Dmitry Rybolovlev

AS Monaco owner ordered to pay $4.5 billion in most expensive divorce in history

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AS Monaco owner Dmitry Rybolovlev’s net worth is about to be cut in half, if a Swiss court’s divorce decision stands. On Monday, the Russian oligarch and his ex-wife received notice that Elena Rybolovlev is to receive a $4.5 billion settlement in addition to custody of the couple’s 13-year-old daughter as well as properties in Switzerland and Germany. Currently with a net worth of $8.8 million, the 47-year-old Russian could see his status as one of the world’s richest people compromised by his divorce.

Lawyers for Rybolovlev, who made his fortune in potash, said the total is likely to be reduced on appeal. Lawyers for his ex-wife, however, touted the total as the most expensive divorce decision in history.

From NBC News’s report:

“There will definitely be a new appellate review and therefore this judgment is not final given the existence of two levels of appeal in Switzerland,” said (Dmitry Rybolovlev’s lawyer) Tetiana Bersheda.

A separate statement by Bonnant and two other lawyers in the case, (Elena Rybolovlev lawyerrs) Corinne Corminboeuf Harari and Caroline Schumacher, called the record judgment “a complete victory” for her and said that under Swiss law she was entitled to half the fortune he made during their marriage. Most of that fortune was transferred to Cyprus-based trusts in 2005.

Why Cyprus? Switzerland has no legal aid treaty with the country. Though the couple started divorce proceedings in 2008, it appears the Monaco owner saw the end coming three years earlier.

It makes the prospect of obtaining the award tenuous, but according to the ex-wife’s lawyers, the decision still sent a message.

The three lawyers said Monday’s ruling demonstrated that “no one — not even a Russian tycoon who put his fabulous fortune into legal structures such as trusts and offshore companies — is above the law.”

On the field, this is unlikely to have any effect on Monaco, who should become a more self-sustaining engine after a few turns in Champions League. Off the field, it’s still unclear if Rybolovlev will pay (or how much).

But as far as headline settlements go, you have to give it to Elena Rybolovlev and her representation. There’s no way $4.5 billion fails to impress.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.