Argentine football icon and FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi on Monday said he has got an out-and-out option of turning into a midfielder once his usefulness as the centrifugal force in the Spanish side’s attack diminishes.”I am open to play in any position on the pitch if it helps the team. A lot of players drop deeper when they move into the later stages of their career, and that’s certainly an option for me, to become an out-and-out midfielder,” Messi was quoted as saying by goal.com.”I have played in midfield a lot already, and I cover a lot of ground there. I am happy to play as a forward, as a deep forward, in the middle. There are many players who have prolonged their careers by playing in a different place, where maybe you don’t rely on being so explosive all the time, on your speed.”Also read: Barcelona elect Andres Iniesta as captainThe four-time world footballer of the year also said that he has a soft spot for former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, under whom the Catalans won multiple European Champions League and La Liga titles.Guardiola is currently in charge of German giants Bayern Munich.”It is quite odd seeing him in the opposition dugout. Everyone knows what a great relationship that I have with him, and I will always be grateful for what he did for me, how he developed me as a player, the teams that he built. I will always wish him luck,” Messi said.advertisementThe 28-year-old, however, was quick to add that his warm feelings for Guardiola went for a toss as soon as Barcelona faced Bayern.”But obviously, when you play against somebody, you freeze those personal feelings out for the duration of the game. It is all about winning, for me and him,” he said.Messi also seemed happy with how football in Europe is becoming all the more competitive these days with the heavyweights improving further.”Pep is doing great things with Bayern Munich and is creating a team similar to the one he had at Barcelona, but with different players, and subtle differences. We want strong competition within Europe, so I am happy that Pep is creating another powerhouse of a side that can compete against the La Liga teams,” Messi said.”Juventus have also done brilliantly, and you cannot underrate Italian teams. Italian teams were dominant in Europe for many years, and have had a difficult time recently, but they are showing that they can still compete.”English Premier League and French League are also investing in good players and the national leagues are very competitive.”
Man Utd boss Solskjaer ‘completely different’ from Mourinho explains Shawby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLuke Shaw says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a completely different style of management compared to Jose Mourinho.Solskjaer replaced Mourinho last month and has won his first three games in charge.Shaw was one player who clashed with the Portuguese during his time at the club and was left out of the final four matches of his tenure.The defender told Sky Sports that he “thanks Jose for what he did for the club and for me as a person and a player”, but added: “Ole has a completely different style to his way and we are adapting to that and enjoying it and that’s the main thing.”There’s a great buzz around the place with Ole coming back in, there’s a lot of good things to look forward to.”Ole is a really positive and friendly guy and knows this club really well as he was here for many years and he knows what the club needs. He is here for six months and it’s a massive thing for him to do an amazing job and that would be great for him.”We all back him and want the best for him as much as he wants the best for us. We all have to work together and keep doing the right things and keep smiles on faces and keep winning matches.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
Auburn’s defensive backfield is getting some experience reinforcement, courtesy of the MAC. Marshall Taylor, a standout cornerback from Miami (OH), graduates this spring, and will be eligible to play right away for the Tigers in 2016. Taylor confirmed the commitment to Auburn to AL.com earlier this week:“I’m excited. Auburn’s been to two national championships in the last five years, not a lot of programs can say that… I just believe in what Coach (Gus) Mazlahn and the whole staff has going on. They have a really good team and I’m just trying to come in and be another piece to the puzzle.”Louisville held a slight edge for Taylor prior to his visit to Auburn. He has canceled his planned official visits to Michigan State and Florida.“I’m done,” he said. “I’m a Tiger. I’m done.” The Miami Student has more on Taylor’s career with the RedHawks.The 6-foot-2, 199-pound corner was a standout during his freshman year at Miami. He led all freshmen with 40 tackles and started five of the 11 games in which he played.He redshirted the next year, but started all 12 games of the 2014 season alongside current Green Bay Packers cornerback Quinten Rollins. He totaled 30 tackles, one interception and nine pass breakups.Last season, he played in 11 games, starting 10. He totaled 39 tackles and two interceptions, including a pick-six against Akron University. He had a collegiate career-high nine tackles against University of Wisconsin early in the season.Taylor’s Twitter account is private, but he’s already changed his profile picture and bio to reflect his new football home.Taylor is a Georgia native. He’ll have a chance to play in his home state for the first time as a college athlete on November 12, when the Tigers travel to face UGA.[AL.com]
APTN National NewsThe Quebec Cree now have considerably more control over their territory.On Tuesday they signed an agreement with the province that will create a new regional government.APTN National News reporter Danielle Rochette has this story.
Before the World Cup began, FiveThirtyEight’s projections, which are based on ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), were higher for teams from South America and lower for teams from Europe than other ratings systems’.So far, that’s looked like a reasonably sharp assessment. And if we extend the analysis from continents to hemispheres — with teams from North America and South America in one group, and those from Europe, Africa and Asia in the other — it looks like we may even have underestimated teams from the Americas.First, let’s look at the results by continental confederation. The table below evaluates each confederation’s results so far and compares them with the FiveThirtyEight/SPI forecast before the tournament. It includes results through Friday afternoon’s game between Costa Rica and Italy, and excludes games (such as the France-Switzerland match that I’m watching now) between teams from the same confederation.Before the tournament, our projections expected South American teams to have compiled 5.7 wins, 2.0 losses and 2.3 draws through this point in the World Cup. In fact, their record is 7-2-1. Not a huge difference, but the South American teams have more than held up their side of the bargain.Teams from Europe, by contrast, are 5-6-2 in games played against other confederations, compared with an expected record of 5.1 wins, 4.6 losses and 3.3 draws. Pretty close, although a pinch worse than expected.It’s teams from North America’s CONCACAF federation, instead, that have produced the largest discrepancy. They’re 4-1-1 so far, much better than their meager expected record of 1.4 wins, 3.1 losses and 1.5 draws. Meanwhile, teams from Asia and Africa, although not expected to be much good, are struggling with a combined record of just 1-8-4 so far.A still more striking result comes when you combine the continents into hemispheres (counting Europe along with Asia and Africa in one hemisphere and the Americas in another). In inter-hemisphere matches so far, the Americas have 10 wins against just two losses. The rest of the world has the opposite record: 2-10-0.What accounts for the differences? The least sexy explanation might be luck: We’re not talking about all that large a sample of matches. We’ll have to see whether the pattern holds through the rest of the tournament.But travel distance could also play a role. The FiveThirtyEight match projections include a very modest adjustment for east-to-west travel distance (north-to-south distance seems to matter much less, perhaps because it doesn’t produce as much jet lag). The adjustment is calibrated based on the results of highly competitive soccer matches since 2006. However, there’s evidence that the home-continent advantage had been higher in the past. No European team has ever won a World Cup played in the Americas.It’s also possible that the effect has something to do with the stadium atmosphere. Teams such as Chile and Colombia have received raucous support in their matches so far; in the game I attended at Estádio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, perhaps 90 percent of the crowd was pulling for the Chileans. Because partisan crowds seem to affect officiating decisions in soccer, that could mean these teams are getting a bit more slack from the officials. Chile, for example, spent much of the second half of its win against Spain lying on the pitch with exaggerated injuries but received no sanction for time-wasting.A final theory might be that teams from the Americas are fresher. The major European leagues just completed play in mid-May after beginning their season last August. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, played in 51 matches for Real Madrid since the start of last summer, including the Champions League final a few weeks ago. The best teams from the Americas, like Brazil and Argentina, also have plenty of stars in the major European leagues. But others, such as Costa Rica and Mexico, are less reliant on such players. That could serve to mitigate the talent advantage that the European teams might have and reward the countries with disciplined and tactical team play.
When the final buzzer sounded at the end of Ohio State’s win in its regular season finale, Mark Titus’ “playing” career in a Buckeye uniform was over. On his own senior night, Titus shed tears, entered the game, and recorded a “trillion” in his final collegiate game. But is his basketball career over? Despite entering — and promptly being kicked out of — last year’s NBA draft, Titus said he’s ready to give professional basketball another shot. “I’m going to try, yeah,” Titus said. “I’m definitely still a free-agent NBA player, and if anybody wants to pick me up, I’d be happy to lend my services.” His first priority is getting healthy. Titus missed the majority of his senior campaign with a shoulder injury and had a season-ending surgery following the Buckeyes’ completion of the regular season. But NBA executives need not worry. Titus said he has fully healed and is ready to play. “I just got out of the sling, which is really exciting,” he said. “I had to wear a sling for like five weeks or something like that. I’m excited to start playing again if I get drafted somewhere.” Titus is aware, however, that some might question whether a guy who played in just 32 games during his four-year career is good enough to play in the NBA. For the doubters, he created his “Mr. Rainmaker” video earlier this year. Following its release, Titus said he planned to use the video as evidence of his exceptional basketball abilities. “I’m going to send the video to NBA scouts and see what comes back from that,” Titus said. “I already tried to get a hold of Greg Oden to tell him to talk to the [Portland Trail] Blazers for me. “We’ll see what happens, but I’m sure I could raise some hell with this draft, too.”
Normally, the hosts of a popular talk-radio show talk about sports on a quiet set with only a few production assistants in the room. On Thursday, ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” talked sports in front of about 800 spectators in the Archie Griffin ballroom at the Ohio Union. In an Ohio Union Activities Board event, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic appeared at an interactive sports discussion covering everything from the Cleveland sports scene to whether there should be a playoff system in college football. “It was great. I love doing these,” Greenberg said. “There are a lot of different groups we might speak in front of, and my favorite to do is college.” The prominent duo shared the stage with hosts Scott Torgerson, known as “The Torg” from his local sports-talk radio show on 97.1 FM, and former Buckeye quarterback Craig Krenzel. “We are like an old married couple,” Greenberg told the crowd. “We bicker and are rarely intimate.” The two ESPN personalities shared the experiences that lead them to own a prominent morning radio show and gave insight to what it’s like to be paired with someone for 12 years. Greenberg said he started out working during late nights at a local news radio station in Chicago, while Golic had a nine-year career in the NFL as a defensive lineman after starring at Notre Dame. “When I played, I was the guy who all the beat writers would go to for quotes,” Golic said. President E. Gordon Gee attended and provided one of the more awkward moments of the night for the rambunctious radio personalities. In November, Gee said Ohio State’s football team doesn’t play the “little sisters of the poor” in regards to TCU’s football team. Greenberg then criticized Gee’s comment on-air during their radio show. Once Torgerson made Greenberg aware of Gee’s presence in the crowd, Greenberg apologized and mentioned how admirably Gee handled of the situation. Following the show, Torgeson said he was amazed at the level of chemistry the two Mikes share. “It’s fun because they work so well together,” Torgerson said. “When they got on stage it’s like they’ve been doing this for 30 years and have a routine, but I can tell you they don’t have a routine. That’s what’s so great about tonight. They were funny, informative and worked very well with each other.” Following the free-flowing sports discussion on numerous sports topics, Greenberg and Golic took questions from the crowd that focused mainly on the Ohio sports scene. One attendee had asked if any of the Cleveland sports franchises would win a championship during his lifetime. Greenberg and Golic answered with a resounding “No.” “With Ohio State being a school where athletics are so popular, it made perfect sense for the Ohio Union Activities Board to bring Mike and Mike to campus,” said Daniel Walls, OUAB lectures chairman and a third-year in microbiology. OUAB would not disclose the cost of bringing the duo to OSU. “It had been some time since OUAB had brought a sports-related lecture to campus, and after surveying students on various potential speakers; Mike and Mike consistently performed well,” Walls said.
Diogo Dalot’s expected transfer to Manchester United is set to progress this week with the full-back expected to undergo his medical, reports Sky SportsThe 19-year-old has been identified by Jose Mourinho as a potential long-term replacement for captain Antonio Valencia.It is understood that United have agreed on an undisclosed fee with FC Porto for Dalot, who has a release clause of €20m in his current contract.The Portugal Under-21 international has mainly been utilised by head coach Sérgio Conceição as a left-back for Porto since making his debut back in October.Maguire says United need to build on today’s win George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Harry Maguire wants his United teammates to build on the victory over Leicester City.During the summer, Harry Maguire was referred to as the ultimate…The 19-year-old also featured for the Primeira Liga champions in their goalless draw against Liverpool in the return leg of their last-16 tie in the Champions League in March, which they lost 5-0 on aggregate.Dalot is a product for Porto’s youth academy and won the U17 European championship with Portugal in 2016.Meanwhile, Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred is expected to complete a £50m transfer soon after having his medical on Monday.
On the eve of Arsenal’s Premier League showdown against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Unai Emery went public to praise his forthcoming opponentThe Gunners’ have been outstanding this season in spite of a bad start, having wrapped up twelve triumphs in the previous fifteen matches across all competitions.The former Sevilla boss is poised to see his side extending an impressive 15-game lossless streak, as they prepare to host the Premier League returnees Wolverhampton.Speaking of their next rivals, Emery hailed Wolves’ talent and discipline, urging his players to keep improving their performance.“They have discipline but also talented players, like at Wolves. I know that each match here is very difficult and we need to prepare so that we can continue to get better to produce a big performance every day,” he told the Birmingham Mail.Daniel Farke, From mid-table in the Championship to the Premier League Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Norwich City manager, Daniel Farke, has taken his team from the middle of the table in the English Championship to play with the big boys in the Premier League.“It’s about thinking of the next match after finishing the game in the Europa League. Then what’s very important is the Premier League and to complete our process and our progress to be in the best position.”Emery also showed appreciation for Nuno Espirito Santo, whom he challenged during their spell in the Spanish La Liga.“He’s a good coach with experience.”“Every coach from Portugal, in my experience, is very competitive and they are very organized coaches.”