Friday, April 22, 2016

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!

Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: Roberto Martinez, Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea, Juventus, Tottenham, Marcus Rashford, Jorge Mendes, Barcelona, Crystal Palace, Ramiro Funes Mori, Divock Origi, Gus Poyet and Michael Owen to name but a few!

Chelsea are planning a £90m summer move for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and defender John Stones. Chelsea had three bids for Stones rejected last year, going up to £37m, but are looking to bid £40m this summer - Daily Star

Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko is attracting the interest of AC Milan, with reports suggesting the Frenchman will leave St James’ Park should Newcastle be relegated - (Italian news outlet)

Mats Hummels' father and advisor, Hermann Hummels, has labelled Manchester City as "an interesting option" for the Borussia Dortmund and German international defender, with his contract at the Signal Iduna Park due to expire in the summer of 2017 - SID (German news agency based in Cologne)

Roberto Martinez needs to win the FA Cup to stand any chance of keeping his job as Everton manager - Daily Mirror

Mauricio Pochettino is due a £500,000 bonus if Tottenham overhaul Leicester to win the Premier League title - The Sun

Crystal Palace are considering a move for Barcelona midfielder Alex Song, who is on loan at West Ham but not in Slaven Bilic's plans - The Sun and

Marcus Rashford will wait until he has appointed an agent before discussing a new contract at Manchester United. The 18-year-old has reportedly had his business handled by his mother and brothers up to now. His current contract runs until the summer of 2017 - Daily Mail

Jorge Mendes, the agent of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, wants to represent Manchester United's 18-year-old forward Marcus Rashford - The Times

Chelsea are closing on a £35m deal for Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan - Daily Express

Manchester United have made an enquiry for Bordeaux midfielder Adam Ounas. The 19-year-old has played 25 games for the French side this season, scoring six goals.
But AS Monaco are also reportedly interested in the France U20 international - Le10Sport (French daily tabloid)

French international offensive midfielder and winger Hatem Ben Arfa is likely to leave Nice as a free agent this summer with a number of clubs interested in the 29 year-old, most recently AC Milan. The Italian club are determined to win his signature ahead of all other interested parties which include Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool. Meanwhile, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain are monitoring the situation of the former Newcastle and Olympique Marseille player - RMC Sport (French news outlet)

Southampton are still trying to convince midfielder Victor Wanyama to sign a new contract. The Kenyan's contact runs out in the summer of 2017, and Tottenham have been heavily linked in the British press - Daily Echo

West Ham full-back Aaron Cresswell is being tracked by Liverpool and Chelsea. The 26 year-old currently on a deal with London side until June 2020, is valued in the region of 9 million pounds - Daily Express

Liverpool's Belgium forward Divock Origi, 21, will be out for between four and six weeks with the ankle injury he suffered during Wednesday's win over Everton - RTBF (Belguim broadcasting company)

Everton defender and Argentine international Ramiro Funes Mori has had death threats over his Merseyside derby foul on Divock Origi, despite saying sorry - The Sun

Liverpool and England forward Daniel Sturridge, 26, wants to remain at Anfield and has set his sights on scoring 100 league goals for the Reds - Daily Mail

Aston Villa want to sell defender Joleon Lescott, 33, as part of a post-relegation clearout - Daily Mail

Tottenham are in talks over the use of Wembley Stadium for European games next season while White Hart Lane is renovated - The Times

Juventus are weighing up the chance to try signing Lazio's Italian international goalkeeper Federico Marchetti, 33 as a substitute to Gianluigi Buffon for next season. The player is currently on a deal with the Serie A club until June 2018 -

Liverpool's decision to appoint Michael Owen as a club ambassador has gone down badly with some fans still angry over his time at Manchester United - Daily Mail

Real Sociedad have just submitted an 8 million euros offer to Besiktas for the 23 year-old Turkish international midfielder Oguzhan Özyakup, one of current season's main Süper Lig protagonists. There has also been interest from Inter and West Ham for the Dutch-born player who is currently on a deal with the Istanbul side until June 2018 -

Barcelona, are moving towards signing 21 year-old Uruguayan international centre-back José Gimenez, The player is currently on a deal with Atletico Madrid until June 2018, and has a 65 million euros release clause in his contract - El Mundo Deportivo (Spanish nationwide daily sports newspaper)

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is interested in Nottingham Forest midfielder Oliver Burke. The 19-year-old winger has been on fine form for the Championship club, but agreed a four-and-a-half year deal in February - The Sun

German international winger and forward André Schürrle might return to England next season, with Tottenham an interested party. Currently on a deal with Wolfsburg until June 2019, the former Bayer Leverkusen player might push for a move, although the Bundesliga giants are aware they won't get back anything like the 32 million euros invested in him -

Former Sunderland manager Gus Poyet could return to English football with Nottingham Forest when he leaves AEK Athens at the end of the season - Daily Telegraph

Harry Cornick has put pen to paper on a new contract with Bournemouth until June 2018. The 21-years-old has just came back from loan at Yeovil Town and thanks to his good performances he deserved a new deal with the Cherries -

Matthew Pennington has been recalled from his loan spell at Walsall as Everton battle with a defensive availability crisis -

Reading manager Brian McDermott, 55, does not fear being sacked by the club a second time. The Royals are 15th in the Championship - Reading Chronicle

Leeds United boss Steve Evans, 53, has played down speculation linking him with the Celtic job - Yorkshire Post

Adam Thompson has signed a new contract with Southend, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2017 -

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Most Famous Meltdowns in Sporting History!

There’s a famous saying about sports, that it’s the perfect platform to illustrate the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. That’s a very true statement, and sometimes we forget just how fine a line there really is between those two things. The thrill for one side equals agony for the other, and anyone who has played sports can tell you that losing is never easy. In some cases, the agony of defeat is especially strong.

Jordan Spieth's infamous collapse in the final round of the US Masters on Sunday brings to mind so many others in the world of sports that I thought I'd bring you 10 of my favorite meltdowns and collapses in sporting history, just for fun!

Spieth had a five-stroke lead when he came to the 10th hole on Sunday. But two straight bogeys followed by a disastrous quadruple bogey on the par-3 12th suddenly had him behind by three strokes, a deficit from which he could never recover.

The 22-year-old Texan had been poised to win his second straight Masters and third major in his last five tournaments. Instead, he had to place the green jacket on Yorkshire born winner Danny Willett, who became only the second Englishman ever to win the US Masters at Augusta National.


It was all in the balance when South Africa needed nine to win from the final over of their semi-final against Australia with one wicket remaining. The two men batting for the Proteas could not have been more different. One was Lance Klusener. The burly power hitter who had probably been the player of the tournament up to that point and was sitting on 23 from 12 balls. At the other end was Allan Donald, one of the best fast bowlers to ever play for his country, but who sadly, couldn’t bat to save his life.

Luckily for the Rainbow Nation, the talismanic Klusener was on strike and stroked the first two balls of the over for four, tying the match and making sure South Africa only needed one run from the last four deliveries to make a first World Cup final.

They only lasted two thanks to a hilarious run-out in which Klusener sprinted down the pitch whilst Donald stood his ground, realised what was going on, dropped his bat and trotted down the pitch to be run out by some distance. Match tied, Australia advanced due to a higher finishing position in the previous stage.


With a chance to widen their lead at the top of the table to 11 points with only five games remaining, Manchester United visited a relegation threatened Wigan Athletic side that had only won three of their last 17 games and had lost all 13 matches they had with played with United since their promotion to the Premier League in 2005.

Following Man City's 4–0 win over West Bromwich Albion, United's lead at the top of the table was cut to five points. United rebounded in their following match at Old Trafford, beating Aston Villa 4–0.

United were back at Old Trafford for their next fixture, against mid-table Everton. Despite holding a 3–1 lead and then later a 4–2 lead, United blew the chance to take all three points by conceding two late goals, resulting in their lead at the top of the table being cut to just 3 points heading into the pivotal Manchester derby.

The next game was the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, with the match finishing 1–0 in favour of City. This caused City to lead the table by goal difference, which handed control of the title race over to their “noisy-neighbours.”

In this case however, the champions-elect never showed up and were unable to break Wigan down on their way to a 1-0 defeat. They dropped further points in a thrilling 4-4 draw with Everton having been two goals up with just seven minutes to play. Then United fell to a narrow defeat to at the hands of cross-town rivals City in a match which handed control of the title race over to their 'noisy-neighbours.'

On the final day of the season, Manchester United beat Sunderland and City were trailing 2-1 entering stoppage time against relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers (and needing a victory to win their first league title for 44 years). Edin Dzeko equalized in the 92nd minute and then Sergio Aguero smashed home the winner in the 94th minute to snatch the Barclays Premier League crown from Manchester United's grasp in a quite incredible finale!


Van de Velde was an obscure pro golfer from France, who stormed to a commanding lead in the final round of the Open at Carnoustie in 1999, and strode to the 18th tee needing only a double bogey six, on a par-four closing hole, to win the major, which would have made him the first Frenchman to do so since 1907.

The engraver, thinking that the Open was in the bag, started to inscribe Van de Velde's name on the claret jug. However a series of poor decisions turned a comfortable three-stroke lead into a three-way play-off with Justin Leonard and eventual winner Paul Lawrie.

His choice of a driver off the tee was dubious, but not nearly as poor as the decision to go for the green instead of laying up on his second shot, which ricocheted backward 50 yards off a stone wall into severe rough. From there, he dunked his third shot into the Barry Burn, which he briefly considered trying to play out of before taking a drop (and ensuing penalty) and sending shot No. 5 into a greenside bunker. He wound up with a triple-bogey seven, when a six would have given him the title.

To make this collapse even more cataclysmic, Lawrie was ten shots off the lead at the start of play on that final day – making his victory the biggest comeback in major golf history.

The closest van de Velde ever came to winning a major again was tying for 19th at the Masters the following year and 19th again at the British Open in 2008.


The 34th America's Cup was a series of boat races held on San Francisco Bay between the defender Oracle Team USA representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club, and the challenger Emirates Team New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Oracle Team USA, with Sir Ben Ainslie on board as tactician, completed one of the most remarkable sporting comebacks of all time, trouncing Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in their winner-takes-all finale in San Francisco. The American defenders came back from an 8-1 deficit to win eight consecutive races and claim victory in the first-to-nine series.

The defeat was all the more galling for New Zealanders because Oracle's skipper Jimmy Spithill hailed from their bitter arch-rivals Australia.

It has been labelled the greatest comeback in the history of sport, matched only by one of sport's greatest chokes!


Most Red Sox fans were of the belief that they’d never see a World Series title, particularly after the gut punch of the 1986 World Series. When the New York Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the 2004 American League Championship Series, Boston fans just chalked it up as yet another disappointment, and Yankee fans were planning on raising yet another banner. And then came Game 4, and Dave Roberts made his mark in baseball lore, sparking what would become the most epic meltdown in baseball history.

The steal by Roberts started the rally that would not only give the Sox a victory in Game Four, but would begin a snowball effect that resulted in four straight wins, including a decimation at Yankee Stadium in which Boston jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings and never looked back, on their way to an eventual World Series championship. So, while the Sox have had some historic meltdowns of their own over the years, at least Boston fans can take solace in the fact that they helped their arch rivals achieve arguably the greatest choke job in sports history. Before 2004, no baseball team that led a series 3-0 had ever lost a seven-game series. The Yankees remain the only ones to do so.


Chances are pretty good that, if you enter the final round of a golf tournament boasting a six-stroke lead, you have to like your odds of winning said tournament. Greg Norman probably woke up on Sunday of the 1996 Masters feeling pretty confident for precisely this reason, as he found himself with a score of 13 under par, while the next closest competitor, Nick Faldo, was sitting at seven under.

What unfolded in that fourth and final round of the Masters will live on in infamy, and has forever tainted Norman’s otherwise-stellar career. After shooting an astounding 63 in the opening round, followed by strong rounds of 69 and 71, Norman was on the verge of being a wire-to-wire leader and Masters champion. It looked like Norman would romp to victory. Except Norman was the one getting romped. The Aussie shot a 78 in that final round including three bogeys and two double bogeys in an eight-hole span, while Faldo shot a 67 as the gap between the two swung by a staggering 11 strokes, with Norman going from leading by six strokes to ultimately losing by five.

Faldo won the tournament for the third time. It was the sixth and final major victory of his career.
Norman would finish his career just two major championships, both at the British Open.


With the scores level at 6-6 against England at Murrayfield, and with just 15 minutes of the match remaining Scotland were awarded a penalty inside the England 22, just right of centre. For Hastings this should have been a relatively straightforward penalty attempt, that could have earned Scotland a place in the Rugby World Cup final of 1991.
But the Edinburgh born goal-kicker missed, pushing it wide on the right and the score remained tied until Rob Andrew's late drop goal nicked it for England.

England had reached their first World Cup final, Scotland have never got as close again.


The Queen Mother's horse was only forty yards from the finishing line at Aintree racecourse with a five-length lead on 24th March 1956, when he inexplicably jumped into the air and landed on his stomach. Jockey Dick Francis was unable to make him continue which allowed E.S.B to claim victory. The reason behind Devon Loch's jump is still uncertain to this day. For jockey Dick Francis, his mount's bizarre collapse on the run-in to victory in the world's most famous steeplechase remained a "terrible memory, even after all these years."

Devon Loch's was not the first time a horse had seemed to jump some form of 'ghost fence' on the run in of the National. In 1901, Arthur Nightingall's race was well won on board Grudon when his mount also made to jump a fence that wasn't there. On that occasion the pair recovered and had sufficient time to continue and win the race.

The Queen Mother famously said, “Oh that’s racing.”
Dick Francis retired from the sport the following year and became a crime writer!


Sport's perennial runner-up, 'The Whirlwind' lost all six of his World Championship snooker finals, four of them to his ice-cool nemesis Stephen Hendry.

Among White's more spectacular chokes were losing 18-14 after leading 14-8 in 1992, and missing a routine black at 17-17 in the deciding frame in 1994.


The Leicestershire cricketer was man of the match in the 2001 Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy semi-final, but he made headlines for different reasons in the final against Somerset.

Most cricket fans will remember what happened nest. Many of the rest of you may know about it from YouTube. The video is called "The Worst Over Ever?" Six of his first eight balls were wides. There were, at one point, five in a row, some flew to slip, others flew towards fine leg.
The bemused batsman, Marcus Trescothick, hit a couple of the straighter balls for four. The six ball over lasted 14 balls.

After eventually completing the over Boswell went down to field at fine leg. The ball came his way. "I can dive for this." He did. And he missed it. Worse, he tore up a lump of the Lord's turf. "It landed on my head. So I was lying on the floor and I look up and there are 2,000 people behind me, and I see the ball trickling over the boundary. I have this bleeding lump of turf on my head." I thought: 'Fucking hell. This can't get any worse. Get me off this field.' He froze. Literally. "There was a water bottle five metres away from me. My mouth was so dry. But I couldn't move. I couldn't walk five metres to go and get it." The Somerset fans chanted "Bring on the Boswell! Bring on the Boswell!" That, he says, "haunted me for a couple of years".
and it also ended Boswell's first-class career at just 26 years of age.

Leicester also went on to lose that 2001 final.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Babe of the Month - Sexy US Olympian and Virgin Lolo Jones

Lori "Lolo" Jones was born on 5th August 1982 in Des Moines, Iowa, and currently resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Jones is an American track and field and bobsled athlete. She is of Native American, African, French, and Norwegian descent. She is a devout Christian, and often prays before competitions, and talks about her faith on social media.

She attended eight schools in eight years while her single mother, Lori, often held down two jobs to support her family of six. Jones' father spent most of her childhood in the Air Force and later in state prison.

When her family was about to make another move to Forest City, Iowa, Lolo and her family parted ways, and her mentor, Coach Ferguson, arranged for her to live with four different families during her enrollment at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines.

One of those who took Jones in was Janis Caldwell, who had seen Jones compete at Roosevelt. Jones stayed with the Caldwells after her senior year at Roosevelt, while she attended college, trained and worked part-time at the Iowa Bakery Cafe, a local coffee shop.

At Roosevelt, she excelled in the classroom, keeping her grades up and playing the cello in the school orchestra. She was named Gatorade Midwest Athlete of the Year and set a record at the Iowa state track meet with a mark of 13.40 seconds for the 100-meter hurdles. She also played cello in the school's orchestra.

Jones originally intended to enroll at Iowa State University through its Upward Bound/Science Bound program. Instead, she followed the lead of elite hurdler Kim Carson, who was her role model and Caldwell's goddaughter. Carson was an All-American and national champion at Louisiana State University. Like Carson, Jones competed on LSU's track team.

A 2005 graduate of Louisiana State University, Lolo specializes in the 60 and 100 meter hurdles. She won three NCAA titles and garnered eleven All-American honors while at Louisiana State University.
She won indoor national titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009 in the 60m hurdles, and won a gold medal at the World Indoor Championship in Valencia, Spain in 2008.

She was favourite to win the 100m hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but tripped on the penultimate hurdle (below) when leading the race, and finished in seventh place. She did however go on to win silver at the 2008 World Athletics Final in Stuttgart.

In 2010 Jones defended her 60m hurdles Indoor World Title in Doha, after finishing with a time of 7.72s a new American record.

Due to there being no major championships for Americans, Jones then traveled to Europe and competed in mainly IAAF Diamond League events. After wins in Doha, Oslo, New York, Gateshead, and Monaco, Jones ended the season in second place in the Diamond League overall standings.

Jones made her 2011 race debut at the Aviva International Match, Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. Jones finished the race in fourth place after hitting the third hurdle. A close third-place finish followed in Stuggart but injury and illness forced Jones to miss the rest of the indoor season.

On 23rd June 2012, Jones placed third in the 100m hurdles at the U.S. Olympics trials, qualifying her for a spot on the 2012 Summer Olympics team.

At the London Olympics on 6th August, Jones won her heat in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 12.68s. On 7th August she placed third in the semi-finals of the 100 meter hurdles, gaining progression to the finals. In the finals later that day Jones finished fourth with a time of 12.58s.

In May 2013, Jones earned her first win of the 2013 season at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Tokyo.

At the 2015 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Jones advanced to the finals. She qualified for the NACAC Championships in Costa Rica. and won the NACAC Championships Women 100 metre hurdles in 12.63, but due to a strong tail wind her time was not considered a world record.

Much of Jones' schedule between 2013 and 2015 was spent concentrating on her 'other' sport and battling injury.

Jones also competes as a brakewoman on the U.S. national bobsled team. Jones was introduced to bobsledding by Elana Meyers. After a disappointing 2008 Olympics campaign where she failed to medal, she took up the sport and gained weight. In October 2012, Jones was named to the U.S. national bobsled team.Jones was one of three track and field Olympians (along with Tianna Madison and Hyleas Fountain) invited to the U.S. women's bobsled push championship by coach Todd Hays. Jones and Madison made the bobsled team, giving them a chance to earn a spot on the bobsled World Cup circuit.

On 9th November 2012, Jones and teammate Jazmine Fenlator placed second in Jones' first career World Cup bobsledding competition. She won a gold medal in the mixed team event at the 2013 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
She represented the U.S. at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, making her one of the few athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games.

On 27th January 2013, Jones won gold in the team event with the U.S. at the FIBT World Championships in St. Moritz.
She was selected for the U.S. bobsled team competing at the 2014 Olympics held in Sochi, Russia, as the brakewoman for the USA Team-3 sled, with the team coming eleventh.

On 19th February, 2014, the team placed eleventh, 3.36 seconds behind the gold-medal-winning Canadian team.

Last season was an injury plagued one for Lolo.
Now less than six months since hip surgery and four months before the summer Olympics, she's working had to find her stride. She is currently training for the Rio Olympics, doing the Orange theory fitness workouts, for which she is also a spokesman.

If Jones makes the U.S. team in Rio, it would be her fourth Olympic appearance.

In October 2009, Jones posed semi-nude for The Body Issue of ESPN the Magazine. In 2012 she appeared on the cover of Outside magazine wearing a bathing suit made of strategically placed ribbon.

On 4th August 2012, Jones was heavily criticized by Jeré Longman of The New York Times: "This [media attention paid to her] was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign."

Janice Forsyth, director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario, compared her to tennis' Anna Kournikova, who had never won a WTA Tour singles tournament but became well-known after appearing in numerous photo shoots and product advertisements. Jones rejected these criticisms, saying that her critics should be "supporting the U.S. Olympic athletes," whereas instead they just "ripped me to shreds."

Jones also stated that The New York Times did not do its research properly, since, unlike Kournikova, she had won several major races, including two world indoor titles and holding the indoor American record.

In a 2012 segment on HBO's Real Sports, Lolo Jones revealed that she is a virgin, dates online, and struggles to maintain her virginity. See that short interview here!

She said: "If there's virgins out there, I'm going to let them know, it's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life—harder than training for the Olympics, harder than graduating from college, has been to stay a virgin before marriage."

The selection of Jones to the U.S. 2014 Winter Olympics bobsled team was criticised by some American bobsledders as happening due to her fame.

However the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO Darrin Steele defended the selection: "I haven't heard anyone making the argument about Lolo not being a better athlete right now, a better brakeman for the team. I don't think I've come across that one time. I've heard a lot about history and all that's nice. But who's going to provide the best results for the U.S. team in Sochi? That's the bottom line. And I'll have that debate with anyone who wants to have it."

Lolo Jones net worth is thought to be in the region of $1.5 Million.

Lolo Jones is the most followed U.S. Track and Field athlete on Twitter (414,000 followers)

Lolo is sponsored by several well known products/brands including Asics, Red Bull and Orange Theory Fitness.

In 2012 The Lolo Jones Foundation was set up. Its mission is to empower and inspire individuals who face the most socio-economical hardships to realise their full potential through engaging community programs and initiatives.

At its core, the Lolo Jones Foundation seeks to help the following demographic(s):

# Single Mothers.
# Families of incarcerated loved ones.
# Poverty stricken communities and youth.

You can follow Lolo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Friday, March 25, 2016

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!

Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Slaven Bilic, Barcelona, Remi Garde, Isco, Christian Benteke, Antonio Conte, Juventus, Mario Gotze, Jurgen Klopp, Fernando Torres, Mesut Ozil, Juan Mata and Rafael Benitez to name but a few!

Manchester United are planning a sensational summer swoop for PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic. United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward hopes to tempt Ibrahimovic with a two-year deal worth a staggering £250,000-a-week - Daily Star

Napoli are also considering a move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic should Gonzalo Higuain leave in the summer. The Italian daily report that the club are ready to make a two year offer to the Swedish striker which would see him earn £3milllion a year - Tuttosport (Italian sport newspaper published in Turin)

Barcelona are planning a mosaic tribute before the El Clasico game with Real Madrid on 2 April to their former player and manager Johan Cruyff, who has died of cancer aged 68 - Marca (Spanish newspaper)

Premier League academy players will be made to attend social media workshops in aftermath of Adam Johnson child sex scandal - Daily Mail

Aston Villa are considering former Swansea City boss Garry Monk, 37, as a replacement for current boss Remi Garde - The Sun

West Ham are planning to reward manager Slaven Bilic with a new contract – but won’t make a final decision until January. West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan said in the Mirror: "I will give Slaven a new deal in January. I just want to see that he is not a one-season wonder" - Daily Mirror and

Liverpool and Arsenal are poised to move for 23 year-old Bayern Munich midfielder Mario Gotze - Daily Express and Daily Mail

Barcelona are keen on Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil. According to the Spanish media, the Germany international is keen to return to Spain, while Barcelona could look to offer makeweights in any potential offer to drive down the size of the transfer fee. Arsenal are interested in the Barcelona trio of Arda Turan, Munir El Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez - AS (Spain's leading newspaper)

Juventus will be keeping one eye on the availability of Chelsea stars Oscar, Willian, Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard in the summer. It is reported that Antonio Conte - if he lands the Chelsea job – will look to make big changes to the squad, which could mean he’ll have to shift some of his higher earning players - Tuttosport (Italian sport newspaper published in Turin)

Liverpool may offer striker Christian Benteke, 25, as part of a deal to land Roma's Argentine midfielder Leandro Paredes, 21, who is currently on loan at Empoli - Daily Mirror

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is preparing a summer move for Stuttgart and Serbia left winger Filip Kostic, 23, although work permit issues could hamper the move - Bild (German tabloid newspaper)

Roma have reportedly slapped a £35m price-tag on midfielder Radja Nainggolan, who is a possible target for Chelsea and Manchester United - Daily Express

Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata has been linked with a shock move to Turkish side Fenerbahce - Daily Express and A Spor (Turkish Sport TV channel)

Inter Milan are tracking Manchester duo Gael Clichy and Juan Mata -

Manchester City are eyeing a move for 24 year-old Leicester City midfielder N'Golo Kante - Daily Star

Manchester City
and Juventus are ready to compete for Real Madrid's 23-year-old Spain midfielder Isco, and James Rodriguez could also be heading for the exit at the Bernabeu.- Daily Mirror

Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte, 21, could be one of Pep Guardiola's first signings at Manchester City, after the Blues agreed to meet the Frenchman's £39.6m release clause - Daily Telegraph

Fernando Torres is attracting interest from Lazio. Torres is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid from AC Milan, and his contract with the Serie A side expires in the summer - Corriere della Sera (An Italian daily newspaper published in Milan)

Juventus and Spanish international striker Alvaro Morata last night opened the door to a close-season move to Liverpool or Arsenal - The Sun and Daily Mail

and Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez, 25, is good enough to play for Barcelona, according to former midfielder Xavi - Al-Araby Al-Jadeed (An Arabic and English media outlet headquartered in London)

West Bromwich Albion
and Crystal Palace are both eyeing a move for 20 year-old Werder Bremen midfielder Florian Grillitsch -

Leeds United midfielder Lewis Cook, 19, is £10m summer target for Everton and Stoke City - The Sun

Despite reports that 18-year-old Marcus Rashford is set to sign a new contract at Manchester United, it is our understand that nothing is imminent. However, given his form, a new contract is likely in the near future. He is currently on a £1,000-a-week deal -

Manchester City
fans will have to pay £71 for a ticket to watch the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final away to Paris St-Germain. The tie is on 6 April - Manchester Evening News

Marko Arnautovic
says moving to Stoke City "breathed new life" into his career but is not sure if he will sign a new contract with the club -

Newcastle United striker Adam Armstrong, 19, will stay on loan at League One Coventry City as Magpies boss Rafael Benitez does not want to scar him in a relegation fight. Armstrong has scored 19 goals in 33 league appearances for the Sky Blues -

Norwich City and Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty has agreed to join Birmingham City on loan for the rest of the season -

World Cup-winning Germany midfielder Toni Kroos thinks England have a good chance at Euro 2016 - The Sun

England U21 boss Gareth Southgate says England are right to be cautious about calling up Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford - Daily Star

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Myths and Legends about St. Patrick's Day!

St Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick is one of the biggest celebrations around the world, with ex-pats from the United States to Hong Kong celebrating everything Irish on 17th March - the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461). St. Patrick's Day is that one day of the year when everybody is Irish......or at least pretends to be!

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival, but what does that actually entail? When it comes to St. Patrick's Day history, the United States has all kinds of traditions that, frankly, aren't even Irish. Who was Saint Patrick anyway? And what myths and legends about this Irish holiday have we all been blindly thinking are true for years?

Below are a list of some of the most interesting/unusual St. Patrick's Day tales I could find, as I try to separate the myths from the reality, and let you in on the truth and history of how this particular holiday came about and is truly celebrated.

1/ THE MYTH:  St. Patrick was Irish

THE REALITY: Saint Patrick, who was born in the late 4th century, was one of the most successful Christian missionaries in history. Born in Britain to a Christian family of Roman citizenship, he was taken prisoner at the age of 16 by a group of Irish raiders who attacked his family’s estate. They transported him to Gaelic Ireland, and he spent six years in captivity before escaping back to Britain. Believing he had been called by God to Christianize Ireland, he joined the Catholic Church and studied for 15 years before being consecrated as the church’s second missionary to Ireland. Patrick began his mission to Ireland in 432, and by his death in 461, the island was almost entirely Christian.

Some historians claim his name is in dispute, as later documents, from after Patrick’s time, list his birth name as "Maewyn Succat." His two letters are signed by "Patricius," and he probably adopted the name Patrick from the Latin for "well born" (meaning of aristocratic or high-ranking birth)

2/ THE MYTH:  St. Patrick wore green

THE REALITY: In modern celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day, revelers wear green, eat and drink green foods and turn everything they can dye green. This tradition is said to commemorate St. Patrick’s use of the shamrock in his religious teaching, but didn’t really become a part of his feast celebration until the 19th century. In reality, St. Patrick wore blue.

3/ THE MYTH:  Leprechauns are inexorably linked with St. Patrick’s Day

THE REALITY: While the little green, red-bearded troublemakers are an important part of Irish folklore in general, they have literally nothing to do with the historical St. Patrick’s Day. Leprechauns didn’t appear in Irish literature until the Middle Ages, well after Patrick’s return to Ireland.
While you’ll probably see drawings of leprechauns during your St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, it’s not because of their link to the holiday, it’s just because they make a handy representation of  "something Irish" – mostly due to pop culture depictions.

4/ THE MYTH:  The Irish get very drunk on St. Patrick’s Day 

THE REALITY: Originally, 17th March, the recorded day of St. Patrick’s death, was celebrated as a Catholic feast and a quiet religious observance. The first largely public celebration of St. Patrick’s Day took place in Boston in 1737. It did not become a national holiday in Ireland until 1903. In fact, until the 1970's, pubs in Ireland were required by law to be closed on 17th March.

5/ THE MYTH:  St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland

THE REALITY: The legend of St. Patrick says that he is celebrated for driving all the snakes out of Ireland. The only problem with this legend is that biologists now believe there were never snakes in Ireland. Before the last Ice Age, Ireland was simply too cold for snakes to survive, then when the glaciers receded, it left the land an island, impossible for snakes to reach. Fossil records from the country corroborate this, as no evidence of snakes has ever been found among the animals living there. Most likely, the legend of the snakes is a metaphor for St. Patrick driving paganism out of Ireland by converting so many people to Christianity.

6/ THE MYTH:  Chicago dyes the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day, so why don’t they dye it blue the rest of year?

THE REALITY: The Windy City does dye the Chicago River green on St. Patrick’s Day. This tradition began in 1962 when the parade organizer, head of a plumbers’ union, noticed that the dye that had been used to find sources of river pollution stained his clothing green. He thought it would be a great idea to use enough dye to turn the whole river green for the city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Researchers say the environmental impact of the dye is less than that of the pollution from sewage-treatment plants.
But as for dyeing it blue the rest of the year - bodies of water are the color they are because of the light that gets filtered through the water, not because of what’s in them. Fill a glass of water from the Chicago River, and it’ll be neither green nor blue, but clear.

7/ THE MYTH:  America has more Irish than Ireland

THE REALITY: There are more many people in America who have full or partial Irish ancestry than there are in Ireland. According to a US Census of 2013, nearly 34 million Americans had Irish ancestry - around 10% of the total population. The population of Ireland is just four and a half million people.

The areas of America that retain a significant Irish-American population include the metropolitan areas of Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, Hartford, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Baltimore, New York City, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where most new arrivals of the 1830–1910 period settled. As a percentage of the population, Massachusetts is the most Irish state, with well over 20% of its population claiming Irish descent.

8/ THE MYTH:  Corned beef and cabbage are the traditional St. Patrick's Day feast

THE REALITY: In America, sure. But debates rage as to whether or not this is actually a traditional Irish meal. Proponents say it is, based on the curing of ham to use on long ocean voyages. Others say it’s a more American twist on traditional Irish cuisine.

The truth is somewhere in the middle. The Irish, like pretty much everyone else, would salt-cure meat – but cows were expensive and needed for producing milk, so they’d rarely be slaughtered for food. Irish corned beef was extremely popular in England in the first half of the 1800's, but it was far too expensive for rural Irish tenant farmers to eat.

However, Irish immigrants in New York City’s Lower East Side couldn’t get the pork they were used to eating, as it was much more expensive in the US. So they bought corned beef from their Jewish neighbors because it was cheaper. The corned beef found in pubs and on dinner tables in America is much closer to traditional deli corned beef than what was for sale in Ireland 200 years ago.

To wash this down, those who want to be truly Irish will have a pint of Guinness. The brewer says more than 13 million pints will be consumed around the world on St. Patrick’s Day. So raise a glass!

9/ THE MYTH:  St. Patrick’s Day parades stepped off in Ireland 

THE REALITY: The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was actually held in New York City in 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the British Army during the Revolutionary War, also known as the American War of Independence (1775–1783), marched through the city to celebrate the religious feast day and their Irish roots. The first parade in Ireland took place in Dublin in 1931.

10/ THE MYTH:  The shamrock is the symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, but for extra luck, you really want a four-leaf clover – which is also Irish

THE REALITY: Four-leaf clovers are prized for their rarity, and as such, are thought to bring great luck. But the difference between the shamrock and the four-leaf clover is more than just a leaf – one is a symbol of national pride, and the other isn’t!

The four-leaf clover isn’t intrinsically Irish in any way, being a universal symbol for good fortune – and one that can be found everywhere. In fact, the clover with the most leaves in history (56, to be exact) was found in Moroka, Japan in 2009.

11/ THE MYTH:  You kiss the Blarney Stone on St. Patrick’s Day to get the gift of the gab

THE REALITY:The Blarney Stone is another one of those intrinsically "Irish" things that people use as shorthand for Irish culture. But it has nothing to do with St. Patrick, as Blarney Castle wasn’t built until 1446, a thousand years after the time of St. Patrick. As an aside, both native Irish people and hygiene experts agree that actually kissing the Blarney Stone is incredibly unsanitary and quite overrated as a tourist destination.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Statistically, the EA Sports best performing players in the English Premier League so far this season!

The EA SPORTS PPI (Player Performance Index) is the only official player rating index of the Barclays Premier League which measures a player's all round contribution to the success of his team using six key indices:

The intention is to remove any opinion bias and only work with proven statistical measurements which become more accurate as the season progresses.

Season 2015/16 - Last update: 08/03/16

For those of you currently playing 'Fantasy Premier League Football' you may want to take note!


1. Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) 356 EA Sports PPI  
2. Petr Cech (Arsenal) 340
3. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) 321
4. Jack Butland (Stoke City) 319 (right)
5. Adrian (West Ham) 294
6. Heurelho Gomes (Watford) 289
7. Joe Hart (Man City) 284
8. Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 270
9. David de Gea (Man Utd) 267
10. Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) 267


1. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham) 468
2. Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) 412
3. Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth) 404
4. Eric Dier (Tottenham) 403
5. Wes Morgan (Leicester) 400 (right)
6. Ashley Williams (Swansea) 395
7. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) 380
8. Aaron Cresswell (West Ham) 379
9. Nacho Monreal (Arsenal) 370
10. Robert Huth (Leicester) 364


1. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) 779
2. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) 625
3. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 587
4. Ross Barkley (Everton) 567
5. Dimitri Payet (West Ham) 534
6. Dele Alli (Tottenham) 508
7. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) 484
8. Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle) 477
9. Yaya Toure (Man City) 454
10. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea) 441


1. Harry Kane (Tottenham) 755
2. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 743
3. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 639
4. Odion Ighalo (Watford) 620
5. Sergio Agüero (Man City) 522
6. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) 485
7. Diego Costa (Chelsea) 441
8. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) 419 (right)
9. Troy Deeney (Watford) 415
10. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke) 408

The Six Key Indices:

1. Winning Performance

Players receive points for time on the pitch in a successful team. Players will receive more points if they play the full 90 minutes in a winning team. This index shares league points won by a team between the players according to the minutes they are on the pitch. Only time on the pitch and points scored are taken into account in this first index.

2. Player's Performance per match

Players receive points for positive influences on a winning performance (shots on target, tackles, clearances, saves etc). Players have points taken away from their score for negative actions such as shots off target and receiving yellow and/or red cards.

3. Appearances

Players receive points for minutes on the pitch. The number of points won by ALL teams in the Barclays Premier League are divided among the players according to the number of minutes they have played. This does not take into account the result of a match, it awards points purely for playing time.

4. Goals scored

Players are awarded points for scoring goals. These points are only given to the goalscorer.

5. Assists

Players are awarded points for assists. These points are only awarded to players that make the assist.
Assists are awarded to the player from the goal scoring team who makes the last touch before the goal is scored.
If after this touch, an opposing player touches the ball outside the penalty area altering the intended destination of the ball, then no assist is given, except if this intervention directly results in an own goal.
In the event of a penalty or free-kick, the player earning the penalty or free-kick gets an assist if a goal is directly scored, but not if he takes it himself, in which case no assist is given.

6. Clean sheets

Allocates points for clean sheets to the whole team. The proportionate split of the points is weighted according to the player's position. Therefore a goalkeeper will be awarded a greater proportion of the points for keeping a clean sheet than a striker. The points are also awarded proportionately to the time spent on the pitch.

N.B. The overall EA SPORTS PPI is a correlation between all of the above indices. The Index only includes actions that can be measured objectively and does not reward one action more than another (e.g. a pass by a midfielder will not gain more points than a tackle made by a defender). Subjective factors relating to individual players' skill levels or evidence of a specific flair, such as a particularly spectacular pass or goal, are not included within the index.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Babe of the Month - Hanging out with Sierra Blair-Coyle

Sierra Dominique Blair-Coyle was born 30th January 1994 in Scottsdale, Arizona and is arguably the most recognizable female professional rock climber today.

Sierra hardly needs an introduction. When she’s not climbing and modeling, this 22-year-old keeps busy studying marketing at Arizona State University and interacting with her some 200,000 Facebook followers.

Sierra, has been climbing since the age of eight has been competing professionally since the age of 14.

Before she discovered climbing, Sierra wanted to become a model, actress, and singer. After she discovered climbing, she wanted to become a professional rock climber. Being able to do both she says: "is like living two childhood dreams, so to speak."

The first time Sierra climbed was on a wall at a local outdoor mall at Desert Ridge. She instantly loved climbing and would beg her parents to take her back every single day! After that she told her parents that she wanted to start competing in rock climbing. At the time, Sierra said that her parents did not know that climbing was an organized sport. Luckily, there was an article in the newspaper two weeks later about a local climbing team and how they had just competed at the Nationals. she immediately went to the gym, joined the team, and started competing!

However, her path to the top has been far from easy, as she battled through a severe back injury as a teenager which threaten to cripple her - and end her dreams of being a climber.
At the age of 16 Sierra started having lower back pain. She eventually had an MRI scan and they found she had a bulging, torn and herniated disc in her back.

Sierra said: "The thought of giving up climbing didn't occur to me when my back was hurt because people get injured in all sports. The more athletes you meet the more you realize everyone is walking around broken. All that matters is how you move forward. Luckily I am healed now, but my back will still act up from time to time."

Voted one of the Top 99 Most Outstanding Women of 2015 by AskMen, she has also been a World Cup Competitor (2010-2015) and two-time U.S National Champion as a junior competitor, in 2005 and 2007.

Outside of climbing says: I want to live a life that I love, doing what I love. It would be great to model more, travel (even more!), work with animal shelters, go to graduate school.......the list goes on. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish in this life!

Sierra is sponsored and/or affiliated to the following companies/organisations:
Sanuk, Falken Tire, SPY, Climb X Gear, Asana Climbing, BlueWater Ropes, The Law Office of Devin W. Quackenbush, Cell Med Clinics, Tea of a Kind, Uncle Andy's Jerky and Quotable Cards.

You can follow Sierra on 
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr

* Some photographs courtesy of Jackie Sterna/Media Drum World and ESG Photography

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Best Free Agents this Summer!

Since the introduction of the Bosman ruling in 1995, clubs have strived to extend deals more than 12 months in advance of their contract expiry in a bid to avoid losing key assets for knock-down prices, or worse still for free come deadline time.

With the Financial Fair Play rules now in place, many clubs are looking for bargains when it comes to signing players. This is why they will be checking on who is available on a free transfer at the end of this season.

A look at the list of players nearing the ends of their contracts across Europe raises the possibility of many intriguing deals.

Here I take a look at a selection of the players whose current deals are due to expire in the summer of 2015!

Zlatan Ibrahimović - Age: 34 / Current Club: Paris Saint-Germain / Position: Forward

Branislav_Ivanović - Age: 31 / Current Club: Chelsea / Position: Right-Back

Riccardo Montolivo - Age: 31 / Current Club: AC Milan / Position: Midfielder

Tom Carroll - Age: 23 / Current Club: Tottenham / Position: Central Midfielder

Sofiane Feghouli - Age: 26 / Current Club: Valencia / Position: Winger

Emmanuel Adebayor - Age: 31 / Current Club: Crystal Palace / Position: Forward

Hatem Ben Arfa - Age: 28 / Current Club: Nice / Position: Attacking Midfielder

Tom Huddlestone - Age: 29 / Current Club: Hull City / Position: Midfielder

Ricky Álvarez - Age: 27 / Current Club: Sampdoria / Position: Attacking Midfielder

Samir Handanovic - Age: 31 / Current Club: Inter Milan / Position: Goalkeeper

John Terry - Age: 35 / Current Club: Chelsea / Position: Centre-Back

Nicolas Nkoulou - Age: 25 / Current Club: Marseille / Position: Defender

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson - Age: 29 / Current Club: Manchester United / Position: Left-Back

André Carrillo - Age: 29 / Current Club: Sporting Lisbon / Position: Winger

Tonny Vilhena - Age: 21 / Current Club: Feyenoord / Position: Midfielder

Victor Valdes - Age: 34 / Current Club: Manchester United / Position: Goalkeeper

Miguel Veloso- Age: 29 / Current Club: Dynamo Kiev / Position: Left-Back

Jon Flanagan - Age: 23 / Current Club: Liverpool / Position: Full-Back

Éve Banega - Age: 27 / Current Club: Sevilla / Position: Central Midfielder

Mikel Arteta - Age: 19 / Current Club: Arsenal / Position: Left-Back

Caner Erkin - Age: 27 / Current Club: Fenerbahçe / Position: Left-Back

James Morrison - Age: 29 / Current Club: West Brom / Position: Midfielder

Álvaro Arbeloa - Age: 33 / Current Club: Real Madrid / Position: Full-Back

Kevin-Prince Boateng - Age: 28 / Current Club: AC Milan / Position: Midfielder

Steven Fletcher - Age: 28 / Current Club: Sunderland / Position: Forward

Nenad Tomović - Age: 28 / Current Club: Fiorentina / Position: Defender

Steven Pienaar - Age: 33 / Current Club: Everton / Position: Attacking Midfielder

Martin Caceres - Age: 28 / Current Club: Juventus / Position: Defender

Joel Campbell - Age: 23 / Current Club: Arsenal / Position: Forward

Steve Mandanda - Age: 30 / Current Club: Marseille / Position: Goalkeeper

Gregory van der Wiel - Age: 30 / Current Club: Paris Saint-Germain / Position: Right-Back

Junior Hoilett - Age: 25 / Current Club: Queens Park Rangers / Position: Winger

Ron Vlaar - Age: 31 / Current Club: Paris Saint-Germain / Position: Centre-Back

Mathieu Flamini - Age: 31 / Current Club: Arsenal / Position: Midfielder

Marcos Alonso - Age: 25 / Current Club: Fiorentina / Position: Left-Back

Stéphane Sessègnon - Age: 31 / Current Club: West Brom / Position: Midfielder

Marc Wilson - Age: 28 / Current Club: Stoke City / Position: Centre-Back

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Most Powerful Football Agents 2015

Business analysts Forbes have published their most recent findings on the
'World's Richest Football Agents' with those responsible for brokering deals for the biggest names unsurprisingly near the top of the list.
Premier League clubs spent over £1billion on transfers in 2015, shattering the equivalent figures recorded by the other major European leagues.

With the role of the agent becoming more and more prominent, here we look at the most powerful middle men currently doing business in the game.

7/ Thomas Kroth

Thomas Kroth was born 26 August 1959 in Erlenbach am Main, Germany. Kroth is a former Bundesliga professional football player.

Kroth won the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) with three different teams. In 1983 with FC Köln, in 1987 with Hamburger SV and in 1989 with Borussia Dortmund. In 1985, he earned one cap for Germany against Hungary.

Kroth retired from his pro soccer career in 1991 to enter into the player representation business. These days, his agency Pro Profil, represents over 110 football/soccer players throughout Europe and the world including: Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, former Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa, Dynamo Kyiv defender Aleksander Dragovic, Shinji Okazaki of Leicester City, Bayern Munich midfielder Sebastian Rode and Watford's José Holebas.

Contracts worth: £146m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £14.7m

Thomas Kroth is ranked #25 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

6/ Fernando Felicevich

Fernando Felicevich was born 22 April 1970 in Argentina.

Until the age of 33, Fernando Felicevich never had contact with professional football.
But Fernando Felicevich is now the king of South American soccer, representing the likes of Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal, Aresenal's Alexis Sanchez (below) and Inter Milan midfielder Gary Medel, Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, Felipe Guitiérrez who plays for FC Twente in the Eredivisie, and Charles Aránguiz who plays in Qatar.

Felicevich's has a sterling reputation in the global football business for his pragmatic approach to negotiation, as well as parental relationship with many of his players.

In Chile he works with a counselor who can provide services to his players. Fernando always cares about his players’ image and the information that appears about them. You can see that just taking a look at his Twitter account: he uses it to inform about transfers, to correct incorrect news and to answer when someone has any doubts about one of the footballers he represents.

Felicevich has become one of the game's most coveted agents, having enjoyed an extremely lucrative 12 months following the Brazil World Cup in 2014, where they reached the round of 16 before being eliminated by the host nation.
Chile's success at the tournament laid the platform for things to come and they went on to win the Copa América the following year, with four of manager Jorge Sampaoli's side now having signed big-money deals across Europe - all coming from Felicevich's stable.

Contracts worth: £148m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £15m

Fernando Felicevich is ranked #23 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

5/ Mino Raiola

Mino Raiola was born 4 November 1967 in Nocera Inferiore in the Salerno province of southern Italy.

A one man show, Mino Raiola is one of the most powerful agents in the soccer industry. Raiola, of Maguire Tax & Legal in the Netherlands, represents a small (relative to multi-agent agencies) but star studded collection of players (approx. 35 in total).

Sir Alex Ferguson may have blamed Raiola for the departure of Paul Pogba from Manchester United on the cheap, but the player's agent is synonymous with the trade, becoming a revered figure among his peers in recent years.

Mino Raiola with his client  Zlatan Ibrahimović in Milan

Raiola powerful roster of soccer’s top talent includes: Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, Juventus star Paul Pogba, Italian striker Mario Balotelli, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi, Borussia Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan and AC Milan's Ignazio Abate.

Contracts worth: £186m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £18.7m

Mino Raiola is ranked #22 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

4/ José Otin (José Antonio Martín Otin)

Founder and president of Bahia International, Otin transitioned form a career in radio to the sports agent business by recruiting some of the Iberian Peninsula's best players. Dealing only in players from his homeland of Spain, Otin represents the likes of Chelsea striker Pedro, Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez, Spanish international Fernando Torres, Manchester City's Jesus Navas, Sevilla FC winger Víctor Pérez, Athletic Bilbao midfielder Raúl García, Valencia CF's Dani Parejo, Real Sociedad's Asier Illarramendi, Málaga CF midfielder Ignacio Camacho and Arsenal's Nacho Monreal

Otin has cast his net across Europe, reaping the rewards of negotiating deals for some of the biggest stars across the top five leagues from one country to another. The Bahia Internacional agent deals exclusively with Spanish footballers, but that hasn't stopped the man who once worked in radio from sending his clients abroad.

Contracts worth: £191m
Commissions: (career payments for completed deals): £19.2m

Jose Otin is ranked #15 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

3/ Volker Struth

The SportsTotal agent is the most powerful middle man in German football, with some of the biggest names currently plying their trade in the Bundesliga (considered by many to be the best football league in the world) being on his books.

Mario Gotze is one such illustrious name, but Struth made headlines in the summer when he claimed the current Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola had 'destroyed' his player through a lack of first-team opportunities.

Struth with Mario Gotze and Marco Reus

Other notable clients include: Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes, Bayer Leverkusen and Turkish international Ömer Toprak, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gonzalo Castro, Schalke's German international winger Sidney Sam and Swiss international Josip Drmic.

Contracts worth: £278m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £27.8m

Volker Struth is ranked #5 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

2/ Jonathan Barnett

Jonathan Barnett was born 28 January 1950. Barnett is one of the most important figures in football — and yet you may never have heard of him. Barnett grew up on Baker Street in the West End of London, entering the workplace as an employee of Curzon House Group, a casino business owned by his family. Barnett owns Stellar Group, an agency he founded with David Manasseh in 1994.

While Barnett's first client was legendary Cricket player Brian Lara, he has made a name for himself since then representing some of the world's best soccer players. Representing well over 100 players throughout dozens of global leagues, Barnett manages the largest roster of clients of any single agent in the Forbes Top 50. Barnett is also often given credit for introducing Lennox Lewis into professional boxing.

Barnett masterminded Gareth Bale's £86million move from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013, and the highest-placed Brit on the list also played a crucial role in negotiating Luke Shaw's £27m move from Southampton to Manchester United the following summer.

His clients include: England and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, Lyon and Brazilian international Rafael da Silva, Poland's international goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson, Newcastle's recent signing Jonjo Shelvey, Everton defender Phil Jagielka, Liverpool's Adam Lallana and former Arsenal, Chelsea and AS Roma defender Ashley Cole.

Contracts worth: £287m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £28.8m

Jonathan Barnett is ranked #4 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

1/ Jorge Mendes

Jorge Paulo Agostinho Mendes was born 7 January 1966 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Jorge Mendes is often referred to as a "super-agent," having negotiated more than £625m in player contracts, including a £135m deal for client Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo returned the favour when his agent recently got married, buying him a Greek island as a wedding present. He has been recognized as 'FIFA's Agent of the Year' on three occasions by his peers.

Mendes began life as a footballer but was forced to abandon his hopes of a professional career after being rejected by a number of Portuguese clubs when he was in his early 20's. Instead, he ran a video rental store, worked as a DJ and opened a bar and nightclub in Caminha, north-west Portugal.

Mendes, began his football agent career focusing primarily on Portuguese players. He is registered with the Portuguese Football Federation and heads the GestiFute company, which was founded in 1996 and is based in Porto.

Mendes's first deal as a football agent came in 1996 when he brokered Nuno's move from Vitória de Guimarães to Deportivo de La Coruña. He had met the goalkeeper in a bar in Guimarães. After that deal, Mendes gradually attracted more Portuguese players, including Jorge Andrade. Hugo Viana's move from Sporting CP to Newcastle United in the Premier League for around €12 million in 2002 was his first major international transfer.

Part of Mendes's success was ostensibly based on his frequent presence at soccer schools and youth teams throughout Portugal, spotting and signing up young players, as he did with Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma.

In 2008, GestiFute announced that it had entered into partnership with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in the United States to "create global opportunities for current and future clients," following CAA's expansion into the sports market.

"Sir Alex Ferguson wrote in his new autobiography Leading: 'There are some decent agents, but you don't need all the fingers of one hand to count them. Jorge Mendes is one."

His clients include: Ronaldo, Chelsea striker Diego Costa, Manchester City and French international defender Eliaquim Mangala, Real Madrid winger James Rodriguez, Portuguese international Fábio Coentrão, Real Madrid defender Pepe, Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil defender Thiago Silva, Radamel Falcao currently on loan at Chelsea, AS Monaco's Ricardo Carvalho, Angel di Maria the Paris Saint-Germain and Argentine international, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and football manager Jose Mourinho.

Contracts worth: £626.3m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £62.8m

Jorge Mendes is ranked #2 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.

Jorge Mendes with his client Cristiano Ronaldo

Monday, February 01, 2016

Babe of the Month - Fitness Beauty Jamie Eason

Jamie Eason is an American fitness model, writer and online trainer who was born in Houston, Texas on 10th April 1976. Jamie is also a former NFL cheerleader and winner of the World's Fittest Model competition.

While working towards a degree in speech communication/organization at Texas A&M University, she took a weight training class for a kinesiology credit.
It was then that her interest in fitness training began.

In 2001, after graduating from college and while working for her grandfather's roofing company, she tried out for the new Houston Texans cheerleading squad. She was one of 35 girls selected from 1,600 girls in a rigorous two-day process.

After a short time as a Houston Texans cheerleader, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 22, forcing her to a desk job where her inactive lifestyle and poor nutrition took a toll on her body. In an attempt to get in shape, she joined a local gym. She continued to work out and improve but wasn't completely satisfied with her results. After consulting a nutritionist, she was put on a proper diet that completely transformed her body.

However and at the age of 28 a back injury revealed that she has Spina Bifida Occulta, a minor form of the disease that is quite debilitating during flare-ups. Jamie doesn’t let health ailments get in the way of her career and goals.

As a result of that incident, Jamie became even more determined to take control of her life and health and become a role model for women everywhere.

Jamie explains her personal philosophy that she shares with others:

"This is your life. If you are not who you want to be, change it! It won't be easy and it may take some time, but surround yourself with people who love and support you and go for it! No regrets! Only you dwell on your failures. Good luck and remember the inner strength you'll achieve from adopting a healthy lifestyle, far supersedes anything physical."

With nearly 235,000 followers on Instagram, and a Facebook page with over a million followers, Jamie has appeared on numerous covers of fitness magazines and is one of the most identifiable figures in the industry.

Eason was first discovered at a fitness competition in Austin, Texas. Jamie began her bodybuilding career in 2005 as a fitness and figure athlete, achieving WNBF Figure Pro and WNSO Fitness Model Pro cards and was crowned the "World's Fittest Model" in 2006.

In addition to her work for, Jamie is frequently featured in articles and cover photos of many of the top fitness magazines and websites including, Oxygen, Ironman, Status Fitness, MuscleMag, Flex, DXL, Fatfighter.TV, Muscle and Fitness Hers and Planet Muscle.

As a spokesperson, Eason has been dubbed the "female face" of, the world's largest and most-visited online retailer for sports supplements and nutritional products. Jamie also has authored several workout plans and routines that are followed by millions of people on the website.

Jamie also focuses on removing the stereotype that women with muscle are unfeminine. She has stated that she regrets some of her earlier photo shoots that showed 'too much skin' when she began her career modeling.

She continues fitness modeling but encourages young women in fitness and modeling not to show a lot of skin stating "It's not worth it." Her training style mostly revolves around weight training, she has stated she prefers that over cardio training, so she doesn't do cardio training a lot but heavily focuses on weight training.

Jamie was married in July 2012 and gave birth to her son August in late 2013 and is expecting her second child this April.

You can follow Jamie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter