Mr Perfect and Mr 32 Minutes are Guardiola’s nicknames earned for meticulousness but his dad, Valenti, jokes son can’t even change a bulb
Now 92, his father, who lives in the impressive, orange-brick villa he built, told me this week that the long journey to Istanbul was beyond him, although he had managed to be in Manchester to see City lift the Premier League trophy.
Champions League: In the footsteps of Josep Guardiola’s pilgrimage from sleepy Santpedor town to the peppy grandmaster of Man City
Jose Mourinho might think he’s the Special One, but Guardiola, who not only wins more, but wins more aesthetically, is the real deal. Watching his teams, with their ever-evolving tactics, their supremacy is such that they often appear to have an extra player on the field. Away from the training pitch, however, he is no less fascinating.
‘If my body is healthy, anything is possible,’ Kenya’s affable Faith Kipyegon promises as she breaks 5000m World Record in Paris
Kipyegon took the lead with about 600 metres to go, but Gidey kept close contact. They were about six seconds outside of world record pace, but Gidey also knew what Kipyegon is capable of. The world 10,000m champion knew that Kipyegon had the finishing speed to break Gidey’s world record.
Messi on why he snubbed Saudi petrodollars: I wanted to leave Europe, get out of spotlight and think more about my family
Lionel Messi had wanted to go to a club where he could eventually have an ownership stake, a source with knowledge of the negotiations revealed this week, and his contract is expected to pave the way for him to do so after he retires.
Football’s big stars’ scramble for petrodollar in ME is part of Saudi Arabia’s soft power tactic to control world opinion – expert
PIF is Saudi Arabia’s version, worth some $620 billion (£514 billion), making it the seventh largest such fund in the world. It holds stakes in some of the western world’s best-known companies, including Disney, Uber and Boeing.
With 60 per cent of its citizens overweight, obese or diabetic Saudi Arabia now taps into football icons to fight menace
There is undoubtedly a public health benefit. Seventy per cent of the population are aged under 35, with the government keen to improve the statistic that some 60 per cent of the population are overweight or obese. One aim, given by Al-Misehal, is to increase the number of registered male players from 21,000 to over 200,000. He did not mention a target for female players.
Premier League’s most polished midfielder N’Golo Kante on verge of exiting Chelsea for Saudi’s Al Ittihad
A number of current stars are anticipated to be leaving, including the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Edouard Mendy, Mateo Kovacic, Kalidou Koulibaly and Cesar Azpilicueta. Should Kante leave, the Blues would be left with few players capable of playing in a deeper midfield role, with Kovacic linked with a switch to treble-chasers Manchester City.
Inside Arab world plan to pull rag from under Western cultural dominion, expand the emirate via sports
Saudi Arabia’s announcement will also bring controversy. The nation has a terrible human rights record, homosexuality is illegal and there are severe restrictions on freedom of speech and women’s rights. This relaunch will bring accusations of ‘sportswashing’ – that by repackaging its flagship competition for global consumption, Saudi Arabia is attempting to repackage its reputation in front of a global audience.
Man City’s stock soars above Real Madrid as English clubs dominate Brand Finance ranking
Arsenal’s brand value had risen 16 per cent to £782 million following their strong challenge for the Premier League title. Chelsea’s had risen by two per cent to £742 million off the back of a disappointing campaign and lower half finish, making them only the sixth-highest English club. Spurs’ value rose five per cent to £774 million.
Technology-fuelled racism in football is a haunting throwback to 1980s-style monkey chants and banana-throwing in stadiums
A report last year from Fifa, the governing body of world soccer, showed that more than 50 per cent of players competing in two international tournaments in 2021 – the African Cup of Nations and the European Championship – received some form of discriminatory abuse in more than 400,000 posts on social media. More than a third were of a racist nature.