Deco wants to leave
Chelsea’s Portuguese midfielder Deco says he is unhappy at the London club and wants to leave, media reports said on Thursday. The Brazilian-born playmaker moved to Chelsea last year from Barcelona, but struggled to make an impact under Luiz Felipe Scolari and was then left out entirely by Guus Hiddink. “I did not like the experience at Chelsea. I want to find another solution and another challenge,” the 31-year-old was quoted as saying during a sports tournament at Matosinhos in northern Portugal. Last month, Deco admitted he was in talks with Inter Milan about a possible move to the north Italian club coached by former Porto boss Jose Mourinho. However, he declined to say if there had been any developments. “I am aware there is some interest but I can’t say any more about it,” he told reporters at the tournament. “It would be great to work with Mourinho,” he conceded, adding he would be delighted to resume collaboration with the manager who steered FC Porto to win the UEFA Cup in 2003 and the Champions League in 2004.
Schwarzer player of the year
Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has been named Australia’s soccer player of the year after a superb season. The 36-year-old did not concede a single goal in Australia’s last seven World Cup qualifiers, ensuring the Socceroos were one of the first teams through to next year’s World Cup in South Africa. “It’s been a fantastic season,” said Schwarzer, now in his 16th season with the Socceroos. “Obviously you have dreams and ambitions in life and I’ve been very fortunate to live out my dream and along the way accomplish a lot of my life-long goals.” Midfielder Tim Cahill was voted by his peers as the Australian players’ player of the year.
England crush India
England, the tournament favorites, and the West Indies enjoyed contrasting wins on the opening day of the women’s World Twenty20 here on Thursday. England, the world 50-over champions, crushed India by 10 wickets while the Windies squeezed past South Africa by just four runs. Chasing only 113 to win, England openers Sarah Taylor (50 not out) and Charlotte Edwards (61 not out) romped to victory with more than four overs to spare and with 13 fours and two sixes between them. India’s best score was 29 from Mithali Raj while England bowlers, 18-year-old student, Holly Colvin (3-20) and Nicky Shaw (2-28) kept the brakes on.
Pacman does his homework
Manny Pacquiao will be sitting at ringside to watch Miguel Cotto defend his welterweight crown today against Ghana’s Joshua Clottey, the Filipino superstar sizing up his potential next opponent. Puerto Rican star Cotto, 33-1 with 27 knockouts, will face Clottey, 35-2 with 20 knockouts, on the eve of the annual Puerto Rican Day parade in New York — a date that has become a fight tradition for Cotto at Madison Square Garden. Pacquiao is considered boxing’s pound-for-pound champion after knocking out Britain’s Ricky Hatton in the second round last month at Las Vegas. “It was very good and a very strong moment for Pacquiao in that fight,” Cotto said. While fight fans hunger for a Pacquiao showdown against unbeaten US star Floyd Mayweather Jnr, who ends his retirement next month against Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez, it might be Cotto who climbs into the ring with “Pacman” next.
Valverde leads Dauphine
Poland’s Sylvester Szmyd won Thursday’s grueling fifth stage of the Dauphine Libere cycling race in France as Spain’s Alejandro Valverde took the lead in the overall standings. Szmyd crossed the finish line on the Mont Ventoux summit of the 170km stage in 4 hours, 5 minutes and 4 seconds. Valverde took the leader’s yellow jersey after placing second in the stage with the same time. Australian Cadel Evans, who lost the yellow jersey to Valverde, placed sixth, crossing the finish line 2 minutes and 10 seconds behind the winner — and 16 seconds behind the Spaniard in the overall standings. “Today, I really had the legs you need to attack 10km from the finish line and go to the end,” Valverde said.
Fans want to keep Valentine
Fans supporting Bobby Valentine have gathered 100,000 signatures on a petition seeking to keep the American as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines beyond this year’s Japanese baseball season. The group said in a press release yesterday it would submit the petition at the head offices of the Marines on Monday. The signatures were gathered outside Lotte’s home stadium in Chiba where Marines fans have been holding demonstrations in support of the popular former New York Mets manager. Valentine, in his seventh season as manager of the Marines, had been told his contract will not be renewed at the end of the season. Team president Ryuzo Setoyama announced in the offseason that the team couldn’t afford Valentine after this season. Valentine, 59, led the team to the Japan Series championship in 2005 and has been a fan favorite since. Fans in the right field seats at Chiba Marine Stadium wear T-shirts saying “Bobby 2010” and wave huge signs with slogans like “No Bobby, No Marines,” and “Always Behind Bobby.”
Michael Jordan jersey stolen
An autographed Michael Jordan jersey has been stolen from the home of San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker. The Bexar County, Texas, sheriff’s office says Parker’s manager reported the jersey missing last month. It had been taken from a gym under construction at Parker’s San Antonio home. Detectives found a listing for the jersey on Craigslist that was posted by Christopher James Carolan, 22, who worked for the security company hired to protect the home. Carolan had an outstanding warrant for burglary in a separate case. He was arrested and charged with burglary in the previous case and remained jailed on Thursday.
La Tourette wins 800m free
Chad La Tourette of the US held off a quartet of Australian swimmers to win the 800m freestyle on Thursday on the opening night of the Santa Clara International Grand Prix. La Tourette, a standout open water swimmer, finished first in 7 minutes, 53.56 seconds, bettering the meet record of 7:57.73 set by Olympian Erik Vendt in 2004. He was three-tenths of a second ahead of Australians Robert Hurley and Ryan Napoleon. Hurley touched in 7:53.87 and Napoleon was third in 7:54.44. Aussies Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Christopher Ashwood were fourth and fifth, respectively. Amber McDermott won the 1,500m free by more than eight seconds, touching in 16:38.06. Jennifer Narum was second in 16:46.33 and Jamie Marks third in 16:51.15.
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
Neymar on Sunday claimed that he had been the victim of racism as he was one of five players sent off in a mass brawl at the end of Olympique de Marseille’s 1-0 win over Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. PSG’s Brazilian star appeared to accuse Alvaro Gonzalez of calling him a “monkey” in a series of furious tweets after he was sent off in stoppage-time for slapping the Marseille defender on the back of the head. “Look at the racism. That’s why I hit him,” Neymar, who was returning from COVID-19 quarantine, said as he left the pitch. “The only regret I