The 20 best ‘revenge’ games on 2020 NFL schedule, from Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Patriots to Jason Garrett vs. Cowboys

first_img (Getty Images) Outside of teams playing their regular six-game division slates, the NFL predetermines a team’s 13 other opponents, based on its finish last season and a set rotation of eight interdivision foes from the two conferences. Sometimes, the stars align beautifully for a player, coach or his familiar opponent to exact revenge.Here are the 20 best revenge games on the 2020 schedule, including two that feature slightly different reasons for extra winning motivation:NFL OFFSEASON 2020:Draft grades | Power rankings | Best free agents available (SN/Getty) Jimmy Garoppolo Jimmy Garoppolo vs. PatriotsHow dare Tom Brady leave New England before getting a chance to duel his former top backup turned NFC champion QB. Now it’s about Garoppolo getting the better of Bill Belichick’s defense and prove he was a much worthier heir apparent than Jarrett Stidham.Don’t forget, Garoppolo’s head coach, Kyle Shanahan, also will want to be relentless with his offense to make up what happened with the Falcons in the second half of Super Bowl 51. The 49ers will be happy with just beating the Patriots in a tough road game, but it would be a whole lot sweeter for coach and quarterback if they win it 28-3.2. Melvin Gordon vs. Chargers (twice)Gordon didn’t enjoy the way things ended in L.A. The Chargers reportedly made him a nice offer to return ($10 million a season), but he rejected it, wanting a bigger payday. Leave it to division rival Denver to come through with something close, $8 million a season, despite Gordon signing late in free agency.The Broncos surprised some in making the move, given they had Phillip Lindsay. But Gordon is expected to be their lead back and you can bet he will run as hard and as fast as he can when he gets his two cracks at the Chargers in what figure to be two tight matchups in the AFC West rivalry.3. Frank Gore vs. 49ers, Colts, Dolphins (twice) and Bills (twice)Now we have a better idea of why the venerable running back decided to return for a 16th season, just before celebrating his 37th birthday in May. The future Hall of Famer (yes he is), by picking the Jets, reunites with Adam Gase, his coach for one year with the Dolphins, after Gore played his lone year with the Bills. While we wait to see if the Patriots sign Gore for 2021 so he can complete his AFC East cycle, we might have to accept this season will actually be his NFL retirement tour.Gore somehow picked a team that will play all four of his former teams in 2020. The Jets will host San Francisco and travel to Indianapolis to take care of his first two clubs, while he gets a chance to return to Miami and Buffalo, too. Gore isn’t known for trash talking, respected for his quiet grinding, putting his head down and getting every yard available. He deserves this kind of sendoff for lasting in this league this long, rare for his position.4. Nick Foles vs. JaguarsFoles got paid a lot of money to be Jacksonville’s starting bridge QB in 2020, only to suffer a collarbone injury in Week 1 against one of his former teams, Kansas City. That gave way to the mania associated with rookie Gardner Minshew and Foles failed to keep the job for the rest of the season when he came back in Week 11.The Jaguars jumped at the chance to get out of Foles’ contract in 2020 after the Bears obliged, thanks to coach Matt Nagy. The former Eagles super sub turned Super Bowl MVP is back in the NFC, and thanks to some scheduling luck, Chicago plays at Jacksonville. Assuming Foles beats out Mitchell Trubisky to start, he can take it to a rebuilding Jaguars defense.5. Ron Rivera vs. PanthersRivera was fired by Carolina after 12 games last season, but he quickly rebounded with a new gig in Washington, only six hours up the road from Charlotte. He will have a good influence on the rebuilding Redskins, replacing Jay Gruden. Rivera gets a chance to out-coach his replacement, Matt Rhule, when the Panthers travel to FedEx Field in a last-place matchup.Rivera also might have Kyle Allen, who started 12 games filling in for Cam Newton in Carolina, as his No. 1 QB over 2019 first-rounder Dwayne Haskins. Don’t forget about long-time Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who also now plays for Rivera. It’s just too bad the Redskins didn’t keep cornerback Josh Norman around to make the reunion even more fun. “Revenge games” are a big part of the NFL schedule every season. 2020 is no different, coming off an offseason that saw plenty more change.Several players have either signed with or been traded to new teams. Some are getting chances to play their former teams again or for the very first time in 2020. There are also a few more coaches who can get in on the fun, especially if they were fired and get a shot at their old employers. Jason Garrett Jason Garrett vs. Cowboys (twice)Garrett served 10 years as head coach in Dallas. Since his days as Troy Aikman’s backup QB and then as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, Garrett became a long-time favorite of Jerry Jones. But after Jones decided to replace Garrett with Mike McCarthy, Garrett landed with the NFC East rival Giants as their offensive coordinator under their new coach, Joe Judge.Garrett is a Princeton product who also went to Columbia for a while, lining up pretty well with a New Jersey/New York gig. This also is the second time Garrett has left the Cowboys for the Giants — 20 years ago, he did so as NFL free-agent player.Garrett goes from Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. He will be revved up make the Giants more balanced and explosive to be better equipped to outpass, outrun and outscore the Cowboys. The Eli Manning-Tony Romo chapter of this rivalry was pretty good; this has the potential to be better, with the twist of familiarity breeding some contempt.7. Chase Young vs. BengalsYoung hasn’t played a down in the NFL for Rivera’s Redskins. But the rookie No. 2 overall pick will be wanting to have himself a day when facing Cincinnati, who picked QB Joe Burrow over him at No. 1.The elite Ohio State pass-rushing prospect plays the right position to show the Bengals what they will be missing. You can bet, after his Buckeyes didn’t get a shot at Burrow’s LSU Tigers in the College Football Playoff, Young will be looking to rack up a sack or two or three when Washington conveniently hosts Cincy in interconference play.8. Andy Dalton vs. BengalsWhen the Bengals became bad enough to attach themselves to Burrow, it put an end to Dalton’s time as their starting quarterback. Dalton was done dirty by the organization, first being briefly benched for rookie Ryan Finley by rookie coach Zac Taylor last season and then needing to wait until after the 2020 NFL Draft for his release vs. getting at shot at true NFL free agency.Unless something happens with Prescott — one of the league’s most durable QBs — Dalton won’t be starting at quarterback for his new team, the Cowboys, when they play at the Bengals. He still can enjoy the bittersweet moment of beating his former team and getting a chance to return to Cincinnati, the community he did so much to help.9. Jameis Winston vs. Buccaneers (twice)Here’s another QB who lost his starting gig to a shinier model. Winston will get a close look at how well Tom Brady does in replacing him while supporting another future Hall of Famer Super Bowl winner, Drew Brees on the sidelines.Winston settled for a small second contract vs. what could have been as the 2015 first overall pick. He gets a chance to show the Saints he should be considered to succeed Brees but he also gets the bonus of helping to thwart his former team from dethroning his current one as NFC South champions.10. Teddy Bridgewater vs. Saints (twice) and VikingsThere are a lot of fun QB storylines in the NFC South, aren’t there? Bridgewater replaces Newton as the Panthers’ veteran starter, which means he’ll get his two shots to outduel Brees and his former team.Bridgewater will be helped by offensive coordinator Joe Brady, who cut his teeth in New Orleans before helping Burrow win a Heisman Trophy and national championship down the road in Baton Rouge. Bridgewater will remain grateful to the Saints for reviving his career after major knee injury, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to light them up.Don’t forget Bridgewater’s last loss with the Saints as Brees’ backup came in the playoffs against his former team, the Vikings. With the Panthers, he’ll also get a chance to return to Minnesota for the first time as another team’s starter. Philip Rivers Philip Rivers vs. RaidersRivers picked the Colts after he wasn’t re-signed by the Chargers, but he still can’t completely shake off his long-time foes in the AFC West, as Indianapolis will be one of the first-season visitors to Las Vegas.As the starting quarterback for San Diego/Los Angeles, Rivers went 18-10 against the Oakland Raiders with a solid passer rating of 95.6. But this matchup is important for him to get a recent bad taste out of his mouth.Rivers lost twice to the Raiders last season and didn’t play well in either game. He threw three interceptions in a Week 10 Thursday night game in Oakland, also getting sacked five times in a 26-24 defeat. When the teams met again in L.A. in Week 16, Rivers didn’t have a TD pass in a 24-17 setback. The Raiders also beat the Rivers-less Colts in Indianapolis last season. 12. Drew Brees vs. ChargersGiven how much Brees is associated now with the Saints, it might be difficult for some to remember how he was replaced by Rivers on his first NFL team 15 years ago. With how long he’s spent in New Orleans, Brees already has faced the Chargers three times, including once in London. This first time against the Los Angeles version at home very well could be the last time. Brees has averaged 305 yards and 3 TDs and rated 103.7 when facing the San Diego version, which took him No. 32 overall in the 2001 draft. If Brees is indeed planning to hang it up after 2020, it would be great to make it an even four consecutive stellar winning performances.13. Emmanuel Sanders vs. Broncos and 49ersBrees is welcoming a new veteran wide receiver to complement Michael Thomas after Sanders signed a two-year, $16 million deal to sign with the Saints. In coming to New Orleans, Sanders will face two of his former teams after Denver traded him to San Francisco in the middle of last season.Sanders helped the 49ers win a Superdome thriller last season and now will work to help the Saints win the rematch. He also can go a Mile High to face the Broncoes. The 33-year-old has plenty of big-play ability left in him and can prove he’s not close to done.14. Chris Harris Jr. vs. Broncos (twice)Gordon went from the Chargers to the Broncos. Harris, the four-time Pro Bowl cornerback, will play his age 31 season flipping sides to the Chargers.Harris joins a loaded secondary with Casey Hayward, Desmond King and Derwin James. That times well with the Broncos drafting two more wide receivers to help Courtland Sutton in Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler.The Broncos will have a dropoff from Harris to former Jaguar A.J. Bouye. Harris further strengthens a position for his new team and can have a big impact in climbing the Chargers out of the AFC West cellar and back ahead of the Raiders and Broncos in the division. Marshawn Lynch Marshawn Lynch vs. Bills (hopefully)So much for Lynch having finished his emergency stint with the Seahawks in 2019. Even with Seattle drafting DeeJay Dallas in the fourth round to add rookie insurance behind Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny as they return from injuries, the organization is having a hard time quitting its beloved power back. Lynch needs to stay unretired so he can play a second game against the team that took him No. 12 overall in the 2007 draft. In his only game against the Bills in 2016, Lynch rushed 10 times for 113 yards and a TD. This time, he can play at Buffalo, where he showed his promise of big production before his trade to Seattle.16. Damien Williams vs. DolphinsWilliams started in his career as a valuable backup running back in Miami after being signed as an undrafted free agent from Oklahoma. When he signed with the Chiefs for depth in 2018, he wasn’t expected to see a big role.Then came the off-field trouble with Kareem Hunt, opening the door for Williams to deliver in their explosive offense with Patrick Mahomes. In the 2018 playoffs, Williams posted 250 yards from scrimmage and 4 TDs in 2 games. During the 2019 Super Bowl run, he had 290 yards from scrimmage and 6 TDs in 3 games. Williams will be a free agent in 2021 and the Chiefs are likely to put rookie first-rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire into a prominent rookie role. But there will be still room for Williams to do damage in his first-ever game against the Dolphins at home.17. Calais Campbell vs. JaguarsThe Jaguars traded Campbell, the reigning NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, after three strong Pro Bowl seasons with them. He will be playing for Baltimore in his age 34 season with plenty of pass-rushing pop left in his massive but super athletic frame (6-8, 300 pounds).Campbell, in his lone game against his other former team, the Cardinals, didn’t have a sack, but scored a touchdown on a fumble return. As a starting 3-4 end for the Ravens he will get his chance to wreak havoc against the Jaguars, too, at home. Expect an appropriately big encore of revenge.18. Jimmy Graham vs. SaintsBears GM Ryan Pace was a long-time personnel man in New Orleans before coming to Chicago. His biggest former Saints-connected addition has been defensive lineman Akiem Hicks. But now he has one more in his new tight end Graham.While Graham and Pace crossed over in New Orleans, just signed well-traveled former Saints wideout Ted Ginn Jr. and Pace did not. Graham got as much as the Saints paid Sanders, who was signed to fill the old speedy veteran role once occupied by Ginn. Graham, 33, has faded far from the five-time Pro Bowler he once was. Although he’s stayed in the NFC all the way with his Seahawks and Packers stops, he’s played the Saints only once, recording just 3 catches for 34 yards in that game.Graham may not have much left, but he will get his chance to improve on those numbers with the Saints playing in Chicago for a second consecutive season.19. Xavier Rhodes vs. VikingsThe Vikings were forced to overhaul the rest of their secondary after locking up safety Anthony Harris because of some salary-cap issues. Rhodes, Trae Waynes (Bengals) and Mackensie Alexander (Bengals) are all gone from their cornerback corps.Rhodes, who made three Pro Bowls in Minnesota after the team took him No. 25 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, was released before his age 30 season. There were some real signs of decline in coverage last season, but the Colts were quick to add him for starting help soon after he hit the open market. (Getty Images) (SN Illustration/Getty Images) Part of the reason the Vikings got into a major cap bind was the expensive signing of quarterback Kirk Cousins. Rhodes can now work on intercepting Cousins and foiling Minnesota’s offensive plans when the Colts host his former team.20. Tyler Eifert vs. BengalsEifert, who signed with the Jaguars in free agency, is five years removed from his standout Pro Bowl season with the Bengals in which he posted 615 yards and 13 TDs. He now joins former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden in Jacksonville to try to burn Cincinnati’s defense in 2020.There were some signs of Eifert putting his injury-riddled past behind him during his last season with his first team. Tight end is a key part of what Gruden wants to do with his West Coast passing offense and it wouldn’t be shocking for Eifert to become an impact receiver again. He can show that at a high level in a return to Cincy.last_img read more

Rockets owner jokes about general manager Daryl Morey’s China tweet to Donald Trump

first_img“You know, it’s funny you brought up about China,” Fertitta told the room. “I should have realized it was gonna be a bad year for China when my general manager tweeted out ‘Freedom for Hong Kong.'”Said Trump in response: “You kept that quiet, right? You kept that quiet.”The interaction between Tilman Fertitta and President Donald Trump about #Rockets GM Daryl MoreyFertitta: “You know, it’s funny you brought up about China. I should have realized it was gonna be a bad year for China when my general manager tweeted out “Freedom for Hong Kong.”— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) May 18, 2020MORE: A two-decade love letter to Reds baseball Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who amassed his wealth as a restaurant business executive, brought up general manager Daryl Morey’s social media post about Hong Kong in a meeting with President Donald Trump, senior advisor Jared Kuschner and industry leaders on Monday.The gathering was meant to discuss economic reopening strategies for the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic. Fertitta remarked about his GM as an aside after someone else mentioned China. Fertitta was referencing Morey’s Oct. 4 tweet in which the GM offered support to Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China battling for its independence from mainland influence. Because the NBA — and the Rockets in particular — have strong financial ties to China, the league struggled to balance its social justice views with its economic wishes, ultimately undercutting Morey’s since-deleted social media post.Morey remained employed by the Rockets following the incident. He has been at the helm since the 2007-08 campaign, overseeing nine playoff berths. He built the foundation of the current Rockets team by trading for James Harden in a blockbuster deal with the Thunder and more recently acquiring Russell Westbrook.Trump went on to ask Fertitta whether Morey was fired for his comments on China. Fertitta explained Morey was still employed and joked the questions regarding his GM were “a trick.”last_img read more

Why is Antonio Brown suspended? Here’s what the NFL’s decision means for 2020 eligibility

first_imgThe Antonio Brown saga has taken another predictable turn.The beleaguered wideout has been in the news for myriad reasons since last year, with the latest headline coming Friday: The NFL has suspended the free agent for eight games, regardless of whether he’s on a roster come opening weekend of the league’s new season. Did Antonio Brown retire?In a July Twitter rampage, Brown seemed to have announced his retirement from the league with a few choice tweets.Is it time to walk away i done ✅ everything in the game ?!!— AB (@AB84) July 20, 2020at this point the risk is greater than the reward thank you everyone who been part of this journey i sincerely thank you for everything! life goes on 84!— AB (@AB84) July 20, 2020I came i saw i conquered mission complete Call God 🤙🏾— AB (@AB84) July 20, 2020After a months-long saga with the Raiders, Brown alleged he would retire following his release from Oakland in September 2019, only to sign with New England a few weeks later. Brown played a single game alongside Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. IYER: Ravens should keep saying no to Antonio BrownBrown, 34, last took snaps with the Patriots in 2019, playing in one game before being released after sexual assault allegations were made public.Here’s what you need to know about Brown’s suspension and eligibility for the 2020 NFL season:Why was Antonio Brown suspended?The NFL decided to suspend Brown for eight games after the league found Brown in violation of its Personal Conduct Policy. The suspension stems from his January 2020 arrest in connection with an attack on the driver of a moving company truck.Brown was initially charged with felony assault and battery, and in March charges levied included burglary of a vehicle, misdemeanor battery, and misdemeanor criminal mischief.While Brown is a free agent at the moment, should he sign with a team before the start of the NFL season, he’ll be allowed to participate in camp and team drills, with his suspension officially beginning on Sept. 5.More from the NFL on Antonio Brown’s eight-game suspension (at least). He’d be allowed to participate in training camp if a team signs him, with the suspension taking effect Sept. 5.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 31, 2020The NFL is still investigating Brown on sexual assault allegations brought against him from his former trainer, the same allegations that led to his 2019 release from New England. Should the NFL conclude that Brown was in further violation of its Personal Conduct Policy at the conclusion of the investigation, then Brown could be subject to further punishment, suspension or otherwise.The civil case against Brown remains open in Florida.last_img read more

Hearing delayed for man charged in killing of Iowa student

first_imgMONTEZUMA, Iowa (AP) — A hearing to determine whether key evidence can be used against a man charged in the killing of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts has been delayed.Cristhian Bahena Rivera is charged with murder in the July 2018 killing.Prosecutors acknowledged last week that officers didn’t read Rivera his rights during an interrogation before Tibbetts’ body was recovered.A court official says a hearing scheduled for Tuesday to decide if the information from that interrogation could be used to rebut testimony has been postponed because a defense lawyer’s parent has died. It will be rescheduled.The 25-year-old man is scheduled for trial in February.Prosecutors allege Rivera stalked Tibbetts while she was running near her hometown of Brooklyn, stabbed her to death and dumped her body in a cornfield.last_img read more

Iowa House passes medical marijuana bill that has governor’s backing

first_imgDES MOINES — Republicans in the Iowa House have voted to make changes in the state-regulated medical marijuana program — changes the governor has said she’ll accept. Representative Jarad Klein of Keota was the Republican assigned to lead the debate.“We base a lot of this on the advice of very smart medical professionals because in the State of Iowa we have a medical program, not a recreational program masquerading as a medical program,” Klein said, “and that’s the way we’re going to keep it.”The bill would limit patients to four-and-a-half grams of the chemical THC in the cannabis products they purchase over a 90-day period.Representative Mary Gaskill, a Democrat from Ottumwa, said that’s not enough for many Iowa patients, including her daughter.“To those who do not know what it is like to have a loved one suffering from the pain of MS, you have no idea how concerned I am tonight about reducing the allowed grams over 90 days,” Gaskill said.Klein said the limit is based on the recommendation of the state board that oversees the program.“I am not a physician. I never pretend to be, but I do listen to them on this topic,” Klein said, “because it’s very important for them to do the homework and report back to us their professional advice.”Klein added that the bill provides a waiver if a doctor believes a patient would benefit from a higher amount of THC “to allow individuals to be treated on a case-to-case basis.”Representative John Forbes, a Democrat from Urbandale, is a pharmacist who said most doctors are already reluctant to recommend cannabis products to their patients.“You know we’re going to have about 2300 patients in this state who are going to have to cut their dose down,” Forbes said, “considerably.”Representative Wes Breckenridge, a Democrat from Newton, said it’s unfair to patients currently in the system who’ve successfully switched from opioids to cannabis.“Those that have finally found relief, have a dosage amount, a system in place where they are truly getting the care they need,” Breckenridge said, “now they’re going to have to try and jump back through hoops and hope, just hope that their practitioner will allow them and give them the dosage that they’re currently on.”Other provisions in the bill would let patients get a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana as treatment for more conditions — for PTSD and autism as well as for patients with self-harming behavior.Last year, Governor Reynolds surprised lawmakers by vetoing an expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program, but she’s made it clear she’ll sign this one. Key Senators still would like to allow patients to buy up a 90-day supply of cannabis products with up to 25 grams of THC. That means it’s unclear how this year’s medical marijuana debate may be resolved as it shifts to the senate.last_img read more

MTN gives yellow boys KCCA FC Sh1.2 billion boost

first_imgMTN CEO Wim Vanhellepute (L) and KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi unveil a dummy cheque after both parties entered a three year partnership on Friday in Kampala. PHOTO KCCA FC MEDIAKampala, Uganda | KCCA FC MEDIA | Kampala Capital City Football Club (KCCA) and telecommunication giants MTN on Friday July 28th, 2017 entered a Sh1.290 billion partnership for the next three years.The treble winners from the 2016/2017 season KCCA FC and MTN unveiled a Sh430 million annual package to support the club’s football ambitions and to raise its profile.“This money is meant for the players and the club at large, it takes off a lot of weight off the club in so many areas. As KCCA FC we are proud to be partnering with a big brand like MTN” said club chairman Kabugo at the launch of the partnership in Kampala.KCCA FC was represented at the launch of the partnership by number one fan, KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi, acting CEO Josephine Namukisa. They were joined by board members Aggrey Ashaba, Davies Othieno, George Opio and Tom Lwanga.MTN CEO Wim Vanhellepute expressed the company’s gratitude to KCCA’s efforts to excel in football. “As MTN we are extremely proud to be working with a big yellow brand like KCCA FC. KCCA FC are champions and we are a big brand, together we can grow and take the game to the next level,” he said.KCCA ED Musisi promised that KCCA FC will put the funds to good use. “Our commitment is to make sure that the funds we receive from our sponsors are used in the best way possible.”KCCA FC already have StarTimes as main sponsor in a four year deal worth Sh3.2 billion. They are joined by Prime Media and Britam.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Guardiola said ‘no’ to Sanchez-Sterling swap

first_imgPep GuardiolaManchester, United Kingdom | AFP | Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola personally made sure Raheem Sterling would not be allowed to join Arsenal in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez, he revealed on Friday.The two clubs spent transfer deadline day locked in talks over City’s desire to sign Sanchez, only for the deal to collapse because Arsenal were unable to sign their preferred replacement, Monaco winger Thomas Lemar.At one point Sterling was mooted as a potential makeweight in the Sanchez deal, but Guardiola said he was determined not to allow the 22-year-old England forward to leave.“When we started to speak with Arsenal in the last days before it was not impossible, they wanted to make a swap with Raz,” Guardiola told reporters at the City Football Academy in Manchester.“And they talked to me and I said: ‘No chance. Zero chance. Not one percent chance’ to take a swap deal with Alexis because I have a lot of trust in Raz.“He is 22 years old, an English player and he has a lot of gap (potential) to improve. So the only thing we can do if possible is to try and do a deal with cash.“We tried to make an offer that they would accept, but in the end they could not sign the player they wanted and Alexis stayed with Arsenal.”Alexis SanchezCity were reported to have agreed a fee of around £60 million ($79 million, 66 million euros) for Sanchez, who played under Guardiola at Barcelona.The 28-year-old Chile forward is out of contract at the end of the season but Guardiola was coy when asked if City would reactivate their interest in him in one of the next two transfer windows.“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the wintertime or next season,” said Guardiola, whose side face Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.“He’s an Arsenal player. Of course we were interested in him. At the end Arsenal decided not to sell him. So all the best for Alexis. I know him from Barcelona.“And that’s all. Sometimes the deals work, sometimes not. We will see in the future.” – Tebas ‘could learn things’ –City are believed to be one of the five clubs who voted against a proposal to shut the close-season transfer window in England before the start of the season, which was voted through by Premier League clubs on Thursday.But Guardiola said the club’s only concern was that rival teams in other European leagues will still be able to sign players — potentially from English clubs — after the window has closed in the Premier League.“I am so happy with the decision the Premier League have taken. I think it’s really good,” he said.“Manchester City, what I know is they agree about that. We just have to reflect that the transfer window in England will be closed sooner than in Europe.“Hopefully we can fix it so all the other clubs in Europe finish at the same time.”Sterling in actionGuardiola also confirmed he and chief executive Ferran Soriano had met La Liga chief Javier Tebas, who caused controversy earlier this week when he accused City and Paris Saint-Germain of “financial doping”.UEFA have opened a probe into whether PSG’s mega-money purchases of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe contravene their Financial Fair Play rules, but City’s close-season spending is not under investigation.“If he has any issue with us or with any teams, he has Ferran Soriano to ask about any financial issue inside the club,” Guardiola said.“He can also call UEFA. As far as I know, UEFA didn’t call us to say that we are being investigated.“But I would say something: the Premier League has greater stature, really good things, so maybe Mr Tebas of La Liga could learn some things about this competition as well.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Say hello to Telstar 18, the 2018 World Cup ball

first_imgTelstar , the official ball for the 2018 World CupMoscow, Russia | AFP | Several heads were left being scratched on Thursday after Russia used some hardcore techno beats in a dark auditorium decked out to look like an underground dance club to present the official 2018 World Cup ball.The orb in the spotlight followed the edgy motif of the presentation by being adorned with black-and-grey checkered rectangles that could have featured in one of Hollywood’s latest sci-fi thrillers.It resembles the work of a studious graphic design artist who just happened to be handed one of the world’s highest-profile assignments.So how does the ball actually feel?Argentina’s rather sheepish-looking superstar Lionel Messi was confronted with that question by a hyped-up MC who made his way through swarms of dancers and reporters in an artsy Moscow exhibition hall.“I like the design, I like the colours, and I would like to try it out on the pitch,” Messi said through a translator while a head-bobbing DJ paused in between spinning disks.The entire event was part entertainment and part an advertisement for Adidas — the ball’s maker that hopes to reap rich rewards from the June 14-July 15 competition.Messi will actually try to spin some of his magic on the Telstar 18 when Argentina take on Russia in a friendly at Moscow’s completely refurbished Luzhniki Stadium on Saturday.The event will be special for the host country because it razed the original stadium — home to the 1980 Summer Olympic Games as well as some of the Soviet and Russian squads’ biggest matches — in 2013 to make way for the futuristic new structure.Both Luzhniki Stadium’s and the ball’s performance are much bigger deals than they might seem at first glance.Controversies over whether balls were too light or uncontrollable for those bend-them-like-Beckham free kicks have dogged many a recent World Cup.Adidas has said little about Telstar 18 except that it is a modern interpretation of the original Telstar design used in 1970 and 1974 — golden years for Pele’s Brazil and Franz Beckenbauer’s West Germany. The name itself is a derivative form of the “star of television” — the first black-and-white ball made to look sharp in an era when colour TV sets were rare.Russia hope the spiffy new number will inject life into a lacklustre squad that has underperformed consistently since making a surprise semi-final appearance in the 2008 Euro co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.The team crashed out of the 2017 Confederations Cup in the group stages and has faced intense fan and government pressure to show up when it hosts the World Cup for the first time.The Kremlin in particular will be keen to make sure that the Luzhniki pitch will be up to scratch in the wintry weather that has already seen Moscow’s first snow storm. Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more