By Tim Stannard
Allegri hails Ronaldo arrival at Juventus
Hands up, we surrender. Real Madrid has won the World Cup irrespective of what happens on Wednesday and Sunday.
The beginning of the tournament almost went by unnoticed when Real Madrid snatched the Spain coach, Julen Lopetegui, who was then summarily fired by his country. The semifinals were hi-jacked by Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the club after nine staggeringly good years to jump ship to Juventus. Los Blancos didn’t even have the decency to announce everything on Thursday, in a handy news vacuum.
Day two of Ronaldo-Go! sees the reaction from the Juventus camp and that means Ronaldo’s new manager, Max Allegri who snuck in another news-truth humdinger by revealing that Real Madrid approached him to take over at the Bernabeu, way ahead of Lopetegui - “I spoke to Juventus and I’m happy there.” The Italian coach is certainly perky now with Ronaldo in the line-up with Allegri commenting on Wednesday that his arrival “marks a step up for everyone at the club.”
Stay tuned to the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT for the latest on Cristiano Ronaldo’s amazing move to Serie A.
Croatia’s tired legs take on untested England
Just three matches to go in the World Cup – two if you are not a fan of the third-place play-off – and Wednesday sees the less glamorous of the two semifinals. Those in the Team Croatia camp will argue that the starting line-up of the Balkan barn-stormers is far stronger than that of England with Luka Modric being the stand-out player of the World Cup so far and that bruising battles against Denmark and Russia means that any odds can be overcome.
The philosophy is bring it on, basically, in a bid to play France in the final. “Just do your best and it ends how it ends," boomed Croatia goalkeeper, Danijel Subasic.
Team England has three arguments in its favor of setting up a final against fierce rivals France and forgetting for a bit longer that the government is about to fall.
The first – it’s coming home. Second – the team can move up a gear or two, especially if Raheem Sterling can finish. And third – Croatia’s two sets of extra-time and penalties within a week will weigh very heavy on the footballers especially if the clash ends up being a drawn-out affair.
Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at halftime and fulltime for the best no-commercials, 360-degrees punditry experience with potentially rioting England fans destroying our fancy camera if matters head south.
Hammers pick up winger as Sarri nears Stamford Bridge
It’s fair too say that Cristiano Ronaldo won the transfer media battle on Tuesday – just beating Iban Salvador switching from Real Valladolid to Celta Vigo B - meaning that quite a few deals snuck under the radar including Manchester City’s move for Riyad Mahrez for a whopping $80 million, a significant amount for a player that might end up being a Bernando Silva-style squad-filler.
There are a couple of deals being done in the Premier League with West Ham signing Ukrainian winger, Andriy Yarmolenko, who has dropped in from Borussia Dortmund and politely called the Hammers an “interesting project.” Liverpool is on the brink of picking up Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City, a player last seen being fined by FIFA after a feisty Switzerland v Serbia World Cup clash. Liverpool is also being linked with a move for Paolo Dybala as part of the butterfly effect from Ronaldo’s switch from Real Madrid.
Dropping in on Chelsea and Napoli president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, has revealed that Maurizio Sarri’s move to take over at Stamford Bridge is edging ever closer and that Jorginho is likely to join him in London rather than go to Manchester City.
Wimbledon on brink of GOAT final four
Go Team Serena!
America’s tennis legend, Serena Williams, pushed through to the final four of Wimbledon on Tuesday and now it’s time for the North American All-Stars in the men’s bracket to seal the semifinal deal. And that means you John Isner, a player who is a legend at Wimbledon for featuring in a match that lasted as long as the whole tournament itself back in 2010 with the fifth set going to 70 games to 68. Actually, go Team Canada too as Milos Raonic is the player facing the American on Court 1 this morning.
The rest of the bracket is made up of the tennis old-timers with Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer all in separate clashes but expected to make it a truly classic semifinal day at All England on Friday.
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