Cristiano Ronaldo’s passion for watching the sport he’s become one of the best in the world is limited to his time on the pitch, it seems. Speaking to two-time middleweight world boxing champion Gennady Golovkin in the documentary “Parallel Worlds” for DAZN, Ronaldo says he prefers watching combat sports than the sport he’s paid to play.
“Playing football is my passion, but I prefer watching other sports on TV,” Ronaldo said. “Between watching a football match or a boxing or UFC fight, I choose boxing or UFC.”
“When I was at Manchester United, a coach boxed with me,” he added. “I think practicing boxing is useful for football because it sharpens your senses and you learn to move.”
For what it’s worth, Ronaldo was speaking on a combat-centric sports show, and DAZN has signed the 35-year-old winger as a brand ambassador. This isn’t to say his statements are entirely a cynical ploy to sell subscriptions, as he seems to have legitimately taken lessons from boxing and is trying to apply them to his career with regards to keeping his playing days going into his late thirties.
“Last summer, I had a chat with Anthony Joshua,” Ronaldo said. “At 33 you start to think your legs are going. I want to stay in sport, in football. People will look at me and say: ‘Cristiano was an incredible player but now he’s slow.’ I don’t want that. You can change a lot about your body, but the problem isn’t that. It’s depends on your mindset, your motivation and your experience, which I think is the most complex thing.
“In sport, you can gain maturity. Look at (Roger) Federer in tennis. He’s 37 or 38 years old and he’s still at his peak, and there are some in boxing too.”
It doesn’t look like the Portuguese superstar is slowing down anytime soon as through 10 appearances for Juventus on the domestic and European stage, he’s bagged 14 goals and two assists.
Curry scores 36 points in Timberwolves 130-108 loss to Golden State
SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Curry scored 36 points with seven 3-pointers, Andrew Wiggins took it to his old Timberwolves team for 23 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat Minnesota 130-108 on Monday night after coach Steve Kerr shook up his starting five.
Playing the Timberwolves for the first time since his trade last February, Wiggins showed a steadiness that was missing at times when he played in Minneapolis. He drove the lane for pull-up jumpers, dunked, hit from long range, made three steals, blocked three shots and grabbed all six of his rebounds on the offensive glass.
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Curry shot 11 for 21 overall and 7 of 12 from deep as the Warriors avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season.
Malik Beasley scored 30 points with four 3s to lead Minnesota, which fell behind early with poor shooting and failed to gain any momentum from snapping a four-game losing streak Saturday.
Curry has 2,569 career 3-pointers after he passed Reggie Miller for second place in NBA history in Saturday’s road loss to the Jazz. Ray Allen is first with 2,973.
Miller offered a congratulatory message on the big screen Monday during a first-quarter timeout.
Golden State delivered a far better start after falling behind 14-0 to the Jazz and trailing by as many as 40 in the 127-108 defeat at Utah.
D’Angelo Russell was held out in what would have been his first matchup against his former Warriors team because of a bruised right quadriceps muscle.
Russell played 33 games for Golden State last season before the trade that brought Wiggins to the Bay Area.
“Well, last year was a complete mess for our team and our organization with all the injuries. We were fortunate to be able to sign D’Angelo,” Kerr said. “D’Angelo was a really productive player for us. He shot the lights out, had some big games.”
The shorthanded #Timberwolves made some plays in their loss to the Warriors, including a ridiculous dunk from Anthony Edwards.
Timberwolves: Jarred Vanderbilt took a hit to the eye when fouled by Draymond Green at the 5:34 mark of the third, then Green got hit with a technical. … Minnesota hasn’t won on the Warriors’ home floor since a 124-117 overtime victory on April 5, 2016. … Ricky Rubio shot just 1 for 8 but dished out 11 assists. … Minnesota C Karl-Anthony Towns missed his fifth straight games after announcing Jan. 15 he tested positive for the coronavirus. The Timberwolves are 2-10 without Towns in the lineup this season — one of those wins a 120-110 home victory Saturday night against the Pelicans.
Warriors: Golden State totaled 45 bench points, with everybody but rookie Nico Mannion scoring. The plan is for second-round pick Mannion to go to Orlando for the G League bubble along with Jordan Poole and Alen Smailagić, who is getting close to being able to practice as he works back from surgery for a meniscus tear in his right knee. “It’s something I think could be very productive for all of them,” Kerr said.
The teams square off again Wednesday night at Chase Center to complete their two-game series.
Negotiations have resumed between players union, ECB and counties over potential pay cuts
James Harris has admitted that the English game still faces “a huge challenge” in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic upon his election to the role of chair at the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), but said that he is confident that he will be able to steer the organisation through choppy waters.
The PCA resumed its negotiations with the ECB and the first-class counties on Monday afternoon as they continue to discuss collective solutions including the possibility of further temporary salary cuts, but hopes that with the prospect of a full domestic schedule and fans returning to grounds this summer, such measures will soon no longer be necessary.
Harris, the Middlesex seamer, was confirmed as Daryl Mitchell’s successor on Monday, after serving as vice-chair alongside Heather Knight since last June and as Middlesex’s player representative before that, and described his election as a “huge honour” in his first media interaction in the position.
“I’ve got some big shoes to fill in those of Daryl Mitchell, who has done a brilliant job,” Harris said. “I was always keen if the role came up and thankfully I’ve had the support of lots of my colleagues around the country. It’s great that I can lean on Mitch – he’s got another month in the post and hopefully I can get up to speed and make sure I’m as clued up as I can be.
“No doubt, there’s a huge challenge in front of us. Everyone involved in the game did brilliantly last year, playing as much cricket as we did – at the start of last summer, it would have looked a long way off.
“It’s about seeing us through to the end of this pandemic [and building on] the work that Daryl did, getting the players’ committee together and coming up with everything that they have to see us through with collective agreements. There may be more of that required, but we hope there isn’t too much more. We want to be as responsible towards the game as we can be, so that we can build as strong a game as possible around the country.”
Harris also gave his endorsement for the Hundred, describing it as a “fantastic concept” which will be a “massive showpiece for cricket in this country”. The PCA’s initial response to the Hundred was lukewarm in 2018 when the ECB unveiled its new competition, with concerns raised over the 100-ball format and possible conflicts of interest, but has since thrown its support behind it.
“It’s just another part of a cricketer’s career,” Harris said. “Guys will try and make their way into Hundred teams, and it’s going to provide a lot of opportunities for guys in county cricket, perhaps who wouldn’t have necessarily got a look-in at certain times or for younger guys who might get pushed into the first team a bit earlier.
“It’s a different concept. It’s exciting. It’s something that’s going to bring a lot of eyes from around the world onto English cricket, which can only be a good thing.”
Harris becomes chair at a time when the PCA’s active playing membership is bigger than ever before, with 41 new members following the ratification of women’s domestic contracts at the end of last year. While he admitted that he has “a lot of learning to do across all areas of the game, both men’s and women’s”, Harris said that he had already reached out to Knight – who will continue as vice-chair – and Kate Cross, the England women’s representative in recent days.
“I’m going to support everybody as well as I can,” he said. “We’re building up relationships as much as we can already, and it’s a really exciting time in the women’s game as well, having those new members join the PCA and become full-time professionals. It’s a great time for everyone involved in the game whether male or female.”
One relationship that Harris will already feel secure in is that with the PCA’s chief executive, Rob Lynch, who was previously Middlesex’s commercial director and chief operating officer, and took over from Tony Irish on a full-time basis in October. Lynch, who had no say in Harris’ election, said that he had been “thrilled” to hear he had been chosen for the post.
“I’ve known him for four or five years and he was always one of my favourite guys to work with at Middlesex,” Lynch said. “We have to put some stability inside the PCA which has been one of the challenges over the last couple of years through some changes in leadership at the top. This year is about rebuilding and being clear about our purpose and our role in the game.
“Our job is to find the line between playing a responsible stakeholder role and also pushing tooth and nail for the rights that the players have, because we recognise that we’ll need to continue with that we’ve done. We’re all hoping to get back to a more normal set-up as soon as we can.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98
And for his new team, the Buccaneers, a first-of-its-kind home game, but without the usual home-field advantage.
To put a bow on this make-it-up-as-we-go NFL season — a campaign upended but never fully undone by the coronavirus pandemic — it comes as no surprise that there is no such thing as a straightforward storyline.
Because of restrictions in place due to COVID-19, Tampa Bay’s home stadium will only be about a quarter full when the Buccaneers host the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 7 in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs opened as a 3.5-point favorite.
The 43-year-old Brady will expand on his record by playing in his 10th Super Bowl, hoping to expand on another record by winning a seventh title, but the first one in his new home of Tampa Bay.
And 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs will be trying for back-to-back titles, something no quarterback has done since — who else? — Brady, back in his 2003-04 heyday with the New England Patriots.
The showdown will take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, where Brady’s Bucs will be the first team in the 55-year history of the Super Bowl to play on home turf.
“Whoever would’ve thought a home Super Bowl for us? But we did it,” said Brady, who led the wild-card Buccaneers to a 31-26 win over Green Bay on Sunday to make it three straight road playoff wins on the way back home for the Super Bowl.
But home-field advantage won’t mean as much as it normally might. This will be the first Super Bowl not played in front of a capacity crowd since the first one — Kansas City vs. Green Bay at the LA Coliseum — in 1967.
In a nod to how the pandemic has changed everything, the crowd for America’s No. 1 sports spectacle will be limited to 22,000 in the 75,000-seat stadium, with vaccinated health-care workers getting 7,500 of those precious tickets.
And even the visiting team — the Chiefs — won’t be staying in a hotel all week, the way both conference champions usually do for the Super Bowl. ESPN reported that Kansas City doesn’t plan to arrive in Tampa until the day before the game.
Most interview availabilities, as they have all season, will take place on Zoom from the teams’ hometown practice facilities. The farce that has become the Super Bowl’s “Opening Night” media session will be a virtual affair, as well. In short, teams will basically treat this like a regular road game (or, in the case of the Bucs, a regular home game), and the Super Bowl city will not much resemble the overflowing party hub it usually does as the big game approaches.
Despite all that, this has the makings of a good matchup, featuring the league’s top (Chiefs) and seventh-rated (Bucs) offenses, each with multiple ways to strike: Receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce are standouts for KC and former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is on Brady’s long list of options for Tampa.
It is a rematch of Kansas City’s 27-24 win on Thanksgiving weekend in Tampa. In that one, Mahomes threw for 462 yards — 269 of them to Hill — to help the Chiefs build an early 17-point lead.
This will be the second high-stakes postseason matchup between Brady and Mahomes. Brady was surgeon-like, leading New England to 524 yards in offense in a 37-31 overtime win over the Chiefs in the AFC title game in January 2019.
It gave New England its third straight trip to the Super Bowl, and Brady’s last of nine as a member of the Patriots.
In the two seasons since, Kansas City has represented the AFC.
The Chiefs have done it largely on the arm of Mahomes, though it’s his head and his foot that have been making more news of late. He threw for 325 yards and led the Chiefs to a 38-24 victory over Buffalo on Sunday. He did it despite a bout with turf toe that flared up at the end of a week he spent in the NFL’s concussion protocol following a hard hit in KC’s previous playoff win over Cleveland. (Also a concern now: Pro Bowl left tackle Eric Fisher left Sunday’s game with an Achilles injury.)
Mahomes could join Bart Starr, Bob Griese, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, John Elway and, of course, Brady on the list of QBs to win two in a row.
As for Brady? He’s leading the Buccaneers to only their second Super Bowl; the Bucs won on their first trip, back in 2002. Brad Johnson was the quarterback then. But nobody would mistake Johnson for Brady, who could join Peyton Manning as the only other quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two franchises.
It could happen the day after Manning gets the call from the Hall of Fame; Manning is newly eligible this year and is a shoo-in to get in the night before the game.
Soon enough, Brady will be there, as well.
Clearly, though, he still feels his home is on the football field.
“The belief he gave everybody in this organization, that this could be done,” said Bucs coach Bruce Arians, when asked to explain what Brady’s arrival meant to the franchise. “It only took one man.”