A number of tributes have been going in for Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard, who prepares to play his final game at Anfield.
The midfielder has joined LA Galaxy on a two-year contract and will be linking up with his new teammates after the end of the Premier league season. Since Liverpool conclude this campaign with an away match against Stoke City, a lot of tributes have been flowing in for Gerrard ahead of the final home game for Liverpool against Crystal Palace. The 34-year-old has spent his entire career at the club despite interest from several top clubs on numerous occasions.
Francesco Totti is also a legend in his own right. He has been at Roma since becoming a professional. Unlike Gerrard, it does not seem as if the Italian international is not ready to leave Roma for a final stint in the MLS or the Middle East. The 40-year-old continues to be a key player at the club. Gerrard, however, was in and out of the team during his final season and this appears to have played a major factor in convincing the player to leave Liverpool. Totti has lavished praise on the 34-year-old by saying that he is the complete midfielder in the world. Continue reading →
The Champions League final is now the most watched sporting event in the world and this year’s showpiece between Barcelona and Juventus promises to be a game you can’t take your eyes off.
Barcelona’s victory over Manchester United in 2009 was the first time the Champions League final had overtaken the Super Bowl in terms of number of television viewers. Audience figures have continued to increase over the past few years, with around 165 million people globally watching last year’s final between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
A similar figure will be expected this year when both finalists will walk out at Berlin’s Olympiastadion aiming to win a Treble.
Barcelona have already won La Liga and the Copa del Rey this season. Juventus, meanwhile, have won Serie A and the Coppa Italia. Barcelona have history of winning the Treble as they achieved that feat in 2009, but Juventus have yet to win all three trophies in the same year.
So, in front of a potentially record-breaking television audience, who is going to come out on top and be the Treble winners?
With Lionel Messi in their team, Barcelona are always going to be the favourites to win and the Argentinian superstar has been in sensational form over the past few months. He scored a stunning goal as well in the Copa del Rey final win over Athletic Bilbao.
He is also trying to become the first player to score in three Champions League finals after previously scoring against United in 2009 and 2011. It is certainly worth searching for the free bets that bookies offer to have a punt on Messi scoring in the final again.
Barcelona will be appearing in their eighth final in the competition and they have so far won four of those. Their first victory came against Italian opposition when they beat Sampdoria in 1992, while their most recent defeat came two years after that when they were thrashed in 1994 by the great AC Milan side of the era. But Barcelona have won their last three finals – all against English opposition – and their front three of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is going to take some stopping.
Juventus are also in the final for the eighth time, but it is their first appearance since losing on penalties to Milan 12 years ago. Juve have only won two of their finals – against Liverpool in 1985 and Ajax in 1996 – and no team has lost six finals.
The Italians also have a poor scoring record after scoring just three goals in their last seven appearances.
However, they do have players with experience of winning the Champions League as Patrice Evra and Carlos Tevez both won with United, and Alvaro Morata was part of Real’s successful team 12 months ago. Also, midfielder Andrea Pirlo was part of the Milan side which beat Juve in the final in 2003.
Pirlo, along with veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, also has happy memories of the Olympiastadion after winning the World Cup at the venue in 2006 when Italy beat France on penalties.
There is plenty of evidence pointing towards a Barcelona win, but in beating Real Madrid in the semi-finals, Juventus showed they can cope with a mesmerising attack and it would be no surprise if they became the latest team to win this Treble.
It’s getting to that point in the year again, where hundreds of tennis fans mark their calendars for their favourite event, with a number of prestigious summer tournaments remaining.
Those fans not lucky enough to secure tickets to Flushing Meadows for the US Open though, can take advantage of numerous free live streams, though it is advisable that you have strong internet connection, of at least 10mbps, or are in a Wi-Fi hotspot, such as a café or a bar.
With virtually every match covered, there is no reason to miss a single shot, with the action at Flushing Meadows usually serving up a tennis treat. Continue reading →
With British teams having made an early exit from European competition this year, there is little domestic interest in this week’s Champions League quarter-final ties. Instead, the focus of much of the English football public will already have switched to the forthcoming FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.
Some may say that the competition is a distraction from the important business of the Premier League, and others may say that the significance of reaching the final has been diminished by hosting the semi-finals at the home of English football. But that will not stop the remaining four teams giving it everything they have to make it through. In this article we look at four of the men who will be shouldering much of the goalscoring responsibility for their teams at Wembley. Continue reading →
The English Premier League has confirmed that it will be sharing a significant portion of the new television money to the lower leagues.
The Premier League has been heavily criticised for widening the gap between the Championship and the English top division. Clubs in the Premier league can earn – through television money – in a single campaign what they would on for a decade in the Championship. Such wide gulf in class could mean bad for the game going forward, but Premier league chief executive Richard Scudamore has confirmed that the lower leagues will now receive £1 billion – over three years – from next season onwards.
This figure is a substantial increase from the current £700 million provided to the lower leagues. This increase comes after Premier league negotiated a new £ 5 million deal with sky and BT for television rights starting from the 2016 season. The league will be investing this figure in five areas – grassroots, participation, solidarity, disadvantaged groups, and matchday experience. Some have criticised the small increase in additional revenue, but it represents an increase of more than 40% over the existing deal. Premier league, meanwhile, had a £ 3 billion deal with its existing broadcasters. The league has the potential to learn more depending upon international sales figures. Continue reading →
The Premier League has once again proven to be the most marketable league in the world after negotiating a £ 5 billion deal with Sky and BT for the live telecast rights.
This deal will come into force from the 2016-17 season and it will make the Premier League clubs even richer. It would finally enable the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal to compete with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, who boast of huge TV money to go along with the large commercial revenue from the sponsors. TV money is a major contributor to the finances of a club.
The latest deal will see the bottom club in the Premier League receive more money than several time European champions Ajax, who play in the Dutch league. It remains to be seen if this huge sum of money will trickle down to the lower levels of British football. Currently, only a small fraction of the amount goes into the championship and the lower stages as parachute payments. Premier league has promised to support grassroots level football at a much bigger scale than it is currently funded. The news comes as a welcome boost for the likes of Manchester City, who failed to comply with the FFP regulations. Continue reading →
The Everton boss Roberto Martinez has refused to go too much into the statements made by Kevin Mirallas just ahead of the last weekend’s Merseyside derby.
Amidst all the excitement about the derby, Mirallas spoke to one of the Belgian dailies about his desire of featuring in the European Cup. In that interview, the winger said he would not mind taking transfer to a club where he gets to play European games. Continue reading →
The Premier League and the Major League Soccer both will be looking to expand their exposure in television by having more matches televised and broadcasted by more channels in 2015.
The Premier League is working on introducing regular Friday night live matches and have a total 168 live matches available per season for a fan to be able to watch on their household.
Even some major technology companies such as: Apple and Youtube are believed to be thinking about bidding to buy digital rights for matches where they could have the liberty of uploading certain matches to their online platforms.
Meanwhile on the MLS, the 2015 will be bringing a new level of exposure of football to the United States which is not considered to be one of the biggest or most influential sports in the country. Univision, ESPN and Fox are all of the networks that will get an exclusive national broadcast window each weekend as they all signed a $720 million rights deal with the American League which starts on 2015.
The matches that are going to be broadcasted by the Univision network will have the chance of being viewed in English and Spanish as well as this increases the amount of audience that would be interested in sitting at home and watch their favorite club playing in the MLS.
This is the first time ever that Univision has ever had streaming rights to its MLS broadcasts as well as being the first time that Univision is going to be production their own broadcasts from their own site instead of having a feed produced by a simultaneous local broadcast.
Next year, ESPN will also have online streaming rights to every MLS game which is not broadcasted national in United States and this allows fans from across America to be able to watch matches through the website of ESPN and a number of their applications.
Roma finally managed to pull themselves together and achieve consistency in the game after a 2-0 win over Cesena. The Italian club where in contention for the title along with Juventus at the start of the season. They managed to win six straight matches before this win was brought to an end with a 3-2 defeat against Juventus. Since then, the wheels appeared to follow from Rudi Garcia’s team after they suffered defeats, especially the one against Bayern Munich where they lost 7-1, in a row. The team finally managed to get back level on points with Juventus after the win over Cesena.
This was made possible because Juventus also dropped points after a 1-0 defeat against Genoa. This was the first of their season. They are now level on points with Roma, who are a comfortable six points ahead of third placed Milan after nine matches. Legend Francesco Totti has spoken about the importance of these three points. Roma appeared to lose their composure in recent weeks after the boss is less against Juventus and Bayern. They have now gone four matches without defeat and there will be looking to build on this run.
Despite being 38 years old, Totti continues to be an important part of the Roma team. His best goal this season came against Manchester City in the 1-1 draw. “I agree completely with what the coach said in his thoughts afterwards. Any result apart from a victory could have been a serious mis-step for us and in these games, it is essential to take maximum points. It is especially important at this stage of the season where there are many games and they are so close together so we must continue like this without slowing down,” said the striker, who also has three assists to his name this season.
Roma coach Rudi Garcia has claimed that his team will be focused only on the upcoming league match against Empoli rather than the Champions League encounter in the midweek. Roma return to the Champions League after several years, which has raised the expectation levels in the Italian capital. The club, though, will not be detracting from the primary job at hand – winning the league title – according to manager Garcia, who led the club to a second-place finish in his first season at the club. Roma are expected to rest a couple of important names like Gervinho for this encounter.
The club have begun the new season with a 2-0 win over Fiorentina which was a huge morale booster. Fiorentina were expected to be one of the challenges for a Champions League place at the end of the campaign. Garcia’s men looked impressive in the opening weekend, but this away match against Empoli could prove tricky. Their opponents lost 2-0 to Udinese on the opening day of the season. They are expected to struggle with relegation this campaign, but home advantage could be a major reason for worry.
Roma are in a very difficult group in the Champions League as they will face CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, and Bayern Munich. They open the campaign with a home match against CSKA Moscow. “I have to keep the team focused on Empoli, for me this is the big game. I do not even remember that we have to play on Wednesday. The international break? It’s happened before with Fiorentina, we only had two days to get everything ready. It’s new, however, we have demonstrated a great capacity to adapt and tomorrow will show that it takes two days to prepare for the match,” said Garcia.
Roma need to take three points against CSKA in order to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.