Real Madrid sign Kovacic
Real Madrid have added another player to their already swollen midfield ranks after agreeing to sign Croatian international Mateo Kovacic from Inter. Real on Tuesday said on their Web site that the 21-year-old had agreed a six-year contract and would be presented at the Santiago Bernabeu later yesterday. No financial details were disclosed, but Spanish media reported the transfer fee was about 30 million euros (US$33.1 million). Kovacic is viewed as ideal backup for Croatia teammate Luka Modric and Germany midfielder Toni Kroos. He is to compete for a place with the likes of James Rodriguez, Isco, Asier Illarramendi, Casemiro and Lucas Silva, although his arrival could prompt the exit of at least one of those players. Born in Austria, Kovacic came through the Dynamo Zagreb youth academy and helped the club win two Croatian league titles and two domestic cups before joining Inter in January 2013. He made his UEFA Champions League debut for Zagreb against Real in the 2011-2012 campaign and later that season became the second youngest goalscorer in the competition.
Olympic qualifiers scheduled
The US men’s national team has been drawn into a group with Canada, Cuba and Panama for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying. The US are to open with two games at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Missouri, against Canada on Oct. 1 and Cuba on Oct. 3. The team concludes group play against Panama in Commerce City, Colorado, on Oct. 6. Group B includes Mexico, Honduras, Haiti and the winner of the UNCAF playoff between Costa Rica and Guatemala. The top two finishers from Groups A and B are to advance to the semi-finals in Sandy, Utah, on Oct. 10. The semi-final winners advance to the Oct. 13 final in Sandy and qualify for next year’s Rio Olympics. The qualifying tournament is an Under-23 competition. Mexico won the event in 2012, while the US were eliminated in the group stage of qualifying.
All Blacks fined for scuffle
The All Blacks have been fined A$2,000 (US$1,468) after Liam Messam left the sideline to join an on-field scuffle during Saturday’s Test against Australia in Auckland, New Zealand. SANZAR, the governing body for the Test, on Tuesday fined New Zealand after reviewing television footage of the incident. Messam, who was not part of the match-day squad against Australia, was acting as a water carrier for the All Blacks when he stepped into the fray about 30 minutes into the game in an apparent attempt to break up the fight. “Under tournament rules, water carriers are not permitted within the playing enclosure while the match is in progress,” the SANZAR ruling said, describing Messam’s offense as a breach of protocol. New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said the All Blacks acknowledged their fault and accepted the fine.
Juventus to sign Sandro
Porto defender Alex Sandro is poised to reject reported offers from Manchester City and Real Madrid to move to Juventus, reports in Italy said yesterday. Gazzetta dello Sport said Sandro would arrive in Turin, Italy, later this week after club chief executive officer Beppe Marotta negotiated a 25 million euro fee with the Portuguese giants. The report said Sandro, who has made six appearances for Brazil, would sign a five-year deal worth 3 million euros per season plus bonuses.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
PROUD, BUT BOWING OUT: The Dallas center missed all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, but Travis Frederick returned to be a standout again last season Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on Monday stunningly announced his retirement. Frederick, who turned 29 on Wednesday last week, was a Pro Bowl selection in five of his six NFL seasons. Frederick revealed his retirement in a lengthy letter, beginning it by writing: “After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision.” Frederick cited his bout with autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome as a factor. He missed the 2018 season due to the illness in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, but he returned to be a standout again last
When two Spanish soccer players took to the controls of FIFA 20 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw their La Liga match canceled, a stadium-sized virtual audience watched online. The huge digital crowd last week is part of a spectacular boom for the digital gaming industry, as record numbers flock to online servers for distraction, entertainment and friendship with the “real world” seemingly falling apart. Real Betis Balompie striker Borja Iglesias kicked the winning goal using his own digital likeness in the 6-5 battle against Sevilla, which was broadcast on popular video game streaming platform Twitch. It took place at the same time the