While the basic route for a proposed recreational trail extending from Le Mars to Sioux City is settled, there are still several questions to be resolved for the “Plywood Trail”.Meetings on the project were held again this past week in Hinton and Merrill, and project spokesman Ryan Meyer says bicycle trail advocates have settled on one proposed trail following the conclusion of a three option survey:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/PLYWOOD.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………..the other two. :22The 16 mile trail between Le Mars and Sioux City would connect through Merrill and Hinton.Meyer doesn’t know yet if the trail would be located on the east side of Highway 75, or run parallel on the west side of the highway:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/PLYWOOD2.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…………you’re looking at :16Meyer says the cost estimate to build the trail is currently 12 million dollars.If it is built, there’s a proposal to cover the cost to maintain the trail, which run between $1,000 and 1,200 a mile:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/PLYWOOD3.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……….maintenance of the trail. :19Meyer says tax dollars would not be used to finance the project, and that it would be paid for through fund raising efforts and an endowment.
Photo Attribution: Icon SMIIn the last two years Brandon Weeden has played head-to-head in six games against players rated ahead of him as prospects in the 2012 draft. Twice against Nick Foles, twice against Bob Griffin, and once each against Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck. Here are the aggregate and average stats for Weeden and the QBs he was facing in those games.AggregateWeeden: 201-274 (73%) for 2,183 yards, 15 TD, and 2 INTOthers: 187-277 (68%) for 2,026 yards, 7 TD, and 10 INTAveragesWeeden: 34-46 for 364 yards, 2.5 TD, and .33 INTOthers: 31-46 for 337 yards, 1.2 TD, and 1.6 INTThe Important OneWeeden: 6 winsOthers: 0 winsChoose wisely, GMs, choose wisely.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
One of the biggest questions coming into fall camp was whether Barry J. Sanders could be a solution to OSU’s running game problem. If you have been paying attention, you know the running back issues run a lot deeper than a single transfer, and there are myriad ways to fix them so it seems a little unfair to hoist those expectations on one guy, even one with Barry’s last name. Mike Gundy agreed with that notion on Saturday at fan appreciation day.Note: Gundy calls Barry J. Sanders “Junior” because he is Barry Sanders’ son, not because he has a “Junior” attached to his name anywhere. This is confusing because people think his name is Barry Sanders Jr. It’s not. It’s Barry J. Sanders.“People don’t necessarily want to hear about the norm, they want to hear about things that could potentially be bigger,” said Gundy while also inadvertently referencing why sports blogs like this one exist.“He draws a lot of attention and he’s been tremendous in the way he’s handled it. He’s humble and he understands his background and embraces it and does a good job with it. His temperament has allowed him to be a member of our team really quick. I always suspect each week that people are going to ask, whether it’s from the local media or the team that we play, about Junior. It’s just what drives the market.”Yes, this is a thing that’s going to happen pretty much every press conference Gundy has. Everyone knew this coming into the year.“Junior is nothing like his dad,” added Gundy.” Junior’s got great communication skills. He loves to talk to people. When you get Barry Sr. in the right element, he’s good, but he doesn’t want to be in that element. Junior is like his mom. He’s got great people skills, he’s got a great smile, he likes to be around people and he’s a great communicator. He’s going to go out into the world and do very well.“He catches the ball well. I have seen clips of him when he was playing out west, where he does some cuts and things that are similar, but it’s unfair to even begin to compare anybody to his dad. We’re going to know a lot more about him in three weeks, and we’re going to know a lot more about him at the end of September and October and what he can bring to our team.”The running back battle has been fierce though. As Kyle B. pointed out, it likely will be all fall. Jeff Carr, who is in the mix to get a ton of touches, spoke briefly about that at fan appreciation day as well.“The competitiveness,” Carr said when he was asked what stuck out. “Everyone’s competing at a high level and thinks they can be the guy. Everyone feels like they can help the team.”Gundy agreed.“They have a good working relationship, but I would agree that there is some truth to that just by human nature. There’s some freshmen in this class that I think has helped push the entire group, but one thing that I have enjoyed watching in just the last few days is that Chris Carson’s work ethic and approach, and Rennie (Childs’) work ethic has been really good. Whether it has been (because of) Junior or just them wanting to improve an area on our team that we need to help improve the overall picture has been good.”If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
Oklahoma State got a pleasant surprise on the recruiting trail Saturday after their big win over Texas, earning a commitment from one of the top signal callers in the 2018 class in Denton Ryan QB Spencer Sanders.To Spencer, however, the commitment did not come out of left field.“I have been leaning towards them for a while now,” Sanders told Rivals. “I hadn’t said anything, but they really showed me what I wanted to see and showed me that they wanted me as part of this team.”Of his experience being in town to watch OSU take down a ranked Texas team, Sanders said he wasn’t surprised, and the offense fits him like a glove.“It was a great experience out here watching them beat a great Texas team,” he said. “But Oklahoma State is a great team too, and their offense really matches what we do at Ryan. It’s good to know that I’m walking into something that I am already familiar with; they do a lot of the same things and run a lot of the same concepts.“I really think it’s a great school and the opportunity they have each year in the Big XII is a big part of that. I think it’s an underrated program. They have great athletes that beat top teams but they stay humble, show out, play football and do great things and that’s what it’s all about.”Sanders is a true dual-threat quarterback, who had more than 1,000 yards passing and 300 yards on the ground in just 6 games last season (via Maxpreps.) He has already surpassed both those numbers through the same amount of games this year, to go with 24 total touchdowns.Oklahoma State is getting a big-time playmaker in Spencer Sanders, and it’s pretty clear he chose OSU for all the right reasons. With Sanders in the fold, Oklahoma State can get a jump start and begin laying the foundation for the 2018 recruiting class early – something they haven’t been able to do in recent years. If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
Transfers Liverpool confirm club-record transfer of Naby Keita for next season Melissa Reddy Liverpool FC Correspondent Last updated 2 years ago 15:00 8/29/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(8) Getty Images Transfers Liverpool RB Leipzig Premier League Bundesliga Naby Keïta The Reds paid a premium on top of the midfielder’s release clause of £48 million, which could only be triggered next summer, to wrap things up Liverpool have confirmed the advanced signing of Naby Keita on a five-year contract from RB Leipzig in a club-record deal, effective from July 1, 2018.As Goal revealed on Monday, the Guinea international passed his medical and inked terms to line up under Jurgen Klopp next season. Liverpool 14/5 to beat Man City Article continues below Editors’ Picks Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina The Merseysiders paid a premium on top of the 22-year-old’s release clause of £48 million, which could only be triggered next summer, to conclude a transfer now. Told “all is now done.”Naby Keita has passed his medical and signed a five-year contract with #LFC, effective from July 1, 2018— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) August 28, 2017It is a surgical piece of business, which will circumvent the competition for the dynamic midfielder, who was Klopp’s priority target to enhance his options in the centre of the park as broken by Goal in March.Leipzig batted away two lucrative offers for their lynchpin – the second of which equalled the Bundesliga record for a transfer – as they were determined to field him in their debut Champions League campaign. But Keita’s desire to move to Anfield coupled with Liverpool’s persistence in pushing for a unique acquisition saw the clubs reach a conclusion beneficial to all parties.“I am delighted that an agreement has been reached which will allow me to join Liverpool Football Club next summer, when I will become part of a project that excites me greatly,” the dynamo said.“My commitment to RBL remains absolute for the remainder of my time at the club. I have given my all every time I have worn the shirt – that will be the case until the final whistle, in my final appearance.“Having my future resolved means I can now focus on helping RBL achieve great things this season. Until I join my new club, next summer, I will remain an interested supporter from a distance.”The player, capable of operating as an offensive and defensive weapon with equal adeptness, represents Liverpool’s highest outlay on a player, eclipsing the initial £36.9m spent on Mohamed Salah.However, if the Reds succeed in prising Thomas Lemar from Monaco ahead of Thursday’s deadline, that business will shatter both figures, with the current proposal worth over £70m inclusive of add-ons.The Ligue 1 champions have resisted approaches for the 21-year-old all summer following an already extensive talent drain, but the multi-faceted playmaker is keen on a switch to Merseyside. Divock Origi could potentially be used as a makeweight as Monaco have tracked the Belgian striker. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
West Ham United Under-fire Hart needs time to adapt to West Ham, says Schwarzer Sungmo Lee Last updated 2 years ago 00:52 26/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images West Ham United Premier League West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham Hotspur Despite a terrible start to the season with the Hammers, one former ‘keeper believes Hart will climb out of his slump and show his best form Mark Schwarzer has backed Joe Hart to come good at West Ham after a difficult start to life back in the Premier League. The ex-Manchester City No.1 has come under fire for his performances since returning to England following a loan spell at Torino.West Ham 4/1 to be relegated Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina 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 West Ham have conceded a whopping 13 goals this season, a record only equal to that of rock-bottom Crystal Palace after six games. But according to Schwarzer, Hart will return to his best form, which will in turn galvanise the struggling Hammers. “Joe Hart is a very good goalkeeper, England’s No.1,” the ex-Fulham and Chelsea shot-stopper explained to Goal.”Obviously, he had a difficult season recently but to come back to England and playing for West Ham would be very good for his career and maintaining No.1 in England team.”He would need time to adjust in West Ham. It’s a very different team to Man City. West Ham is not performing very well until now, but I think it won’t be long for Joe Hart to play his best.”Schwarzer also backed Hart to retain his place as England’s first-choice goalkeeper despite his recent slump.”I think so, yes, because he needs to play regularly in England. This is the best league, most challenging league in the world,” he said.”It’s a new challenge for him. He needs to more involved for his team and also he needs to change his game a little bit.”One Premier League No.1 who has been at the top of his game recently is Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris, and Schwarzer believes he is up there with the league’s best. “He’s an excellent goalkeeper. He’s getting better and better with age. He’s a very important player for Tottenham, he’s been a big part of Tottenham being defensively very strong,” the Australian added.”He’s a leader, he’s a captain of the team. I believe his overall game has improved a lot since he came to Premier League.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Kolo Touré Kolo Toure named Ivory Coast assistant manager Stephen Darwin Last updated 2 years ago 17:55 10/6/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Ivory Coast Celtic Premiership WC Qualification Africa The former Liverpool defender has been welcomed back by his brother Yaya having made over a century of appearances for his country Kolo Toure has returned to the international fold after being confirmed as Ivory Coast’s new assistant manager.The 36-year-old, who played for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool over his career, retired from playing in the summer and is now part of the backroom staff at his last club Celtic.Ivory Coast 125/1 to win World Cup Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina 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. Toure claimed over a century of caps for Ivory Coast and announced his retirement from international duty back in February 2015.The Ivorian Footall Federation have now confirmed he is back in the international set-up, however, with Toure to begin his role of assisting Marc Wilmots with immediate effect.Very happy to see my big bro Kolo is Côte d’Ivoire assistant coach. Excellent pic.twitter.com/zUAOh6jP4m— Yaya Touré (@YayaToure) October 5, 2017A statement read: “He will take on the role of coach Marc Wilmots’ assistant from the Mali-Cote d’Ivoire match of October 6, 2017.”Toure’s brother Yaya also expressed his delight at the news, posting the following on social media: “Very happy to see my big bro Kolo is Cote d’Ivoire assistant coach. Excellent.”
Ligue 1 Real life Super Mario Kart, Evra’s happy place and Mbappe still smiling – Ligue 1 goes social Goal Last updated 2 years ago 15:40 10/16/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Getty Ligue 1 Neymar Kylian Mbappé Mario Balotelli Olympique Lyonnais v Monaco Dijon v PSG Lille v Troyes Toulouse v Αμιάν Saint-Étienne v Metz Guingamp v Rennes Caen v Angers SCO Bordeaux v Nantes Montpellier v Nice Strasbourg v Olympique Marseille Troyes Strasbourg Nice Bordeaux Metz Rennes Montpellier PSG Guingamp Αμιάν Dijon Angers SCO Monaco Olympique Lyonnais Lille Toulouse Saint-Étienne Caen Nantes Olympique Marseille Mario Balotelli kept busy during the international break while PSG’s teenage sensation saw the funny side after failing to cut the mustard at Djion It’s been an eventful international break for Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian players.On the whole, there was joy as their national side finished off a fine World Cup qualifying campaign comfortably top of the South American pool, but Thiago Silva picked up an injury that prevented him from playing in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Dijon.One man who has enjoyed his time with his country, however, is Neymar. He may not have scored in a draw against Bolivia or the 3-0 win over Chile, but he has been impressed with the manner in which the team is shaping up before Russia and took to Instagram to explain just how much it means to be part of the squad. Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina 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. “So happy to have achieved our goal and much happier to be part of this squad. Congratulations to all who played their part in this,” he said.This was a sentiment echoed by club-mate Dani Alves, who has been part of the national squad for well over a decade and is still going strong at 34 years old. “Life teaches us that persistence in everything we do has its reward. Congratulations guys, and thank you to all who have never stopped believing in us… It will always be an honour and we will always strive to do our best to represent our country,” he said.He remained equally upbeat after PSG struggled past Dijon at the weekend.With numerous injury problems, Unai Emery had to shuffle his pack, leading to Alves playing in a midfield role. His side struggled but were let out of jail by Thomas Meunier, whose rich run for club and country continued as he scored twice.However, Dani Alves was eager to block out critics of the display and instead focus on the future. “The silence of intelligence lies in not listening to the noise of mediocrity,” he posted in typically philosophical style.Kylian Mbappe was happy to make light of the performance, even after a frustrating afternoon personally, with goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet persistently foiling him.“Hey PSG, let’s pretend you didn’t see the chances I missed,” he joked on social media.Neymar was another man to have a frustrating afternoon at Stade Gaston Gerrard, albeit after a hectic schedule of travelling.During this, he took time to wish those in his homeland Happy Children’s Day, posting a picture of himself as a youth to mark the event.Not all of Ligue 1’s stars were slugging away on international duty.Despite a promising start to the season, Mario Balotelli continues to be frozen out by Italy, but at least that allowed him some time out to try his hand at some real life Super Mario Kart – with some hilarious results. He’s hinted that there’s more to come – we can only look forward to it.Patrice Evra, meanwhile, has probably been doing something a little more sedate. He revealed on Instagram his love of meditation and the effects that it has had on his life.“Since 2014 I started meditation. It’s really helpful for yourself to see the world in different ways… keep the positive vibes like I always said I respect every religion, but first try to be the best human being you can, from there you will choose the religion that suits you the most – or maybe not any of them…”The veteran defender offered his well wishes to England and Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton, who enjoyed his 80th birthday last week.“When a legend call you LEGEND and telling me you are one of my favorite one what else..? I love this game,” he wrote.Both Balotelli and Evra had frustrating Sundays, though.The striker’s Nice side lost 2-0 to Montpellier, while Marseille had to settle for a 3-3 draw at Nice. With the Europa League to come on Thursday, both will seek for rapid redemption.
West Ham 1 Liverpool 4: Salah, Matip and Ox humble the Hammers Harry West Last updated 2 years ago 03:23 11/5/17 Getty Images Boos rang round the London Stadium as Liverpool consigned West Ham to a 4-1 Premier League defeat, leaving Slaven Bilic’s side down in 17th. Mohamed Salah netted a brace to inspire Liverpool to a 4-1 Premier League win which left Slaven Bilic facing the wrath of the West Ham faithful.Saturday’s dismal defeat leaves the Hammers languishing a point and a place above the bottom three and the London Stadium crowd let their feelings be known at both half-time and the final whistle.Salah opened the scoring in the 21st minute as he and the returning Sadio Mane, making his first start in a month, embarked on a devastating counter from a West Ham corner, 13 seconds elapsing between the taking of the set-piece and the ball nestling in Joe Hart’s net. Article continues below 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 Joel Matip’s first of the season also arrived from a corner, this time in more conventional fashion three minutes later, as the defender converted the rebound after Hart’s save from Mark Noble’s deflection.Manuel Lanzini halved the deficit 10 minutes into the second period with a fine finish, but any hopes of a Hammers comeback were effectively snuffed out 55 seconds later as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired home a rebound past the luckless Hart for his first league goal for the Reds.There was little sympathy for the beleaguered Bilic from Liverpool, who wrapped up a resounding success with Salah’s 12th strike of the campaign, lifting Jurgen Klopp’s men back above Burnley into sixth.15 – Mohamed Salah has had a hand in 15 goals in all comps this season (12 goals, 3 assists), more than any other Liverpool player. Vital. pic.twitter.com/9lFxj98Z8N — OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 4, 2017 The in-form Andre Ayew came into this clash with three goals in his past two outings and he almost added to that tally in the ninth minute.Lanzini’s throughball deflected kindly into the path of the Ghanaian, who lifted his effort over the onrushing Simon Mignolet only to be denied by the outside of the post.To further rub salt into the wound, two corners brought two Liverpool goals in the space of three minutes, the first of which arrived following West Ham’s own attacking set-piece.Salah poked the cleared ball onto Mane, whose searing pace took him away from his toiling chasers, and the Senegalese returned a pass to Salah for a composed finish under Joe Hart.The Egyptian was involved in the second, too, as his low corner was deflected goalwards by Noble where Hart could only parry back into the danger zone and Matip tapped home.02:37 – Liverpool’s first and second goals were separated by just two minutes and 37 seconds. Quickfire.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 4, 2017 West Ham thought they were back in it when Lanzini held off the attentions of Joe Gomez to chest down Ayew’s cross and loft a calm finish past Mignolet, but with celebratory bubbles still in the east London air, Liverpool were level within 60 seconds.Roberto Firmino fed Oxlade-Chamberlain, who saw his initial effort well saved by Hart but the winger reacted quickest to smash home his second attempt.Lanzini was more wasteful as the Hammers sought an equally rapid response, firing over with just Mignolet to beat and Javier Hernandez headed over before Firmino shot wide with Liverpool sensing a killer fourth.That duly arrived 15 minutes from time as Salah controlled Mane’s pass and rifled a left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner, sealing a marvellous outing for Liverpool and a devastating one for Bilic and West Ham. Key Opta stats: – Liverpool have scored eight goals in their two Premier League trips to the London Stadium, the same tally as the Hammers have scored in their last nine there in the competition.- Since moving to the London Stadium in August 2016, West Ham have lost more games at their home stadium than they have won (W9 D4 L11).- In fact, since the move, only Swansea (44) have conceded more goals at home in the Premier League than West Ham (41).- For the 14th time under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have scored 4+ goals in a single Premier League game – only Manchester City (16) and Tottenham Hotspur (16) have done so on more occasions in this period. read more
Arsenal Lacazette should confront Wenger after benching him at Man City, says Shearer Harry Sherlock Last updated 2 years ago 16:01 11/6/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images Arsenal Premier League Manchester City v Arsenal Manchester City The French striker was left out of the starting XI at the Etihad Stadium after also having been dropped for the meeting with Liverpool Alan Shearer has urged Alexandre Lacazette to confront Arsene Wenger after the striker was left out of the starting line-up for Arsenal’s 3-1 loss to Manchester City.The France international joined the Gunners from Lyon in the summer for a fee of around £50 million, becoming the club’s record signing in the process.Arsenal 15/8 for top four finish Article continues below 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 However, he has been left out of the first XI in two of Arsenal’s biggest games of the season so far – also starting on the bench against Liverpool at Anfield as Wenger’s men lost 4-0.Lacazette came on in the second half and scored his side’s only goal of the game, and Shearer, the former Newcastle United striker, believes he should speak with Wenger to discover why he is not playing.”He left him out at Anfield and again today, against your rivals,” Shearer said on Match of the Day 2.“You spend £50m on a striker and think he will make the difference in the big games.”He has scored six league goals, more than double anyone else in that Arsenal team.”He played Alexis Sanchez today, who doesn’t want to commit himself to the football club, what does that say to Lacazette and his teammates?”He has got every right to go and knock on Wenger’s door tomorrow and say: ‘Do you not fancy me or something?'”The Gunners are currently sixth in the Premier League, 12 points behind leaders City. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Share via Email Ryder Cup … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Reuse this content Share on Twitter It is not just the music industry that needs a system allowing ticket holders to resell them at face value (UK’s £4.5bn music industry ‘under threat from touts’, 31 October). I have bought four tickets for next September’s Ryder Cup in Paris. The security measures seeking to ensure they are used only by me and those I bought them for include providing all names at the time of purchase and submitting a photograph. But there is no means to return tickets that you are unable to use and there is plenty of time for people to have accidents, fall ill and even die. Given the cost, there are likely some who will be tempted to offload them on unsuspecting golf fans who will be turned away if the security measures are successful. Shortsighted of the organisers, who would easily be able to sell returned tickets.Andy JenkinsonAscot, Berkshire• Join the debate – email email@example.com• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters Share on Facebook Ticket prices Topics Consumer affairs letters Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Support The Guardian Golf Share on Messenger Since you’re here…
Trevor Immelman says ‘my best is not good enough’ despite round of 64 Since you’re here… Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Share on Messenger … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook news The Observer So why not rugby as a career choice? Fox played the same on-field role as his father, fly-half. “Too many concussions,” he said. “I had a good four or five serious concussions in my careers playing rugby at school. I love rugby but in the end I caught the golf bug and I’m sure most golfers can attest to that. Once you catch the bug it’s pretty hard to think of anything else. I think it’s been a pretty good decision.”Including, that is, for Fox’s physical condition. “I have to say it’s a lot nicer being a golfer than it was being a rugby player,” he said. “I used to hear: ‘Let’s smash Fox’s kid’ a lot, and that wasn’t overly fun especially when some of the boys you play would be 110 kilos and strong and fast. That really wasn’t fun.“It’s been a blessing. I probably got a lot more press coverage at home, maybe a little bit of a helping hand in that regard because of who Dad was, and it’s been nice the last couple years to forge my own path a little bit. I’m very proud of what Dad did in his career, and I think he’s pretty proud of what I’m doing at the moment as well.”Parental influence, directly linked to top‑level sport, has been pertinent. “I think there’s a lot of similarity between golf and goal kicking,” Fox said. “It’s very target‑based, very routine-based and it’s static.“There’s not many other sports where you’ve got to try to kick a stationary ball. So I certainly learned a lot from him, maybe a lot by osmosis in terms of process, hearing him talk about what he did or how he would go about hitting a shot when I first started.”Fox will relish his appearance in this week’s Open at Carnoustie in more ways than one. He believes his great, great, great, great grandfather is buried near the Angus town. Scottish roots are further endorsed by Fox’s mother’s family name of Wallace.The highlight of Fox’s day three at Gullane was a converted putt from 40ft – including 15ft of break – for an eagle at the 16th.Rock hard links conditions were emphasised by Fox booming a drive adjacent to the 18th green; 460 yards from the tee box.“I definitely feel a bit more comfortable in the big events than I have done in the past,” he said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to play well, but at least it means you enjoy the experience a little bit more, rather than the first time I played, the first couple majors I played, they all seemed like a blur. Everything happened so fast.“Coming from New Zealand, you don’t see the big guys very often, and to see all of them in one place, it was a bit overwhelming, really. Now it feels a bit more normal, a bit more comfortable.” The Open 2018 Share on LinkedIn Share via Email Rugby’s loss is proving golf’s gain. If it seemed inevitable to outsiders that Ryan Fox would follow in the footsteps of his famous father, Grant, in representing the All Blacks the man himself had other ideas. Fox Sr returned 645 points from a celebrated Test career.Ryan Fox’s ascent through the professional ranks continued last week with a play-off defeat at the Irish Open which had the reasonable consolation of earning an Open berth. In proving Fox is of no mind to rest on his laurels, the 31-year-old produced a brilliant 63 on Saturday at the Scottish Open, thereby playing himself firmly into contention for what would be a maiden European Tour win.Fox will begin day four in a six-way tie for second and a stroke behind the surprise leader, Jens Dantorp, who sits at 13 under par.Fox’s story is understandably fascinating. He did not play golf seriously until he was halfway through a law degree, or turn professional before his mid‑20s. Earlier, this was his fourth sport in terms of priority; rugby union, cricket and tennis took precedence. Support The Guardian Topics Read more Golf Reuse this content
Wayne Bennett had promised there would be plenty to learn from this new-look England side and that felt like a fairly safe prediction given events both on and off the field.Injuries, retirements and the unavailability of those who played in Saturday’s Super League Grand Final meant Bennett had only four of the 17 who reached last year’s World Cup final available here, so this was very much a glimpse into England’s future on the path to the 2021 tournament.Bennett said before their only warmup game for the three-Test series against New Zealand, which begins on Saturday week in Hull, there were still spaces to be earned and for all of the eight debutants on show this was clearly a chance to impress.Following a one-sided evening, Bennett was keeping his cards close to his chest. “I learned a little bit,” said England’s coach. “There was a couple I’d not seen play before and I learned about them tonight and in a couple of days at training.”Bennett’s biggest dilemma for the first Test is deciding who replaces the injured Ryan Hall on the left wing and he was certainly given some food for thought here. St Helens’ Tommy Makinson, described as a “pretty fair player” by Bennett afterwards, is favourite to take the spot but Tom Johnstone laid down a strong claim.The Wakefield winger marked his international debut with a first-half hat-trick which helped put England out of sight by the break. “Tom is someone that I’ve noticed in the last year or so and I’d been waiting to give him an opportunity,” Bennett said. “He’s certainly got a future on the wing for England, although it may not be this year.”Given the under-strength French side, it was difficult to ascertain how ready England are for a New Zealand side who beat Australia in Auckland last week.With Jake Connor, another who impressed here, at the heart of their early play, the hosts at least put France convincingly to the sword.After Tom Burgess opened the scoring with England’s first attack, Johnstone took centre stage with three tries in 12 minutes – two of which came via direct assists from Connor.The Hull utility was also on hand to convert five of the seven tries that made it 38-0 at half-time, with Richie Myler, a brilliant move finished by the debutant Luke Thompson and Elliott Whitehead adding to the scoreline.Thereafter, it is fair to suggest that England eased off somewhat. It took them until 19 minutes after the break to score their eighth and final try, when Connor marked a superb individual display with a fine finish.To France’s credit, they battled valiantly until the final whistle, and they got the try their efforts merited when Théo Fages crossed on 63 minutes. By then, though, England’s attention seemed to have already shifted to next week and the sterner test of facing New Zealand.There were also lessons to be learned off the field, as well as on. With this being England’s first home game since reaching the World Cup final, it perhaps should have been a cause for celebration to kick off the autumn internationals.Instead, a below-average crowd attended and those who watched on the RFL’s streaming service were left to complain they could not access the coverage. Thankfully, that will not be an issue next week. Support The Guardian Share on Messenger Share on Pinterest What next for Wigan and Warrington after the Super League Grand Final? … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Read more Share on LinkedIn England rugby league team Rugby league match reports Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Topics Since you’re here… Share via Email Share on Twitter France rugby league team Reuse this content
Djokovic, who had not dropped a set all week, had no answer to the 10 aces that flew past his flailing racket, nor to the haymaker ground strokes that pinned him to the baseline. He looked for early openings with deep, angled ground strokes, but four Zverev aces kept him off balance. Zverev held to love in the eighth game. He hugged the net, too, showing rare deftness and acumen, which maybe took the five-times champion by surprise.In their first encounter Djokovic’s defence was rock solid, as he saved the only two break points against him in the early rounds; here, he cracked at the third time of asking, dumping a forehand. Serving for the set, Zverev aced wide at 130mph wide, made his second unreturnable, down the middle, aced again on the ad side and, after Djokovic grabbed a point, forced a backhand error to clinch it.An exchange of breaks at the start of the second betrayed nerves on both rackets. Back-to-back double faults and a sloppy backhand halted Zverev’s charge but he regrouped to break again. Djokovic, a set and 1-3 down, looked drained of ideas and energy against his tormentor, but held to love. He needed to draw on all the campaigns and dark corners of his past to get out of his predicament; it was beyond him.Zverev held nervously for 4-2. He knew Djokovic would be dangerous to the end, just as Federer had been, and he has not always shown composure in his young career. He found it now.Even as some of his forehands began to stray and the serve slipped a notch, with the adrenaline pumping through his long arms and legs, he held his nerve. He knew the story could change in a twinkling. His final ace clipped the deuce line as he eased to within a game of the title with a withering forehand winner, and Djokovic stepped up to the service line, with one last chance to extend the argument.Zverev would not be denied. A double fault, Djokovic’s first, revealed his anxiety, as did an overcooked backhand to hand Zverev two championship points. He saved one with a heavy, wide serve, but he was stranded as Zverev’s forehand drifted past him after an hour and 20 minutes of enthralling tennis.A star who was already born now shone brighter. They stood to acclaim him as he went into the crowd to embrace his coach, Alexander, a decent player himself – but an even prouder father now. Since you’re here… Read more Share via Email Reuse this content Read more Alexander Zverev denies Roger Federer at ATP Finals with stamina and style Just 24 hours after being booed off court for having the temerity to beat Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev not only overpowered the world No 1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets to win the biggest title of his career but won the crowd over, too, in what was an emotional conclusion to the season.Zverev served Djokovic out of the ATP Finals 6-4, 6-3, and the bewildered Serb, who was a firm favourite after beating him handily in their round-robin match four days earlier, was powerless, for the most part, to change the course of the match.Zverev hit a pitch of serving excellence in the first set, at 88%, that inevitably dipped in the second but his hammer blows had already done the damage, and the German’s all-round game, court awareness and character were strong enough to get him through an edgy finish. … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Support The Guardian ATP World Tour Finals The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Novak Djokovic Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn news Share on Facebook Alexander Zverev Share on Pinterest Djokovic, who is top of the rankings after coming from 22 in the world when returning from injury at the start of the year, told Zverev courtside: “You are still quite young and have already had an amazing career but there’s no doubt you will be one of the favourites in every slam.” It was more than a platitude and it had context.Zverev smiled like a child on the same spot where he looked so hurt the previous day when fans booed him for stopping during a point in the tie-break against Federer after a ballboy in his eyeline let a ball dribble towards the court.“It was tough for me yesterday, because I didn’t think I had done anything wrong,” he said. “Today, I had to be aggressive but patient too. Right now I can’t describe it. It is the biggest trophy I’ve ever won.”Zverev is the first German to win the ATP Finals since Boris Becker beat Michael Chang in Frankfurt 23 years ago, and, at 21, the youngest champion since Djokovic beat Nikolay Davydenko in Shanghai in 2008. He has already won three Masters 1000 titles and reached the quarter-finals of a grand slam.However, all the numbers in the world could not convey the significance of a win that catapults him alongside Djokovic and Federer, as well as Rafael Nadal, who was absent injured. Only three other players – Nadal, David Nalbandian and Andy Murray – have beaten the Serb and the Swiss in the semi-final and final of the same tournament.It was all the greater an accomplishment for the opponent he beat. The only players Djokovic had lost to in 36 matches since the start of Wimbledon were the other two aspiring contenders to overthrow the ruling elite, Karen Kachanov and Stefanos Tsitsipas. These musketeers have their swords drawn. As Zverev observed: “Obviously the older guys, the Golden Generation as you call them, are still winning most of the titles. I’ve been in that mix for a little time now but I hope we younger players, the Next Generation, can get in there and win the bigger titles next season.” Share on WhatsApp Tennis Topics Share on Messenger
Amid the lights and noise – loud music, louder cheering – of the Six Days of London meeting, Mark Cavendish rediscovered what winning feels like. This was not the sunlit splendour of the Champs Élysées, where he triumphed in the climactic stage of the Tour de France four years in a row with the eyes of the world on him. It was the very different environment of the Lee Valley VeloPark velodrome, where the crowd’s hot breath is on a rider’s neck as he circles an infernal oval for lap after lap, calculating strategies while trying to retain enough energy for a final lung-scorching sprint.By the time the event wound up on Sunday night, Cavendish and his riding partner, the Welshman Owain Doull, were not on the top step of the podium. They had been pipped for victory in the general classification by Elia Viviani and Simone Consonni. But earlier in the week’s points-gathering programme they had won the 40-lap Derny races on Tuesday and Thursday nights, the Madisons on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the team elimination races on Thursday and Saturday and the 60-lap Derny final on Sunday, in which Cavendish swept past Viviani and the Australian sprint ace Caleb Ewan in the final 50 metres to take the win. Share on LinkedIn Read more Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Share via Email Three more nasty crashes at the start of 2018 – at the Tour of Abu Dhabi, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo – resulted in shoulder and rib damage and ruined his preparation for the Tour, which he abandoned at half-distance after finishing outside the time limit on a short but brutal mountain stage to La Rosière. That August the symptoms of the Epstein-Barr virus were spotted again and his season was over.Worse, in a way, than illness and injury was the decision by Dimension Data’s chief, Doug Ryder, to leave him out of the 2019 Tour team, against the advice of his sporting director, the former sprint champion Rolf Aldag. Cavendish could only watch on in impotent fury as, without him, the team failed to win a single stage.In his mid-30s, he is unlikely to be the rider he was 10 years ago. Ellingworth, however, knows which buttons to press to focus Cavendish’s energies and he will be wearing the colours of a team now half-owned by McLaren, the Formula One team whose aerodynamicists collaborated on the design of the bike that Cavendish rode to the rainbow jersey and five Tour stage wins in 2011. (The other 50%, owned by the sovereign wealth fund of Bahrain, which also owns 56% of McLaren, is more problematic, at least to human-rights campaigners.)As yet no one knows whether Ellingworth has the qualities required to make a successful transition from sporting director to team principal, although his years at Dave Brailsford’s side will at least have shown him what the job entails. It is now his responsibility to ensure one of the greatest British sporting figures of the current millennium brings his career to an appropriate close. No small task but one that should be worth watching. Since you’re here… Pinterest Mark Cavendish wears the yellow jersey on the second stage of the 2016 Tour de France. Photograph: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images In his mid-thirties, Cavendish is unlikely to be the rider he was but Ellingworth knows which buttons to press Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Topics Share on Messenger Twitter Facebook comment In the last race, a massively intense hour-long Madison final, Cavendish failed to catch Consonni in the penultimate sprint by a couple of millimetres before Viviani took the hand-sling to burn off Doull and take the points that gave the Italians the overall title. But after a three-year nightmare of illness and injury, it was no surprise Cavendish looked practically radiant as he and his teammate sprayed champagne from the second tier of the winners’ podium.The week had also been punctuated by another bit of encouraging news for the 34-year-old when it was announced that on 1 January he will be joining Bahrain-Merida, the World Tour squad whose team principal, Rod Ellingworth, nurtured Cavendish’s talent during his days as the head of the British Olympic cycling programme’s academy. In 2011 Ellingworth, a brilliant coach, was the chief strategist of the British team when Cavendish won the world road race championship in Copenhagen, the rider’s day of days.After spending most of his glory years with the Highroad, Team Sky and Quickstep squads, Cavendish joined the Dimension Data team in 2016. As he entered his 30s, the move to a South Africa-based team, even as the squad’s designated leader, seemed like a step down. Perhaps the edge had gone from the double-kick that a sprinter needs to demolish the competition at the highest level; perhaps a new generation had outpaced him. Mark Cavendish Cycling His answer, unforgettably, was to win four stages of that year’s Tour de France, beginning on the opening day at Utah beach in Normandy with a victory that put him in the yellow jersey for a day. Those four wins took him to a total of 30 stage victories in the Tour: the highest ever for a pure sprinter and only four behind Eddy Merckx, generally regarded as the greatest rider in the sport’s history. Three months earlier, back in the Great Britain jersey, he and Bradley Wiggins won the Madison title at the world championships in London, resuming a partnership that had disintegrated in acrimony during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.But then, at the start of his second season with Dimension Data, disaster struck in the form of a medical diagnosis. Cavendish had contracted the Epstein-Barr virus, a deep-lying condition that affects the immune system and can lower the body’s defences against glandular fever and other debilitating illnesses. He recovered sufficiently to start the Tour that summer but a tangle at the end of stage four with Peter Sagan, one of the pretenders to his standing as the world’s pre-eminent sprinter, left him on the floor with a fractured shoulder blade. Support The Guardian Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. ‘Do or die’: Australian cycling in limbo amid landmark reform Reuse this content
Manchester City Snooze, don’t lose – De Bruyne enjoys Manchester City being boring Dom Farrell 04:39 1/29/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Manchester City Kevin De Bruyne Cardiff City v Manchester City Cardiff City FA Cup The Belgian said his side were in no hurry to set pulses racing after establishing a dominant 2-0 lead at Cardiff in the FA Cup Kevin De Bruyne has provided plenty of thrills as Manchester City’s star man this season but was delighted to make the second half of Sunday’s 2-0 FA Cup win at Cardiff City boring.The Belgium star netted a clever free-kick, slotting under the jumping Cardiff wall after eight minutes, before Raheem Sterling headed his 19th goal of the season.City were rarely threatened thereafter and De Bruyne reported Pep Guardiola’s tactical plan worked like a dream. Article continues below 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 “They’ve a different playing style to everyone else. They almost play man against man across the whole pitch. It’s a little bit weird,” he told BBC Sport.”The tactics we used were class because Vinny [Kompany] was always free and we opened up the midfield.”We had a lot of space. The second half was strange because they didn’t want to attack us.”I think it was a little bit boring for half an hour but we could save energy for the next games.”Those are contests, starting with the Premier League visit of West Brom on Wednesday, that are likely to take place without Leroy Sane.The Germany winger was scythed down by Joe Bennett, the Cardiff full-back who was later sent off for another ugly challenge on teenage substitute Brahim Diaz, and did not emerge for the second half.An angry Guardiola told reporters Sane would be assessed further on Monday and could be out for up to a month.”We knew how they played,” De Bruyne said. “They caught us a few times and that is football but obviously Leroy is injured now and hopefully that is not too bad.”5th round, here we come! pic.twitter.com/7nbj1WtyF8 — Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) January 28, 2018 The opening goal also arrived as a result of a Cardiff foul, even if De Bruyne’s ingenuity and attention to detail in preparation were the primary factors.”They [Manchester City’s coaching staff] tell us before the game. We know at all the details,” he added.”It was a guess. The wall was very close so it was easier to put it under than over.”
Transfers Chelsea’s Baba Rahman agrees loan move to Schalke Nizaar Kinsella Click here to see more stories from this author Chelsea correspondent 22:48 1/29/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Transfers Schalke 04 Chelsea Bundesliga Premier League The Blues full-back’s loan is due to be announced after recovering from a serious knee injury with the length of deal being discussed Baba Rahman has proved his fitness to Schalke as he closes on a return to the Bundesliga club on loan from Chelsea, Goal understands.Schalke are hoping to make it an 18-month loan deal but Chelsea are currently deciding how to structure the length of the arrangement for Rahman.All other parts of the move for Rahman, who joined Chelsea in a £22 million deal from Augsburg in 2015, have been completed, including the medical which was conducted on Friday last week. Article continues below 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 Rahman has been in constant contact with Schalke, where he played last season, since returning to Chelsea to recover from an anterior cruciate ligament injury he sustained at the African Cup of Nations over a year ago. The 23-year-old had interest from other clubs but preferred to return to Schalke with head coach Dominico Tedesco keen on bringing in the full-back, who has already been pictured on social media at the club’s training ground.Meanwhile, Chelsea are looking to add a different left-sided defender after also loaning Kenedy to Newcastle United until the end of the season. Roma’s Emerson Palmieri is still expected to join before the transfer window closes for a fee of around £22 million, which is inclusive of add-ons. Chelsea also want to add a striker but talks with Edin Dzeko appear to have stalled, with Michy Batshuayi and Charly Musonda likely to leave on loan.
Spalletti wasn’t smiling on Tuesday, though, when it emerged that the precise details of a private conversation that he’d had with a group of Roma fans outside a Milanese restaurant after last month’s meeting with the Giallorossi at San Siro had been leaked to the press.As well as allegedly taking shots at former Roma captain Francesco Totti and club president James Pallotta, Spalletti had apparently told the supporters (who have renamed the Whatsapp group that binds them ‘Luciano’s Friends’) that Inter’s owners, the Suning Group, were too parsimonious.”The club do not want to spend,” he is reported to have claimed, “and the environment is always one step away from madness, like at Roma.”It’s a balancing act. At times, it’s a depressed environment.”Now is certainly one of those times. Indeed, Spalletti had already cut a disillusioned, frustrated figure after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Crotone, which was Inter’s fifth successive draw.”Clearly a little worry does set in, because we don’t see many improvements, even after changes,” Spalletti told Medias Premium. “We’re below-par in more or less every area.”We must work to find some certainties through daily training to give us a clear idea how to progress.”It might be too old-school an idea for the modern era but getting everyone – himself included – to stop washing their dirty linen in public might be a good place to start. Then again, it’s a different era, isn’t it? Internazionale The social media storm starring Icardi causing civil war at Inter Mark Doyle Deputy Features Editor 20:00 2/7/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) Getty Images Internazionale Serie A Opinion The Nerazzurri have gone eight games without a win amid speculation that the captain has fallen out with team-mates Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic When Roy Keane famously claimed that Arsenal’s hopes of winning trophies would be undermined by “one or two players who are more interested in selfies and six-packs”, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain countered by pointing out, “It’s a different era, isn’t it?”Nowhere has that been better illustrated than at San Siro, which was hit by a social media storm over the past week.On December 3, Inter routed Chievo 5-0 at San Siro to go top of Serie A. Two months on, they are out of the title race and in very real danger of dropping out of the Champions League places. Article continues below 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 After a record-equalling run of eight games without a win, giddy talk of a first Scudetto since 2010 has been replaced by rumours of dressing-room divisions.The history of football is littered with tales of team-mates falling out but the recent drama at Inter has a uniquely modern twist, in that the affair has predominantly played out on social media. Unsurprisingly, Mauro Icardi was the instigator. The Argentine’s relationship with Wanda Icardi (née Nara), the ex-wife of his former friend and team-mate Maxi Lopez, was essentially told on Twitter, in full view of the watching world, which typically seemed partly repulsed, partly enthralled by the reality show.This time, Icardi opted to kick off a social media storm via Instagram. “To say goodbye is to grow,” were the six seemingly innocuous words written on a black-and-white image posted on his profile on January 29. “Chau Chau” was the accompanying message.What did it mean? Was Icardi off to Real Madrid? Was he bidding farewell to team-mate Marcelo Brozovic, the midfielder linked with Sevilla with whom he had allegedly fallen out? Or was it confirmation of reports that his marriage was in trouble? Or was it simply a harmless reference to an Argentine song called ‘ Adios ‘ by Gustavo Cerati? Did anyone really care? Yes, sadly, a lot of people. In modern journalism, social media accounts are now a source of news – fake or otherwise. Indeed, there were even unfounded reports that Icardi’s wife Wanda had reverted to using her maiden name on her profiles.Of course, for some superstar footballers, these accounts are little more than an advertising agency, complemented by bland messages carefully constructed by the player’s management team (though, if one is to believe Jesse Lingard , sometimes these communications experts have no appreciation of timing).However, for men like Icardi, social media are an outlet, a direct means of communication with team-mates, fans, or just the outside world in general; used to disclose the most personal information.After the striker’s post, the online activity of everyone involved in Inter suddenly became headline news. Icardi had unfollowed Brozovic. Brozovic unfollowed Icardi. The squad was said to have been divided, with Ivan Perisic taking the side of his Croatia team-mate. Inter’s form was viewed as evidence of the dressing-room disharmony. Perisic hasn’t scored or assisted a goal since hitting a hat-trick in the win over Chievo.Icardi, meanwhile, has scored just two goals in his last seven outings, after netting 16 in just 15 to propel the Nerazzurri to the summit of the standings.The captain tried to put an end to all of the speculation by first publicly wishing Perisic a happy birthday on February 3 by posting a picture of the pair of them celebrating a goal together.Then, there were two photos of him with Wanda in which he reiterated his enduring love for his wife and manager. Spalletti, for his part, insisted that the entire controversy was much ado about nothing yet he didn’t even attempt to hide his contempt for the players’ habit of addressing private issues in the public domain.”The fans are the ones who suffer because the media sends out a message that Inter is in the hands of children rather than professionals,” he argued.”But that is absolutely not the case, as we have a group of exemplary professionals.“Obviously, it’s also worth noting that social media sagas can disturb our work and reaching our objective. We must, therefore, be careful. But, in this case, there was nothing unusual happening.”There are no problems between the players. But I say this because bringing home matters into the locker room should not happen and there has to be a detachment when talking about personal issues.”But these things gave us a good laugh and, in fact, paradoxically united us, as we all laughed together.”
Manchester City Sane gives Manchester City pleasant Champions League surprise Dom Farrell 03:47 2/13/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Manchester City Leroy Sané Basel v Manchester City Basel UEFA Champions League Guardiola The German attacker has returned to training a month ahead of schedule and Pep Guardiola may use him against Basel Pep Guardiola conceded he is surprised to have Leroy Sane potentially among his attacking options for Tuesday’s Champions League tie at Basel.City return to the last-16 stage of Europe’s top competition having established a dominant 16-point lead at the top of the Premier League, although injury concerns have mounted for Guardiola over recent weeks.The City boss reported Sane would be absent for up to seven weeks with ankle ligament damage sustained in the 2-0 FA Cup fourth-round win at Cardiff City two weeks ago. Article continues below 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 But the Germany winger stepped up his recovery last week, took part in City’s pre-match training session on Tuesday and flew with his team-mates to Switzerland.”I am surprised,” said Guardiola, who refused to rule out using the 22-year-old at St Jakob-Park.”He has worked very hard. He wants to help us. He is not in perfect condition but he is with us.”On whether Sane would start against the Swiss champions, he added: “He’s had one training session. He is young.”Sane sustained his injury following a dreadful lunging challenge from Cardiff full-back Joe Bennett.The defender subsequently apologised but, not for the first time, Guardiola complained over players not being protected adequately from robust treatment in England.Ahead of the latest round of Champions League matches – in a move that could be interpreted as a response to the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss’ concerns – UEFA issued a directive urging referees to take “proper sanctions” against players committing serious foul play.The statement read: “Europe’s referees are being asked to play their part in protecting football’s image as the second half of the European club competition season gets under way.”The match officials act as ambassadors for the game, and are responsible not only for upholding the laws on the field of play, but also for protecting the players and ensuring their safety – and they are being instructed to punish those who commit offences or behave in a way that has an impact on how football is perceived.Great to be back in training with the boys #inSané #LS19 pic.twitter.com/RMbkoyLY7x— Leroy Sané (@LeroySane19) February 12, 2018″UEFA’s matches are seen throughout the world, and the European body is determined that a positive image of the game should be shown, in particular to younger fans who regularly watch the stars in action.”Consequently, referees are urged to take proper sanctions against players who commit serious foul play or make reckless challenges that might injure an opponent and endanger a career.”Asked about the directive, Guardiola said: “It’s not the moment to talk about that. I spoke many times about that, so it is not necessary to talk more.”Guardiola also has David Silva (hip) and Fabian Delph (knee) back among his squad to face Basel, although Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy remain sidelined with their respective knee ligament injuries.