Empezó la Champions League

Con los duelos eliminatorios para pasar a la ronda de grupos arrancó la Champions

Prediksi Chiangrai United vs Bali United: Tamu Yakin Menang

Chiangrai United dan Bali United sama-sama berusaha untuk lolos ke putaran final Liga Champions Asia pertama mereka.

OPINIÓN | Josep Pedrerol: Messi lo quiere todo

Después de ver al Real Madrid levantar dos Champions Leagues de forma consecutiva, el Barcelona y especialmente Messi están intratables. La ambición del argentino no tiene límites.

OPINIÓN | Josep Pedrerol: Messi lo quiere todo

Después de ver al Real Madrid levantar dos Champions Leagues de forma consecutiva, el Barcelona y especialmente Messi están intratables. La ambición del argentino no tiene límites.

OPINIÓN | Josep Pedrerol: Messi lo quiere todo

Después de ver al Real Madrid levantar dos Champions Leagues de forma consecutiva, el Barcelona y especialmente Messi están intratables. La ambición del argentino no tiene límites.

OPINIÓN | Josep Pedrerol: Messi lo quiere todo

Después de ver al Real Madrid levantar dos Champions Leagues de forma consecutiva, el Barcelona y especialmente Messi están intratables. La ambición del argentino no tiene límites.

Manchester United retain status as world's richest club - by just £1.7 million

Manchester United have held on to top spot as the world’s richest club, by just £1.7m from Real Madrid, thanks to their victory in the Europa League final against Ajax. It is the 10th time United have been top of the league, compiled by Deloitte, for the highest revenue generating club in the world, although the winning margin has never been smaller. United, guided by chief executive, Ed Woodward, generated revenue of €676m (£581m), pipping Champions League winners Real Madrid, even though the Spanish giants’ success in Europe’s most prestigious club competition saw their revenue grow in the last 12 months by 54.5m euros. And it was United’s own success in Europe that meant they clung on to top spot as their victory in the Europa League final meant they received €44.5m in payments from Uefa, four times more than Atlético Madrid received in 2011-12 for winning the same competition. As expected United and Real Madrid are joined by Barcelona to complete the top three places, with Bayern Munich fourth. Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “European football continues to flourish financially, with almost half a billion Euro of revenue growth for the top 20 Money League clubs. And at the top, we’ve seen the closest ever battle for the top spot, with Manchester United pipping Real Madrid to retain their title of the highest revenue generating club in the world. United generated £581m in 2016/17. “United’s ability to retain first position is all the more impressive against the backdrop of the weakened pound against the Euro, and with both Real Madrid and Barcelona forecasting further revenue growth in 2017-18, the battle at the top will likely come down to on-pitch performance again next year. United were able to pip Real Madrid to the title thanks to money earned winning the Europa League Credit: AP “With all three clubs through to the round of 16 of the Uefa Champions League, it may be as simple as the club that goes furthest in the competition will have the best chance of topping the Money League next year.” Although the traditional big four sit at the top of the table, the Premier League’s extravagant television deal – which is likely to increase again when it is renegotiated later this year - means there are ten English clubs among the top 20 richest clubs in the world. That is a record for one country, with Southampton (18th, £182.3m) making their debut Money League appearance. Manchester City consolidated their place in the top five and Leicester City rose to 14th, from 20th last year, with television revenue the biggest single revenue stream for all of the 20 richest clubs Whilst all Premier League clubs benefited from the improved broadcast deals, it was Southampton and Leicester’s performance in European competitions which saw them gain their highest ever respective positions. Southampton’s broadcast revenue alone is greater than the total revenue of the 26th ranked team in this year’s Money League (Crystal Palace, £140.9m). Elsewhere, Arsenal climb above Paris St-Germain into sixth and Tottenham Hotspur rise one place to 11th. Chelsea and Liverpool remain in eighth and ninth respectively with West Ham United in 17th and Everton in 20th. Outside of the top 20, there are four more English clubs ranked 21 – 30, with AFC Bournemouth in 28th place. The Cherries’ revenue of £136.8m in 2016-17 is £135.7m higher than their equivalent figure in the first ever Money League in 1996-97. Paris Saint-Germain slipped down to seventh, with Arsenal moving above them, but another French club, Olympique Lyonnais, are resurgent, ranking just outside the top 20 after benefiting from increased revenue from their move to a new stadium and a successful run to the semi-final of the Europa League. AC Milan miss out for the first time on a top 20 ranking, but city rivals Internazionale move up four places to 15th after significant commercial revenue growth, following a takeover by the Chinese company, Suning.  Performance in Uefa competitions was key to Napoli taking 19th place and AS Roma dropping out of the Money League for only the third time since the Money League analysis began 21 years ago.

Manchester United retain status as world's richest club - by just £1.7 million

Manchester United have held on to top spot as the world’s richest club, by just £1.7m from Real Madrid, thanks to their victory in the Europa League final against Ajax. It is the 10th time United have been top of the league, compiled by Deloitte, for the highest revenue generating club in the world, although the winning margin has never been smaller. United, guided by chief executive, Ed Woodward, generated revenue of €676m (£581m), pipping Champions League winners Real Madrid, even though the Spanish giants’ success in Europe’s most prestigious club competition saw their revenue grow in the last 12 months by 54.5m euros. And it was United’s own success in Europe that meant they clung on to top spot as their victory in the Europa League final meant they received €44.5m in payments from Uefa, four times more than Atlético Madrid received in 2011-12 for winning the same competition. As expected United and Real Madrid are joined by Barcelona to complete the top three places, with Bayern Munich fourth. Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “European football continues to flourish financially, with almost half a billion Euro of revenue growth for the top 20 Money League clubs. And at the top, we’ve seen the closest ever battle for the top spot, with Manchester United pipping Real Madrid to retain their title of the highest revenue generating club in the world. United generated £581m in 2016/17. “United’s ability to retain first position is all the more impressive against the backdrop of the weakened pound against the Euro, and with both Real Madrid and Barcelona forecasting further revenue growth in 2017-18, the battle at the top will likely come down to on-pitch performance again next year. United were able to pip Real Madrid to the title thanks to money earned winning the Europa League Credit: AP “With all three clubs through to the round of 16 of the Uefa Champions League, it may be as simple as the club that goes furthest in the competition will have the best chance of topping the Money League next year.” Although the traditional big four sit at the top of the table, the Premier League’s extravagant television deal – which is likely to increase again when it is renegotiated later this year - means there are ten English clubs among the top 20 richest clubs in the world. That is a record for one country, with Southampton (18th, £182.3m) making their debut Money League appearance. Manchester City consolidated their place in the top five and Leicester City rose to 14th, from 20th last year, with television revenue the biggest single revenue stream for all of the 20 richest clubs Whilst all Premier League clubs benefited from the improved broadcast deals, it was Southampton and Leicester’s performance in European competitions which saw them gain their highest ever respective positions. Southampton’s broadcast revenue alone is greater than the total revenue of the 26th ranked team in this year’s Money League (Crystal Palace, £140.9m). Elsewhere, Arsenal climb above Paris St-Germain into sixth and Tottenham Hotspur rise one place to 11th. Chelsea and Liverpool remain in eighth and ninth respectively with West Ham United in 17th and Everton in 20th. Outside of the top 20, there are four more English clubs ranked 21 – 30, with AFC Bournemouth in 28th place. The Cherries’ revenue of £136.8m in 2016-17 is £135.7m higher than their equivalent figure in the first ever Money League in 1996-97. Paris Saint-Germain slipped down to seventh, with Arsenal moving above them, but another French club, Olympique Lyonnais, are resurgent, ranking just outside the top 20 after benefiting from increased revenue from their move to a new stadium and a successful run to the semi-final of the Europa League. AC Milan miss out for the first time on a top 20 ranking, but city rivals Internazionale move up four places to 15th after significant commercial revenue growth, following a takeover by the Chinese company, Suning.  Performance in Uefa competitions was key to Napoli taking 19th place and AS Roma dropping out of the Money League for only the third time since the Money League analysis began 21 years ago.

Ospreys sack head coach Steve Tandy after Champions Cup exit

Ospreys sack head coach Steve Tandy after Champions Cup exit

John Stones warns Man City that fatigue could be their biggest opponent in stellar season

As Manchester City turn their attention to their Carabao Cup semi-final against Bristol City in their attempt to secure an unprecedented clean sweep of silverware, John Stones has warned they could pay the price for trying to make history. No English club has ever won all four competitions available to them in one season, but rarely has a team been as omnipotent over the course of a campaign as Pep Guardiola’s side. Stones, though, is aware that fatigue could become their toughest opponent as they emerge from a gruelling mid-winter schedule, with the physical demands placed on players like Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne, who have featured in virtually every fixture since August, bound to have an impact. City have already played 35 games this season and if they reach the final of the League Cup, FA Cup and the Champions League, they will need to play another 28 before the end of the season. That figure could rise again if they are forced into a replay in the FA Cup and does not take into consideration that most City players are also regular starters for their international sides. Stones believes that City’s only defeats this season – away to Shakthar Donestsk in the Champions League in December and Liverpool in the Premier League earlier this month – were partly down to tiredness. “We obviously wanted to go unbeaten through the whole Premier League season,” said Stones, who has returned after a two-month absence with a hamstring injury. “I’m sure every team does but it’s such a difficult thing to do. The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good "The four competitions we’re still in, the amount of games compared to some other teams, you know it takes a toll, no matter how much you rotate the squad. "I think sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up and say 'we gave it our best shot' – which we did. "For me personally it wasn’t an added pressure. I think you kind of want to make it happen, it’s not so much a pressure, but on the other hand you could say it’s a bit of pressure that’s been released from us. "Some people might’ve been thinking it: could we go unbeaten and when is it going to happen? Obviously, we lost at Liverpool - but it was good to get back that winning feeling.” City were far too strong for a limited Newcastle team last weekend, cruising to a 3-1 win, and Guardiola will rest players against Bristol City on Tuesday night. The Championship side were far tougher to beat than anyone anticipated in the first leg, but City head to the west country with a 2-1 aggregate lead and they will not under-estimate Lee Johnson’s side. “We already know about them as the first game was not so easy,” said Alexander Zinchenko, who made his first league start against Newcastle. “They defended well and at Bristol it will be a more difficult game than here. “Manchester United losing there was a surprise for us but to be honest everyone who watched the game could see Bristol City played well. They have showed us they can beat us.”

The Overwatch League | Inside the 10 million viewer tournament looking to revolutionise esports

Esports tournaments are forever growing both in size and maturity. The latest tournament to start is a testament to that. The Overwatch League, brainchild of World of Warcraft developers Blizzard Entertainment, is a professional esports league where teams are fighting it out in weekly matches for a share of the $3.5 million prize pool. The format is a similar to what you’d expect from any professional sports league, if a little more global. Twelve teams representing cities from around the world are split across two divisions, Pacific and Atlantic, facing off twice a week for points in the league table. The top six then move on to the playoffs, fighting to become the Overwatch League's inaugural champions. For the uninitiated, Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter, where two teams of six choose ‘heroes’ to play as, each with their own unique skills and abilities, and complete objectives on different maps while blasting away at their foes. Some heroes, like the giant knight Reinhardt, are 'tanks', built like the locks of rugby union, made to withstand the enemy’s force and allow more nimble players to shine. Others are supports like the angelic Mercy, healing allies, while many offensive and defensive players, like the pistol-wielding cowboy McCree or the sniper Widowmaker, are designed to eliminate enemy players with high damage guns and abilities. For newcomers, the variety of characters is by far the hardest thing to get used to when watching the Overwatch League. For anyone who is a regular player at home, it all comes naturally, but if you are new to the game, it is perhaps a set of rules that you can’t instantly pick up. Everyone’s role is not dictated by something like a position on the field, but the character they’ve chosen to play as. The UK is represented by London Spitfire, who have began the season in fine form But, again taking inspiration from traditional sports broadcasts, the Overwatch League's replays show the biggest moments from different camera angles. The commentators draw your attention to the most important things going on, and analysts are best-in-class for unpicking strategies, successes, and failures. The games so far have been action-packed, too. It’s too early in the season to really make any bold claims, but three teams: London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, and Seoul Dynasty, have proven themselves to be the front-runners winning all four of their opening matches in convincing style. For those at home, matches are streamed every weekend from Thursday to Saturday live on Twitch, after Blizzard and the streaming channel struck a record $90m broadcasting deal for esports. It is also watchable through a mobile app and the official site, which also has previous games available to watch on-demand. It all takes place in the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, a converted TV studio complete with cameras for the audience, VIP boxes for team owners and giant LED screens that both help it look more professional and show off the enormous amount of money that has gone into the Overwatch League. In person, the arena itself isn’t as large as it appears on-camera --there is space for 400 spectators and you don’t quite get the cavernous roar of a stadium in a TV studio-- but it creates a splendid atmosphere nonetheless. The crowd gasps in awe as the LED screens light up to show off the maps teams would play on, and for the people watching at home, it looks bright, professional, and clean. Spectators cheer on the teams at the Blizzard Arena And when something spectacular during a match, the crowd cheer wildly in response. It’s surely something that will only improve as time goes on, particularly as teams foster communities and create their own identities, but simply having a crowd roaring in appreciation when a player does well is exactly what you need  - watching a video game might not sound fascinating to the unfamiliar, but it is unlikely you could resist being drawn in when there is 400 excitable fans around you. That translates over to the experience if you’re watching from home, too. Just hearing the crowd adds a lot to the experience, something esports tournaments have learned to appreciate over the years. In many ways, that’s what the Overwatch League is: the culmination of the many lessons the esports industry has learned about how to show a video game to an audience. The commentators, for example, or more like a sports show than anything, bridging the line between the information you already know (or you’re expected to know) and an in-depth knowledge, with desk analysts going over key moments between games. They are the frontline of many fixes the Overwatch League has in place for the difficult task of explaining competitive gaming. Expert commentators describe the action on the casting desk When presenting a video game, one of the first challenges is in perspective. Traditionally, in-game spectators acted as the camera operators, an invisible force dictating what was seen - for the Overwatch League, there is a team of six spectators, each transitioning from eye-in-the-sky cameras to the first-person perspectives of individual players. On the one hand, the latter is fascinating. Imagine seeing a football player’s perspective as they run up for a penalty, or a tennis player’s perspective as they serve. It is perhaps an insight that more traditional sport cannot impart, but it’s also unstable, constantly wobbling and jerking from side to side, giving you a limited field of view. Much of the games are broadcast from this perspective, meaning that if you’re not used the first-person video games, it’s jarring, and many of visual cues don’t translate to someone new. There is a top-down view of the whole map, which lacks all detail, and a third person camera, which goes sadly underused - for the most part, perspective jumps from person to person, looking through their eyes. It is in these ways that Overwatch won’t be able to convince all sports fans to start watching. Despite the people involved (New York Excelsior, one of the teams, is owned by the New York Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon, for example), and despite the professionalism in these broadcasts: it’s still a video game and not everyone knows how to watch that. The Overwatch League still has some work to do on that front and it will be fascinating to see how Blizzard approach these challenges as the season progresses But for the fans of Overwatch, and the 10 million people Blizzard claim watched the Overwatch League’s opening weekend, it is pretty much everything they could have wanted. There are certainly other issues for the league to tackle - the team rosters are all male, raising questions of accessibility and openness, the league has yet to publish rules and a code of conduct, and retaining that audience through the season is a challenge we are yet to see the results of. Surely it will improve, and there is a real chance that the more casual viewer is not the audience for the Overwatch League yet. Having a 10 million-strong opening weekend, though, is proof that it’s ticked the right boxes for those who are already converted to the esports revolution.

The Overwatch League | Inside the 10 million viewer tournament looking to revolutionise esports

Esports tournaments are forever growing both in size and maturity. The latest tournament to start is a testament to that. The Overwatch League, brainchild of World of Warcraft developers Blizzard Entertainment, is a professional esports league where teams are fighting it out in weekly matches for a share of the $3.5 million prize pool. The format is a similar to what you’d expect from any professional sports league, if a little more global. Twelve teams representing cities from around the world are split across two divisions, Pacific and Atlantic, facing off twice a week for points in the league table. The top six then move on to the playoffs, fighting to become the Overwatch League's inaugural champions. For the uninitiated, Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter, where two teams of six choose ‘heroes’ to play as, each with their own unique skills and abilities, and complete objectives on different maps while blasting away at their foes. Some heroes, like the giant knight Reinhardt, are 'tanks', built like the locks of rugby union, made to withstand the enemy’s force and allow more nimble players to shine. Others are supports like the angelic Mercy, healing allies, while many offensive and defensive players, like the pistol-wielding cowboy McCree or the sniper Widowmaker, are designed to eliminate enemy players with high damage guns and abilities. For newcomers, the variety of characters is by far the hardest thing to get used to when watching the Overwatch League. For anyone who is a regular player at home, it all comes naturally, but if you are new to the game, it is perhaps a set of rules that you can’t instantly pick up. Everyone’s role is not dictated by something like a position on the field, but the character they’ve chosen to play as. The UK is represented by London Spitfire, who have began the season in fine form But, again taking inspiration from traditional sports broadcasts, the Overwatch League's replays show the biggest moments from different camera angles. The commentators draw your attention to the most important things going on, and analysts are best-in-class for unpicking strategies, successes, and failures. The games so far have been action-packed, too. It’s too early in the season to really make any bold claims, but three teams: London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, and Seoul Dynasty, have proven themselves to be the front-runners winning all four of their opening matches in convincing style. For those at home, matches are streamed every weekend from Thursday to Saturday live on Twitch, after Blizzard and the streaming channel struck a record $90m broadcasting deal for esports. It is also watchable through a mobile app and the official site, which also has previous games available to watch on-demand. It all takes place in the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, a converted TV studio complete with cameras for the audience, VIP boxes for team owners and giant LED screens that both help it look more professional and show off the enormous amount of money that has gone into the Overwatch League. In person, the arena itself isn’t as large as it appears on-camera --there is space for 400 spectators and you don’t quite get the cavernous roar of a stadium in a TV studio-- but it creates a splendid atmosphere nonetheless. The crowd gasps in awe as the LED screens light up to show off the maps teams would play on, and for the people watching at home, it looks bright, professional, and clean. Spectators cheer on the teams at the Blizzard Arena And when something spectacular during a match, the crowd cheer wildly in response. It’s surely something that will only improve as time goes on, particularly as teams foster communities and create their own identities, but simply having a crowd roaring in appreciation when a player does well is exactly what you need  - watching a video game might not sound fascinating to the unfamiliar, but it is unlikely you could resist being drawn in when there is 400 excitable fans around you. That translates over to the experience if you’re watching from home, too. Just hearing the crowd adds a lot to the experience, something esports tournaments have learned to appreciate over the years. In many ways, that’s what the Overwatch League is: the culmination of the many lessons the esports industry has learned about how to show a video game to an audience. The commentators, for example, or more like a sports show than anything, bridging the line between the information you already know (or you’re expected to know) and an in-depth knowledge, with desk analysts going over key moments between games. They are the frontline of many fixes the Overwatch League has in place for the difficult task of explaining competitive gaming. Expert commentators describe the action on the casting desk When presenting a video game, one of the first challenges is in perspective. Traditionally, in-game spectators acted as the camera operators, an invisible force dictating what was seen - for the Overwatch League, there is a team of six spectators, each transitioning from eye-in-the-sky cameras to the first-person perspectives of individual players. On the one hand, the latter is fascinating. Imagine seeing a football player’s perspective as they run up for a penalty, or a tennis player’s perspective as they serve. It is perhaps an insight that more traditional sport cannot impart, but it’s also unstable, constantly wobbling and jerking from side to side, giving you a limited field of view. Much of the games are broadcast from this perspective, meaning that if you’re not used the first-person video games, it’s jarring, and many of visual cues don’t translate to someone new. There is a top-down view of the whole map, which lacks all detail, and a third person camera, which goes sadly underused - for the most part, perspective jumps from person to person, looking through their eyes. It is in these ways that Overwatch won’t be able to convince all sports fans to start watching. Despite the people involved (New York Excelsior, one of the teams, is owned by the New York Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon, for example), and despite the professionalism in these broadcasts: it’s still a video game and not everyone knows how to watch that. The Overwatch League still has some work to do on that front and it will be fascinating to see how Blizzard approach these challenges as the season progresses But for the fans of Overwatch, and the 10 million people Blizzard claim watched the Overwatch League’s opening weekend, it is pretty much everything they could have wanted. There are certainly other issues for the league to tackle - the team rosters are all male, raising questions of accessibility and openness, the league has yet to publish rules and a code of conduct, and retaining that audience through the season is a challenge we are yet to see the results of. Surely it will improve, and there is a real chance that the more casual viewer is not the audience for the Overwatch League yet. Having a 10 million-strong opening weekend, though, is proof that it’s ticked the right boxes for those who are already converted to the esports revolution.

The Overwatch League | Inside the 10 million viewer tournament looking to revolutionise esports

Esports tournaments are forever growing both in size and maturity. The latest tournament to start is a testament to that. The Overwatch League, brainchild of World of Warcraft developers Blizzard Entertainment, is a professional esports league where teams are fighting it out in weekly matches for a share of the $3.5 million prize pool. The format is a similar to what you’d expect from any professional sports league, if a little more global. Twelve teams representing cities from around the world are split across two divisions, Pacific and Atlantic, facing off twice a week for points in the league table. The top six then move on to the playoffs, fighting to become the Overwatch League's inaugural champions. For the uninitiated, Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter, where two teams of six choose ‘heroes’ to play as, each with their own unique skills and abilities, and complete objectives on different maps while blasting away at their foes. Some heroes, like the giant knight Reinhardt, are 'tanks', built like the locks of rugby union, made to withstand the enemy’s force and allow more nimble players to shine. Others are supports like the angelic Mercy, healing allies, while many offensive and defensive players, like the pistol-wielding cowboy McCree or the sniper Widowmaker, are designed to eliminate enemy players with high damage guns and abilities. For newcomers, the variety of characters is by far the hardest thing to get used to when watching the Overwatch League. For anyone who is a regular player at home, it all comes naturally, but if you are new to the game, it is perhaps a set of rules that you can’t instantly pick up. Everyone’s role is not dictated by something like a position on the field, but the character they’ve chosen to play as. The UK is represented by London Spitfire, who have began the season in fine form But, again taking inspiration from traditional sports broadcasts, the Overwatch League's replays show the biggest moments from different camera angles. The commentators draw your attention to the most important things going on, and analysts are best-in-class for unpicking strategies, successes, and failures. The games so far have been action-packed, too. It’s too early in the season to really make any bold claims, but three teams: London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, and Seoul Dynasty, have proven themselves to be the front-runners winning all four of their opening matches in convincing style. For those at home, matches are streamed every weekend from Thursday to Saturday live on Twitch, after Blizzard and the streaming channel struck a record $90m broadcasting deal for esports. It is also watchable through a mobile app and the official site, which also has previous games available to watch on-demand. It all takes place in the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, a converted TV studio complete with cameras for the audience, VIP boxes for team owners and giant LED screens that both help it look more professional and show off the enormous amount of money that has gone into the Overwatch League. In person, the arena itself isn’t as large as it appears on-camera --there is space for 400 spectators and you don’t quite get the cavernous roar of a stadium in a TV studio-- but it creates a splendid atmosphere nonetheless. The crowd gasps in awe as the LED screens light up to show off the maps teams would play on, and for the people watching at home, it looks bright, professional, and clean. Spectators cheer on the teams at the Blizzard Arena And when something spectacular during a match, the crowd cheer wildly in response. It’s surely something that will only improve as time goes on, particularly as teams foster communities and create their own identities, but simply having a crowd roaring in appreciation when a player does well is exactly what you need  - watching a video game might not sound fascinating to the unfamiliar, but it is unlikely you could resist being drawn in when there is 400 excitable fans around you. That translates over to the experience if you’re watching from home, too. Just hearing the crowd adds a lot to the experience, something esports tournaments have learned to appreciate over the years. In many ways, that’s what the Overwatch League is: the culmination of the many lessons the esports industry has learned about how to show a video game to an audience. The commentators, for example, or more like a sports show than anything, bridging the line between the information you already know (or you’re expected to know) and an in-depth knowledge, with desk analysts going over key moments between games. They are the frontline of many fixes the Overwatch League has in place for the difficult task of explaining competitive gaming. Expert commentators describe the action on the casting desk When presenting a video game, one of the first challenges is in perspective. Traditionally, in-game spectators acted as the camera operators, an invisible force dictating what was seen - for the Overwatch League, there is a team of six spectators, each transitioning from eye-in-the-sky cameras to the first-person perspectives of individual players. On the one hand, the latter is fascinating. Imagine seeing a football player’s perspective as they run up for a penalty, or a tennis player’s perspective as they serve. It is perhaps an insight that more traditional sport cannot impart, but it’s also unstable, constantly wobbling and jerking from side to side, giving you a limited field of view. Much of the games are broadcast from this perspective, meaning that if you’re not used the first-person video games, it’s jarring, and many of visual cues don’t translate to someone new. There is a top-down view of the whole map, which lacks all detail, and a third person camera, which goes sadly underused - for the most part, perspective jumps from person to person, looking through their eyes. It is in these ways that Overwatch won’t be able to convince all sports fans to start watching. Despite the people involved (New York Excelsior, one of the teams, is owned by the New York Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon, for example), and despite the professionalism in these broadcasts: it’s still a video game and not everyone knows how to watch that. The Overwatch League still has some work to do on that front and it will be fascinating to see how Blizzard approach these challenges as the season progresses But for the fans of Overwatch, and the 10 million people Blizzard claim watched the Overwatch League’s opening weekend, it is pretty much everything they could have wanted. There are certainly other issues for the league to tackle - the team rosters are all male, raising questions of accessibility and openness, the league has yet to publish rules and a code of conduct, and retaining that audience through the season is a challenge we are yet to see the results of. Surely it will improve, and there is a real chance that the more casual viewer is not the audience for the Overwatch League yet. Having a 10 million-strong opening weekend, though, is proof that it’s ticked the right boxes for those who are already converted to the esports revolution.

The Overwatch League | Inside the 10 million viewer tournament looking to revolutionise esports

Esports tournaments are forever growing both in size and maturity. The latest tournament to start is a testament to that. The Overwatch League, brainchild of World of Warcraft developers Blizzard Entertainment, is a professional esports league where teams are fighting it out in weekly matches for a share of the $3.5 million prize pool. The format is a similar to what you’d expect from any professional sports league, if a little more global. Twelve teams representing cities from around the world are split across two divisions, Pacific and Atlantic, facing off twice a week for points in the league table. The top six then move on to the playoffs, fighting to become the Overwatch League's inaugural champions. For the uninitiated, Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter, where two teams of six choose ‘heroes’ to play as, each with their own unique skills and abilities, and complete objectives on different maps while blasting away at their foes. Some heroes, like the giant knight Reinhardt, are 'tanks', built like the locks of rugby union, made to withstand the enemy’s force and allow more nimble players to shine. Others are supports like the angelic Mercy, healing allies, while many offensive and defensive players, like the pistol-wielding cowboy McCree or the sniper Widowmaker, are designed to eliminate enemy players with high damage guns and abilities. For newcomers, the variety of characters is by far the hardest thing to get used to when watching the Overwatch League. For anyone who is a regular player at home, it all comes naturally, but if you are new to the game, it is perhaps a set of rules that you can’t instantly pick up. Everyone’s role is not dictated by something like a position on the field, but the character they’ve chosen to play as. The UK is represented by London Spitfire, who have began the season in fine form But, again taking inspiration from traditional sports broadcasts, the Overwatch League's replays show the biggest moments from different camera angles. The commentators draw your attention to the most important things going on, and analysts are best-in-class for unpicking strategies, successes, and failures. The games so far have been action-packed, too. It’s too early in the season to really make any bold claims, but three teams: London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, and Seoul Dynasty, have proven themselves to be the front-runners winning all four of their opening matches in convincing style. For those at home, matches are streamed every weekend from Thursday to Saturday live on Twitch, after Blizzard and the streaming channel struck a record $90m broadcasting deal for esports. It is also watchable through a mobile app and the official site, which also has previous games available to watch on-demand. It all takes place in the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, a converted TV studio complete with cameras for the audience, VIP boxes for team owners and giant LED screens that both help it look more professional and show off the enormous amount of money that has gone into the Overwatch League. In person, the arena itself isn’t as large as it appears on-camera --there is space for 400 spectators and you don’t quite get the cavernous roar of a stadium in a TV studio-- but it creates a splendid atmosphere nonetheless. The crowd gasps in awe as the LED screens light up to show off the maps teams would play on, and for the people watching at home, it looks bright, professional, and clean. Spectators cheer on the teams at the Blizzard Arena And when something spectacular during a match, the crowd cheer wildly in response. It’s surely something that will only improve as time goes on, particularly as teams foster communities and create their own identities, but simply having a crowd roaring in appreciation when a player does well is exactly what you need  - watching a video game might not sound fascinating to the unfamiliar, but it is unlikely you could resist being drawn in when there is 400 excitable fans around you. That translates over to the experience if you’re watching from home, too. Just hearing the crowd adds a lot to the experience, something esports tournaments have learned to appreciate over the years. In many ways, that’s what the Overwatch League is: the culmination of the many lessons the esports industry has learned about how to show a video game to an audience. The commentators, for example, or more like a sports show than anything, bridging the line between the information you already know (or you’re expected to know) and an in-depth knowledge, with desk analysts going over key moments between games. They are the frontline of many fixes the Overwatch League has in place for the difficult task of explaining competitive gaming. Expert commentators describe the action on the casting desk When presenting a video game, one of the first challenges is in perspective. Traditionally, in-game spectators acted as the camera operators, an invisible force dictating what was seen - for the Overwatch League, there is a team of six spectators, each transitioning from eye-in-the-sky cameras to the first-person perspectives of individual players. On the one hand, the latter is fascinating. Imagine seeing a football player’s perspective as they run up for a penalty, or a tennis player’s perspective as they serve. It is perhaps an insight that more traditional sport cannot impart, but it’s also unstable, constantly wobbling and jerking from side to side, giving you a limited field of view. Much of the games are broadcast from this perspective, meaning that if you’re not used the first-person video games, it’s jarring, and many of visual cues don’t translate to someone new. There is a top-down view of the whole map, which lacks all detail, and a third person camera, which goes sadly underused - for the most part, perspective jumps from person to person, looking through their eyes. It is in these ways that Overwatch won’t be able to convince all sports fans to start watching. Despite the people involved (New York Excelsior, one of the teams, is owned by the New York Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon, for example), and despite the professionalism in these broadcasts: it’s still a video game and not everyone knows how to watch that. The Overwatch League still has some work to do on that front and it will be fascinating to see how Blizzard approach these challenges as the season progresses But for the fans of Overwatch, and the 10 million people Blizzard claim watched the Overwatch League’s opening weekend, it is pretty much everything they could have wanted. There are certainly other issues for the league to tackle - the team rosters are all male, raising questions of accessibility and openness, the league has yet to publish rules and a code of conduct, and retaining that audience through the season is a challenge we are yet to see the results of. Surely it will improve, and there is a real chance that the more casual viewer is not the audience for the Overwatch League yet. Having a 10 million-strong opening weekend, though, is proof that it’s ticked the right boxes for those who are already converted to the esports revolution.

Kevin De Bruyne signs new six-year Manchester City contract and beats United to their big reveal

Kevin De Bruyne is targeting a  treble of trophies with Manchester City this season after the runaway Premier League leaders announced on Monday night that the Belgium midfielder had signed a new five-year contract. De Bruyne’s deal will commit him to the Etihad Stadium until June 2023 and will be worth £280,000 a week with bonuses and image rights, although that figure could rise to £18 million annually if City sweep the board this term. City’s 6pm announcement on De Bruyne came at almost exactly the same time as rivals Manchester United confirmed the signing of Alexis Sánchez, the Chile striker for whom they had pulled out of the running after balking at the inflated costs of the deal. Sánchez’s demands would have dwarfed De Bruyne’s earnings and City were fearful of destabilising their wage structure. They are 12 points clear of United at the top of the Premier League and will take a 2-1 lead into the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Tuesday evening. Pep Guardiola’s men are also in the Champions League round of 16, where they face a favourable tie against Swiss side Basel, and play Cardiff City in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday. De Bruyne is hungry for silverware. “I have to go further with what I’m doing as a player,” he said. “Trying to progress and trying to do the things so my team can win  titles. We are in a good way this  season but obviously the biggest part is still coming. GET EXCITED! ��@DeBruyneKev has today signed a new contract at the Club! INFO ▶️ https://t.co/NGc7Vqh62x#mancitypic.twitter.com/bj1YuseMgG— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 22, 2018 “Hopefully at the end of the  season, we will be celebrating with a few titles.” Real Madrid and Barcelona were both interested in De Bruyne but neither were given any encouragement in their pursuit of the 26-year-old, who has been arguably the standout performer in the Premier League this season and established himself as one of the world’s best midfielders. “It was pretty easy [the decision to stay],” admitted De Bruyne, a £55m signing from Wolfsburg in 2015. “Obviously, you hear a lot of people talk about other clubs but I think, at the moment, we are one of the best clubs in the world. The way this club is working as a whole unit is unbelievable. “I’ve never witnessed it in other clubs before like that. The project  is very good, with a lot of young players coming through so I’m happy to also build with this team.” De Bruyne’s contract follows new deals for David Silva, Nicolás Otamendi and Fernandinho. Gabriel Jesus is in advanced talks over a new contract and Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane are also expected to sign fresh terms by the summer. City, meanwhile, remain fully committed to signing a centre-half this month, although it is unclear if the club will follow up their interest in West Bromwich Albion’s Jonny Evans with a formal bid. Iñigo Martínez, of Real Sociedad, has also been on the radar. Evans has a clause in his contact with West Brom that will allow him to leave for £3 million in the summer if the club are relegated but the sale of the Northern Ireland defender this month would give them their best chance of raising funds to  reinvest elsewhere. Arsenal and Leicester also want to sign 30-year-old Evans. City, who are in talks with Shakhtar Donetsk over Brazil midfielder Fred, are also considering a bid for Boubakary Soumaré, an 18-year-old Lille midfielder, but they are thought to harbour some concerns about how a deal might stifle the opportunities of similar players already coming through the club’s academy.

Alexis Sanchez takes aim at his critics after signing £600,000-a-week deal as Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap is confirmed 

Alexis Sánchez insisted he left Arsenal to win trophies and appeared to hit back at the critics who have branded him a “mercenary” as the Chile striker claimed he had realised a childhood dream after finally completing his move to Manchester United on Monday evening. Sánchez, who will wear the No7 shirt at Old Trafford, has signed a 4½ year contract with United to June 2022 that is worth around £600,000 a week once a £20 million signing on fee, bonuses and image rights are factored in. It makes him comfortably the highest paid player in Premier League history. Arsenal have signed the Armenia playmaker, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, from United in return, and although no cash was exchanged between the clubs in the swap deal, the Sánchez transfer is effectively worth £180 million once his £30 million valuation, payments to the player and a £10m fee to his agent, Fernando Felicevich, are accounted for.  Manchester City had been the favourites to sign Sánchez before pulling out of the running after balking at the spiralling costs of the deal but the Chilean insisted he was joining “the biggest club in the world” and confirmed he had held talks with Sir Alex Ferguson about a move to United in 2011 before signing for Barcelona from Udinese. Sánchez also said he had chosen to leave Arsenal for the “same reason” Thierry Henry quit the club for Barcelona in 2007, when the Frenchman signalled his desire to challenge for the biggest trophies, and took a parting shot at the former Arsenal players who have been critical of him. �� Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. Introducing #Alexis7…#GGMU#MUFC@Alexis_Sanchezpic.twitter.com/t9RIIx4mE4— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 22, 2018 Martin Keown described Sánchez as the “biggest mercenary in football” after accusing the player of turning down City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola, his coach at Barcelona, for money. Sánchez had retweeted a newspaper article on Saturday which scoffed at the idea of the striker being a mercenary and Keown appeared to be one of the player’s targets as he paid what was otherwise an emotional farewell to Arsenal. Quiero agradecer al Staff Técnico, al equipo médico, a todos los compañeros con los que compartí muchas cosas lindas para el club y en especial a todas esas personas que no se ven en las portadas, pero que sin ellos nada seria posible, que son los que te preparan la comida y te cuidan día día, los que nos mantienen los zapatos limpios y campos de fútbol en las mejores condiciones para entrenar. Mil gracias a Ustedes por ayudarnos a mejorar cada día. Gracias por tanto cariño ��. Hay personas (ex jugadores del club) que han hablado sin conocimiento de lo que ocurre en la interna y causan daño. Debo decir que siempre me entregué al 100%, hasta el último día, en que le pedí al Mister estar con el equipo, por que quería ser un aporte. Recuerdo hoy, una conversación que tuve con Henry, un histórico de Arsenal, que cambió de club, por la misma razón que hoy me toca a mi. Gracias por todo Gunners ! I want to say thanks to the Technical Staff, to the medical team and all teammates with whom I shared many nice things for the club and especially those people who do not see themselves on the covers, but without them nothing would be possible, which are there to prepare food for us and take care of us day by day, those who keep our shoes clean and the grass in the best conditions. Many thanks to you for helping us to improve every day. Thank you very much ��. There are people (former club players) who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage. I must say I always gave 100%, until the last day, when I asked to the Mister to be in the team, because I wanted to be a contribution. I remember today, a conversation I had with Henry, a historic Arsenal player, who changed club for the same reason and today is my turn. Thanks for everything Gunners! All we achieved and the good moments that I gave to the club, I want to dedicate it to the fans, they are the most important. Thanks for every time you sing Alexis Sanchez Baby A post shared by Alexis Sanchez (@alexis_officia1) on Jan 22, 2018 at 10:08am PST “There are people (former club players) who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage,” Sánchez said on Twitter in an apparent reference to Keown. “I must say I always gave 100%, until the last day, when I asked the Mister [Arsène Wenger] to be in the team, because I wanted to [make] a contribution. “I remember today, a conversation I had with Henry, a historic Arsenal player, who changed club for the same reason and today is my turn. Thanks for everything Gunners! All we achieved and the good moments that I gave to the club, I want to dedicate it to the fans, they are the most important. Thanks for every time you sing Alexis Sánchez Baby.” A natural on the pitch AND in front of the cameras! �� #Alexis7pic.twitter.com/xRprFt6YAQ— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 22, 2018 Sánchez, 29, who underwent a medical at United’s Carrington training ground on Sunday afternoon, distanced himself from suggestions City had been his preference and said the prospect of wearing the No7 shirt immortalised by the likes of Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo excited him.  “Since I was a young lad I’ve always said that my dream was to play for Manchester United, and I’m not just saying that because I’m here now and today it’s come true,” said Sánchez, who spoke briefly with Ferguson at Old Trafford on Monday before travelling to Liverpool to have his work permit approved. How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? “I always said as a kid that I’d like to play for United and I once spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson about it. We chatted for around 20 minutes. And I told him that my dream was to come here to Manchester United. It really is a massive club, very powerful, and so now, when I got the opportunity to come here, I looked at the badge and my hairs just stood up on end because it’s a powerful club and the biggest in England. Why Manchester United need Sanchez “I believe that at this club it’s possible to achieve anything. The badge says it all, it’s a huge club on a worldwide scale, and I want to come here and win everything: the Premier League, the Champions League, and whatever comes the club’s way in the future. “When they told me that Cristiano, Cantona, David Beckham had all worn it, just thinking about that number seven sets you off dreaming in your head with ideas about lifting the Champions League trophy and winning the Premier League title. So yes, I’m fulfilling a dream and I hope to give my very best and win many trophies at this club. Welcome to Arsenal, @HenrikhMkh ��https://t.co/NqL8qq1uGK— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 22, 2018 “I think that the club always needs to be strengthening and bringing players in, and in this instance that’s why I’m here, to work hard for the team, and to try and win everything with them.” Mourinho believes Sánchez’s experience and quality will prove a vital addition. “Alexis is one of the best attacking players in the world and he will complete our very young and talented group of attacking players,” said the United manager, who also wished Mkhitaryan well at Arsenal. “He will bring his ambition, drive and personality, qualities that make a Manchester United player and a player that makes the team stronger and the supporters proud of their club dimension and prestige.” ❤️ pic.twitter.com/9KukpGq0CQ— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 22, 2018 United’s capture of Sánchez is a coup, especially as rivals City had appeared in pole position to sign the player. City’s £60m deal for Sánchez had collapsed on transfer deadline day in August after Arsenal were unable to secure a replacement in time. Arsenal Unveil New Signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan at London Colney Credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images The Premier League leaders maintained their interest but ended up backing out of a deal last week over increased financial demands amid fears of destabilising the club’s wage structure. That paved the way for United, who had been secretly talking to Sánchez’s representative for several months and were prepared to meet the conditions Felicevich wanted.

Alexis Sanchez takes aim at his critics after signing £600,000-a-week deal as Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap is confirmed 

Alexis Sánchez insisted he left Arsenal to win trophies and appeared to hit back at the critics who have branded him a “mercenary” as the Chile striker claimed he had realised a childhood dream after finally completing his move to Manchester United on Monday evening. Sánchez, who will wear the No7 shirt at Old Trafford, has signed a 4½ year contract with United to June 2022 that is worth around £600,000 a week once a £20 million signing on fee, bonuses and image rights are factored in. It makes him comfortably the highest paid player in Premier League history. Arsenal have signed the Armenia playmaker, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, from United in return, and although no cash was exchanged between the clubs in the swap deal, the Sánchez transfer is effectively worth £180 million once his £30 million valuation, payments to the player and a £10m fee to his agent, Fernando Felicevich, are accounted for.  Manchester City had been the favourites to sign Sánchez before pulling out of the running after balking at the spiralling costs of the deal but the Chilean insisted he was joining “the biggest club in the world” and confirmed he had held talks with Sir Alex Ferguson about a move to United in 2011 before signing for Barcelona from Udinese. Sánchez also said he had chosen to leave Arsenal for the “same reason” Thierry Henry quit the club for Barcelona in 2007, when the Frenchman signalled his desire to challenge for the biggest trophies, and took a parting shot at the former Arsenal players who have been critical of him. �� Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. Introducing #Alexis7…#GGMU#MUFC@Alexis_Sanchezpic.twitter.com/t9RIIx4mE4— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 22, 2018 Martin Keown described Sánchez as the “biggest mercenary in football” after accusing the player of turning down City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola, his coach at Barcelona, for money. Sánchez had retweeted a newspaper article on Saturday which scoffed at the idea of the striker being a mercenary and Keown appeared to be one of the player’s targets as he paid what was otherwise an emotional farewell to Arsenal. Quiero agradecer al Staff Técnico, al equipo médico, a todos los compañeros con los que compartí muchas cosas lindas para el club y en especial a todas esas personas que no se ven en las portadas, pero que sin ellos nada seria posible, que son los que te preparan la comida y te cuidan día día, los que nos mantienen los zapatos limpios y campos de fútbol en las mejores condiciones para entrenar. Mil gracias a Ustedes por ayudarnos a mejorar cada día. Gracias por tanto cariño ��. Hay personas (ex jugadores del club) que han hablado sin conocimiento de lo que ocurre en la interna y causan daño. Debo decir que siempre me entregué al 100%, hasta el último día, en que le pedí al Mister estar con el equipo, por que quería ser un aporte. Recuerdo hoy, una conversación que tuve con Henry, un histórico de Arsenal, que cambió de club, por la misma razón que hoy me toca a mi. Gracias por todo Gunners ! I want to say thanks to the Technical Staff, to the medical team and all teammates with whom I shared many nice things for the club and especially those people who do not see themselves on the covers, but without them nothing would be possible, which are there to prepare food for us and take care of us day by day, those who keep our shoes clean and the grass in the best conditions. Many thanks to you for helping us to improve every day. Thank you very much ��. There are people (former club players) who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage. I must say I always gave 100%, until the last day, when I asked to the Mister to be in the team, because I wanted to be a contribution. I remember today, a conversation I had with Henry, a historic Arsenal player, who changed club for the same reason and today is my turn. Thanks for everything Gunners! All we achieved and the good moments that I gave to the club, I want to dedicate it to the fans, they are the most important. Thanks for every time you sing Alexis Sanchez Baby A post shared by Alexis Sanchez (@alexis_officia1) on Jan 22, 2018 at 10:08am PST “There are people (former club players) who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage,” Sánchez said on Twitter in an apparent reference to Keown. “I must say I always gave 100%, until the last day, when I asked the Mister [Arsène Wenger] to be in the team, because I wanted to [make] a contribution. “I remember today, a conversation I had with Henry, a historic Arsenal player, who changed club for the same reason and today is my turn. Thanks for everything Gunners! All we achieved and the good moments that I gave to the club, I want to dedicate it to the fans, they are the most important. Thanks for every time you sing Alexis Sánchez Baby.” A natural on the pitch AND in front of the cameras! �� #Alexis7pic.twitter.com/xRprFt6YAQ— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 22, 2018 Sánchez, 29, who underwent a medical at United’s Carrington training ground on Sunday afternoon, distanced himself from suggestions City had been his preference and said the prospect of wearing the No7 shirt immortalised by the likes of Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo excited him.  “Since I was a young lad I’ve always said that my dream was to play for Manchester United, and I’m not just saying that because I’m here now and today it’s come true,” said Sánchez, who spoke briefly with Ferguson at Old Trafford on Monday before travelling to Liverpool to have his work permit approved. How would Alexis Sanchez fit in at Manchester United? “I always said as a kid that I’d like to play for United and I once spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson about it. We chatted for around 20 minutes. And I told him that my dream was to come here to Manchester United. It really is a massive club, very powerful, and so now, when I got the opportunity to come here, I looked at the badge and my hairs just stood up on end because it’s a powerful club and the biggest in England. Why Manchester United need Sanchez “I believe that at this club it’s possible to achieve anything. The badge says it all, it’s a huge club on a worldwide scale, and I want to come here and win everything: the Premier League, the Champions League, and whatever comes the club’s way in the future. “When they told me that Cristiano, Cantona, David Beckham had all worn it, just thinking about that number seven sets you off dreaming in your head with ideas about lifting the Champions League trophy and winning the Premier League title. So yes, I’m fulfilling a dream and I hope to give my very best and win many trophies at this club. Welcome to Arsenal, @HenrikhMkh ��https://t.co/NqL8qq1uGK— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 22, 2018 “I think that the club always needs to be strengthening and bringing players in, and in this instance that’s why I’m here, to work hard for the team, and to try and win everything with them.” Mourinho believes Sánchez’s experience and quality will prove a vital addition. “Alexis is one of the best attacking players in the world and he will complete our very young and talented group of attacking players,” said the United manager, who also wished Mkhitaryan well at Arsenal. “He will bring his ambition, drive and personality, qualities that make a Manchester United player and a player that makes the team stronger and the supporters proud of their club dimension and prestige.” ❤️ pic.twitter.com/9KukpGq0CQ— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 22, 2018 United’s capture of Sánchez is a coup, especially as rivals City had appeared in pole position to sign the player. City’s £60m deal for Sánchez had collapsed on transfer deadline day in August after Arsenal were unable to secure a replacement in time. Arsenal Unveil New Signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan at London Colney Credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images The Premier League leaders maintained their interest but ended up backing out of a deal last week over increased financial demands amid fears of destabilising the club’s wage structure. That paved the way for United, who had been secretly talking to Sánchez’s representative for several months and were prepared to meet the conditions Felicevich wanted.

Chelsea close in on Emerson, deliberate over Edin Dzeko and worry about Thibaut Courtois staying

Chelsea are deliberating over whether or not to break their own transfer policy to sign Edin Dzeko after Emerson Palmieri agreed to move to Stamford Bridge from Roma. And there are fresh fears over the future of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, with Real Madrid keen for him to stall over his new Chelsea contract. Emerson, a left-back, is ready to join Chelsea on a four-year £80,000-a-week contract and the club must now decide whether to complete a double deal with Roma that includes 31-year-old Dzeko for a combined fee of around £44 million. Roma are prepared to sell both players and, barring any late hitch with a medical, Emerson expects to become a Chelsea player in the coming days. The only remaining doubt over Dzeko is whether or not Chelsea are prepared to sanction his part of the transfer that would be worth in the region of £24m. Chelsea have generally not paid transfer fees for outfield players over the age of 30 in recent years. Samuel Eto’o joined on a free transfer in 2013 and Didier Drogba returned to the club for nothing a year later. Both strikers were handed one-year contracts and that also presents an issue in terms of Dzeko, who will turn 32 in March. His Roma contract is not due to expire until 2020 and Chelsea will either have to break their policy of one-year deals for over 30s or somehow negotiate a compromise. David Luiz, Pedro and Cesc Fabregas are all aged 30, and have one year remaining on their contracts. The trio are currently under the impression that Chelsea will not hand out extensions over 12 months to players of their age. Dzeko is yet to agree to a move to Chelsea and wants guarantees over getting enough playing time at Stamford Bridge, but even though he will be ineligible for the Champions League, that should not be a problem. Chelsea are still in all three domestic competitions and, particularly with Alvaro Morata struggling for form and confidence, it is expected Dzeko would come in to play regularly. Eden Hazard and Willian may force Chelsea manager Antonio Conte into a tactical rethink He has scored 14 goals this season, including two against Chelsea in the Champions League, although only two of those have come in his last 17 appearances. Out-of-form Morata has netted five times over the same number of matches. Head coach Antonio Conte has wanted a target man to complement and challenge Morata, and Dzeko certainly fits the bill. His four-and-a-half seasons at Manchester City should also ensure he does not require an adjustment period to English football. Emerson is initially joining as a back-up to left wing-back Marcos Alonso and his arrival will finally allow Kenedy to complete a loan move to Newcastle United. Chelsea decided against a new move for Alex Sandro after learning that Juventus still wanted around £60m to sell the Brazilian this month. Agreeing a fee over a potential double deal for Dzeko and Palmieri was made easier by the fact Roma, who Chelsea signed Antonio Rudiger from last summer, need to raise funds to meet Financial Fair Play requirements. Roma director of football Monchi hinted the Italians are planning for life without Emerson and Dzeko by saying: “Whatever will be will be. I work every day to have players suitable to replace our players, my job is always to strengthen my club. If [Dzeko] leaves Roma, we'll buy another player.” Thibaut Courtois has been linked with a move to Real Madrid Credit: GETTY IMAGES Chelsea had expected Courtois to sign a new contract this month after offering him a deal that would make him the highest paid goalkeeper in the world. Talks had been going well with negotiations entering the final phase and Courtois suggesting that he was ready to sign. But Real Madrid are understood to have reiterated their long-standing interest in Courtois after missing out on Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Arrizabalaga had been expected to join Real this month, but the fact he has signed a new Athletic deal means the European champions are still on the lookout for a new goalkeeper. Chelsea still hope they can finalise a new contract with Courtois before the end of the season, but must now nervously wait to see whether or not Real attempt to ruin their negotiations. Courtois is fit to face Arsenal in the Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg at the Emirates after missing the Premier League victory over Brighton with a sprained ankle. Conte faces a selection dilemma up front with Morata available again, but Chelsea impressing with Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard and Willian impressing in forward positions at the weekend.

Chelsea close in on Emerson, deliberate over Edin Dzeko and worry about Thibaut Courtois staying

Chelsea are deliberating over whether or not to break their own transfer policy to sign Edin Dzeko after Emerson Palmieri agreed to move to Stamford Bridge from Roma. And there are fresh fears over the future of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, with Real Madrid keen for him to stall over his new Chelsea contract. Emerson, a left-back, is ready to join Chelsea on a four-year £80,000-a-week contract and the club must now decide whether to complete a double deal with Roma that includes 31-year-old Dzeko for a combined fee of around £44 million. Roma are prepared to sell both players and, barring any late hitch with a medical, Emerson expects to become a Chelsea player in the coming days. The only remaining doubt over Dzeko is whether or not Chelsea are prepared to sanction his part of the transfer that would be worth in the region of £24m. Chelsea have generally not paid transfer fees for outfield players over the age of 30 in recent years. Samuel Eto’o joined on a free transfer in 2013 and Didier Drogba returned to the club for nothing a year later. Both strikers were handed one-year contracts and that also presents an issue in terms of Dzeko, who will turn 32 in March. His Roma contract is not due to expire until 2020 and Chelsea will either have to break their policy of one-year deals for over 30s or somehow negotiate a compromise. David Luiz, Pedro and Cesc Fabregas are all aged 30, and have one year remaining on their contracts. The trio are currently under the impression that Chelsea will not hand out extensions over 12 months to players of their age. Dzeko is yet to agree to a move to Chelsea and wants guarantees over getting enough playing time at Stamford Bridge, but even though he will be ineligible for the Champions League, that should not be a problem. Chelsea are still in all three domestic competitions and, particularly with Alvaro Morata struggling for form and confidence, it is expected Dzeko would come in to play regularly. Eden Hazard and Willian may force Chelsea manager Antonio Conte into a tactical rethink He has scored 14 goals this season, including two against Chelsea in the Champions League, although only two of those have come in his last 17 appearances. Out-of-form Morata has netted five times over the same number of matches. Head coach Antonio Conte has wanted a target man to complement and challenge Morata, and Dzeko certainly fits the bill. His four-and-a-half seasons at Manchester City should also ensure he does not require an adjustment period to English football. Emerson is initially joining as a back-up to left wing-back Marcos Alonso and his arrival will finally allow Kenedy to complete a loan move to Newcastle United. Chelsea decided against a new move for Alex Sandro after learning that Juventus still wanted around £60m to sell the Brazilian this month. Agreeing a fee over a potential double deal for Dzeko and Palmieri was made easier by the fact Roma, who Chelsea signed Antonio Rudiger from last summer, need to raise funds to meet Financial Fair Play requirements. Roma director of football Monchi hinted the Italians are planning for life without Emerson and Dzeko by saying: “Whatever will be will be. I work every day to have players suitable to replace our players, my job is always to strengthen my club. If [Dzeko] leaves Roma, we'll buy another player.” Thibaut Courtois has been linked with a move to Real Madrid Credit: GETTY IMAGES Chelsea had expected Courtois to sign a new contract this month after offering him a deal that would make him the highest paid goalkeeper in the world. Talks had been going well with negotiations entering the final phase and Courtois suggesting that he was ready to sign. But Real Madrid are understood to have reiterated their long-standing interest in Courtois after missing out on Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Arrizabalaga had been expected to join Real this month, but the fact he has signed a new Athletic deal means the European champions are still on the lookout for a new goalkeeper. Chelsea still hope they can finalise a new contract with Courtois before the end of the season, but must now nervously wait to see whether or not Real attempt to ruin their negotiations. Courtois is fit to face Arsenal in the Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg at the Emirates after missing the Premier League victory over Brighton with a sprained ankle. Conte faces a selection dilemma up front with Morata available again, but Chelsea impressing with Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard and Willian impressing in forward positions at the weekend.

Report: 'Mighty Ducks' Television Series In The Works

The Mighty Ducks franchise may be getting its own television show from ABC Signature Studios, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Steven Brill, the original screenwriter for the three movies, and original producer Jordan Kerner approached ABC Signature head Tracy Underwood with the idea to write new scripts for a show. Everything appears to be in very early stages. The script has not yet been written and no log line has been revealed. No details have been shared as to whether this would be a half-hour or hour-long show.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that ABC Signature could share the new show to other broadcast or cable networks in addition to shopping it to streaming platforms.

The first Mighty Ducks movie was released in 1992 by Disney and it grossed more than $50 million in the United States. The film centers around Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay coaching the District 5 hockey team as part of his community service after being arrested for drunk driving. He manages to turn perennial losers into champions, which leads to the D2 and D3 sequels.

An animated television show for "The Mighty Ducks" aired on The Disney Afternoon for a 26-episode run from 1996 to 1997.

FILE - This is a Wednesday, Oct. 30, 1996 file photo of AC Milan's Liberian-born striker, George Weah, right, as challenges for the ball with a Goteborg player during, their Champions League match soccer, at the Milan San Siro stadium. Former international soccer star George Weah will be sworn into office Monday as Liberia's new president, taking over leadership of this post-war, impoverished West African nation from Africa's first female president. (AP Photo/Carlo Fumagalli, File)

Hand - D1 (F) - Nice - Nice : Martin et Torstenson prolongent

Carmen Martin et Linnea Torstenson, vainqueurs de la Ligue des champions 2016, ont prolongé leur contrat pour une saison (plus une en option) sur la Côte d'Azur. La championne du monde Jannela Blonbou devrait, elle, signer son premier contrat professionnel.

Champions League - Manchester United Training

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester United Training - Aon Training Complex, Manchester, Britain - November 21, 2017 Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan during training Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Can Alexis Sanchez play for Manchester United in this season's Champions League?

Can Alexis Sanchez play for Manchester United in this season's Champions League?

Manchester United, Arsenal Both Win in Alexis Sanchez, Henrikh Mkhitaryan Swap

Swap deals are very rare in football these days, particularly straight swaps without any kind of fee being involved. Football may have, over the years, lost its sense of value, but its sense of cost has never been more acute. For two players with different wage and bonus structures, of different ages, and with different lengths of time remaining on their contract to balance out exactly is extremely unusual. But the agreement that takes Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal to Manchester United and Henrikh Mkhitrayan in the other direction is one of those unusual instances, and a case where, at least initially, everybody seems to benefit.

Sanchez gets to leave Arsenal. Although he’s won two Chilean titles, an Argentinian and a Spanish league title, plus two FA Cups and a Copa del Rey, there’s a sense that he’s slightly unfulfilled as far as club titles go. As late-period Arsene Wenger becomes late-late-period Wenger and Arsenal continues to stagnate, it’s easy to understand why, at 29, Sanchez felt the club’s ambition no longer matched his own. That recognition has, fairly evidently, had an impact on his attitude and form this season.

It’s probably too simplistic to say that Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday was born of the relief of being shot of a turbulent presence, but equally it’s not entirely unrelated. Arsenal, whose oddly lackadaisical approach to renewing contracts meant it faced losing Sanchez for free in the summer, might have expected to get £20 million for him this January. It’s entirely reasonable to ask why it did not try to sell him for £50 million or so last summer. Perhaps Wenger still thought he could persuade Sanchez to stay, or perhaps he didn’t realize how unsettled the Chilean was and reasoned the financial loss was worth it for a player who might help secure Champions League qualification.

That £20 million, though, would not come anywhere close to landing an equivalent player in the modern market. A Sanchez with three years left on his contract could reasonably be expected to cost around £80 million today. Transfer fee inflation has hit Arsenal hard; its policy of keeping money in the bank, seemingly waiting for a crash, looks to have been a failure. Mkhitaryan, no matter his disappointing form for Manchester United, may not quite be an £80 million player, but he is certainly worth more to Arsenal than £20 million, even if he seems a more natural replacement for Mesut Ozil, who is also out of contract at the end of the season, than Sanchez.

Mkhitaryan never seemed to fit into Jose Mourinho’s plans. He had excelled at Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund, both hard-pressing teams, but struggled when asked to operate as a link man between a deep-lying defense and a distant forward line. He would seem to have a natural place in an Arsenal lineup in the creative line of either a 4-2-3-1 or a 3-4-2-1. It may even be that he could play alongside Ozil. Arsenal’s pressing is oddly inconsistent, often slipshod but occasionally brilliant. Mkhitaryan has shown before that he has both the energy and discipline to play in a side that presses hard and well.

United, meanwhile, quite apart from the coup of pinching Sanchez from City–and for all City will point out that it was its decision to back out of the deal when Sanchez’s agent sought to renegotiate a deal that had already been agreed, the fact remains that United’s intervention derailed a transfer City wanted to push through–gets a hungry, energetic player who should add pace and spark to an attack that too often over the past couple of seasons has seemed sluggish and predictable.

Sanchez brings the advantage of being able to play as the out-and-out striker. Perming three from Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Sanchez, with Paul Pogba pushing on from midfield offers the possibility of a very quick and mobile forward line. But he could equally play to the left with Romelu Lukaku a more fixed central point. He increases United's attacking options radically.

And yet City’s stance also makes sense–even if there is a concern that it has missed out on both Sanchez and Dani Alves in the past year when deals seemed done. It’s not so much the moral point of walking away from negotiations because it felt an agent had acted dishonorably–although that may serve the club well in the future–as a sense that bringing in Sanchez simply may not have been worth it.

Sanchez loves to play, demands to play. He would sulk if substituted at Arsenal, and yet it’s far from clear he’d have been a first choice at City, where the forward line has been so good that Bernardo Silva has been a bit-part player. His wages are reported to be in excess of £400,000 a week. City, understandably, was troubled by that, recognizing that a player coming in on that sort of money would have an inflationary effect through the squad. Already, it’s been reported, that Pogba is looking to renegotiate his contract at Old Trafford.

But they will probably see that as a price worth paying. This is a rare instance where, at least at this stage, all parties in the deal will probably feel they come out of it pretty well.