Nadal returns to number one spot
Rafael Nadal will be the new world number one from next Monday after Roger Federer withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters with a back injury.
The Swiss 19-time Grand Slam winner was the only player who could have denied Spain’s Nadal taking the top spot in the rankings from Andy Murray.
Federer was injured in Sunday’s Rogers Cup final defeat by Alexander Zverev. Briton Murray pulled out of Cincinnati last week as he continues to recover from a hip problem. Reigning French Open champion Nadal returns to the top of the rankings for the first time since July 2014.
Remo Stars relegated!
The journey of Remo Stars in the Nigerian topflight will, this season, come to an end after they lost at home to Rivers United by 3-1 in their Matchday 34 encounter on Sunday.
Bernard Ovoke weighed in with a lovely free kick to give Stanley Eguma the lead in the 15th minute of the tie. Striker Emeka Ogbugh, doubled the lead twenty minutes later before Esosa Igbinoba got the third for the visitors after he benefitted from a rebound.
Salefu Oche, in the 88th minute, got a consolatory goal for Fatai Osho’s men, who will now play in the Nigerian second-tier next season.
Football legends to play in Iraq
International legends will play in Iraq next month in an exhibition match aimed at helping people in the war-torn country to forget hardship, organisers said on Monday.
The game in the southern city of Basra on September 9 is expected to attract about 65,000 fans, and will feature former stars of top European clubs.
Among the other players who are to take part in the game are Brazil legends Zico and Rivaldo, as well as former Barcelona midfielder Deco, of Portugal. Younis Mahmoud, Iraq’s record international goalscorer and appearance holder, said he would participate in the match.
Barca agree £36.4m deal for Paulinho
Barcelona have reached an agreement to sign Brazil and ex-Tottenham midfielder Paulinho from Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande for £36.4m.
It would be Barcelona’s first signing since they sold striker Neymar to Paris St-Germain for a world record £200m. Paulinho, now 29, joined Tottenham for £17m from Corinthians in 2013 and moved to China two years later.
He will have a medical in Spain on Thursday with a view to completing the move the same day.
Bayern announce sleeve sponsorship
Bayern Munich announced on Monday their first ever shirt sleeve sponsorship deal, a six-year contract with Qatar’s Hamad International Airport.
The logo with the Qatar Airways-owned airport will be worn by the German champions during Bundesliga matches from the start of the forthcoming season, which begins on Friday.
It builds on an existing sponsorship deal between the German giants and the airport signed in January 2016 for the carrier to advertise inside Bayern’s home ground, the Allianz Arena.
Ronaldo receives five-match ban
Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for five matches after being sent off for committing a second bookable offence and then pushing the referee in Real Madrid’s 3-1 Supercopa de Espana first-leg victory over Barcelona on Sunday.
Bony linked with Swansea return
Swansea City are reportedly hoping to re-sign Ivory Coast attacker Wilfried Bony from Manchester City. Also, Swansea are keen on a cut-price deal for the Elephants striker, who is unwanted at the Citizens.
Bony, 28, joined Stoke City on loan last season but struggled to establish himself under Coach Mark Hughes and spent most of the second half of the campaign in limbo.
He has since returned to parent club Man City, but is not part of coach Pep Guardiola’s plans for the 2017/18 season. Bony has also been linked with a move to Italian side Sampdoria, with the player reportedly valued at £13million by City.
Watzke sets deadline for Dembele’s Barca deal
Barcelona have two weeks to finalise a move for Ousmane Dembele, Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans Joachim Watzke has indicated.
The identity of Barca’s replacement for Neymar, who joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee of €222million earlier this month, is yet to be determined, with Dembele and Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho believed to be the Catalan giants’ preferred targets.
Dortmund told the German stock exchange last week that they had rejected a €100m bid from Barca for Dembele.
Balde set to quit Lazio
Senegal star Keita Balde has moved closer to leaving Lazio after being left out of their Super Cup squad on Sunday.
The Rome-based side defeated Juventus 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico, though Balde was a notable absentee from the matchday squad.
The 22-year-old Teranga Lions star has been linked with a move away from Lazio this European summer, with Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur and Italian champions Juventus listed as the most likely suitors.