Toni Kroos, a Real Madrid veteran, has agreed to represent Germany at the UEFA Euro 2024.

Toni Kroos, a Real Madrid veteran, has agreed to represent Germany at the UEFA Euro 2024.

Since Germany's elimination from the European Championship in the round of sixteen three years ago, Toni Kroos has not participated for the country.

Before the domestic European Championship, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos announced that he has granted coach Julian Nagelsmann's desire to play for Germany once more.

Since Germany's elimination from the last European Championship in the round of 16, the 34-year-old Kroos has not participated in a match for his country for three years... [read more]
Budapest to host Euro 2024 playoff between Israel and Iceland

Budapest to host Euro 2024 playoff between Israel and Iceland

Israel and Iceland will face off in the Euro 2024 play-off on March 21 in Budapest, the Israeli Football Association said on Wednesday.

Since the start of Israel's war with Hamas on October 7, the country has held its games in neutral locations.

Later that month, Uefa declared that Israel will not host any international matches for the time being.

Five days later, the victor of the Israel-Iceland match will play either Ukraine or Bosnia & Herzegovina for one of the final three spots at Euro 2024.
Israel has never been able to make it to the European Cup... [read more]

TOP STORY: Premier League clubs tracking Atalanta star

Atalanta will not entertain offers below €40 million for midfielder Éderson. A host of Premier League clubs, including Manchester United and Liverpool, have showed interest, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 24-year-old has enjoyed an impressive season for Atalanta, featuring 23 times in Serie A and notching five goals and one assist. The report indicates that alongside Manchester United and Liverpool, there is interest from Arsenal, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur, with approaches seemingly inevitable in the summer.

Alongside the Premier League interest, Atalanta's rivals Juventus are also keeping tabs on the Brazil under-20 international. However, the Turin giants have prioritised a move for Éderson's fellow Atalanta midfielder Teun Koopmeiners instead.

It is unlikely that Atalanta would be prepared to part ways with both Éderson and Koopmeiners in the summer, and after securing a significant fee from Manchester United for Rasmus Højlund last summer, the Italian outfit are under little financial pressure to facilitate departures... [read more]
Aaron Ramsey will not play for Wales against Finland in the Euro 2024 play-offs.

Aaron Ramsey will not play for Wales against Finland in the Euro 2024 play-offs.

Cardiff manager Erol Bulut has disclosed that Wales captain Aaron Ramsey is expected to miss the Euro 2024 play-off match against Finland.

After missing five months due to a knee injury, Ramsey returned to action for Cardiff earlier this month in two substitute roles.

However, a scan revealed that Ramsey's tendon injury will keep him out of action until the end of March. Ramsey had complained of a calf ailment last week.

Against March 21, Wales takes against Finland in the play-off semi-final in Cardiff.

Five days later, the victors will host Poland or Estonia in Cardiff in hopes of qualifying for this summer's Euro 2024... [read more]
When an NBA coach dunking is more than a highlight: 'It does add to the respect and appreciation'

When an NBA coach dunking is more than a highlight: 'It does add to the respect and appreciation'

"YEAHHH!" ORLANDO MAGIC players hollered in unison as coach Jamahl Mosley turned and started his approach, chopping his feet to check the grip on the soles of his Nikes.

It was Nov. 8, and practice was winding down inside the Arena Ciudad de Mexico, one day before the Magic faced the Atlanta Hawks in the annual NBA Mexico Game.

Moments earlier, point guard Markelle Fultz had issued the challenge to his 45-year-old coach with the entire team huddled at midcourt.

"Come on, Coach, you said we gotta bring it," Fultz told Mosley, who stays in shape with mixed martial arts training and occasionally jumps into drills during practices to ramp up the intensity. "All right, you go to get one in."

Mosley knew exactly what Fultz meant: A demand for the 6-8 third-year coach to throw down a dunk.

Mosley took one dribble just outside the 3-point line and then committed a massive traveling violation, taking 10 steps before leaping off his left foot with the ball in his right hand. Players giddily jogged behind their coach and jumped when he finally took off.

Mosley's vertical proved just enough, as he squeaked the ball over the rim and through the net, much to the delight of his players. Most were toddlers during his globetrotting career for teams in Mexico, Australia, Spain, Finland and South Korea in the early 2000s... [read more]
Chinese fury as Lionel Messi  plays in Japan after missing Hongkong Match

Chinese fury as Lionel Messi plays in Japan after missing Hongkong Match

After skipping a game in Hong Kong, Lionel Messi participated in a friendly against Japan, infuriating Chinese supporters and igniting a conspiracy theory.
With the intention of "embarrassing" Hong Kong, the football player and his team Inter Miami were accused of having "political motives" by the state media outlet Global Times.

With an injury, Messi stayed off the field for Sunday's game in the Chinese special administrative area.

Some supporters questioned if he had been hurt after Wednesday's game in Tokyo.

After Sunday's game, over 38,000 spectators at Hong Kong Stadium jeered and demanded refunds when Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham spoke to the assembly. The amount they paid to see the 36-year-old Argentine superstar was up to HK$4,880 (£494; $624)... [read more]
Valorant Champions 2024 Will Take Place In Seoul, South Korea

Valorant Champions 2024 Will Take Place In Seoul, South Korea

The Kick Off competitions have marked the formal start of the VCT 2024. There are 44 of the top teams in the Valorant competitive ecosystem this season, representing the Americas, China (CN), Europe, Middle East & Africa [EMEA], and Pacific International Leagues.

Before Valorant Champions 2024, fans will get the opportunity to witness their favorite teams compete in the Kickoff Tournament, two International League Stages, and two Masters events... [read more]

Liverpool net key Brentford win but will injuries hurt them?

Even as he was running through on goal with just the Brentford goalkeeper to beat, you never quite knew what Darwin Núñez was going to do. The Uruguay striker has been labelled an "agent of chaos" -- a player capable of winning a game, as he did with two goals against Bournemouth last month, or struggling in equal measure, as he did when hitting the post four times against Chelsea without scoring 10 days later. Sometimes he is great; other times he is frustrating. But he is always entertaining.

On Saturday, with 35 minutes played, a moment of Núñez magic broke the deadlock as Liverpool opened the scoring against the run of play. A long ball caught Brentford short at the back and Diogo Jota's flicked header sent Núñez clear on goal. Most strikers would have slotted the ball past goalkeeper Mark Flekken or made a simple sideways pass for a teammate to slot home. Not Núñez... [read more]
Topps and José Mourinho team up in UEFA Euro 2024 campaign

Topps and José Mourinho team up in UEFA Euro 2024 campaign

In new promotional videos announcing the release of the official UEFA Euro 2024 stickers and cards, Topps welcomes José Mourinho to the squad.

Fanatics Collectibles, the official licensed card and sticker distributor for UEFA Euro 2024, has released the second installment of its cooperation with worldwide Topps brand ambassador, José Mourinho.

Prior to UEFA Euro 2024, three new marketing ads featuring Mourinho will be released. The first video was released on February 14th on Topps' social media accounts. In the video, Mourinho is invited to socialize with the designers and staff of Fanatics Collectibles, including Juan, the gregarious sidekick.

A number of social media posts from a select group of international content creators, such as Jeremy Lynch of The F2Freestylers, who was granted privileged access to the Rome filming day, were used to tease the first episode... [read more]
The Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors and the joys of an overlong season

The Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors and the joys of an overlong season

Most reasonable people agree the NBA season is too long. Teams don't need 82 games to figure themselves out, and we don't need 82 games to figure out which teams can do damage in the playoffs.

But what's the right number? Proposals in the 50s seem short. We are there now, and several teams are only just discovering the best versions of themselves. For most of them, the slow pace of self-discovery had nothing to do with midseason trades; the process simply took time, and is still unfolding.

The Lakers and the Warriors intersected this week in a post-deadline news morsel so delicious, it almost seems like a fantasy Mad Libs of storylines from the past 15 years: The Warriors investigated the possibility of trading for LeBron James, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

Warriors governor Joe Lacob called Jeanie Buss, his counterpart with the Lakers, and inquired about James' state of mind in the wake of James' Emoji of Apparent Discontent. Buss suggested Lacob speak with Rich Paul, the CEO of Klutch Sports and James' longtime representative. That conversation happened, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne. Paul told Lacob and Mike Dunleavy Jr., Golden State's general manager, that James had no interest in any trade from the Lakers, per ESPN's reporting. But the very existence of that conversation is a highly unusual NBA bombshell.

It set imaginations whirring, even with Paul shutting down any chatter abou.. [read more]
Germany set to extend border checks, tighten them for Euro 2024

Germany set to extend border checks, tighten them for Euro 2024

Germany announced on Wednesday, February 14, that it would likely continue the border checks it began in the fall of last year to stop migration and expand them to all borders when it hosts the 2024 European Football Championship.

"While the number of illegal migrants has declined, there are still a lot of asylum requests that we receive," German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser stated to reporters in Prague.

She continued, "This is why I believe we will need to extend the checks once more."
In late September, Germany began conducting sporadic border checks with Poland and the Czech Republic. Since the 2015 refugee crisis, it has installed fixed inspections on its border with Austria.

In an attempt to halt migrants entering Germany mostly through Hungary, the measure prompted Germany's eastern neighbors to implement identity controls on their borders with Slovakia.

With the exception of Serbia, each of the nations is a part of the Schengen open-border area in Europe, WHERE border restrictions are only allowed under certain conditions... [read more]

Man Utd eyeing scouting overhaul with Ashworth hire - sources

Dan Ashworth will be given the responsibility of rebuilding Manchester United's scouting department when he becomes the club's director of football, with Brighton's head of recruitment, Sam Jewell, identified as the leading candidate to head up the new structure, sources have told ESPN.

United are in talks with Newcastle United in an effort to release Ashworth from his contract as sporting director at St James' Park and sources have said that a swift resolution could see the 52-year-old granted permission to move to Old Trafford in the coming days, subject to a period of gardening leave being served before beginning a new role in Manchester... [read more]
A $25 billion analysis of the European soccer industry by UEFA reveals the financial might of English clubs.

A $25 billion analysis of the European soccer industry by UEFA reveals the financial might of English clubs.

A UEFA report released on Thursday provided specifics on the financial might of English soccer by examining the record 24 billion euros ($25.75 billion) in revenue that elite clubs throughout Europe generate.

In 2022, the combined revenue of the 20 Premier League teams was 6.5 billion euros ($7 billion), nearly matching the combined revenue of the next two richest leagues, the 18-team Bundesliga in Germany and the La Liga in Spain, which came to approximately 3.3 billion euros ($3.54 billion).

According to UEFA, the aggregate revenue of the 20 Premier League clubs was equal to that of all 642 clubs in the 50 countries that are not part of the major leagues of England, Spain, Germany, Italy, and France.

The 2021 report attributed the failure of the breakaway Super League concept to clubs in Spain and Italy trying to close the gap on English clubs' financial power... [read more]
Soccer player dies after being struck by lightning during game

Soccer player dies after being struck by lightning during game

Septain Raharja, 35, was playing for FBI Subang in Indonesia when a bolt of lightning struck him

An Indonesian soccer player was killed after being struck by lightning during a soccer match Saturday.

Septain Raharja, a 35-year-old who plays for Football Boots Indonesia (FBI) Subang, was walking on the field when a bolt of lightning struck him at 4:20 p.m. during his match against 2 FLO FC Bandung, according to The Independent.

Video of the incident at Siliwangi Stadium showed Raharja immediately collapse to the turf and teammates running to him to help.

Raharja was reportedly still breathing when he was first assessed, but he was later declared dead after being rushed to a hospital. TMZ Sports also reported Raharja had a severe burn following the lightning strike.
.. [read more]
How the Warriors have prepared for their return to Utah after 'Deki' Milojević's death

How the Warriors have prepared for their return to Utah after 'Deki' Milojević's death

Located on the far side of the Golden State Warriors' practice facility, the hoop faces away from the weight room. Looney never previously worked at it, but when Dejan Milojević joined the team as an assistant coach in 2021, it became their spot.

Under Milojević's mentorship, Looney had the best rebounding seasons of his career. The forward went from averaging four rebounds per game through his first six seasons in the league to 7.3 rebounds during the 2021-22 season, when the Warriors won their most recent NBA championship. Last season, Looney averaged a career-best 9.3 rebounds.

But Looney and the Warriors carry a heavy heart. It's been less than a month since Milojević died on Jan. 17 after suffering a heart attack at a private team dinner the night before Golden State's scheduled road game against the Utah Jazz.

"[He taught me] a different mentality," Looney said after Milojevićs death. "Not settling for being average, but being elite, being great at something. I had the best two years of my career playing under his coaching and getting advice from him."

The team will be without coach Steve Kerr for Monday's game, who, along with several assistants and front office personnel, attended Milojević's memorial service in his native Serbia.

Milojević's death at age 46 was a shock to the team and to the basketball world. Fondly known as "Deki" and formerly a star player and successful coach in Serbi.. [read more]
Man City, beware: Copenhagen are Champions League upset experts

Man City, beware: Copenhagen are Champions League upset experts

A little over four months ago, a dejected and disgruntled Manchester United team trudged off the field at FC Copenhagen's Parken Stadium having lost 4-3 to the Danish club in their UEFA Champions League group game. The home crowd was delighted, euphoric, but maybe not all that surprised. A fair few of them had, after all, seen this happen before.

Back in 2006, the club also known as FCK had qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history, and in just their second-ever home game they beat a Manchester United side that included Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. In charge of the team that night was Ståle Solbakken, who believes that early success set the tone for the years that followed.

"When we beat Manchester United 1-0, it became the start of what we called the 'European nights' at Parken," Solbakken tells ESPN. "I think that the atmosphere that you have at Parken, during these games, has become self-reinforcing. So regardless of the team you're facing, you have a belief that the crowd and the atmosphere and everyone will help you through it.".. [read more]
Argentina beats Brazil 1-0 to secure spot at Paris Olympics and eliminate archrival

Argentina beats Brazil 1-0 to secure spot at Paris Olympics and eliminate archrival

Following its 1-0 loss to regional rival Argentina on Sunday, Brazil has decided not to defend its Olympic men's soccer title in London.

For the Javier Mascherano-coached Argentina under-23 team, Luciano Gondou scored the winning goal in the pivotal South American Olympic qualifying match. He scored at the Brigido Iriarte Stadium in Caracas in the 78th minute, heading a cross from Valentin Barco past goalkeeper Mycael.

Brazil competed in the Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo Olympics and won gold in men's soccer... [read more]

European soccer news: Madrid outclass Girona, Leverkusen defeat Bayern

With all the attention being paid to the football in Las Vegas this weekend, the other football across Europe's top five leagues was jam-packed with numerous huge matches that could decide titles and also paint a picture to see how teams will prepare in the European competitions with the UEFA Champions League and Europa League returning after this weekend.

In Spain, we saw Real Madrid bring surprise packages Girona back to earth with a 4-0 thumping at the Santiago Bernabeu. Meanwhile in Germany, we saw Bayer Leverkusen continued their unbeaten run at the top of the Bundesliga following an impressive 3-0 win over Bayern Munich, and in France, Paris Saint-Germain defeated Lille 3-1 to continue top of Ligue 1... [read more]
Argentina's cancelled tour of China intensifies the no-show situation in Hong Kong.

Argentina's cancelled tour of China intensifies the no-show situation in Hong Kong.

Due to the controversy surrounding Lionel Messi's decision to skip out on a club exhibition match in Hong Kong, local football authorities have canceled both of Argentina's friendly matches scheduled for their tour of mainland China next month.

"Beijing does not plan, for the moment, to organise the match in which Lionel Messi was to participate," the Beijing Football Association reportedly told local media on Saturday, announcing that it would not host Argentina's scheduled friendly against Ivory Coast in Beijing in March.

The announcement was made the day after the planned exhibition match between Nigeria and Argentina was called off by Chinese sports authorities.
Argentina, the victors of the World Cup and led by Lionel Messi, announced last month that they would tour China from March 18–26, the international break. They had matches against Ivory Coast in Beijing and Nigeria in Hangzhou scheduled... [read more]
Lowe: The moment that transformed the New York Knicks into contenders

Lowe: The moment that transformed the New York Knicks into contenders

The New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks didn't deal directly with one another on what emerged as a wild 2024 trade deadline, but their actions still seemed somehow connected -- and have since January 2019, when Dallas traded two first-round picks (among other things) to New York to pair Kristaps Porzingis with their budding superstar rookie Luka Doncic.

The Mavericks had bottomed out the year before and moved up in the draft for Doncic. It was immediately clear Doncic would become an All-NBA-level star -- the hardest thing to find, the dream centerpiece for a rebuild.

With Porzingis gone the next season, New York plummeted to 17-65. They landed at No. 3 in the lottery, dashing their dreams of finding their own tentpole young star -- Zion Williamson or Ja Morant. New York selected the workmanlike RJ Barrett at No. 3. When they re-signed Barrett to an extension in August 2022, the Knicks and their fans rejoiced with some knowing wryness: It was the first time New York had extended and kept one of its own first-round picks since Charlie Ward -- drafted in 1994. The Knicks hailed the Barrett extension as a sign of new stability even while winking at their chaotic, chase-every-shiny-object past. (Barrett was preceded by two major whiffs in the top-10 -- Kevin Knox II and Frank Ntilkina. The Knicks did not start this project from a position of strength or major lottery luck.)

New York grew proud of its young core of first-round .. [read more]
Chinese cancels Argentina soccer match due to backlash against Messi in Hong Kong

Chinese cancels Argentina soccer match due to backlash against Messi in Hong Kong

A city in the Chinese mainland has canceled its plans to host Argentina's national team for a soccer match because of the mounting criticism of star player Lionel Messi in the nation.

Messi has received a barrage of criticism for sitting out an exhibition match in Hong Kong between his Major League Soccer team, Inter Miami, and other teams.

A sell-out crowd of 40,000 people had come to the Hong Kong game, many of them hoping to see the man who is regarded as the best football player in the world. However, the event ended bitterly as fans heckled, jeered, and demanded refunds when he did not take the field.

Since then, Messi has stated that an injury prevented him from playing the way he wanted to. However, that hasn't stopped a barrage of criticism from the Chinese internet coming his way... [read more]

Can Girona be LaLiga's own Leicester City success story?

Girona's impressive season has already seen them beat Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, scoring four times on each occasion. Defeat Real Madrid on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabéu and the two words they are struggling to shake off will echo even louder around European football: Leicester City.

The unexpected 2015-16 Premier League champions are the reference point for any smaller team trying to topple the established elite. In LaLiga, a competition dominated by Madrid, Barça, and, at times, Atlético in recent years, Girona edge closer to "doing a Leicester" with each point they pick up.

Míchel's side were expected to drop away when Madrid ended their seven-game unbeaten start to the season back in September. They have not lost in 15 league games since. The bubble was supposed to burst when they travelled to Barça in December; they won 4-2. It was then expected to pop when they hosted Atlético at the start of January; they won 4-3... [read more]
Taiga Retires From Pro Dota 2, However Concerns Emerge

Taiga Retires From Pro Dota 2, However Concerns Emerge

Tommy "Taiga" Le, who rose to prominence in Dota 2 with stints at some of the major leagues, such as Team Liquid, OG, and Alliance, has declared his retirement from professional esports in order to focus on becoming a full-time streamer.

Taiga, whose rise through the ranks in esports has been nothing short of extraordinary, disclosed his intentions to interact with his fans on websites like and Twitch in addition to providing coaching sessions via The player, who has overcome major personal obstacles, such as a gambling addiction that threatened to eclipse his career accomplishments, is embarking on a new chapter with this move.

Taiga decided to retire following his brief stint in Southeast Asia with Bleed Esports, from which he left in December, just one month after signing up... [read more]
 Many of the big clubs -- for differing reasons -- opted to sit this one out

Many of the big clubs -- for differing reasons -- opted to sit this one out

We covered Chelsea and Newcastle, but clubs facing transition are also unlikely to act. Come the summer, Manchester United will have a new minority shareholder (Sir Jim Ratcliffe), a new chief executive (Omar Berrada), a new sporting director type (Sir Dave Brailsford) and possibly a new manager. Liverpool will also have a new manager and a new director of football. Common sense -- and common business practice -- tell you the time to spend money isn't when new management have yet to take over.

Arsenal (around £200m on Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Jurriën Timber) and Manchester City (marginally more than that on Jérémy Doku, Josko Gvardiol, Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovacic) splashed the cash in the summer and, perhaps because they're doing well in the table (both just two points off the top), they probably saw no need to invest further in winter.

Simply put, these are the sort of clubs that inject serious liquidity into the market -- cash that then trickles down... [read more]
Jimmy Butler notches triple-double as Heat top Spurs

Jimmy Butler notches triple-double as Heat top Spurs

On Wednesday night, Jimmy Butler recorded his 16th career triple-double to help the Miami Heat, who were hosting, defeat the San Antonio Spurs 116-104.

In 34 minutes, Butler finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, a game-high three steals, and no turnovers.

For the Heat, Tyler Herro finished with a game-high 24 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. 20 more points were scored by Bam Adebayo on 10 of 14 shots... [read more]

European Team of the Week: Foden, Cunha, Watkins star

Each week, we will bring you the best performers across Europe's top five leagues (English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish LaLiga, French Ligue 1 and Italian Serie A) using the unique WhoScored ratings system.

The ratings are based on a comprehensive algorithm that uses Opta data during live matches, with more than 200 raw statistics, that gives us a single rating from 1-10 (1 being bad; 10 being excellent) weighted according to a player's influence within a game... [read more]
The Asian referee selected for Iran's soccer semifinal match versus Qatar

The Asian referee selected for Iran's soccer semifinal match versus Qatar "surprised" Iran.

Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi bemoaned the lack of recovery time in the elimination stage and expressed skepticism about the Asian Cup semifinal matchup between host and reigning champions Qatar and the AFC selecting an Arab referee.

Ahmad Al-Ali of Kuwait will referee the semifinal on Wednesday. He has overseen two group matches and a tournament last-16 tie.
"We are a little surprised that the referee for tomorrow's match is an Arab from Kuwait," Ezatolahi said in a statement to media on Tuesday... [read more]
Soccer fans demand refunds as Messi stays on the bench throughout Hong Kong game

Soccer fans demand refunds as Messi stays on the bench throughout Hong Kong game

Fans of Lionel Messi were devastated by his visit to Hong Kong, as the Argentine sensation was not allowed to play in Sunday's sellout Inter Miami 4-1 victory over a local League XI... [read more]
2024 NBA trade deadline: Why six-plus first-round draft picks for a star player could eventually happen

2024 NBA trade deadline: Why six-plus first-round draft picks for a star player could eventually happen

An unprecedented era of trade returns for NBA stars began in July 2019.

The LA Clippers agreed to trade five first-round picks and two pick swaps to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George.

That late-night stunner reset the market on what teams -- squeezed by a superstar trade demand or trying to get ahead of one -- might be able to not just demand but get.

As a result, the following years have seen an unprecedented run of All-Stars traded for huge pick and swap hauls.

Three days before the 2024 NBA trade deadline, when it's likely several future draft picks will be exchanged by 3 p.m. ET Thursday, it remains hard to judge how these megatrades worked because so many of the bills still haven't come due. And no franchise has experienced the sharpest end of the downside of the risk.

Rudy Gobert and Kevin Durant were both traded for four first-round picks and one swap. Donovan Mitchell went for three firsts and three swaps. James Harden was traded three times for a total of six first-round picks. Russell Westbrook was traded four times, the first three times netting four first-rounders and the last time with a first-rounder to grease the deal.

Those records might one day fall. For now, the George-to-Clippers deal holds the distinction for most first-round picks included in a trade (the Clippers also won the Kawhi Leonard free agent derby essentially as part of the package)... [read more]

New Villa keeper Gauci eyes Australia No. 1 spot

New Aston Villa goalkeeper Joe Gauci believes that a move to learn under World Cup winner Emiliano Martínez in a Premier League environment is the right step for his career as he pushes to supplant Maty Ryan as Australia's first-choice.

Gauci, 23, was officially unveiled as a Villa player on the final day of the transfer window, crossing over from Adelaide United on a deal worth a reported €1.5 million, plus add-ons -- a new Australian record.

The two-time Socceroo joins a Villan goalkeeping union featuring reigning Yashin Trophy and men's World Cup Golden Glove winner Martínez, 71-time Sweden international Robin Olsen, and teenage English prospects James Wright and Sam Proctor... [read more]
CJ Perez powers San Miguel Beermen in Game 1 of Commissioner's Cup final

CJ Perez powers San Miguel Beermen in Game 1 of Commissioner's Cup final

The San Miguel Beermen held off a late charge from the Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots' reserves for a 103-95 victory Friday in Game 1 of the PBA Season 48 Commissioner's Cup Finals.

Game 2 is set for Sunday. The Hotshots will be looking to build on the momentum of a last-ditch run that nearly turned the game on its head.

Beermen turn the tables

The Hotshots are the No. 1 defense, but in this game, they got a dose of their own medicine, shooting just 39%, including an atrocious 3-for-23 from 3-point land, and scoring 11 points below their average. It was also only the fourth time this conference that a Magnolia opponent has scored more than 100 points in this conference.

The turning point for Hotshots coach Chito Victolero was the second quarter, WHERE they were outscored 41-20 to fall behind 61-44 at the break.

"We lost one quarter, which was a big quarter for us," Victolero said. "The second quarter, we lost by 20 points.

"It was too much. That's the first time we did that. Akala ko nga worst na iyong sa Phoenix na 33 but naging mas worse pa ito. But just give credit also to San Miguel. They did a very good job."

Hotshots' 'magic bunots' make it a game

The Hotshots were playing just 48 hours after a tough and physical semifinal series against the Phoenix Fuel Masters, and despite Victolero insisting during Thursday's press conference that his t.. [read more]
Nikola Jokic leaps to No. 1 as injury sacks Joel Embiid

Nikola Jokic leaps to No. 1 as injury sacks Joel Embiid

The new NBA collective bargaining agreement, which mandates a minimum of 65 games played to be eligible to win the league's main honors, has sparked intense debate this week, setting the stage.

Joel Embiid, the reigning MVP of the Knicks, is in risk of losing his eligibility after missing three of the team's previous four games due to a painful left knee and then hurting his left lateral meniscus on Tuesday against Golden State.

A player must miss no more than 17 games in order to be eligible for any of the major accolades, such as MVP and All-NBA, according to the NBA's new player participation policy. Embiid is anticipated to miss Saturday's matchup with Brooklyn, his fourteenth game... [read more]
NBA trade grades 2023-24: Grizzlies send Steven Adams to Rockets for Victor Oladipo, picks

NBA trade grades 2023-24: Grizzlies send Steven Adams to Rockets for Victor Oladipo, picks

The NBA trade deadline is less than a week away, and things will begin to heat up around the league ahead of Feb. 8.

On Feb. 1, the Memphis Grizzlies sent center Steven Adams to the Houston Rockets in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo and three second-round draft picks.

The Miami Heat acquired veteran guard Terry Rozier from the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 23 for six-time All-Star Kyle Lowry and a 2027 first-round pick as the race for the Eastern Conference playoffs heats up.

The Toronto Raptors have stayed busy, first by sending two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers in a three-team trade also involving the New Orleans Pelicans. The Raptors received forward Bruce Brown, guard Kira Lewis Jr., Jordan Nwora, two 2024 first-round picks and a 2026 first-round pick, while New Orleans got cash considerations from the Pacers. Indiana also received a future second-round pick in the deal.

That was the second notable trade involving Toronto. In December, they traded for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley while sending OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks. Could the addition of an All-Defensive second-team wing in Anunoby impact the Knicks' hopes of a deep playoff run this season? What might the Toronto homecoming of Barrett and the hot shooting of Quickley mean for the future of the Raptors?

We grade that trade -- and all the trades!.. [read more]
Al Nassr destroys Inter Miami while Messi and Ronaldo look on

Al Nassr destroys Inter Miami while Messi and Ronaldo look on

After Cristiano Ronaldo was forced to miss the much-anticipated match against Lionel Messi due to injury, Al Nassr easily defeated Inter Miami, 6-0. Messi was only able to make a late substitute cameo in Thursday's friendly in Riyadh.

Al Nassr had to postpone its two-game China tour last week due to Ronaldo's calf injury, which prevented him from playing what might have been his final game versus longtime rival Messi.

Together, the two have won 13 Ballon d'Or honors; last year, Messi won the trophy for an unprecedented eighth time. The last time they faced each other was in January 2023, when Messi's PSG defeated Ronaldo's Saudi select team 5–4... [read more]
Lionel Messi: Napkin which detailed Argentine's first Barcelona contract to be auctioned

Lionel Messi: Napkin which detailed Argentine's first Barcelona contract to be auctioned

The first-ever Barcelona contract signed by 13-year-old Lionel Messi will be auctioned off, with a starting bid of £3,000,000.

The December 2000 napkin bears the signature of Carles Rexach, the then-director of Barcelona, who promised to sign Messi.

Along with Horacio Gaggioli, an agency who suggested the Argentine, Josep Minguella, a transfer counselor to the Spanish club, also signed it.

A month later, Messi became Barca's all-time leading goal scorer.

In 778 games, he scored 672 goals for the Catalan club since making his debut at the age of 16.

Before moving to Paris St. Germain in 2021, Messi, now 36, won four Champions League trophies and ten La Liga crowns with Barcelona.

The napkin was signed during a meeting set up by Rexach, who met Messi's father Jorge to lunch in response to the family's worries over Barcelona's silence after the adolescent's first trial... [read more]
 Chelsea, Man United in surprise move for Braithwaite

Chelsea, Man United in surprise move for Braithwaite

Chelsea and Manchester United are both eyeing up a potential late swoop for Espanyol striker Martin Braithwaite, suggests The Sun.

Braithwaite, 32, joined Espanyol from Barcelona in 2022 and has put together an impressive season in Spain's second division, notching 11 goals, which has attracted the attention of the Premier League giants late in the January window.

It is reported that the Denmark international has an €8 million release clause in his contract, which expires in July. However, the report reveals that due to an unusual clause, both United and Chelsea would prefer to wait until the summer before they look to strike a deal. If Espanyol remain in LaLiga 2, Braithwaite can depart for just £500,000, while promotion would allow the former Middlesbrough forward to leave for free.

United are reportedly eager to add to their forward options this month as they are struggling for a consistent source of goals. Midfielder Scott McTominay is United's top goal scorer in the Premier League this season, with six, which highlights the need for coach Erik ten Hag to add more firepower up front.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are enduring similar goal-scoring woes. The Blues have managed just 35 goals in the Premier League this season, with only Man United scoring less in the top 10 teams of the English top-flight... [read more]
Trae Young, Dejounte Murray power Hawks' win over Lakers

Trae Young, Dejounte Murray power Hawks' win over Lakers

In a 138-122 victory against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, the Atlanta Hawks had three players record double-doubles. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray combined for 50 points.

Young recorded his 29th double-double of the year after making his first six 3-pointers and finishing with 26 points and 13 assists. Due to right hamstring soreness, Murray missed Atlanta's game on Sunday. However, he returned to the court and scored 24 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter to help thwart the Lakers' comeback attempt. Murray added nine more assists.

Clint Capela (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Jalen Johnson (19 points, 11 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles for Atlanta. 18 was Saddiq Bey's score. De'Andre Hunter, who has been sidelined since December 6 due to soreness in his right knee, was also returned to the Hawks. Despite having only 16 minutes to play, he scored 6 points.

Austin Reaves led the Lakers with six assists and 28 points. Rui Hachimura ended with 16 points, and LeBron James finished with 20 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

Due to a left hip spasm and Achilles tightness, Anthony Davis (24.9 points, 12.1 rebounds) was unable to play for the Lakers. With his second start of the season, 9.6-minute player Jaxson Hayes finished with six points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of action... [read more]
TOP STORY: Spurs ready to make late move for Gallagher

TOP STORY: Spurs ready to make late move for Gallagher

Tottenham Hotspur have long been linked with Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher, failing with transfer bids in the summer, with The Times reporting that a firm offer could be made before the transfer window closes on Thursday.

Gallagher, 23, has been one of the first names on the teamsheet for Mauricio Pochettino this season, taking on the captain's armband on occasions, but as an academy graduate a transfer would be 100% profit against the club's profit and sustainability accounts.

That means Chelsea would reluctantly have to consider any offer -- and are reportedly ready to accept £50 million -- as they look to avoid following Everton and Nottingham Forest in breaching financial rules.

Tottenham are expecting offers to sign Pierre-Emile Højbjerg before the window shuts, and they are planning to use the proceeds to launch a bid for Gallagher. However, the Denmark international has already rejected Lyon and may opt to remain at Spurs as a squad player -- despite the need for regular football ahead of Euro 2024... [read more]
Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted what he really admires about long-term rival Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted what he really admires about long-term rival Lionel Messi

Many people believe that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two best football players ever to play the game.
The two have been engaged in a rivalry that has characterized the last fifteen years of football, with each competing for the game's most coveted individual and team awards. Though the two have acknowledged they aren't particularly close, their battle has never truly ventured into unfriendly territory, and it is clear that there is a great deal of respect between them.
Between them, Messi and Ronaldo have won an incredible 13 Ballon d'Or, with the Argentinean player enjoying eight of those wins after winning the trophy in three of the previous four years. When they were at their best, they both won many Champions League titles while lighting up La Liga with Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.
Fans have been exposed to some incredible genius moments from both of them over their protracted war for the title of greatest, and their relationship remains stable as a result. In 2020, Ronaldo said in an interview with RMC Sport, "I truly respect Messi's career to date... [read more]
Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs top Minnesota Timberwolves

Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs top Minnesota Timberwolves

SAN ANTONIO -- Keldon Johnson took his seat at the postgame podium and interrupted the first question asked with a question of his own.

"That's the number one team in the West, right?" the San Antonio Spurs forward asked.

Johnson's Spurs, who had the worst record in the Western Conference entering Saturday, trailed by as many 15 points before coming from behind and holding on for a 113-112 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, who -- as Johnson asked -- entered the night tied for the best record in the West.

As the final buzzer sounded throughout the Frost Bank Center, Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama implored the crowd to get even louder as San Antonio secured back-to-back victories at home for the first time all season.

"This is the best win we've had," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Wembanyama said if this wasn't the best win, it was the win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 15 that snapped a franchise-record 18-game losing streak.

"But it is definitely a good one and I think tonight we have to feel proud about what we did and get used to the feeling so we can repeat it," Wembanyama said.

San Antonio trailed by 15 in the first half and was down by 10 entering the fourth quarter but started the final frame on a 13-2 run to take a lead with 8:42 remaining. It remained a one-possession game until a Wembanyama 3-pointer gave the Spurs a five-point lead with 1:55 left.<.. [read more]

January transfer window: Grading big signings in women's soccer

The amount of money spent in the transfer window may not be comparable to the men (a contrast shown by Keira Walsh's global transfer record of £350,000 when moving from Manchester City to Barcelona in 2022 against the £198 million PSG paid to sign Neymar from Barcelona in 2017), but records were still broken across the women's game last summer.

Manchester United (Geyse), Arsenal (Kyra Cooney-Cross) broke their transfer records, and the English Women's Super League (WSL) record was also smashed as Manchester City spent a reported £300,000 to land Netherlands midfielder Jill Roord from Wolfsburg.

While the majority of deals done in the women's game are free transfers, summer 2023 saw over £3m spent -- more than double the previous record. So will the trend continue in January?

Here are grades for all the major confirmed transfers in the women's game across Europe, with each listed in order of date and then highest fee... [read more]

Hotshots and Beermen take one step closer to meeting in PBA Commissioner's Cup finals

The Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots and the San Miguel Beermen are both one win away from arranging a best-of-seven finals series for the PBA Season 48 Commissioner's Cup crown.

San Miguel dispatched the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings 106-96 for a commanding 2-0 lead in the best of five series on Friday. Magnolia outlasted the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters 82-78 for a 2-0 series lead.

They can both close out their respective semifinal series with wins on Sunday.

Beermen focused on the task at hand

In the first game, the Beermen took a commanding 2-0 lead with a clinical 106-96 victory and moved within a win of avenging that 3-0 sweep inflicted on them by the Kings in last conference's semifinals.

There has been a lot of comparisons of this version of the Beermen and their famed "Death 5" squad of June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross that won five straight Philippine Cup titles and nine overall.

Fajardo, Lassiter, and Ross are still part of the current SMB squad, but as Lassiter noted, the "Death 5" version of the squad is a thing of the past.

"I'm not even thinking about anything of that nature," said Lassiter, who finished with 16 points including four triples in a vintage performance. "This is a very strong team we have. Some guys weren't even playing. We have a really strong group, and everyone can contribute. Look at Je.. [read more]

NBA All-Star leaders hold edge as voting enters final days

As they have from the start of All-Star voting earlier this month, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James led their respective conferences ahead of next month's All-Star Game, as the third and final set of fan results were announced Thursday afternoon.

Voting wraps up Saturday, with the starters set to be announced on TNT on Jan. 25.

Like last week, Antetokounmpo and James were way ahead of the rest of the field. Antetokounmpo was the leading vote-getter overall and the only one with more than 4 million votes, while James led the West with 3.9 million votes.

Joining Antetokounmpo atop the East frontcourt voting once again were Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (3.72 million votes) in second and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (3.72 million) in third. Jimmy Butler and Jaylen Brown were a distant fourth and fifth, respectively.

It was a similar story out West, with James followed by Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (3.50 million) and Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (3.47 million). They were far ahead of Anthony Davis (2.00 million) in fourth, with Kawhi Leonard (1.37 million) just ahead of Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun for fifth.

In the backcourts, Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton, despite suffering a hamstring injury earlier this month, remains the only East guard with over 2 million votes. The next four names remained the same: Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (1.82 million) in s.. [read more]
European soccer news: Girona stumble, Real win Supercopa

European soccer news: Girona stumble, Real win Supercopa

It was a fun Sunday across European soccer, with talking points galore in LaLiga's title race, the Spanish Supercopa final and the Premier League. Girona stumbled to a scoreless draw at bottom-side Almeria but still reclaimed top spot, while Real Madrid thrashed their clasico rivals Barcelona 4-1 to win the first trophy of the year in Spain.

In England, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur battled to a 2-2 draw that doesn't really help either side in the Premier League race. Plus Paris Saint-Germain shrugged off Lens to cement their lead in Ligue 1, and a pair of United States internationals impressed as Borussia Monchengladbach thumped VfB Stuttgart 3-1.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Bayer Leverkusen's dramatic win showed their title credentials, Jadon Sancho marked his second debut for Borussia Dortmund with an assist, Chelsea defeated Fulham, and Manchester City fought from 2-1 down to win 3-2 at Newcastle United... [read more]
Lowe: Clippers are title contenders (again), Doncic's improved defense and why the Kings won't trade Murray

Lowe: Clippers are title contenders (again), Doncic's improved defense and why the Kings won't trade Murray

In this week's nine things I liked and disliked, the James Harden trade has opened the LA Clippers' championship window (again), Luka Doncic playing ... defense(!) and why the Sacramento Kings aren't interested in trading second-year forward Keegan Murray... [read more]
With De Bruyne back, Man City have title rivals shaking

With De Bruyne back, Man City have title rivals shaking

Aside from Pep Guardiola pulling the ball down with a deft touch that provided a brief glimpse of his illustrious past as a silky Barcelona midfielder, the biggest cheers at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday were reserved for Kevin De Bruyne. It happened first when he began to warm up, then again when he removed his tracksuit, and finally when he strode out to make his first appearance in a Manchester City shirt in 150 days.

Rúben Dias immediately ran over to pass on the captain's armband, while City's social media accounts posted a video of the moment with the caption, "Return of the king."

Even at City, a team full of treble-winning superstars, De Bruyne is on a different level.

City's FA Cup third round opponents Huddersfield Town were already beaten when he made his entrance early in the second half, but within 17 minutes of the 32-year-old stepping onto the pitch, the 2-0 scoreline had become 5-0.

The highlight was one of his characteristic driving runs from midfield, picking up the ball in the centre circle, exchanging passes with Oscar Bobb on the edge of the penalty area, followed by the inevitable assist. Good players would have stood up their cross to Matheus Nunes at the back post, but De Bruyne is better than that -- in fact, he was perhaps the only person in the stadium to spot Jérémy Doku hanging back while the Huddersfield defence sprinted back toward their goal line.

As is often t.. [read more]
Liverpool's Alexander-Arnold to miss 'weeks' with knee injury

Liverpool's Alexander-Arnold to miss 'weeks' with knee injury

Liverpool's Premier League title bid has suffered a new injury blow with Trent Alexander-Arnold set to be sidelined until mid-February with a knee ligament tear.

Alexander-Arnold, 25, has undergone a scan to assess the full extent of the damage sustained while playing in Sunday's FA Cup third round win against Arsenal at the Emirates.

But with manager Jurgen Klopp already without several first-team players due to injury, and Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo away for up to six weeks at the Africa Cup of Nations and Asian Cup respectively, Alexander-Arnold's setback will further deplete Liverpool's squad as they attempt to maintain their lead at the top of the Premier League and reach the Carabao Cup final.

Liverpool face Fulham in the semifinal first-leg at Anfield on Wednesday.

"Trent hyperextended his knee during the last game," Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders told Liverpool's website. "So he has a little tear in the lateral ligament of his knee and he will need time to recover.

"He had a scan and he will be out for a few weeks, so let's see after that. He will get some rest and then hopefully he can come back to WHERE he was.

"This guy was decisive in all the games and was the one who created constantly for us from deep and gave the team a high level of flexibility. We will really miss him."

Alexander-Arnold's injury means that Liverpool will be without their first.. [read more]
Historic night of blowouts marks Friday's NBA action

Historic night of blowouts marks Friday's NBA action

Following Wednesday's historic scoring night in the NBA, Friday rewrote another section in the league record books.

Of the 28 out of 30 teams that saw action during the Friday NBA slate, eight teams led by 25 or more points -- the most for a single night in the league since the 1997-98 season. Of those eight teams, seven led by more than 30. Four grew their leads to 35 points or more, which ties for the most on a single day since the 1997-98 season.

Friday was headlined by the New York Knicks' 36-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers, 129-92.

Jalen Brunson led the Knicks to victory with 29 points, shooting 11-for-20 from the field.Friday marked the 182nd day in NBA history WHERE 13+ games were played. Teams won those games by an average of 18.9 PPG, the largest margin of victory of any of those days.The stats in the NBA have been nothing short of impressive in the New Year -- you shouldn't expect the momentum to slow down any time soon... [read more]
Man United outcast Sancho nears loan to Dortmund - source

Man United outcast Sancho nears loan to Dortmund - source

Manchester United are nearing an agreement to loan Jadon Sancho to Borussia Dortmund, a source has told ESPN.

The two clubs have been in negotiations since the beginning of the January transfer window and are close to agreeing terms for a loan deal until the end of the season.

Dortmund are set to pay a small loan fee -- around €3 million ($3.2m) -- and make a contribution to Sancho's wages.

It is likely that United will have to continue to pay the 23-year-old at least half of his £300k-per-week salary.

Sancho has not played for United since August following his public bust-up with manager Erik ten Hag.

Having spent the last four months training alone, Dortmund are keen to assess his fitness levels at their warm weather camp in Marbella.

They restart their Bundesliga campaign against Darmstadt on Jan. 13... [read more]
Where every team stands heading into the homestretch of the PBA Commissioner's Cup

Where every team stands heading into the homestretch of the PBA Commissioner's Cup

After a ten-day holiday break, the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup elimination round resumes on Friday.

It is now time for the homestretch with teams jockeying for position and a spot in the playoffs.

Five teams are safely into the quarterfinals, and as many as seven teams are still in contention for one of the top four seeds in the quarterfinals and a twice-to-beat advantage... [read more]