Manchester United news: David de Gea would loved to be named club captain as he prepares to sign new contract

22 Jul

David de Gea has admitted he would love to be named Manchester United captain as the goalkeeper prepares to extend his stay with the club.

After 18 months of wrangling, the 28-year-old is preparing to pen a new six-year deal with the club worth a staggering £117million.

De Gea looks set to become the highest-paid keeper in the world
getty

De Gea’s focus on the future has seen him throw his hat into the ring to become United captain, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer yet to hand out the armband since Antonio Valencia’s summer exit.

“I’ve been captain for some games,” De Gea said. “Of course, it is amazing to be captain of a club like Manchester United and defend this badge.

“It’s amazing, so of course I’ll be really, really happy to captain.”

De Gea moved to Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid in 2011 and has established himself as one of the world’s best keepers.

Named the club’s player of the year on a record four occasions, De Gea wants to help the club challenge for trophies again, having won the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League.

“It’s my ninth season, I feel like one of the most experienced players,” he said.

“I need to show that on the pitch and try to help the young guys know what Manchester United means and that’s important.

“We have to improve a lot. We are Manchester United; we need to fight for trophies.

“When you put on this badge, that’s what it means – fight for everything, give your best and bring the team again to the top.”

Wrestling Travel ‘want to be at the epicenter of the wrestling community’ – a look at an important fresh face in the wrestling industry

22 Jul

By now, many people have seen the brand Wrestling Travel. If you haven’t seen any of their social media pages or done business with them, their name gives a good, solid indication of who they are and what they can do for you. But, the goal is far greater than that.

Wrestling Travel spawned from the mind of the savvy Lee McAteer, a 35-years-old lifelong wrestling fan that has been coined Britain’s Best Boss in the media. He trained to be a lawyer originally but eventually ended up in the media as a magazine editor for Max Power magazine.

Wrestling Travel founder Lee McAteer and the legendary Chris Jericho
Wrestling Travel

After getting quote-en-quote ‘screwed over’, McAteer decided to team up with university friend Nick Steiert to work on the vast amount of business ideas they had. They started off by co-founding Invasion, a business where, essentially, they would take students to other student cities to enjoy a night out. But, as you will learn with every McAteer project, he goes way above and beyond the expected.

Still, he always had a ‘bee in his bonnet’ about doing camps in America and believed there was a better way to do it after his own experience in 2004. Thus, in 2010 they created Invasion Travel and AmeriCamp which originally survived on his own personal loan of £4,000, but is now a multi-million-pound company. In fact, it is reported to have turned over in the region of £4.5 million in 2018.

Under his umbrella, McAteer, also an associate director of his boyhood club Tranmere Rovers, has around 30 niche brands with his Camp Thailand brand their best-seller.

So, with all of his businesses flourishing and his plate as full as one could imagine, how did Wrestling Travel come to be? talkSPORT took time to speak to McAteer and discover the secret behind one of the new driving forces behind the wrestling industry.

Lee McAteer interviewed Bret Hart for FITE TV
Wrestling Travel

“What happened was, around WrestleMania 30, my ex-girlfriend bought me tickets,” McAteer started. “I thought ‘fantastic, I’ve always wanted to go,’ but what I didn’t realise was that getting the tickets was the easy bit. Trying to sort out the logistics – the flights, the accommodation – realising where all the other events are in the week and to actually to become properly apart of that wrestling community so you can talk about everything to one another, there was nothing that existed. That’s basically when I said ‘Ok, there’s something we can do here, we’re going to use our ABTA and ATOL and create a travel company in Wrestling’. We made the right connections to a point where we then created Wrestling Travel and then all of a sudden away we went… and what a crazy ride it has been!”

There is nothing ostentatious about Wrestling Travel, they can get you to where you want to be, but give you an experience, too. And that’s crucial. The wrestling world can be an esoteric place to anything but hardcore fans, but this is a company that appears to cater to all.

“The wrestling community is a powerful thing. It’s often the case that people like wrestling, but they have no one to enjoy it with. We put individuals together and give them a chance to enjoy it together on these trips, it certainly makes the wrestling community stronger and the experience richer. And we don’t do this cold. People who have paid for a trip with us in the past, we invite them to our offices and we’ve had the likes of WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett their before to greet them for free, and it’s a great opportunity to get to know the people you’ll be on the same trip with,” McAteer said.

Traditionally – and this writer can attest – you’d have to go through the likes of WWE if you wanted to attend WrestleMania and have tickets for the whole weekend and accommodation. Wrestling Travel is now bucking that trend and offering packages for the biggest promotions in the world even outside of WWE. The question is, how are they doing it?

“We’ve tried to offer the same packages as WWE, but to include flights,” McAteer explained. “Obviously, we don’t make as much money on it, but at the same time, we’re really trying to give that great service to the wrestling community. And it’s little things like putting on the bus to the Sears Center in Chicago for All Out, we’re trying to give added value.

“We’re supporting the independent scene, too. We’re very much supporting promotions like TNT in Liverpool, we’ve done travel packages for Progress, we did all the logistics for What Culture’s World Cup of Wrestling, we’re even booking flights for promotions to get talent over to the UK now, too, and we’ve got plans that go far beyond travel that will really serve wrestling fans.”

A normal businessman probably wouldn’t have targeted this industry at a glance or even had the ability to glance in the first place. But, not only is McAteer no normal businessman, but he knows wrestling extremely well. And that’s his major advantage, one that helped the company get going.

“Wrestling Travel began in the summer of 2017. Honestly, we’re just scratching the surface with this brand. I genuinely don’t even think that it has even got into second gear yet. I really don’t. It’s incredible the growth that we’ve had and obviously, we’ve had some great relationships with the likes of Starrcast and stuff like that, but I really think there is so much more.

Wrestling Travel have a presence at every major event in wrestling
Wrestling Travel

“We’re learning; we did make some mistakes with our first WrestleMania like any start-up,” McAteer admitted. “In theory, we’re a start-up, but it has the infrastructure that comes with my other businesses and we are constantly improving each show we cover.”

Having the financial backing of his other businesses is an important safety net, but Wrestling Travel is far from something just to amuse this wrestling fan; McAteer told the Telegraph last year: “I appreciate that we’ve got the weight of the group behind it, but I launched it with a £500 marketing budget and it turned over £100,000 within seven months.”

As mentioned previously, this isn’t just about getting to WrestleMania. If you want to get to any pay-per-view in wrestling – even beyond NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom and AEW’s All Out, both of which Wrestling Travel can get you to – they can create bespoke packages for you.

“We’ve got our main standard wrestling travel packages which are WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, Wrestle Kingdom, All Out – all the major promotions biggest shows basically. But, we also create bespoke packages, too. Last WrestleMania, we offered the Hall of Fame as standard in our packages, but we had a lot of people that wanted to go and see Ring of Honor and New Japan at Madison Square Garden, so we made it happen. We’ve done bachelor parties and all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff; if you have an idea in wrestling, we might be able to put it together.”

It’s an industry-wide ambition and their success is beginning to crossover into many other fields that are there for the taking.

“And that’s the thing, we’re always expanding and growing,” McAteer says proudly. “We have MMA travel, boxing travel, soccer travel and, randomly, fishing travel on the horizon with their URLs secured! Soccer travel and fishing travel – both .org – will go live on August 1, touch wood. I’ve got the next 30, 40 ideas for what to do next in my head. We’re even looking at doing Film Travel in the future because we have such good access to the comic-cons and things of that nature.”

Lee McAteer in company with Booker T, Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Psycho Sid and Eric Bischoff
Wrestling Travel

You’re not just booking your flights with an airline. You’re not just booking your accommodation with a hotel. You’re not just buying your tickets to an event. Wrestling Travel is determined to give you an experience.

“The thing with Wrestling travel is, it’s for the fans by fans. When we do our events, we roll out quality surprise guests so you never know what cool moment might unfold. At our last one, James Storm rolled up to our pre-party and we didn’t tell anybody. We’re going to have special guests throughout the week leading up to our next big events, so all sorts of weird and wonderful people will appear and we have a really big budget committed to that. For instance, if you take out one of our ‘too suite’ packages [get it?!] as we’ve already got suites sorted out at the Amalie Arena in Tampa where WrestleMania 36 will go down – chances are you’re going to be watching it with a former WWE wrestler, a legend or something like that.

“It’s all about creating an experience that you wouldn’t normally get with just buying a ticket, because the reality is if people don’t want to be looked after like we look after people every step of the way, if you want to penny-pinch, then you might be able to save a few hundred quid,” McAteer candidly said. “But, take last WrestleMania for example: we had a load of people that all lost their tickets and we couldn’t replace them. So we ended up buying four new tickets – which cost us a boatload of money – to save their experience. We had two people go to the emergency room which we then looked after and on top of that, because we are ABTA and ATOL, all of our customers money is protected. So that’s the main thing with Wrestling Travel, we’re there to hold your hand, give you the information for shows that you wouldn’t normally know.”

As part of their meteoric rise in just two years, Wrestling Travel has become a recurring sponsor of Starrcast, a fan convention that takes place on the same weekends as AEW pay-per-views. Would you believe that this deal was done while McAteer was at the cinema watching Mission Impossible?

“It’s actually a funny story. Conrad had tweet out that he was looking to partner up with a travel company for Starrcast and loads of people were tagging me in his post. I was in the cinema watching the new Mission Impossible film and my phone was blowing up like crazy! So I followed Conrad, he followed me back, I messaged him and told him what a big fan I was of everything he does and I’d actually been to his first-ever live show. What’s even more ironic was the fact that Jeff Jarrett was at that show! Within half an hour of the film I’d sent him money via PayPal to become one of his sponsors [laughs]. We’ve both got pretty damn good records as negotiators but we came to an agreement very quickly and our relationship has only gone from strength to strength,” McAteer said.

On top of his many ventures, McAteer is an associate director for Tranmere Rovers, a side that won promotion to League One in the English Football League. To have achieved all of this by the age of 35 is nothing short of remarkable, if not spectacular. Wrestling Travel are even going to be Tranmere’s social media sponsor and there is plenty of examples already of McAteer making high-profile wrestlers Tranmere fans!

A consultant of Tranmere had read that McAteer was a fan in a newspaper article and decided to reach out to him. She would introduce the Wrestling Travel head honcho to chairman Mark Palios and manager Mickey Mellon and although he didn’t realise it, they were vetting him to come aboard. They did for three-and-a-half hours, in fact.

Lee McAteer with Tranmere chairman Mark Palios and new fan, Jeff Jarrett
Wrestling Travel

McAteer was blissfully unaware he was even interviewing for a position on the board, but the end result was a dream come true for a lifelong fan. It seems like McAteer’s flair for success in business follows him into football clubs too as his beloved Tranmere have enjoyed two successive promotions since he joined the club officially.

McAteer’s drive and vision are impressive in their own right, but one of the smartest things he seems to have done is meticulously pick his team that comprises Wrestling Travel. They’re all love wrestling to varying degrees and have the same non-stop work ethic that keeps McAteer and many of his employees travelling around the world on a weekly basis.

On the surface, Wrestling Travel is here to help fans get to the events they’ve always dreamt to see. It’s in the name in a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin kind of way. But, the key difference with Wrestling Travel lies in their commitment to the wrestling industry and its fans at large. It’s a two-fold operation almost that results in the betterment of wrestling full stop.

If you hadn’t deduced this company’s love for the business during this interview, then checking out their social media pages – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – and their website will show you how seriously they take being involved at the heart of the wrestling community. They will tweet nostalgic moments, breaking news and at the same time, their Instagram story will give you highlights from a TNT show or many others that they attend.

Lee McAteer on TV presenting
Wrestling Travel

“The difference with us is we give a shit. We want to be at the epicenter of the wrestling community. And we are getting there, but I see it in three tiers. We want to back that local wrestling show around the corner with talent that needs to be able to earn their stripes. I want to be a sponsor of that. Then there’s sponsoring people like your TNTs, ICW and the big domestic shows and beyond that, of course, are the AEWs, WWEs and even travelling to Wrestle Kingdom for New Japan, we do all of that and we want to be at the heart of it all.

If you want help getting somewhere or there’s someone you want to meet, we want to try and make that happen. Our Wrestling Travel jackets, for example, are becoming the new Ribera jackets! Bret Hart has one, Natalya wanted one, Cody Rhodes and the list goes on.”

Wrestling Travel wanted to become apart of the furniture in the wrestling industry, but push it forward too. They’ve already done that in a respectful well and one has to guess they are far from done with their US expansion already in full swing.

Wesley Moraes: Aston Villa signing’s movement and ability to link play could make him a Premier League hit

22 Jul

Every year it can be fascinating to follow the strategies used by clubs newly promoted to the Premier League to build their squad.

Take this year, for example, as the likes of Norwich City, promoted as champions, have made small alterations and re-signed existing players on improved contracts.

Contrast this approach to Aston Villa, who have spent at around the £100million mark, and we immediately see the differences in strategy emerge.

Wesley in Champions League action against Borussia Dortmund last season.
Getty Images

One of the players signed by Aston Villa for this coming season is Brazilian forward Wesley who has signed from Club Brugge for a reported £22m.

This signing appears to be a clear reaction to the loss of the young English forward Tammy Abraham, who has returned to Chelsea following the end of his loan spell, with Wesley offering a similar playing profile.

Both are physically imposing forwards who are capable of leading the line on their own or playing with a second forward alongside them.

When we look beyond that, however, we start to see differences between the two. Abraham, despite being younger, has a higher ceiling and is better with the ball at feet. Wesley, on the other hand, is a more instinctive finisher in and around the penalty area at this stage of his career.

The Brazilian displays excellent movement and timing in the box. He is especially adept at playing on the blind side of the nearest defender before making late movements that take him into space when the ball is being played into the penalty area.

To fully understand the potential impact Wesley may have this season for Aston Villa we first have to consider the kind of systems that he was used to playing in whilst in Belgium.

Wyscout

Here we see the most used formations by Club Brugge over the course of the 2018/19 season. As you can see they spent 73% of their time in either a 3-5-2 or a 3-5-1-1.

In each of these systems, Wesley was used to playing with close support, allowing him to combine before moving into the penalty area.

Wyscout

The heatmap for Wesley last season shows a striker who played inside the penalty area a great deal but who could also drop into deeper positions in order to bring others into play.

His ability to hold the ball up and bring other players into play could well be key for Aston Villa as they prepare for life in the top flight.

Wyscout

The shot map for Wesley over the course of the 2018/19 season is also helpful in allowing Villa fans to understand the kind of forward that they have signed.

As you can clearly see the clear majority of shots from the forward were concentrated in the penalty area. This will be fine going forward if Villa are able to provide the kind of service that Wesley will thrive from.

In a side that struggles for consistent possession and will have to play on the counter-attack, though, the Brazilian will have to be more adept at creating his own chances. 

Wyscout

Now we need to consider the systems that Dean Smith used at Villa last season. As you can see 4-1-4-1 was the most commonly used system although 4-3-3 was used in 25% of the season.

The focus for Wesley will be on making sure the two central midfielders are capable of moving into supporting positions when Villa are in possession. Otherwise, we may see Wesley largely isolated.

In this tactical analysis, we examine him more closely to show Aston Villa fans what they can expect from their new forward.

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Intelligent Movement

When watching Wesley play, with his side in possession, the first thing that jumps out is that the Brazilian is fantastic with his movement to create space in the penalty area.

At the top level of football, the difference between a striker who scores consistently and one who consistently fails to find the net is their movement in the penalty area.

Watch Wesley closely and you will often see the forward isolate a defender and then pull away into a pocket of space while the ball is in the wide areas. 

Wyscout

Here we see Wesley moving in towards the penalty area as his teammate attacks in the wide-right area.

The key in finding space from the forward comes in the way that he originally makes a movement towards the far post, dragging a defender with him, Wesley then changes direction and sprints in front of the covering defender in order to meet the cross at the front post.

This type of movement is designed to pull defenders out of position and force them off balance. The forward player can then take advantage of the fact the defenders are not set through quick changes of direction in order to attack either the front post or far post.

Wesley is excellent at timing these changes of direction in order to find a pocket of space that he can exploit.

Wyscout

We see a similar situation here with the ball this time on the opposite side of the field.

On this occasion we see Wesley isolated against a single defender in the middle of the penalty area.

The defender, initially, is in a good position and will feel as though he has the threat of Wesley controlled. As soon as the defender turns his attention towards the ball, however, we see the forward take advantage to attack the space.

The defender’s attention turns away from Wesley and, as it does, the Brazilian forward bursts past him on his blind side (behind) and attacks the front post. This is an instant cue for the wide player and the ball is played immediately to meet the run of the forward.

Aerial Ability

While we see the movement from Wesley allowing him to find space in the area and he is a strong finisher with his feet when the ball is on the ground, he is arguably more dominant in the air.

The same kinds of movement, occupying the blindside and timing runs across the face of the defensive players, allow him to meet balls played across the face of goal at speed and with excellent timing.

Wesley, however, is equally comfortable when challenging defensive players for 50/50 high balls, whether winning headers or simply looking to bring others into play through flick on’s. This is of course an aspect of his game that should go down well in the Premier League.

Wyscout

We see once again in this example that Wesley once again times his movements in the penalty area perfectly.

With the ball in the wide area on the right-hand side the forward is initially marked by two defensive players. As the ball is about to be played in, however, we see Wesley make a move in front of the front post defender in order to meet the cross and head towards goal.

Wyscout

This time the initial pass comes from a deeper position.

It is now a common theme but you can see that Wesley has initially positioned himself behind the covering defender on that players blindside.

From this initial position the forward will make eye contact with the man in possession of the ball before making a quick angled run across the face of the defender.

He is then free to meet the cross at full pace in space in the penalty area. Once again Wesley gets a headed shot at goal.

Linking Play

In modern football, of course, it is important that a forward player is more than just a penalty box predator. They have to be able to hold the ball up in order to bring others into play and make movements that will drag defensive players out of position.

Wesley, as a player who profiles as a traditional target man, is strong when it comes to holding the ball up. He is also underrated when it comes to bringing others into play and linking with midfielders in the attacking phase. His touch and vision allow him to play quickly with one or two touches.

Wyscout

In this example, we see Wesley initially isolated against more than one defender as his team are looking to access the final third.

In order to facilitate this the forward drops off the attacking line into a deeper position. This movement allows the ball to be progressed into him and Wesley has the strength and balance to receive the ball and hold off the defensive players.

As soon as the ball is played into Wesley however he shifts it backwards at an angle to a supporting player. This immediately changes the angle of attack to catch the defence out as they shift towards Wesley to close the ball down.

The forward is then able to spin and move into the penalty area looking for the next pass.

Wyscout

A similar situation here but this time the starting position for Wesley is noticeably deeper.

As the ball is progressed into the wide-area we see the ball immediately played inside into the pocket of space that Wesley has occupied.

As the ball comes into the Brazilian he does not even take the ball down but immediately plays a volley into the path of a midfielder who is advancing from a deeper line.

This pass from Wesley shows his technique and understanding of space as he releases a teammate who is moving into a better position. After playing this pass in the first instance we again see Wesley look to run into advanced areas to enter the penalty area.

Conclusion

Signing forward players form the Belgian top flight carries with it the same risk as signing them from the Dutch Eredivisie.

It can be difficult to accurately judge the level of opposition that they have played against to this point in their career. The first few matches of the season will give us a better indication as to whether Wesley will be able to physically dominate English defenders as he has done elsewhere.

Aston Villa have spent and bet big on their return to the top flight. It will be interesting to see whether this strategy is successful in helping them survive and kick on at the Premier League level.

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July’s Total Football Analysis magazine
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WWE Vs AEW: ‘Wednesday night wars’ on the way with both companies set to launch shows in October

22 Jul

The world of professional wrestling will be getting a facelift in October.

Although no official date has been announced, All Elite Wrestling are set to premiere their weekly TV show on TNT and ITV4 in October.

Tony Khan is the president of AEW
Getty/talkSPORT

WWE will be moving SmackDown Live to FOX in the U.S. in a deal worth over $1 billion over the next five years. It will also see the Blue Brand move to Friday nights.

AEW have trademarked the name ‘Wednesday Night Dynamite’ which would seem to giveaway what night of the week their show will debut on.

However, another interesting wrinkle in this story is what Dave Meltzer have reported about WWE.

He believes that FOX are interested in having NXT – which airs on the WWE Network on Wednesday nights – air on one of their sub-channels.

HHH is the genius behind NXT
WWE

That would pit them directly against AEW and although that deal isn’t done, if it was, it would signal WWE’s intention to face AEW head-on.

It’s not going to be the old Monday night wars – it’s going to be the Wednesday night wars!

King of the garage: Cadillac’s app can help find open parking spots

22 Jul
Cadillac Marketplace ParkWhiz parking appCadillac owners can now find parking and pay for a spot even before they arrive. General Motors' luxury brand said Friday that ParkWhiz will be availalbe in the Cadillac Marketplace in-car app system. Marketplace provides owners a digital mall of apps to order food, reserve tables, and now pay for parking ahead of time. Cadillac's app follows...

Chelsea transfer news: Ethan Ampadu joins RB Leipzig on season-long loan

22 Jul

Chelsea teenager Ethan Ampadu has joined RB Leipzig on a season-long loan.

The versatile 18-year-old, who can play in defence or midfield, failed to make a single Premier League appearance under Maurizio Sarri last season.

He did not travel with the Blues on their pre-season tour of China and new boss Frank Lampard is keen for him to gain more first-team experience.

“I tried to sign Ethan on loan at Derby last year, so I’m a big fan,” he said.

“But with the minutes he played last year, in the interest of Ethan and of Chelsea, the idea he can play a lot of games somewhere could be good for him.

“I really wanted to work with Ethan this year. That’s a slight disappointment, but it’s to benefit of him. In midfield and defence we have a lot of quality, so each player is a case by case.”

More to follow…

Boxing news: Eddie Hearn on rumour Anthony Joshua wants New York return for Andy Ruiz Jr rematch and reveals leading location

22 Jul

Anthony Joshua has the chance to reclaim the world titles he lost in June when he takes on Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch later this year.

AJ will get his contractually obliged rematch, but we still do not have a solid date or place where this will happen.

Andy Ruiz Jr knocked out Anthony Joshua on June 1
getty images

The Watford-born heavyweight lost his IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA (super) heavyweight titles to the Mexican-American in New York and there had been rumours that AJ was lobbying to go back to the scene of his first defeat to truly right that wrong.

Matchroom boxing kingpin Eddie Hearn stopped by talkSPORT studios today with Luke Campbell and Vasyl Lomachenko – who will do battle at the O2 on August 31 – and spoke to us about a few boxing topics.

Chief among them was where AJ’s rematch with Ruiz Jr will be. Does Joshua really want to return to Madison Square Garden?

Joshua was stopped in the seventh round by Ruiz Jr in a stunning upset
GETTY

“No, I don’t think so. The problem with AJ is, he doesn’t care,” Hearn said. “He just sees it as a ring. So I’ll say ‘look, we’ve got to make a decision’ and he’ll say ‘yeah, wherever you want it’. And I’ll say ‘No, but you’ve got to make the decision’ and I don’t want to be the guy making it and he’ll say ‘No, seriously, I don’t mind’.

“There’s more money in New York, but it would be amazing to bring it to the UK. And, I think the general consensus of the training team is ‘no, do it in the UK. What are you even thinking about?!’ Because it’s not about the money. He doesn’t need the money. It’s about winning the fight, it’s about the occasion, where is he more comfortable. He says, honestly, a ring is a ring. But honestly, right now, Cardiff [on December 14] looks like the frontrunner.”


WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will be live at the talkSPORT studios next Friday on the Jim White Show, but if you can’t wait till then to hear from one of the biggest names in boxing you can catch the Bronze Bomber in the flesh at the famous ICC Arena in Birmingham on July 27 for his UK tour with Showfighter and Gold Star. talkSPORT will be in attendance so for more details head to eventbrite.co.uk and you can get your tickets From showfighter.co.uk

Willian to be given number 10 shirt at Chelsea after Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid and fans are fuming

22 Jul

Willian has confirmed he will be taking the number 10 shirt at Chelsea, previously held by Eden Hazard .

The Belgium winger left Stamford Bridge this summer to join Real Madrid in a deal worth up to £130million after add-ons.

Willian is Chelsea’s new No.10
getty images

In his place, Blues fans were hoping a natural successor would emerge from within the club given the transfer ban imposed by FIFA.

New signing Christian Pulisic is a potential heir to Hazard’s vacant left-wing spot, with Callum Hudson-Odoi also making serious waves in west London.

Callum Hudson-Odoi was reportedly set to take the number from Hazard to keep him from Bayern Munich’s clutches
getty images

A target for Bayern Munich, it was suggested the Blues would offer the England international Hazard’s old number in order to convince him to snub the Bundesliga champions.

But in a recent interview with Brazilian TV show Desimpedidos, Willian confirmed he had been offered the No.10 shirt and would be taking it instead of his old number 22 shirt.

The 30-year-old wore the prestigious number for Brazil at the recent Copa America tournament, having also donned the 10 shirt for Shakhtar Donetsk.

Despite his impressive pedigree and diligence, some fans are really not happy with Chelsea’s decision to give the shirt number to Willian, especially ahead of the likes of Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic.

Scroll down to see what they have said.

Cricket World Cup final umpire admits awarding England extra run against New Zealand was a mistake

22 Jul

Umpire Kumar Dharmasena has admitted to making a ‘judgemental error’ in the last over of the Cricket World Cup final between England and New Zealand.

In bizarre circumstances, Martin Guptil’s throw deflected off Ben Stokes’ bat to the boundary as he was coming back to complete the second run.

The ball deflected off Ben Stokes bat and went to the boundary in the final over
Getty Images - Getty

After a consultation with fellow umpire Marais Erasmus, six runs were awarded to England.

According to the laws of the game, just five should have been given because the batsmen had not crossed when Guptil threw the ball.

That run proved decisive as England matched New Zealand’s 241 to take the game to a super over.

The hosts went on to lift the trophy in dramatic fashion at Lord’s.

Dharmasena told the Sri Lankan Sunday Times: “It’s easy for people to comment after seeing TV replay.

“I agree that there was a judgmental error when I see it on TV replays now. But we did not have the luxury of TV replays at the ground, and I will never regret the decision I made.

“I did consult the leg umpire (Erasmus) through the communication system which is heard by all other umpires and the match referee.

“While they cannot check TV replays, they all confirmed that the batsmen have completed the second run. This is when I made my decision.

“Besides, the ICC praised me for the decision I made at that time.”

Jason Roy was not happy with umpire Kumar Dharmasena after being given out against Australia
Getty Images - Getty

It was not the first time Dharmasena was the cause of a controversial decision during the tournament.

In England’s semi-final with Australia, he gave Jason Roy out for edging the ball to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

Roy was furious about the decision but had to walk off and replays showed that he had in fact not touched the ball.

Celtic, Rangers and Wolves discover potential opponents for Champions League and Europa League qualifying

22 Jul

Celtic will come up against either Romanian side Cluj or Maccabi Tel-Aviv of Israel should they progress to the Champions League third qualifying round.

The Scottish champions still have a second qualifying-round tie against Estonian champions Nomme Kalju to navigate as they look to keep alive hopes of making the lucrative group stages.

Celtic beat Sarajevo 5-2 on aggregate after two legs
Getty Images - Getty

Neil Lennon’s men saw off Sarajevo in their opening European tie of the new campaign. Should Celtic progress again, the third-round matches will be played on August 6/7 and 13.

The Europa League third-qualifying round draw also took place on Monday and Wolves were paired against either Pyunik of Armenia or Czech side Jablonec should they get there.

The Premier League side face Northern Ireland’s Crusaders in the second round.

Elsewhere, Rangers were drawn against Danish club Midtjylland should they get past Luxembourg side Progres Niederkorn, while Aberdeen were paired against HNK Rijeka of Croatia or Georgian club Chikhura Sachkhere.

The third-qualifying round ties will be played on August 8 and 15, with the winners going on to the Europa League play-off round.