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"The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable."
--- Sun Tzu

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo is set to join Juventus, becoming one of the four most expensive players of all time.


It is understood a deal worth £105m has been reached between the two clubs that will see the 33-year-old Portuguese end a nine-year stay at the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo won four Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles at Real.

"The time has come to open a new stage in my life, that's why I asked the club to accept transferring me," he said.


Ronaldo joined Real from Manchester United for £80m in July 2009 and scored a club-record 451 goals and won the Ballon D'Or - awarded to the world's best footballer - in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
He has helped them win the Champions League in four of the past five seasons, scoring in the 2014 and 2017 finals.
"For Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of its great symbols," said a club statement.
"Real Madrid wants to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world and who has marked one of the brightest times in the history of our club and world football.
"Real Madrid will always be your home."
He is now set to be unveiled as the Italian club's record signing, eclipsing the £75.3m they paid for Gonzalo Higuain.

Despite their dominance in Europe's premier club competition, Real struggled domestically, finishing 17 points behind champions Barcelona last season.
Real are keen on reshaping their team under new manager Julen Lopetegui and the 33-time La Liga winners have also been linked with a move for Paris St-Germain's 26-year-old Brazil forward Neymar.
However, it would be a controversial move as Neymar spent four years at Real's fierce rivals Barcelona before joining Paris St-Germain in a world record transfer of £200m last summer.
Real have also been linked with a move for another PSG forward, Kylian Mbappe, the 19-year-old who has helped France reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Source: BBC Sports

Arsene Wenger is to leave Arsenal at the end of the season, ending a near 22-year reign as manager.
The Frenchman departs a year before his latest contract was due to expire.

The Gunners are sixth in the league and set to miss out on a top-four spot for the second straight season, with their hopes of reaching the Champions League resting on winning the Europa League.
Wenger, 68, won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, including the Double in 1998 and 2002.

"I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years," said Wenger. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.

"To all the Arsenal lovers, take care of the values of the club."

Arsenal say a successor will be appointed "as soon as possible".

Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke described Friday's announcement as "one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport".
He added: "One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch.
"His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched."

The American praised Wenger's "exceptional record", adding that he "transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played".

Appointed on 1 October 1996, he is the Premier League's current longest-serving manager and has taken charge of a record 823 games.
But some fans have turned on the Frenchman over the past two seasons as a result of their league performances.

Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Newcastle was their 11th in the league this season, equalling their worst tally in a campaign under Wenger.
They are 33 points behind leaders Manchester City, who have 87 points, and the same number away from bottom side West Brom, who have 21.

Arsenal finished outside the top four last term for the first time since Wenger arrived at the club, and are now 14 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, with five matches remaining.
They face Spanish side Atletico Madrid, who are second in La Liga, in the Europa League semi-finals, with the first leg on Thursday.

Source: BBC Sport

"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better".
--- Harry S Truman
"Don't ever criticize yourself. Don't go around all day long thinking, 'I'm unattractive, I'm slow, I'm not as smart as my brother.' God wasn't having a bad day when he made you... If you don't love yourself in the right way, you can't love your neighbour. You can't be as good as you are supposed to be."
--- Joel Osteen 
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."
--- Melody Beattie
"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence."
--- Confucius

Caged Bird

Thursday, January 11, 2018 3 Comments
Caged Bird
The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
Author: Maya Angelou
"Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning."
--- Joseph Campbell
Virgil van Dijk scored the winner on his debut following his £75m move to Liverpool as the Reds edged past Everton to move into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Van Dijk, the most expensive defender in world football after his move from Southampton earlier this week, headed in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's 84th-minute corner to decide a frantic Merseyside derby at Anfield.
Gylfi Sigurdsson had equalised with a curled finish from 20 yards after a quick breakaway move involving Yannick Bolasie, Ademola Lookman and Phil Jagielka.
Hosts Liverpool had gone ahead in the first half through James Milner's penalty after Mason Holgate pulled back Adam Lallana.
Holgate was also involved in a controversial incident with Roberto Firmino, with the Everton man pushing his opponent off the field and over an advertising hoarding, although neither man was booked.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to BBC Sport: "It was for sure not the best piece of football for 95 minutes but a proper fight. I'm delighted with the attitude we showed again, it was a difficult game. It was not the night for brilliant football, to play through. You would love to see that but Everton defended well. They played football, a big difference to the last game between us.
"The equaliser was the worst protection I ever saw in my life. It made no sense at all. We were all in the wrong direction. But when you make mistakes in football you have to react and we did again. It was nice that Virgil van Dijk could score in his first game, a brilliant header. I am really happy.
"In front of the Kop, makes it even better. In Germany we say cup games have different laws and it was like that - there was an extra push from both sides.
"It was a similar situation [to the penalty against Liverpool for Everton last month], the first one was no penalty in my opinion and this one wasn't also. It's the same. There is contact and the referee used his whistle. Exactly the same situation.
"It was not necessary for Mason Holgate to give Firmino that push, it was really dangerous and usually players don't do that. We cannot change that."
Everton manager Sam Allardyce to BBC Sport: "We gave everything we could today and in the end we were disappointed we did not take them back to our place. It is a shame after all that effort.
"I didn't think it was a penalty, but there is not much we can do now. For me, I thought some of the fouls they got and bookings we got and fouls we didn't get was very harsh by the referee in terms of consistency. There were similar incidents, similar penalties.
"At the end of the day, we have given everything we could and we tried our very best today."
Asked about the incident between Holgate and Firmino, Allardyce replied: "I'm only interested in the football, not want happened with Firmino and Mason. I will definitely ask him and we will see where it goes from there."
Source: BBC Sport
Midfielder Ross Barkley has described his £15m move from Everton to Chelsea as "unbelievable and "a fresh start".

The England international, 24, has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with last season's Premier League champions.
Barkley, who leaves Everton after 13 years at Goodison Park, has not played for seven months because of a hamstring injury and had surgery in August.
"He's very young and has a lot of space for improvement," said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.
"He's a good prospect but at the same time, it will be very important to understand, if the player signs, we must have patience to help him recover.
Barkley turned down a move to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day in August after rejecting a new deal at Everton and was due to be out of contact in the summer.
He will wear the number eight shirt at Chelsea - previously worn by Frank Lampard and Oscar.
"To be given a fresh start at a new club like Chelsea, it's unbelievable for me," said Barkley, who made his Toffees debut in 2011.
Barkley joined Everton's academy as an 11-year-old in 2005 and played 150 times in the Premier League, scoring 21 goals.
He has 22 caps for England and played at the 2014 World Cup.
Source: BBC Sport

Hector Bellerin's stunning injury-time strike earned Arsenal a point against Chelsea in one of the most entertaining matches of the Premier League season so far.

The two sides shared an incredible 33 chances, with the heroic keeping of Gunners' Petr Cech and Blues' Thibaut Courtois ensuring only four goals were conceded.

Courtois had made exceptional stops to deny Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette before he was finally beaten when Jack Wilshere fired high past him in the 63rd minute.

The lead only lasted four minutes, Eden Hazard converting from the spot to level after his foot had been caught by Bellerin.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger labelled Anthony Taylor's decision "farcical", adding "you could give 10 penalties like that a game".

Chelsea must have thought they had secured all three points when Marcos Alonso flicked home substitute Davide Zappacosta's low cross after 84 minutes.

But in the second minute of stoppage time, Bellerin produced an exceptional half-volley to earn the Gunners a point.

There was more drama seconds from the end when Zappacosta's shot thundered off Cech's crossbar.
It was error-strewn and exhilarating end to a back-breaking festive period for both sides.

Arsenal, playing their sixth game in 19 days, just had the upper-hand in the opening exchanges.
Sanchez saw a shot come off both posts after a stunning stop from Courtois, before the Belgian pushed away a low strike from Lacazette.

The French summer signing was a constant menace to the Blues' defence. He had another low effort come off the heel of Courtois and was denied again when his turn and shot was pushed around the post.

However, it was the unlikely sources of Wilshere and Bellerin - with just two goals between them in all competitions this season at kick-off - who managed to find a way past Courtois.

Wilshere, who had not scored in the top flight since May 2015, gave the Gunners the lead when he smashed home high past the goalkeeper from eight yards.

And with the Gunners staring at defeat, Bellerin, who conceded the penalty, produced a brilliant side-foot half-volley to raise the roof at the Emirates.

Chelsea had 19 of the 33 chances on goal in the match, with top-scorer Alvaro Morata wasting three one-on-one opportunities.

His first should have given Chelsea the lead, but he inexplicably slid the ball well wide. He then beat Rob Holding for pace but his dinked finish drifted over the bar.

And moments after Bellerin scored, the Spaniard was faced with another one-on-one but fired straight at Cech before Zappacosta followed up with a vicious strike that came off the bar.

Cech was brilliant and made two great low saves from Hazard and Alonso before he was beaten by the pair.

Hazard, with another effervescent display, scored the equaliser from the spot after Bellerin caught his foot with his studs.

And then wing-back Alonso scored his third goal in his last five appearance when he swept in after good work from Zappacosta on the right.

Source: BBC Sport



Manchester City's 18-game Premier League winning run was ended by a goalless draw at Crystal Palace, who missed out on the chance to become the first team to beat them in the league this season when they had an injury-time penalty saved.

It was a disappointing display from Pep Guardiola's side, but they still extended their lead at the top of the table to 14 points - the biggest gap between the leaders and the chasing pack at this stage of the season in top-flight history.

It could have been worse for City had goalkeeper Ederson not saved Luka Milivojevic's spot-kick after substitute Raheem Sterling had fouled Wilfried Zaha in the box in the 92nd minute.

However it could still prove a costly afternoon for City with Gabriel Jesus leaving the field injured and in tears in the first half, and the league's top assist-maker Kevin de Bruyne stretchered off after a heavy tackle from Jason Puncheon in the final minute.



It leaves City with only one fit senior striker in Sergio Aguero who replaced Jesus at Selhurst Park.
While Chelsea and Manchester United trail City by some distance, they may see a small light at the end of the tunnel in a title race that appeared to be all but over before the turn of the year.

Palace were rewarded after their defensive grit and off-the-ball energy shone through in an enthralling contest.

The question, after they pressed so ferociously in the first half, was whether they were fit enough in the midst of the congested Christmas fixture-list to keep it up.

But the hosts did just that, with midfielder Luka Milivojevic covering more ground than anyone on the pitch (12.69 km), even if his late spot-kick was struck too close to City goalkeeper Ederson.

The point means the Eagles start the new year outside of the bottom three, a point above West Ham in 18th - symbolic for a club that suffered seven straight defeats without scoring during their miserable start to the season.

They also secured only their second home clean sheet in the league all season against a team which have scored 101 goals in 2017.

The downside to playing their energetic part in such an enthralling contest was the first-half injury to centre-back Scott Dann, with Hodgson already light on defenders in Mamadou Sakho's injury absence because of a calf problem.

But they can take heart from creating other opportunities to win aside from the penalty; with full-back Patrick van Aanholt testing Ederson in the first half and Andros Townsend wasting a gilt-edged chance to convert on 78 minutes.


With Yohan Cabaye, who drew applause for closing down City defender Nicolas Otamendi in the first half, playing further forward than he did in their previous defeat by Arsenal, Palace had a courage with the ball to match their resilience off it.

Source: BBC Sports


Mohamed Salah's double helped Liverpool extend their unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions with victory against Leicester at Anfield.
Jamie Vardy gave the visitors an early lead when he poked home a Riyad Mahrez pass across the box before Salah equalised in the second half.
The Egypt international then turned Harry Maguire on the edge of the area before firing in his second of the day - and 17th Premier League goal of the season - to give Liverpool the lead.
Jurgen Klopp's Reds will finish the year in fourth place. Leicester remain in eighth but have now gone six games without a win.

Klopp's men show persistence
Too many times this season Liverpool have failed to capitalise on their chances - having to settle for draws against both West Brom and Spartak Moscow after dominating for 90 minutes.
That was not the case on Saturday as the Reds battled through a tough defensive unit to come back from a goal down against the 2016 Premier League champions.
There were still plenty of missed opportunities - Salah squandered four efforts in the first half alone, before Liverpool's top scorer made up for it with two clinical finishes after the break.
It still took 17 shots, six on target, for the hosts to get the result they needed but the recovery from falling behind so early is an encouraging sign for Klopp's side as they head into the new year.
At the other end, it was a fairly solid performance from centre-back duo Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, who have both been criticised for their performances at times this season.
Overall, Klopp has much to be pleased about after his team produced a persistent display against the Foxes, who have so far been something of a bogey side for the German manager.

Leicester went into half-time with the lead thanks to yet another goal from Vardy - his 10th of the season.
His record against Liverpool is impressive - scoring seven of Leicester's past nine goals against the Reds in the Premier League.
It was no surprise to see him identified as a threat before the game and he was just that - running in behind the defenders and looking to find spaces behind Liverpool's back four.
There were signs of danger for the home side when Vardy found space on the left even before his third-minute opener.
He could have doubled Leicester's lead shortly before half-time too but for a heavy touch which allowed Lovren time to recover.
Even after Salah's equaliser, England striker Vardy continued to be a constant threat, with the offside flag coming to Liverpool's aid on more than one occasion.
It was a therefore a surprise to see him substituted with the teams level - alongside Mahrez, who had assisted Vardy's early goal.
The pair have scored in five of the Foxes' seven games this month and fans will no doubt question Claude Puel's decision to take both of them off with more than 15 minutes still left to play.

Source: BBC Sport

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has questioned Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp's 2016 threat to quit rather than spend inflated transfer fees.

The Anfield club are to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in a £75m deal on 1 January for a fee which is a world record for a defender.

Klopp said on Friday the "last thing" he considers is the fee "because we are thinking about the player".

He added: "You get the price and you have to accept it or not."

However, Mourinho used his news conference to revisit the comments Klopp made when United closed in on an £89m deal to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus in July 2016.

The Liverpool boss said then he wanted "to do it differently" and would do even if he could spend such sums. He added that "the day that this is football, I'm not in a job any more".

Speaking on Friday, Mourinho suggested journalists ask the German about those comments.

"The reality is if they think the player is the right player for them, and they really want the player, they pay this amount or they don't have the player," he said,

"If you pay, you pay a crazy amount of money but if you don't, you don't have the player. It's as simple as that. No criticism at all about what Liverpool did. It's just the way it is."


Speaking earlier in the day, Klopp said that certain deals over the past two years had "changed everything" when it came to the transfer market.
Brazilian Neymar moved from Barcelona to Paris St-Germain in the summer for a world record £200m after the French club paid his buy-out clause.
They also signed Kylian Mbappe on loan for £165.7m in August, while Barcelona paid £135.5m for Ousmane Dembele the same month.
"I'm surprised about the development in the last two years," Klopp said. "There were big steps and the last half a year changed everything.
"We cannot, as a club, change that. Not each club would be able to do it but a lot of clubs are able to do it and they will do it in the future. It's about need and opportunity.
"It's the same like it was before. Half a year ago there was a big transfer for an offensive player and now we have a big transfer for a defensive player. It's around about a third of it - that is how it always was.
"It's not nice but that is the market. We have to adapt. That's how it is."
Source: BBC Sports

Quote Of The Day

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 0 Comments
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."
--- Steve Jobs
A Psalm Of Life
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!—
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,—act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Author: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate the love of God and family and to create memories that will last forever. Jesus is God's perfect, indescribable gift. The amazing thing is that not only are we able to receive this gift, but we are able to share it with others on Christmas and every other day of the year."
--- Joel Osteen
Christmas Lesson
Christmas is a special time
To give, to serve, to love.
It isn't just about yourself,
But others that you think of.

The presents, the trees, the glowing lights
Are fun but have no part
In what the real meaning of Christmas is...
That is in your heart.

Even if other people don't,
You should try to do
The things that you would want
Them to do to you!

The holidays are a busy time,
But they are sometimes good
Because they keep you thinking
About others like you should.

So this year, try to not think about yourself,
But think of the things you can do
To help others have a wonderful Christmas,
And you will find that you will be happy too.

Author: Julesies

Your Tomorrow

Sunday, December 24, 2017 0 Comments
Your Tomorrow
Is anybody happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
This day is almost over, and its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?

Did you give a cheerful greeting to the friend who came along?
Or a churlish sort of "Howdy" and then vanish in the throng?
Were you selfish pure and simple as you rushed along the way,
Or is someone mighty grateful for a deed you did today?

Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that's slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said;
Does a man whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day, or lose it, was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber do you think that God would say,
You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?
Author: Edgar Guest