New Google Pixel 4 renders appear online, may have five front imaging units

first_imgRumours and leaks about Google’s upcoming flagship device – the Google Pixel 4 – have started gaining pace. Just yesterday, a reported gave us the biggest shocker about the design of the Pixel 4 – an iPhone 11 like camera bump. And now, a new report shed more light in this regard.According to image renders of the Pixel 4’s sibling – Google Pixel 4 XL – shared by serial tipster Evan Blass, the phone would indeed come with a squarish camera bump. And instead of housing a dual rear camera setup – which is what rumours have been touting for the Pixel 4 – Pixel 4 XL is expected to come with a triple rear camera design.The images also indicate that Google would ditch the rear mounted fingerprint sensor in Pixel 4 to opt for a in-display fingerprint sensor – a feature that is long been rumoured to be coming on Pixel 4. There is also a rainbow coloured Google logo – instead of a monochromatic logo – at the back of the phone.The biggest shocker, however, is the absence of a notch or a punch hole display. The images shared by Blass also hint towards the Pixel 4 XL sporting an all-screen display, which indicates that the Pixel 4 XL might come with a pop-up camera. There are two buttons on the right side – one, possibly, is the volume control button and the other could be the power button.Meanwhile, a separate video of metal case used by manufacturers shared by Unbox Therapy indicate Google’s Pixel 4 series of smartphones will come with spectral sensors that will accompany the phone’s rear cameras, which will be placed inside a camera bump. The Pixel 4, according to him will come with a dual rear camera setup. In the front, the YouTuber expects the phone to come with large bezel that will house five different imaging units . The details regarding these imaging units remain scarce at the moment.advertisement Image Courtesy: Unbox TherapyMeanwhile, the images of the Pixel 4 shared by tipster OnLeaks in partnership with PriceBaba also indicate that Google’s upcoming flagship smartphone could indeed come with an iPhone 11 like square camera bump, however, he expects the phone to come with dual rear camera setup. While a number of reports in the past have indicated towards Google ditching the rear mounted fingerprint sensor, OnLeaks suggests that the tech giant could include a 3D face unlock module in Pixel 4. He also believes that instead of the two front firing speakers, the upcoming Pixel 4 would come with two speaker grille that could be placed on either side of the USB-C port. He also expects the device to retain its notch.Apart from this, reports in the past have indicated that the Google Pixel 4 could be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and run on Android Q. It is likely to come with up to 6GB RAM and Google Assistant 2.0. At this point it is important to note that all these details fall in rumourville and we will have to wait till Google officially launches the phone to know anything for sure.ALSO READ: | Google Pixel 4 leak shows an iPhone 11 like camera designALSO READ: | Google Pixel 4 image with dual punch hole camera leaked onlineALSO READ: | Google Pixel 4 could feature a button-less designlast_img read more

School for educating underprivileged children opens in Delhi’s Mansarovar Park

first_imgA new school for educating the underprivileged kids of Delhi’s Mansarovar Park was opened on Sunday under the Youth Awakening Mission of Rishikulshala, a charitable trust providing quality education to downtrodden kids in the city.”Children are the invaluable assets of our country and it is our responsibility to make their lives better. To educate destitute is in itself a service to the nation, said Shriguru Pawan Sinha, founder of the mission.Main aim of this project”The main motive of this project is to make these children feel they are an important part of the society. This would make them stay away from crimes and addictions, would allow them to accept things rationally, help them in using language effectively and would enable them to ask questions in their daily lives,” he further said.The curriculum designed by the school would focus on developing skills in children that would help them lead a quality life.The syllabus of Rishikulshala includes mathematics, science, social science, general knowledge, Indian history, English, Hindi and Sanskrit languages, among other subjects.Other benefits of this schoolThe school also plans to provide children with vocational education and classes on hygiene, theatre, music, dance, and sportsThe children would be given studying kits with copies, books, pencil, water bottle and other required thingsAlso read: 50% students enrolled in free UPSC coaching at Jamia stood successfullast_img read more

India vs West Indies: Virat Kohli on the cusp of ODI milestones

first_imgVirat Kohli may not have scored a hundred in World Cup 2019 but the No. 1 ODI batsman will be keen on hitting the refresh button when India begin their ODI series against the West Indies from August 8.Virat Kohli has scored runs and broken records at will across the globe and he will be keen on continuing his dominance in the 3-match ODI series.Kohli is on the cusp of breaking a few ODI records, as always, as he prepared to lead the team post the World Cup semi-final exit.Virat Kohli already holds the record for the most number of runs scored in India-West Indies ODIs. The India captain The India captain has scored 1912 runs from 33 matches at a staggering average of 70.81. He also has scored the maximum number of hundreds — 7 in India-West Indies ODIs.Kohli is well ahead of Sachin Tendulkar, who finished with 1573 runs in India-West Indies ODIs from 39 matches. Batting great Desmond Haynes is third on the list with 1357 runs from 36 matches.Virat Kohli will be looking to break Ramnaresh Sarwan’s record for the most number of runs scored by a batsman in India-West Indies ODIs in West Indies. Sarwan, who scored 700 runs from 17 matches, is just 144 runs ahead of Kohli who has 556 runs from 12 matches at 55.60.Limited-overs star Chris Gayle is third on the list with 512 runs and has a good chance to overtake both Virat Kohli and Sarwan if he manages to fire in what is considered to be his ODI swansong. Gayle had reversed his decision on ODI retirement as he was expected to quit the 50-over format after the World Cup. However, the big-hitting opener said he would play the ODIs and a Test against India.advertisementMeanwhile, Virat Kohli also has the opportunity to go past Desmond Haynes’ tally for the most number of hundreds in India-West Indies in West Indies. Kohli and Haynes are tied on 2 hundreds and the India captain is well-placed to go past the West Indies great.India vs West Indies ODI scheduleIndia vs West Indies, 1st ODI in Guyana on August 8India vs West Indies, 2nd ODI in Port of Spain on August 11India vs West Indies, 3rd ODI in Port of Spain on August 14India squad for West Indies ODIsVirat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep SainiAlso Read | Pollard is a brother to me: Man of the Series Krunal Pandya after T20 series win over West IndiesAlso Read | Rishabh Pant breaks MS Dhoni’s India record during Guyana T20I heroicsAlso See:last_img read more

SCOTT HOPES CITY COUNCIL CAN APPOINT REPLACEMENT FOR RADIG

first_imgMAYOR BOB SCOTT SAYS THE PROCESS IS UNDERWAY TO FIND A REPLACEMENT TO SERVE THE FINAL YEAR OF KEITH RADIG’S TERM ON THE CITY COUNCIL.RADIG WAS ELECTED TO THE WOODBURY COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TUESDAY, AND BEGINS HIS NEW DUTIES IN JANUARY.THE MAYOR WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE COUNCIL CHOOSE RADIG’S REPLACEMENT FROM A LIST OF NOMINEES:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CHOOSE.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………AND A GENERAL. ;19SCOTT SAYS THAT TWO ELECTION POSSIBILITY WOULD TAKE 60 TO 90 DAYS AND LEAVE THE COUNCIL WITH FOUR VOTING MEMBERS AS THEY BEGIN THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR’S BUDGET HEARINGS:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CHOOSE2.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…..DIFFICULT PROCESS. ;17THE WOODBURY COUNTY AUDITOR’S OFFICE CONFIRMS THAT ONE PERSON, DOUG WAPLES, HAS TAKEN OUT PETITION PAPERS TO GATHER SIGNATURES ALREADY.HE OR ANYONE ELSE WOULD NEED TO COLLECT AROUND 125 SIGNATURES, BUT THAT FIGURE NEEDS TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE.SCOTT SAYS TAXPAYER DOLLARS WILL BE SAVED IF THE COUNCIL MAKES THE ONE YEAR APPOINTMENT:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CHOOSE3.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…………SUBMITS HIS RESIGNATION. ;20THE MAYOR ESTIMATES THE ELECTION COST WOULD BE AT LEAST $12-THOUSAND DOLLARS TO TAXPAYERS.last_img read more

SIOUX CITY MAN ARRESTED IN FEDERAL DRUG STING

first_imgA Sioux City man is one of six people arrested by an Omaha based FBI task force on federal and state drug and criminal conspiracy charges.The U.S. Attorney’s office says 45-year-old Torrey M. Vaughns was arrested on a Nebraska State warrant charging him with criminal conspiracy.Four Omaha residents and a woman from Colorado Springs were also arrested on conspiracy and cocaine possession or distribution charges.The charges all are related to an ongoing drug investigation in the Omaha area.last_img

MACY WOMAN CHARGED FOR LOCKING FOSTER SON IN BASEMENT OF HOME

first_imgA Macy, Nebraska woman has been arrested on charges that she locked her 10-year-old foster son in a basement storage room.Federal prosecutors have charged 34-year-old Krista Parker with felony child abuse and kidnapping.Court documents state that officers with Omaha Nation Law Enforcement Services went to Parker’s home September 15th after receiving a call about 2:20 a.m. about a boy locked in a storage roomOfficers found the boy locked in a dark room with no windows or ventilation and human waste spread throughout the room.Court documents state that the room had an audible security alarm.Authorities arrested Parker, who they found passed out in in an upstairs bedroom.Her blood alcohol level was 0.126.Parker told officers she had locked the boy in the room because she had a stressful week at work and wanted to have one night of fun.Court documents also state that the boy told investigators that his foster parents regularly confine him to the basement, where he eats meals and sleeps on the floor because he doesn’t have a bed.last_img read more

Dez Bryant, not Brandon Pettigrew, is the most important player of the Mike Gundy era

first_img“Either my pops or Dez Bryant because both of them are studs,” said Brandon Sheperd when asked who had the biggest influence on his football career.“The whole reason I came up here (to Stillwater) is because I love everything that Dez does. I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”I’m pretty sure nobody ever said that about Brandon Pettigrew.Sheperd was just 15 when Dez got on campus in 2007 and even now, eight years (!) later, No. 1 is still being talked about. Thing is, this will continue to be the case as Dez has success in the NFL.Brandon Pettigrew mattered to the past.Dez Bryant matters to the future.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Dez Bryant, still making noise in Stillwater. (USATSI)Dez Bryant, still making noise in Stillwater. (USATSI)Last week, Mike Gundy tried to say that Brandon Pettigrew is the most important player in the resurgence (surgence?) of OSU football.“The one player who changed this program was Brandon Pettigrew,” Gundy told the Tulsa World. I don’t really think that’s true and here’s why.last_img read more

Arsenal first to stop Conte at home

first_imgArsenal Arsenal first side to stop Chelsea scoring at home under Antonio Conte Chris Myson Last updated 2 years ago 23:36 17/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Mustafi - Cropped Getty Images Arsenal Premier League Antonio Conte Chelsea v Arsenal Chelsea The Blues drew a blank in front of their own fans for the first time in 27 outings while Arsene Wenger’s men were able to celebrate a rare clean sheet Arsenal’s 0-0 draw against Chelsea means they are the first team to stop the Premier League champions from scoring in a competitive home game in Antonio Conte’s reign as manager.The Blues failed to break down their rivals on Sunday, meaning they failed to net at Stamford Bridge under Conte, who took charge prior to the 2016-17 season, for the first time in 27 matches.Arsenal 6/1 to beat WBA 2-0 Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Arsenal, meanwhile, end a miserable defensive record at the Bridge. Prior to this match, the Gunners had not kept a Premier League clean sheet in their previous 12 visits and had conceded at least two goals in their most recent eight.0 – Chelsea failed to score in a competitive home match under Antonio Conte for the first time (27 games). Stalemate. pic.twitter.com/fH8dDubjNK— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 17, 2017It was the first 0-0 draw between these two sides at Stamford Bridge since April 2005. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Ferreira: Al Sadd deserved win over Al Sailiya

first_imgStars League Qatar Stars League: Jesualdo Ferreira insists Al Sadd deserved narrow win Last updated 2 years ago 06:30 25/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Al Sadd Getty Stars League Al Sailiya v Al Sadd Al Sadd Al Sailiya Al Sadd head coach Jesualdo Ferreira is adamant that his side deserved all three points despite controversy over Al Sailiya’s disallowed goal. Al-Sadd head coach Jesualdo Ferreira feels that his side fully deserves the 3-2 over Al-Sailiya after the performance they put up during the Stars League Round 2 match.Speaking at the post-match press conference, Ferreira said: “It was a tough match, just as I said before the match. Al-Sailiya are a strong team and they have excellent players. We were the better side in the match. The referee wrongly disallowed a goal for us in the first half. As for Al-Sailiya’s penalty, I did not see it properly and I won’t make a judgement. The win was a difficult one but we fully deserve it.”As for Al-Sadd’s decline during the last few minutes, he said: “This is the second match we have played with some players missing out. We are looking to have the players gel well with each other in defence and this will happen as we play the upcoming matches, especially after the break when the team will be at its best.” Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Asked about Al-Sailiya’s disallowed goal at the end of the game, Ferreira said: “I did not see what happened with that and I don’t know why the goal was cancelled.”Ferreira concluded by saying: “There are many young players in Al-Sadd and I am happy to have them here in this group. There are players who need to be better physically. Al-Sadd will return when there will be a balance between physical and mental condition. After the break, the team will be better.”last_img read more

Wales vs Rep. Ireland: Team news & TV

first_imgWC Qualification Europe Wales vs Republic of Ireland: TV channel, stream, kick-off time, odds & match preview Ryan Kelly Last updated 2 years ago 22:00 10/9/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) oe Allen Wales James McClean Republic of Ireland Getty WC Qualification Europe Republic of Ireland Wales v Republic of Ireland Wales Both sides will be desperately seeking a win as they look to keep their hopes of reaching Russia in 2018 alive Wales welcome the Republic of Ireland to Cardiff on Monday as both teams attempt to secure a place in the World Cup play-off round.Chris Coleman’s Dragons come into the game one point ahead of the Boys in Green in second place and the winner of the game has a chance of progressing to the play-offs depending on results elsewhere. A draw could be enough for Wales, but Ireland must win if they want to have any hope of reaching the tournament in Russia next year.Theoretically, automatic qualification is still a possibility for both sides, but that will ultimately depend on leaders Serbia slipping up at home to Georgia.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Game Wales vs Republic of Ireland Date Monday, October 9 Time 19:45 BST / 14:45 ET TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM Daryl Murphy Republic of IrelandIn the UK, the game will be available to watch live on television on Sky Sports Football, as well as being available to stream live using Sky Go. Viewers in Wales will be able to watch live on the Welsh language channel S4C or online using the Watch S4C facility.Viewers in Ireland can watch the game live on RTE 2 or online via the RTE Player. UK TV channel Online stream Sky Sports Football / S4C Sky Go / S4C In the US, the game will broadcast live on television on FS2 and it will also be available to stream online using Fox Sports GO or Fox Soccer Match Pass. US TV channel Online stream FS2 Fox Sports GO / Match Pass SQUADS & TEAM NEWS Position Wales players Goalkeepers Hennessey, Ward, Maxwell Defenders Gunter, A. Williams, Taylor, Davies, Chester, Lockyer Midfielders Ledley, Ramsey, Edwards, King, Allen, J. Williams, Lawrence, Ampadu Forwards Vokes, Robson-Kanu, Woodburn, Bradshaw, Hedgews, Brooks Wales must attempt to beat Ireland without the services of Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, who is ruled out with a calf injury. They will also be without West Ham defender James Collins and Swansea City’s Jazz Richards.Potential starting XI: Hennessey; Gunter, A. Williams, Chester, Davies; King, Ledley, Allen, Ramsey, Lawrence; Vokes. Position Republic of Ireland players Goalkeepers Randolph, Elliot, Doyle Defenders O’Shea, Ward, Clark, Duffy, Keogh, Christie, Long Midfielders McGeady, Whelan, McClean, Hoolahan, Brady, Hendrick, Meyler, Arter, O’Dowda, Hourihane Forwards Murphy, Hogan, Maguire Ireland are boosted by the return of Robbie Brady and James McClean, who missed the game against Moldova through suspension, but Shane Long has been ruled out through injury.James McCarthy has been training with the squad but played no part in the game against Moldova. However, he could potentially feature on the bench in Cardiff. Jonathan Walters is missing due to a knee injury, while Seamus Coleman is still unavailable as he recovers from a broken leg.Potential starting XI: Randolph; Ward, Clark, Duffy, Christie; Meyler, Brady, Hendrick, McClean, Hoolahan; Murphy.BETTING & MATCH ODDS Aaron Ramsey WalesWales have not suffered a competitive defeat at home in over four years and they are 5/4 favourites to win according to dabblebet. There are odds of 5/2 attached to an Ireland victory, while a draw is priced at 11/5.Click here to see the full array of markets available for the World Cup qualifier between Wales and Ireland.GAME PREVIEW Darren Randolph John O'Shea Gareth Bale Republic of Ireland Wales 24032017Wales and Ireland played out a tempestuous 0-0 draw when they met in Dublin earlier this year in a game which was marred by Seamus Coleman’s horrendous leg-break and with the stakes high, the stage is set for another tense affair in Cardiff.Chris Coleman said in the lead-up to the match that he is expecting “a hell of a game” and Ireland boss Martin O’Neill issued a rallying cry following his side’s victory over Moldova on Friday, knowing that nothing less than a win will suffice.Interestingly, Coleman’s men are the only team in Group C that have yet to taste defeat in qualifying but, despite their impressive home record, they face a much more difficult task without the world-class ability of their talisman Bale. Ireland, of course, are without their captain Seamus Coleman and they are also bereft of Jonathan Walters’ inspirational presence, but the absence of the Real Madrid forward serves as a tremendous boost to their chances nonetheless.With Bale out of the picture, the teams are fairly evenly matched in terms of personnel so it is sure to be a tight game and, with the play-offs on the horizon, both managers will be hopeful that tempers do not boil over as they did in their last meeting.last_img read more

Did Klopp snub chance to manage Man Utd?

first_imgJürgen Klopp Did Klopp snub Man Utd? German admits to turning down ‘historical’ post before joining Liverpool Chris Burton Last updated 2 years ago 16:53 11/9/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(8) Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Getty Jürgen Klopp Liverpool Manchester United Premier League Prior to taking the reins at Anfield, the highly-rated coach concedes that he knocked back an approach from another leading Premier League team Jurgen Klopp hs revealed that he turned down a “historical English club” before joining Liverpool because the job “didn’t feel right”.Having enhanced his reputation during a productive spell at Borussia Dortmund, the German coach was a man in demand back in 2015.Liverpool 11/10 for top four finish Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Around that time, Manchester United were stagnating under Louis van Gaal while Chelsea were preparing to part with Jose Mourinho.Both clubs would have been expected to express an interest in Klopp, having seen him walk away from his role in Dortmund, but neither got a deal done as Liverpool swept in to make a high-profile appointment as successor to Brendan Rodgers.“Why Liverpool? I had an offer of another historical English club two years ago, but I never felt comfortable with how they understood football,” Klopp told a live audience at a football charity event in Hout Bay, Cape Town.“It didn’t feel right. When Liverpool called, I can’t explain it. It was right.”Jurgen Klopp Liverpool turned down rivalIf he did turn down United, then that decision will have come as a surprise to many, with Klopp’s predecessor at Mainz, Eckhard Krautzun, having revealed that Old Trafford had always been his favoured destination in England.He told The Set Pieces on Klopp: “When it comes to his favourite club, however, Liverpool weren’t always number one.“It would be his dream to go to England one day and his favourite club would be [Manchester] United. That’s what he said.”Having opted to head for Merseyside over Manchester or London, Klopp is now charged with the task of returning former glories to Liverpool.He has experienced mixed fortunes after taking on that challenge, with the Reds still waiting on a first piece of silverware since 2012.Klopp is, however, convinced that he will deliver success, with his sights still set on the Premier League title.He added while in South Africa: “We have to improve, 100%. But we will.“We are fine and the owners are happy. Liverpool is a fantastic club, and my aim is to win the Premier League with it.”Liverpool sit fifth in the English top-flight at present, 12 points adrift of leaders Manchester City. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Report: Juventus 0 Barcelona 0

first_imgJuventus 0 Barcelona 0: Messi benched but Valverde’s men in last 16 Joe Wright Last updated 1 year ago 05:36 11/23/17 lionel messi - cropped Getty Images Barcelona drew 0-0 with Juventus to seal their spot in the Champions League knockouts, despite starting without Lionel Messi. Barcelona benched Lionel Messi but sealed their place in the last 16 of the Champions League regardless with a 0-0 draw at Juventus.The LaLiga leaders were largely untroubled by last season’s beaten finalists at the Allianz Stadium as they claimed a result that guarantees they go through to the knockout phase as winners of Group D.Head coach Ernesto Valverde sprung a shock before the match by naming Messi among the substitutes, with Paulinho selected in the number 10 role in a robust-looking system. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Barca official Guillermo Amor explained pre-match that Messi was simply being rested before the weekend clash with LaLiga’s second-placed side Valencia, and his absence did little to upset Barca’s rhythm as they controlled the game for long spells in Turin, albeit without troubling Gianluigi Buffon too often.Messi came on in the second half to try to unlock a Juve defence that was without the injured Giorgio Chiellini, but there was no way through against the Serie A champions, who are a point above third-place Sporting CP in the group ahead of the final matchday.For Barca, attention can now turn to the top-of-the-table clash at Mestalla on Sunday, with their knockout spot secure.6 – Andres Iniesta is the sixth player with the most appearances in #UCL history (126), surpassing Clarence Seedorf (125). Legendary. pic.twitter.com/8eyPuvonV3— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 22, 2017Douglas Costa shot straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen from inside the penalty area after only two minutes but Barcelona were largely in control of the first half-hour, the midfield quartet of Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Paulinho dictating the play well.It was Rakitic who came closest to a first-half breakthrough, sending a deep free-kick off the right-hand post, before Paulinho failed to turn the rebound on target.Barca had shouts for a penalty in the 30th minute when Paulinho went over a challenge from Miralem Pjanic, but the referee showed a deserved yellow card to the Brazilian for a fairly blatant dive.Paulo Dybala had struggled to get involved in the first 45 minutes but he came close to giving Juve the lead just before the break, collecting Alex Sandro’s pass on the break before surging into the box and firing narrowly over the crossbar.0 – Luis Suarez was the player with the fewest passes attempted (9) and touches (14, none in the opposite box) in this first half. Alone. pic.twitter.com/vVZurYkQkX— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 22, 2017Barca resumed their control of proceedings after the break, with Luis Suarez going close with a free-kick, but Valverde nonetheless introduced Messi for Gerard Deulofeu in the 55th minute.Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain lashed half-chances wide but Barca’s control of possession was almost unchallenged, with Juve apparently content to sit deep and hold on for the draw.Messi almost provided the killer pass to give Barca the breakthrough, with Juan Cuadrado messing up his attempt to head the Argentine’s long pass back to Buffon, but Lucas Digne failed to capitalise on the opportunity.Juve showed more attacking endeavour in the closing stages and Ter Stegen made a fine low save to deny Dybala in stoppage time, but the draw means Massimiliano Allegri’s side must beat Olympiacos on December 5 to ensure they stay above Sporting and reach the last 16. Key Opta stats:- Barcelona have failed to win in all of their six away games against Juventus in European competitions (D3 L3).- The Blaugrana have recorded goalless draws in back-to-back games in Champions League for the first time ever. – Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 18 games in all competitions, their best run since March 2016, when they registered their longest ever run (39). – Marc-Andre ter Stegen has kept more clean sheets than any other LaLiga goalkeeper this season in all competitions (12). – The German goalkeeper has saved 23 of the last 24 shots on target he has faced for Barcelona in all competitions (96%).- Lionel Messi has equalled Roberto Carlos as South American player with the most appearances in the Champions League (129 apiece). read morelast_img read more

Alexis Sánchez has the chance to show City what they are not missing

first_imgShare on Pinterest But it does seem a fairly distant prospect right now. Indeed, as Arsenal and Sánchez travel to the Etihad to play the league leaders on Sunday afternoon, a journey Sánchez seemed so determined to make permanently in the summer, it is hard not to take a step back and marvel at the unforeseen consequences of one of the more complex botched big-money moves.City were genuinely keen on signing Sánchez. The move fell apart as Pep Guardiola rejected the idea of letting Sterling go the other way. Revived on deadline day the whole thing collapsed for a second time as Arsenal’s own move for Lemar flatlined.At the end of which we have, for now, a clear set of winners and losers. Undisrupted by big-name arrivals, and given their head by Sergio Agüero’s recent injury problems, City’s youthful Jesus-Sané-Sterling frontline has been allowed to settle into one of the most exciting things around in European club football right now.Sterling’s improvement, in particular, is surely related in part to Guardiola’s heartening refusal to let him leave as a Sánchez makeweight. To date the oldest member of that attacking tripod – still aged only 22 – has 10 goals and two assists this season, reward for some driving forward runs and two years of hard work on both his finishing and final pass. Best of all he looks happy, a player starting to find his most effective gears.At which point, enter Sánchez, who seems to have spent the past three months heading the other way; who has one goal in seven league games this season; and who has looked, so far, some way off his best self. City were said to be angry at the way Arsenal refused to sell Sánchez at the last. At it stands Sunday afternoon may just provide a little more evidence that perhaps this was a deal best left undone.But then, even after eight seasons in Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League, Sánchez remains an intriguingly opaque A-list footballer.In his early days at Barcelona he earned the nickname “Cachai?”, which translates as “know what I mean?”, a reference to the blank looks induced by his north Chilean brogue (Sánchez even ended up taking Spanish lessons for a while). There is still a sense of cachai about Sánchez now, an undeniably brilliant footballer who has still to find his definitive level, and who is clearly still bothered by his inconclusive spell at Barça.Not that his best qualities are in doubt. In an Arsenal team defined in recent years by a sense of something a little too comfortable, Sánchez has been an invigorating tonic. Only Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Agüero, all career No9s, have more goals in the Premier League in that time. Sánchez has been a wonderful signing. Right up until the moment he wanted to stop being one and play for City instead.It is a move that would at least have addressed the wider question of whether some very distinct qualities really can work in a genuinely A-list team. In an interview last year Sánchez suggested it was only a wrong turn or two that had prevented him being hoist aloft on the Messi-Ronaldo pantheon.Others might suggest there is a reason why his three years at Arsenal have been the most productive of his career, that it is only in a team where he can be the star that he has truly flourished: those streaky patches, the occasional wastefulness with the ball, the periods where he stops running, all excused by his own star status. blogposts Alexis Sánchez Sportblog Share via Email Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling sees scoring as fun, says Pep Guardiola Topics Arsenal You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes – and you’re not too scarred by a complex, deadline-week, dual-jurisdiction triple-swoop involving both Raheem Sterling and Thomas Lemar – you might find you get what you need.Manchester City might have been flying even higher at the top of the league and have scored more than their 35 goals had Alexis Sánchez signed from Arsenal in late August. Who knows, as the fixture list starts to bite, City’s fans may look on their brilliant but callow front line and think wistfully of Sánchez’s proven razor edge, his more seasoned warrior spirit. Share on WhatsApp Reuse this content Share on LinkedIn Arsène Wenger expects Alexis Sánchez to stay at Arsenal in January window Read more Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Manchester City It would be unfair to suggest Sánchez’s time at Barcelona was a failure. He was injured a lot. He scored or made 81 goals in his 141 matches. But there is no doubt Sánchez has thrived with club and country as the kingpin rather than as a high-class ensemble player.It was Udinese’s manager Francisco Guidolin who effectively discovered the Arsenal-issue Sánchez, moving him from wasteful wide attacker to a star No10 seven years ago and igniting his career in the process. Encouraged by Guidolin to play without fear and take risks Sánchez was voted most promising player in the world in a 2011 Fifa poll and was plucked out by Barcelona the same year.At the end of which there is an element of the Peter principle about Sánchez’s status now. Are the gifts that make him so exceptional in a team where he can be the attacking star the same qualities that make him unsuitable in a team where possession is everything, where there are stars of equal or greater magnitude?If there is a slight smear on his wonderful Arsenal record it is his poor recent scoring record against the best teams. He has one goal in his past 12 games against City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham.At times Sánchez has seemed to rebel against this, a man playing his own, furious game within a game. During his summer sulk it was hard not to think back to an extraordinary 10-minute spell against Bayern Munich in the 5-1 defeat in Bavaria. That night Sánchez ran around the pitch in a mist of anger, scoring a goal, and burning himself out for the rest of the game: a footballer in a state of profound on-field tantrum, displaying simultaneously both his strengths and his weakness.Given the youthful egalitarianism of City’s attack it is tempting to wonder exactly how he might have affected the balance of this team. Sunday afternoon would be an excellent moment to start answering that question, to offer Arsenal’s supporters a little sweetener after the summer; and to erase, at least until January, memories of another moment of uncomfortable inbetween. 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Gay fans warned holding hands at Russia World Cup will be dangerous

first_imgLGBT fans will be warned about holding hands in public and other outward displays of affection when in Russia for the World Cup next summer. A cautionary guide will be produced by Fare – formerly Football Against Racism in Europe and now a pressure group that campaigns for equality in football – and dispersed to fans travelling to the tournament.Being gay is not illegal in Russia but the country has a law banning teaching about homosexuality in schools and there are numerous cases where gay people from foreign countries have been attacked because of their sexuality. Share on Pinterest Liam Rosenior Sexuality World Cup 2018 Russia Read more Share on Messenger Europe news Share on Facebook Piara Powar, executive director of Fare, said:“The guide will advise gay people to be cautious in any place which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community. The same message is there for black and ethnic minority fans – do go to the World Cup but be cautious. If you have gay fans walking down the street holding hands, will they face danger in doing so – that depends on which city they are in and the time of day.“The guide will also include some detailed explanations of, for example, the actual situation of the LGBT community in Russia. It is not a crime to be gay but there is a law against the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Issues relating to the LGBT community are not part of the public discourse. Gay people have a place in Russia which is quite hidden and underground.”Fare has also written to Fifa on behalf of two fans’ groups from Britain and Germany to ask for permission to raise a rainbow flag inside stadiums during the World Cup, which begins in June next year. Although political displays are banned inside stadiums it is understood the governing body would not consider rainbow flags to fall into that bracket and fans would be welcome to wave them before and during games.The World Cup draw takes place on Friday at the Kremlin, where organisers will hope football is the focus of attention. But fears that the spectre of homophobia and racism could deter some supporters from travelling to Russia are very real. Fare is imploring Fifa to introduce an official rule whereby fans can be reprimanded under a specific charge of homophobia.The plea follows the court of arbitration for sport’s decision to cancel two fines imposed by Fifa on Mexico’s FA after their fans loudly chanted the Spanish word “puto” – widely known to be an anti-gay slur – during international matches. Fifa had to bring charges under general fan misbehaviour as opposed to specific homophobic abuse. Reuse this contentcenter_img Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Read more Alexei Smertin named as Russia’s anti-racism inspector before 2018 World Cup We need a culture shift, not just Rainbow Laces, for players to come out World Cup Share on LinkedIn “Since the Brazil World Cup we have seen variations of that chant becoming a big thing in football,” said Powar. “There is no offence of homophobia in Fifa’s rules and we have made clear that there should be. It is critical there is a clear message about Fifa’s ability to act in these cases against the fans that are responsible.”Far-right extremist groups have already had around 300 people banned from attending the World Cup. The former Chelsea midfielder Alexei Smertin was appointed as an anti-racism and discrimination inspector at the Russian Football Union and appears to be taking the problem seriously, issuing fines to offending clubs.Powar said: “In Russia it tends to be that politicians feel they are being attacked and say it is all a western conspiracy driven by the western media – usually the UK media – and then after a while they accept there are some issues and quietly get on with dealing with those issues. The local population are pretty proud of the fact they are hosting and want to be seen as acting as a good host.” Share via Email Topics Racelast_img read more

West Ham United v Newcastle United: match preview

first_imgMatch previews Reuse this content Share on Facebook West Ham have climbed out of the bottom three after picking up seven points from their past three games and another win against Newcastle United at the London Stadium will bolster the belief they were right to hire David Moyes. They are without the suspended Manuel Lanzini, however, and the Argentinian’s absence will give Newcastle hope of ending their winless run. Jacob SteinbergKick-off Saturday 3pm Venue London StadiumLast season n/aReferee Lee MasonThis season G9, Y19, R2, 2.33 cards per gameOdds H 6-5 A 11-4 D 9-4West Ham UtdSubs from Hart, Trott, Reid, Kouyaté, Fernandes, Noble, Sakho, Ayew, Carroll, Quina, MartínezDoubtful Antonio (calf), Fernandes (ankle), Kouyaté, Noble (both hamstring)Injured Byram (thigh, Jan), Fonte (foot, Jan)Suspended Lanzini (last of two)Form DLLWDWDiscipline Y41 R2Leading scorer Hernández 4Newcastle UtdSubs from Darlow, Clark, Mbemba, Dummett, Murphy, Diamé, Gayle, Aarons, Haïdara, SaivetDoubtful NoneInjured Mitrovic (back, Jan)Suspended Shelvey (last of two)Form LDLLLLDiscipline Y29 R2Leading scorers Gayle, Joselu 3 Newcastle United Share on Pinterest Topics West Ham United Share on Messenger Share on Twitter news Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Premier Leaguelast_img read more

Larry Nassar is locked up for life. Now the real work begins

first_imgShare on Pinterest Share on Facebook Play Video Share on WhatsApp Support The Guardian Michigan Since you’re here… Share on Twitter The last of the 156 survivors to testify before Nassar’s fate was sealed on Wednesday was Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast turned Kentucky attorney who became the first woman to come forward publicly in September 2016 for the Indianapolis Star story that convinced dozens more to break their silence. “The number of sexual assault victims Larry had was plain to me,” she said in the immediate aftermath. “Whether or not anyone would feel safe to come forward, that was the wild card.”“You do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again,” the judge, Rosemarie Aquilina, said before sentencing Nassar to jail for up to 175 years. “Anywhere you walk, destruction would occur to those most vulnerable. I just signed your death warrant.”Now the real work begins.So far culpability for Nassar’s monstrous acts has fallen almost exclusively on the disgraced physician himself. But many of the statements from the survivors and their attorneys have targeted the individuals and institutions that allegedly enabled or were negligent in preventing Nassar’s abuse for as long as two decades: Michigan State, USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee and Twistars Gymnastics Club, all of which have been named as co-defendants in civil suits that appear headed to trial. … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Denhollander is among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and Twistars, an elite-level training facility in the Lansing area which referred athletes to Nassar. Those athletes allege that complaints through the years to coaches, counselors, police and university-employed trainers were never followed up with proper investigations. Another lawsuit filed by an unnamed former US gymnastics team member accuses Bela and Martha Karolyi, the former national team coordinators widely credited with transforming the United States from outsider to the head of the sport’s new world order, with fostering a toxic environment that enabled Nassar’s abuse.And then there’s Michigan State, where Nassar had taught and practiced medicine from 1997 until 2016. Larissa Boyce and Tiffany Thomas-Lopez are among former athletes who claim to have spoken with coaches and trainers about Nassar only for the complaints to go nowhere. He remained employed and was allowed to continue working with patients even during when Amanda Thomashow’s allegations prompted a criminal sexual conduct investigation by campus police that cleared Nassar in 2014.Last week the Lansing university’s board of trustees called on the state’s attorney general to review the school’s handling of the complaints amid mounting pressure for the resignation of school president Lou Anna Simon. The calls had come from both the student body, including a withering front-page editorial by the independent school newspaper that cast “Simon, her appointees and cheerleaders” as “enablers”, and from the faculty, who on Tuesday called for an emergency meeting to raise a vote of no confidence in Simon. Still, the eight-member board have firmly thrown support behind Simon, with one trustee maddeningly citing her fundraising proficiency. Hours after Wednesday’s sentencing, Michigan state legislators voted overwhelmingly for a resolution calling for the president’s ouster with Simon stepping down that evening. It’s a start.Just as problematic is the timeline around USA Gymnastics. The Indianapolis Star reported the governing body, which previously claimed to have called law enforcement “immediately” after it was first alerted to suspicions about Nassar, waited five weeks to alert the FBI while conducting their own internal review. Raisman, who brought home three golds from two Olympics, said USA Gymnastics “threatened” her to be quiet with McKayla Maroney having also revealed she was pressured to sign a non-disclosure agreement in return for a financial settlement. The unfolding scandal has led to last year’s resignation of longtime president Steve Penny and three other board members in recent weeks, followed by Wednesday’s call by the US Olympic Committee for all USA Gymnastics directors to resign en masse as the USOC launches an independent investigation into “who knew what and when” about Nassar.These overhauls are due diligence, but the unfortunate truth underlying Wednesday’s outcome is while the institutions that oversaw Nassar failed these young women time and again, it required the external force of investigative journalists, and the public pressure their work ignited, to hold a predator to account.“Every previous time there’d been an allegation, nothing happened,” prosecuting attorney Angela Povilaitis said in Wednesday’s closing remarks. “His lies worked. With each time that he got away, he was empowered to continue, to perfect, and to abuse even more. “What finally started this reckoning and ended this decades-long cycle of abuse was investigative reporting. Without that first Indianapolis Star story in August 2016, without the story where Rachel came forward publicly shortly thereafter, he would still be practicing medicine, treating athletes and abusing kids.”Only in the late stages of the grueling 16-month trial, after Olympic gold medalists Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, Maroney and Raisman came forward as accusers, was the previously lacking national media coverage of the Nassar story commensurate with the one of the biggest sex abuse scandals in sports history. And only if we let it slip from our field of vision will those who enabled his heinous acts, whose silence made it possible, escape their reckoning.“Inaction is an action,” Aquilina said. “Silence is indifference. Justice requires action and a voice. And that is what has happened here in this court.”A monster has been slain, to be sure. But it’s early days in the search for justice. Read more ‘Little girls don’t stay little forever’: abuse victims confront Larry Nassar – videocenter_img Larry Nassar’s ‘death warrant’: sexual abuser jailed for up to 175 years Share on LinkedIn comment 1:42 Gymnastics Share on Messenger The courtroom erupted into applause on Wednesday afternoon as Larry Nassar, the former USA gymnastics team doctor and Michigan State University sports medicine physician, exited stage left to spend the rest of his life in prison for the systematic sexual abuse of athletes under his care. Survivors and their families in the gallery wept and embraced. It was a catharsis hard-won by the bravery of dozens of young women, empowered by solidarity, who stepped forward to hold the powerful to account.The terms of Nassar’s guilty plea on seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct allowed for anyone who said they were a victim to read an impact statement in court. Remarkably, the total of 88 girls and women initially scheduled to speak nearly doubled over the course of the sentencing hearing as it spilled over into a second week. One by one they faced their nightmare incarnate, from household names like six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman, whose scorched-earth salvo will be long remembered, and countless more who never reached the elite level, putting forth searing testimony on the pathology of a sociopath who leveraged his authority and professional heft to betray the trust of young athletes and their families. US sports Topics Reuse this content Share via Emaillast_img read more

It is time for female footballers to be treated as equals

first_imgShare on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share on Facebook comment Topics Read more Share on Messenger Steffi Jones has lost her job as Germany’s head coach. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images Facebook Twitter Women’s football • The Football Writers’ Association has announced the appointment of a panel to select a Women’s Player of the Year for the first time. The panel includes England internationals Rachel Brown-Finnis and Alex Scott and the winner will be announced at the awards dinner on 10 May.• Liverpool defender Amy Turner will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery to remove loose cartilage. Turner joined from Notts County following the club’s collapse and has made five appearances.• Sheffield United have submitted a bid to play in the newly named women’s Championship (second tier) from next season. Tier two will be semi-professional and admittance would see the Blades jump two divisions and play at the same level as their men’s side are this season.• England have been drawn alongside holders North Korea, Mexico and Brazil in Group B of this summer’s Under-20 Women’s World Cup. Hosts France will play Ghana, New Zealand and the Netherlands in Group A. Full draw here. Share on Pinterest Lieke Martens, Alex Morgan and Lucy Bronze named in women’s world XI Pinterest Although equality in sport may seem trivial alongside the wider issues faced by women in society, how women view themselves, how they move and how they interact with their bodies says much about their position in, and relationship to, society. That is why it is no accident that in the Commons IWD debate both sides referenced sport in their wider discussion on equality, and in particular a need for greater equality for female footballers as the game develops. Because fit, confident, healthy, empowered women who have reaped the rewards of team sport are proven to do better in workplace teams, in boardrooms and will challenge things.The growth of women’s football in England in recent years is to be applauded but there is still a mountain to climb if it is going to claw back to the height it reached before the FA’s 50-year ban in 1921.And it is clear that although there are plenty of good initiatives, from school to adulthood, football – and society – is not doing enough to engage women with sport and transform attitudes.Because even those at the top of the game still find that being a professional is a struggle. Last December a FifPro survey of women footballers revealed that 88% of Women’s Super League players earn less than £18,000 per year and that 58% have considered quitting for financial reasons. There are huge resources within football and yet a majority of top professional women footballers are paid less than the top Fifa eSports players – the top 10 earning an average of £55,911 in 2017 – despite women’s football providing the biggest pound-for-pound return on FA investment.As the England Lionesses returned from their most successful finish at the SheBelieves Cup in the United States, new manager Phil Neville outed the fact that the team have to fly economy outside of major tournaments. It is a decision now under review. But it is a position that should never have existed. FA chief executive Martin Glenn makes much noise about it being not for profit and “for all”, yet its travel arrangements for the national women’s and men’s teams shows a more successful women’s team being treated as second best, in this case for no discernible reason other than financial.The same scenarios crop up time and again in the women’s domestic game. The Continental Cup final between Arsenal and Manchester City is taking place at 7pm on Wednesday at Wycombe Wanderers’ Adams Park. It’s hard to envisage such an anti-social set-up for a cup final in the men’s game. Yet this is not the flagship Women’s FA Cup, and heaven forbid we aim to make every major women’s final a showpiece event.Money holds the power in football. It’s the elephant in the room for growth in the game. Until those in charge of women’s football are willing to challenge the power and financial muscle of the Premier League, TV rights deals and wealthy club owners and stand up against the idea that football should be run for profit instead of serving the communities they grew from, then pushes towards equality will get only so far and women’s football will have to continue surviving off crumbs from the table.So although we can and should celebrate the gains being made, it is important to remember how empowering sport and football can be, and why those looking to cling on to the status quo fear the rise of active, empowered, sport-playing women.Talking points• Germany have parted company with head coach Steffi Jones. Horst Hrubesch will take over on an interim basis for April’s games against the Czech Republic and Slovenia. International Women’s Day saw clubs putting their women’s teams front and centre. There were powerful messages from players and moving videos from the Football Association about different journeys taken into the national game. Manchester City even went as far as changing their Twitter handle to Womanchester City for the day – joining other organisations across the city.And it is right that, on such an important day for women globally, those invested in women’s football promote both the game and those who have fought over the years for the right to play. Because if you look beyond the newest generation of players, every woman that has laced up boots in the past century has done so against a backdrop of hostility. Read more Christen Press: how did a World Cup winner end up at a club she didn’t want to join? Share via Email Share on WhatsApp • FifPro has announced its women’s world XI for 2017. Lyon’s Lucy Bronze is the first England player to be included in the list and Chelsea’s Hedvig Lindahl was named best goalkeeper. The surprise omission was Sam Kerr, who became the NWSL’s all-time leading goalscorer as she scored more than any other player in a season and has led the line for an impressive Australia team. Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Lionel Messi’s supercharged genius the ideal antidote to grey World Cup

first_imgBut this is where Messi himself becomes interesting, where glory at this World Cup might also add another layer, or at least some actual substance to the basic meaning of Lionel.Let’s face it, away from the on-field feats, the most interesting thing about Messi is how startlingly uninteresting he is, the peculiar remoteness of his public persona. Has any near-ubiquitous public face ever had so little content, so little depth? He seems nice. But Messi really does have nothing to declare but his own genius, no context beyond that endlessly gushing well of brilliance.This is not meant as a criticism. There is no extra obligation for sports people to intersect with the wider world. But usually great athletes just can’t help being political beings. Diego Maradona got to mean something simply by being poor and brilliant and flawed, the charismatic outsider with shades of darkness and light. Even Pelé, who seemed to have spent most of the 1970s travelling the world in a fur-lined helicopter wearing a solid gold hat, had a depth of meaning to his feats, a kid from Bauru who emerged from poverty to conquer the sporting world.And then we have Messi. For a while his defiantly ordinary demeanour felt like it might carry some significance, a kind of holy fool dynamic. The best player in the world didn’t have tattoos and a douchebag hairstyle. Then he got tattoos and a douchebag hairstyle. So that was that. At the end of which the meaning of Messi is, simply, that being really good at football is really good. Being the best is the best. Have a good time – all the time.Except, of course, there is something else here. The joy. As Sampaoli also said in Madrid, Messi needs to be able to enjoy football, to relax, to exist as a free spirit, to become his most exhilarating self. And this is perhaps Messi’s wider significance, a reminder that playfulness and joy are the essence of what he does, that he succeeds by communicating this basic sense of freedom, of something upliftingly impish.This enduring spark is the most striking thing about his years of success in the most managed of footballing worlds, a place of corporate lockdown and annihilating physicality. In the middle of this, hiding in plain sight, Messi is the opposite of control, an antidote to grey.It isn’t so far-fetched he could do it in Russia too. Argentina very rarely lose with him in the team. Messi himself looks fitter than four years ago and more at ease, an oddly gentle supercharged sporting genius who is still, and for all the gongs and glories, an element of grace within the machine. Share on Messenger Read more By the end they were sleeping in cars in the Rio side-streets, packing out the bars and parading in the main streets, and all the while singing that song to the tune of Bad Moon Rising that ends with the line: “You’re going to see Messi, he’ll bring us back the cup.” Except, of course, it didn’t happen like that. And it seems even less likely to happen this time around given Argentina’s 6-1 shellacking at the hands of Spain on Wednesday.In mitigation, Spain were sensationally good in Madrid. Plus, of course, Messi didn’t play, watching instead from the stands and looking as mournfully blank as he had four years ago, wandering off the Maracaña pitch past a huge screen proclaiming him the player of the tournament.And really it is the sense of heaviness that is striking here. “The World Cup is like a revolver to his head,” the manager, Jorge Sampaoli, had said even before the evisceration by Spain, referring to Messi having to carry both his team and his own elite sporting destiny.But his words chimed uneasily with the wider weather fronts of Russia 2018, a tournament that has become ever more grey and ominous, from the relentless politicking on all sides, to the bad moon that hangs over every Fifa event, an ugliness spawned in the Sepp Blatter end-times that must now play itself out over four more years of curdled power-play.Against this backdrop the idea that Messi, now 30 and who has done nothing but bring sporting joy, might get another shot at winning a World Cup has felt like a glimmer of something redemptive, a happy ending of sorts, a way of making this tournament beautiful.Even this is complicated, however. It would be fair to suggest at this point there is nothing particularly subversive or novel about the world’s most famous multimillionaire footballer illuminating Vladimir Putin’s circus. Better, from this perspective, for France to go and win it after Tuesday’s reports of racist Russian taunts, or for some perennially menaced Baltic state to make a late entrance and thrash the host nation in the semis. Read more comment World Cup Topics World Cup 2018 Share on Facebook Reuse this content Share via Email Share on WhatsApp Argentina Share on Twitter I see a bad moon rising: I see trouble on the way. Or if not quite trouble, then some interesting times this summer for the poor old beleaguered World Cup; and indeed for Lionel Messi in what is surely a last realistic shot at the ultimate prize for the most exhilarating footballer of the modern age.Argentina’s travelling fans are still among the most vivid memories of the last tournament in Brazil, a sweaty, gleeful, Messi-worshipping horde from across the border that in the last few days before the final seemed to be coming up through the Rio drains and falling down from the trees, emerging in ever greater numbers from the Copacabana surf. Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Lionel Messi Ramshackle Argentina show they need Lionel Messi more than ever World Cup 2018: complete guide to all 736 playerslast_img read more