Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff called yesterday for Real Madrid to apologize after they were implicated in doping accusations against his former club.
A Spanish radio station, COPE, quoted an unidentified Real Madrid “representative” as saying the club had asked the Spanish soccer federation to take drug testing more seriously.
According to the radio station’s March 13 report, Real Madrid could not understand how doctors with “questionable reputations” could work for Barcelona. It also cast doubt on doctors working for Valencia. Barcelona and Valencia have angrily denied the allegations and threatened legal action against the radio station, which has apologized, but not retracted the report.
“The accusation is too serious, too brutal, for there not to have been apologies, and well-presented too,” Cruyff said in his weekly column for the Catalan daily El Periodico de Catalunya.
Apologies should have been given “by Real Madrid themselves,” Cruyff said, not for being the accusing party, but because they were implicated in the row.
Real president Florentino Perez reportedly personally telephoned his counterpart at Barcelona, Sandro Rosell, to deny he was the source of the radio station’s story. Rivalry and sportsmanship were not mutually exclusive, Cruyff said, praising rival clubs including Real for showing support for Barca’s Eric Abidal, who had surgery to remove a liver tumor on Thursday.
“It is hard for a sports player to show a gratuitous lack of due public respect to any rival. For those who are off the field, that is to say, those who are not and have not been sports players, it comes too easily,” he said.
China wants to unite its 1.4 billion people through soccer, while also using the sport as “a bridge to work with the rest of the world,” Chinese Football Association secretary-general Liu Yi told reporters in an interview published yesterday. Liu spoke about what lies behind the country’s push to become a major soccer power by 2050. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping — who is described by state media as an “avid soccer fan” — the world’s most populous country has grand plans to host and even one day win a World Cup. Liu spoke about “using football to motivate the whole nation.” “Football is
‘JOB NOT DONE’: The outfielder, who hit a homer and stole two bases, said that players ‘have to be good at all aspects of game all the time and not take plays off’ Los Angeles outfielder Mookie Betts put himself in rarefied company with a standout performance in the Dodgers’ Game 1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the 116th World Series on Tuesday. Betts sparked the Dodgers’ four-run fifth inning with a walk and two stolen bases, joining Babe Ruth as the only players in World Series history to record such an inning. After walking to lead off the inning, Betts stole second base. After Corey Seager walked, Betts reached third on a double steal, giving the Dodgers runners on second and third with one out. Betts took an aggressive stance off the bag
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