Sport: What a Week of Sport

So much has happened in the world of sport, but thanks to the Euros hardly anyone can keep up!

FOOTBALL

Cleaning up the Messi

It is only twelve months ago that Lionel Messi, arguably the G.O.A.T (Greatest of all Time), handed in a transfer request which led to legal proceedings between then Barcelona chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu and the prodigal son of Camp Nou, Messi.

Long story short, Messi wanted to go, Bartomeu said hell no, fans started protesting, Bartomeu was replaced by Joan Laporta and Messi stayed – not that he could legally leave.

Now, Messi is a free agent!!

At 34 years old, he is still one of the best players in the world, and has a couple of years to offer at least, which may be of interest for the likes of PSG and Man City.

In the meantime, Barcelona have said that contract negotiations are ongoing with the Argentina captain, who is away on international duty at the Copa America.

It is very likely Messi will remain at Barcelona for a couple of reaons. His best friend Sergio Aguero just joined the club, and his family, in particular his sons, don’t really want to leave. You can imagine that Messi is taking his sweet time, waiting to see what other offers may come his way, and see if he can force Barcelona to add a minimum fee release clause to his contract or something that gives him more power over his immediate future.

England’s loss is United’s gain

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Jadon Sancho for £73m. Sancho has been one of the best players at Borussia Dortmund. In his last three seasons, Sancho has played 125 games, scoring 49 goals, and providing 60 assists for Dortmund in all competitions. He will provide more than enough ammunition for the likes of Rashford and Cavani.

The best part of the deal for United is that Sancho will start the new season fit, and fresh. As he is part of the England squad, his fitness will be good from all the training, but he hasn’t been given much play time.

He will come with a huge price tag, and even bigger expectation. I am confident he will deliver.

Risk vs Reward

There are a lot of questionable decisions being made by English clubs, and it is likely to continue. The riskiest of them all has to be the appointment of Rafa Benitez as Everton manager. One of Benitez’s major downfalls when he managed Chelsea was the fall out he had with John Terry.

In an interview at a later date, John Terry revealed that he approached Rafa about the way he kept on speaking about his time at Liverpool and what they did there. This had annoyed the Chelsea playing staff, and rightfully so. Imagine if he does something similar to that at Everton.

Good manager, but not the right man for Everton. Too much baggage!

Elsewhere, Nuno Espirito Santo has been confirmed as Tottenham boss, and Patrick Vieira is all but confirmed as Roy Hodgson’s predecessor at Crystal Palace. Vieira’s performance will be interesting to see, as he hasn’t really had much experience in management to date. The Palace job will be his third as a manager – New York City FC (MLS) and Nice (Ligue 1). He has a win percentage of just over 40% as a manager, which would be much better than the 33% Roy Hodgson achieved during his four-year tenure at Selhurst Park.

Finally, Sergio Ramos still hasn’t confirmed where he will be playing next season. There are reports that Man City are interested, but he would better suit the Italian game.

You should all be ashamed…but you won’t be

There’s a right way to win, and then a disgusting way. The good thing is that it is a minority, but it’s that minority that always makes the headlines. Booing your own players for taking a knee against systematic racism, booing national anthems, continued racial hatred and online abuse of players…but now to post disgusting words about a four-year-old because of her nationality.

When will this stop?

The worst thing is that the same people are the ones who probably have a kid at home, or family members reading their posts and learning from it.

You are scum! Yes, you!

Note: I didn’t feel comfortable posting images of the abuse…

BASKETBALL

Oh-no Giannis!

In game four of the NBA Eastern Finals, Milwaukee Bucks star player Giannis Antetokounmpo has suffered from a hyper-extension of his left leg. It is believed that there is no major damage, but he will miss game five against Atlanta Hawks with the series tied 2-2.

Hawks have their own injury concerns with their star player, Trae Young, suffering from an ankle sprain to go with his shoulder issues. Without Trae, the Hawks managed to beat the Bucks in game four, now the Bucks have to find a way in game five.

In the West, Phoenix Suns have managed to continue their good form from last year’s NBA bubble by winning the Western Conference, beating the L.A. Clippers 4-2. Chris Paul – better known as CP3 – scored 41 points in game six, and ended the Suns long wait to reach the NBA final. This will be franchise’s first final since 1993, and CP3’s first ever.

CYCLING

Are we actually surprised?

Every year, there’s a concern that the Tour de France will have a major issue involving a spectator, and we get away with minor incidences. This year, one spectator decided to stand right on the edge of the road, and stick out a sign. The sign hit Tony Martin, sending him to the floor. The rest of the riders went over him, causing a domino effect.

The crash left many riders with minor injuries and a few with broken collarbones or concussions. One affected rider was the 2018 Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas. The “fan” who caused the crash left the scene immediately, and hasn’t been found since. Once found, she will likely be sued by the race organisers, and rightly so… idiot!

RUGBY

Lions tour off to a rocky start!

This is when the home nations put aside their differences every four years, and get ready to follow the British and Irish Lions as they embark on another tour. In total, they will play nine games, the first of which was a friendly against Japan in Edinburgh. The Lions won 28-10, but lost captain Alun Wyn Jones to a dislocated shoulder in the first few minutes.

The absence of the captain is going to be huge going into the eight games in South Africa.

Fixtures:
03/07/2021: Emirates Lions v British & Irish Lions, Johannesburg

07/07/2021: Cell C Sharks v British & Irish Lions, Johannesburg

10/07/2021: Vodacom Bulls v British & Irish Lions, Pretoria

14/07/2021: South Africa ‘A’ v British & Irish Lions, Cape Town

17/07/2021: DHL Stormers v British & Irish Lions, Cape Town

24/07/2021: Springboks v British & Irish Lions – 1st Test, Cape Town

31/07/2021: Springboks v British & Irish Lions – 2nd Test, Johannesburg

07/08/2021: Springboks v British & Irish Lions – 3rd Test, Johannesburg

To tour South Africa is always very tough. Before you can even get to play the Springboks, you have to get through the other preparation games. Those games are good for running plays, but terrible for staying healthy. South African teams are on a mission to batter and bruise the Lions prior to the all important three tests.

The last tour of South Africa, in 2009, ended with the Springboks winning 2-1. The one prior to that, in 1997, was won by the Lions by the same score.

Going to be a fantastic series, and competitive if the Lions can stay healthy.

Tennis

Wimbledon is the third major of the season and one that every player looks forward to. It’s a chance to play on grass, where the points are short due to the speed of the courts. Unfortunately, those same courts are incredibly slippery.

World number one Novak Djokovic took several tumbles in his opener against Britain’s Jack Draper, Federer said that the players “needed to move very carefully out there”, while Andy Murray further confirmed what everyone else was complaining about.

The courts are usually slippery, and people just brush it off as no real major injuries occur. This year, the attention is on the tournament organisers after Serena Williams had to retire due to a fall, and Roger Federer advanced as his opponent left the court with a tournament ending fall.

To be honest, if Williams hadn’t got injured, the slippery courts would have been brushed aside. Maybe it’s time for the lush greens to look a little more brown from the start so that players can give it a proper go rather than running around like Bambi on ice!

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