Morata: Hazard happy at Chelsea despite Madrid links

first_imgEden Hazard might want to join Real Madrid but the Belgium star will not try to force through a move, according to Chelsea team-mate Alvaro Morata.Hazard has made no secret of his desire to play for the LaLiga giants at some stage and said after Chelsea’s victory over Southampton on Sunday: “It is my dream since I was a kid.”The forward’s stunning form this season – he tops the Premier League scoring charts with seven goals – has intensified speculation he could leave. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! And with Hazard’s contract set to expire at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, Chelsea may have to cash in on their prized asset or risk losing him for nothing.Hazard’s fellow Belgium international Thibaut Courtois joined Madrid in a cut-price deal in the previous transfer window having entered the last year of his contract at Stamford Bridge.Morata is one player who knows all about the pull of the Santiago Bernabeu. The striker started his career in Madrid’s youth set-up and played for the first team either side of a successful spell with Juventus, before moving to Chelsea in 2017.And Morata is clear that Hazard will be happy to remain in London, rather than attempting to force the club to sell him.”We’ve said that it’s not that he wants to leave Chelsea but if Madrid come in for him, that won’t be an obstacle,” former Madrid striker Morata said to Spanish broadcaster Cuatro.”The thing is that he has a very good relationship with the club, he’s happy there and it’s not like other cases when a player wants to leave a club at any cost, but if it’s good for Chelsea they will keep that in mind.”last_img read more

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Van Dijk will be fit for Liverpool – Koeman

first_imgVirgil van Dijk is fit to feature in Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Huddersfield Town on Saturday, according to Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman.Van Dijk was ruled out of his country’s friendly with Belgium on Tuesday after the Royal Dutch Football Association confirmed he was still suffering from a rib injury sustained in Liverpool’s meeting with Southampton last month.The 27-year-old played the full 90 minutes in Saturday’s Nations League win over Germany – scoring the opener in a 3-0 win – before returning to his club for further treatment. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! However, Koeman has revealed the decision was a mutual one between club and country, with the Netherlands boss believing the centre-back will be ready to go when the Premier League resumes this weekend.”He’s back in Liverpool but he is ready to play for next week,” Koeman told a media conference.”He’s taken a rest. The medical staff of the Dutch national team spoke to the medical staff of Liverpool and made the decision that he would play only the Germany game and then after that go back to Liverpool.”He is ready to play next weekend.”While Van Dijk was substituted in the Southampton match with the rib problem, and missed Liverpool’s next match – a 2-1 Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea – he was able to feature in all of the club’s next three matches.  | That feeling! @VirgilvDijk #NEDDUI pic.twitter.com/tTWda7370S— OnsOranje (@OnsOranje) October 13, 2018If Koeman’s prognosis proves accurate, it will be welcome news to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who has seen his side pick up a few knocks during the international break.Star man Mohamed Salah suffered an injury late on for Egypt in an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland and his status for Liverpool is now up in the air.The Reds remain undefeated in the Premier League but will be looking to snap a four-match winless streak across all competitions when they square off against the Terriers. That will be followed by a midweek clash against Red Star Belgrade and a home date the next weekend against Cardiff City.  Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

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Champions Trophy: India will have edge over Pakistan, says Chris Gayle

first_imgWest Indies batsman Chris Gayle said on Monday that India will have the edge when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a much anticipated group match at the upcoming Champions Trophy cricket tournament.The 37-year-old made it clear that both India and Pakistan are his favourites for winning the eight-nation tournament which starts from June 1 in England and Wales.”That will be the biggest match of the tournament and to be frank that’s my two teams as well. So, it will be a nice match. And yes, India is holding an edge against Pakistan when it come to an ICC event,” Gayle told reporters in a promotional event.”In white ball cricket, you cannot call for one team. Everyone will have a chance, especially in England where the conditions will be different. So, you have to see the conditions before you can pick that one team as your favourite,” he added.The eight-team tournament will be played in June, with defending champions India pooled with South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Group B.India have not played outside the sub-continent for the last eight to nine months, so it should be a tough task for Indian batsmen to adjust to foreign ground and weather conditions.But Gayle clarified that Indian batsmen will not struggle in England as they have played there earlier and are familiar with the conditions.”No, I don’t think that. Indian batting line is superb and experienced as well. The good thing is that everybody has played in England,” the explosive opener said.advertisementPlaying for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Chris Gayle has this season failed miserably with the bat unlike earlier editions of the tournament.In the nine league matches that he has played this year, Gayle has scored only 200 runs.”This is cricket and these things do happen. Last year we were fantastic but this season we failed to click in unison. In this edition, we were struggling in all departments, so all we can do is rebuild as an individual and will regroup again for the next season,” Gayle added.Fellow West Indies Sunil Narine has been in great form with the bat in this year’s IPL. Primarily an off-spinner, Narine has been employed as an opener by the Kolkata Knight Riders and the move up the order has done wonders for his form.The 28-year-old has scored 214 runs from 14 matches, including the fastest ever half-century in the IPL when he plundered 54 runs off a mere 15 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore.Commenting on Narine’s form, Gayle said: “Sunil is doing great. It’s good to watch him like this. I love how he is hitting those sixes. So, no tips from my side.”last_img read more

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Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan crash out of French Open qualifiers

first_imgIndian tennis players Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan suffered contrasting defeats in their respective men’s singles event to crash out of the French Open Qualifiers here last evening.Although Yuki provided a tough fight to World No. 132 Peter Polansky, he eventually went down losing 6-7, 6-7 against his Canadian opponent in the opening-round clash.Ramkumar, on the other hand, suffered a 2-6, 6-1 defeat at the hands of Guido Pella of Argentina in their lop-sided first-round encounter.With both Indians knocking out of the qualifiers, no player from the country will feature in the men’s singles event of the second Grand Slam of the year, which is slated to be held from May 28.last_img read more

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David Warner equals Virat Kohli’s record, third fastest to 4000 ODI runs

first_imgDavid Warner had become the quickest Australian batsmen to reach 4,000 ODI runs – achieved in 93 innings — on his way to an unbeaten 40 with captain Steve Smith not out on 22 when Australia came off after 16 overs at 83-1.Kohli achieved the feat against England back in 2013 in Ranchi, four years after his debut whereas Warner reached the landmark against Bangladesh in their Champions Trophy clash on Monday. The southpaw took eight years to score 4000 runs.However, the wash-out left Australia in a tricky situation as they now have to beat England in order to stand a chance to qualify for the semi-finals.”We were heading down a pretty good path and it was disappointing not to get a result in the end,” said Smith.”The game against England is now a quarter-final as such. They’re a good side and the equation is pretty simple now.”Bangladesh won the toss and chose to bat with Tamim Iqbal falling five runs short of a second straight century in the tournament as Mitchell Starc took three wickets in four balls near the end of the innings as they were out in 44.3 overs.Tamim, who scored 128 against England in the opening game on Thursday, got 95 off 114 balls, picking up the pace and smashing some fierce strokes before being caught by Josh Hazlewood at long leg off Starc with the first ball of the 43rd over.The Australian paceman bowled Mashrafe Mortaza two balls later, took out the stumps of Rubel Hoosain with his next delivery and came within inches of a hat trick as another swinging yorker flashed past Mustafizur Rahman.advertisementStarc finished with figures of 4/29 in 8.3 overs.Only two other Bangladesh batsmen — Shakib Al Hasan (29) and Mehedi Hasan Miraz (14) – reached double figures.Bangladesh must beat New Zealand in their last group game in Cardiff on Friday and hope England win their next two games in which case they would accompany the hosts to the semi-finals.”Australia were unlucky and we are lucky to still be in the tournament. We have to play hard again, but we beat New Zealand in Ireland (in a warm-up match) so you never know,” added Bangladesh skipper Mortaza.last_img read more

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Jolt for Lalit Modi, RCA suspends Nagaur District Association

first_imgJaipur, June 24 (PTI) In a severe jolt to former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, the newly elected executive of Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) today suspended Nagaur District Association (NDA). The six-member executive also handed a suspension order to its secretary Rajendra Singh Nandu to please the BCCI but the move will lead to more legal tangles which have been plaguing the state cricket for almost a decade. The move is planned to get the BCCI suspension on RCA revoked and get the financial aid which has been not granted since past four years but it could also push the RCA into further mess as the Sports Act prevailing in state and the Lodha Committee recommendations might create some problems. The elections held on May 29 were held under the Lodha Committee recommendations and today the executive in its first meeting took a bold decision to suspend NDA which has former IPL commissioner Modi as President and Rajendra Singh Nandu as Secretary. Joint secretary Mahendra Nahar was handed over the charge of RCA secretary. In fact soon after the election of RCA President CP Joshi and Secretary Nandu, both had declared that their first priority would be to get the BCCI suspension lifted. Nandu, who is believed to be close associate of, Modi had had said a day before that it was up to the former IPL boss to take the call and resign from post in NDA. On the contrary, the Joshi faction believed that Nandu was just buying time and was not serious to remove Modi from the post. Joshi, apparently with some some backing and assurance from quarters within the BCCI, acted swiftly and suspended Nagaur and also acted against Nandu separately by suspending him from the post of RCA Secretary with a 4-2 decision in the executive. Talking to media persons after the first meeting of newly elected RCA executive, Joshi said that the RCA has taken a major decision. PTI DS BS BSadvertisementlast_img read more

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Salman has always been so nice to me: Sunny Leone

first_imgMumbai, Jun 26 (PTI) Bollywood actress Sunny Leone says superstar Salman Khan has always been courteous and welcoming to her and she admires that in him.Before entering Bollywood, Sunny had appeared on Salman-hosted hit reality show “Bigg Boss”. Now, she will be seen opposite his brother, Arbaaz Khan, in Rajeev Walias romantic musical “Tera Intezaar”.”I have met Salman Khan a handful of times but I have spent a lot of time with Arbaaz. I know how great a person Arbaaz is, and I assume that his whole family and brothers are just as loving and caring. And Salman has always been so nice and always has gone out of his way to say hello to me and I admire that so much,” Sunny told PTI.After doing a cameo appearance in Shah Rukh Khan starrer “Raees” and Sonankshi Sinhas “Noor”, Sunny has now signed up for a special appearance in a song in Ajay Devgn-Emraan Hashmi starrer “Baadshaho”. She will be seen shaking leg with Emraan in a special song.”I liked the song and getting a chance to work with Emraan was a great experience. He is very respectful and is a very nice human being,” she says.”It was so much fun (doing the song) and I hope people enjoy watching us together on screen. God willing I (hope) will get a chance to work with him again in a film acting opposite him,” she adds.The 36-year-old actress will be seen sporting an ethnic look for the song.advertisementHaving worked alongside Shah Rukh, Akshay Kumar and other, the “Ragini MMS 2″ actress says she is always happy to be working with stars.”I base my decisions on whether to say yes or no to the work if its exciting or not and also my own personal quest to work with these stars. If I can help them in any way then I am always willing. I dont know how long my journey will be but at least when I look back on my career or life I can say I have worked with some of the most exceptionally talented people in Bollywood,” she adds. PTI KKP JUR DK JCHlast_img read more

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UP-BUDGET-HIGHLIGHTS

first_imgLucknow, Jul 11 (PTI) Following are the highlights of the Lucknow, Jul 11 (PTI) Following are the highlights of the Uttar Pradesh budget for 2017-18 presented in the assembly today. * Annual budget size Rs 3,84,659.71 cr; higher by 10.9 pc than last fiscals * Budget provides Rs 55,781.96 cr for new schemes * Special provision of Rs 36,000 cr for loan waiver of farmers * Rs 551 cr for Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Rs 254 cr for mid-day meal scheme. * Lucknow Metro, Poorvanchal Expressway and job creation are focus areas of the government * Water quality assessment in major cities along the Ganga river – Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi * Rs 3,255 cr allocated for construction of toilets * Rs 2,800 cr for drinking water in Bundelkhand, Purvanchal * Rs 1,000 cr for Swachha Bharat Mission in UP cities * Rs 394 cr provision for madrassas * 712 more 108 ambulances to be introduced in state * Rs 142 cr for scholarships up to class tenth and Rs 50 cr for WiFi facility in degree colleges and universities * Rs 800 cr for Prasad Yojna in Ayodhya-Mathura-Kashi regions * Rs 300 cr allocated to distribute socks, shoes and sweaters among school children * Rs 40 cr allocated for abandoned and stray animals under a scheme named Besahara Pashu Yojna * Ecotourism and adventure tourism to be developed * Role of farmers to be increased to enhance forest cover * Rs 25 cr for providing helicopter services at tourist places and Rs 10 cr for development of tourism in Vindhyachal region * Rs 50 cr provision for WiFi scheme in the state * Bachpan Divas to be celebrated on 5th of every month and Laadli Divas on 15th and Matratva Divas on 25th of every month * Rs 25 cr for developing water sports in Ramgarh Taal in Yogi Adityanaths Gorakhpur dictrict * Rs 200 cr for special schemes for Bundelkhand; Rs 300 cr for special schemes for Poorvanchal * Rs 71 cr to connect district headquarters with 4-lane roads * Rs 288 cr for four metros and Rs 3,972 cr for the upkeep of state roads * Rs 10 cr for Pt Deendayal Upadhyay Kisan Samriddhi Yojna * New policy for solar power launched * New textile policy on the anvil * UP finance minister announces launch of groundwater conservation mission PTI SAB SMI MRadvertisementlast_img read more

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Social media erupts after R Ashwin compares CSK return to Manchester United air tragedy

first_imgIndia off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been facing a lot of flak on social media after he compared Chennai Super Kings’ return to the Indian Premier League with the Manchester United air tragedy.CSK will be back in the IPL next season after their two-year suspension for spot-fixing and betting.Ashwin feels the franchise’s return to the cash-rich league will increase its value like he thought it did for Manchester United after the Munich air disaster.”I think the two-year hiatus for CSK probably increases its value much like what it did for Manchester United when the air crash happened,” Ashwin, who played for Super Kings between 2009-15, told the Times of India.”I don’t know if it’s in the same league but surely people in Chennai and fans across the world are waiting for CSK to return. I hope it turns out to be a good comeback.”Manchester United had lost eight players and three staff members in the plane crash at the Munich airport on 6 February, 1958. Eight journalists, two other passengers and two crew members also lost their lives in the crash while 21 people survived including nine players from the team. Sir Bobby Charlton and manager Matt Busby were among the survivors.Social media didn’t take too kindly towards Ashwin for comparing an IPL team’s return to a tragedy like the one that took place in Munich. The Tamil Nadu cricketer had to post a series of tweets clarifying his statements afterwards.Ashwin said he only meant that CSK’s comeback will see fans turn up in numbers and claimed that he was misquoted in the interview.advertisementGuys please take the reporting with a pinch of salt with respect to the Munich tragedy and CSK. All I said was the break will make the ..- Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) July 19, 2017Fans turn up in numbers when the come back happens. Not required to blow it out of context.- Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) July 19, 2017Now all those who hate me, please get off my mentions, we will catch-up sometime later when I get misquoted again. Thanks???- Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) July 19, 2017last_img read more

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In self-styled godmans area, a separate monetary system

first_imgBunty TyagiSirsa, Aug 27 (PTI) In the town of Sirsa, home to the sprawling headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda, shops owned by followers of the sects flamboyant head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh run a separate monetary system to tender change to customers.Located in and around Dera premises, these shops have the word Sach (truth) prefixed to their respective names and give out plastic coins or tokens of Rs 10 and Rs 5 to customers if they are unable to tender change in Indian currency.These coins, engraved with the words Dhan Dhan Satguru Tera hi Asara, Dera Sacha Sauda Sirsa, can then be used by the customer to buy items at the Sach shops later.In case a shopkeeper does not have any change at his disposal if a customer pays Rs 100 for an item that costs Rs 70, the latter may have to make do with three plastic tokens of Rs 10 value each . The Dera campus is spread over nearly 1,000 acres and is a township on its own, with schools, a sports village, a hospital and a cinema hall. Shopkeepers who run Sach shops near the Dera headquarters have a different colour code for such plastic coins. A few journalists, who went to Sirsa to cover the situation in and around the campus after a CBI court convicted the sect chief in a rape case, were also given such plastic coins in place of Indian currency.”I have three such coins of Rs 10, but I cannot use them because the entire area near the Dera headquarters has been cordoned off by the Army,? said Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Beghu village, located near Dera headquarters.advertisementLocals say it is normal practice for shopkeepers, who are also followers of the sect, to tender these tokens to their customers if they do not have change. PTI BUN BSA SBR GJS DVlast_img read more

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Roger Federer digs deep to beat Adrian Mannarino and reach Basel semis

first_imgTop seed Roger Federer was finally forced to work hard for a win at the Swiss Indoors tournament as he fought back to beat Adrian Mannarino 4-6 6-1 6-3 in his quarter-final on Friday.The world number two, chasing an eighth title at his hometown tournament, had dropped only eight games as he breezed through the first two rounds but found his 28th-ranked opponent a much tougher nut to crack.Mannarino took the first set and, although Federer cruised through the second, the Frenchman made him work hard again in the third before the Swiss completed the win.Federer’s semi-final opponent on Saturday will be Belgian third seed David Goffin who beat American Jack Sock 7-6(6) 6-3 in the last of the night’s quarter-finals.World number four Marin Cilic had an even harder time than Federer, needing two tiebreaks to beat 100th-ranked Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-6(3) 5-7 7-6(4) in just over three hours.The Croat now faces Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, a late contender to snatch one of the last two places at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, who beat Roberto Bautista 6-2 2-6 6-4.last_img read more

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Claims A-Rod Major League Doper

first_imgNEW YORK –  Major League Baseball’s key witness in its case against Alex Rodriguez said he designed and administered an elaborate doping program for the 14-time All-Star starting in 2010.Anthony Bosch, the founder of the now shuttered Florida anti-aging clinic, Biogenesis, said in a 60 Minutes interview aired on CBS on Jan. 12 that Rodriguez paid him $12,000 per month to provide him with an assortment of banned drugs that included testosterone and human growth hormone.Rob Manfred, the Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball, said during the news program that Bosch chose to cooperate in the investigation in part because he feared for his life.MLB’s suspension of Rodriguez was reduced by an arbitrator from 211 games to 162, plus all playoff games next season. Rodriguez’s lawyers plan to file a suit in federal court Monday to overturn the arbitration ruling.Commissioner Bud Selig, who did not testify during the slugger’s appeal, defended the largest suspension ever handed out under the Joint Drug Agreement.“In my judgment his actions were beyond comprehension,” Selig said on the show. “I think 211 games was a very fair penalty.”Bosch said he began working with Rodriguez — who was motivated by his pursuit of 800 career home runs — five days before the New York Yankees third baseman hit his 600th homer on Aug. 4, 2010. Bosch said the first words out of Rodriguez’s mouth were: “What did Manny Ramirez take in 2008 and 2009?”Ramirez was suspended 50 games in 2009 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers after testing positive for a banned drug, his first of two offenses.Of the 14 players suspended as a result of MLB’s investigation into Biogenesis, Rodriguez was the only one to appeal the ban.A self-taught practitioner who was once fined $5,000 for practicing medicine without a license, Bosch outlined his relationship with the three-time AL MVP. He said he designed the program to help Rodriguez maximize the effects of the drugs and remain clean in the eyes of baseball. Rodriguez never failed a test during the period in question.Detailing a clandestine operation, Bosch said the duo used code words for the drugs like “gummies” for testosterone lozenges, which Rodriguez sometimes took right before games. Bosch said he once drew A-Rod’s blood in the bathroom stall of a Miami restaurant.Bosch also said he injected A-Rod with banned drugs because the former No. 1 draft pick with 654 career homers was afraid of needles.Details of Bosch’s relationship with Rodriguez have never been made public because the Joint Drug Agreement and Collective Bargaining Agreement requires confidentiality from both sides.Rodriguez’s lawyer Joseph Tacopina chastised MLB for participating in the segment — even though he also was interviewed.“Tonight’s further expansion of Bud Selig and Rob Manfred’s quest to destroy Alex Rodriguez goes beyond comprehension,” he said in a statement. “In a clearly pre-orchestrated display, Selig and Manfred, having known for some time what the result of the arbitration would be (in light of Manfred sitting on the arbitration panel) put forth an unparalleled display of hubris and vindictiveness — complete with Manfred appearing in tandem with the drug dealer Tony Bosch, both in full makeup, celebrating the joint victory of Bosch’s lies and Manfred’s intimidation and payments for testimony.”The players’ association, which filed the appeal on Rodriguez’s behalf, said in a statement it was disappointed, and that they might take action.“It is unfortunate that Major League Baseball apparently lacks faith in the integrity and finality of the arbitrator’s decision and our Joint Drug Agreement, such that it could not resist the temptation to publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez,” the statement said. “MLB’s post-decision rush to the media is inconsistent with our collectively-bargained arbitration process, in general, as well as the confidentiality and credibility of the Joint Drug Agreement, in particular.“As a result, the Players Association is considering all legal options available to remedy any breaches committed by MLB,” the statement said.Baseball said in a statement later that it had informed the players’ association it would respond publicly once the appeal is over.“It is ironic that the MLBPA is complaining about MLB’s participation in this program given that Mr. Rodriguez’s lawyer is also participating in the show,” the statement said, referring to Tacopina.The 38-year-old Rodriguez has denied he ever took illegal substances after 2003 — he admitted in 2009 he took steroids from 2001-03. He already sued MLB and Selig in October, claiming they are engaged in a “witch hunt” against him.60 Minutes reported it had over 500 Blackberry messages between Bosch and Rodriguez. Baseball connected the pin number of the messages to a phone owned by Rodriguez.Said one message from a phone owned by A-Rod: “Gummie at 1045am?… game at 1pm.” Rodriguez’s lawyers have said they were talking about nutrition in their exchanges.The news program also displayed a heavily redacted document showing a payment of nearly $50,000 from A-Rod Corporation to Bosch’s lawyer — a sum that was returned.The payment, according to Bosch, was part of an effort by Rodriguez and his people to keep Bosch quiet. After Bosch rejected Rodriguez’s request for him to sign an affidavit affirming he never gave A-Rod PEDs, Bosch says among other things it was suggested he “leave town” until the case was over. He says he was offered money and a trip to Colombia.When he rejected the trip, Bosch said his ex-girlfriend received a text in Spanish that said Bosch would not live until the end of the year.Tacopina denied it all. “Absolutely not. He didn’t bribe anyone. There was no allegation that he bribed anyone,” Tacopina said. “And the notion that Bosch is now coming on a television interview without the benefit of cross-examination or an oath — is laughable.”Baseball finally got its breakthrough with Bosch after MLB sued him. A lawyer advised Bosch to “align ourself with somebody as powerful as Alex.”In a scene right out of a suspense movie, Manfred and a top league lawyer met with Bosch at a Miami restaurant. “He was fidgety, nervous, uncomfortable,” Manfred said. “His principal concern from the very beginning was his personal safety.”“He told us that there had been threats on his life,” Manfred continued.“Some of them were associates of baseball players which was an issue of great concern to us, some of them were associates of Alex Rodriguez. … The individual that was of greatest concern to Mr. Bosch was a known associate of Mr. Rodriguez.”Baseball and Bosch struck a deal that included security for Bosch in exchange for his testimony.(Howie Rumberg, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Can Spurs Take The Heat?

first_imgMIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade thinks there’s no one better than the Miami Heat at dealing with the mental challenge of the playoffs. In his eyes, only one other team might compare.He’s talking about the San Antonio Spurs. That’s why Wade believes these NBA Finals are just getting started.When he looks at the Spurs, he sees qualities his own team has, including an ability to break down a loss and quickly correct things. It’s what Miami did before Game 2 of the finals and it’s what Wade expects the Spurs to do before the title series resumes with Game 3 in Miami on the night of June 11.“You never put them away,” Wade said. “I think they always believe and it’s the same with us. You can’t, you won’t, put us away because we’re always going to believe. That’s why this is a perfect, different animal, kind of series. They’re the other team like us. They don’t lose much and when they do they come back and be better in the next game. So we’ve got to come out and do the same thing.”That would explain why on June 9, instead of a day off, the Heat gathered to watch video of Game 2.By winning in San Antonio to even the finals at 1-1, home-court advantage now belongs to the Heat. But no one in their locker room thinks it’s going to get easy now.“They came out great. They played a great game,” Spurs guard Tony Parker said after Miami’s 98-96 win in Game 2, the 13th straight time the Heat immediately followed a postseason loss with a victory.“Now it’s our turn to go over there and get one. We played pretty well all season long on the road and so we’re going to have two great opportunities to try to come up with a win.”Miami has won a franchise-record 11 straight postseason games at home.The last team to win a playoff game in Miami was the Spurs, winning Game 1 of last season’s finals.“We are in a tough situation because we’ve got to go to Miami and we’ve got to get one,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “We don’t want to come back here 3-1 down. It’s very hard to overcome that. Definitely going to be a great challenge for the team to play in an arena like that and having to win.”A challenge, sure, but it’s one Heat coach Erik Spoelstra knows the Spurs can handle.“Coming back here there has to be an incredible sense of focus and urgency,” Spoelstra said. “They’re a veteran, poised, championship-level team that’s been through a lot. The crowd won’t affect them much.”Neither team thought it played all that well in the game that it won so far in these finals.The Spurs turned the ball over too much for their liking in Game 1 — the game that will be remembered for the air conditioning malfunction and cramps inside a steamy building forcing LeBron James to leave in the final minutes. In Game 2, the Heat weren’t thrilled with a slow start and how they spent much of the game playing from behind.When James got rolling in the third quarter, things started swinging Miami’s way in Game 2. When he found Chris Bosh for the 3-pointer that put Miami ahead for good with 1:18 left, it was just another example of the four-time MVP setting a teammate up for a big play.“I’m going to make the right play,” said James, who signaled to Bosh about what he wanted on that play. “To have that trust from my teammates, they know when I’ve got the ball, I’m going to make the right play. Doesn’t mean it’s going to go in. Doesn’t mean it’s going to result in a win, but they believe in my ability.”The pressure, if Miami had not found a way to win in the final moments of Game 2, would have been enormous on the two-time defending champions.Now, it seems to have shifted to the Spurs. “It doesn’t matter what we’ve been through before,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. “We’re here now again.”The last time these teams met in Miami at this time of year, the Heat wound up spraying champagne in their locker room.It’s tempting, Bosh acknowledged, to think that all Miami needs to do for a third straight championship is stay unbeaten at home.But Bosh won’t let himself go there.“I can only think about Game 3,” Bosh said. “We’ve played well at home this postseason. I think we feel we have an advantage now. We have to make sure that we play well and keep it that way.”(TIM REYNOLDS, AP Basketball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Napoli HR Sinks Tanaka, Yanks, 2-1

first_imgNEW YORK — Mike Napoli hoped Masahiro Tanaka would make a mistake. The New York Yankees ace sure did — he twice shook off his catcher, then threw a pitch the Boston slugger could handle.Napoli stung Tanaka by hitting a solo home run with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting Jon Lester and the Red Sox over the Yankees 2-1 the night of June 28.“What an idiot!” Napoli was heard exclaiming on Fox television microphones as he high-fived teammates in the dugout.Napoli later said he didn’t mean any disrespect, adding he was “surprised” Tanaka didn’t throw his tremendous split-finger fastball.Napoli had struck out in his previous two at-bats, was down 1-2 in the count this time and was having all sorts of trouble with Tanaka’s diving splitter. “He had me where he wanted me,” Napoli said.Tanaka, however, preferred to throw a fastball. Napoli lined it the opposite way, into the first row of the seats in right field.Napoli, who also homered off Tanaka at Fenway Park in late April, raised his right arm as he rounded first base and clapped his hands as headed for second.Tanaka, the top winner in the majors and the AL ERA leader, turned to watch the ball sail, twisting his body when it cleared the wall. “It was the worst thing I could’ve possibly done,” Tanaka said through a translator.Tanaka wanted to take a different approach than catcher Brian McCann. “He asked for a splitter and for a slider, and I shook off both of them,” he said. Tanaka said he intended to throw a fastball out of the strike zone to set up a breaking ball.Instead, Napoli hit it out of the park. His third home run in five games, and 10th shot overall, flew far enough reach the short porch.“Power hitters are going to have the ability to hit to all fields. We all know that right field here is not very forgiving,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said. “Last night, they hit one in the first row. Tonight, we did.”The Red Sox won for just the third time in nine games. The victory made the defending World Series champions 37-44 at the midpoint of the season — it’s the first time since 1997 that Boston has been under .500 at the halfway mark.Lester (9-7) held the Yankees hitless until the sixth. He gave up an unearned run and five hits in eight innings, striking out six and walking two. Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances.Tanaka (11-3) allowed seven hits in a complete game, striking out eight and walking one. The Yankees lost for the fifth time in seven games. Tanaka dropped consecutive starts for the first time in the majors.The matchup between Lester and Tanaka shaped up as a pitchers’ duel, and it certainly was. Lester improved to 13-6 lifetime against the Yankees, including a loss to Tanaka in Boston on April 22.Lester and Uehara came through for a Red Sox team that has scored three runs or fewer in 12 of its last 14 games. Napoli did his part, too, tagging Tanaka.“He pitched pretty well to Nap all night,” Lester said. “I’m guessing Nap put a pretty good swing on that ball right there. Luckily, we’re in Yankee Stadium and not anywhere else and that ball goes out.”An odd sequence ended the Yankees eighth. Jacoby Ellsbury tried to steal second with two outs and the fans cheered when catcher David Ross’ throw skipped into center field. As Ellsbury headed toward third, however, the crowd began to realize strike three had already been called on Mark Teixeira.Earlier in the inning, second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a nifty pickup and glove flip to start a double play on Derek Jeter.Ross homered in his second straight game, launching a drive far over the left-field fence in the third. Tanaka muttered to himself as Ross rounded the bases.Lester, who threw a no-hitter against Kansas City in 2008, held the Yankees hitless until Brett Gardner bounced a leadoff single up the middle in the sixth.Lester’s bid was extended with two outs in the fifth when Yangervis Solarte was called out on a video review, taking away an infield single.Pedroia opened the next inning with a single, and tried to test the arm of Ellsbury, his former teammate. The Yankees center fielder made an accurate throw and Pedroia was called safe, but he was ruled out after New York challenged the umpire’s decision.The Yankees scored in the third when Brian Roberts reached on shortstop Stephen Drew’s error, Solarte was hit by a pitch, Gardner sacrificed and Jeter had an RBI grounder.(BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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US Women Kick Over Soccer Pay

first_imgFive stars from the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team have accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of wage discrimination in an action filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo maintain in the EEOC filing that they are paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts on the U.S. men’s national team, based on U.S. Soccer’s 2015 financial report. The filing was announced March 31 in a statement from the law firm representing the players.“The numbers speak for themselves,” Solo said in the statement. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup Championships, four Olympic Championships, and the USMNT get paid more just to show up than we get paid to win major championships.”The union representing the players is currently involved in a legal dispute with U.S. Soccer over the terms of their collective bargaining agreement.The federation filed a lawsuit this year seeking to clarify that its contract with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association runs through the Rio Olympics until Dec. 31.The union maintains the memorandum of understanding agreed to in March 2013 can be terminated at any time. That case is pending.Attorney Jeffrey Kessler, one of the attorneys representing the players, claimed that the tenor of the negotiations over the CBA created the need for the women to act in hopes of ending what they say is the “discriminatory and unfair treatment” they have endured for years.“The reality is that this team is more valuable to the USSF than the men’s team has been. That’s what the facts show,” Kessler said on a conference call with reporters.“And they would be justified in asking for more than the men are receiving. But the first step that they are seeking is equal treatment.”U.S. Soccer issued a statement maintaining that its “efforts to be advocates for women’s soccer are unwavering.”“We are committed to and engaged in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that addresses compensation with the Women’s National Team Players Association, to take effect when the current CBA expires at the end of this year,” the statement said.“U.S. Soccer will continue to be an advocate on the global soccer stage to influence and develop the women’s game and evolve FIFA’s compensation model.”The top players on the women’s team are paid about $72,000 a year by U.S. Soccer, along with bonuses, to play in a minimum of 20 exhibitions per year, the EEOC complaint says.Conversely, the men are paid per match, with a minimum of $5,000 a game, and additional payments based on the opponents’ rankings and results.The women have a potential to earn $99,000 if they win all 20 exhibitions, while their male counterparts would earn $100,000 minimum for appearing in the 20 games before the opponents and outcomes are figured in, and possibly as much as $263,320 a year if they win all of their games.Citing another example of disparity, the complaint says that the women are paid $30,000 for making the World Cup team, while the men are paid $68,750 each.U.S. maintains that the women’s team set up the compensation structure, including a guaranteed salary rather than a pay-for-play model like the men, in the last collective bargaining agreement.The women earn an additional salary because the federation pays their salaries in the National Women’s Soccer League.The women’s national team players also receive other benefits, including health care paid for by the U.S. Olympic Committee, that the men don’t receive, the federation maintains.USSF President Sunil Gulati said that many factors are considered when it comes to player compensation, including the revenue the teams generate.“We think very highly of the women’s national team and we want to compensate them fairly, and we’ll sit down and work through that with them when all of this settles down,” Gulati said.The U.S. women won the World Cup last year in Canada with a 5-2 victory in the final against Japan. The team earned a total of $2 million for winning the tournament, according to documents.The U.S. men’s team earned $9 million the year before at the World Cup in Brazil, where they were knocked out in the round of 16. The prize payouts came from FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, and not from U.S. Soccer.The federation pays the men and women equally for qualifying for the Olympics and making the roster for the event.“There are no legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for this gross disparity of wages, nor can it be explained away by any bona fide seniority, merit or incentive system or any other factor other than sex,” said the complaint.Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton weighed in on the issue on Twitter: “Wouldn’t want to face these women on the field or in the courtroom. Every woman deserves equal pay.”Landon Donovan, who played 14 seasons with the men’s national team, posted to Twitter: “USWNT absolutely deserve to be treated fairly in all ways. Important to remember that these issues are/can be collectively bargained.”He added: “Both USMNT and USWNT should be paid commensurate w/ the revenues they produce, not based upon what the other makes.”The EEOC investigates claims of discrimination on merit. There is no timetable for resolution of the matter. Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.Many players on the national team have become increasingly vocal about gender equity in the sport, something that came to light in advance of last year’s World Cup.A group of players led by Abby Wambach filed a complaint in Canada about the artificial turf playing surface, noting the men’s World Cup is played on natural grass.The players dropped the complaint before the tournament to focus on the competition. Wambach retired from the national team at the end of last year.“This is a fight that we are going to have to continue to fight from here on forward,” Solo said on a conference call. “I don’t see it getting any easier, but it is something we are committed to. And it’s not just in the sports world, it’s everywhere you look.”The U.S. women, who have already qualified for this summer’s Olympics in Brazil, are in Florida training for a pair of exhibition games against Colombia.(ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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