Getty Images

West Ham chairman: Bilic turned down chance to sign Sanches, Krychowiak

Leave a comment

West Ham United had a chance to add two of the more surprising and potentially underrated signings of the summer, but manager Slaven Bilic turned them down.

That’s according to West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan. Sullivan told Sky Sports that Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches and Paris Saint-Germain’s Grzegorz Krychowiak were both offered to the club, but Bilic decided against bringing the pair in.

Krychowiak ended up at West Bromwich Albion while Sanches was reunited with former Bayern assistant coach Paul Clement at Swansea City on a season-long loan.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

“Grzegorz Krychowiak and Renato Sanches were both offered to the manager before their switches elsewhere, but he told us that he is happy with the squad he has,” Sullivan said. “As a Board we are behind Slaven, and he believes he has the tools to turn around our form and rectify our disappointing start to the season.”

West Ham is winless to open the Premier League season and are currently bottom of the league after three games. The club brought in Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic and Sead Hakšabanović this summer but it hasn’t brought the desired results yet.

Sullivan wasn’t finished though. He commented that the club had made a record bid for Sporting CP’s William Carvalho but that it was rejected, only for Sporting to try and revive the deal at the last minute on deadline day.

“Late last night Sporting Lisbon made contact to accept the original offer, but unfortunately it was just too late in the day, and we simply did not have enough time to put the player through a medical,” Sullivan said. “We were not prepared, as a club, to buy a player for that amount of money without him having gone through adequate medical checks.”

That forced Sporting CP to respond, with communications director Nuno Saraiva calling Sullivan a liar in a Facebook post.

The translation reads: “David Sullivan lies. At Sporting Clube de Portugal, as has already been said by its president, no proposal has been made by the player William Carvalho. The football industry is not the set of an adult film in which all obscenities are allowed. So the boss of a club demands a lot more than this intellectual pornography.

“Mr. David Sullivan has a duty to prove what he says. That is why Sporting Clube de Portugal challenges him to publicly show the proposals he claims to have been made as well as the evidence that Sporting CP received them.

“One thing is certain: Sporting CP, as it has already been said, does not cut legs to its athletes. But we have nothing to do with the performance of entrepreneurs or relatives who live at the expense of players and who are offering them a club at a club price, without a mandate, as if they were cheap supermarket merchandise. Athlete and the club, and creating regrettable situations that have already forced the sporting club of Portugal to take drastic measures to defend these characters who parasitize the lives of some players.”

UEFA Champions League last 16 draw

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League took place on Monday and it was a mixed bag for the four Premier League clubs.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City will play Schalke, while Manchester United were handed a tough draw after finishing second in their group as they face PSG.

Tottenham have also been handed a tough, but very likeable draw for the neutral, as they’ll play Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund. And Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be heading back to Germany as the current PL leaders will play Bayern Munich.

Below is the draw in full, as the first legs will be played on 12–13 & 19–20 Feb. 2019 and the second legs on 5–6 & 12–13 Mar., 2019. The teams drawn first in the list below will play the first leg at home, with the second legs away.

And remember, VAR will be used in the UCL for the first time for all knockout round games. Get your VAR hand signals ready…


Last 16 draw for UEFA Champions League, 2018-19

Schalke v. Manchester City
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Manchester United v. Paris Saint-Germain
Tottenham Hotspur v. Borussia Dortmund
Lyon v. Barcelona
Roma v. Porto
Ajax v. Real Madrid
Liverpool v. Bayern Munich

England captain Kane finishes 3rd for Sportsman of the Year

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) Geraint Thomas has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year after becoming the third British cyclist to win the Tour de France.

In a public vote, Thomas beat five-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton — a former winner of the BBC award — into second place, while England soccer captain Harry Kane, who led his team to the World Cup semifinals, was third.

The 32-year-old Welshman joined Bradley Wiggins (2012) and Chris Froome (2013, ’15, ’16, ’17) as Britons to win the Tour de France. Wiggins has won the BBC award, but Froome never has.

“It’s been an amazing year for British sport,” Thomas said, “and long may it continue.”

Liga MX: America wins at Cruz Azul to capture Apertura title

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
Leave a comment

Club America had a tall mountain to climb following their scoreless draw, at home, with Cruz Azul in the first leg of Liga MX’s Apertura final on Thursday, but climb that mountain they did with a 2-0 victory at Estadio Azteca on Sunday.

[ LA LIGA: Lionel Messi’s hat trick paces Barcelona in rout of Levante ]

Midfielder Edson Alvarez scored both goals in the game — five minutes into the second half and one minute before full-time — as America claimed their record 13th league title (first since 2014).

Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona committed a costly error to set up Alvarez for the opener, and ultimately the winner. Alvarez’s second came courtesy of a bit of fortuitous timing, as Corona made the initial save on Cecilio Dominguez’s shot, but the rebound fell to Alvarez for a straightforward finish.

It was the second league title of manager Miguel Herrera’s career, and his first since his first stint with America, in 2013.

Cruz Azul saw their title-less streak reach 21 years, in heartbreaking fashion, after finishing top of the table in the regular season. They are now the first team in Mexican history to lose six straight finals appearances.

La Liga: Messi’s hat trick paces Barcelona in rout of Levante

AP Photo/Jose Miguel Fernandez de Velasco
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ SATURDAY: Atletico Madrid pull level with Barcelona; Real two points back ]

Levante 0-5 Barcelona

Lionel Messi recorded his 43rd hat trick for Barcelona (all competitions) on Sunday, leading the way in a 5-0 rout away to eighth-place Levante. The five-goal hammering could be seen as a measure of revenge for Barca’s only La Liga defeat last season, a 5-4 defeat to Levante on the penultimate weekend, with the title already wrapped up and sans Messi.

“We had circled this match on the calendar after what happened here last season,” Barca manager Ernesto Valverde said after the game.

While the goals will get most of the headlines, it was Messi’s assist — the first one, to clarify — that was perhaps most impressive. Dribbling down the left side of the penalty area, he drew three defenders into his orbit before threading a chipped cross between two of them and setting up Luis Suarez for a difficult acrobatic finish.

Messi then proceeded to score the game’s next three goals before setting up Gerard Pique for the fifth — his second assist of the day — to play a key role in all five goals.

The victory restores the three-point lead which Barca held coming into the weekend, prior to Atletico Madrid pulling level on points on Saturday.

Sevilla 2-0 Girona

Sevilla reclaimed second place from Atleti (level on points) with a 2-0 victory over Girona. Ever Banega (penalty kick) and Pablo Sarabia scored the goals nine minutes apart early in the second half to extend Pablo Machin’s side’s unbeaten run to seven league games.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Espanyol 1-3 Real Betis
Huesca 2-2 Villarreal