Iniesta to leave Barcelona
Andres Iniesta is leaving Barcelona after 16 trophy-filled seasons with the club. “This season is the last,” Iniesta announced on Friday in an emotional news conference attended by most of his teammates, his family and club executives. After regaining his composure, he added: “I have spent all my life here at this club and it is not easy to leave. The club has placed its confidence in me and considered me a player who is honest with myself and the club, and I said that if I am not able to give it all to my club that has given everything to me that I wouldn’t be happy.” Iniesta, who turns 34 on May 11, said he intends to continue playing, but did not say what his next club would be. Local media report he is going to a Chinese club. “I have always said that I would never compete against my club, so all the options outside Europe are open,” Iniesta said. “When the season is over we will know my choice.”
Close pack in Beijing final
England’s Matt Wallace and Adrian Otaegui of Spain share the lead going into the final round of the US$3.2 million China Open today, but with the chasing pack stalking them. The duo were at 12-under after yesterday’s third round with the triple threat of Sweden’s Alexander Bjork, Julien Guerrier of France and Spain’s Jorge Campillo all a shot behind. On 10-under were six players, ensuring that today’s finale looks set to go right to the wire. Reigning champion Alex Levy of France was in a share of 12th, three shots off the leaders at Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing. No Taiwanese player made the cut.
Norman awarded for salute
The Australian Olympic Committee yesterday awarded a posthumous Order of Merit to Peter Norman, a record-holding sprinter who supported two Americans in their famous Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. At the Games, Norman split US track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos to snatch silver in 20.06 seconds, setting a national record for the 200m sprint that still stands after 50 years. The committee said it was Norman’s decision to stand in solidarity with Smith and Carlos during their silent civil rights protest that further etched him into Australian Olympic folklore. During the award ceremony, Smith and Carlos both put a black-gloved fist in the air. Norman backed their gesture, wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support, but was then frozen out of future Games selection and airbrushed from Australian Olympic history until recently.
Brazil’s Del Nero banned
Brazilian official Marco Polo del Nero was on Friday banned for life for bribery and corruption by the FIFA ethics committee. FIFA said that Del Nero, the former Brazilian Football Confederation president and one-time FIFA executive committee member, was also fined 1 million Swiss francs (US$1.01 million). Del Nero was in 2015 indicted by the US Department of Justice in its sprawling investigation of international soccer corruption linked to broadcasting contracts of competitions. Proven charges of unethical conduct against Del Nero included “bribery and corruption,” “offering and accepting gifts and other benefits” and conflicts of loyalty, FIFA said. He can challenge the sanctions at FIFA’s appeal committee, then the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
FIRING BLANKS: West Brom and Burnley had conceded a combined 21 goals in their seven games, but the 47th match of the season was the first to end goalless Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday climbed to sixth place in the English Premier League as Raul Jimenez sealed a 1-0 win at Leeds United on a night West Bromwich Albion and Burnley played out the first goalless draw in the division this season. Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves clinched their third league win of the campaign when Jimenez’s second-half strike deflected in off Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips. The Mexico striker’s third goal of the season made it back-to-back wins for Wolves after they beat Fulham before the international break. “It was a good performance with some aspects to improve. We were better in the second
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
Maybe Kyler Murray will lose a game on the home field of the Dallas Cowboys one of these days. It was not going to be on Monday, when the Arizona quarterback watched the star running back of his hometown team have another night of “fumble-itis.” Murray accounted for three touchdowns in his first game back home as a professional and Ezekiel Elliott set up the visiting team’s first two touchdowns with fumbles as the Cardinals beat the Dallas Cowboys 38-10. The speedy quarterback, who won three high-school championships and a Big 12 title at the home of the Cowboys, improved to 7-0 as
Patrick Mahomes on Monday did not mind taking a back seat to rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Kansas City Chiefs’ running attack. With the Buffalo Bills working hard to limit deep throws by Mahomes, he gladly kept handing off the ball as Kansas City beat Buffalo 26-17 in a game originally scheduled for Thursday last week. “You know my nature, I want to throw it deep every time. We want to go down and throw these long touchdowns, but if teams are going to play us like this, we’ve got to show we can run the football,” Mahomes said. Mission accomplished. Led by Edwards-Helaire’s