Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly growing in confidence that he can sign Kylian Mbappe in a world-record transfer deal this summer.
The France international is one of the most in-demand players in world football at the moment after a stunning breakthrough season for Monaco in 2016/17.
Real Madrid are also among the contenders for the 18-year-old’s signature, while reports today claimed Paris Saint-Germain had made a world-record £123million bid for him.
However, Arsenal believe they can pip Europe’s top clubs to Mbappe, with Wenger apparently gaining confidence over a deal in the last 48 hours.
The Gunners boss is now said to be preparing a rival bid to Monaco for the teenage forward, which would exceed the amount PSG have put on the table, according to football.london.
Arsenal need signings up front this summer due to fears over Alexis Sanchez’s contract situation and apparent desire to leave for rivals Manchester City.
Manchester United have been given the green light to make a move for Gareth Bale after Real Madrid admitted that they would be willing to sell the 27-year-old, according to reports in France.
L’Equipe claims that Zinedine Zidane and Madrid president Florentino Perez met with Kylian Mbappe last week in order to persuade the Monaco forward to move to the Spanish capital this summer.
During their conversation, Zidane and Perez reportedly told Mbappe that they would be willing to offload one of Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema in order to guarantee him more playing time next season.
L’Equipe claim that out of those three players, Bale’s transfer would be the most likely and United could now follow up with a bid, given their long-standing interest in the Wales international.
Earlier this month, reports claimed that Bale was open to the idea of joining United but Madrid would command a £100 million transfer fee.
United have held talks with over a deal for Bale, although Madrid’s hierarchy are reportedly split over their decision to sell the forward they signed from Tottenham for £86m four years ago.
New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson confirmed Wednesday night that he has received calls in recent days from teams interested in trading for future star Kristaps Porzingis.
"We're getting calls. As much as we value Kristaps and what he's done for us, when a guy doesn't show up for an exit meeting, everybody starts speculating on the duration or movability from a club," Jackson said in an interview on MSG Network.
"So we've been getting calls and we're listening, but we're not intrigued yet at this level. But as much as we love this guy, we have to do what's good for our club."
Teams in touch with the Knicks indicated New York has not ruled out the possibility of trading Porzingis, though one opposing club said it came away with the impression that the price tag for the star forward was extremely high.
Jackson was asked why he would consider trading Porzingis, the Knicks' young star and a player regarded around the NBA as someone whom a franchise can be built around.
"The future, you know, what it brings," Jackson said. "Does it bring us two starters and a draft pick or something that's even beyond that? [That's] something we have to look at as far as going down the road. We know what he is. He's a unicorn and he's special.''
Porzingis skipped exit meetings with Jackson and general manager Steve Mills in April because of frustration over the dysfunction and drama surrounding the Knicks, who finished with a 31-51 record.
On Wednesday night, Jackson addressed Porzingis skipping the meeting.
"I don't think I've ever had a player over 25 years of coaching, maybe 30, not coming to an exit meeting, so it's not happened to me," Jackson said. "I know it happens to other people and other players. His brother and his agent have downplayed it, but still, it's a chance for a person to express themselves, and I had a real good relationship with Kristaps over the last two years. So it was kind of surprising.''
Lakers guard Nick Young will decline his $5.6 million player option for next season with Los Angeles to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Lakers announced Young's decision on Wednesday.
Young, 32, faced a deadline of June 21 to make a decision on his option. The 10-year veteran guard, who averaged 13.2 points in 60 games last season, will hit the open market July 1.
In four seasons with the Lakers, Young started 71 of the 220 games he appeared in, averaging 24.5 minutes and 13.1 points per game.
The Los Angeles native realized a childhood dream by joining the Lakers, but Young's tenure has coincided with the worst four-year stretch in the history of the 16-time NBA champions.
After struggling on the court during the 2015-16 season and enduring upheaval in his personal life due to an infamous video scandal with then-rookie D'Angelo Russell, Young enjoyed a career revival last season under new coach Luke Walton.
Young also has had stints with the Washington Wizards, LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers throughout his career.
Juventus could lose youngstar Moise Kean this summer but not because he’s seeking higher wages elsewhere but because his father hasn’t received the tractors the club promised him.
The 17-year-old, who broke into Juve’s first-team back in November, is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in Turin and has been closely monitored by Arsenal for some time.
Kean was born in Vercelli, Italy to Ivorian parents and his dad claims the club owe him farming equipment to use back home as it was included in a deal which saw the youngster sign on the dotted line at the J Stadium.
Biorou Kean said: “They promised me agricultural equipment for my company in the Ivory Coast.”
“There, I own several hectares of land, which I’d like to start growing rice and corn on. I’m an agronomist, I’ve worked in rice paddies and I asked for agricultural equipment.”
“They told me that there was no problem but then Juve’s lawyer contacted me to tell me their contract offer had been revoked because my requests were out of their means.”
Luis Suarez has revealed how former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique helped him become more calm on the pitch.
The Uruguayan international was known for being a fiery character during his time in the Premier League with Liverpool, often running the risk of picking up needless yellow cards for arguing with officials over decisions that did not go his way.
However, the 30-year-old insists he’s improved his temperament since being under the guidance of Luis Enrique over the past three seasons.
“He told me not to waste energy arguing with the officials because it damaged the team and it was beneficial for me to be aware to press and help my team-mates,” Suarez told Sport.
“[Luis Enrique] taught me a lot, even if that doesn’t seem to be the case. Obviously a lot in football terms, he was also a forward so he knew the movements to make to benefit the team.”
“I was a player that lost the ball and gave up, waiting for the next play, but he taught me how to press after losing the ball.”
Suarez did pick up eight yellow cards in 35 La Liga appearances for the Catalan giants during the season just gone, although none were as a result of dissent – which maintains that particular record since he arrived at the club in the summer of 2014.
Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) were one of the more amusing real-life buddy cop comedies we’ve ever seen from NBA teammates.
On one hand you have Bryant, a cutthroat competitor on the court who couldn’t really turn it off when off the court until his final season. On the other was World Peace, who was like being defended by a grizzly bear with quicker hands on the court but more similar to a teddy bear off of it.
World Peace’s tendency to deliver quotes, anecdotes, stories and predictions with a smile was one of the things that quickly made him a fan favorite during his first year with the Los Angeles Lakers, especially because he helped them knock off their hated rival, the Boston Celtics, in the NBA Finals.
In a recent feature on championship trophy presentations in Sports Illustrated, however, TNT broadcaster Ernie Johnson shared a story of Bryant not wanting to let World Peace’s tendency for brash statements give the Celtics any further fuel going into that series:
In an interview last week he said that his favorite presentation was for the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers in 2010 following a Game 6 road win at Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals. After the game, in which Ron Artest scored 25 points, Johnson wanted to ask the veteran small forward on the podium how he felt about playing in his first NBA Finals.
“I knew I would get Phil [Jackson] and Kobe and maybe another player, but I thought it would be cool to hear what Ron Artest had to say,” Johnson said. “So I’m standing with the Lakers outside their locker room during a commercial break, and I asked Ron if he wanted to answer some questions. But before Ron could answer, Kobe steps in and said, ‘No, you are not talking to Ron Artest.’ I said, ‘Why, Kobe?’ He said, ‘I am the leader of this team. You are talking to me.’ I looked at Phil, and he shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘Hey, he’s the captain.’ Kobe was not going to have Ron Artest as part of trophy presentation equation because, I guess, he didn’t want to give the Celtics any extra motivation.”
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has responded to the transfer speculation and tax fraud allegations surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portugal international capped off a stellar 12 months by winning the fourth Champions League title of his career this month, scoring twice in the final against Juventus.
Late last week, reports emerged claiming the superstar wants to leave the world’s biggest club, as he was frustrated by the Spanish authorities’ investigation on his tax records.
The days since have been dominated by transfer rumours featuring Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, LA Galaxy and more, while Perez has remained silent.
On Monday evening,Perez told Spanish radio station El Transistor:
“All this is very strange. Cristiano is a good guy – I have to talk to him and see what happens.
“It has affected me how the media treated Cristiano; the presumption of innocence was not respected. Everyone must comply with their tax obligations and I know that Cristiano always wants to meet his.
“I am sure that Cristiano complies with his tax duties, it must be a confusion that will be cleared. Cristiano has the same corporate structure which he had in England, where spent many years without a problem.
“I will always defend Cristiano as a footballer and as a person. He is a good person, very supportive.
“The sheikh of PSG is friend of mine and has not called me, I have not spoken with him or with anyone. We’ve not received any offer for Cristiano.
“I have a good relationship and a good friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo and I want to talk to him.”
Tiger Woods said Monday he is getting "professional help" to deal with medications used for back pain and sleep issues.
The 14-time major champion, who is recovering from April 19 back surgery and on May 29 was arrested on DUI charges, took to Twitter on Monday to make the announcement.
Woods, 41, was asleep at the wheel of his car in the early-morning hours on Memorial Day. Later, in a statement, he said alcohol was not involved but that he had an "unexpected reaction" to prescription medication.
"I'm not at liberty to say where he is, but he is receiving in-patient treatment," said Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, in a phone interview. "Tiger has been dealing with so much pain physically. And that leads to insomnia and sleep issues. This has been going on for a long time."
On May 24, in Woods' first extensive comments since the fusion surgery, his fourth back surgery in just over three years, he explained in a website post that he had been dealing with nerve pain that caused quality of life issues.
"It is hard to express how much better I feel," Woods wrote. "It was instant nerve relief. I haven't felt this good in years."
Five days later, Woods was observed by police pulled over near the side of a road some 9 miles from his home in Jupiter, Florida. He failed multiple field-sobriety tests but blew a 0.00 on a breathalyzer after being taken into custody.
"Was the night in question a tipping point?" Steinberg said. "He's now gone and checked himself into a facility.
"He's been in pain for so long. He's had to handle the pain, which then potentially leads to the lack of sleep because you're in so much pain."
Asked about Woods' comments on his website that he felt relief after the latest surgery, Steinberg said: "I don't think you can put two and two together. It's such a complicated state, such a complicated situation. If you're in that much pain for so many years. ... Tiger has been trying to figure out how to live a life and actually have a life. He is where he is right now. I'm glad he is taking responsibility."
Woods had his first back surgery on March 31, 2014, and he has not been anywhere near the same golfer who just a year earlier won five times on the PGA Tour to run his career victory total to 79.
He had another surgery in September 2015, then a third six weeks later. From that point, Woods went more than a year without competing, returning for what seemed a promising restart at the Hero World Challenge in December.
But after plotting an ambitious early-season schedule, Woods made it through just three rounds before eventually shutting it down again. He missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, then the following week played just one round at the European Tour event in Dubai, withdrawing the next day with back spasms.
Woods told police on May 29 that he had taken four prescription pain medications, including Vicodin. The Golf Channel, which obtained an unredacted version of the Jupiter Police Department report, reported that Woods said he was also taking Xanax. The arraignment for his arrest is scheduled for Aug. 9.
Report by Bob Harig
In a significant statement from the International Olympic Committee, their executive board have announced that they will retain all 28 sports that featured at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for the 2024 Olympic Games programme. The move means that Olympic sevens will go on beyond the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
As they said in their statement today: “In another decision regarding the Olympic programme, the Executive Board approved the overall composition of the sports programme for the Olympic Games 2024 to include all 28 sports on the programme of the Olympic Games Rio 2016.”
Talking of the announcement, World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “While the IOC Session will ultimately consider this recommendation, World Rugby, like the entire global rugby family, is very excited by today’s Executive Board’s recommendation.
“I would like to thank the IOC President Thomas Bach and the IOC Executive Board for placing their continued trust in rugby, and our national member unions, players and passionate fans for making sevens the best it can possibly be.
“We now await the decision of the IOC Session and continue to be fully committed to the Olympic Charter and the highest standards of anti-doping as we look to what promises to be a spectacular Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and, hopefully, beyond.”
The IOC are expected to announce where the 2024 Olympic Games will be held in an extraordinary IOC session in Lausanne over 11 and 12 July. They will decide which city out of Paris and Los Angeles will hold the games in 2024 – with the city losing out to be slated as the hosts for 2028.
-Report by Rugby World
Bayern Munich are concerned that Arsenal attacker Alexis Sanchez is attempting to price himself out of a move to the Allianz Arena so that he can instead join Manchester City.
Sanchez, who is valued at £50 million, has just over a year remaining on his current deal at Arsenal and has been heavily linked with a switch away from the club.
Bayern had appeared favourites to sign him, but the Chilean is demanding a package of £21.85 million-a-year from the Bundesliga champions, which would see him earn £420,000-a-week, as reported by the Mirror.
The German club are hesitant to alter their wage structure and it now appears that Sanchez’s most likely destination is Manchester City, despite Arsenal’s reluctance to sell one of their major assets to a Premier League rival.
Sanchez was Arsenal’s outstanding performer last season as he scored 24 goals in the Premier League and created 78 chances, and, should an outcome occur, his departure would be a major setback.
Chelsea defender Gary Cahill should hand manager Antonio Conte his Premier League winner’s medal, according to Stoke City legend Mike Pejic.
The England international, 31, was a regular for the Blues in the season just gone as he featured in all but one game and often wore the captain’s armband in the absence of club legend John Terry. However, his defensive qualities have been called into question by Pejic.
“I felt sorry for him [Butland] having to play behind a player like Gary Cahill, one of the worst defenders I’ve seen in one-v-one situations,” the Potters legend said, as reported by Goal.com
“He gets so easily exposed and it was him, as much as David Luiz, who needed the protection of a three-man defence in that Chelsea rearguard last season.
“Chelsea boss Antonio Conte deserves a medal – possibly Cahill’s title-winning medal – for spotting so quickly that Luiz and Cahill needed such protection.”
Despite his six goals, Cahill managed two defensive errors throughout the campaign – no player across the entire squad had more – although he did average six defensive actions per game, including 170 clearances and 51 interceptions.
European champions, Portugal had to settle for a point against Mexico, as the two nations played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in their FIFA Confederations Cup tie.
The Mexicans dominated the possession in the opening 15 minutes, but they were unable to carve out a chance in the 18-yard area.
Selecao had the ball in the back of the net after 20 minutes through Pepe, but the Video Assistant Referee deemed the goal offside just moments before Cristiano Ronaldo had struck the crossbar.
Portugal eventually broke the deadlock in the 34th minute when Ronaldo did well to pick out an un-marked Ricardo Quaresma, who skipped past Ochoa and slotted into an empty net.
Mexico could have hit back four minutes later when Carlos Vela picked out Javier Hernandez in the box, but the striker's header sailed straight at Rui Patricio.
The equaliser arrived just before the halftime break for Mexico, as Vela crossed for Hernandez, who sent a powerful header into the bottom corner.
The second started off much like the first, with the Mexicans seeing a lot of the possession.
Both sides opted for a change after 57 minutes, as Giovani Dos Santos replaced Vela, while Gelson Martins came on for Nani.
Mexico continued to dominate as the second half went on, but they were finding it tough to break down the Portugal defence.
Portugal upped the tempo and went close in the 79th minute when Quaresma forced Ochoa into a low save from distance, while Dos Santos fired wide at the other end.
Fernando Santos threw on the highly-rated Andre Silva a minute later, and he nearly restored Portugal's lead in the 84th minute but Ochoa produced a super save to keep out the striker's header.
Selecao were not to be denied two minutes later when Cedric broke into the box fired a deflected effort past Ochoa from close range.
However, Mexico secured a point in stoppage time when defender Hector Moreno rose well to head home from close range, 2-2.
Arturo Vidal and Eduardo Vargas struck late in the second half to earn Chile a 2-0 win over African champions, Cameroon in their FIFA Confederations Cup opening clash.
Chile were without first choice goalkeeper, Claudio Bravio, while Alexis Sanchez started on the bench.
La Roja started like a house on fire as Vargas rattled the upright before Fabrice Ondoa denied Fuenzalida inside the opening five minutes.
Cameroon carved out their first chance after 11 minutes as Vincent Aboubakar forced Herrera into a good save from close range, following a swift counter attack.
Chile continued to dominate possession as they looked for an opener, but Ondoa was at his best in the 25th minute to keep out Puch's low effort from distance.
La Roja squandered another golden chance in the 40th minute when Vargas was played through on goal, however the striker blazed horribly over the crossbar.
Chile had the ball in the back of the net on the stroke of halftime, however the Video Assistant Referee ruled that Vargas was offside.
After a quiet opening to the half, Juan Antonio Pizzi introduced Arsenal star Sanchez in the 57th minute as they pushed for an opening goal.
Benjamin Moukandjo went close to breaking the deadlock for Cameroon in the 66th minute but his curling free-kick sailed inches wide of the upright.
La Roja eventually broke the deadlock in the 80th minute when Vidal rose above his marker to head home Sanchez's cross from the left, 0-1.
Chile sealed the win in stoppage time, as Vargas got on the score-sheet with a finish from close range after Sanchez had been denied, 0-2.
Former Chelsea player Jason Cundy has claimed that Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is a better attacking option at present that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and also went on to claim that the England international is “twice the player” that Everton striker Romelu Lukaku is.
Cundy told talkSPORT : “If you are giving me the option to buy either one of those players, I’d take Kane every single day of the week over Lukaku.
“I would rather Harry Kane over Cristiano Ronaldo, too.
“All-round, the value he’s going to bring, because of what he can do, the player he’s going to turn into. I have faith in my judgement.
“Harry Kane is twice the player Lukaku is – based on my eyes, based on my knowledge, based on what I see.
“He’s twice the player, Kane is twice the player.
“Harry Kane is a better player, he can hold the ball up with his back to goal and Lukaku can’t.
“However you dress it up, the better player is Harry Kane.”
Despite Ronaldo being the current Ballon d’Or holder, Kane enjoyed a better season statistically, as the Tottenham player scored more goals, provided more assists and created a higher amount of chances per game in the league, while he also boasted a superior average shot accuracy.
In an exclusive interview with SunSport former Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon revealed that Ronaldo’s heart may be at Manchester United.
“I remember when I signed Cristiano, he phoned me and said everyone at Manchester United was really happy and kind to him.
“Sir Alex Ferguson was like a father and he loved the fans.
“The club has been very important in his career. Manchester United is a club he has in his heart.” He said.
Ronaldo and Ferguson remain very close and embraced at last month’s Champions League final in Cardiff, after which Fergie presented his former star with the man-of-the- match award.
Ronaldo wants out of Madrid believing they have failed to back him over a charge of defrauding the Spanish taxman to the tune of £13million.
It is said his decision to quit the Bernabeu after eight years is irreversible.
Calderon added: “I had the same situation with Manchester United when he decided to leave and I signed him.
“He says I want to leave and that’s it, as a president you can’t do anything other than let him go and get the best possible deal.”
Jose Mourinho will have the final say, of course, and he and Ronaldo fell out towards the end of the Special One’s final season in charge at Real.
1. 76ers via trade with Celtics
Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
Is Fultz "can't-miss"? He's as close as there is to can't-miss as there is in this draft, which is loaded with great talents but devoid of a Karl-Anthony Towns-like, Kyrie Irving-like, LeBron James-like transcendent and surefire superstar. It remains to be seen how Fultz and Ben Simmons, both players who flourish with the ball in their hands, will mesh together on the basketball court. But whatever. The Sixers are going with the player with the highest ceiling, and building a team that could be a juggernaut in the future. Fultz does it all: He's got phenomenal size for an NBA guard, a diverse set of offensive weapons and elite athleticism. Yes, I wonder about his decision to play his one-and-done season at a floundering collegiate program like Washington, and winning only nine games there. But the talent? Yeah, it's undeniable.
De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
Oh, what the hell. The Lakers have been sending out signals (or perhaps just misinformation) that Lonzo Ball isn't as done of a deal as it has been portrayed. Do I think the Lakers will pass on Ball? In the end, probably not. In the end, that's probably the pick. Do I think they could? Absolutely. And if they do, Fox is a fun, fast, Showtime-type player (and personality) who could play well into the Lakers' post-Kobe rebuild. The shooting stroke is a concern for Fox; he shot 24.6 percent from three at Kentucky. But (small sample size alert!) he did shoot 47.4 percent in his final 10 games. If he were more reliable of a shooter, everyone would be talking about him as a possible No. 1 pick in this draft, as he's got the size, length, athleticism and speed to become a John Wall-like player in the NBA. "Speed kills," one NBA scout told me about Fox - and you can't teach speed. It remains to be seen whether you can teach consistent shooting.
3. Celtics via trade with 76ers
Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
There's been lots of talk lately of Jackson as a possible No. 1 pick. I never bought it, but I always saw where it was coming from, because the Jackson is a gritty Brad Stevens type of two-way player in a way that Fultz never seemed to be. I love this kid's potential. Jackson is a phenomenal athlete with a ridiculous motor. He gets after it on both ends of the floor. His ceiling will depend on whether he can develop into a dynamic small-ball four in the NBA. I think he will. One word of caution: The incident at Kansas in December, where Jackson allegedly vandalized a car and threatened to beat up a women's basketball player, made at least one coach tell me he'd be wary. I'm surprised a bigger deal hasn't been made of this in the lead-up to this draft. Clearly, any worries Danny Ainge may have had about Jackson's legal troubles have been quelled.
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
The Suns win the lottery's lottery ticket as, somehow, Lonzo Ball falls to them. Ball falling to fourth is a dream scenario for the Suns. He may not be the scorer that Fultz is, or the athlete that Fox is, but as his dad loooooves to say, the kid is simply a winner. Yes, this is bad news for Eric Bledsoe. He has two years left on his contract, so perhaps this marks the beginning of the end. Or perhaps it's not that at all, and Ball and Bledsoe can play together. Man, what a fun starting five that could be on offense: Ball, Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss and Tyson Chandler now, Dragan Bender later. And by the way: I don't buy all the concern about LaVar Ball. Sure, he's loud and obnoxious, but he's raising a great, talented, grounded son.
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
This is the easiest pick in the entire draft. Conventional wisdom has the very top tier of this draft ending at the fifth pick. (I would argue that Florida State's Jonathan Isaac could belong in this tier as well, because his potential is sky-high, and possibly Lauri Markannen as well.) All the Kings have to do is take whichever player falls to them. I worry about a player of Tatum's abilities going to a franchise that has struggled like the Kings, but this team does have some intriguing young pieces in Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere, Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis. Tatum may be the best natural scorer in this draft, someone who can score effectively from all three levels. He does all the little things - the footwork and the hard work - that can turn a big talent into a star. And I love the mature head on this young man's shoulders. The floor is very high for a player like Tatum.
Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
Hey! I got a nickname for Markannen! Let's call him "The Whooper Swan." Because that's Finland's national bird, and Markannen is kind of like a Finnish (Larry) Bird (this, by the way, is why I don't work in marketing). Anyway: I think Markannen could be a near-star in this league, a Dirk Nowitzki Lite. He's one of the top 3-point-shooting 7-footers in college basketball history, and was one of the most efficient scorers in all of college basketball last season. The Magic need everything. Markannen is the type of unique package you can't pass up on. He's versatile on offense, mobile on defense and has great instincts.
Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State
A home-run swing for a team that's one young star away from making some serious noise in the Western Conference. I loooove Isaac's potential. Think it's the highest ceiling in this draft, in fact. He's 6-11 and, according to his college coach, still may be growing. A late growth spurt meant that he grew up playing guard positions before he shot up in height, a la Anthony Davis. Coaches have raved about his unselfishness and work ethic. Florida State's Leonard Hamilton, a onetime NBA coach, told me Isaac has one of the best basketball IQs he has ever seen. And a near-seven-foot athlete who can shoot, pass and blocks shots is a huge asset in today's NBA. While his offensive game is far from complete and he needs to pack muscle onto his thin frame, Isaac is a helluva shooter for a big man, making 34.8 percent of his 3s and shooting 78 percent from the free-throw line. "He has the versatility to be whatever a coach wants him to be," Hamilton told me. If this pick hits, the Timberwolves will be contending in the West in a few years. And I think it'll hit.
Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
The most electric player in this draft playing at Madison Square Garden? Gimme that. Monk is a superb athlete and a fantastic (if streaky) shooter. Monk can light it up from deep like no other player in this draft. I can't wait for him to go on one of his signature three-minute tears at MSG, where he's the only guy who matters on the court. In practices you can see how his work ethic ends up paying off in games. Yes, he's incredibly streaky, and yes, his size -- 6-3 -- is more the size of a point guard than an NBA two. But Monk is an exciting young player who, paired with Kristaps Porzingis, breathes more life into a struggling franchise.
Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
A high-IQ basketball player with remarkable perimeter defensive skills and great game management talents -- and I don't mean that as faint praise. Ntilikina's physical profile -- 6-5 with long arms -- is impressive for a point guard. In time, he'll learn to be more aggressive, which is something he needs to do.
Dennis Smith, PG, NC State
The Kings, once again, have an easy decision: Take whoever falls to you. The Kings' fifth pick may be the end of the elite tier, and the 10th pick is the end of that next tier, I believe. We'll see if they end up shopping these two picks to move up, as has been rumored, but that makes no sense to me (unless they're swinging some deal to get Fultz, which is highly unlikely). Smith is a bit small but an absolute stick of athletic dynamite on the court. His inconsistency might make teams worried. In January, he scored 32 points in a stunning upset at Duke, but in his last collegiate game he had seven points and four turnovers.
Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
I have long had an unabashed love of Kennard's game (every mock needs to have a hipster element: "I thought this was cool before everyone else thought this was cool"). As a shooter Kennard was one of the best in college basketball last season, but to pigeon hole him as only a shooter is a mistake. Kennard is an all-around scorer who leverages the respect teams give his outside shot to score effectively from all three levels. He's a surprisingly good ball-handler who, when he doesn't have the ball, knows how to move well off it. Will he be able to defend at the next level? I don't know. I mean, he's not going to lock down Russell Westbrook, but who can? I believe that Kennard will be competent as a team defender and more than make up for it on the offensive end as a J.J. Redick-like presence. He might be the steal of the draft.
Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
Mitchell is an absurd athlete with terrific measurements, as evidenced by his showing at the NBA combine. His wingspan is 8.75 inches longer than his height (which at just shy of 6-2 is subpar for an NBA shooting guard). He is speedy and an incredible leaper, and he was Rick Pitino's most-trusted player last season at Louisville. With improved 3-point shooting his sophomore year (35.4 percent), Mitchell can score from anywhere he wants. Yes, there's the hero-ball element to Mitchell that NBA coaches will have to pound out of him. But the dude is a high-motor both-ends-of-the-floor type of guy.
Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
Long and lanky with a high IQ and a variety of offensive tools, Jackson came back for a junior season determined to improve the parts of his game NBA scouts told him were lacking. And he did. He improved his 3-point shooting to a respectable 37 percent, which was key in showing NBA teams he can play the three in the league. A star? No. A reliable NBA starter if he can add strength to his lanky frame? Absolutely. Jackson took a while a while to develop into a star at the college level -- he was a higher-ranked recruit than future one-and-doners Karl-Anthony Towns, Justise Winslow and UNLINK' data-slug="" data-subtype="">D'Angelo Russell -- but by his junior season, that's exactly what he was, the most talented player on a title-winning UNC team.
Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
Christmas in June for Pat Riley's team, as Collins falls to 14. The young big man is just solid, solid, solid. We got to see Zach Collins' best college game on the biggest of stages when he dropped 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks on South Carolina in the Final Four. While he'll never be called spectacular, there are few holes in Collins' game. He combines size and mobility, touch and strength. If Collins can stretch his range and become a consistent NBA 3-point shooter, he could be a very impactful player. Not a star, but you'll have a great chance at getting a very solid all-around two-way big man, and that's a valuable thing.
15. Trail Blazers
Harry Giles, PF, Duke
A surprise pick here. With three first-round picks the Trail Blazers can afford to take a home-run swing on the biggest risk-reward pick since Joel Embiid. And I don't believe Giles will last until 20, when the Trail Blazers have their next selection. Leading into Giles' senior year of high school, he was one of the top three or so talents in this stacked draft -- then he tore an ACL for the second time. Giles is a gifted athlete who talent evaluators would mention in the same breath as Chris Webber and Kevin Garnett. If you watched Giles last season, you barely caught glimpses of that as he recovered from two knee injuries over the past calendar year. But he was once that good. The risk here is huge; so is the reward. He could become an All-Star, or he could never see a minute of NBA playing time.
OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana
Also a risky pick, as Anunoby's injury during his senior year might keep him off the floor during his rookie season. But if his health improves he could be the Draymond Green of this draft. Yes, he is a bit of a tweener, but that's not nearly as much a negative in the NBA as it was even five years ago. He can guard multiple positions. He's a great athlete. He plays bigger than his height (6-7 with a 7-2 1/2 wingspan). His offensive skills are very much a work in progress. But there aren't any sure things at this point of the draft anyway.
Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
The size is there. The potential is there. I worry about the shooting (56 percent from the free-throw line in college) and the lack of offensive tools. But a college coach who recruited Allen raved to me about his focus and work ethic. He's not the type of kid who will get in trouble, instead just staying in the gym and working on his game. At the very least he can be an intimidating, explosive low-post presence. That's a pretty nice floor.
John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
Guess who had the highest player efficiency rating in college basketball last season? It was Collins, who was incredibly efficient around the rim. Collins made 62 percent of his shots, and he was one of the best rebounders in college hoops, especially on the offensive glass. And he's incredible at getting fouled, drawing more fouls per 40 minutes than any projected draftee. He's not effective away from the basket, but remember: Collins made a huge jump from his freshman to his sophomore season under coach Danny Manning. He's a coachable player motivated to improve his game. Can he play alongside Myles Turner? I believe so.
Ike Anigbogu, PF, UCLA
Anigbogu is a project, especially on offense. He's an 18-year-old freshman who plays with energy -- a tall, strong and athletic big man with long arms and loads of potential. He has a long way to go to develop his offensive game, but being so young and such a remarkable raw talent means Anigbogu still has lots of room to grow, both physically and as a player. He has an ideal frame, athleticism and energy for a high-level shot-blocking, rebounding, dunking NBA center.
20. Trail Blazers
TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA
A tall, white power forward from UCLA who can rebound and make 3s? Wait, I think I've heard this one before. No, Leaf isn't Kevin Love 2.0, but the comparison has some merit. Leaf is the type of guy who will fit on any NBA team, as that 46.8 percent 3-point shooting clip in college would suggest. A safe pick for the Blazers after the risky Giles pick at 15.
Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia
Russell Westbrook needs another shooter next to him, and Ferguson has the prettiest shooting stroke in this draft, with length and elite-level athleticism to boot. Ferguson has the tools to become a special wing in the NBA. One scout told me his season playing in Australia against grown men would be a better transition to the NBA for Ferguson than a year in college would have been. If he can become a more dynamic half-court player, Ferguson could be an absolute steal at this point. If not, he could still be a useful 3-and-D wing.
Justin Patton, C, Creighton
The worst franchise in the NBA doesn't have a pick until No. 22. Rough spot, and the penance for trading away all your draft picks to try and do the win-now thing with aging players. It's a tough place to draft, because at 22 we're long since past sure things and are starting to run out of the risky home-run type of guys. Patton, I believe, is the last home run possibility left (assuming he lasts this late). He is a great athlete for a 7-footer. Though he certainly needs to add some muscle to his thin frame, Patton's offensive versatility and efficiency (he was one of the most efficient shooters in college basketball last season) and shot-blocking skills make me believe there's a high ceiling here. The Nets will have to be patient with him. But it's not like they'll be playing for anything over the next few years anyway.
Alec Peters, PF, Valparaiso
Peters was one of college basketball's top shooters last season, with a remarkable 60.4 percent true shooting percentage. As the best player in the Horizon League last season, teams ganged up on Peters, so ignore his 36.3 percent from 3-point land and look at his previous two seasons, where he shot 46.6 and 44 percent from three respectively. Is he going to be a star? No. He's far from the "elite NBA athlete" level. But shooting like he does -- and being able to score from all over the court -- means he'll be able to be a productive player in this league for a long time.
Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue
Not only is he the most heart-warming story of this draft but "Biggie" also is the most NBA-ready player available late in the first round. He's simply going to outwork everybody on the floor. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever been around. And he knows his role in the NBA. He told me there will always be a place for a rebounder in the NBA. That's where he's going to butter his bread, and he knows it. The questions about his body, size and athleticism are overwrought. He's a winner, pure and simple. Fans should want this inspiring and inspired young man on their squad.
Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Lithuania
A lefty 7-footer, Hartenstein is big and agile, physical on the boards and a guy who gets after it on both ends. It remains to be seen whether he can become an asset on the offensive end aside from crashing the glass and getting putbacks.
26. Trail Blazers
Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
Is he a tight end or a basketball player? Well, if the NBA doesn't work out, the NFL is only a phone call away. Adebayo was one of the most physically imposing players in college basketball last season, and at a cut 6-10 and 250 pounds, he'll be able to come into the league immediately and bang with 10-year veterans down low. He's no creative offensive force, but Adebayo can make a difference on both ends of the court based on sheer size, athleticism and motor. He could easily go eight to 10 spots higher than this.
Kyle Kuzma, SF, Utah
A solid stretch four type, Kuzma is a rare high-ceiling guy who will be available late in the first round. And that's what the Nets need instead of pieces that fit their needs, because this franchise needs just about everything. Kuzma is an excellent, versatile athlete who doesn't have many glaring holes in his game. His solid offensive performance at the NBA combine opened a lot of eyes about his potential.
Tony Bradley, PF, North Carolina
Bradley is a huge -- 6-10 with a 7-4 wingspan, weighing in at 250 pounds -- and physical big man who doesn't shy away from contact. He may need some time in the D-League -- er, the G-League -- before he can make an impact at the NBA level. But if he develops a more refined offensive game, this could turn into a solid pick.
Josh Hart, SG, Villanova
Hart could be the Malcolm Brogdon of this draft, a player who came into college underrecruited, got better and better each of his four collegiate years under a great coach, is full of intangibles, and simply is a winner. If that doesn't sound like a prototypical San Antonio Spur, I don't know what does. He's a high-IQ, hard-working consistent player who can play multiple positions. He can shoot, he can rebound, he can defend. If Hart slips into the second round, he'll be an absolute steal there. He can help a team immediately.
Frank Jackson, SG, Duke
Jackson could add an exciting scoring threat to one of the NBA's most plodding (though efficient) offensive teams. Yes, he's a tweener, and there's plenty of uncertainty around whether he'll fit as a point guard or shooting guard at the next level. But he's a natural scorer, an excellent 3-point shooter and a guy who can flat-out get to the rim.
The Boston Celtics are engaged in talks with the Philadelphia 76ers on a trade for the No. 1 pick in next week's NBA draft, sources said Friday.
League sources said the Sixers and Celtics are working on a trade that, in its current iteration, would send a package of Sixers draft picks to Boston -- including Philadelphia's No. 3 overall selection in Thursday's draft -- in exchange for Boston's turn at No. 1.
Completing such a deal would put the Sixers in position to draft Washington guard Markelle Fultz and pair him in their backcourt with Ben Simmons, last year's No. 1 overall pick who has yet to make his NBA debut due to injury.
While it is widely assumed in league circles that the Sixers would target Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick, sources say Philadelphia and Boston are likewise high on Kansas forward Josh Jackson.
Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo was in Sacramento, California, on Friday to attend a private workout for Jackson. Philadelphia also will hold an individual workout with Kentucky guard De'Aaron Fox on Saturday.
A source told ESPN's Ian Begley that as of Friday night, a meeting between Fultz and the Sixers had not been planned.
ESPN's Chad Ford reported Thursday that the Celtics, already flush with a stable of guards featuring Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart, have contemplated using the No. 1 overall pick on Jackson, a forward.
One source close to the talks expressed confidence Friday that the deal would go through, telling ESPN: "They are swapping 1 and 3."
The Celtics already have a wealth of picks in future drafts:
Boston last traded a No. 1 pick in 1980, when it dealt it to the Golden State Warriors, who chose Purdue's Joe Barry Carroll. The Celtics netted two eventual Hall of Famers in the transaction, getting four-year veteran Robert Parish and the No. 3 overall pick, which was used on Kevin McHale.
Real Madrid star Alvaro Morata is very keen to get his transfer move to Manchester United wrapped up as quickly as possible, according to reports in Spain.
It’s understood the Red Devils are closing in on a deal for Morata this summer off the back of the Spaniard’s frustrating season at the Bernabeu.
Morata managed 20 goals last term but struggled for regular game-time under Zinedine Zidane and Jose Mourinho is ready to make the 24-year-old the main man at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have opened talks with Barcelona over the signing of £30m-rated midfielder Andre Gomes, according to reports in Spain.
Gomes, 23, opted to join the Catalans from Valencia last summer despite interest from Real Madrid and United.
Barcelona paid their La Liga rivals £29.3m for Gomes but the Portugal international’s first season at the Camp Nou was far from ideal.
The Portuguese made just 17 league starts under Luis Enrique and was subbed off in 12 of those as Barcelona finished behind Real Madrid.
Mourinho, though, remains a huge fan of his compatriot and AS claim United and Juventus have made Barcelona aware of their interest in Gomes.
The report claims Barcelona have been left unimpressed by Gomes’ first season at the club and want to recoup as much as possible for the midfielder.
Chelsea are reportedly set to show their trust in unsettled manager Antonio Conte by giving him a £250million transfer budget to sign top targets such as Romelu Lukaku and Leonardo Bonucci this summer.
There have been reports of tension between Conte and Blues owner Roman Abramovich in the last couple of days, with the Italian frustrated that the club won’t spend what it takes to sign the players he wants.
However, the Daily Mirror now claim that the row has settled and Chelsea are ready to hand their manager a whopping transfer kitty to strengthen his squad for next season.
The Premier League champions are expected to complete deals for Romelu Lukaku and Tiemoue Bakayoko, while they are also keen to make moves for Juventus pair Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro.
Chelsea won the Premier League in the 47-year-old’s first season in charge, but he is well aware that the squad will need more depth to adjust to the challenge of Champions League football in 2017/18.
Chelsea could also do with renewing the contracts of key duo Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, whose futures have not yet been resolved.
Cristiano Ronaldo has decided to leave Real Madrid this summer, according to a report in Portugal.
Portugal newspaper A Bola’s front page on today led with their story which claims that the former Manchester United forward is ‘outraged’ after being accused of evading €14.7 million (£13m) in tax by Spanish prosecutors.
The report also claims that Ronaldo’s decision to leave the Spanish champions is ‘irreversible’ and the player has already informed Madrid president Florentino Perez of his desire to quit.
Earlier this week, the prosecutor’s office in Madrid confirmed that a lawsuit has been filed against the 32-year-old.
The Portugal captain has since been asked about the charges levied against him and replied: ‘I have a clear conscience.’
Madrid have also released a statement confirming that they have ‘full confidence’ in the Portuguese forward being able to prove his innocence.
Ronaldo is currently on international duty with Portugal as the national team are making their final preparations for this summer’s Confederations Cup.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed Arsenal have made a ‘very nice’ offer for £60m-rated forward Alexandre Lacazette.
The France international had agreed a deal to join Atletico Madrid this summer but the La Liga giants had their transfer ban upheld and are now unable to sign players until 2018.
And, in a Q&A session today Aulas said,
“Lacazette was told he could leave. We now have a very nice offer from Arsenal. But for us he will not leave.”
Lacazette, 26, came through Lyon’s academy and has scored 129 goals in 275 appearances for the Ligue 1 club.
The striker netted 27 Ligue 1 goals for Lyon in 30 games this season. He fueled speculation over a move to the Emirates earlier this month when he said he was open to joining a club in the Europa League.
Paris Saint-Germain were interested in signing N’Golo Kante last summer, but a discussion with Antonio Conte was key to his decision to join Chelsea.
Kante enjoyed a spectacular debut campaign in England in 2015/16, as he helped Leicester City to Premier League glory. The France international then became Conte’s first signing in west London.
The transfer has proven to be an exceptional as Kante again lifted the Premier League title this season.
He boasted the best pass accuracy (89%) of any regular Blues starter, while also making more interceptions (83) than any teammate. He won 41% of his duels in the Premier League this season – down 5% on his 2015/16 rate while at Leicester.
Kante has now revealed that he had the opportunity to return to his homeland last summer, but turned down a move to PSG – a choice he doesn’t regret.
The 26-year-old told Le Parisien, “It is true that the PSG were there like the other clubs after my beautiful season in Leicester. But I chose Chelsea after talking with the coach and the sporting director. And I do not regret it. In addition, I like the league and the style of play in England.”
N’Golo Kante won 41% of his duels in the Premier League this season – down 5% on his 2015/16 rate.
Tanzanian government have informed SportPesa Limited that they also want to see a Tanzanian team play against Everton on July 12 at the National Stadium. Gor Mahia are the ones with the opportunity after winning the SportPesa Super Cup finals.
Director of Sports Development in the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports Yusuph Singo confirmed that they have asked the betting firm to organize a friendly match between Everton and one of Tanzania's bigwigs.
``We have asked them (SportPesa) to organse a special friendly match between Yanga and Simba later this month,'' said Singo.
``If all goes well, the winner of the match will confront Everton at the National Stadium. I am sure many local soccer fans would like to see the English Premier League team face one of the top teams in the country,'' he added.
Federico Allende of Argentine club Sport Pacifico, is set to be sacked after he admitted that he used a needle to stab opponents during a game.
The defender stated that he used the needle on several occasions against players from top division team Estudiantes last weekend where Sport Pacifico prevailed past Estudiantes with a 3-2 victory in the Copa Argentina first round.
According to BBC News, Allende told Vorterix Radio, “We knew that we had to play dirty against them and I kept piercing the Estudiantes strikers with a needle.
“We know that top division players don’t like contact, they don’t like if we waste time or if we play dirty. So that was the way to do. Football is like that. Football is for the clever.”
Estudiantes striker Juan Otero said that Allende frequently attacked him with the needle during the game.
Allende said: “I completely nullified Otero. He must hate me.”
Otero subsequently referred to Allende as “a nasty man”.
Sport Pacifico president Hector Moncada said: “We are devastated. This incident has tarnished the team’s good work. I will expel him from the club.”
Although they went into the game as underdogs, Sport Pacifico established a two goal lead courtesy of efforts from Federico Amaya and Ivo Hong.
Otero reduced the deficit as he found the net for Estudiantes, but Maximiliano Montiveros struck after the break to put Sport Pacifico 3-1 in front.
Although Lucas Rodriguez pulled a goal back, Sport Pacifico still managed to run out 3-2 winners.
Manchester United and Liverpool are reportedly considering Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins, who been compared to Luis Figo by the Portugal legend himself.
“The player who most resembles me is Gelson Martins of Sporting, he is 21 years old,” Figo told Gazzetta dello Sport in April. “I wish him a great career, he has the qualities to win. He must continue to work and grow as an athlete.”
Martins moved to Portugal in 2008 from Cape Verde as a 13-year old and spent two years with CF Benfica before moving to the Lions in 2010.
The 22-year old speedy winger loves to dribble past players and create chances for his teammates and plays mainly on the right but can play on both sides and even has some experience as a right back with the Sporting and Portugal youth sides.
The winger played in 44 of Sporting’s 47 games last season including each of their Champions League group games and scored seven goals, six in the league, and racked up 14 assists to lead the Primera Liga. He is valued at £12.75m by transfermarkt.com.
Sporting signed Martins to a contract extension in February that has a €60m release clause, which could reportedly fall to €50m with Sporting’s failure to directly qualify for the Champions League group stage.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has described Ander Herrera as “one of the smartest players” he’s ever coached.
The 27-year-old been a pivotal figure in the Portuguese tactician’s first season at Old Trafford which culminated by winning the Europa League.
It was during that final against Ajax the Spanish international produced a moment which greatly impressed his manager who made the detailed account whilst giving a recent lecture at the University of Lisbon.
“Mourinho talked a lot about Herrera, saying he is one of the smartest players he has had during his career,” wrote Petter Skogsletten, one of the students present, on Reddit.
“Herrera took hold of [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan and sent him in front of the keeper, while Herrera would take the pitch outside the box. Mourinho said he was so frustrated that he said ‘What the hell is going on?’
“It turned out Herrera had taken responsibility in the situation – Mkhitaryan had a yellow card. If Ajax suddenly counter-attacked and Mkhitaryan had fouled the player, he would have been sent off.
“Mourinho said he is incredibly pleased to have such players who can handle situations on their own and adjust.”
Renowned for his tenacity and strong passing ability, Herrera joined the Red Devils in the summer of 2014 for a reported £30.6m after a prospective move from Athletic Bilbao broke down 12 months prior.
After a slow start under former boss Louis van Gaal he established himself as one of United’s most important midfielder a reputation he’s carried into Mourinho’s debut campaign. To date he has made 122 appearances for the red devils, registering 15 goals and 22 assists in the process.
Southampton have confirmed they’ve parted company with manager Claude Puel after just one season in charge.
The Frenchman was appointed last summer following Ronald Koeman’s departure to Premier League rivals Everton and led the club to the EFL Cup final where they were narrowly beaten by Manchester United 3-2 at Wembley.
However the Saints’ form following that game plummeted which ultimately led to Puel’s contract being terminated with immediate effect as his side registered four league wins between then and the end of the campaign.
An official statement via the club’s website read: “Southampton Football Club can today confirm that it has terminated the contract of Claude Puel with immediate effect.
“Everyone at Southampton would like to express our thanks to Claude for his hard work and commitment this year. The highlight of the season was a memorable day at Wembley in the EFL Cup Final, a day our fans will always treasure.We wish Claude well for the future.The search for a new management team is underway. We are confident that we will find the right fit in line with the long term vision of the club.”
Under Puel’s guidance the south Coast outfit claimed an eighth-placed finish in the top flight of English football, two places back and 17 points less than where they accomplished in the 2015/2016 campaign.
Many expect LeBron James to finish his NBA career in his hometown team the Cleveland Cavaliers after his return in 2014. However, he may go to another team when he can opt out of his contract after the 2017-18 season.
Just a few days since James lost the 2017 NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors in five games, the Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski(h/t Pro Basketball Talk's Dan Feldman) reported on his podcast that the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers may be destinations for James in free agency:
"Not only is there no guarantee he’s coming back, I’m not sure there’s an expectation he’s re-signing there. I think they feel, I think within Cleveland and around the league, they feel that he’s very much in play to leave again and likely head out West to one of the two L.A. teams. The Lakers could very well be a target."
Wojnarowski speculated James would feel more comfortable leaving Cleveland a second time since he helped the Cavaliers win an NBA championship in 2016. And being in Los Angeles would allow the four-time MVP to pursue ventures he has outside of basketball.
Having his representatives float the idea he could sign with another team could be a way for LeBron to shake the Cavaliers front office out of any contentedness it may feel with reaching three straight NBA Finals and beating the Golden State Warriors a year ago.
It's not like Cavs general manager David Griffin rested on his laurels during Cleveland's title defense—trading for Kyle Korver and signing Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut in the middle of the year. The threat of LeBron departing again would ensure that remains the case.
Of course, James may simply want to play for another team. The Cavaliers are almost $27 million over the cap heading into next year so they have little flexibility with which they can improve the roster.
The Clippers or the Lakers, on the other hand, may be better positioned in 2018 to challenge Golden State. The Clippers would need to re-sign both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, while the Lakers would need to acquire a top star before then.
The Mayweather McGregor fight all boxing and MMA fans have been waiting for is now official.
Former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. made the announcement on Instagram, confirming that the champion in five weight classes will exit a 23-month retirement at age 40 to face Conor McGregor, the UFC superstar, in a boxing match on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas. Many believe the fight will approach the 4.6 million buy record set by Mayweather-Pacquiao in their bout in May 2015.
Mayweather did not say how many rounds the fight would be scheduled for, what weight the bout would be at or the specific location, though it will be at either the MGM Grand Garden Arena or the T-Mobile Arena.The fight will be broadcasted on Showtime PPV.
The announcement brings to an end rampant speculation that began two years ago when McGregor threw out the prospect of the fantasy match during a July 2015 appearance on Conan O'Brien's talk show, telling the host, "I would box him if the opportunity arose."
28-year-old Ireland's McGregor (21-3) is the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold titles in two different divisions and one of the best MMA fighters in the world, but he will be making his professional boxing debut against Mayweather, one of the greatest boxers in history.
With no major titles on the line and Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) an astronomical favorite, the fight is merely an opportunity for both make huge money.
Mayweather is a -1,000 favorite at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, with McGregor paying back +700.
McGregor has been outspoken about his desire for a fight that will dwarf his largest UFC payday while Mayweather, who earned some $250 million for his record-shattering victory against Manny Pacquiao in May 2015, stands to earn a second nine-figure windfall.
Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) also has the chance to finish off his career at a perfect 50-0 in a fight that few expect to be competitive but has nonetheless piqued the public's interest because of the boxing-versus-MMA angle, not to mention the big personalities and trash-talk ability of both combatants.
Mayweather has not fought since easily beating Andre Berto in September 2015 to retain his Welterweight World Title and then retiring. But he has been vocal about his desire to exit retirement for only one fight -- the big one against McGregor.
The Mayweather-McGregor card will be boxing only and Mayweather has said he wants two of his company's top fighters to appear on it, Badou Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs), a former super middleweight world titleholder who vacated his belt in January to move up to light heavyweight, and junior lightweight world titlist Gervonta Davis (18-0, 17 KOs).
Victor Lindelof has arrived to undergo a medical at Manchester United ahead of his move from Benfica.
The 22-year-old Swedish international relocates to Old Trafford for a reported £30.7m, ending a five-year association with the record Portuguese champions.
A central defender by trade, Lindelof rolled into United’s training ground Carrington driving a Chevrolet, the club’s shirt sponsor, and if he successfully completes his examination will become Jose Mourinho’s first major acquisition of the summer as he looks to fight on four fronts next season.With Mourinho all-but guaranteeing Eric Bailly a starting berth, and reports suggest Lindelof and Bailly will be the Portuguese tactician’s first-choice central defensive pairing spelling trouble for England Internationals Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.
The 2017-18 Premier League fixture list has been released.
There are in total 380 games in the Premier League fixture list, all of which were announced on Wednesday morning.
It should however be noted that all fixtures are subject to change. Spurs, for instance, instantly informed their following on twitter that the August 26 away game against Burnley clashes with the Rugby League Challenge Cup and therefore will be rescheduled.
Please note: Burnley (H) Aug 26 is the same day as the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final and will need to be rescheduled (1/2)
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) June 14, 2017
Reigning champions Chelsea take on Burnley in their first game of the season while the 2016-17 Championship winners Newcastle play Tottenham on their return to the English top flight. Their last meeting ended 5-1 to the Magpies in a season that saw Spurs finish second.
Brighton and Hove Albion, in what is also their first ever Premier League game, take on Manchester City. Huddersfield Town, who qualified through the play-offs last season, will play Crystal Palace in the club’s first Premier League fixture ever.
The first fixture between two top-six sides is Tottenham vs Chelsea. That will take place on the weekend of August 19, the second game week of the Premier League fixture list.
The Manchester and Merseyside derbies take place on the same weekend beginning December 9, while the respective reverse ties will take place on the weekend beginning April 7.
Here is the full 2017-18 Premier League fixture list:
Saturday, 12 August, 2017
Arsenal v Leicester City
Brighton v Manchester City
Chelsea v Burnley
Crystal Palace v Huddersfield Town
Everton v Stoke City
Manchester United v West Ham United
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur
Southampton v Swansea City
Watford v Liverpool
West Bromwich Albion v AFC Bournemouth
Saturday, 19 August, 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Watford
Burnley v West Bromwich Albion
Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United
Leicester City v Brighton
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Manchester City v Everton
Stoke City v Arsenal
Swansea City v Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea
West Ham United v Southampton
Saturday, 26 August, 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City
Chelsea v Everton
Crystal Palace v Swansea City
Huddersfield Town v Southampton
Liverpool v Arsenal
Manchester United v Leicester City
Newcastle United v West Ham United
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley
Watford v Brighton
West Bromwich Albion v Stoke City
Saturday, 9 September, 2017
Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth
Brighton v West Bromwich Albion
Burnley v Crystal Palace
Everton v Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester City v Chelsea
Manchester City v Liverpool
Southampton v Watford
Stoke City v Manchester United
Swansea City v Newcastle United
West Ham United v Huddersfield Town
Saturday, 16 September, 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Brighton
Chelsea v Arsenal
Crystal Palace v Southampton
Huddersfield Town v Leicester City
Liverpool v Burnley
Manchester United v Everton
Newcastle United v Stoke City
Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City
Watford v Manchester City
West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United
Saturday, 23 September, 2017
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion
Brighton v Newcastle United
Burnley v Huddersfield Town
Everton v AFC Bournemouth
Leicester City v Liverpool
Manchester City v Crystal Palace
Southampton v Manchester United
Stoke City v Chelsea
Swansea City v Watford
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday, 30 September, 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City
Arsenal v Brighton
Chelsea v Manchester City
Everton v Burnley
Huddersfield Town v Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United v Crystal Palace
Newcastle United v Liverpool
Stoke City v Southampton
West Bromwich Albion v Watford
West Ham United v Swansea City
Saturday, 14 October, 2017
Brighton v Everton
Burnley v West Ham United
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion
Liverpool v Manchester United
Manchester City v Stoke City
Southampton v Newcastle United
Swansea City v Huddersfield Town
Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth
Watford v Arsenal
Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Chelsea v Watford
Everton v Arsenal
Huddersfield Town v Manchester United
Manchester City v Burnley
Newcastle United v Crystal Palace
Southampton v West Bromwich Albion
Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth
Swansea City v Leicester City
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool
West Ham United v Brighton
Saturday, 28 October , 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea
Arsenal v Swansea City
Brighton v Southampton
Burnley v Newcastle United
Crystal Palace v West Ham United
Leicester City v Everton
Liverpool v Huddersfield Town
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur
Watford v Stoke City
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City
Saturday, 4 November, 2017
Chelsea v Manchester United
Everton v Watford
Huddersfield Town v West Bromwich Albion
Manchester City v Arsenal
Newcastle United v AFC Bournemouth
Southampton v Burnley
Stoke City v Leicester City
Swansea City v Brighton
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace
West Ham United v Liverpool
Saturday, 18 November, 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Huddersfield Town
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
Brighton v Stoke City
Burnley v Swansea City
Crystal Palace v Everton
Leicester City v Manchester City
Liverpool v Southampton
Manchester United v Newcastle United
Watford v West Ham United
West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea
Saturday, 25 November, 2017
Burnley v Arsenal
Crystal Palace v Stoke City
Huddersfield Town v Manchester City
Liverpool v Chelsea
Manchester United v Brighton
Newcastle United v Watford
Southampton v Everton
Swansea City v AFC Bournemouth
Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United v Leicester City
Tuesday, 28 November, 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Burnley
Arsenal v Huddersfield Town
Brighton v Crystal Palace
Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur
Watford v Manchester United
West Bromwich Albion v Newcastle United (8pm)
Wednesday, 29 November, 2017
Chelsea v Swansea City
Everton v West Ham United
Manchester City v Southampton (8pm)
Stoke City v Liverpool (8pm)
Saturday, 2 December, 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Southampton
Arsenal v Manchester United
Brighton v Liverpool
Chelsea v Newcastle United
Everton v Huddersfield Town
Leicester City v Burnley
Manchester City v West Ham United
Stoke City v Swansea City
Watford v Tottenham Hotspur
West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace
Saturday, 9 December, 2017
Burnley v Watford
Crystal Palace v AFC Bournemouth
Huddersfield Town v Brighton
Liverpool v Everton
Manchester United v Manchester City
Newcastle United v Leicester City
Southampton v Arsenal
Swansea City v West Bromwich Albion
Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City
West Ham United v Chelsea
Tuesday, 12 December, 2017
Burnley v Stoke City
Crystal Palace v Watford (8pm)
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea
Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth (8pm)
Swansea City v Manchester City
West Ham United v Arsenal
Wednesday, 13 December, 2017
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion (8pm)
Newcastle United v Everton
Southampton v Leicester City
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton (8pm)
Saturday, 16 December, 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool
Arsenal v Newcastle United
Brighton v Burnley
Chelsea v Southampton
Everton v Swansea City
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City v West Ham United
Watford v Huddersfield Town
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United
Saturday, 23 December, 2017
Arsenal v Liverpool
Brighton v Watford
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur
Everton v Chelsea
Leicester City v Manchester United
Manchester City v AFC. Bournemouth
Southampton v Huddersfield Town
Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion
Swansea City v Crystal Palace
West Ham United v Newcastle United
Tuesday, 26 December, 2017
AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United
Chelsea v Brighton
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Huddersfield Town v Stoke City
Liverpool v Swansea City
Manchester United v Burnley
Newcastle United v Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton
Watford v Leicester City
West Bromwich Albion v Everton
Saturday, 30 December, 2017
AFC Bournemouth v Everton
Chelsea v Stoke City
Crystal Palace v Manchester City
Huddersfield Town v Burnley
Liverpool v Leicester City
Manchester United v Southampton
Newcastle United v Brighton
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United
Watford v Swansea City
West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal
Monday, 1 January, 2018
Arsenal v Chelsea
Brighton v AFC Bournemouth
Burnley v Liverpool
Everton v Manchester United
Leicester City v Huddersfield Town
Manchester City v Watford
Southampton v Crystal Palace
Stoke City v Newcastle United
Swansea City v Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion
Saturday, 13 January, 2018
AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal
Chelsea v Leicester City
Crystal Palace v Burnley
Huddersfield Town v West Ham United
Liverpool v Manchester City
Manchester United v Stoke City
Newcastle United v Swansea City
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton
Watford v Southampton
West Bromwich Albion v Brighton
Saturday, 20 January, 2018
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Brighton v Chelsea
Burnley v Manchester United
Everton v West Bromwich Albion
Leicester City v Watford
Manchester City v Newcastle United
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City v Huddersfield Town
Swansea City v Liverpool
West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth
Tuesday, 30 January, 2018
Huddersfield Town v Liverpool
Swansea City v Arsenal
West Ham United v Crystal Palace
Wednesday, 31 January, 2018
Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth
Everton v Leicester City
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion
Newcastle United v Burnley
Southampton v Brighton
Stoke City v Watford
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United
Saturday, 3 February, 2018
AFC Bournemouth v Stoke City
Arsenal v Everton
Brighton v West Ham United
Burnley v Manchester City
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United
Leicester City v Swansea City
Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United v Huddersfield Town
Watford v Chelsea
West Bromwich Albion v Southampton
Saturday, 10 February, 2018
Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion
Everton v Crystal Palace
Huddersfield Town v AFC Bournemouth
Manchester City v Leicester City
Newcastle United v Manchester United
Southampton v Liverpool
Stoke City v Brighton
Swansea City v Burnley
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal
West Ham United v Watford
Saturday, 24 February, 2018
AFC Bournemouth v Newcastle United
Arsenal v Manchester City
Brighton v Swansea City
Burnley v Southampton
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester City v Stoke City
Liverpool v West Ham United
Manchester United v Chelsea
Watford v Everton
West Bromwich Albion v Huddersfield Town
Saturday, 3 March, 2018
Brighton v Arsenal
Burnley v Everton
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Leicester City v AFC Bournemouth
Liverpool v Newcastle United
Manchester City v Chelsea
Southampton v Stoke City
Swansea City v West Ham United
Tottenham Hotspur v Huddersfield Town
Watford v West Bromwich Albion
Saturday, 10 March, 2018
AFC Bournemouth v Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal v Watford
Chelsea v Crystal Palace
Everton v Brighton
Huddersfield Town v Swansea City
Manchester United v Liverpool
Newcastle United v Southampton
Stoke City v Manchester City
West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City
West Ham United v Burnley
Saturday, 17 March, 2018
AFC Bournemouth v West Bromwich Albion
Burnley v Chelsea
Huddersfield Town v Crystal Palace
Leicester City v Arsenal
Liverpool v Watford
Manchester City v Brighton
Stoke City v Everton
Swansea City v Southampton
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United
West Ham United v Manchester United
Saturday, 31 March, 2018
Arsenal v Stoke City
Brighton v Leicester City
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Everton v Manchester City
Manchester United v Swansea City
Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town
Southampton v West Ham United
Watford v AFC Bournemouth
West Bromwich Albion v Burnley
Saturday, 7 April, 2018
AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
Arsenal v Southampton
Brighton v Huddersfield Town
Chelsea v West Ham United
Everton v Liverpool
Leicester City v Newcastle United
Manchester City v Manchester United
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur
Watford v Burnley
West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City
Saturday, 14 April, 2018
Burnley v Leicester City
Crystal Palace v Brighton
Huddersfield Town v Watford
Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth
Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion
Newcastle United v Arsenal
Southampton v Chelsea
Swansea City v Everton
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City
West Ham United v Stoke City
Saturday, 21 April, 2018
AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United
Arsenal v West Ham United
Brighton v Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea v Huddersfield Town
Everton v Newcastle United
Leicester City v Southampton
Manchester City v Swansea City
Stoke City v Burnley
Watford v Crystal Palace
West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool
Saturday, 28 April, 2018
Burnley v Brighton
Crystal Palace v Leicester City
Huddersfield Town v Everton
Liverpool v Stoke City
Manchester United v Arsenal
Newcastle United v West Bromwich Albion
Southampton v AFC Bournemouth
Swansea City v Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford
West Ham United v Manchester City
Saturday, 5 May, 2018
AFC Bournemouth v Swansea City
Arsenal v Burnley
Brighton v Manchester United
Chelsea v Liverpool
Everton v Southampton
Leicester City v West Ham United
Manchester City v Huddersfield Town
Stoke City v Crystal Palace
Watford v Newcastle United
West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday, 13 May, 2018
Burnley v AFC Bournemouth
Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion
Huddersfield Town v Arsenal
Liverpool v Brighton
Manchester United v Watford
Newcastle United v Chelsea
Southampton v Manchester City
Swansea City v Stoke City
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City
West Ham United v Everton
Ousmane Dembele gave 10-man France the victory after finding the bottom corner from 15 yards as England were outclassed by ten-man France.
England Captain Harry Kane's seventh England goal came after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's diagonal ball was picked up by Raheem Sterling, whose clever back-heel allowed Ryan Bertrand to centre for the Tottenham striker who scored from close range on the 9th minute.
France equalised on 22 minutes through Samuel Umtiti as he finished low with his right foot after Tom Heaton had parried Olivier Giroud's header into the path of the Barcelona defender following Thomas Lemar's fine cross.
Burnley stopper Heaton then kept out Kylian Mbappe's low effort with his feet, but again parried Dembele's shot into the path of Sidibe inside the area three minutes before the break, allowing the Monaco man to pounce on the rebound for 2-1.
Raphael Varane was penalised for brushing the feet of Alli in the area just after the break, and was dismissed after the VAR (video assistant referee) was called in, before Kane slotted the spot kick low down the middle of Hugo Lloris' goal.
Despite being a man down, Mbappe hit the bar after a fine piece of skill in the box, before young Dortmund forward Dembele found the bottom left corner past sub goalkeeper Jack Butland from the right of the penalty area after 78 minues as England failed to make their numerical advantage count.
Africa champions Cameroon were thumped 4-0 in Tuesday's international friendly against Colombia only five days before their Confederations Cup opener.
The Indomitable Lions beat Egypt to win the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon earlier this year, but despite downing Morocco at the weekend, they were thoroughly outclassed by Jose Pekerman's side at Getafe's Coliseum Alfonso Perez Stadium
James Rodriguez opened the scoring with a fine effort from a narrow angle after 16 minutes when he beat Andre Onana with a thunderous effort, before Yerry Mina doubled the South Americans' lead 15 minutes later with a header. Mina added a second in the 52nd minute when he converted a fine delivery from Giovanni Moreno, but not before Spartak Trnava's Ndip Tambe had been sent off after tangling with Wilmar Barrios.
Substitute Jose Izquierdo completed the rout five minutes before time when he broke his international duck with a powerful strike.
The result adds to a troubled Confederations Cup build-up for Cameroon, who have lost first-choice left-back Ambroise Oyongo ahead of the tournament after he ruptured his patellar tendon against Morocco.
Similarly, FIFA has acknowledged the internal problems within the country's football administration, with some within the nation convinced that Tombi A Roko Sidiki's current regime has no authority to run the football federation.
Cameroon are competing in their first Confederations Cup since 2003, and have been drawn alongside Germany, Chile and Australia.
A Spanish state prosecutor has accused Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo with defrauding Spain's tax office of KSH 1.7 billion (€14.7 million) in unpaid taxes.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Madrid's regional state prosecutor accused Ronaldo, 32, of four accounts of tax fraud from 2011 to 2014.
It said the Portugal captain "took advantage of a business structure created in 2010 to hide from fiscal authorities income generated in Spain from image rights."
The statement said Ronaldo used what it deems a shell company in the Virgin Islands to "create a screen in order to hide his total income from Spain's Tax Office."
Ronaldo's agency had previously said he was up to date on his taxes. Last month, tax officials said he adjusted his tax declarations and paid an extra €6m in 2014.
The issue is similar to the one that saw Barcelona's Lionel Messi found guilty of tax evasion last summer, with Spain's Supreme Court having recently ratified a sentence of 21 months for the forward, although the punishment was suspended as it was less than two years and he was a first-time offender
Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann has extended his contract with Atletico Madrid until June 2022.
Griezmann, whose previous deal was due to end in June 2021, has long been linked with United but the France international is now set to remain a leading player in La Liga under Atletico coach Diego Simeone.
A club statement read: "Atletico Madrid has reached an agreement with Antoine Griezmann for the extension of his contract for one more season. The French forward signed his new contract with our club, which now extends until June 30, 2022."
Griezmann said: "I'm very happy to live one more season with all of you. I will thank the fans by giving my best on the pitch, as always. Now, I will be resting for a few days to recover and return with my teammates and the coaching staff to prepare for the new season."
Atletico sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero added: "It's great news because he is one of the best players in the world and all of us Atleticos should congratulate ourselves for counting with him. Antoine is a different football player, capable of changing a match, with spectacular qualities, a very complete player.
"He is also a football player willing to sacrifice himself for the team when it's needed and works on defensive tasks too, something that makes him different from the rest of the world's greatest players."
According to Atletico president Enrique Cerezo, Griezmann's release clause of €100 million is to remain the same.
Griezmann's decision to stay put is a big boost for Atletico, who cannot register any new players until January 2018 after FIFA's transfer ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Atletico were punished by FIFA in January 2016 for breaching rules regarding international transfers of players aged under 16.
The Spanish club are still, nevertheless, being linked with their former striker Diego Costa, who scored 26 goals in 46 games in all competitions last season as Chelsea won the Premier League title.
Tottenham's Harry Kane and Dele Alli are worth more than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, according to a new study by CIES Football Observatory.
England pair Kane, 24, and Alli, 21, are valued at £135.5 million and £136.9m, respectively, ranking them behind only Barcelona's Neymar (£185.9m), and above fourth-placed Messi (£133.9m) and evergreen Ronaldo (£99.2m), the oldest player on the list, in 11th.
Antoine Griezmann (£132.6m), Luis Suarez (£124.2m), Manchester United's world-record signing Paul Pogba (£118.5m), Gonzalo Higuain (£106.1m), Chelsea's Eden Hazard (£103.4m) and Paulo Dybala (£101.7m) make up the top 10.
The list is determined on a number of factors, including performance of both players and the international status of their clubs, contract, age and position and the ages of Messi, 29, and Ronaldo, 32, appear to have counted against them.
The rankings are dominated by the Premier League, with even the 10th most expensive English-based player -- Kane and Alli's Tottenham teammate Eric Dier -- worth £75m, compared to just £41.6m for the tenth most-valuable in the German Bundesliga.
Tottenham have nine players on the 110-man list, with Manchester City (7), Chelsea (7) Liverpool (5), Arsenal (4), United (4) the other English sides to feature prominently.
In the top 50, Spurs have five players, the same number as City while United, Chelsea and Liverpool have three each.
The findings suggest that any club wishing to sign Arsenal's sole representative in the top 50, Alexis Sanchez, will have to pay £84.7m and that Kylian Mbappe -- the Chile international's potential successor at the Emirates -- is already worth £81.7m, despite being the youngest player in the rankings.
Kyle Walker, Tottenham's right-back who has been linked to Manchester City -- is named as the 110th and last player on the list, valued at £35.4m.
Gareth Bale, the world's most expensive player until last summer, is down at 43 on the list, valued at £59m.
Nigeria football officials will hold two crisis meetings this week following the Super Eagles' 2-0 defeat by South Africa in 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying.
The Technical and Development Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation will meet with national coach Gernot Rohr on Tuesday morning and then with Nigeria Sports Minister Solomon Dalung later in the day.
Committee chairman Christopher Green said the issue of the World Cup qualifying matches against Cameroon in September will be top of the agenda.
"It was not the result we worked or prayed for, but the truth is we have only lost one of six matches in the series, and this wake-up call has come at the right time. It has also come when we still have the opportunity to rectify things and prepare harder for the remaining matches of the FIFA World Cup qualifying race," Green said.
"Losing to South Africa was never in our calculation, but it has happened. Someone once said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Now, everyone, including the technical crew and the players, know that we must work harder than we have ever done, dig deeper than we have ever done and show the kind of commitment greater than we have ever shown in the two qualifying campaigns.
"Now, we have to focus squarely on the FIFA World Cup qualifiers because the race to the Cup of Nations will only resume in nine months' time. In two-and-a-half months, we have classical World Cup battles with Cameroon. That is the only issue on our minds at the moment."
The meeting with Dalung, however, will be focused on what went wrong against South Africa, including the reasons for the NFF's inability to clear their allocation of official match balls.
"This is a temporary setback which is surmountable. We need to sit with the Technical Committee and crew to find out the immediate and remote causes of this setback," Dalung said.
"We have very young talented players in the Super Eagles and we trust that with more hard work and determination, this result can be reversed when we go to South Africa.
"This is just the beginning of a long journey. The Super Eagles will definitely be in Cameroon because we can't afford to be absent at the Africa Cup of Nations for a third consecutive time.
"We must do all within our means to support the team when they win and when there's a setback. We will ensure that no stone is left unturned in our pursuit of a ticket to Cameroon."
Report by Collin Udoh
Scoring 39 points in a fast-and-furious, finals-clinching 129-120 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, Kevin Durant capped his spectacular first season with the Warriors by bringing home that coveted NBA championship he joined Golden State last July so determined to get.
Stephen Curry added 34 points, 10 assists and six rebounds as Golden State closed out its second title in three years after squandering a 3-1 lead a year ago to the Cavs to miss a repeat. That stung ever since, and even Durant understood, because he gave up the same lead to the Warriors a round earlier with Oklahoma City.
"We learned from everything we've been through," Curry said during the trophy celebration. "Our perspective, being blessed to play on this stage three years in a row, it's for these fans, for our organization, for these families. To be back here, bring ol' Larry back home, I'm just excited to do something special. I'm ready to do it again."
James wound up with 41 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving followed up his 40-point gem in Friday's Game 4 with 26 points but shot 9 for 22.
"It's just a great group of guys, great community, great arena, great fans," Durant said. "I'm just so happy to be a part of it. I can't wait to celebrate with my teammates in the locker room."
Durant drove left, right and down the middle, knocked down 3-pointers, dished and dunked. He knocked down a 17-foot fadeaway over James early in the fourth quarter, then assisted on a 3-pointer by Andre Iguodala the next time down as the Warriors pulled away.
Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, came up big again with his 2017 postseason-best 20 points off the bench and stingy defense on James in a testy, tightly called finale to this trilogy Finals that everyone had stamped on the calendar from the moment Durant departed Oklahoma City to join Curry and Co.
The Warriors won in 2015 before the Cavs made their historic comeback last year. Then it was Golden State's time again, with Durant as the prized addition.
Durant who was named Finals MVP shot 14 for 20 and Curry -- the two-time reigning MVP who took a backseat as the new big star got acclimated -- finished off a brilliant postseason. Not to mention a healthy one after his 2016 injuries.
Draymond Green stayed on the court in a game that featured three technicals on one play 3:08 before halftime. David West fought for the ball with Irving, then they got tangled up and Tristan Thompson entered the fray and he and West went at each other face-to-face. West, Thompson and J.R. Smith received techs after a replay review.
Green had sat out this very game a year ago, suspended because of flagrant foul point accumulation after he swiped at James' groin in Game 4. He had 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the clincher.
With a much-improved bench led by Iguodala, JaVale McGee, Shaun Livingstonand West, that "Strength In Numbers" slogan that has become such a staple the past two seasons shined all season long, from Durant's 19-game absence late in the regular season with a left knee injury to assistant coach Mike Brown stepping in for 11 postseason games to lead the way while Steve Kerr was ailing.
On Monday, Golden State used a 27-4 second-quarter run to take charge -- just after it appeared Durant should have been called for a third foul on a basket by James -- and got to celebrate right at home in Oakland surrounded by a deafening home crowd waving yellow rally towels and holding up phones to shoot video and photos as the final minute of the clock ticked away.
With the win, the Warriors became the first Bay Area team to capture a championship at home since the A's finished the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1974 World Series.
The summer transfer window is open and teams across Europe are already making moves.
Everton are considering a move for Paul Pogba's brother Florentin. The Premier League side are hoping to strengthen their side with their return to the Europa League hence manager Ronald Koeman will subsequently want to bring in new signings to boost his squad. However, they will face competition from last season's Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig.
The Guinean international, who has 12 caps to his name, impressed against Manchester United and his brother Paul Pogba in the Europa League earlier this year, which has seemingly attracted interest.
Standing at over 6ft 3in tall, Pogba is a physically imposing player with superb strength, and his versatility to play at left back may also be appealing to Everton given Leighton Baines' injury problems and advancing years.
The 26 year old currently has one year left on his contract with Saint-Etienne and will be allowed to leave the club unless imminent new manager Oscar Garcia decides otherwise.
Bayern Munich have signed former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry on a three-year deal.
The 21-year-old made his Gunners breakthrough in 2012 but after struggling to command a regular berth - and a loan spell with West Brom - joined Werder Bremen last summer.
An impressive season which yielded 11 goals from 27 appearances brought him to Bayern's attention and the two-time Germany international has now joined the Bundesliga champions.
"It is a great honour to be part of FC Bayern," he said. "Before me lies an exciting time, which I am very much looking forward to."
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added on his club's official website: "We are delighted to see another young German national player in FC Bayern in Serge Gnabry. Serge has developed very well in Bremen."
New Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti has hinted Ivan Perisic should leave the club for Manchester United if the winger is not committed to playing for him.
Perisic has been linked with a big money move to United this summer with reports suggesting that Jose Mourinho has already made an offer of £36m for the Croatian.
Inter are believed to want £44m for Perisic who has proven himself to be one of the club’s star players after scoring 11 goals in Serie A this season.
But Spalletti, who was confirmed as Inter’s new manager, has indicated that he does not want to keep players who don’t want to be at the club.
The former Roma boss seems to have suggested that if Perisic has had his head turned by a potential move to United then the 28-year-old, and Inter, would be better off completing the deal.
Spalletti told reporters: “We shouldn’t convince anyone to stay at Inter. I am already convincing others to join Inter and that is the most we can aspire to do.
“I have arrived here at Inter with enthusiasm, if there are people who do not feel this enthusiasm then it’s better to go where they feel inclined to do their job well.”
Inter signed Perisic from Wolfsburg in 2015 and now seem set to make a handsome profit on the winger as United look to further enhance their squad ahead of the new season.
Former Arsenal and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor has described joining Crystal Palace as the “worst decision” of his career.
The 33-year-old Togolese striker is currently playing for Turkish side ?stanbul Ba?ak?ehir after being released by the Eagles in the summer of 2016.
Adebayor signed a six-month deal with Palace at the beginning of 2016 – a decision he says he would reverse if given the opportunity.
“I had some great experiences in England in clubs who are among the best in the country,” he told L’Équipe, as reported by the Daily Mirror.
“I was happy there, my family too. The only error that I made was to sign for Crystal Palace in January 2016.
“I did it just to please my entourage, who were saying to me: ‘Manu, you have to start playing again!’ It was the worst decision of my career.”
He would played 15 senior matches for Palace under then boss Alan Pardew scoring once in a losing effort to Watford.
It turned out to be his worst return for a single club since turning professional nearly 20 years ago with hometown side AC Merlan Lome.
Prior to relocating to Selhurst Park, the enigmatic centre-forward had already plied his trade with three different English clubs, most notably Arsenal from whom he joined Manchester City before returning to North London with Tottenham Hotspur.
In his first season with Ba?ak?ehir, the former Monaco man, has managed to register six goals across 11 league appearances including a hat-trick against Galatasaray.
An emotional Usain Bolt recovered from a moderate start to win his final 100 meters sprint, clocking 10.03 seconds at the 2nd Racers Grand Prix in Kingston on Saturday in his last race on Jamaican soil.
Bolt confessed to being a nervous wreck before running.
"The run, it was just ok. I must say it was ok. I don't think I've ever been that nervous running a 100m," Bolt said after a lap of honor before a packed stadium.
"I think that was possibly one of my worst races. My execution was poor, my start was poor as always. I think in the last bit I lost it a little.
"But I didn't expect anything spectacular... my first race since January when I ran a 150m and some relays in Australia so I just wanted to stay injury free, put on a show for the crowd and shown them I'm thankful for the support over the years.
"Just the atmosphere and the people, the support they came out and give me tonight, it was really nerve racking. I never expected this, I knew it was going to be Big, the stadium was ram packed so thank you guys for coming out and supporting me."
He took control of the race before the halfway mark and pulled away to the delight of more than 30,000 spectators.
"It's Big to see everybody that turned out. It shows that what I've done for the sport is a big deal to them and they really appreciate it," said the 30-year-old.
"So thank you and it was my honor to put the sport of track and field at the top and to continue to dominate. I'll try my best even when I've hung up my spikes, to really continue to push track and field in anyway possible."
The double sprint world record holder, who has amassed eight Olympic golds and 13 world championship medals, will make his final bow in August in the British capital, where he will only run the shorter sprint despite having a wildcard for the 200m.
"It will definitely just be the 100. I know a lot of people really want to see me run it (200m) but the 100m will be the one because I know people really want to see that also," Bolt said.
"I'm just going there to do my best and to come through victorious as always."
Guinea, Mozambique and South Africa all produced surprise away wins on the opening weekend of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers to suggest the form book will have a few pages torn out before the 16 finalists for Cameroon 2019 are decided.
Saturday’s extensive list of matches saw Guinea upset 2015 winners Ivory Coast in Bouake, Mozambique beat 2012 winners Zambia in Ndola and second-half goals from Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau give South Africa a first-ever victory in a competitive international over Nigeria, who were Nations Cup winners in 2013.
There was also a rare away win for Mauritania, whose 1-0 triumph against Botswana was only their second ever on the road in a qualifying game.
The Democratic Republic of Congo beat neighbours Congo 3-1 while Burkina Faso, third at the finals in Gabon earlier this year, registered the same scoreline at home to Angola.
There were also wins for holders Cameroon, Burundi, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mali and Sierra Leone, while the Cape Verde Islands' game against Uganda was postponed by 24 hours after the visitors were late in arriving.
Seydou Doumbia returned to the Ivory Coast side to score a double but Guinea twice came from behind to snatch a 3-2 win with Bundesliga-based Naby Keita securing the winner 11 minutes from time.
It was a further setback for new Ivorian coach Marc Wilmots, the Belgian boss at last year’s European Championship, who lost his debut game 5-0 in the Netherlands last Sunday in a warm-up match.
Both teams paid tribute before the game to Cheikh Tiote, the former Ivorian international midfielder who collapsed and died in training with his Chinese club on Monday.
Mozambique had lost 14 and drawn four of their previous clashes with neighbours Zambia but German-born Stanley Ratifio, an amateur with FC Cologne’s reserve team playing just his second international, forced home a late goal to break a four-decade drought.
South Africa gave English coach Stuart Baxter, on his return for a second spell in charge, a winning start to his tenure as they weathered Nigeria’s early attacks and then dominated in Uyo.
Rantie headed home while Tau broke from his own half to beat the offside trap for the second goal with his first touch after coming on as substitute.
Mauritania scored 10 minutes from the end through substitute Abdullahi Soudani for a 1-0 triumph in Francistown.
Cedric Bakambu scored twice and Chancel Mbemba added the third for DR Congo to win in Kinshasa while Aristide Bance got two and Bertrand Traore the other in Burkina Faso’s victory.
As Cameroon are hosting the next finals, their results in the qualifiers do not count, but the 1-0 win over Morocco with a 29th-minute goal from Vincent Aboubaker served as preparation for the Confederation Cup, which starts in Russia next weekend.
There are six more qualifying matches on Sunday with Egypt's game in Tunisia the main attraction.
Manchester United have agreed a fee with Benfica for central defender Victor Lindelof.
United will pay the Portuguese club £30.7m to sign the Sweden international.
Lindelof is yet to agree personal terms, with his proposed move to Old Trafford also subject to a medical and international clearance.
A United statement read: "Manchester United is pleased to announce that it has reached agreement with Benfica for the transfer of Victor Lindelof, subject to a medical examination, international clearance and personal terms.
"A further announcement will be made once the transfer is complete."
The 22-year-old joined Benfica from Swedish side Vasteras SK in 2011 and has since featured 73 times for the first-team, helping them win the Portuguese league title on three occasions.
Lindelof has also enjoyed success on the international stage, having helped Sweden win the U21 European Championship in 2015 and appeared in all three group matches for the senior team at Euro 2016.
Like a traditional centre-back and standing at 6ft 2in, Lindelof possesses the mobility and technical ability to play as a right-back, as he has done on several occasions at international level.
He also has an ability to read the game that is reminiscent of Rio Ferdinand, rarely conceding fouls and picking up very few yellow cards.
According to reports in Portugal, Mourinho is understood to be particularly impressed with his speed as well as his defensive capabilities, seeing similarities between the Swede and Raphael Varane, who he managed at Real Madrid.
That Lindelof is known as "The Iceman" at Benfica due to his confidence and composure. Thrust into the side at such an important part of the season, Lindelof's ability to remain cool under pressure was a vital component of their run to the Portuguese title last season.
A Ghanaian football player in Gävle, Sweden, has been sentenced to two years in prison for raping and assaulting his wife.
A Swedish court on Friday sentenced a Ghanaian football player in Sweden's second division to two years in prison for raping and beating his then wife.
After serving his sentence, 22-year-old Kwame Bonsu, who played for the Gefle IF club, will be expelled from the Scandinavian country where he has lived since 2013, Gävle District Court said.
Gefle on Friday said Bonsu was dismissed from the team with immediate effect.
According to court documents seen by The Local he will also have to pay 122,600 kronor ($14,000) in compensation to his wife, who is a Swedish national.
He first met her in 2014 when he was playing in the southern Swedish city of Mjölby. They married the following year.
A few months after the wedding he signed a transfer to the town of Gävle, located about 300 kilometres away from Mjölby.
Bonsu's wife had wanted him to stay to continue his studies.
The victim said the rape and beatings took place in the couple's apartment during an evening in November 2015 when he had refused to let her out.
Bonsu repeatedly denied the charges, but testimony from his wife's relatives led the court to believe the victim's version of events.
His lawyer has appealed the sentence, reports Gefle Dagblad.
The Cavs used an NBA Finals record 24 three-pointers to take Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena and force a Game 5 back at Oracle Arena.
In a 137-116 victory to avoid the Finals sweep, Cleveland used a 49-point first quarter and a barrage of long range bombs to bury the Warriors every time they tried to make it a game. Kyrie Irving continued his hot streak from Game 3, leading the Cavs with 40 points on 15-of-27 shooting from the floor and 5-of-7 shooting from deep.
LeBron James was masterful again, passing Magic Johnson for the most triple-doubles in NBA Finals history (nine) and finishing his night with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Kevin Love chipped in 23 points on 6-of-8 shooting from deep, while J.R. Smith added 15.
Though Kevin Durant played another superb game for the Warriors with 35 points, Stephen Curry (14 points and 10 assists on 4-of-13 shooting), Klay Thompson (13 points on 4-of-11 shooting) and Draymond Green (16 points and 14 boards) didn’t show up on the offensive end.
In their first loss of the postseason, the Warriors shot 11-for-39 from deep (26.3 percent), while the Cavs were a smoking hot 24-for-45 from downtown (53.3 percent).
In the tone-setting first quarter, the Cleveland Cavaliers made it known they were not ready to roll over and die just yet, with a 14-5 start forcing Steve Kerr to call timeout early.
Tristan Thompson was active on the offensive boards, while LeBron James passed Michael Jordan for the third-most points in NBA Finals history.
Cleveland built a 29-13 lead, its largest of the Finals to that point, before the Warriors kicked it back into high gear. After holding Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant scoreless for the first 6:33, KD led Golden State’s first charge with 10 straight points during a 12-2 Dubs run, cutting the deficit down to six.
In what became the highest-scoring half in NBA Finals history, the Cavaliers took an 86-68 lead into the break. Their 86 points were the most by any team in a single half in Finals history, with a staggering 13 three-pointers leading the way.
Kyrie Irving was sensational, boasting a game-high 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting. LeBron orchestrated everything else in the first half with a jaw-dropping 22-8-6 stat line, while Kevin Love chipped in 17 points for a team that shot 60 percent from the floor in the first two quarters.
With the Cavs taking Game 4 and the series shifts back to Oracle Arena for Game 5 Monday night.
Patrick Kluivert has quit Paris Saint-Germain following an underwhelming campaign for the club.
The Dutchman was appointed to the role last year and worked with both the first-team and the academy but has now departed as part of a re-structuring at the club.
A statement on the club’s official website read: “As part of the restructuring of the club’s sporting sector, the two parties ended their collaboration on Wednesday. Patrick Kluivert had been executing the duties of Director of Football since 14 July 2016.
“The club would like to underline the quality of the relationships Patrick developed, over recent months, with the senior-team players and staff as well as with the administrators, educators and players at the Youth Academy and their families.
“The club would like to thank Patrick Kluivert for the great professionalism he always showed and wishes him all the best for the challenges he chooses to take on in the years to come.”
PSG won the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue this season but were left frustrated after missing out on the Ligue 1 title to Monaco, who finished eight points above them.
Unai Emery is expected to remain as PSG manager but there could be several other changes this summer with regards to the club’s hierarchy.
Andy Murray's French Open hopes ended with a five-set defeat by Swiss third seed Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals.
The world number one was beaten 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in four hours and 34 minutes.
It was a repeat of last year's semi-final, which the Briton won before going on to lose the final to Novak Djokovic.
Former champion Wawrinka will play Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final after the Spaniard beat Dominic Thiem.
Nadal, who beat the Austrian 6-3 6-4 6-0, will become the first player in the open era to win 10 titles at one Grand Slam if he beats Wawrinka.
The 31-year-old Nadal is yet to drop a set in this year's tournament as he looks to secure his first Grand Slam since winning in Paris in 2014.
Wawrinka will get the chance to add a second Roland Garros title to his 2015 victory, and move ahead of Murray with four Grand Slam titles, after his shot-making won the day.
The Swiss hit 87 winners - 45 on the forehand side - as he finally overcame the determination and defensive skills of Murray.
Short on matches after a season interrupted by illness and injury, Murray got within four points of victory but ultimately ran out of gas as Wawrinka made him cover a punishing 4.5km over more than four hours.
Austria's Thiem, 23, is the only player to beat Nadal on clay this year and showed his serious promise by beating defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final.
But, when faced with nine-time champion Nadal - who has only lost twice at Roland Garros - the challenge proved too much.
Thiem broke his opponent's serve in the first game of the match before Nadal repeated the trick in the following game.
The Austrian let four more break-point opportunities slip in a tight opening set but from that point Nadal dominated and he went on to complete victory in two hours and seven minutes.
United have declined a mutual option to extend Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s stay at Old Trafford for a further 12 months, confirming the Swedish striker will be released on June 30, ending his one-year spell with the club.
Ibrahimovic is expected to be out until 2018 after undergoing surgery to repair his damaged cruciate ligament last month.
He was an instant success after joining United as a free agent from Paris Saint-Germain, scoring 28 goals in 46 appearances.
The 35-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola, claimed last month Ibrahimovic was keen to extend his stay at United but the club have decided to move on and have identified Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata as the man they want to lead the line next season.
United remain in talks to sign Morata and are increasingly confident a deal can be agreed.
Real value Morata at up to €90m (£78m) and have already rejected a £52.4m (€60m) from United. The Spanish club bought him back from Juventus last summer using a €30m option.
A blunder from Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saw Sweden snatch a dramatic stoppage-time winner to open up the battle at the top of World Cup European qualifying Group A.
Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud fired Les Bleus into the lead in the 37th minute with a superb volley into the top corner after taking the ball down at the far post.
Sweden hit back just before the break when midfielder Jimmy Durmaz lashed in an angled drive.
Jakob Johansson and then France forward Antoine Griezmann both had chances before, with just seconds of three minutes of added time remaining, Spurs keeper Lloris dribbled the ball out of his penalty area only to scuff an attempted clearance.
Toulouse forward Ola Toivonen clipped a first-time effort over the keeper from just inside his own half, which bounced into an empty net to spark wild celebrations from the home fans at the Friends Arena as Sweden moved above France to the top of the table on goal difference.
The Netherlands are now just three points behind after beating bottom team Luxembourg 5-0 at the De Kuip in Rotterdam, which marked the first match of Dick Advocaat's third stint in charge.
Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben put them ahead after 21 minutes. Veteran midfielder Wesley Sneijder - making a record 131st international appearance on his 33rd birthday - slotted in a second after 35 minutes. He passed former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar to become the most capped Netherlands International.
Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum scored his side’s third, Quincy Promes headed in a fourth with 20 minutes left, with a late penalty from Tottenham forward Vincent Janssen completing the rout.
Bulgaria, who had been third, slipped to a 2-1 defeat in Belarus.
The hosts went ahead after 33 minutes through a penalty from Mikhail Sivakov and a fine individual effort from Pavel Savitskiy sealed victory with 10 minutes left.
Georgi Kostadinov netted a consolation for Bulgaria in stoppage time.
Switzerland kept themselves ahead of Portugal at the top of Group B with a 2-0 away win over the Faroe Islands.
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka put the Swiss ahead in the 36th minute with a low shot and Stoke playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri's neat angled finish wrapped things up after 56 minutes.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored two close-range headers as Portugal won 3-0 in Latvia.
Ronaldo nodded Portugal in front five minutes before half-time after Jose Fonte's header came back off the crossbar.
The 32-year-old headed in a second from almost on the goalline after 61 minutes, with Porto striker Andre Silva adding a third six minutes later.
Andorra moved off the bottom of the table with a shock 1-0 win over Hungary at Estadi Nacional where a header from Marc Rebes brought to an end a run of 66 competitive matches without a victory.
Belgium strengthened their position at the top of Group H with a 2-0 win against Estonia, who finished with 10 men.
Dries Mertens put them ahead from close range after 31 minutes.
Just before half-time, Estonia midfielder Artjom Dmitrijev saw red for a foul on Marouane Fellaini.
West Brom forward Nacer Chadli made it 2-0 with four minutes left.
Second-placed Greece battled to a goalless draw away to Bosnia-Herzegovina, who remain a point behind.
New Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli claimed a morale-boosting victory in his first game in charge as Lionel Messi and Co claimed a 1-0 win over rivals Brazil.
Argentina were the brighter side in the first period with Angel Di Maria striking the woodwork with an early drive. Brazil looked dangerous on the break with Willian and Liverpool's Coutinho the danger men for Tite's side. The only goal of the night came after Sevilla defender Gabriel Mercado’s tap in a minute before half-time, following up after Nicolas Otamendi's header had hit the post. Brazil claimed offside but Atleti defender Filipe Luis played the Argentinian on-side.
The second period never managed the same tempo as the first half and the constant substitutions did little in generating a continued tempo to the match. Brazil almost equalised midway through proceedings but were miraculously saved by the woodwork.
It was a bad evening for Otamendi's Manchester City team-mate Gabriel Jesus who was taken off on a stretcher after taking a stray elbow to the face.
Argentina starting XI: Romero, Maidana, Otamendi, Mercado, Gomez, Banega, Biglia, Messi, Dybala, Di Maria, Higuain
Brazil starting XI: Weverton; Fagner, Silva (c), Gil, F.Luis; Paulinho, Fernandinho, Augusto; Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Willian
Bayern Munich are reportedly willing to make Alexis Sanchez the highest-paid player at the club in hopes of luring him away from Arsenal this summer.
The Chilean international, who has just over a year remaining on his current contract at the Emirates Stadium, is yet to accept the club’s offer of a new £300,000-a-week deal and has left negotiations to his agent whilst focusing on the Confederations Cup.
Arsene Wenger has already expressed his desire to retain the services of the 28-year-old this summer despite the risk of losing the forward for free next summer if an agreement over a new contract fails to materialise.
Premier League rivals Manchester City are said to be favourites to land Alexis, but according to the Daily Mirror the Bundesliga champions are ready to make an offer which would blow Pep Guardiola’s outfit out of the water.
Losing Sanchez this summer would certainly be a major blow to the north London’s hopes of breaking back into the top four let alone challenge for major honours next season as he was the club’s standout performer this campaign.
Skilful, direct and versatile, Sanchez was used as a left-winger as well as a centre forward this season and he responded in style by netting 24 goals in the Premier League and weighed in with 10 assists – the most in the Gunners squad.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has described Jurgen Klopp as the “most demanding manager in world football”, warning potential new signings that they must be prepared to work hard under the German.
Klopp guided Liverpool back to the Champions League this season with the Reds finishing fourth in the Premier League, ensuring their place in the final qualification play-off at the start of the new campaign.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager also oversaw the return of Gerrard to the Merseyside club after the Liverpool icon ended his playing career with LA Galaxy. Gerrard has now taken the role of Liverpool’s Under-18s coach.
Having trained under Klopp during a brief period last year and now also working as a part of his coaching set-up, the 37-year-old has first-hand experience of his training methods and has revealed how demanding the coach is.
Gerrard admitted that Klopp was uncompromising in his requirements of his players and anyone that didn’t match his standards wouldn’t be at Liverpool for very long.
Gerrard told a Q&A session in Belfast this week, according to the Daily Mail: “He is a very demanding manager. I think he is different to all the other managers.
“What struck me first about Jurgen was the demands. He is a manager who won’t do it any other way except his way. I think the players are playing for the most demanding manager in world football.
“There’s no negotiables when it comes down to hard work and running and winning your own individual battles. If you aren’t prepared to go in where it hurts for this manager you won’t be around for very long.”
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane has revealed that he is ready to be England captain.
Regular skipper Wayne Rooney was left out of the squad for the World Cup qualifier against Scotland and the friendly against France, with manager Gareth Southgate now looking to appoint a successor.
Kane was asked how it felt for Southgate to identify him as a possible future captain for the national team.
As reported by BT Sport, he said: “Obviously it’s fantastic to hear. I think any player growing up as a footballer would dream to be England captain one day and I’m no different.
“It’s down to Gareth. Gareth’s the manager. Obviously we’ve got a lot of leaders in this team and I think that’s something we’re trying to get across – whoever is captain is captain but there are plenty of other leaders that can talk and help each other out on the pitch and that’s the main focus for us.”
Southgate suggested that being captain could be detrimental for a young player and harm their performances, but Kane disagrees with that claim.
Kane said: “No, me personally, I don’t think so. I’ve been captain for Spurs a few times. You wear an armband. I think sometimes it gets built up a lot to be a captain, and obviously it’s a fantastic thing, but like I said in this team and this day and age there should be more than just one leader out there.
“For me personally I don’t think it would but yeah, that’s a matter of opinions really.”
While Kane is a potential candidate to take the armband, it seems far more likely that a player with greater experience, such as Gary Cahill or Joe Hart, will be appointed as England’s next captain.
Regardless of whether he is appointed captain, Kane will be determined to continue making a major impact for club and country, starting with the game away to Scotland on Saturday.
Kane was excellent for Tottenham this season as he scored 29 goals in 30 Premier League appearances, finishing as the highest scorer in the division.
Inter Milan would have qualified for next season’s Champions League had Roberto Mancini not departed last summer, according to Felipe Melo.
Having parted company with the former Manchester City boss before the first game of the campaign, the Nerazzurri endured another disappointing Serie A season as they finished seventh – thus missing out on qualification for the European competition altogether.
However, Melo – who left the club midway through the season to join Palmeiras on loan – feels Inter’s “would be in the Champions League right now” had they retained the services of the Italian tactician.
“If Mancini hadn’t left, Inter would be in the Champions League right now,” Melo told FCInterNews.
“I have no doubt about that, I can say that 100 per cent. Roberto is Interista, he knows the Nerazzurri very well and he was definitely the best Coach for our team.
“He’s a very intelligent person, a great Coach. Last summer was difficult, everyone remembers the big defeats we got between the United States and Oslo, but how many say that we did thousands of kilometers with hardly any players to choose from? The same players always played, and we spent more time on aeroplanes than working on the pitch."
“I think of the Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain players, I spoke to them and they couldn’t believe the situation we were in, these great logistical difficulties.
“Mancio was really angry about these issues, and at the same time there was no clarity from the ownership. There was so much confusion.
“I repeat, the boss was perfect for us and you see how the season without him went.”
Following Mancini’s departure, Frank de Boer, Stefano Pioli and Stefano Vecchi were all tasked with trying to turn things around, but to no avail and now they’re now set to appoint Luciano Spalletti ahead of the new season.
After guiding Roma to an exceptional campaign in which they finished as runners-up to Juventus – picking up 87 points and scoring 90 goals from their 38 league matches in the process – the 58-year-old now will be tasked with restoring Inter back to the pinnacle of Italian football.
Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has revealed that current Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho tried to sign him “five or six times” during his playing days.
The Reds icon called time on his playing career back at the end of 2016 after playing for only one English club during his career. However, it could have all been significantly different for Gerrard when back in 2005 he was approached by Chelsea, with then manager Jose Mourinho a big fan of the former midfielder.
Gerrard infamously handed in a transfer request to force through the move to Chelsea but then memorably inspired Liverpool to Champions League success that year as they stunned AC Milan in Istanbul.That prompted the former England skipper to remain put with his beloved Reds, but it appears Mourinho was not done there and he actually tried to sign Gerrard a further time at Chelsea, as well when he moved on to manage Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
“He (Mourinho) tried to sign me probably about five or six times during my career,” Gerrard said, as reported by Manchester Evening News. “Twice at Chelsea, he tried to sign me at Inter Milan and for Real Madrid as well. “I could have gone and played for him at different teams but I never did.” Gerrard’s decision was one that put him as a hero with Liverpool fans as he enjoyed another decade in the first team, winning the FA Cup and Carling Cup, among other trophies.
Manchester City forward Nolito has bizarrely blamed the weather for changing the colour of his daughter’s face.The 30-year-old Spaniard has been given permission to hold talks with La Liga outfit Sevilla after spending just one season at City.
When discussing his time in the United Kingdom on Spanish radio, Nolito spoke of his struggle to assimilate, whilst admitting he doesn’t believe there’s a future for him under Pep Guardiola.
“My daughter’s face has changed colour — it looks like she’s been living in a cave,” he told El Transistor, as reported by the Daily Mail.“I have learnt very, very little English — it’s very hard. Just “tomorrow”, “good morning”, “good afternoon” and a little more.“I don’t think City are counting on me too much, given how I’ve played since January.”
Nolito joined City from Celta de Vigo for a reported £14 million last summer and was Guardiola’s second major transfer at the club. He’d featured across 30 matches in all competitions scoring six times and creating a further five for his teammates.
He’s rarely played in 2017 though, having only made five league appearances totalling 36 minutes since New Year’s Day and has fallen down the pecking order in terms of options on the flank for Guardiola with Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus have been prefered to him.
If he does complete his move to Sevilla then the Andalusian club will become his seventh since graduating from Valencia’s youth team more than a decade ago.
The 2019 UEFA Champions League Final will be played in either Baku or Madrid after European football’s governing body received 14 bid dossiers from ten member associations to host club competition finals in 2019.
The bidding procedure for the selection of the venues to host the finals of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Women's Champions League and UEFA Super Cup was launched in December 2016.
Ten associations have sent their bid dossiers to UEFA by the 6 June 2017 deadline.
UEFA Champions League
Azerbaijan: Baku, Olympic Stadium.
Spain: Madrid, Estadio Metropolitano.
UEFA Europa League
Azerbaijan: Baku, Olympic Stadium.
Spain: Sevilla, Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
Turkey: Istanbul, Besiktas Arena.
UEFA Women's Champions League
Hungary: Budapest, Ferencváros Aréna.
Kazakhstan - Astana - Astana Arena.
UEFA Super Cup
Albania: Tirana, Qemal Stafa Stadium.
France: Toulouse, Stadium de Toulouse.
Israel: Haifa, Sammy Ofer Stadium.
Kazakhstan: Astana, Astana Arena.
Northern Ireland: Belfast, National Football Stadium of Windsor Park.
Poland: Gdansk. Arena Gdansk.
Turkey: Istanbul, Besiktas Arena.
The UEFA Executive Committee will select the successful host associations on 21 September 2017.
The ITTF Board of Directors met 2nd June 2017 in Dusseldorf, Germany for the first time since the ITTF Elections, which was held on 31 May 2017.
The Board of Directors is made up of continental representatives, who are tasked to manage the ITTF, together with the Executive Committee between the AGMs.
The main decisions made and discussions had by the Board of Directors were:
The Future Events Working Group discussing the future of the World Championships and overall events structure presented their findings so far to the Board of Directors.
The Working Group will continue at full speed to prepare some proposals for 2018 for the Board of Directors to decide.
The ITTF Ethics Commission was fully established and approved, and the ITTF Code of Ethics will come into effect on 1 July 2017.
Future editions of the ITTF World Junior Championships were awarded: 2018 - Bendigo, Australia, 2019 - Nakorn Ratchasima, Thailand, after both countries put forward very impressive bids. The successful Bendigo bid was driven by ITTF-Oceania, empowered by the new Strategic Investment Agreement with the ITT.
The next three editions of the ITTF World Cadet Challenge were allocated to 2018 – Tottori, Japan, 2019 – Cetniewo, Poland and 2020 – Bangkok, Thailand.
Commenting on the first Board of Directors meeting after being elected the ITTF President, Thomas Weikert stated: “After a hard-fought election campaign, I was very happy to see the ITTF Board of Directors very united and motivated to work with me and the newly elected Executive Committee to achieve ITTF's goals and drive the sport forward.”
The game was heated from the get-go and Spain coach Julen Lopetegui got the chance to see some of his younger, more inexperienced stars in the heat of battle and in the red of Spain.
Manchester City’s David Silva was pulling strings early and he had Spain ahead after 22 minutes when he poked home from Pedro's dangerous ball into the box. Spain were looking good in possession but were looking fragile and vulnerable when Colombia managed to break at speed.
Columbia would draw level on 40 minutes after Cuadrado put a ball towards the goal and Pepe Reina couldn't decide whether he would come out for it or not. Edwin Cardona stole in and nicked it over Reina and despite Pique's best efforts, the ball ended up in the back of the net.
Spain made three changes after the break with Marco Asensio, Saul Niguez and Nacho Monreal coming in but it was Colombia who started better and had more to show for it. Radamel Falcao headed them into the lead within ten minutes of the restart.
Alvaro Morata was trying hard but nothing was falling his way. That all changed when Saul broke down the left and swung a cross into the near post and the Real Madrid man, who is currently the source of plenty of transfer speculation, glanced a header beyond the reach of David Ospina.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa has revealed that Antonio Conte has told him that he does not feature in his plans for Chelsea next season.
The 28-year-old Spanish international, who scored 20 goals in 35 league appearances in their title-winning campaign last season, says he received a text from his Italian boss and will now be looking for his next club.
“I'm a Chelsea player, but they do not want me there.” Costa said after Wednesday night's Spain's 2-2 draw with Colombia. Antonio Conte has told me by message that I do not follow at Chelsea and that's it. Conte said he did not count on me for next season."
"It's a shame, I've already forwarded the message to Chelsea people to decide. But it is clear that the coach does not count on me and does not want me there. You have to find a team."
This comes after reports suggested that Chelsea have already agreed to terms with 23 year old Everton striker Romelu Lukaku. Earlier on, Lukaku had followed Chelsea players Gary Cahill, Lewis Baker and N’Golo Kante in what could be a hint that he’s returning to west London.
CLEVELAND -- Two Cleveland Cavaliers fans stood courtside before Game 3 of the NBA Finals and marveled at the player who’d been the star of the series so far, even if he wore a Golden State Warriors uniform.
One turned to the other and asked, “Did you know Durant was this good?
The Warriors took Game 2 in impressive fashion. We have you covered with the latest news and analysis entering Game 3.
They could be forgiven if they were unaware. The local fans have never seen Kevin Durant win a game in Cleveland when LeBron James was on the Cavaliers. The last time Durant was in town, on Christmas Day, he missed seven of nine shots in the fourth quarter, then couldn’t get a shot off on the Warriors’ last possession.
If the Warriors were going to win Game 3, if they were going to keep their perfect postseason alive and close in on the first 16-0 playoff run in NBA history, they’d need Durant to take another step and win a road game in the NBA Finals.
Durant was determined to change the narrative. He hit a baseline jumper, then he made a deep-three-pointer, personally erasing a four-point Cavaliers lead late in the game en route to a 118-113 win for Golden State and a 3-0 NBA Finals lead.
After Kyrie Irving missed a step-back 3-pointer, the Warriors looked uncertain in the front court, not knowing whether to take a timeout or work down the cock. Durant knew exactly what to do. He clapped for the ball near mid-court, and his teammates obliged by passing to him. Durant drew the foul and made both free throws, putting the Warriors up 116-113. With 12.9 seconds remaining.
Durant was good, scoring 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, overcoming LeBron James (39 points) and Kyrie Irving (38 points).
When it was over, after Stephen Curry knocked down two free throws to seal the victory and then the final buzzer sounded Durant doubled over, Curry ran over to him as if to bestow player of the game honors. Durant was grabbing in the moment, getting to the cusp of his first championship. Durant also had eight rebounds and four assists. It wasn't his best game of the series, but it was his biggest moment.
Key players on both sides had maintained the main difference between this year’s Finals and last year’s, when the Warriors let leads of 2-0 and 3-1 slip away, is Durant. But after three games the series stands in the same place with Durant as it did without Durant, 2-1. At least this time the Warriors kept it closer in Game 3.
One of the biggest differences in this year’s Warriors had been their ability to adapt when they took to the road for the third game of series. They had dropped five of six Game 3s over the previous two postseasons. They turned that around with an explosive third quarter to capture Game 3 in Portland during the first round, the first game with Mike Brown taking over the coaching duties from Steve Kerr, then carried that with them to Utah and San Antonio the next rounds.
The Warriors were well aware of their Game 3 struggles in Quicken Loans Arena. The Warriors trailed, 33-16, after one quarter in Game 3 last year. They only scored 20 points in the first quarter of Game 3 in 2015 -- 36 points in 24 minutes’ worth of first quarters over two years. By comparison, they dropped 40 in the opening quarter of Game 2 in this series.
Wednesday night, Klay Thompson (30 points) scored 16 points on his own in the first quarter. It wasn’t a solo effort, however. This was Warriors basketball, with 13 assists on their 14 field goals. The only thing missing was Curry, scoreless on 0-for-2 shooting through the first 10 minutes. He rectified that with two three-pointers in a span of 26 seconds and the Warriors emerged with a 39-32 advantage at the end of the quarter. That gave them a staggering 114 points scored in 36 minutes of first-quarter play this series. It also cleared the 35-point benchmark for the first quarter; the Warriors were 23-0 when scoring at least 35 points in the first quarter this season.
Then they reverted to shades of last year in the second quarter, both in shooting and behavior. They were nine for 21 from the field and Draymond Green, whose avoidance of technical and flagrant fouls in these playoffs had turned into a mini-storyline, picked up a technical complaining about his third personal foul of the game.
But the Warriors picked up a couple more Curry 3-pointers to bring them to an NBA Finals-record 12 threes in the first half. And they were sitting on 67 points at the half -- just as they were in Game 2 at home.
Next up: Game 4 on Friday night.
By J.A Adande
The Warriors fought back in the fourth quarter and finished off a 118-113 victory over the Cavaliers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night to take a 3-0 lead in the series and improve their 2017 playoff record to a perfect 15-0.
The Warriors' Kevin Durant was brilliant down the stretch, scoring seven points in the final three minutes for the Warriors, on his way to 31 for the game. He added 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Klay Thompson scored 30 points on 6 of 11 shooting from 3-point range, while Stephen Curry finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists.
Cleveland's LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were dominant for most of the game as they tried to will the Cavs to victory. James finished with 39 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists while Irving put up 16 points in the third quarter en route to 38 points, six rebounds and 3 assists. J.R. Smith, largely been absent in the first two games, made five 3-pointers and finished with 16 points.
This time, the Cavs held a lead until late in the fourth quarter, but a furious fourth-quarter comeback led Golden State to victory.
The Warriors closed the game on a huge run that was all Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, with Durant’s 26-foot 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining putting the team on top to stay, 114-113.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was back on the bench for the second straight game as his team made a record 9 three pointers in the first quarter and finished 16 of 33 from deep.
Cleveland stuck with the same starting lineup for game 3 with coach Tyron Lue sticking with the slumping Smith at shooting guard. This paid off as J.R scored 16 points with 5 three pointers.
With the win, the Warriors have now extended their postseason record to 15 consecutive games, and in Friday’s Game 4 have a chance to be the first team to complete a postseason undefeated.
Turkey captain and Barca player Arda Turan has announced his retirement from international football after he allegedly abused a journalist on the Turkish team's plane.
The 30-year-old Barcelona midfielder was reported to have verbally and physically abused Bilal Mese on a flight following a friendly against Macedonia in Skopje on Monday. Turan was kicked out of a training camp in Slovenia on Tuesday and quit the national team hours later.
"I think the time has come," he said.
"I am ending my career with the national team."
Turan, who has played 96 times for Turkey, reportedly approached the journalist from Turkish newspaper Milliyet before take-off about a story he had published on a pay dispute at Euro 2016.
Turan reportedly ranted at Mese, calling him "shameless" and eyewitnesses claimed he grabbed the journalist by the throat and had to be restrained by his team-mates.
He added that he felt "no remorse" and was "quite calm".
"I really love my country. I really love my flag. I have always said if that's what you want, I will retire," he added at a media conference in Slovenia on Tuesday.
Mese, who has been a sports journalist since 1973, has threatened to take legal action against Turan when he returns to Turkey, his newspaper said.
"We strongly condemn this assault," the Association of Sports Journalists of Turkey said in a statement.
"The fact that this assault was committed by the captain of our national side reinforces its seriousness."
Turkey face Kosovo in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
Retired former French Open Championn Albert Ramos recently opened up in an interview with the International Business Times about the remarkable return to form of the tennis greats.
"Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are probably going to end the season first and second in the ATP rankings," he said. "The difference with the rest of the players is very big after five months of the season."
He further said that Roger Federer's absence from Roland Garros would be felt by fans.
"We are going to miss him in Roland Garros so much, the rivalry between him and Nadal has been fascinating so far. It has been a decision by both the Swiss and his team in my opinion. I think he is focusing on fast courts, where points are shorter and physical condition is not as important. Like Rafael Nadal, he has evolved his game style as well and he is hitting the ball harder."
"He has almost won everything he has played this season so far, so his methodology is working more than well. Again, it is sad that we cannot watch Roger Federer playing Roland Garros but in terms of extending his career, I think it is a good decision".
Australian Open Champion Federer cited the need to preserve his body as his main reason for missing the clay-court season, instead focusing on his more-preferred surfaces at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Manchester United have topped Forbes' Most Valuable Soccer Teams List for the first time in five years, with the club now worth £2.86bn.
The Europa League winners lead the way over La Liga rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid, who drop to third after winning a Champions League and La Liga double.
Barcelona have a current value of £2.82bn and Real, who were ranked first for the past four years, are worth £2.77bn according to Forbes magazine.
The top five includes Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich at £2.10bn and Manchester City, who have moved above Arsenal, at £1.61bn.
Six Premier League teams feature in the top 10, with United, City and the Gunners joined by Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham. The other is Serie A giants and Champions League finalists Juventus.
United generated revenues of £593m during the 2015-16 season, some £60m more than both Barcelona and Real Madrid.
They were also by far the most profitable football club in the world, posting operating income of £223m - £83m more than runners-up Real Madrid.
Here is the top 10 List according to Forbes:
1) Manchester United - US$3.69bn (£2.86bn)
2) Barcelona - $3.64bn (£2.82bn)
3) Real Madrid - $3.58bn (£2.77bn)
4) Bayern Munich - $2.71bn (£2.10bn)
5) Manchester City - $2.08bn (£1.61bn)
6) Arsenal - $1.93bn (£1.50bn)
7) Chelsea - $1.85bn (£1.43bn)
8) Liverpool - $1.49bn (£1.15bn)
9) Juventus - $1.26bn (£980m)
10) Tottenham - $1.06bn (£820m)
Real Madrid have rejected a €60m offer for striker Alvaro Morata from Manchester United.
While Real Madrid are thought to want in the region of £78m for the forward, they would have preferred if united goalkeeper David de Gea was included in the offer.
The Spain international scored 20 goals in all competitions for Real last season, as the club clinched La Liga and the Champions League.
Born in Madrid, Morata progressed through the Real Madrid academy to make his first team debut in December 2010, before exiting for Juventus in the summer of 2014 for £17.5m.Within his two seasons with Juventus, Morata won two Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia titles and was part of a run to the 2015 Champions League final, scoring as Juve lost 3-1 to Barcelona.
Real Madrid later exercised a buy-back clause to bring Morata back from Juventus for £26.2m in June 2016, and the forward has emerged as a key member of Zinedine Zidane's squad.
If Manchester United fail to agree a deal for Morata, it is understood they will try to sign Andrea Belotti from Torino, who has a €100m (£87.3m) release clause in his contract.
Auckland goalkeeper Amelia Gibson has announced her retirement from international hockey. The 25-year-old played 63 tests during her career after making her debut for the Vantage Black Sticks in 2010.
“It is with sadness that I announce my retirement from international hockey. It’s been a roller coaster ride with plenty of highs and lows from start to finish,” she said.
“I am extremely proud and honoured to have represented the Black Sticks and that is I will cherish forever. I’m grateful to be able to finish on my own terms and look forward to what the future holds beyond hockey.”
Gibson’s place in the National Squad will remain vacant until later in the year.
On the heels of an exciting match that saw seven goals scored in the second half on Sunday, Canada and France played in an another entertaining contest which ended in a 5-5 draw Monday at France’s Douai Hockey Club.
Gordon Johnston scored two goals for the second straight game, and Mark Pearson, Iain Smythe, and Gabriel Ho-Garcia also got on the scoresheet for Canada in a game which saw the Canadians come from behind on three separate occasions to earn the draw.
Unlike Sunday’s match, which went scoreless through the first half, Monday’s tilt featured sustained action from the outset.
The French took the lead in the first quarter on a deflection on a penalty corner, after two prior attempts were stopped by Canadian keeper David Carter.
Canada responded with a short corner goal of its own, which is when Johnston buried his first of the goal to level the score at 1-1 at the end of the first quarter.
The Canadians then took the lead on a patented backhand shot to the top shelf from Pearson in the second quarter.
Later in the second quarter, the French tied the game and then retook the lead, 3-2 at the half.
Pearson and Brenden Bissett both had chances to tie the game for Canada early in the second half, but the French keeper turned them away.
The French added another goal to go up 4-2 heading in the fourth quarter.
After the host team was issued a green card, Canada earned a penalty corner and Johnston picked up his second of the game to cut the deficit in half and make the score 4-3.
Shortly after, Smythe earned another corner for Canada and was setup by Johnston for a deflection past the French keeper to tie the game at 4-4.
With less than three minutes to go, France took a 5-4 lead and the game looked to be out of reach, but Canada kept pushing and in the last minute Ho-Garcia was able to find an equalizer.
Canada and France play the third and final match of their exhibition series on Wednesday at 6:00pm local time at the Wattignies Hockey Club.
Field Hockey Canada media release