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Barcelona official relieved from role after Messi comment

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — A Barcelona official has been dismissed from an institutional-relations role after he said Lionel Messi would not be as good if he didn't have great teammates, the club announced on Friday. Barcelona said it relieved Pere Gratacos from his responsibilities because 'he publicly expressed a personal opinion that did not coincide with the opinion of the entity.' Gratacos was responsible for the club's institutional relations with the Spanish football federation. Barcelona said he will remain working on other projects within the club.   The official told Spanish media after the Copa del Rey draw on Friday that 'Leo is one of the most important players of the team, but he wouldn't be as good without Neymar, (Luis) Suarez, (Gerard) Pique, (Andres) Iniesta and the rest of the players.' He added that 'obviously Messi is the best player.' br /> Gratacos was answering a question about Messi's importance after the team advanced to the Copa quarterfinals with a win over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, when Messi scored a decisive free kick goal. br /> The official's comments came as Messi, a five-time world player of the year, is reportedly negotiating a new contract with the Catalan club. br /> The 29-year-old Argentine has 12 goals in the last 11 games. He's scored decisive free kick goals in all three of Barcelona's matches this year. br /> br /> .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Barcelona pulls Messi from attending FIFA awards ceremony

ZURICH (AP) — Lionel Messi will not attend the FIFA awards ceremony later Monday, when Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be named the world's best player for 2016. Barcelona says it decided Messi would skip the event in Zurich and be 'prioritizing preparations' for a match on Wednesday. Messi's teammates, including Neymar, who could be named in a World XI voted for by players, will also not travel. Ronaldo is favored to win his fourth FIFA player award after helping Portugal and Real Madrid become European champions last year. Messi has five FIFA best player awards and has been runner-up in all other years since 2007. Barcelona hosts Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey. The defending champions lost the first leg 2-1 in Bilbao. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Leicester duo competing with Messi, Ronaldo for Ballon d'Or

PARIS (AP) — Leicester forwards Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy will try to break the domination of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the annual Ballon d'Or award for the world's best player. The stars of Leicester's surprise English Premier Le.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 24th, 2016

Delta cancels hundreds of flights after computer meltdown

Delta Airlines scrapped hundreds of flights and delayed many more as it digested the aftermath of a computer meltdown, making for a messy Monday at airports around the world......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 8th, 2016

Zidane says Ronaldo is still a difference-maker for Madrid

div>  /div> div>MADRID (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't scored a goal from open play in three games, a run that has Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane on the defensive. /div> div>  /div> div>The glitch isn't exactly a goal drought because Ronaldo did score one from the penalty spot against Sevilla. But the dry period has coincided with Real Madrid's two-game losing streak after a 40-match unbeaten run. /div> div>  /div> div>'Cristiano is fine,' Zidane said Friday. 'He might have a bad day here and there. So what? He will always be a difference-maker in my mind. /div> div>  /div> div>'We have lost a couple of games, but there is no need to go overboard. Nothing is broken. Actually, it might have been a good time to lose two straight, in order to get going again and build up some confidence.' /div> div>  /div> div>Madrid leads the Spanish league with 40 points from 17 matches, holding a one-point lead over surging Sevilla. It was Sevilla that beat Madrid 2-1 on Sunday, after Ronaldo had converted a penalty to give his team the lead. /div> div>  /div> div>Defending champion Barcelona is third in the league and two points behind Madrid, which has a game in hand because of its trip to Japan to win the Club World Cup in December. /div> div>  /div> div>The loss in Sevilla was followed by another setback on Wednesday, when Madrid lost 2-1 at Celta Vigo in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals — again raising questions about the after-effects of playing in the Club World Cup. /div> div>  /div> div>'I'm not thinking about that at all,' Zidane said. 'As in life, you can't always win in football. You are going to have some bad days, and you need to overcome them to push ahead. It happened last year. We are going to reverse this. /div> div>  /div> div>'We aren't playing worse football than before. We just had a few bad plays that our opponents took full advantage of. The locker room is fine. The good news is we have another game tomorrow (in the league against 13th-place Malaga), and we are looking forward to it.' /div> div>  /div> div>Zidane said Ronaldo has lately been playing out of position at striker, a move that somewhat surprisingly has not translated into more goals for the Portugal forward. Ronaldo has 12 league goals this season, two behind Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. /div> div>  /div> div>'He played up top against Celta, but his favorite position is on the left wing, and that will not change,' Zidane said. 'The problem is more when he doesn't score, since we have grown used to him taking over. Cristiano will always be subject to criticism. He is used to it.' /div> div>  /div>.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2017

Chinese football: action planned on 'irrational' salaries

BEIJING (AP) — China's football association said Monday it plans a series of measures in response to 'irrational' spending by clubs on transfer fees and player salaries, amid concerns that foreign stars are crowding out local talent and harming the country's goal of becoming a global force in world football. The Chinese Football Association said in a statement Monday that the unidentified steps would target the 'operations and management' of teams in the top-tier China Super League and the China Premier League one step below it. The new measures will address 'recent irrational investments by clubs, high-figure transfer fees and salaries paid to domestic and international athletes and other issues,' the CFA said in a news release. Gaudy spending by Chinese clubs on players such as Argentina's Carlos Tevez has drawn global attention, raising fears among some that foreign stars are depriving local players of opportunities to grow. That could stifle the government's attempts to produce talent capable of achieving its stated goal of winning the World Cup by 2050, part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's push to make football success a national priority. Even in that endeavor, China is relying heavily on foreign talent, having hired veteran Italian coach Marcello Lippi to helm the men's national team. Other rules announced by the CFA appeared firmly aimed at addressing the lack of opportunities for Chinese players. They reduce the number of foreign club players who can appear at any given time from four to three and state that each team's starting list must include at least two Chinese players under age 23. Despite misgivings, Chinese clubs have continued to spend heavily over the past year to attract mainly South American stars. Apart from Tevez, whom Shanghai Shenhua said it paid an $11 million transfer fee to Argentine club Boca Juniors to acquire, they include Oscar, purchased from Chelsea, Brazilians Hulk, Ramires, Alex Teixeira and Paulinho, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi. Altogether, Chinese Super League clubs splashed out close to $300 million in the winter transfer window on big names. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Jordan Clarkson and this Basketball Crazy Nation

The Philippines was not always a basketball nation. After World War II, all Filipino boys would get out in the fields and play baseball. In fact, we hosted the World Baseball Championships once. It was only in the 70’s when PBA came along and when the country became the basketball crazy country that it is. Now, the Philippines is at the epicenter of the basketball diaspora. It hosted the FIBA World Basketball Championships. Almost every boy grew up playing pickup basketball and anyone and everyone had their own signature ‘bali’ move. There was a time that fathers and sons (and of course, daughters) watched games together, either cheering for the same teams or making jabs at each other because they rooted for rivals. It has the oldest basketball league in the Asia and now, it has a player of Filipino descent playing for one of the greatest basketball franchises in the world – Jordan Clarkson, playing a vital role as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Clarkson was raised aware of his Filipino heritage. Annette, Clarkson’s mother, hails from Pampanga but moved to America with her mother Marcelina Tullao at a very young age. Annette then met Jordan’s father, Mike Clarkson, while serving as a reservist in the Air Force. Jordan, like many young Filipino-Americans, professes a love for lumpia and chicken adobo. As a high school student at Metzger Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, he wore an ornate Barong Tagalog, the Philippines' national costume, while posing in front of the Philippine exhibit. He has been to the Philippines multiple times, even playing some pickup basketball in one of the courts that dot the landscape of the Philippines.   And as of this writing, a little more than a day and a half a way, Filipinos are trying to get Jordan into the biggest event of the basketball world – the NBA All-Stars. It all started from a call on the internet to start voting and using the hashtag 'NBAVOTE Jordan Clarkson on posts and tweets and the Filipinos heard that call. 'NBAVOTE Jordan Clarkson began circulating around the internet, snowballing into a call not just for Jordan Clarkson, but a call for unity in a country that is also known as a social media powerhouse – and the world is starting to take notice. Jordan Clarkson has also taken notice of the efforts, posting on his Facebook account a short video saying, “Hey Facebook fans just want to say thank so much for all your votes. I am so humbled. Please keep posting 'NBAVOTE Jordan Clarkson. Salamat salamat po. Mahal ko kayo.” As of the latest NBA All-Star Voting Returns, Jordan still has not cracked the top 10 of Western Conference guards. Last year’s unanimous MVP, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, leads with 990,390 votes. Close behind are Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma’s Russell Westbrook with 961,185 and 899,024, respectively. Rounding out the top 10 are Golden State’s Klay Thompson with 555,430, Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul with 379,076, Portland’s Damian Lillard with 208,171, Houston’s Eric Gordon with 191,407, Golden State’s Andre Igoudala with 130,224, San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili with 122,333 and Minnesota’s Zach Levine with 94,867. However, signs are looking good for Jordan as Scott notes the strong push coming from social media. “There is a significant increase from Jan. 9 when fans launched the campaign and Jordan’s mentions are much higher than the bottom three players,” she said. “On Jan. 12, Jordan had 53,020 posts while Ginobili had 10,078, Lavine 781 and Igoudala 731. Jordan’s volume shows a spiked upward trend.” The call right now is for every Filipino with access to the internet to vote at least once in the next two days (Monday all day and Tuesday early morning before lunch) and to make every vote count for Clarkson. Fans can vote through the NBA.com and the NBA App wherein fans can submit a ballot of two guards and three frontcourt players, once per day. On social media, using the hashtag 'NBAVOTE Jordan Clarkson also counts as votes, whether as personal posts or comments on another post on Facebook (just as long as the post is public) or tweeting and retweeting the same on Twitter. On Google, fans may also use the search team “NBA Vote All-Star” or “NBA Vote Los Angeles Lakers” to select Jordan Clarkson. The Philippines, a basketball crazy nation, is at the cusp of history. The challenge is now being sent to every Filipino all over the world to make a difference. Every vote counts to bring Clarkson into the NBA All-Stars. And maybe, just maybe, basketball will unite Filipinos again. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

ONE Championship: Bigdash retains title; Catalan, Subora victorious

ONE Championship returned to the Jakarta Convention Center for another evening of world-class mixed martial arts (MMA) action. ONE: QUEST FOR POWER set the tone for what will be an amazing 2017 for ONE Championship with a series of compelling bouts featuring the absolute best in local and international MMA talent. In the main event, ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash retained his title, defeating top contender “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang by unanimous decision after five rounds. div>  /div> div>In the main event of the evening, ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash of Rostov-on-Don, Russia impressed with a great show of strength in a dominant performance over “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang of Myanmar. Throughout the bout, Bigdash kept N Sang at bay with his sharp combinations, while on the mat he connected with multiple elbows. After five rounds of action, it was a clear win for Bigdash who met very little resistance in outlasting the durable N Sang to remain undefeated, retaining his ONE Middleweight World Championship. /div> div>  /div> div>In the co-main event of the evening, 27-year-old Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Sydney, Australia authored one of the most spectacular finishes of the evening, stopping Japanese MMA veteran Kazunori Yokota with strikes to win by technical knockout just past the midway point of the first round. Yokota stalked Nguyen, looking to throw combinations but Nguyen timed Yokota with an overhand right that dropped him to the canvas. From there, Nguyen jumped on his foe and rained down punches from the top to earn the stoppage victory. /div> div>  /div> div>Lightweight contenders Vincent “MagniVincent” Latoel and Vaughn “The Spawn” Donayre put on an exciting show for fans in attendance, tagging each other with intense combinations for the majority of the three-round lightweight contest. On the mat, Donayre showcased his grappling skills, threatening with various submissions off his back. Latoel however was more consistent throughout and scored points with his takedowns and cage control. All three judges saw the bout in favor of Latoel to win by unanimous decision. /div> div>  /div> div>The highly-anticipated lightweight showdown between Georgi Stoyanov of Bulgaria and Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev of Russia ended on an unfortunate note, as the bout resulted in a No Contest ruling. Although Arslanaliev swarmed Stoyanov from the beginning of the bout and completely outclassed the Bulgarian, an ill-advised technical ground kick landed for Arslanaliev and Stoyanov was unable to continue. /div> div>  /div> div>Dutch featherweight standout based in Jakarta, Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen, put on a masterful performance, stopping Malaysian fight veteran A.J. “Pyro” Lias Mansor in under two minutes in the first round of a scheduled three-round bout. Engelen pressed Mansor up against the cage fence with a combination before a beautiful right hand felled Mansor, earning Engelen one of the most spectacular knockouts of his career. /div> div>  /div> div>Fans were treated to an action-packed clash of colossal light heavyweights as Igor Subora of the Ukraine and Sherif Mohamed of Egypt pushed each other to the limit in a tremendous three-round show of determination from both fighters. Subora effectively used his reach advantage to keep the smaller, stockier Mohamed at bay with his boxing throughout the bout. In the third round, both fighters fought through sheer exhaustion to make it to the final bell as Subora did just enough to outlast Mohamed to earn the unanimous decision. /div> div>  /div> div>Local martial arts hero from Jakarta, “The Terminator” Sunoto, brought the crowd to its feet with a riveting performance to defeat Cambodia’s Chan Heng by technical knockout just a little under three minutes into the first round. Sunoto wasted no time in taking the fight directly to Heng, challenging the Khun Khmer practitioner to a striking showdown at the center of the ONE Championship cage. Sunoto however, proved too much for the Cambodian after he gained mount and unleashed the ground-and-pound. /div> div>  /div> div>Unbeaten Indonesian flyweight prospect Stefer Rahardian defeated Jakarta-based Liberian fighter Jerome S. Paye via unanimous decision in the second preliminary bout of the evening. Rahardian showcased tremendous cage-control for the majority of the fight, smothering Paye with a consistent attack that left the Liberian stifled throughout the contest. The 30-year-old Rahardian left very little openings for Paye who just couldn’t get his offense going. In the end, Rahardian had just enough in the tank to complete a comprehensive three-round performance, earning the nod on all three judges’ scorecards. /div> div>  /div> div>Strawweights Rene Catalan of the Philippines and Adrian Matheis of Indonesia kicked off ONE: QUEST FOR POWER with a spirited display of mixed martial arts action, on a bustling Saturday night in Jakarta. After a dominant first round from Catalan, one that saw the Filipino attempt various finishes, the end came swiftly in the second when Catalan was able to execute an armbar to earn the submission victory. /div> div>  /div> div> strong>COMPLETE RESULTS /strong> /div> div>  /div> div>MW Title: Vitaly Bigdash defeats Aung La N Sang by Unanimous Decision /div> div>  /div> div>Featherweight bout: Martin Nguyen defeats Kazunori Yokota by TKO (Strikes) at 3:36 minutes of round 1 /div> div>  /div> div>Lightweight bout: Vincent Latoel defeats Vaughn Donayre by Unanimous Decision /div> div>  /div> div>Lightweight bout: Georgi Stoyanov, Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev (No Contest) /div> div>  /div> div>Featherweight bout: Anthony Engelen defeats AJ Lias Mansor by Knockout (KO) at 1:42 minutes of round 1 /div> div>  /div> div>Light Heavyweight bout: Igor Subora defeats Sherif Mohamed by Unanimous Decision /div> div>  /div> div>Bantamweight bout: Sunoto defeats Chan Heng by TKO (Strikes) at 2:30 minutes of round 1 /div> div>  /div> div>Flyweight bout: Stefer Rahardian defeats Jerome S. Paye by Unanimous Decision (UD) /div> div>  /div> div>Strawweight bout: Rene Catalan defeats Adrian Matheis by Submission (Armbar) at 2:08 minutes of round 2 /div>.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Klinsmann believes US Soccer made progress before his firing

GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer br /> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jurgen Klinsmann is proud of his half-decade in charge of the U.S. national team, and the coach believes he left successor Bruce Arena in a position to make the Americans even better. Klinsmann made his first public remarks since his firing when he spoke Friday at a convention of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in downtown Los Angeles. Klinsmann agreed to speak at the session before losses in the first two games of the final round of World Cup qualifying led to his dismissal. Klinsmann also was the program's technical director for his final three years in charge, supervising every aspect of the team's development and training. 'The results will tell in the future if it helped Bruce to achieve the goals that are set,' Klinsmann said. 'But I think whenever you have the chance to put your stamp on a program, you do it with everything you have, and that's what I tried to do. I think we achieved a lot within the system of U.S. Soccer, connecting a lot of dots — even though there are so many out there that are disconnected, which we know. But now it's there for the next group of leaders to continue that.' When his team lost at home to Mexico and at Costa Rica late last year, falling into an early hole in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Klinsmann was fired by the U.S. Soccer Federation on Nov. 21 after 5 1/2 years. Klinsmann didn't appear to agree with the decision, but he understands how it was reached. 'You have to be measured against benchmarks,' Klinsmann said. 'You cannot lose to Costa Rica and Mexico (if) that's the benchmark. Then that's the benchmark, and you have to live with that.' Klinsmann took the U.S. job after stints in charge of the German national team and Bayern Munich. The Americans won 16 games in his first year in charge, and they later claimed the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and a spot in the second round of the 2014 World Cup. But the program encountered several recent setbacks, and criticism grew for Klinsmann's style and strategy. The Americans still reached last year's Copa America semifinals before getting routed 4-0 by Argentina. Klinsmann wryly recalled that loss, saying it was a 'fair question' to ask how U.S. Soccer could accept such a blowout. Hyperbolizing, he said a team led by Lionel Messi 'could have given us eight' against the best American squad. Arena, who coached the U.S. from 1998 to 2006, opened the first training camp of his second stint this week, welcoming roughly 30 Major League Soccer-based players to a month-long camp. The U.S. resumes qualifying at home against Honduras on March 24, then plays four days later at Panama. Arena's roster includes several players ignored by Klinsmann, who at times seemed to preferred those on European clubs. He also engaged in public clashes with popular veterans, most notably leaving Landon Donovan off the 2014 World Cup team. Klinsmann, a World Cup champion player with West Germany in 1990, looks at his relationships with the top American players through the lens of experience now. 'I think as a player, you are kind of in a mindset where you know it always better than the coach, so you go through your career as a player and you never have the perfect coach,' he said. 'Later on, when you become a coach, you realize you were so wrong.' Klinsmann got a standing ovation from the audience of soccer coaches after his hour-long remarks during an interview and question-and-answer session. The coaches in attendance asked Klinsmann extensively about his technique and philosophy around numerous aspects of the job. 'As coaches, it's important to look outside and see, 'How do they do it there?'' Klinsmann said. 'We are always learning. I want to encourage you to understand how a better plan can be built.' As for his unfinished work with the U.S. team, Klinsmann sounded philosophical about that, as well. 'I think we all need to be aware that we're just part of a certain timeline, and then somebody else takes over and takes it to the next level in his own way,' he said. 'But a lot has been done in the last five years which I've been really proud of.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Messi statue in Argentina vandalized; torso, head sliced off

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A statue in Buenos Aires of Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi has been vandalized, with the head, torso and arms all being removed — leaving only the legs and a soccer ball on display. The statue was installed in late June, just shortly after Argentina and Messi lost the final of the Copa America against Chile. The city government says it is working to reconstruct the statue. The vandalism took place on Monday, just hours after Cristiano Ronaldo was named FIFA's best player of the season for the fourth time. Messi, who finished second in the voting, has won the award five times. The Messi statue is among several others in the area, all of them dedicated to Argentine sports stars. They include a figure of basketball player Manu Ginobili, tennis players Gabriela Sabatini and Guillermo Vilas, Formula One champion Juan Manuel Fangio, and hockey player Luciana Aymar. Vandals also stole the racket from Sabatini's statue. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Luis Enrique supports players' decision to skip FIFA awards

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona coach Luis Enrique gave his full support Tuesday to his players' decision not to attend FIFA's awards ceremony. Luis Enrique said he was '100 percent behind' the players after they chose to skip Monday's ceremony in which Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo was named the world's best player for 2016. The Barcelona coach said it was 'totally' up to the players whether to attend the event in Zurich, and that he would have been OK with any decision made by them. 'As a coach, I can only support their decision, especially because there is this situation of a game, which has to be a priority,' Luis Enrique said. The club had said that Lionel Messi and his teammates did not travel to Switzerland to prioritize preparations for the team's home match against Athletic Bilbao in the Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. Barcelona, the Copa champion, lost the first leg 2-1. Messi was runner-up to Ronaldo in the best player award. Three other Barcelona players were named for the world's best 11 in a vote organized by the international players' union FIFPro. The Barcelona players included Andres Iniesta, who pre-recorded a video that was released during the event. 'As captain of Barcelona, we would like to thank FIFA and FIFPro for being awarded these prizes, and we apologize for not being able to attend the ceremony because of a very important game for us this season,' he said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo wins FIFA best player award for 4th time

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> ZURICH (AP) — Capping what he called the best year of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo won his fourth FIFA best player award on Monday. The double European champion with Portugal and Real Madrid beat great rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to complete a sweep of top individual awards. 'It was a year that was magnificent at a personal level and at a sporting level,' the 31-year-old Ronaldo said in Portuguese in his acceptance speech, which he began by exclaiming 'Wow, wow, wow.' Ronaldo's fourth career FIFA award closed the gap on five-time winner Messi, who has been the runner-up to each Ronaldo victory. His 34.54 percent of total voting points in a 23-candidate ballot was clearly better than Messi's 26.42 percent. Griezmann got 7.53 percent. Voting was by national team captains and coaches, selected media, and fans online. Messi did not attend after being pulled out hours before the ceremony by his club Barcelona to prepare for a cup match on Wednesday. 'Of course, I wish that they (Barcelona players) had been here tonight like in the other years. We have to respect the decision,' Ronaldo said. Yet again, Ronaldo and Messi snubbed each other on ballot papers they got as captains of Portugal and Argentina. Ronaldo selected three Real Madrid teammates headed by Gareth Bale, and Messi picked Luis Suarez atop an all-Barcelona ballot. Ronaldo's 2016 trophy haul included the European Championship, Champions League, and Club World Cup, plus individual best player awards from UEFA and France Football magazine. 'I won a lot trophies, collective and individual, so I am proud,' said Ronaldo, adding he would send the inaugural silver FIFA Best trophy to the museum dedicated to his career on his home island, Madeira. Messi's Barcelona won the Spanish league and cup double in 2016, though Argentina lost another Copa America final. Griezmann's France and Atletico Madrid lost their finals to Ronaldo's teams. Ronaldo's mentors for club and country were beaten to the coaching award by Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, who earned the prize for a stunning English Premier League title. 'What happened last year was something strange. The God of football said Leicester must win,' said Ranieri, who was in his first season at the unfashionable provincial club widely tipped for relegation. Ranieri rose from his seat and politely shook hands with his two opponents, Madrid's Zinedine Zidane and Portugal's Fernando Santos, plus their partners before heading to the stage. The 65-year-old Italian collected his trophy from Diego Maradona, who earlier Monday played in an exhibition match with other retired greats at FIFA headquarters. Carli Lloyd of the United States won a FIFA player prize for the second straight year, despite a quarterfinals exit at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. With gold-medal winner Melanie Behringer of Germany in third place, Lloyd got more than 20 percent of the vote and five-time winner Marta of Brazil was runner-up with 16.6 percent. Behringer got 12.34 percent. 'I honestly was not expecting this,' Lloyd said. 'I know Melanie did fantastic in the Olympics.' Germany did win the women's coaching prize as Silvia Neid earned her second FIFA prize, after also winning the 2010 award. Neid beat two previous winners: last year's winner, Jill Ellis of the United States, and Pia Sundhage of Sweden, the Olympic silver medalist. The Puskas Award for best goal was won in an online poll by Mohd Faiz Subri, who scored with a wildly swerving long-range free kick for Malaysian club Penang. A players' vote organized by international union FIFPro gave a World XI of: Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich); Dani Alves (Brazil, Barcelona/Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Spain, Barcelona), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid); Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid); Messi, Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Barcelona), Ronaldo. The First FIFA fan award was chosen by fans and was made to supporters of Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, who joined in singing the English club's anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone' before a Europa League quarterfinal. The other nominees were Iceland fans at Euro 2016, and Dutch club ADO Den Haag, whose fans brought soft toys to children supporting rival team Feyenoord. FIFA made its Fair Play Award to Atletico Nacional, the Colombian club which was scheduled to host Chapecoense in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final on Nov. 30. After most of the Brazilian team died in a plane crash flying to the match, Atletico Nacional asked the South American soccer confederation to present the title and trophy to Chapecoense. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Justin Thomas holds on to beat Hideki Matsuyama at Kapalua

br /> DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Justin Thomas kept reminding himself that a one-shot lead with two holes to play is never a bad place to be on the PGA Tour. Ignoring that his five-shot lead was nearly gone against Hideki Matsuyama, Thomas thought more about the great golf that had put him in this position Sunday at the SBS Tournament of Champions. He responded by hitting an 8-iron from 214 yards on a downhill lie that was so pure he stopped to admire it before it landed. It plopped down in front of the pin and settled 3 feet away for a birdie. Matsuyama three-putted for bogey, and Thomas was on his way to a comfortable victory at Kapalua that moved him into the conversation of golf's young stars. 'The best shot I hit this week,' Thomas said. 'There's a tree that's a little slanted, and it's a perfect aiming point. I just kind of aimed it there and made sure I held onto the club, if anything, to make sure my miss was right. ... And really, I just flushed it. As soon as it came off, I knew it was going to be perfect.' Matsuyama, going after his fourth straight victory worldwide, knew he needed to make his 30-foot birdie putt to stay in the game. He ran it 8 feet by, missed the par putt coming back and was out of chances when Thomas hammered another tee shot on the par-5 18th. Thomas closed with a two-putt birdie for a 4-under 69 and a three-shot victory, his second of the PGA Tour season that moved him to No. 12 in the world. His other two PGA Tour title were at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. 'I think it's potentially floodgates opening,' said Jordan Spieth, his best friend in golf since they were teenagers. 'The guy hits it forever. He's got a really, really nifty short game. He manages the course well. He's playing the golf course the way it should be played, and honestly, he's taking advantage of the easier holes. 'It's awesome to see,' Spieth said. 'He's going to be tough to beat next week, too.' Spieth closed with a 65 and tied for third with Pat Perez (67) and Ryan Moore (71). Matsuyama, who made two soft bogeys on the front nine to fall five shots behind, made it more of a game than anyone expected. The 24-year-old from Japan holed a flop shot for eagle on the 14th hole, and then Thomas hooked a 4-iron into the hazard on the par-5 15th hole and made double bogey. Just like that, Thomas went from a five-shot lead to a one-shot lead, and Matsuyama had a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th to tie for the lead. The putt narrowly missed, and Thomas answered with his 8-iron for birdie to end it. Matsuyama closed with a 70. 'My putter let me down there at 16, 17 and 18,' Matsuyama said. 'I tipped my hat to Justin. He played well all day long.' Thomas is the only player to beat Matsuyama over the last three months. In his last six tournaments worldwide, Matsuyama had four victories and a pair of runner-up finishes — both to Thomas, in Kuala Lumpur and Kapalua. Thomas, who finished at 22-under 270, said his immediate thoughts were booking a return trip to Kapalua next year for the winners-only event. 'It changes things going forward because I know I'm coming back here,' Thomas said. The scenery down the 18th toward the blue Pacific, where humpback whales spent the afternoon breeching and splashing their tails, was even better because his parents were watching him win for the first time. His father, Mike Thomas, is a longtime head pro in Harmony Landing in Kentucky who is still his coach. Spieth closed with a 65 to tie for third with Pat Perez (67) and Ryan Moore (71). Spieth and Jimmy Walker came down to the 18th to congratulate the winner. Thomas started the final round with a two-shot lead and no one got closer until his blunder on the 15th. One of the longest hitters in golf with his slight build, Thomas really did miss a shot until the ninth hole, and that's when he got a huge break. With the wind stiff and in his face, he got quick with his driver and hit a snap-hook into the knee-high weeds left of the fairway. He hit a provisional for a lost ball and was about ready to abandon the search when a TV spotter was summoned to give an indication where it went. They found the ball, and it was sitting up a few inches above the roots, allowing Thomas to at least hack out into the fairway. He followed with a 3-wood onto the green for a two-putt par after starting with a shot that made double bogey appear likely. Thomas wasn't so fortunate on the 15th. 'I stumbled more than I would have liked to do,' Thomas said. 'But it shows where my game is at right now. I had some woes there, but I stuck it out to still get it done.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Ronaldo favored to win his 4th FIFA award as world's best

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> Cristiano Ronaldo's remarkable run of success can continue with a fourth FIFA award as the world's best player on Monday. A European champion with club and country last year, the Real Madrid and Portugal forward is favored to beat great rival Lionel Messi and France forward Antoine Griezmann when winners of the rebranded Best FIFA Football Awards are presented in Zurich. Messi leads Ronaldo 5-3 in their career-long duel for FIFA's top individual prize. However, Ronaldo is set to complete a hat-trick of major awards for 2016 after taking home trophies presented by UEFA and France Football magazine's prestiguous Golden Ball. FIFA will also name the best women's player, and the best coaches in men's and women's soccer. Voting is by national team captains and coaches, selected journalists and — for the first time — an online poll of fans. Each category counts for 25 percent of the points. Here is a look ahead to the awards ceremony: ___ CRISTIANO RONALDO After Messi in 2015, it was Ronaldo's turn to win the Champions League in 2016 as the prolific scorer netted 16 goals in the competition. He also got the decisive penalty in a shootout after a 1-1 draw with Griezmann's Atletico Madrid. But where he really dominated Messi was on the national-team stage. Ronaldo captained Portugal to a long-awaited first title at the European Championship — two weeks after Messi's Argentina again lost the Copa America final to Chile. Portugal seemed a long way from glory, and faced a humiliating group-stage exit, before Ronaldo's two goals helped salvage a 3-3 draw with Hungary. He also netted in the 2-0 semifinal win against Wales. In the final against host France, Ronaldo went off injured in the first half, then returned to the bench for extra time as — with his knee strapped — he passionately urged teammates on to a 1-0 win. For good measure, Ronaldo scored a Club World Cup final hat trick against Kashima Antlers in December, but that was after FIFA voting had closed. ___ LIONEL MESSI Messi looks to extend a streak of being winner or runner-up in nine straight seasons since placing second behind Kaka of Brazil in 2007. Last year, Messi and won a Spanish league and Cup double with Barcelona. Yet there was another painful Copa America final loss — a third straight year Argentina lost a major final without scoring — and a Champions League quarterfinal exit against Atletico. Nearing his 30th birthday, Messi's prolific scoring rate has not slowed, and 10 goals in the Champions League group stage means that Ronaldo's season record of 17 — set in 2013-14 — is within his sight this year. ___ ANTOINE GRIEZMANN Griezmann's goals helped get France and Atletico Madrid into major finals in 2016. In the Champions League final in Milan, Atletico trailed 1-0 to its city rival when Griezmann missed with a penalty kick that struck the crossbar. Still, he confidently converted his kick in the penalty shootout. Griezmann's six goals at Euro 2016 made him the tournament top scorer. In a tricky round of 16 match, his two goals overturned an early Ireland lead, and he also struck twice — including a coolly taken penalty — against favored Germany in the semifinals. However, he missed two good chances in the final against Portugal as France 1-0 in extra time. ___ COACHING AWARD Could the coach of a provincial club side beat the men who coached European champions Real Madrid and Portugal? Yes, when that coach is Italian Claudio Ranieri and his team, unheralded Leicester City, won an English Premier League title that delighted and stunned fans worldwide. Zinedine Zidane started 2016 having never coached a senior match. The newly appointed Madrid coach won a Champions League title within five months and started 2017 riding a 37-match unbeaten run. Fernando Santos marshalled one of the less obviously talented Portugal teams of recent years to win Euro 2016 despite winning only one of its seven matches during the 90 minutes. ___ WOMEN'S AWARDS Germany's Olympic gold medal-winning team is favored to sweep the awards. Midfielder Melanie Behringer is challenging two past FIFA award winners: defending champion Carli Lloyd of the United States and five-time winner Marta of Brazil. All three coaching candidates are previous FIFA award winners: Silvia Neid of Germany, last year's winner Jill Ellis of the United States and Pia Sundhage of Sweden. ___ FIFA AWARDS FIFA has added a Fan Award to its annual ceremony, and all three candidates from an online poll are European. Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, whose fans sang You'll Never Walk Alone before a Europa League match at Anfield; Dutch club ADO Den Haag, whose fans brought soft toys to children supporting rival team Feyenoord; and the Iceland fans at Euro 2016 for their inspirational clapping salute to players after games. A fans' vote will also decide the Puskas Award for best goal. The candidates are: Marlone of Corinthians, Daniuska Rodriguez of the Venezuela women's Under-17 team, and Mohd Faiz Subri of Malaysian side Penang. FIFA will also present a Fair Play award, and members of the players' union FIFPro worldwide have voted to select a World XI team. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Hello, Cleveland: Indians welcome slugger Encarnacion

TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer br /> CLEVELAND (AP) — With his family watching proudly, Edwin Encarnacion stood in front of his new locker inside Cleveland's clubhouse, pulled on a fitted cap and slowly buttoned the front of his white No. 10 jersey. Once finished, he pointed to the 'Indians' logo on his chest and flashed a huge smile as cameras clicked. It felt seamless. 'He's a perfect fit for our team,' Indians president Chris Antonetti said Thursday. In so many ways. The Indians, accustomed to being outspent for high-priced free agents winter after winter, introduced Encarnacion, a premium player for the middle of their lineup who will boost attendance and maybe help them win the World Series. One of baseball's most productive hitters over the past five years, Encarnacion finalized a $60 million, three-year contract — the richest in Cleveland history — with a team that got to Game 7 of the Series last season. Encarnacion's deal would be worth $80 million over four years if the Indians exercise a $25 million option for 2020 that includes a $5 million buyout. There are also attendance bonuses built in as both the Indians and Encarnacion's agent, Paul Kinzer, recognized the three-time All-Star's ability to spin turnstiles. 'He's a quiet guy that just goes out and grinds every day,' Kinzer said. 'This is a blue-collar town and he's a blue-collar guy. Cleveland is going to love him.' Encarnacion averaged 39 homers and 110 RBIs over the past five seasons with Toronto, which made it to the AL Championship Series last season only to be eliminated in five games by the Indians. Encarnacion, who turns 34 on Saturday, watched Cleveland's players celebrate at Rogers Centre that day in October not ever imagining he would be joining them a little more than two months later. But while he figured to land with Boston or Texas or in another major market, Cleveland's pitch was the most persistent. And although the first baseman and designated hitter could have made more money elsewhere, Encarnacion wanted to join a winner. The Indians, with one of the majors' best pitching staffs and a lineup featuring young stars in Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis, are positioned to contend for years. 'That's why I came here,' Encarnacion said. 'I believe in this team and I know we can win the World Series with the talent that we have.' The Indians' courtship of Encarnacion began with owner Paul Dolan's commitment to building on the momentum created by the team's AL Central title and first Series appearance since 1997. Cleveland was boosted by cleanup hitter Mike Napoli, who set career highs in homers and RBIs during his one season with the Indians. There were better options available and, after deciding not to re-sign Napoli, the Indians focused on Encarnacion, who hit 42 homers and drove in 127 runs last season. Antonetti didn't have to sell Dolan on Encarnacion's obvious talents. The challenge was convincing him that the slugger was worth a long-term financial obligation. 'It took a lot of work to make that happen, both compromises from our side and compromises from Edwin's side to make this fit and be the right fit for both teams,' Antonetti said. 'And it took a great leap of faith by ownership to make that extraordinary investment.' It also took some clever negotiating. As the sides were nearing a deal, Oakland made a $50 million, two-year offer that caused the Indians to counter. Kinzer proposed an attendance clause, a suggestion Antonetti initially wasn't sure was possible. 'That was a way to bridge the gap,' Kinzer said. 'When Edwin went on that run five years ago, Toronto was at 1.9 (million) in attendance. Now, they're at 3.4. Well, if Edwin contributes to that, then we should be rewarded for it.' Encarnacion gets a $5 million signing bonus, half payable on May 1 and the rest Aug. 1, and salaries of $13 million this year, $17 million in 2018 and $20 million in 2019. The Indians agreed and Encarnacion has already made an impact, as the team has sold more than $1 million in season tickets since he agreed to the deal on Dec. 22. He would earn bonuses of $150,000 each when the Indians reach 2 million, 2.15 million, 2.3 million, 2.5 million and 2.75 million in home attendance. He can make another $250,000 for 3 million. Once the deal's parameters were settled, Antonetti and Kinzer then had to maneuver around some family holiday obligations. As they neared an agreement, Kinzer was at Six Flags Amusement Park in Atlanta with his grandchildren to see Santa Claus, while Antonetti was attending a performance of 'The Little Mermaid' with his wife and two daughters. Antonetti ducked in and out of the theater's auditorium before closing the biggest deal in team history during a break between two songs from the musical. 'We were somewhere between 'Under the Sea' and 'Part of Your World,' he said with a smile. 'It was a great performance.' The Indians can take a bow for theirs, as well. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

Ronaldo's agent confirms $315 M offer from Chinese league

MILAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo's agent says the Real Madrid star has been offered 'more than 100 million' euros per season to move to the Chinese Super League. But Ronaldo isn't going anywhere. Asked by Italy's Sky Sport about reports of a 300 million euro ($315 million) transfer offer to Madrid and a 100 million euro ($105 million) per season contract offer from an unspecified club, Jorge Mendes replied, 'It's normal. He's the best player in the world and the best of all time. More than 100.' Mendes adds, 'But Cristiano is happy at Real Madrid. China is a new market which could buy some players. But for Cristiano it's impossible. ... He's going to continue playing at Real Madrid. Money is not everything in life. Speaking at a soccer awards event in Dubai, Mendes did hint at a possible departure from Madrid for James Rodriguez but wouldn't say where the Colombia international might go: 'I'm not going to talk about squads. Let's see what happens.' On Thursday, Argentine striker Carlos Tevez signed to play for Shanghai Shenhua, becoming the latest in a procession of star players to join the Chinese Super League. Chinese clubs have spent heavily over the past year to attract mainly South American stars. Last week, Shenhua's city rival Shanghai SIPG sealed a deal with Oscar from Chelsea. Other stars to join Chinese clubs include the Brazilians Hulk, Ramires and Paulinho, Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 30th, 2016

World Sports: A year of big money deals

PARIS -- Money flooded into sport in 2016 faster than ever before and flooded out in the shape of fatter salaries for the stars who have become multi-million business brands......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsDec 21st, 2016

Kapamilya All Stars sing "Christmas All Over The World"

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Category: entertainmentSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 18th, 2016

Senator finds P3.5-b dengue vaccine messy

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Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 7th, 2016

Messi, Neymar, Robson-Kanu go for FIFA award

ZURICH (AP) — Lionel Messi, Neymar and a Johan Cruyff-style turn from Hal Robson-Kanu are among 10 candidates to win the FIFA Puskas Award for goal of the year. Messi has been nominated for a curling, left-footed free kick for Argentina .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2016