'Solari the stopgap with bigger name to come' - what is going on at Real Madrid?

The relatively unknown Santiago Solari has been placed in charge of Real Madrid - but he is not likely to be in the role for long, writes Andy West.

22-01-2019



Sri Lanka v England: Pick your England team for first Test

Who do you think should be in the England side for the first Test against Sri Lanka? Choose your XI and share it with your friends.

22-01-2019



Talking Horses: Cheltenham Gold Cup the target for Bryony Frost and Frodon

Frodon is top-priced at 9-4 for the feature race on Cheltenham’s afternoon of Festival trials, ahead of Elegant EscapeBryony Frost and Frodon are likely to head the market for the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday, when success could secure a first ride in the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the up-and-coming jockey aboard the horse she rode to victory in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup last month.Frodon is top-priced at 9-4 for the feature race on Cheltenham’s afternoon of Festival trials, ahead of Elegant Escape, the Welsh National winner, on 7-2. Two runners from the Nicky Henderson stable, Terrefort and Valtor, are next in the betting at 4-1 and 7-1 and it is 8-1 bar the four. Continue reading...

22-01-2019



Championship promotion race: who’s heading up and who’s missing out? | Ben Fisher

Leeds have set the pace but the chasing pack are closing and the race to reach the Premier League is hotting upEver since Marcelo Bielsa took charge last summer the fear, in some quarters at least, was that Leeds would fail to last the distance – or that ‘El Loco’, a headline appointment, might himself not finish the season in charge. The early pacesetters, Leeds now face the true litmus test given they have lost four of their last five games. They have coped admirably with injuries, strengthening their goalkeeping options with Kiko Casilla from Real Madrid, while the next generation have flourished, none more so than Jack Clarke. Until the turn of the year there were no blemishes but Bielsa’s spying revelations have brought with them even greater scrutiny. So far Bielsa and Leeds – a sleeping giant in every sense – have proved a match made in heaven, a glorious cocktail, though the next four gruelling months represent the final hurdle. Continue reading...

22-01-2019



Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

22-01-2019



How did Barcelona end up signing Kevin-Prince Boateng? | Sid Lowe

The arrival of the former Milan forward makes some sense, but also hints at a certain improvisation in Barça’s planningBarcelona’s latest signing is football royalty, just not the way they expected. Late on Monday night, in the club store just across the concourse from the Camp Nou, closed to the public, he stood smiling and holding up his new shirt: “Prince, 19”. From Hertha to Tottenham, from Dortmund to Portsmouth and, five clubs and nine years later, from Sassuolo to Barcelona, Kevin-Prince Boateng’s 10th club is the biggest of them all. It was also the biggest surprise; their new centre-forward comes from leftfield, unforeseen by anyone.Boateng described this as a huge “opportunity”. It is one he did not expect, echoes of the day that his agent told him he was going to Milan and Boateng thought he was joking. Some in Spain reacted similarly when the news broke with the deal already done. Boateng joins on loan, with an €8m optional purchase clause in the summer. The headlines in the Catalan papers came with exclamation marks. Boateng, the “hidden option”, “the surprise”, ran the front pages. Continue reading...

22-01-2019



David Squires on ... the Socceroos' progress at the Asian Cup

Our cartoonist reflects on Australia’s late win over Syria – and the tournament’s outrageously large accreditation lanyardsTake a look through David’s archive of cartoons Continue reading...

22-01-2019



Russia avoids further Wada sanctions despite missing data deadline

• Russia missed deadline by more than a fortnight• ‘We will not be deterred from this mission,’ says ReedieRussia has avoided further sanctions from the World Anti-Doping Agency despite missing by more than a fortnight a 31 December deadline to provide doping data from its Moscow laboratory.However, Russia has been warned it faces being banned from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and prohibited from hosting international sporting events if there is any evidence that the lab data – which was retrieved last week – has been tampered with. Continue reading...

22-01-2019



Ronaldo agrees to pay €19m fine to settle tax fraud case

Juventus footballer pleads guilty after agreeing to fine and suspended sentence in Madrid courtThe Portugal and Juventus footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted committing tax fraud while playing for Real Madrid and agreed to pay an €18.8m (£16.5m) fine after striking a deal with prosecutors and tax authorities in return for a 23-month suspended prison sentence.Ronaldo, 33, had been accused of defrauding the authorities of €14.8m (£12.9m) in unpaid taxes between 2011 and 2014. Continue reading...

22-01-2019



Masters Snooker 2019: Watch five great flukes

Watch five great flukes from the 2019 Masters, including shots from Ding Junhui, Judd Trump and Luca Brecel.

22-01-2019



Super Bowl: Los Angeles Rams beat New Orleans Saints to NFC title after controversial call

Watch highlights as the Los Angeles Rams clinch the NFC title and a place in the Super Bowl with a controversial 26-23 overtime victory at the New Orleans Saints.

22-01-2019



Emiliano Sala was 'so ready' to join us, says Cardiff City chief executive – video

Cardiff City chief executive Ken Choo has said that the club is in shock over new signing Emiliano Sala's disappearance. The 28-year-old striker was aboard a small passenger plane that lost contact on Monday night off the coast of Guernsey as he was flying to Wales from Nantes, French authorities have said.The Channel Islands air search chief officer, John Fitzgerald, told the Associated Press: 'After all this time the weather’s quite cold, the water is very cold out there ... I am not expecting anyone to be alive.'Sala completed his move from Nantes to Cardiff for a club-record fee over the weekend, but had returned to France to say goodbye to his teammates. He was set to train with Cardiff for the first time on Tuesday morning and expected to make his debut against Arsenal next week. Emiliano Sala: Cardiff's new striker who was on missing plane – video report Continue reading...

22-01-2019



Six Nations: Bath centre Jonathan Joseph returns to England squad

Centre Jonathan Joseph is added to the England squad heading to Portugal on Wednesday to begin preparations for the Six Nations.

22-01-2019



Megavalanche, footballers dancing badly and a perfect 10 | Classic YouTube

Also featuring a full-court buzzer beater, some dire defending and a 1956 lap round Le Mans (including oncoming traffic)1) Clear some time in your day, strap in and relive the 40 minutes of mayhem that was Megavalanche 2018 from the point of view of the winning rider, Damien Oton, who somehow stayed upright while whizzing down the French Alps on a bike … in the snow.2) There have been plenty of dancing footballers down the years but not many quite so enthusiastic as Raul Meireles in Lip Sync Portugal. Just look at those shoulders go. He’s got form from his playing days, mind. But spare a thought for poor Mo Salah. He would have probably preferred Sadio Mané to win African Footballer of the Year had he known he was going to be forced to dance on stage by Youssou N’Dour. And we’re not sure about Carlos Tevez’s moves in this video when he was in a band called Piola Vago. He looks as if he’s having much more fun than he ever had in the Chinese Super League, though. Sergio Agüero is another South American footballer whose body moves better on a pitch than in time to music. Here he is self consciously fronting a song about himself by the band Los Leales. Youri Djorkaeff takes his dancing far too seriously in this R&B effort. And Jürgen Klopp did a bit of dad-dancing recently too. We’ve seen worse. Continue reading...

22-01-2019



Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up Australian Open semi-final with Rafael Nadal

Tsitsipas wins 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2) to reach semi-final The 20-year-old will play Nadal in the last fourThe nailed-on star of this 2019 Australian Open is the 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas and his chances of creating more history improved marginally when Rafael Nadal failed to dispel concerns about his fitness before their semi-final despite wiping the court with Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on day nine of the Australian Open.When someone pointed out to the Spaniard after his impressive win over the exciting young American that he had tape on his abdomen – not far from the area of his body that gave up on him when he quit during the fifth set of his quarter-final against Marin Cilic last year – Nadal was unamused. Continue reading...

22-01-2019



Millwall close to agreement with council over deal to stay at The Den

• Club now working on its own plans to transform the stadium• There were fears Millwall would be forced out of BermondseyMillwall Football Club is close to reaching an agreement with its local authority, Lewisham, that would see the club stay in its south London home. The club is now working on its own plans to transform the stadium and the land around it.There had been fears that Millwall would be forced out of Bermondsey by Lewisham’s attempt to compulsory purchase land around The Den. After a lengthy battle the council finally abandoned those plans under huge public pressure, although the threat remained that the process could be reignited to force the development through. Continue reading...

22-01-2019



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

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

22-01-2019