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Top-ranked Jason Day, defending champion Jordan Spieth, career grand slam seeker Rory McIlroy and a host of elite rivals have sparked an exceptional level of excitement for the 80th Masters.
A field of 89 will tee off on Thursday morning at Augusta National in quest of the champion's green jacket, but only one will slide his arms inside the sleeves on Sunday.
Add Aussie Adam Scott, twice a winner last month, plus two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson, 2015 Players winner Rickie Fowler and five-time major winner Phil Mickelson and the stage is set for a showdown on one of golf's most revered courses. Day has won six of his past 13 events, including his first major title at last year's PGA Championship, to overtake Spieth as world No 1.
Day is trying to become only the fifth player to win the PGA one year and the Masters the next, after Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead.
McIlroy is on hand to capture a fifth major title and complete a career grand slam at age 26.
Only Nicklaus, Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen have won all four majors at least once. Woods is skipping the Masters for the second time in three years as he recovers from two surgeries on his back last year. Tiger Woods will miss the Masters for only the second time since his tournament debut in 1995, saying he is 'not physically ready' for the year's opening major. Asked if his major championship record was safe, Nicklaus mentioned Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. The 18-year-old from Beijing stamped his ticket for the year's first major by winning last year's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, the same door taken by Guan. But Jin said that to match Guan's achievement in making the cut would be a tough challenge, going up against the best golfers in the world for the first time. Jin, who recalls watching the Masters on television back home in China when he was growing up, has taken every opportunity to experience the real thing before his debut. Arriving a day before his 18th birthday at the start of March, he has now played the fabled Georgia layout five times, including nine holes of practice this week with world No 1 Jason Day. The future certainly looks bright for Jin at a time when China is still searching for that elite-level player than can win titles and majors to further underpin the growth of the sport in the world's most populous country. But, for the moment, he is resisting the urge to turn professional and instead will play collegiate golf in the United States from later this year. Jin Cheng plays a shot from the 15th tee during Monday's practice round before the start of the Masters at Augusta National. Masters champion Jordan Spieth expected the nerves to hit long before he is announced on the first tee on Thursday. Spieth had to host the Champions Dinner on Tuesday night, a great honor for any golfer, but a bit daunting for a 22-year-old in a room that included greats like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Ben Crenshaw. The reigning champion gets to set the menu, and the Dallas native went with salad greens, authentic Texas barbecue (beef brisket, chicken, pork ribs), barbecue baked beans, vegetables and a warm chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream. Johnny Miller was the first player to shoot 63 in a major, in the final round at Oakmont in the 1973 US Open. Only three players older than the 45-year-old Phil Mickelson have won majors: Julius Boros (48) in the 1968 PGA, Old Tom Morris (48) in the 1867 British Open and Jack Nicklaus (46) in the 1986 Masters. Mickelson believes golfers can last longer if they swing the club like Bobby Jones instead of what he referred to as a "violent movement".
New FIFA president Gianni Infantino has defended his reputation after reports that he signed a Champions League broadcasting contract in 2006 with an offshore registered marketing agency implicated in the bribery scandal that rocked world soccer's governing body last year. The contract, which Infantino co-signed as UEFA's then legal director, was leaked from the database of a Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, the British daily The Guardian and the BBC reported on Tuesday. The UEFA contract reportedly co-signed by Infantino sealed a three-year deal for TV rights in Ecuador for the Champions League to Cross Trading.
That company is a subsidiary of a group owned by Argentine marketing executives Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, who were indicted last year by American federal prosecutors investigating a bribery and money laundering conspiracy in international soccer.
Infantino said on Tuesday he "never personally dealt with Cross Trading nor their owners'" in a tender process conducted by an agency retained by UEFA.
According to the British reports, Cross Trading paid $111,000 for the rights and sold them for a $200,000 profit to the Teleamazonas channel.
However, UEFA did acknowledge giving inaccurate information last year when stating it had no commercial dealings with people and companies indicted in the federal case in the US. Infantino and UEFA separately said they have not been contacted by law enforcement authorities about their past dealings with the Jinkis family's agency. Having stumbled to the finish of a 72-win season as a player with the Chicago Bulls two decades ago, Kerr is watching his Golden State Warriors do the same. Stephen Curry had an uncharacteristic off-shooting night, Golden State committed 24 turnovers to squander an early 17-point lead and the Warriors hit an unexpected obstacle in their quest for 73 wins by losing 124-117 in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
Chicago also lost two late home games that season before ending up with the record 72 wins. Shabazz Muhammad scored a career-high 35 points, Andrew Wiggins had 32 and Karl-Anthony Towns added 20 points, 12 rebounds and stellar defense for the Timberwolves. Klay Thompson scored 28 points, while Curry had 21 points and 15 assists for the Warriors, who lost for the third time this season against a team in last place. Golden State also fell in Milwaukee in December and at the Los Angeles Lakers last month, but this one came at home.
Wiggins scored Minnesota's first six points of the extra session to give the Timberwolves their first lead since the first quarter. Curry and Thompson then missed late 3-pointers and the Timberwolves won the game at the foul line, shocking the sellout crowd that came to celebrate a milestone victory. Warriors: C Andrew Bogut returned after missing one game with a rib injury and F Andre Iguodala was back after missing 13 games with a sprained left ankle.
UConn won an unprecedented fourth straight US national women's basketball championship on Tuesday night, capping another perfect season by routing Syracuse 82-51.
Until now, only the UCLA men's team had won four in a row in Division One, rolling to seven consecutive championships under John Wooden from 1967-73.
With Tuesday's victory, Auriemma passed the Wizard of Westwood with his 11th national title. The three-time AP Player of the Year has said it is up to others to decide her place in women's college basketball lore. When the Orange made a little run to cut its deficit to 25-13, Moriah Jefferson hit a 3-pointer off a nifty play just before the first-quarter buzzer. Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma is embraced by starters Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson after they took the bench in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's NCAA women's championship game against the Syracuse Orange at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Dunga will keep his job as Brazil's head coach for this year's Copa America and the Olympic Games, despite the team's poor recent results, the Selecao's technical director Gilmar Rinaldo said on Tuesday. Local media have speculated Dunga might be stripped of his role as Brazil's Olympic coach, allowing him more time to focus on the full national side. A lawyer for former US women's soccer star Abby Wambach entered a not guilty plea on Tuesday in the player's drunk driving case.
Wambach, 35, was arrested in Portland, Oregon, in the early hours of Sunday and booked after being stopped as she drove home from a dinner.
At an arraignment hearing in Portland on Tuesday, Wambach's attorney entered a not guilty plea on her behalf.
The Olympic Park facilities in Rio de Janeiro are practically ready four months before the inauguration of South America's first Olympic Games, the director of projects for the Municipal Olympic Company said on Monday.
In a news conference with foreign correspondents within the Park, Roberto Ainbinder said 98 percent of the construction work has been finished. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says he expects to rule soon on possible discipline for Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes.
Reyes was scheduled to go to trial on April 4 after pleading not guilty to abusing a family or household member - a charge that stemmed from an Oct 31 incident with his wife at a Maui resort hotel. Hawaii prosecutors dropped charges last week and said the player's wife was not cooperating.
Thomas Hickey scored 2:13 into overtime as the New York Islanders rallied from two goals down in the third period to beat the NHL-leading Washington Capitals 4-3 on Tuesday night to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In his first NHL start, goalie Christopher Gibson made 29 saves for the Islanders, who are back in the playoffs for the third time in four years. Luis Suarez scored two second-half goals to lead Barcelona to a 2-1 comeback victory over 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday. Fernando Torres opened the scoring in the 25th minute, but quickly went from hero to villain for Atletico when two reckless tackles saw him sent off in the 35th. Atletico resisted the defending champion's push for an equalizer until Suarez finally leveled with an opportunistic goal in the 63rd.
Suarez then put Barcelona ahead in the 74th when he played Dani Alves wide before sending the Brazil defender's cross past goalkeeper Jan Oblak with an unstoppable header. Barcelona's comeback came three days after Real Madrid ended its archrival's Spanish record 39-match unbeaten streak with a 2-1 win at Camp Nou. Besides rediscovering its winning ways after the disappointing Clasico defeat, Luis Enrique's side avenged its exit at the hands of Atletico from the 2013-14 quarterfinals with its club-record 11th consecutive home win in the competition.
Suarez took his overall haul to 45 goals this season, as he and strike partners Lionel Messi and Neymar recovered their form after underwhelming against Real.
But at full strength, Atletico's disciplined defense, which had Diego Godin back in the middle after an injury layoff, disrupted Barcelona's attack - a promising sign that coach Diego Simeone can take into the second leg in addition to the away goal.
Fernando Torres raved that Atletico Madrid is not treated the same as Barcelona by referees after his early red card turned their Champions League quarterfinal, first-leg around on Tuesday. Atletico was upset that unlike Torres, Barca's Luis Suarez escaped punishment for a kick out at Juanfran and an off-the-ball incident with Filipe Luis.
And the former Liverpool and Chelsea striker claimed UEFA has its priorities wrong after making both sides play in their away kits to avoid a color clash.
Luis Suarez celebrates scoring the second goal for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid during their Champions League quarterfinal, firstleg match on Tuesday.
Benfica's coach, Rui Vitoria, has warned Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich to expect a fight in Lisbon following the Bavarians' 1-0 win in Tuesday's Champions League quarterfinal, first leg. Bayern's Arturo Vidal netted just 109 seconds into the first leg at Munich's Allianz Arena to give the Germans the most slender of leads for the second leg on April 13.
But Vitoria has warned star-studded Bayern it will have to battle to get a result at Benfica's Estadio da Luz if it wants to reach a fifth straight Champions League semifinal. Benfica can take plenty of heart before the second leg, but the Portuguese league leader will be without leading scorer Jonas. The 32-year-old picked up a second-half booking, his third of the tournament, which means he will be suspended for the return encounter. Guardiola was pleased to take even a slender lead to Lisbon after Bayern failed to take its few chances on a frustrating night. Guardiola singled out Chile international Vidal for praise in a good all-round display in the midfield holding role. Benfica goalkeeper Ederson kept his side in the tie with a string of decent saves to deny a Bayern attack spearheaded by Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller. The Villanova junior answered a double-clutch, game-tying 3-pointer by North Carolina's Marcus Paige with a buzzer-beating 3 of his own on Monday night to lift the Wildcats to a 77-74 victory and the US collegiate championship. The shot came on a play Villanova works on every day in practice: Jenkins inbounds the ball to Ryan Arcidiacono, he works it up court and forward Daniel Ochefu sets a pick near halfcourt to clutter things up.
This time, the senior point guard made an underhanded flip to Jenkins, who spotted up a pace or two behind the arc and swished it with Carolina's Isaiah Hicks running at him.
Jenkins had to come up big after Paige collected a pass on the top right side of the arc and, with Arcidiacono running at him, double clutched and pumped it in to tie the game at 74 with 4.7 seconds left. Coach Jay Wright called a timeout and sent in the play the Wildcats (33-5) have worked on all season. Jenkins finished with 14 points - the last three as memorable as any that have been scored in the history of the Final Four.
This adds to the title Villanova won in 1985, when Rollie Massimino, who was on hand on Monday night, coaxed a miracle out of his eighth-seeded underdogs for a victory over star-studded Georgetown.
Jenkins, who was adopted by the family of North Carolina guard Nate Britt when his mother moved to take a coaching job, now has a spot alongside - and probably above - Keith Smart, Lorenzo Charles, Christian Laettner and everyone else who ever made a late game-winner to win a big one in March Madness. Paige finished with 21 and Joel Berry II had 20 for the Heels (33-7), the only No 1 seed to make the Final Four. Not surprisingly, tears flowed from the 65-year-old coach who, some speculate, could have worked his last game on the sideline; the entire sports program at Chapel Hill is under NCAA scrutiny and awaiting possible penalties for a long-running academic fraud case. With both of his families in the house - the one that took him in and provided the stability he needed, and the one that realized that what they could give him might not be what he needed most - Jenkins drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer on Monday night to give the Wildcats their first national championship since 1985. The 77-74 victory over North Carolina also gave Jenkins bragging rights for life over his brother, Tar Heels guard Nate Britt. On the last play, which began with 4.7 seconds left, Jenkins was the player to inbound the ball from under his own basket to Ryan Arcidiacono. Wright said he wanted Britt more than he wanted Jenkins when he started recruiting the brothers from the Baltimore area.

Villanova Wildcats forward Kris Jenkins celebrates with fans after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels in Monday’s championship game of the NCAA tournament at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Dodgers did that quite well on Monday, getting a brilliant seven innings from Clayton Kershaw in a record-setting 15-0 victory against the San Diego Padres. When it was over, reliever Yimi Garcia handed Roberts the game ball and Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez led a celebratory water and Gatorade bath. Kershaw (1-0) allowed Jon Jay's single to left field with two outs in the third and then retired his last 13 batters. Five straight Dodgers reached against Tyson Ross (0-1) with one out in the five-run sixth, with Kershaw's single to center chasing the tall right-hander.
Roberts, who played for the Dodgers and Padres, and San Diego first-year manager Andy Green exchanged lineup cards at the plate before the game. Roberts was on San Diego's coaching staff the past five seasons, including the previous two as bench coach, but could not get an interview for the team's managerial vacancy. The 23-year-old Colorado Rockies shortstop became the first player in major league history to hit multiple home runs in his big league debut on opening day. Both came off Zack Greinke - a three-run shot in the third inning and a solo home run in the fourth. Story is the first National League player to hit at least two homers in his first major league game.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw gets ready to deliver against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park in San Diego on Monday. In his 144th and last game for Villanova, with his last pass, he became a national champion and the Final Four MVP. The unselfish point guard was dribbling toward the basket with the clock winding down and defenders closing in when he heard Kris Jenkins calling for the ball from behind. Arcidiacono passed to his open teammate, whose 3-pointer beat the buzzer for a 77-74 victory over North Carolina on Monday night. The Pennsylvania kid born nine years after Villanova's only other title in 1985 scored 16 points against North Carolina after scoring 15 in its record semifinal victory over Oklahoma.
Arcidiacono savored every moment during the championship celebration on the court, hoisting the trophy above his head. The senior guard hugged numerous people and took pictures with Villanova family and friends. New Chelsea coach Antonio Conte is a no-nonsense operator who does not suffer fools easily.
After months of speculation, Conte on Monday confirmed he will become the long-term replacement for fired Jose Mourinho on a three-year deal that will see him take over from Chelsea caretaker manager Guus Hiddink in July. Currently coach of Italy, Conte takes the Stamford Bridge reins after this summer's Euro 2016, where the Azzurri will be out to make amends for a first-round exit at the 2014 World Cup.
At Chelsea, Conte returns to his first love of day-to-day soccer, which he missed dearly during a largely successful but ultimately unhappy spell in charge of the Azzurri following their bungle in Brazil.
It was regarded as a surprising move at the time for Conte after steering an unstoppable Juventus to three consecutive league titles, and no one was surprised when he answered the distant calling of club soccer.
The fact it was Chelsea is a huge bonus and sets Conte up for his first foreign assignment. Although an emerging Juve side never got past the last eight in the Champions League under Conte, his influence - and ire - was felt.
In his autobiography, former Juventus midfield great Andrea Pirlo complained that Conte's words "assault you". Buffon was reportedly the target of a Conte tongue-lashing after he told the coach to cheekily "wait" while, before the last match of the season, he discussed the question of bonuses for the title the team had won weeks earlier.
The Juve goalkeeper was hauled over the coals, the team got the message and went out to beat Cagliari 3-0. Comparisons to former Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson are inevitable, but after years under Mourinho, Chelsea's players - those who decide not to desert after failure to reach the Champions League - will be expected to adapt. Dialog might initially have to be kept to a minimum as Conte has been learning English for only the past year. Conte said he is "looking forward to the day-to-day challenge of competing in the Premier League", but the pressure will be on the 46-year-old - who as a player steered Juve to the 1996 Champions League title and five Serie A crowns - in what will be a rebuilding season for the Blues. Hailed as "captain, leader, legend" on the banner hung by adoring fans at Stamford Bridge, John Terry's credentials as a Chelsea icon and a major inspiration behind its success are well established, yet Conte will be faced with the thorny problem of potentially ending that two-decade love affair.
Regardless of who stays or goes, Conte should already know he must rebuild the squad's shattered morale after what even the club was forced to admit was "palpable discord" between Mourinho and the players in the final months of his reign. But even the mild mannered Guus Hiddink, installed as interim boss, has only been able to coax a small improvement in the quality of the team's performances so far this season. Although Diego Costa's goals fired Chelsea to the Premier League title in his debut season, he was already earning a reputation as the unapologetically snarling face of Jose Mourinho's combative team and if anything he has become more moody this year. With owner Roman Abramovich reportedly unhappy with Chelsea's failure to produce more homegrown talents despite his huge investment in the youth academy, Conte could earn some early praise from his employer by unearthing a gem or two among the youngsters learning their trade at the club's leafy Cobham headquarters. Conte would be wise to try to make the most of promising midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 20, and other more untested but highly-rated youngsters like Charly Musonda, Lewis Baker and Dom Solanke.
Rewind 12 months and Eden Hazard appeared to have the world at his feet as he prepared to accept two Footballer of the Year awards and a Premier League winners' medal while being feted by Jose Mourinho as the equal of superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Brazilian superstar Neymar could leave Barcelona to join Paris Saint Germain if the French giant pays his huge 193 million euros ($220 million) buyout clause, his agent said on Monday. Laurent Blanc's men wrapped up their fourth successive league title in record time in March, and face Manchester City in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday. With superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, courted by some of Europe's top clubs, in possibly his last season in France, PSG has reportedly identified Neymar as its No 1 target before the new season starts in August. Ribeiro's comments caused a stir in Spain, with Barcelona defender Gerard Pique suggesting he could never envisage Neymar leaving the European champion.
Golf's major championships threw their support behind the sport's return to the Olympics on Monday, offering exemptions formen's and women's gold medal winners this year to all Grand Slam events. Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, who ran the 1996 Atlanta Games, told a media conference the men's gold medal winner in Rio de Janeiro, where golf will make its return to the Summer Games for the first time in more than a century, would get an invitation to the 2017 Masters. The Royal and Ancient and Ladies Golf Union will offer similar one-year exemptions to the men's and women's British Opens while the PGA of America and United States Golf Association followed suit with their two flagship events. Gonzalo Higuain will pay for a moment of madness during Napoli's title-crushing 3-1 defeat to Udinese by serving a four-game Serie A ban, a report in Italy claimed on Monday. If confirmed, Higuain, the driving force behind Napoli's bid for a first title in 26 years, would miss its two most difficult games, away to Inter Milan and Roma, amid an already challenging run-in for the Azzurri.
Reports earlier on Monday suggested Higuain's violent reaction near the end of a bad tempered clash at the Stadio Friuli on Sunday would earn him a "minimum" three-game ban. Police are looking into sexual threats made on Twitter against the one-year-old daughter of Leicester City and England striker Jamie Vardy. The threats came after the fiancee of the Foxes forward posted pictures of the couple's child wearing a Leicester shirt ahead of the Premier League leaders' 1-0 win over Southampton on Sunday. Police in Leicestershire launched an investigation into the threats after a formal complaint was made on Monday.
Rebekah Nicholson tweeted shots of her daughter wearing a T-shirt with 'Daddy' emblazoned on the back, and this prompted rape threats on the social networking site. Four Russian judokas are the latest athletes to test positive for meldonium as the scandal over the banned substance continues to rock the country, local media reported on Monday. An unnamed source told TASS news agency the four judokas are 2012 world champion Mikhail Pulyaev, Denis Yartsev, Natalia Kondratieva and Yekaterina Valkova. The country's judo federation, however, refused to comment on the case or name any athletes who had tested positive for the banned medicine.
Waqar Younis has quit as Pakistan coach only a day after Shahid Afridi stepped down as Twenty20 captain. Pakistan lost three group matches at the World Twenty20 and made an early exit from the tournament in India. The Basketball Hall of Fame's class of 2016 is very impressive: Yao Ming, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal, Sheryl Swoopes, Tom Izzo and Jerry Reinsdorf. And if there's a class clown, it would be the affable Iverson, who knows he still won't be able to shake his infamous rant about practice. He admitted even his children mock him for the 2002 news conference that saw him repeat the phrase about 20 times. Iverson, selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the first overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft, was named rookie of the year and went on to become an 11-time All-Star.
John Thompson, his coach at Georgetown, was there to celebrate the latest honor with his former player. Iverson was asked to reminisce on the impressive dunking he did in his career despite being only 6-feet tall. O'Neal, the top overall pick in the 1992 draft by the Orlando Magic, was the NBA MVP in 2000, a three-time NBA Finals MVP and 15-time All-Star.
The man who has a plethora of nicknames was asked if he hopes to get a new one when he is inducted into the hall in September. O'Neal had a simple mindset when he entered the NBA, one that he got from his love of karate movies. Swoopes helped Texas Tech to a national title, won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets, was a three-time WNBA MVP and won three Olympic gold medals. She grew up in rural Texas and hopes her election can be an inspiration to children from small towns everywhere.
Izzo, Michigan's State coach, won a national title in 2000 and has taken the Spartans to the Final Four seven times.
Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers drives past Houston Rockets' Yao Ming during a 2005 game. Darell Garretson (referee): Served as an NBA official for 27 years, officiating 1,798 regular season games, 269 playoff games, 41 Finals games and five All-Star Games. Tom Izzo (coach) - Has led Michigan State to seven NCAA Final Four appearances (1999-01, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015). John McLendon (coach) - The first coach to win three consecutive national championships, leading Tennessee State to NAIA National Championships in 1957, 1958 and 1959.
Cumberland Posey (player) - Posey was an exceptional multisport athlete recognized as the greatest African American basketball player of his time, playing from the early 1900s to mid-1920s.
Yao Ming (player) - Yao Ming changed the face of global basketball as a respected player and ambassador of the game. Zelmo Beaty (player) - Zelmo 'Big Z' Beaty was a powerful force for Prairie View A&M averaging 25 points and 20 rebounds per game (1958-62). A splurge of Chinese investment has taken world soccer by storm in recent months and the benefits are being reaped in a city that has consistently produced the world's best team for the past decade.
Facing perilous debts of $216 million, Barcelona-based Espanyol was taken over in January with Chinese entertainment company Rastar Group acquiring a 54 percent stake for an $80 million investment. Rastar's is not the only major investment from Asia as Spain's La Liga looks to keep tabs on the financial might of England's Premier League powered by a huge television rights deal that takes effect next season.
Chinese conglomerate Wanda bought a 20 percent stake in 10-time Spanish champion Atletico Madrid last year before announcing its move into soccer on the world stage by becoming FIFA's first top level sponsor since the departure of Sepp Blatter as president. Singaporean businessman Peter Lim's Meriton investments group has plunged more than $600 million into Valencia since completing a takeover in 2014.
Money has also been piled into the Chinese game domestically with the country's transfer record falling four times during a record $440 million splurge during the winter transfer window. The drive behind the investment lies in President Xi Jinping's interest in soccer and China's hopes to one day host the World Cup. La Liga sent 36 coaches to work in Chinese soccer schools in February, while Saturday's El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid was screened in 30 cinemas across China with special La Liga organized events held in Shanghai and Beijing.
On the field, Espanyol president Chen Yansheng is hoping to make China's presence felt in Spain as he set an ambitious target of Champions League soccer within three years for a side more accustomed to languishing in the bottom half of the table.
Yet, in contrast to the free-spending approach adopted by the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain to establish themselves in the Champions League, Robert said Espanyol's plan is to build financially stable foundations.
The question was more a reflection of his imperfect English than a display of brazenness, but after having the word explained to him, the 64-year-old Italian put his hand around his own throat and mimicked a throttling noise.
When the laughter in the King Power Stadium media room following Sunday's 1-0 victory over Southampton subsided, Ranieri smiled and said: "No, no, no. Leicester's win, courtesy of captain Wes Morgan's 38th minute header, left the team needing 12 points from its last six games to complete one of the most improbable title triumphs in soccer history.
But while the city of Leicester, in central England, is abuzz with excitement, Ranieri is determined not to let the title fervor get the better of either him or his players. The win over Southampton was Leicester's fifth 1-0 success in six matches and it is ticking off its remaining games with the dead-eyed professionalism of seasoned trophy winners.
The final whistle brought a giddy end to a giddy day, which started with home fans collecting free bottles of beer and doughnuts courtesy of the club's Thai chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in celebration of his birthday on Monday.
Vichai was present to see his team's latest success and Ranieri revealed after that the boss had been serenaded by the players.

Ranieri also praised Morgan, the hulking 32-year-old centerback, who registered his first goal since last May after shrugging off a cold that he had picked up on international duty with Jamaica. In the second half, substitute Charlie Austin drove the ball against Robert Huth's hand, but on both occasions referee Michael Oliver allowed play to continue, much to beaten manager Ronald Koeman's annoyance.
Top English soccer clubs, including Premier League leader Leicester City, have angrily denied a newspaper report that a doctor who prescribed performance-enhancing drugs treated their players. Leicester, defending champion Chelsea and Arsenal were cited in a Sunday Times report in which London-based private doctor Mark Bonar was secretly filmed talking about providing professional athletes with banned substances.
All three clubs strongly denied the allegations as it emerged the Omniya clinic in London, where the 38-year-old doctor rented consulting rooms, had ended his professional services agreement on Friday after learning he does not have a current licence to practice medicine in the UK. Several hours after the Sunday Times published its story, Leicester won 1-0 at home to Southampton to go seven points clear at the summit of English soccer.
After Sunday's match, Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri was asked what he thought of the allegations. But before the Italian could answer, a club spokesman stepped in and referred reporters to a Leicester statement issued earlier on Sunday which made clear the East Midlands side's disgust at being linked to the report. London teams Chelsea and Arsenal issued similarly strong statements denying any link to Bonar. At last, the DVD release of the documentary film made about our band, Pansy Division: Life In A Gay Rock Band. Published by San Francisco queer publisher Cleis Press, Deflowered is Jon’s memoir of his experiences with the band. This retrospective compilation CD is culled from their three original LPs, two of which appeared on the Homestead label. Northern Ireland's McIlroy has found his form at just the right moment and American Spieth's record-tying wire-to-wire win in last year's Masters still resonates in the Georgia pines. It's just really fun to see how the health of the game is right now and how competitive it is.
Woods is skipping this year's event because he has not fully recovered from back surgery last year. And after seeing him a few weeks ago, the golf icon known as 'The Golden Bear' is surprised Woods is not playing the Masters this week.
I don't think he's done," Nicklaus said on Tuesday afternoon before going to the Champions Dinner. Nicklaus said he thought Woods looked great physically, and that Woods told him he was able to putt and chip without feeling any pain. He had knee surgery in 2008, followed by the crisis in his personal life when he was caught in a web of infidelity, and then more leg injuries and three back surgeries. Since then, there have been 26 other rounds of 63 in the majors, with half of them at the PGA Championship. Their record 54-game home winning streak in the regular season was snapped on Friday by Boston and they lost again to the Timberwolves, failing in their first attempt to join the Bulls as the only teams to win 70 games in a season. Muhammad drew the sixth foul on Draymond Green and made both foul shots to make it 114-109. She delivered on that promise by scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in her final college game. No other women's player has won it more than twice and only Lew Alcindor did it three times on the men's side.
There is no denying she is the most accomplished player ever, winning more titles than fellow UConn greats Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore, who watched from the stands at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. UConn's big three of Stewart, Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, who have helped the Huskies to an NCAA record 151 wins over their four years, combined for 26 of the 28 points in the period. Brazil is sixth in the South American zone qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup with just two wins from six matches.
But speaking to reporters after meeting with Brazil soccer confederation officials in Rio de Janeiro, Gilmar stated Dunga's position was not under threat.
He also said the main concern of the municipal authorities now has shifted toward how the city will operate during the sporting event. Jenkins was out of shape and Wright was not sure he could put in the work needed to play Villanova basketball. The previous mark was a 14-0 win by the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Cincinnati Reds in 1911. It was the first opening day meeting of two rookie skippers since Fredi Gonzalez of Florida and Manny Acta of Washington in 2007. Before walking off the podium, the guard scooped up two big handfuls of confetti, tossed it into the air and enjoyed another shower of the colorful strips as he walked down the steps.
He eventually cut off the last piece of the championship net, and was the one carrying the trophy when the team left the court.
The Tar Heels, the only No 1 seed to make it to the Final Four, got even when Marcus Paige made a double-clutch 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left. Now his tough reputation - built on three success-laden years at Juventus - is about to face the Premier League acid test.
As a former midfielder and captain with Juventus, Conte's commitment was legendary and the trait has followed him throughout a successful coaching career that saw him lay the foundations for a Juventus team that has since become a serious player in the Champions League. He also lamented having chosen the locker in front of the Juventus dressing room door, the usual target for the bottles of water Conte threw. Recently, former West Ham forward Paolo di Canio warned him: "Try to learn the English mentality quickly. The 35-year-old defender dropped a bombshell in January when he announced he will leave at the end of the season because the club had told him he wouldn't be given a contract extension. Mourinho's abrasive approach irritated too many players and their response was to quit on him, leading to his firing in December. While his predatory instincts are unquestionable, the Spain striker has lost his focus time and again as he finds himself embroiled in needless flash points and, with Mourinho content to encourage those tendencies, there is a growing belief Costa was allowed to run wild to the detriment of himself and his team.
Incredibly, John Terry remains the last product of Chelsea's youth system to successfully establish himself as a first-team regular with the Blues. Yet less than a year later, Hazard's form has mysteriously collapsed to such an extent that many Chelsea fans would gladly wave farewell to the 25-year-old Belgian if he is sold during the offseason. People are thrilled to be at the club, it's total good fortune to play in this city, with these fans. When he was introduced on Monday at the media event, the jokester scolded the announcer for not mentioning his work in the 1996 movie Kazaam, in which he played a genie.
Iverson, Yao, Shaquille O'Neal, Tom Izzo, Sheryl Swoopes and Jerry Reinsdorf were announced on Monday as 2016 inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
He was instrumental in organizing and heading the first union for referees, the National Association of Basketball Referees. A three-time All-NBA First Team selection (1999, 2001, 2005), he led the league in scoring average four times (1999, 2001, 2002, 2005). With 18 consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, his team won the NCAA National Championship in 2000.
He compiled a collegiate coaching record of 522-165 (.760) and was named NAIA Coach of the Year in 1958. A 15-time NBA All-Star (1993-98, 2000-07, 2009) who ranks seventh on the NBA All-time scoring list. A five-time All-WNBA First Team selection (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005), she was also named Defensive Player of the Year three times (2000, 2002, 2003) and WNBA MVP three times (2000, 2002, 2005). Under his leadership, the Bulls won six world championships and became one of the most iconic teams in the history of sports.
After leading Duquesne University in scoring for three seasons, he created, managed and played for the legendary "Loendi Big Five". He led his hometown Shanghai Sharks to a CBA Championship in 2002 and was the No 1 pick in the NBA Draft the same year. Rather it is about global power, influence and acceptance," said Simon Chadwick, professor of sports enterprise at Salford University and an expert on the rapid rise of the Chinese soccer industry. The benefit for them comes in terms of the public message these investments send to the Chinese government. If not, the ball goes in," said the manager, whose side fell four points off the Europa League places.
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Chelsea has since insisted Terry's fate will be decided solely by the new manager, leaving Conte to weigh up the benefits of keeping a figure of Terry's experience and tenacity to create a smoother transition to the new era, while also pondering whether his fading form and declining influence in a dressing room now populated by younger and less deferential teammates mean it would be wiser to sever ties with the polarizing captain.
Costa's attitude has fuelled speculation he is unhappy in England and would relish a move in the offseason so, with Paris Saint Germain and his old club Atletico Madrid said to be ready to offer him an escape route, Conte must decide whether to cut his losses or try to rehabilitate the serial offender. But it is the lethargic nature of his performances that will be most alarming for Conte as he contemplates how to revitalize the talented playmaker.
He served as NBA Chief of Officiating Staff and Director of Officials (1981-98) and is the only person to have served as a staff referee and Chief of Staff simultaneously. Izzo has coached Michigan State to seven Big Ten regular season championships (1998-2001, 2009, 2010, 2012), five Big Ten tournament championships (1999, 2000, 2012, 2014, 2016).
He was the first African-American coach to accomplish many feats including winning a national tournament (1954), winning a national championship (1957) and winning an AAU national championship (1961). He was named NBA MVP (2000), NBA Finals MVP three times (2000-02) and NBA Rookie of the Year (1993).
Reinsdorf has done extensive charitable work to benefit the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District and was awarded the Jefferson Award for Public Service for leading the philanthropic outreach of the White Sox and CharitaBulls Charities.
His team was the most dominant of the black fives era winning four straight Colored Basketball World Championships. As a member for the Houston Rockets, he earned All-Rookie honors (2003) and was named to the All-NBA Team five times (2004, 2006-2009). It is a very powerful market," La Liga president Javier Tebas said at a recent Soccerex event analyzing the transfer market around the globe.
In a statement posted on her Facebook page on Sunday, Wambach apologized for what she described as a "horrible mistake". Attended Georgetown University (1994-1996) where he set the school record for career scoring average. At LSU (1989-92), O'Neal led the country in rebounding (1991) and blocked shots (1992) while earning unanimous First-Team All America honors (1991-92). Set an NCCA championship record for points scored with 47 in winning an NCAA championship with Texas Tech (1993).
Upon retirement from basketball, Posey switched his focus to baseball where he excelled for 35 years as a player and businessman. As an eight-time NBA All-Star (2003-2009, 2011), he broke the record for most All-Star votes, previously held by Michael Jordan in 2005.
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Already enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a "Contributor", he will now also be enshrined as a coach.
O'Neal is an Olympic gold medalist (1996) and a member of the NBA 50th Anniversary All-time team. Swoopes is a three-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2000, 2004) and a member of the WNBA All-Decade Team.
As the anchor of the Chinese national team, Yao was named a three-time FIBA Asian Championship MVP.
As a two-time NBA All-Star (1966, 1968) and three-time ABA All-Star, he averaged a double-double in scoring and rebounding for his career. Beaty won an ABA Championship in 1971 with the Stars and was awarded the ABA Playoffs Most Valuable Player award. Beaty was named to the ABA All-Time Team and inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.

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