Bale fit to play as Madrid target win against Alaves

Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui has confirmed Gareth Bale is fit and ready to play as Real Madrid look to end their goal drought against Alaves on Saturday. Madrid have gone three games without scoring, after their surprise Champions League loss to CSKA Moscow on Tuesday followed a draw against Atletico Madrid and defeat to Sevilla. Bale came off at half-time against Atletico last weekend and sat out the trip to Russia in midweek after feeling discomfort in his groin. Tests, however, have shown the injury is not serious. READ ALSO: Spain, Morocco in talks to repatriate migrant minors “He’s f ...

Gundogan out, Sane in as Loew names Germany squad

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan was left out as Germany coach Joachim Loew named a 23-man squad for upcoming Nations League matches against the Netherlands and France. Gundogan hobbled off clutching his hamstring in the 2-1 Champions League win at Hoffenheim in midweek. But club-mate Leroy Sane, sensationally left at home by Loew for the World Cup, returns to the fold after pulling out of the squad for the first round of Nations Cup matches after his partner gave birth to their baby daughter. READ ALSO: Zimbabwe to cut government jobs, says Minister Sane came off the bench towards th ...

Man United should stick with Mourinho, says Scholes

Paul Scholes believes Manchester United should stick with under-fire manager Jose Mourinho but says he is “sick of him moaning” about what he is lacking at the club. Pressure is mounting on the 55-year-old after a four-game winless streak that has seen them bow out of the League Cup and made this their worst start to a league campaign in 29 years. Former United and England midfielder Scholes has been one of Mourinho’s most outspoken critics and labelled the Portuguese boss “embarrassing” before Tuesday’s goalless Champions League draw with Valencia. Scholes even expressed his surprise that Mou ...

UPDATED: Ronaldo doing well, ready to play, says Allegri

Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to play for Juventus against Udinese this weekend despite the rape claims made against him, coach Massimiliano Allegri said on Friday as the Italian champions try to maintain their perfect start to the Serie A season. “Ronaldo is doing well, he is ready to play. His professionalism and his composure on and off the pitch are not in question,” Allegri told a press conference on Friday. “He is ready to return to action tomorrow.” READ ALSO: Zimbabwe to cut government jobs, says Minister US police said Monday they had re-opened an investigation into accusations by former ...

China Open: Osaka apologises to beaten Beijing opponent

US Open champion Naomi Osaka said that she apologised to beaten opponent Zhang Shuai for her emotional behaviour in their roller-coaster China Open quarter-final on Friday. The 20-year-old Japanese fought back tears — and rescued a match that was slipping away from her — to defeat the unseeded home hope 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 to reach the Beijing semi-finals. Osaka, who looked glum even in victory and had flung her racquet around during the match, embraced Zhang at the end. “I was basically apologising because I feel like today I was more emotional than what I normally am trying to be like,” said the w ...

Joshua’s camp makes ‘much-improved’ offer for Wilder fight

Anthony Joshua’s representatives have made a “much-improved” offer for a world heavyweight title unification fight against WBC champion, Deontay Wilder but so far the overtures have been rebuffed, promoter Eddie Hearn has said. The 28-year-old Joshua, who holds the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO crowns, stopped Russian Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium in September and is locked in to stage his next bout at the same venue in April next year. Wilder, who is scheduled to fight Tyson Fury in Los Angeles on December 1, labelled Joshua a “coward” at a news conference on Monday for failing to secure a bo ...

Sarri hopes Morata goal can spark return to form

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has backed forward Alvaro Morata to “restart” his season after the Spaniard scored in the 1-0 Europa League victory over Hungarian champions Vidi on Thursday. The goal was Morata’s second in 10 appearances this season but the striker also had a glaring miss in the first half, shooting wide when one-on-one with the goalkeeper to underline his continuing crisis of confidence. Morata missed several other chances before scoring 20 minutes from time and Sarri is hopeful the striker will gain enough confidence from the goal to kickstart his season. READ ALSO: Court jai ...

UPDATED: Juventus shares lose 5% amid Ronaldo accusations

US sportswear giant Nike says it is “deeply concerned” by rape allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo and shares in Italian champions Juventus fell over five percent on the Italian stock exchange on Friday. Portuguese star Ronaldo is one of the world’s top athletes and boasts a number of lucrative sponsorship contracts. But his relationship with Nike, which is rumoured to be worth $1 billion dollars (869 million euros), could be in jeopardy after police in Las Vegas announced this week they were reopening a rape case after allegations made by a former model, Kathryn Mayorga, relating to an inci ...

Man United’s form not good enough, Mourinho admits 

Jose Mourinho acknowledged on Friday that Manchester United’s current run of form is unacceptable as he battles to turn around their season. READ ALSO: Motorist beats woman to a pulp for scratching car The 55-year-old Portuguese is under enormous pressure, with United in their worst position after seven league matches since 1989 — they are 10th, nine points adrift of the top two Manchester City and Liverpool — and a public dispute with star player Paul Pogba has sewn discord in the dressing room. His side are looking to end a run of four home matches without a win -– their worst run at Old Tra ...

China Open: Osaka survives huge scare to reach semis

US Open champion Naomi Osaka overcame her emotions to roar back and defeat unseeded Zhang Shuai 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a roller-coaster China Open quarter-final on Friday. The 20-year-old Japanese was broken on her first two service games and had tears in her eyes as the match threatened to slip away in the second set. READ ALSO: Family forgets five-year-old daughter at airport But the world number six gathered herself and — although she continued to look glum and flung her racquet about — found the resolve to pull through over three nail-biting sets. Osaka faces either of the unseeded duo of Latvia ...