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Friday, 24 July 2015

Cristiano Ronaldo is already really sick of Rafa Benitez

When Rafa Benitez was hired by Real Madrid to manage the side, no one was really sure how it would work out. He'd been disappointing for awhile, was coming off a poor season with Napoli, and has a history of odd decision making that might not sit well with some of Madrid's big stars.
His relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo, the biggest of those big stars, was tested early when he announced Ronaldo would be played as a striker -- without telling the player first. That relationship has apparently been further strained, leading to Ronaldo twice exploding in training on Wednesday, shouting at Rafa over ruling out a goal the Portuguese forward scored in a small-squad match, then reacting furiously over a training game Benitez wanted Madrid to play.

Tell us how you really feel, Cristiano!
And he's got a point, too. While practicing crossbar shots supposedly helps with drilling accuracy or shot precision or whatever, hitting the crossbar a lot is kind of pointless and not great to do when you're actually playing a match.
Interestingly, several Napoli players have given interviews recently and said that Rafa's training methods lacked useful focus and intensity, and those interviews and others give an impression of an icy relationship between Benitez and the team's best players. If that kind of thing carries over to Real Madrid, Rafa might not be managing his boyhood club for long.

Suarez: Messi criticism is incomprehensible

Barcelona star Luis Suarez has defended Lionel Messi in the wake of recent criticism of the Argentine attacker's performances at the Copa America.
Messi guided his country to the final with a virtuoso performance against Paraguay in the semifinals, but was then unable to inspire Argentina against Chile, with the host eventually emerging victorious after penalties.
The 28-year-old has since received significant criticism for his inability to replicate his club form at international level, yet Suarez feels his teammate does not deserve the harsh treatment he has been receiving.
"For me, it is inconceivable that people are criticizing the best player in the world," Suarez was quoted as saying by AS.
"We are all humans. Messi wanted to win the Copa more than anyone else."
The Uruguay international also had his say on the future of Pedro, who has been linked with a move to the Premier League, and stressed that he hopes the attacker will stay at Camp Nou.
"It obviously depends on Pedro himself, but I hope he will stay. He is a great teammate and brings a lot to the team."
Suarez played a key role in Barcelona's treble win in 2014-15 and he is gunning for more silverware in the new season.
"Last season was pretty unique, but we have set ourselves new objectives. I never get tired of winning. I want to win all possible trophies in 2015-16."

Benitez confident of keeping Benzema

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez is confident of keeping striker Karim Benzema at the club, despite reported interest from Arsenal.
The Premier League side is thought to be in the market for a stellar striker as it looks to build on last season's FA Cup win and third-place league finish.
Benzema has been routinely linked with Arsenal throughout his career, with the London club enjoying a rich history with French players.
But Benitez said after Benzema scored in Friday's 4-1 win over Manchester City in Melbourne: "People are asking me about different players that maybe we will buy.
"I always say: 'He's not our player and I will not talk about that.'
"In this case, Karim is our player, and I will not talk about that. I'm sure he will stay with us."
Benitez also moved to once again reassure Real fans that his relationship with star attacker Cristiano Ronaldo is fine, despite the Portugal captain apparently showing his disliking to some of the new coach's training methods.
"People were talking about something that happened in a training session, but today you could see he's happy and playing well," the Spaniard said. "I'm really pleased because he's scoring goals and getting man of the match. Everything is fine.
He added: "In football, you have to concentrate on the future, and the future is positive."

Manchester United reportedly accept PSG's offer for Di Maria

85046022: MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Angel di Maria of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on May 2, 2015 in Manchester, England. (Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)
Manchester United are reported to have accepted a £45.9million ($71m) bid for Argentinian winger Angel Di Maria from Paris Saint-Germain.
Di Maria looks increasingly likely to leave the club just a year after completing a British record £59.7million move ($93m) from Real Madrid following an inconsistent debut season at Old Trafford.
Having made a promising start to life at United, Di Maria's form tailed off in November and he saw his place in the first team go to a rejuvenated Ashley Young, meaning the most expensive signing in British history had to make do with a place in the bench.
Di Maria has insisted that he is happy to stay with United and fight for his place, but it's believed the Argentina international wants to leave the club and return to the continent - with Spain his preferred destination.
United boss Louis van Gaal admitted earlier this summer that he was unsure if the player would still be at Old Trafford when the season started.
PSG have had a long-standing interest in the winger and challenged United for his signature last summer once it became apparent that he was to be sold by Real Madrid.
Now it seems they are ready to land their man with France Football claiming PSG's bid of 65million euros has been accepted by United - ensuring the club have lost an estimated £15million ($23m) on their record outlay.
The Argentinian is due to meet up with the United squad this weekend after being given an extended break following his Copa America commitments during the summer. Both United and PSG are currently on a pre-season tour in the United States and are due to face each other on Thursday.
Talks are already believed to be underway and the Parisian club are hoping to progress negotiations throughout the day and across the weekend, with the hope that Di Maria could arrive in the US tomorrow as a PSG player rather than a United one.
Van Gaal's side face Barcelona on Saturday night while PSG take on Premier League champions Chelsea not long after, before the two clubs meet each other where Di Maria might just be on the opposite side to his current team-mates.
The sale of Di Maria will increase rumours that United are planning a bid for their former player Cristiano Ronaldo, who is said to be unhappy with the training methods of recently-appointed Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez.
United have already spent around £80million ($124m)  this summer, with their big spending criticised recently by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic on MLS: 'I would like to play in U.S., absolutely'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is open to a move to the United States.
“I would like to play in U.S., absolutely,” Ibrahimovic told Yahoo Sports on Thursday. “I would like to play. Which team? Am I allowed to say that? No, I cannot say that.”
Very cagey, Ibrahimovic. Very cagey.
Though it wasn’t hard to figure out where he’d want to be.
He didn’t have to name any MLS teams. The 33-year-old Ibrahimovic said he sees himself living in probably one of three American cities that he frequently visits on vacation. The three, in no particular order, are Miami, Los Angeles and New York.
I look forward to MLS introducing whatever rule is necessary to bring Ibrahimovic to the United States in three years.

Birdman Denies Conspiring to Kill Lil Wayne

After a recent indictment suggested that Birdman and Young Thug conspired to have Lil Wayne murdered in a drive-by shooting, the former is now denying any involvement. Court documents alleged that Birdman received a call shortly after the shooting (possibly from the shooter, Jimmy Winfrey) implicating him in the attempted murder. 
Sources tell TMZ that while the phone call did occur, Birdman "was not involved in any way."
They say both phones involved in the call were registered to Birdman because they were company phones, and that the caller was actually "someone in Wayne's camp who was understandably pissed" and wanted to relay the message to Birdman about the shooting. (Despite an ongoing legal battle, Lil Wayne is still signed to Birdman's Cash Money Records.) 
Birdman has not been charged for the shooting.

Don't forget flaws of Stewart's 'Daily Show'

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2014 file photo, Jon Stewart poses for a portrait in promotion of his film,"Rosewater," in New York. Comedy Central announced Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, that Stewart will will leave "The Daily Show" later this year. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)
To say Jon Stewart is going out on top is an understatement.
As the comedian nears his final Daily Show on Aug. 6, he's relishing his final few weeks in the host's chair, riding high on Trump-mania and hosting special guests who, one by one, beg him to stay.
Among Stewart's adoring visitors was President Obama, who appeared on theDaily Show on July 21 for a much-hyped "final interview" that was more about Obama paying his respects to Stewart than the other way around. "I'm issuing a new executive order, that Jon Stewart cannot leave the show," Obama joked.
In the next two weeks, expect to see plenty of Stewart tributes, listicles, celebrity remembrances and weighty assessments of the host's place in history among comedy and broadcast greats alike.
But longtime Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac isn't as nostalgic about his time on the show, which he candidly discussed on Marc Maron's WTFPodcast this week.
And Cenac's criticisms of his former boss make an important point, one that can't be forgotten as we assess Stewart's legacy. Four nights a week, the host has challenged Daily Show viewers to question the leaders and institutions they trust. As his Daily Show comes to a close, we must give him the same treatment.
Liberal viewers may have embraced the Daily Show as a barometer of progressive thought, but Cenac tells a different story, about a show susceptible to the same climate of racial insensitivity as the rest of Hollywood.
He told Maron a story about watching Stewart do a Herman Cain impression back in 2011, which he found offensive. "Oh no, you just did this and you didn't think about it," he remembered thinking. "It was just the voice that came into your head. And so it bugged me."
Later in the writers' room, Cenac questioned Stewart about the bit. Stewart wasn't happy:
[Stewart] got incredibly defensive. I remember he was like, What are you trying to say? There's a tone in your voice ...  And then he got upset. And he stood up and he was just like, "(Expletive) off. I'm done with you." And he just started screaming that to me. And he screamed it a few times. "(Expletive) F*** off! I'm done with you." And he stormed out. And I didn't know if I had been fired.
I represent my people, and I try to represent them the best that I can. I gotta be honest if something seems questionable, because if not, then I don't want to be in a position where I am being untrue not just to myself but to my culture, because that's exploitative.
Cenac was the only black writer in the room at the time. After, he remembered walking outside to a baseball field. "I was shaking, and I just sat there by myself on the bleachers and (expletive) cried," he said. "And it's a sad thing. That's how I feel. That's how I feel in this job. I feel alone."
Cenac's words aren't unique, coming from a black comic in an industry dominated by whites. It's also one that's largely ran by high-powered men, and while Samantha Bee, Kristen Schaal and Jessica Williams are Daily Showsuccess stories, the show has been criticized in the past for its "boys' club" culture.
In 2010, several female Daily Show employees spoke to Jezebel about the show's gender diversity problems. "I was told when I was hired that they have a very hard time finding and keeping women, and that I was lucky to get a one-year contract," said Lauren Weedman, a former on-air correspondent.Daily Show co-creator Madeleine Smithberg also acknowledged the show's gender imbalance, claiming it was just part of the business. "By the time they get to the candidates of the Daily Show, the herd has been thinned by the larger societal forces," she said. "All that's left are white men and Aziz Ansari."
Smithberg is right; casts and writers' rooms dominated by white, male faces are the norm. But for a program that transcended partisan spin and always questioned the status quo, it's dismaying to see that the Daily Show couldn't transcend Hollywood's culture of inequality.
And earlier in the interview, when Cenac tells Maron how he hoped he'd see Stewart as a father figure, it's hard not to think about the role the Daily Showhost has played in many young progressives' political educations. A sardonic Walter Cronkite for the Millennial generation, Stewart has introduced young fans to the dysfunction of American politics, helping viewers lose their faith in the system with humor and, at times, sobering emotion:
Which makes stories like Slate writer Alison Kinney's, who described Stewart losing his cool after she asked about his warm-up comedian's insensitive racial jokes during a Daily Show taping, all the more disappointing to read.
Stewart's face creased with annoyance. He said, shortly, loudly, glaring at me,"BECAUSE. IT'S. (expletive).  FUNNY." The audience erupted into wild applause. Meanwhile, he stared at me with palpable hostility. Once the applause had died down, he added, "Don't you even watch the show?"
Nobody's requiring Stewart to be the perfect host. The Daily Show's brilliant comedic run isn't invalidated because the show couldn't best Hollywood's deeply-ingrained representation issues. And over the next two weeks, the show's accolades will surely outnumber its criticisms.
But Jon Stewart, week after week, has called on viewers to kill our idols and distrust our systems. The Daily Show is, undeniably, an American institution, but idolizing Stewart while glossing over his missteps goes against everything the show stands for. And by ignoring these darker parts of the Daily Show's history, we miss out on an important discussion about the less-than-inclusive state of comedy, and entertainment, as a whole.
So while we're enjoying Stewart's final run, let's keep asking questions. How can we empower minorities and women in Hollywood? What kind of inclusive humor do we expect from our comedians? If we're not satisfied with the face of TV, both in front of and behind the camera, how we can support art that's created more mindfully?
Trevor Noah, are you listening?

Will Smith and Jay Z Are Making an Emmett Till Mini-series for HBO

Partners again.
On the heels of their collaboration last year for the musical Annie, Jay Z and Will Smith are teaming up once again: They've signed on to executive-produce a mini-series about Emmett Till for HBO.
In 1955, 14-year-old Till was lynched by a white mob in Mississippi in what's known as one of America's most brutal hate crimes. His mother famously had an open-casket funeral for her son so that newspapers would print photos of the gruesome nature of Till's attack.
Till's killers were acquitted but later confessed to murdering the teen. Smith and Jay Z, along with Jay Brown, James Lassiter, and Aaron Kaplan, will bring "an immersive and in depth exploration" of Till's story to HBO for what's expected to be a six-hour series.
So far the mini-series is untitled and has no writers onboard. Also in the works are two competing Emmett Till movies: one spearheaded by Roger Ebert's widow, Chaz; and another based on the playThe Face of Emmett Till.

Kim Kardashian Joins Celebrities Calling For Justice For Sandra Bland

Kim Kardashian is the latest, and arguably most high-profile, celebrity to join in the online movement calling for justice for Sandra Bland.
The 28-year-old woman died in a Texas jail cell earlier this month, after being imprisoned for an alleged traffic violation. Bland was pulled over by State Trooper Brian Encinia for allegedly failing to use a turn signal. Dash cam footage showed the two engaging in a verbal dispute, with Encinia demanding Bland put out her cigarette, even though she was in her own vehicle.
Encinia was then seen trying to forcible remove Bland from her car and saying he was placing her under arrest, though he didn’t say what for. After he flashed a taser, Bland ultimately stepped out, and later could be heard on the audio saying he assaulted her. The incident took place Friday, July 10, and on the following Monday, still in police custody, Bland died after being found in respiratory distress.
In the days since, officials have deemed Bland’s death a suicide, alleging she hanged herself in her cell. In a press conference on Thursday, a Waller County prosecutor stood by that, and further said there was no evidence of homicide. But for many, no satisfactory answers have been given about what exactly happened behind closed doors.
Stars like Jesse Williams and Gabrielle Union have been vocal about the case on Twitter, and on Thursday evening, Kardashian joined in. “#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth,” tweeted the reality star to her 33.7 million followers.
About an hour later, Kardashian tweeted again, writing, “#MassiveCoverUp #WhatHappenedToSandraBland.” At the time of Kardashian’s messages, “#JusticeForSandraBland” was trending both in the United States and worldwide. Other stars to comment include Nicki Minaj, Kerry Washington, and Taraji P. Henson.

Demi Lovato's 'Cool for the Summer' Video Is Here: Watch Her Late Night Summer Rager

Demi Lovato in 'Cool for the Summer'
It's finally here! The video for Demi Lovato's dark dancefloor jam "Cool for the Summer" is out, and it's a neon-drenched ode to summer fun -- with an emphasis on what happens after dark.
Lovato hits the club, rages at a foam party and rocks a revealing top while hanging out with her sweat-covered friends on the dancefloor.
Check out the video for "Cool for the Summer" -- which is sitting at No. 31 on the Hot 100 -- below. You won't be disappointed.

Chris Brown leaves Philippines after wait due to legal issue

Singer Chris Brown poses at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles
Grammy award-winning singer Chris Brown boards a chartered jet at the old Manila Domestic Airport in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines, Friday, July 24, 2015. Brown is preparing to leave the Philippines after a three-day delay due to a fraud complaint against him for a canceled concert last New Year’s Eve. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)Grammy award-winning singer Chris Brown, third from right, walks to board a chartered jet at the old Manila Domestic Airport in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines, Friday, July 24, 2015. Brown is preparing to leave the Philippines after a three-day delay due to a fraud complaint against him for a canceled concert last New Year’s Eve. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)Grammy award-winning singer Chris Brown waves as he boards a chartered jet at the old Manila Domestic Airport in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines, Friday, July 24, 2015. Brown is preparing to leave the Philippines after a three-day delay due to a fraud complaint against him for a canceled concert last New Year’s Eve. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Chris Brown left the Philippines late Friday after being stranded for three days due to a fraud complaint against him for a canceled concert last New Year's Eve.
He still had to sit through a three-hour delay at the airport and fly to Hong Kong instead of Macau.
The plane left at 9:04 p.m. local time en route to Hong Kong, civil aviation authority spokesman Eric Apolonio said.
The 26-year-old R&B artist performed at a packed concert in Manila on Tuesday, but he required an emigration clearance to leave the country because of the fraud complaint.
Brown was able late Friday to obtain the certificate that allows him to leave the country, said Elaine Tan, spokeswoman of the Immigration Bureau.
Grammy award-winning singer Chris Brown waves as he boards a chartered jet at the old Manila Domestic Airport in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines, Friday, July 24, 2015. Brown is preparing to leave the Philippines after a three-day delay due to a fraud complaint against him for a canceled concert last New Year’s Eve. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift Are "All Good" After Their Twitter Misunderstanding: "We Were Cracking Up Laughing"

Our long national nightmare is over.
Nicki Minaj has officially and graciously accepted Taylor Swift's apology after their Twitter misunderstanding earlier this week. "We're all good," the rapper said prior to her performance on Good Morning America Friday. In fact, Minaj added, "We spoke for a long time on the phone. We were cracking up laughing. It's over."
As Minaj has said several times now, her intention was to call attention to perceived racism regarding the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards nominations. Upset that her "Anaconda" and "Feelin' Myself" music videos were snubbed in major categories, she tweeted, "If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year." Swift, whose "Bad Blood" music video is nominated for Video of the Year, assumed it was a personal attack, telling the rapper, "I've done nothing but love & support you. It's unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot."
Days of drama ensued (with Katy Perry and Camilla Belle taking shots at Swift), but the "Style" singer made peace with Minaj Thursday. "I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke," she tweeted. "I'm sorry, Nicki." Minaj replied, "That means so much Taylor, thank you."
In response to one of her Twitter followers later that night, the rapper said of the blond pop star, "I've always loved her. Everyone makes mistakes. She gained so much more respect from me. Let's move on."
During her Good Morning America interview, the rapper said her Twitter rant was less about Swift than about how women who look like Swift dominate the media. "We just have to have both images for girls," Minaj said of promoting diversity. "We can't have one type of body being glorified in the media."
Minaj added that she would "love" to work with Swift in the future.