Tag Archives: world

John Terry wants to play for England at World Cup

Terry's England U-turn! Disgraced former captain wants to play in World Cup

ahead of Ferdinand, can pick the pair for the fixtures against the Republic of Ireland on May 29 and the trip to Brazil on June 2.

Terry’s U-turn comes days after he snubbed outgoing FA chairman David Bernstein at the Champions League handover in London.

Bernstein took the England armband away from Terry during a phone call last February after it was announced Terry would stand trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court over the incident with Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road on October 23, 2011.

John Terry Rio Ferdinand

John Terry Rio Ferdinand

Moving on: Terry is prepared to play with Rio Ferdinand despite his clash with Anton Ferdinand (below)

John Terry and Anton Ferdinand

The FA chairman’s handling of the
affair led to Fabio Capello quitting as England head coach four months
before the start of Euro 2012.

But Terry, 32, is ready to end his self-imposed international exile, despite the bad blood with Bernstein.

He announced his international retirement on the eve of the FA hearing into claims that he used ‘abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour’ towards Anton Ferdinand.

Snub: Terry refused to shake the hand of FA chairman David Bernstein earlier this month

Snub: Terry refused to shake the hand of FA chairman David Bernstein earlier this month

Snub: Terry refused to shake the hand of FA chairman David Bernstein earlier this month

Terry had already been cleared by
Westminster Magistrates’ Court, but an independent FA commission found
him guilty, banning him for four matches and fining him 220,000.

The Chelsea skipper apologised for his inappropriate language in a statement that day and vowed to clean up his act.

His
last game for England was as a substitute in the 5-0 victory over
Moldova in a World Cup qualifier in September. He served a four-match
domestic ban for the Anton Ferdinand affair, but the FA did not impose
an international ban because the defender had already decided to quit
England.

Retrospective action from the FA now would raise the argument that he is being punished twice for the same offence.

Hodgson is spending a few days away, but the development will be a surprise to him. He recalled West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster to the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro last month after persuading him out of international retirement.

Sidelined: Terry has often had to settle for a place on the bench with Chelsea this season

Sidelined: Terry has often had to settle for a place on the bench with Chelsea this season

Sidelined: Terry has often had to settle for a place on the bench with Chelsea this season

England’s manager selected Terry ahead of Rio Ferdinand for Euro 2012.

The Chelsea defender, who has a year left on a 150,000-a-week deal, has admitted his club future is in doubt after nearly 15 years at Stamford Bridge. He has started just nine Barclays Premier League games this season.

‘I’m not in the strongest position to go knocking on the door and I understand I can’t be around forever,’ he said.

‘Wherever I go after Chelsea it certainly wouldn’t be in England. I couldn’t do that to Chelsea or the fans, that’s just not me.

‘My future depends on who the manager is next season, but I’ll wait for the club. I’ve got a great relationship with the guys who make those decisions.’

Chris Gayle hits fastest ever T20 hundred

VIDEO: Fuelled by eggs 'n' pancakes, Gayle smashes fastest ton EVER… in just 30 balls!

By
Andrew Magee and Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

12:05 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:49 GMT, 23 April 2013

Chris Gayle smashed his way into the record books on Tuesday as he hit the fastest-ever century in professional cricket.

The West Indian opener reached triple figures after just 30 balls and clubbed a brutal 175 not out, including 13 fours and 17 sixes, for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL — which is a new T20 record.

Gayle also propelled Bangalore to the highest-ever T20 score of 263 as they crushed the Pune Warriors by 130 runs. Gayle alone scored 42 more runs than the entire opposition.

Scroll down to watch Gayle's innings

World record: Gayle (right) took just 30 balls to reach his hundred

World record: Gayle (right) took just 30 balls to reach his hundred

Centre stage: Gayle hit 11 sixes on his way to his hundred

Centre stage: Gayle hit 11 sixes on his way to his hundred

Centre stage: Gayle hit 11 sixes on his way to his hundred

GAYLE IN NUMBERS

175* Gayle's innings for the Royal Challengers Bangalore is the new record individual score in T20 cricket.

30 Number of balls Gayle took to reach 100 — the fastest-ever century in cricket history.

17 Sixes hit by Gayle in his innings — a new T20 record. The West Indian also smashed 13 fours, just for good measure.

263 The total reached by Bangalore after 20 overs — another T20 record for most runs in an innings.

42 The runs by which Gayle outscored the opposition, the Pune Warriors.

The Jamaican has earned a reputation
as one of the most destructive players in the star-studded tournament
and he showed why with a sublime powerful hitting display on Tuesday.

Gayle said: 'I'm lost for words. It
was just one of those days when I was hitting it really well and the
ball was coming out of the middle of the bat.

'We got a pretty good total
and I'm really happy with the performance.

‘All I had for breakfast this morning was a plain omelette, two pancakes and a hot chocolate.’

India captain MS Dhoni tweeted: ‘Life
is all about taking the right decision. Seeing Gayle bat today, I think I
took the right decision being a wicketkeeper.’

Andrew Symonds previously held the
record for the fastest-ever century after hitting a 34-ball ton in an
English domestic match between Kent and Middlesex in 2004.

Previous best: Andrew Symonds took just 34 balls to score a hundred against Middlesex in 2004

Previous best: Andrew Symonds took just 34 balls to score a hundred against Middlesex in 2004

Gayle’s 17 sixes was also a new record, beating the 16 hit by Graham Napier for Essex against Sussex in 2008.

A boundary at the start of the 18th
over on Tuesday took Gayle onto 160, ahead of the previous highest T20
score of 158 set by Brendon McCullum in the first ever IPL match in
2008.

As if all those runs weren’t enough,
Gayle also chipped in with two late wickets. If only there was an
outstanding candidate for the man of the match award…

Gayle force: The West Indian is widely regarded as the best T20 batsman in the world

Gayle force: The West Indian is widely regarded as the best T20 batsman in the world

Gayle force: The West Indian is widely regarded as the best T20 batsman in the world

VIDEO: Watch Chris Gayle's record innings

WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP 2013: Barry Hearn complains to BBC over Ronnie O"Sullivan coverage

We deserve better than this, BBC! Hearn complains after coverage of O'Sullivan ends… for Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

By
Nick Metcalfe

PUBLISHED:

15:04 GMT, 21 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:18 GMT, 21 April 2013

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn has complained to the BBC, after they left the climax of Ronnie O'Sullivan's first round match at the World Championship to show a 1970s comedy.

O'Sullivan, making his return to snooker after pulling out of virtually the whole season, was about to complete a 10-4 win over Marcus Campbell on Saturday night when BBC2 switched to the Michael Crawford sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.

On the black: Ronnie O'Sulivan impressed during his snooker return at the Crucible

On the black: Ronnie O'Sulivan impressed during his snooker return at the Crucible

There were various complaints made by fans on social networking sites, and Hearn responded on Sunday by writing on Twitter: 'Sorry to all snooker fans for the poor BBC coverage last night. Letter of complaint sent to BBC today.'

The complaint from Hearn is surprising when you consider how much praise he has heaped on the BBC in recent times for their coverage of the sport.

The corporation, which has covered snooker for decades, has recently signed up as host broadcaster of the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters tournaments until 2017.

Having his say: Barry Hearn with Ronnie O'Sullivan at a special media event ahead of the World Championship

Having his say: Barry Hearn with Ronnie O'Sullivan at a special media event ahead of the World Championship

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, welcomed the public response to the BBC's scheduling decision, saying on Twitter: 'Snooker Fans, World Snooker letter of complaint has been filed with the BBC over yesterdays coverage, thanks everyone for your comments.'

The BBC hasn't yet responded to Hearn's comments. They are almost certain to point towards their coverage on the 'red button' service, which showed the end of O'Sullivan's match.

Some fans of the sport might speculate on the timing of Hearn's complaints. The BBC have regularly left their coverage of more significant matches, at later stages of the tournament, in years gone by.

The overall picture on the opening weekend of the tournament is a positive one, with plenty of column inches accompanying O'Sullivan's win, as snooker fights its corner among other sporting attractions like key football matches, the London Marathon and Bahrain Grand Prix.

Enlarge

Some mothers do 'ave 'em

Classic comedy: Millions of viewers watched Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em on the BBC when it was first screened between 1973 and 1978

Watch a classic clip from Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em…

Joleon Lescott wants Manchester City to treat him with respect

Sign me up, or let me leave, says Lescott as City defender urges club to show him respect

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

07:12 GMT, 20 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:16 GMT, 20 April 2013

Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect when it comes to deciding his future.

The England defender is close to entering the last year of his contract with the FA Cup finalists and has yet to fix up a new deal.

He has told the Daily Telegraph that he wants to stay, but claims he is not naive enough to think that is assured.

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

New deal: Joleon Lescott hopes Manchester City will treat him with respect

And, with the World Cup on the horizon, the former Everton man wants a first-team place to show national boss Roy Hodgson that he is up to the job.

He said: 'If someone said when I signed here “you're going to win the Premier League, get to two FA Cup finals and represent your country in the Euros” I'd have snapped their hand off.

'So now to go into the final year of my contract uncertain about my future is quite strange. I'd love to stay. My wife's pregnant, we've just moved house, the kids are happy at school. But I'm not naive. When you've achieved all that and you're going into the last year of your contract your future might be elsewhere.

'I can't afford to go into a World Cup year being uncertain of whether I'm going to play [regularly] here.

England ambition: Lescott wants to be a regular in World Cup year

England ambition: Lescott wants to be a regular in World Cup year

'I feel I've done enough for the club to demand a bit of respect in terms of they come and tell me what they want, whether it's a new deal, which I would be delighted to sign, or [to go] elsewhere.

'I'm very respectful of the club with what they've done for me, how they were persistent when Everton were digging their heels in to keep me. I owe a lot to the club. I also feel I've done enough to demand a bit of respect to not see speculation about my future.'

Sir Chris Hoy retires from cycling

A Knight to remember: British cycling's Olympic golden boy Hoy rides off into the sunset after stellar career

: February – Wins sprint and keirin at London World Cup, an event which doubles as the Olympic test event. April – Wins keirin world title in Melbourne. Claims bronze in the sprint after being beaten by Kenny in the semi-final. August 2 – Wins fifth Olympic gold medal in London 2012 men's team sprint bringing him level on golds with Sir Steve Redgrave. August 7 – Wins the men's keirin at London 2012, his second gold of the Games and his sixth Olympic gold medal in total making him Britain's most successful Olympian.

2013: April 15 – Calls a media conference for April 18 in Edinburgh, where he is announces his retirement from competitive cycling.

'The desire to race in Glasgow was there, but when I started training again my body wasn't responding,' said Hoy. 'London took an incredible toll. I squeezed out every drop, really emptied the tank' – and in doing so, he won two gold medals, taking his tally to a record six Olympic golds, one more than Sir Steve Redgrave.

'I didn't want to turn up in Glasgow and not be successful,' Hoy continued. 'I didn't want to spend a year-and-a-half putting Sarra (his wife) and everything else to one side. And I don't want to be there to get a tracksuit and wave to the crowd — I wouldn't enjoy that.'

Although Hoy says there was no epiphany, if he had to pick one moment when his thoughts settled on retirement, it came – paradoxically enough – on a bike ride.

It was last month, towards the end of an eight-week holiday with Sarra, as they toured Asia and Australia.

'We were doing a road trip from Cairns to Adelaide,' says Hoy. 'The car had a roof rack with bikes, of course, and I was riding every day, first thing in the morning but also eating what I wanted and relaxing.

'As we got close to Adelaide, we stopped and I got the bike off and rode the last 100km. It was in the Barossa Valley, through the vineyards. Stunning. And I thought, “Yes, this is more like it.”

'I realised that I was associating the bike with pleasure, rather than the pain of training. It reminded me why I got into the sport in the first place.'

And it beat battering his body into
submission in a velodrome. As Hoy explains: 'People think that if you're
a good cyclist or tennis player or rugby player that you simply get out
of bed and do it.

'But you become good at it because of what you do day
after day, year after year. It's why I know I can't just turn up in
Glasgow and be competitive. Your body eventually says,: “Enough”.'

After London 2012 Hoy said he
desperately wanted to carry on to Glasgow, by which time he will be 38. But what
most didn't know at the time was that his build-up to his fourth
Olympics had been so difficult.

He was struck down with a back injury
just weeks before the Games, forcing him to return early from a
training camp in Germany. Then he mistakenly booked a flight home for
the wrong day, forcing a detour to Glasgow and a long journey for Sarra
to drive from their home in Cheshire to collect him.

Next morning, Hoy was called into the
Manchester Velodrome for a meeting with Dave Brailsford and Shane
Sutton.

'You're not riding the sprint,' Sutton told him. 'And the way
you're going, you're not riding the keirin, either.' Hoy was defending
Olympic champion in both events.

Flying the flag: Sir Chris Hoy of the leads out Great Britain at the 2012 Opening Ceremony

Flying the flag: Sir Chris Hoy of the leads out Great Britain at the 2012 Opening Ceremony

Gold star: Hoy shows off his medal after the Men's Keirin Track Cycling Final last year

Gold star: Hoy shows off his medal after the Men's Keirin Track Cycling Final last year

Pedal to the medal: Hoy during the keirin at the London Games

Pedal to the medal: Hoy during the keirin at the London Games

Victory parade: Hoy (right) and Sarah Storey are interviewed by Helen Skelton (left)

Victory parade: Hoy (right) and Sarah Storey are interviewed by Helen Skelton (left)

Sealed with a kiss: Hoy with his wife Sarra Kemp after winning a gold medal in the Velodrome last year

Sealed with a kiss: Hoy with his wife Sarra Kemp after winning a gold medal in the Velodrome last year

THE FUTURE FOR A KNIGHT RIDER

Sir Chris Hoy says he is looking forward to 'a bit of relaxation and living a more balanced life,' though he will also be working as an ambassador for Glasgow 2014 and Glasgow's Youth Olympics bid in 2018.

He is launching his own 'HOY' bike range at the end of May, and says he will step up his commitment to two main charities, Unicef and the Scottish Association for Mental Health.

Then there is motor racing. He competed in three races in Melbourne recently, finishing third in the series, and will take part in the Radical SR1 Cup, over four weekends from June.

'It's a hobby, not something I necessarily see myself doing to a great level. I love it. It reminds me of my early days racing BMX.'

In the end, making it to London at
all was an achievement. Acting as flag-bearer for Team GB at the Opening
Ceremony was an honour. And winning two gold medals, in the team sprint
and keirin, was a triumph.

'I enjoyed the post-Olympic period
far more than after Beijing,' says Hoy. 'It didn't come as such a shock.
But once I'd had my fill of eating, drinking, going to functions and
not exercising, I was desperate to get back into the routine of
training.

'In the autumn I was back in the gym
and on the track. I went to Perth for a training camp, then raced in
Rotterdam at New Year. But my body wasn't responding as I hoped it
would. It was nothing to panic about but I found when I pushed myself
harder I was nailed.

'I felt fit and healthy but I'm talking
about subtle differences and fractions of a second. Some days I'd wake
up feeling great but it was just little things; getting up in the
morning and really aching from a hard training session the day before.

'I didn't want to go to Glasgow and
not be capable of winning. I would enjoy seeing the event and the crowd
but I can do that better from the sidelines and I hope to have a role
as an ambassador or mentor. I'll certainly be there. But by not
competing it'll allow someone else to come into the team and I won't be
stealing the limelight. It won't be me plus team-mates.'

Hoy says he would like to mentor GB athletes at the Rio Olympics as well, 'If they'll have me.'

On
the eve of going public with his decision, Hoy said he had no doubts.
'I'm not in two minds. I'm content. I can walk away at the top level
without any lingering regrets. I would have loved to have a gold medal
from Glasgow, maybe a kilometre world record as well, but you've got to
realise when the time has come to stop.'

Winning personality: Chris Hoy with the 2008 2008 BBC Sports Personality Of The Year trophy

Winning personality: Chris Hoy with the 2008 2008 BBC Sports Personality Of The Year trophy

Oh what a Knight: Hoy with the Knighthood he received from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in 2008

Oh what a Knight: Hoy with the Knighthood he received from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in 2008

Asked what he would miss, Hoy said: 'The team, the banter, the routine. I like routine, turning up at the track and seeing the same guys, and being part of that team and being on a journey together.'

It is a journey that has seen cycling move from the margins to the mainstream, with Hoy arguably the central figure in this sporting revolution.

'When I think of how cycling was when I started and then think where it is now, it's been a hell of a ride,' he said.

And the things he won't miss 'The way you feel in the morning after certain sessions, gym sessions in particular, which leave you with residual soreness for several days,' he said.

'Waking up with that muscle soreness, knowing you've got to do it all again, I'll not miss that.

'But that's a very small price to pay for the highs you get from working hard,' Hoy added. 'People say it's a sacrifice, but it's not a sacrifice. You choose to do it, but it's going to be nice to put something else first for a change and get a bit of balance in my life.'

Hoy said he would continue cycling 'to keep myself fit and fight the beer belly'.

As for the future, Hoy has charity commitments, he is launching a range of bikes and becoming an adviser to the Scottish Rugby Union. He will also act as mentor to the Scottish team at Glasgow 2014, and said he would relish a similar role with Team GB at the Rio Olympics – 'if they'll have me'.

Triple crown: Chris Hoy celebrates winning his third gold medal of the 2008 Olympics in the men's sprint final

Triple crown: Chris Hoy celebrates winning his third gold medal of the 2008 Olympics in the men's sprint final

Golden boy (and girl): Triple gold medallist Chris Hoy (left) and double gGold medal-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington arrive home from Beijing

Golden boy (and girl): Triple gold medallist Chris Hoy (left) and double gGold medal-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington arrive home from Beijing

Modest to the last, he rejected the
label of 'Britain's greatest Olympian'
despite being the only one with six
gold medals – one more than his
own choice as No 1. 'It's subjective,
but I think Sir Steve Redgrave is the
greatest. To keep going for five consecutive
Games and be at the top, to
me that is a far greater achievement
than winning multiple medals at one
games.'

In the end, in equally typical Hoy
fashion, he said he had no doubts
about retirement. 'I'm not in two
minds. I'm content. I can walk away
at the top level without any lingering
regrets. I would have loved to have a
gold medal from Glasgow, but you've
got to realise when the time has come
to stop.'

BOA chairman Lord Coe paid tribute to
Hoy, saying: 'Throughout his remarkable career, Sir Chris Hoy has
exemplified the values that define an Olympic champion. His pursuit of
excellence has been tireless. His respect for opponents, and commitment
to clean competition, has been unwavering.

And his dignity in victory has set
an example that generations of Team GB athletes will strive to emulate.
Chris is an icon and he has earned a revered place among our nation's
greatest sporting heroes.

'His
gold medal triumphs this past summer in London are two of the defining
moments of the Games, and were a source of pride and inspiration for
millions throughout our country.

'We
are grateful that Chris has chosen to continue his association with the
British Olympic Association by serving as a Glasgow 2018 Champion in
its bid to host the Youth Olympic Games.

'As
he transitions now from his unparalleled competitive career and takes
on a series of new and different challenges, we wish Sir Chris the very
best for continued success, and we thank him for his commitment to Team
GB and the Olympic movement.'

LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR CHRIS HOY – IN HIS OWN WORDS

My three favourite memories

'I can't choose three, so can I have
four The first is 1999, the World Championships in Berlin, and our
first medal in the team sprint. I had this feeling of euphoria and
disbelief.

That the three of us [Craig MacLean and Jason Queally were
his teammates] could have a world championship silver medal, seemed
incredible. It was the first British sprint medal since the Reg Harris
era. There was a feeling that there may be possibilities beyond that,
but I remember thinking: if I do nothing else, I can always say I won a
world championship medal. It's weird to think that now.

'The second is winning the kilo at the
2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. My first individual title, and so
close to home. There were so many Scottish folk in the crowd, too. To
beat the Olympic champion [Queally] on home soil was special. I felt I
was stepping out of the shadow of Jason and Craig.

'The third is my gold medal in the kilo
at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The moment that meant most, and which I
remember most vividly, was when I was waiting to step on to the top step
of the podium and I heard my name followed by “Olympic champion.”

'Then, finally, winning gold in the keirin at London 2012. What an amazing way to finish it off.'

My 3 toughest opponents

Jason Kenny

'Jason, my young British team-mate and
good friend, also became one of my toughest opponents. He never has any
fear. He is never affected by pressure, never intimidated. The way he
stepped into the team in Beijing was amazing.

'He took it in his stride
and never fussed about anything. His attitude always seems to be that he
has nothing to lose. And he is the same in any situation. He also has
an incredible turn of speed and acceleration.'

Arnaud Tournant, France

'He was the one I looked up to when I
started doing the kilo [in 2001]. He had an aura about him, and although
he seemed more human after Sydney, where Jason [Queally] beat him, he
was still the benchmark.

'I never managed to beat his world record but we
had some amazing battles. I beat him by a thousandth of a second in at
the world champs in Copenhagen [2002], then he was second to me at the
worlds in Melbourne and in Athens [both 2004]. He's a big, big
personality, a real showman. A really tough opponent, but off the bike
we became good friends.'

Theo Bos, Holland

'Theo is so classy, he had so much style
and flair, and he was almost unbeatable before 2008. When I beat him in
the quarter finals at the world championships that year it was a
turning point for me.

'Knocking him out in Olympic year, in front of a
home crowd [in Manchester], was massive for me. It was also the
beginning of the end for him. He stopped track racing and now rides on
the road.'

My three non-cycling sporting heroes

Gavin Hastings

'Rugby was my sport in my early teens
and Gavin Hastings, 'Big Gav', was my first sporting hero, before Graeme
Obree. Hastings went to the same school as me [George Watson's College
in Edinburgh. Hoy captained Edinburgh Schools at under-15 level]. He was
a great player and a great Scottish captain. Having since had the
honour of meeting him, he is a lovely guy, too.'

Roger Federer

Federer is one of the guys all sports
people aspire to be like. His longevity, his record, the way he handles
himself. He's not a guy who, if he gets beaten, disappears. He's a
classy player and a classy professional athlete.'

Michael Johnson

'The Usain Bolt of his era. I admired
his approach to training. Listening to him talk about his methodical
approach, and his mindset, it was something I could relate to. And he
was just awesome to watch.

'Even more than the 100 metres with Bolt, the gap
would open up, the race was his, and it was a race for second place. It's a
shame he wasn't in the same era as Bolt because it would have been
great to see them go head-to-head over 200m.

Sir Chris Hoy talks of his historic sixth Olympic gold win

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VIDEO: Watch Hoy win his sixth Olympic gold medal at London 2012

Juan Mata has played 117 games with no break since August 2011

Mega Mata's 117-match run (that's Juan-hundred and seventeen!) – Chelsea playmaker's incredible non-stop number of games with NO break

and the Olympics leading up to this season's lengthy campaign on the back of a year which saw Chelsea win the Champions League (below) and FA Cup” class=”blkBorder” />

Champion: Mata (centre) played for Spain at Euro 2012 and the Olympics leading up to this season's lengthy campaign on the back of a year which saw Chelsea win the Champions League (below) and FA Cup

Munich

NON-STOP MATA'S 117 GAMES

Chelsea

Premier League (2011-2013) 62 games (26 goals)

Champions League (2011-2013) 17 games (4 goals)

FA Cup (2012,2013) 13 games (5 goals)

League Cup (2011-2013) 6 games (2 goals)

Europa League (2013) 4 games (1 goal)

UEFA Super Cup (2012) 1 game

Community Shield (2012) 1 game

Club World Championship (2012) 2 games (1 goal)

Spain

London 2012 Olympics 3 games

European Championship Qualifiers (2011) 2 games (1 goal)

World Cup Qualifiers (2013) 2 games

Euro 2012 1 game (1 goal)

International Friendly (2011-2012) 3 games

He joined up with Spain's squad for the victorious Euro 2012 campaign – scoring in the final – before competing for his nation at the London Olympics.

From there, he had just 11 days of pre-season training before this season's Community Shield against Manchester City.

If the last campaign saw some Chelsea players' legs grow weary, this one has been far harder.

With
both the Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to contend with on
top of their usual commitments, they reached the
semi-finals of both the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup.

Chelsea still in
the Europa League, with a semi-final two-legged tie against Basle to come, and they are competing for a top-four finish in the Premier
League.

A win in Wednesday night's
west London derby at Fulham would go some way into achieving the vital
Champions League qualification, seeing them leapfrog Arsenal into third
place.

The match could add see Mata add to
his incredible tally, and the Spaniard fired his troops up to keep up
the pressure as the season heads into the home straight.

Impact start: Mata scored on his Chelsea debut in a 3-1 win over Norwich in August 2011

Impact start: Mata scored on his Chelsea debut in a 3-1 win over Norwich in August 2011

AVB

RDM

Benitez

Changing faces: Mata has played under Andre Villas-Boas (left), Roberto Di Matteo (centre) and Rafa Benitez

In action: Mata will have to recover from Sunday's FA Cup semi-final in order to face Fulham tonight

In action: Mata will have to recover from Sunday's FA Cup semi-final in order to face Fulham tonight

'We just arrived in the season's most important moment,' he told Chelsea's official website.

'It's been a little time since we played two Premier League games together but we now have the opportunity to get six points.

'It will be difficult against Fulham and at Liverpool as well, but we will try to finish the week with 64 points and in a strong position in the league.

'Hopefully the picture will be clearer after that. With six points it could help us make a gap to our rivals.'

Hawk-eye awarded Premier League contract for goalline technology – Exclusive

EXCLUSIVE: Hawk-eye awarded Premier League contract for goal-line technology from next season

” class=”blkBorder” />

Net gains: John Terry makes a controversial clearance in England's 1-0 win over Ukraine at Euro 2012

FA General Secretary Alex Horne told BBC Sport earlier this week: ‘I always thought it was an ideal piece of technology to allow into the game. The (Premier League) club meeting is on Thursday so I'm expecting it to go through at that meeting.’

‘There are occasions (when GLT is needed) and we've seen them here at Wembley, we've seen them in World Cups, we've seen them 11 or 12 times in the Premier League this season alone.

Over Geoff Hurst scores England's controversial third goal in the 1966 World Cup final

Over Geoff Hurst scores England's controversial third goal in the 1966 World Cup final

Support: FA secretary Alex Horne is behind the idea of goal-line technology

Support: FA secretary Alex Horne is behind the idea of goal-line technology

‘So technology that says 'yes, the ball has crossed the line' and lets the referee know makes an awful lot of sense to me.

‘Particularly where it's a knock-out situation, incorrect decisions have less opportunity to even themselves out over a season.’

The Premier League are likely to ‘centrally fund’ GLT for its member clubs and the FA will pay for cameras to be installed at Wembley.

Gareth Bale injury latest: Tottenham to use blood-spinning technique to speed up Welshman"s return

Spurs banking on blood-spinning remedy to get star man Bale back in double-quick time

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

22:02 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:41 GMT, 9 April 2013

RACE FOR TOP FOUR – AS IT STANDS

TOP FOUR

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Tottenham are putting their faith in the once controversial blood-spinning technique to speed up Gareth Bale's recovery from an ankle injury.

Bale's season looked to be over last Thursday after the Welshman sustained a serious looking ankle injury in Spurs' 2-2 draw against Basle.

But after a scan on Friday, it emerged
that Bale would only miss two games – Sunday's 2-2 draw against Everton
and the Europa League quarter-final second leg clash in Switzerland on
Thursday night.

Scroll down for Premier League highlights

Scare: Gareth Bale was stretchered off against Basle at White Hart Lane

Scare: Gareth Bale was stretchered off against Basle at White Hart Lane

Crucial: Bale has scored 17 league goals for Tottenham this season

Crucial: Bale has scored 17 league goals for Tottenham this season

Manager Andre Villas-Boas is understandably keen to have Bale fit again as quickly as possible and club doctors will use the blood-spinning method to aid his recovery from injury as Tottenham look to get their star man back on the field for the visit of Manchester City on April 21.

The technique, which was also used on Jermain Defoe earlier in the season as he struggled to overcome a pelvic injury, involves a small sample of a person's blood being injected out of the body before it is spun to increase the concentration of the growth hormone.

The blood sample is then injected into the athlete's problem area which can help an injury heal five times faster.

Blood-spinning first came under the spotlight in 2005 when Chelsea, then managed by Jose Mourinho, were warned by the World Anti-Doping Agency that their use of the method to speed up Arjen Robben's recovery from injury may be illegal – but it is now more commonly used in sport.

Meanwhile, there was better news on the injury front for Tottenham on Monday night as Younes Kaboul made his long-awaited return from a knee injury.

The French defender has not played since the opening-day defeat by Newcastle, but he is on course to play a part in Spurs' crucial Premier League run-in after making his return to action against West Ham Under 21s on Monday.

Back: Younes Kaboul (right) made his long-awaited return from injury on Monday night

Back: Younes Kaboul (right) made his long-awaited return from injury on Monday night

VIDEO: Watch highlights of Tottenham's 2-2 draw against Everton

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Lance Armstrong pulls out of Masters Swimming Championships in Texas

Armstrong forced into U-turn on competition return after FINA chiefs raise objections to drug cheat's participation at Masters Swimming Championships

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

06:53 GMT, 4 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

05:10 GMT, 5 April 2013

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has decided against making a return to competitive sport as a swimmer this weekend.

Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after being part of a doping scandal, had been entered for the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships which takes place at the University of Texas.

The event is hosted by the university's Longhorn Aquatics club, whose director Ann Nellis told Press Association Sport: 'Longhorn Aquatics and the Jamail Texas Swimming Center are hosting the US Masters South Central Zone Championships.

Water performance: Lance Armstrong will not now return to competitive sport this weekend as a swimmer

Water performance: Lance Armstrong will not now return to competitive sport this weekend as a swimmer

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

'Lance Armstrong, a member of the
West Hills Athletic Club, registered to participate in that event and
was accepted in accordance with US Masters Swimming policy.

'Today we were notified that Mr
Armstrong will not be competing, following a request from the
International Swimming Federation (FINA) to the US Masters Swimming
organisation that his entry not be accepted.'

Although he is banned for life from
all competitions that adhere to either the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)
or World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) codes, it was thought the
low-profile US Masters Swimming event fell outside those restrictions.

However, world governing body FINA
today released a statement making clear that the event remains under its
jurisdiction and is therefore subject to the ban in place.

FINA said: 'Following reports on the
media referring the participation of Mr Lance Armstrong in the Masters
South Central Zone Swimming Championships in Texas (USA), FINA would
like to clarify that: 1. This national competition is under the
jurisdiction of the US Masters Swimming; 2. FINA Rule DC 15.1 states:
'Subject to the right to appeal provided in DC 13, the testing,
therapeutic use exemptions and hearing results or other final
adjudications of any signatory to the code which are consistent with the
code and are within the signatory's authority, shall be recognised and
respected by FINA and its member federations.(…)'.

'Therefore, FINA wrote a letter to
the US Masters Swimming (with copy to US Aquatic Sports and USA
Swimming) requesting not to accept the entry of Mr Lance Armstrong in
the above mentioned competition.'

Disgraced: Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles after coming clean about doping

Disgraced: Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles after coming clean about doping

Disgraced: Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles after coming clean about doping

Armstrong, who came clean on his
doping past in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey in January, was
due to contest the 1,650-yard freestyle tomorrow night, and was also
pencilled in for freestyle races over 500 and 1,000 yards.

Armstrong was billed to compete in
freestyle races over 500 yards, 1,000 yards and 1,650 yards at the event
held in his home city of Austin.

The
championships are open to all ages but most competitors are veteran
swimmers. Armstrong, aged 41, would have been racing against swimmers mostly
older than he is.

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Pistorius ready to begin training as murder suspect visits Pretoria training base

Pistorius ready to begin training as murder suspect visits Pretoria training base

By
Associated Press

PUBLISHED:

17:56 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:14 GMT, 4 April 2013

Oscar Pistorius wants to train again and recently went back to visit his regular track in South Africa’s capital.

There was still no decision on an exact time-frame for the multiple Paralympic champion’s return to regular running, but Pistorius told his agent Peet van Zyl and coach Ampie Louw at a Tuesday meeting that he was 'definitely keen to get back on track to resume training,' the agent said.

'When, exactly, is his choice,' Van Zyl told AP on Wednesday.

Granted: Oscar Pistorius was freed on bail after being charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Granted: Oscar Pistorius was freed on bail after being charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Pistorius had also revisited his practice track in Pretoria on March 24, although he didn’t train, the agent said.

Pistorius last trained on a track over two months ago, and his last competitive race was his victory in the 400m final at the London Paralympics in September last year.

Van Zyl said Pistorius wasn’t ready 'mentally' to compete yet after he was charged with murder in the February 14 shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home.

'From our meeting, it was clear and evident it’s going to take some time for him (to be ready to compete),” Van Zyl said. 'He’s trying to process this whole ordeal.'

Pistorius had also told his agent and coach that he would only consider running at the world championships in Moscow in August if he was in the right shape to run at the top level again.

'He (Pistorius) stated to me clearly yesterday, for the world champs, first he needs to be in some form,' Van Zyl said.

Back on track: Pistorius is keen to make a return to training, according to his agent

Back on track: Pistorius is keen to make a return to training, according to his agent

Still, Pistorius’ first significant move toward a return to the track on his carbon fiber running blades came at the meeting with his management team at the home of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old Olympian has been staying at the house in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria since he was granted bail on February 22.

Victim: Steenkamp was shot dead in Pistorius' Pretoria apartment

Victim: Steenkamp was shot dead in Pistorius' Pretoria apartment

Pistorius denies murdering Steenkamp and says he shot her accidentally after mistaking her for an intruder in his house.

Prosecutors have charged him with pre-meditated murder and say he intentionally shot Steenkamp multiple times after the couple argued in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.

His next court appearance is on June 4.

Pistorius had visited his training track at the University of Pretoria with some other athletes, but hadn’t worked out properly, only doing a little jogging, Van Zyl said.

Although a high court ruling last week eased Pistorius’ bail restrictions on appeal and allowed him to travel to compete, Van Zyl said it would still take time to be ready for track meets.

'He hasn’t trained at all since the incident and you can’t expect him to go into competition. More important, mentally he is not there yet, he is some way off,' the agent said.

Long-time coach Louw, who discovered the double amputee’s talent for running when he was still a teenager, was eager, however, for the athlete to get back to training to help his mental process.

'Ampie was quite keen for him to start training as soon as possible so Oscar can get into some kind of routine,' Van Zyl said.