Nov 242017
Barcelona´s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi poses with his four Golden Shoe awards after receiving the 2017 European Golden Shoe honouring the year´s leading goalscorer during a ceremony at the Antigua Fabrica Estrella Damm in Barcelona on November 24, 2017. Photo: AFP

BARCELONA: Lionel Messi insisted he was getting better with age after receiving the European Golden Shoe award for the fourth time on Friday.

The 30-year-old Argentine won the prize for being the top scorer in Europe´s leading leagues last season after netting 37 times for Barcelona.

Barcelona´s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) receives the 2017 European Golden Shoe honoring the year´s leading goalscorer from his teammate Barcelona´s Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez during a ceremony at the Antigua Fabrica Estrella Damm in Barcelona on November 24, 2017. Photo: AFP

“I have always said that I don´t consider myself to be a striker, but I have been lucky enough to always score goals and win individual prizes,” the five-time Ballon d´Or winner said after being handed the trophy at a ceremony in Barcelona.

“As I have progressed off the field, I think I have also done so on the pitch.

“I have improved and added things to my game and I enjoy myself more and more every day as a player.”

Messi won the trophy ahead of Bas Dost, who scored 34 goals for Sporting Lisbon last season, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, on target 31 times for Borussia Dortmund.

Barcelona´s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi kisses his son Thiago after receiving the 2017 European Golden Shoe honoring the year´s leading goalscorer during a ceremony at the Antigua Fabrica Estrella Damm in Barcelona on November 24, 2017. Photo: AFP

Previously the winner in 2010, 2012 and 2013, Messi equals Cristiano Ronaldo in claiming a fourth Golden Shoe. The Real Madrid superstar was the winner in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015.

Messi succeeds his Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez, the 2016 winner who handed over the trophy on Friday.

Messi is on top of the scorers´ charts in La Liga again this season, with 12 goals in 12 games.

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Nov 242017
?I thought you were smarter? - outspoken Lyon taunts media

Nathan Lyon earned reward for his impressive display, Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 2nd day, November 24, 2017/Getty ImagesBRISBANE: Nathan Lyon taunted media by saying “I thought you were smarter than that” as he insisted his controversial comments about ending English careers during the Ashes were just a smokescreen.Lyon found himself in the firing line over his remarks before the first Test, but he said he was being deliberately provocative to take the heat off Australia´s left-field selections.Australia´s all-time leading off-spinner said he had no regrets about the comments, when asked on Friday if he would say the same thing again.“I took a lot of pressure off Tim Paine and Cameron Bancroft, I thought you guys (media) were a little bit smarter than that but it is what it is,” Lyon laughed.“I am not going to stand back from what I said and I am confident in my own bowling.”Lyon told reporters ahead of the first Test that many in the England squad remain shaken after their 5-0 defeat in Australia four years ago, and that Australia hoped to “end careers” in the current series.Lyon, 30, was one of Australia´s stars as the hosts fought back to dismiss the tourists for 302. They trail by 137 runs with six wickets in hand after day two in Brisbane.After a spectacular run-out on day one, Lyon claimed two wickets off 36 overs as the Australians captured the last six English wickets for 56 on Friday.Lyon, dubbed the GOAT (Greatest Of All [Read More…]

Nov 242017
Kamran Akmal, Salman Butt score world?s highest T20 opening partnership

Kamran Akmal is also the first ever Pakistani and the first wicket-keeper batsman to score 150 runs in a T20 inningKARACHI: Pakistan’s wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal and former captain Salman Butt put up the highest-ever T20 partnership for the opening wicket on Friday, creating a world record by scoring 209 runs between them.The feat saw the two batsmen beat the previous best of 207 by Kent’s JL Denly and DJ Bell-Drummond against Essex in English county cricket. This is also the third highest ever partnership for any wicket in a T20 inning.During the same inning, Kamran also became the first ever Pakistani and the first wicket-keeper batsman to score 150 runs in a T20 match.The 35-year old out-of-favour batsman smashed 12 sixes and 14 fours to score an unbeaten 150 for Lahore Whites against Islamabad in National T20 Cup in Rawalpindi.He also surpassed South Africa’s Quinton de Kock to post the highest individual T20 score by a wicket-keeper; the South African wicket-keeper had scored 126* before Kamran overtook him by scoring an unbeaten 150 today.The opener is the first Pakistani and 8th overall to score 150 or more in a T20 inning. His score of 150* is the 10th highest individual score in the shortest format of professional cricket. Kamran Akmal becomes first Pakistani to score four consecutive 50s in T20sKamran joined 15 other batsmen from around the world who have scored four consecutive 50s The inning has also helped Kamran Akmal to become the first Pakistani and only third [Read More…]

Nov 242017
Smith defies England as Australia fight back in Ashes

Smith and Marsh put up a vital partnership on day two of first Ashes Test/Cricket Australia BRISBANE: Skipper Steve Smith led a rescue mission to revive Australia´s fortunes after a top-order batting collapse in the Ashes Test against England in Brisbane on Friday.Home hopes rested on Smith to mount a fighting rearguard after the loss of four wickets in a faltering chase after England´s first innings of 302 at the Gabba.At the close on the second day, the Australians were 165 for four and trailing by 137 runs, with Smith unbeaten on 64 and Shaun Marsh not out 44.It left the match intriguingly poised once again after England ended day one in a similar position before collapsing before lunch on Friday.Smith was then thrust into another high pressure situation after Australia suffered a now-familiar batting malfunction.England had done their homework, encircling Smith with fielders and trying to frustrate the fidgety Australian captain into playing a rash shot. But Smith, Test cricket´s top-rated batsman, stepped up to the challenge with a defiant knock off 148 balls.Marsh, 34, recalled for an eighth time to the Test team, provided stout support to his skipper off 122 balls to share in an unbroken 89-run stand. The tourists had the Australians on the ropes with three batsmen out in the middle session, including the prized scalp of David Warner. James Anderson dismissed Pete Handscomb for his first wicket of the match/Getty ImagesWarner attempted to pull newcomer Jake Ball through the leg-side only to find Dawid Malan [Read More…]

Nov 242017
Villarreal and Nice head into Europa League knockout round

Spain’s Villarreal and France’s Nice were among the qualifiers for the knockout stage of the Europa League, with one game remaining to play, after wins on Thursday.Arsenal lost to Cologne 1-0 in Germany but still finish top of Group H while Hertha Berlin crash out of the competition after a 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao.Villarreal moved into the next round after beating Astana 3-2 to end the Kazakh club’s 17-game unbeaten run.Substitute Cedric Bakambu scored twice after being introduced on the hour to put Villarreal 3-1 up and an 88th-minute Patrick Twumasi goal for the hosts made no difference.Italian Mario Balotelli scored twice, including a penalty, for Nice as they went through from Group K with a 3-1 victory over Belgium’s Zulte Waregem.European debutants Ostersunds, who now top Group J with ten points, triumphed 2-0 at home to Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk, taking the lead through an own goal from Dmytro Hrechyshkin in the 40th minute before a long-range effort from Saman Ghoddos secured the win 13 minutes from the end.Salzburg enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win over Portugal’s Vitoria Guimares thanks to goals from Israeli Moanes Dabour, Andrea Ulmer and South Korean Hwang Hee-chan.Viktoria Plzen progress after a 2-0 win over Romania’s Steaua Bucharest which came after second-half goals from Milan Petrzela and Jan Kopic.Arsenal were already assured of progress before their trip to Germany but will still be disappointed to have a fallen to the Bundesliga’s bottom club.Sehrou Guirassy’s 62nd-minute penalty, after he was brought down by Mathieu Debuchy, [Read More…]

Nov 232017
Iran allows women weightlifters to compete internationally

FileWomen weightlifters from Iran will be allowed to compete internationally for the first time, the president of the country’s weightlifting federation said on Thursday.In a sign of changing attitudes, Saudi Arabia also confirmed the setting up of a women’s programme, opening the way to the country also fielding a national women’s team six years after the sport’s governing body allowed the wearing of the hijab, in competition.Iran has one of the world’s strongest weightlifting cultures and its men have won seven Olympic gold medals this century.Ali Moradi, president of the Iranian Weightlifting Federation, said, ”We have established the Iran Weightlifting Federation Women’s Committee and we have talented female athletes.“They have high capacity like men athletes, and I hope that, wearing special clothes for Muslim athletes, they will be able to take part in international championships in the near future.”Attila Adamfi, director general of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), said: “This is good news, and it’s very significant in Iran, where weightlifting is at the highest level for men, and zero level for women.”Mohammed Alharbi, president of the Saudi Arabia Weightlifting Federation, also confirmed that a new women’s programme had been set up.Iran and Saudi Arabia are the biggest Islamic nations yet to compete in female weightlifting.Both countries field men’s teams at the IWF World Championships in Anaheim, California, starting next week, and are expected to announce more details there.Moradi has invited the United States to Iran for the Fajr Cup, an international invitation competition for men, in Ahvaz in March. [Read More…]

Nov 232017
Brazil striker Robinho handed nine-year term for rape

Former AC Milan and Real Madrid striker Robinho was sentenced to nine years in prison in Italy on Thursday after he was convicted of gang rape, according to local media reports.The alleged incident occurred in January 2013, when Robinho was playing for Milan in Serie A. He was found guilty in absentia by an Italian court for sexually assaulting a 22-year-old Albanian woman.Five other people were also accused of the same crime, but their sentences are not yet known.According to Milan daily Corriere della Sera, Robinho and five friends made the young woman drink “to the point of making her unconscious and unable to resist”. They were then said to have engaged in “sexual intercourse multiple times in a row” with her.Robinho has denied the charges and can appeal the decision.The 33-year-old is currently playing for Atletico Mineiro in Brazil. He has 100 international caps for his country. Click for detailed story

Nov 232017
Birthday boy Ahmad Shahzad joins 5,000 T20 runs club

KARACHI: Pakistan’s flamboyant and out-of-favor opening batsman Ahmad Shahzad doubled his joy on Thursday by reaching the milestone of 5,000 runs in T20 Cricket, the second Pakistani to achieve the feat.Shahzad reached this milestone with an innings of 27 against Rawalpindi for Lahore on Thursday, also his 26th birthday.Talking to, the 26-year-old batsman said that to be the quickest Pakistani to reach 5,000 runs gives him immense pleasure and hunger to score more.He termed the achievement as special and close to his heart.“Being the quickest Pakistani to reach 5,000 T20 runs is very close to my heart and it can only pump me to go further and work harder on my batting and make further records,” the flamboyant batsman added.Before Shahzad, Shoaib Malik was the first Pakistani to reach the milestone of 5,000 T20 runs. Malik is currently Pakistan’s top T20 run scorer with 7,295 runs to his credit in the shortest format of professional cricket.Shahzad, reached the milestone in the 181st innings of his career, surpassing Malik’s record of 182 innings to become the quickest from Pakistan to complete 5,000 T20 runs.The opening batsman, who was struggling with form earlier, has so far looked in decent form during the ongoing National T20 tournament scoring 215 runs in six innings with help of two half-centuries. Click for detailed story

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