Manchester United are ready to splash £15m on Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez.The 21-year-old has broken into the first-team this season and made nine league starts for the Spanish side.United have scouted the Spain under-21 international several times this term and are now ready to make a concrete offer.The Premier League giants, according to Cadena Cope, will offer £15m for Niguez.But Atletico are reluctant to part with the talented midfielder, who has been with the club since he was 16.As a result any offer from United is likely to be rejected. 1 Saul Niguez
1 Zlatan Ibrahimovi? won’t be short of options when his contract expires in the summer.The Sweden international will become a free agent at the end of the season having confirmed, after Paris Saint-Germain wrapped up the Ligue 1 title with eight games to spare, that he won’t be extending his stay in the French capital.And, the latest reports claim the striker is eyeing a move to London, with it stated that Arsenal have been offered his signature.Arsene Wenger has since spoken of his surprise at the speculation, but that hasn’t stopped supporters from getting a little excited… Zlatan Ibrahimovic will become a free agent in the summer
1 Football fans the world over took to Twitter to applaud Joe Hart’s heroics in the Champions League. Manchester City drew 0-0 with Real Madrid at the Etihad, in the first leg of the semi finals, and the England man was key in keeping a clean sheet. He made a number of good saves, including one in the closing stages of the match [pictured], when he denied Pepe from point-blank range. Transfer rumours suggest that incoming City boss Pep Guardiola wants to bring a new shot-stopper with him to Manchester, but if he saw this game he may reconsider. See some of the best reaction, below: Joe Hart: The England goalkeeper impressed against Real Madrid
1 Randy Lerner will receive £30m after Aston Villa won promotion getty Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has told talkSPORT fans must abandon any dreams for the future until owner Randy Lerner is out of the club.The Villans are reportedly readying a mass squad clear out this summer as they start preparing for life in the Championship following their relegation from the top flight.But the Midlands club is in turmoil off the pitch as well as on it. They are still without a full-time manager, while a number of board members have resigned in recent weeks.Meanwhile, unpopular owner Lerner – who recently admitted their relegation ‘lies at my feet and no one else’s’ – has also confirmed he is still seeking to sell the clubAnd Hitzlsperger, who made over 100 appearances for the Villa, believes a takeover must happen BEFORE any next manager or new players talk can start.“It’s been tough for Aston Villa, not just this season but for the past few seasons,” he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“You can almost say we could see it coming. This season has been really depressing.“You can talk about new managers and new players coming in, but first of all Randy Lerner has to sell the club.“A new owner has to come in and change the club, get the fans on board again and hopefully come back up to the Premier League as quickly as possible.”
Bayern Munich defender Medhi Benatia 1 Arsenal have begun negotiations over a deal for Bayern Munich defender Medhi Benatia, according to reports in France.The 29-year-old is looking for a way out of the Allianz Arena this summer after falling down the pecking order.And with the German champions completing the signing of Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels, Benatia is now deemed surplus to requirements.As a result, according to Foot Mercato, Arsenal are ready to pounce for the Moroccan and believe he could be available at a cut price.?Arsene Wenger is a long-term fan of the centre-back and tried to sign him during his time with Roma.Arsenal missed out then to Bayern, but they are now ready to finally land Benatia.
Rafael Benitez’s bid to lead Newcastle back to the Premier League at the first time of asking has suffered a blow after his assistant was appointed manager of Hellas Verona.Fabio Pecchia has been named boss of the Italian side, who finished bottom of Serie A last season, having served alongside Benitez at Napoli, Real Madrid and, latterly, St James’ Park.Benitez was unable to keep Newcastle in the top flight following his appointment as Steve McClaren’s successor in March, but last week signed a three-year contract after opting not to exercise the release clause in the event of relegation.A Newcastle statement read: “Newcastle United have this evening confirmed that first-team coach Fabio Pecchia will be leaving the club to become manager at Italian club Verona.”Benitez wrote on his official website, rafabenitez.com: “I am sad to see him depart as he has been an excellent professional from the first day and until the last in the years we have worked together.“Second and most importantly, I am pleased because he has been considered for this new position, he leaves to face these new and exciting challenges, both personally and professionally.”Benitez praised Pecchia’s qualities and Verona’s choice of coach.Newcastle added that steps are being made to replace the Italian.The Newcastle statement added: “Good progress is being made with regard to replacing Pecchia, and a further announcement will be made in the coming days.” 1 Fabio Pecchia, 42, followed Rafa Benitez to St James’ Park in March
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonHis parents bought it in 1937, and his family has brought it out every Christmas since, without fail, even when that meant risking arrest. “This tree was a shining light, because it was a symbol of unity in my family,” Iwatake said as he and his wife put the final touches on the frail, 3-foot-tall heirloom that is, once again this year, the centerpiece of their small, neatly kept apartment in Tokyo. “We have put this tree up every year for 70 years.” Though Iwatake considers himself Buddhist, he was raised in a Christian tradition. He still keeps a photo of the tiny wooden church on Maui where he and his five brothers went to services and Sunday school. Christmas was always a special time. TOKYO – Warren Nobuaki Iwatake’s family has seen more than its share of calamity. When he was still a child his father was lost at sea off Hawaii. With no breadwinner, his family was forced to move to Japan, where Iwatake was drafted during World War II. He lost a brother when the bomb fell on Hiroshima. But through it all one thing has remained constant. The tree. His father worked at a merchandise store, and Iwatake remembers the day he came home with a tree. It was nothing all that special, mainly metal, the kind of decoration that can easily be placed on a table or in a corner somewhere. He got a string of lights, too, the kind with the big bulbs. Soon after, his father died in a fishing accident. His body was never found. Iwatake’s mother had relatives in Japan, and took Iwatake’s younger brothers there. Iwatake stayed behind to graduate from high school. Then, in 1941, six months before Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he moved to Japan as well. “Things were pretty bad,” he said. “There were war clouds hanging everywhere.” The United States and Britain were the enemy, and Japan clamped down on overt displays of anything Western, including Christianity. Though Iwatake and his brothers had grown up speaking English, they began communicating solely in Japanese and did their best to hide their past. But their mother refused to give up on the tree. “She was in charge, and she wanted to put it up,” Iwatake said. “During the war years, we had to do that in secret because in wartime Japan it was not welcome. We could have been arrested.” To keep the neighbors from asking questions, his mother found a place for it in the back of their house, on the second floor, away from the windows. “We were afraid they would report it to the police or become suspicious about why we were harboring Western things,” he said. “But we were brought up in the American way of life. It is something that you cannot forget. It really is something from the heart.” The year after that first Christmas in Hiroshima, Iwatake went to Tokyo to study economics at a university. At Christmas, he directed a school play, a nativity story, again keeping it secret so that the authorities wouldn’t get involved. Then, in 1943, he was drafted and sent to Chichijima. Chichijima is a tiny island that virtually no one has heard of. To get there, you go out to the middle of nowhere and turn south, jokesters say. In 1944, Iwatake boarded a transport ship from Yokohama to assume his duties at a radio monitoring post on the remote crag. The ship was torpedoed and sunk by an American submarine, but he survived and was put on an oil tanker. On the island, Iwatake’s English skills were put to use listening in on U.S. military communications and watching over a handful of captured American pilots whose planes had been shot down on their way to and from bombing raids on Tokyo. One day, he was in the hills digging bunkers when he heard that a plane had just been shot down. He saw a lone pilot on a bright yellow raft paddling furiously away from the island. American planes provided cover, and the submarine USS Finback surfaced and collected him. The aviator was 20-year-old George H. W. Bush, who would later become president. Iwatake met him years later and went back with him to the island. Signed photos of the two, smiling, are placed prominently about Iwatake’s apartment. But another American left a deeper impression on Iwatake’s life. Captured POWs were forced to monitor U.S. radio traffic. One of them was Warren Vaughn, a Texan. “One night after a bath we were walking back, and I fell into a bomb pit,” Iwatake said. “It was pitch black, and I couldn’t get out. He reached to me and said to take his hand. He pulled me out.” Vaughn was monitoring radio messages the day Iwo Jima fell. Japan’s defeat was virtually assured. Soon after, several naval officers called Vaughn and took him to the beach. “He turned before he left and gave me a sad look,” Iwatake said. For no apparent reason, Vaughn was beheaded and his body dumped into the sea. But Iwatake said he did not want Vaughn’s memory to die. “I thought the best way of remembering him was to adopt his first name,” Iwatake said. Japan surrendered in August 1945, and Iwatake returned to Japan in December. “I used to think of those joyous days in Hawaii at Christmas, when we had food and treats,” he said. “On Chichijima, we were starving,” he said, but Hiroshima was even worse. “Everything was bad, nothing was left,” he said. “I couldn’t even think of the joys of what I experienced in Hawaii.” Iwatake’s younger brother Takashi had been in the center of the city attending school. His body, like their father’s, was never found. The Iwatake home was in the eastern part of the city, behind a small hill that provided a buffer from the blast. The front end was crushed and burned, but the back stood largely intact. And that was where the tree was. “Japan had surrendered. There was no food, nothing to celebrate,” he said. “Everybody was in shock and a sad state, but we put it up. My mother put it up.” After the war, Iwatake became an interpreter for the U.S. government. He moved to Tokyo, and from 1950 he took responsibility for the tree. At one stage, he and three brothers worked for the U.S. occupation forces as interpreters and translators. He eventually settled in Tokyo, while his brothers returned to Hawaii. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, three brothers volunteered. One served in Korea. The Iwatake family remains scattered. One brother lives in Chicago, one on Maui. Another died of cancer, possibly the result of radiation from the atomic bomb. But each year, the tree has gone up. For those not in Tokyo, Iwatake, now 84, sends photos to his relatives and to Vaughn’s cousins in Childress, Texas. And each year, it becomes more poignant. “Gradually, Christmas has become more meaningful again,” he said. “Peace, good will toward your fellow man, you know? After the war, there was no such thing.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonBut it wasn’t the singing that scared Depp – or any of his character’s numerous gory murders. It was a flashback to young Sweeney’s happy life before he was sent to prison by Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman). It’s arguably the most normal scene in the movie, and both Depp and Burton could hardly stomach it. “I think that was the weirdest thing I ever had to shoot,” Depp told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “(Burton) literally was sobbing. He left the set of his own movie.” Burton said the extreme melodrama of the scene was difficult to watch. “That’s when I knew (Depp) was a great actor, because that was terrible,” the 49-year-old director said. “That was so bad.” Mediation ordered on Oscars’ owner Lawyers will decide who gets these Academy Awards. A Los Angeles judge has ordered mediation in a lawsuit over two Oscars presented to legendary actress Mary Pickford and a third given to her former husband, Charles “Buddy” Rogers. A trial would be held next year if the mediation ordered Friday fails. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is suing heirs of Rogers’ second wife, Beverly, to prevent the public sale of the statuettes. The Academy claims that under its bylaws it gets first chance to buy the Oscars for $10 each. Pickford won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1930 for “Coquette.” She received an honorary Oscar in 1976. Rogers won a humanitarian award Oscar in 1986. Brandy won’t be charged in death The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office said Friday that it will not charge Brandy in a deadly December 2006 freeway crash. Spokesman Nick Velasquez said there is “insufficient evidence” for a jury to find the 28-year-old actress-singer guilty of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt. The decision runs counter to a recommendation from the California Highway Patrol that Brandy, whose real name is Brandy Norwood, be charged in the Dec. 30, 2006, crash. Brandy was driving on a Los Angeles freeway when traffic slowed and her Land Rover smashed into the back of a Honda. That car was involved in several other collisions. The driver, 38-year-old Awatef Aboudihaj, died in the crash.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It’s over. Or it will be soon. The marriage of Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn, that is. The two are splitting up after 11 years, they announced Friday, according to People. Their rep, Mara Buxbaum, confirms that the couple, who have two teenage children, will be going their separate ways. Those are the only details available so far. Flashback scene hardest for Depp In a career that has included drunk pirates and a scissor-handed recluse, Johnny Depp says the strangest scene he’s ever filmed is a simple flashback in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” The movie is the sixth collaboration for Depp and director Tim Burton – and one of their riskiest. It’s based on Stephen Sondheim’s bloody Broadway musical about a murderous barber, and Depp had scant singing experience.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson Farmar might have been a bit tough on himself. His status for Saturday’s game had been in doubt after he aggravated an ankle injury in Thursday’s victory over Stanford, but Farmar convinced coach Ben Howland that he could play and took to the court wearing extra tape and a small brace on his right ankle. From the start, however, Farmar seemed a step slow and out of sync. The jumper was Farmar’s only basket of the second half, and he finished 0 for 5 from 3-point range. “I’m not going to make any excuses,” Farmar said. “It wasn’t because of my ankle. Cal just came out and did a good job and played hard and deserved to win today. I wanted to be healthy, but I definitely have no excuses. Hats off to them for the way they played.” Farmar (Taft High of Woodland Hills) averaged 16 points in nine nonconference games but has totaled 10 points in his first two Pac-10 games, although he played just 14 minutes against Stanford before he injured the ankle. Steep learning curve: One bright spot for the Bruins was the play of freshman forward Alfred Aboya, who missed the first six games of this season while recovery from knee surgery. About 40 seconds later, Farmar missed the front end of two free throws with the Bruins down four points. UCLA went on to lose by seven, compounding the frustration for Farmar, who played on a sprained ankle and made only two of 11 shots from the field for six points in 36 minutes. “I didn’t play to my potential,” Farmar said. “I let the team down.” For a moment Saturday afternoon, it seemed that the magic might finally be there for Jordan Farmar. Farmar, UCLA’s sophomore point guard, hit a fallaway jumper from the free-throw line with 67 seconds remaining to cut Cal’s lead to 60-58, but Farmar’s good times didn’t last long. Aboya played a season-high 20 minutes, made all four of his shots from the field for eight points and grabbed three offensive rebounds. Midway through the second half, Aboya made three consecutive baskets to help the Bruins turn a 39-33 deficit into a 41-41 score. “I thought Aboya came in and gave us a spark,” Howland said, “but we didn’t have much of an inside attack.” Aboya was the only post player to make an impact. In 44 combined minutes, starting center Lorenzo Mata and forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute went 1 for 10 from the field for seven points, eight rebounds and seven fouls. Backup center Ryan Wright had three points and zero rebounds in 15 minutes. A big one: Cal’s victory Saturday was its first over a ranked team since a 1999 victory over No. 7 Arizona, and it was the Bears’ first road victory over a ranked team since 1995, at Arizona. Rich Hammond, (818) [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!