Thursday, 30 July 2015

Schwanitz moves closer to Diamond Race title with win in Stockholm – IAAF Diamond League

Christina Schwanitz at the 2015 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm (Deca Text&Bild)

Christina Schwanitz effectively secured her first Diamond Race title as she won the shot put with a best effort of 20.13m, throwing in persistent and occasionally heavy rain in Stockholm’s Kungstradgarden square on Wednesday (29) on the eve of the main IAAF Diamond League meeting in the Swedish capital.
Germany’s 2014 European champion – who has 18 points and a nine-point lead over the USA’s Michelle Carter after four successive Diamond League wins this season – needs only to turn up to compete in the IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich on 3 September to end the sequence of four overall victories for the world and Olympic champion Valerie Adams, who is still finding her way back to fitness after returning to competition this month following operations last year to her elbow and shoulder.
Despite the testing conditions in Stockholm, Schwanitz was a model of consistency, fouling only one of her six efforts, four of which exceeded the distances achieved by any of her opponents, and the last of which, 19.24, replicated the best effort of the second-placed Carter.
Schwanitz has now gone over 20 metres in her last six competitions.
Adams’s demeanour became as gloomy as the prevailing weather as she produced fouls on her last four efforts, having to settle for fourth place with a best of 18.69m.
A fifth round effort of 18.74m took Hungary’s Anita Marton ahead of the frustrated New Zealander, who has yet to win in her three IAAF Diamond League outings this year.

Adams faces title defence decision

Now the 30-year-old IAAF Athlete of the Year will ponder on whether to defend her title at next month’s IAAF World Championships.
Not part of the Diamond League itself, Canadda’s Tim Nedow won the men’s shot by more than a metre with 20.78m while teenage prodigy Wictor Petersson took the boy’s shot with the 5kg implement when he reached 21.51m, just five centimetres short of his recent best which he achieved to win the bronze medal at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Colombia two weeks ago.
Stockholm’s meeting organisers were one of the first to take big time athletics out of the stadium in 2007, a lead which several other meetings have followed, and this year they revived a tradition last observed here in 2011.
For the first time, this meeting has involved a week of athletics activities in the city, which started in Kungstradgarden on Monday with two days of children’s athletics, at which athletes including the 2013 world 110m hurdles champion David Oliver and Fabiana Murer, the 2011 world pole vault champion, as well as world indoor 800m champion Ayanleh Souleiman made appearances and signed autographs.
On Friday, after the main meeting, the general public will have the opportunity to race over 1000m in a fun run at the historic 1912 Olympic stadium and the arena will then host a weekend of international youth competitions.

National 100m records for Schippers and Asher-Smith in London – IAAF Diamond League

Dafne Schippers winning the 100m at the 2015 IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee)
Dafne Schippers brought day two of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London to a record-breaking conclusion at the Olympic Stadium when she sliced 0.02 from her Dutch record to win the women’s 100m in 10.92 at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games on Saturday (25).
Schippers had already clocked 10.99 in her heat when she beat Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor by 0.01.
In a previous heat, Dina Asher-Smith ran the same time but had also made history by becoming the first British woman ever to break 11 seconds. 
The 19-year-old, a kit carrier in the same stadium at the London 2012 Olympic Games, received a massive roar from the crowd before blasting past Murielle Ahoure to clock 10.99.
Asher-Smith described her heat run as “messy in places” but also admitted she was so “over the moon” that she struggled to regain her focus in time for the final where she finished fourth in 11.06.
By contrast, Schippers timed her effort perfectly and emerged between the fast-starting Ahoure and Okagbare-Ighoteguonor to take victory over the Nigerian, who clocked 10.98. Ahoure was third in 11.01.
Schippers lowered her national 100m record to 10.94 in Hengelo at the end of May, and the world heptathlon bronze medallist’s performance here again justified her decision to target the sprints at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing next month.
“It was a difficult decision but I think I am a sprinter now and it feels good,” she said.
“I am more relaxed every race and I think it's better for me to do only one thing. I can focus on my start and that was difficult to do when I was in the heptathlon.
“It is good that people from Europe can beat girls from America and Jamaica. It's nice that we have both run a national record here. I think I can run faster than today.”

Perfectly paced race for van Niekerk

Another athlete with his sights set firmly on Beijing is Wayde van Niekerk, who had another morale-boosting victory in the men’s 400m.
Just three weeks after beating Olympic champion Kirani James in Paris, the South African overtook Isaac Makwala to win the men’s 400m.
Van Niekerk became the first African to break 44 seconds when he beat James earlier this month, but he saw that record evaporate 24 hours later when the Botswanan ran 43.72, making this something of a grudge match.
Van Niekerk responded superbly to the challenge, coming from behind again to take victory in 44.63. Makwala stormed away at the start but faded to fourth in the home straight, clocking 45.29 as US champion David Verburg came through for second in 45.01 with Chris Brown taking third in 45.33.
Van Niekerk is now just two points behind James in the Diamond Race, but his mind is already in China.
“The season has certainly been a blessing to me so far,” said the South African.
“The Diamond Race points are a bonus to me, whatever happens, happens. This was my last Diamond League race before the World Championships so I just wanted to finish it with a good time and feel confident for the race.”
Asbel Kiprop retained the Emsley Carr Mile title when he emerged from a huge pack to outsprint USA’s Matthew Centrowitz in the home straight. The world 1500m champion clocked 3:54.87 after drifting from the front to a seemingly impossible boxed position with a lap to go.
As the final stages of the race unfolded, he stepped out of the huddle and clawed his way past Centrowitz and Ayanleh Souleiman, who were second and third respectively.
Kenyans were in winning form in the women’s distance events too, as Eunice Sum underlined her status as favourite for the world 800m title with her fourth IAAF Diamond League victory.
Sum overpowered Dutch runner Sifan Hasan to clock 1:58.44 and move 10 points clear of USA’s Ajee Wilson in the Diamond Race. Hassan was rewarded for her bold move down the back straight with a personal best of 1:59.46 in second place.

No mercy for Cherono's rivals

Mercy Cherono made up a 50-metre gap on Molly Huddle to take maximum points in the women’s 5000m and move to third in the standings.
Cherono came home in 14:54.81 after being 30 metres adrift with 800m to go.
She finally caught Huddle at the bell but the US runner, who had led for the whole race, challenged again on the last lap before succumbing and finishing second in 14:57.42.
Kenyans dominated the men’s steeplechase too, but it was not Diamond Race leader Jairus Birech who took maximum points this time.
Birech was beaten for the second time this season when world silver medallist Conseslus Kipruto outkicked him in the home straight to win in 8:09.47.
Birech was second in 8:09.81 with Ezekiel Kemboi, who had beaten Birech in Oslo, third in 8:12.13.
There were no Diamond Race points available in the men’s 800m, but plenty of pride at stake as David Rudisha returned to the scene of his world-record-breaking Olympic triumph.
Nijel Amos chased him home on that day but it was the Botswanan who was too good this afternoon, outkicking the Kenyan in the home straight to win in 1:44.57.
Rudisha still looks a shadow of his 2012 best, but he held on to take second from the fast-finishing Pole Adam Kszczot in 1:44.67.
There was a meeting record in the women’s 200m, another non-Diamond Race event, when Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson ran a meeting record of 22.10 to beat Tori Bowie.
Thompson took 0.27 from her personal best and moved to fourth on the 2015 world list.
Bowie was second in 22.32 while behind her Sanya Richards-Ross ran 22.87 in seventh and Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill produced her third season’s best of the meeting, running 23.49 in eighth.

Ronaldinho set for Fluminense debut

Ronaldinho set for Fluminense debut
 Former Brazil international Ronaldinho could make Fluminense debut against old club Gremio this weekend.

The 35-year-old former World Player of the Year trained with his new team-mates for the third time on Wednesday and coach Enderson Moreira has confirmed the World Cup-winner is in contention for Saturday's Brasileirao showdown at the Maracana on Saturday.

Ronaldinho sealed his return to Brazil earlier this month after a year with Mexican club Queretaro but was given two weeks' holiday before reporting for training.

He has thus far impressed on the practice field, scoring three times in his first session with the Rio-based club, and was in the starting line-up at Wednesday's session.

A World Cup and Copa America winner, who has also lifted both the Uefa Champions League and the Copa Libertadores, Ronaldinho is now hoping to resume his career against Gremio, where he began his playing days in 1998 and whom he helped to a state title in 1999 before joining Paris Saint-Germain two years later.

Fluminense sit seventh in Brazil's top flight after 16 matches and are in search of their first national title since 2012 – one of the few competitions in which Ronaldinho has competed but never won.

"What motivated me is a title that I don't have, Brazilian championship. It motivates me a lot. It is a great club with great players, we have everything to be champions," he said earlier this month.

"It's good to return for a big club. I'm very happy and motivated.

"I wanted to play after seeing the stadium (Maracana) and the fans with all their support. My legs are trembling with desire to play."

Ronaldinho scored 33 goals in 97 appearances for Brazil.

Buchel looking to boost Swiss athletics with Beijing success

Selina Buchel on her way to winning the 800m (Getty Images)
You could be almost be forgiven for not knowing who Selina Buchel was this time last year when she failed to make the final of her home European Championships in Zurich, but this year is a different story.
After her stunning Swiss 800m record of 1:57.95 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris which hoisted her to fourth on this year’s world list, Buchel is suddenly a serious candidate for a medal at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing next month.
Starting conservatively in the Stade de France, the she finished fastest of the top three that evening to slice almost one second off one of the most durable Swiss records on the books. The time also shattered her personal best by more than two seconds.
Unbeaten this year in low-key races until that evening, Buchel was looking to break through the two-minute barrier for the first time in her career, but not even she was prepared for the time that came up against her name.
“When I saw the time I thought that can’t be right,” the elated 23-year-old told her local press.
“The first 100m was relatively fast and I noticed that the leaders were already a long way ahead. We went through 400 in 57.4. I had never been that fast but I felt good.”

Defeated but not disappointed

Although she approached the final 200 metres conservatively, she let herself off the leash with 100m to go and was closing fast on Kenya’s world champion Eunice Sum and second-placed Rose Marie Almanza of Cuba before she ran out of track.
It may have been her first defeat of the season, but the time more than made up for that. Buchel had definitively arrived on the world stage.
She had already come to note at the 2015 European Indoor Championships in Prague in March, when she slightly surprisingly snatched gold from more fancied rivals, despite her fourth place 12 months before at the IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Since her storming run in Paris she has also collected wins on home soil in Lausanne and Lucerne, the latter also ending with her running faster than two minutes.
An outing in Bellinzona added another sub-2:00 time to her account but at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London on Saturday she appeared to suffer the effects of five races in three weeks and could only finish eighth.
“There was nothing there,” she explained after that performance. “I had been noticing it for days. I ran out of steam. I was tactically weak and I did not manage to focus.”

Adjusted focus

It is precisely this focus that she identifies as one of the big changes she has made for 2015.
“This season I set myself the goal, and not only in the big championships, to crank up the nervous tension. Somehow, I have been too relaxed before. The fact that I can now create this tension in each race is a big step for me.”
The small town of Butschwil, with a population of 3300, 70 kilometres east of Zurich, is where Buchel does most of her training throughout the year.
There is no 400m track in the town so if she wants to run on a full-sized track, she has to travel to nearby Wil or simply makes do with the local roads.
Some might raise an eyebrow at such basic facilities at her immediate disposal but Buchel commented that this is what has brought her success so “why change it?”
She did in fact make an exception last winter by attending a training camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa, but discovered to her surprise that, despite the ideal conditions, the group she was with did not do anything they could have done at home.
It’s not a trip she’s likely to make again in the near future. “It makes no sense to go such a long way to do something you can do at home,” she joked.
Buchel is coached by a husband-and-wife team of Urs and Marlis Goldi who have nothing but praise for their charge. “We can always be sure that she carries out what is on the training plan,” said Urs.
For work, Buchel holds down a 30 per cent contract as an urban planner but, once the summer season starts, work takes a back seat.
A crucial crossroads in Buchel’s development was reached with last summer’s disappointment in Zurich.
“I realised I just wasn’t good enough,” she confessed. As a result of that revelation, she set about a radical restructuring of training with more speed work and more strength training. “My running style is now more controlled and more economic,” she explained. “I’m also faster over 400m.”
A carefully constructed competitive plan has helped her make significant strides.

Not stuck for speed

Having boosted her confidence with a series of low-key races this summer, Paris was the leap in quality that was needed to move to the next level.
Whereas in Paris she held back, in Lucerne last Tuesday she was ready to follow the fast pace – 56.70 at the bell – and kick off that with 200 metres to go and hold off all the attacks that came down the straight.
“I have never run that fast in my life,” she said of that first 400m. “But I managed to get stuck in and keep my advantage to the line.”
All of which will make it interesting to see how she fares in her biggest challenge to date in Beijing.
Switzerland has not had an athlete on the IAAF World Championships podium since Viktor Rothlin won a bronze in the marathon in 2007. At the last edition in Moscow, no Swiss athlete finished in the top eight in their event.
But with the fourth-fastest time in the world this season, she needs fear no one. “Yes, that is definitely the case,” she affirmed. “Now I know I can go with any pace. I am looking forward to it.”

'I have to fight the mafia' - Maradona vows to challenge Fifa

'I have to fight the mafia' - Maradona vows to challenge Fifa
The Argentina icon claims he has the support of a number of players should he launch a campaign to become Sepp Blatter's successor
Diego Maradona has vowed to fight the "mafia" which remains within Fifa as talk grows of his potential bid to become the next president.
The iconic former Argentina forward claims he has the support of a number of players should he choose to challenge to succeed Sepp Blatter.
"There are players who support me. I have to fight with people who have long been stealing from Fifa," he told Canal America.
"I'm going for Fifa. Really. I have to fight the mafia. I have to fight the mafia that is still within Fifa.
"I say to all Argentines that I'm strong, that I will not fail, that I am very tough and have plenty of backbone."
Uefa president Michel Platini and South Korea's Chung Mong-joon have already announced their candidacies to take charge of Fifa.

Organisers' pollution challenge in Guanabara Bay

Pollution in the Guanabara Bay
Cleaning up the polluted bay where sailing and windsurfing competitions will be held at Rio 2016 remains a serious challenge, the International Olympic Committee president has said.
Sailors in Guanabara Bay have reported seeing pollution including furniture and floating animal carcasses.
Nearly 70% of sewage in the Brazilian city is spilled raw into its waters.
Thomas Bach said Games preparations were on track but challenges remained, "first of all the cleaning of the bay".
The Rio state government has already said it will miss its target of reducing pollution in the Guanabara bay by 80% ahead of the Olympics, which begin on 5 August 2016.
Bach said some measures to clean the waters had already started, while others "will be applied to the bay just before the Olympics to make sure there is the safety and the health of the athletes".
The German also said demands on completing the international broadcast centre in Rio were "really pressing" but added there had been "great progress" in the Olympic village and other sports facilities.
"We are very confident we will have a great Games in one year. Acknowledging challenges is the first and most important step to overcoming them."
Pollution in the Guanabara Bay
Rio state government has already said it will miss its target of reducing pollution in Guanabara bay by 80%

Manchester United 0-2 PSG: Ibrahimovic strikes as Van Gaal's men flounder

Manchester United 0-2 PSG: Ibrahimovic strikes as Van Gaal's men flounder
 d a goal ruled out for offside.

Shaw and Jones were unable to deal with Matuidi, who showed tremendous strength before poking the ball past De Gea, who left himself stranded, with relative ease.

United were carved up again nine minutes later, this time Ibrahimovic the beneficiary. Maxwell picked out an unmarked Ibrahimovic between Jones and Shaw on the edge of the six-yard box and the striker made no mistake from close range.

Depay came close to reducing the deficit three minutes later after Kevin Trapp parried the Dutchman's free-kick into danger, though PSG somehow managed to clear their lines.

As expected, both teams made substitutions at the break, with David Luiz, Edinson Cavani, Marquinhos, Morgan Schneiderlin and Andreas Pereira introduced, while De Gea was withdrawn.

The half-time changes stemmed the flow for United, but they still struggled to create any dangerous opportunities, as their attack remained disorganized with Rooney isolated up front.

And while opportunities were at a premium in the second half, substitute Youssouf Sabaly came close to extending PSG's advantage with a powerful strike that flashed just wide of the post with 13 minutes remaining.

Real Madrid 0-0 AC Milan (10-9 pens): Donnaruma misses decisive spot-kick

Real Madrid 0-0 AC Milan (10-9 pens): Donnaruma misses decisive spot-kick

Kiko Casilla scored and then saved the young goalkeeper's effort to secure the International Champions Cup for the Liga giants
Real Madrid have won the International Champions Cup after defeating AC Milan 10-9 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in Shanghai on Wednesday.

Madrid thrashed Manchester City 4-1 to win the International Champions Cup Australia last week and lifted the China version of the tournament on Thursday to end their pre-season tour unbeaten.

There was no separating the two sides in 90 minutes, with the impressive Kiko Casilla twice denying Milan new boy Carlos Bacca - who came on at half-time - in the second half with fine saves.

It was left to spot-kicks to decide the winner of the trophy and it was Real who came out on top, with Bacca and 16-year-old Antonio Donnarumma failing to hold their nerve.

Donnarumma had denied Toni Kroos to extend the shootout, but he went from hero to villain and both sides will now head to Munich to take part in the Audi Cup next week.

Rafael Benitez included Luka Modric and Karim Benzema in his starting line-up after the duo missed Monday's 3-0 victory over Inter due to niggles, while Sergio Ramos - reportedly set to sign a new contract - dropped to the bench.

But Real lacked the attacking threat they posed in impressive wins against City and Inter and they were almost caught out by the pace of Milan striker M'Baye Niang five minutes before half-time.

The young French striker opted to go it alone when he lacked support and burst past two defenders before clattering into Keylor Navas after taking a heavy touch, which cost him the chance to get a shot away.

Benitez and Sinisa Mihajlovic made several changes at half-time, with Bacca and Luiz Adriano among the Milan players to enter the fray, while Ramos and Kroos were also brought on.

Kroos had a chance to open the scoring soon after, but his shot from the edge of the area deflected wide after good work from fellow substitute Jese Rodriguez.

Madrid looked far more dangerous after a poor first-half display and Diego Lopez - facing his former club - kept out Cristiano Ronaldo's downward header after some lovely trickery and a precise cross from Isco.

Bacca almost opened his Milan account in spectacular fashion with a thunderous strike that was destined for the back of the net until Casilla denied him with an outstanding reflex save on the hour-mark.

Casilla thwarted the Colombia striker again when he surged into the penalty area and unleashed a well struck shot 10 minutes from time.

Bacca failed to find the back of the net once again in a shootout, but Kroos missed the chance to secure victory when Donnarumma kept out his spot-kick.

The young keeper was unable to find the back of the net himself, though, as Casilla's save ensured Madrid lifted another trophy.

Friday, 24 July 2015

'Arsenal have £200m & Wenger can buy any player he wants

'Arsenal have £200m & Wenger can buy any player he wants'
Arsenal director Lord Harris says Arsene Wenger can "buy any player in the world", with the club boasting a £200m-plus (€280m) transfer fund.

The Gunners boss admitted on Wednesday that the club were in an "impossible" race for the Premier League title in recent years, but is confident his squad are now capable of challenging at the top.

Wenger had to contend with the financial impact of moving from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium, which meant losing key players such as Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas year on year.

Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all spent big, but improved finances saw Mesut Ozil arrive for £42 million (€60m) in 2013 and Alexis Sanchez for £35m (€50m) last summer, and Harris has hinted at similar deals.

"Money was tight when we moved to the Emirates but it’s a lot freer now," he told the Daily Mail. "We could go into the market and probably buy any player in the world, apart from half a dozen who are un-buyable.

"In the accounts, there's over £200 million in the bank. There are no plans to sign anyone, unless he finds a real superstar like Ozil or Sanchez. He's looking for one of those but there aren't many available."

Goal understands Arsene Wenger was happy to wait until later in the summer window to launch a bid for key summer target Karim Benzema, though the striker's agent says his client will not be leaving Real Madrid.

Wenger refused to rule out a bid last week, adding that he will attempt to sign an "exceptional player" if one becomes available, and Harris insists the manager has the full financial backing required.

He added: "We get a list of the players that Wenger wants. On the list is a centre forward, but I'm not going to tell you who he is. You've got to get the other team to sell him, but I think he wants to come.

"It basically comes down to whether the other team can find a superstar to replace him, because they don’t have to sell. We would back him to break the club's transfer record.

"If he wanted the man, he could have him. Apart from [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo, he could have any player. We will probably have to break the club record to get the man he wants."

Heartland, Dolphins crash out of Federation Cup

Heartland, Dolphins crash out of Federation Cup
BJ Foundation and Tornadoes Feeders were unmatched by their illustrious Premier League foes as they zoomed to the competition's next round
Giant killers BJ Foundation and Niger Tornadoes Feeders created the biggest upsets of the 2015 Federation Cup Round of 16 played on Wednesday they dumped Heartland and Dolphins out of the competition in Makurdi and Ado Ekiti respectively.
Heartland won the competition back to back in 2011 and 2012 and after two disappointing years in competition, they were hoping to bounce back in impressive fashion in 2015 edition but were shown the exit door by ambitious B J Foundation at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi.
The Naze Millionaires got their goals through John Ibeh and Ebere Odiche in the 30th and 55th minutes but that didn't deter the giant killers who went ahead to score three goals.
In Ado Ekiti Dolphins frittered away many scoring chances that would have made them to win the game easily against Niger Tornadoes Feeders at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado Ekiti and were made to rue the missed chances during the penalty shoot-outs.

Omoh Johnson netted for the Premier League side but the giant killers from Minna found their way back into  game when they got the  equalizer and  eventually triumphed on penalties.

Courtois: Cech is a Chelsea legend, but don't compare us

Courtois: Cech is a Chelsea legend, but don't compare us
Thibaut Courtois says Petr Cech's departure marks a "new era" at Chelsea and does not want to be compared to his former team-mate.

The 33-year-old ended an 11-year spell at Stamford Bridge with a £14 million (€20m) move to Arsenal earlier in July, having fallen down the pecking order following Thibaut Courtois's promotion to first-choice keeper.
Courtois acknowledges the "legend" status Cech has had bestowed on him by the fans after winning 15 trophies since his 2004 arrival, but is confident of the team's achievements going forward.

"Petr was a Chelsea legend and he has more support from the fans, maybe," he told reporters.

"But I will always do my best for the team. Last season went well, winning the League Cup and Premier League, and hopefully we can win more trophies and defend the title."

Courtois, though, is wary of being compared to Cech, and is keen to avoid this happening as Mourinho builds a younger new guard to build on the Premier League and League Cup double won last season.
He added: "What Petr did with Chelsea was exceptional. I hope to get as many trophies as he did, but I am not staring at his tally.

"Of course I hope to win as many trophies as I can, but I will not look to what Petr did. What he did with Chelsea was something great, alongside Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry.
"Now it's the new era. I don't want to be compared with Petr. I am a new player, another keeper and I'm going a different way."

Mourinho: New stadium is the next step for Chelsea

Mourinho: New stadium is the next step for Chelsea
The Blues manager says that upping their capacity is a must to continue growth and backs supporters to make whatever temporary ground they occupy feel like home
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says that a new stadium is "the next step" for the club.

The Blues' current home at Stamford Bridge can seat 41,798 fans, making it only the eighth largest ground in the Premier League, disproportionate to the team's success in the Roman Abramovich era.

Earlier this summer, Chelsea invited supporters to look at an exhibition of plans for a new build and, though an upgrade would necessitate them playing at a different ground for up to three seasons, Mourinho says that it is an important decision for them to take.

"I've taken charge of 98 matches on my bench in Stamford Bridge and hope to have more," the Portuguese told reporters.

"I know the club needs to make the next step and that is a new Stamford Bridge, more seats.

"At a certain point of our lives as a club, we will have to leave, which is a bad thing but, if we need to play at another stadium, we will try to make it our new home while we wait."

Falcao 'was the best of the human players', says Crespo

Falcao 'was the best of the human players', says Crespo
The Colombian endured a difficult season at Manchester United but is now gearing up for the 2015-16 campaign with Chelsea and Crespo believes that it will not be easy for him
Hernan Crespo says that Radamel Falcao was "the best of the human players" before his knee injury, warning him that he could continue to struggle at Chelsea.

Falcao has moved to Stamford Bridge on a one-year loan deal from Monaco, after enduring a frustrating 2014-15 campaign with Manchester United that yielded just four goals and questions about his top-level ability.
The Colombia striker damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in January 2014, which ruled him out of the World Cup, and he has since struggled to recapture the form which made him one of Europe's most feared forwards during his time with Porto and Atletico Madrid.
Crespo, who himself moved to the Blues in 2003 but was loaned out to both Milan clubs by Jose Mourinho during a difficult five-year spell in England, says that Falcao is now a different proposition.

"There is a big difference between Falcao before and after his injury," Crespo, now coach of Italian Serie B side Modena, told the BBC.
"Before the injury, he was the best of the 'human players' - all players apart from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who are on another level.

"After such an injury, you need time and it's not easy to recover. It won't be easy for him. Jose doesn't give presents away."
However, the former Argentina hitman insists that a little bit of belief would be enough for Falcao to convince his new manager, something which he was unable to do with Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford.

"All Falcao has to do is to believe in himself and be the great player he is," Crespo added. "That will be enough to convince Mourinho to give him a chance. He was probably not the kind of player Van Gaal was looking for.

"You have to take your chances if you want to play regularly. We will see what happens at Chelsea."

Moses and Solanke given Chelsea squad numbers

Moses handed No. 20 jersey
The Nigerian forward will wear the Blues' No.20 jersey last worn by former Portugal international Deco, while his compatriot retains his No.35 shirt
Returning Chelsea forward Victor Moses and Dominic Solanke have been assigned their squad numbers.
Moses, who returned to the Stamford Bridge after his loan move to Stoke City, will wear the No. 20 jersey. The jersey was so well associated with Deco during his spell with the Roman Army.

Academy players Dominic Solanke and Ola Aina  impressed in the youth team last season,  and as a result have been rewarded with the No.35 and No.34 while Ruben Loftus-Cheek retaining his No.36 shirt.
Both players are in line to feature in Saturday’s pre-season game against Paris Saint-Germain.