The Portuguese forward had just helped Real to a record-breaking third successive Champions League triumph when he told BeIN Sports Spain he would reveal his plans for the future “in the next few days”.Ronaldo also spoke about his time at the Bernabeu in the past tense, saying: “It was beautiful to be at Real Madrid.”Now the dust has settled, Ronaldo admits the timing of his comments could have been better, but insists he does not regret what he said.”I spoke when I shouldn’t have done but something is going to happen. It wasn’t the right time, but I was honest,” said Ronaldo.”In a week I’ll say something because the fans have always supported me and are in my heart. I don’t speak much, but when I speak, I speak.”Obviously I have something to say, but it wasn’t the right time, although I don’t regret it, because I was honest. I’ve kept putting up with this but then I couldn’t control myself.”Ronaldo – whose role in last night’s Champions League win over Liverpoolsaw him become the first player to win the competition five times – has questioned his future at the club in the past.It has been suggested the 33-year-old has previously made the comments as a tactic in contract negotiations, but he maintains that is not the case this time.”This has been coming for a long time. Money is not the problem,” Ronaldo said.”I’ve won five Champions Leagues, five Ballon d’Ors. I was already in history but now even more.”I’m not bothered because I know what I give to this club. I don’t want to erase this unique moment with my team-mates who are real champions.”
Michael Marum said at the press conference today that he’s only added Edene Gabbie and Paul Wawa to the extended 20-man bench.The 20-man squad is:Adex WERAJunior RAUThompson TetehWillie MinogaBrendon GOTUNOCharlie SIMONWatson BOASEnock MAKIWartovo Puara Jnr – CaptainStanton ALBERTNixon PUTMcKenzie YEIRhadley BRAWAInterchangeAse BoasIla AluDilbert ISAACPatrick MOREAMoses MENINGAEdene GABBIEPaul WAWAThe SP Hunters will be playing against the Ipswich Jets on Friday.The match will be held at the Ipswich Reserve Oval at 7pm.Last weekend’s clash did not see too many injuries, with the coach saying the boys were looking really good for this Friday’s match.Coach Marum will finalise the travelling 18-man squad tomorrow afternoon.The team leaves for Brisbane on Thursday, and returns on Saturday.Meantime, Watson Boas and Wartovo Puara Jnr were awarded K600 each for being last weekend’s best backs and forward respectively. The presentation by the Melanesian Trustee Services Limited was conducted today before the press conference at the Oil Search National Football Stadium.
First-half doubles from Marta Torrejon and Alexia Putellas were added to by Asisat Oshoala and Caroline Graham Hansen to give Barca a 6-0 lead after 45 minutes at El Helmantico in Salamanca.Oshoala scored her second in the 51st minute and Torrejon completed her hat-trick before Manuela Lareo finally got La Real on the scoreboard in the 63rd minute.Candela Andujar made it 9-1 before Torrejon rounded off the scoring 12 minutes from time to seal an emphatic triumph.PIONERES #FCBFemeni #SupercopaFemenina pic.twitter.com/hM56r5yT2Q— FC Barcelona Femení (@FCBfemeni) February 9, 2020With newly crowned Supercopa champions Barca sitting nine points clear at the top of the Primera Division, Arconada opted to use his post-match news conference to send a message to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).”Every [Spanish] team feels that they cannot compete with this Barca. The federation has to evaluate if this is what they wanted. The only option was Barca winning and we suffered this humiliation,” said Arconada.”We knew it would be complicated and we did not give our all. We did not live up to who we are.”It was a hard day, but a lesson. I’m proud to have played the final and convinced it will not be the last one.”Barca boss Lluis Cortes was unimpressed by Arconada’s comments and claimed things are not as uneven as he alleged.”Each club invests in women’s football as much as they want to and the percentage in relation to the men’s game is very small,” said Cortes.”I wish we could always win 10-1, but I am sure this won’t happen in the league. Things went really well today but in the majority of games we really have to fight.” Photo credit Twitter (@FCBfemeni) Caption: Barcelona celebrate winning the Supercopa Femenina
Bayern Munich’s David Alaba and Arturo Vidal have been ruled out of their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Sevilla on Wednesday as the Germans eye a semi-final spot after their 2-1 first leg victory.Versatile fullback Alaba has missed their last two matches with back problems while midfielder Vidal picked up a knee injury in the first leg.“David trained with the team but he has not been able to take part in the past few days so he couldn’t really push hard yet. So I think it would be better for him to get a few extra sessions under his belt and play on Saturday,” Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes told reporters on Tuesday.“I think Arturo Vidal will return to training on Thursday.”Bayern, in their seventh straight Champions League quarter-final, enjoyed a low-key title celebration during the weekend after securing the Bundesliga title with five games to spare as they wanted to stay focused on securing the treble.“I do not think there will be any drop of tension from us because it is now that we have to be careful,” winger Arjen Robben said.“There is already a lot of talk about the semi-final but let us first play a great game tomorrow and advance. Sevilla have shown what they can do away from home.“If we want to win the Champions League then we will have to improve.”Bayern last won the title in 2013 but have been eliminated by Spanish opponents in the last four seasons. Sevilla beat Manchester United at Old Trafford 2-1 in the previous round’s return leg to advance.“Of course, when you lose 2-1 at home you know you need to take risks to qualify. You need to be more attacking, which is what Sevilla will be,” Heynckes said.“They are a team that can press really well. And when you look at (Ever) Banega then it will be a completely different affair.”The 29-year-old Sevilla midfielder is back for from suspension after having missed the first leg.“But we are well prepared, we have a good atmosphere and my players are hungry to advance,” Heynckes said.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is plotting Barcelona’s downfall safe in the knowledge he will never manage the Spanish giants, he told Spanish daily Marca.Pochettino believes his past precludes him from ever taking charge at the Nou Camp, given he has been both a player and manager at cross-town rivals Espanyol, but he is thrilled at the prospect of tackling Barca in Wednesday’s Champions League tussle at Wembley.“Facing Barca motivates me, being an Espanyol fan and living for so many years in Barcelona,” Tottenham’s Argentinian coach told the paper.“It is more than understood (that I will never take over) … My path and that of Barcelona are different, opposite directions. Coaching there would be impossible.”Tottenham lost their Group B opener against Inter Milan and need to get back on track against a Barcelona side stinging from going three La Liga matches without a win.“Winning a game is always nice and when you win against Barcelona, even more so, because that would mean something important for us,” Pochettino said.“For me, Lionel Messi is still the number one (player in the world) and will be until he retires.”
Greece have parted ways with German coach Michael Skibbe after the team’s disappointing run in the Nations League, the Football Association (EPO) said on Thursday.The EPO appointed 65-year-old Angelos Anastasiadis as his successor, the first Greek coach for the national team, who is not an interim solution, in 17 years.Skibbe had taken over in 2015 after the 2004 European champions’ failure to qualify for Euro 2016 and last year signed a contract extension to include Euro 2020 if they qualified.The former Bundesliga coach then narrowly missed out on the 2018 World Cup when Greece finished second in their qualifying group but lost in a playoff to eventual runners-up Croatia.But their performances in League C of the newly-created Nations League sealed his exit after Greece won two matches and lost the other two to lie in second place on six points, six behind leaders Finland.“We decided to end our cooperation with Mr Skibbe and at the same time it was decided to bring in Angelos Anastasiadis,” Greek FA President Vangelis Grammenos told reporters.“The FA’s decision, as is easily understood, is the result of the bad run and bad results recently.”Anastasiadis, whose contract will run to December 2019, has coached several clubs in Greece and was Cyprus coach from 2004-11 but has not worked at a club since 2016.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has said he and his team-mates need to improve their form as they prepare to host Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Wednesday.They go into the game after a 1-0 Premier League win at Huddersfield Town in which they were not at their best and often found themselves on the back foot against lowly opponents.Wednesday’s clash at Anfield is also a chance for Liverpool to get their European campaign back on track after a late 1-0 defeat by Napoli in their previous Group C encounter.Despite Red Star not having won yet on their return to the group stage of Europe’s elite competition, Van Dijk was not underestimating the Serbian club.“They are in the Champions League – the best competition in Europe apart from the Premier League – and it will be a hard game,” the Dutchman told the Liverpool website. “We will need to be 100 percent and I think we will be.“Against Huddersfield, we should have done even better. Obviously we kept a clean sheet, which is all good, but we could have made it easier for ourselves.“It’s another Champions League night at Anfield and I’m sure we will recover from Huddersfield and make sure we are ready.”Napoli lead the group on four points ahead of Liverpool and Paris St-Germain with three, so getting maximum points from the double header with Red Star over the next two weeks could be crucial for the English side’s bid to qualify for the last 16.The Reds reached the final of last year’s competition but lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in Kiev.
Twenty-three-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and world number one Naomi Osaka exited Roland Garros in the third round on Saturday.Williams failed to recover from a woeful start against fellow American Sofia Kenin as the 20-year-old motored into the last 16 with a 6-2 7-5 win, putting the former world number one’s quest for a record-equalling 24th singles major on hold.Williams, who suffered her earliest Grand Slam exit since Wimbledon 2014, was given a standing ovation as she walked off Court Philippe Chatrier while sections of the crowd jeered her conqueror.The 37-year-old Williams, seeded 10th, paid the price for her lack of match practice as she was playing in only her fifth tournament of the year, and her fightback in the middle of the second set was short-lived.Osaka, just like Williams, was a possible semi-final opponent for third seed Simona Halep, who is looking to become the first woman to retain the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since Justine Henin won a third consecutive title in 2007.But the Japanese top seed, who had already been forced to go the distance in her first two rounds, was clueless in a 6-4 6-2 defeat to Czech Katerina Siniakova.The loss snapped Osaka’s 16-match winning streak in Grand Slams after she won the 2018 U.S. Open and this year’s Australian Open.With Osaka gone, five of the top six seeds are now out of the women’s singles draw, leaving Halep as the sole survivor. The Romanian showed her best side in a 6-2 6-1 dismissal of Ukrainian 27th seed Lesia Tsurenko.In the men’s draw, world number one Novak Djokovic strolled into the fourth round with a 6-3 6-3 6-2 victory against Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso.Leading the charge of the young generation, Alexander Zverev continued to flirt with danger, the German fifth seed advancing with a 6-4 6-2 4-6 1-6 6-2 victory over Serbian Dusan Lajovic — his second five-setter of the tournament.The 22-year-old, who has now won all five-set matches he has played at Roland Garros, next faces Monte Carlo Masters winner Fabio Fognini after the Italian ninth seed dismissed Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(5) 6-4 4-6 6-1.Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and Austrian Dominic Thiem both progressed with four-set victories.Last year’s runner-up Thiem will take on Gael Monfils, one of two Frenchmen left in the draw.Tsitsipas will be up against a resurgent Stan Wawrinka after the 2015 champion downed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in three tiebreaks.
Pep Guardiola has dismissed suggestions he is considering taking a break from football.Reports have claimed the Manchester City manager could take a sabbatical if he guides his side to Champions League victory next year.Guardiola has had an extended break before, enjoying a year off after leaving Barcelona before taking over at Bayern Munich in 2013.Yet with two years remaining on his contract at the Etihad Stadium, the 48-year-old insists such thoughts are not in his mind.Speaking to media at a golf event in Spain, Guardiola said, in quotes carried by Marca: “No. I do not take sabbatical years. I am young and I have desire.“The news comes out and many things are not true. If they do not kick me out, I’ll stay there.”Guardiola also emphatically denied speculation linking him with Juventus last month.City won an unprecedented treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup last season.Their next challenge is to win the Champions League after defeats in the quarter-finals in the past two years.Guardiola said: “We all want to win the Champions League because it is the most beautiful thing. The important thing is to try again and in our case we will do it again.“If we fail, we will try again, as the important thing is to be there until the end.”Following Real Madrid’s signing of Eden Hazard in a deal that could potentially cost £130million, Guardiola also made an ironic comment about the perception City are viewed as the game’s big spenders.“Real Madrid are signing good players, but only Manchester City spend money here,” he said.
Rafa Nadal survived a heroic Daniil Medvedev fightback to claim an epic 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 win and a fourth U.S. Open title on Sunday, moving within one Grand Slam crown of matching Roger Federer’s record of 20.A routine end to the Flushing Meadows fortnight looked on the cards when Nadal, already two sets up, broke for a 3-2 lead over the tall Russian in the third with the 19th Grand Slam title apparently in the bag.From that point, however, the match was transformed into a near five-hour thriller as Medvedev staged a comeback that left the Spaniard shaken and Arthur Ashe Stadium buzzing.“An amazing final – seemed that I had the match more or less, it has been one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career,” Nadal said.“This victory means a lot especially because of the way the match became so difficult, so tough. These type of matches in the final of a Grand Slam make them special.”The 33-year-old lefthander became second oldest U.S. Open champion in the professional era behind Australian Ken Rosewall, who was 35 when he lifted the title in 1970.Not once since 1949 had a player come back from two sets down to win the U.S. Open final but Medvedev, cheered loudly by a crowd that booed him mercilessly earlier in the week, came close on the back of some brilliant tennis.“I was being myself,” said the 23-year-old. “I was fighting for every point. I think they appreciated it.“I know I have to leave my heart out there for them. I think they saw it and they appreciate it.”On the ropes with Medvedev looking to deliver the knockout blow, Nadal showed once again why he is the game’s greatest fighter and he lifted himself off the canvas to scrap his way to the title.The quality of tennis in the final three sets was breathtaking at times, the long rallies swinging back and forth with neither player prepared to give up a single point without stretching every sinew.After watching Medvedev erase his lead with a rasping backhand service return to win the fourth set, a rattled Nadal finally regrouped in the fifth and secured an early break to get in front 3-2.The killer instinct Nadal has honed over nearly two decades at the top of the game then surfaced as he held serve and added yet another break to take control at 5-2.The drama was not over yet.NO MISTAKEMedvedev hit back one more time with a break of his own and a hold of serve to cut the advantage to 5-4 and the prospect of the Russian winning a major title with his first career five-set victory was briefly back on.In the end, Nadal needed three championship points to finally see off his opponent after making no mistake with his second attempt to serve for the title.The Spaniard let out a mighty roar when the Russian’s final return sailed long before falling on his back to soak up the cheers of an appreciative crowd.Already the King of Clay, Nadal has been a master of the Flushing Meadows hardcourts for the last two weeks, dropping just one set on way to the final.His victory saw him join an elite club with Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Federer as winners of four or more U.S. Open men’s singles titles in the open era.While the women have served up four different Grand Slam winners this season, the old guard of Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic continue to rule the men’s game with the “Big Three” having combined to win the last 12 majors.Medvedev arrived at his first Grand Slam final as the hottest player in men’s tennis, riding the momentum from reaching four consecutive finals, but it was not quite enough to carry him to a maiden major title.The Russian, who had spent a good part of the tournament playing the part of the U.S. Open villain for his on court antics, was welcomed to the court by a smattering of jeers.By the end of the evening, however, he had earned the respect and admiration of the crowd for a gutsy performance that established him as a genuine threat to the stranglehold Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have on the Grand Slams.“I can say that I’m sure all of us, we’re fighting our best to try to make this transition,” he said.“It’s really tough because these guys, they are playing good tennis. It’s really tough to beat them, even to get a set from them, even every game to win is tough.”