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

21-02-2019 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.

Maurizio Sarri says Chelsea struggles are not down to his tactics

21-02-2019 • Sarri has not spoken to Abramovich or Granovskaia this week• Manager sees ‘problem of determination in both boxes’Maurizio Sarri has had no contact with the Chelsea hierarchy this week and has claimed the ferocious debate around his preferred tactical approach is “a false problem” as he desperately clings to his position at Stamford Bridge. Related: Is defending making a comeback after the gung-ho attacking years? Continue reading...

High school under scrutiny after cheerleaders given 'Big Boobie' and 'Big Booty' awards

21-02-2019 Awards given out at ceremony attended by parents and coachesCoach in charge is still working at Wisconsin high school A cheerleading coach at a Wisconsin high school defended prizes given to her students that included the “Big Boobie Award” and the “Big Bootie Award”. The awards were given out at a banquet attended by more than 100 people, including parents at the school, according to the New York Times.At least four adults at the ceremony complained to Tremper High School about the awards, including parents and the school’s former track coach, Patti Hupp. “I feel that I need to tell you this for the protection of these girls,” Hupp wrote in an email to the school’s principal, adding it was easy to see “that this is extremely degrading to women.” When the Big Boobie award was handed out, the coach giving the prize said the girl in question risked concussion when she ran due to her “enormous boobs”. Continue reading...

Bury’s Ryan Lowe: ‘Jürgen Klopp complimented me on my style and system’

21-02-2019 Manager has made his club one of the Football League’s most free-scoring sides – and a visit to Guardiola is in the diaryIf you were asked to guess the highest-scoring teams in the top four divisions, you would pick Manchester City straight away. Norwich would not take too long. A bit of thinking would lead you to Luton. But a team you might not get but are right up there with the most prolific in the land are Bury.The Shakers are the entertainers of League Two, with 85 goals in all competitions this season, playing with a gung-ho style that looks good fun but is probably not a relaxing watch for their supporters. Continue reading...

Jordan Henderson steps up to show the value of meat and potatoes | Barney Ronay

21-02-2019 The Liverpool captain is often maligned but he outshone more expensive dishes such as Thiago and James in his side’s hard-fought 0-0 draw with Bayern MunichThey came to Anfield expecting fire and light and red-shirted vengeance. They came scenting one of those hair-raising nights when the air seems to throb with wild, skirling possibilities. They may, on reflection, have slightly misread the situation.In the buildup to this Champions League first leg against Bayern Munich Jürgen Klopp had promised “passion football”, presumably a sub-genre of the usual heavy metal style: speed-metal football, Lancashire pomp-rock. Continue reading...

'It's not the game we dreamed of': Jürgen Klopp disappointed by performance against Bayern – video

21-02-2019 Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp struck a philosophical tone after his side's 0-0 draw with Bayern Munich in the Champions League.Admitting that Bayern would be the happier side to emerge from their Anfield encounter without conceding, he insisted that the result was still a good one for Liverpool: "If we won tonight 1-0, what changes, really?"Liverpool and Bayern Munich trade blows but draw leaves tie poised Continue reading...

The best of Gordon Banks, Tony Romo's gold and Juve's Welshmen | Classic YouTube

21-02-2019 This week’s round-up also features a Nascar crash, the World Club Challenge and parkour1) Farewell, then, Gordon Banks. Where else to start than The Save? Or, A Version Of The Save. Here he is keeping Denis Law out at Wembley in 1967, beating the looping deflection in style. The Pathe news report on 1966 is always worth a look, not least for some jaffas of saves by our man. No patriotic conviviality a few years later when he saved a penalty from Geoff Hurst in a broiling League Cup semi-final between Stoke and West Ham. Enjoy a compilation of his top stops, soundtracked by some delicious 1960s lounge jazz. Certainly more appropriate than Sabrina Vaz (us neither) to go with this clip of the last game Banks played before the car crash that effectively ended his career as a top-class goalkeeper, although as you can see in this Channel 4 interview, he declared the loss of his right eye “not too bad.” Finally … go on then, here it is.2) It’s the rugby league World Club Challenge this weekend, as Wigan take on the Sydney Roosters. Here’s the first official edition of the game, when Widnes turned over Canberra in 1989. And regard the time Wigan won it for the third time, a belter against Brisbane in 1994, featuring the British national anthem as played on a toy Stratocaster. The 2010 edition was a bit weird: Melbourne Storm won the game, beating Leeds Rhinos 18-10 (first half, and second here), only for them to be stripped of the title due to financial irregularities, but rather than give the crown to Leeds it was just…left in the ether. Continue reading...

Maurizio Sarri: I haven't spoken to Abramovich for three weeks – video

21-02-2019 Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri admitted he has not spoken with club owner Roman Abramovich since his side's record-breaking 6-0 loss to Manchester City – or for the weeks leading up to that result.The Italian has come under pressure after a string of poor results that has seen Chelsea slip to sixth in the league. Continue reading...

The Fiver | Staring us in the face, in plain sight, giving us the big do-you-want-some

21-02-2019 Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Yesterday evening, Barcelona took 25 shots against Lyon but none of them went in, so they drew for the fourth time in five matches. At Anfield, Naby Keïta had a pass completion rate of 74%. But apart from those two examples of things that are brimful of pretty attacking promise but aren’t quite clicking at the moment, there was very little to talk about in Big Cup. The needle on the Fiver’s patented Entertainmentometer™© got stuck halfway between Mildly Diverting But Only Because There’s Nothing On Any Of The Other Channels and Intriguing But Only Because You’re Trying Way Too Hard. Bah. As a banner displayed in the Bayern end and applauded by the Liverpool fans noted, you had to pay £48 for a ticket to watch this stuff. One day a real rain will come. Continue reading...

Chris Eubank Jr: ‘Nothing can match the feeling of having your hand raised after a fight’

21-02-2019 Brighton super-middleweight has one last chance to show that he can live with a top operator on Saturday when he takes on James DeGale in a bout which will leave the loser with nowhere to go“This is the biggest and most important fight of my career,” Chris Eubank Jr says quietly, rocking gently on a plastic chair in a tiny office tucked away in his gym on Hove seafront. He nods intently as he considers his battle against James DeGale at the O2 in London on Saturday night. “It’s definitely the one where I have the most to lose. A loss would leave me in no man’s land. DeGale is in exactly the same position. We both cannot afford defeat. We’re both on the edge and someone’s going to fall.”I have asked just one opening question and Eubank has cut to the heart. He and DeGale are preparing for a bout which will surely leave the loser facing the end of his career. Of course this is boxing and so a controversial decision or a narrow defeat might persuade the defeated fighter that one last shot at redemption is possible. But both men recognise their future, and long-term reputations, could be decided this weekend. Continue reading...

Joe Marler has no regrets over England absence despite pull of Wales tussle

21-02-2019 • Prop has had no call from Eddie Jones despite Vunipola injury• Marler happy out of England fray but Wales is ‘incredible’ gameJoe Marler has admitted he would love to be playing for England against Wales on Saturday but insists he has no regrets over his international retirement despite Mako Vunipola’s injury-enforced absence.England head to Cardiff light on experience at loosehead prop after Vunipola was ruled out for the rest of the Six Nations with an ankle injury, leaving Eddie Jones to choose between Ben Moon and Ellis Genge, who have five Test starts between them. Marler revealed Jones has not been in contact about coming out of retirement and, while he did not completely close the door on doing so in the future, he said adding to his 59 England caps was “highly unlikely”. He did concede that England versus Wales was his favourite fixture to play in because of the hostility of the Welsh supporters. Continue reading...