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- Real Madrid twist the knife again to give Atlético the cruellest of nights | Sid Lowe
- Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates ‘fantastic night’ after Champions League win
- Real Madrid win Champions League on penalties against Atlético
- Marcus Rashford’s impact on debut is felt by his new England team-mates
Ricky Burns becomes a three-weight world champion after winning the WBA light-welterweight title with an eighth-round stoppage of Michele di Rocco at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow. Only three British fighters have won three titles at different weights. Burns joins legends Bob Fitzsimmons and Duke McKenzieContinue reading...
So close yet so far. Not once, not twice, but three times. At the end of an extraordinary night in Milan, there were tears at both ends of San Siro, where players and supporters were exhausted, but the emotions could hardly have been more different. The European Cup has been the making of Real Madrid, 11-times winners, and the breaking of Atlético Madrid, the knife slipped in once more. Slipped in and then twisted.
At the end, there was applause from Atlético’s fans and no reproach at all. Not for their players, at least, whose eyes were lost in tears and they stood motionless staring into space, assault by disbelief. There might be reproach for this competition, though, so cruelly has it treated them. And yet they will return next season; that is what they do. After the 2014 final in Lisbon, the captain, Gabi Fernández – superb here – gathered the players together and told them they would be back. Should they do it yet again, it would be an extraordinary portrait of an extraordinary team.Continue reading...
• ‘We showed that our team had most experience’
Cristiano Ronaldo described the Champions League final as “a fantastic night” after he scored the winning penalty as Real Madrid won the European Cup for the 11th time with a 5-3 penalty shootout victory over their city rivals Atlético at San Siro.Continue reading...
It was another epic battle between these old rivals and when everything was done, courtesy of a typically elegant swish of Cristiano Ronaldo’s right boot, the European Cup was back in the hands of the club that likes to think of this trophy as their own possession. Real Madrid have won it 11 times now, four better than Milan in second place, and it is a measure of this extraordinary club that they have now savoured these kind of triumphs more times than Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus put together.
Yet there was also spontaneous applause at the end from the loud, boisterous supporters of Atlético Madrid and only the flint-hearted could possibly not sympathise with Diego Simeone’s team. They gave everything, as they always do, before that brutal climax when Lucas Vázquez, Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and, finally, Ronaldo all converted their penalties into the same corner. Antoine Griezmann, Gabi and Saúl Ñíguez matched them for Atlético but Juanfran’s effort came back off the post and, ultimately, it did not matter that Ronaldo had played poorly. His shirt was off, the muscles were flexed and Atlético’s players were down on their knees just as they had been in Lisbon two years ago.Continue reading...
Marcus Rashford’s amalgam of fearlessness, imperious finishing and fast decision making has left Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson searching for superlatives.
It was a little after 10pm on Friday when a member of the Football Association’s security detail escorted the 18-year-old Manchester United striker along the short walk between the Stadium of Light’s main entrance and England’s team bus.Continue reading...
Séamus Coleman’s story of late takes in personal and collective frustration at Everton while for the Republic of Ireland he has associated the European Championship with more of the same.
Four years ago, Coleman was omitted from the Ireland squad that made an ill-fated appearance in Poland and Ukraine because the manager at the time, Giovanni Trapattoni, did not trust him. The Italian likes his full-backs to defend first and foremost; Coleman, then 23, always felt the need to bomb forward.Continue reading...
• Fabien Delph already told he is not part of squad for France
Roy Hodgson has said it is more than just Daniel Sturridge’s fitness that will determine whether the injury‑prone striker goes to Euro 2016, with England’s manager preparing to disappoint two of his players and acknowledging there might be other issues with the Liverpool forward now he has fallen down the pecking order.
Hodgson has already informed Fabien Delph he will not be part of the 23-man squad in France next month but England have 25 players before Tuesday’s cut-off point and Sturridge’s place has become vulnerable because of his latest injury problems.Continue reading...
Feronikeli are set to be the country’s first club to play on Europe’s biggest stage, having been reborn following conflict and the killing of their former captain
Fidan Rexhepi adored his uncle. During the week, he would borrow Rexhep’s boots to play football outside the family home in Koretice, hoping they might in some way transmit the hypnotic dribbling ability and sweet left foot whose reputation had spread far into the valleys and villages of Drenica. At the weekend he would see how it was done as Rexhep – Rexha to everybody – wore the captain’s armband and No11 shirt of Feronikeli, motivating his team-mates in action and word. One afternoon, Fidan was present to see Rexha carried aloft by the crowd, his name ringing in his ears, after inspiring a 3-2 comeback win. Football was often a dangerous pursuit in 90s’ Kosovo and the celebrations were, as always, laced with a hint of defiance.
The memories flow freely as Fidan, now 28, drinks coffee at the family’s cafe along the main road into Drenas. A couple of minutes’ drive to the east is the pitch where he would stand in thrall to Rexha’s gifts. That is significant enough almost two decades later, but there is something else, too. Rexhep Rexhepi Stadium can call itself home to Kosovo’s first Champions League club after Feronikeli’s runaway title win was confirmed this month and also stands as a monument to the man in whose image the club was rebuilt.Continue reading...
• ‘They’ve been told it’s all under control. All the athletes have decided to go’
Rebecca Adlington, the four-times Olympic medallist, says Britain’s swimmers will not be put off by the Zika virus as they prepare for the Rio Olympics, despite growing concern over its potential impact.
More than 100 experts wrote to the World Health Organisation on Friday to call for the Rio Games to be postponed or moved in light of the threat from the disease, a request that was rejected. Adlington, who shot to fame by winning two gold medals in Beijing and then two bronzes four years later in London, said there was little chance of Britain’s 26 swimmers reconsidering their decision to travel.Continue reading...
• Murray without full-time coach after working with Mauresmo and Lendl
Jamie Delgado is so deeply sewn into the fabric of British tennis he can remember playing a teenaged Andy Murray in Scotland.
Now, at 39, he would gladly take on the full-time job of guiding the rest of the Scot’s sometimes turbulent, never dull career – if he were asked to do so.Continue reading...
Eddie Jones has in his long career never been accused of being diplomatic but since taking over as England’s head coach at the end of last year he has adopted a national tradition: his upper lip has largely been stiff, apart from the odd twitch, but that is set to change in the coming months as his side switches from European skirmishes to battles against the might of the southern hemisphere.
Asked if Saturday’s Premiership final between Saracens and Exeter, which preceded Sunday’s international against Wales at Twickenham, was a duel between the two clubs in the league who best reflected his ambition for England to become an all-weather side, conditioned to play any style of rugby reflexively, Jones fixed the questioner with an incredulous look before replying: “You are joking, aren’t you? I cannot answer that question, seriously, otherwise I will get into a hell of a lot of trouble. You are not getting me down that track. The England squad players in the final had to play as their clubs asked them: in some positions it is significantly different to what we ask.”Continue reading...
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