Has José Mourinho already got third-season syndrome at Manchester United? | Jamie Jackson

2 days ago

The Portugueses criticism of his players after defeat to Fenerbahce on Thursday provoked memories of his unravelling at both Chelsea and Real Madrid

Jos Mourinho may have felt he had to give his Manchester United players a very public rollicking following Thursday nights debacle at Fenerbahce. To get to this point so early in his tenure, though, shows the crisis that threatens to engulf United unless results and performances are turned around quickly.

In his 16th competitive fixture, Mourinho oversaw a 2-1 loss in a Europa League group game that was a quasi-disaster of disjointedness that featured his players losing the plot 69 seconds in when Moussa Sow opened the scoring.

Mourinho decided he had no option but to question the teams commitment and effort: the base elements any professional footballer has to possess. It shows the slide Mourinho and his side are on. For any manager, the exposure of players the men on whom their own success or failure depends in the media is the nuclear option. Sir Alex Ferguson rarely did this during 27 years at the club.

Yet afterwards the Portuguese compared Uniteds effort to that of a summer friendly. These are strong words which may be deserved but was this really the cutest play given footballers fragile egos and his own high-maintenance style?

The problem Mourinho has is his track record of blowing up at clubs. Some may view his response at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium as evidence he is entering his own particular thirdseason syndrome two years early.

Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind were singled out for criticism by their manager after Thursdays loss. Photograph: Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

The term is shorthand for Mourinhos inability to last longer than that at any club, though it is an approximation as he did go into a fourth season in his first Chelsea incumbency. The point, though, remains: Mourinhos CV does not show a man who has brought stability in the previous seven tenures of a 16-year career. The concern for United and supporters is his mood music after only four months at the club. It is starting to strike the same note as last seasons doomed final months at Chelsea, at Real Madrid and towards the end of the first spell in west London.

It means any justified criticism of his squad is viewed via that prism. Uh-oh, here he goes again, seasoned Mourinho watchers must think when hearing the latest rant against his United charges.

His previous post ended last December when Chelsea sacked him for losing a dressing room filled with highend players. Cesc Fbregas, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard are among those who are thought to have tired of Mourinhos managerial antics. A dismal title defence and a string of defeats caused him to lambast the squad after losing to Leicester, saying they had betrayed his work. The net result: Roman Abramovich, the owner, chose his squad over Mourinho and the Portuguese left the club three days later.

His disquiet had shown itself as early as August last year when, after a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, he said: Im not happy, I cannot say I had 11 players performing at the same time. Two or three of them their individual performance was far from good. I blame myself for not changing one of them. I kept him in the game for 90 minutes.

Sound familiar? This was Mourinho after the 2-1 derby defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford on 10 September. Even our central defenders [Eric Bailly and Daley Blind], who were top-class until today, lost easy balls. What I told them at half-time was: For some of you, it looks like you are trying to do what I told you not to do. I made a couple of [selection] decisions because I thought the individual qualities of certain players would give me what I wanted. But I didnt get it.

The two he was referring to were Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard, who started the match but were hauled off at half-time. In one post-game briefing after just the fourth league outing under him Mourinho managed to question directly four of his players. Luke Shaw was also hung out to dry in the next league match Septembers 3-1 defeat at Watford.

At Real, Mourinho had fractious relations with Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Kak and Pepe. His first Chelsea stint soured in similar fashion, with Claude Makelele claiming there were problems between Mourinho and John Terry, though both captain and the club strongly denied this.

At United, Shaws treatment in particular has not gone down well in the dressing room, while the managers attitude towards Bastian Schweinsteiger has also raised eyebrows. When he was appointed, Mourinho told the former Germany captain he should train with the youngsters. He may have had a good reason but to then reinstate Schweinsteiger to first-team sessions as he did this week sends a mixed message to his squad.

Bafflement was the main impression given off by the side that went down to Fenerbahce. On too many matchdays, United seem befuddled and comatose: not the norm for a Mourinho team.

That is until last year at Chelsea. The hope will be United are not at the start of a similar capitulation. Mourinho has stated he wishes to stay at Old Trafford until the end of his three-year deal, at least. Yet at the moment him seeing out that contract appears in the balance.

It can all change, of course. The solution, as always in football, is simple: start winning consistently and playing well. Do this and harmony returns. Then having to choose whether to bawl out players in front of the microphones is removed.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal story heading for a final, unhappy paragraph | Richard Williams

16 days ago

Arsne Wenger watched Arsenal defeated on the opening day against Liverpool and it proved the Frenchman and his side have lost the tough approach that brought them league titles

It is rare that a good novel fails to extol its promise on its opening page. Which is why the crowd at the Emirates Stadium were so distraught at the final whistling last Sunday. As opening pages of a new football season go, this one could be endlessly parsed for meaning and omen, but with only one conclusion: the insipid nature of Arsenals football in recent seasons seems likely to continue, along with a regular drowning of illusory optimism in an ocean of disappointment.

Here was the football equivalent of the post-modern classic that begins: You are about to begin reading Italo Calvinos new novel, If on a Winters Night a Traveller The message from Arsne Wengers Arsenal was that their followers were about to begin a new season of watching Arsne Wengers Arsenal, with all that has come to mean since they last won the league 12 years ago.

On a glorious early August afternoon in north London, the first line of Samuel Becketts Murphy seemed even more appropriate: The sunlight shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. Writing in 1938, a year in which Arsenal won the league title under the largely hands-off management of the former journalist George Allison, Beckett might have foreseen the passive approach Wenger would take to the summer transfer window, failing to correct his teams long-established deficiencies with a series of half-hearted bids for unsuitable targets.

Afterwards the Frenchman merely 90 minutes into the new campaign, but already ashen-faced offered the conventional excuses. The squad was short, he told. Short in numbers, short of fitness. There were absences through injury, including Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere, and through other significant players Mesut zil, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny being granted widened holidays after reaching the later stages of the European Championship.

After the convulsive 4-3 defeat by Liverpool, Wenger could justify the extended break for those players by pointing to the hamstring injury suffered during the match by Aaron Ramsey, who had returned to action after appearing in the quarter-final of the Euro and will now be unavailable until September. No one can say, of course, whether another weeks remainder would inevitably have prevented the Welshmans injury, but the sight of Koscielny sitting in the stands seemed to confirm a pervasive softness in the clubs mentality.

When Gary Neville claimed that the absent centre-back would not have been able to prevent the goal with which Adam Lallana gave Liverpool the leading and shattered Arsenals composure, he was wrong: even a half-fit Koscielny would not have been able permitted the passageway of indecisive defending that instantly preceded it.

It seemed symbolic that Wenger should announce Mertesackers elevation to the club captaincy, in succession to the departed Mikel Arteta, a couple of weeks after the German centre-back suffered a knee trauma that will probably keep him out for four months.

No doubt Mertesacker will fill the role admirably, but of more immediate important is leadership on the pitch during the vital going weeks. There is something to be said for the approach of Bill Shankly, who reacted to the absence of injured players by carrying on as if they did not exist, concentrating his energy entirely on organising his available forces, an attitude Jos Mourinho was reported to share.

Life sometimes seems to be too easy for Wengers current generation, whose reaction to adversity or even momentary letdown has never seemed to be that of the kind of bred-in-the-bone winners cherished by certain other managers.

All too often the reaction from Giroud to a header over the bar from a good posture or from Ramsey to a close-range shoot skewed wide is a telegenic astonishment, the hands created to the face, eyes wide and mouth open in a theatrical expression of dismay with simply a clue of rueful laughter that suggests the influence of a malign and quixotic fate rather than mundane technological failings.

At the end of Sundays defeat, a smiling Santi Cazorla could be seen sharing a hug with Philippe Coutinho, whose two goals had done such damage caused to Arsenal. The Spaniard seems to be a cheerful fellow as well as a fine footballer, but it would surely have been wise to postpone the expressions of fraternal warmth.

Like letting Theo Walcott take the penalty he had just won, with all too predictable outcomes, it offered evidence of the managers failure to prioritise the kind of mental strength and leadership once represented by Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira.

It is surely time to stop offering him the ritual thanks for his modernising influence on English footballs daily habits and to hold him to account instead for what Arsenal have become since his patron, David Dein, stepped down from the board nine years ago.

Deins departure removed the only voice capable of asking constructive the issue of the approach of a administrator who let Gilberto Silva and Lassana Diarra go from central midfield while spotting neither Paul Pogba nor NGolo Kant fellow Frenchmen, at that as potential replacements, and whose faith in a succession of young forwards Carlos Vela, Marouane Chamakh, Jrmie Aliadire, Ryo Miyaichi, Yaya Sanogo, Nacer Barazite, Park Chu-young demonstrated unfounded.

The knack of maximising the talents of players discarded by other big clubs Vieira by Milan, Dennis Bergkamp by Internazionale, Thierry Henry by Juventus also seems to have deserted him. Alexis Snchez and zil are extremely fine footballers, but in Arsenals colourings they are doing little on a consistent basis to attain Barcelona and Real Madrid regret opting for upgrades.

Wengers past decade has furthermore demonstrated that, in football at least, good husbandry can be an overrated virtue. Arsenal constructed a 60,000 seat home at a cost of 390 m. But where once they had a proper football ground, vibrant with history and designed to allow the fans passion to influence the mood of a match , now they have an elegant bowl where the feelings are easily disengaged and the most familiar one is dissatisfaction.

No manager currently working in the Premier League has more control over his surrounding than Wenger. Last Sunday it was his only job to put out a team capable of making a persuading start to the season on their own ground. Now, a week subsequently, he goes to the home of Leicester, the underdogs who decisively beat them to last seasons title with a chance to set things right.

As the pages turn ever more quickly, the concluding chapter of his time in north London is approaching the final paragraph and it grows harder to believe in a happy ending.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Tiemoue Bakayoko: a deft midfield monster who could become a superstar at Chelsea

17 days ago

Tiemou Bakayoko made an inauspicious start at Monaco, with his attitude questioned, but under Claude Makeleles guidance he has developed into a player of spectacular potential

There was a period not so long ago when Chelsea could have looked at Monacos midfield and congratulated themselves on their foresight, since Tiemou Bakayoko was being maintained out of the French clubs starting lineup by another youngster who was on Chelseas volumes and still is.

Mario Pasalic, a Germany-born Croatia international six months older than Bakayoko, has belonged to Chelsea since joining from Hajduk Split 3 years ago but has yet to contest a single game for them. Instead, like most of the speculative investments in Chelseas vast player portfolio, he has been rented out to others via a series of loan moves, including one the season before last to Monaco, where for the first several months of the campaign he was regularly selected ahead of the player on whom Chelsea have just splurged a fee that could rise to 39.7 m.

That is not to tell Chelsea would have been better advised to put more trust in Pasalic, who may leave Stamford Bridge for good this summer. Rather the point is to underline that it is never easy to know how young players are going to develop. At 22 Pasalic is a handy player who did well again on loan at Milan last season and looks likely to have a fine career. Bakayoko, meanwhile, has become more than that, a deft monster who can stomp or glide through topclass midfields and could be heading for superstar status. That evolution owes much to Bakayokos somewhat tardy waken and the influence of a former Chelsea midfielder, Claude Makelele.

Back when Pasalic was get picked ahead of him, Bakayoko seemed to be at risk of being written off at Monaco. The club, who are among Europes shrewdest recruiters and developers, bought the player as a 19 -year-old from Rennes for around 6m in 2014 but a year later the manager, Leonardo Jardim, had become exasperated by the midfielders failure to progress. That feeling began to form pretty fast after the players infamous debut in August 2014, when Jardim amazingly selected Bakayoko to start against Lorient ahead of the club captain, Jrmy Toulalan, merely to repeal the vote of confidence after 32 minutes and haul off the floundering, furious teenager.

It was more than two months before Bakayoko started another match and, thereafter, the rest of his season was marred by trauma, inconsistency and a relationship between player and manager that Bakayoko admitted was a little broken. Bakayoko felt he was being treated unfairly while the manager believed the player was not helping himself, occasionally turning up late for meetings and not always training with full intensity.

Bakayoko, who was rejected by Frances prestigious Clairefontaine academy at 14 partly because local schools report indicated he was hard work, but who recovered to build great strides at Rennes, was going through another awkward stage. That pattern continued into the next season, when Pasalic, rather than Bakayoko, tended to play in the position vacated by Geoffrey Kondogbia, sold to Internazionale.

Timou Bakayoko, in action for Monaco against Juventus, can stomp or glide through top-class midfields. Photo: Franck Fife/ AFP/ Getty Images

In January 2016 Monaco appointed Makelele as technical director and the former midfielder made nurturing Bakayoko one of his missions. That was the right influence at the right time because Bakayoko had realised he needed to focus more and had got into contact with one of his former mentors at Rennes, Yannick Menu, to ask for advice. If Menu was the gentle guidebook, Makelele was merciless. He needs confidence but in order to be consistent in his performances he also sometimes needs to be straightened out, jolted, Menu subsequently explained. He can slip into a convenience zone very quickly because Tiemou is a peaceful person , not a rager.

Bakayoko, encouraged by Menu and challenged by Makelele, to work together to get the best out of himself: no longer could his attitude in educate be questioned and he enrolled in boxing class and began to follow a strict diet. He added muscle to his tall frame and consistency to his game. He suffered fewer traumata, became cursedly difficult to shunt off the ball and loped with it dangerously from box to box. Quickly he became essential to Monaco. When he overwhelmed Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta in central midfield as Monaco beat Paris Saint-Germain early last season, it was a powerful indication of the campaign that was to come from player and squad, a beautiful step towards the fulfilment of extraordinary potential.

That victory against PSG was also especially satisfying for a Paris-born player “whos been” failed a trial at his hometown club at the age of 11 but likes to wear the No14 as a tribute to the arrondissement in which he grew up in Frances capital city. His mothers are Ivorian and, if Didier Deschamps had not awarded him his first senior cap in March, Bakayoko might have ended up playing internationally for the same country as the player he has always said he would like to resemble, Yaya Tour.

There are similarities between the styles of the two players but Bakayoko will need to start scoring regularly before any comparing becomes tolerable. But then Tour took a little time earlier in his career to be seen as an unstoppable attacking force and, indeed, once endured a patchy season at Monaco. Bakayokos role at Monaco even during his marvellous last season made him the least assaulting midfielder in an exceptionally offence-oriented side. Bakayoko, one feelings, can get even better. He could prove a spectacular addition to Chelsea if he is encouraged to add goals to his game for the purposes of the relentless prodding of Antonio Conte.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Kevin Durant spurns Trump as squads vow to fund Confederate statue removal

18 days ago

Kevin Durant is the latest athletics starring to disassociate himself from Donald Trump

Kevin Durant is the latest sports starring to disassociate himself from Donald Trump.

The NBA finals MVP said he will not join his team-mates should the Golden State Warriors visit the White House to celebrate their championship win earlier this year. Nah, I wont do that, Durant told ESPN. I dont respect whos in office right now.

On Tuesday, the NBAs biggest superstar, LeBron James, took a swipe at Trump, describing him as a so-called chairwoman who has constructed abhor fashionable. This week Trump has been sharply denouncedfor defending some of the far-right marchers involved in the recent violence in Charlottesville, telling: Not all of those people were neo-Nazis , not all of those people were white supremacists.

On Saturday, a woman was killed after a vehicle was intentionally driven into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville.

Teams traditionally visit the White House after a championship victory, although the Warriors have yet to receive a formal invitation. There have been rumors Golden State will boycott the ceremony. The teams coach-and-four, Steve Kerr, has been critical of Trump in the past.

I dont agree with what[ Trump] agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that, said Durant, who added he did not speak for his squad. Thats only me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, theyll all agree with me.

Durant said he has no doubt that Trump is having a negative effect on race relations in the US. Hes definitely driving it, Durant told. I feel ever since hes got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided and its not a coincidence. When[ Barack] Obama was in office, things were appearing up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black president, and that was a first.

So, to see that, and to be where we are now, it merely felt like we took a turning for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top leadership trickles down to the rest of us. So, you know, if we have person in office that doesnt care about all people, then we wont go anywhere as a country. In my views, until we get him out of here, we wont insure any progress.

The violence in Charlottesville came after white supremacists gathered to protest the removal of a statue of the Confederate general Robert E Lee. On Thursday, Trump condemned the removal of such beautiful statues and monuments. Some professional sports team disagree: on Thursday, Tampa, Floridas teams the Lightning( NHL ), the Rays( MLB) and the Buccaneers( NFL) said they would help fund the removal of a Confederate statue that stands in front of the local courthouse.

Tampa Bay Lightning (@ TBLightning)

A joint statement from us, @raysbaseball,& @tbbuccaneers regarding the movement to remove the Confederate monument from downtown Tampa. pic.twitter.com/ U87JQsYXO4

August 17, 2017

Also on Thursday, another squad built steps to break with its past. The Boston Red Sox principal owner, John henry, said the team would lead efforts to rename Yawkey Way, on which Fenway Park stands. The street is named for Tom Yawkey, owned of the team from 1933 until his death in 1976. During his tenure, Yawkey earned a reputation for represent one of the most racist figures in baseball. His beliefs were the main reason why the Red Sox were the last of the pre-expansion MLB clubs to accept black players. They did not have an African American player until calling up Pumpsie Green in 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson violated major league baseballs color line.

The Red Sox dont control the naming or renaming of streets, Henry told the Boston Herald in an email. But for me, personally, the street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can particularly in our African American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully.

Professional sports in the US have insured a number of protests over the past year. Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett are among the NFL players to have sat out the national anthem in protest at racial injustice in the US. Durant paid tribute to their efforts on Thursday. As far as whats going on in our country, for one as canadian athletes, you have to commend Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, CP3[ Chris Paul ], Dwyane Wade for starting that dialogue last year. Russell Westbrook also said something … A lot of guys with platforms have drove the conversation in a good direction. And whats going on in Charlottesville, that was unfathomable.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Eric Reid says NFL squads are shunning him due to his anthem protest

22 days ago

Eric Reid, the first NFL player to join Colin Kaepernicks protest against racial injustice in the United States, says his political stance has expensed him a place on a team

Eric Reid, the first NFL player to join Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice in the United States, says his political posture has expensed him a place on a team.

Reid’s deal with the San Francisco 49 ers has expired but two days into the period where free agent can be picked up by squads, he has yet to receive a formal offer as other players have signed new contracts or entered into formal deliberations. On playing ability alone Reid should receive at the least some attention: in 2013 he was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie after being drafted in the first-round and has had a solid career since. At 26 he is still in his prime and, after being shuffled about in the 49 ers’ defense, his head coach-and-four Kyle Shanahan said Reid had been” playing his best football” at the end of last season.

” The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap , not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic persecution, is ludicrous. If you think[ it] is, then your mindset is part of the problem too ,” Reid wrote on Twitter on Thursday night.

Reid added that he thought it was team owners, who tend to skew conservative, that are maintaining him out of a job rather than anyone on the playing side. “[ General managers] aren’t the hold out … It’s ownership. People who know football know who can play. People who know me, know my character ,” he added.

Eric Reid (@ E_Reid3 5)

The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap , not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic persecution, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.

March 15, 2018

Reid started to kneel alongside Kaepernick in 2016 after to hold consultations with former NFL player and military veteran Nate Boyer on how they could protest respectfully. He then knelt during the anthem for the entire season. He planned to stand for the anthem during the 2017 season but knelt again after the violent far-right protests in Charlottesville in August of that year.

Kaepernick has not been signed since leaving the 49 ers at the end of the 2016 season, something widely attributed to his protest. Reid said in December that he accepts his career may follow a similar path.” I would say I understand that’s a possibility ,” Reid said at the time.” And I’m completely fine with it. The things that I’ve done, I stand by, and I’ve done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I told, I’m fine with whatever outcome happens because of that .”

Reid was part of a group of players who met with NFL leadership last year to discuss the protest motion and how the league could help fight injustice in the United States. However, he left the group after saying he was unhappy Kaepernick wasn’t included in discussions.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Anonymous letters and menaces: How racism came to stalk US youth soccer

1 month ago

For players as young as eight on Idahos Juniors FC, the possibility of abuse when they step on the field is very real. And they are from from unique

Sumo wrestling embroiled in scandal again after champion acknowledges assault

1 month, 8 days ago

Ancient Japanese sport rocked by behaviour of superstar athlete Harumafuji, who attacked fellow wrestler during drinking session

Japan’s ancient sport of sumo is again fighting to salvage its reputation after a top-ranking wrestler seriously injured a fellow challenger in an alcohol-fuelled attack.

Harumafuji, one of four reigning grand champs, or yokozuna , has admitted assaulting Takanoiwa, a more junior wrestler, at a party last month, in the latest scandal to hit Japan‘s national sport.

Police have launched an investigation into the Mongolian following a complaint from his 27 -year-old alleged victim. Speculation is mounting that Harumafuji will be forced to resign in disgrace.

Media reports said the 33 -year-old had been drinking with several other Mongolian wrestlers during a regional tour in western Japan when he allegedly struck Takanoiwa over the head with a beer bottle as punishment for his” poor stance “.

When Takanoiwa then attempted to answer his mobile phone while Harumafuji was berating him, the yokozuna punched him as many as 30 hours, leaving him with concussion, a fracture to the base of the skull and other traumata, according to Kyodo news.

He spent five days in hospital and was unable to compete in a tournament in Fukuoka, south-western Japan, which began on Sunday. Harumafuji, who was bidding for his 10 th title, receded on the third day after the assault became public.

Harumafuji, left, fights Takanoiwa in the ring in September 2016. Photograph: AP

” I apologise deeply for causing trouble to his stable master, his stable, the Japan Sumo Association and my stable master ,” he told reporters.

The assault by Harumafuji, who as a yokozuna ought to be able to display exemplary behaviour at all times, has dominated Tv talkshows and received widespread media coverage.

The incident goes just as sumo was beginning to rebuild its reputation following a string of scandals and criticism that the sport’s authorities had failed to address a culture of violence outside the ring.

In 2007, Takashi Saito, a 17 -year-old trainee who fought under the name Tokitaizan, succumbed after he was tortured and beaten by his stable master and three senior wrestlers for attempting to leave his stable without permission. His stable master was sentenced to six years in prison.

Violence aside, in recent years sumo has been rocked by match-fixing and illegal betting. In 2010, two wrestlers tested positive for marijuana utilize, heaping more embarrassment on a athletic whose exponents pride themselves on their gruelling train regime and supposedly disciplined lifestyle.

Japanese media said the incident had once again cast a shadow over sumo. Condemnation of Harumafuji has given style to” letdown that sumo’s veiled underbelly has yet again stained the reputation of Japan’s national athletic”, the Kyodo news agency said.

Sumo had started to capture the public’s imagination after years of falling interest, with no fewer than four yokozuna- three of whom are Mongolian- compete for dominance and venues selling out for the six major tournaments of the year.

In January, Japanese sumo fans celebrated when Kisenosato became the first homegrown wrestler to attain the rank of yokozuna in almost two decades.

Harumafuji is not the first yokozuna whose questionable temperament could bring a premature objective to his career. In 2010, the Mongolian wrestler Asashoryu retired, weeks after he allegedly transgressed a man’s nose in an assault outside a Tokyo nightclub.

The Japan Sumo Association has come under fire for failing to take immediate action against Harumafuji. Masayuki Tamaki, a sports commentator, told sumo had yet to join other sports in rooting out bullying and violence.” There is a strong tendency toward violence ,” he told the Asahi Shimbun.

Japan’s top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters that the public” expects wrestlers to understand the weight of tradition they carry outside of the ring, and to devote themselves to their training “.

Harumafuji, whose real name is Davaanyam Byambadorj, induced his professional debut in 2001 and has won nine titles. The 137 kg( 300 lb) wrestler was promoted to yokozuna in 2012, becoming the third consecutive Mongolian-born athlete to reach sumo’s highest rank.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam took his own life, autopsy corroborates

1 month, 13 days ago

An autopsy has confirmed that Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam took his own life

An autopsy has confirmed that Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam took his own life.

Salaam was found dead on 5 December in a park near the University of Colorado, where he played as a running back from 1992 to 1994. He was 42.

Boulder County Coroners Office said on Thursday that an autopsy decided he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators say they werent able to determine whether Salaam suffered chronic head trauma from playing football, because his family didnt consent to those tests due to their religious beliefs. Salaams brother, Jabali Alaji, told USA Today that he believed his sibling exhibited signs of brain trauma prior to his death, including memory loss.

An autopsy report says he had a history of depression and recent life stressors. Alcohol and evidence of marijuana utilize were also present in his system at the time of death.

Salaam won the Heisman in 1994 after leading the Buffaloes to a win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. He was picked in the first round of the NFL draft by the Chicago Bears the following year.

In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.

Why Hector Bellerin told no to Pep Guardiola and Manchester City | David Hytner

1 month, 19 days ago

Arsenal right-back was perfect fit for Citys new director a young player with Barcelona DNA and an education in the Premier League

The overtures started around February time, when Manchester City had announced that Pep Guardiola would become their new administrator at the end of the season. Guardiola wanted a full-back with searing pace and assaulting instincts, somebody to build the play out from the back, and he wanted Hctor Bellern of Arsenal.

To Guardiola, it was the perfect fit a young player with Barcelona DNA and an education in the Premier League. These days, there is little doubt that, at only 21, the former Barcelona youth-team player is the finest right-back in England. Bellern was named in last seasons PFA Team of the Year and this month he was shortlisted for the Fifpro World Team of the Year, alongside only one other Premier League defender Chelseas David Luiz. The squad will be announced in January.

And so City began Operation Bellern. They opened talks with his people and sought to sell the merits of the be removed from a playing perspective. Above all, they made it clear they would be able to offer him a massive wage far in excess of anything Arsenal would grant him. The transfer fee would not be a problem. The message from City was that they were prepared to pay whatever it took.

Other clubs were interested in Bellern, including Barcelona, Manchester United and Atltico Madrid. But City were the most persistent. By far. They refused to take no for an answer. And they had the cash to be extremely persuasive.

The way many major transfers work is that the interested club plug away through intermediaries, outlining what they can offer and, once the player is keen, they go in through the front doorway with an official bid to his employer. It never got to that point with City and Arsenal over Bellern.

Arsenal had get wind of things and their stance was resolute: Bellern would not be for sale at any price. Arsne Wenger joked on Friday morning that City were good clients, having previously taken Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Tour, Samir Nasri, Gal Clichy and Bacary Sagna from him. But, he added, those days were over.

Today, we can give fiscal gratification and supporting aspirations and values that can stimulate the players happy at this club, Wenger told, as he prepared for his squads trip to City on Sunday. Before, due to the Emirates Stadium build, perhaps the financial gap was too big a difference to maintain our players. We could not compete. We had to sell players.

It was Bellern who told no to City and the riches on offer, because he wanted to stay at Arsenal. In November he signed a six-and-a-half-year contract, worth 115,000 a week but, the Guardian understands, he could have got substantially more at City.

Bellern bided for a number of reasons, including a slightly unusual one in 21 st-century football the sense of loyalty that he feels towards Wenger and the club. He has not forgotten how the manager stood by him after his disastrous full debut in the Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund in September 2014 and his poor performance in the loss at Stoke City in December of that year.

Moreover, Bellern considered how a number of former Arsenal players had fared since their departures. He thought about Clichy, Sagna and Nasri together with Cesc Fbregas and Alex Song. Has the grass been greener for the first three at City? Did Fbregass dream return to Barcelona really work up? Song also went to Camp Nou, and he did not enjoy regular football.

You can understand why City tried to sign Hctor over the summer because he has developed into a superb talent, told Terry Burton, who was the head of coaching at Arsenal between 2012 -1 4, where “hes working with” Bellern. Im sure he will continue to be a target for clubs of Arsenals standing. Theres not many better right-backs around to have.

Am I astounded that he turned down more fund from City to stay at Arsenal? In the general climate, yes. But in Hctors suit , no. Hes an intelligent player and he understands that if he continues to be the best right-back in the Premier League, Arsenal will reward him again in the next contract. He is sensible enough to realise that hes on fantastic wages for a 21 -year-old and farther rewards will come with continued success.

Hctor feelings loved at Arsenal and I think hes one of those that does need to feel loved. Hes constructed a lot of good relations at the club and Arsenal are barely the worst one in the world to be playing for. Hes made some good decisions. One was signing for Arsenal when he did, as a 16 -year-old in 2011, and another has been staying with them now.

Burton, the head of emerging talent at Southampton, recollects the time when Bellerns decision-making was not quite as sound. He talks about the concept of danger and reward, which has long been central to his coaching in other words, when and where it is worthwhile to take a risk.

We fell out after a NextGen European youth game in Marseille[ in October 2012 ], Burton told. We required a describe and it was 0-0 in injury-time. Hctor tried to nutmeg someone just outside of his defensive third and they transgressed away to score the winner. I devoted him a rocket, which he took. Hes a great lad and hes got a really great attitude. It was an important learning situation, which allows you hammer home the point. Young players have to learn game management.

Bellerns pace and determination to attack were marked where reference is arrived at Arsenal from Barcelona; he was a winger at the time. But the club saw that he could be converted into a right-back, and they worked hard on the defensive side of his game.

Could he defended the back post? Burton said. Was his body shape right? Was he aware of people coming in on him? Could he back in and jumping and defend at the back post. With his pace, could he get out and shut people down in broad the regions and block crossings? But it was also in possession, and to its implementation of turnovers. He took a lot of chances in defensive areas. It was that decision-making, because he did turn the ball over quite a bit in his defensive third. He needed the awareness that his first pass, in certain areas, had to be a safe one.

Bellern has come to tick all the boxes the velocity of his developing has been astonishing and, having committed to Arsenal, he has emerged as a emblem of Wengers latest project. Bellern has talked of Arsenal feeling like home and how signing the new contract was the right thing in order to be allowed to do. He believes Arsenal are get stronger each year and closer to the title. City will watch him on Sunday with a degree of regret.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Brazilian jaguar’s killing inspires calls for curbs on use of wild animals

1 month, 20 days ago

Animal welfare groups condemn use of jungle cat like a trophy on display after jaguar was shot having escaped after an Olympic torch ceremony

Animal welfare groups in Brazil have called for restrictions on the showcasing of once-wild animals following the lethal shooting of a jaguar that escaped its handlers after an Olympic torch rite in the Brazilian Amazon.

The 17 -year-old female which had been given the name Juma was killed at a zoo in Manaus attached to a military training centre where the Olympic event took place.

The jungle cat which is on the list of near-threatened species was supposed to have been tranquillised, but freed itself from its shackles and approached a soldier who killed it with a single shot.

The military which operates the zoo where Juma was kept said the killing was necessary to protect the team that was trying to recapture her.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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