12 title.Kyle PorterWinner: Jordan Sterns — He’s a dog. Tied the school record with 19 tackles. Took on every dude over the middle. Took on Perine on every run through the heart of OSU’s defense. I’m going to miss watching No. 13 lace ’em up.Coming home to get the jersey dirty one more time! #210 pic.twitter.com/Slq1vXXq10— Jordan Sterns (@31rzns) December 5, 2016Winner: Headline writers — I wept over how good this headline was on Sunday. The photo to go with it. The whole thing was one big ball of sadness for me but greatness for them..@TheOklahoman Bedlam sports cover – Baker Mayfield propels Oklahoma to its 10th conference title in the Stoops era. #Sooners #Cowboys pic.twitter.com/oRSSeJjlwi— James Poling (@James_Poling) December 4, 2016Winner: Alamo Bowl executives — They were getting two of OU, OSU, USC and Colorado so there is not really a loss here, but I’m sure they clinked a few glasses over getting two of the top 12-ranked teams in the CFB Playoff final rankings.Winner: Samaje Perine — Dude looks like he could be LeBron James’ father, and plays like he owns Bedlam. Probably because he does …Loser: OSU’s crootin odds — It really felt like Oklahoma State had a real chance to turn the tide on 100 years of recruiting futility (compared to OU) with a win in Bedlam. Alas, bring me more three-star guys. Bring me more Bedlam losses.Kyle CoxWinner: Baker — Who’s the best quarterback in the state of Oklahoma? No question. I don’t want to hear about rain or weather or wet balls.Winner: Mike Stoops — Yeah, the inept, stubborn, non-flexible, nepotism-aided window-assaulter held OSU to its lowest point total since last year’s Sugar Bowl and apparently didn’t have to try that hard.Loser: Mike Gundy — He lived up to the “little brother” moniker so many OSU fans loathe. I sincerely think OSU had a good shot at winning this game but the greatest head coach they may ever know simply laid down. Unacceptable.Loser: All OSU fans — A Big 12 title doesn’t come along all that often in Stillwater (once!) and neither do years when you have the talent OSU has this year. Got to take advantage.Steven MandevilleWinner: 2017 Cowboy Offense — We polled on Bedlam preferences related to Rudolph’s future and while the lesser preferred scenario occurred, it feels like a return for No. 2 is imminent. James Washington had quite a catch on Saturday but wasn’t himself on Saturday, coming back shouldn’t hurt him either (IMO).This is an insane catch by Washington. pic.twitter.com/gdtjH4e4qM— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) December 3, 2016Winner: Justice Hill — Gosh he was fun this year. He was solid on the ground in Bedlam, plenty of reason for continued optimism after he continued his climb over the “freshman wall.” Hopefully the studs coming in behind him will push him to keep getting better.Winner: Wal-Mart — Sooner fans are rolling hard towards some everyday low prices on Boomer Sooner Big 12 title tees.Losers: OSU Wide Receivers — Because of inclement conditions and a severe case of “road mason-itis”, one of college football’s strongest receiving cores missed out. Play back this game indoors and I think these guys really shine.Loser: Dede Westbrook — Best wishes on getting better but it’s safe to assume his Heisman numbers took a hit with him missing time.Loser: Zach Crabtree — Felt like Obo just did what he wanted to him today.. Tough day for what some felt was the Cowboys best road grader.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Bovada recently released their preseason Heisman Trophy odds, and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph was listed as a top-10 challenger with 12/1 odds.Rudolph is one of three Big 12 players on the list, with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield as the odds-on favorite, and Texas sophomore Shane Buechele listed at 35/1.Complete list of odds pic.twitter.com/4xBZLbLPuX— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) January 23, 2017Along with these odds from Bovado, Rudolph was most recently named a serious Heisman contender by Pro Football Focus.Needless to say, the senior signal caller will be receiving plenty of attention in his final season at OSU.
The offensive line recruiting class was an area of concern for the Cowboys when national signing day rolled around. Despite holding the commitments of three high school recruits rated as four-stars at one point, there were no four-year players who signed earlier last week. And only one junior college prospect, Arlington Hambright, who signed.That changed earlier this week. NEO A&M offensive guard Larry Joubert, Jr., has pledged to OSU he announced on twitter.“I believe stuff happens in life for a reason,” he said. “I know this is one of those reasons. Haters, doubters and nonbelievers, I want to silence all of them. I’m committed to sign with Oklahoma State University. Better opportunities for me and also better place to better myself as a person because this is my decision and nobody else. I’m getting better every year as a football player so I’m ready for the challenge. Coach Gundy is giving me the opportunity and I’m thankful.”According to 247sports, Joubert is a 6-foot-4, 265 pound prospect who will likely play offensive guard for the Cowboys. He was previously committed – and signed – with New Mexico. However he did not meet academic requirements which forced him to open up his recruitment.On signing day, Gundy said one scholarship was still available. And given OSU’s situation along the offensive line, I wouldn’t be surprised if that final spot goes to another offensive lineman — perhaps later in the coming weeks.Because of when Joubert committed, it is believed that the number of scholarships available is still at one. So don’t be surprised to see OSU still aggressively pursuing prospects from the junior college ranks, or even sniffing out a potential graduate transfer. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Barcelona Barcelona equal record for unbeaten La Liga run Joe Wright 06:40 25/2/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Barcelona Primera División Ernesto Valverde Guardiola Lionel Messi Luis Suárez Barcelona v Girona Girona Real Sociedad The La Liga leaders have surpassed the club record for an unbeaten run in the league, set under Pep Guardiola Barcelona have equalled the record for the longest unbeaten run in a single La Liga season.The leaders reached 32 games without defeat in the top flight with a 6-1 thumping of Catalan neighbours Girona at Camp Nou on Saturday.Luis Suarez completed his hat-trick after Lionel Messi’s brilliant first-half brace and Philippe Coutinho scored his first league goal for Barca in spectacular fashion. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp The run matches that of Real Sociedad back in 1979-80.Sociedad’s total undefeated streak lasted 38 games, running from April 1979 through May 1980, meaning Barcelona is still six games off equalling the La Liga mark that extends beyond a single season. Barca’s run surpasses their previous club record of 31 games in a row without defeat, which was set back in 2010-11, when Pep Guardiola’s side won 27 games and drew four between matchday three and 33 of the season.They have only lost three times in all competitions since Ernesto Valverde took charge — dropping both legs of the Supercopa de Espana against Real Madrid in August and losing 2-1 to Espanyol in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final, although they advanced 2-1 on aggregate.32 – Barcelona have lost none of their last 32 league matches (W27 D5), the second ever unbeaten run of any side (Real Sociedad, 38 between April 1979 and May 1980). Unstoppable. pic.twitter.com/wsrcvn3kS6— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 24, 2018Barca’s victory against Girona sees them stay top of the table, with 20 wins and five draws from 25 games. They lead second-placed Atletico Madrid by 10 points.The club go to take sole possession of the single-season unbeaten record Thursday away to Las Palmas.
Cristiano Ronaldo Ronaldo: I want three more Ballon d’Or awards but would be happy if I retired now Goal Last updated 1 year ago 23:05 26/2/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(23) Getty/Goal Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Primera División The Real Madrid star remains at the pinnacle of the world game and has achieved everything he wants, but he is sure he can keep going for a bit longer Cristiano Ronaldo says he has achieved all of his dreams in football, but would like to win the Ballon d’Or another three times before he retires.The Real Madrid star was named the best player on the planet for the fifth time in 2017, pulling level with Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.Ronaldo already has four Champions League and Club World Cup trophies to add to his Premier League and La Liga winners’ medals accrued in his sensational periods at Manchester United and Madrid. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp And while the 32-year-old feels he would be perfectly happy in life if he were to retire from the game immediately, he believes he can still achieve a great deal more before he does call time on his career.”I never dreamed of winning the Ballon d’Or five times,” he told Desimpedidos . “If I had to finish my career now, I would be super happy… [but] if I won another Ballon d’Or, two or three more times I’d be delighted with life.”Even if I don’t win, I’ve already won five… but I still have the confidence and the strength to compete for the prize… it depends on the titles we win this year.”Everything I dreamed of, I achieved.”After guiding his national team to Euro 2016 glory last season, Ronaldo is preparing to lead out Portugal in their World Cup campaign in Russia this summer.Although he feels his side are not looked upon as favourites to win the title, Ronaldo still has hope heading into the tournament.”We are not the favourites, we have to be honest,” he added. “There are teams with more names, like Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina… but in football everything is possible.”We are going to try to advance from the group stage, then we’ll see. The main objective is the first phase.”
Premier League Are Liverpool any worse off for selling Coutinho? Peter Staunton Click here to see more stories from this author Chief Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 03:28 4/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) Getty Images Premier League Liverpool v Newcastle United Liverpool Newcastle United Opinion Klopp’s great gamble is paying off with the Reds reasonably assured of a top-four slot and a place in the Champions League quarter-finals Jurgen Klopp said pre-match that Liverpool were less predictable since Philippe Coutinho’s departure. That is not to sling mud at the Brazilian who departed for Barcelona in the January transfer window but more to reflect the fact that without one dominant playmaker opponents simply don’t know where the danger is going to come from.Klopp’s gamble in sanctioning Coutinho’s record transfer is paying off. Safely delivered through to the Champions League quarter finals – barring a cataclysmic collapse – and now second to only Manchester City in the Premier League, the manager can currently reflect on a pretty canny piece of business. All that and RB Leipzig dynamo Naby Keita to look forward to in the summer.It would be remiss to say Coutinho was holding Liverpool back or causing them a problem but there is better balance in the team since Klopp has been given the option to play with a more pragmatic midfield three. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Without the schemer occupying a place in the team ahead of him, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is beginning to carve out a niche instead of the Reds having one attacker too many. His work in providing Mo Salah with the opening goal against Newcastle was excellent.Salah, now safely assured of his status as signing of the season, needs no second invitation in situations like that. He has now scored in 26 separate club games for Liverpool this season – an English and top-five European league record.While Klopp was commenting on the effect on the side since Coutinho’s exit, he mentioned the form of Roberto Firmino. He may never be a bonafide poacher like Sergio Aguero but that is not what Liverpool are looking for.He fits this set-up like a glove, whether it’s leading the line or dropping in to create the play. He gave Sadio Mane the opportunity to shoot at goal for Liverpool’s second, game-killing strike.Newcastle provided exactly what was expected on one of the coldest nights to see a game this season. Rafael Benitez had his team sit deep and resist. It worked until just before half-time and a side of such limited ambition is always going to struggle to get back into a game after falling behind.These types of games have had the habit of biting Klopp on the backside throughout his Liverpool reign. This time, though, there were no mistakes and Liverpool took care of business efficiently.That Mane goal was the 200th Premier League goal of Klopp’s Liverpool reign. They have come in 97 matches. Scoring has never been a problem, rather it’s been keeping them out at the other end.The signing of Virgil van Dijk should help in that regard and, while they lost a superstar in Coutinho, they appear to have gained a bit more balance. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
Primera División Barcelona Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Atletico Ben Hayward Last updated 1 year ago 15:15 4/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Primera División Barcelona v Atlético Madrid Barcelona Atlético Madrid Everything you need to know as first meets second in the Primera Division at Camp Nou this weekend… Barcelona meet Atletico Madrid on Sunday in what will be a huge title test for both teams in La Liga.Ernesto Valverde’s side saw their lead cut to five points at the top of the table after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Las Palmas in the Canary Islands on Thursday and, after arriving on the mainland just before 4am on Friday morning, their players were back in training at 12:30 to prepare for Sunday’s big game.Atletico, meanwhile, were in action at home to Leganes on Wednesday and won that match 4-0, with all four goals scored by Antoine Griezmann. Diego Simeone’s side have only lost once all season and drew 1-1 with Barca at the Wanda Metropolitano back in October. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Here, Goal takes a look at everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s clash at Camp Nou…Barcelona injuriesNelson Semedo is expected to be out for five weeks after picking up a hamstring injury in last Saturday’s 6-1 win at home to Girona.Meanwhile, Sergi Samper is out with a long-term problem. The midfielder was on loan at Las Palmas, but damaged ankle ligaments in a game against Eibar in January and has returned to Barcelona for the rest of the season in order to recover and receive treatment.Barcelona suspensionsJordi Alba picked up his fifth league booking of the season against Girona and missed the trip to Las Palmas, but he will be available again this weekend. Meanwhile, Luis Suarez managed to avoid a yellow card on Thursday and will feature, although he is still just one booking away from a ban.Barcelona potential starting line-upBarcelona remain unbeaten in La Liga and coming through this match with that record intact will make the Blaugrana big favourites to claim the title at the end of the season.Valverde will therefore pick his strongest side and the only real doubt is in midfield, with Andres Iniesta, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele competing for two spots alongside Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic.If Iniesta starts, Coutinho could feature as well, but given that his preferred position is also on the left, Dembele may get the nod to provide more balance on the right.With Semedo injured, Sergi Roberto will start at right-back, with Alba back from suspension to replace Lucas Digne on the left. Gerard Pique, rested on Thursday, will return alongside Samuel Umtiti in central defence.Atletico Madrid team newsAtletico have lost just once this season in La Liga and are on form after thrashing Sevilla 5-2 away from home and then Leganes 4-0 in their last two league games.Griezmann scored seven goals in those two matches and his partnership with Diego Costa in attack is really starting to blossom for the Rojiblancos.Simeone’s side have a small squad for the remainder of the season after Yannick Carrasco and Nico Gaitan both moved to China and goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya joined Real Sociedad this week.In addition, defenders Lucas Hernandez and Stefan Savic are doubtful for Sunday’s game.TV channel & kick-off timeBarcelona versus Atletico kicks off at 16:15 local time on Sunday and will be broadcast live in the UK (United Kingdom) on Sky Sports Mix from 15:00 GMT.In the United States, the game can be watched live on television on beIN SPORTS and kicks off at 10:15 ET.Best Opta match facts Barcelona have not lost any of their last 15 games against Atletico in La Liga (11 wins and four draws), their best unbeaten run against them in the competition. Atletico have just lost just once in their last 24 La Liga games away from home (won 15, drawn eight), a 1-0 defeat against Espanyol in December. Simeone (eight defeats and four draws) has never beaten Barca as a coach in La Liga. Atletico are Lionel Messi’s second favourite opponent in all competitions (27 goals scored) after Sevilla (29). Only against Villarreal (nine) has Fernando Torres scored more goals in La Liga than against Barcelona (eight, same as against Athletic), although his last league goal at Camp Nou in the competition was 12 years ago (a double in February 2006).
Lionel Messi Messi announces arrival of third child after withdrawing from Barca squad Chris Burton Last updated 1 year ago 21:40 10/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(17) LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images Lionel Messi Barcelona Málaga v Barcelona Málaga Primera División The Argentine has confirmed fans’ suspicions after he had withdrawn from the squad to face Malaga for ‘personal reasons’ Lionel Messi has announced the arrival of his third child after Barcelona had announced earlier in the day that he had withdrawn from the squad to face Malaga.The Blaugrana alerted the public early in the day on Saturday that their star player would not make the trip to La Rosaleda with the rest of the squad, stating only that the Argentine would not feature in the Liga clash due to ‘personal reasons’, with centre-back Yerry Mina taking his place in the squad.Messi announced in October of 2017 that his wife, Antonella, was pregnant again, leading fans to suspect that the birth of his third child was the reason for his exclusion from the squad. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp The 30-year-old has since confirmed those suspicions, taking to Instagram to let fans know that his newborn son, named Ciro, and the child’s mother had both come through with no issues and that his family are all happy and healthy: “Welcome Ciro! Thank God everything went perfect. Mom and he are very well. We are super happy!”Messi already had two sons, Mateo and Thiago.As for Barcelona, the Catalan side will likely not be too hindered by the Argentine’s absence as they have plenty of quality to call upon – including the likes of star youngster Ousmane Dembele – as they travel to face a Malaga side that sit rock bottom of La Liga having picked up only 13 points from 27 games.The Camp Nou side remain well on course to be named champions of the Spanish top flight, boasting an eight-point gap between themselves and second-placed Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid remain in third place.Messi himself, meanwhile, has enjoyed another standout season for Barca in 2017-18, with 32 goals netted in just 41 appearances.
Game 5: vs. Kansas StateAnalysis: I’m sure Chris Klieman will turn out to be a fine college football coach at this level, but I’m dubious his decision to replace a legend will result in insta-success at K-State.Percentage chance of winning: 69%Game 6: at Texas TechAnalysis: I’m kind of in on Matt Wells and what he’s doing at Tech. And it obviously worked well for him at Utah State. I’m basing my odds on this being a night game with tortillas flying all over the field. Because it always feels like OSU gets Tech on the road at night.Percentage chance of winning: 52.37%Game 7: vs. BaylorAnalysis: Matt Rhule and Baylor got the better of OSU last year in part because of a meltdown on the part of OSU. I suspect OSU wants to turn the tables this year — and this is homecoming. Adding five percentage points for that advantage alone.Percentage chance of winning: 59%Game 8: at Iowa StateAnalysis: At Ames? *shudders*Percentage chance of winning: 31%Game 9: vs. TCUAnalysis: They say if you have two quarterbacks, you have none. But at Big 12 Media Days, Gary Patterson said TCU has six. Six! They’d be better off trying to score each time defensively and willingly punting away on first down offensively than trying to figure out that mangled quarterback mess.Percentage chance of winning: 67%Game 10: vs. KansasAnalysis: No game is a guaranteed win, but …. sorry, Les.Percentage chance of winning: 100%Game 11: at West VirginiaAnalysis: The moonshine is going to be flowing in Morgantown by 6 a.m. Unless this is an 8 a.m. kick, I fear this atmosphere is going to suck the juice out of OSU.Percentage chance of winning: 43%Game 12: vs. OklahomaAnalysis: I know this is on home turf and all, but OU-coached teams — whether it’s Bob or Lincoln — just have Gundy’s number. I’d actually feel better about this game if it were in Norman.Percentage chance of winning: 6% Mike Gundy has guided Oklahoma State to six 10-win seasons this decade, but reaching that double-digit mark is a tall task that in many cases is boosted by a bowl win (save for 2011 — duh — and 2010).Can he get OSU back into that fabled territory it often grazed in the not-so-distant past in 2019? Let’s take a game-by-game look at the regular season and find out. I’ll handicap each game with my own, very unscientific analysis and percentages.Game 1: at Oregon StateAnalysis: One of these OSUs stinks, and it’s not the one that hails from Oklahoma.Percentage chance of winning: 98%Game 2: vs. McNeese StateAnalysis: The first suggestion when I type in “McNeese State” into google, by google, is an autofill that asks: “Is McNeese State a Division 1 school?” That tells me just about everything I need to know here.Percentage chance of winning: 97.9%Game 3: at TulsaAnalysis: TU has a combined five wins over the last two seasons. In the American Athletic Conference.Percentage chance of winning: 84.6%Game 4: at TexasAnalysis: OSU has won five-straight in Austin. That is not a typo. As good as Texas is going to be this year (or should I say: as much hype as Texas has earned, the most predictable tradition in college football), I feel like that’s more than just luck. Gundy loves kicking some Texas behind and leaving the state with a W. Still yet, UT has home-field and a better team on paper. Giving them the slight edge, but won’t be shocked if OSU carries home the W.Percentage chance of winning: 49% While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Oklahoma StateKansas State Rushing Defense175.8137.3 Total Defense415256 Defensive Stats Passing Defense239.3118.7 Oklahoma State’s game in Texas last weekend was weird, and history says this weekend has a good shot at getting a little funky, too.Oklahoma State hosts Kansas State at 6 p.m. Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium. There haven’t been many games between these two this millennium decided by more than a touchdown. We’ll look more into that later, but here are some stats entering Saturday.Offensive Stats Points Per Game44.544 Oklahoma StateKansas State Total Offense533.8454.3 Cowboy Killer Skylar ThompsonIn two games against Oklahoma State, Skylar Thompson has 507 total yards, four total touchdowns and, most importantly, two wins.Now a junior at K-State, Thompson is a better passer this season than he was in his first two seasons. In the Wildcats’ three games in 2019, Thompson has completed 68 percent of his passes for 486 yards and four touchdowns.Those aren’t earth-shattering numbers, but considering Thompson had only 689 passing yards and five passing touchdowns two years ago, it shows improvement. Oh, and 204 of those passing yards Thompson had as a freshman came against OSU.“It gives you confidence going in that you can have success at a place if you’ve been there before,” K-State coach Chris Klieman said of Thompson’s success against OSU. “You still have to execute. He still has to have a tremendous week of preparation because, obviously, it’s a different offense and it’s a different style of defense, so to speak. So we’ve got to continue to prepare on a daily basis.”A History of Tight GamesSince the turn of the century, OSU and K-State have played 13 times.Eight of those 13 games have been determined by seven points or fewer. Let’s look at those.2003: The Pokes ended a streak of nine straight losses against K-State in this 38-34 victory.A classic Les Miles fake field goal in the third quarter led to OSU taking a 28-21 lead. The Cowboys were up 38-21 with just over 10 minutes left before the Wildcats roared back. But Tatum Bell was able to run out the clock late.Bell finished the game with 143 yards and two touchdowns. Rashaun Woods had 118 receiving yards on six catches.2006: After two seasons away from each other OSU and K-State met again for a back-and-forth affair that the Wildcats won 31-27 in Manhattan.Josh Freeman scored a 21-yard touchdown run with under two minutes to go to give K-State the lead. But Perrish Cox returned the ensuing kickoff 39 yards to give OSU a chance.After a few completions to D’Juan Woods and Adarius Bowman, Bobby Reid threw an interception in the end zone as time expired.2007: As if these games couldn’t get closer, Oklahoma State upset the 25th-ranked Wildcats 41-39 the next year.Just like the year before, K-State scored with just over a minute to go. It looked as if K-State was going to tie the game at 38, but the Wildcats elected to go for two, got it and went up 39-38 with 1:10 to go.Just like the year before, the Wildcats gave up a late, big kick return, as Tommy Devereaux started the Pokes at their own 42-yard line.Despite time being scarce, the Cowboys ran the ball four times and threw it only once on the drive, as Zac Robinson and Dantrell Savage got OSU to K-State’s 9-yard line to set up a Jason Ricks game-winner.2011: The Cowboys won by a “healthy” 10 points in 2010 before this big scare late in the 2011 season.The No. 3 Cowboys topped No. 14 K-State 52-45 to advance the Cowboys to 9-0, but it wasn’t easy.Joesph Randle scored a 23-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes to go, but this time it was the Wildcats with a chance for last-second heroics.Collin Klein led K-State down the field. Klein hit Chris Harper on a 22-yard connection, as Harper went out of bounds at the OSU 5-yard line with 12 seconds left.From there, Klein threw three straight incompletions, and OSU survived.Brandon Weeden finished the game with 502 yards and four touchdowns. Justin Blackmon had 205 yards and two touchdowns.2013: This 33-29 OSU victory again came down to the trailing team’s final drive.After a Ben Grogan field goal gave the Cowboys a four-point lead with 2:24 to go, the Wildcats got into OSU territory before Daniel Sams threw a ball right to OSU defensive back Daytawion Lowe at the Cowboys’ 21. Lowe ran the ball back 72 yards and the Cowboys kneeled out the clock.2015: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but K-State scored with too much time left.In OSU’s 36-34 victory, Joe Hubener scored on a 5-yard run with 3:01 to go. However, the Wildcats failed a two-point conversion attempt, and down the field came OSU.Mason Rudolph moved the Cowboys’ offense down the field and set up a 37-yard Ben Grogan go-ahead field goal.K-State got the ball back with 36 seconds left, but Hubener threw an interception to Michael Hunter on the second play of the drive.Rudolph had 437 passing yards, and Marcell Ateman and James Washington each eclipsed 100 receiving yards.2016: The Pokes were down 37-28 in the fourth quarter before coming back and winning 43-37 on the road.With just under eight minutes to go, Rudolph threw an 84-yard bomb to Washington to put the Pokes a score away. Then Chris Carson drug two Wildcats’ defenders into the end zone with 1:46 left on the clock.K-State again got into OSU territory before Jordan Sterns picked off a Jesse Ertz pass in the end zone as time expired.Rudolph threw four 457 yards and five touchdowns in the game.2017: At one point in this 45-40 K-State victory, OSU was down 42-13.Byron Pringle showed up to Stillwater and dominated. He had three touchdown catches and returned a kick for another score.Despite getting drilled for much of the game, OSU somehow had a chance to win.The Cowboys scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and got the ball near mid-field with a chance to win. OSU started its final drive of the game on its 46 with 2:16 to go, but after four straight incompletions, K-State survived the comeback attempt. Points Allowed Per Game26.812.7 Passing Offense263.3174.3 Rushing Offense270.5280 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. This is how close OU was to recovering an onside kick to potentially force OT or win the game… pic.twitter.com/E8QvwlJYoj— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 26, 2019Watch how Kansas won just their sixth Big 12 game this decade (not a typo, they’re really 6-79 since 2010 … of course Tech showed below why they’re 29-56).This is why Kansas just won. Unbelievable mistake by Texas Tech after the blocked kick. Jayhawks kick again and win on 32-yard FG. pic.twitter.com/gI2uYSfanS— Max Olson (@max_olson) October 27, 2019Add it all up and somehow Baylor is sitting at home chuckling like Kevin at what transpired on Saturday. The Bears have a 1-3 WVU team coming to Waco on Thursday night, and are two wins over the right teams from locking up a Big 12 title appearance.As for the Pokes? Well, it looks more condensed than it did a week ago, but I’m not sure it necessarily looks a lot better. If they take care of TCU next week, that’s when it starts to get a little optimistic.Beat TCU and then you have two of those one-win teams (Kansas and WVU) left plus OU at home. We can start to dream a little bit then, I suppose. Although I don’t know if an Alamo Bowl appearance counts as dreaming. The Tech loss hurts. Don’t lose to Tech, and all of a sudden you’re third in these standings with all the opportunity in the world.I’m not convinced all is well after OSU’s statistical outlier of a game (more defensive INTs than penalties in a single game has only happened one other time in the Gundy era), but as Saturday proved, you get wins however you can get them in the Big 12.Lastly, I thought this from Carson was good. The Big 12 isn’t the best league or the most talented. But it’s definitely the fairest, which — ironically? — hurts you when it comes to both national perception and playoff appearances.Today is a reminder The Big 12 is really hurt by the round robin, 9-game conference schedule. The last team to go undefeated in the regular season? 2009 Texas, before the round robin schedule. Other conferences can avoid playing the best teams in a given year & less conf. games.— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) October 27, 2019The Big 12 cannibalized itself on Saturday as four dogs beat four favorites on one of the weirdest slates in recent memory (and it’s not as if there haven’t been weird slates!).The fun part here is that we haven’t even reached November yet.So now it’s Baylor …. and then OU … and then everybody else pelting each other with rocks trying to sniff third place with a shot at second down the stretch. I’m thankful for a day of madness because it included Oklahoma State, which is still one of those teams lingering in the middle. After what transpired on Saturday in Ft. Worth, Manhattan, Lawrence and Ames — and given how this season has gone — that’s about all anyone could ask for.*Depending on where you wager on CFB Four underdogs* on Saturday. Four Big 12 wins. Chaos, honestly.OU’s early tilt with Kansas State ended with a video review about whether a corkscrewing onside kick hit a player before it went 10 yards and whether that player was blocked into the ball or whether he ran into it himself. And that was the second weirdest ending of the day in the conference … in the state of Kansas.A review.• Kansas State was a 21.5-point dog at home (won by 7)• Oklahoma State was a 10.5-point dog on the road (won by 7)• TCU was a 1.5-point dog at home (won by 10)• Kansas was a 4-point dog at home (won by 3)That’s 37.5 points piled up on four outright winners. The Sooner tears after getting smoked in the Little Apple — I might add — were tasty.“There’s a lot of parity week to week,” said Mike Gundy after his team won for the 10th time as a road underdog since he took over in 2005.“A lot of times it comes back to those three things we talked about (turnovers, penalties and big plays). That’s the one thing that college football has going for it right now is parity week to week. The fans love it, people that come to the games love it, TV networks love it.”This is true. We all do kind of love it. The OSU and TCU wins were fairly straightforward (as far as this nutty conference goes anyway), but K-State was wild, and then Kansas was a fever dream. [whispers] I have no idea how this call was overturned for Kansas State, and I don’t really care.
Posted on September 11, 2009November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey! Here are some of the results (click on the thumbnails for larger images):Over half of you reading our site are Academicians/Researchers/Professors (27%) or NGO Staff/Aid Workers (27%).When asked what existing health/maternal health websites lacked, 43% of you said an effective search engine while 34% said a user friendly design.We also asked your preference for the MHTF site’s three priority areas. The top three are maternal health trends and indicators, maternal health interventions, and program evaluation.As for the features that would be most useful to you on the MHTF website, the top responses are: research reports, maternal health statistics, funding opportunities, and journal articles. The features that you said would be least useful are news feeds, job/internship listings, and a graphics bank.We are currently using the information you provided to build on and improve our website which will launch in November, so stay tuned!Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
In conjunction with the TFA Media Coordinator plan and coordinate a state affiliate media program to train, educate and up-skill affiliates on media generation and publication. Develop state and affiliate media networks and disseminate this amongst the affiliates Touch Football Australia has secured a grant from the Australian Sports Commission to assist with a Media Training Scholarship program in the latest round of Sports Leadership Grants for Women. The Media Training Scholarship program is an ideal opportunity to recognise the roles that women volunteers play in the sport and reward specific individuals with additional training and professional development in the sport.Touch Football Australia Member Services Coordinator, Nathan Hollman is excited by the scope the program will offer women who wish to persue level entry media training/marketing training.“Touch Footbll Australia is delighted to be able to provide this opportunity to women who aspire to become employed, or broaden their skill set in the media/marketing area. The sport will benefit immensely from this initiative and we look forward to being able to capitilize on this program in the future promotion and marketing of the sport.” Hollman said.As part of the allocated funding, TFA will be coordinating a two day media training induction program in conjunction with the Australian Sports Commission and the University of Canberra’s Sports Media training department on the 26 – 27 February 2007.Applications will close on the 8th December with the successful candidates commencing the role in February 2007.Any enquiries, or access to the Position Description needs to be directed to the relevant State Office.Each State will seek applicants for the scholarships and the main areas of position responsibility will be to: Encourage and up skill local affiliates on development of their affiliate media promotion Encourage and promote relationship building with their local media contacts
World Cup From beach football to Brazil captain: Marcelo living World Cup dream Iain Strachan 02:59 6/17/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty World Cup Brazil Brazil v Switzerland Switzerland Marcelo The Real Madrid defender will be immensely proud to wear the armband when the Selecao begin their Russia 2018 campaign against Switzerland Real Madrid star Marcelo says captaining Brazil at the World Cup will see him realise the ultimate childhood dream.The 30-year-old full-back is set to skipper the Selecao when they face Switzerland in a Group E clash in Rostov-on-Don on Sunday.Brazil are among the favourites to win the finals in Russia, with an expectant nation hoping Tite’s side can seal the country’s sixth World Cup triumph. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘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 Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the pressure weighing down on the players, Marcelo is embracing his prestigious role.”It’s something I like about leadership, I feel I can transmit it to the group,” he said.”Everybody contributes to the group. I’m 30 years old and everything you go through in football, you take something from it. “Way back as a child playing football on the beach, you dream of being a player representing your national team on the big stage – and now I get to be the captain. “It’s something money can’t buy.” Ahead of their campaign beginning this weekend, Brazil have been unable to escape reminders of a humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals of the tournament on home soil four years ago.Marcelo, though, is adamant he does not dwell on the extraordinary thrashing in Belo Horizonte.”These are things that happen in football,” he said.”Of course I wish it were different. There’s no trauma, if there was trauma I wouldn’t play football any more, I would have retired. “I look for a goal and I try to keep my focus on it. The World Cup is another challenge, tomorrow there’s another one. “To not get hurt is one, to train without pain is a challenge, to change from my club to the national team. Life is made up of challenges. “There’s no trauma. Even the good things don’t go to my head and I don’t let the bad things affect me.”
Transfers Capello: Juventus got a fantastic deal selling Paul Pogba at £89m Chris Burton 05:49 6/18/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Transfers Juventus Manchester United Serie A Premier League Paul Pogba The former Bianconeri boss has suggested that a man offloaded to Manchester United in 2016 has struggled to justify what was a record-breaking fee Former Juventus boss Fabio Capello claims the Serie A champions got “a fantastic deal” selling Paul Pogba to Manchester United for £89 million ($118m).After four years in Turin, the France international decided to return to Old Trafford for a second spell in the summer of 2016.The deal which took him back to England was the costliest in world football at the time, but the 25-year-old has struggled to justify that price tag amid constant criticism of his game and off-field activity. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘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 Capello believes Juve have been the biggest benefactors of the lucrative transfer, with the trophies having continued to roll in for the Bianconeri while Pogba has been found out for United and France.A man who spent six years with Juve as a player and two as a manager told Mediaset Premium: “The truth is that Pogba makes the difference in Italy, but not in England or on international duty.“That’s because with his physical strength, to us he seems impossible to control, but when he plays elsewhere, he becomes normal.“I’d say Juventus got themselves a fantastic deal by selling him at that price.”Pogba is currently in the process of trying to rediscover his spark while on international duty at World Cup 2018.He has made a positive start in Russia, but one former team-mate has been denied the opportunity to grace such a stage.Paulo Dybala starred for Juve in 2017-18, netting 26 times, but was overlooked by Argentina and Capello believes the 24-year-old is paying the price for a lack of consistency.The Italian added: “Dybala is still a long way off [Lionel] Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.“He has to improve his consistency and the way he participates in the overall moves.“He always waits for the ball to come to him, but that’s because he plays in a strong team that lets him do anything he wants.“Dybala could’ve given Argentina something different, especially from distance, and I would’ve used him against Iceland.”
Transfers Sarri requests Higuain, Mertens & Koulibaly as Chelsea talks speed up Nizaar Kinsella Click here to see more stories from this author Chelsea Correspondent 20:05 6/20/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Transfers Chelsea Napoli Premier League Antonio Conte The Blues are still not clear on who their head coach will be next season as they push ahead to get a deal resolved before pre-season kicks off Chelsea have spoken to prospective new manager Maurizio Sarri about his transfer preferences as he targets a host of Napoli stars from past and present, Goal understands.Talks over a deal to appoint Sarri to replace Antonio Conte continue to progress positively and, in conversations with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia, he has stated his admiration of various Napoli stars, including Kalidou Koulibaly, Elseid Hysaj, Piotr Zielinski and Dries Mertens.However, Chelsea will have the final say on transfers, just as they did with Conte and remain cautious about offering players aged over 30 a contract lasting longer than one year. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘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 This policy may scupper Sarri’s interest in signing Belgium international Mertens and also Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, whose future with the Serie A champions is the source of renewed doubts.Higuain retains a strong bond with Sarri from their time together at Napoli, despite controversially swapping the title challengers for their fierce rivals in the north of Italy.Koulibaly and Mertens both interested Chelsea in the past under Conte and the Senegal defender was the subject of an ultimately failed summer-long pursuit inNapoli have always proved difficult to work with for Chelsea as discussions continue to remove Sarri from his contract, despite club president Aurelio De Laurentiis having already signed Carlo Ancelotti to replace him.Sarri had a £7 million ($9.4m) release clause to be paid as compensation but that expired on May 31. Chelsea had sought to pay less than this clause, as they also face a possible £9m bill to remove Conte from his position as head coach.Talks have continued between Sarri and Chelsea, as they work on their strategy to secure his appointment, although Laurent Blanc remains a frontrunner, should the negotiations collapse. Chelsea have shown an interest in Nice’s Jean Michaël Seri and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, but a lack of manager has seen all transfer activity slow down at the club.The club’s players remain in the dark over who the new coach will be and their own futures could be affected by the next appointment. The non-World Cup players have been told that they are due back for pre-season on July 2 without knowing who the next manager will be.The situation around the head coach has delayed potential contract renewal talks for senior players, as well as the futures of those who are among the 35-man loan group.Blues legend Gianfranco Zola, meanwhile, is being lined up for a role under Sarri and he will be offered an assistant manager position.
Iran 1 Portugal 1: Santos’ men survive late Saransk scare after Ronaldo penalty miss Patric Ridge Last updated 1 year ago 04:17 6/26/18 Getty Images Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty miss ultimately did not cost Portugal a last-16 berth as they held out for a dramatic 1-1 draw with Iran. Mehdi Taremi wasted a gilt-edged chance after Karim Ansarifard’s penalty had thrown Iran a lifeline, but Portugal survived with a 1-1 draw to make the World Cup last 16 despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s missed spot-kick in a match dominated by VAR.The usually prolific Ronaldo was off target with a 53rd-minute penalty, awarded after a video-assisted review, as Portugal failed to build on Ricardo Quaresma’s first-half stunner in the crucial Group B contest.That miss from Ronaldo, who was perhaps fortunate not to see red for another VAR check after swinging an arm into the face of Morteza Pouraliganji, was punished when Cedric Soares was pinged for handball after referee Enrique Caceres again went to his video monitor. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘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 Unlike Ronaldo, Ansarifard made no mistake with a powerful finish into the roof of the net to set up a grandstand finish in Saransk.But Taremi fluffed his lines in the dying embers, firing into the side-netting from close range as Portugal held out for a crucial point.It means the European champions are into the last 16 – where they face Uruguay – in second place, behind Spain – who themselves secured a dramatic 2-2 draw with Morocco – only on goals scored, while Iran settle for third with four points.19 – There have been 19 penalties taken at the 2018 World Cup , more than in any other edition in the history of the competition. VAR . #WorldCup #IRNPOR pic.twitter.com/8tmhJJi3nm — OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 25, 2018 Predictably it was Ronaldo who had the first chance, the superstar forward cutting in from the left before lashing a powerful strike goalwards that Alireza Beiranvand held onto at the second attempt.Iran responded well and Alireza Jahanbakhsh led a swift counter-attack before sliding a pass to Vahid Amiri, who dragged his first-time effort wide.Ronaldo appealed for a penalty soon after when his free-kick clipped Sardar Azmoun’s elbow, although replays suggest it would have been a harsh decision.Jahanbakhsh was proving Iran’s greatest threat and Rui Patricio had to be alert to deny the AZ winger an assist with a free-kick that Saeid Ezatolahi turned towards goal, but it would be Quaresma’s piece of magic that broke the deadlock.Having combined with Adrien Silva, Quaresma let rip with a wonderful outside-of-the-boot effort that looped over Beiranvand into the top-left corner.34y 272d – Ricardo Quaresma is the oldest player to score on his first World Cup start (34 years, 272 days) since Yahya Golmohammadi for Iran against Mexico in 2006 (35 years, 84 days). Trivela. #IRNPOR #POR #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/LxL8DI0M84— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 25, 2018Referee Caceres appeared to have missed Ezatolahi’s blatant foul on Ronaldo following the restart, but VAR again took centre stage when the official reviewed, and then overturned, his decision.Ronaldo did not make Iran pay, though, failing to direct his low effort far enough to the right, enabling Beiranvand to get down and make a fine stop.Azmoun tested the referee’s resolve again when he went down under pressure from Jose Fonte, but Caceres rightly dismissed the striker’s appeals for a penalty.There was more VAR drama late on, however. After using his visual aid to conclude that Ronaldo’s challenge on Pouraliganji was only worth a booking, Caceres used the system once more to determine that Cedric’s handball from Azmoun’s header had been intentional.Ansarifard duly converted high to his right to give Iran hope, but Taremi was unable to complete the miracle turnaround as Iran ultimately fell at the first hurdle. Key Opta stats:- Portugal have progressed from the group stage of the World Cup for the fourth time in their history (also 1966, 2006 and 2010).- Iran have been eliminated from the group stage at the World Cup in all five tournaments they have competed in (1978, 1998, 2006, 2014 and 2018).- Both of Iran’s goals at the 2018 World Cup were scored in injury time (94:06 against Morocco, 92:48 against Portugal).- Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma (34y 272d) is the oldest player to score on his first World Cup start since Yahya Golmohammadi (35y 84d), who did so for Iran in 2006 against Mexico.- Two of Cristiano Ronaldo’s three penalties at the World Cup for Portugal have been against Iran – he scored in 2006 but saw his effort saved in this game.- Ronaldo has a 50 per cent penalty success rate in major tournaments for Portugal, scoring two (against Iran and Spain at the World Cups in 2006 and 2018 respectively) but also failing with two (against Austria at Euro 2016 and Iran today).- Iran remain winless in eight World Cup matches against European opposition (D2 L6). read more