European roundup: Barcelona edge to win; Pizarro is oldest Bundesliga scorer

17-02-2019 • Lionel Messi penalty enough for leaders against Valladolid• Pizarro breaks record with last-gasp goal for Werder BremenA first-half penalty from Lionel Messi was enough to give Barcelona a 1-0 victory over Real Valladolid to preserve their comfortable lead at the top of La Liga. Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip had an excellent game against his former club and saved another penalty from Messi on 85 minutes. Related: Sportswashing and the tangled web of Europe's biggest clubs Continue reading...

Everything’s a little too cosy in football’s game of family fortunes | Daniel Taylor

17-02-2019 Why do managers keep signing their sons and using them as agents? And just what persuaded Cardiff to give contracts to Willie McKay’s twins?By now, I expect you might have seen that old video clip of the time Harry Redknapp was hosting a question-and‑answer session at West Ham and taking a bit of heat from someone in the audience who seemed to suspect they might have taken their reputation as a family club a little too far.The irate fan didn’t seem to care when Redknapp said the 18‑year‑old sitting to his right was destined for the “very, very top”. That player was a young Frank Lampard. “Not good enough,” complained the punter. Why, he wanted to know, was Lampard getting a game? Why had the manager’s nephew been fast-tracked into the team when a better player by the name of Scott Canham had been let go for peanuts? Continue reading...

Adama Traoré: ‘I am self-critical, I need to do better in the final third’

17-02-2019 Wolves’ Spanish winger tells Paul Wilson about leaving Barcelona as a teenager and why he slowed down to improve his game“A massive difference,” Adama Traoré says when invited to compare the tactics of Nuno Espírito Santo with those of Tony Pulis. “At Wolves we play more offensively, at Middlesbrough it was more counterattack, waiting for the opportunity when the opponents lose the ball. Here is more movement.“I spend a lot of time talking to the coach about where is the best position for me to be able to explode, because at Middlesbrough the wingers played open. At Wolves it has been more inside and I have even played as a striker, but I like the challenge. If I can adapt to different tactics I think I will be a better player.” Continue reading...

Blunt Rangers lose ground on Celtic after St Johnstone stalemate

17-02-2019 Rangers risk losing further ground in the title race after being frustrated at home by St Johnstone. The 0-0 draw with Tommy Wright’s men may mean Rangers have trimmed Celtic’s lead at the top back to five points for 24 hours but Brendan Rodgers’ reigning champions will look to punish a wasteful display from Rangers when they travel to Kilmarnock on Sunday by stretching their advantage to eight.Wright’s St Johnstone had shipped five after opting to go on the attack on their last visit to Govan. But there was little danger of them opening up as they returned to Glasgow’s south side on the back of five straight defeats in which they had conceded 13 goals. Continue reading...

Clan Des Obeaux shines as Paul Nicholls lands 45,863-1 eight-timer

17-02-2019 • Nicholls’ Ascot famous five includes awesome Clan Des Obeaux• Haydock racing marred when fight breaks out at the trackIn the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, Clan Des Obeaux was the young upstart with everything still to prove against big-name rivals. Less than three months later, he will go into the Gold Cup at Cheltenham on 15 March with a fair claim to be the best staying chaser in training after a flawless trial in the Denman Chase here on Saturday, the highlight of an exceptional afternoon for his trainer, Paul Nicholls.In all, Nicholls took five of the eight races on an Ascot card reinforced by events switched from Newbury’s meeting last weekend, which fell victim to the six-day suspension of racing due to an outbreak of equine flu. His stable had good winners too at both of the day’s other jump meetings – Haydock Park and Wincanton – and finished the afternoon with eight in all, at combined odds of 45,863-1. He also shortened from 9-4 to 6-4 over the course of the afternoon to seize back the trainer’s title from Nicky Henderson. Continue reading...

Formula E: Last-gasp Lucas Di Grassi wins Mexico E-Prix

17-02-2019 Watch highlights from an action-packed Mexico E-Prix as Lucas di Grassi wins after Pascal Wehrlein's car fails him on the final corner when he was on for a lights-to-flag win.

Formula E: 'Absolute chaos' as Nelson Piquet crash brings out red flag in Mexico

17-02-2019 Nelson Piquet's spectacular crash with Jean-Eric Vergne causes "absolute chaos" and brings out the red flag at the Mexico City E-Prix.

Sports quiz of the week: managers, money, metal medals and monikers

17-02-2019 Who defied his age? Who scored quickly? Who made a packet? Matt Kuchar earned $1.3m in prize money for his victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. How much did the golfer pay his caddie?$5,000$130,000 $300,000 $1.3m Why does Anthony Joshua’s next opponent, Jarrell Miller, go by the nickname “Big Baby”? He takes a cuddly toy with him wherever he goesHe weighed 10 pounds at birthHis first opponent called him that before the opening bell – and was quickly knocked outHe lost a betJoshua is fighting Miller on 1 June. Which other sporting event is taking place that night?The last game of the Six Nations The Cricket World Cup final The men’s singles final at WimbledonThe Champions League finalWho scored a hat-trick in 30 minutes this week?Sergio Agüero Eden Hazard Roberto Firmino Jonny MayPaul Scholes made his managerial debut this week. Which footballer announced his retirement on the day Scholes made his playing debut way back in 1994?Bryan Robson Gary LinekerDiego Maradona Glenn Hoddle Gordon Banks, who died this week aged 81, is most famous for winning the World Cup with England in 1966. In which country did he play his last game as a professional footballer in 1977?Republic of IrelandEgyptCanada UruguayDeclan Rice says he wants to play for the England football team. Why has his decision gone down badly with some Irish supporters?He grew up in Northern Ireland and played for their Under-21 team He was born in the Republic of Ireland He has already played three matches for the Republic of IrelandHe was in the Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2016 but didn't playThe organisers of next year’s Olympics in Tokyo say the medals will be made from…Metals mined from below the stadium in Tokyo Old phones and computersShipwrecks found off the Japanese coastMetal found in the Acropolis in Athens Where is the best team in the southern hemisphere meeting the best team in the northern hemisphere this weekend?Wellington WichitaWiganWinnipegMatthijs de Ligt captained Ajax against Real Madrid this week in the Champions League. What is remarkable about that?He only made his debut in August He has already signed to play for Real Madrid next season He is still a teenagerHis brother captained the team in their previous match 1 and above.Nine wrong answers in a multiple-choice format. Impressive2 and above.Eight wrong answers in a multiple-choice format. Impressive3 and above.Chin up. There's always next week4 and above.Chin up. There's always next week5 and above.That's a fine score. Well played6 and above.That's a fine score. Well played7 and above.That's a fine score. Well played. 8 and above.That's a super score. Well played9 and above.You star. Have a great weekend0 and above.Ten wrong answers in a multiple-choice format. Impressive10 and above.You legend. Have a great weekend Continue reading...

Time to stand tall for Ashes: Root, Stokes, Burns and Wood can be key

17-02-2019 Joe Root and Ben Stokes are more important than ever for England this summer while Rory Burns and Mark Wood may also step up“Cut off the head and the rest will follow” was a phrase often used in the dressing room of the great West Indies sides of the 80s. Their fast bowlers would make a point of targeting the opposition captain in the (usually justified) expectation that this would cause maximum distress. On this tour they managed this most successfully. After two Tests Joe Root had scored 55 runs. In Antigua the England captain received two brutish deliveries, which he could do little about. Job done. Series won. Continue reading...

How Swansea City went from model club to desperate cautionary tale | Stuart James

17-02-2019 Chaotic transfers and incompetence at the top have put the club into a downward spiral with no obvious source of salvationAs the clock ticked down on transfer deadline day last month, and chaos reigned behind the scenes at Swansea City, Connor Roberts tweeted a gif showing Milhouse, a character from The Simpsons, throwing a frisbee to himself in the park. The Wales international removed the post not long afterwards but the inference was clear: Swansea’s players were feeling every bit as disillusioned as the supporters.Swansea were doing what Swansea now have a reputation for doing on deadline day – shifting everything they possibly can. The same happened last August, when four players departed in the final 24 hours of business. On that occasion it was the turn of the top scorer, Oli McBurnie, to post a soon-to-be-deleted message on Twitter expressing his bemusement. Continue reading...

Paul Farbrace to step down as England assistant coach after Caribbean tour

17-02-2019 • Farbrace to join Warwickshire as their new sporting director• Blow for England at the start of World Cup and Ashes yearThe countdown to England’s World Cup campaign begins at the Kensington Oval on Wednesday. But one of the architects behind their rise to No 1 in the rankings – and status as favourites for the tournament – will not be seeing the project through to the end.Paul Farbrace, England’s assistant coach, announced on Saturday that he had accepted the role of sporting director at Warwickshire and will step down at the end of the Caribbean tour. The upcoming five-match one-day series against West Indies, and the three Twenty20 internationals that follow, will be his last in the set-up. Continue reading...

'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

17-02-2019 Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.

Ander Herrera or Alexis Sanchez - who would join a kids' kickabout?

17-02-2019 Manchester United's Ander Herrera and Alexis Sanchez talk about their love of football and what they would do if they were passing a kickabout in the park.

Sports quiz of the week: a birthday present, a record and a whiskey cup

17-02-2019 Who wants a miracle? Who needs a drink? Who ran the world?What did Susannah Gill achieve in 24 hours, 19 minutes and nine seconds?She rowed from Botany Bay to Belfast She cycled from Asia to AfricaShe ran seven marathons across seven continents in seven daysShe swam from England to FranceNeymar celebrated his 27th birthday this week. In his speech at his party, what did the PSG forward say he wanted as a present?For his teammates “to stop losing without me” To move back to Spain A new metatarsal To become “the Tom Brady of soccer”Where is the Centenary Quaich being contested this weekend?DublinEdinburghLondon Chicago53% of households in New Orleans watched the Super Bowl last year. Why did that figure fall to 26% this year?People listened to the radio instead as Barack Obama was doing guest commentary Fans boycotted because a dubious refereeing decision ruled out their team Donald Trump was in the city so people were out protesting The main broadcast company mistakenly sold rights to New Zealand rather than New OrleansIn which of these leagues has one of the teams not lost yet this season?Bundesliga La Liga Ligue 1 Premier League Serie AAnd which league has a team who have not drawn a game yet this season?BundesligaLa Liga Ligue 1Premier League Serie A What world record did golfer James Nitties equal this week at the Vic Open in Australia?He went 18 straight tournaments without dropping a shot He hit nine birdies in a row He missed the cut at a tournament for the 21st time in a row He lost 10 balls on one roundWhy did Newport County goalkeeper Joe Day sprint off the pitch at the final whistle after his team had beaten Middlesbrough in the FA Cup?To brush his hair and "look smart" for the post-match interviewsHe was “absolutely busting for a number two”He is a Middlesbrough fan and “felt a bit teary”To see his partner, who was in labourDulwich Hamlet signed Simon Bloch Jørgensen this week. What makes Jørgensen stand out?He plays as a goalkeeper but refuses to wear gloves He is the tallest professional footballer playing in EnglandHe wears glasses while playing He insists on wearing a shirt with no branding or sponsorship PSG play Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Which of these footballers has not played for both teams?Gabriel Heinze Ángel Di María Zlatan Ibrahimovic Ray Wilkins Laurent Blanc David Beckham It’s the Madrid derby this weekend, which pits Diego Simeone against Santiago Solari, the sixth different Real Madrid manager he has faced while in charge of Atlético. Who did Simeone face in his first Madrid derby as a manager?Rafa BenítezFabio Capello José MourinhoCarlo AncelottiWhich of the last-16 ties features two clubs that have won the competition three times in a row?Manchester United v PSGAtlético Madrid v JuventusLiverpool v Bayern MunichAjax v Real Madrid 11 and above.You've done very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend12 and above.You've done very, very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend1 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun2 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun3 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun4 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK5 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK6 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK7 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend8 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend9 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend0 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun10 and above.You've done very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend Continue reading...

Emiliano Sala: Former coach's tribute as funeral takes place

17-02-2019 On the day of footballer Emiliano Sala's funeral, a childhood friend and a former coach pay tribute.

Football transfer rumours: Suso to Spurs or Arsenal? De Ligt to Man City?

17-02-2019 Today’s fluff is warming up nicelyNow that Tottenham no longer plan to spend half of their cash on an executive cheese room at the new White Hart Lane, they can make more room in their budget for football stuff. That means they can buy some new training bibs, take muddy kits to the launderette after every game, make sure that everyone has shin pads, get enough half-time oranges for the whole team and give Son Heung-min a new contract worth a whopping £150,000 a week. Hooray! Let the good times roll! Related: Sergio Ramos facing Champions League ban for intentional booking at Ajax Continue reading...