Tag Archives: espn

Willian dreams of move to Chelsea

Chelsea target Willian says he dreams of leaving Shakhtar and moving to Stamford Bridge

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UPDATED:

07:26 GMT, 21 December 2012

Chelsea target Willian says he hopes to complete his dream move to Stamford Bridge this summer.

The Shakhtar Donetsk forward had hoped to move to Chelsea in the summer but a move never materialised.

Chelsea were not the only English club to show interest in the Brazilian, but they led the chase.

Looking to move: Willian says he would love to play in England

Looking to move: Willian says he would love to play in England

Willian was disappointed to see Shakhtar block a deal, but understands why there were so keen to keep him and believes he will grace one of Europe’s top divisions at some stage in the near future.

He told ESPN.com.br: 'My goal is to play for a bigger club in a high level league.'

On Chelsea, he said: 'If I tell you that I was happy, I would be lying. My desire was there, with a 20.3million offer from a big club like Chelsea. I wanted to pack my things and go, but I can’t do that as I am under contract.

'It shows how much Shakhtar like me and shows that I am doing a good job, which is why they wanted me to stay.

'I have tried to convince them many times to let me go. I know that Juventus and Chelsea have made offers to buy me and that motivates me a lot.

'The club know that I want to leave, everyone knows that. The president has told me that he’ll let me go for 24.4m and my intention is to sign for a big club.'

Hastings goalkeeper Matt Armstrong-Ford delight at reaching FA Cup third round

My best night in football! Hastings goalkeeper delight at reaching FA Cup third round

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 14 December 2012

Hastings goalkeeper Matt Armstrong-Ford spoke of his “best night in football” as the non-league minnows booked an FA Cup third-round trip to Middlesbrough.

The Isthmian League Premier Division side went all the way against Harrogate Town tonight, going to penalties and winning 5-4 in front of over 4,000 fans at the Pilot Field.

Armstrong-Ford was not called upon in the shoot-out as Harrogate`s misses – from Lee Elam and Tom Platt – were wild hacks over the bar, but that did not stop him savouring the moment.

Joy: Hastings players celebrate their dramatic win over Harrogate on penalties

Joy: Hastings players celebrate their dramatic win over Harrogate on penalties

'It`s my best night in football, this makes it all worth it,' he told ESPN.
'It`s the best thing that has happened to me in football. It doesn`t get any better.'

The keeper`s 90th-minute error – he misjudged a cross which allowed Platt to cancel out Lee Carey`s penalty – may well have been costly, but Dee Okojie kept his cool to put them through from the spot.

'It was hard work,' Carey said.

'I dreamed about scoring last night. I told the boys in the car I was going to score. When we go behind, we still believe we can win the game.'

Winning moment: Dee Okojie scored the decisive penalty for Hastings to send them to the third round

Winning moment: Dee Okojie scored the decisive penalty for Hastings to send them to the third round

The Isthmian League minnows will face Championship side Middlesbrough in January

The Isthmian League minnows will face Championship side Middlesbrough in January

Player-manager Sean Ray was a rock-like presence for his side, and he is now dreaming big.

'The character of the players and the desire… Every game we have played we deserved to win. You can`t question their character,' he said.

'This is my first time as a manager in the FA Cup. Only another five rounds to go and we`ll be at Wembley!'

Ashley Cole is greatest left back in world, says Carlo Ancelotti

Ancelotti heaps praise on Cole, increasing speculation PSG boss will make swoop

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UPDATED:

22:19 GMT, 2 October 2012

Carlo Ancelotti has hailed Ashley Cole as ‘the best left back in the world’ amid increasing speculation that the Paris Saint-Germain manager will make a move for the Chelsea defender.

England defender Cole is in the final year of his Chelsea contract and there are suggestions that he is struggling to reach an agreement over an extension, with former Blues boss Ancelotti reported to be monitoring developments.

High praise: Ancelotti says Cole is the world's best left back

High praise: Ancelotti says Cole is the world's best left back

When asked about the claims that PSG could move for the 31-year-old, Ancelotti, who managed Cole at Stamford Bridge for two seasons, told ESPN STAR Sports: ‘The newspapers said that 100 players could come here.

‘For this season, we have a very good squad but next year, I don’t know what is going on.’

He added: ‘Ashley Cole is the best left back in the world at the moment.’

Sign him up: Cole is yet to agree a new deal at Stamford Bridge

Sign him up: Cole is yet to agree a new deal at Stamford Bridge

Manny Pacquiao clears way for Floyd Mayweather fight with pay offer

Over to you Floyd… Pacquiao clears way for $100m superfight with open offer on pay

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UPDATED:

08:18 GMT, 21 September 2012

Manny Pacquiao has openly told Floyd Mayweather jnr he will take a smaller purse than his rival in a bid to get their $100million superfight finally inked in.

Mayweather has long insisted that he deserves a larger payday than Pacquiao should the world's two best pound-for-pound boxers ever meet in the ring.

That has proved one of the many stumbling blocks to a deal in the past but now the Filipino superstar has gone public in saying he would take 45 per cent of the purse to allow Mayweather to pocket 55 per cent of the money.

Plenty to say: Manny Pacquiao is promoting his fourth fight with Juan Marquez

Plenty to say: Manny Pacquiao is promoting his fourth fight with Juan Marquez

Plenty to say: Manny Pacquiao is promoting his fourth fight with Juan Marquez

Pacquiao, a world champion in eight weight divisions and a congressman in his native Philippines, faces Juan Marquez for the fourth time on December 8 but already has one eye on the long-awaited bout with the unbeaten Mayweather, and is prepared to pander to his American rival's string of demands to make it happen.

'I’m waiting for that fight to happen,' Pacquiao told ESPN. 'I don’t know what’s the reason why that fight has not happened.

'It’s OK for me if he gets a higher percentage than me.'

Pacquiao spoke to Mayweather on the phone in January and was offered a flat $40m fee with no share of the revenue, which he refused.

String of demands: Floyd Mayweather

String of demands: Floyd Mayweather

'I spoke to Floyd… and he offered me an amount,' Pacquiao added. 'He didn’t talk about the pay-per-views here and that’s it. I can’t agree with that. I told him I agree with 55 and 45 (split).'

Pacquiao also insisted he would have no problem undergoing random blood and urine tests in the build-up to the fight, something Mayweather has always insisted on and which had previously been one of the near countless stumbling blocks delaying a deal.

Mayweather had accused his rival of taking performance-enhancing drugs, which led to Pacquiao taking legal action for defamation in December 2009.

Earlier this week a Las Vegas judge ordered Mayweather to pay 70,000 because he has refused to appear for a deposition with Pacquiao’s lawyers.

'No problem,' Pacquiao said when asked about whether he would undergo testing. 'Whatever he wants to do.

'Even the night of the fight. No problem.'

Pacquiao must overcome Marquez to have any hope of facing Mayweather. The Filipino has won two and drawn one of their three previous fights, but many observers – and Marquez – have contested that the Mexican deserved to win.

Ashley Cole revels in Chelsea win over Newcastle

Cole revels in Chelsea's new-look side after Blues maintain perfect start

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UPDATED:

20:04 GMT, 25 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Ashley Cole believes the new-look Chelsea are off to the perfect start after a 2-0 home win over Newcastle moved them back to the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Eden Hazard got his first Blues goal from the penalty spot after Fernando Torres tumbled in the area, and the revitalised Spain striker added the second in first-half stoppage time.

Chelsea have changed their style this summer, but Cole is delighted with how quickly they have gelled.

Star of the show: Eden Hazard was at his best for Chelsea against Newcastle

Star of the show: Eden Hazard was at his best for Chelsea against Newcastle

'We've lost Didier (Drogba), a big powerful presence up front and sometimes we just used to knock it up to him,' the England left-back told ESPN.

'But now we've signed some smaller players so we've got to get the ball down a play a little bit more now.

'The second goal today was a great goal for the whole team.'

It was Torres' third goal of the season, counting his strike in the Community Shield, and Cole reckons the frontman's new-found confidence is as much a result of Spain's triumph at Euro 2012 as his new role in a Drogba-less Chelsea team.

Main men: Hazard and Fernando Torres

Main men: Hazard and Fernando Torres

'Of course it was really hard for him to (only) get that many games (last season),' he said. 'But when he did play he worked really hard for the team.

'Now he's the main man, like you say. But he's full of confidence after the European Championships and he scored a great goal today.'

Hazard turned in another fine performance to add to his growing reputation since his big-money move from Lille this summer.

'I think he deserves a lot of credit for the start to the season we've had,' Cole said.

'He's won two penalties, got two assists and now a goal – it's phenomenal.

'We're proud to have this guy in the team and hopefully he can keep doing it.'

Hazard added: 'I'm very happy to get my first goal at Stamford Bridge.'

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo believes all of his players deserve credit for the club's unbeaten start to the new season despite Eden Hazard once again grabbing the headlines in a 2-0 win at home to Newcastle.

The Blues returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League thanks to a third win in a week.

Summer signing Hazard opened the scoring from the penalty spot and then provided an assist for Fernando Torres to seal the points in first-half stoppage time.

The Belgium international has been central to the wins over Newcastle, Reading and Wigan and Torres has started to look more like the 50million man brought in from Liverpool in January 2011, but Di Matteo feels the whole team deserve praise.

Hitting form: Torres scores Chelsea's second goal against Newcastle

Hitting form: Torres scores Chelsea's second goal against Newcastle

'It's not just them two, they have a good link-up with (Juan) Mata and the other midfield players,' he said.

'Thanks to the team he (Hazard) has been able to slide in and play very comfortably with the others.

'I know you focus on the goalscorers but I think it was a good performance considering it was our third game in six days. The demand was high playing against tough opposition today.'

Torres, 28, was brought down for the penalty and scored a tremendous goal from the edge of the box and Di Matteo is pleased that he has started to add goals to his game once more.

'He was very important for us last season, maybe not scoring as much but providing and working hard for the team,' he said.

'He is a great team player as well but it is great to see him scoring and the second goal I think was terrific play from us.'

Kevin Pietersen could be blocked from being TV pundit

Pietersen may face TV blow as Clarke could block his role as World Twenty20 pundit

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UPDATED:

22:27 GMT, 25 August 2012

Kevin Pietersen may find his bid for employment in the World T20 as a commentator for ESPN Star Sports scuppered by England Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke.

The ICC’s had recruited Pietersen as a commentator for the two-week tournament in Sri Lanka next month. But ESPN must present their list of commentators to the hosts, Sri Lanka, then ICC, who own the World T20 tournament.

The ICC committee responsible for approving the list, the commerce committee, is chaired by ECB chairman Clarke.

New job: Kevin Pietersen will provide analysis on the championship

New job: Kevin Pietersen will provide analysis on the championship

Kevin Pietersen will work for ESPN during Twenty20 World Championships

Shamed Pietersen heads to World Twenty20 after all… but only as a TV pundit

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UPDATED:

10:04 GMT, 24 August 2012

After being left out of the England squad batsman Kevin Pietersen will take up a punditry role for ESPN-STAR Sports for the upcoming Twenty20 World Championships.

Pietersen will take up a 'presentation and analysis' job after being overlooked thanks to the infamous text message debacle in whuch he sent messages to South African players criticising England captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower.

New job: Kevin Pietersen will provide analysis on the championship

New job: Kevin Pietersen will provide analysis on the championship

In addition to his new duties, he will also 'play an important role in the publicity and promotion of ESS’s broadcast of ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka,' according to a statement from the channel.

It continued: 'This places him as one of the most suitable persons to give insightful perspective on this iconic T20 tournament, a format in which he has excelled as a player, thus further enhancing coverage of the ICC World Twenty20 for passionate cricket fans.'

Excited: Pietersen says he is looking forward to the role

Excited: Pietersen says he is looking forward to the role

Pietersen said, 'I am very excited about working with ESPN STAR Sports covering the ICC World Twenty20 watching England defend their title.'

He was player of the tournament at the last incarnation of the event, held in West Indies in 2010.

Blackburn chief Shebby Singh vows to tackle "world"s most impossible job"

Outspoken Blackburn chief Singh vows to tackle the 'world's most impossible job'

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 17 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

It hasn't taken taken long for the outspoken opinions that made Shebby Singh a household name across Asia to ruffle a few feathers in English football.

Singh, the man charged with guiding Blackburn Rovers back into the Premier League, global advisor to Indian owners Venky’s, and a popular television pundit, might have won himself some new friends by announcing at a fans’ forum on the eve of the Championship season that manager Steve Kean will be sacked if he loses three games in a row, but his unguarded comments about Kean and midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen have not gone down so well inside Ewood Park.

Shebby Singh: a man on a mission

Shebby Singh: a man on a mission

Singh has apologised publicly and personally to both men but the 51-year-old former Malaysia international and Asia’s answer to Alan Hansen is not about to change despite the controversy building around him.

‘I call a spade a spade,’ says Singh. ‘There is a job to do, a responsibility on my shoulders. It’s a fresh challenge and it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is.

‘As a football pundit we are most loved if we say nice things but we are most hated if we don’t. So be it.

‘ESPN Star Sports was televised across 21 countries, all of them football crazy. Man United v Liverpool can draw 250million viewers.

Under fire: Steve Kean (right) has seen his preparations hit

Under fire: Steve Kean (right) has seen his preparations hit

‘It will take a long time for some
people at the club to accept they have got an in-house pundit as a
global advisor who has been sent here to oversee the present and future
of the club.

‘I’ve never been too popular and I don’t think anything will change. But I will get the job done.

‘I saw them (Kean and Pedersen) personally first and apologised, and
then it was only right that I apologised in public. I’m wrong, I’m
sorry.

‘Whether they accepted the apology or not, that’s not something I can determine.’

Singh was quite happy living in Singapore and delivering his opinions on
world football alongside his old ‘sparring partner’ Steve McMahon to
viewers every Monday night when Blackburn’s owners Venky’s asked him to
become their head of football development for Asia last summer.

Straight talking: Singh will not change his outspoken style

Straight talking: Singh will not change his outspoken style

After the club were relegated in May, Singh was given the title of
global advisor and parachuted into Ewood to work alongside Kean barely a
month after writing a newspaper column in Singapore calling for the
Scot to be sacked.

Before leaving a 15-year career in television to move to Lancashire’s
Ribble Valley, however, he asked his son Sonuljit, 22, for his opinion.

‘He’s my go-to man,’ says Singh. ‘We were having a chat about this and
he said, “do you know what you’ve done You’ve walked into the most
impossible job in the world!”.

‘That’s my son’s opinion of it. Yes, it’s a big challenge but the bigger
the better. It’s better to have tried and failed than never have tried
at all, that’s always been the way I approach life.

‘Please call me a student of the game. I’m not an expert or a guru, I’m
still learning the game. Football is my passion, my vocation, my hobby,
my everything.’

Singh’s honesty might attract controversy but it’s a breath of fresh air
to the fans who have been desperate for better communication with their
club since the Jack Walker Trust handed over control to India nearly
two years ago.

He is well aware of the criticism of the Rao family and their
matriarchal head Mrs Anuradha Desai – or ‘Madam’ who stood against her
brothers and spared Kean the sack at the end of last season – but he
insists the owners have learned from their painful introduction to
English football.

Target: Blackburn Rovers' Norwegian midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen

Target: Blackburn Rovers' Norwegian midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen

Money has been made available for eight new signings so far this summer,
meaning Blackburn are among the favourites to go back up at the first
attempt.

‘I’ve come into this with my eyes wide open,’ says Singh. ‘We’re all
aware of the situation but we don’t like to bring it up. That’s the
promise I made to my bosses. It’s history. You can’t change history but
you can influence the future.

‘Madam has watched me on TV, she knows what I was saying and thinking. I
said things that had to be said, the same as what a lot of fans here
think. Coming here is a progression, not a new start for me.

‘I’ve been sent by the family to get promotion. When I met with them
this summer, Madam said, “Shebby, do what you have to do – I want
promotion”. I recall the moment because that’s the motivation.’

Singh holds up his mobile phone to reveal the motto on his Blackberry Messenger. It reads: ‘Promotion or die trying’.

‘It’s as simple as that for me,’ adds the man who had an 18-year playing
career for club and country in Malaysia. ‘Along the way if people get
upset, if people think that’s the train they don’t want to be on then
fine.’

Fresh start: Blackburn's new signing Dickson Etuhu (centre) during training

Fresh start: Blackburn's new signing Dickson Etuhu (centre) during training

Singh insists that Venky’s have no intention of walking away from their investment.

‘A lot of people have underestimated the family,’ he says. ‘They are
here to stay. There is a way forward – it’s not the end of everything.

‘Yes, there’s a lot of a hurt which everybody feels and financially the
club has been hit. It’s been painful and detrimental to their name and
reputation, but there’s a stronger resolve now.

‘My bosses run a conglomerate, an empire. With their other business
entities, they trust people they put in place to get results.

‘Right until the end last season I think the owners were possibly
fearful of what might happen but they depended on the manager to have
told them that.

‘I have shouldered a lot of the pressure but certain things only time
will heal. Things like putting the squad together for Steve. I don’t
think we could have done any better.

‘The club has come down, Steve was the man in charge and still is. We
need to go back up. Now it’s time to step back because this is where the
football begins. Team selection and tactics entirely belong to the
manager, and we can only hope we get the right results.’

Blackburn might be out of the Premier League but, with Singh at the
helm, it’s unlikely they will be out of the spotlight for long.

Chelsea new bid for Victor Moses

Chelsea back in talks with Wigan in attempt to close out 10m Moses chase

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UPDATED:

08:44 GMT, 7 August 2012

Chelsea have stepped up their chase for Victor Moses with a fresh approach for the Wigan forward.

Blues chief executive Ron Gourlay contacted Latics chairman Dave Whelan on Monday to discuss a new bid for the Nigeria striker.

Marseille president Vincent Labrune, meanwhile, has told L'Equipe his side have received a 'very serious' offer for Cesar Azpilicueta, with the Blues favourites to land the Spanish right-back.

In demand: Victor Moses (second left) in pre-season action against Real Mallorca

In demand: Victor Moses (second left) in pre-season action against Real Mallorca

Chelsea have already had three bids rejected for Moses, with Whelan holding out for 10million.

Moses has a year left on his contract but Wigan would be due compensation if he leaves next season given he is under 24.

He told ESPN: 'I have spoken to Chelsea's chief executive and they are easy to deal with.

'We have told them the price and they will come back and agree it or not.

'We would much prefer the player to sign a new contract and stay but he wants to go to Chelsea and it's a good club so we cannot stand in his way.'

On the move Spain defender Cesar Azpilicueta in action during the Olympics

On the move Spain defender Cesar Azpilicueta in action during the Olympics

Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo has already admitted the club may be forced to sell Azpilicueta to fund new signings.

Chelsea are also pondering a renewed bid for Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle having already spent almost 70m in recent months.

Wigan to beat West Ham to Ivan Ramis

Wigan to beat Hammers to Ramis signing as Martinez strengthens defence

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UPDATED:

11:37 GMT, 2 August 2012

Wigan are close to completing the signing of West Ham target Ivan Ramis from Real Mallorca.

The 27-year-old defender had looked set for a move to Upton Park, after Mallorca revaled that a deal had been agreed last weekend.

But the player has now passed his medical after being persuaded to move to the DW Stadium, and should complete his switch in the next 24 hours.

Wigan bound: Ivan Ramis (right) is set to complete a move to the DW Stadium

Wigan bound: Ivan Ramis (right) is set to complete a move to the DW Stadium

Chairman Dave Whelan told ESPN: 'He has passed a medical and it is being concluded.'

Whelan said the move was down to the influence of manager Roberto Martinez.

'The player doesn't speak English and didn't want to go to West Ham who had already agreed a deal.

Main man: Roberto Martinez (right) was influential in Ramis' decision

Main man: Roberto Martinez (right) was influential in Ramis' decision

'But Roberto asked me to go out to Mallorca where I met their chairman and with the club in receivership, they accepted my offer and then I went to see the player.'

Although they are set to miss out on Ramis, West Ham have strengthened their defensive resources with the signing of Wales international James Collins from Aston Villa.