Barcelona Predict €1bn Income This Season

 

Barcelona expect to record revenues of more than one billion euros for the 2019-2020 season, becoming the first football club to pass the mark, the Catalan club announced on Thursday.

According to figures released ahead of the general meeting of their “socios” (supporters, shareholders) scheduled for October 6, Barca expect a revenue of 1.047 billion euros ($1.16 billion) in the fiscal campaign just started, which is six percent more than last season when the club generated 990 million euros.

“It’s an historic record for a sports club, it’s better than the NBA and NFL franchises and other football clubs,” Barcelona managing director Oscar Grau told a news conference.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu had set a strategic goal of being the first outfit to reach the one billion euro mark by the end of his presidency in 2021.

Main sporting rival Real Madrid, president Florentino Perez targetted a similar goal.

In the projected budget presented by Barca, the expenses amount to 1.007 billion euros for a net profit after tax of 11 million euros.

Grau explained that “one of the club’s challenges” was to “reduce the payroll” of its professional athletes.

In 2019-2020, spending on sports salaries is expected to fall by three percent, from 525 to 507 million euros.

The club has budgeted 73 million euros to finance the remodelling of Camp Nou and its surroundings, a vast project called “Espai Barca”.

Grau, who said in 2018 he was hopeful to find a title sponsor for the project by the end of the first half of 2019, said the club was continuing its research and studying alternative forms of financing.

“We want to make a good deal, we do not want to sell, so we are looking for a financial restructuring of Espai Barca so that the project does not stop,” said Grau.

Regarding the accounts for the 2018-2019 financial year, the treasurer Enrique Tombas confirmed the figures mentioned during the summer by the club: 990 million euros of turnover, 973 million euros of expenses and a profit after tax of five million euros.

AFP

David Silva To Leave Man City End Of Next Season

Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder David Silva celebrates after he scores the team’s first goal during the English FA Cup final football match between Manchester City and Watford at Wembley Stadium in London, on May 18, 2019. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Spanish midfielder David Silva has confirmed he will leave Manchester City at the end of next season when his contract expires.

Silva is one of City’s most decorated players of all-time having won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups since joining from Valencia in 2010.

He scored his 71st goal in 396 appearances so far for the English champions in the FA Cup final last month as City completed a first-ever domestic treble in English football.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Call Off Nations Cup Bonus Strike

However, the 33-year-old believes completing a decade in Manchester is the perfect time to step away.

“This is the last one,” Silva told reporters in his native Gran Canaria. “Ten years for me is enough. It’s the perfect time for me.

“Initially, City were talking for about two years, but I decided to sign another one, so I finished at 10 years.

“It completes the cycle. It’s a nice round figure. I can never see myself playing against City for another team. So 10 years – that’s it.”

Silva missed chunks of City’s title-winning 2017/18 season to return to Spain where his pre-mature born son Mateo was being treated in hospital.

Mateo has since recovered and was in attendance for City’s first home game of this season in August when Silva scored in a 6-1 rout of Huddersfield.

However, Silva has previously spoken of his desire to return to Spain for family reasons when his City career comes to an end.

AFP

Serena Wins Perth Season-Opener Ahead Of Grand Slam Tilt

Serena Williams of the US hits a return against Maria Sakkari of Greece during their fifth session women’s singles match on day three of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth on December 31, 2018. TONY ASHBY / AFP

 

Serena Williams overcame a sluggish start to win her opening match of the new season in Perth Monday, two weeks out from 2019’s first Grand Slam.

The 37-year-old was a long way off her commanding best and was visibly frustrated with her own game early in her Hopman Cup singles match, but still did enough to beat Greece’s Maria Sakkari in straight sets.

However, it was Sakkari and her team-mate Stefanos Tsitsipas who had the last laugh as Greece beat the USA 2-1 in the mixed doubles Group B tie.

In her first tournament outing since the controversial loss to Naomi Osaka in the US Open final in September, Williams struggled early and her groundstrokes were erratic in the first set.

Sakkari, ranked 41st in the world, gained an early break and served for the first set but couldn’t capitalise despite several gilt-edged opportunities.

That opened the door for Williams, the bookmakers’ favourite for the upcoming Australian Open in Melbourne, to power back and ultimately win 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in an hour and 44 minutes.

Williams had her left ankle worked on at the end of the first set but it didn’t stop her dominating the second, in which she looked more like the player who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

“I was making a lot of errors and I’m like ‘it’s okay, it’s your first match, it’ll get better’,” she said.

“It’s never easy (first match), there are lot of errors that are going to be made and I think we both did pretty good.”

Williams said her taped ankles weren’t a concern so soon before 2019’s first Grand Slam, blaming a little discomfort with her shoes.

Williams won her last Grand Slam in Melbourne in 2017 but wasn’t able to defend her title due to the birth of her first child.

Bidding to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 titles, she was beaten in last year’s Wimbledon and US Open finals.

Williams said she was looking forward to facing Swiss champion Roger Federer on Tuesday when the USA plays Switzerland and the pair will be opponents for the first time in the mixed doubles.

“I have been looking forward to it, this is so cool,” she said, adding it was “like a dream come true”.

Earlier, world number 15 Tsitsipas gave Greece the initial advantage in the tie as he edged past Frances Tiafoe in three sets, 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3.

The Greek 20-year-old won the first set comfortably and secured an early break in the second.

But the 39th-ranked American broke back in the sixth game and levelled the match in the tie-break.

Another early break by Tsitsipas put him ahead in the third and a sizzling backhand winner on match point secured victory for the Greek.

The Greek duo kept their tournament alive when they won the deciding mixed doubles, 4-1, 1-4, 4-2.

AFP

Federer Hoping For Another ‘Crazy Good’ Season

Struggling Federer Squeezes Into Basel Semi-Finals
Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates after winning his quarterfinal match against France’s Gilles Simon at the Swiss Indoors ATP 500 tennis tournament on October 26, 2018, in Basel. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Roger Federer said Thursday he was fired up after an intense off-season and ready for another “crazy good” year, starting with his Australian Open title defence next month.

Ranked third in the world, the Swiss great is aiming for his third straight singles title in Melbourne, having enjoyed a late-career renaissance to win the year’s opening Grand Slam in both 2017 and 2018.

Each of those victories came off the back of his appearance at the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth, where he again starts his preparation for the new season by representing Switzerland this week.

Federer’s win in Melbourne in 2017 was his first Grand Slam title since 2012 and came when many had written him off as a contender.

At the age of 37 and with 20 Grand Slam wins in his back pocket, he can reflect on a “crazy good” couple of years, including an eighth Wimbledon title.

Federer will again be the crowd favourite in Melbourne, but he won’t be going into the event expecting another unlikely title, admitting logic suggested he faced a tough task.

“I think with my age people know that if I did something extraordinary that would be amazing,” he said in Perth Thursday.

“If that didn’t happen, maybe it’s logical you can’t produce that tennis every year. You also maybe need a bit of luck, and the draw to fall your way.

“A lot of things need to happen to win any slam. I hope that again it will be the start of a great season for me because the last two seasons have been crazy good for me.”

Federer said his body was continuing to hold up well and that he had been building his training towards the Australian Open over the last month.

“I’ve been very happy with how the off-season went,” he said. “The last three or four weeks have been very intense. I’m very excited and motivated for this next season.”

Federer opens his Hopman Cup account on December 30 with the tie against Britain.

On New Year’s Day he will partner Belinda Bencic as the defending champions face the United States represented by Frances Tiafoe and Federer’s fellow great Serena Williams.

The mixed doubles match will see an unprecedented battle between two of the greatest players the game has ever seen, with 43 Grand Slam singles titles between Federer and Williams.

Federer conceded it was a once-in-a-lifetime match-up and one that he was quietly looking forward to.

“We’ll probably play it down a little bit and say it’s not that big of a deal for us, it’s just another tennis match, but it really isn’t because it’s probably going to happen once and never again,” he said.

“That’s why I hope we’re both going to be injury free when that day comes around.”

AFP

Swansea Hire Carvalhal As Boss Until End Of Season

Carlos Carvalhal. Photo: Wikimedia

Premier League strugglers Swansea City appointed Carlos Carvalhal as their manager until the end of the season on Thursday.

Carvalhal was sacked by second-tier Sheffield Wednesday on Christmas Eve, but Swansea surprisingly chose the Portuguese coach to replace Paul Clement, who lost his job on December 20 with the club languishing at the bottom of the Premier League.

The Welsh club said Carvalhal’s contract included the option of an extension at the end of the season.

“We felt we needed to get the managerial situation resolved as soon as possible and while the timing is not always perfect, we can look forward to the second half of the campaign with renewed optimism,” Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins said.

To convince Swansea to keep him beyond this season, Carvalhal might have to save his new club from relegation.

They sit five points from safety and bottom of the table with no wins in their last four matches after a 5-0 thrashing at Liverpool on Tuesday.

Carvalhal is Swansea’s fifth permanent manager in two years and his move to the Liberty Stadium might not inspire much confidence from the club’s frustrated fans.

He led Wednesday to the Championship play-offs in the last two seasons, but lost his job with the Yorkshire side after an eight-game winless run left them well outside the top six.

Jenkins is confident Carvalhal can rescue Swansea, saying: “We are very pleased with the appointment.

“Carlos’ time at Sheffield Wednesday, which included securing two consecutive play-off places, highlighted that he has great character and personality to lead the squad and the football club, which is vital at such a crucial time,” Jenkins said.

“He has built up a lot of experience over the years which will ensure the team is structured and organised.

“He is driven and ambitious and, while he has a big challenge ahead of him, I know he will tackle it without fear.”

Leon Britton had been working as a player-caretaker manager, but Carvalhal hasn’t announced if the long-serving Swansea midfielder will stay on the coaching staff.

AFP

Enrique To Leave Barca By End Of Season

luis-enriqueThe FC Barcelona Coach, Luis Enrique, has confirmed that he would leave the Spanish La Liga champions at end of the season when his contract expires.

Enrique made the announcement at a news conference after Barcelona thrashed Sporting Gijon 6-1 at the Nou Camp, to keep up their bid for a third league title under the management of their former midfielder.

Barcelona won the treble in their first season under Enrique after he replaced Gerardo Martino in 2014 and followed it up with a double last season.

However, performances as much as results this season have led to increased speculation over his future.

It’s the end of the road for Lampard,Cole at Chelsea with Benitez as coach

Just two days into his new job as Chelsea manager, Rafa Benitez has started to break-up the Champions League-winning team by telling legends Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole that they are to leave at the end of the season.

Both players are out of contract next summer and Chelsea’s new coach said they won’t stay at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the season.

Chelsea captain John Terry is already on his way out of Stamford Bridge with the European champions not prepared to renew his current contract.

Ferguson promises to redeem champions’ league glory

Sir Alex Ferguson has promised Manchester United fans and ardent followers that last season’s champions’ league campaign of the Red Devils which he qualified to be disastrous will never replay itself again.

Going back a few months ago before Chelsea was crowned the new European champion, Manchester United got eliminated from the competition at the group stage after losing to Swiss side Basel, and that capped off a poor performance in their group, meanwhile the then-defending English Premier League champions were tagged favourites to lead the group, with Benfica and Romanian newcomers Otelul Galati the other teams in their pool.

The Red Devils had previously reached the final in three of the previous four editions of the tournament.

Sir Ferguson has however sent a warning message to Europe that United will not make the same mistakes again in 2012/13, that the club is ready to take back its place because the few year the club has not move far in the champions’ league competition was used an opportunity to groom the young ones coming in the line-up of the club even though last season was the worst of it because changes that were made to the team was just too much and lessons has been learnt from that mistake. He said.

Where we realised our mistake was the game against Basel at home as we could only get a draw due to our careless as we could have gone ahead to seal the game .

Ferguson is confident he has a squad capable of emulating the united teams of 1999 and 2008 by delivering another Champions League crown to Old Trafford next season.