PSG Keeper Rico Remains in Intensive Care After Riding Accident 

Paris St Germain Spanish goalkeeper Sergio Rico smiles as he warms up before the UEFA Champions League 1st round day 3 group H football match between SL Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain, at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on October 5, 2022. (AFP)
Paris St Germain Spanish goalkeeper Sergio Rico smiles as he warms up before the UEFA Champions League 1st round day 3 group H football match between SL Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain, at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on October 5, 2022. (AFP)
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PSG Keeper Rico Remains in Intensive Care After Riding Accident 

Paris St Germain Spanish goalkeeper Sergio Rico smiles as he warms up before the UEFA Champions League 1st round day 3 group H football match between SL Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain, at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on October 5, 2022. (AFP)
Paris St Germain Spanish goalkeeper Sergio Rico smiles as he warms up before the UEFA Champions League 1st round day 3 group H football match between SL Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain, at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on October 5, 2022. (AFP)

Paris St Germain goalkeeper Sergio Rico remained in intensive care on Monday after being involved in a riding accident while participating in an annual pilgrimage in southern Spain.

Rico suffered "a serious mishap due to a mule cart and a horse that hit him", his family said in a statement late on Sunday. Spanish paper Marca reported that Rico had been riding a horse himself.

The Spaniard was given permission by PSG to take part in the pilgrimage.

"Sergio is in good hands, fighting to recover while receiving the best care from the medical team at the Virgen del Rocio Hospital. We must exercise caution, especially during the next 48 hours," his family said.

"We are now awaiting medical results, which we hope will be positive, so that we can inform you of his improvement as soon as possible," they added.

Every spring, hundreds of thousands of devotees converge on a shrine to pay homage to the Virgin of the Rocio.

Rico, 29, joined PSG in 2020 after a season-long loan at the capital club. He started his career with Spanish club Sevilla.



Man United Bars Reporters after Stories about Manager Ten Hag as Problems Mount for Dutchman

Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Manchester United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - December 2, 2023 Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag before the match. (Reuters)
Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Manchester United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - December 2, 2023 Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag before the match. (Reuters)
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Man United Bars Reporters after Stories about Manager Ten Hag as Problems Mount for Dutchman

Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Manchester United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - December 2, 2023 Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag before the match. (Reuters)
Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Manchester United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - December 2, 2023 Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag before the match. (Reuters)

After reports of player unrest, Manchester United barred journalists from a pre-game news conference with Erik ten Hag on Tuesday as the Dutchman spoke ahead of a latest crunch match for his troubled team.

The United manager had been confronted with stories that his methods had been called into question by sections of the locker room after a 10th defeat of the season against Newcastle last week.

“We’re taking action against a number of news organizations today, not for publishing stories we don’t like, but for doing so without contacting us first to give us the opportunity to comment, challenge or contextualize,” United said in a statement. It did not say how long the ban would last.

The reports claimed there were growing doubts about Ten Hag’s management style as United sit seventh in the Premier League standings and on the brink of Champions League elimination.

But, speaking ahead of Wednesday's game against Chelsea at Old Trafford, the former Ajax coach said his squad remained united.

“You can see you can’t play such great football as we did lately if there is no unity,” Ten Hag said. “We are on a journey, a route, we know we are still in transition, but we are in the right direction.

“You see it how we construct a team, develop it, the team is progressing. How young players (are) coming in and you see the potential how they can contribute to a very successful Manchester United for the future.”

It is the second time in recent weeks United has responded to negative stories about Ten Hag, having last month refuted claims it was considering replacements for the coach.

While there has been no suggestion from the club that his position is in question, reports point to a growing sense of uncertainty as Ten Hag struggles to build on the success of his first season in charge when leading United back to the Champions League and winning the League Cup.

Defeat against Chelsea would raise further doubts about his future, but Ten Hag said he was confident about the team’s progress after winning five out of its last six games in the league before Newcastle.

“Still we are in the ranking. Of course we dropped, but are not too far away so we are OK,” he said.

United turned to Ten Hag after he led Ajax to three Dutch titles and two cups in the space of four seasons.

Since taking over at Old Trafford in July 2022, he has asserted his authority as he has attempted to turn the club's fortunes around.

Cristiano Ronaldo was made to train away from the first team and dropped after heading to the locker room before the final whistle of a match last season. Jadon Sancho is also training away from the first team over a “discipline issue.” The winger claimed on social media that he had been made a “scapegoat” after being cut from United’s squad for its 3-1 loss to Arsenal this season.

On Tuesday Ten Hag suggested he still had the backing of his players.

“Of course there are always, in every team, players who are not playing or less playing who are less happy. That is not different to normal,” he said. “If the players have a different opinion of course I will listen. But they haven’t told me. Or maybe one or two, but it is about in general. The majority, they want to play like this — proactive, dynamic, brave, that is what they want. You can see the players are behind it because of the performances against Everton and Galatasaray. You see that we are really improving.”


Double World Champion Alaphilippe to Begin 2024 at Tour Down Under

Double world champion Julian Alaphilippe will begin his 2024 campaign at the Tour Down Under. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP
Double world champion Julian Alaphilippe will begin his 2024 campaign at the Tour Down Under. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP
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Double World Champion Alaphilippe to Begin 2024 at Tour Down Under

Double world champion Julian Alaphilippe will begin his 2024 campaign at the Tour Down Under. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP
Double world champion Julian Alaphilippe will begin his 2024 campaign at the Tour Down Under. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

Double cycling world champion Julian Alaphilippe will begin his 2024 season at the Tour Down Under next month, event organizers said Tuesday.
A six-time stage winner at the Tour de France, Alaphilippe won back-to-back men's world road race crowns in 2020 and 2021 but has been plagued by injuries since.
"I am very happy to be returning to Australia," said the 31-year-old Alaphilippe, who previously raced the event in 2014 on his professional debut.
The Tour Down Under for men and women will take place in and around Adelaide next month, with the men's race from January 16-21, featuring the brutal Willunga Hill climb twice and finishing on an ascent to Mount Lofty.
"There are many undulating roads and tough climbs throughout various stages of this race," added Alaphilippe, who won the King of the Mountains jersey at the 2018 Tour de France.
"I'm particularly excited to revisit Willunga Hill along with Mount Lofty for the first time," added Alaphilippe, who will be one of the favorites for the race leader's ochre jersey.
The Soudal Quick-Step rider is a one-day race specialist, but he has won two stage races -- the 2016 Tour of California and the 2018 Tour of Britain.
He came agonizingly close to winning the Tour de France in 2019, losing the yellow jersey with just three days to go.
Race director Stuart O'Grady said of the Frenchman: "He is a true champion of our sport, and a born entertainer on a bike. We can't wait for him to race in Australia's greatest cycling race."
Alaphilippe is on the comeback trail after suffering broken ribs and a collapsed lung in a high speed crash in April 2022 and then injuring his knee in a tumble at the Tour of Flanders in March this year.
The women's Tour Down Under takes place from January 12-16.


Football Stars Maldini, Villa Praise Progress of Sports in Saudi Kingdom

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Football Stars Maldini, Villa Praise Progress of Sports in Saudi Kingdom

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

The Saudi people are enthusiastic and passionate about football, according to football stars David Villa from Spain and Paolo Maldini from Italy, SPA reported.
Their remarks came while visiting Jeddah to promote the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup, scheduled to be hosted by the governorate from December 12 to 22.
Maldini indicated that there are numerous significant cultural and sports changes taking place in the Kingdom recently. He stated that the Saudi people are highly enthusiastic about football and are actively contributing to the development of sports in all aspects.
Villa emphasized that the development in sports in the Kingdom is incredibly impressive. He also praised the passion of football fans and their love for the game, stating that this will contribute significantly to the advancement of sports.
Villa noted that the Kingdom showcases football in a magnificent way, not only on a local scale but also on an international level.
"The Saudi league is growing and evolving significantly, and football in the Kingdom, in general, is progressing. There is strength in increasing its popularity. Football, in general, must advance and evolve in any championship and country where its fans desire progress. This is very important for the Kingdom, and it is also crucial to have a tournament like the FIFA Club World Cup hosted here," the Spanish star said.


Riyadh Motor Show to Start Within Activities of Riyadh Season 2023

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Riyadh Motor Show to Start Within Activities of Riyadh Season 2023

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

The Riyadh Motor Show will start on Tuesday, as part of the activities of the Riyadh Season 2023, an event that gathers many international companies and renowned vehicle brands to join the most prominent and best upcoming event for the automotive year in the Kingdom, where vehicle brands reveal their latest models and new concepts, or launch new production vehicle from well-known models in the world.

The Kingdom Arena will host the Riyadh Motor Show from December 5 to 9 and it will witness the launch of more than 30 new vehicles that will be unveiled for the first time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, SPA reported.

The Riyadh Motor Show is expected to attract visitors from the Kingdom and abroad. The motor show also will shed the light on the automobile industry and its future, and will offer companies an opportunity to communicate and introduce them, making it one of the best motor shows to demonstrate prominence in this field.

This year, Motor Show spotlights participants in environmentally friendly and low-emission vehicles, such as electric and hydrogen vehicles, which truly represent the future of the world’s automotive industry in the next years, especially with regard to reducing emissions and sustainable development to preserve the environment.


Djokovic Finishes at No. 1 in ATP Rankings for Record-Extending Eighth Time

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates point against Jannik Sinner of Italy during a Davis Cup semi-final tennis match between Italy and Serbia in Malaga, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. (AP)
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates point against Jannik Sinner of Italy during a Davis Cup semi-final tennis match between Italy and Serbia in Malaga, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. (AP)
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Djokovic Finishes at No. 1 in ATP Rankings for Record-Extending Eighth Time

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates point against Jannik Sinner of Italy during a Davis Cup semi-final tennis match between Italy and Serbia in Malaga, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. (AP)
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates point against Jannik Sinner of Italy during a Davis Cup semi-final tennis match between Italy and Serbia in Malaga, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. (AP)

Novak Djokovic earned the year-end No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for the eighth time on Monday, adding to a record he already held.

Djokovic won three of the four Grand Slam tournaments — the Australian Open in January, French Open in June and US Open in September — to raise his career total to a men's-record 24 and was the runner-up at the other, Wimbledon. He went 56-7 this season while leading the tour with seven titles, including at the ATP Finals last month.

The 36-year-old from Serbia regained the top ranking from Carlos Alcaraz, who edged him in a five-set final at the All England Club in July.

Alcaraz finished 2023 at No. 2 after the two men swapped No. 1 back-and-forth repeatedly this year.

Iga Swiatek claimed the WTA's year-end No. 1 ranking for the second consecutive year by winning the WTA Finals last month. Swiatek, who won her fourth career major championship at the French Open, overtook Aryna Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion and runner-up to Coco Gauff at the US Open. Gauff finished at No. 3, followed by Elena Rybakina at No. 4 and Jessica Pegula at No. 5.

Djokovic eclipsed his own mark for the oldest player to top the ATP at the end of a season; he was 34 in 2021.

His eight year-end No. 1s put him two ahead of previous record-holder Pete Sampras, who did it six times. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal each finished at No. 1 five times, as did Jimmy Connors.

Daniil Medvedev closed 2023 at No. 3, followed by Jannik Sinner at a career-best No. 4, Andrey Rublev at No. 5, Stefanos Tsitsipas at No. 6, Alexander Zverev at No. 7, Holger Rune at No. 8, Hubert Hurkacz at No. 9 and Taylor Fritz at No. 10.

Alcaraz and Rune are both 20, marking the first time two men that young both ended a season in the top 10 since 2000, when Marat Safin, 20, was No. 2, and Lleyton Hewitt, 19, was No. 7.

There are three 19-year-olds in the top 100: No. 36 Arthur Fils, No. 71 Luca Van Assche and No. 97 Alex Michelson, an American who jumped up 504 spots after ending last year at No. 601.

The United States is the country with the most men in the top 20, four: Fritz, No. 13 Tommy Paul, No. 16 Frances Tiafoe and No. 17 Ben Shelton.


‘No Plan B' for Paris Opening Ceremony after Knife Attack

This long exposure photograph taken on December 2, 2023, shows a general view of the Eiffel tower in central Paris. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)
This long exposure photograph taken on December 2, 2023, shows a general view of the Eiffel tower in central Paris. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)
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‘No Plan B' for Paris Opening Ceremony after Knife Attack

This long exposure photograph taken on December 2, 2023, shows a general view of the Eiffel tower in central Paris. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)
This long exposure photograph taken on December 2, 2023, shows a general view of the Eiffel tower in central Paris. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)

There is no "plan B" for the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Summer Games, the French sports minister said on Monday, after a man armed with a knife and hammer killed a German tourist and left two people wounded near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday.
"We have no plan B, we have a plan in which there are several sub-plans with a certain number of adjustment variables," Amelie Oudea-Castera told France Inter radio.
The 26-year-old suspect, a French national arrested after the attack, had pledged allegiance to ISIS in a video recorded beforehand, anti-terrorism Prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said on Sunday.
The attack occurred on the Quai de Grenelle - a spot also included in the plans for the opening ceremony.
Asked if the government was mulling a change to its plan to hold the ceremony on the River Seine, with several hundred thousand spectators expected along its banks amid the security threats, the minister said: "This not something we're working with."
"We have the capacity to secure the event", she said, adding that certain details, including the number of additional cultural events surrounding the main spectacle and said the security perimeter would be adjusted closer to the Games.


Boks Rule Again in Season-opening Dubai Sevens

General view of the Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem/File Photo
General view of the Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem/File Photo
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Boks Rule Again in Season-opening Dubai Sevens

General view of the Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem/File Photo
General view of the Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem/File Photo

South Africa notched up their fifth consecutive title at the season-opening Dubai sevens tournament with a pulsating victory over Argentina on Sunday.

The Blitzboks beat Los Pumas 12-7 in the final of the first event of the new-look, eight-leg World Rugby SVNS Series.

The series moves on to Cape Town next weekend, with the third leg slated for Perth, Australia, at the end of January, AFP reported.

Action then moves Stateside to legs in Vancouver and Los Angeles before Asian stops in Singapore and Hong Kong ahead of the May 31-June 2 finals in Madrid.

The South African team overcame Australia 24-7 in the quarter-finals and Fiji 14-7 in the semis before taking on Argentina.

Los Pumas came from behind to beat Samoa 21-14 in the quarters and New Zealand 21-19 in a last-four clash to reach their first-ever final in Dubai.

Tries from Impi Visser and Shilton van Wyk, with a Justin Geduld conversion, handed the Boks a 12-0 half-time lead.

Argentina made the most of Ryan Oosthuizen being sent to the sin bin through a try by Matias Osadczuk converted by Santiago Mare.

But the Boks held on for another Dubai title in a season where the ultimate aim will be to dethrone Fiji as Olympic champions at the Paris 2024 Games.

"We had a very good pre-season and the guys showed that they were ready to play six tough matches," South Africa coach Philip Snyman said.

"The way they worked, based on defence, also showed their willingness to work off the ball and cover each other’s backs and that is a wonderful thing for coaches to see."

New Zealand claimed third spot with a victory over Fiji.

The women's title went the way of Australia for a fourth consecutive time.

Teagan Levi touched down either side of halftime as the Australians ended New Zealand’s 41-match winning streak in a 21-14 victory.

Skipper Charlotte Caslick said Levi had been "unbelievable".

"She’s had an amazing pre-season and we’re all getting to see the hard work she’s done this year."

A first-half hat-trick from Yolaine Yengo allied with a Lou Noel try helped France to third place with a 26-5 win over Canada.


Arab Delegation Visits Riyadh to Oversee Preparations for Arab Road Cycling Championship

The meeting is part of the inspection visit as the date for hosting the Arab Road Cycling Championship 2023 approaches. SPA
The meeting is part of the inspection visit as the date for hosting the Arab Road Cycling Championship 2023 approaches. SPA
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Arab Delegation Visits Riyadh to Oversee Preparations for Arab Road Cycling Championship

The meeting is part of the inspection visit as the date for hosting the Arab Road Cycling Championship 2023 approaches. SPA
The meeting is part of the inspection visit as the date for hosting the Arab Road Cycling Championship 2023 approaches. SPA

President of the Saudi Cycling Federation (SCF) and Vice President of the Arab Cycling Federation (ACF), Abdullah Al-Wathlan, met with a delegation of the ACF, headed by Secretary-General Ismail Al-Hosani.

The meeting is part of the inspection visit as the date for hosting the Arab Road Cycling Championship 2023 approaches.

The championship is scheduled to take place from December 15 to 23 in Riyadh.

During the meeting, Al-Wathlan expressed the SCF’s eagerness for further cooperation with ACF to contribute to organizing an exceptional edition and providing an exemplary experience for more than 300 players representing 13 countries. They will compete in this Arab event, overseen by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

The visit included inspection tours covering the race routes scheduled over seven days, totaling 730 kilometers.
This encompassed the accommodation for delegations, technical and arbitration needs, as well as the final preparations and arrangements to welcome the Arab teams.


Jeddah Gears Up for 2023 FIFA Club World Cup Enthusiasts

Screens under the slogan "Welcome, Fans!" have emerged to greet football enthusiasts supporting the participating clubs. SPA
Screens under the slogan "Welcome, Fans!" have emerged to greet football enthusiasts supporting the participating clubs. SPA
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Jeddah Gears Up for 2023 FIFA Club World Cup Enthusiasts

Screens under the slogan "Welcome, Fans!" have emerged to greet football enthusiasts supporting the participating clubs. SPA
Screens under the slogan "Welcome, Fans!" have emerged to greet football enthusiasts supporting the participating clubs. SPA

Jeddah governorate is gearing up to host the FIFA Club World Cup 2023, organized by Saudi Arabia, set from December 12 to 22 at King Abdullah Sports City and Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal City stadiums.

Across different regions and governorates of the Kingdom, vibrant displays and screens under the slogan "Welcome, Fans!" have emerged to greet football enthusiasts supporting the participating clubs.

The clubs—Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia), Al Ahly (Egypt), Manchester City (England), Urawa Red Diamonds (Japan), Leon (Mexico), Fluminense (Brazil), and Auckland City (New Zealand)—are all geared up for the tournament.

The organizing committee's second promotional campaign is ongoing until December 9 at Jeddah Corniche, aiming to offer football fans and families the chance to capture photos with the championship's original trophy, previously hoisted by football legends worldwide.

The campaign boasts diverse entertainment, musical performances, face-painting activities for kids, and events catering to various age groups.


Liverpool Score Two Late Goals in 4-3 Win Against Fulham

03 December 2023, United Kingdom, Liverpool: Liverpool's Wataru Endo (C) celebrates scoring his sides third goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Fulham at the Anfield. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/dpa
03 December 2023, United Kingdom, Liverpool: Liverpool's Wataru Endo (C) celebrates scoring his sides third goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Fulham at the Anfield. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/dpa
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Liverpool Score Two Late Goals in 4-3 Win Against Fulham

03 December 2023, United Kingdom, Liverpool: Liverpool's Wataru Endo (C) celebrates scoring his sides third goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Fulham at the Anfield. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/dpa
03 December 2023, United Kingdom, Liverpool: Liverpool's Wataru Endo (C) celebrates scoring his sides third goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Fulham at the Anfield. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/dpa

Liverpool scored two goals in a minute late on to beat Fulham 4-3 in the Premier League on Sunday.
Trailing 3-2 at Anfield, goals from Wataru Endo and Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 87th and 88th minutes secured a comeback win.
Liverpool had twice led in the match, but looked set to lose at home for the first time since February when Bobby De Cordova-Reid put Fulham ahead in the 80th.
That was until Endo sparked the comeback and Alexander-Arnold hit the winner soon after to extend the Merseyside team's 100 percent winning home record this season and moved it to within two points of leader Arsenal.
Liverpool had taken the lead in the 20th through an own goal from Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno after Alexander-Arnold's long-range 25-yard free kick.
Fulham evened the score four minutes later when former Liverpool player Harry Wilson squeezed a near-post shot under keeper Caoimhin Kelleher from Antonee Robinson’s cross.
The home team retook the lead in brilliant fashion as Alexis Mac Allister drove a shot into the top corner in the 38th, The Associated Press reported.
Fulham evened the score again in the third minute of first-half stoppage time through Kenny Tete who headed in after Raul Jimenez flicked the ball on from a corner.
Leno denied Salah just before the break and Darwin Nunez smashed a shot against the crossbar in the second half.
Fulham went ahead when substitute De Cordova-Reid out-jumped Kostas Tsimikas at the far post.
Endo had a header saved and Salah fired the rebound over before Liverpool went on to complete its comeback.