Yours Conveniently

first_imgAmerica is a nation of unending highways, millions of automobiles and people on the move. An intrinsic part of this ballad of the road is the ubiquitous convenience store, that small patch of light in a sea of darkness, a moment of respite for the weary traveler. That foam cup of black coffee, that donut is never more welcome or rejuvenating.  Dilip Patel owns 20 Pantry One stores in New JerseyOver the years the arteries of these stores have spread from the wilderness and small towns to suburbia, to the urban jungle of big cities, to the streets and the lobbies of skyscrapers. Since they are open 24 hours 7 days a week, they are a small oasis for the road weary and also for the 8 hour shift work warriors who have simply forgotten to buy bread or need their quick fix of a lottery ticket.Increasingly, you can safely bet that the person who hands you your change or your cup of coffee is South Asian. The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) estimates there are over 140,655 convenience stores in the United States with annual sales of $495 billion. This half-trillion-dollar retail channel comprises of many small entrepreneurs, besides the well-known multi-state and nationwide chains, such as 7-Eleven.While there are no tabulated figures for South Asians, industry watchers estimate the number of South Asian owned stores nationwide between 50,000 to 70,000, almost a third to half of the total. Satya Shaw, president of Asian American Convenience Store Association, (AACSA) which was formed in 2005, estimates there are about 70,000 South Asian owned stores, raking in over $100 billion in revenues.According to Tariq Khan, chairman of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees, the largest convenience store chain in the country, more than 50 percent of the chain’s franchised stores are owned by South Asians. Of the 1,200 7-Eleven stores in California alone, at least 600-700 are owned by South Asians. Speedy Mart’s Bipin Patel: I didn’t have any godfather to guide me. I had to get used to this whole business and I didn’t have any experience. “We are definitely even a larger number than the Asian American motel ownership,” says Khan about the convenience store industry. In his 25 years of traveling across the continent for 7-Eleven related business, he has met thousands of C-store owners, both in various franchises as well as independent stores. He says, “Today, if you travel across the country, you will not go 30 miles without seeing owners who look like us.”The convenience store industry continues to be dominated by small, independent operators, who typically own and operate a single store. According to NACS, nearly 60 percent of all stores in the United States are independently owned. At the other end of the scale, stores owned and operated by chains owning 500 or more stores account for some 13 percent of all convenience stores.The majority of South Asian owners seem to lease or own independent stores. Says Shaw of AACSA, “Just as initially the motel owners went for independent properties rather than franchises, 60 percent of the Indian owned stores are independent, non-franchise stores.”Why are South Asians in the C-store business in such massive numbers?“Retail is an occupation held in highest esteem in many other countries, so naturally retail is a preferred channel for many new Americans,” says Michael Davis vice president for Retailer Services, NACS. “Retail also is an occupation that can easily transfer among borders, cultures and languages. The convenience store industry also offers affordable entry points.”South Asian immigrants have long played a role from working in C-stores, to managing them, leasing them and increasingly owning them. These stores have become the building blocks of a comfortable livelihood in America, and the road to success is often paved with Slurpees.“I really think we are the backbone of the industry. With all the bankruptcies in the 90’s of convenience stores, I think Indians and Pakistanis are the reason the companies survived, because we came in and bought those stores,” says Khan, who migrated to the United States from Pakistan in the 1970s. “All those stores went belly up in the Midwest and when they were gobbled up, they were gobbled up by people like myself.” Harry Singh: Punjabis, as you know, especially have the desire to be on their own, starting from back home. That’s what I wanted to do from the beginning, not necessarily be reporting to someone everyday. The classic example of the business savvy and chutzpah in the C-store business is H.R. Shah, who came to the United States in the 1970s from a poor rural family in the village of Bahadarpur, where even with a college degree, he could not find a job. Life was hard, or as he colorfully puts it, “It was kabhi khushi kabhi gaam.”After arriving in the United States, he worked at a friend’s grocery store where he learnt the business. Later he became a commercial real estate broker, helping immigrant clients find retail stores. Over a decade, he learnt the ropes of the business and built up profiles of thousands of Indian buyers in the tri-state area.One day the Krauszer’s chain, one of the oldest in the country, came up for sale. Started in 1910, it had fallen on hard times and its 300 stores were facing bankruptcy. Shah, who by now knew the convenience store business well, bid on the stores and acquired them for 30 cents on the dollar. He says with satisfaction, “I was the first Indian to own a convenience store chain and I managed to save the jobs of 1,300 employees.”Since he had a ready list of Indian and Pakistani potential buyers, he sold most of the stores, keeping just a few in his company, National Food Stores. Many stores were sold to existing managers, turning them into owners while he kept the rights to the Krauszer’s name. He added additional stores in Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania to expand the chain to 400 stores. Ismail Ali: The convenience store business is recession proof, because everyone needs bread and beer and lottery tickets. I always felt safe in the convenience store industry. Shah credits his good fortune to the day he bought the Krauszer’s chain, “That was the turning point in my career.” He recalls that many of the South Asian store owners he sold to now have five, even ten stores today.So why do desis tend to gravitate to the C-store business? “In this business you don’t need experience – the prices are on the merchandise. You don’t even have to know much English. You can get by with ‘Good morning’ and ‘Thank You’ and ‘Have a nice day,’” he says. “This business is also recession proof, because every morning people need the newspaper, bread, milk, coffee and cigarettes. If they don’t have a job, they’re likely to be still drinking coffee, perhaps having more cigarettes and certainly reading the newspaper.”He jokes that while the hours are long, C-store owners save even more by not having the time to party: “So it’s saving, saving and more saving. Seven days a week, you work 12 hours a day and with those savings you can buy another store.”Another major player is Raj Vakharia, who is partner in the 280-store Uni-Mart, a leading convenience store and gasoline station chain in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Maryland. The Company also operates discount tobacco stores under the name “Choice,” and two-thirds of its locations also sell gasoline. Recently the company was in the news after several store owners sued for fraud and breach of contract, claiming they were misled about operating costs and profitability.For long, the only South Asian on TV was Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the owner of the Quik-E-Mart in the TV show The Simpsons. He is known for having worked for 96 hours straight, taken so many bullets that bullets ricochet off the bullets already lodged in his body! He is savvy, brainy and a one-man dynamo of energy. And a Ph.D to boot.The stereotype has a sliver of truth, as hard work, family solidarity and resourcefulness are at the root of South Asian success in the C-store business. Many owners have professional degrees and include some physicians. Dinesh Gandhi, of Tampa, Fl., owns two C-stores and two hotel properties, besides six other stores where he is partner. All his stores are non-franchise with names like Kamala Food Stores, named after his mother, and A and Z Discount Beverages. All have Citco Gas stations attached to them.Like many successful entrepreneurs, his initial days were rough.Gandhi, who came as a student from Navsari in Gujarat, worked part-time in the motel industry and then in a convenience store before finally buying it. Was it difficult? “Yes and no. Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he says. “It’s always tough to start. Being a newcomer, it’s hard getting financing and also help in the store.” South East Petro Distributor’s Mike Shah: “Truly speaking, there’s a lot of pride in what I do. I love what I do – and that’s the important thing. So it’s something quite wonderful, considering you can start from nothing and get to where you have? “Absolutely,” says Gandhi. “That’s the beauty of this country. We worked so hard – 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Also we get help from the friends and family. The loan process in this country is not as hard as in India. Once you work hard, you can grow faster.”Gandhi, president of the Gujarati Samaj and founder member of AACSA, ruminates about the ups and downs of the C-store business. “Right now you can call it as the fun part, but it was really tough in the beginning. You came with empty hands. You had no contacts and very little money. But you triumph over the obstacles, such as collecting the money, manpower, running the store with little money – so you go day by day. It’s a big opportunity and you don’t want to lose that opportunity, but you have so little money.“My wife and my brother were helping me and we were working round the clock. Americans work 40 hours; we hardly slept 40 hours a week! There were so many different jobs to do. As one man running the store you are working as a cashier, as janitorial guy, you are also doing the ordering and the banking. 7 Eleven’s Tariq Khan: Today, if you travel across the country, you will not go 30 miles without seeing owners who look like us.“In the evening you fill up the cooler, mop and clean the restroom. We would hardly sleep till midnight and we would have to get up at 5 am. So it’s not a fun job. As they say in Hindi, ‘dukh ke din nahin par bahut sankat ke din the. (They were not days of sorrow, but days of great difficulties.) Your goal is to grow fast and have your own store. You borrow the money and you want to return it fast.”His story is repeated by almost every South Asian entrepreneur on both coasts. Bipin Patel, president of Speedy Mart Development Inc., in Springfield, N.J., has a tough-time story he can relate. When he came from Nadiad, a small city in Gujarat in 1984, the future looked bleak. He had married a green card holder and for the first few years he worked in small stores. Since his wife’s family worked in manufacturing, they had no contacts in the C-store business. He recalls, “I didn’t have any godfather to guide me. I had to get used to this whole business and I didn’t have any experience. It was difficult to even run the cash register because I had no experience in a working store.”He was a fast learner, because not only did he create his own store – Speedy Mart – but turned it into a franchise. Today there are 45 Speedy Marts and he owns 25 of them. He says, “We have grown because of the employees. Most of those who worked for me for a year or two and have some money, we take them as partners when we find a new store. So we believe in teamwork very much and growing together, because without your people, you cannot grow.”Patel is president of the Asian American Retailers Association (AARA), which is planning to go national. Started last year, AARA has 500 members, who own 1,000 stores, including Krauszer’s, 7-Eleven, Quick Marts, and Pantry One. Dinesh Gandhi: The only goal is you want to grow fast and have your own store. You borrow the money and you want to return it fast.“We are fighting for the rights of store owners, because there are so many different taxes and tough laws about selling tobacco,” says Patel. The price of cigarettes in New Jersey is much higher than neighboring states, which makes it difficult for C-store owners to profit on them. He says that the largest profit is in prepared foods, deli and sodas. While the share in lottery sales is just five percent, it is big volume and C-store owners can make almost $1,000 every week in commissions.C-stores are increasingly organizing around tobacco and oil taxes and lottery ticket sales, which are often governed by local and state laws, resulting in a proliferation of organizations. Twelve of these associations have bandied together into the National Alliance of Trade Associations (NATA).“There’s a common thread which combines all of the owners and members of these associations. The fact that all of us belong to the same community – that is the Ismaili Muslim Community,” says Ebrahim Jaffer, chairman of NATA, and president of the Atlanta Retailers Association (ARA).“We are the followers of Aga Khan. The Aga Khan Development Network is the world’s largest human development organization with approximately $300 million and over 60,000 employees across the world.” The organization includes Ismailis from India and Pakistan as well as other parts of the world.NATA represents both major players and small independent store owners. Most of the convenience stores are combined with gasoline sales, which includes brands like Shell, Chevron, Exxon, Diamond Shamrock and Valero.Jaffer, who is from Pakistan, came to the United States in 1973 and after studying in Utah, he moved to California and then to Atlanta to operate convenience stores. He owns several C-stores and gas stations in the metro Atlanta area. “The Ismaili community realized that the convenience store-gas station industry was one that we could get involved with and given our entrepreneurial background, it would be a great entry point in the economic development of the community,” he says. AASCA’s Satya Shaw: Just as initially the motel owners went for independent properties rather than franchises, 60 percent of the Indian owned stores are independent, non-franchise stores.The Ismailis, who are known to be astute traders, started buying stores, improving them and cutting expenses and increasing sales. Jaffer credits the economic environment of America for this success as it encourages small business ownership, but he also emphasizes the South Asian work ethic: “The fact that you can get in, you can learn the business, you can become the manager, you can lease a store and then go on to own the property and then go on to multiple locations – that is possible because it requires business acumen and hard work and dedication. Given the nature of our historical entrepreneurial background, this was a natural progression and the opportunity was there.”The C-store owners are increasingly developing clout: ARA has established a credit union in Atlanta and the Greater Austin Merchants Association has set up a warehouse in Austin, Texas. NATA is also courted by the big brands: officials held a meeting with Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo in Houston, while in Atlanta they were invited to the Coca-Cola Company’s headquarters where the NATA flag was flown. Recalls Jaffar Peermohammad, president of GAMA, “My heart was pounding with honor and pride to see the NATA flag being hoisted along with United States, Georgia and Coca-Cola company’s flags.”Ismail Ali is another Ismaili from Hyderabad, India, who owns 10 Shell, Texaco and Citco stores in Austin, Texas, and is vice president of GAMA. He says the strength of the industry is in its ability to withstand economic downturns. He recalls, “When my son graduated from the University of Texas in 2000 the computer industry was booming. The first job was very good, but then in 2003 he was laid off. So he joined me in the business. The convenience store business is recession proof, because everyone needs bread and beer and lottery tickets. I always felt safe in the convenience store industry.”For all the success stories, the convenience stores are also a place of nightmares, of armed robberies and shootings, where sometimes you pay with your life. Just last month 55-year-old Rahul Patel of P.K. Food Store in Tampa, Fl., was fatally shot in his store. He leaves behind a wife and children.Besides armed robberies, there is also vandalism, shoplifting and incidents of people driving off without paying for gas. All the owners said they instruct their workers not to play hero and confront robbers. The trade organizations have been active in conducting seminars with experts and police departments to instruct workers on dealing with safety and security issues, and how to keep the stores well-lit and clutter free, so the interiors are visible from the street. Krauszer’s H. R. Shah: This business is also recession proof, because every morning people need the newspaper, bread, milk, coffee and cigarettes. If they don’t have a job, they’re likely to be still drinking coffee, perhaps having more cigarettes and certainly reading the newspaper.” Often workers have to be taught about the communication gap with the outside world, as became apparent in the recent Operation Meth Merchant, in which several South Asian convenience store owners in Georgia were rounded up for allegedly supplying methamphetamine precursor chemicals to buyers. Human rights groups have charged that racism was behind the targeting of these stores, since 23 of the 24 stores targeted in the undercover operation were Indian-owned. Satya Shaw of AACSA says at the recent convention seminars were conducted to educate owners on avoiding such problems in the future.The other problem for convenience store owners is the labor crunch. As Bipin Patel says: “This being an 18 hour a day cash business, it’s important to have good workers. If a couple of workers don’t turn up then it’s very difficult. That’s why we have stopped buying businesses. The employee crunch is big time, because everyone wants to work for bigger companies where they will get medical benefits. Small businesses just can’t give those benefits.”Nevertheless, many South Asians thrive in the business. Florida is the scene for flourishing South Asian convenience stores with many Circle K, 7-Elevens and independent stores. According to Dinesh Gandhi, after Walmart entered the Florida market aggressively, several convenience store chains were driven out of business and were picked up by Indians, who converted them into independent stores.Michael Shah of Southeast Petro Distributors and All American Oil owns 100 convenience stores cum gas stations in Florida and is also a gas broker. Gasoline is important as it draws people to the convenience store where they end up buying many more products.Shah is an architect who left Gujarat in the 1970s to work in South Africa. He practiced architecture for many years in Connecticut until the family decided to move south to warmer climates and hit upon the gas and convenience store business. Shah has helped many newcomers acquire stores and gas stations. When his son Summit graduated from college he joined his father in the business, and his daughter, who graduated from Georgia Tech, has just started her own gas station-convenience store in Atlanta. Shah says he is planning to get into Atlanta on a big scale.Done right, there is good money in the business, and Shah knows of people who earn $200,000 selling gas and candy in Cocoa Beach in Broward County. They share a community with physicians and professionals and bandied together to buy 36 acres of land to build a Hindu temple and community center. Recalls Shah, “In one meeting with 40 people, which included three doctors and about 35 C-store owners, we raised $5 million in two hours.”Any regrets about leaving architecture? “Not at all, not at all,” says Shah. “Truly speaking, there’s a lot of pride in what I do. I love what I do – and that’s the important thing. When you love what you do and when you do what you love, success is going to be there. That’s the key and that’s what I try and explain when people call me from Detroit or Texas, wanting to start a convenience store-gas business. I tell them come and see it and try it for 3 to 4 weeks before you get into it. It’s very important that you must like it otherwise don’t get into it.” GOT SOME GUM? The top 10 in-store product categories (in terms of consumer sales, not including gasoline):1. Cigarettes 2. Packaged Beverages (non-alcoholic) 3. Foodservice 4. Beer 5. Other Tobacco 6. Candy 7. Salty Snacks 8. General Merchandise 9. Fluid Milk Products 10. Packaged Sweet Snacks PUNJABI PASSION THE MOBIL OIL KING  Harry Singh, who heads Bolla Management Corp. in New York, has 16 plus years of experience in gasoline, C-store, auto repairs and car wash business with Mobil. He is a president of 19 ExxonMobil and 11 Sunoco businesses in New York. He is also a gas dealer in Suffolk County, Long Island. He’s been awarded the International Franchisee Award by the International Franchise Association, a global association on behalf of ExxonMobil.All in all, it’s a multimillion dollar business encompassing convenience stores, gas stations and real estate.It all started in his village of Surapur in Punjab, for as he says, “Don’t forget back home the Punjabis are very seriously in the transport business. A lot of Punjabis here started by driving taxis and being in the automotive business was a way for them to remain close to the work they did back home. On the west coast not only are there Punjabis involved in driving trucks, they also own transport businesses.”Today he has 35 gas stations and 17 of them have repair shops attached, but the others have changed with the times. He says, “Convenience-stores came from the west coast and did not originate in NYC. Now 70 to 80 percent of the gas pumps here have C-stores attached. Many are Exxon and Mobil franchises, and they have very well structured stores like A-Plus and On the Run.”Singh says the business is so lucrative that his son who’s just finishing college is also joining him. He says: “It’s not just a convenience store, it’s much more. Now we are talking about commercial real estate and managing development business. It’s starting at one point and then you keep moving on.”What he likes about the gas and convenience store business is that you can be your own boss: “Punjabis, as you know, especially have the desire to be on their own, starting from back home. That’s what I wanted to do from the beginning, not necessarily be reporting to someone everyday. I wanted something of my own which I could be proud of.”There’s no doubt he has a passion for the business: his email address – Mobil Oil King – says it all! TEXAS IS NUMBER ONE Texas alone is home to one-tenth of all U.S. convenience stores, with 13,884 convenience stores in the Lone Star State. The rest of the top 10 states in terms of total stores are: StateStoresTexas1,3884California9,597Florida9,090New York7,376Georgia6,121North Carolina6,098Ohio4,968Michigan4,642Virginia4,398Illinois4,378  Motels v C-Stores  South Asians have long dominated the motel business. But in some ways their concentration in the convenience store sector is growing even more rapidly. There are an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 South Asian owned convenience stores run in the United States; by contrast the number of South Asian motels are estimated at around 25,000.“In the gasoline-convenience store business you can see the cash flow right away whereas in the motel business the only time you see the cash is if you can sell it for a better price, otherwise you end up spending money on improvements all the time. In the motel business you have to pay the franchise fee whereas in the gasoline business the oil companies give you an incentive for 3 to 4 years, depending on the location and volume, to carry their brand. If you were to go to Best Western or Comfort Inn and say you want their brand, the requirements would be very strict. You’d have to put in half a million to a million to get that franchise whereas in the convenience stores, the oil company gives you the incentive to use the brand.There are several companies, including BP, Shell, Sunoco, Texaco, Amoco, Texaco, Chevron – you fly their flag, but the convenience store can be your own name and design.” Mike Shah, Southeast Petro Distributors. Related Itemslast_img read more

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Lady Gaga achieves her Cleopatra bride look with this one

first_imgLady Gaga sure made heads turn with her latest outing. While on her way to the then-surprise duet with Tony Bennett at the Jazz Festival in Montreal, Lady Gaga was spotted wearing a beaded Versace gown with dramatic hair and shiny jewellery.Lady Gaga makes her way to her duet with Tony Bennett in a Versace beaded gown. Picture courtesy: SplashOne look and it made us realise that this is what a cross between a happy, blushing newly-wed bride and Cleopatra would look like. She also seems to be curvy-happy now that she’s put on weight and glowing.She later tweeted this picture of herself while on-stage performing with Tony Bennett.Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett perform together at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Picture courtesy: Lady Gaga’s Instagramlast_img read more

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NY Cosmos Will Play in Havana

first_imgNEW YORK — The coaches of the New York Cosmos and Cuba’s national soccer teams jointly announced they will play a June 2 match in Havana.The announcement comes amid talks by Washington and Havana to work toward the restoration of diplomatic relations between the former Cold War foes.The Cuban and Cosmos teams conducted their own negotiations in January, during a CONCACAF Under-20 tournament in Jamaica.“Everything happened very quickly,” Cosmos President Seamus O’Brien said of the match, which both sides call an act of sports diplomacy. “Everything was done in a couple of weeks.”The Cosmos will be the first professional U.S. soccer club to play on the island in 37 years. The now-defunct professional Chicago Sting played in Cuba in 1978, while the amateur U.S. national team played a World Cup qualifier there in 2008.“When I was told that there was a chance of facing the Cosmos, I quickly said ‘yes,’ because I was aware of this club, their history, their prestige,” Walter Benitez, the Cuban team coach said in a press conference. “Now I realize that this is bigger than I figured.”The Cosmos compete in the second-tier North American Soccer League. The team’s roster includes Raul Gonzalez, a longtime star with Spain’s national team and club powerhouse Real Madrid. Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, at the sunset of their careers, played with the team during its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.The announcement follows the Dec. 17 announcement by both governments that they would negotiate the restoration of relations severed after the 1959 Cuban revolution.U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, a Democrat who is a critic of the American trade embargo against Cuba, praised the match. He said was in Havana when presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced they would work toward restored relations.“There were two things that all the Cubans said that they loved about the United States: One was sports and the other was every damn thing else,” Rangel said.At the press conference, a video was shown of the 1971 trip by U.S. ping pong players to China that was credited in helping revive diplomatic ties between those countries.Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said the team “historically has been a soccer ambassador,” adding that Cuba will be the 42nd country it has visited.For the Cuban team, the match will also be a tuneup for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and the CONCACAF Gold Cup held in the U.S. in July.Sports exchanges between Cuba and the United States have increased in recent years, including several visits by U.S. college baseball players.Baseball is Cuba’s most popular sport, but soccer has made strides in recent years with many young people sporting jerseys of Real Madrid and Barcelona.“You can watch a lot of soccer in Cuba, breathe a lot of soccer. This could help us find more talent,” Benitez said.(ERIC NUNEZ, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Hamilton Escapes Baseball Punishment

first_imgNEW YORK — Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton will not be disciplined by Major League Baseball for his latest problems involving cocaine and alcohol.MLB said the decision was made by an arbitrator appointed under its joint drug program with the players’ association.MLB said in a statement it disagreed with the decision and will “seek to address deficiencies in the manner in which drugs of abuse are addressed under the program in the collective bargaining process.”Hamilton, a five-time All-Star and the 2010 AL MVP, is subject to the treatment program for prior violations involving cocaine stretching back a decade.He self-reported a new issue this year involving both cocaine and alcohol, a person familiar with the case said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because those details were not made public.MLB said it took “the position that Hamilton violated his treatment program and is subject to discipline by the commissioner.”Baseball defines cocaine as a drug of abuse — which is covered by rules than those for performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids.A four-person treatment board created by the joint drug program, which includes one lawyer and one medical representative each appointed by management and the players’ association, deadlocked 2-2 on whether Hamilton was subject to discipline. That caused the need for an arbitrator to break the tie.A hearing was held before an arbitrator, and Hamilton was represented by lawyers Jay Reisinger and Tina Miller. The arbitrator said only that Hamilton was not subject to discipline and did not give reasons for the decision, the person familiar with the case said.“The Angels have serious concerns about Josh’s conduct, health and behavior, and we are disappointed that he has broken an important commitment, which he made to himself, his family, his teammates and our fans,” General Manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement on behalf of the team. “We are going to do everything possible to assure he receives proper help for himself and for the well-being of his family.”Hamilton, who turns 34 in May, won the AL MVP award with Texas during a six-year stretch as one of baseball’s best all-around players for the Rangers and Cincinnati Reds.He has been a disappointment in his first two seasons since signing a $125 million, five-year deal with the Angels before the 2013 season.Hamilton played in just 89 games because of injuries and struggled at the plate throughout last season, culminating in an 0-for-13 performance in the Angels’ three-game loss to Kansas City in the AL Division Series. After resting his ailing right shoulder throughout the offseason, he had surgery in February that will prevent him from playing until at least May.He was the first pick in the 1999 amateur draft out of Athens Drive High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, but his surge through the minors was sidetracked by substance abuse beginning in 2001.He did not play after July 2002 because of injuries and unspecified personal issue, and he was suspended for 30 days on Feb. 17, 2004.That March 19, the suspension was extended through the rest of the season, and when he failed to appear for a drug test that August the suspension was extended through the 2005 season.He barely played baseball for four years, but found stability off the field with sobriety counseling, a wife and a family that now includes four children.Hamilton resumed his career in the minor leagues in 2006. He ended up in 2007 with the Reds, and he received a long standing ovation when he made his major league debut. He had 19 homers and 47 RBIs as a rookie, and Cincinnati traded him to Texas in the offseason.He was an immediate hit with the Rangers, leading the league with 130 RBIs and earning a starting spot in the All-Star game in 2008. He won the AL batting title in 2010, and he was selected the AL Championship Series MVP award while leading the Rangers to their first World Series appearance.But even during his success, Hamilton had problems. He acknowledged a relapse in early 2009 after he was photographed getting drunk in a bar in Arizona, and he held a news conference in 2012 to apologize for another night of drinking.The Rangers celebrated their playoff successes in 2010 and 2011 by drinking ginger ale instead of champagne in a nod to Hamilton’s sobriety.After playing in a second World Series in 2011, Hamilton had a career-best 43 homers and 128 RBIs in 2012 despite injury problems and a late-season slide that prompted some Rangers fans to boo him.Hamilton has managed just 31 homers and 123 RBIs in two seasons with the Angels.(RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Van Dijk Voted English Soccer’s Player of the Year

first_imgLONDON — Virgil van Dijk has been voted English soccer’s player of the year in recognition of his commanding performances in Liverpool’s defense as it bids to win the top-flight title for the first time since 1990.The Netherlands center back collected the Professional Footballers’ Association award at a ceremony in London on Sunday. His Liverpool teammate, Mohamed Salah, won the accolade last season.Van Dijk joined Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018 for $99 million, a world-record fee for a defender, and helped to improve a defense that was previously shaky under manager Juergen Klopp.Liverpool has kept a Premier League-high 20 clean sheets this season, a key reason why the team is only a point behind Manchester City with two games to go. Liverpool is also in the semifinals of the Champions League, where it plays Barcelona starting with the first leg on Wednesday.Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling, who was on the six-player shortlist for player of the year, was voted young player of the year.Vivianne Miedema was voted women’s player of the year, on the day she won the Super League with Arsenal.Manchester City forward Georgia Stanway was voted women’s young player of the year.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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How to Increase Blog Email Subscribers by 128% in 3 Months

first_img Originally published Aug 21, 2013 12:30:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Email Newsletters Back in 2012, we were able to more than double our blog email subscribers in just 3 months’ time — from 28,538 at the beginning of July to 65,036 by the end of September. And now, we have over 200K email subscribers. Seems unreal, right? Want to know how we did it? It’s so simple, you’ll want to kick yourself …All we did was add a new check box field to all our landing page forms so people could subscribe to our blog with just one click.Easily build and embed forms on your site. Try HubSpot Forms for free.This is how it looks:We put these check boxes on all of the forms we use for lead generation — on landing pages for offers we use to convert visitors into leads. And because we have a lot of landing pages on HubSpot.com — and because all the person has to do to subscribe is check a box — this method of blog subscriber generation really knocked it out of the park for us. Want to get in on this action? In this post, I’m going to explain how you can implement this little, yet impactful, piece of low-hanging fruit on your website so you can start capturing more site visitors as blog subscribers and nurturing them with your content.The Technology RequiredHaving the necessary tools and technology really do make or break your ability to implement this little tactic. At a very basic level, you need to have control over the fields on your landing page forms as well as the ability to export a list of people who opt in to your blog through these forms so you can add them to your blog subscriber list.For HubSpot users, it gets even easier. Anyone who uses the new HubSpot COS will be able to easily start boosting their email subscribers with this little trick. And the great thing is, with the HubSpot COS, there’s no maintenance required once you set it up. No manually exporting people who opt in, and adding them to your subscriber list. It all works like clockwork using lists and workflows to automatically route people into your subscriber list. (Note to HubSpot Customers: This will not work using the legacy CMS. You’ll need to wait until you migrate to the new COS in order to implement this tactic.)How Setup WorksI’ll walk you through how this setup works in HubSpot. Even if you don’t use HubSpot’s tools, hopefully understanding the general flow of how it works will help you figure out how to implement it using your own software.Step 1: Create a New PropertyThis is the property you’ll use to create the new field on your forms. If possible, configure it as a check box so visitors can simply opt in by checking it off. HubSpot users can create this new property in Contacts Settings.Step 2: Add a New Field for the Property to Your FormsNext, you’ll need to create a new field based on your new property, and add it to the form(s) you want it to appear on. Keep in mind that you don’t want to make it required. Doing so would mean the visitor would HAVE to check the box and opt in to your blog in order to submit the form in general, and you just want to give them the option. Furthermore, if your software allows, make it “smart.” In other words, if someone has already checked off this box on a form they completed in the past, they won’t see it again in the future.Last but not least, don’t make the box selected by default. You want it to be an opt in, not an opt out. The latter definitely isn’t as lovable. Step 3: Create a List of People Who Opt in Through the Check BoxCreate a Smart List to capture all the people who have checked the blog opt-in box on your forms. Because it’s “Smart,” this means it will automatically update when visitors check the box and opt in.If you’re using software other than HubSpot for this, this is where you’ll want to export a list of people who have checked the box and opted in to your blog subscriber emails.Step 4: Set up a Workflow to Add Opt Ins to Your Blog Subscriber ListOnce you’ve identified who your check box opt ins are, you need to get them into your subscriber list so they can start receiving the blog notification emails they signed up for. If you’re not a HubSpot customer, upload your exported list of people who checked the box to your subscriber list. If you are a HubSpot customer, set up a quick workflow to do it for you. Here’s how:1) Select Your Smart List: This is the list you set up in step 3.2) Set the Contact Property: This is where you’ll designate that you want the members of your Smart List to get put into your blog subscriber list. If you’re using HubSpot’s COS Blog, you have the option of four different subscriber lists, based on email frequency — instant, daily, weekly, or monthly. In this example, you’ll see that I’ve routed these new subscribers into the weekly email. I did this because I didn’t want these new subscribers to start getting bombarded with a ton of emails, especially since there is not a lot of clarity about what they’re getting themselves into by checking the box on the form.3) Set Up a Welcome Email: This is optional, but I highly recommend it, particularly because of that lack of clarity I just talked about. In your welcome email, you can specify exactly what your new opt-ins have signed up for, what they’ll get (and how much), and give them the opportunity to change their email frequency preferences if they prefer to receive blog emails more or less frequently. Here’s how ours looks for people who opt in to our blog via one of our landing page check boxes:How More Blog Email Subscribers Helps Your MarketingWhat’s great about email subscribers (as opposed to RSS subscribers) for your blog is the access you get to their inbox. And the more subscribers you have, the more traffic to your blog you can generate. In fact, 14% of monthly traffic to this very blog comes from email.However, one important thing to note about these new blog subscribers you’re generating through landing page check boxes is that they won’t impact new lead generation directly. Think about it — these people are subscribing to your blog because they’re filling out forms for your lead gen offers. In other words, they’re already leads.But that doesn’t mean it’s not useful to capture existing leads as blog subscribers, too. These are people who have the potential to share your content to others in their social networks, and those people might not be leads yet. Furthermore, free blog content is a great way to nurture existing leads into customers — and customers into promoters. And when you use things like Smart CTAs that are segmented by each of these different lifecycle stages, your blog can significantly help you move these people further along in the marketing funnel.What do you think about this tip for boosting blog subscribers? Will you implement it on your website?Image Credit: chascowlast_img read more

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7 Core Services Your Agency Needs to Offer in 2017 [Free Guide]

first_imgInbound marketing and sales continue to have a massive impact on the way businesses market themselves and sell their products. More companies than ever before are opting for agencies that offer a full-funnel range of inbound services.So what specific services does your agency need to offer in 2017 to stay on top of shifting client demands?Get prepared for a profitable year with our free guide: The 7 Core Services of Inbound Marketing and Sales. To help your agency win new deals and deepen relationships with existing clients, we outline the services you need to succeed. When you build out your firm’s capabilities to reflect the core services of inbound marketing and sales, your agency will be poised to capitalize on the emerging needs of businesses who have moved their marketing dollars online.The ROI businesses get from inbound marketing and sales is extremely compelling for clients. So too are the opportunities for marketing agencies who develop services packages to deliver inbound work. In fact, 73% of HubSpot’s Agency Partners reported seeing an increase of 2X or more in revenue after expanding their offerings to include both marketing and sales services.Is your agency ready to take on 2017 with the right tools and services to help your clients succeed?Access the 7 Core Services of Inbound Marketing and Sales guide here, and start producing (and proving) better ROI for your clients. Originally published Feb 17, 2017 5:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! Topics: Agency Marketinglast_img read more

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The 9 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

first_img A cover letter is used to demonstrate your interest in the role, passion for the company, and the impact you’ve had in previous positions. It also serves as a chance to present a clear, concise, and compelling writing sample that shows off your personality and ability to convey ideas. Cover letters should include a standout opening, relevant skills and qualifications, and a strong finish with a call-to-action — all within one page and unique to each application. Let’s face it: A job search is, typically, anything but fun.It’s almost as if it carries its own five stages of grief. At first, there’s denial of its demoralizing nature. Then comes the anger over either radio silence or rejection from prospective employers. Of course, there’s bargaining — “I promise to never complain about work again, if I can find a new job!”That’s often followed by depression, and the idea that one is simply just unhireable. Then, there’s acceptance: “This is awful, but I have to keep trying, anyway.”But we have good news. It is possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process. The magic, it turns out, could be in your cover letter. Best Cover Letter Cover Letter It may be true that only 26% of recruiters have deemed cover letters important, but that doesn’t mean yours has to contribute to that statistic. In fact, it might be that cover letters are deemed insignificant because so few of them stand out. Here’s an opportunity for you to exercise your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process.Personalization, after all, goes beyond replacing the title and company name in each letter you send to recruiters.Download Now: Free Cover Letter TemplatesWhat does that look like in practice, and how can you make your cover letter stand out? We found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.Note: Some of these cover letters contain real company names and NSFW language that we’ve covered up.Best Cover Letter Examples1. The Cover Letter That Explains ‘Why,’ Not Just ‘How’We’ve already covered the importance of addressing how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?The Muse, a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story. We advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.Source: The MuseHere’s another instance of the power of personalization. The author of this cover letter clearly has a passion for this prospective employer — the Chicago Cubs — and if she’s lying about it, well, that probably would eventually be revealed in an interview.Make sure your story is nonfiction, and relatable according to each job. While we love a good tale of childhood baseball games, an introduction like this one probably wouldn’t be fitting in a cover letter for, say, a software company. But a story of how the hours you spent playing with DOS games as a kid led to your passion for coding? Sure, we’d find that fitting.If you’re really passionate about a particular job opening, think about where that deep interest is rooted. Then, tell your hiring manager about it in a few sentences.2. The ‘We’re Meant for Each Other’ Cover LetterThis cover letter example is a special one because it was submitted to us here at HubSpot. What does the letter do well? It makes a connection with us before we’ve even met the letter’s author.”Content Marketing Certified” indicates the applicant has taken the content marketing certification course in our HubSpot Academy (you can take the same course here). Our “records” indicate he/she did indeed give an interview with us before — and was a HubSpot customer. The cover letter sang references to a relationship we didn’t even know we had with the candidate.The letter ends with a charming pitch for why, despite him/her not getting hired previously, our interests complement each other this time around.(Yes, the applicant was hired). 3. The Cover Letter with H.E.A.R.T.HubSpot has a lot of H.E.A.R.T. — Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent. Our Culture Code is the foundation of the company’s culture, the driving force behind our mission to help millions grow better, and serves as the scaffolding for our hiring practices. Recruiters at HubSpot look for applicants that demonstrate how they embody the Culture Code and job description, paying extra attention to cover letters that are super custom to HubSpot.In another HubSpot submission, a HubSpot applicant writes about how she found out about HubSpot, why she likes the company, and how her professional experience aligns with H.E.A.R.T.HubSpot’s recruiting team was impressed with her dedication to the company and how she went beyond what was asked for by link her portfolio in her closing paragraph.Short Cover Letter Examples4. The Short-and-Sweet Cover LetterIn 2009, David Silverman penned an article for Harvard Business Review titled, “The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received.” That letter contained three complete sentences, as follows:Source: Harvard Business ReviewOne might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding. It’s brief, to say the least, and the author doesn’t go into a ton of detail about what makes him or her qualified for the job in question. But that’s what Silverman likes about it — the fact that the applicant only included the pieces of information that would matter the most to the recipient.“The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me,” writes Silverman. “Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on.”When you apply for a job, start by determining two things:Who might oversee the role — that’s often included in the description, under “reports to.” Address your letter to that individual.Figure out what problems this role is meant to solve for that person. Then, concisely phrase in your cover letter how and why your experience can and will resolve those problems.The key here is research — by looking into who you’ll be reporting to and learning more about that person’s leadership style, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your cover letter to focus on how you provide solutions for her. Not sure how to learn more about a leader’s personality? Check out any content she shares on social media, or use Growthbot’s Personality Profile feature.Insert incredible compelling writing here5. The Bare Bones Cover LetterIn today’s job market, cover letters aren’t always necessary. Even though many recruiters won’t ask for or even read them, cover letters can still be effective and convey personality to a reader. Writing a strong cover letter can help you better convey your interest in the position and company. This template from The Balance Careers puts together the essential components of a short cover letter: excitement about the position, your qualifications, and a call-to-action for the recruiter to follow up with you. Combining these central aspects in a well-written, compelling narrative will go a long way in convincing readers to hire you.Source: The Balance CareersCreative Cover Letter Examples6. The Brutally Honest Cover LetterThen, there are the occasions when your future boss might appreciate honesty — in its purest form. Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg, by his own admission, is one of those people, which might be why he called this example “the best cover letter” (which he received while he was with Squarespace):Source: Title NeededAs Hertzberg says in the blog post elaborating on this excerpt — it’s not appropriate for every job or company. But if you happen to be sure that the corporate culture of this prospective employer gets a kick out of a complete lack of filter, then there’s a chance that the hiring manager might appreciate your candor.“Remember that I’m reading these all day long,” Hertzberg writes. “You need to quickly convince me I should keep reading. You need to stand out.”7. The Straw (Wo)man Cover LetterWhen I was in the throes of my own job search and reached one of the later stages, a friend said to me, “For the next job you apply for, you should just submit a picture of yourself a stick figure that somehow represents you working there.”Et voilà:I never did end up working for the recipient of this particular piece of art, but it did result in an interview. Again, be careful where you send a cover letter like this one — if it doesn’t match the company’s culture, it might be interpreted as you not taking the opportunity seriously.Be sure to pair it with a little bit of explanatory text, too. For example, when I submitted this picture-as-a-cover letter, I also wrote, “Perhaps I took the ‘sense of humor’ alluded to in your job description a bit too seriously.”8. The Overconfident Cover LetterI’ll admit that I considered leaving out this example. It’s rife with profanity, vanity, and arrogance. But maybe, in some settings, that’s the right way to do a cover letter.A few years ago, Huffington Post published this note as an example of how to “get noticed” and “get hired for your dream job”:Source: Huffington PostHere’s the thing: if the Aviary cited in this letter is the same Aviary I researched upon discovering it, then, well, I’m not sure this tone was the best approach. I read the company’s blog and looked at the careers site, and neither one indicates that the culture encourages this — or lowercasing proper nouns like “Google,” for which I personally cannot forgive the applicant …However, Aviary was acquired by Adobe in 2014, and this letter was written in 2011. So while it’s possible that the brand was a bit more relaxed at that time, we wouldn’t suggest submitting a letter with that tone to the company today. That’s not to say it would go unappreciated elsewhere — Doug Kessler frequently discusses the marketers and brands that value colorful language, for example.The point is, this example further illustrates the importance of research. Make sure you understand the culture of the company to which you’re applying before you send a completely unfiltered cover letter — if you don’t, there’s a good chance it’ll completely miss the mark.9. The Interactive Cover LetterWhen designer Rachel McBee applied for a job with the Denver Broncos, she didn’t just write a personalized cover letter — she designed an entire digital, interactive microsite:Source: Rachel McBeeThis cover letter — if you can even call it that — checks off all of the boxes we’ve discussed here in a remarkable way. It concisely addresses and organizes what many hiring managers hope to see in any cover letter: how her skills lend themselves to the role, why she wants the job, and how to contact her.She even includes a “traditional” body of text at the bottom, with a form that allows the reader to easily get in touch with her.Take CoverWe’d like to add a sixth stage to the job search: experimentation.In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search. But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data we’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.We certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will. That’s why it’s important not to copy these examples. That defeats the purpose of personalization.So get creative. And, by the way — we’re hiring.center_img Topics: Originally published Jul 10, 2019 3:00:00 PM, updated July 23 2019 Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

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We will be happy to have Ashwin at Delhi Capitals: Sourav Ganguly

first_imgFormer India captain and Delhi Capitals mentor Sourav Ganguly said that their franchise will be happy to have senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in their ranks for the upcoming Indian Premier League provided Kings XI Punjab releases him.Ashwin led KXIP for a couple of seasons without much success and there has been news that the Preity Zinta co-owned franchise is ready to trade him off.”We would be more than happy to have Ashwin if KXIP is ready to release him,” said Ganguly, who was in the national capital for a promotional event, sounding hopeful that the Delhi franchise can close the deal.Ashwin has played 28 IPL games for KXIP, taking 25 wickets and scoring 146 runs which at best could be termed modest.Meanwhile, Ashwin, who is in the squad for the 2-Test series in West Indies has been warming the bench as Ravindra Jadeja has played the role of the lone specialist spinner for both the matches.India’s head coach Ravi Shastri said on Saturday that Ravindra Jadeja’s improved batting and more control on a flat deck has prompted his selection ahead of Ashwin in the playing XI against the West Indies.Jadeja’s selection in the playing XI ahead of Ashwin, who had a proven record against the West Indies, “astonished” none other than Sunil Gavaskar but the all-rounder silenced everyone with an under-pressure half-century and a couple of wickets in the first Test.Ashwin has always been found wanting on flat tracks outside the sub-continent. While Shastri didn’t speak about the Tamil Nadu off-spinner’s weakness but did speak about what stood out for Jadeja as a spinner.advertisement”And if you see these tracks (North Sound and Kingston). From what I have seen of this track (Kingston), I don’t think there would be much on offer for the spinners where you would need control,” said Shastri.Also Read | Didn’t expect Dhoni to be picked for SA T20s as Pant rightly deserves more chances: Sourav GangulyAlso see:last_img read more

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US Open: Italy’s Matteo Berrettini edges past Gael Monfils for 1st Grand Slam semi-final

first_imgMatteo Berrettini describes his mental coach as a big help and a best friend. They’ve been speaking on the phone before and after every match during Berrettini’s run to his first Grand Slam semifinal.They had plenty to chat about when it came to this latest victory.Berrettini, a 23-year-old from Rome, gave Italy a spot in the final four at the U.S. Open for the first time since 1977 in dramatic fashion, double-faulting away his initial match point and then needing four more to finally put away 13th-seeded Gael Monfils of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5) after nearly four hours in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.”He told me, ‘I need to thank you because I thought that everyone is born once and dies once. But during that match, I was born and died 15 or 16 times,'” Berrettini said about his conversation with the mental coach he’s worked with for several years. “I collapsed and got back up. I collapsed and got back up. That match point. Those other chances. I was down then I came back. It’s a great source of pride for me.”In truth, the denouement was hardly a thing of beauty, with both men, clearly spent, fighting themselves and the tension of the moment as much as the guy on the other side of the net.Monfils finished with 17 double-faults but managed to avoid any throughout the entire, exhausting fifth set until he served at 6-5 and then he had three in that game, plus another two in the deciding tiebreaker, often doubling over between points to rest and catch his breath.advertisement”A very bad day for me, serving,” Monfils said.Berrettini acknowledged the obvious afterward, too, saying he felt “a little bit tight.”You think?It all was a bit of a whir.”Right now, I don’t remember any points, just the (last) match point, you know?” he said. “I remember also the double-fault; I have to be honest.”Berrettini, who is seeded 24th, will get a day to recuperate: He will face No. 2 Rafael Nadal or No. 20 Diego Schwartzman in the semifinals Friday. The other men’s semifinal that day is No. 5 Daniil Medvedev against unseeded Grigor Dimitrov, who beat an injured Roger Federer in five sets on Tuesday night to become, at No. 78, the lowest-ranked semifinalist at the U.S. Open since 1991.Nadal, the last member of the Big Three standing because Federer and Novak Djokovic are out of the draw, was to meet Schwartzman on Wednesday night. That followed the last women’s quarterfinal, in which No. 15 Bianca Andreescu reached her first major semifinal by defeating No. 25 Elise Mertens 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.Andreescu, a 19-year-old Canadian, improved to 31-4 this season, including 13-3 in three-setters. She takes on No. 13 Belinda Bencic on Thursday when the other semifinal is Serena Williams against No. 5 Elina Svitolina.Bencic also reached her first Grand Slam semifinal, following up her upset of defending champion and No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka by taking the last four games of a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over No. 23 Donna Vekic.”I felt like I couldn’t get three good points together,” Vekic said. “I was, like, playing one point good, then bad.”Berrettini-Monfils began on a muggy afternoon and concluded with Ashe’s retractable roof shut after rain came during the third set.Monfils, who is 10 years older, fell to 2-7 in major quarterfinals and could be forgiven for wondering how many more chances he’ll get.Berrettini, meanwhile, is on top of the world at the moment. With Corrado Barazzutti, Italy’s only other male semifinalist at the U.S. Open, back in 1977, in the stands Wednesday, Berrettini used his big forehand to produce 24 winners. He’s found an Italian restaurant he loves on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, so has been eating there throughout the tournament, and even had the owner there in his guest box, wearing a shirt festooned with the word “Carbonara.” (For the record, Berrettini’s dish of choice has been a simple pasta with olive oil and parmesan.)The first match point came while Berrettini served for the win at 5-3 in the fifth. Two more came and went when Monfils served at 6-5. A fourth was erased by an ace by the Frenchman in the tiebreaker. But on the fifth, Berrettini’s serve was returned long by Monfils.Berrettini stared at the ball as it descended, making sure it did, indeed, land out, so that he would, in fact, be moving on. He dropped to his back, spreading his limbs, then ripped off his hat as he rose to pound his chest.advertisementHe then proceeded to say “Grazie!” over and over during his post-match interview, thanking “my family at home, my mental coach they care about me a lot.”And then, perhaps also as a reminder to himself, he told the fans who were pulling for him in the stadium: “The tournament is not finished yet, so be ready for the next match, guys.”Also Read | US Open: Grigor Dimitrov stuns Roger Federer in 5 sets to move into semi-finalsAlso Read | Disappointing now, but I’ll get back up: Roger Federer after US Open losslast_img read more

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Instant Recap: Oklahoma State Survives Scare in Manhattan 43-37

first_imgAfter giving up an 11-play methodical drive with zero pass attempts from the Kansas State Wildcats on the opening possession of the game, Oklahoma State seemed to be out-manned in the running game on defense all day — but still found a way to overcome the mismatch.The Cats took advantage of a fast start to race ahead to a 13-0 lead, but strong play from Mason Rudolph and his receiving corps. sparked a resurgence with two straight scores to put the good guys ahead, 14-13 with 14:00 left to play in the second quarter. Jhajuan Seales was active, Chris Carson made several impressive appearances in the running and passing game, but it was the play of Blake Jarwin that helped OSU in the most surprising way. Going into the half, Jarwin lead OSU in receiving with 2 receptions for 96 yards and a TD — where he finished the day and notched a career high.The Cowboys secured a 21-16 lead at the half, and took the ball the first out of the gate in the second half. But the offense sputtered in the third quarter and was littered by miscues; first, a muffed punt by Barry J. Sanders; then, a pick-six thrown by Mason Rudolph that handed K-State the lead. And to add to the disastrous third, Oklahoma State had a punt blocked that gave the Cats field position in favorable territory along with the momentum.Kansas State capitalized on the turnover and, on the ensuing offensive possession, marched down for a rushing touchdown to take a commanding 30-21 lead.But the Cowboys weren’t done yet, as they responded with a score of their own to bring it to 30-28, and battled back and forth offensively late into the fourth. It was Junkyard James Washington who blew the game wide open with a monstrous 82-yard reception to put them within two with 7:45 to play in the fourth. Ohhhhhhh boy. pic.twitter.com/HLW8PyzeUE— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 5, 2016After a much needed stop late in the fourth, the Cowboys took over possession on offense with around 6:00 left on the clock, and drained it all the way down on a 3:39 second drive that netted OSU 8 points — first on a powerful Chris Carson touchdown run that was capped by a Jalen McCleskey duck that somehow landed in the hands of Rennie Childs to convert the two-point conversion and put them up by six.K-State took over possession and marched all the way down the field to the four-yard line with less than 10 seconds to go, but an OFFENSIVE pass interference call backed the Cats up 15 yards and on the final play of the game, Kansas State’s pass attempt to the end zone was picked off by Jordan Sterns. Pokes now move to 7-2 with Texas Tech coming to town next weekend. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

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Vincent Taylor Could Win Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year

first_imgVincent Taylor has been Oklahoma State’s most important defensive player so far this year. The numbers are stunning for a defensive lineman.36 tackles3 blocked kicks2 forced fumbles9.5 tackles for loss5.5 sacksAnd all of this from the defensive tackle position! Look at these lists. He’s the only one at the top along with Aaron Curry of TCU that plays defensive tackle and not defensive end or linebacker.screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-9-49-48-am screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-9-49-22-am“He might win defensive player of the year,” said Carson Cunningham on our podcast on Monday. “This guy has become of one of the great defensive tackles OSU has ever had. That’s not hyperbole at all. He’s been sensational. When you look up and down the Big 12, who’s going to beat him out for Defensive Player of the Year?” Mike Gundy agreed.“He’s up there with being as good as any player we’ve had on the defensive side of the ball for us,” said Gundy. “He’s come a long way and made great strides in the last six months. He’s another guy that, a year from now, can really position himself to make some good money and have the opportunity to play this game for another six or seven years just seeing the strides he’s made over the last six months.”.@CoachGundy on #okstate DT Vincent Taylor: “He’s up there with being as good as any player we’ve had on the defensive side of the ball.” pic.twitter.com/XAYD2YugiW— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) November 15, 2016Only two DTs have won Big 12 DPOY in the last seven years — Ndamukong Suh in 2009 and Andrew Billings last year. But Taylor is positioning himself nicely. There are certainly bigger names — Malik Jefferson and Jordan Willis come to mind — but I’m not sure there has been a player on the defensive line who has had more of an impact on his team’s season than Taylor.Rasul Douglas of West Virginia could stake that claim with a league-leading six picks on the conference’s best defense. Maybe one of the TCU DEs based on sacks depending on how they finish. But Taylor is certainly up there. And his defense has been pretty solid throughout the year.If he has a big Bedlam game and OSU wins the Big 12, he could end up with OSU’s first-ever outright Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award (Emmanuel Ogbah shared it last year with Billings). While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

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Videos: Wudtee, Brown, Green Preview 2017 Season

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Our final batch of 2017 Media Day videos includes a random collection of players: QB Keondre Wudtee, cowboy back Keenen Brown and cornerback A.J. Green. All three were solid and had intriguing perspectives on the season. I’m particularly interested in Green as he figures to factor in heavily to Oklahoma State’s success on defense this season. Mike Gundy noted in his presser on Saturday that he has a lot of confidence in his young corners, and Green is among them.Hope you guys enjoy the vids.AdChoices广告last_img read more

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Report: Shakhtar 2 Roma 1

first_imgShakhtar Donetsk 2 Roma 1: Fred stunner seals first-leg comeback Matthew Scott 05:41 22/2/2018 Shakhtar - cropped Twitter (@ChampionsLeague) Facundo Ferreyra and Fred cancelled out Cengiz Under’s latest Roma goal to fire Shakhtar Donetsk to a Champions League win. Shakhtar Donetsk fought back to beat Roma 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.The Ukrainian side won all three of their group games in Kharkiv and maintained that fine record to win just a third Champions League knockout game in their history – remarkably all have come against the Giallorossi.Eusebio Di Francesco’s side were surprise winners of a group including Chelsea and Atletico Madrid and they impressed in the first half, with Shakhtar perhaps slow to start in just their second game back from a long mid-season break. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Having polished the likes of Mohamed Salah and Miralem Pjanic in recent years, Roma look to have unearthed another gem in Cengiz Under and the 20-year-old Turk put the Giallorossi ahead with his fifth goal in four games shortly before the break.Shakhtar’s first-half attacking efforts had amounted to little, but Facundo Ferreyra dragged them level soon after the break with a fine individual goal and Fred turned the game around with a picture-perfect free-kick.Roma were similarly impressive at the Stadio Olimpico earlier in the competition, keeping clean sheets in each of their group games, and they will hope that helps them turn the tie around on March 13.The moment Fred beat international team-mate Alisson Becker #UCL pic.twitter.com/V4N0w6YVsk— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 21, 2018Fred scuffed a back-post chance for Shakhtar and Edin Dzeko saw a bundled effort saved as both teams began at breakneck tempo, though Roma soon began to exert a greater threat on the break.Kostas Manolas ought to have done better than heading wide when unmarked from a corner and Dzeko too faltered when played in by Diego Perotti, failing to aim a weak sidefoot finish out of Andriy Pyatov’s reach.Shakhtar based the bulk of their attacks out wide and, though they regularly found room behind Alessandro Florenzi and Aleksandar Kolarov, the final ball was often lacking and Fred summed up their frustrated efforts just after the half-hour with a wild 25-yard effort after the Serie A side had clogged up the route to goal.Roma slowed the pace to exert more control and took a deserved lead five minutes before the break as Dzeko neatly turned into space and played a piercing ball behind Ismaily, which Under raced onto and finished beyond Pyatov to continue his fine run in front of goal.2 – Cengiz Ünder (20yy, 222dd) is the 2nd youngest goalscorer for @OfficialASRoma in UCL history after Antonio Cassano (20yy, 82dd). Wonder.— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) February 21, 2018Shakhtar hit back less than six minutes into the second half, Ferreyra had been previously starved of service, so took it upon himself to latch onto Yaroslav Rakitskiy’s hopeful punt, nutmeg Manolas and finish calmly beyond Alisson.As Shakhtar surged forwards, the Brazilian goalkeeper had to be on his toes to deny Marlos from close-range before he pulled off a spectacular flying stop when Taison sent a wicked shot arrowing for the top-right corner.But there was absolutely nothing Alisson could do to stop Roma falling behind in the 71st minute as Fred sent a 25-yard set-piece fizzing over the wall and into the net via a pleasing kiss off the crossbar.Shakhtar came within inches of scoring the game’s fourth goal in stoppage time, but Bruno Peres somehow deflected Ferreyra’s effort over the bar while sat on the line – an intervention that could prove to be crucial. read morelast_img read more

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Barcelona held as Las Palmas steal point

first_imgLas Palmas 1 Barcelona 1: Calleri penalty cancels out Messi opener Rob Lancaster Last updated 1 year ago 06:03 2/3/2018 Lionel Messi_cropped Twitter: (@FCBarcelona) Lionel Messi scored for the first time at Estadio Gran Canaria but the LaLiga leaders failed to beat Las Palmas on the road. Leaders Barcelona opened the door for Atletico Madrid in the LaLiga title race as they were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw away at relegation-threatened Las Palmas.After Antoine Griezmann inspired Atletico to a 4-0 win on Wednesday, Ernesto Valverde’s side knew a win would restore their seven-point cushion before they face their nearest rivals at the Camp Nou on Sunday.Lionel Messi thundered in a 21st-minute free-kick to put Barcelona in front and, in the process, score for the first time at the Estadio Gran Canaria. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp However, the struggling hosts were gifted the chance to equalise straight after the break, Jonathan Calleri confidently converting a penalty after Matias Aguirregaray had seemingly been fouled at a corner, and Barca could not find a way to restore their lead against a resolute home side.While the draw sees Barca extend their unbeaten league record, they are now just five points clear of Atletico in second.And it is now only three wins in their last seven outings in all competitions for the Catalans, a run that will concern Valverde ahead of a critical run of fixtures, with the visit of Atletico coming just 10 days before the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Chelsea.4 – Leo Messi is the player who has scored the most free kick goals this season (four, one more than Neymar and Fekir). Unique pic.twitter.com/fiO3c6w7kt— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 1, 2018 After Atletico’s one-man demolition job on Leganes 24 hours earlier, a much-changed Barca knew the pressure was on to respond before they face Diego Simeone’s in-form side.Luis Suarez – risked from the start despite being just one yellow card away from a suspension – was unable to give his side an early lead as the visitors butchered a two-on-one opportunity.Messi stole possession and appeared certain to set up the opener, only to delay squaring the ball to his unmarked team-mate.Leandro Chichizola capitalised on the delayed pass to bravely Suarez’s block the eventual effort, though there was little Las Palmas’ goalkeeper could do about Barcelona’s opener midway through the half.Having gone over the wall with an earlier set-piece strike, Messi opted for power over precision with his second free-kick. Chichizola had a clear view of the attempt, yet still could not prevent it flashing into the top right corner of his goal.The hosts saw their keeper escape punishment when, having charged out of his penalty area to clear, the ball struck his outstretched hand, referee Antonio Mateu judging there was no intent despite the clear deflection denying Suarez the chance to shoot into an unguarded net from a tight angle.79- Barcelona have conceded a penalty in La Liga 79 games after (since February 2016 against Celta). News pic.twitter.com/5oVAWenFRn— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 1, 2018The official was again required to make a big call immediately after the break, spotting an infringement as Aguirregaray attempted to head home at the near post.Calleri successfully scored from the spot, firing in his seventh goal of the season to draw Las Palmas level and force a frustrated Valverde to send for his big guns from the bench.Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Raikitic and Ousmane Dembele all came on, yet Barcelona struggled to find a way to get through a determined home team that saw all four members of their starting defence pick up bookings.Aguirregaray summed up the home side’s brave display when he produced a desperate tackle from behind on Messi, securing Las Palmas a point that will also be celebrated in the Spanish capital. read morelast_img read more

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Red Bulls teenager Ben Mines shines in MLS debut

first_imgMLS Red Bulls teenager Ben Mines shines in MLS debut Ives Galarcep Last updated 1 year ago 13:27 11/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Ben Mines New York Red Bulls MLS Vincent Carchietta MLS New York RB v Portland Timbers New York RB Portland Timbers The 17-year-old winger scored a goal in his first MLS match, drawing raves for his performance in Saturday’s 4-0 win against the Portland Timbers HARRISON, N.J. — Ever since he joined the New York Red Bulls academy and began taking the trips from Ridgefield, Connecticut to New Jersey in pursuit of his professional soccer dream, Ben Mines envisioned taking the field at Red Bull Arena and hearing the roar of the crowd.From his time with the Red Bulls U-15s, when Jesse Marsch got his first glimpse of the promising winger, to his time with the Red Bulls USL affiliate last year, Mines made the same climb up the ladder that Matt Miazga and Tyler Adams made. He took the biggest step to date on Saturday, enjoying an MLS debut that couldn’t have gone much better. Mines earned a start, scored the opening goal and earned man of the match honors in the Red Bulls’ 4-0 thrashing of the Portland Timbers.”It’s amazing, just coming up through the academy is an incredible experience, with great coaches and great players,” Mines told Goal. “It’s the dream to play for the first team and that dream came true tonight.” Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Mines was one of several Red Bulls reserves who were handed starts on Saturday as Marsh prepared his team for Tuesday’s crucial CONCACAF Champions League decider against Club Tijuana. Though he was the youngest player on the field, Mines was a player Marsch fully believed was ready for the opportunity. So much so, in fact, that he predicted Mines would score a goal.”It was easy decision to put him on the field tonight,” Marsch said. “I knew it going into last week that Ben Mines was playing tonight, and I was pretty confident that he was going to play well. “For a 17-year-old in a man’s world, he’s fit right in,” Marsch added. “He’s not intimidated. He’s ready for this challenge.”Marsch’s confidence in Mines was a byproduct of the outstanding preseason the teenager enjoyed, a stretch where he was easily one of the team’s best players.”Just coming into preseason, and playing with these guys, everybody gave me confidence to be me and do my thing,” Mines said. “I just came out here tonight and did the same thing.”A native of Ridgefield, Connecticut, Mines joined the Red Bulls academy as a high school freshman. Current Red Bulls standout and U.S. national team midfielder Tyler Adams first saw Mines when the two were teamed up on a Red Bulls academy select team for a tournament in Salzburg, Austria. Adams came away from that trip impressed with Mines, who is two years yonger than he is, and he was left convinced that the two could be teammates with the first team one day.Not long after that, Mines caught the eye of his future coach.”I remember seeing Ben Mines play – in 2016 was the first time that I watched him – and I think that he was on the U15 team then,” Marsch said. “He would play out on the right wing and he was so aggressive and when he got the ball, he was so aggressive to go at guys and make plays. And, you know, you could see that he was still trying to figure out the defensive responsibility part, but you could see how gifted he was just with the ball on the move.”Ben Mines New York Red Bulls MLSWhat Marsch first glimpsed two years ago was there for all to see on Saturday, as the teenager showed off his aggressive and confident game against the Timbers. Defensively, he helped Kyle Duncan deal with the dangerous Sebastian Blanco and offensively he made his mark in the 18th minute when his smart run put him in position for an easy finish off an excellent pass from Alejandro Romero Gamarra.”It was an incredible feeling,” Mines told Goal. “I just saw Kaku coming down the line, and made a run to the back post and finished it. Just hearing the roar of the fans after that, it was everything I imagined it being.”What were you doing at 17? Probably not scoring goals like @bmines10 is. #RBNYvPOR pic.twitter.com/w871qWV7RU — Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 11, 2018 Now, at an age when most young American players are deciding on what college to go to, Mines has seen his professional career get off to a perfect start. This after Mines passed up a chance to play for reigning NCAA champion Stanford in order to sign with the Red Bulls.”It was a hard decision, and I really took my time with it,” Mines told Goal. “This is where I am right now and I’m happy with my decision.”After his impressive preseason, and unforgettable MLS debut, Mines will now have to focus on fighting for more minutes with the Red Bulls, and trying to turn more of his dreams into reality.last_img read more

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Sweden boss Andersson cool over Ibrahimovic return

first_imgZlatan Ibrahimović ‘It doesn’t change anything’ – Sweden boss Andersson cool over Ibrahimovic return Robin Bairner 23:01 15/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Zlatan Ibrahimovic Sweden Getty Images Zlatan Ibrahimović Sweden Sweden v Chile Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion Chile Manchester United Brighton & Hove Albion Friendlies FA Cup The 36-year-old Manchester United attacker will not automatically be welcomed back into the national team fold, despite the records he holds Sweden boss Janne Andersson has played down the chances of him taking Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the World Cup in the summer.The Manchester United forward has mused over the possibility of ending his international retirement in time for Russia 2018, admitting that he “misses” the buzz of representing his country, for whom he played 116 times and scored a record 62 goals.Andersson is the man that 36-year-old must persuade to pick him should he make himself available, but the coach is not going to be easy to win over. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp “It doesn’t change anything for me,” he said as he announced his squad for a friendly against Chile.“It’s great that players want to join us.“I don’t follow what is written and rumoured very much. I respect the decision he has taken. I’ve not thought more about it.“To me, the situation is the same. And that goes for Pontus Wernbloom as well. If they change their minds, they are very welcome to come and speak to me.”Ibrahimovic’s last outing for Sweden was at Euro 2016, when his side were dumped out at the group stage following a 1-1 draw with Ireland then 1-0 defeats against Italy and Belgium.He has struggled for game time at Manchester United this season following serious knee ligament damage sustained nearly a year ago, playing only 187 minutes over seven fixtures.last_img read more

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Intensity key for Liverpool against City – Klopp

first_imgLiverpool Klopp: Intensity will be key for Liverpool against Manchester City Sacha Pisani Last updated 1 year ago 12:37 17/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Liverpool Jürgen Klopp Manchester City UEFA Champions League Liverpool v Manchester City Jurgen Klopp offered an insight into how Liverpool will look to bring down Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said intensity will be key in overcoming Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in their mouth-watering Champions League quarter-final tie.It will be an all-Premier League blockbuster as Liverpool and high-flying City go head-to-head for a place in the semi-finals of Europe’s premier club competition.Liverpool are the only team to have beaten runaway leaders City in the Premier League this season – prevailing 4-3 in January. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Klopp is ready to take down Guardiola again, but knows exactly how hard his side will have to play to beat City over two matches. “Two very intense games,” Klopp said. “If they are not intense from our point of view we have no chance.”Klopp and Guardiola have a long history against one another, with the two having gone head-to-head in Germany as managers of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund before resuming their rivalry in England with Liverpool and Man City. The German boss has a strong record against Guardiola as well, having won more times than he’s lost in 12 meetings, though the City boss did take the most lopsided win early in the Premier League season when his side took a 5-0 result against the Reds. Still, Klopp has plenty of reason to be optimistic about his side’s chances, and he feels like Liverpool have everything they need to come out on top. “If we can put our specific style, philosophy and mix it up with our attitude and stuff like this, being brave, then there is something in it for us,” the German added. We’ve been drawn against @ManCity in the #UCL quarter-final. #UCLdraw pic.twitter.com/KPEopemsPD — Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 16, 2018 “I love these games. They are fantastic for me and you know if you play City they do what they do at the highest level. They don’t defend the result, they go again. It’s cool.”For sure the first one will be a really ­exciting game to watch.”Liverpool will host the quarter-final first leg April 4 at Anfield, before travelling to Manchester’s Etihad Stadium six days later. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

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Ronaldo’s free kick & penalty record

first_imgStats Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick record, penalty record & goalscoring stats Ronan Murphy Last updated 1 year ago 18:45 6/15/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(29) Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Real Madrid Split Getty/Goal Stats Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Portugal Primera División The Portuguese forward has scored over 600 goals for club and country in his career, but how accurate is he from free kicks and penalties? One of the greatest goalscorers of all-time, Cristiano Ronaldo was the first player in history to win four European Golden Shoes and holds the records for most goals scored in both the Champions League and the European Championship.With over 600 goals to his name, Ronaldo’s prowess both inside and outside the penalty area also sees him handed penalty and free-kick responsibilities for both club and country with 78 set-piece goals to his name for Real Madrid.RONALDO’S FREE-KICK RECORDCristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Ronaldo’s unique free taking stance is familiar to football fans the world over, and has even been included in FIFA 18 after the Real Madrid forward was made the cover star for the game. It stems back to his time at Manchester United, where he was also a prolific free-kick taker, with his 100th goal for the club coming from a dead ball situation in a 5-0 win over Stoke City where Ronaldo scored two free kicks. In fact, his final ever goal for United before his £80 million transfer to Real Madrid was a free kick against local rivals Manchester City.Ronaldo’s first Champions League goals for Madrid were both free kicks, coming against Zurich after an impressive run of goals in the league where he scored in each of his first four games. The 32-year-old has scored a free kick in each of his first eight seasons at Santiago Bernabeu, with a season high of four in both the 2010-11 and 2012-13 La Liga campaigns. However, in the past two seasons, his return has been poorer scoring just one free kick in the league in both 2015-16 and 2016-17.Despite the number of goals from free kicks, the forward is often criticised for being wasteful from set pieces. But just how accurate has Ronaldo been from free kicks for Real Madrid? Competition Free-Kick Goals Free Kicks Taken Accuracy La Liga 20 301 6.6% Champions League 10 106 9.4% Total 30 407 7.3% RONALDO’S PENALTY RECORDCristiano Ronaldo Penalty 27052016One of the criticisms often incorrectly levelled at Ronaldo is the fact so many of his goals are penalties, earning him the derisory nickname ‘Penaldo.’ However, for both Real Madrid and Portugal, penalties are just a small percentage of his overall goalscoring tally. The superstar is capable of scoring from anywhere with both his left and right foot as well as his head, which is why he has over 500 club goals and over 75 for his country.The reason Ronaldo is handed penalty taking duties is because he is lethal from the spot. In both 2010-11 and 2013-14, he scored all of his penalties in La Liga, and in 2011-12, had an impressive return of 12 from 13 attempts. A perfectionist, who continues to try to improve his game, Ronaldo rarely makes the same mistake twice. Only two goalkeepers have seen Ronaldo miss twice against them – former Malaga shotstopper Carlos Kameni and ex-Valencia keeper Diego Alves.He finished off his trio of goals with a free-kick that sailed past David de Gea in order to earn Portugal a crucial point against rivals Spain. Competition Penalty Goals Penalties Taken Accuracy Premier League 11 13 84.61% La Liga 61 71 85.91% Champions League 14 16 87.50% International 7 11 63.63% Total 93 111 83.78% What percentage of Ronaldo’s goals are penalties? Competition Penalty Goals Total Goals Percentage Premier League 11 84 13.00% La Liga 61 311 18.97% Champions League 14 105 14.70% International 7 84 8.75% Total 93 584 15.92% RONALDO’S GOALSCORING RECORDCristiano Ronaldo Manchester UnitedWhen Ronaldo moved to Manchester United from Sporting CP in 2003, he became the most expensive teenager in British football. Alex Ferguson paid over £12m for his signature despite the fact he had just scored three league goals in Portugal. He opened his account for United with a free kick before going on to score three more goals in his first season at Old Trafford. However, it was not until 2006-07 that he really made a breakthrough, netting 17 times in the league and then 31 the following season.Ronaldo finished his stay at Manchester United with 84 league goals, 16 European goals and 118 in all competitions. At Madrid, he has been even better. In four of his eight full La Liga seasons so far, he has finished with a better goals than appearances record – the highpoint of which was 2014-15 where he scored an amazing 48 times in 35 league games.How many goals has Ronaldo scored in his career? Club League Europe Other Total Sporting CP 3 0 2 5 Manchester United 84 16 18 118 Real Madrid 286 95 32 450 Total Club Goals 398 121 52 573 Portugal – – – 84 Club & Country       657last_img read more

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