Conte confirms he will not take Real Madrid job

first_imgFormer Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has claimed he wants to wait until June before returning to management while addressing the possibility of taking over at Real Madrid.The 49-year-old has been out of work since leaving Stamford Bridge during the summer, after winning the Premier League and the FA Cup during his two-year stint in England.The ex-Blues boss had been lined up to replace Julen Lopetgeui at Santiago Bernabeu, but for the time being Santiago Solari has been installed as manager on an interim basis. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Solari has overseen an immediate turnaround in fortunes on the pitch, as Madrid have won four games in succession, and is now expected to be offered the role on a permanent basis in the near future.Conte spoke to Sky Sports on Monday and addressed the Madrid speculation – which is still raging on heading into the winter period – confessing that despite interest from top clubs, he intends to wait until the end of the season before signing up for a ‘new project’.”Real Madrid? As I see it, it is better to wait until the end of the season than to take a train running now,” the Italian tactician said.”I want to wait for June and start again with a new project. In three months I could change my mind and deny everything, but I’ve always thought of it this way.”Conte has also been touted for a possible return to Juventus, whom he managed between 2011 and 2014, winning three consecutive Serie A titles before taking the top job with Italy.While he denies wanting to succeed Massimiliano Allegri in Turin, he does admit that he would be most comfortable returning to work in his native land.”If I think about the fact that I could train Ronaldo? No, I do not think about it,” Conte added. “I’m happy with the players I’ve trained and the things I’ve won. The club continues to grow and is doing a great job at the business level, with huge purchases and a great deal for Allegri.”Of course, I am Italian and I like to live and train in Italy, obviously, at the moment there is an incredible dominance of Juventus, but the pursuers are they are strengthening year after year “.last_img

AFC suspends Guam official who pleaded guilty in U.S. bribery case

first_imgFIFA audit and compliance committee member Richard Lai was provisionally suspended by the chairman of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Disciplinary and Ethics Committee on Friday after the Guam official pleaded guilty to charges of fraud.Lai, who has been president of the Guam Football Association since 2001, pleaded guilty to charges that he took close to $1 million in bribes in exchange for using his influence within the FIFA and agreed to pay $1.1 million as part of the plea.”The Chairman…has provisionally suspended Richard Lai from football with immediate effect under the AFC’s Disciplinary and Ethics Code following Mr Lai’s guilty plea to charges relating to fraud at a court appearance in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday evening,” the confederation said in a statement.”The AFC will make no further comment until the investigation process is completed,” it added.last_img

Xiaomi Redmi 4 with Snapdragon 435 processor, 4100mAh battery launched starting at Rs 6,999

first_imgXiaomi launched the Redmi 3S (3S Prime) successor, the Redmi 4, in India on Tuesday at a starting price of Rs 6,999 for the 2GB RAM and 16GB memory version going all the way to Rs 10,999 for the top end 4GB RAM and 64GB memory version. The Redmi 4 will also be available in 3GB RAM and 32GB memory version for Rs 8,999.Much like the Redmi 3S, the Redmi 4 also brings in some hard-to-get hardware specs at some rock-bottom prices. And just like the Redmi 3S, the Redmi 4 will also be made in India, according to Xiaomi.The Redmi 4, much like its predecessor, also comes with an all-metal body and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The phone, in fact, looks a lot like the Redmi Note 4, with smaller bezels. It comes with curved 2.5D glass on the front and will also come in matte black finish and gold colour options like the Redmi Note 4.It comes with a 5-inch 720p display and an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor under the hood. The Redmi 4 is smoother and more thermal efficient than Lenovo’s Moto G5, according to Xiaomi.The Redmi 4 sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.On the software side, the Redmi 4 comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based MIUI. The phone will be eligible for Android Nougat preview out-of-the-box. Furthermore, the phone is backed by a 4,100mAh battery. The phone supports 4G LTE and is also VoLTE-ready.Some big shoes to fill, some new areas to conquerThe Redmi 4 will have some big shoes to fill because the Redmi 3S has been very successful for the company in question. Xiaomi VP and India MD Manu Kumar Jain, only recently, announced that the company has sold over 40 lakh units of the Redmi 3S phone in the country in 9 months. The Redmi 3S, which was launched in India in August last year, has in fact become the highest selling phone ever available in India via the online sales model, he added.advertisementAlso Read: Nokia 3310 launched in India at Rs 3310, available from May 18The Redmi 4 comes at a time when Xiaomi is slowly and steadily ramping up its sales strategy in the country. In a bid to give its offline ambitions a boost, Xiaomi opened its first Mi Home store in India recently. Xiaomi’s first Mi Home store in India, which is located in Bengaluru, will be open for the public from May 20 and will be a one stop shop for anything and everything that the Chinese company sells in India.The company, in addition, is also looking to open Mi Home stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Chennai in the days to come. In fact, it plans to open as many as 100 Mi Homes in the country in the next two years.The move to open a Mi Home in India is part of Xiaomi’s strategy and growing shift towards bringing its products to offline sales channels. Xiaomi phones, although value for money, are notorious for being out of stock almost all the time. An online-only sales approach also meant it was impossible for people to personally try out these phones before making a purchase. A Mi Home store will solve both the purposes.It is expected that the Mi Home would be among the first few stores in India where buyers would be able to experience the newly launched Redmi 4 in person.last_img

UK prepares to deploy army, raises threat level to maximum

first_img(EDS: updating with more information)By Aditi KhannaLondon, May 24 (PTI) British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK has raised the threat level to maximum and the government was preparing to send soldiers on to streets as a second terror attack may be imminent after the Manchester pop concert bombing.May raised the threat level from severe to critical for the first time since 2007, saying the decision was taken after security forces were unable to rule out if Salman Abedi, the British-born suspect behind Mondays suicide bombing at the concert in Manchester city that killed 22 people, acted alone.The raising of the threat level mean further attacks may be imminent. The move will see the Army deployed to secure key sites.”It is a possibility that we cannot ignore, that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack,” May said in a live address late last night after she chaired a meeting of the governments emergency response Cobra committee.She said: “The change in the threat level means that there will be additional resources and support made available to the police as they work to keep us all safe”.”As a result of (the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centres) decision the police have asked for authorisation from the Secretary of State for Defence to deploy a number of armed military personnel in support of their armed officers.”She said the request was part of an established plan known as Operation Temperer. “This means that armed police officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces, which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations.”advertisementIt is the first time that the operation, which was first revealed in 2015, has been put into effect. Up to 5,000 soldiers will be deployed on Britains streets as a result of the move.”You might also see military personnel deployed at certain events such as concerts and sports matches, helping the police to keep the public safe. In all circumstances, members of the armed forces who are deployed in this way will be under the command of police officers,” she said.May said she did not want the public to feel “unduly alarmed” but said it was a “proportionate and sensible response”.Her statement came after the 22-year-old Libyan- origin Abedi was identified as the perpetrator behind the attack at a concert of American pop star Ariana Grande. Among those killed and wounded were children and young people.The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the bombing and warned of more such attacks.Intelligence experts believe the device detonated at the concert was so sophisticated that Abedi must have either been given specialist training abroad or he may have used a bomb made by a technician who has not yet been captured.The highest threat level, which is decided by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has only been reached twice before.The first time the threat level was raised to critical was in 2006 during a major operation to stop a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners with liquid bombs.It was raised again the following year as security officials hunted for the men who had tried to bomb a London nightclub, before going on to attack Glasgow Airport. PTI AK AJR ABHlast_img

2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire first drive review

first_imgThere is little to doubt that the Maruti-Suzuki Dzire is amongst the best selling sedans in the country. To be honest the Dzire was briefly the best-seller amongst all categories piping its sibling, the Maruti-Suzuki Alto from the throne. So there must be something about this car which makes it tick. But with the competition heating up, the Dzire had started looking a bit old school. Well, the company has no intentions of letting that happen and in turn affect sales. So enter the all new Dzire. Maruti Suzuki has also decided to drop the ‘Swift’ tag from the Dzire and hence from now on the sedan will be referred to as just the Dzire.Design:For starters the Dzire is based on the new ‘Heartect’ platform which also serves the recently launched Baleno. The engineers have now increased the wheelbase and reduced the overhangs thus freeing up space within the cabin. So in turn the new Dzire is wider and lower than before. On the downside, ground clearance has come down by 7mm to 163mm.Overall the Dzire remains as a ‘sub-4m’ compact sedan. The Dzire also looks a lot more proportionate than before. It comes with the new Swift face but it differentiates itself quite well.The front grille, headlamps and bumper get chrome embellishments which give it a premium look. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)The front grille, headlamps and bumper get chrome embellishments which give it a premium look. The headlamps come with automatic LED projector lamps with integrated day time running lamps. Flared wheel arches and sporty alloy give it a nice profile. At the back the new Dzire looks a lot better than before. There are new LED tail lamps which are larger and the boot too can now hold 376 litres of cargo as compared to 317 litres before.advertisementInterior:The interiors are also completely spruced up with an all new dash which now comes with the same entertainment panel as seen on the Brezza, Baleno and Ignis. The steering is a flat bottomed unit and offers controls for audio and Bluetooth as well. Maruti Suzuki has also offered faux wood trip to make the cabin look and feel upmarket and it works.The interiors are also completely spruced up with an all new dash which now comes with the same entertainment panel as seen on the Brezza, Baleno and Ignis. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)The new Dzire also offers more space within the cabin and this is especially the case at the back. There is also a rear air con vent and a 12V charging plug. As far as safety is concerned the new Dzire will come with two airbags and ABS as standard across all variants. Additionally there are more safety features now.The instrument cluster gets two analog and one digital system. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Engine:Engine options will include the 1.2-litre petrol and the 1.3-litre diesel engine. While these are the same engines which serve the Dzire now, they have been spruced up to be more efficient. Apart from the standard 5-speed manual, Maruti Suzuki is also offering the Dzire with the Auto Gearshift System. The AGS will be available with both petrol and diesel versions.Engine options will include the 1.2-litre petrol and the 1.3-litre diesel engine. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Ride Quality:We on our drive got to sample both the petrol AMT and the diesel AMT variants. The petrol version immediately impressed us with its excellent NVH packaging. The motor is barely audible within the cabin thereby keeping the drive experience extremely comfortable. There is also ample power to play with and we must applaud the engineers of doing a splendid job with the AMT. The gears shift through seamlessly and within no time it has shifted to fifth thereby increasing fuel efficiency. The downshifts are quick too and helping matters is the manual override function which allows for manual up or downshifts. The gearbox is also ready to play sport when the driver gets excited. With a generous right foot, the revs are held on thereby offering brisk acceleration.At the back, there are new LED tail lamps which are larger and the boot too can now hold 376 litres of cargo as compared to 317 litres before. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)The diesel on the other hand is a bit noisier and the crackle does enter the cabin. At lower rpms it is not much of a bother but as revs climb, the noise becomes more prominent. The diesel though feels more powerful around the 1,800rpm mark and this is where the turbo spools up thereby delivering a dollop of tug. Thus once in the right rev band, the Dzire diesel takes off rather fast. But with the AMT box in tow, the lag is prominent as the box tries to up shift as soon as possible thereby dropping the revs down. This glitch is taken care of by shifting to the manual mode where one can stick to a gear thereby keeping the motor revving right.advertisementVerdict: So overall the new Dzire is properly an all new car and considering that it is available with a host of variants including petrol, diesel, manual and auto, there is little to doubt that read more

Ramya topples top seed Snehadevi after saving match points

first_imgAurangabad, Jun 6 (PTI) Teenagers Ramya Natarajan, Mahak Jain and Yubarani Banerjee created a big ripple at the USD 15,000 Endurance Aurangabad Open Womens ITF Tennis Championships here today.The biggest shock was rendered by Ramya who upset top seed Snehadevi Reddy in the singles first round at the EMMTC tennis courts, Divisional Sports Complex Garkheda.The 18-year-old left hander eight match points to record the biggest upset of the event by knocking out Snehadevi Reddy 4-6 6-37-6(7) in a 3 hour long battle.Snehadevi led 5-4 and 40-30 in the deciding set and 6-1 and 7-6 in the tiebreaker before her Chennai-based opponent came back to topple her.Third seed Sowjanya Bavisetti also bit the dust, losing to Mahak, runner-up at the Asian Juniors in Pune last week, in straight sets in 77 minutes while 16-year-old Yubarani packed off no. 4 seed Fiona Codino of France, also in straight sets, in 75 minutes.Seventeen-year-old Snehal Mane, the local wild card, put out qualifier Advaita Saravanan 7-6(3) 4-6 6-2 to enter the round of sixteen.In one of the best contested matches of the day, Britains Manisha Foster scraped past Kanika Vaidya 7-6(3) 2-6 7-5 in a 2 hour, 52 minute battle.Fifth seeded Nidhi Chilumula, seventh seeded Pranjala Yadlapalli, wildcard Rutuja Bhosale , Germanys Vivien Klein and Chinas second seeded Xiaoxi Zhao were the other players to move into the second round.Results:Singles (1st round): Ramya Natarajan (IND) bt Snehadevi Reddy (IND) [1] 4-6,6-4,7-6(6); Yubarani Banerjee (IND) bt Fiona Codino (FRA) [4] 6-1,6-3; Nidhi Chilumula (IND) [5] bt Shivani Manjanna (IND) 6-2 6-2; Rutuja Bhosale (IND) bt Tejasvi Kate (IND) 6-1 6-4; Pranjala Yadlapalli (IND) [7] bt Swara Kulkarni (IND) 6-2 6-1; Vivien Klein (GER) bt Hsin-Yuan Shih (TPE) 6-4 6-4; Manisha Foster (GBR) bt Kanika Vaidya (IND) 7-6(3) 2-6 7-5; Mahak Jain (IND) bt Sowjanya Bavisetti (IND) [3] 6-2,6-0; Snehal Mane (IND) bt Advaita Saravanan (IND) 7-6(3) 4-6 6-2; Xiaoxi Zhao (CHN) [2] bt Rishika Sunkara (IND) 6-4 7-5.advertisementDoubles (1st round): Manisha Foster (GBR) [4] / Alexandra Walters (AUS) bt Aastha Dargude / Arthi Muniyan (IND) 6-1 6-4; Kaaviya Balasubramanian (IND) / Shivani Manjanna (IND) bt Lalita Devarakonda / Saumya Vig (IND) 7-6(2) 6-3; Rushmi Chakravarthi / Sai Samhitha Chamarthi bt Vasavi Ganesan (IND)/ Advaita S Saravanan 6-0 6-3. PTI SSR NSKlast_img

BCCI to play third umpire to Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Khan appointments today

first_imgEven though the Indian players have begun to assemble in Mumbai to depart for Sri Lanka, the coaching staff is yet to be finalized.  Keeping up with the current pattern in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decision making, a committee will finalise who will assist the recently announced head coach Ravi Shastri.The unnamed BCCI committee which has equal representation from Committee of administrators (COA), BCCI office bearers and professionals in the board will meet on Tuesday in Mumbai.They will sit in judgement of the decisions made by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. They checked on Rahul David and Zaheer Khan ‘s availability and confirmed their willingness to take over as batting and bowling consultants for the national side respectively.The COA after first wholeheartedly complimenting the CAC legends for ‘their comprehensive recommendation covering all aspects of the coaching requirement’ have clarified these were mere recommendations. The committee now will have to try and arrive at a decision regarding the appointments of Dravid and Zaheer.The BCCI headquarters was buzzing with activity from Monday itself as the batting coach Sanjay Bangar came calling to meet the CEO Rahul Johri and General Manager MV Sridhar, Cricket Operations Rahul Johri, with whom he had spent a lot of time in West Indies last week. BCCI sources who have been working overtime of late told India Today this was ‘to ascertain the new coaching contracts stand the test of new conflict of interest guidelines’.advertisementThis is also an indicator that David and Zaheer despite being consultants may not be allowed to earn from another coaching assignment in conflict (IPL). If Zaheer’s requirement is for a very limited period, it may up to him to say thanks but no thanks. This may simplify matters for head coach Shastri, who sources tell us wants his ex-team mate Bharat Arun as the bowling coach.Acting BCCI President CK Khanna who reached the headquarters a day before the meet to take stock, told India Today — “Please don’t conclude that there is any confusion. Let the committee meet than decide if there is any confusion.”He also thanked the CAC, whose decisions were being reviewed for ‘its fantastic work in bringing in the changes’.last_img

Middlesbrough break club transfer record for Nottingham Forest striker Britt Assombalonga

first_imgMiddlesbrough have signed striker Britt Assombalonga from Nottingham Forest for a club record 15 million pounds, the Championship side have confirmed.The 24-year-old joined Forest in 2014 before sustaining a knee injury that kept him out of action for much of the 2015-16 season. He returned last season, netting 14 goals in 32 league matches.”I can’t wait to get started and train with the boys. I’m glad it’s completed and I can focus on what’s ahead now,” the Democratic Republic of Congo native told Middlesbrough’s website. (www.mfc.co.uk)”I can’t wait to meet the manager and get ready for next season. There’s a good feeling around the place. From the minute I walked in it felt right.”Assombalonga is new manager Garry Monk’s fifth signing of the transfer window as the club look to seal an immediate return to the Premier League after being relegated last season.Middlesbrough’s previous record signing was Brazilian striker Afonso Alves, who joined from Dutch side Heerenveen for around 12 million pounds in 2008, according to British media reports.last_img

IAAF allows eight Russians to compete as neutrals

first_imgThe world athletics body has approved eight Russians to compete as neutrals but declined the applications of a further 53 competitors hoping to be awarded a similar status, the IAAF said on Thursday.Russia’s national athletics federation (RUSAF) remains suspended as a result of widespread and systematic doping, meaning that the majority of the country’s athletes will miss next month’s world championships in London.Russian athletes can, however, apply to compete as neutrals provided they meet stringent criteria.IAAF guidelines say that this includes showing they are not directly implicated “in any way by their national federation’s failure to put in place adequate systems to protect and promote clean athletes”.The IAAF said in a statement that it had approved 47 applications this year and rejected 109, including those announced on Thursday. It did not name the athletes whose applications were declined.”From the beginning, we have declared this process was about supporting the hopes and aspirations of all clean athletes, including Russian athletes who have been failed by their national system,” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said.The eight athletes accepted on Thursday included 31-year-old hammer thrower Sergei Litvinov, a bronze medallist at the 2014 European championships who previously competed for both Belarus and Germany.They also included men’s 2013 European under-23 high jump champion Ilya Ivaniuk and Alayna Lutkovskaya, the 2014 junior women’s pole vault world champion.The participation of all athletes was still subject to formalities and acceptance by individual meeting organisers, the IAAF said.last_img

Come out with policy to reward sportspersons: Parrikar

first_imgPanaji, Jul 25 (PTI) Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today asked Sports Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar to chalk out a proper scheme to reward those who are fairing well nationally and internationally in sports.”There should be proper reward mechanism for those who fair well nationally and internationally,” Parrikar told Ajgaonkar on the floor of the House.He said those who show special excellence in sports would be given priority in government employment.”You send me the proposal, I will approve it. I will assure that there will be no shortage of finance for these schemes,” Parrikar said.Talking about printing and stationery department, the chief minister said “we need to modernise printing press department but its functioning should be curtailed to certain documents like budget documents, confidential documents and others.””The printing press should have modern equipment but should have comprehensive mandate. The rest has to be outsourced,” he said.”We will fund the modernisation of printing press but at the same time we will scrap the traditional posts which are not required. We will not remove anyone from the existing post but when someone gets retired, we will not fill those posts and scrap them,” the chief minister assured the House. PTI RPS RMTlast_img

First Day-Night Test in New Zealand still in the dark

first_imgThe first Day-Night Test in New Zealand remains in doubt with New Zealand Cricket yet to receive council approval to stage the pink-ball contest against England at Eden Park in March.More than two years after featuring in the first pink-ball Test in Australia, New Zealand’s hopes of staging their own in the series-opener against England hinge on the outcome of an “independent hearing into using lights on a Sunday,” NZC said on Wednesday.”We’ve completed a resource consent hearing with Eden Park and we’re hopeful within the next week or two we’ll have a result from the independent commissioners on whether it will proceed,” NZC chief executive David White said.The March 22-26 match will be followed by the second and final Test in Christchurch from March 30.England, who also play five one-dayers before the Tests, will begin their tour by joining Ashes rivals Australia in the first ever Twenty20 tri-series between full ICC members.New Zealand kick off their home summer with two Tests against West Indies in December, one less than originally planned, with an eye on the proposed ‘Test Championship’.”We think it’s critical that we look to be innovative in this space and, also, that a test match championship is ratified by the ICC at its October meeting,” White said.”The Test game needs to have more context, and be more relevant, especially for the younger generations coming through.”New Zealand, host of the under-19 World Cup next year, also welcome Pakistan for five one-dayers and three Twenty20 internationals in January.advertisementlast_img

Indian snowshoe athlete Tanveer Hussain charged with sexual abuse in US

first_imgA 24-year-old Indian athlete has been indicted in the US on charges of sexually abusing a minor girl, days after he arrived from Kashmir for a snowshoe competition.Tanveer Hussain was indicted last week by an Essex County grand jury for allegedly having inappropriate contact with a 12-year-old Saranac Lake girl earlier this year.The grand jury returned the indictment Hussain charging him with one count of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a report in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise quoted a press release from Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague as saying.Hussain had been arrested in March on charges of sexually abusing the minor girl, two days after he competed in the World Snowshoe Championships at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center.”Hussain is alleged to have subjected a 12-year-old female to sexual contact and engaged in inappropriate conversations with said child during the time he was in Saranac Lake,” the report quoted Sprague as saying.The minor girl had told police that on the night of February, two days after the snowshoe race, Hussain had kissed her twice and had groped her.The report added that Hussain had previously denied the charges and declined a plea deal that would have let him return to India as he wanted to clear his name.Hussain’s lawyer Brian Barrett said that he was disappointed that Sprague announced the indictment in a press release before notifying him.”This is all about the press. That s what this whole case is all about,” he said.advertisementHussain had garnered much attention before arriving in the US for the snowshoe championship after the US Embassy in New Delhi had denied him and another athlete visas around the same time President Donald Trump had issued an order barring travel into the US from seven Muslim-dominant countries.While India was not among the seven countries, the denial of visa to Hussain and the other athlete was seen associated with the executive order.last_img

Pep Guardiola hopeful of Ilkay Gundogan return next week

first_imgManchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is close to full-fitness after recovering from a long-term injury with manager Pep Guardiola hoping to include the Germany international in the squad for next week’s friendly against Girona.Gundogan made 16 appearances for City last season before suffering cruciate ligament damage in his knee last December.”I think he’s close to coming back,” Guardiola told the club website (www.mancity.com). “Maybe he’ll get minutes in Girona. I don’t know, we’re going to ask the doctor because, of course, he was injured for a long time.”We don’t want to take any risks. He has to be strong but, of course, his quality is perfect for the way we want to play.”He’s a guy who plays in the middle and can be a holding midfielder or play in front. In those terms, we’re so happy.”City are travelling to a training camp in Spain and will face La Liga side Girona, three days after their Premier League opener at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.last_img

Lionel Messi gears up for 600th Barcelona appearance against Sevilla

first_imgLionel Messi will make his 600th official appearance for FC Barcelona when they host Sevilla at the Camp Nou Stadium on Saturday.Only Xavi Hernandez (767) and Andres Iniesta (642) have played more games for Barcelona than the 30-year-old who made his debut on October 16, 2004.And nobody has got close to the 523 goals he has scored for the club, who currently lead the Liga Santander with a four point gap over Valencia, reports Xinhua news agency.As many as 23 of those goals have come against Sevilla in 21 league games against the side from the south of Spain. With the form Messi is in, it would almost be a surprise if he didn’t add to that total on Saturday night.It is fair to say that Barcelona have not been at their best at times this season, as shown by their 0-0 draw away to Olympiakos in the Champions League on Tuesday or the slightly fortunate 2-0 win away to Athletic Club Bilbao last weekend.Messi and goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen were the architects of last weekend’s win with Messi opening the scoring and Ter Stegen frustrating all of their rival’s efforts.Reuters Photo Meanwhile, Barca are still without the injured Dembele while Luis Suarez is struggling for form in front of goal, limiting Barca coach Ernesto Valverde’s options in attack, given that he appears to have little faith in former Valencia forward Paco Alcacer.Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic will play in midfield. Valverde has injury issues and Rafinha is still sidelined along with Andre Gomes, Arda Turan and Sergi Roberto and Inesta doubtful until the last minute.advertisementSergi Roberto’s injury means Nelson Semedo will play at right back while Denis Suarez could also appear against his former club.Sevilla have won their last three games to end a mini-crisis, but the last of those was only on Wednesday night in the Champions League, meaning they have had little time to recover before visiting a ground where they have lost on nine of their last 10 visits.last_img

Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament to be played before IPL 2018 player auction

first_imgThe Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to res the Zonal T20 league and the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament days ahead of its actual schedule due to the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction that will be held in Bangalore on January 27 and 28.The Zonal T20 league will now take place between January 8 to 16 instead of January 21 to 29 while the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s has been pushed from the February 4-10 window to January 21-27.”In view of the IPL Player Auction which is scheduled on January 27 and 28, there has been a change of schedule for the domestic tournaments,” the BCCI statement read.”The changes are being done so that the T20 Zonal League and Syed Mushtaq Ali Knock out (except final match) are held before the IPL player Auction which will enable the domestic players to showcase their talent and will also be beneficial for the franchises during the Player Auction to build their teams,” it added.A couple of officials from IPL franchises confirmed to the media that they hadn’t made specific rescheduling requests to the BCCI, but noted that the changes were not surprising.”It has happened in the last two years as well. It makes sense for both the players and the franchises as we can take a look at the talent on display ahead of the auctions,” an IPL franchise official told ESPNCricinfo.Consequently, the fixtures for the Vijay Hazare Trophy — the domestic 50-over tournament — have also been reworked.advertisementThe group-league phase, which was to be played from February 16 to 25, has been advanced to February 5 to 14.The schedule for the knockout stages has also been tweaked and it will be now played from February 21 to 26 instead of March 3 to 8.Similarly, the Deodhar Trophy has also been advanced to March 4 to 8 from the earlier scheduled of March 14 to 18.On the other hand, the Irani Cup, which will feature the Ranji Trophy winner against a Rest of India side, has been postponed from January to March.last_img

India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd T20I: Rohit Sharma fireworks expected at Wankhede Stadium

first_imgIndia will look to clean sweep the three-match series when they face Sri Lanka for the last time this year in the 3rd T20 International (T20I) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.India are ranked fourth in the ICC T20I rankings and defeated their southern neighbours by 93 and 88 runs in the 1st and 2nd T20Is respectively. India have won 36 matches across all the formats in 2017 so far.India will bank on their fearless batting led by captain Rohit Sharma and fellow opener Lokesh Rahul who have looked on top of their game.Supporting them will be batsmen Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik who have the calibre to demolish the Sri Lanka which has failed to look up to the mark.In the bowling department, pacer Jasprit Bumrah — who currently tops the T20I bowlers list — will spearhead the unit along side fellow new ball seamer Jaydev Unadkat.However, wrist-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who have caused plenty of trouble to Sri Lanka throughout the series, will once again remain the key to pick crucial wickets.For Sri Lanka, experienced all-rounder Angelo Mathews has added to the worries for the side after being ruled out of the final rubber following a hamstring injury in the previous match.The visitors will however hope top order batsmen Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga and Kusal Perera to play match winning knocks to salvage their side some pride and consolidate a victory before returning home.advertisementThe bowling, which has looked rather ineffective for Sri Lanka will need to re-form strategies with the likes of skipper Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep and Akila Dananjaya to try and trouble the formidable India batting line-up.Squads:India: Rohit Sharma (c), Lokesh Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, Basil Thampi, Jaydev Unadkat.Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (c), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Janith Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Asela Gunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Dananjaya De Silva, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Dusmantha Chameera.  (With inputs from IANS)last_img

Rohit Sharma traverses a rough road to become India’s 24th ODI captain

first_imgWhen Rohit Sharma made his debut for India in 2007, Virat Kohli was not even in the fray for a spot in the side.A little over 10 years later, Kohli is captain of India in all three formats and Rohit is an integral part in the ODI and T20I squads. Sidelined from the Test core thanks to mixed reasons, Rohit grabbed another opportunity and slammed a hundred in his comeback match against Sri Lanka.Kohli, 29 and Rohit, 30 have immense respect for each other and their chemistry has paved the way for some scintillating partnerships in one-day cricket for India.And when the Indian captain needed a break from the hectic schedule to rest before a tour of South Africa, Rohit was the first choice to step in as captain for the ODI series against Sri LankaRohit Sharma will be India’s 24th ODI captain and the 7th Mumbai player to do so!#INDvSL- Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) November 27, 2017But Rohit had to work hard, especially over the last four years, to become that first choice. Despite the talent, it has not been an easy ride for the Mumbai run-machine.Not being part of the 2011 World Cup would have hurt Rohit, who saw his close mates lift the trophy in his hometown. He did return to the side but had nothing to show barring a few fifties, six of seven were against the West Indies.But it all changed in 2013, when Rohit was sent up the order to open the innings with Shikhar Dhawan at the Champions Trophy in England.advertisementRohit has not look back since.He finished 2013 with 1196 runs including a brutal double hundred against Australia. In 2014, a year plagued by injuries, Rohit played 12 matches but scored an impressive 578, 264 of which came against Sri Lanka in a world-record smashing innings in Kolkata. By 2015, Rohit was an established player in the Indian set-up and his 815 runs from 17 matches included a feisty hundred against Bangladesh in the World Cup quarterfinals.BCCI PhotoIndia did not play a lot of ODIs in 2016 but he still finished with 564 and was on fire in the series against Australia.In 2017, Rohit has matched Kohli shot for shot, smashing 1076 runs including five hundreds from only 18 matches.Rohit will most likely captain India for their next six internationals after the Delhi Test (assuming Kohli is rested for the T20 series too). It will be culmination of his incredible run with the bat besides his astute leadership with Mumbai Indians where he has lifted three IPL titles.The Indian captaincy, even if on a temporary basis, is indeed a well-deserved honour for a man, who has had to battle the odds harder than a lot of his peers.last_img

FIFA reveals secrets of World Cup draw to avoid foul play

first_imgGlobal football governing body FIFA has revealed plans for the Russia 2018 World Cup draw, to be held on Friday at the Kremlin.Russian journalist Maria Komandnaya will present the event with the help of Uruguayan football legend Diego Forlan, reports Efe.Forlan stated that the expectations of the draw are very high as “Everybody wants to know — the fans, the people want to know, where to book hotels and plane tickets.”Yet, Forlan denied that the draw is decisive as to who will advance in the tournament. He recalled that in the previous World Cup, Uruguay went to the same group as England and that Costa Rica was in the same group as Italy.Welcome to Russia ahead of the #WorldCupDraw!????@neymarjr congratulates Iran in Farsi????@lewy_official sends greetings to Egypt in Arabic????@ToniKroos wishes @England a warm welcome32 players welcoming 32 teams ??? pic.twitter.com/OwcfcEbcVf- #WorldCupDraw ??? (@FIFAWorldCup) November 30, 2017Nonetheless, it was the Uruguayans and Costa Ricans who surprisingly qualified for the round of 16.FIFA has already distributed the 32 teams in four pots, with each pot including eight teams based on their FIFA ranking.During the Friday draw, eight teams per pot will be divided down into smaller four team groups. After the draw, there will then be a total of eight groups, with four teams per group.Ahead of tomorrow’s #WorldCupDraw, we’ve got all the information you need to prepare, all in one place???https://t.co/tSMKeQ5hAF pic.twitter.com/Wrhse1hIhL- #WorldCupDraw ??? (@FIFAWorldCup) November 30, 2017Since Russia is the host country, it is the only team to already know its place in the draw; the first team of Group A.advertisementFIFA decided that no group can have more than one team per confederation, with the exception being Europe, since there are 14 European teams qualified for the World Cup. However, there will be only one or two European teams in each group.Also, second-tier CONMEBOL teams like Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay will not be in the same group as first-tier Argentina and Brazil.The draw itself will last for half an hour and the rest of the ceremony will be musical performances by Russian singer Alsou and Portuguese-American guitarist Nuno Betancourt.The ceremony will also review all the World Cups and football stars throughout the history of FIFA.FIFA president Gianni Infantino will say a few words during the ceremony, while the attendance of Russian president Vladimir Putin has yet to be confirmed.MEET THE FINALISTS: We’ve created interactive profiles on every #WorldCup side. Study up before Friday’s #WorldCupDraw!All 3?2? team guides, right here ???https://t.co/BGTFz5p21e pic.twitter.com/zEu1COQEBh- #WorldCupDraw ??? (@FIFAWorldCup) November 29, 2017last_img

No Love Lost For Clippers’ Sterling

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares Reaction to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for racist remarks. ___“Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!! #BiggerThanBasketball #StriveForGreatness” — the Miami Heat’s LeBron James on Twitter.___“We are one.” — Clippers’ website.___“Commissioner Silver has made the right moves in response to this unfortunate absurd spectacle.” — Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on Twitter.___“I applaud NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s swift and decisive response today. He sent a powerful message that there can be zero tolerance for racism and hatred in the NBA. I’m confident that the league, our players and our fans will move on from this stronger and more unified.” — NBA great and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.___“I hope that every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall, so can you.” — Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is advising the players’ union.___“I felt the pressure on my players. Everyone was waiting for them to give a response. I kept thinking, ‘They didn’t do anything, yet they have to respond.’ So Adam responded. I thought that that was the sigh of relief that we needed.” — Clippers coach Doc Rivers.___“The alleged statements made by Mr. Sterling were deplorable and cannot be tolerated. Bigotry and hatred have no place in the NBA or any other arena of our society.” — NAACP statement.___“Way to go, Commissioner Silver! The NBA stands for everybody!” — former star Shaquille O’Neal on Twitter.___“This is a huge victory for those of us that stood against this ugly display of racism.” — the Rev. Al Sharpton.___“Standing ovation’ for Commissioner Silver. Big time decision standing up for the league and it’s players. Now, Gotta see it through.”— Golden State guard Stephen Curry on Twitter. The Warriors are battling the Clippers in the playoffs.___“We’re all so fortunate to be part of a game that transcends these kinds of misguided ignorances. The beauty and ideals of our game will long outlive these kinds of things that should not happen.”— Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.___“Credit to NBA players, the NBA community and Adam Silver for coming together and acting quickly. No room for racists in sport.” — NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.___“Unfortunately, just to hear that about him saying that about other black people, black players or whatever it may be, it’s just tough. … I’m pretty sure he knew he was going to get punished. We all make mistakes. I won’t forget but I’ll forgive him.” — Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter.last_img

Yanks Rally Past Rays, 8-5

first_imgNEW YORK — After starter Chris Capuano was booed off the mound in the first inning, the New York Yankees’ makeshift lineup turned the mood in the Bronx a bit more festive.Mark Teixeira made up for a botched foul pop in the Rays’ four-run first inning with a go-ahead triple in the fifth, Brian McCann homered and drove in three runs, and the Yankees used their biggest comeback of the season to beat Tampa Bay 8-5 the night of Sept. 10.“There was no panic,” Teixeira said. “We just slowly got the job done as the night went on.”The Yankees, who moved within 4 1/2 games of a playoff spot with 19 remaining, did not get off to a good start.Teixeira overran leadoff batter Ben Zobrist’s foul ball behind first base for no play. Zobrist then singled for his 1,000th career hit. Five of the next six Rays reached before Capuano was lifted in the shortest start of his career.By the end of the 30-minute top of the first, New York trailed 4-0.McCann got the rally started with a homer in the bottom half to end Jake Odorizzi’s scoreless streak at 14 1-3 innings.Filling in for injured Martin Prado, Chris Young hit his first homer with the Yankees — he was cut by the Mets on Aug. 9 — to tie it at 4 in the fourth. Young added an RBI double in the eighth and finished a triple shy of the cycle.Five relievers combined for 8 2-3 gritty innings, allowing seven hits, including Evan Longoria’s 20th homer in the ninth. Preston Claiborne (3-0) pitched two innings for the win.“We just know if we hold the game the way it is our guys could come back,” said Dellin Betances, who pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings. “It was a great win.”With a full moon peeking through the clouds in center field, the Yankees closed the gap to 4-3 in the third with the help of catcher Ryan Hanigan’s errant throw on ball four.Young, who singled, was running on a full-count pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury. Hanigan’s throw on ball four went into center field, allowing Young to advance to third on the error. Ellsbury stole second and, one out later, McCann lined a two-run single to left field.“I thought it was a close pitch so I thought there was a chance we’re going to get the call, so that’s why I just came up throwing,” Hanigan said.McCann was hit by a pitch from Odorizzi (10-12) to start the fifth and scored when Wil Myers had trouble with Teixeira’s liner into the right-field corner. Teixeira raced into third standing up with his first triple since July 6, 2012, at Boston.“It shows the character of the guys in that room, that they’re going to keep fighting,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said.That was the end of the night for Odorizzi, charged with six runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings.(HOWIE RUMBERG, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img