Category Archives: Sports

donovangalaxy

L.A. Galaxy to replace Landon Donovan with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard

The Los Angeles Galaxy are replacing the U.S.’s greatest male soccer player ever with one of European football’s biggest stars.

Steven Gerrard confirmed Saturday that he will leave legendary club Liverpool after the English Premier League season to “play in America.” But the mystery of Gerrard’s next stop did not last long as ESPN FC reported that Gerrard will join the Galaxy, the champions of Major League Soccer, on an 18-month contract this summer. The Washington Post revealed that the pro-rated deal will be worth $6 million a year, making Gerrard one of the highest-paid players in MLS.

The 34-year-old Gerrard will fill the void left by Donovan, who retired last month as MLS’s all-time leading scorer after helping L.A. beat the New England Revolution for its record fifth MLS Cup last month. Coach Bruce Arena should have no problem finding a place for Gerrard in the Galaxy lineup, which already features a solid central midfield tandem in Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas but will need Gerrard’s offensive skills to make up for Donovan’s absence.

Gerrard has embodied the pride and spirit of Liverpool for 16 years, first joining the club at age 8 and making his senior team debut as an 18-year-old in 1998. He helped the Reds win 11 trophies with his career-defining moment coming in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final, when he scored to spark an incredible second-half comeback from a 3-0 deficit and then beat AC Milan in a penalty shootout to capture the club’s fifth European championship.

The addition of Gerrard continues the Galaxy’s string of superstar imports from England. MLS’s marquee club wooed former Manchester United star David Beckham to L.A. in 2007 and welcomed Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane in 2011. Keane, the reigning MVP of MLS, played with Gerrard at Liverpool during the 2008-09 season.

The New York Red Bulls and expansion franchise New York City FC were also rumored to be in the running for Gerrard. The Red Bulls are looking for another big name to replace the retired Thierry Henry, while NYCFC is dealing with the backlash of Frank Lampard’s delayed arrival to MLS due to parent club Manchester City’s decision to extend the 36-year-old midfielder’s loan to aid the Premier League champion’s bid for a title repeat.

Source: Yahoo

arsenal1

Arsenal forced to sweat after late Olivier twist

LONDON (Reuters) – Olivier Giroud’s rush of blood almost ruined Arsene Wenger’s Christmas on Friday as the France forward’s red card left Arsenal sweating towards the end of their 2-1 defeat of Queens Park Rangers.

Giroud lost his cool and appeared to thrust his head into QPR defender Nedum Onuoha’s forehead in the 53rd minute when Arsenal were leading 1-0 thanks to Alexis Sanchez’s first-half goal.

Tomas Rosicky doubled the lead soon after the sending-off but the hosts were left hanging on when Charlie Austin converted a penalty 11 minutes from time.

QPR, who have now lost all nine of their away league games this term, came close to an equaliser when Eduardo Vargas had a header cleared off the line while Bobby Zamora also had a penalty appeal turned down.

Arsenal survived to give Wenger his 600th victory in charge of the north London club and take them back into sixth position in the Premier League, two points behind fourth-placed Southampton.

Wenger, who looked less than pleased with Giroud when he was dismissed, said the red card changed the game.

“From the moment of the sending-off we knew we were in a battle,” the manager told the BBC. “It was a deserved red card, Olivier didn’t control himself.

“It completely changed the dynamic of the game, we were completely in control at that stage and it was quite comfortable. Olivier is a guy who, when he makes mistakes, he stands up and admits it.”

Arsenal are 15 points behind leaders Chelsea but can climb higher in the table on Sunday when they face fifth-placed West Ham United.

“We find ourselves detached from the teams above us at the moment with a bit of ground to make up so we can’t get too carried away with trying to make up that ground at the moment, we must just concentrate on what we’re doing,” Wenger said.

Source: Reuters

ronaldo

Ronaldo: Real Madrid is my second family

The Portuguese star says the mood in the Bernabeu dressing room is great, while Toni Kroos is delighted by how he is settling in.

Cristiano Ronaldo says the current Real Madrid team is like his second family and feels the dressing room atmosphere is the best he has seen in recent years.

The attacker, who has been revealed as one of the three final candidates for the FIFA Ballon d’Or alongside Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer, has been in remarkable form this season. The Portugal international has scored 26 goals in 20 games in all competitions for a side which is on a club-record winning streak of 16 games.

The Madrid talisman says he is happy at the Santiago Bernabeu, as is everyone connected with the club based on the buoyant mood behind the scenes.

“The team is confident and we want to keep going like this. It is the best dressing room that I have been in over recent years,” he said at an Audi event.

“Real Madrid is like a second family. We work together every day. I’m very happy and my teammates are feeling great. The coaching staff are also a very important part of that dressing room.

“We hear people saying that this is the best Real Madrid side in recent years, but that’s something we will only know if we win something important. Right now we are in very good shape, because we are on a run of 16 consecutive wins.”

Toni Kroos has reiterated the forward’s comments about the happiness in the camp, stating that he is content in his new surroundings following his move from Bayern Munich in the summer.

“I’m very happy at the club,” the midfielder said. “Right now the most important challenge is the language, because I have a six-year contract and I will do everything I can to adapt and learn it.

“On the pitch, I’m delighted and everything is going perfectly.”

Soure: Goal.com

vick

Michael Vick has nearly paid off his $18 million debt

Prison will always define Michael Vick. But in a very tangible way, he’s almost shed one of the heaviest burdens of his days behind bars: an $18 million debt.

Vick’s career out of prison, six seasons, is now as long as his career before it. But as ESPN’s Darren Rovell notes, much of the second half of Vick’s career, which is now in low gear in New York, has been spent paying off a $17.8 million debt to creditors. Vick declared bankruptcy while in prison on federal dogfighting charges in July 2008.

Vick has spent the last five years on a budget in an effort to pay back creditors. Vick had to pay back the Atlanta Falcons $6.5 million in salary, among many others.

Now, granted, Vick is still making a substantial amount of money, an estimated $49 million in salary since his release from prison. Rovell adds sentences like the following, apparently without irony: “As part of the plan to pay off his creditors, Vick stuck to living on an annual $300,000 budget, because more than 50 percent of what he was making went toward taxes and legal fees.” That budget, presumably after taxes, seems like enough to scrape by.

As ESPN notes, Vick opted to go with Chapter 11 rather than Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which meant he paid back all that he owed, not a small percentage. To him, it was an important and necessary step to demonstrate his willingness to atone. The deal with creditors is set to expire at the end of the year, and Vick will likely sell some property to close off the last of his debt.

“I feel blessed because I came out and found myself in a position where I had a lot of people that really believed in me, people who gave me an opportunity,” Vick said. “At the time, it wasn’t about trying to fulfill all the bankruptcy needs, I was trying to fulfill all the needs that I had in my life because I had nothing.”

Vick will never escape the shadow of the events that landed him in prison. But he’s shown through his actions that he won’t remain defined by them. That’s admirable, in its own way.

Source: Yahoo

san

San Lorenzo to play Real Madrid for Club World Cup

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — Real Madrid’s opponent in the Club World Cup final will be San Lorenzo after the South American champions ended a surprise tournament run by amateur team Auckland City with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday.

Madrid will be the favorite on Saturday after San Lorenzo needed extra time to get past Auckland’s team of part-timers and amateurs who fit soccer around day jobs.

Given their meager resources, it could have been the ultimate David vs. Goliath story had the Oceania champions advanced to face the world’s richest team.

The only resemblance between Auckland and Madrid are their white shirts. The New Zealand squad that traveled to Morocco includes a truck driver, a cleaner, students, a lawyer, a kitchen salesman and a brewery worker.

A surprise seemed possible when Auckland City’s Angel Berlanga tied the game in the second half after Pablo Barrientos scored in the first half for San Lorenzo. But substitute Mauro Matos netted San Lorenzo’s winner in extra time.

”Being semi-professional doesn’t mean they’re not a good team,” Barrientos said. ”They were at a very high level.”

Auckland coach Ramon Tribulietx said the manner of his team’s loss felt like ”a big, big win.”

”We are the moral winners by a mile tonight,” he said. ”We will remember this for a long time.”

Madrid is hoping to cap its successful year with a Club World Cup victory. It also won the Champions League and Copa del Rey. Star forward Cristiano Ronaldo picked up the Ballon d’Or trophy as world player of the year in 2013.

Auckland will play CONCACAF champions Cruz Azul in the third-place match on Saturday. Auckland defeated Moroccan side Moghreb Tetouan and the champions of Africa, Entente Sportive de Setif from Algeria, to reach the semifinals.

Source: Yahoo

woods

Get a look at Tiger Woods’ first opened golf course, El Cardonal

Hello, world.

Tiger Woods was on hand Tuesday in Mexico as, for the first time, a course he designed opened for play.

El Cardonal opened at Diamante Cabo San Lucas, the second course at the residential resort, alongside a Davis Love III design, called the Dunes Course, that’s already ranked among the best courses in the world. Woods’ course is a contrast to Love’s links-inspired design along the Mexican coast. The 14-time major winner borrowed from his California roots in designing this course.

Woods’ aim with El Cardonal, named after the ranch that previously occupied the property and not some variation on his alma mater Stanford Cardinal, was to be challenging for superior players but enjoyable for anyone. That means angles play a big role in scoring well, but wide fairways and openings to the green from the fairway make the course playable for any skill level. It’s a reflection of Woods’ attention — what could be called an obsession — with what he calls “lines,” knowing the angles to best attack holes.

While it plays 7,300 yards from the championship tees, El Cardonal has five tee box options to keep any player engaged throughout the round.

“I designed El Cardonal at Diamante to make you think,” Woods said. “You must be willing to weigh risks and make smart choices. Proper strategy will provide the best opportunity to score. The biggest compliment I can receive after you play my course is that you want to play it again.”

Dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean and Sierra de la Laguna mountains will certainly keep Diamante residents coming back for more, but, for most, they’ll never touch El Cardonal. They won’t have much luck, either, with Woods’ first design in the U.S. to open. Bluejack National, near Houston, is a total Woods redesign of the course formerly on the property and will be a fully private residential community and golf club.

Nevertheless, El Cardonal represents a big win for Woods’ firm, representing the first time one of his designs went all the way from conception to open.

In 2006, Woods was commissioned (and reportedly paid $50 million) for his first design, Al-Ruwaya in Dubai. However, the global financial crisis hit the United Arab Emirates, leading to the project’s halt in 2009 and indefinite suspension in 2011. Woods was also hired to design a course for The Cliffs development in North Carolina, but the project stalled long ago. The same was true of another Woods course slated to open in Mexico.

El Cardonal represented a second chance for Woods to share his vision in Mexico. Woods will get another crack on what amounts to the same plot of land in Dubai, as well. He’ll be designing Trump World Golf Club, Dubai, as part of a rekindled effort to develop the same property where his first design was to debut.

Source: Yahoo

teniss

Warrior spirit leads Nishikori to new heights

LONDON (Reuters) – There comes a moment in all great sporting careers when the puzzle fits together and for Kei Nishikori it arrived on a sweltering early September afternoon in New York.

It was there that the young kohai (Japanese for protege) humbled the master, in this case Novak Djokovic.

Nishikori beat Roger Federer in Miami and had Rafa Nadal on the ropes in Madrid early in the season, but this was against the ruthless world number one in the U.S. Open semi-final, having just played back-to-back five-setters.

Undaunted, the 24-year-old showed Djokovic scant respect, rocking the Serb with the force and relentless warrior-like spirit of his play to claim a four-set victory.

In doing so he became the first Japanese man, and the first from an Asian country, to reach a grand slam singles final.

Croat Marin Cilic cut Nishikori down to size in the final but, providing the Japanese stays clear of the injuries that haunt all top athletes, there seems little doubt he will contest more grand slam finals.

Japan has produced few male players to be taken seriously and until Nishikori, Shuzo Matsuoka had been their benchmark in the professional era, having reached 46th in the rankings.

Hence the reason a teenaged Nishikori was dubbed “Project 45″ when he left the home comforts of Shimane for the endless drills and ball-chasing at Nick Bolletieri’s Academy in Florida.

SPECTACULAR SUCCESS

The project can now be classified a spectacular success even if there have been some doubts along the way.

Nishikori bettered Matsuoka’s ranking in 2011 but spent the next three years hovering around the top 20 as the tennis fraternity watched on, waiting for his graduation.

Admired for his eye-catching, attacking shots, all that seemed to be missing was a touch of steel.

So last December he hired former French Open champion Michael Chang as coach and it proved a masterstroke.

He began the year 17th in the ATP rankings and with three career titles to his name.

He ended it ranked number five, more than doubled his career title haul with silverware from Memphis, Barcelona, Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo, and qualified for the elite ATP World Tour Finals.

Nishikori’s 11 wins this year against players in the top 10, including beating Andy Murray at the year-ender, was bettered only by Djokovic and Federer.

“My goal after last season was to get into the top 10 and make the semi-finals of a grand slam, but I surpassed them both,” Nishikori told the Japan Times.

“I got stronger as the season wore on in the second half and, I have to admit, I’m surprised by the success I had this year.”

DISMANTLING BARRIERS

With the fiercely competitive Chang in his team, there is little chance of Nishikori taking his eye off the ball once the news season kicks off in Asia in January.

Nishikori said the American had helped him push through barriers this year when in the past he may have shirked the challenge.

“It had only been a few weeks after surgery when I went to (the U.S. Open),” Nishikori recalled.

“I was still feeling pain and I didn’t want to risk it. I didn’t want to go. But he told me a story from his career about getting to a grand slam semi when he had shoulder problems. So I went to New York and I ended up reaching the final.

“He constantly tells me to believe in myself.”

With Chinese woman Li Na now retired, Nishikori will shoulder Asian hopes next year.

“The next goal is to win a grand slam but I know it’s not easy to go even to the semis or final, so it may take some time but hopefully I can reach a grand slam final again,” he said.

Source: Reuters

baseball

Angels reportedly tried to trade Josh Hamilton back to Rangers

“So I have a splendid idea. Do you remember how great Josh Hamilton was in a Rangers uniform? I heard y’all down there in Texas are interested in trading for an outfielder. Well, I got just the guy — Josh Hamilton. And he’s still playing baseball, so it seems like an ideal fit. Whaddya say? We’ll throw in a pair of Mike Trout’s cleats!”

We imagine the Los Angeles Angels calling the Texas Rangers, asking if they’d like to get Josh Hamilton back in a trade, sounded something like that. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Angels tried to shop Hamilton recently to the Rangers, for whom he played from 2008-12 and had that 2010 MVP season.

The Rangers’ response probably went something like this:

“Sorry, we’ve got our share of overpaid injured dudes down here in Texas. But we’ll be sure to laugh about this later.”

The Rangers — for as many things as they might need — certainly don’t need Hamilton again. He signed a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels before the 2013 season and has largely been a bust. He hit .250 in 2013. He was pretty good to start 2014, but then was injured for a stretch, and returned with zero mojo at the end of the season. Meanwhile in Texas, fans hated him when he left but now are probably happy he’s gone.

“What to do with Josh Hamilton?” is a legitimate question for the Angels, since he’s owed $83 million over the next three seasons. Rosenthal reports the Angels shopped him to two teams so far this offseason — the Rangers and the San Diego Padres. There were no significant talks after that. The Padres would have to be insane to take on both Josh Hamilton and Matt Kemp.

But Rosenthal and at least one of his sources think Hamilton isn’t long for the Angels, at least not for those remaining three seasons. He wrote:

A scout with whom I speak regularly predicted Tuesday that Josh Hamilton would not open the season as a member of the Angels. I would not go that far. But I would bet that Hamilton does not complete the final three years of his contract with the club.

Publicly at least, the Angels are saying they think Hamilton can bounce back in 2015. But anybody who watched him in the ALDS last year — in which he was hitless in 13 at-bats and looked very overmatched — will have doubts about Hamilton, 33, moving forward.

Angels GM Jerry Dipoto gave Hamilton a public endorsement, for what that’s worth:

“We do believe in Josh,” Dipoto said. “We’ve seen it every day when he takes batting practice. We’ve seen him hit balls that humans shouldn’t hit. What he does, 99 percent of the players can’t do. We are absolutely of the belief that the ability is there for him to do the things that he has done in the past. Now we have to help him turn the key to bring the ability out.”

Teams have tried to unlock Hamilton before, to varying results. The Rangers got the best of it. But that’s not what you want to do with a player whom you’re paying $23 million in 2015 and $30 million each of the next two years.

Source: Yahoo