BREAKING NEWS: Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz tests positive for coronavirus

By Sports Desk July 28, 2020

Real Madrid have confirmed striker Mariano Diaz has tested positive for coronavirus just 10 days ahead of their Champions League clash with Manchester City.

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  • Marseille turn to Sampaoli Marseille turn to Sampaoli

    Jorge Sampaoli has been appointed as head coach of Marseille on a deal until June 2023.

    The 60-year-old has enjoyed a nomadic coaching career, most notably leading Chile to Copa America glory in 2015 before departing to take charge at LaLiga side Sevilla in June 2016.

    Less than a year later, Sampaoli left to take over his native Argentina but an uninspiring qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup preceded a last-16 defeat to eventual winners France in the tournament proper.

    Spells at Santos and Atletico Mineiro followed, Sampaoli winning the Campeonato Mineiro with the latter, and he will now have another crack at European football in Ligue 1 with Marseille, who are eighth in the table.

    "I have been told all my life that Marseille is a special place for passion. That the Velodrome lights up when the team plays in the stadium," said Sampaoli. 

    "Marseille is a club for the people. We're not here to hide: we're going to play hard. When I received this proposal, I dreamed of being able to party in the city. 

    "In the world, there are places for calm and there are intense places. It is the latter that I want and I accepted without hesitation. This club has a soul and that is why we are here. We are ready."

    Andre Villas-Boas' reign at the Stade Velodrome ended in tempestuous circumstances with the former Chelsea boss suspended by the club earlier this month.

    The Portuguese had offered to resign amid frustrations over the running of the club, which came to a head with Marseille's signing of Olivier Ntcham from Celtic, a player he did not ask to be brought in.

  • You can Stich it out! Former Wimbledon winner Michael says quarantine is small price to pay You can Stich it out! Former Wimbledon winner Michael says quarantine is small price to pay

    Former champion Michael Stich urged tennis stars to "consider themselves lucky" when Wimbledon returns after last year's cancellation.

    Prospects of the tournament going ahead in front of London crowds appear suddenly bright, with lockdown restrictions due to be lifted over the coming months.

    There may still be restrictions on travel into the United Kingdom from abroad, however, by the time Wimbledon comes around. The fortnight-long tournament is due to begin on June 28, one week after all COVID-19 restrictions on daily life are scheduled to end in England.

    Wimbledon has said it is planning for "scenarios of full, reduced and no public capacity", and it may be the ferrying of thousands of players and their support teams to the tournament that proves the greatest logistical headache.

    The grass-court major was scrapped last year amid the pandemic, not taking place for the first time since the second World War.

    The Australian Open quarantined for 14 days all the tennis players, entourages and officials who arrived in the country ahead of the recent grand slam in Melbourne, which led to some grumbling among tour stars.

    Men's champion Novak Djokovic later said many players were reluctant to continue with the season if being confined to a hotel room was going to become the norm.

    Stich, who beat fellow German Boris Becker in the 1991 Wimbledon final, says tennis pros should be grateful they have the opportunity to make a living, even if it means making a sacrifice. Given the proximity of the French Open to Wimbledon on the calendar, elite players may face plenty of time cut off from friends and family.

    "I still believe that all the players should consider themselves lucky to actually be able to go to work. We do have a lot of sports competitions that do not have this luxury," Stich told Stats Perform News.

    "Therefore, five weeks of quarantine might be a high burden for sure, I couldn't imagine that. But still, to actually participate in a tournament and to earn money through playing in that tournament, which is vital for many people these days, is definitely a present.

    "We will have to wait and see what will happen to the pandemic and which scenarios we can create to play there. In Europe, the distances are small, so players should think about their travel arrangements.

    "If players are, for example, in quarantine [at grass-court tournaments] in Stuttgart or Halle, they can enter the country through a transport method that can exclude themselves from the masses - then it is basically as if they entered a consistent quarantine.

    "Maybe then it can become possible. I truly wish that Wimbledon will go ahead for the players and primarily for the fans."

  • Neymar in high spirits in individual training at PSG Neymar in high spirits in individual training at PSG

    Neymar remains on schedule with his recovery from injury and has been boosted by his return to individual training, Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino said.

    The world's most expensive footballer suffered an adductor injury against Caen in the Coupe de France on February 10.

    A four-week lay-off was predicted, potentially allowing for a return against former club Barcelona in the Champions League on March 10.

    However, PSG won the first leg 4-1 thanks to a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick, easing the pressure on Neymar ahead of his comeback.

    The Brazil superstar has only appeared in 18 of PSG's 35 games in all competitions this season and their win rate has actually improved from 66.7 per cent with the forward to 70.6 per cent when he has been absent.

    But Neymar has still been involved in 17 of the 33 goals PSG have scored with him on the pitch in 2020-21; his 13 goals and four assists have him rank second only to Mbappe - 21 goals and nine assists for 30 involvements - among Parisian players this term.

    Pochettino will certainly relish having Neymar back in the fold and detailed his progress on Friday ahead of the weekend clash with Dijon.

    "Ney follows the protocol that the medical staff have established for him," the coach told a news conference.

    "He has started running again on the field and he has done individual physical exercises, not with the team.

    "He is in a very good state of mind. He is happy. He is on schedule for his return and, until then, everything is under control."

    PSG head to Dijon third in the table and four points off the pace, unable to afford another setback having lost to Monaco last Sunday.

    That was their sixth league defeat this term, their most across a single campaign since 2010-11 (eight), the season prior to Qatar Sports Investments' lucrative takeover.

    PSG will have to improve in the final third against Dijon, having mustered only a single shot on target at home to Monaco, but will have to cope without the talents of Marco Verratti.

    The midfielder, who played 35 minutes as a substitute last week, in which time he played 38 passes in the Monaco half, sustained a knock in training.

    "The team lacked freshness and therefore creativity against Monaco," Pochettino said, with Verratti having started from the bench after sparkling as he assisted Mbappe's first goal at Camp Nou.

    "In Barcelona, ​​we had been good in this area. In Dijon, we will find solutions and the players on the pitch will be up to the task."

    PSG will also be without Mauro Icardi (gastroenteritis), Alessandro Florenzi (adductor) and Leandro Paredes (suspension).

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