Sports Shorts

Ryan Giggs’s Wales future ‘in doubt’ as he misses March triple-header

News and reactions from the world of sport, featuring Ronaldo’s ‘betrayal’ and the women’s Six Nations

1

Football 

Page to deputise for Wales boss Giggs

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has confirmed that head coach Ryan Giggs will not take charge of the team’s three matches this month. 

Former Manchester United star Giggs, 47, was arrested on suspicion of assault and actual bodily harm in November and his bail has been extended to 1 May. He denies all allegations made against him.  

The FAW and Giggs have “mutually agreed that he will not be involved in the upcoming international camp” and Robert Page will deputise for the games against Belgium, Mexico and the Czech Republic. Page also stood in for the fixtures against the USA, the Republic of Ireland and Finland last year. 

Giggs’s absence casts “further doubt over his long-term future and whether he will lead his country at the European Championship this summer”, The Guardian says.

2

Rugby Union 

Shortened Six Nations ‘gutting’ for women’s rugby 

The men’s Six Nations rugby championship has carried on as normal during the pandemic, but it has been announced that the format of the women’s 2021 tournament will be shortened. 

The six teams will play three matches each in April – a move that has been described as “gutting” by England scrum-half Natasha Hunt. “It’s not the Six Nations, it’s two games and then a final,” Hunt told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rugby Union Weekly.

3

Football 

Corriere dello Sport headline ‘Betrayed by Ronaldo’

Italian press lay into Ronaldo after Juve’s exit

Cristiano Ronaldo is so often the hero on Champions League nights, but today the striker has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons after Italian giants Juventus were knocked out by Porto. 

After turning his back on Sergio Oliveira’s “decisive” free-kick in extra time, Ronaldo has been “singled out for his role in Juve’s shock early exit”, the Daily Mail reports. Juventus won 3-2 on the night but Porto progressed on the away goals rule after the tie ended 4-4 on aggregate.  

Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport used the headline “Betrayed by Ronaldo” on its front page today while Gazzetta dello Sport called the result “another Champions League disaster” for the club.

4

Football

Maracana in Brazil renamed as the ‘Rei Pele’ stadium

The Rio de Janeiro state legislature in Brazil has voted to rename the Maracana stadium after legendary footballer Pele. The iconic ground’s new official title will be changed to the Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Rei Pele stadium.

“Rei” means “king” in Portuguese and a spokesperson for the project says the new name is a “worthy homage” to a figure who is “recognised the world over for his legacy in Brazilian football”.

Pele, who is now 80, is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and won the Fifa World Cup three times with Brazil, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

5

Formula 1 

Ferrari unveils the SF21 

Ferrari unveil the SF21 

Scuderia Ferrari has today pulled back the covers on its challenger for the 2021 Formula 1 season. The Italian team have given a nod to the past with the design of their new SF21 car as the rear end is “reminiscent of the burgundy red of the very first Ferrari, the 125 S”, said team principal Mattia Binotto. Towards the cockpit it transforms into the modern red.

Carlos Sainz will partner Charles Leclerc this season and the Spaniard has had a positive impact since joining from McLaren. “There’s plenty of positive energy coming from our two drivers,” said racing director Laurent Mekies. “Carlos has spent a lot of time in the factory and has integrated with the team very quickly. Over the winter, we have witnessed the two guys getting on very well together and this can only be a good thing for the whole team.”

The SF21 makes its track debut tomorrow in Bahrain for a filming day. Pre-season testing starts in Bahrain on Friday. 

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