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Bale says LAFC signing is for the long haul

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AFP

Wales forward Gareth Bale on Monday said he was eager to leave his mark on Major League Soccer by helping bring a maiden championship to his new team the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) and that he was not there just for the short-term.

Bale, who will captain Wales at the World Cup in Qatar this year, has signed a 12-month contract with options through to 2024 and said he already felt at home in Southern California with no plans on moving anytime soon.

British media had speculated that Bale might retire after the World Cup but he held out the prospect that he could still be leading Wales at the European Championship in 2024.

“I haven’t come here for the short term. I want to make my mark on this league and I think being here gives me the best possible chance to make it to the Euros and maybe win more,” Bale told a news conference at Banc of California Stadium.

“That’s my goal. I feel like I’m here to play a big part.”

Already sounding like a Hollywood star, Bale told reporters that he saw LAFC as “an amazing project” following his departure from LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

“It became clear to me that this was the place I wanted to be,” he added.

“It’s an incredible club they’ve created and an amazing environment for the fans. Hopefully now I can play my part and take this club to the next level and try to win a trophy.”

Bale, who turns 33 later this week, said MLS had improved considerably and could no longer be dismissed as a “retirement league” for overseas stars.

“The standard here is really increasing, it’s a lot better than people in Europe think,” he said.

“The quality is improving, the league is improving, the stadiums are improving, the teams are improving. It’s a league that’s really on the rise.”

LAFC, which launched in 2014 and boasts a star-studded ownership group and a dedicated fan base, currently sits atop the Western Conference.

“This club is new, but it feels like it has been here forever,” he said.

Bale enjoyed a trophy-laden spell with Real, winning three LaLiga titles, five Champions League crowns, three Club World Cups and the Spanish Cup, although his time at the club was marred by injuries.

In Los Angeles, he will join familiar faces including former Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, who signed for LAFC this month after leaving Juventus.

“He’s the same as me. He wants to give everything possible to win games and trophies,” Bale said.

The Welshman will also play alongside ex-Arsenal forward Carlos Vela and former Manchester United striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

Bale led Wales to their first World Cup since 1958 when they beat Ukraine 1-0 in a playoff in Cardiff last month.

The MLS season will conclude before the start of the November 21-December 18 World Cup in Qatar.

Wales begin their World Cup campaign against the United States at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on November 21.



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Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of eIndia.com. Now managing editor of Headline.ae, part of MEMc (https://www.memc.co)

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Rublev defaulted as Bublik reaches Dubai final – ARN News Centre

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Friday, 1 March 2024 20:30

By Reuters

RYAN LIM/ AFP

Second seed Andrey Rublev was defaulted from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi-finals on Friday after yelling at a line judge in the final set of his clash with Alexander Bublik.

In a chaotic match where both semi-finalists fumed at the officials, Rublev was defaulted by the chair umpire for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Bublik, who clawed his way back from a set down to lead 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 6-5, was awarded the win.

The result ensured there would be no repeat of last year’s final where Rublev lost to Daniil Medvedev.

The top seeded Medvedev is playing against fifth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the other last-four clash.

 





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Ronaldo’s Al Nassr sets up ACL clash with Al Ain – ARN News Centre

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FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr will lock horns with UAE side Al Ain in the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League (ACL).

The Riyadh-based side beat fellow Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Fayha 2-0 on Wednesday to complete a 3-0 aggregate victory.

Portugal winger Otavio scored in the 17th minute to build on last week’s 1-0 win before Ronaldo added a late second.

Elsewhere, Al Ain saw off Uzbekistan’s Nasaf 2-1, thanks to Soufiane Rahimi’s injury-time winner.

Following a scoreless first leg, Al Ain came back from going a goal behind to Akmal Mozgovoy’s close-range strike in the 51st minute to level through Kodjo Laba’s acrobatic effort four minutes later.

The game looked to be heading for extra time when Rahimi capitalised on a poor attempt to punch clear by Nasaf goalkeeper Abduvohid Nematov to slot home the winner for the hosts two minutes into added time.

South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai also confirmed their progress to the next round with a 2-1 victory over Japanese second division side Ventforet Kofu to complete a 5-1 aggregate win.

Meanwhiel, Anderson Lopes’ 122nd-minute penalty earned Yokohama F Marinos a last-gasp 1-0 win over Bangkok United to seal a 3-2 victory that sets up a quarter-final meeting with China’s Shandong Taishan.

On Thursday, Saudi champions Al Ittihad will meet Navbahor from Uzbekistan in Jeddah following a scoreless draw in their first clash and Al Hilal take a 3-1 lead into their second leg against Iran’s Sepahan in Riyadh.

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Inaugural edition of Lanka T10 to kick off in December 2024

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The inaugural edition of the Lanka T10 League will be held from December 12 to December 22, 2024.

The tournament, which was initially planned to be held in June 2023, was shifted to December, as SLC deemed the ‘December window’ as the most appropriate to conduct the league, as the timing will complement Sri Lanka’s Domestic and International Cricketing Calendar.

Lanka T10 League, Sri Lanka’s newest addition to its annual cricket calendar will feature some of the finest international stars along with Sri Lanka’s top international stars.

The action-packed competition will also provide opportunities for the brightest young talents in the country to mix, mingle, and play along with international stars.

” I have full confidence that this tournament will be a resounding success, contributing to Sri Lanka Cricket’s ability to stay current with the evolving trends in the game.,” said Shammi Silva, President, Sri Lanka Cricket.

Adding more thoughts on the Lanka T10 December tournament, Mr Shammi Silva added, “We foresee that this event will not solely captivate cricket enthusiasts, but also serve as a catalyst for popularizing the tournament broadly.”

Mr Anil Mohan, Founder and CEO, IPG Group shared, “This is a great stepping stone for us as we get to organise another exciting chapter in Sri Lankan Cricket. Our league unites the top international stars and local talent on an exciting platform for cricket enthusiasts worldwide. Together, we aim to make history and elevate the game with every thrilling match.”


The tournament will feature six men’s teams covering regional cricket picenters, with each team consisting of a squad of 16 players, along with six foreign players.

“We’re thrilled to bring T10 cricket to Sri Lanka, and we’re grateful to SLC for their support. This league holds added significance as it is formally endorsed by esteemed members like SLC, highlighting the credibility and excitement surrounding this new era in Sri Lankan cricket.” Shaji ul Mulk, Chairman of TTen Global Sports, representing the Event Rights Partner.

The matches will be played in some of Sri Lanka’s top international cricket venues and under lights.

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