Jose Mourinho: David de Gea the best goalkeeper in the world

Following his superb performance against Arsenal on Saturday night, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has received praise from manager Jose Mourinho.

The Red Devils’ ‘keeper pulled off an incredible 14 saves to help his side defeat the Gunners 3-1 at the Emirates.

Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia shared the three goals between them, but there was no doubt that the Spanish gloves-man was the key man in the United victory.

“I loved the way my team played and fought. Arsenal played in some period amazing attacking football – creating difficulties for us,” explained Mourinho after the match.

“But I have to say that my players deserve all the great words. I don’t know so many in English but amazing, phenomenal, fantastic. They deserved three points.

“The plan was when they had the ball we all had to defend – starting with attacking players and when we had the ball we had to counter attack fast and try to score goals which we did. They had chances but we fought and we have a great goalkeeper too.”

When asked about De Gea’s performance, he said: “I told him after the match, what I saw today was the best from a goalkeeper in the world.

“You need the keeper to be there for you when the team needs. All the effort from the players was magnificent. The game, we started in one way and they started in another, then we changed and went down to 10 men and changed again.”

Paul Pogba was sent off for a challenge on Hector Bellerin on 74 minutes and Mourinho was typically cryptic in his assessment of the incident.

“I don’t know,” the Portuguese said. “I leave for you that one. I leave for you the Lukaku situation with Koscielny, I leave for you the Arsenal players on the grass. The grass is absolutely beautiful – I think there is a desire to go onto the grass.”

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea

Rickie Fowler wins 2017 Hero World Challenge

American golfer Rickie Fowler hit a stunning 11-under-par 61 to win the Hero World Challenge on Sunday.

This was after his countryman Tiger Woods capped his return from injury with a solid final round.

Fowler trailed overnight leader Charley Hoffman, who is also an American, by seven shots but made eight birdies in a dazzling front nine to lead at the turn.

He added three more birdies to break the tournament and course records at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas and win by four strokes over Hoffman.

"I needed to get off to a quick start today to at least show Charley I was there," Fowler told the Golf Channel.

"We took care of that and kept it rolling from there."

The competition features a small number of top-ranked golf professionals and it is a benefit for the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Rickie Fowler

Red Bull boss Christian Horner tips Daniel Ricciardo for 2018 title bid

Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner believes Daniel Ricciardo is a realistic contender for next year’s Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship.

The Australian finished a creditable fifth in the 2017 standings, though he was a massive 163 points off the pace set by champion Lewis Hamilton.

The four-time champion doesn’t seem to consider Ricciardo much of a threat, having publicly claimed that Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s other driver, Max Verstappen, are alongside himself as the four best pilots in F1 right now.

Horner believes Ricciardo should feature more strongly in Hamilton’s thinking: “Lewis would be very foolish to underestimate Daniel,” he told Sky Sports News.

“He’s a phenomenal driver, he’s arguably the best overtaker in the business. He’s driven some great races this year and some great races in his time at Red Bull.

“He’s absolutely ready for a championship challenge if we can provide him with the tools to do the job.”

The Red Bull boss is hopeful that 2017’s reliability issues have been put to bed and next season Ricciardo and Verstappen will be major players at the front of the grid.

“I’m really excited that we’ve got the strongest driver pairing in Formula 1,” added Horner.

“Max and Daniel, they push each other to such high limits and that’s tremendously exciting for us.”

Christian Horner

Etzebeth to see specialist in Cape Town

Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth will see a specialist in Cape Town to further examine his shoulder and back injuries.

The towering lock was forced off the field just before halftime against Wales in Cardiff after he sustained a nerve injury, which caused severe pain in his left shoulder.

“The scans we took on Saturday evening after the match came out normal,” explained Dr Konrad von Hagen, the Springbok team doctor. “Eben will however visit a specialist in Cape Town to further investigate the injured shoulder and his troublesome back.”

Meanwhile, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said a poor start cost his team at the Principality Stadium. Wales won the match 24-22 after thwarting a determined comeback from the South Africans.

“Wales got off to a flyer, scoring 14 points in the first ten minutes by using a very accurate kick for their first try and they exploited the space behind us for their second,” said Coetzee. “I am proud of the team for the way they fought back to claw their way into the lead and for showing character in the second half.

“We had our opportunities but a loose pass and some individual errors prevented us from taking those scoring opportunities.”

According to Coetzee, his side can be reasonably pleased with the four-match tour.

“We didn’t have a good start in Dublin, but we fought back to win against a determined French side in Paris and then delivered a clinical performance against Italy in very difficult weather conditions.

“If you look at where we started from at the beginning of the year, then I am pleased with the year overall. We started out as a new group, establishing a new team environment and got the results in the home series against France.

“We only lost to New Zealand in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, while we were perhaps unlucky in our two draws against Australia,” said Coetzee.

Coetzee praised the emergence of a new crop of Test players this year, and said: “In this group there are several players who played their first full season of international rugby, such as Malcolm Marx, Andries Coetzee, Dillyn Leyds, Raymond Rhule, Courtnall Skosan, Ross Cronje, Uzair Cassiem and Franco Mostert.

“We also saw the introduction of other young players such as Wilco Louw, Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez, Warrick Gelant and Francois Venter. These players will only get better and gain more experience the more they play together at this level.

“Eben also did a fantastic job when he took of over the captaincy from Warren Whiteley and it was great to see him grow in the role, while I am pleased with the rest of leadership group – Siya (Kolisi), Elton (Jantjies), Beast (Tendai Mtawarira) and Francois Louw, who supported him well.

“Duane Vermeulen and Francois also brought a lot of experience to the group and they both enjoyed their time with the squad. The younger players learned a lot from both of them. They have a lot to offer to Springbok rugby,” said Coetzee.

The Springbok squad will arrive back in South Africa on Monday morning.

Eben Etzebeth

First Springbok starts for Gelant and Du Preez in Cardiff

Warrick Gelant and Dan du Preez will get their first starts for the Springboks in the final Test of 2017, against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

The inclusion of the exciting Gelant is one of five changes to the starting line-up announced by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Thursday for the last match of the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

Gelant was impressive when he came on as second half replacement against Italy last week for his Springbok debut and has replaced Courtnall Skosan on the left wing for his first start.

There are four changes amongst the forwards. Steven Kitshoff replaces the experienced Tendai Mtawarira, who is suffering from a groin injury and not available for selection.

Malcolm Marx has shrugged off his shoulder problem and takes over the hooker duties from Bongi Mbonambi, who moves to the bench.

Siya Kolisi is back in the side after missing the Italy Test because of paternal leave, and he comes in for Francois Louw on the side of the scrum, while Du Preez will also earns his first start in the No 8 jersey as replacement for Duane Vermeulen.

Louw, Vermeulen and Franco Mostert (lock) are back at their overseas clubs and not available because this match falls outside the World Rugby Test window.

Meanwhile, the uncapped duo of Lukhanyo Am (centre) and Louis Schreuder (scrumhalf) will join Mbonambi on the bench as two of a number of changes amongst the replacements, with Uzair Cassiem, Oupa Mohoje and Ruan Dreyer also included in the in the match day squad.

Coetzee said the squad has prepared well for the contest against Wales.

“We expect another gruelling contest against a strong Welsh team,” said Coetzee.

“It is another opportunity for this side to develop and grow, playing at the Principality Stadium in front of a passionate crowd of more than 65,000. It will be a different challenge altogether this week – Wales are renowned for their passing game and their width on attack.”

Regarding the shuffles in his team, the Bok coach said: “Dan gets the chance to start and he fits into the plan for Saturday.

“Warrick is an elusive runner, he used his opportunity last week and I am looking forward to see him getting a start on Saturday.

“It is great to welcome Malcolm back, however, Bongi did a superb job against Italy and I expect the same performance from him when he comes on later in the game.”

The battle for lineout possession will again be a key factor on Saturday, and in this regard Coetzee said: “I decided to select two loose forwards onto the bench because Pieter-Steph du Toit can cover lock, while Oupa and Uzair each have a skills set that can fit into different roles when needed.”

Eben Etzebeth will captain the Springbok team for the 11th time this season, playing in his 67 international match for South Africa.

The Springbok team to play against Wales in Cardiff is:
15. Andries Coetzee, Emirates Lions – 12 caps, 0 points
14. Dillyn Leyds, DHL Stormers – 8 caps, 5 points (1 try)
13. Jesse Kriel, Vodacom Bulls – 28 caps, 35 points (7 tries)
12. Francois Venter, Toyota Cheetahs – 6 caps, 5 points (1 try)
11. Warrick Gelant, Vodacom Bulls – 1 caps, 0 points
10. Handré Pollard, Vodacom Bulls – 25 caps, 206 points (2 tries, 35 conversions, 39 penalty goals, 3 drop goals)
9. Ross Cronje, Emirates Lions – 9 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
8. Dan du Preez, Cell C Sharks – 2 caps, 0 points
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, DHL Stormers – 31 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
6. Siya Kolisi, DHL Stormers, – 27 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
5. Lood de Jager, Vodacom Bulls – 35 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
4. Eben Etzebeth (captain), DHL Stormers – 66 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
3. Wilco Louw, DHL Stormers – 4 caps, 0 points
2. Malcolm Marx, Emirates Lions – 13 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
1. Steven Kitshoff, DHL Stormers – 22 caps, 5 points (1 try)
16. Bongi Mbonambi, DHL Stormers – 13 caps, 5 points (1 try)
17. Trevor Nyakane, Vodacom Bulls – 36 caps, 5 points (1 try)
18. Ruan Dreyer, Emirates Lions – 4 caps, 5 points (1 try)
19. Oupa Mohoje, Toyota Cheetahs – 17 caps, 0 points
20. Uzair Cassiem, Toyota Cheetahs – 7 cap, 5 points (1 try)
21. Louis Schreuder, Cell C Sharks – 0 caps, 0 points
22. Elton Jantjies, Emirates Lions / NTT Shining Arcs (Japan) – 22 caps, 203 points (2 tries, 38 conversions, 38 penalty goals)
23. Lukhanyo Am, Cell C Sharks – 0 caps, 0 points

Eben Etzebeth

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge fires warning to Athletics star Mo Farah

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge has fired a warning to Mohamed Farah ahead of this year’s London Marathon.

Kenyan athletics star Kipchoge won the event in 2015 and 2016, and the 33-year-old will compete again in 2018.

According to BBC Sport, Farah has run two London Marathons but April's race will be his first since switching focus from a track career in which he won four Olympic and six world titles over 5,000m and 10,000m.

“He's a tough and respectable athlete. I think he will be successful immediately,” Kipchoge told BBC Sport.

"I'll be taking Mo Farah very seriously. He's a very high profile person and I can say I'm respecting him and treating him with total seriousness. He'll be a big challenge."

Farah, 34, pulled out as planned at the halfway mark in the 2013 London Marathon and the British star finished eighth in two hours, eight minutes, 21 seconds, in 2014.

Kipchoge won a world title over 5,000m on the track in 2003.

He believes Farah's pedigree as a six-time world champion will lead to a smooth transition now that road events are a focus.

"It does take time to make that switch but I'm sure Mo will be successful. It won't take long. Mo Farah is serious. I believe if you plan and prepare well, winning and success can come."

Mo Farah

Nathan Lyon throws down the gauntlet to England’s batsmen

Australian spinner Nathan Lyon has challenged England’s batsmen to try and hit him out of the attack in the second Ashes Test, which is a day-night, pink-ball match at the Adelaide Oval starting on Saturday.

The 30-year-old played an impressive role in Australia’s comfortable win in the first Test at the Gabba, taking five wickets and shouldering a heavy workload to allow the fast bowlers time to rest and recuperate between spells.

After England's batsmen failed to dominate the offspinner in Brisbane, Lyon has invited them to go on the offensive at Adelaide Oval, where he helped bowl Australia to victory against South Africa a year ago.

"I think if they did do that, it does definitely play into my hands," Lyon told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.

"I like it when opposition guys try to attack me and try to whack me out of the attack.

"But it's a part of the game ... No doubt England will come prepared and they'll have a different plan for me compared to what they had in the first test. But it is what it is.

"It's about adapting, it's about enjoying the challenge and embracing the game of cricket."

Lyon has also somewhat backtracked on his controversial comments ahead of the first Test, when he declared that Australia would inflict a career-ending defeat on the tourists.

He was more conciliatory by claiming that Joe Root's team were a "classy" side and that their seam bowlers would be dangerous in the conditions in the first day-night Ashes Test.

"I think with the pink ball, it’s going to suit their bowlers," said Lyon. "We know they’re going to come back bigger and better and stronger. It’s not going to be a walk in the park ... We need to make sure that we respect them."

Nathan Lyon

Anthony Joshua wants to become “the Roger Federer of boxing”

Boxing champion Anthony Joshua says he would like to become "the Roger Federer of boxing".

The British boxer, who is a WBA (Super), IBF, and IBO heavyweight champion, explained that he understands the importance of being a sporting role model.

Regarding his position in world boxing, Joshua told Sky Sports News: "I do understand now, I have to play the game, if I want to create a legacy.

Swiss tennis star Federer has won 19 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in history for a male tennis player. He is widely regarded as the greatest tennis player of all time.

"I think I understand now, everything I have to gain and everything I have to lose. I've never played a role," he said.

But look at the likes of Muhammad Ali, who became a sporting icon. Joshua says he wants a similar legacy in boxing to Roger Federer's in tennis.

"Before I was happy to just be a part of boxing, and felt wherever I get to, it was always better than where I started. I never had a minute to reflect," he continued.

"But now I want to stamp my mark and my legacy, and be among the likes of Federer. "If I want to be considered like these guys, I have to carry myself the right way.

"I want to be like the Ronaldos, Messis, Federers who compete with Nadal, Murray. That's where I want to take boxing."

Lewis Hamilton: Four F1 titles is surreal, not driven by records

Lewis Hamilton has revealed that being a four-time Formula 1 champion is “surreal”, but adds that he is not driven by records or statistics.

The Mercedes driver put in one of his best season performances through 2017 to claim his fourth Drivers’ Championship.

In doing so, he has joined Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and his current arch rival Sebastian Vettel in an elite club to have won four titles or more.

The British driver is also now second on the all-time list in terms of career races wins and podiums (his respective tallies of 62 and 117 are bettered only by Schumacher’s 91 and 155), has the record for the most consecutive race starts (208) and the record for pole positions (72).

“It is surreal,” Hamilton told Monster Energy’s Eric Johnson in regards to being a four-time F1 champion. “It hasn't really sunk in yet. It is very, very surreal.

“I guess it doesn't really register at the moment. I don't know whether if it's going to, or if it will or not, but… I was just saying to my friend, ‘Can you believe I'm four-time World Champion?’ We were both taken back a bit when we thought about it.”

The 32-year-old added, “Yeah, I've never really focused on the numbers or the records. Every now and then I'll get a record that I wasn't aware of it at the time people will talk about it.

“I think it's kind of neat sometimes when people mention it. It's not driving me, though. I just love driving. I just go out every day and if I'm there on a record, then cool. If not, I could really care less if I get it or not.

“I don't think a record defines who you are or how good you are. Records are there to be broken. But even if I just had to stop at the end of this year and I didn't get a record, it doesn't mean at that time that you are not the greatest. To think you have to drive for 20 years to be the greatest is just a misconception.”

AB de Villiers set to feature in Zimbabwe warm-up next month

AB de Villiers is set to feature for a South African XI in a three-day warm-up match against Zimbabwe, as he looks to make a Test comeback for the Proteas.

The former captain may feature in the match in Potchefstroom, which will be played from December 20 to 22, ahead of a four-day, day-night Test between South Africa and Zimbabwe which starts on Boxing Day (December 26).

With no domestic red-ball cricket on the go (South Africa’s franchise T20 tournament is currently being played), Proteas management want de Villiers playing long-format cricket before a possible Test return.

"We'd like to get him back in whites as soon as possible and we have some plans in place. There's the practice match which will be good for him," Linda Zondi, South Africa's convener of selectors, told ESPNcricinfo.

De Villiers hasn’t played a Test since January 2016 because of a combination of injuries and a self-imposed sabbatical, but he told reporters this week that the break was beneficial to his career.

"I've had time at home to get fresh, time to work on my body, and time to work on skills I've not worked on in many years," de Villiers said.

"I've sort of rediscovered that love of the game. I've not had an off-season where I've gone to nets to work on my skills and technique for ages. Last year, in the peak of the season, I was less ready for Test cricket than I am now."

As for where de Villiers will slot back into the Test team, Zondi says that’s a bridge they’ll cross when they come to it: "For us as selectors, it's about getting him into the squad and then it will be worked out from there. It's a nice problem to have.”

AB de Villiers

Daniel Ricciardo sets contract talks deadline

Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo hopes to get talks about his future done and dusted before he ‘switches off’ over the Christmas period.

The Australian is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season and has been linked with a move to either Mercedes or Ferrari in 2019, where Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikonnen are currently on one-year renewals.

Ricciardo says his main priority is getting his work done in post-season testing, but he does hope to get talks out of the way so he can enjoy his holiday at the end of the year.

"I’m sure there will be a few discussions in the next week or two, especially with the team,” Ricciardo said.

"It’s not about the offer, it’s about who is going to have the best car for 2019.

"Once I get home and over Christmas, I want to switch off from racing so I would like to know something earlier.”

Antonio Conte backs Eden Hazard, but admits he is ‘worried’ by Manchester City

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte has backed Eden Hazard to lead his side to a string of fine results, but admits he is worried by the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City.

The reigning champions are 11 points adrift of City following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool and must put together a strong run through the busy December period if they are to have any hope of retaining their title.

Key to this aim is Belgian attacking midfielder Hazard, who has shown flashes of his best form in recent matches and adds a versatility to Chelsea’s attack that is a major help to Conte.

"The start of this season was full of trouble with Eden because he had an injury with the national team and we started the season without him," the Italian manager explained.

"Now I think Eden is in really good form and I think he likes to play as a striker. There is a good link with Alvaro [Morata] and for me also it's a great opportunity to play with two different systems."

Yet Conte admits concern at the form of City, who have racked up an 11-game winning streak and look capable of easing to the championship.

"I think Manchester City in this season is a strong team. Also last season, Manchester City was a fantastic team. Then, after the transfer market, they bought their first targets and then they have improved a lot,” he said.

"They can do this also in January maybe, in the future. For this reason we must be worried.”

Eden Hazard of Chelsea goes pass a player


The final EFC event of the year EFC 66, just got even bigger with the addition of a women’s bantamweight bout between South Africa’s Jacqualine Trosee and Morocco’s Rizlen Zouak on the prelim card.

Trosee was last seen in action fighting Amanda Lino for the flyweight title. She lost that fight, but was awarded a performance bonus for her incredible and valiant war.

Now moving up a weight division, she will be stronger and meaner than ever, without the vigour’s of a hectic weight cut. A Pretoria girl, that packs a punch, she trains out Warrior Sports and will surely have the entire arena chanting her name in support on 16 December.

Zouak represents Morroco but lives and fights out of Paris, France. Training at the famous MMA Factory, her combat sports resumé includes two Olympic Games appearances for Judo and multiple national and international championships. Undefeated in MMA, Zouak wants her third straight finish to end off a fantastic year.

This fight takes place on the prelim card just ahead of the EFC bantamweight unification fight between Demarte Pena and Irshaad Sayed 2, EFC heavyweight championship and TF1 F

South Africa’s Jacqualine Trosee and Morocco’s Rizlen Zouak

FIA president: Robert Kubica must pass medical checks to return to F1

FIA president Jean Todt has revealed that Polish driver Robert Kubica must pass stringent medical tests before he makes a return to Formula 1.

Kubica, who is striving to return to the sport for the first time since a life-threatening crash while rallying back in 2011, is set to test for Williams this week.

If the 32-year-old impresses, then he is expected to be signed by the British team as Lance Stroll’s teammate for 2018.

However, Kubica’s fate is not entirely in the hands of Williams, as the FIA will put him through mandatory medical tests to determine whether he is fit and able to race in the premier category of motorsport.

"We have expert people who are there – and I am sure all necessary steps will be done if we have to face the situation," said Todt.

"Drivers, they come and they leave – and of course Kubica is different because the reason he had to stop was that he had a very bad rally crash.

"He survived from it and he came back into the business in rallying. Now he is in single-seaters, so time will tell.

"But clearly, we have all the standards to give the medical checks, so it is up to the doctors to decide."

Robert Kubica

Kwagga Smith keen to keep on improving

Springbok Sevens forward Kwagga Smith is not only determined to add another successful stint with the Blitzboks to his already impressive rugby CV, he also wants to improve his skill set as a player, something he is almost guaranteed to do in the next couple of months on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The 2017/18 series starts on Friday, when the Emirates Airlines Dubai Sevens opens the ten tournament showpiece and for Smith, who experienced the ups and downs of rugby in 2016, it is another opportunity to grow and to improve as a player.

"It was a great year for me, considering all the teams I played for did well," Smith said shortly after the team arrived in Dubai.

"Dubai was fairly significant in that, as it was where it all started for the Blitzboks, getting the win and starting the season on a winning note. After that I also experienced a first win in Wellington, another box ticked off my bucket list with the boys."

Smith tasted tournament victories in three of the four tournaments he played for South Africa in the series and continued to impress in the fifteens code, playing for the Emirates Lions.

Smith was unfortunately red-carded in the final of Vodacom Super Rugby, but he took solace in the fact that his rugby friends supported him in that tough time.

"We had a great season in Vodacom Super Rugby and although I was sent off in that final, I learned a lot from that experience,” said Smith.

“You find athletes preparing for the 100 meters final of the Olympics only to get false-started, and their race is over before it had begun. We are all human, we all make mistakes. It is how you recover from such misfortunes - that is what people will remember.

"The Blitzboks form part of my close circle of friends and they were some of the first ones to pick me up again after that incident. They held no grudges, instead, they supported me all the way, so it was easy to come back into this group.”

Smith tasted the sweet in playing fifteens a couple of months later, when he was named Man of the Match for the Barbarians in a highly entertaining match against the All Blacks earlier this month.

He is not dwelling on that performance anymore, as satisfying as it was on many levels, and is rather keen to push the boundaries with the Blitzboks again.

"My mind-set or goals did not change, despite success and misfortune,” said Smith.

“I still strive to become a better player and person every day. Nothing has changed and it is great to be in an environment where everyone else feel the same.

"Sevens rugby takes no prisoners. You have to perform at your very best if you want to be successful. It is not easy, in fact, it is pretty tough. I don't see this as a challenge though, rather another opportunity to grow as a player.”

The Springbok Sevens will face Uganda, Kenya and Canada on Day One of the Emirates Airlines Dubai Sevens on Friday.

Jamba Ulengo of the Bulls is tackled by Kwagga Smith of the Lions

Tiger Woods’ comeback excites World no.1 golfer Dustin Johnson

American golfer Tiger Woods will make his return to competitive action at this week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

His countryman Dustin Johnson is looking forward to seeing the 14-time major champion back in action.

Woods, who turns 42 next month, has not played since February after undergoing back surgery for the fourth time in three years.

However, he will make his comeback as a member of the elite 18-man field for the invitation tournament he hosts in Albany.

Johnson, 33, played alongside Woods at Trump National Golf Club on Friday when they were also joined by US President Donald Trump for a time.

"Tiger coming back and playing well is definitely good for the game," Johnson said on Sky Sports when he first learned of Woods' return.

"I hope he does come back, he's healthy and he can come back and compete. Because he's good for the game of golf."

This year's Hero World Challenge will be played between 30 November and 3 December. Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama won last year's tournament.

The competition features a small number of top-ranked golf professionals and it is a benefit for the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Tiger Woods