Tag Archives: genius

Lionel Messi sidelined for at least one game after limping out of Barcelona Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain

Messi faces rare spell on the sidelines.. but Barcelona are better off in Europe without their star man!

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

10:17 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

15:15 GMT, 3 April 2013

It's a sight that has been thankfully rare over the years for Barcelona fans and the millions who appreciate his genius.

But Lionel Messi is facing a spell on the sidelines of up to three weeks after being substituted at half-time during last night's Champions League tie in Paris with a hamstring injury.

The club have confirmed that he has a thigh injury and will miss Saturday's match at home to Real Mallorca at the very least. Messi even took to his Facebook page to confirm his knock isn't as bad as first feared.

Scroll down for video

Allaying fears: Messi posted this picture on his Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon, saying his hamstring injury was not as serious as first thought

Allaying fears: Messi posted this picture on his Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon, saying his hamstring injury was not as serious as first thought

Check up: Messi is accompanied by defender Jordi Alba as he walks to the medical centre at Barcelona's training ground. Initial scans on his hamstring injury suggest the damage isn't as bad as first feared

Check up: Messi is accompanied by defender Jordi Alba as he walks to the medical centre at Barcelona's training ground. Initial scans on his hamstring injury suggest the damage isn't as bad as first feared

Lionel Messi has his hamstring injury assessed at Barcelona's training ground

Rare injury blow: Lionel Messi (second left) watched the second half of Barcelona's 2-2 draw with PSG after suffering a hamstring injury

Rare injury blow: Lionel Messi (second left) watched the second half of Barcelona's 2-2 draw with PSG after suffering a hamstring injury

Deadly: Before going off, Messi opened the scoring with his 57th goal of the season

Deadly: Before going off, Messi opened the scoring with his 57th goal of the season

MESSI'S APPEARANCES

Goals scored in brackets

2004-2005: 9 (1)
2005-2006: 25 (8)
2006-2007: 36 (17)
2007-2008: 40 (16)
2008-2009: 51 (38)
2009-2010: 53 (47)
2010-2011: 55 (53)
2011-2012: 60 (73)
2012-2013: 45 (57)

Depending on his recovery, it could also
see him absent from the return with PSG next week and subsequent La
Liga matches that will see Barca secure the title.

For someone who is always target No 1 for brutish defenders, Lionel Messi is astonishingly resilient.

His untouchable scoring record and long list of accolades are testament not only to his brilliance but a good injury record.

In fact this season, the 25-year-old has played 3,193 of a possible 3,420 minutes in the league and Champions League – meaning he's missed just 227 minutes of action in these competitions.

Representing a club inevitably involved to the business end of competitions, Messi is used to playing in excess of 50 matches a season for Barcelona and up to a dozen more for Argentina.

Whereas other star players, particularly in the Premier League, are rested or rotated for less important games, Messi is as likely to start against Granada and Getafe than he is against Real Madrid.

But the physical toll rarely shows on his body, with the Argentine suffering only four injury lay-offs of note over his career.

Concern: Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova talks to Messi during last night's quarter-final, first leg

Concern: Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova talks to Messi during last night's quarter-final, first leg

Bloodied: Messi took a knock to the knee, which led to him being taken off at half-time

Bloodied: Messi took a knock to the knee, which led to him being taken off at half-time

Pain: Messi grabs the back of his right leg during the match at the Parc des Princes

Pain: Messi grabs the back of his right leg during the match at the Parc des Princes

Before last night, he had not had a muscle injury for three-and-a-half years, when a calf problem ruled him out of a Champions League tie with Inter Milan and a league Clasico with Real in November 2009.

He was an unused substitute in the Inter tie as Pep Guardiola decided not to risk him.

He missed league games against Sporting Gijon and Athletic Bilbao in September 2010 with a stretched ligament, but returned for a trip to Russia to play Rubin Kazan the following week.

Prior to that, you have to go back to the 2007-2008 season when a 20-year-old Messi missed about 10 weeks of the season with a couple of injury scares.

Source: Opta

Source: Opta

Source: Opta

Source: Opta

While Barcelona's quarter-final tie with PSG is delicately poised at 2-2, Messi's team-mates won't be too concerned by his absence.

The statistics show that, in Champions League games since Messi broke into the first team in 2004, they have won 71 per cent of matches without him and just 56 per cent of games when he's been rested or injured.

This is probably explained by Barcelona's run to the trophy in 2006, when Messi played just six of the club's 13 games.

Golden Balls: Messi, four time Ballon D'Or winner, shakes hands with David Beckham before the match

Golden Balls: Messi, four time Ballon D'Or winner, shakes hands with David Beckham before the match

By contrast, in La Liga, Barcelona have won 76 per cent of games since 2004 with him in the team.

But when Messi is absent, they have won only half.

The injury will bring to an end his record run of scoring in 19 consecutive league games. His first-half goal against PSG also drew him level with Cristiano Ronaldo and Galatasaray's Burak Yilmaz as top scorer in the Champions League with eight goals.

In addition, defender Javier Mascherano was taken off on a stretcher after 84 minutes with a knee injury and will be missing for 'four to six weeks' according to Barca coach Jordi Roura.

Injury worry: Messi's compatriot Javier Mascherano was stretchered off late in the game

Injury worry: Messi's compatriot Javier Mascherano was stretchered off late in the game

Messi's absence turns the spotlight on Barcelona's misfiring strike force.

Spain's David Villa and Pedro, Chile's Alexis Sanchez, and midfielder-cum-forward Cesc Fabregas have managed only three goals between them in Europe, trailing way behind Messi, the Champions League's leading scorer for the the last four seasons in a row.

Sanchez is clearly lacking in confidence, as was seen with two poorly-taken chances on Tuesday, though he did win the penalty for Xavi to put Barca 2-1 up near the end.

Misfiring: Barcelona will rely on the out-of-form Alexis Sanchez for the second leg next week

Misfiring: Barcelona will rely on the out-of-form Alexis Sanchez for the second leg next week

Villa has failed to recover his consistency and sharpness since breaking his leg at the Club World Cup in December 2011, and Fabregas has been short of form in recent weeks.

Pedro, who was suspended on Tuesday, should have recovered from a calf injury for the second leg, but has yet to get off the mark in the Champions League this season.

Cristian Tello is another option. The little-used, young winger scored one and set up the second for Messi in their 2-2 draw at Real Zaragoza in La Liga last Saturday, and brings a directness and pace to an attack that at times lacks a cutting edge.

He has scored one goal in the Champions League this season.

Beckham pleased with draw against Barcelona

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McFadden returns to Motherwell until the end of the season

McFadden returns to Motherwell until the end of the season

By
Thom Drake

PUBLISHED:

16:00 GMT, 17 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:26 GMT, 18 February 2013

Motherwell have confirmed the signing of Scottish winger James McFadden until the end of the season after his short term contract was not renewed by Sunderland.

The 29-year-old had scored 32 goals while he was a teenager at the club before his 1.25million move to Everton.

The announcement caused so much interest among Motherwell fans that their official club website crashed in the immediate aftermath of the news.

Genius: James McFadden scored 26 goals in 63 games for Motherwell

Genius: James McFadden scored 26 goals in 63 games for Motherwell

He had attracted interest from two other
SPL clubs, which meant Motherwell moved fast to tie down, and he may be
available to play as early as Tuesday against Dundee United.

Talks had
continued from last week as McFadden was keen to rejoin the side he
last played for in August 2003, in a 2-2 draw with Partick Thistle.

According to The Sun, last week manager Stuart McCall didn't want to talk about the McFadden situation directly, saying: 'He's a talented player but there's nothing more to report than that.

'We provide facilities for a few of our former players. Marc Fitzpatrick is in training with us and I think Paul Slane is coming in next week as well.

McFadden wanted to get a deal sorted out as soon as possible to move back to his former hunting ground and was at their 3-0 win against Inverness on Saturday.

Home sweet home: McFadden was at Fir Park on Saturday to watch Motherwell

Home sweet home: McFadden was at Fir Park on Saturday to watch Motherwell

The club are hoping that McFadden will not only boost morale in the team, but also attract more numbers to Fir Park.

The winger, who was originally known for the number of dribbles he made in games for the North-Lanarkshrie club, moved to Sunderland last October but only made three substitue appearances, totaling just 34 minutes.

Capped: An in-form McFadden would be fighting for a Scotland place again

Capped: An in-form McFadden would be fighting for a Scotland place again

Phil Taylor beats Raymond van Barneveld to reach world Championship final

Power surges: Taylor sets up final date with Van Gerwen after on-stage clash with Van Barneveld in semi-final

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UPDATED:

08:03 GMT, 31 December 2012

Phil Taylor survived a fightback and an angry confrontation with one Dutchman on Sunday night but he will have to overcome the genius of another if he is to lift a 16th world title.

The Power’s eventual 6-4 semi-final victory over his one-time nemesis Raymond van Barneveld was a display of initial clinical efficiency which drifted into nervous hesitancy and a final eyes-bulging stand-off between the pair who required security guards to maintain an uneasy peace.

Taylor will need to add flamboyant brilliance if he is to beat Michael van Gerwen, judging by the heights reached by the 23-year-old in his 6-4 triumph over James Wade.

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Taylor said: ‘Michael’s talent is the
best I’ve ever seen, even better than me at my peak. I’ve been studying
Michael’s game and he doesn’t even seem to look at his target. I’m
going to do everything on the dart board I can to beat him. I can’t beat
him playing like that.

'Nothing went on, none of us wanted to lose that. He was brilliant there. He stuck in there.
'I said to Raymond backstage, “there's nobody in this room who's a
bigger fan of you than I am”. We're not going to fall out about
anything. It's forgotten. It's done.'

He's done it! Taylor celebrates his win

He's done it! Taylor celebrates his win

Mixed emotions: Taylor reacts as he misses a dart to win the match

Mixed emotions: Taylor reacts as he misses a dart to win the match

Taylor admitted all had not gone
exactly to plan, saying: 'The crowd seemed to get behind him a bit. I
think the crowd wanted another Michael van Gerwen-James Wade match.

'I'm full of cold. I've got a
temperature. I'm shattered. I'm taking energy sweets. I should have gone
to the doctors to get some antibiotics. I'm trying anything to keep my
energy up.

Titanic tussle: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head

Titanic tussle: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head

Fightback: Van Barneveld came back to scare Taylor

Fightback: Van Barneveld came back to scare Taylor

'I've got a day off on Monday. I'm going to lie in bed most of the day. I'm shattered.'

Taylor displayed sustained scoring
power as he feasted upon the doubts in Van Barneveld’s head, checking
out 141 and 111 in successive legs. In the end it was sheer
determination not to go more than two years without a world title for
the first time in his career which carried him through.

Rafa Benitez"s bowling trip the new secret to success ahead of Monterrey clash

Is this Rafa's secret to success Benitez's bowling trip ahead of Monterrey clash worked a treat

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UPDATED:

18:54 GMT, 13 December 2012

He came to Chelsea with a reputation as a tactical genius. He introduced unorthodox zonal-marking and squad-rotation systems when he took charge of Liverpool in 2005. Now, though, it seems Rafa Benitez has uncovered a new winning formula.

The Blues boss took his team bowling on Tuesday night as they prepared for their Club World Cup semi-final tie against Mexican outfit Monterrey.

Chelsea won 3-1, Torres was back among the scorers and the players were having fun. Was this another Benitez tactical masterstroke

Tactical masterstroke Rafa's Ten-pin tactics paid off as Chelsea beat Monterrey

Tactical masterstroke Rafa's Ten-pin tactics paid off as Chelsea beat Monterrey

Having fun Oscar, David Luiz, and Ramires seemed to enjoy themselves

Having fun Oscar, David Luiz, and Ramires seemed to enjoy themselves

Ashley Cole didn't impress with his bowling technique and he was forced to wait on the team as punishment

Ashley Cole didn't impress with his bowling technique and he was forced to wait on the team as punishment

I know what I'm doing: Benitez may have lifted the Chelsea players' spirits

I know what I'm doing: Benitez may have lifted the Chelsea players' spirits

Not a lot has gone right for Rafa since he took over from Roberto Di Matteo as Chelsea manager. He started with back-to-back 0-0 results in the league followed by a 3-1 defeat at West Ham and an embarrassing early exit from the Champions League, the first time the holders have ever fallen this early.

And, of course, all this with the boos and groans of discontent from Chelsea fans in the background.

But in the last few days things appear to be looking up for the ‘fat Spanish waiter’. They won 3-1 at Sunderland and set off for Japan for what must feel like welcome relief from the scrutiny back home.

Above all, it appears the Blues are having fun in the Far East. They were mobbed by adoring Premier League fans when they arrived and now it looks like Rafa has found the secret formula to make Chelsea fire again.

Wrong sport: Juan Mata tries the shot-put with a bowling ball

Wrong sport: Juan Mata tries the shot-put with a bowling ball

Good technique: David Luiz shows off his bowling skills

Good technique: David Luiz shows off his bowling skills

Good job son: Torres was amongst the goals in Yokohama as Chelsea won 3-1

Good job son: Torres was amongst the goals in Yokohama as Chelsea won 3-1

All smiles: Whatever happened at bowling must have worked as Chelsea brushed aside the Mexican side

All smiles: Whatever happened at bowling must have worked as Chelsea brushed aside the Mexican side

But if the Blues come back having lost to Corinthians in the final it will be perceived as a worthless trip, as was the case when Liverpool lost to Sao Paulo in 2005.

At least Benitez has got Torres scoring again and team morale looks to be the best it has been since that famous night in Munich in May.

Kevin Pietersen is a genius and he is worth a bit of hassle: Nasser Hussain

'Public enemy No 1' Pietersen is a genius and he is worth a bit of hassle

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UPDATED:

23:51 GMT, 25 November 2012

How close England came to messing up the whole Kevin Pietersen affair by leaving him out of this tour. It would have been like handing the series to India on a plate.

Yes, Pietersen did some stupid things last summer and, yes, he deserved to be disciplined. But somehow he was turned into public enemy No 1.

He did the crime but had served enough time by the end of the summer and Duncan Fletcher and India would have been rubbing their hands with glee when he was initially left out of England’s tour party.

Double act: Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook were in sensational form in Mumbai (FILE IMAGE)

Double act: Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook were in sensational form in Mumbai (FILE IMAGE)

Equally, India would have had their heads in their hands when he was eventually added to that squad because they knew what a difference he could make. Pietersen showed just that with a truly amazing innings.

Whoever sorted this situation out and got Pietersen on a plane to Mumbai deserves a massive pat on the back. It was always going too far to say he should not play at all this winter or, as some had it, should never play for England again.

I feel strongly about this because management has to be about dealing with different characters for the sake of the team. A lot of rubbish has been spoken about reintegration and team spirit but the bottom line is that different people need to be treated differently.

Handle with care: Pietersen is back to his best, and thank goodness for that (FILE IMAGE)

Handle with care: Pietersen is back to his best, and thank goodness for that (FILE IMAGE)

Pietersen can be a cricketing genius and geniuses are worth a bit of hassle and awkwardness. It would be lovely if everyone was as easy to handle as Alastair Cook but life isn’t like that. Now everyone has to work to make sure that the situation which dogged last summer can never happen again.

Someone else who made a massive mistake is MS Dhoni for insisting that this pitch should turn from the first ball. It is when England are confronted with flat surfaces that they sometimes scratch their heads and struggle to take 20 wickets.

All this did was bring their spinners into the game and England stand on the verge of what would surely be one of their greatest wins. It has been that good.

Ronnie O"Sullivan may retire from snooker, admits Joe Johnson

'Genius' O'Sullivan may retire from snooker after season break, admits Johnson

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UPDATED:

19:23 GMT, 7 November 2012

Snooker may have to get used to the idea of Ronnie O’Sullivan never returning to the sport, according to another former world champion.

O’Sullivan, the four-time king of The Crucible, announced on Tuesday that he would be taking the rest of the season off.

And Joe Johnson believes that decision could signal the beginning of the end for O’Sullivan’s magnificent career.

‘He’s 36 now, and if he does take a year out and goes out of the top 32, there would be no guarantee of him getting back into the top 16 at the age of 37,’ Johnson said.

‘I’d be fearful that could be the end of Ronnie. It may be that he decides to retire.’

Sabbatical: Ronnie O'Sullivan is taking a break from snooker

Sabbatical: Ronnie O'Sullivan (left) is taking a break from snooker

Johnson, world champion in 1986 and now a Eurosport commentator, admitted that O’Sullivan’s loss would be keenly felt throughout the sport this season.

‘Everybody wants to see Ronnie. The players, the public, everyone. I think the game needs Ronnie.

‘He's one of those special players that comes around, like an Alex Higgins or a Jimmy White. The public love him, and this will be a big blow to Joe Public.

‘Personally I would like to see him enter the World Championships by next week, if he doesn’t enter then he can’t change his mind. A lot can happen in five or six months.’

Fears: Joe Johnson

Fears: Joe Johnson

O’Sullivan has won all the game’s top prizes during his two decades at the top of snooker, with his fourth World Championship win coming back in May in Sheffield. He has also won the UK Championship four times, and claimed the Masters title on four occasions.

And Johnson is in no doubt over O’Sullivan’s place in the history of the sport.

‘He’s right at the top. Stephen Hendry was Mr Consistency, but Ronnie is right up there for talent and natural ability.

‘He’s just a genius. And with any genius, you never quite know what you’re going to get. Players like Judd Trump or Mark Allen might be the ones to look at more now, because they’re so brilliant to watch. But they can’t replace Ronnie, he’s just a one-off.

‘If Ronnie has problems he's got to sort them out. He's had a long career, 20 years at the top. That's a lot of pressure. He may feel that he's burnt out. I just think it's a sad loss.’

Marouane Fellaini is unplayable for Everton

Everton's mile high midfield genius Fellaini can be unplayable

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 4 November 2012

At 6ft 4in in his bare feet, not counting the hair, it would be easy to describe Marouane Fellaini as a target man and stop there.

Simplistic enough for Steven Gerrard possibly — how the Liverpool captain must be rueing the moment he opened his mouth and likened the neighbours to Stoke.

Fellaini’s jaw-dropping performance in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Fulham reinforced the view that the Everton attacking midfielder is, indeed, pretty good in the air.

Imposing: Marouane Fellaini stamped his authority on the game

Imposing: Marouane Fellaini stamped his authority on the game

Add to that a dynamo constitution, an eye for a goal, an ability to link and a masterful delivery of crosses and it is hardly surprising that team-mate Phil Jagielka described the Belgian as ‘unplayable’.

As well as the seven miles which Fellaini covered at Craven Cottage, the player scored twice to spare the embarrassment of the sadly out-of-sorts Nikica Jelavic.

The first came from a passing move while the second was, admittedly, from a long diagonal ball punted forward but dispatched with quality.

‘It’s not just a case of chucking him up there to collect long balls, he’s a really good footballer,’ said Jagielka.

‘Felli had an OK first half but in the second half he was as good as he has been. He was near enough unplayable. I’m sure for Felli’s goal people will have a laugh and a joke, but we put a lot of passes together and had a lot of possession. We created a lot of chances through neat interchanges.

‘We’ve got footballers that can play and we’ve got people who can hold the football and be physical as well.’

Manager David Moyes has made a statement of intent this season in terms of challenging the top four and, to do that, he needs to keep Fellaini fit and firing.

Lost his touch: Nikica Jelavic is off the boil

Lost his touch: Nikica Jelavic is off the boil

Then there is Jelavic. Last year, every touch seemed to finish with a goal but the Croat is missing easy chances, which helps explain why Everton have drawn four successive matches.

Moyes insists he will stick with the striker and, thanks to Fellaini, he can afford the luxury of being patient.

Sebastian Vettel to start Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from back of the grid

Hamilton can turn the heat on relegated championship leader Vettel in Abu Dhabi

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UPDATED:

21:40 GMT, 3 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton is perfectly placed to disrupt Sebastian Vettel's hopes of a hat-trick of world championships in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton took pole position from the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Vettel at a circuit on which he has never been off the front row in the race's four years.

After qualifying, Vettel's car was found to have insufficient fuel, infringing F1's technical regulations.

Ditched: Sebastian Vettel could not steer his car back to the pits on his out-lap

Ditched: Sebastian Vettel could not steer his car back to the pits on his out-lap

The German's times were cancelled and he starts from the back of the grid.

Either Vettel or Ferrari's Fernando Alonso will finish the year as a triple F1 world champion.

Hamilton made it clear he thinks
Alonso would be more deserving. Vettel's Red Bull is the latest in a
succession of superb cars from British design genius Adrian Newey and
Hamilton says: 'Lots of people wish they could have Adrian's car so they
could show they're just as competitive as Sebastian.

Pole vault: Hamilton beat the Red Bulls for speed

Pole vault: Hamilton beat the Red Bulls for speed

'I don't really get to race against him. He puts his car on to the maximum engine setting and he's gone.

'Fernando, for me, is more accurate,' Hamilton added.

'He hits all the apexes. Sebastian
misses four apexes on a single lap and still goes quickest. His car is
just that far ahead of everyone else's.'

There may be trouble ahead: Vettel stands next to his car after qualifying

There may be trouble ahead: Vettel stands next to his car after qualifying

Of their respective merits Hamilton
says: 'I have my own opinion. That just confirms it, when you miss all
those corners . . . '

Vettel would no doubt be affronted, particularly after suffering a nightmare day.

He missed the last session of
practice with a brake problem and was playing catch-up during
qualifying, clipped the wall and then fell foul of the rules.

Repeat performance: Lewis Hamilton stopped his car on the track in Barcelona

Repeat performance: Lewis Hamilton stopped his car on the track in Barcelona

After nearly five hours of
deliberation race stewards discovered that there was insufficient fuel
in the car for sampling purposes.

The thinnest of silver linings for Vettel was that Alonso qualified seventh – now sixth – in a Ferrari that struggled for pace.

Yet with double DRS overtaking zones, he will aim to exploit Vettel's misfortune and finish on the podium at the very least.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Live: 1pm, Sky Sports F1 & BBC1. Highlights: 7pm, BBC3

Ryder Cup 2012: Seve Ballesteros always with Europe, says Jose Maria Olazabal

We knew Seve was always with us, says emotional Olazabal after Ryder Cup triumph

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

00:54 GMT, 1 October 2012

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UPDATED:

00:54 GMT, 1 October 2012

Far more predictable than Europe’s sensational Ryder Cup victory was that when it was all over, captain Jose Maria Olazabal could not contain his emotions.

The 46-year-old Spaniard, whose side were given just a 33-1 to chance of winning by bookmakers midway through the final afternoon, wept as he considered what an inspiration Severiano Ballesteros had been to him and his team.

‘Seve will always be present with this team, he was a big factor with this event,’ said Olazabal, reflecting on the impact still made by the Spanish genius who died aged 54 in May 2011 following a battle against brain cancer.

Top trio: McIlroy is joined by Garcia (top) and Donald

Top trio: McIlroy is joined by Garcia (top) and Donald

‘Last night when we were having our team meeting, the boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and that’s what they did.

‘It’s been a tough week. The first two days, nothing went our way. We struggled on the greens but this morning I felt a little change in that regard, and we started to make a few putts while the Americans started to miss them.

‘Winning those few matches in the latter stages, that was the key. I’ve been under pressure, hitting shots myself, but that tops anything I have felt. I am so proud of our guys.’

American captain Davis Love, who will surely rue his decision to sit Keegan Bradley out in the second set of fourballs, was dignified in defeat and insisted he had no regrets.

Emotional: Olazabal paid tribute his his late great friend Ballesteros

Emotional: Olazabal paid tribute his his late great friend Ballesteros

Legend: Olazabal played alongside Ballesteros in several Ryder Cups

Legend: Olazabal played alongside Ballesteros in several Ryder Cups

Legend: Olazabal played alongside Ballesteros in several Ryder Cups

‘I wouldn’t have done anything
different, Europe played great. Our guys had been playing so well it
didn’t seem to matter what order we sent them out in. A couple of
matches flipped their way at the end that made it easier for them,’ he
added in reference to the succession of dramatic late turnarounds.

‘We
are all kind of stunned, it’s a little bit shocking. We know what it
feels like now from Brookline. We wanted to win every segment but we got
beat badly in this one. Any time you lose a segment that badly, it’s
going to cost you the Ryder Cup.

‘Ian
Poulter’s hot streak at the end of day two gave them confidence and
they built on that. Our guys who started hot over the first couple of
days did not start hot today.

‘Stricker
and Woods were put in the back just in case and fought hard, but once
the Europeans got momentum it was hard to stop them.’

Dejected: Love (right) is applauded by his team during the closing ceremony

Dejected: Love (right) is applauded by his team during the closing ceremony

Justin Rose gave Europe hope that they could make the dream become reality when he came back from one down with two to play to beat Phil Mickelson. Rose admitted: ‘We are in shock. We knew that if a couple of their guys started to wobble it was going to get incredibly tight for them.’

On his own stunning victory, Rose added: ‘Those were the three biggest putts I’ve ever made back to back in my career under pressure. I just said to myself that I haven’t putted well all week and, “Rosey, this is what it could all come down to”.

‘Coming off the green here I’ve looked down at my left sleeve (with the Ballesteros emblem) and it’s the kind of thing Seve would have done for sure.’

Martin Kaymer, the German who sealed retention of the Cup with the point that took Europe to an unassailable 14 points, was an unlikely hero. After having a relatively mediocre season following his first major win – the US PGA title – in 2010, he held his nerve to sink a five-foot put on the 18th. He credited a chat with his compatriot Bernhard Langer.

Nerves of steel: Kaymer holed the winning putt

Nerves of steel: Kaymer holed the winning putt

‘This is a feeling that I’ve never had before,’ said Kaymer, 27. ‘On Friday night I sat down with Bernhard and talked to him about the Ryder Cup because my attitude wasn’t the right one.

‘It helped me a lot to talk about it and after today I know how important the Ryder Cup is.

‘The major win was just for myself but this is a completely different level – I could see the guys behind me, my brother was here and Sergio ran on to the green, it felt like there was so much more behind me.’

Overall, Europe’s top performer was the talismanic Poulter, who ended with a 4-0 record – the only 100 per cent performer – and became one of four Europeans who won their singles by outplaying their opponents on the 17th and 18th holes.

He was more responsible than anyone for giving Europe a chink of light late on Saturday with brilliant putting in a fourballs win with Rory McIlroy.

Main man: Poulter (right) celebrates with Justin Rose

Main man: Poulter (right) celebrates with Justin Rose

‘Last night we took such a lot from those two late wins,’ he said. ‘It was amazing to see the atmosphere change in that team room, the spirit was different. The guys were pumped up, we just felt there was that glimmer of hope. Whether it’s this man here on my sleeve (Ballesteros) or just Ollie I don’t know, but it’s pretty special.’

By contrast it had been a dismal Ryder Cup for Tiger Woods, who missed at the 18th and then conceded the final putt to allow his opponent Francesco Molinari a half – the first of the entire match – because he knew the chance of regaining the trophy had gone.

‘After they retained it everything went down,’ said Woods. ‘My putt was useless, it was inconsequential, so I hit it too quick and then gave his to him. That’s twice now when I’ve been on the fairway when the Cup was already over – like at The Belfry (2002).’

PUTTING THE PAST TO BED

REVENGE FOR LANGER Kiawah Island, 1991

The ‘War on the Shore’ culminated in one of the most dramatic putts in the history of golf – and one that would haunt German Bernhard Langer for 13 years. On the final green it was down to Langer and American Hale Irwin. To the surprise of his team-mates, Langer conceded Irwin’s bogey putt, leaving himself a six-footer he had to make. Thirteen years later he captained Europe to victory in the 2004 Ryder Cup in America, where Europe slaughtered the hosts in the singles on the final day. On Sunday another German, Martin Kaymer, gained revenge for Langer by sinking a very similar putt on the 18th green to ensure Europe would retain the trophy.

REVENGE FOR BROOKLINE Brookline, 1999

The ‘Battle of Brookline’ saw Euro-American relations at an all-time low. The lead was the complete reverse of Sunday’s going into the final day – 10-6 to a European team captained by Mark James – but American captain Ben Crenshaw decided to pack the top of the order with his best players, just as Jose Maria Olazabal did at Medinah. Europe panicked and ultimately lost 15-13 but there were ugly scenes on the 17th green when Justin Leonard holed his putt and was then mobbed by his American team-mates, who trampled over Jose Maria Olazabal’s line before he’d had the chance to putt.

Ronnie O"Sullivan given a rocket for no-shows by snooker chiefs

O'Sullivan given a rocket for no-shows by snooker chiefs

|

UPDATED:

16:40 GMT, 28 August 2012

Snooker's governing body have handed
world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan a suspended fine and issued him with a
warning after finding him guilty of failing to attend eight tournaments
in 2010.

O'Sullivan, arguably the sport's
greatest ever talent, was charged with not having a reasonable excuse
for withdrawing from 11 events between August 2010 and March 2012.

Flawed genius: Ronnie O'Sullivan

Flawed genius: Ronnie O'Sullivan

The 36-year-old presented medical advice at a hearing with the World Professional Snooker and Billiards Association, and it was declared in a subsequent statement that it 'could not be shown that he did not have a reasonable excuse in relation to his late withdrawal from one event in 2011 and two in 2012.

'He was however found not to have a reasonable excuse in relation to the eight late withdrawals in 2010.'

As a result he was found to be in breach of the sport's rule 1.3, which declares a member must play in a tournament in which he has entered, and was given a suspended fine of 1,000 and a formal warning and told to pay 1,000 costs.

World Snooker have long tried to get O'Sullivan, a four-time champion of the world, to comply with their regulations, and it was only last month that he agreed to return to the main Tour and sign a player's contract.