On this day in sport: Cruyff wins first trophy as Barca coach, Nadal makes tennis history

By Sports Desk May 10, 2020

The transformation of Barcelona under Johan Cruyff took an important step forward on May 10, 31 years ago.

The Catalans won their first trophy since the great Cruyff's return to his old club, beating Sampdoria to claim the Cup Winners' Cup.

Liverpool became European champions for the second time on this day in 1978 as they defended the trophy by defeating Club Brugge.

More recently, May 10 has brought about historic achievements from Stephen Curry and Rafael Nadal.

 

1978 - Liverpool defend European Cup

Liverpool became the first English team to retain the European Cup in 1978 – and they did so at the national stadium, too.

A solitary goal from Kenny Dalglish in the second half secured a 1-0 victory over Club Brugge at Wembley in a game that was a far cry from the thrilling 4-3 aggregate win for Liverpool against the same opponents in the UEFA Cup final two years earlier.

The Reds will not have cared too much, though. It was their second European Cup triumph, following on from 1977's 3-1 defeat of Borussia Monchengladbach, and they would go on to lift the trophy twice more in the next six years.

 

1989 - Barcelona win Cup Winners' Cup to kick-start Cruyff legacy

Johan Cruyff was a legend as a Barcelona player, but he returned as coach during a time of real strife at his old club.

Within a year, he had secured his first trophy in charge, as the Catalans claimed a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria to lift the 1988-89 Cup Winners' Cup.

Goals in each half from Julio Salinas and Luis Lopez Rekarte were enough to seal the win and kick-start the sustained success of Cruyff's fabled 'Dream Team'.

By the end of the 1993-94 season, Barca had won four LaLiga titles in a row, a Copa del Rey, three Supercopas de Espana, the UEFA Super Cup of 1992 and the European Cup of the same year, where they beat Sampdoria again.

 

2016 - Curry becomes first unanimous NBA MVP in history

Stephen Curry led the Golden State Warriors to a historic 73-9 in a regular season in which they seemed to break records at will, only to lose the Finals 4-3 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Still, there was little argument against Curry being named MVP for the second year in a row. In fact, it seems there was no argument at all.

He swept all 131 first-place votes to become the first unanimous winner of the award in history, with Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs a distant second.

2018 - Nadal breaks McEnroe record for consecutive set wins on single surface

Rafael Nadal is quite good at tennis on clay courts, if you were not aware.

Two years ago, he reminded everyone just how imperious he can be on the red dirt (if 12 French Open singles triumphs since 2005 was not proof enough).

By beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 at the Madrid Open, Nadal broke the record for winning consecutive sets on a single surface. He reached 50 set wins in a row on clay, surpassing the 49 on carpet set by John McEnroe in 1984.

Remarkably, the run ended in rather meek fashion in his next match, as Dominic Thiem won their quarter-final 7-5 6-3.

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    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp provided a promising update on Virgil van Dijk, but he remains unsure when the star defender will return for the Premier League champions.

    Van Dijk underwent surgery on his knee in October after suffering a serious injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton.

    The Netherlands international has been missed by Liverpool, who are fourth and six points adrift of rivals Manchester United ahead of hosting Burnley on Thursday.

    Klopp was upbeat about Van Dijk's rehabilitation, but he is unsure when the 29-year-old might return.

    "He looks really good," Klopp told a news conference.

    "I spoke this morning to him on the phone, he is in a really good mood so it's all very promising but I don't know when he will be back.

    "There are for sure a lot of stages still to go over or to pass, whatever, that's clear. I had this injury myself.

    "For the time we are in and for how long he is out now, how long the rehabilitation is going on, he looks really, really promising."

    Since Van Dijk's Premier League debut for Liverpool in January 2018, Klopp's men have won 72 of 95 games with him in their side.

    That win percentage of 75.8 drops to 50 in the 14 league games in which Van Dijk has been absent.

    Liverpool have also averaged more goals for (2.3 to 1.9) with Van Dijk, and also conceded more with him (0.8 to 0.6) than without him.

    Klopp's side, however, have struggled for consistency so far this season and head into their clash against Burnley on a four-game winless run in the league.

  • Pirlo's Supercoppa joy 'more beautiful' than as a player Pirlo's Supercoppa joy 'more beautiful' than as a player

    Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo felt lifting his first silverware as a boss was "more beautiful" than his numerous playing successes.

    Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata either side of a missed Lorenzo Insigne penalty gave Juve a 2-0 win over Napoli in Reggio Emilia on Wednesday.

    Pirlo won the Champions League and World Cup in a decorated playing career but said the feeling of leading a team to a trophy is something different.

    "It's a great joy," Pirlo, who replaced Maurizio Sarri at the start of the season, told Rai Sport. "Lifting the first trophy as a coach is something different, more beautiful than as a player.

    "I'm at the helm of an important team, of a historic club."

    That burden looked to be weighing heavily last weekend after a 2-0 defeat at rivals Inter left Serie A champions Juventus 10 points off the pace in the Scudetto race.

    "The important thing was to win after the other night's knockout," Pirlo said.

    "We wanted to show that we weren't the ones from San Siro. We needed a game of sacrifice."

    Pirlo shared a warm embrace with his great friend and Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso before kick-off, remarking this was no time to reprise their infamous history of play fighting and practical jokes.

    "Tonight just hugs because we were too focused," he added.

  • Zidane 'very calm' after Copa del Rey exit: Whatever has to happen will happen Zidane 'very calm' after Copa del Rey exit: Whatever has to happen will happen

    Zinedine Zidane accepted Real Madrid's stunning Copa del Rey exit to third-tier Alcoyano will lead to further speculation over his future, but insisted he remained "very calm" over the situation.

    Madrid were knocked out of the competition by lower league opponents for the first time since 2009 despite taking the lead on Wednesday, Eder Militao heading them in front on the stroke of half-time.

    However, the reigning top-flight champions in Spain were unable to build on the lead, meaning an 80th-minute equaliser from Jose Solbes forced extra time.

    A penalty shoot-out seemed the likely method to settle the last-32 tie, only for Juanan to pop up with a dramatic late winner that will no doubt increase the growing pressure on Zidane.

    "When you lose there is always talk, I take responsibility and whatever has to happen will happen," the Madrid boss told the media in his post-match interview. 

    "I am very calm. The players wanted to win the game, they try and sometimes different things happen."

    Zidane rested some of his regulars but still selected a strong starting XI, while Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard were all introduced from the bench during proceedings.

    The Frenchman could not fault the effort of his players as he accepted blame for the result; Alcoyano finished the game with 10 men too, Ramon Lopez sent off before Juanan's 115th-minute strike.

    Madrid finished up having 26 shots - 11 of which were on target - and had 73 per cent of possession, yet still crashed out.

    "The players have tried and if we score the second goal it is another match, football is like that," Zidane added after the 2-1 loss.

    "The goalkeeper has made two or three saves and we have not scored the second goal, but I take responsibility. We are out."

    He added: "This is football, it is very difficult because we played against a Segunda Division B team and we have to win the game, but it has not been like that.

    "It can happen, it happens, these are things that happen in a football career. I assume responsibility and we will continue working. We will not go crazy."

    Madrid must quickly put the cup result behind them as they continue their LaLiga title defence on Saturday, travelling to Deportivo Alaves.

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