Category Archives: Sports

Cristiano Ronaldo joins Juventus

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has completed his sensational transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus in a club record deal for the Italian giants.

The Portuguese has joined the Serie A champions in a €105 million transfer after agreeing to a four-year deal worth €30 million a season, becoming both Juventus’ record signing as well as Real’s most expensive sale in the process.

He leaves Los Blancos after nine years, having scored 450 goals and assisted another 131 strikes in 438 games for the club. In addition, he also lifted 16 of his overall 28 trophies with Real.

The 33-year-old reportedly grew unhappy at the Santiago Bernabeu after club president Florentino Perez broke his promise about offering him a new contract.

Ronaldo and his entourage are believed to have agreed with Real to lower his €1 billion release clause to €105 million, and the Bianconeri have now paid as much to the Spanish giants.

Leaving behind Real Madrid, the winger went on to claim that his mind was made up some time ago despite his former club holding out hope until the last moment that he would reject the Old Lady.

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“My colleagues and friends told me it was a club where I could play. It wasn’t difficult.

“This is an important step in my career because it is a great club, with a great president, and great supporters.

“I think about today and not about the future. I like challenges, as I have done throughout my career, which has been a real dream.

“I could not think of winning what I have won. I have new challenges and I am sure everything will be fine, as it has been in the past.”

“I don’t think they’re crying,” he stated. “My time at Real Madrid was brilliant.

“This is a new stage in my life and that one is over. I am very happy, motivated and focused, and I want to show the Italians that I am a top player.

“I’m going to prepare well. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I like challenges and I don’t like to be comfortable.

“I’ve made history at Manchester United and Real Madrid and I want to do it here. Luck is sought and I am sure things will turn out well.”

And even though he didn’t get to say a proper goodbye to Los Blancos supporters, Ronaldo is happy with how things have panned out and also confirmed his international future.

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Dante Cunningham Spurs agree to one year deal

On Monday, the Spurs appeared to add one more outside veteran, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski; It’s Dante Cunningham, on a one-year deal. Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News reported its worth of $2.5 million.

Cunningham spent the 2017-18 season with the New Orleans Pelicans and the Brooklyn Nets, averaging 5.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game on 45.1 percent shooting and 34.5 percent from three-point range, which became the second highest mark of his career.

Prior to the midseason trade with Brooklyn, Cunningham spent the previous three years in New Orleans and also played for the Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Hornets (then Bobcats), Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Cunningham may replace Kyle Anderson‘s role as a forward that can handle the three and four and stretch the floor when necessary. There’s a difference in defensive acumen, but at a smaller price to pay than the four years, $37.2 million that the Grizzlies gave Anderson, it could become a bargain buy for the Spurs.

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The Spurs rotation definitely is uncertain to say the least with the future of Leonard being up in the air. San Antonio has been engaging in trade talks with teams around the NBA, but it doesn’t sound like the organization is in any type of rush to get a deal done unless they are blown away by an offer. It’s been widely reported that the Los Angeles Lakers don’t want to part with Brandon Ingram and the Philadelphia 76ers aren’t willing to include Markelle Fultz in any deal for Leonard.

If Leonard truly is out of the fold, Cunningham could be a huge addition for the Spurs. The small forward position doesn’t provide a ton of depth if Leonard ends up elsewhere by the time the 2018-19 campaign gets underway. Currently, the Spurs have Manu Ginobili and Brandon Paul behind Leonard at the small forward position after the team lost Kyle Anderson in free agency earlier this month. The Memphis Grizzlies signed Anderson to a four-year, $37 million offer sheet and San Antonio chose not to match it.

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Jabari Parker signs with Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have signed free-agent forward Jabari Parker, the team announced Saturday.
It’s a two-year, $40 million deal, league sources told ESPN.
The agreement was consummated Saturday, moments after Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst removed the qualifying offer on the restricted free agent and allowed him to become unrestricted.
The Bucks weren’t going to match a Bulls offer sheet, and the deal — brokered with Parker’s agent Mark Bartelstein — allowed a good-faith gesture for Parker to sign a shorter deal with the Bulls.
“We really love Jabari and wanted to work with him on this, because we weren’t going to match an offer sheet,” Horst told ESPN.
The second year of the deal is a team option, league sources said, which lowers the risk on Chicago based on Parker’s two ACL injuries and gives both sides the flexibility to turn a short-term relationship into a long-term deal should Parker stay healthy and productive next season.

The Bulls announced they had released guard Julyan Stone and forward Paul Zipser. Those moves helped create the $20 million in salary-cap space needed to sign Parker.

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Parker, 23, will return to Chicago, where he was the No. 1 recruit in America out of Simeon High School in 2013.

The Bulls are banking on revitalizing Parker’s career, restoring him to top condition and fulfilling his promise as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
Parker has shown the promise to be an elite scorer in the league. The Bulls want to add him to a young core that includes Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn.
The Bulls plan to use Parker largely as a small forward.
Parker has suffered two ACL tears to his left knee in his career. He had his best season in 2016-17 — averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 51 games before suffering another knee injury.

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DeMarco Murray calls it quits after seven seasons

DeMarco Murray, a three-time Pro Bowl running back, has retired after seven seasons in the NFL.

“It’s been a long time thinking, the last year or two, and physically, mentally and emotionally, I think it’s time for me to hang it up,” Murray said while making his announcement Friday on ESPN’s NFL Live.

Murray, 30, was cut by the Tennessee Titans on March 8 after serving as the lead back for two seasons, including in 2016, when he was the AFC’s leading rusher with 1,287 yards.

He had a career-low 659 rushing yards and tied for a career low with 3.6 yards per carry in 2017, primarily due to injuries and a lack of explosiveness. He failed to reach 1,000 yards from scrimmage for the first time since 2012.

He played in 99 career games, starting 86, over the seven years and finished with 7,174 rushing yards. On 1,604 career rushing attempts (a 4.5 career average-per-carry), Murray scored 49 rushing touchdowns. He also was adept at catching out of the backfield, hauling in 307 receptions for 2,165 yards and another six scores.

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Although the impetus for this trend is mostly NFL clubs trying to keep their studs fresher and healthier, and many will chalk up his record-breaking year to Dallas’ O-line, Murray deserves credit for his outstanding versatility and progress forged during his NFL career. Remember, the former Oklahoma back entered the league with durability concerns and missed a combined 11 games in his first three seasons before his 2014 dominance. Murray again proved the doubters wrong with his bounce-back year in Nashville in 2015, and in missing only three games with injuries over his final three seasons.

Of the eight players ahead of Murray on the NFL’s active rushing list, only four — Jonathan Stewart, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore — are currently signed, while Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson still hope to latch on with clubs in 2018.

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Mariners James Paxton exits with lower back stiffness

James Paxton knew as soon as he took the mound for his pregame bullpen work on Thursday that something wasn’t quite right. His lower back was stiff and his normal fastball wasn’t popping as he struggled to get extension on his delivery.

Hoping to work through the issue once the adrenaline kicked in, the big lefty gave it a go. But that effort was short-lived as Paxton was pulled from Thursday’s 11-2 loss to the Angels after just 17 pitches following three runs on three quick hits, including two home runs.

“I felt it a little last game, but it was nothing that was stopping me from getting through my pitches,” Paxton said. “But I went out there tonight and tried to let it rip and it wouldn’t go. I wasn’t getting extension, there was no life on the ball and it was just kind of floating in there. [Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.] said he could tell something wasn’t right.”

The Mariners don’t believe Paxton’s issue is anything serious and it helps that the All-Star break is next week. That means they can probably put him on the 10-day disabled list in order to add pitching help for this weekend’s series in Colorado and bring him back potentially for the second series after the break against the Giants.

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Paxton has dealt with numerous injury issues over his career, but the 29-year-old has never had a back problem. He came into the game with an 8-3 record and 3.49 ERA in 19 starts and hadn’t missed a turn while racking up a team-high 118 2/3 innings. His ERA jumped to 3.70 in his final outing before the All-Star break.

Chasen Bradford replaced Paxton and got the final out of the inning after Paxton had given up a pair of home runs — a leadoff shot by rookie David Fletcher and then Albert Pujols’ blast after Mike Trout’s one-out single.

Paxton was regarded as a strong All-Star candidate when he got off to a 6-1 start with a 3.02 ERA in his first 14 starts and threw a no-hitter in Toronto in May, but he’s gone 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA over his last five starts.

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Wimbledon: Nadal to face Djokovic in semis

World number one Rafael Nadal set-up a mouthwatering Wimbled semi-final against old rival Novak Djokovic after battling back to beat Juan Martin del Potro in a Centre Court thriller on Wednesday.

Nadal, 32, and Djokovic, 31, meet in a highly anticipated Wimbledon semi-final at about 16:30 BST on Friday.

They have met on 51 previous occasions, but not at this stage of a Slam since the 2014 French Open semi-finals.

The winner will play either John Isner or Kevin Anderson in Sunday’s final.

Spain’s Nadal and Serbia’s Djokovic have won 29 Grand Slam titles between them, including five previous victories at SW19.

The pair have only met twice at Wimbledon, Nadal winning their 2007 semi-final when Djokovic retired hurt, the Serb gaining revenge in the 2011 final.

“There is no one other match in the history of tennis that has been played more than our match. That’s a big thing,” said second seed Nadal.

“We always played in important stages, important places.”

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While Nadal’s rivalry with Roger Federer may be considered as the most engaging, it is the Spaniard’s rivalry with Djokovic which is the most enduring.

The pair have produced some of the greatest matches ever seen – which include memorable Grand Slam finals and career-defining victories.

Djokovic leads 26-25 in their head-to-head, dominating in recent times with seven victories in the past nine matches.

“It is always a big challenge facing Novak,” said Nadal.

“He is one of the more complex players that I ever saw in our sport. It is always a big test.

“You know that you can’t win against him if you don’t play very well.”

The 12th seed has looked focused and close to his best form on his way to reaching a first Slam semi-final since the 2016 US Open.

“I’m really not thinking about being an underdog or being a favorite,” he said.

“I just try to build the momentum. Obviously, I’ve been very pleased with the way I’ve played so far on the grass court season.”

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Serena reaches Wimbledon Final

Serena Williams will face Germany’s Angelique Kerber for an eighth Wimbledon singles title after both won their semi-finals in straight sets.

The American former world number one overpowered Germany’s Julia Gorges 6-2 6-4, while Kerber beat Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-3.

Saturday’s final will be a re-match of the 2016 showpiece, which Williams won.

Williams was in control from the outset against 13th seed Gorges, who was making her Grand Slam semi-final debut.

It was the first time at these championships that the American had faced a player ranked in the top 50 and she stepped up with a powerful display that also showed better movement around the court than in previous rounds.

She broke in the sixth game of the first set when Gorges went wide and then took the set on the German’s serve when her opponent sent a forehand wide.

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Gorges, who had spent more than 10 hours on court before this match, the longest of any of the semi-finalists by around two and a half hours, was put out of her misery on Centre Court in just 70 minutes.

“It’s crazy. I don’t even know how to feel because I literally didn’t think I’d do this well in my fourth tournament back,” said Williams.

“I don’t have anything to lose and I feel I can play so free. That’s what I’m doing.

“This is not inevitable for me, I had a really tough delivery and multiple surgeries and almost didn’t make it to be honest. I couldn’t even walk to my mailbox, so it’s definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final.

“I’m enjoying every moment.”

Williams only returned to the Tour in March, having “almost died” giving birth to her daughter last September.

Despite her maternity break, she is now into a Grand Slam final for the 12th consecutive year.

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James Ennis will sign 2-year deal with Rockets

The Rockets began restocking their small forward position on Wednesday, reaching an agreement with James Ennis on a two-year minimum contract, according to two individuals with knowledge of the agreement.

Ennis is considered an outstanding defensive wing who could bring the 3-point shooting to fit in the Rockets style. He has made 35.9 percent of his 3s in his four-year career, slumping last season when he traded to the Pistons at the trade deadline but showing good potential as a catch-and-shoot threat.

Ennis has not been the scorer off the dribble, even against closeouts, that Mbah a Moute has been through his career, but should have no difficulty filling the role as the first player running the floor to the corners. He is also expected could bring greater speed to the Rockets’ fast break.

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He played under Rockets associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik in Memphis, giving the Rockets confidence he would be able to defend with their switching system while taking the toughest wing assignment available when he is on the floor.

“They were real good in recruiting him,” Ennis agent, Scott Nichols, said. “The coach, management, they met with him out in LA. Mike’s been real honest with James about his role. The Rockets makes perfect sense. They lost Trevor Ariza and Luc. There’s a possible starting position there. James plays up and down, multiple positions, long, 3-point shots, it fits perfectly for what the Rockets need, maybe even a better fit than what they had last year because he’s younger with more upside.

“He loves defense and he played for some really defensive-minded coaches with (Miami coach Erik) Spoelstra and (former Memphis coach) David Fizdale. And he played a similar style in New Orleans. It’s a good fit.”

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Twins reliever Addison Reed placed on 10-day DL with tight triceps

The Minnesota Twins have placed right-handed reliever Addison Reed on the 10-day disabled list with tightness in his triceps.

The move was made before Wednesday’s game against Kansas City, the first trip to the disabled list in Reed’s seven-year major league career.

Reed said this morning that he’s been bothered by some soreness for last couple of weeks. He’s had it in the past but has been able to manage the discomfort and keep pitching. This time, the soreness has lingered longer than he’s used to, so the Twins decided to place him on the disabled list.

It probably doesn’t help that he’s 1-5 with a 4.83 ERA. He’s been unable to throw the way he wants to throw, which has been frustrating to him.

Reed started out strong but has struggled in recent weeks, forcing manager Paul Molitor to move him out of the eighth-inning setup role.

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In 41 games in his first season with the Twins, Reed is 1-5 with a 4.83 ERA. He has allowed eight home runs in 41 innings. Five of those have come in his past 16 appearances, over which he has a 9.42 ERA with 24 hits allowed in 14 1/3 innings. Reed signed a two-year, $16.75 million contract with the Twins before the season.

Right-handed reliever Alan Busenitz was recalled from Triple-A Rochester for the third time this year.

Busenitz is 2-0 with a 6.43 ERA in two stints with the Twins this season. He’s been outstanding for the Red Wings, going 2-2 with a 1.41 ERA in 20 games. He will be in the bullpen today as the Twins wrap up a three-game series with an afternoon game against the Royals at Target Field

Twins manager Paul Molitor said Reed would likely undergo additional tests “just to make sure that’s all he’s got going on,” but Reed expressed confidence he would return as soon as he’s eligible on July 21 in Kansas City.

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France reaches World Cup Final after win over Belgium

France is back in the World Cup final for the first time since Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt in 2006.

Twelve years after one of soccer’s most infamous moments, Samuel Umtiti used his head to score from a corner kick in the 51st minute and earn France a 1-0 victory over Belgium on Tuesday in the first of the all-European semifinals.

The French danced on the field after the final whistle and shook the hand of Thierry Henry, who helped Les Bleus win the World Cup in 1998 but had been hoping to eliminate his native country as Belgium’s assistant coach.

France’s fans sang in the stands long past the end of the match, surrounded by yellow-clad security.

They certainly hope to keep the party going on Sunday in the final in Moscow. France will face either Croatia or England, who play Wednesday at the Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital.

“Vive la France! Vive la Republique!” France forward Antoine Griezmann shouted during the post-match celebrations.

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France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made a great save in each half, denying the potent Belgian attack of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku the chance to advance the country to its first major final. Belgium reached the quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup and the European Championship in 2016 but has yet to fulfill its lofty expectations.

The world now gets to see France’s luxury squad, collectively valued in excess of $1 billion and headlined by teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, in another major final.

In a tournament dominated by goals from set pieces, France took the lead from a corner. Griezmann curled in the ball from the right and Umtiti got in front of tall Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini to knock in his header at the near post.

“It’s me that scored,” Umtiti said, “but we all delivered a big game.”

Up in the corporate seats, French President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the goal by shaking the hand of King Philippe of Belgium as FIFA president Gianni Infantino watched on between them.

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