Category Archives: Europe

Jäiser, Kaiser, Engelberty And Jacobs Take 2016 Titles At Dramatic FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final in Dortmund

German vaulters Daniel Kaiser, Pia Engelberty and Torben Jacobs clinched the Male Individual and Pas-de-Deux titles, while Switzerland’s Simone Jäiser brought her brilliant career to a close when soaring to victory in the Female category at the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2015/2016 Final in Dortmund (GER) over the weekend.

Kaiser sprang a big surprise when beating fellow-countryman Jannis Drewell in the Male division, but in the other two competitions the favourites won through in fine style. This sixth FEI World Cup™ Vaulting season was packed with fantastic competition, but the Final brought the tension, excitement and degree of excellence to a whole new level, and the event at Dortmund was hailed a huge success.

Female Final

Jäiser threw down the gauntlet in Friday’s first round of the Female Final when coming out on top with a score of 8.602. Germany’s Kristina Boe lined up second on a mark of 8.348 while Austria’s Isabel Fiala finished third on a score of 7.838. Anna Cavallaro was expected to be Jäiser’s strongest opponent, but things didn’t go as planned from the outset for the Italian vaulter when her top horse, Harley, didn’t pass the veterinary inspection. With her replacement horse, Dante, she posted 7.190 for sixth and last place in round one, behind Anne Sophie Musset from France with 7.238, and she couldn’t recover from there.

Switzerland’s Nadja Buttiker didn’t enjoy much luck either when the athlete who finished a creditable fourth in the first competition was dislodged during her second performance because her horse, the aptly-named Keep Cool, decided to stop for a toilet-break. As the eventual winner, Jäiser, pointed out afterwards however, this is a situation that every vaulter has experienced. “If the horse suddenly goes faster or slower or even moves to the inside, then he’s not under your feet when you are doing your movements and it is impossible to stay on!” she said.

Cavallaro improved her score to post 7.418 but it wouldn’t be nearly enough to make an impression on the final result when all three remaining athletes scored over the 8.0 mark. Fiala really upped her game, putting 8.225 on the board for a performance that was crisp, clean and confident but then Boe piled on the pressure when earned 9.125 from Technical judge Rob de Bruin (NED) which helped secure a second round total of 8.632 and an overall total of 8.490 over the two rounds of competition.

Fei World Cup™ Vaulting Final in Dortmund, Equestrian

Within her grasp

As Jäiser came into the ring, victory was well within her grasp but she admitted afterwards to feeling extremely nervous. “It was a really big dream for me to finish my career by taking the World Cup title and I knew this was the last time I would run into the arena in a competition. I had to tell myself “go for it” – and in the end it was good!” she said afterwards.

In fact it was near perfection, the 29-year-old vaulter demonstrating that awesome power, control and artistry that earned her both the gold medal at last year’s FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER) and the world number one slot. Her strength in the holding positions, her balance in the jumps and her symmetry with her horse, Luk, and her lunger who is also her mother, Rita Blieske, was stand-out from start to finish. Luk has a reputation for being sensitive and spooky in crowded circumstances but in competition he has a very different attitude. “He gets much more confident when we are in the arena – he knows his job!” the delighted new FEI World Cup™ Vaulting winner said, adding “I never thought we could have such an amazing year!”
And she is looking forward to working as a coach, now that her competitive career has come to a close.

“I’m already training a junior team – we have nearly 100 members in our vaulting club, with six individuals and three pas-de-deux pairs, juniors and squads so it’s going to be very busy!” Jäiser explained.


Both the Female and Pas-de-Deux Finals took place on Saturday night, and Engelberty and Torben produced an exemplary performance to seal the latter. Having taken command with a score of 8.763 on Friday, they raised the stakes even higher with scores well in excess of 9 from three of the four judges to post a second-day total of 9.217 and an overall total of 8.990.

As expected their closest rivals were the young Italians, 19-year-old Erika Forti and Lorenzo Lupacchini who turned 20 in January. They scored a highly-competitive 8.183 on Friday and added 8.111 in Saturday’s second round which again earned high artistic marks. Their final total of 8.147 left them 0.843 adrift of the winners, but there is no denying the lightness and fluidity of their work together and this pair look set for extraordinary success in future years.

American sisters, Kimberly and Cassidy Palmer, were thoroughly consistent when scoring 7.916 and 7.708 for a final tally of 7.812 for third place while Germany’s young pair of Jolina Ossenberg-Engels and Timo Gerdes, again just 19 and 20 years of age respectively, look set to follow closely in the footsteps of their more senior stars when also impressively rounding up their scoreline at 7.700 for fourth of the four starting Pas-de-Deux partnerships.

It was an emotional evening for Engelberty who, like Jäiser, has decided to quit while at the top of her game. There was a lot of pressure on this Germany duo. “We knew we should win but the pressure was high because everyone expected we would win. It was never going to be easy, we knew we just had to stay relaxed and to concentrate. We told ourselves “okay, we don’t have to do magic, just do it as usual – stay calm – that was our plan and it worked out at the end!” said Engelberty afterwards.

Close to my club

“I have no exact plans for the future” said the 25-year-old athlete, “but I do know I will stay close to my club. I have been in this club for 16 years and it is part of my life and has given me so many opportunities.”

Engelberty said she was feeling “everything at the same time, sad, happy, really thankful – I know I have so many special moments in my life because of this sport and I’m going to miss it, but I’m happy looking forward. I always said I want to stop before nobody wants to see me anymore!”

Her vaulting partner, Jacobs, said he was also “happy and sad at the same time, so we celebrate our last freestyle together and it’s hard to believe it is coming to an end.” Without Engelberty he has to take a whole new look at his future in the sport, and for now that means he will start with a team for the rest of this year and may find another pas-de-deux partner sometime in the future.

As he pointed out, much of the success he enjoyed with Engelberty, including silver medals at both the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy (FRA) 2014 and at last summer’s FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER) came about due to fantastic choreography allied with the vaulter’s hard work. “We trained together since 2012 and there’s always been a good harmony between us. It’s very important for pas-de-deux to have good artistic skill and choreography. It was our goal for this year to focus more on the music and choreography and it worked well” he added.

Male Individual

The Male Individual produced the highest drama when firm favourite, Jannis Drewell, was, quite literally, thrown off course in Friday’s first Freestyle. “I made a big mistake at the mount when I lost the grips” said the 24-year-old who burst to prominence with a spectacular win at last summer’s European Championships. His first-round score of 8.225 on Friday left him chasing Daniel Kaiser, who posted 9.473 to sit in the driving seat going into today’s second and deciding competition.

Czech Republic’s Lukas Klouda had already scored 8.010 and Switzerland’s Lukas Heppler posted 8.087 before French vaulters Clement Taillez and Vincent Haennel each put 8.317 and 8.479 on the board, but the real action came down to the final two contenders. Knowing that only a disaster could prevent Kaiser from taking the title, Drewell knew he had it all to do today and put in a brilliant performance that earned 8.847 to shoot way into the lead.

But Kaiser really kept his cool, his lovely horse Down Under LR giving him the firmest base on which to display his skills, and when the scoreboard shows 8.697 that was good enough for runner-up spot on the day and the overall Final title. It was a desperately closely-fought affair however, with only 0.1 points separating the two Germans in the final analysis.

 Daniel Kaiser claimed the Male Individual title at the thrilling FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2015/2016 Final in Dortmund (GER) today. (FEI/Katja Kaiser)
Daniel Kaiser claimed the Male Individual title at the thrilling FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2015/2016 Final in Dortmund (GER) today. (FEI/Katja Kaiser)

Absolutely amazed

Kaiser said he was “absolutely amazed” by his victory. “Jannis has been so dominant over the last months and even though I knew I would compete on a good level, that fact that I beat him is a small wonder for me! He had a big mistake yesterday which was good for me, but I had two good rounds” he added. He was performing a new programme based on the theme of the famous escapologist Harry Houdini, so was covered in chains during his performance. “In Leipzig (in January) I felt it was over for the old programme, and after talking with the judges I decided if I wanted to have a chance I needed to do something new” he explained. “I’ve been working on this new programme now for more than a year” said the vaulter who was forced to take time out for more than two years due to health problems, but who has bounced back with a vengeance this season.

Today’s victory was all the more special because his wife and family were all there to cheer him on and join in the celebrations. “This is my first international title!” said the delighted athlete who has been competing since he was six years old and who was assisted in his success this weekend by lunger Nina Vorberg, wife of the German national trainer.


Second-placed Drewell was one of the first to congratulate the new title-holder and talked about some changes he too has planned. “I’m happy and glad today to win the second round and to be able to show my freestyle in a really good way for the last time. I think tomorrow the outfit from Charlie monk will be in wardrobe – I might take it out again for a show or something like but we are already working on a new programme” he explained.

“Today I was really satisfied because everything worked and my horse was really good. Daniel had the advantage from first round and it is good he won” said the sporting young German. “He did so much for FEI World Cup Vaulting, he brought a lot of support for this Final and he did not make a mistake on Friday. It’s great for the home crowd to have first and second today, and for me this was special because Dortmund is only one hour from home, so many family and friends and supporters came to see me which was a lot of fun!”

FEI Top Vaulters Awards

In an exciting new initiative, FEI Director of Driving, Reining and Vaulting, Bettina de Rham, presented Top Athletes Awards for Vaulting for the very first time, based on the annual rankings list for this discipline. The first recipient was World No 1, reigning European champion and newly-crowned FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2015/2016 Female series winner Simone Jäiser, while Drewell was presented with the Top Male Athlete Award as World No. 1 in the Male category.

These awards will be decided on a yearly basis, in this case from January to December 2015, so the Pas-de-Deux award goes to reigning European champions Lukas Wacha and Jasmin Lindner who held the World No. 1 slot at year-end.

Looking back on a fantastic weekend of top sport, Bettina de Rham said today, “we want to thank the Organising Committee at Dortmund for putting on such a great show. The spectators and the atmosphere were amazing, and everyone including the vaulters, the horses and the officials were all very happy. I hope we can come back here again next year!”

For further information on the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final 2015/2016 in Dortmund, Germany visit

Results FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final 2015/2016:

Female Individual: 1, Simone Jäiser (SUI) 8.651; 2, Kristina Boe (GER) 8.490; 3, Isabel Fiala (AUT) 8.032.

Male Individual: 1, Daniel Kaiser (GER) 8.757; 2, Jannis Drewell (GER) 8.617; 3, Vincent Haennel (FRA) 8.402.

Pas-de-Deux: 1, Pia Engelberty/Torben Jacobs (GER) 8.990; 2, Erika Di Forti/Lorenzo Lupacchini (ITA) 8.147; 3, Kimberley Palmer/Cassidy Palmer (USA) 7.812.

Louise Parkes


European Football’s 2015/2016 Top Five, Teams, Goal scorers, Assist Merchants And Bad Boys…,

Top 5 performers in Europe’s top 5 football leagues (2015/2016) the story so far…,

We have put together a list of Europe’s top 5 leagues top 5 performers, our focus is on a few highlights of the game, mainly goals, assist and discipline for individuals and for teams it’s got to do with their positions on the Log, comments are welcome and hope you find this useful.

Please note that this is based on results as at the 4th of March 2016 and the Leagues are arranged in no particular other…,

Italian Serie A, football, Italy

Serie A Table

P.Dybala   Palermo  photo credit: Nazionale Calcio
P.Dybala Palermo
photo credit: Nazionale Calcio

Serie A Assist and discipline

La Liga, spain, football, liga bbva, primera division,

Spanish Primera Division Table

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez

Spanish Primera Division Assist and discipline

German Bundesliga, football

German Bundesliga Table

Shinji Kagawa
Shinji Kagawa

German Bundesliga Assist and dsicipline

french ligue1, football, france,

Ligue 1 Table

Zlatan Ibrahimovic PSG  photo credit: Nazionale Calcio
Zlatan Ibrahimovic PSG
photo credit: Nazionale Calcio

Ligue 1 Assist and discipline

Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League

Premier League Table

Mesut Ozil photo credit: Brian Sikorski
Mesut Ozil
photo credit: Brian Sikorski

UEFA logo 2012, europe, football

Top Goal Scorers in Europe

Ladbrokes Players Championship Draw Announced

The draw and format have been announced for the Ladbrokes Players Championship in Manchester, with Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy and Ding Junhui among the top stars competing.

The world ranking event will be staged at Event City in Manchester for the first time from March 22 to 27 and televised by ITV4. It’s the culmination of the season’s Kreativ Dental Clinic European Tour and Asian Tours, with the leading 32 players coming together to battle for the £100,000 top prize.

World number one Selby faces Andrew Higginson in his opening match while Trump will be up against German Masters winner Martin Gould. Murphy will take on Chinese ace Liang Wenbo while Ding will play David Gilbert. And in a battle of snooker’s rising stars, Michael White faces Luca Brecel.

For the full draw and match schedule see

Tickets are ON SALE NOW and start at just £10, incredible value for the chance to see the world’s best players live. Certain sessions will sell out fast so fans must book quickly. For details see

Ladbrokes Players Championship Draw

Arsenal Petr Cech Out For 3-4 Weeks

Arsenal title challenge received another major blow this time due the injury of goalkeeper Petr Cech. Cech as been ruled out by a calf injury for about a month during their last home game loss to Swansea.

The Arsenal keeper was racing back towards his goal from the Swansea side of the pitch where he had gone to see if he could help his club pull one back via a corner kick in the closing minutes of the Arsenal vs Swansea game that ended 1-2 in favour of the Swans.

Petr Cech warming up for Arsenal  photo credit: lawrence woolf
Petr Cech warming up for Arsenal
photo credit: lawrence woolf

This news was confirmed by Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger during his weekly press conference ahead of the North London Derby between second placed Tottenham and third placed Arsenal on Saturday

Newfanzone Bookies Corner (Game Week 27)

A weekend where all top 5 leagues are in action is here again after their exploits in the knock out rounds of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. The English FA Cup has also reached the quarter final stages but some teams are not there yet as they need to survive the huddle of Replay. Fatigue is setting in for most teams and Managers are having their hands full with fixture pile up. Our punters at Newfanzone have carefully put all these into consideration while they help you select a 10- game accumulator from Europe’s Top 5 leagues as usual.

Ezequiel Lavezzi photo credit:
Ezequiel Lavezzi
photo credit:

Tobi Olubiyi’s (@Tobipreety) prediction:

French Ligue 1

St Etienne Vs Caen – St Etienne Win :

4th placed St Etienne are on a good run lately as they are currently unbeaten in their last 6 matches in all competition. The only 2 draws in that time was against Monaco and Marseille.
Same points with 3rd placed Nice, St Etienne will want to keep up the pressure in their quest for a Champions League spot and a win against lowly rated Caen would be on the cards. Caen have struggled for form heading into this fixture at the Stade Geoffroy, they have lost 4 of their last 6 matches. I believe St Etienne will be at an advantage heading into this game being the home side, and winning 4 of their last previous 6 games against Caen.

Manchester United's Chris Smalling also out injured
Manchester United’s Chris Smalling also out injured

Lyon Vs PSG – Both teams to score:

This is the second time both teams will be facing off this month after meeting in a domestic cup competition, where PSG won convincingly thereby sending Lyon out of the tournament. This could be some sort of revenge mission for Lyon as they host PSG at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais. Lyon are also yet to defeat PSG in any of their last 6 matches and their besst result during that time was a 1-1 draw in 2014. PSG will be going into this game as firm favourites, they are unbeaten since a defeat to Real Madrid in the group stages of the Champions League last year. This match will be interesting and with a lot of goals, I see both teams getting into the score sheet after 90 minutes.

Aaron Ramsey Arsenal Vs Liverpool photo credit: joshjdss
Aaron Ramsey
Arsenal Vs Liverpool
photo credit: joshjdss

English Premier League

Manchester United Vs Arsenal – Arsenal win or draw :

Manchester United have been poor in 2016, but they could be pardoned as a lengthy injury list has been the major contributing factor to their bad form with 10 first team players currently injured. But loosing to lowly rated sides like Sunderland and Midtjyland will dampen the confidence of a reputable team like Manchester United. Arsenal’s 2 defeats in their last 12 matches have come against Chelsea and most recently Barcelona in the Champions league. They are heading into this game with a good league form after recently condeming league leaders Leicester to another defeat in their last league game.
Arsenal are the inform team between both sides,The red devils are still suffering from their injury worries. Van gaal will have to turn to youth players and they won’t be good enough to rescue their team from a second Arsenal defeat this season. Arsenal would get a result at Old trafford, and walk away with at least a draw.

Watford Vs Bournemouth – Both teams to score:

This is a clash of two strikers, Odion Ighalo of Watford and Benik Afobe of Bournemouth. These two strikers will be leading the line for their respective clubs and there will be high hopes on who comes ontop. Watford have been on an impressive run this season, currently sitting 9th on the log and loosing just one of their last 5 games in all competitions which was against 2nd placed Tottenham. They welcome Bournemouth to the Vicarage Road who have lost their last 3 games which were all played at home. Ironically, Bourneouth are unbeaten in their last 5 away matches.
I expect Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth to come out firing so as to end their poor run and move further away from relegation place. There will be goals and I expect both teams to score at least a goal each.

Italian Serie A

Italian Serie A

Fiorentina Vs Napoli – Anybody win (Double Chance):

This is one of the most difficult games to forecast in Europe’s top fixtures this weekend. It’s not clear where the pendulum could swing, the ever reliable and inform Napoli have not won in 3games. Their dip in form started after a late defeat to defending champions Juventus who overtook them into first place with that victory. Napoli are yet to recover from that agony of defeat and they need to show character going foward starting from this huge game against the Viola.
Fiorentina are unbeaten in their last 6 games heading into the Europa League 2nd leg against Tottenham.
I believe there will be a winner in this match, either Fiorentina or Napoli will win. It will not end in a draw.

Paul Pogba photo credit: Francesca Romana Correale
Paul Pogba
photo credit: Francesca Romana Correale

Juventus Vs Inter Milan – Juventus win or draw:

Another huge match in the Serie A this weekend, league Leaders Juventus will look to extend the gap between them and 2nd place Napoli. Although for the first time in a long while this season the Old Ladies have not won in back to back matches, against Bologna and Bayern Munich. It must be said that they showed great character not to loose against Bayern after going behind by 2 goals. Inter Milan presently don’t have the personnel to match this juventus side and they have won only 2 of their last 7 matches in all competition. Roberto Mancini will have to pull a bunny out of the hat to stop the likes of Pogba,Dyabala and Mandzukic.
Juventus will get a result in this game and will get at least a draw.

Pep guardiola  photo credit: Thomas Rodenbücher
Pep guardiola
photo credit: Thomas Rodenbücher

German Bundesliga

Wolfsburg Vs Bayern Munich – Bayern Munich win:

8th place Wolfsburg welcome inform Bayern Munich to the Wolkswagen Arena when they have won just one of their last 5 league matches. Their poor form heading into this fixture will further set them back in their quest for a spot in Europe. Pep Guardiola’s last defeat with Bayern in all competitions was in December 2015 against Monchengladbach. They have gone on to win every match since then except a shock goaless draw away at Bayern Leverkusen. Muller is scoring again taking some pressure of Striker Lewadowski. While Robben still has a lot to offer since his return from injury. I expect a comfortable victory for Bayern Munich as they extend their lead on the table.

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 27:  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Dortmund celebrates his team's first goal during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund at Veltins Arena on September 27, 2014 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.  (Photo by Sascha Steinbach/Bongarts/Getty Images)
GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 27: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Dortmund celebrates his team’s first goal during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund at Veltins Arena on September 27, 2014 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Sascha Steinbach/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Borussia Dortmund Vs Hoffenheim – Dortmund win:

Dortmund look certain to finish in the top 4, but just 8 points behind league leaders Bayern Munich they may just pull up a heist on the Bundesliga title if Bayern suffers a slump. To achieve this they must keep their foot on the gas and get maximum points against teams like Hoffenheim especially at the Signal Iduna Park. Dortmund have not lost in their last 12 matches playing just 1 draw in that time. While 17the placed Hoffenheim have won only one of their last 5 matches and are 4points away from safety.
Dortmund will continue their impressive form with a win, star striker Aubumeyang will be expected to provide the goals.

Zinedine Zidane photo credit/ Raphaël Labbé
Zinedine Zidane photo credit/ Raphaël Labbé

Spanish La Liga

Real Madrid Vs Atletico Madrid – Atletico Madrid win or draw:

A tricky tie whose result would go a long way to test Coach Zinedine Zidane’s ability and competence to lead the Galacticos to success. It has always been a very intense derby whenever a Diego Simeone led Atletico face off with Real Madrid and Zidane is about to get a taste of that. Real Madrid have only won one of thier last 6 matches against Atletico with 3 draws and Atletico winning 2. Real Madird have won their last 7 home matches and they seem to be scoring a lot at home under Zidane, they has been at least 3 goals in each of their last 10 home matches. Atletico Madrid are a resilient side and hard to break down, there has been over 120 clean sheets in over 200 games Simeone has been in charge. Although Atletico are suffering some sort of bad run after winning just 2 of their last 8 matches in all competition. But as they say, form is thrown out of the window when it comes to Derbies.
This will be a tactical game and a battle between the gaffers but i believe Diego Simeone will come out ontop and get a result from the Bernabeu.

FC Barcelona  photo credit: Nathan Rupert
FC Barcelona
photo credit: Nathan Rupert

Barcelona Vs Sevilla – Barcelona win and Suarez to score:

Last week Suarez scored his way into the record books becoming the 3rd Barcelona player in History to score 40 goals in one season after Ronaldo De Lima and Lionel Messi. The menacing attack trio of Barcelona fondly called the MSN (Messi,Suarez, Neymar) have proven to be too strong for opponents as they have gone on to win 33 matches in all competitions winning 27 and drawing 6 since their defeat to Sevilla in October 3rd 2015. Their latest win was a comfortable away victory against Arsenal in the Champions League. Sevilla’s only victory against Barcelona in their last 6 matches was in the return fixture earlier in the season. Luis Enrique will have revenge on his mind as they welcome 5th placed and inconsistent Sevilla to the Camp Nou. I expect an easy Barcelona win and Suarez getting on the score sheet.

“Mourinho Off to Manchester” – Bedy Moratti

Inter Milan director Bedy Moratti accidentally let slip “Jose Mourinho is happy, he’s going to Manchester United.”

The sister of former President Massimo Moratti spoke to as she left a lunch meeting with Mourinho and her family.

“Of course he’s always fantastic and we missed him as a person here,” she said in the video interview.

Does that mean never say never for a return to Inter? “No, he’s happy now, he’s going to Manchester.”

Mourinho is in Milan after being invited by Moratti to cheer on Inter against Sampdoria on Saturday evening.

José Mourinho photo credit: Aleksandr Osipov
José Mourinho
photo credit: Aleksandr Osipov

He will be in the stands with former Inter Milan striker Ronaldo at San Siro.

The Special One is tipped to take over from Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford after being dismissed by Chelsea.

Paul Ayorinde

It Will Be Hard To Reject PSG – Hazard

Chelsea’s Belgian Wing wizard Eden Hazard has revealed that he would find it difficult to say no if a team like PSG came calling.

Speaking in an interview with Le Parisien Hazard revealed his desire to win the Champions League and “It’s hard to say no to PSG, as with all teams capable of winning the Champions League”.

This comes as no surprise as the Blues have faced a terrible season domestically where the defending champion of England find themselves in the bottom half of the twenty 20 league, But Europe as been more favourable to them, and the Blues must win the Champions League if they hope to return to Europe Next season.

The Belgian however believes that he might still be plying his trade with the London side next season if both parties stick to the existing contract.

Eden Hazard photo credit: ginger youtube
Eden Hazard
photo credit: ginger youtube

Hazard had a very successful outing with Chelsea last season which even made Gaffer Jose Mourinho claim that the Winger was on the same level with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The Blues will tomorrow face PSG at the Parc des Princes, in Paris as action begins in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg.

Blanc Gets Two Year Contract Extension At PSG

Regardless of all the rumours linking him with a move away from Paris, Former Les Bleu and Bordeaux Manager Laurent Blanc has signed a new contract extension with Paris Saint-Germain keeping him with the club till 2018.

Blanc have been very successful locally winning 2 back to back Ligue 1 titles, 2013–14, 2014–15. One Coupe de France 2014–15, two Coupe de la Ligue – 2013–14, 2014–15 and three Trophée des Champions 2013, 2014, 2015.

Blanc has won several individual awards as a player and also as a manager, he was voted the 2015 Ligue 1 Manager of the Year an award he as now won three times.

Laurent Blanc Pic by Mohan
Laurent Blanc
Pic by Mohan

Success on the continent has remained elusive though, regardless of the heavy amount of money spent so far by the Paris team, and owners Qatar Sports Investments would want to see Les Parisiens win the Champions League within this period for the first time in their history.

Only Pep And My Wife Can Make Me Leave Barcelona – Busquets

Barcelona Midfielder Sergio Busquets has revealed that Current Bayern Munich Coach Pep Gaurdiola (who happens to be on his way to the Etihad to coach Man City next season) and his wife are the only two people who have got the power to make him leave his current club Fc Barcelona.

Busquets who has been promised an enormous pay rise by his current employers revealed this to ESPN stating : “I’ve always said that there are only two people that can change my decision to be here. One is my wife, who right now is here and is a Barcelona fan, so I don’t think there is going to be a problem on a personal level,” Busquets told ESPN.

“On a sporting level the other person would be Guardiola.

Sergio Busquets photo credit: Xavier Rondón Medina
Sergio Busquets
photo credit: Xavier Rondón Medina

The midfielder might be one of Guardiola’s early recruits at City given the the fact that some players are definitely going to be shown the way out when Pep resumes at Man City, Notable amongst the players expected to leave is City Ivorian Yaya Toure, there’s definitely no love lost between Toure and Guardiola, And Player like Busquets will definitely make fill the void that Yaya might leave.

All Neutral Fans Want Leicester City To Win Premier League – Arsene Wenger

New-Leicester-City-Puma-Kit-2012-13,  football, epl, bpl, england,

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes all neutrals want Leicester to win the Premier League this season.

The Foxes moved five points clear at the top of the log having won 3-1 at Manchester City on Saturday.

Arsenal are eight points adrift of Leicester with Wenger’s side without a league win in their last four outings.

And the Frenchman knows everyone other than fans of the clubs fighting for the League title will be willing on Leicester for what would be the most surprising title success of the Premier League era.

“Of course. And it’s natural. It’s normal. The advantage they have until the end of the season, apart from our fans and the City fans and Tottenham fans, the rest of the country is behind Leicester. ” Wenger said when asked if the whole country was behind Leicester.

Arsène Wenger photo credit: Ronnie Macdonald
Arsène Wenger
photo credit: Ronnie Macdonald

He added: “You reproach me about not buying big names but you will support the team who have no big names. But Leicester are a fantastic example that football is not only about just spending the money. It’s the quality of work and it’s important to think that the quality of the work can get you there. Leicester are a very good example for our league.”

Paul Ayorinde

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016: Dream Victory For Staut And Reveur At Last Longines Leg In Bordeaux

Kevin Staut pinned French compatriot, Simon Delestre, into runner-up spot at the nail-biting last leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2015 Western European League in Bordeaux (FRA) tonight. It was Staut’s first major victory for some time, and it was achieved by a brilliant performance from the 35-year-old rider and his 15-year-old gelding Reveur de Hurtebise HDC who brought the packed stadium of spectators to their feet.

With 17 through to the jump-off, and huge tension in the air as riders battled it out for the last few qualifying spots still up for grabs for next month’s Longines Final in Gothenburg (SWE), this was never going to be an easy one to win. And the man who currently ranks 14th in the world was keen to firmly secure his place at the Swedish fixture.

“I felt I needed a few more points but normally I’m not really fast with this horse, and the last time we won a 5-Star Grand Prix was in Monte Carlo five years ago! But he has been fantastic here in Bordeaux and everything went great for us in the jump-off” said Staut, who added that tonight’s victory is a real confidence-booster for the remainder of this Olympic year.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping

Surprise exit

Pius Schwizer and PSG Future, winners at the penultimate leg of the series on home ground in Zurich (SUI) last Sunday, made a surprise exit from the competition following a mistake at the first element of the influential triple combination, fence six in the first round. But 17 took on the jump-off course designed by Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, and it was as clever as it gets, with control, balance, pace and accuracy all put to the ultimate test.

Starting out over a big oxer, most rode a seven-stride pattern to the following oxer before turning left-handed to yet another which was formerly the second obstacle on the track. And Britain’s Laura Renwick snatched the early lead with Bintang ll when turning sharp right-handed to the fourth jump on this course, the vertical at fence eight which was followed by the tricky double, oxer-to-vertical, at nine. Turning right again horses needed to angle the next oxer, fence 10, before taking a long run to the vertical at 12 and finally making another long gallop to the closing Longines oxer. Second against the clock, Renwick set the target in 42.35 seconds, and although this was clearly a beatable time it was always going to be competitive.

Smoothest of rides

Three horses later, three-time FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion Marcus Ehning went out in front when bringing the spectacular grey stallion, Cornado NRW, home in 41.97 seconds with the smoothest of rides. Ireland’s Denis Lynch and All Star slotted in behind the German with a lovely tour in 42.03 when seventh into the ring, but both were overtaken by a great round from Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander who never broke the rhythm with Caretina de Joter to cruise into temporary runner-up position in 40.90 seconds when next to go. However Staut really raised the bar, and almost lifted the roof off the Bordeaux stadium, when galloping home with the clock showing 39.86 seconds to take the lead.

His partner and team-mate, Penelope Leprevost, looked set to oust him when taking a stride out between the first two fences with Vagabond de Pomme. But fence 10 hit the floor for four faults, so the darling of the French crowd had to settle for eighth place in the final analysis despite producing the fastest jump-off time of 39.30.

There were just three left to run now, including two more from the host nation, and Patrice Delaveau and Lacrimoso looked set to rejig the leaderboard until clipping the penultimate vertical in 39.89 seconds. Dutch star, Mikael van der Vleuten, took a more cautious tour with the ever-reliable VDL Group Verdi to post a clear in 44.11 seconds when second-last into the ring, but Staut’s biggest threat was last man Delestre who, like Leprevost, rode six strides between the first two fences but who seemed to run a little wide on the turn that followed. The French rider who currently holds the no. 2 spot in the Longines rankings and who is seriously threatening world no 1, Britain’s Scott Brash, left all the timber intact but had to settle for runner-up spot when stopping the timers in 40.74 seconds with Qlassic Bois Margot.

Slightest error

“When there are so many in the jump-off you are quickly knocked out by the slightest error” Delestre pointed out at the post competition press conference. Individual bronze medallist at the FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER) last summer he has, however, finished second on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League, behind Germany’s Christian Ahlmann in pole position, and has the Gothenburg Final clearly in his sights.

As does tonight’s winner Staut, who reflected on his victory. “It’s been such a long time since I’ve been at a press conference I was beginning to forget what it is like! And it has been a long time since I have won anything big, 2015 was not a good year for me”, he pointed out.

Kevin Staut and Reveur de Hurtebise HDC won the nail-biting last leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2015 Western European League on home ground in Bordeaux (FRA) tonight. (FEI/Eric Knoll)
Kevin Staut and Reveur de Hurtebise HDC won the nail-biting last leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2015 Western European League on home ground in Bordeaux (FRA) tonight. (FEI/Eric Knoll)

Officially retired

His brilliant mare, Silvana, will be officially retired in Bordeaux on Sunday and her retirement marks a turning point for the French rider. “I have had many good wins in my career including the World Cup here in Bordeaux four years ago with Silvana, but now she is out of competition and it’s all a new deal for me. This win is a good thing for the Olympic season though, and I’m delighted for my horse (Reveur de Hurtebise), he is 15 years old but we make a good team together, we have a strong connection”, he said. Reveur will enjoy a two-month break now, and Staut is looking at his options of other horses for the Longines Final. “It will be either For Joy or Qurack, I’m not sure yet”, he said tonight.

Staut also talked with some emotion about what Silvana’s retirement means to him. “She had a great season last year and we decided not to do another one, she has done so much for me and we have so much respect for her – the time seems right just now”, he said. But the great 17-year-old grey mare will still be very much part of his life. “She stays in my stable and I will still ride her every day. It will be difficult to find another horse who could take her place in my heart. She can now look forward to a quiet life and a quiet home, and we will have many more happy days ahead of us!” he added.

For further information on the eleventh and last qualifying leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League Leipzig (GER) visit

The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2016 will take place in Gothenburg (SWE) from 23 to 28 March. For details of the Swedish fixture check out


1, Reveur de Hurtebise HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/0 39.86;

2, Qlassic Bois Margot (Simon Delestre) FRA 0/0 40.74;

3, Caretina de Joter (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/0 40.90;

4, Cornado NRW (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/0 41.97;

5, All Star 5 (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/0 42.03;

Louise Parkes

Koeman, Aguero Named Barclays Manager And Player Of The Month Of January

Southhampton’s Dutch Coach Ronald Koeman has become the first Dutch coach to win the monthly award, this is also his third monthly managers award.

Southhampton won three of their four games in January claiming a famous away win over Manchester United at Old Trafford managed by another great Dutch Manager Louis Van Gaal. Southhampton also defeated West Brom and Watford.

Ronald Koeman named Barclays Manager of the Month for January after Southampton claimed impressive victories over Watford, West Brom and United
Southampton boss scooped monthly award after three victories in January.

Manchester City’s top striker Sergio Aguero has also been named Barclays Premier League Player of the Month for January. Aguero returned from injury to help his team end the month of January with one assist and five goals as his team ended a busy January unbeaten.


August Andre Ayew (Swansea City) And Manuel Pellegrini (Man City)


Anthony Martial (Manchester United) And Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur)


Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) And Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)


Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) And Claudio Ranieri (Leicester City)


Odion Ighalo (Watford) And Quique Sanchez Flores (Watford)