SAO PAULO: Brazil star Neymar says next year’s World Cup in Qatar could be the last of his career.
The comments by the 29-year-old striker were made in the documentary “Neymar & The Line Of Kings,” produced by DAZN. An excerpt was published on the channel’s Twitter feed on Sunday.
“Man, I think it will be my last World Cup,” Neymar said. “I am facing it like the last World Cup because I don’t know whether I will be able to, mentally, to endure more soccer.
“I will do everything possible to get there very well,” he added. “I will do all I can to win it with my country and realize my dream, the biggest since my boyhood. I hope I can achieve it.”
Neymar will play with Brazil later on Sunday at Colombia in a World Cup qualifying match. The Seleção leads the 10-team round robin competition with 27 points after nine games.
The striker did not play in Thursday’s 3-1 Brazil win at Venezuela due to suspension.
The match in Barranquilla will mark Neymar’s return since the 2-0 win against Peru on Sept. 10, in which he turned in a key Brazil performance with an assist and a goal. Despite his efforts, Neymar made clear after the match that he is upset with the treatment he gets at home.
“I don’t know what else I need to do with this shirt for people to respect Neymar,” he said. Local media accused the striker of being out of shape in the 1-0 win at Chile earlier in September, which prompted the striker to walk around shirtless during training to show how fit he is.
Against Peru, Neymar overtook Romário as Brazil’s top goal scorer in World Cup qualifiers, with 12 goals. He is also approaching Pelé’s record of 77 official goals for Brazil. The Paris Saint-Germain striker has scored 69 times for Brazil.
Neymar has so far played at two World Cups. In 2014, he picked up a back injury in the quarterfinals against Colombia, which stopped him from playing in the 7-1 humiliation against Germany in the semifinals.
In the most recent edition of the tournament, Neymar had just returned from a serious foot injury and turned in an unimpressive performance in Brazil’s 2-1 quarterfinals defeat to Belgium. He left Russia amid heavy criticism for his apparently exaggerated reaction to being fouled.
Neymar won the 2013 Confederations Cup title with Brazil. He has also won the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. The striker was injured before the 2019 Copa America, which the Seleção won at home.
Neymar says World Cup in Qatar may be his last
Neymar says World Cup in Qatar may be his last
- The comments by the 29-year-old striker were made in the documentary “Neymar & The Line Of Kings”
- “I am facing it like the last World Cup because I don’t know whether I will be able to, mentally, to endure more soccer,” he said
SAO PAULO: Brazil star Neymar says next year’s World Cup in Qatar could be the last of his career.
Trial of former Manchester United player Giggs delayed until August
The former Wales national manager is charged with controlling and coercive behavior and assault against his ex-girlfriend and her sister. The trial at Manchester Crown Court had been due to start on Jan. 24.
Giggs, 48, has pleaded not guilty to all charges and remains on bail.
“Unfortunately it has become necessary to vacate this trial from the list,” the BBC quoted Judge Hilary Manley as saying. “The reason for this is because there is not a court available to accommodate this trial.
“Due to the large backlog of court cases, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the need for social distancing, this is a situation which is a daily reality for the criminal courts.”
Giggs’ lawyer said his client was “extremely disappointed.”
The former player was charged last April when a magistrate’s court heard a prosecutor read out a summary of charges including that he struck Kate Greville with a “deliberate headbutt.”
He was first arrested in the case and released on bail in Nov. 2020.
Giggs made 963 appearances over 23 years for Manchester United as a player, a club record, winning a haul of honors including 13 Premier League winner’s medals and two UEFA Champions League winner’s medals.
He represented Wales as a player 64 times between 1991 and 2007 and took over as national coach in 2018.
Murray roars into round two as Medvedev sets up Kyrgios clash
- Top-10 seeds Garbine Muguruza, Iga Swiatek and Anett Kontaveit all made comfortable starts to their Melbourne title charges
- "It's amazing to be back and winning a five-set battle like that, I couldn't ask for any more," said Murray
MELBOURNE: Former world number one Andy Murray turned back the clock in typically combative style and favorite Daniil Medvedev set up a blockbuster second-round showdown with Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
In the women’s draw, top-10 seeds Garbine Muguruza, Iga Swiatek and Anett Kontaveit all made comfortable starts to their Melbourne title charges, while Simona Halep and Aryna Sabalenka also won despite struggling with their serves.
Emma Raducanu, the US Open champion, was also victorious on her tournament debut but there was defeat at the first hurdle for her fellow 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez — the woman Raducanu beat in the Flushing Meadows decider.
Canada’s Fernandez, the 23rd seed, went down 6-4, 6-2 to Australian wildcard Maddison Inglis, to the delight of the home crowd.
After Sunday’s deportation of men’s defending champion and top seed Novak Djokovic, the first Grand Slam of the year is now in full swing and many are eager to move on from the visa saga.
That is easier said than done and Tennis Australia (TA), organizers of the so-called “Happy Slam,” said in a statement Tuesday that they “deeply regret the impact” it has had on the other players.
“As the Australian tennis family, we recognize that recent events have been a significant distraction for everyone,” TA said, without mentioning Djokovic by name.
If it has been a distraction for Murray, he did not show it.
The 34-year-old, there as a wildcard, showed all the fighting qualities that made him a three-time Grand Slam champion.
His epic five-set victory over 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili was hugely symbolic — the Briton departed Melbourne Park in 2019 not knowing if he would ever be back because of hip trouble.
But here he was, rolling back the years and heading into round two.
“It’s amazing to be back and winning a five-set battle like that, I couldn’t ask for any more,” said Murray.
There was no such problem for Russia’s Medvedev, the second seed and favorite to lift his second major, who made light work of 91st-ranked Henri Laaksonen on Rod Laver Arena, dismantling the Swiss 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).
With Djokovic out of the picture and Roger Federer not in Melbourne because of injury, the draw has opened up for the 25-year-old Medvedev and Spanish great Rafael Nadal.
Medvedev, who lost last year’s final in Melbourne to Djokovic but then beat the Serbian in the US Open final in September, plays combustible but talented Australian showman Kyrgios in round two.
Another of the “Next Gen” young talents challenging the “Big Three” of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer is Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The fourth seed was a comfortable winner in three sets over practice partner Mikael Ymer to get his tournament up and running.
In the women’s draw, Spanish world number three Muguruza, a finalist at Melbourne Park two years ago, eased past 77th-ranked Frenchwoman Clara Burel 6-3, 6-4.
There was also little trouble for Kontaveit, despite some early nerves, and Swiatek, but Romania’s Halep was far from comfortable.
The former number one labored into round two 6-4, 6-3 after an error-strewn clash with Poland’s Magdalena Frech which saw 11 service breaks.
Second seed Sabalenka, who was reduced to tears and serving underarm in a disastrous lead-up to Melbourne, had Mark Philippoussis to thank after she revealed the Australian former world number eight helped iron out some of her serving problems.
She was far from perfect on her serve but survived to beat Storm Sanders 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
In the last action of the day, Raducanu ousted the American Sloane Stephens — a former US Open champion — 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 in a performance that will make the Briton’s rivals sit up and take notice.
Novak Djokovic has to comply with rules to go to Spain, PM says
- ‘Any sportsperson who wishes to compete in our country must comply with the health rules of Spain’
- Novak Djokovic travels regularly to Spain where he owns a house in the southern resort of Marbella
MADRID: World men’s tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic will have to comply with Spanish health rules to be able to travel to Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday.
Answering a question on whether Djokovic would be allowed to enter Spain to compete after Australia deported him for being unvaccinated against COVID-19, Sanchez said: “Any sportsperson who wishes to compete in our country must comply with the health rules of Spain.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was visiting Spain on Monday and stood beside Sanchez during the news conference, also insisted the different rules in the different countries must be respected. “We all have to abide by them, no matter who we are,” he said.
Djokovic travels regularly to Spain where he owns a house in the southern resort of Marbella. He spent a few days in late December and early January and video footage showed him training there.
Spanish rules currently require people to have either a vaccine certificate, a PCR negative test or a certificate of having recovered from COVID-19. The country imposes strict quarantines on people who test positive.
During the same news conference, the Spanish Prime Minister made an impassioned call for vaccination. Even though vaccination is not mandatory in Spain, the vaccination rate is one of the highest in Europe.
Simona Halep battles service demons to stay alive at Australian Open
- Error-strewn clash with Poland’s Magdalena Frech which saw 11 service breaks
- Both players struggled to hold serve in the opening set
MELBOURNE: Former world number one Simona Halep labored into the Australian Open second round Tuesday after an error-strewn clash with Poland’s Magdalena Frech which saw 11 service breaks.
The fit-again Romanian 14th seed came into the Grand Slam full of confidence after her first title in 16 months at the Melbourne Summer Set tournament this month.
But she struggled to find her groove against the 102nd-ranked Pole before banking the win 6-4, 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena to keep her dreams of a third major title alive.
“I found it so difficult today, I was unsure if I could play good tennis,” she said.
“But in the end I won and that makes me very happy. Hopefully this week I can play better and better.”
Halep, the runner-up in 2018 to Caroline Wozniacki and semifinalist two years later, is on her way back after a truncated 2021 season when she struggled with calf and knee injuries.
And it was a far from convincing performance, with both players struggling to hold serve in the opening set, with Frech broken three times and Halep twice.
Ultimately, the Romanian was stronger in the rallies and she finally sealed the set on serve with a trademark backhand down the line.
Neither player’s serve improved in the second set with Halep immediately breaking before Frech went on a three-game win streak as the error-count mounted.
Halep then reeled off five games in a row to ensure victory and a second round clash with either American qualifier Katie Volynets or Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia.
Nadal, Barty impress but Djokovic looms over Australian Open
- Osaka successfully opens title defense but Gauff an early big-name casualty
MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal and Ashleigh Barty made devastating starts to their Australian Open title campaigns on Monday as the Grand Slam attempted to move on from the Novak Djokovic visa saga.
Naomi Osaka launched the defense of her women’s crown with victory but Coco Gauff was an early big-name casualty. The American 17-year-old dumped out in straight sets by Wang Qiang, who is ranked outside the top 100.
The only Australian Open champion in the men’s draw after nine-time winner Djokovic’s deportation, Nadal started his quest to become the first male to win 21 Grand Slams by sweeping aside 66th-ranked Marcos Giron, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.
The draw has opened up for the Spanish great with defending champion Djokovic out of the picture and the other member of the “Big Three,” Roger Federer, not at Melbourne Park because of injury.
But the 35-year-old Nadal said he was just relieved to be playing tennis after Djokovic’s refusal to get vaccinated against COVID overshadowed the first Grand Slam of the year right up until the last moment.
Although Djokovic’s absence is good news for Nadal’s tilt at men’s tennis history, he said he would rather the world No. 1 from Serbia was playing.
“The ideal situation in the world of sport is that the best players are on court,” said Nadal, who plays Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann in the second round.
He may not be there, but Djokovic still looms over the tournament.
Nadal was all guns blazing at Rod Laver Arena, showing no apparent ill effects from a foot injury he suffered last year and then being “very sick” with COVID in December.
“Today is one victory in the first Grand Slam. Happy for that. One month ago situation had been different — looks very ugly in some way,” he said.
Other winners in the men’s draw on day one of the so-called “Happy Slam,” where crowds have been capped at 50 percent because of the pandemic, included seventh seed Matteo Berrettini.
The Italian defeated American Brandon Nakashima in four sets despite tummy trouble.
Also through was third seed Alexander Zverev in the night match, but 12th-seeded Briton Cameron Norrie lost in three sets to Sebastian Korda, the son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda.
There was to be no fairytale run for “lucky loser” Salvatore Caruso.
The Italian had earned a place in the main draw when Djokovic was deported but he fell at the first hurdle.
In the women’s draw, top seed and world No.1 Barty made a real statement of intent, crushing qualifier Lesia Tsurenko in 54 minutes, 6-0, 6-1.
The 25-year-old faces Lucia Bronzetti of Italy next as the pre-tournament favorite and home hope chases a maiden Australian Open title.
“There’s always something special about playing on a Monday night in the Australian Open,” said Barty, who will need to deal with high expectations from the home fans.
Japan’s former world No. 1 Osaka, the reigning champion, was also largely untroubled with a 6-3, 6-3 win against Colombia’s Camila Osorio.
Seeded 13 after a disrupted 2021 in which she said she had suffered “long bouts of depression,” Osaka cruised through in 68 minutes.
“I would say I feel more comfortable in my skin, if that makes sense,” said the 24-year-old, who won the title at Melbourne Park in 2019 and 2021. She will play American Madison Brengle next.
Also through are French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, Greek fifth seed Maria Sakkari and reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.
But there was heartbreak for Tunisian ninth seed Ons Jabeur, who did not even make it onto court and withdrew because of injury before her match.
Also out was the 18th-seeded prodigy Gauff, surprisingly losing 6-4, 6-2 to China’s Wang.
“I think just everything disappointed me about today,” said Gauff.
“I feel like in the pre-season, I worked really hard, and I felt like I was ready to have a good run here.
“Today I just didn’t perform well.”