Nadal loses glamour
Rodgers will be disappointed by Sterling’s demand to leave and he will feel a genuine sense of disappointment after nurturing the youngster and giving him his chance of regular football as a teenager.
He has always steered clear from criticising Sterling amid the negative headlines around his contract, instead questioning the advice he has been receiving from his representatives.
Rodgers may feel let down at getting the word from Sterling about his desire to leave Liverpool — but being a realist he may have sensed it was coming.
Where could Sterling go? If Liverpool do agree to sell, and this is not an inevitability, then it is hard to see any serious interest from the sort of names abroad that would interest either Sterling or his representatives.
Barcelona are well catered for with a superstar attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Suarez and Neymar, so the idea of a move to the Nou Camp comes from the realms of fantasy.
Zinedine Zidane, who is on the coaching staff at Real Madrid, says they are “monitoring” Sterling but he is hardly the sort of ‘Galactico’ figure they will be looking to as they recover from failure to win La Liga and losing their hold on the Champions League following defeat by Juventus in the semi-final.
Sterling is a name that would cause mild curiosity at the Bernabeu rather than any sense of excitement.
Bayern Munich have been mentioned but, again, is Sterling a big enough name, or advanced enough as a talent, to go to the Allianz and make the difference?
This leaves the Premier League — namely Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
City are looking to revive their squad with young talent, with manager Manuel Pellegrini saying they may focus on English names, while Sterling fits the template Arsenal would look for, especially if Theo Walcott cannot agree a new contract.
Would Mourinho want Sterling? A possibility but, again, would he fit into a line-up alongside Eden Hazard? Manchester City look likely candidates but would they be persuaded to part with the £35m — or even more — Liverpool would want?
So many questions to answer, so how will it all end?
One thing is certain. Liverpool owner John W Henry will not be bounced into a sale, bullied by requests to leave or held to ransom by Sterling and his representative Aidy Ward. Nor should he be. Henry demonstrated he can be intransigent when Suarez tried to engineer a move to Arsenal in 2013. He stood firm, refused to sell and eventually Suarez came back into the fold with spectacular results.
Sterling, however, is not a Suarez. Henry, in conjunction with Rodgers and the rest of the Liverpool hierarchy, may regard this as a different case and one where a big offer may be worth considering.
It will be played out over the coming weeks but if Sterling goes it will be on Liverpool’s terms — and if he stays he has work to do to repair his relationship with those who make the final judgement at Anfield, namely the fans. — BBC SYDNEY — Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has decided to make March’s World Cup final his last one-day international and announced his retirement from the format on Sunday.
The 37-year-old, who will leave Australia for the two-test tour of West Indies and Ashes campaign in England on Monday, played every match in the triumphant World Cup campaign earlier this year to take his tally to 126 ODIS for his country. He took 170 catches, 11 stumpings and scored 3,122 runs at an average of 31.53 with a top score of 110 against New Zealand in Hamilton in 2010.
“I have had a privileged one-day career and I have been fortunate enough to be involved in three cricket World Cups and now is the right time to walk away,” he said in a Cricket Australia news release.
“Not many players get to write a script like mine at the end of their careers and I have been lucky enough to do just that after winning a World Cup on home soil.
“I leave the team with Australian ranked number-one in the world and I am proud of everything we have achieved.”
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Haddin had maintained Australia’s tradition of “outstanding” wicketkeeper batsmen in the 50-overs game.
“He leaves big shoes to fill as a talented player and important senior figure within the team,” he said.
“Whenever Brad wore the green and gold, he always gave maximum effort and he should be incredibly proud of his achievements.”— Reuters LONDON — Nine-times French Open champion Rafa Nadal will no longer be regarded as an “immovable obstacle” at Roland Garros this year, according to twice former winner Jim Courier.
The American, who ruled the clay-court grand slam in 1991 and 1992, has watched the Spaniard’s increasing vulnerability on the red dust with interest in the build-up to the year’s second grand slam which begins in Paris on Sunday.
While Courier believes the best-of-five-set format means Nadal remains formidable, he makes world number one Novak Djokovic favourite followed by Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
“For the first time in many years Nadal will not be the favourite going into Roland Garros,” Courier, who will commentate on the tournament for British channel ITV, said.
“That role is now firmly occupied by Novak Djokovic. Nadal is less vulnerable in Paris, given the best of five-set format which allows him more time to problem solve but there are now guys in the locker room who see him as an opportunity rather than an immovable obstacle.”
Nadal was beaten by Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters, following his defeat by Andy Murray in the Madrid Masters final the week before.the 28-year-old Spaniard also lost to Djokovic in Monte Carlo and has looked nowhere near the player who has lost only one match at Roland Garros in 10 years of domination.
Djokovic, beaten in last year’s final by Nadal, has been in electrifying form and after beating Roger Federer to win the Rome title on Sunday looks to have a golden opportunity to complete his career grand slam.
That favourites tag will bring its own pressures, though, and Nadal, who will be seeded outside the top four, is not the only threat to the Serb’s hopes of a first French Open.
“Murray is most certainly a threat to go very deep and, if the draw breaks in his favour, a final is attainable,” Courier said.
“Once you reach the final, anything goes - especially now that Nadal is playing like a mortal on the clay again. — Reuters