LONDON: Aaron Wan-Bissaka has become the most expensive defender in Manchester United's history after completing a deal worth up to £50 million from Crystal Palace on Saturday.Despite the huge fee, the 21-year-old made just 46 senior appearances for the Eagles and has yet to be called up by England.AFP Sport looks at why have United splashed such a huge fee to kick off a major rebuild at Old Trafford after missing out on Champions League qualification last season.CONVERTED WINGER Wan-Bissaka grew up in the surroundings of Palace's Selhurst Park before joining the club's academy at the age of 11. However, having started out as a winger, he did not stand out.Indeed, his talent may have gone unspotted had he not been pitted against Palace's star player Wilfried Zaha one day in training when he impressed coaches with his ability to nullify the Ivorian."I can remember watching the session and thinking afterwards, 'He did all right at right-back,'" said Kevin Keen, who was Palace's … [Read more...] about Football: Who is Man United’s £50 million man Wan-Bissaka?
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NEW YORK: Lionel Messi was the world's highest paid athlete over the past year, Forbes reported on Tuesday (Jun 11) in its annual sporting rich list.Barcelona and Argentina star Messi dethroned retired boxer Floyd Mayweather as the sports world's highest earner, raking in US$127 million via salary and endorsement deals.That put Messi ahead of long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, the Juventus and Portugal star who was second with earnings of US$109 million.Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar completed a sweep of the top three positions by footballers, coming in third with earnings of US$105 million.The fourth highest earner on the list was Mexico's middleweight boxing star Saul "Canelo" Alvarez with US$94 million.Alvarez, who defeated Gennady Golovkin last September to become the unified middleweight champion, inked the richest deal in boxing history last October, signing a five-year 11-fight contract with streaming network DAZN worth US$365 million.Evergreen tennis star Roger … [Read more...] about Football: Messi is sports world’s highest earner
FRANCE: In the four years since the last Women's World Cup in Canada, the competition and talent among female footballers has gotten stronger - and more global. The stage will be as big as ever when this year's tournament kicks off Jun 7 in Paris.In our latest ESPN FC Rank, we polled our experts to gauge which players will stand out in France.25. SHANICE VAN DE SANDENAnother from the Lyon dynasty, Shanice van de Sanden is best known for two things: her blazing speed and her trademark bright red lipstick. One of the fastest players in the women's game, Van de Sanden is an absolute handful to deal with on the right wing for opposing full-backs due to her pace and skill. A player who debuted for the Oranje at just 16, she was a key member of the Netherlands' victorious European Championship side in 2017 and will be appearing in her second World Cup this summer. Van de Sanden, now 26, has 15 goals in 63 caps for the Netherlands, but it is her ability to get in behind … [Read more...] about Who is the best player at the Women’s World Cup?
It was arguably the best Premier League season in history. The battle between Liverpool and Manchester City came down to the final Sunday of the campaign and required City to win their final 14 games of the season to hold on to their one-point lead and retain their crown. Liverpool finished second with the third-highest point total in Premier League history, while City held on for dear life and survived with one of the most impressive stretch runs you'll ever see.Jurgen Klopp & Co won't be too heartbroken if they win the Champions League on Jun 1, of course, but let's cheer them and the rest of the league by handing out arbitrary awards. Back in December, I went around the Premier League and gave out superlatives for everything from best substitute to most tired managerial storyline.Let's go back to the well and hand out awards for the full season. I've narrowed down the categories a bit, but with a full season of data to work with, I've expanded the results from … [Read more...] about Winners and losers from the Premier League’s best season
LIVERPOOL: The church organist wanted to meet outside Liverpool's Anfield Stadium. Her name is Anne Preston, and she carried the program of a funeral she'd played the day before, as a document of something both ancient and achingly current.She wanted me to see it, so I'd understand how life, death and resurrection are so tied together with football along the banks of the Mersey River.She arrived with her husband, meeting me between the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand and the Kop, the mighty Liverpool Kop. As he went over to sort his tickets for the first leg of the Champions League semifinal in Barcelona, she produced the programme and told me about a musical request from the family.The mom made the request herself. To honor her son, whose funeral program had Anfield on the front and the club crest on the back, she wanted Anne to subtly work in "You'll Never Walk Alone" during the Mass.It's a familiar request to Anne, and to every funeral director and organist in Liverpool.At the crematorium … [Read more...] about What a Premier League title would mean for Liverpool