Bale fee ‘incomprehensible’
Real Madrid assistant coach Zinedine Zidane on Sunday dubbed the astronomical transfer fee his club paid for Wales winger Gareth Bale “incomprehensible” in the current economic climate. Bale signed for the Spanish giants from Tottenham Hotspur last week on a six-year contract for a fee of about ￡80 million (US$124 million). Asked whether Bale was worth the hefty fee paid for him, ex-France playmaker Zidane said: “You need to ask that question in a year’s time.” He told Canal Football Club television program: “Ten years ago, they bought me for 75 million euros [US$99 million] and I said I wasn’t worth it. Today, I tend to say a player is not worth that. That’s football. Unfortunately, it’s incomprehensible with what’s happening today to pay so much.”
Physiotherapist gets injured
Germany’s physiotherapist suffered two injuries as he ran onto the pitch to treat a player during Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Austria. Klaus Eder, who has worked for the German federation for 25 years, tore a muscle in his left leg as he went to tend to Marcel Schmelzer, causing him to fall over and break his finger. “I now have to put into practice what I always tell my patients,” the 60-year-old told the German federation’s Web site on Sunday. “Patience is important and you should not expect a lot of progress too soon. The way the players reacted was very comforting. Philipp Lahm brought me the ice pack, Mesut Ozil and Miroslav Klose held me and led me off the field.”
Masseur stops certain goal
A team masseur prevented a certain goal by kicking the ball off the line during a Brazilian fourth division match and was then chased off the field by the enraged attacking team. Tupi said they would take legal measures following the last-minute incident in their tie against Aparecidense, which led to them being eliminated from the competition. “It was our only chance. If I hadn’t done it, Aparecidense would have been knocked out,” the masseur, Romildo Fonseca da Silva, was quoted as saying by Brazilian media. “I don’t regret it because I did it out of love for the club.” Tupi described the incident as “one of the most shameful episodes in the history of Brazilian football” on their Web site and said they would lodge a protest. TV pictures showed the masseur, wearing the Aparecidense uniform, standing next to the goal when Tupi launched an attack late in the game. As Tupi threatened, he moved into the goal, cleared one shot off the line and then stopped the rebound with both feet before scrambling the ball away, for a double save any goalkeeper would have been proud of. He then turned, ran behind the goal, hurdled the advertising hoardings and sprinted to the dressing room entrance, chased by furious Tupi players. Riot police prevented the livid players from following him down the tunnel.
Williams do better off track
Former champions Williams performed better off track than on in the first six months of the year, with results to the end of June showing turnover of ￡43.5 million for their Formula One business. The figure compared with ￡43.4 million in the same period of last year. Williams, once the dominant team in Formula One with nine constructors’ titles and seven drivers’ crowns between 1980 and 1997, have scored just one point in 12 grand prix so far this season.
Paes, Stepanek win doubles
Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek were convincing winners over Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the men’s doubles final at the US Open on Sunday. The India-Czech pairing dominated the championship match to record a 6-1, 6-3 victory over their Austria-Brazil rivals in 1 hour, 12 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium. India’s Paes, 40, won his third US Open doubles title and the eighth major title of his career. It was Stepanek’s second major doubles title after winning last year’s Australian Open with Paes. Peya and Soares had only two break points for the match and failed to convert either in their first final of a major championship.
Fan falls, dies at game
A football fan fell to his death from an elevated pedestrian walkway on Sunday at Candlestick Park during the 49ers’ final season opener at the San Francisco stadium, police said. The death came just after kickoff at about 1:30pm in the 49ers’ 34-28 win over Green Bay, police said, and multiple witnesses reported the man appeared to be intoxicated before he fell to a sidewalk. The death happened the same day a railing collapsed at the Colts’ game against the Raiders in Indianapolis, injuring two fans who had been leaning against the barrier above the tunnel leading to Oakland’s locker room. It appeared both fans in Indiana escaped serious injury, stadium officials said. In San Francisco, police spokesman Gordon Shyy said off-duty medics and police officers gave the man first aid until an ambulance arrived, but he was declared dead from his injuries. Authorities said he appeared to be in his 30s, and his name has not been released. Since 2003, there have been more than two dozen cases of fans falling at stadiums across the US, the Institute for the Study of Sports Incidents said.
Mars to play at Super Bowl
Grammy-winner Bruno Mars will play the NFL’s Super Bowl halftime show — the annual entertainment extravaganza that least year drew more than 110 million TV viewers. The hit-maker’s trademark fedora may come in handy at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets. The NFL’s championships showcase, scheduled for Feb. 2, will be the first Super Bowl to be held in a cold-weather city without the protection of a domed stadium. The announcement provoked some criticism in New York media, who pointed to the wealth of talented performers with New York and New Jersey roots. However, the Los Angeles Times pointed out that Bruce Springsteen has already played the Super Bowl, and Bon Jovi is in disarray after guitarist Richie Sambora’s departure from the band.
Artis wins Helsingborg Open
Australia’s Rebecca Artis won the Helsingborg Open on Sunday for her first Ladies European Tour victory. Five strokes behind leader Caroline Hedwall at the start of the round, the 24-year-old Artis shot a three-under 69 for a one-stroke victory over Hedwall. Artis finished at eight-under 280 on Vasatorp course. “It was a great day out there. I played solid golf all day and to walk away with a win is unbelievable,” Artis said. “I just had to go out there and play steady early and see if I could make a couple of birdies early on... I’d like to say I’m not surprised. It’s a lot of hard work that goes into winning a golf tournament.” Artis earned a spot in the Evian Championship, the final major championship of the year. The event begins Thursday in Evian-les-Bains, France.