Tag Archives: crowns

Neil Lennon"s son Gallacher joins Celtic in training

He's one of the Bhoys! Lennon's son joins Celtic stars in training session

PUBLISHED:

15:38 GMT, 18 February 2013

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UPDATED:

15:38 GMT, 18 February 2013

Meet the latest addition to Celtic's Scottish Premier League-chasing squad: Neil Lennon's seven-year-old son Gallacher!

The Hoops' lead at the top of the SPL is a mammoth 18 points, so maybe the Glasgow giants' boss wanted to show his players that the game remains child's play

He's one of the Bhoys! Gallacher joins the Celtic team during a training session on Monday morning

He's one of the Bhoys! Gallacher joins the Celtic team during a training session on Monday morning

He's one of the Bhoys! Gallacher joins the Celtic team during a training session on Monday morning

Gallacher joined the elite stars at the club's Lennoxtown training base for a kick-around during the preparations for Tuesday night's league clash with St Johnstone.

Coach Garry Parker and a number of other stars were on hand to share a few passes with the boss's son as the Parkhead club close in on a 45th league title.

Best foot forward: Gallacher is already following in his dad's footballing footsteps

Best foot forward: Gallacher is already following in his dad's footballing footsteps

Best foot forward: Gallacher is already following in his dad's footballing footsteps

Neil Lennon’s men closed in on
back-to-back crowns by moving 18 points clear at the top of the table
with Saturday’s 6-2 rout of Dundee United.

The
Parkhead boss has stated he could be willing to let some key men start
their holidays early if they get the job done with enough games to
spare.

Calling the shots: Lennon oversees the session with his players... and son

Calling the shots: Lennon oversees the session with his players… and son

Tito Vilanova set to step down as Barcelona coach after tumour relapse

Vilanova set to step down as Barcelona coach after tumour relapse

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UPDATED:

15:47 GMT, 19 December 2012

Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova is set to step down from his post after suffering a relapse of a tumour he had removed last year.

The 44-year-old had a tumour on his parotid gland removed in emergency surgery last November when he was the club's assistant manager.

The parotid gland is the largest of the human salivary glands.

But during a recent medical check-up, it was found that the tumour had returned. He is reportedly undergoing emergency surgery in a Barcelona hospital at the moment.

It was announced in April that Vilanova would take over as Barca coach following Pep Guardiola's decision to step down at the end of the season and take a year-long sabbatical from the game.

Stepping down: Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has suffered a relapse of a tumour he had removed last November

Stepping down: Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has suffered a relapse of a tumour he had removed last November

Vilanova was Guardiola's assistant
during four hugely successful years at the Nou Camp which saw Barca win
13 trophies, including two Champions League crowns and three Primera
Division titles.

Vilanova has enjoyed a superb start to his tenure in the hotseat,
helping Barca establish a nine-point lead at the top of the league
standings after winning 15 of their opening 16 games while drawing the
other.

Barca are also through to the knockout stages of the Champions League
and hold a 2-0 first-leg lead over Cordoba in their Copa del Rey last-16
tie.

The club cancelled a scheduled press conference involving Club President Sandro Rosell on Wednesday as the news broke, as well as the staff Christmas party.

A training session scheduled for 6pm UK time this evening, and which was open to the public for the first 15 minutes, has been closed off.

Barcelona
have announced that no decision will be made on a potential replacement
until Vilanova has spoken to the players.

The news broke on the same day defender Eric Abidal was given the all-clear to resume his playing career following a liver transplant.

VILANOVA'S RECORD AT BARCELONA SO FAR

Pld 27 W 23 D 2 L 2 (85.18% win ratio)

Successor: Vilanova replaced Pep Guardiola (right) as Barcelona manager in the summer

Successor: Vilanova replaced Pep Guardiola (right) as Barcelona manager in the summer

Messages of support flooded in for Vilanova from throughout the sporting world.

'Very sorry to hear the news,' Barca midfielder Xavi said on his official Twitter account.

Former tennis world number one Rafa
Nadal said: 'All my strength and support for Tito Vilanova! We are all
with you to overcome this next hurdle.'

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero ‏tweeted: 'We support you, #AnimoTito! We wish you the strength to overcome this moment.'

His Spanish teammate David Silva added: 'All my support and best wishes to Tito and all of the people in the world fighting every day against cancer. Be strong #AnimoTito'

Former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker tweeted: 'Very sorry to hear Tito Vilanova, the Barca coach, is undergoing surgery after a cancer relapse. Thoughts are with him.'

A statement on the Madrid website read: 'Real Madrid want to express their support and best wishes for the coach of FC Barcelona, Tito Vilanova, and wish him a very rapid recovery. Real Madrid offer their support to his club and to all his family.'

Good job: Barcelona are nine points clear at the summit of La Liga

Good job: Barcelona are nine points clear at the summit of La Liga

Vilanova was out of action for around
three weeks after surgery last year, but returned to the dugout to help
Guardiola for the last six months of the 2011-12 campaign.

The quietly-spoken Catalan said the experience had left him with a different perspective on life, at his presentation in June.

'I had an important operation a few
months ago,' he said. 'I spoke with the medics and my family about the
job, but they all said I was perfectly okay and there was no problem.

'Having overcome this operation it
gives me a different view on life. Perhaps, after what has happened,
training Barca will be like kids play.'

Barca released a press statement this morning announcing they had suspended all activities for today but did not go into details and did not mention Vilanova.

The club confirmed a further announcement would be made later today.

The statement read: 'Barcelona announce that it is has suspended the press conference from president Sandro Rosell planned for midday. As well as that, the media Christmas lunch has been cancelled.

'Later today the club will issue a further release. Until that time we will not make any announcement about this matter.

'We regret any inconvenience this decision may cause.'

Roberto Mancini says Manchester City can cope with pressure

Mancini claims history shows his stars can cope with big game pressure

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UPDATED:

15:12 GMT, 8 December 2012

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has no concerns about his players' big-match temperament ahead of this weekend's much-hyped derby against Manchester United.

The champions have struggled to replicate the intensity of last season's dramatic title run-in at the start of the defence of their Barclays Premier League crown.

They did beat Tottenham last month but in other clashes against the competition's leading lights this term – Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton – they have been forced to settle for draws.

They can handle it: Joe Hart and David Silva will need to be at their best on Sunday

They can handle it: Joe Hart and David Silva will need to be at their best on Sunday

Their Champions League campaign was a dismal failure with losses to Real Madrid, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund seeing them knocked out at the group stage.

The pressure is now on again as City, trailing by three points, battle with leaders United for top spot and local pride on Sunday but Mancini is far from worried.

City are still unbeaten in the Premier League and Mancini said: 'Against Chelsea we dominated the game and were missing only a goal.

'Against Arsenal we deserved to win and they scored only in the last 10 minutes.

'With all the problems we had from the start of the season, to be there, only three points behind United, is a good thing in this moment.

'I don't think we have the same qualities we had last season in the first 15 games but I think this year we had big problems with players injured.'

Mancini also feels the task of defending a title is much harder than winning it for the first time.

The 48-year-old can speak with experience on that subject having won three successive Serie A crowns in charge of Inter Milan.

He said: 'I think it is difficult in every country to win two titles in a row but to win here is very, very difficult.

'This is normal. This can happen to a young team like us that won its championship after 40 (44) years.

Visit: Roberto Mancini chats with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak

Visit: Roberto Mancini chats with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak

'The day after is more difficult because you need to work more.

'The first thing is to forget everything you did until here and work more because it is normal that it is more difficult the second year.

'We want to try because we are champions and we need to defend this title.'

City appeared vulnerable in the early part of the season and did not keep a clean sheet until their seventh Premier League game.

They have improved in that area and now boast the best defensive record in the competition but Mancini feels problems have switched the other end of the pitch.

After 15 Premier League games last season, City had scored 49 goals. This time they have scored 21 fewer.

Mancini has called on his much-vaunted strike quartet of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli to deliver more goals several times in recent weeks.

Ball boy: Mario Balotelli looking suspicious

Confident: Mancini believes his men can cope

Goal time: Mancini (right) wants his strikers, including Mario Balotelli (left), to contribute more

He said: 'We had a problem with the defenders and conceded more goals at the start of the season.

'Now we improved that situation and we need to work to improve our situation with the strikers.

'I think that our season depends on our strikers. If we start to score like last year we have a big chance.'

While losing and falling six points behind United would hardly mark the end of City's challenge with much of the season still to play, Mancini is well aware of the importance of derbies.

City's stunning 6-1 win at Old Trafford last season ultimately proved crucial in the final count as the title was settled on goal difference.

Group chat: Mancini gives his players the low down

Group chat: Mancini gives his players the low down

Victory over United again in April then swung the race back in City's favour with just two games of the campaign remaining.

Mancini said: 'It was important for us because we played the first derby away and we won 6-1.

'There are some important games that can change your season and the derby was one of the first games like this for us.

'They have three points more than us and they have a small advantage but a derby is a really difficult match for both teams, and it is important.'

City are hoping playmaker David Silva can recover from a hamstring injury to feature after missing the midweek trip to Dortmund.

Left-back Gael Clichy and midfielder James Milner are also hoping to return after ankle and hamstring problems respectively.

Cristiano Ronaldo would vote for himself to win Ballon d"Or

I'd vote for myself to win the Ballon d'Or if I was allowed, declares Ronaldo

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UPDATED:

17:23 GMT, 5 November 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo has lived up to his reputation of self-absorption by declaring if he could vote for himself to win the Ballon d'Or, he would.

The Real Madrid superstar is second favourite behind Barcelona rival Lionel Messi to pick up the prestigious FIFA award which crowns one player the world's best, on January 7.

'If I could, I'd vote for myself,' he told France Football.

Self-absorbed Cristiano Ronaldo says he would vote for himself

Self-absorbed Cristiano Ronaldo says he would vote for himself

'I am what I am and I'm happy with that. Being too humble isn't good. In Portugal we say that too much humility is vanity.'

'I play for the passion of football,
and for the love of the teams I represent. If I was playing for money,
I'd be at another club,' he said.

'All players love it when teams like
Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United or Chelsea dream about them, but
that's not in my thoughts.'

European Golden boot: Lionel Messi (left) already beat Ronaldo to one award

European Golden boot: Lionel Messi (left) already beat Ronaldo to one award

Support: Jose Mourinho is proud of his talented attacker

Support: Jose Mourinho is proud of his talented attacker

On November 2 Messi said he would not be voting for Ronaldo to win the award.

'Last year, I voted for Xavi, Iniesta and Aguero, in that order,' he told Catalan daily Sport.

'I reckon this year it will be the same. I have not thought about it yet, but it will be more or less the same.'

WHO CAN VOTE
Managers of international sidesCaptains of international sidesJournalists selected by France Football

Messi added: 'Xavi and Iniesta will be there for sure and I am thinking between [Gonzalo] Higuain, [Angel] Di Maria or Aguero.'

Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has offered his support to Ronaldo by backing the player to the hilt.
'If Messi is the best on the planet, Ronaldo is the best in the universe,' the enigmatic coach declared.

The Argentine maestro has already pipped Ronaldo to one award – picking up the European Golden Shoe for the 2011-12 campaign.

He hit an astonishing 63 goals, beating the competition's previous record of 47 from Dudu Georgescu in 1976-77.

Ronaldo trailed Messi with a none-the-less remarkable 57 goals.

Not quite enough: Ronaldo scored an amazing number of goals - but Messi got more

Not quite enough: Ronaldo scored an amazing number of goals – but Messi got more

A 23-man shortlist for the award was constructed by the FIFA Football Committee and experts from France Football.

The three finalists names will be announced on November 29 before the eventual winner is decided in Zurich.

Former Real Madrid, Barcelona and Brazil striker Ronaldo believes Messi deserves the award.

He told the FIFA website: 'Messi would get my vote because, in addition to being decisive – scoring loads of goals and winning trophies – he’s able to bring a special and different kind of magic to football.

'Cristiano Ronaldo is a very technical, very skilful and very pragmatic player, but Messi continues to produce the unexpected on a regular basis.'

Decision: Ronaldo would side with Messi rather than his namesake

Decision: Ronaldo would side with Messi rather than his namesake

Close: Ronaldo said Madrid's man was brilliant... but not quite as brilliant as Messi

Close: Ronaldo said Madrid's man was brilliant… but not quite as brilliant as Messi

River Plate captain and former France international David Trezeguet found it difficult to separate the two players.

He said: 'There’s no doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi continue to be a class apart.

'Nowadays, when you watch Real Madrid or Barcelona, there are definitely other players with the potential to mix things up a little, but right now those two are still very different to everyone else.'

Trezeguet continued: 'They’re different kinds of players, both physically and in terms of their individual characteristics.

'Cristiano is a more physical and athletic type of player. Messi, on the other hand, is physically very good too but technically he’s got a very South American – and not at all European – flavour to his game.

'They’re both players of the highest level and I think they share the same ambition: to outdo the other.'

BALLON D'OR SHORTLIST

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Mario Balotelli (Manchester City)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
Didier Drogba (Chelsea & Shanghai Shenhua)
Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan & Paris St Germain)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Neymar (Santos)
Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid)
Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Yaya Toure (Manchester City)
Robin van Persie (Arsenal & Manchester United)
Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona)

Usain Bolt vows to defend Olympic sprint titles at Rio 2016

Bolt rules out switching to 400m by vowing to defend Olympic sprint titles at Rio 2016

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UPDATED:

14:50 GMT, 8 October 2012

Usain Bolt has revealed he plans to defend his Olympic sprint titles in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and not switch disciplines.

The Jamaican declared himself a 'living legend' after retaining his 100 and 200 metres crowns in London this summer, as well as being a member of his country's victorious 4x100m relay team.

He has previously hinted he could seek a new challenge in Rio, saying he wanted to have a go at the long jump, while he has continually been linked with the 400m, despite repeatedly insisting he does not want to step up in distance.

Vow: Bolt speaks in Auckland, New Zealand on Monday

Vow: Bolt speaks in Auckland, New Zealand on Monday

But, speaking on a trip to New Zealand, the world's fastest man confirmed his only intention is to go for a third defence of his sprint crowns in Brazil.

'Rio is about going and defending my titles,' Bolt said in Auckland. 'I don't want to try any different events at Rio, because at Rio I will just defend my titles to show the world that there is a possibility that I can do it again. To do the three-peat, that is the focus.'

Bolt's main focus for next year are the World Championships in Moscow and he claimed he would not be taking things easy now the Olympics are over.

Legend: Bolt won three more gold medals in London

Legend: Bolt won three more gold medals in London

Legend: Bolt won three more gold medals in London

He added: 'It's all about hard work. When I was doing great when I was young, people used to say I was fast for my age, but I have put a lot of work into since I was a senior athlete.

'I continue to work hard, continue staying focused and pushing myself so for me that's the focus right now to see how fast I can go and I definitely try to go faster each year.'

Bolt was also delighted with the West Indies' victory in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka on Sunday.

'I love cricket, it is my first love, but I don't play much,' he said.

Jack Laugher wins diving youth world title

Laugher bounces back from Olympic disappointment to win third world diving title

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UPDATED:

09:21 GMT, 8 October 2012

On form: Jack Laugher

On form: Jack Laugher

British rising star Jack Laugher claimed the third world youth title of his career with a comfortable victory in the three-metre springboard at the World Junior Diving Championships.

Laugher, 17, attracted one score of 10 as he easily outpointed his rivals to ensure Great Britain got off to a golden start on the opening day in Adelaide.

The Ripon diver won the junior 3m and 1m crowns in Tucson two years ago and, after being touted as a future world champion by American legend Greg Louganis, has since established himself inside the world's top 10.

Laugher endured a forgettable Olympics, however, when he crashed out in the first round and failed to compete his final dive.

But in his first competition since London he proved his class, winning a 10 for his second three-and-a-half reverse somersaults, on way to a score of 635.45.

China's Peng Jianfeng was Laugher's closest challenger some 56.80. Laugher's team-mate Daniel Goodfellow was 12th with a score of 482.30.
Plymouth's Shanice Lobb (293.40) was 10th in the girl's 1m 'B' category springboard final.

Laugher will go for more gold on Tuesday when he partners Tom Daley in the 3m synchro.

Daley will make his first competitive appearance since he won an Olympic bronze medal in a memorable final of the 10m platform in London.

French Open 2012: Roger Federer sets another record as he eases through first round

Federer equals record as he cruises into second round at Roland Garros

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UPDATED:

13:16 GMT, 28 May 2012

Roger Federer equalled Jimmy Connors' record of 233 grand slam match victories by easing into the second round of the French Open.

The Swiss was not at his best in his Roland Garros opener but still proved too strong for Germany's Tobias Kamke, winning 6-2 7-5 6-3 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Easy: Roger Federer eased past Tobias Kamke in the French Open

Easy: Roger Federer eased past Tobias Kamke in the French Open

Having cruised through the first set, Federer found himself a break down in the second but he upped his game to break back and then break once more to establish a commanding advantage.

Not today: Tobias Kamke could do nothing to stem Federer's flow

Not today: Tobias Kamke could do nothing to stem Federer's flow

The third set was routine as Federer advanced to a second-round clash with either veteran Argentinian David Nalbandian or Romania's Adrian Ungur.

World number three Federer won the last of his 16 grand slam crowns at the 2010 Australian Open.

He won at Roland Garros in 2009 and was the runner-up last year to Rafael Nadal.

London 2012 Olympics: Usain Bolt could be hampered by weather

Blame it on the (lack of) sunshine! British weather may hamper Bolt's Olympic dream

PUBLISHED:

18:00 GMT, 26 April 2012

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UPDATED:

18:00 GMT, 26 April 2012

Usain Bolt's chances of breaking the 100 metres world record at the London 2012 Olympics could be scuppered by the British weather, according to the Jamaican's coach.

Glen Mills, head coach of the Racers Track Club of which both Bolt and world 100m champion Yohan Blake are members, believes Bolt is capable of running below 9.50 seconds.

The 25-year-old, whose world record stands at 9.58secs, has declared his intention to amaze the world this summer, but Mills feels the conditions may not be conducive to a 9.4s performance.

Superstar: Usain Bolt hopes to break his own world records in London

Superstar: Usain Bolt hopes to break his own world records in London

'I don't believe it's impossible, but he would have to have the right conditions,' the 62-year-old said. 'I'm not sure if London is going to be kind. I am talking about the weather.'

The triple Olympic champion, who has been hampered by fitness problems since his world record run in Berlin in 2009, will race his first 100m of the season at the Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston a week on Saturday. Blake currently leads the world rankings with 9.90.

'Usain is in good condition, he's trained well,' Mills said. 'He had a first run in an invitational meeting a week ago where he anchored the Racers team to a world leading 37.82 and he is ready to run.

'I expect him to do well. He's in good shape so I'm expecting him to run a good race.'

Bolt has frequently stated his desire to become a living legend in athletics by defending his Olympic crowns.

Prep: Bolt is currently in training as he looks to shine in London this year

Prep: Bolt is currently in training as he looks to shine in London this year

He suffered the first major setback of his career at last summer's World Championships in Daegu when he was disqualified for false starting in the 100m final, leaving Blake to take the gold medal.

But Mills feels that experience has made him stronger.

'The lesson he has learned from Daegu is you can never be too complacent, or take anything for granted,' the coach said.

'You have to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. I think he's quite aware of that going into the Olympics and will certainly be in a better position not to be a victim of a false start.

'Usain is quite aware of what it takes to try to be a champion and what is needed for him to maintain the high level of performance.

The one to beat: Bolt holds the 100m and 200m world records

The one to beat: Bolt holds the 100m and 200m world records

'It's not difficult to get him to focus on his preparation and to do the kind of training that is required for him to do well. He has set his sights on reaching greater heights. He wants to become a legend in the sport and he's quite aware that is work is not done yet.'

Mills ruled out the possibility of Bolt competing in the 4x400m relay in London, saying it was something the pair had considered but the programme made it unfeasible.

Blake, though, who will run over 200m at the Jamaica International Invitational, intends to run over both the 100m and 200m in London.

And Mills predicted he would lower his 100m personal best from 9.82 this season.

'I would love to see him go much faster than he did last year,' Mills said. 'His best is 9.82, we're hoping he will surpass that this year. He's training with the double in mind.'

Australian Open 2012: Rafael Nadal says "it was never going to end"

Gutted Nadal claims Australian Open final felt like it was never going to end

Rafael Nadal thought his epic Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic was 'never going to finish'.

The match was eventually won by the Serbian 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5 in five hours and 53 minutes, making it the longest grand slam final of all time and also the longest match ever played in the tournament.

It said much for both players' endurance that the quality of tennis arguably improved as the match went on.

Game over: Rafael Nadal was on the wrong end of the longest ever Grand Slam final

Game over: Rafael Nadal was on the wrong end of the longest ever Grand Slam final

The defeated Spaniard said: 'You look around and you see the watch, five hours, four hours, three hours, finally five hours 53. It seems like it's never going to finish.

'But it's nice to be there fighting, trying to go to the limit. It's something I really enjoy and I always said it is good to suffer. When you are fit and have passion for the game you are able to enjoy suffering.'

Nadal was positive in defeat, and especially pleased he had been able to conquer his demons in competing well with a man who has now beaten him on seven successive occasions.

Lying down on the job: Novak Djokovic triumphed after almost six hours

Lying down on the job: Novak Djokovic triumphed after almost six hours

The world No 2 has admitted previously
he has a mental block when playing Djokovic but he felt this match may
have gone some way to addressing the problem.

'I am very happy about my mentality, it
worked well at the big moments,' he said. 'I didn't have any mental
problems against him. I had mental problems against him in 2011 but not
today.'

Hat-trick: The title was Djokovic's third slam in a row

Hat-trick: The title was Djokovic's third slam in a row

While there was plenty of honour for Nadal, the glory went, yet again, to Djokovic.

His victory made him just the fifth man to win three successive grand slam crowns following his victories last year at Wimbledon and the US Open. And he admitted that among all his wins, this was the best.

'Wimbledon is right up there because it was the tournament I always wanted to win but this comes out on top because we played for almost six hours, it was incredible,' he said.

'It was the longest grand slam final of all time. Just hearing that fact makes me cry. I am very proud to be a part of history, to be among the elite group of players who have won this trophy several times.

'I had a lot of chances to win it in four sets but he deserved to prolong it and then really both of us could have won the match, it could have gone either way.'