Vinicius Junior said Real Madrid want to win LaLiga for their fans following the coronavirus pandemic.

LaLiga has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 crisis, though the league is hoping to resume in June.

Madrid were two points behind defending champions and bitter rivals Barcelona through 27 matches at the time of postponement.

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc in Spain and across the globe, and Madrid star Vinicius wants to give Los Blancos supporters something to smile about.

"I've watched the games again and I think so. I think we were better than them in more aspects," Vinicius told Marca when asked if he thought Madrid were better than Barca in their two LaLiga meetings this season.

"We've had very good games until now and we have to recover our best form. We're really hungry to come back, to win, and we want to win this league title for our fans. People have suffered a lot and we want to give Real Madrid fans something to cheer about in this situation.

"We know that winning the league isn't going to be a solution for big tragedies, but it would be something to smile about, something to be happy about."

There were 11 matches remaining in the 2019-20 season and Vinicius added: "The result against [Real] Betis [2-1 loss was a great shame. Now, we have a mission we can't fail. We can't fail and we're not going to fail."

"We may have only returned [to training] 11 days ago, but everyone's rhythm looks good," he continued. "We've still got lots of group work to do because we can't do it yet, but all my team-mates are very strong and very well. There's still quite a bit of work left to do, but we're feeling good."

Madrid had also lost 2-1 to Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 tie before the season came to a halt.

The Champions League could return in August and Brazilian forward Vinicius said: "If the Champions League returns, it will be great news not only for football, but for the world. Being able to play games in other countries will be a very positive sign because we'll be closer to normality.

"The result of the first leg [against Manchester City] was bad, but we're Real Madrid. Our obligation is to prepare ourselves well and, if this game comes, when everything is over, every Real Madrid fan can say: they gave everything, we're proud."

At 5-foot seven inches Kahlil Walker is tiny by basketball standards, but what he lacks in height he more than makes up for with his passion for the sport and an incredible brain.

Mauricio Pochettino is happy Jose Mourinho replaced him as Tottenham boss.

Tottenham sacked Pochettino in November, with the team that reached the Champions League final in the 2018-19 season sitting 14th in the Premier League.

Mourinho was drafted in as his replacement but has struggled for consistency despite lifting Spurs to eighth, overseeing elimination from the FA Cup and Champions League before the coronavirus pandemic brought the campaign to a halt.

Asked if he felt any resentment towards Mourinho, Pochettino said: "No. Look, with Jose, we know each other for a long time."

During his time in charge of Espanyol, Pochettino was linked to the Real Madrid post held by Mourinho.

Ahead of a meeting between their sides, the Argentine responded to questions about the reports by saying: "My kids are sleeping in Espanyol pyjamas every night so it's very difficult for me to think about changing clubs."

It proved to be the start of a warm relationship, with Mourinho showing his gratitude by presenting Pochettino with a gift ahead of the match.

Pochettino said: "It was a very nice bottle of French red wine for me and two Real Madrid kits, Jose says: 'Okay, these are for your kids to wear from now on.'

"We have kept a good relationship since then and I am so happy he is at Tottenham, replacing me.

"I am happy as well to have left the club in the condition that we left it and for sure he is very grateful for the way that we helped to build the club, which is now his club."

Pochettino added: "I always think I'd replace him. He was at Real Madrid. I say: 'Oh, maybe one day I can take your place at Real Madrid.' But look at how life works out. He has taken my place at Tottenham. Unbelievable, eh?"

Failing to guide Tottenham to Champions League glory still rankles with the 48-year-old, who felt they were the superior side despite losing 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.

"We were much better than Liverpool and maybe we deserved a better result but finals are about winning," Pochettino said.

"It's not about to deserve or not to deserve. No one is prepared to concede in the Champions League final like we did after 30 seconds and that changed everything, all the emotions.

"It is difficult to prepare a team for that happening. I was so disappointed afterwards. It was difficult to stop crying, to stop feeling bad."

Pochettino soon became aware that it would be tough to build towards further success with Spurs thereafter.

"I knew that after five years at the club and with the way we were working and all the things that happened, it was going to be difficult," Pochettino said.

"It changed a little bit in our minds the possibility to stay open to design another plan or a strategy to build again, a different chapter. A different project should be difficult for us to maintain, to keep improving."

However, he harbours no ill will towards Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy for relieving him off his duties after a tough start to 2019-20.

Asked whether he wished the Champions League final had been his last game with Spurs, he replied: "No, because my commitment with the club, with Daniel and, of course, with the players and the fans was massive.

"I said to Daniel that we finished in the way that no one wanted but the end … it needed to happen. If not, our relationship will continue for ever! And maybe that's no good for the club or for us.

"When the decision came, we needed to move on. The decision for us to be hired was fantastic and when the decision is not good for you, you need to show the respect. Always, Daniel is going to be my friend. All the people at the club will be."

Former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti believes John Terry will impress as a manager in the same way Frank Lampard has done at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard, who like Terry played under Ancelotti when he was in charge of the Blues between 2009 and 2011, has won praise for his stewardship of a young Chelsea squad this season.

Fellow club legend Terry, presently assistant manager Aston Villa, has also been backed to deliver in a top job by the Italian.

Asked about the success of Lampard, Ancelotti told Sky Sports: "I'm not surprised because as a player, Frank had fantastic tactical qualities. 

"Of course, Frank is doing really well at Chelsea. I'm waiting now for Terry as a manager.

"Now he is an assistant, but I think they both have the qualities to be a good manager."

Ancelotti feels it is easy to forget the quality of the team he had at Chelsea, with his side earning the club's maiden Premier League and FA Cup double in his first year at the helm.

"The second year was more difficult, but the first year was really fantastic," said Ancelotti, now in charge of Everton.

"The club had the goal for the Champions League, but the fact that in the first year we won the Premier League and the FA Cup was really important and really exciting.

"The second year we had some problems. We had [Didier] Drogba with malaria and these kinds of problems. We started really well and we finished really well but the middle of the season was not so good.

"Drogba was fantastic. In the first year, he scored 36 goals but to mention Drogba means to forget [Nicolas] Anelka, for example.

"[We had Florent] Malouda, Joe Cole, [Salomon] Kalou, Michael Ballack in the middle, [Michael] Essien, Deco and at the back, Alex, [Branislav] Ivanovic, Ashley Cole.

"So the team really, really was a fantastic team. When I arrived, the team was there, I didn't build the team, so I was really excited to train these kinds of players with this kind of power. 

"Imagine when you needed to prepare set-pieces, you had John Terry, Alex, Drogba, Ballack to jump so it was not so difficult to score on set-pieces."

Benjamin Mendy says winning the Champions League is the dream of everyone at Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's side claimed a 2-1 win against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in February to take control of their last-16 tie.

City have won eight of the past nine domestic trophies available, but they have failed to get beyond the semi-final stage in Europe's top competition, and they have not progressed past the quarter-finals since Guardiola took charge four years ago.

Mendy says the squad are desperate to become champions of Europe but remains cautious ahead of the second leg with Madrid, with UEFA said to be hopeful of completing this season's competition despite the coronavirus crisis.

"We had a good game in Madrid and now we still have to play the second leg," the left-back told club media. "I know that, in the minds of every player, they know that just because we won there [it] does not mean that it is finished or that we are qualified.

"It is not every day that you go to somewhere like the Bernabeu and perform like that in the Champions League. We have an opportunity to go far in this cup and we want it, so everybody wakes up, works out, stays focused on the target for when they say we can come back.

"We don't have the Champions League yet, so it is the dream."

Mendy is more immediately concerned with the return of the Premier League, which was suspended in March but could resume after June 1.

"I can't wait," he said. "We are just waiting for the green light.

"Everywhere, we see we are going to start on this date and that date. Now, I wait for the guys to text us to tell us the league is going to start at this time, and we are going to be so happy.

"But I know they are going to take all the precautions when we are back. It's not like they are just going to say 'let's go play'; they are going to check everything, and I think that's why it takes time."

Mendy has been spending time in lockdown not just trying to keep up his fitness, but also master some new skills, including cooking and painting.

"The quarantine has not been easy. It is very difficult for everyone," he said. "I think to stay at home, not move, only go to the shop to buy food, that has been very difficult for everyone. Now it is getting better, but we need to be careful and to follow the rules.

"I tried to keep busy. First of all, I was just working out and training, but then I wanted to learn some new stuff as well, so I started painting and I like it now.

"Some of my family bought me some stuff to make cooking easier, it helps to learn, and it has been nice. I try to keep busy and do some new stuff. I hope everyone is good and all the families are safe. I know that this is a difficult moment, but it is going to be better."

Lyon, Amiens and Toulouse have had their appeals against the decision to end the Ligue 1 season early dismissed by a Paris court, which said only the Council of State can make a determination on such matters.

The administrative court declared a case of that nature could only be challenged before the Council of State and Lyon have already indicated their intention to take the case there.

Lyon criticised the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) for expressing satisfaction at the decision, saying in a statement on Friday that "the administrative tribunal did not rule on the merits of the case".

It added the development in "no way changes the nature and the basis of the action" brought by the club, who were sitting seventh when the season was halted.

The LFP said it "was pleased to learn that the appeals lodged by Olympique Lyonnais, Amiens SC and Toulouse FC were rejected by the summary judge of the Paris administrative court".

"In three orders issued on Friday afternoon, the court ruled that the general decisions taken by the league's board of directors on April 30 could only be challenged before the Council of State," the LFP's statement added.

Lyon were denied European qualification via their league position due to the LFP's move to end the campaign with 10 matches still to play amid the coronavirus pandemic.

They can only secure a place in continental competition in 2020-21 if they win the Coupe de France final, which is yet to be rescheduled, or the Champions League.

Amiens and Toulouse were relegated by the LFP and have requested a 22-team Ligue 1 next season, rather than an increased Ligue 2.

The decision to end the campaign came after French prime minister Edouard Philippe declared there could be no major sporting events, including those behind closed doors, held before September.

The New York Jets have agreed a one-year contract with veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, who will likely become the back-up to Sam Darnold.  

The deal, first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, has a base value of $1.5million but also includes up to $3m in incentives.  

The Jets spent a fourth-round pick in last month's draft on Florida International quarterback James Morgan, with journeyman David Fales and youngster Mike White still on the roster.  

Flacco is still recovering from surgery to repair a neck injury that limited him to eight games last season, his only one with the Denver Broncos.  

Flacco missed the last seven games of 2018 with the Baltimore Ravens after suffering torn ligaments in his left knee.  

The 18th overall pick out of Delaware in 2008, Flacco did not make a Pro Bowl in his 11 seasons with the Ravens but made 15 postseason starts, guiding Baltimore to the 2012 title with one of the best playoff runs in league history.  

Flacco threw multiple touchdown passes in each of the Ravens' four playoff games that season. He finished the postseason with a record-tying 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions for a 117.2 passer rating.  

Flacco threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns in Super Bowl XLVII and was named the game's MVP as the Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31.  

The Audubon, New Jersey native has 218 touchdowns and 141 interceptions in his career but has just 70 touchdown passes to 51 interceptions since 2015.  

Tyson Fury recently declared he was "unstoppable", but heavyweight rival Dillian Whyte claims to have floored the WBC champion on "multiple occasions".

Whyte is scheduled to receive a mandatory shot at Fury's world title by February 2021 at the latest.

But he must first wait until the champion has taken on American Deontay Wilder for a third time.

There is also a strong push for Fury to face Anthony Joshua in a unification contest after that, but Whyte is tired of being the odd man out.

Whyte, whose only career defeat came against Joshua in 2015, feels Fury would have fought him already if he did not know he would be in for a testing outing.

"He just needs to stop talking rubbish and let's have a go," Whyte, who is preparing to fight Alexander Povetkin next, said about Fury to Sky Sports. 

"It will be a major fight. Let's have it out.

"He's the one who came out and said he beat me up in the gym and stuff like that. I can tell you now, that didn't happen. I don't like telling sparring stories, but people in the game know.

"They know about me. Me and Tyson Fury sparred and I bashed him about and dropped him on multiple occasions. Simple as that.

"If I was such an easy fight, why is he not in any rush to fight me? 

"He said before beating Wilder, when I beat Wilder, I'm going to give Dillian Whyte his title shot. He just talks rubbish, I'm just sick and tired of it. This is war, let's go."

Undefeated Fury has recently ended talk about retiring in the near future and is now targeting a long title reign.

Whyte's promoter Eddie Hearn believes Fury should take on the challenge and urged the WBC to ensure it happens.

"We've got to push that with the WBC," Hearn said. "I would love to see Fury step up and fight Whyte, but I understand he has contractual obligations with Wilder. 

"Dillian is right in the mix and we will fight his corner. We've been promised by the WBC and we expect them to stand by it. We've done all we can in that respect.

"He stayed patient and has been given a time of February 2021. It is public, so they will look very silly if it doesn't happen.

"If, for some reason, Wilder is not available to fight Fury, then Whyte must get that fight now. 

"Why not? It's an unbelievable fight, two Brits fighting for the WBC title." 

IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua would be waiting in the wings, and Hearn added: "Then [there would be] a cast-iron certainty of two Brits fighting for the undisputed championship in 2021."

Quickfire goals from Vedad Ibisevic and Dodi Lukebakio sparked a second-half rout as Hertha Berlin earned the derby bragging rights in a 4-0 win over Union Berlin in Friday's Bundesliga clash.

After a forgettable goalless first half at the Olympiastadion, which was once again without fans in attendance as Germany's top flight began its second weekend back following the enforced hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, captain Ibisevic emphatically headed home Marvin Plattenhardt's left-wing cross in the 51st minute.

Hertha came under fire for their close-proximity celebrations in last week's 3-0 win at Hoffenheim and Ibisevic told his team-mates to mark his goal with socially-distant congratulations, though he did plant a playful headbutt on the chest of Dedryck Boyota, who denied he kissed Marko Grujic on the cheek in the Hoffenheim win.

Just 69 seconds after his goal, Ibisevic played in Lukebakio and he coolly rounded the on-rushing Rafal Gikiewicz before sliding into the empty goal.

A fine outing for Ibisevic continued when he teed up Matheus Cunha, scorer for a fourth Bundesliga game in succession, to brilliantly side-foot into the bottom-right corner from the edge of the box.

Union's misery was compounded when Boyata headed home Plattenhard's corner with 13 minutes to go.

The win saw Hertha move up to 10th, while Union were two places and four points back.

Martin O'Neill still rues his exit from Aston Villa at a time he felt they were on the cusp of breaking into the Premier League's top four.

While he accepts it is the owner's "prerogative" whether to make significant investments in the transfer market, the former Leicester City and Celtic boss was gutted when Randy Lerner did not.

O'Neill guided Villa to three consecutive sixth-place finishes in the Premier League before leaving ahead of the 2010-11 season and he feels they were close to reaching the Champions League.

"I was there for four years, it is 10 years since I've left now," he said to Stats Perform News.

"I did not leave Aston Villa willingly by any stretch of the imagination, but that's maybe my story for another day. The people that stay on at the football club are the people that write the history. 

"[Leaving Villa] was very difficult. We wanted to push on. The last season, 2009-2010 was our best season. We finished sixth, got to the semi-final of the FA Cup, beaten by Chelsea.

"And then the [EFL Cup] final against Manchester United we could easily have won - if they'd gone down to 10 men after 10 minutes and we converted the penalty, which we did do, we would have been hard to stop. 

"I think those were the signs that we were challenging. We were only a couple of matches away. With two games to go we went up to Manchester City, still with a chance of finishing fourth in the league. 

"Manchester City, ourselves and Tottenham were going for it [fourth place] at the time so we were still well in it and I wanted to go again [the next season]. 

"So that was really disappointing. If the owner doesn't want to push on, that's his prerogative, but then I think you've got to let the fans know then."

Finances were making life more difficult for O'Neill with each passing season, but he has no doubt Villa are a big enough club to mix it with England's other heavyweights.

He added: "Even though we finished sixth again, the other clubs like Liverpool and all those teams were getting financially very strong.

"Clubs like Manchester City were coming very strong at that time and were able to financially take players away from us like they did with James Milner and Gareth Barry, who left to go there the previous season. 

"[Barry] had done his time and was a great servant to the football club - a great footballer for us. 

"Aston Villa have won the European Cup way back in 1982 and to win that they had to win the league the previous year, so Aston Villa is a massive football club, a big football club. 

"The club has got a really great history and I wanted to aim to try and get into the top four.  

"[But we were] not spending fortunes, at least in today's money. The most I've spent on any player was £12million on James Milner, and we actually got £24million for him when he went to Manchester City."

World number one Novak Djokovic will return to the court next month for a new tour in the Balkans.

The spread of coronavirus - and the subsequent suspension of the ATP Tour - means Djokovic has not played since beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships in February.

The ATP Tour will not resume until August at the earliest, but Djokovic has confirmed he will participate in a new tournament that is launching in his native Serbia.

The Adria Tour will be held in four countries - Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina - with events on June 13-14, June 20-21, June 27-28 and July 3-4.

Djokovic, who turned 33 on Friday, will play in each leg of the series and will face Bosnian Damir Dzumhur on July 5 in a final exhibition match in Sarajevo.

He wrote on Twitter: "I'm proud to officially share the news that the #AdriaTour will be held across the #Balkans 13 June - 5 July kicking off with a tournament in Belgrade. Very grateful we could make this happen to play and support humanitarian projects across the region."

Tournament organisers said the aim of the series is to raise money for "humanitarian projects across the region" as well as helping tennis players get back in shape during the ATP Tour suspension.

As well as Djokovic, Austria's world number three Dominic Thiem has also signed up, as have Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Serbia's Viktor Troicki.

Organisers said tickets will be sold to fans if "the presence of the audience is allowed".

World number one Novak Djokovic will return to the court next month for a new tour in the Balkans.

The spread of coronavirus - and the subsequent suspension of the ATP Tour - means Djokovic has not played since beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships in February.

The ATP Tour will not resume until August at the earliest, but Djokovic has confirmed he will participate in a new tournament that is launching in his native Serbia.

The Adria Tour will be held in four countries - Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina - with events on June 13-14, June 20-21, June 27-28 and July 3-4.

Djokovic, who turned 33 on Friday, will play in each leg of the series and will face Bosnian Damir Dzumhur on July 5 in a final exhibition match in Sarajevo.

He wrote on Twitter: "I'm proud to officially share the news that the #AdriaTour will be held across the #Balkans 13 June - 5 July kicking off with a tournament in Belgrade. Very grateful we could make this happen to play and support humanitarian projects across the region."

Tournament organisers said the aim of the series is to raise money for "humanitarian projects across the region" as well as helping tennis players get back in shape during the ATP Tour suspension.

As well as Djokovic, Austria's world number three Dominic Thiem has also signed up, as have Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Serbia's Viktor Troicki.

Organisers said tickets will be sold to fans if "the presence of the audience is allowed".

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is pushing for the 2019-20 season to resume despite admitting the goal of completing the campaign may not be achievable.

Suspended since March due to the coronavirus crisis, there are still nine full rounds of fixtures to be played, while four teams have an extra game on top.

Liverpool are on the brink of winning the title but nothing has been resolved at the top or bottom end of the table.

And Masters admits the Premier League has not broached with its member clubs the question of what might happen if the season has to be abandoned.

"Curtailment is still a possibility and so what would happen in that environment is something we are yet to discuss with our clubs," Masters told BBC Sport.

He says the Premier League is "as confident as we can be" about a return to action, yet it remains the case that nothing has been rubber-stamped.

A June resumption remains the league's target - June 12 has been mooted - but the end of May is already not far away and no precise plans have been confirmed.

Talks have been held over whether clubs will be able to use their own stadiums for games, or whether neutral grounds will be required, and some players have declined to return to training due to COVID-19 concerns.

Six individuals at Premier League clubs tested positive for coronavirus this week, including Burnley assistant boss Ian Woan and Watford player Adrian Mariappa.

Most top-flight stars are back at work though, amid stringent testing and social distancing measures, and Masters said he would also have agreed to train, had he been a player.

Asked what his message would be to players, Masters said: "We've done everything we possibly can to make return to training as safe as possible for you and therefore for you and your family.

"We've put in place testing programmes and all of the different protocols in order to protect you and your livelihood, and we think it's safe to return.

"We have to respect those players that take a decision not to return to training, that is their prerogative."

Questioned on whether he would agree to train, Masters said: "I think I would. I've listened to all the arguments, I've been in the meetings, I've talked to the medical advisers, and I would be comfortable to do so."

The UK government has yet to give the go-ahead for contact training, which would be a major step towards getting the league back up and running.

In terms of the presentation of behind-closed-doors games, Premier League chiefs are looking closely at the example of the Bundesliga, which resumed last weekend.

Masters said: "We're speaking to broadcasters and clubs at the moment about what the Premier League's going to look like on television 

"We've seen the Bundesliga last weekend. I think we'll take a slightly different approach to it, so you may see some new things happening, but we'll announce those things when we're ready."

All games would be played without supporters but there remain concerns over fans gathering outside stadiums.

Masters said a trophy presentation would be organised when the title is won, provided the Premier League could facilitate the handover.

Russell Westbrook said it was "extremely humbling" to donate meals to healthcare workers fighting coronavirus at his local hospital.

Nurses at the intensive care and COVID units at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital were treated to meals from Los Angeles restaurant The Nice Guy.

Westbrook was born in Long Beach, California and played college basketball at UCLA before entering the NBA in 2008.

The 31-year-old, who was traded to the Houston Rockets before the 2019-20 season, has gone on to be named to nine All-Star Games and was voted the 2017 NBA MVP while with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Alongside an Instagram photo with the meals and nurses, Westbrook wrote: "Last night I helped provide meals to the nurses in the ICU & COVID Units at my hometown hospital, MLK Community Hospital.

"Extremely humbling to be able to do this and we appreciate all your hard work during this time. Thank you for all that you do!"

There have been over 1.6million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, where more than 97,000 people have died.

 
 
 
 
 
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