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Usain Bolt to play charity football match amid pro contract hint

After his retirement from the track, Usain Bolt is making strides towards a new career. The Jamaican sprint great will captain a star-studded side in charity football match and has hinted at a professional contract. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Usain Bolt is set to make a return to the sporting world in a charity football match which has previously attracted such luminaries as Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, actor Will Ferrell and pop star Robbie Williams. The eight-time Olympic gold medallist announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he will be joining the Soccer Aid World XI - a motley crew put together to help raise funds for the United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef. Since retiring from athletics he's also flirted with playing cricket and been pictured at the US Grand Prix. Read more: Untouchable Usain Bolt bows out in London Bolt, long linked with trials at Borussia Dortmund thanks to both parties' relationship with Puma, will captain the side, with Williams skippering the English XI that will line up against them. "Robbie and his England team better watch out as I won't be going easy on them," said Bolt, who also claimed he has a "special celebration" planned should his side win. Thee announcement came hours after Bolt, 31, had sent out a tweet suggesting that he'd signed for a team before South African Premier Soccer League outfit Mamelodi Sundowns put out a tweet of their own featuring Bolt in their training gear and a knowing hint about his future. But it seems Bolt's tweet was only related to the charity match, with the Puma logo on the Mamelodi Sundowns kit probably explaining their part in the somewhat confusing series of events. The Soccer Aid match will take part on June 10 at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium.

After his retirement from the track, Usain Bolt is making strides towards a new career. The Jamaican sprint great will captain a star-studded side in charity football match and has hinted at a professional contract. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Usain Bolt is set to make a return to the sporting world in a charity football match ... Read More »

Federer: “Wimbledon has to be my biggest goal.”

Roger Federer made it three titles in 2017 as his impressive resurgence gathers momentum - age 35. Now the Swiss star has said he'll cherry pick the events he plays in a bid to win even more Grand Slams. World number four Roger Federer plans to skip the clay season in order to shape up ahead of the Wimbledon Championships. The 35-year-old beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in the Miami Open on Sunday to add to his Australian Openand Indian Wells titles in 2017. But the Swiss, an 18-time Grand Slam winner, has decided to pick and choose which events he will attend outside of this summer's French Open and Wimbledon. He plans to miss out clay events in Istanbul and Rome. "I want to stay healthy," Federer said on ESPN. "When I'm healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this. If I'm not feeling this good, there's no chance I'll be in finals competing with Rafa. For me basically the second half of the season is the big priority which is why I am taking this break now." "I will probably stay on hard courts ... and get on the clay two weeks before the French, that's the plan for now and hopefully I will play the French and we will see how the build-up is going to go and for me that's essentially when the season really starts. "Wimbledon has to be the biggest goal now, in the near future, the American hard courts I guess as well. The French Open I guess, to some extent, we will see what happens, no pressure there really." Federer ended a four-and-a-half-year wait to win his 18th Grand Slam, becoming the oldest winner of one of his sport's most prized events in 43 years with his triumph in Melbourne. Before that, 2016 has been a write off for the Swiss player who missed most of the season as he recovered from injury. While he got back to full fitness, Federer dropped out of the top-10 rankings and ended up as low as 17th at the end of the year.

Roger Federer made it three titles in 2017 as his impressive resurgence gathers momentum – age 35. Now the Swiss star has said he’ll cherry pick the events he plays in a bid to win even more Grand Slams. World number four Roger Federer plans to skip the clay season in order to shape up ahead of the Wimbledon Championships. ... Read More »

CAS bans Russian ‘doping doctor’

Sergei Portugalov was heavily implicated in reports about alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia. The Court of Arbitration for Sport has slapped him with a "lifetime period of ineligibility." The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has handed a lifetime suspension to a Russian sports doctor, who is thought to be the mastermind behind the country's state-sponsored doping program for track and field athletes. In 2015, a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) commission recommended that Dr. Sergei Portugalov be excluded from any involvement with state sports programs. There was no immediate ban from the CAS, but the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) issued a blanket ban on Russian track-and-field athletes in November 2015. The CAS said in a statement that there was "clear evidence" that Portugalov had been guilty of breaching anti-doping regulations, including the possession and administration of prohibited substances. Portugalov, who was head of the country's sports medical commission, was regarded as the brains behind alleged widespread doping in the Russian system, aimed at improving the performances of athletes at the summer and winter Olympic Games in 2012 and 2014. More work needed Meanwhile, Sir Craig Reedie has said that Russia's anti-doping agency (RUSADA) will have to do to more in order to get the 2015 ban on it lifted. "There remains significant work to do (for RUSADA). It must demonstrate its processes are autonomous and independent from outside interference," said Reedie, who added the RUSADA hadn't proven that it was shielded from outside influences. "We continue the work to restore the compliance of the Russian agency," Reedie told a Wada symposium in Lausanne on Monday. The IAAF, has relaxed some of the restrictions on Russian athletes competing, if they can provide evidence that they are fully compliant. Last month, pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova, sprinter Kristina Sivkova and Aleksei Sokirskii were cleared to compete at the world championships in August under a neutral flag.

Sergei Portugalov was heavily implicated in reports about alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia. The Court of Arbitration for Sport has slapped him with a “lifetime period of ineligibility.” The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has handed a lifetime suspension to a Russian sports doctor, who is thought to be the mastermind behind the country’s state-sponsored doping program for ... Read More »

Adidas profits hit the billion mark

German sports goods maker Adidas has announced record profits for 2016, beating analysts' expectations. The Bavaria-based company said net profit topped a billion euros for the first time in the firm's history. The firm said Wednesday that annual net profit increased by 60.5 percent, to 1.02 billion euros ($1.07 billion). The announcement was a surprise to analysts, beating their predictions and the company's own forecast. Chief Executive Kasper Rorsted hailed 2016 as an "exceptional year" for the company, with double-digit growth in almost all regions of the world. It was a big year for sports that featured the Olympic Games in Rio and the European Football Championships in France. The three stripes Much of 2016's success for Adidas was down to strong growth of 16.6 percent at its central three-striped brand, accounting for the biggest share of its revenues. Subsidiary Reebok grew much more modestly at 1.1 percent. Overall revenues increased 14 percent to top 19 billion euros. The company also unveiled an optimistic forecast for this year. They predicted revenue growth of between 11 and 13 percent, adjusting for currency effects, and aim to increase profits by 18-20 percent to around 1.2 billion euros. Citing its strong results, Adidas said it would offer shareholders a dividend of 2 euros per share for 2016, up from 1.60 euros the previous year. After the news was announced, shares in the company leapt on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. In early morning trading, the stock gained 8.2 percent, which added $2 billion to its market value. By mid-day it was still up over 7 percent, trading at around 171 euros per share.

German sports goods maker Adidas has announced record profits for 2016, beating analysts’ expectations. The Bavaria-based company said net profit topped a billion euros for the first time in the firm’s history. The firm said Wednesday that annual net profit increased by 60.5 percent, to 1.02 billion euros ($1.07 billion). The announcement was a surprise to analysts, beating their predictions ... Read More »

Australian Open: Nadal outlasts Alexander Zverev to reach fourth round, Konta through

Grand Slam outsider Jo Konta swept aside a former world number one to book a spot in the fourth round. Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal showed no signs of fitness issues with a dominant performance over Alexander Zverev. Rafael Nadal came out on top 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3 in a five-set thriller against bright, German teenager Alexander Zverev to secure a spot in the fourth round of the Australian Open. The 30-year old was forced to call a halt to his 2016 season prematurely due to a wrist injury, but has bounced back in the first Grand Slam of the year. The 14-time Grand Slam champion dug deep into his energy reserves to outlast the energetic 19-year-old from Hamburg who has been dubbed "the future of tennis." "Everybody knows how good Alexander is," said Nadal of Zverev. "He's the future of our sport, and the present." While Nadal booked a meeting with Gael Monfils in Melbourne, third-seed Canadian Milos Raonic pulled through to beat Gilles Simon 6-2, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3. The 26-year-old, who reached the final of Wimbledon, overcame health issues to book a fourth round bout with Argentine Roberto Bautista Agut. "I've had a rough last 48 hours, everything was aching, just sort of those kind of symptoms," said Raonic. I'm managing it. I'm sure I'll probably get something after today's match." Meanwhile, ninth-seed Briton Johanna Konta continues to be the most impressive on the women's side of the Australian Open outside of Serena Williams, thrashing former world number one Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1. "I was very happy with I guess the way I was able to assert myself from the very beginning, also tighten up my game a bit as that first set went on, and just maintain my level to the very end," said the 25-year-old. World number two Williams moved a step closer to her dream of a 23rd Grand Slam title with a 6-1, 6-3 over Nicole Gibbs. "It was really good to get this under my belt. I always try to take everyone super-serious and I'm always super-focused," said Williams who could meet Konta in the quarterfinals, should both progress.

Grand Slam outsider Jo Konta swept aside a former world number one to book a spot in the fourth round. Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal showed no signs of fitness issues with a dominant performance over Alexander Zverev. Rafael Nadal came out on top 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3 in a five-set thriller against bright, German teenager Alexander Zverev to secure a ... Read More »

Andy Murray among British Olympians celebrated in New Year honors list

The sporting elite made up 10% of the honors handed out by the British monarch this year. Knighthoods were handed to Andy Murray and Mo Farah, while Katherine Grainger and Jessica Ennis-Hill became dames. Tennis star Andy Murray has capped off a remarkable 2016, becoming Great Britain's youngest modern knight at the age of 29. The Scot won Olympic gold for the second time, reached three of the four Grand Slam finals and ended the year as world number one. Murray was also recognized for his contribution to his community and to various local charities. "Obviously it is the highest honor you can get in this country. But I feel like I'm too young for something like that," he said on Friday before the announcement. Great Britain's sporting heroes dominate the New Year honors list, with five knighthoods and damehoods awarded to the sportspeople for excellence, the longevity of their success and their contribution to local communities. Mo Farah was already a CBE following London 2012, and the 33-year-old was recognized for retaining his 5,000- and 10,000-meter Olympic titles at Rio 2016. "I'm so happy to be awarded this incredible honor from the country that has been my home since I moved here at the age of eight," Farah said. "Looking back at the boy who arrived here from Somalia, not speaking any English, I could never have imagined where I would be today - it's a dream come true." Both Katherine Grainger and Jessica-Ennis Hill were given damehoods following their final Olympic Games after retiring post-Rio. The 44-year-old Grainger, the most decorated female Olympian, has won five Olympic medals, including one gold at London 2012. Like Farah, Ennis-Hill was awarded a CBE for her success at London 2012. Recognized for her contribution to sport, the 30-year-old track and field athlete was given a damehood after securing silver at Rio 2016. Paralympian Lee Pearson was also honored with a knighthood, while Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile under four minutes, received the highest accolade - Companion of Honour.

The sporting elite made up 10% of the honors handed out by the British monarch this year. Knighthoods were handed to Andy Murray and Mo Farah, while Katherine Grainger and Jessica Ennis-Hill became dames. Tennis star Andy Murray has capped off a remarkable 2016, becoming Great Britain’s youngest modern knight at the age of 29. The Scot won Olympic gold ... Read More »

‘Cursed’ Chicago Cubs advance to World Series for first time in 71 years

The Chicago Cubs are headed to their first World Series in 71 years, facing off against the Cleveland Indians. On Saturday, the Cubs won the National League Championship Series 4-2. The long-cursed Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 on Saturday, clinching the best-of-seven National League Championship Series 4-2 at home to move on to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945 and haven't won the championship since 1908. The team led the major leagues with 103 wins this year, more wins than any Cubs team since 1910. According to baseball legend, the Cubs have been under the "Curse of the Billy Goat" since 1945, when the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, Billy Sianis, was asked to leave the fourth game of the 1945 World Series because the smell of his pet goat was bothering other fans. Sianis then cursed the Cubs and they haven't reached the World Series since, though they have come close. In 1984, the Cubs were one win away from beating San Diego, but the Padres came back to win the final three games and advance to the final. Then in 2003, the curse came back when the Cubs were ahead 3-2 in a best-of-seven series with the Florida Marlins. In that sixth game matchup, the Cubs were ahead 3-0 in the eighth inning when a fan tried to grab a foul ball in the stands and prevented a catch from outfielder Moises Alou. The Marlins then scored eight runs in the inning, winning the game and the seventh final game to advance to the World Series. Last year, the Cubs made it to the National League final but were swept by the New York Mets.

The Chicago Cubs are headed to their first World Series in 71 years, facing off against the Cleveland Indians. On Saturday, the Cubs won the National League Championship Series 4-2. The long-cursed Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 on Saturday, clinching the best-of-seven National League Championship Series 4-2 at home to move on to the World Series against ... Read More »

Europa League: Schalke win in France, Mainz held, Man United suffer shock loss

Schalke kicked off their campaign with a win over Lucien Favre's Nice, while Mainz were held to a 1-1 draw against Saint-Etienne. Manchester United lost to a late goal at Feyenoord. Nice 0-1 Schalke (Baba Rahman 75’) Abdul Baba Rahman scored his first goal since joining Schalke on loan as the Bundesliga club edged out Nice, coached by former Borussia Mönchengladbach coach Lucien Favre, on the French Riveira. A scrappy first half was followed by a tight second as Nice looked to protect their record of having never lost a home UEFA Cup or Europa League match. The French side included former Bayern and Gladbach defender Dante and ex-Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli. Schalke substitute Max Meyer unlocked the Nice defence with a clever reverse pass, allowing Baba Rahman, on loan from Chelsea, to rifle in a low shot inside the near post and secure the win. Mainz 1-1 Saint-Etienne (Bungert 57’ – Beric 88’) Mainz were held to a 1-1 draw by French side Saint-Etienne, who grabbed an 88th minute equalizer. Coming off the back of their hugely deflating 4-4 draw with Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga at the weekend, Mainz looked to make amends on their Europa League group stage debut. Things were going to plan when captain Niko Bungert nodded in the opener just before the hour mark to give the Germans the lead, but with time running out, Saint-Etienne’s Beric restored parity. The result means St Etienne have won only three of 18 matches against German opposition. Feyenoord 1-0 Manchester United (Vilhena 79’) Europa League favorites Manchester United suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at Feyenoord, with Tonny Vilhena firing the Dutch club to a famous win. Despite making eight changes, Jose Mourinho fielded a strong team that included Paul Pogba, David de Gea and Marcus Rashford, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic introduced as a second half substitute. But the most expensive team in club football couldn’t avoid a second defeat in a week following a painful defeat by bitter rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday. Careless in possession and lacking a cutting edge up front, United paid for their lethargic display in the 79th minute. Exposed down the right flank by a Nicolai Jorgensen's run that beat the offside trap, United's defenders were noticeable by their absence when the unmarked Vilhena swept home from just inside the penalty area. Other Europa League results: Qarabag 2-2 Liberec Zorya 1-1 Fenerbahce APOEL 2-1 Astana Anderlecht 3-1 Gabala Maccabi Tel-Aviv 3-4 Zenit Astra 2-3 Austria Vienna Sassuolo 3-0 Athletic Bilbao Young Boys 0-1 Olympiacos AZ 1-1 Dundalk Plzen 1-1 Roma Rapid Vienna 3-2 Genk Inter Milan 0-2 Hapoel Beer-Sheva Standard Liege 1-1 Celta Vigo Panathinaikos 1-2 Ajax Konyaspor 0-1 Shakhtar Braga 1-1 Gent Salzburg 0-1 Krasnodar PAOK 0-0 Fiorentina Southampton 3-0 Sparta Prague Osmanlispor 2-0 Steaua Villarreal 2-1 Zürich

Schalke kicked off their campaign with a win over Lucien Favre’s Nice, while Mainz were held to a 1-1 draw against Saint-Etienne. Manchester United lost to a late goal at Feyenoord. Nice 0-1 Schalke (Baba Rahman 75’) Abdul Baba Rahman scored his first goal since joining Schalke on loan as the Bundesliga club edged out Nice, coached by former Borussia ... Read More »

Champions League: Aguero masterclass seals Man City win over hapless Gladbach

Pep Guardiola tastes victory for the first time against Andre Schubert. After rain postponed Tuesday's fixture, Man City were ruthless, scoring four goals on the night against Gladbach. Borussia Mönchenladbach were soundly beaten by Sergio Aguero and Manchester City in their Champions League group C opener on Wednesday night, as the Argentine struck a hat-trick in a 4-0 win. Lining up with a three-man defense, Andre Schubert's men afforded their hosts far too much time and space in the first-half and never looked like recovering after falling behind within ten minutes. Aguero doubled City‘s lead from the spot before half-time before completing his hat-trick in the final quarter of an hour. By the time substitute Kelechi Iheanacho made it four in stoppage time, the Foals had long since conceded defeat. David Silva picked up a knock in the 24 hours since Tuesday's original fixture was postponed due to inclement weather and was replaced by German international Ilkay Gündogan who made his debut for the Blues. Gladbach however remained unchanged and started with attacking intent in a 3-4-3 formation but they switched off defensively as early as the ninth minute. Nico Elvedi allowed Raheem Sterling time to cushion the ball back to Aleksandar Kolarov from a throw-in and his low cross was pounced upon by Aguero at the front post. It was a classic striker's finish from the Manchester City predator, who could have doubled his tally three minutes later. Fernandinho spotted a hole in the German midfield and found Kevin de Bruyne on the right. The Belgian crossed to Aguero in yards of space but, rather than shoot, the Argentine opted to play in Gündogan whose shot was saved. Christoph Kramer and Mahmoud Dahoud were allowing Fernandinho far too much space in midfield and the Brazilian looked left, drawing in Elvedi before finding Sterling but the Englishman shot straight at Sommer. In typical Guardiola style, City were pressing high but Gladbach did break dangerously in the 25th minute. Dahoud drove in from the right and found Oscar Wendt in space on the left who cut the ball back, but Raffael's shot was deflected behind for a corner. A second goal was inevitable however and it came just before the half hour mark. Kramer brought down Gündogan just inside the 18-yard box and Dutch referee Björn Kuipers pointed to the spot. Agüero made no mistake. Schubert finally acted, replacing the hopelessly overwhelmed Kramer with right-back Julian Korb and switching to four at the back, as Stindl dropped deeper into midfield. The change seemed to stem the flow somewhat. City continued to press and dominate in central areas as the second half got underway but Gladbach looked more solid, although sloppy handling from Yann Sommer almost presented Agüero with his hat-trick just before the hour mark. The Swiss stopper redeemed himself with a good save. City seemed content to control possession in classic Guardiola fashion but chances were harder to come until the 73rd minute. The brilliant De Bruyne suddenly shifted up a gear in midfield to bypass Dahoud and thread a perfectly weighted pass into Sterling, but Sommer saved again. The England man turned provider in the 77th minute. Receiving the ball in space in the centre, he turned and played in Agüero. Although marginally offside, the Argentinian made no mistake and rounded Sommer to complete his hat-trick. Substitute Iheanacho completed the scoring in injury time by which time it was clear that Tuesday night's Manchester weather had merely postponed the Foals‘ fate.

Pep Guardiola tastes victory for the first time against Andre Schubert. After rain postponed Tuesday’s fixture, Man City were ruthless, scoring four goals on the night against Gladbach. Borussia Mönchenladbach were soundly beaten by Sergio Aguero and Manchester City in their Champions League group C opener on Wednesday night, as the Argentine struck a hat-trick in a 4-0 win. Lining ... Read More »

Arsenal and Valencia locked in negotiations for German defender Shkodran Mustafi

Arsenal and Valencia are in negotiations over a transfer for the central defender. Mustafi would be the Gunners' second high-profile signing from the Bundesliga following the arrival of Granit Xhaka. Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi is edging closer to moving to Premier League giants Arsenal, with media reports claiming the two clubs are continung negotiations. The 24-year-old was part of Germany's European Championship squad and scored in the group stage win over Ukraine. Mustafi's career has somewhat unorthodox, the player moving to Everton at the age of 17 and eventually to Serie A side Sampdoria where he made his professional debut. Since joining Valencia in 2014, Mustafi has impressed in Spain's top division. Arsenal are facing a selection headache ahead of the Premier League opener against Liverpool on Sunday. Per Mertesacker is injured, while Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista is expected to be out for three months. Valencia, it seems, are happy to deal with the Gunners given the La Liga side's failure to qualify for Europe last year. Reports claim Valencia are holding out for a fee of around 35 million euros for Mustafi, who cost Los Che eight million euros, two years ago. Although Ali Bulut told German sports website Spox that the two clubs had agreed personal terms, The Guardian have thrown cold water on those reports, noting the bewilderment of the two clubs when asked about a potential agreement. A deal appears to still be a bit off with the Spanish club ready to begin preparations for the season opener against Las Palmas two weeks on Monday.

Arsenal and Valencia are in negotiations over a transfer for the central defender. Mustafi would be the Gunners’ second high-profile signing from the Bundesliga following the arrival of Granit Xhaka. Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi is edging closer to moving to Premier League giants Arsenal, with media reports claiming the two clubs are continung negotiations. The 24-year-old was part of Germany’s ... Read More »

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