Posts Tagged ‘leave’

Reports: Gerrard to leave Reds

Steven Gerrard is set to announce on Friday that he will leave Liverpool in the summer, according to reports.

The Liverpool Echo and Tony Barret of The Times – among others – took to Twitter to reveal that the 34-year-old club captain will announce his departure with a move to the MLS considered a possibility.

Gerrard, 34, scored twice from the spot to put Liverpool in command over Leicester on Thursday before two second-half goals from the visitors saw the game end in a draw, one which leaves Liverpool eighth in the Premier League and 17 points off top spot.

Gerrard made his first-team debut in November 1998 and has spent his entire career at Liverpool, where he’s closing in on 500 appearances many of which have been as captain.

Among his career highlights include that famous 2005 Champions League final, in which Gerrard inspired his side to come from 3-0 down and force extra-time against AC Milan before eventually winning the tie on penalties.

Dank can leave rivals in shade on a good night for Europe

Those two veterans (with a combined age of 100) have accumulated 30 victories between them at this festival and are not finished yet, but Moore has a better strike rate (six wins from 27 rides) than any of the old faces following his double last year and, still only 31, has time on his side to join those Hall of Famers in Breeders? Cup folklore.

One of the 2013 rides that so impressed the locals was aboard Dank (7.43 Santa Anita), who now defends her Filly and Mare Turf title. This has been her target again from the moment she crossed the winning line 12 months ago and, although she has been out of action since injuring a foot when fifth to The Fugue at Royal Ascot, her trainer Sir Michael Stoute?s upbeat bulletin this week provides plenty of encouragement.

Stoute and Moore are also looking for a big run from Telescope in the Breeders? Cup Turf, but the French raider Flintshire (10.22) beat everything bar Treve in the Prix de l?Arc de Triomphe last month and there might be even better to come.

While Richard Hannon?s Toronado (11.40) is a form banker in the Breeders? Cup Mile, the chance of Wind Fire (11.01) in the Dirt Sprint, in a first foray to the meeting for Nottinghamshire trainer David Brown, is far less obvious (she can be backed at 40-1). But this speedy young filly beat G Force at Sandown last June and is a candidate for a turn-up under Jamie Spencer if she takes to the surface.

And it will indeed be a fairy tale if Toast Of New York, whirling around Wolverhampton on this day last year, can win the climax, the Breeders? Cup Classic, for Spencer on what may be his final big-race ride before his retirement, but the last word may again lie with Smith aboard America?s latest rising star Shared Belief (12.35), who beat Jamie Osborne?s rags-to-riches colt comprehensively at Del Mar in August.

Back home, Silviniaco Conti, especially effective when fresh, should win the Charlie Hall Chase if at his best, but he became a bit quirky as last season wore on and perhaps is not one to take short odds about.

Menorah (3.15 Wetherby), top class on his day, is an appealing alternative, not least because he is trained by the in-form Philip Hobbs, whose Mountain King (3.00 Ascot) also catches the eye following a promising return to action.

Le Bec (3.35 Ascot) was one of the best staying novice chasers of last season and it will be disappointing if he isn?t soon mixing it with the big boys. In the meantime, he starts this campaign on an attractive handicap mark in the United House Gold Cup.

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Australia vs New Zealand: All Blacks leave out Aaron Cruden but Steve Hansen stresses fly-half is no longer being punished

Barrett remained at flyhalf and Colin Slade was preferred to Cruden for the bench because of his ability to cover more positions in the backline, coach Steve Hansen said.

So Cruden will remain a spectator despite his return to the extending training group following a team suspension for missing a flight to a Rugby Championship game against Argentina after a drinking session.

“(Cruden) is definitely not getting punished,” Hansen said. “He’s back in the group because we want him in the group.

“He hasn’t made the 23 simply because we think Barratt has been playing well enough to get another go.”

The Brisbane test doesn’t have any trophies riding on it, because New Zealand already retained the bilateral Bledisloe Cup with a win and a draw during its Rugby Championship-winning campaign.

But there’s plenty at stake in the trans-Tasman clash. The All Blacks are coming off a rare loss against South Africa, while the Wallabies want to draw a line under a couple of troubled weeks.

Australia suffered back-to-back losses in South Africa and Argentina amid turmoil as backline star Kurtley Beale was suspended pending a hearing into his verbal confrontation with the team business manager and alleged distribution of offensive emails about her. The business manager subsequently resigned, citing stress.

“They’ve certainly got their backs against the wall and they’ve got nowhere to go but to come out and try to show their fans, their public, themselves, they’re good rugby players,” Hansen said.

“I see them as being a very dangerous beast this week.”

The All Blacks have made five changes to the team that lost to South Africa in the last weekend of the Rugby Championship, ending New Zealand’s 22-test unbeaten run.

Wyatt Crockett was recalled at prop and Brodie Retallick at lock ? both returning from injuries ? while hooker Dane Coles and flanker Liam Messam regain their starting positions. Coles displaces Keven Mealamu, who will now play his 120th test from the bench.

Corey Jane was selected on the right wing in place of Ben Smith, who is being rested after playing in all of the All Blacks’ previous tests this season.

Lock Patrick Tuipulotu, flanker Sam Cane, scrumhalf T.J. Perenara and outside back Charles Piutau join the squad as reserves.

Australia held New Zealand to a 12-12 draw in Sydney to open the Bledisloe Cup series, but the All Blacks recorded an emphatic 51-20 victory in Auckland the following weekend to retain the trophy.

They also retained the Rugby Championship, though the loss against the Springboks tarnished the trophy.

“We’re going to win every game ? there’s an expectation that we do, and we don’t walk away from that,” Hansen said. “We’ve just come off a loss, which is a bit agitating for the group. And we want to rectify that.”

Places on the All Blacks tour to the United States and Europe are on the line, too, although Hansen conceded that Cruden and injured flyhalf Dan Carter were already penciled in. Carter was to have returned from a broken leg with his New Zealand province this weekend but it was decided he was not quite ready for a game.

“He’ll get named on Monday, then we’ll have to make assessments,” Hansen said. “We want to take him on the tour if he’s right.

“He’s able to train ? he just can’t take a knock on it. The nerves haven’t settled down enough for him to be able to respond to a knock on it.”

New Zealand team to face Australia:

New Zealand: Israel Dagg, Corey Jane, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Keiran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett.?

Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Cane, TJ Perenara, Colin Slade, Charles Piutau.

Portugal leave it late, beat Mexico 1-0

Bruno Alves headed a classy late winner as Portugal beat Mexico 1-0 in Foxborough to step up preparations for the World Cup.

In the third minute of second-half stoppage time, the defender darted into space to meet a free-kick delivered from a deep position on the right by Joao Moutinho and directed the ball inches inside the right post.

Portugal, who were without injured captain Cristiano Ronaldo, wrap up their tournament warm-up schedule with a game against the Republic of Ireland in Boston on Tuesday.

The Irish, who have missed out on World Cup qualification, achieved a 1-1 draw with Brazil-bound Costa Rica in Philadelphia.

Costa Rica’s Giancarlo Gonzalez was sent off after an ugly altercation with Ireland striker Kevin Doyle, who was left with blood pouring down his face, four minutes before the break at PPL Park.

It proved to be an eventful evening as Kevin Doyle handed Ireland an early lead with his 13th international goal before Gonzalez lost his head, only for Celso Borges to level from the penalty spot after the break.

Republic captain Robbie Keane could have restored his side’s lead almost immediately, but saw his spot-kick saved by substitute goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton.

Zambia gave Japan a fright in Tampa before sliding to a 4-3 defeat.

Japan fell 2-0 behind during the first half, conceding a close-range header from Christopher Katongo and a sweetly-struck 20-yard strike from Nathan Sinkala.

Keisuke Honda’s penalty cut the deficit and Shinji Kagawa had a stroke of luck for an equaliser when his apparent cross bypassed everyone on its way into the net.

Honda prodded Japan in front, only for Zambia’s Lubambo Musanda to strike a 25-yard effort that deflected over Shusaku Nishikawa to haul Zambia back to 3-3.

Yoshito Okubo pinched a last-gasp winner, showing sharp control to bring down a long pass and composing himself before producing a powerful left-footed finish.

Croatia and Australia are both heading to the finals, and it took a Nikica Jelavic strike to separate them in Salvador. Croatia’s 1-0 victory came courtesy of Jelavic’s strike off the underside of the crossbar in the 58th minute.

Greece beat non-qualifiers Bolivia 2-1 in New Jersey with goals from Panagiotis Kone and Kostas Katsouranis. Rudy Cardozo replied from long range for Bolivia.

Fredy Guarin’s late 30-yard strike capped a 3-0 win for Colombia over Jordan in Buenos Aires. Colombia had led through a pair of penalties, converted by James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado.

Fabregas set to leave Barcelona

Reports state that Cesc Fabregas is set to leave Barcelona this summer, with a return to the Premier League his preferred option.

Barcelona are willing to sell the Spain midfielder as he does not figure in their plans for next season.

It is understood that Fabregas has a ?30million release clause written into his contract.

The 27-year-old is expected to interest a number of top Premier League teams, including his former club Arsenal.

Manchester United could be another destination following the attempts of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to sign him last summer.

Fabregas signed a five-year contract at Barcelona in 2011, the club from which Arsenal snared him as a 16-year-old, describing the move back home as the “greatest challenge of his life”.

He scored nine goals in 48 appearances last term but Barcelona endured a rare trophyless campaign.