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Unlikely heroes may miss final as Kane, Salah set to return

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Lucas Moura and Divock Origi have been the unlikely heroes for Tottenham and Liverpool in the Champions League this season. They kept alive their team's hopes of winning the European title with crucial goals and decisive performances. Without them, the English sides probably wouldn't have made it to Saturday's final in the Spanish capital. But despite helping their teams reach the final at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, both may miss out on playing in the match because of the return from injuries of Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will have to choose between the in-form Moura and the recently injured Kane, while Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp will have to sit Origi or rearrange his attack to leave him in the lineup along with Salah. Neither coach gave anything away on Friday. "If Pochettino says his exact lineup, call me and I will tell you our lineup as well," Klopp said. "If not, then I thought I'd keep at least a few question marks open." Pochettino kept quiet. "It's not going to be easy to take a decision," he said. "We are going to take the best decision to try to win. It's so painful when this type of game arrives and you can only use 11 players from the beginning." Moura has been starting since Kane hurt an ankle ligament in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals. The Brazilian scored the hat trick that allowed Tottenham to come from behind and beat Ajax 3-2 in the second leg of the semifinals, helping the English club overcome a 1-0 home loss in the first match. The hat trick included a stoppage-time goal that sealed the comeback and the team's first-ever final appearance. Moura, who joined from Paris Saint-Germain in January 2018, also scored a crucial late equalizer against Barcelona in the team's final group game in December, securing the English club a spot in the knockout stage. "All of this is a dream and now I have the opportunity to play in the final and to win the competition I have always dreamt about," Moura told UEFA.com. "Without a doubt it's the best moment of my career." Origi replaced Salah after the Egyptian had a concussion in a game against Newcastle in the Premier League just before the second leg against Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals. Origi scored a late winner against Newcastle after replacing Salah in the second half, then was crucial in the return match against Barcelona, scoring twice in the 4-0 win that put the team in the final for the second straight season. Kane has been a mainstay in the Tottenham attack, but even before his injury some had been calling for Moura to get more minutes in the squad. The versatile 26-year-old Brazilian can play in different attacking positions, including as an attacking midfielder, and could even play alongside Kane if Pochettino wanted to. For Moura, the Champions League final could give him another opportunity to show Brazil coach Tite he made a mistake by leaving him out of next month's Copa America squad. Tite announced the team shortly after Moura's superb display in the Champions League semifinals, but they weren't enough to persuade the coach. Salah fully recovered from his concussion and is more certain to make his Champions League return on Saturday. He played only about 30 minutes in last year's final because of a shoulder injury sustained in the 3-1 loss to Real Madrid. Origi also is versatile in attack and may get to start alongside Salah and Sadio Mane. The 24-year-old Belgian will have added competition from Roberto Firmino, though, who also had been out injured but is fit for the final. "These are always tough decisions," Pochettino said. "But it's part of my job to decide the starting 11 and to try to win the game.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 1st, 2019

Gatecrasher Tottenham takes on storied Liverpool in CL final

By Rob Harris, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Familiar territory for Liverpool. So very unfamiliar for Tottenham. The second all-English Champions League final in history pits one of Europe's most successful clubs against a side unexpectedly gatecrashing the continent's elite. After losing last year's final to Real Madrid, Juergen Klopp's Liverpool has another shot at lifting the European Cup for a sixth time on Saturday. Tottenham doesn't get its hands on trophies often. The north London club is contesting a Champions League final for the first time, the culmination of an improbable run that has shaken the soccer establishment. "It is something that we have changed at the club," Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen said. "How people look at the club. How people think about us players at Spurs." Much has been made of Liverpool's 29-year domestic title drought — that came within a couple of points of ending three weeks ago — but Tottenham's stretches back exactly twice as long to 1961. Despite that, the club has made an unexpected march to the biggest game in club soccer without anything near the kind of lavish spending that clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have thrown — unsuccessfully — toward the same pursuit. Manager Mauricio Pochettino hasn't even been able to sign a single player in the last two transfer windows — a first for a Premier League club — because of a frugal environment brought on by the club's recently completed $1 billion-plus new stadium. And yet he has just celebrated a fourth consecutive top-four finish in the Premier League by seeing off bigger spending rivals Arsenal and Manchester United. Qualifying for the Champions League is seen as an achievement alone for a club which has only reached four second-tier European finals, mostly recently winning the now-defunct UEFA Cup in 1984. Since Pochettino took charge in 2014, Tottenham's net spend on transfers is estimated to be less than 30 million pounds ($38 million). That is around a sixth of Liverpool's net spend over the last five years. "You can either take it that the manager has got full confidence in what he's worked with in the last two years, that he believes in you and doesn't want to bring in anyone to challenge for your position," Tottenham defender Danny Rose said before flying to Madrid. "Or you can take it that nobody wants to join Tottenham, the club hasn't been able to provide the funds to buy anyone." That's not the accusation leveled at Liverpool owner John Henry, who also runs the Boston Red Sox in MLB. Klopp's answer to losing last season's final was jettisoning blundering goalkeeper Loris Karius and — briefly — breaking the goalkeeping transfer record to sign Alisson Becker from Roma for $85 million. That final in Kiev was agony for Mohamed Salah, who was forced off in the opening half hour with a shoulder injury before Liverpool lost 3-1. The striker has struggled to live up to the 44 goals he scored last season, with a haul of 26 in all competitions in a front three alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. Now the target is preventing Liverpool falling to a third Champions League final loss since the club's last victory in 2005. "Everything feels better this time around," Salah said, "and we have more experience than the last time." That experience pushed Manchester City to the final day in the Premier League title race and amassed 97 points that would usually be enough to secure the crown. "If there was a prize for the biggest development in the last 12 months then it's going to the Reds, that's how it is," Klopp said. "The boys did a really amazing job, but we get that it's about winning competitions." Pochettino faces the same jibes as Klopp about his inability to land a trophy. Although Klopp did win the Bundesliga twice at Borussia Dortmund before joining Liverpool in 2015 — but also lost a Champions League final with Dortmund and a Europa League final with Liverpool. Pochettino, a former Argentina defender, is now in his third managerial role after Espanyol and Southampton, and still awaiting a winner's medal. Winning the biggest prize in Europe wouldn't be bad place to start for a manager so often linked with moves to bigger clubs. "We can provide our fans and our people and our family, of course, the best happiness in football that you can provide," Pochettino said. "I think today to talk about individual thing is a little bit embarrassing and ashamed because you know I think I am not important." But Pochettino has taken much of the credit for steering Tottenham to the final after collecting only one point from the opening three group stage games. Progress to the round of 16 was only secured thanks to a late equalizer by Lucas Moura at Barcelona in the group finale. Even after Harry Kane limped out of the quarterfinals first leg against Manchester City, Tottenham found a way to cope without its leading striker. Fernando Llorente's goal — and a favorable stoppage-time VAR denial of Raheem Sterling's strike — clinched a frenzied aggregate win at City. In the semifinals, Moura scored with almost the final kick of the second leg to complete a hat trick and overturn a 3-0 aggregate deficit. If Kane recovers from his ankle injury, Moura is likely to return to the bench. "No one expected us to be here at start of competition," Rose said. "No one expected us to be here after the quarters or the semis." Liverpool also pulled off an improbable semifinal result to see off Barcelona by recovering from 3-0 down. And form is on Klopp's side heading into Saturday's game at the Atletico Madrid stadium. Although Tottenham only finished two places below Liverpool in fourth, there was a 26-point gap between the sides and the north London club lost both league encounters 2-1. "It's not that we were five levels above them," Klopp said. "But that's how a final actually should be.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2019

Mbappe hints at move away from PSG

PARIS (AP) — Kylian Mbappe has opened the door for a move away from Paris Saint-Germain. Just after receiving the award for the French league's player of the season, the 20-year-old World Cup winner said he wants more responsibility, either at PSG or "elsewhere with a new project." Mbappe, who joined from Monaco in 2017 for 180 million euros, had never speculated before on a possible transfer away from the French champions. "I feel it may be the right time to take more responsibilities," Mbappe said after succeeding Neymar as the league's best player. "Hopefully it will be at Paris Saint-Germain, it would be with a great pleasure. Or maybe elsewhere, with a new project." After winning the World Cup in Russia, Mbappe followed up with 32 league goals this season, becoming the first French player to reach at least that tally since 1966. Mbappe has been linked with a possible move to Real Madrid, where Zinedine Zidane returned as coach earlier this season. PSG sealed a sixth French league title in seven years but failed to defend its French Cup and French League Cup crowns this season. PSG was eliminated in the Champions League last 16 for the third straight year. Mbappe was also named the young player of the season for the third straight year. After leading Lille to a second-place finish, Christophe Galtier won the coach of the year award......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

European leagues: Most clubs oppose changes in competitions

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — A "vast majority" of European teams are against plans by elite clubs to radically change the shape of the Champions League, according to the organization representing national leagues. The European Leagues group hosted a meeting Tuesday of around 250 clubs in the Spanish capital and said most are against proposals submitted by the European Club Association that kicked off consultation to agree changes that will take effect in 2024. The ECA's strategy is mostly shaped by rich and storied clubs who want to play each other more often — possibly in groups doubled in size to eight teams — and secure year-on-year Champions League entry through a high placing in those groups. That proposal would represent the biggest change to the Champions League since some domestic league runners-up were allowed entry in 1997. The clubs' idea is fiercely opposed by the leagues, which fear fans and broadcasters could lose interest in their competitions if Champions League entries can be secured elsewhere. "A lot of clubs made their position very clear, including clubs and representatives from ECA," European Leagues President Lars-Christer Olsson said. "The domestic competitions have to be the basis for the international competitions." "We are sure that fans are supporting our ideas," said Olsson, who helped oversee the modern Champions League as former CEO of UEFA for several years until 2007. The leagues want to make sure more domestic winners can have direct access to the Champions League from 2024 instead of having to go through more qualifying rounds with fewer chances to reach the lucrative group stage. Until 2018, the Champions League preliminary rounds including teams from all 55 UEFA member countries offered 10 of the 32 Champions League group-stage places, which shared up to $2 billion in prize money. Changes that took effect this season favored wealthy countries. Teams from Spain, England, Germany, Italy now avoid the preliminaries and only six of the 32 places are on offer to qualifiers. One of those qualifiers, Ajax, is in the semifinals. Ajax advanced through the knockout rounds with victories over Real Madrid and Juventus — two clubs pushing hardest for a better deal for elite clubs. Juventus president Andrea Agnelli — who leads the ECA and sits with Olsson on the UEFA executive committee — attended Tuesday's meeting which he had asked his members to boycott. ECA members will meet June 6-7 in Malta to discuss the proposal made in their name. Agnelli wrote to ECA officials last month criticizing the European Leagues for trying to preserve the "status quo." He has also suggested more promotion and relegation between the Champions League and second-tier Europa League which has been dominated for the past decade by Spanish and English clubs. "We are not against change," Olsson said Tuesday, "but we have significant concerns if that change should be based on what is released by Agnelli in his letter to the clubs." ECA vice chairman Edwin van der Sar, representing Ajax, told reporters that rumors about promoting a closed league or playing weekend games in European competitions were not the clubs' goal. "To develop European football, it's important to play more interesting and meaningful games and sometimes that doesn't happen in the leagues," said Van der Sar, suggesting the Dutch Eredivisie did not help Ajax players develop fully. "All things evolve and European football needs to evolve also," the former Ajax, Juventus and Manchester United goalkeeper said, citing a third-tier UEFA competition that kicks off in 2021. That project is provisionally called Europa League 2. The ECA already met with UEFA leadership to discuss the changes, and Olsson will lead a leagues delegation to UEFA's offices in Switzerland on Wednesday. The meeting in Madrid was organized by Spanish league president Javier Tebas, a longtime critic of the proposed changes. "The entire football industry would be affected by these changes," said Tebas, saying the league would consider legal actions if the clubs' favored formats went into effect. "It would be a very complicated scenario.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2019

Barca s reserves lose, Atletico fails to clinch 2nd place

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Spanish champion Barcelona sacrificed its unbeaten streak on Saturday to prepare to reach the Champions League final at Liverpool's expense. With most regular starters rested, Barcelona's 23-match unbeaten run ended in a 2-0 loss at Celta Vigo on Saturday in the Spanish league. It was Barcelona's first setback since January and a loss at Sevilla in the Copa del Rey, and its first defeat in the league since November. The result meant little to the Catalan club, though, as it's fully focused on Liverpool in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal next week, when it will travel to England defending a 3-0 win from the Camp Nou. Of more immediate concern was a leg injury to Ousmane Dembele, who had to be replaced five minutes into the match. "Apparently he has a muscle problem," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "We will have to wait until the tests tomorrow to see how serious it is." Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Sergio Busquets were among the players who didn't travel to Vigo. Celta loved the result, which moved it to 14th place and five points clear of the relegation zone. Barcelona clinched its 26th league title last weekend. ATLETICO'S MISS Atletico Madrid earlier missed a chance to secure second place after losing at Espanyol 3-0. A draw would have been enough for Atletico but it struggled from at mid-table Espanyol. Atletico can still clinch a runner-up finish on Sunday if third-placed Real Madrid loses or draws against Villarreal. Real Madrid is nine points behind Atletico with three games left, but it holds the head-to-head tiebreaker between the city rivals. "We still need a point, but it's still up to us to earn this point and finish second," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. "We have to appreciate the value of a second-place finish in this league." Atletico is seeking consecutive top-two finishes in the Spanish league for the first time since 1973-74. That was also the last time Real Madrid finished out of the top two in consecutive years. Espanyol, unbeaten in seven matches, moved to ninth with the victory, staying in contention for a Europa League spot. The hosts opened the scoring with an own-goal by Atletico defender Diego Godin just before halftime, then striker Borja Iglesias sealed the victory with goals in the 52nd and 89th minutes. Simeone's team hadn't conceded three goals in a match since March, in a 3-0 loss at Juventus in the Champions League. "We played a good first half but we weren't ourselves after conceding the own-goal," Atletico midfielder Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion said. "That was not the Atletico we are used to seeing." LEVANTE'S RELIEF Levante routed Rayo Vallecano 4-1 at home to move five points clear of the bottom three. Rayo, which was coming off a win over Real Madrid, stayed second-to-last, with little hope of escaping demotion. SOCIEDAD STILL BELIEVES Real Sociedad kept alive its hopes of grabbing a Europa League spot in beating Alaves 1-0......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 5th, 2019

Man United soccer's top moneymaker again after 11 years

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Manchester United is a long way from winning the English Premier League again but is back on top of another table — as soccer's biggest moneymaker. For the first time since 2005, Manchester United overtook Real Madrid in top spot in the soccer finance rankings compiled by accountancy firm Deloitte even as it sits sixth in the Premier League. In 2015-16 when United won only the FA Cup and failed to qualify for the Champions League, the 20-time league champions generated 515.3 million pounds (689 million euros based on the annual average; now about $632 million). Spanish champion Barcelona had 620.2 million euros in revenue and Real Madrid, which won an 11th Champions League title in May, dropped to third on 620.1 million euros in Deloitte's 20th annual rankings. United's stay at the top could be short-lived with the pound weakening since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June and the failure to reach the Champions League. Despite Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as manager, United is struggling to break back into the top four Champions League qualification places let alone win the first Premier League title since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013. But United, owned by the Florida-based Glazer family and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has maintained an ability to attract sponsors. 'Manchester United have had to wait 11 years to regain their position as the world's leading revenue-generating club and it has taken phenomenal commercial revenue growth to help them achieve this,' said Dan Jones of the Deloitte sports division. 'In recent years, their ability to secure commercial partnerships with value in excess of that achievable by their peers has been the crucial factor in enabling the club to regain their place at the top of the Money League.' The top five is completed by German champion Bayern Munich and Manchester City. The eight English clubs in the top 20 account for 45 percent of the accumulated revenue in the standings of 7.4 billion euros — up 13 percent from the previous year. Leicester, a first-time winner of the Premier League, makes the cut for the first time, squeezing into 20th place on 128.7 million pounds. West Ham returns to the top 20 and should move up from 18th place (143.8 million pounds) following its move last summer to Olympic Stadium. The other Premier League teams are: Arsenal (seventh at 350.4 million pounds), Chelsea (eight at 334.6 million pounds), Liverpool (ninth at 302 million pounds) and Tottenham (12th at 209.2 million pounds). The weight of English clubs in the revenue rankings should increase next year with the rise in television revenue. Premier League clubs should each earn at least 100 million pounds a season as part of the rights deals worth more than 8.3 billion pounds over three years. The only French team represented in the rankings is Paris Saint-Germain, which fell two places to sixth with revenue of 520.9 million euros. Zenit Saint-Petersburg is the only Russian team included, improving a place to 17th by generating 196.5 million euros. Along with Bayern, German also provides Borussia Dortmund (11th at 283.9 million euros) and Schalke (14th at 224.5 million euros). Juventus heads the list of four Italian teams, in 10th place on 224.5 million euros, followed by AS Roma (15th at 218.2 million euros), AC Milan (16th at 214.7 million euros) and Inter Milan (19th at 179.2 million euros). Deloitte warns that the enhanced English broadcast deals could see at least one of the Milan teams fall out of the top 20 next year. Joining Barcelona and Real Madrid in the rankings from Spain are Atletico Madrid in 13th place at 228.6 million euros. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Attack-minded Sarri foresees more goal records for Ronaldo

TURIN, Italy (AP) — With his attack-minded 4-3-3 formation, new Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri foresees Cristiano Ronaldo setting more scoring records. Sarri was presented Thursday after signing a three-year contract with the club that has won Serie A for the last eight seasons. Sarri called the Juventus job the "crowning achievement of a long and difficult career." "I've taken a long road to get here, from Serie C2 to B, A, Premier League and now Juventus. It's special to be here. It's the best squad in Italy," Sarri said. "I'm coming from Chelsea, which has an inferior history to that of Juventus. It's another step forward for me. "Coaching Ronaldo is also an escalation. I coached great players at Chelsea but with him it's the best in the world. He already holds all of the records you can have in world football but I would like help him break some more records." The 34-year-old Ronaldo scored 21 goals in his first Serie A season at Juventus. His single-season record is 48 goals in the Spanish league for Real Madrid in 2014-15. Sarri said that he left Chelsea after only one season because he "felt a need to return to Italy." He succeeds Massimiliano Allegri, who guided Juventus to five straight Italian titles but was unable to bring home the most desired trophy — the Champions League — despite two runner-up finishes in the top European competition. Sarri reportedly has a massive bonus in his contract if he leads Juventus to the elusive European title. "I've never seen a club so determined to hire a coach," Sarri said. "That convinced me right away." Sarri struggled with criticism upon his arrival at Chelsea but then led the London club to the Europa League title. "I've always had the fans skeptical at the start. I come from a different breed and it's fair that there's this skepticism," Sarri said. "There's only one way to get through that and that's to win. We've got to go out there onto the pitch to enjoy ourselves and put on a show.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2019

Ronaldo and Van Dijk face off in Nations League final

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press PORTO, Portugal (AP) — The final of UEFA's newest competition will feature another clash between Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk, two players likely to be competing for the world player of the year award this year. The inaugural Nations League will come to an end on Sunday in Porto with Ronaldo's Portugal taking on the Netherlands of Van Dijk. The Portuguese superstar and the thriving Dutch defender haven't met since last year's Champions League final, when Ronaldo's former team Real Madrid came out on top of Van Dijk's Liverpool. Ronaldo will try to lead Portugal to its first title since the 2016 European Championship, while Van Dijk will look to help the Netherlands lift its first international trophy since the 1988 European Championship. Victory at Estadio do Dragao will give the Dutch some redemption after failing to qualify for the last two major tournaments, the 2018 World Cup and the 2016 European Championship. Van Dijk, touted as one of the best central defenders in the world, called Ronaldo "a fantastic player" but downplayed their matchup. "We play Portugal, we are not playing Cristiano Ronaldo," he said. "They have a very good team. It's going to be tough. We need to be ready." Van Dijk, who hasn't allowed anyone to dribble past him in more than 60 consecutive matches, lifted the Champions League trophy last week with Liverpool, being voted the man of the match in the final against Tottenham in Madrid. He is expected to be in the running for the world player of the year award for the first time. He has already been named player of the year in the English Premier League. Ronaldo has won the world player of the year award five times. "He's already had a really good season," Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said of his teammate. "I think he's been trying to stop everyone he plays against. But it's not up to us to decide if he wins the Ballon d'Or. For us, he's the best defender in the world, and if you look at his season, he definitely deserves the Ballon d'Or, but it's not up to us, it's up to other people to decide." Van Dijk also was voted man of the match in the Netherlands' 3-1 win over England on Thursday in the Nations League semifinals. Ronaldo was man of the match for Portugal when it defeated Switzerland 3-1 on Wednesday in the other semifinal. Ronaldo scored a hat trick, with two of his goals coming in the final minutes. "The Netherlands are an excellent team," Ronaldo told UEFA's website. "They have been playing pretty well. I've been watching them in recent matches and they have an excellent squad with great players — young players and more experienced players, which makes their team even stronger." Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman said he is not planning to change his defense plans to adapt to Ronaldo's threat. "We know he's one of the best," Koeman said. "And the nicest thing in football is that you cannot stop (a player like him) 100 percent (of the time) because sometimes he's too good. We know the qualities of that player, and of course we need to defend well when we have the ball, we need good defensive organization, but it's not a special marking (system), one on one, because we don't like that." The Netherlands eliminated the last two World Cup winners in the qualification round of the Nations League, Germany and France. Portugal reached the semis by getting past Italy and Poland. On Sunday, the hosts will be without veteran central defender Pepe, who broke his right shoulder against Switzerland. Koeman, who played at the 1988 Euros, said he should have all of his players available even though the Netherlands had one less day to rest for the final. The winner on Sunday will be crowned the first champion of the competition UEFA created to give national teams more meaningful games and reduce the number of friendlies. The winner receives 10.5 million euros ($11.8 million). The runner-up will get 9 million euros. The amounts include the 4.5 million euros all four semifinalists have already secured. The final marks the swansong of 45-year-old Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco. England and Switzerland will play the third-place match in Guimaraes earlier on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 9th, 2019

Real Madrid signs Eden Hazard from Chelsea

MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid signed Eden Hazard from Chelsea on Friday for its second major offseason addition, and reportedly its most expensive ever. The 28-year-old forward joined Madrid on a five-year contract and a transfer fee reported to be around 100 million euros ($113 million) plus variables, which would make him the club's biggest signing. Madrid is rebuilding after one of the worst seasons in club history and had added forward Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt earlier this week. The Spanish club hadn't made any blockbuster signings in years and was yet to bring in a top player to try to replace Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portugal forward left to join Juventus last season. Real Madrid called Hazard "one of the best players in the world," known for his "attacking flair, assists and goals." "Hazard has world class technique, vision, dribbling, pace and finishing," Real Madrid said. "These qualities saw him stand out in his seven years in England." Hazard had already indicated his final game for Chelsea was last week's Europa League final victory over Arsenal. With two goals in his 352nd appearance for the club, he finished with a total of 110. "Although it is with sadness we say goodbye to Eden and we made it absolutely clear to him the club wished him to stay," Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said, "we respect the decision he has made to take on a new challenge in a different country and follow his childhood dream of playing for Real Madrid." Since joining Chelsea from French club Lille in 2012, Hazard has won both the Premier League and Europa League twice, the FA Cup and the League Cup. The Belgium international, who still had a year left in his contract with Chelsea, had already tried to leave the English club a year ago. "The memories he leaves us with will not fade," Granovskaia said. "He provided all who watched Chelsea play with great entertainment and many match-winning contributions, and for that we thank Eden enormously. "He has been a model professional throughout his time at the club, a wonderful individual to have around and a joy to work with." Hazard was a standout player with Belgium at the World Cup in Russia last year, helping his team earn a historic third-place finish. He scored three goals in six games and won the man of the match award three times. He was named the tournament's second-best player, behind Croatia's Luka Modric, his new Real Madrid teammate. Hazard is expected to be officially introduced to Madrid fans next week after undergoing a medical. Real Madrid finished third in the Spanish league and was eliminated early in the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. It went through two coaching changes this season, its first without Ronaldo. Zinedine Zidane returned to the helm a few months ago to try to get the team back on track after winning three straight Champions League titles. Madrid earlier this year had signed Brazilian defender Eder Militao, who will join from Porto next season. Teenage forward Rodrygo, bought from Brazilian club Santos for nearly 45 million euros ($50.6 million) last year, also will be added to the squad for next season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

Spaniards with little to cheer for in Champions League final

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — It will be an unusual Champions League final for Spain. Madrid will be hosting the final again after nearly a decade, but the country's streak of having at least one team playing for the European title ended this year after five straight seasons, giving home fans little to cheer for when Liverpool faces Tottenham at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday. The all-English matchup will be the first Champions League final without a Spanish club since 2013, when Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund in a match between German teams. Since then, Real Madrid made it to the final four times, Atletico Madrid twice and Barcelona once. "We were used to seeing Real Madrid in the final all these years," said Francisco Javier Diaz de Castro, a 55-year-old Real Madrid supporter. "It's a weird feeling to think that this time we won't see it fighting for the Champions League trophy. When we finally get to watch the final in Madrid, the team struggles and can't make it. I guess that's how it goes in soccer." Real Madrid won four titles in its recent streak, beating Atletico in 2014 and 2016, Juventus in 2017 and Liverpool in 2018. Barcelona lifted the trophy in 2015, and it had also won it in 2006, 2009 and 2011. There was at least one Spanish club in seven of the last 10 Champions League finals. This time, tough, as the Spanish capital prepares to host its first final since Inter Milan defeated Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in 2010, Spanish clubs are already starting to plan their offseason. On Saturday, there are only two Spanish players with a chance of playing in the final — Tottenham forward Fernando Llorente and Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno. Here's a look at some of the reasons why there won't be any Spanish clubs in this year's final in Madrid: BARCELONA After dominating in the domestic competitions in recent years, Barcelona turned its focus on trying to win the Champions League again. It last won the competition in 2015, when it defeated Juventus in the final in Berlin. Barcelona cruised through a group that included finalist Tottenham, Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven, winning four matches and drawing two to end six points ahead in first place. It also didn't face major difficulties as it got past Lyon in the round of 16 and Manchester United in the quarterfinals, being able to make it to the semifinals after three straight eliminations in the last eight. The team's dominance continued in the first leg of the semifinals against Liverpool, when it won 3-0 at the Camp Nou and looked set to finally return to the final. But the team collapsed in England, losing 4-0 to see its title hopes vanish. "We are still recovering from what happened in Liverpool. At least I am," Lionel Messi said last week. "Our performance was lamentable. It was a very tough loss for us." REAL MADRID The three-time defending champions never really got close to making it to the final. In a frustrating season that included two coaching changes, Real Madrid couldn't advance past the round of 16 in the European competition, being eliminated after a demoralizing 4-1 loss to Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. It had won its group against Roma, Viktoria Plzen and CSKA Moscow, but its campaign included consecutive losses to CSKA — 1-0 in Russia and 3-0 at the Bernabeu. The early Champions League elimination led to the return of coach Zinedine Zidane, who was at the helm when the club won its last three European titles. ATLETICO MADRID After four straight seasons reaching at least the quarterfinals, Atletico was coming off a disappointing group-stage elimination and was hopeful of playing in the final again at its own stadium. It qualified from a group that included Borussia Dortmund, Club Brugge and Monaco, but the draw for the round of 16 set up an encounter against Juventus and old foe Cristiano Ronaldo. Things went well in the first leg, with the Spanish team winning 2-0 at home, but Ronaldo thrived in the return match, scoring a hat trick in a 3-0 win that ended Atletico's hopes. VALENCIA Valencia was the only other Spanish club in the Champions League this season, and it couldn't get past a group that included Juventus, Manchester United and Young Boys. It finished third, ahead only of the Swiss club......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

Real Madrid extends Kroos contract until 2023

MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid says it has extended Toni Kroos' contract until the end of the 2023 season. The 29-year-old midfielder, whose contract was to expire at the end of the 2022 season, joined from Bayern Munich after winning the World Cup with Germany in 2014. He has helped Real Madrid win 11 titles, including three Champions Leagues and a Spanish league. Madrid just completed one of its worst seasons in recent years with a 2-0 home loss to Real Betis. The club finished third, eight points behind Atletico Madrid and 19 points behind champion Barcelona. Madrid is expected to revamp most of its squad under Zinedine Zidane, who returned as coach near the end of the season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Season over, Real Madrid faces turbulent summer

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The best thing for Real Madrid about this season is that it is finally over. A humiliating 2-0 loss at home to Real Betis on the last day of the Spanish league on Sunday brought to a close one of the most disappointing seasons in years for the most successful team in European club competition. Madrid's last match exemplified the collective decline of a group of players who had won four of the previous five Champions League titles but found themselves practically out of the running for any major trophies months ago. Defenders often a step too slow, midfielders unable to maintain ball possession, and forwards incapable of producing sufficient scoring chances, much less put the ball in the net. Madrid finished in third place and 19 points adrift of champion Barcelona, the largest-ever deficit with its fiercest rival by the end of a season. Madrid was effectively out of the league title race by January and was eliminated from the Champions League and Copa del Rey in early March, leaving the club with nothing to play for other than pride. And pride couldn't stop the team from failing to get a win in its last five away matches, or ending the season with back-to-back losses. Coach Zinedine Zidane wants his players to remember this feeling. "When you want to try harder and you can't even achieve the smallest little thing, it is complicated," Zidane said. "We have to accept that it has been a bad season. We can't forget it; we have to have it very present in the future so it can help us improve." Now Zidane and club president Florentino Pérez can finally put in motion their plans to breathe some life into a squad that performed far below what its fans expect. "Football is motivation ... Next season this is going to change," Zidane said. WHO'S OUT? Candidate No. 1 to leave is Gareth Bale. Bale arrived at Madrid in 2013 as the biggest signing in football history. Six years, multiple titles and more than 100 goals later, Zidane looks more than ready to part ways with the Wales winger. Zidane has rarely counted on Bale since he returned to the club in March nine months after stepping down, becoming Madrid's third manager of the season following the failures of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari. Bale didn't leave the bench on Sunday in what many believed was his last game for Madrid. But with Bale under contract until 2022, his exit may hinge on finding a club that can cope with the 29-year-old winger's salary of a reported 15 million euros a season. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas is reported to be unwanted after he became a second-choice player following the signing of Thibaut Courtois. The future of midfielders Toni Kroos and Francisco "Isco" Alarcon and defender Marcelo are also in doubt after their sub-par campaigns, while Zidane has shown little interest in playing midfielders Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente and left back Sergio Reguilón. "Nobody is going to take away what these players did for five years," Zidane said. "(But) we don't have excuses. We ask our fans for forgiveness because we have the obligation to give it our all." WHO'S IN? Of all the names floated, Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard's is the most commonly heard. His contract with Chelsea expires in 2020 and he may be ready before then for a change after seven years in London. The other major name is Manchester United star Paul Pogba, who Zidane has said he admires. But unless Madrid can somehow succeed in prying Kylian Mbappé away from Paris Saint-Germain, then the goals that went missing when Cristiano Ronaldo left last year won't be found in a single player. Zidane will still have to solve the pending problem of retooling a team that spent most of the last decade feeding that goal-scoring machine called Ronaldo. If not, then next season may not be much better......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

Messi hits 50 goals for Barca, Madrid ends season to forget

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored twice to hit the 50-goal mark for the sixth time in his career on Sunday while Real Madrid put a fittingly poor ending to its worst season in recent memory after losing in the final round of the Spanish league. Messi scored his 49th and 50th goals in all competitions this season to give Barcelona a 2-2 draw at Eibar and finished as the league's top scorer with 36 goals for the Spanish champions. This is the sixth season Messi has finished as the top La Liga scorer, equaling a record held by Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra from the 1950s. Barcelona, which had clinched the league title with three rounds to play, will now look to also retain the Copa del Rey title next weekend when it faces Valencia. Its chance of a rare treble of major titles was ended by Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals. Barcelona won the league with 11 points more than second-place Atletico Madrid. It also finished 19 points ahead of Madrid, the biggest-ever points advantage by Barcelona over its fiercest rival. "We were very consistent all season long and that's what allowed us to win the league by such a comfortable margin," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. JEERS FOR MADRID Madrid endured the jeers of its own frustrated fans after a 2-0 loss to Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu. Most of Madrid's supporters have long placed their hopes on what changes the club will make to an underperforming squad in the summer. Not even coach Zinedine Zidane could find a saving grace to the campaign. "It isn't that we don't want to (play better), we aren't able to," Zidane said. "The best thing is for this to be over. We are already thinking about the future and next season." Madrid entered the match with nothing to play for, locked into a third-place finish for the second consecutive season for the first time since 1974. Since the return of Zidane to take charge of the club after its shock loss to Ajax in the round of 16 in the Champions League, Madrid has finished the campaign with a record of five wins, two draws and four losses. "The fault is ours," Madrid defender Marcelo said. "We didn't start well and we didn't finish it well either. In no way was this the season we wanted to have." MESSI'S DOUBLE Messi moved four goals ahead of Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé — who has 32 in the French league with a round left — as the top scorer in Europe's major domestic leagues. Marc Cucurella, a Barcelona youth player on loan to Eibar, opened the scoring before Messi got his first goal from a pass by Arturo Vidal in the 31st. Messi added a second just a minute later when he broke behind Eibar's high defensive line, received the ball from Ivan Rakitic and chipped it over goalkeeper Marco Dmitrovic. Eibar defender Pablo de Blasis leveled just before halftime when he scored from distance into an open net after Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen made a poor clearance with his head outside the area. Barcelona right back Nelson Semedo was taken to the hospital for tests after he received a knock on the head and had to be substituted. Youth player Carles Pérez debuted for Barcelona in the second half. TEAM WINS, SETIÉN LOSES The victory at Madrid didn't save Quique Setién's job. Betis announced shortly after that Setién and the Seville-based club had agreed to part ways after two seasons together, confirming weeks of speculation that he was on his way out. At least Setién's last match in charge was one to remember for the coach. Betis outplayed the hosts from the start and got second-half goals from Loren Morón and former Madrid forward Jesé Rodríguez. A long ball by Giovani Lo Celso set Andrés Guardado free down the left as he sprinted clear of Raphael Varane before crossing for Morón to score. Lo Celso then slipped a ball through to Junior Firpo, who found Jesé unmarked at the edge of the six-yard box. Betis, which beat both Madrid and Barcelona at their stadiums, ended the season in 10th place. "This allows us to finish a season that has been a bit disappointing with a victory against a team and at a stadium that will always be a nice memory," Setién said before the club announced his departure. HOW IT ENDED Champion Barcelona, Atletico, Madrid and fourth-place Valencia qualify for the Champions League. Getafe, Sevilla and Espanyol took the Europa League spots. Girona, Huesca and Rayo Vallecano were relegated......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2019

UEFA puts future Champions League ideas to league officials

By Graham Dunbar, Associated Press NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has included promotion and relegation, plus places for more teams, in its future vision for the Champions League and other club competitions. European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson told reporters that UEFA leaders proposed the ideas in a meeting Wednesday. It was part of year-long talks about changing competition formats and prize money distribution models that would take effect in 2024. The leagues are competing for influence with the European Club Association, whose own plans are reflected in UEFA's opening proposal. "There are ideas about promotion and relegation. It's a different system to the one we have today," Olsson said at UEFA headquarters. "The total picture is that there would be more clubs involved." Olsson said there was "not a big difference" between UEFA's presentation Wednesday and the ECA's confidential proposal at UEFA in March that has since been reported. He declined to give more details before UEFA updates its 55 member federations on May 17 in Budapest, Hungary. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, who hosted the 2 ½-hour meeting, said talks currently involve "only ideas and opinions" and are more transparent than the previous round in 2016 before he was elected. Decisions then favored clubs from Europe's wealthiest leagues. "Our aim is to find a solution that reflects the changes in the game, preserves the position of UEFA's competitions as the most attractive and exciting in the world, while providing significant solidarity funding across European football," Ceferin said in a statement. UEFA expects to announce any changes next year after further rounds of meetings with clubs, leagues and other stakeholders including broadcasters worldwide. "This is the first meeting of several," said Olsson, suggesting the 29-nation European Leagues group could agree a counter proposal at an October assembly in London. The leagues want Champions League entries to be decided only on the merit of domestic league placings and winning a UEFA competition. That has been a basic principle since the European Cup kicked off in 1955 with only national league champions playing. Club leaders want placings in Champions League groups, possibly doubled in size to eight teams, to secure some entries for the next season's edition. Bigger groups also would satisfy elite clubs who want more games against each other and prize money increases funded by new broadcasting rights deals. The ECA's move toward a closed league system is seen as protecting the elite group from new challengers. It follows Juventus and Real Madrid — whose officials hold the top two positions in the ECA — being eliminated in the Champions League by Ajax. Though Ajax is a four-time European champion, it had to advance through three preliminary rounds last August as runner-up in the mid-ranked Netherlands league last season. Olsson welcomed Ajax's return to the top 24 years after last winning the Champions League. "Competitions (themselves) are more important than individual clubs. There will always be clubs to play (in them)," he said. It is unclear if possible extra places in UEFA competitions from 2024 would be added in larger group stages or only in expanded preliminary rounds. Starting in September 2021, and for three seasons until 2024, there will be 32 teams in the group stages of each of the Champions League, Europa League and a new third-tier competition. The round-robin groups have four teams each playing six games. The leagues have pushed for a fairer distribution of more than $2 billion in annual Champions League prize money to help close a widening wealth gap between clubs. UEFA said it would share around €240 million ($268 million) in solidarity payments this season to clubs across Europe......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 9th, 2019

Mentality of giants : Self-belief fueling Klopp s Liverpool

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Like the rest of the soccer world, Juergen Klopp had his doubts. Given the scenario — the big first-leg deficit, the presence of Lionel Messi on the other side, injuries to important players — the Liverpool manager just wasn't sure, deep down, that his team could come back from 3-0 down to beat Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals. So he laid down a challenge. "I said to the boys before the game, 'I don't think it's possible, but because it's you I think we have a chance. Because you have the mentality of giants,'" Klopp said, recalling some of his final words before kickoff on arguably the greatest night of soccer in Anfield history. That Liverpool managed to pull off the most unlikely of 4-0 victories in the second leg is a testament not only to the quality of the team Klopp has put together but also the belief he has instilled in a group of players who don't know when they are beaten. They've shown it all season. The late goals — however bizarrely they have come — in wins over Everton, Tottenham and, most recently, Newcastle have kept Liverpool in the Premier League title race with Manchester City to the final weekend. The backs-to-the-wall 1-0 win over Napoli in the final group game in the Champions League, which sent the Reds through courtesy of the head-to-head tiebreaker of goals scored. The mental fortitude to rebound from losing to Real Madrid in last season's Champions League final in the most painful way, certainly for Mohamed Salah after his first-half shoulder injury in that match. So maybe the comeback against Barcelona was natural for this machine that Klopp has created, albeit one that has yet to win a trophy under the German coach. And it feels entirely justified that if Liverpool is to fall short in the Premier League — the team is one point behind City with a game to play — it still has the chance to end the season with some silverware in a competition that has become so synonymous with this storied English club, a five-time European champion. "I am really happy having another chance to get things right," Klopp said, referring to the 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in Kiev. "Last year, we felt we have to go back, we cannot let it stand like this. I am not sure it will happen again, so it's so special." For Klopp, it is a chance to end his six-match run of losses in cup finals stretching back to the 2013 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich, when he was coach of Borussia Dortmund. Since then, he has lost two German Cup finals with Dortmund and then three title matches with Liverpool — in the English League Cup (2016), the Europa League (2016), and last year's Champions League. "I know what people say about me and losing finals," Klopp said in one of his many candid moments in a post-game news conference during which he often seemed lost for words. There's certainly no self-doubt among his players. Check out, for instance, Andrew Robertson pushing Messi on the head with two hands while the Barcelona forward was on the ground one minute into the match. This a defender who, in 2017, was playing for Hull but is now one of the most highly regarded left backs in the world. Look at Trent Alexander-Arnold, who — at the age of 20 — had the audacity to pull off a 79th-minute corner routine in which he pretended to walk away from the ball only to spin around and cross for Divock Origi to sweep in the fourth and clinching goal while Barcelona's defenders looked the other way. It was such clear-thinking amid the furnace that was Anfield on Wednesday. And then there's Origi, an afterthought at Liverpool at the start of the season after spending last year on loan at Wolfsburg in Germany before being reportedly close to sealing a loan move to Huddersfield. Now here he is, scoring the late winner against Newcastle on Saturday and adding two more against Barcelona three days later. Salah was out, recovering after a concussion. Roberto Firmino was missing, too, with a muscle strain. And Naby Keita was recently ruled out for the season. Even during the game, Robertson was taken off at halftime with a calf injury and captain Jordan Henderson played on after hurting his right knee in the first half. Henderson was everywhere in the second half, eclipsing more-esteemed Barcelona midfield rivals Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic and helping to nullify Messi as the Argentine dropped deep. "The belief we have in the changing room is amazing," Henderson said. "Look at the supporters and the lads." Indeed, the night ended with Liverpool's players and coaching staff standing arm-in-arm in a line in front of jubilant supporters in The Kop, singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" — the club's anthem. Together, they'll head to Madrid for the final, feeling it's their destiny to win European soccer's biggest prize for the sixth time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 9th, 2019

Madrid sends Stay strong message to former keeper Casillas

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid's players and fans took a moment before Sunday's 3-2 Spanish league win over Villarreal to send messages of support to former star goalkeeper Iker Casillas as he recovers from a heart attack. Players posed for a team photo wearing T-shirts that said in Spanish "Iker, we are all with you," while spectators at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium chanted his name and unfurled a huge banner saying "Madrid fans are with you. Stay strong, eternal captain." The 37-year-old Casillas fell ill while training for his club, FC Porto, on Wednesday and remains hospitalized after undergoing a catheterization. Porto's doctors said the former Spain goalkeeper is expected to fully recover, but it is too early to know if he can keep playing professionally. Casillas was a fan favorite during his 16 seasons with Madrid, where he won three Champions League and five Spanish league trophies. Casillas also helped Spain to win the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships. He joined Portuguese club Porto in 2015. Against Villarreal, Madrid bounced back from a 0-0 draw at Getafe and a 1-0 loss at Rayo Vallecano as it struggles to compete consistently despite the return of coach Zinedine Zidane. Barcelona clinched the league title last week. With Madrid in a distant third place, all the talk in the Spanish capital is what the club will do in the offseason to shake up its squad. Zidane left stars Gareth Bale and Luka Modric off his squad for the match. "You can interpret it anyway you want, but I have to pick a squad (for the game), nothing more," Zidane said afterward. "I am not going to talk about the next season of anyone." Little used striker Mariano Díaz and defender Jesús Vallejo responded to their rare starts Sunday by scoring. Díaz struck twice, while Vallejo got his first goal for the club. Gerard Moreno and Juame Costa scored for Villarreal. Madrid's Vinicius Junior returned as a late substitute after two months sidelined with a leg injury. GETAFE FOUTH Getafe is trying to join Madrid, second-place Atletico Madrid and Barcelona in the Champions League next season. The modest club moved back ahead of Sevilla into fourth place and the final spot for Europe's top club competition after beating relegation-threatened Girona 2-0 at home. Jorge Molina continued his excellent season at age 37 by scoring his 14th league goal before Ángel Rodríguez put the result beyond doubt. TWO TEAMS RELEGATED Rayo and Huesca became the first teams to be relegated from the top tier. Rayo was left seven points from safety with two matches remaining — after Valladolid beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0. Huesca is also down after it was routed 6-2 by Valencia, leaving it eight points from safety......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 6th, 2019

Barcelona shows it can also thrive without ball possession

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — There was Lionel Messi as usual, backed by many of the same supporting players. The main difference for Barcelona this time was the coach. Barcelona has reinvented itself under Ernesto Valverde, showing it can change its style when needed and still be successful. The match against Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals on Wednesday was a perfect example. Barcelona was forced to relinquish its ball-possession game, but it still came away with a 3-0 victory that left the club in position to reach its first final since it won its last European title four years ago. "They were able to impose their back-and-forth game and it made it difficult for us," Valverde said. "We tried to slow down the pace but they kept pressing. I liked how we knew how to suffer and how we came up with answers. We pulled off a victory against a very strong team." Despite playing at home, Barcelona finished with less ball possession than Liverpool, 48% to 52%. It was the first time a team held more possession than Barcelona in the Champions League since the semifinals against Bayern Munich in 2015. "We played their game, their physically demanding pace. It was counterattack against counterattack," said Messi, who scored twice to add to Luis Suarez's opening goal at the Camp Nou. "We aren't used to that. We like having possession of the ball and making the opponent run after the ball. We were exhausted, but that's what the match demanded. We had to compete anyway we could." Liverpool also exchanged more passes than Barcelona (482-457), and ended with more attempts (14-11) and corners (5-3). Barcelona was pinned down on defense during parts of the game, needing 24 clearances against seven by Liverpool. "I don't know if we can play much better, to be honest," Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said. Valverde had hinted even before the game started that ball possession might not have been the main focus for Barcelona, adding the more defensive-minded Arturo Vidal to the starting lineup in midfield instead of the more technical Arthur. The Brazilian has taken over the role of Andre Iniesta as the team's pace-setter, becoming the man responsible for controlling possession. But although the back-and-forth game was supposed to favor Liverpool and its speedy attack, Barcelona ended threatening the most in the end, and it could have scored more goals if it had capitalized on a few late counterattacks. The defense also played a key role, holding strong when Liverpool pressed forward, with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen again coming through with a great performance and making a few important saves to keep the English team from getting an away goal. Barcelona conceded that away goal in a 3-1 win over Roma in the first leg of last year's quarterfinals at Camp Nou, eventually being eliminated in Italy after a 3-0 loss. "It's similar to last year, we also have a three-goal advantage, but look what happened then," Valverde said. "We still have to play well in the second leg.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

Casillas has heart attack but Porto says he is out of danger

PORTO, Portugal (AP) — Veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas has had a heart attack but is out of danger, Porto said Wednesday. The Portuguese club said Casillas fell ill during a practice session and remains hospitalized, but the "heart condition has been resolved." It said the 37-year-old Spaniard is "doing well" and is in stable condition. Casillas posted a photo of himself on Twitter giving a thumbs up in the hospital bed. "Everything under control here," the text said. "A big scare, but holding strong. Thank you everyone for the messages and the support." Todo controlado por aquí, un susto grande pero con las fuerzas intactas. Muchísimas gracias a todos por los mensajes y el cariño ???????????? pic.twitter.com/i3TXsELUGD— Iker Casillas (@IkerCasillas) May 1, 2019 Porto said the practice session at the team's training center was interrupted so doctors could attend to Casillas. No timeline was given for how long the goalkeeper will be sidelined. Defending champion Porto trails Benfica by two points in the Portuguese league with two games left. Messages of support poured in from clubs and players across the world. "Real Madrid wishes to offer its full support to our beloved captain Iker Casillas," the Spanish club said in a statement. "Iker Casillas has shown us how to overcome the most incredible challenges throughout his professional career, adding significantly to our club's successes. He's shown us that giving up has no place in our way of life and demonstrated time and again that staying strong during the hardest of challenges is the only path to victory. "Real Madrid and all of madridismo look forward to seeing our legendary captain back in good health as soon as possible and we send him all the encouragement in the world." Casillas joined Porto in 2015 after 16 seasons with Real Madrid, which he helped win five Spanish league titles and three Champions League trophies. Casillas also helped Spain's national team win one World Cup and two European Championships. The goalkeeper's contract with Porto was recently extended until the end of the 2019-20 season, with an option for another one-year extension......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2019

Baby Falcons rush through Eaglets to regain solo first

strong>TEAM STANDINGS /strong> br /> Adamson 9-1 br /> FEU-Diliman 8-2 br /> NU 8-2 br /> Ateneo 5-5 br /> DLSZ 3-7 br /> UPIS 3-7 br /> UST 3-7 br /> UE 1-9 Just as the defending champions suffered a setback, Adamson High School took care of business and took another step forward in the UAAP 79 Juniors Basketball Tournament. Encho Serrano pumped in eight of his 15 points in the first quarter and the Baby Falcons got the jump on Ateneo de Manila High School for a wire-to-wire 79-73 win on Saturday at the San Juan Arena. The first-year guard had eight points, just one shy of the Blue Eaglets’ total, in the first 10 minutes. He and Jason Celis connived for all but 10 points in Adamson’s 25-point opening salvo. The other Baby Falcons only followed suit and their lead remained above the 20-point marker after three quarters. Still, SJ Belangel kept things interesting for Ateneo and scored 11 of his 18 points in the final frame. However, it all proved to be too little too late as Adamson surged right back onto the league-lead now at 9-1. Little-known Rence Padrigao also made noise with 13 points for the Baby Falcons who once again gained separation from defending champion Nazareth School of National University who lost earlier and slipped to 8-2. On the other hand, the Eaglets’ tough luck against the tournament’s top three teams continued. Their record now stands at 5-5 – with all of their losses coming against the Baby Falcons, the Bullpups, and Far Eastern University-Diliman. In other results, University of Sto. Tomas dashed the playoff hopes of University of the Philippines Integrated School once again via a 93-81 victory. Jan Narvasa and Cris Cansino scored 22 points apiece to lift the Tiger Cubs to 3-7, the same record as the Junior Maroons. BOX SCORES THIRD GAME ADAMSON 79 – Serrano 15, Padrigao 13, Celis 13, Tamayo 6, Agbong 6, Abadiano 5, Umayao 5, Antiporda 4, Beltran 4, Sabandal 4, Santos 2, Desoyo 2 ATENEO 73 – Belangel 18, Manuel 14, Credo 13, Berjay 11, Ildefonso 9, Angeles 4, Salazar 2, Flores 2, Escalona 0, Sotto 0 QUARTER SCORES: 25-9, 46-22, 68-47, 79-73 FOURTH GAME UST 91 – Narvasa 22, Cansino 22, Fornillos 15, Balingit 8, Vince 7, Juan 5, Ratuiste 4, Dela Cruz 4, Villapando 4, Ian 0, Ballada 0 UPIS 83 – Gomez de Liano 27, Santiago 17, Lina 16, Labao Raf 10, Labao Ral 7, Vergeire 3, Tupaz 2, Gregorio 1, Estrera 0, Villa-real 0, Lagahit 0 QUARTER SCORES: 21-16, 47-39, 70-57, 91-83 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Robben extends contract with Bayern Munich through June 2018

BERLIN (AP) — Arjen Robben has extended his contract with Bayern Munich for another year. Bayern says the Netherlands winger's contract will run until the end of June 2018. Robben has been with the club for almost eight years, joining from Real Madrid in 2009. He has scored 82 goals in 152 Bundesliga matches, 14 goals in 23 German Cup games and 21 goals in 53 Champions League matches, including the winning goal against Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017