Atletico Madrid confirm Antoine Griezmann deal

first_imgAntoine Griezmann has signed a one-year contract extension with Atletico Madrid, the Spanish club have confirmed.The France forward, who had been linked with a move to Manchester United, is now tied to the Rojiblancos until 2022.An Atletico statement read: “Atletico Madrid have reached an agreement with Antoine Griezmann to extend his contract by one more season.“The French striker has signed his new contract with the club, which extends now until June 30, 2022.”The 26-year-old revealed last week that he would be staying with Atletico next season in the wake of their transfer ban being upheld, saying that leaving now would be a ”dirty move”.Atletico are banned from registering any new players until next January after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a suspension imposed by FIFA for multiple breaches of global football’s rules on the registration of under-18s.Prior to that, Griezmann had looked on course to leave Spain this summer, with Europa League winners United reportedly set to meet the buy-out clause – said to be 100 million euros (£87million) – in his Atletico contract.It remains to be seen if the Red Devils will be back in for the former Real Sociedad forward next year, but Atletico are delighted their leading scorer for the past three seasons has committed himself to the club for the coming campaign.Sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero said: “It’s great news because he is one of the best players in the world and all of us Atleticos should congratulate ourselves for him staying with us.“Antoine is a different player, capable of changing a match, with spectacular qualities, a very complete player.”Griezmann, who scored 26 goals in 53 appearances for Atletico this past season, said: “I’m very happy to experience one season more with all of you.” 1 Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring for Atletico Madrid last_img read more

Monty: a Springbok rock at the back

first_imgSouth Africa’s record 53-8 victory over Australia in Johannesburg on 30 August 2008 was a bittersweet win, bringing the curtain down on the international career of Percy Montgomery, the most capped Springbok in history.Addressing a press conference after the match, Montgomery said: “Not many players get to choose when they want to leave test rugby, and I think that is what makes today so special for me, because I know that at test level it is time to go.“I have had many memorable moments in the Bok jersey and some testing ones as well, but I would never exchange one moment of either the highs or the lows.‘A privilege’“It has been a privilege to play for my country and to play in some of the best teams the world has seen,” Montgomery said. “I also feel blessed as a player to have played against so many great players and so many different countries.”“I was asked why I would come back after a high of winning the World Cup in France, but for me every time I put on a Bok jersey was a high, and I got to do that eight more times this year.”Montgomery’s career was marked by many ups and downs. He was, at one stage, the favourite target of hecklers and, arguably, the most disliked Springbok player of all. Yet when he retired he was among the most respected and liked of all players.With his trademark blonde locks and white boots, some saw him as a showboater but, in truth, Montgomery has always been a quiet man away from the field of play and, according to his teammates and coaches, he was a model professional and a wonderful teammate.Springbok debutHe began his provincial career in 1996 for Western Province as a speedy centre, and the following season made his Springbok debut against the British and Irish Lions.Like much of his early career in the green and gold, Montgomery’s performances were mixed in a 2-1 series loss. He scored a try on debut in the second test in Durban, but South Africa lost the match 18-15, despite outscoring the Lions three tries to nil. Montgomery had been entrusted with the kicking duties, but failed to land a single one, which allowed the tourists to score only their second series victory over the Boks.The following week, in the third test, he again scored a try as South Africa crushed the Lions 35-16. Jannie de Beer, who had been called up for the game because of Montgomery’s kicking woes, contributed 13 points with the boot.When Andre Joubert retired, Montgomery was moved from centre to fullback by Nick Mallett, a coach who always rated the former SACS schoolboy highly.Record-settingFrom the end of Carel du Plessis’ short reign as Springbok coach and well into Mallett’s tenure, Montgomery was an integral part of a team that equalled the world record for successive test victories with 17.That run began in August 1997, when Montgomery was still playing at centre, with a then-record 61-22 victory over Australia in Pretoria. A brilliant performance by the Springboks that yielded eight tries was highlighted by a sensational sprint and try by Montgomery that covered three-quarters the length of the field, following a quick throw-in.He was part the team that thrashed France 52-10 at the Park des Princes on 22 November 1997 in a performance that many people believe to be the finest of all Springbok performances.The following week he was in action against England at Twickenham in another record win, this time by a 29-11 margin.SensationalOn 6 December 1997, at Murrayfield, Montgomery enjoyed a sensational game against Scotland, scoring two tries and landing eight conversions for a personal haul of 26 points in a record 68-10 win over Scotland.The following season, 1998, he scored 30 points against Wales in Pretoria as the Boks crushed the Dragons 96-13.That same season Ireland were brushed aside twice and the Springboks won in Perth against the Wallabies, and in Wellington against the All Blacks, as South Africa went unbeaten to secure their first Tri-Nations title.Wales, Scotland, and Ireland were beaten on successive weekends in November before England ended SA’s unbeaten run in December at Twickenham by 13 points to seven.TargetedMontgomery helped the Springboks to a third place finish in the 1999 Rugby World Cup, but South Africa’s performances had slipped and he became widely targeted as a perceived weak link in the Springbok team when doing provincial duty for Western Province away from the friendly confines of Newlands.After a decent season in 2001, South Africa went through a poor 2002 season and Montgomery, hated by many, chose to further his career in Welsh club rugby with Newport. By this time he had already accumulated over 50 international caps.In May 2003, he was sent off for pushing a touch judge to the ground in an uncharacteristic outburst. He was handed a heavy fine and a two-year ban, but 18 months of the ban was later suspended. Despite the lessening of the ban, Montgomery missed the 2003 Rugby World Cup.The tournament proved to be a disaster for South Africa, with a fractured team exiting at the quarterfinals stage, well beaten 29-9 by New Zealand. Not long after the World Cup, Jake White was appointed to succeed Rudolf Straeuli as Springbok coach. It was a move that changed Montgomery’s career and his legacy.MasterstrokeWhite was an admirer of Montgomery’s game, and one of his first moves was to fly overseas and convince him to play for South Africa once again. It proved to be one of the biggest masterstrokes of White’s successful career as Bok coach.When he returned to the national team, it became immediately apparent that Montgomery had matured as a player during his time overseas. He had also become an accurate and reliable kicker, using a trademark short and economical run-up.He took over the goal kicking duties in the national team and was the top scorer in the Tri-Nations competition in 2004, when South Africa won the competition for the second time. The following year he topped the points scoring once more.Under White, and with Montgomery and another veteran, Os du Randt, back in the fold, the Springboks’ rugby fortunes were once again on the up.2006However, in 2006, questions were asked when Australia thrashed the Springboks 49-0 in Brisbane. That same season, however, they managed to beat the Wallabies and also ended a 15-match unbeaten run by New Zealand’s All Blacks.Confidence in the Springboks, White, and his veteran team was restored and the scene was set for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, which would be the crowning glory of Montgomery’s career, even though he was no longer the pacy young flyer he had once been.After two massive wins over England, a victory over Samoa, and middling Tri-Nations’ results, during which coach White used a second-string line-up for the Boks’ overseas games, fans were not sure what to expect from the green and gold at the World Cup.In a warm-up contest, South Africa thrashed Namibia 105-13 at Newlands as Montgomery scored a Springbok record 35 points. Then, it was off to Murrayfield where Scotland were beaten 27-3 in the Boks’ final warm-up match.Rugby World Cup 2007Montgomery scored a massive 29 points in the Springboks’ opening match at the World Cup – a 59-7 victory over Samoa – and went on to play a pivotal role in South Africa’s title winning campaign.He contributed 18 points as England were whitewashed 36-0 in a pool game and then five points as a substitute in a 30-25 victory over a feisty Tongan side. Against the USA, he weighed in with 15 points in a 64-15 win as South Africa went through their pool unbeaten.Montgomery contributed nine points in the Springboks’s 37-20 win over Fiji in the quarterfinals and followed that up with 17 in SA’s 37-13 semi-final whipping of Argentina.In a tight final, Montgomery scored 12 of South Africa’s 15 points as the Boks lifted the William Webb Ellis Trophy after a 15-6 victory over England.Highest points’ scorerMontgomery finished as the highest points scorer in the tournament – the only man to top 100 – with 105 points in the Springboks’ seven wins. However, his contribution amounted to much more than kicking penalties and conversions.His tactical acumen enabled South Africa to play rugby from favourable field positions, and his safe and steady play at the back gave the Bok backline a settled and solid look. While the defence was strong, Montgomery’s intelligent running lines also enabled South Africa to excel on attack and score 33 tries – second only to New Zealand, who benefited from two huge wins over minnows Portugal and Romania.In the 2008 season, Montgomery played mostly off the bench. He was given only one start against New Zealand at Newlands, but it marked his 100th test for the Springboks, making him the first man to achieve the milestone for South Africa, and only the ninth player in rugby history to reach three figures.He retired with a host of important South African records to his name. They included: Most caps – 102 Most points – 893 (Naas Botha is second with 312) Most conversions – 153 Most penalties – 148 Most points in a test – 35 versus Namibia In addition, Montgomery also scored 25 tries and kicked six drop goals.His contribution to rugby, South Africa, and rugby in South Africa was recognised in October 2008 when he was named to receive National Orders.After his retirement, Montgomery joined the Springboks as a kicking coach.Percy Montgomery goes down in history as not only a Springbok legend, but a legend of the game of rugby.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Press release: Brand South Africa engages with citizens in the diaspora in Australia

first_imgMelbourne, above, will be the second stop on Brand South Africa’s GSA Australia trip. (Image: Alan Lam, Flickr)Johannesburg, Friday 03 March 2017 – Brand South Africa will, from 7-9 March 2017, engage with Global South Africans, or citizens in the diaspora, in Australia.In executing its mandate to position South Africa positively and manage the reputation of the Nation Brand, Brand South Africa participates in and organises a series of engagements both domestically and internationally. These engagements are aimed at highlighting the status of the Nation Brand while encouraging citizens to coalesce around efforts to strengthen the country’s reputation and profile. Through this, it is anticipated that South Africans can become active citizens who are able to play their part in this national endeavour.Explaining the importance of South Africans in the diaspora, Brand South Africa’s CEO Dr Kingsley Makhubela says, “South Africans living abroad are one of the most important constituencies because of their ability to promote and profile the country positively. Brand South Africa’s research indicates that there are approximately 150 000 South Africans living in Australia and it is for this reason that Brand South Africa will meet with citizens in Sydney and Melbourne on 7 and 9 March 2017 respectively.”“As part of the engagements in Sydney and Melbourne, Brand South Africa will share an analysis of the performance of the Nation Brand. Through this process it is anticipated that Global South Africans can be encouraged to fly the South African flag and therefore contribute to collective efforts promote South Africa as a globally competitive business and tourist destination,” concluded Dr Makhubela.Follow the conversation on #BrandSADownUnder.Interviews can be arranged with identified spokespeople.For more information, please contact:Tsabeng NthiteTel: +27 11 712 5061Mobile: +27 (0) 76 371 6810Email: [email protected] www.brandsouthafrica.comlast_img read more

Yuki Bhambri ready to lead India’s charge

first_imgYuki Bhambri is barely out of his teens but India’s No.1 singles player reflects maturity beyond his years.At 20, he will be spearheading India’s Asia-Oceania Group 1 relegation play-off tie against New Zealand, starting on Friday, but insists he does not feel any pressure playing alongside a bunch of youngsters.In fact, Yuki does not prefer to see himself as the No.1 player in the Indian squad. “It’s fun to be with the team. Having people of the same age group helps to be yourself. I don’t think of myself as the No. 1 player. I don’t think there is any pressure on me,” Yuki told Mail Today.”We feel pretty equal game-wise. I know the other boys are also quite capable of winning the matches. This team is the future of India.”I have seen a little bit of the New Zealand players on tour. A lot of my game is based on anticipation. Once I get into the match I can spot the weaknesses pretty early and play accordingly,” said Yuki, who rose to a career high singles ranking of 179 on Tuesday.Yuki made his Davis Cup debut in 2009 against South Africa when he beat a higher ranked Ven der Merwe.Though India lost their tie against Uzbekistan earlier this year, Yuki, after losing to Farrukh Dustov, managed to pull off a good win against Denis Istomin in the reverse singles.The Delhi boy said that playing in a team which had seniors like Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi has taught him a lot. “There is lot to learn from the seniors. You pick up the small things along the way. It is nothing special but by just watching them play, you get to learn so much. Being able to beat world no. 43 (Istomin) was a big confidence for me,” he said.”To represent the country is huge. It gives a lot of satisfaction knowing that we can contribute to the team’s success. It gives an extra motivation.”Yuki’s confidence stems from his good showing this year. “I am a better player than what I was seven to nine months ago. I feel I belong there. I have been able to cement my place in the Challengers and now I need to take the next step.””If I can continue playing like this then definitely I can be a lot higher in rankings. Breaking into the top 100, and trying to be seeded in the qualifiers in the Grand Slams are my next goal.”Yuki won the maiden ATP challenger in Fergana, Uzbekistan in May. The 2009 junior Australian Open champion had set the bar high very early in his career. He was up there with the likes of Bernard Tomic and Ryan Harrison in his junior days.While they have made the transition smoothly to the higher level, Yuki has fallen behind, pegged back by injuries and lack of opportunities. He is, however, getting back to the groove. “Honestly I cannot compare myself with them (Tomic, Harrison). The support they have been getting is absolutely nothing to what I have. I have pretty much made it on my own,” Yuki said.”Somebody like Tomic has (Patric) Rafter as his coach in Davis Cup. Harris is rubbing shoulders with (Andy) Roddick and Bryan brothers. So it is something that has not really bothered me.”I have played a lot with them in my junior days. It just makes me believe that I can be up there too and it is just a matter of time before I play at that level,” Yuki said.advertisementlast_img read more