Nadal loses glam­our

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

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

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