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Reports: Cristiano Ronaldo strikes deal on tax fraud case

    MADRID --- Spanish media reports that Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to plead guilty to tax fraud and pay a fine of 18.8 million euros ($21.8 milllion) in exchange for a prison sentence that would most likely be suspended. Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported Friday that Ronaldo is ready to admit to four counts of tax fraud that would carry a prison sentence of two years. Prison sentences not over two years in Spain are often suspended for first-time offenders. The deal has yet to be ratified by Spain's Tax Office, according to different Spanish media including Europa Press news agency. Neither Spain's Tax Office, its Ministry of Justice nor p...Keep on reading: Reports: Cristiano Ronaldo strikes deal on tax fraud case.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerJun 16th, 2018

Reports: Cristiano Ronaldo strikes deal on tax fraud case

MADRID (AP) — Spanish media reports that Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to plead guilty to tax fraud and pay a fine of 18.8 million euros ($21.8 milllion) in exchange for a prison sentence that would most likely be suspended. Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported Friday that Ronaldo is ready to admit to four counts of tax fraud that would carry a prison sentence of two years. Prison sentences not over two years in Spain are often suspended for first-time offenders. The deal has yet to be ratified by Spain's Tax Office, according to different Spanish media including Europa Press news agency. Neither Spain's Tax Office, its Ministry of Justice nor people close to Ronaldo would confirm the existence of a deal when called by The Associated Press. Reports of the deal came hours before Ronaldo scored three goals to give Portugal a 3-3 draw with Spain in their opening match of the World Cup in Russia. One year ago, a Spanish state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million). The prosecutor accused Ronaldo of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights. The accusation does not involve his salary from Real Madrid. Ronaldo denied any wrongdoing when questioned by a judge last July. In 2016, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi received a suspended 21-month jail sentence after being found guilty of defrauding tax authorities of 4.1 million euros (then $4.6 million)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2018

Reports: Cristiano Ronaldo strikes deal on tax fraud case

    MADRID --- Spanish media reports that Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to plead guilty to tax fraud and pay a fine of 18.8 million euros ($21.8 milllion) in exchange for a prison sentence that would most likely be suspended. Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported Friday that Ronaldo is ready to admit to four counts of tax fraud that would carry a prison sentence of two years. Prison sentences not over two years in Spain are often suspended for first-time offenders. The deal has yet to be ratified by Spain's Tax Office, according to different Spanish media including Europa Press news agency. Neither Spain's Tax Office, its Ministry of Justice nor p...Keep on reading: Reports: Cristiano Ronaldo strikes deal on tax fraud case.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 16th, 2018

Nearing 50 international goals, Phil Younghusband more focused on getting the W against Tajikistan

During the first half the Philippine Azkals’ International Friendly Match against Fiji, Misagh Bahadoran was fouled inside the box, setting team captain Phil Younghusband up for a penalty attempt that ultimately gave him is 49th international goal. Already the nation’s leading goal scorer, the Fil-Brit striker is closing in on another career milestone: 50 international goals, and the historic could very well come against Tajikistan in arguably the Philippines’ biggest football game in history as the Azkals try to break into the AFC Asian Cup tournament for the first time ever. “I’m very thankful to my teammates for getting me the penalty. The first goal is always important because it breaks the deadlock and it means that the opposition has to come out and score a goal.” Younghusband said about the 29th minute penalty against Fiji, Thursday night. While Younghusband isn’t hiding the fact that he’s out for number fifty, the Azkals skipper isn’t taking his eyes off the bigger prize on the table, and that’s a ticket to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. “Obviously a goal of mine is to get to 50, but the most important thing is the team wins, and if that happens in the next game or in ten games’ time, then as long as we’re in the Asian Cup, then I’ll be happy.” Currently at the top of Group F in the Group Stage of the qualifiers with nine points off two wins and three draws, the Azkals are in a good position to seal the deal, and a draw on Tuesday night would do the trick. Of course, the Azkals aren’t leaving anything to chance, and getting the maximum three points against Tajikistan is the top priority. The best case scenario: Phil hits 50 and the Azkals get the win. “Yeah, I hope I score in the next game. As I said, whether it comes in the next game or in ten games’ time, as long as we’re in the Asian Cup, for me that’s the big goal, for the team and for Philippine football.” Getting to 50 international conversions puts Younghusband up there with the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and more. He’ll also be the first Filipino to do so. “Whatever happens, as long as we’re in the Asian Cup, whether our goal keeper scores the goal or whether I score the goal, it doesn’t matter as long as we’re in the Asian Cup.”   Catch the Azkals as they take on Tajikistan in their final 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers match on Tuesday, March 27th, LIVE on LIGA channel 86 and LIGA HD channel 183. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 27th, 2018

Nearing 50 international goals, Phil Younghusband more focused on getting the W against Tajikistan

During the first half the Philippine Azkals’ International Friendly Match against Fiji, Misagh Bahadoran was fouled inside the box, setting team captain Phil Younghusband up for a penalty attempt that ultimately gave him is 49th international goal. Already the nation’s leading goal scorer, the Fil-Brit striker is closing in on another career milestone: 50 international goals, and the historic could very well come against Tajikistan in arguably the Philippines’ biggest football game in history as the Azkals try to break into the AFC Asian Cup tournament for the first time ever. “I’m very thankful to my teammates for getting me the penalty. The first goal is always important because it breaks the deadlock and it means that the opposition has to come out and score a goal.” Younghusband said about the 29th minute penalty against Fiji, Thursday night. While Younghusband isn’t hiding the fact that he’s out for number fifty, the Azkals skipper isn’t taking his eyes off the bigger prize on the table, and that’s a ticket to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. “Obviously a goal of mine is to get to 50, but the most important thing is the team wins, and if that happens in the next game or in ten games’ time, then as long as we’re in the Asian Cup, then I’ll be happy.” Currently at the top of Group F in the Group Stage of the qualifiers with nine points off two wins and three draws, the Azkals are in a good position to seal the deal, and a draw on Tuesday night would do the trick. Of course, the Azkals aren’t leaving anything to chance, and getting the maximum three points against Tajikistan is the top priority. The best case scenario: Phil hits 50 and the Azkals get the win. “Yeah, I hope I score in the next game. As I said, whether it comes in the next game or in ten games’ time, as long as we’re in the Asian Cup, for me that’s the big goal, for the team and for Philippine football.” Getting to 50 international conversions puts Younghusband up there with the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and more. He’ll also be the first Filipino to do so. “Whatever happens, as long as we’re in the Asian Cup, whether our goal keeper scores the goal or whether I score the goal, it doesn’t matter as long as we’re in the Asian Cup.”   Catch the Azkals as they take on Tajikistan in their final 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers match on Tuesday, March 27th, LIVE on LIGA channel 86 and LIGA HD channel 183. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 26th, 2018

Best in history Ronaldo put to test by Messi in clasico

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo has made his claim. Now he has to live up to it. Ronaldo will face Lionel Messi on Saturday for the first time since the Portugal forward declared himself “the best player in the history” of soccer after equaling the Argentine’s five Ballon d’Or awards this month. Basking in the spotlight of a glitzy ceremony under the Eiffel Tower, Ronaldo felt confident enough to put himself at the pinnacle of the sport, ahead of Messi and other greats like Pele and Diego Maradona. “You will go and say that I have a big head, but when you’re at the top, it’s normal that you’re criticized,” he told France Football. “I am the best player in history, in both good and bad times.” Personalities aside, Ronaldo has a tough case to make. He and Messi both have four Champions League titles, but Messi’s eight Spanish league titles double Ronaldo’s tally for Madrid and Manchester United. Messi also has the edge in their head-to-head duels. Messi has outscored Ronaldo 19-17 since Ronaldo joined Madrid in 2009. Prior to that, Messi scored in a 2-0 win over Ronaldo’s Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final. The Barcelona-led Messi has also had a clear advantage over Ronaldo’s Madrid. Messi has helped Barcelona beat Ronaldo’s side 13 times, to eight wins for Madrid and seven draws. Overall, Messi holds the “clasico” record with 24 goals in 36 matches. Ronaldo is one goal shy of matching Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano’s 18 goals against Barcelona. The camera-shy Messi insisted again on Monday when he was recognized for leading the Spanish league in goals last campaign that he put more value on team titles than individual honors. “Titles are our goal,” Messi said. “If individual statistics are there also, that’s even better, but they are not the objective.” Ronaldo has no doubt closed the gap with Messi after he led Madrid to back-to-back Champions League titles in the last two seasons. But for Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres, this past decade is still set to bear Messi’s mark. “If it wasn’t for (Ronaldo), Messi would have won twice as much,” Torres said Wednesday. “What Ronaldo has done in the age of Messi says a lot about him.” Ronaldo will need to be at his best on Saturday because anything other than a victory will deal a huge blow to Madrid’s title defense before the season reaches its midway point. Madrid enters the match in fourth place and trailing Barcelona by 11 with a match in hand. Atletico Madrid and Valencia are in second and third. “Given the situation we are in we are obligated to win,” Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said. Messi had one of his most memorable performances at Madrid last season when he scored his second of two brilliant goals in stoppage time to silence the Santiago Bernabeu. Madrid got revenge with wins of 3-1 and 2-0 in the Spanish Super Cup in August, when Barcelona was reeling from the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, however, quickly rallied his team and the Catalan club has not lost since, a run of 24 matches. With Neymar gone, Valverde has succeeded in tightening up Barcelona’s defense. “It would be important to win for everything that would represent, since the match is so special, and we are playing at their ground,” Messi said. “There would still be a long way to go for the league title, but a victory would be a nice before the Christmas break.” Here are some other potential keys to the “clasico.” ___ SUAREZ Striker Luis Suarez has rediscovered his scoring touch at just the right time for Barcelona. After only scoring three times in the first 11 matches, Suarez has six goals in his last five league games. They will need him even more with backup forwards Paco Alcacer and Gerard Deulofeu injured. ___ BENZEMA Karim Benzema has only scored two goals in 11 league appearances for Madrid this season. The drop in production has contributed to Madrid’s stumbles, leading many fans to lament the exit of Alvaro Morata to Chelsea. ___ ALBA Jordi Alba has flourished going forward into the hole that Neymar used to occupy. The Spain left back is a favorite of Messi to weave together short-passing combinations that unlock packed defenses. His matchup against Madrid right back Dani Carvajal should be key. ___ BALE Gareth Bale is playing for his future. Recurrent injuries have cost the Wales winger his spot in Madrid’s starting lineup, with coach Zinedine Zidane preferring the playmaking — and sturdier legs — of Francisco “Isco” Alarcon. Bale returned after his latest injury layoff to help Madrid win the Club World Cup, but as a second-half substitute. He is likely to have that role against Barcelona and will need to make the most of the minutes he gets. ___ VERMAELEN Thomas Vermaelen was considered a lost cause. That was until defenders Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano got injured, giving the Belgian another chance to find his spot in Barcelona’s rotation. Vermaelen has played six consecutive matches, a personal record for him at Barcelona. Injuries limited him to 11 league appearances in two seasons before he was loaned out to Roma last year. Now that he is back, the former Arsenal player will be critical to Barcelona’s chances of stopping Ronaldo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 21st, 2017

Barcelona gets 6th win in 6 rounds, Atletico beats Sevilla

JOSEPH WILSON, Associated Press br /> BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Girona succeeded in stopping Barcelona star Lionel Messi from scoring. If only it could have avoided its own net as well. Barcelona made it six wins in as many games in the Spanish league on Saturday when it won 3-0 at Girona thanks to a pair of own goals by the hosts. Barcelona went head in the Catalan regional derby when Girona defender Aday Benitez deflected Jordi Alba's off-target shot back into his net in the 17th minute. Barcelona's Luis Suarez and Aleix Vidal helped provoke a second goal three minutes after halftime, when Suarez deftly let Vidal's dangerous short pass go through his legs, hit surprised goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz and turned into the net. Barcelona increased its lead of the league to four points after Atletico Madrid beat Sevilla 2-0 to leapfrog the Andalucian club into second place. Sevilla is five points behind, followed by Real Madrid at seven points adrift after it won at Alaves 2-1. The decision by Girona coach Pablo Machin to man-mark Lionel Messi with Pablo Maffeo helped stop him from adding to his best ever start to a Liga. Messi scored nine goals in the first five rounds. 'I don't think that Messi was the decisive player that he usually is,' Machin said. 'We tried, but we were playing against some of the best players in the world. When you score in our own net it makes it very tough.' SUAREZ STRIKES Suarez rounded off Barcelona's victory in the 69th when he was left all alone to take Sergi Roberto's lobbed pass and beat Iraizoz. It was Suarez's second goal in six appearances this season. The Uruguay striker had been struggling this season, hampered by a right knee injury and adapting to life after the departure of attack partner Neymar. DREAM START Real Madrid turned to new midfielder Dani Ceballos to help it get back on the winning path. The midfielder made the most of his first start for Zinedine Zidane's team by scoring twice in the victory at last-place Alaves. The win came three days after Madrid lost 1-0 at home to Ceballos' former team, Real Betis. That slip combined with a pair of home draws left the defending champions trailing leader Barcelona. Ceballos received a pass from Marco Asensio, fought through a tackle, and shot just inside the post for the 10th-minute opener. Manu Garcia responded with Alaves' first goal of the season. But Ceballos put Madrid back in charge before halftime when he fired in a ball that goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco spilled when he collided with a teammate while defending a cross. Alaves almost leveled late when substitute Alfonso Pedraza twice hit the woodwork. Cristiano Ronaldo also hit the goal-frame twice in the second half as the Madrid forward seeks his first goal in the league. COSTA SPECTATES Diego Costa watched from the stands of Atletico's new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium as his soon-to-be teammates Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Carrasco scored in the second half to down Sevilla. Atletico reached a deal with Chelsea this week for Costa to return to his former club. Atletico will host Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday. MALAGA RALLIES Diego Rolan scored a double to help Malaga rally from a two-goal deficit in the final minutes and draw with visitor Athletic Bilbao 3-3. Malaga secured its first point of the season after it lost its first five matches. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2017

Ronaldo to Juventus? Spain’s media says ‘ciao’, Italy’s welcomes star

Spain's media said goodbye to superstar Cristiano Ronaldo while Italy's welcomed him on Friday after persistent reports that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will leave Real Madrid for Italian champions Juventus. "Ciao CR7" said the headline of Barcelona newspaper Mundo Deportivo. "Real accepts his departure, the key day will be today (Friday) and Juve wants to wrap up the operation so it can announce it," the newspaper said. Spanish sport newspaper AS said that the player could be unveiled to Juve supporters in Turin as early as Saturday, with the date 7/7 symbolic for number 7 Ronaldo. Juventus "hopes to announce (the news) tomorrow in its stadium," said the paper, wh...Keep on reading: Ronaldo to Juventus? Spain’s media says ‘ciao’, Italy’s welcomes star.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 7th, 2018

Juventus makes bid for Ronaldo

MADRID — Italian champions Juventus have made an offer of €100 million ($116.6 million) for Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, according to various media reports on Wednesday......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJul 5th, 2018

Ronaldo, Portugal unable to continue great run at World Cup

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't carry the team by himself this time. The five-time player of the year, who scored four goals in his opening two matches at the World Cup, was eliminated from the tournament on Saturday after Portugal lost to Uruguay 2-1 in the round of 16. "We gave our best," Ronaldo said. "The team played well. As the team captain I am proud of this group." Portugal won the 2016 European Championship and came to Russia with high expectations following the surprise title in France two years ago, its first in a major tournament. Ronaldo started off this year's tournament with a hat trick against Spain and then added another goal against Morocco. But on Saturday, it was Edinson Cavani who scored twice to earn victory for the Uruguayans. "No team can win with one player alone," Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. "He tried. The team didn't win because Uruguay scored twice." Portugal hasn't reached the World Cup quarterfinals since 2006, when a young Ronaldo led the team to the semifinals. Back then, Portugal lost to France and eventually finished fourth after losing to Germany in the consolation game. Ronaldo, now 33 and still playing some of the best soccer of his life, failed to provide the spark Portugal needed against Uruguay. Ronaldo's great start in Russia allowed him to surpass the combined total of three goals he had scored in his previous three World Cups. He also joined Pele, Miroslav Klose and Uwe Seeler as the only players to score in four World Cups. The four early goals in this year's tournament had put him in position to contend for the "Golden Boot" trophy, but he was surpassed by England striker Harry Kane's five goals in the group stage. Despite his fast start in Russia, Ronaldo missed a penalty in the 1-1 draw against Iran in the third game. He also was nearly given a red card when his elbowing of an opponent was reviewed on video. Prior to the World Cup, Ronaldo led Real Madrid to its third straight Champions League title, but he arrived in Russia surrounded by distractions about his club future and a tax fraud accusation back in Madrid. He had said he would talk about his club future after joining the national team, but avoided the subject from the start. He only spoke briefly with the media in Russia. "Now it's not the time to talk about the future," Ronaldo said. "I'm sure that the national team will remain as one of the best in the world. We have great players, a fantastic group.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 1st, 2018

Report: Paul George opts out, becomes unrestricted free agent

NBA.com staff report The Oklahoma City Thunder have reportedly been informed by All-Star guard Paul George that he will not opt into his contract for next season. The move, which was reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, will make George an unrestricted free agent. He had until 11:59 p.m. on June 29 to decide whether or not to opt in. Here's more from Wojnarowski on the move and what it means for George, the Thunder and free agency at large: George, who will decline a $20.7 million salary for the 2018-19 season, remains seriously interested in returning to the Thunder in free agency, league sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers will receive serious consideration too, sources said. Several teams, including Philadelphia and Houston, are interested in pursuing George too, league sources said. ... Indiana traded George to the Thunder a year ago, where the five-time All-Star forward came to build a strong relationship with All-Star guard Russell Westbrook and averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Before his trade, George had told the Pacers that he planned to sign with the Lakers in free agency this summer. Nevertheless, Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti, coach Billy Donovan and Westbrook have made a strong case on a future with the Thunder and moved the franchise into contention with the Lakers. George, a native of Southern California, and LeBron James are the focus of the Lakers free agent recruiting efforts. This summer, George can sign a five-year, $176 million extension with OKC, Wojnarowski reports, or he could do a "one-plus one" deal and return to free agency next summer. George's decision is not wholly surprising, given that he has been one of the top free-agent targets for many teams all season long......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2018

Malaysia reopens murder case linked to ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak

Malaysian police have reopened an investigation into the grisly murder of a young Mongolian woman in 2006 which has been linked to the country's ousted leader, reports said Friday. Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot dead and her body blown up with military-grade plastic explosives near Kuala Lumpur. The murder was the most shocking aspect in a scandal involving allegations that an associate of recently toppled Prime Minister Najib Razak arranged huge kickbacks for the purchase of French submarines in 2002. The case captivated Malaysia for years and there have long been allegations that Najib -- defence minister at the time of the deal -- and his wife Rosmah Mansor were involved. They...Keep on reading: Malaysia reopens murder case linked to ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2018

Israeli PM’s wife charged with fraud, breach of trust

JERUSALEM --- Israeli prosecutors on Thursday charged the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with misusing over $100,000 in public funds to order lavish meals from some of the country's most famous chefs. While the prime minister was not directly implicated in the case, the indictment against Sara Netanyahu threatens to embarrass the long-serving leader and brings back attention to his own legal problems. Netanyahu has basked in months of political success, including the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and its move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, taking away attention from a series of corruption investigations facing the prime minister. Sa...Keep on reading: Israeli PM’s wife charged with fraud, breach of trust.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 21st, 2018

Kompany exits early as Portugal holds Belgium to 0-0 draw

BRUSSELS (AP) — European champion Portugal held Belgium to a tame 0-0 draw Saturday, a result overshadowed by fears that defender Vincent Kompany may have sustained an injury early in the second half. Without waiting to be substituted, the injury-prone Kompany walked off shortly after the break after appearing to overstretch while making a defensive challenge. It was not immediately clear if he was injured or left the field as a precaution. The Manchester City defender's career has been blighted by injuries, but he appeared fit ahead of the pre-World Cup friendly at the King Baudouin stadium. Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said it was too early to say whether 32-year-old Kompany was seriously hurt. "Maybe he only has something small to deal with," De Bruyne said. Kompany's departure was the major talking point in a disappointing goalless draw which underscored that Belgium's star-studded squad still has work to do if it is to live up to its billing as one of the favorites to win the World Cup in Russia. Belgium fans jeered their team off the pitch at full time. Portugal was without Cristiano Ronaldo, who was rested after winning the Champions League a week ago with Real Madrid. Without him, Portugal missed the handful of chances it managed to carve out. Portugal faces neighbor Spain, Iran and Morocco in Group B at the World Cup, while Belgium is in Group G alongside England, Panama and Tunisia. Belgium opened strongly, outplaying Portugal in the midfield, but could not turn its pressure into a goal. Portugal weathered the early storm and gradually took control. In the closing minutes of the first half, Bernardo Silva saw his powerful shot deflected just wide by City teammate Kompany and Gelson Martins shot across the face of the goal as Portugal came close to breaking the deadlock. Belgium's only serious effort of the opening half came when Yannick Carrasco shot just wide in the 31st minute. Belgium coach Roberto Martinez made four changes in the break, but the substitutes could not change the team's fortunes. Despite the Red Devils' wealth of midfield and attacking quality, it was left back Jan Vertonghen who came closest after the break. The Tottenham defender nearly marked his 100th appearance for Belgium with a goal, but saw Portugal goalkeeper Beto tip his effort over the bar just before the hour mark. "It wasn't bad, but we could do better," De Bruyne said. "We still have two or three weeks to get ready.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2018

Madrid draws at Villarreal 2-2 before Champions League final

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid showed Liverpool its strengths and weaknesses a week before their Champions League final. Madrid squandered first-half goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in drawing at Villarreal 2-2 on Saturday in its last match before attempting to win Europe's most coveted trophy for a third year in a row. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane aligned what could be his starting 11 for the final against Liverpool, except for giving 20-year-old son Luca Zidane his competitive debut in goal. Zidane left striker Karim Benzema on his bench in favor of starting Ronaldo and Bale alone up front and playing Francisco "Isco" Alarcon along with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as playmakers in front of holding midfielder Casemiro. Madrid showed the same dominant form that has taken it to another Champions League final in the first half at Villarreal. But after Ronaldo and Modric were replaced by Benzema and Lucas Vazquez with half an hour remaining, Zidane's bunch displayed the same complacency and faulty defending that scuttled its Liga title defense months ago. The draw in the final round meant Madrid finished the Spanish league in third place behind Atletico Madrid and champion Barcelona. Bale opened the scoring with a solo effort in the 11th minute, and Ronaldo headed in a superb cross by Marcelo just after the half-hour mark. Fifth-place Villarreal outplayed the visitors in the second half and leveled through goals by substitutes Roger Martinez in the 70th and Samuel Castillejo in the 85th. "We played a very, very good first half, with determination, scoring goals, but the second half was the exact opposite," Zidane said. "The important thing is that we didn't have any injuries and can now rest well for next weekend. We are only thinking about winning the final." Bale, who struggled for most of the season to make Zidane's first-choice 11, has finished the season strong and appears to have earned a spot in the Champions League final. His opener against Villarreal, created when he let Modric's pass run through as he spun around his marker, was his 14th goal in the last 10 rounds. "Gareth has never given up," Zidane said. "He has trained well. Nothing has changed. The only difference is that now he is scoring." Ronaldo's goal was his 26th in the league. Barcelona's Lionel Messi leads the competition with 34. Castillejo snatched the draw after he raced behind Marcelo to receive a lobbed pass from Rodrigo Hernandez. Luca Zidane, who normally plays for Madrid's reserve team in the third divison, stopped his initial chipped shot but Castillejo slotted the rebound into the open net. Saudi Arabia midfielder Salem Al Dawsari made his Liga debut as a second-half substitute for Villarreal. ASPAS MAKES HIS CASE Iago Aspas made the most of his last chance to show Spain coach Julen Lopetegui that he deserves a spot on his World Cup squad. The striker scored twice to lead Celta Vigo's 4-2 win over Levante, taking his season tally for the league to 22, the most by a Spanish player. Aspas was regularly chosen by Lopetegui during World Cup qualifying. Celta announced after the match that coach Juan Carlos Unzue will leave the club and break his contract by mutual agreement. OTHER RESULTS Uruguay striker Christian Stuani scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season to lead Girona's 2-1 win at Las Palmas. Leganes fought back while playing with 10 men for over an hour to beat Real Betis 3-2 in a farewell of coach Asier Garitano, who won't stay on after a good season for the modest Madrid club. Wissam Ben Yedder gave Sevilla a 1-0 win over Alaves, and Loic Remy converted a penalty for Getafe to beat Malaga 1-0......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 20th, 2018

History within reach as Azkals face Tajikistan with Asian Cup qualification on the line

The Philippine Azkals are on the brink of making history and could be ninety minutes away from doing so as they close out their 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign against Tajikistan on Tuesday, March 27th at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. A win or a least a draw will send the Azkals to the AFC Asian Cup tournament for the first time in Philippine football history. Sitting at the top of Group F, the Azkals started strong, picking up back-to-back victories in the Group Stages against Nepal and Tajikistan, creating early separation from the field. In their last three matches however, the Philippine side managed three draws, twice against Yemen and once against Nepal. Still, the Azkals find themselves in prime position to advance to the Asian Cup tournament, and while a stalemate would be enough, it’s the maximum three points that they’re after. “This is a game that we have to win because we want to win our home games. We wanna win every game. It’s important for us to beat a team that we’ve beaten before, and we haven’t lost a game yet in the tournament, so we wanna do the same, we don’t wanna lose the game at home.” said Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley during the pre-match press conference. “Our focus is winning the game. If it comes out as a tie, it’s okay, but we’re trying to win our game.” Coming off a 3-2 win over Fiji in an International Friendly last Thursday, the Azkals, who are coming off a long layoff, have now found their footing, and team captain Phil Younghusband believes that the team is confident heading into the match. “It’s a big game tomorrow. The players understand that. The team understands that. We’re looking forward to the game and we’re going to the game with good confidence but also very wary of how good Tajikistan are.” The visitors will need a victory to keep their Asian Cup dreams alive. Aside from the Azkals making history, Fil-British foward is also on-pace to make some history of his own. Already the leading scorer for the Philippine National Team, Younghusband is one away from reaching the 50-goal mark and would be the first Filipino to do so. Reaching the half-century mark puts Younghusband up there with the likes of international football greats such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, and many others. For the Azkals’ skipper however, getting the all-important win is what matters. “The 50th can wait for another time, the most important thing is we win the game. Obviously it would be perfect if I could score the 50th and we win the game, but the most important thing is the win because that would take us to another level in the Asian Cup.”   With a win, the Azkals will improve to 12 points and finish first in Group F, securing a spot in the 2019 Asian Cup. With a draw, they finish with ten points and are assured of a top-two finish in Group F, which will also secure a spot in the 2019 Asian Cup. A loss and the Azkals finish with nine points, while Tajikistan finishes with ten points. Should this be the case, The Azkals will need to hope for a Yemen loss in their final match against Nepal to be assured of a second-place finish in Group F and qualification to the 2019 Asian Cup.   Catch the Azkals as they take on Tajikistan in their final 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers match on Tuesday, March 27th, LIVE on LIGA channel 86 and LIGA HD channel 183. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 27th, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo OKs deal with American Tourister

MANILA, Philippines — Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has linked up with American Tourister, the world’s leading luggage brand, as its new brand ambassa.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 26th, 2018

Messi reaches 100 Champions League goals, Barcelona beats Chelsea 3-0

BARCELONA, Spain --- Lionel Messi joined Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League's 100-goal club after scoring twice to lead Barcelona past Chelsea and into the Champions League quarterfinals for an 11th straight season on Wednesday. Messi also set up Ousmane Dembele in a 3-0 win at Camp Nou after he had scored Barcelona's goal in the opening-leg 1-1 draw in London. Messi beat Thibaut Courtois with two strikes between the Chelsea goalkeeper's legs from very tight angles on the side of the box. He struck the opener three minutes into the match and took Barcelona's third goal in the 63rd. Ronaldo, with 117 goals, is the only other player to reach the century-mark in Europe...Keep on reading: Messi reaches 100 Champions League goals, Barcelona beats Chelsea 3-0.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 15th, 2018

Soccer s big clash of nations not only at World Cup in 2018

By Rob Harris, Associated Press Footballing supremacy between nations will be determined in 2018, just maybe not in the way expected. The World Cup remains the ultimate prize in sport, and a Russia buffeted by doping scandals and geopolitical rifts will open up like never before to welcome thousands of fans. When the tournament reaches its climax in Moscow on July 14, the biggest global television audience of the year is likely to see the World Cup handed over. Will Germany be the first team to retain the title since Brazil in 1962? Can Neymar inspire Brazil to a record-extending sixth success? Will the players who have shared major individual honors for a decade — Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Lionel Messi (Argentina) — finally become world champions? But it became clearer in 2017 that appearing at the World Cup is no longer the only vehicle — or preferred means — for countries to validate their status and strength in the world's biggest sport. That isn't much of a reassurance, though, for Italy, the Netherlands and the United States who failed to qualify for Russia. The international soccer landscape is being reshaped by the Gulf state-funded clubs, and their clout reached new heights in the last year. Just as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates became ensnared in a diplomatic standoff, the jewels in their soccer crowns slugged it out in the transfer market pursuing the top talent. Around $300 million was spent in the summer transfer window alone by both Manchester City, which is owned by the UAE's Abu Dhabi, and Paris Saint-Germain, which is funded by 2022 World Cup host nation Qatar. The biggest statement came from PSG which more than doubled the previous transfer record by splurging 222 million euros on Neymar — an unexpected windfall for Barcelona but a deal that solidified the power shifts. Both PSG and City have already obliterated the field in their French and English leagues respectively and are racing toward regaining their domestic titles. The true test of power in this intriguing rivalry between energy-rich Gulf powers should be determined in the Champions League. The competition has been won in three of the last four years by Real Madrid, and the holders now stand in the way of PSG reaching the quarterfinals in March. Madrid and Barcelona remain in the control of their fans, a structure able to resist foreign ownership, although both teams have accepted injections of cash through UAE or Qatar sponsorships. The future spending capabilities of the nascent forces at PSG and City will be determined in the coming months. However wealthy their ownership, unfettered spending remains subject to curbs in an often forlorn attempt to maintain a competitive balance in competitions and prevent them stockpiling players. The ultimate threat hanging over PSG is exclusion from the Champions League unless it balances the books by cashing in on stars in the January transfer window. PSG's legal team is already preparing to take the fight to UEFA over its implementation of Financial Fair Play rules, having faced an earlier round of punishments — along with City — in 2014 that led to limits on the squad size and financial penalties. UEFA has also served notice on AC Milan that sanctions could be looming after around $250 million was spent in the summer by new private Chinese investors. Milan is an illustration of why authorities don't want clubs risking their financial health in the pursuit of success. Despite the investment, Milan is closer to the relegation zone than the top four Champions League qualification places halfway through the Serie A season. City is in a more advantageous position than either PSG or Milan due to its cut from domestic television rights. The Premier League is banking 8.3 billion pounds ($11 billion) from broadcasters under the current three-year deals, far eclipsing European counterparts. One of the early defining moments of 2018 in soccer won't happen on the field but in the Premier League's negotiations over the 2019-2022 rights. The winning outlets will provide an indicator of the vitality of traditional networks in an era of fragmented viewing habits where streaming platforms are luring viewers. The value of the deals will also influence the spending power of clubs in the coming years and the destination of the players. The flow of cash from Abu Dhabi since 2008 has already produced the dominant City team imagined by Sheikh Mansour. At the start of the second half of the season, Pep Guardiola's side enjoys a commanding lead over the previously pre-eminent Manchester United. How rapidly fortunes change in soccer. Guardiola, a serial title winner at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, was facing doubts over his managerial prowess as he opened his City reign with his first trophyless season. He remains on course for a quadruple at the second attempt. Across Manchester, it was Jose Mourinho buoyant in the first half of 2017 after collecting the Europa League and League Cup to offset a sixth-place domestic finish. But Mourinho enters 2018 in sullen mood, seething with envy about the lavish investment from Abu Dhabi that enabled Guardiola to remodel his squad. It's another indicator that with all the cash pumped into soccer by Gulf ruling families, the World Cup can no longer be relied on to determine the true kings of soccer in 2018......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

Real deal Ronaldo set for Ballon d Or No. 5

PARIS, France – Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to match his great rival Lionel Messi on Thursday, December 7, by claiming a 5th Ballon d'Or as recognition for leading Real Madrid to a La Liga and Champions League double last season. Barcelona's 30-year-old Argentinian superstar won the coveted award from 2009 ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 7th, 2017

For Adidas and rivals, sponsorships are good business

em>By David McHugh, Associated Press /em> FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Multi-million dollar sponsorship deals of the kind between Adidas and the University of Louisville — in focus after a scandal over alleged bribes paid to high school athletes — are not just an effort to burnish the image of sports gear makers. They can be a cost-efficient way to boost sales against tough competition, marketing experts say. Whether in U.S. college sports or European soccer, Adidas and its major rivals Nike and Under Armour reach potential customers more effectively by getting their brands used in the biggest events, say marketing experts. Criminal charges brought last week against an Adidas marketing executive and 9 others drew renewed public attention to the perfectly legal practice of paying university sports programs to wear branded goods. Gatto and others are accused of funneling $100,000 to the family of a high school athlete to gain his commitment to play at Louisville and to sign with Adidas once he became a professional. Louisville and Adidas announced at 10-year, $160 million extension of their sponsorship deal over the summer. That deal is just one among increasingly expensive arrangements. The top recipients this academic year are UCLA with $16.5 million from Baltimore-based Under Armour, followed by University of Texas with almost $12 million and University of Michigan with $9.8 million, both from Nike, according to the Center for Research in Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Payments have risen as the big three competitors bid for exposure that, marketing experts say, can often be more effective and targeted than expensive television advertising. Universities in the top five leagues, or 'conferences' in U.S. sports speak, are in line to get over $200 million this school year, up from around $100 million just five years ago, according to the center's figures. 'Increased investment by Under Armour starting in the 2014-15 academic year, along with continued investment by Adidas, have led to a re-investment by Nike in the intercollegiate athletics space to retain national powers such as Ohio State and Texas, and bring Michigan back into the fold from Adidas,' the center noted in its latest report. George Belch, chair of the marketing department at San Diego State University's College of Business Administration, put it this way: 'It's expensive, but if you want to sit at the table and play the game, you have to ante up.' How much is too much to spend on endorsements? Academics have been trying to figure out what the returns on investment are and marketing experts say the companies surely have their own internal metrics. But 'only they know exactly what the return is,' said Belch. Jonathan Jensen, assistant professor in the sports administration program at North Carolina, notes that the value of sponsorship deals measure the truckloads of equipment given to the schools at retail price, which is far more than the cost to the company to have them produced. 'When you see $250 million, it's not actually $250 million, it's more like $75 million,' he said. And based on what a 30-second commercial costs, having a team wear the company's gear can far outweighs the investment in terms of valuable exposure. That can be money well spent in an era where people can use digital technology to skim past television commercials. 'They don't need to buy airtime,' Jensen said, 'because they are literally part of the event.' On top of that, favorable licensing deals on merchandise mean that the company can earn back much of its sponsorship money solely from fans buying the jerseys. 'The schools themselves are really just in the past two, three or four years getting smart about negotiating and forcing the brands, especially Nike and Under Armour, to pay what they should be,' said Jensen. Similar calculation applies to sponsorship deals outside the United States. Gerd Nufer, director of the German Institute for Sports Marketing in Reutlingen, attempted to figure out how many jerseys companies would have to sell to repay their endorsement deals with national sports teams at the soccer World Cup. He says Adidas needed to see sales of 1.9 million German national team jerseys retailing for around 80 euros in order to make back its 28 million euros-per year sponsorship deal; when Germany won the cup for the fourth time in 2014, 2 million had been sold even before the final match. By contrast, it is unlikely Nike recouped its full $40 million sponsorship with France through direct sales. But it's unlikely that Nike minded much, as its exposure helped its image building more broadly. 'The fact is that building the image of the overall brand and positive halo effects on all branded products of the company is the most important thing,' Nufer wrote in an analysis. That logic was reflected by Nike in its annual financial reports, which indicate it had contractual obligations to pay $1.1 billion in endorsement contracts in 2017. The company, based in Beaverton, Oregon, noted that the costs of sponsorships had risen as competition from rivals had grown. By losing key partnership deals, it said, 'we could lose the on-field authenticity associated with our products, and we may be required to modify and substantially increase our marketing investments.' 'As a result, our brands, net revenues, expenses and profitability could be harmed. ' Adidas says it spent 1.98 billion euros in 2016 on marketing investments, about half of which went for partnerships. That includes events like the World Cup, UEFA's Euro soccer tournament, and the French Open in tennis. And also sponsorships of national federations including Germany, Spain and Argentina plus deals with high profile individuals: soccer stars Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, and Gareth Bale; basketball stars James Harden and Derrick Rose; U.S. football players Aaron Rodgers and Von Miller, and tennis players Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep. Adidas, based in Herzogenaurach, German, said it was unaware of misconduct in the Gatto case and vowed to fully cooperate with authorities. The company immediately didn't respond to an email inquiry about its sponsorship spending. The company had a good second quarter, with sales beating predictions and growing 27 percent in North America. 'Adidas has been going gangbusters,' said San Diego State professor Belch. 'They are gaining market share on Nike, they have taken away market share from Under Armour in the U.S. market, and particularly in North America they made a tremendous turnaround.' 'So they didn't need this,' he said, referring to the Louisville scandal. 'That's what's really amazing about this.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 5th, 2017