Sport shorts: Zidane under pressure at Real Madrid after PSG thrashing and Japan is ready for the Rugby World Cup
Ten things from the world of sport on Thursday 19 September
1. Pressure builds on Real boss Zidane
Pressure is building on Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane after his side were thrashed 3-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Uefa Champions League last night.
In the French capital PSG got their group A campaign off to a flyer thanks to two goals from Angel di Maria and a strike from Thomas Meunier.
La Liga giants Real failed to register a single shot on target and it’s reported by the Daily Star that some fans have called for Zidane to be fired.
Spanish newspaper Marca believes that “bumps in the road are ahead” for Zidane, who resigned as Real head coach in May 2018 after leading the club to three successive Champions League titles. The Frenchman was then reappointed in March this year.
Despite his impressive CV Zidane has lost the “midas touch”, says Forbes writer Jason Pettigrove.
2. City cruise while Spurs stutter
Manchester City got their Champions League campaign off to a winning start, beating Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 in group C last night.
Tottenham let a two-goal lead slip in group B against Olympiakos and had to settle for a 2-2 draw against the Greek side.
3. Ozil left out of Arsenal squad
Has Mesut Ozil been “dropped” or merely “rested”? That’s the question Arsenal fans are asking themselves following Unai Emery’s decision to omit Ozil from tonight’s 19-man squad to face Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany.
4. Haas retain drivers and Kubica will leave Williams
Haas F1 have confirmed that Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will continue to drive for the team next season.
Nico Hulkenberg had been linked with a move to Haas next year, but with Grosjean and Magnussen now retained where does that leave the German driver?
Williams Racing have also announced today that Robert Kubica has decided to leave the team at the end of the season.
F2 racer Nicholas Latifi, who is currently test driver at Williams, is the frontrunner to replace Kubica. However, Hulkenberg could also be a candidate having driven for Williams in 2010.
5. Japan ready for the Rugby World Cup
The 2019 Rugby World Cup gets underway tomorrow morning when host nation Japan take on Russia in the first match of pool A. Television viewers and fans at the sold-out Tokyo Stadium will get to enjoy a “uniquely Japanese” opening ceremony. ITV’s live coverage begins at 10.25am (BST) and the match kicks-off at 11.45am.
6. Virtue and Moir announce retirement
Canadian figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have announced their retirement from the sport. The duo won Olympic gold at the 2010 winter games in Vancouver and in 2018 in Pyeongchang.
Virtue, 30, said: “After 22 years, it feels like the right time to step away from the sport.”
Moir, 32, added: “The next generation of skaters is going to blaze new trails, break all of our records and we can’t wait to cheer them on. And we’ll be there watching.”
7. Wilder: I’ll open Fury’s cuts right back up
WBC heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder has vowed to do more damage to Tyson Fury in their potential rematch in February, the Daily Mail reports.
British fighter Fury suffered major cuts in his points win over Otto Wallin and American Wilder said: “I can’t wait. I hope they heal well, and I can’t wait to see Mr Fury. He better get ready. No matter what he does, when he fights me, it’s [the cut] going to open right back up.”
8. Thomas named in GB road team
BBC Sport reports that Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas has been named in Great Britain’s team for the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire from 22-29 September.
Thomas, who won the 2018 Tour de France, will compete in the elite men’s time trial alongside Alex Dowsett and in the elite men’s road race with Owain Doull, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift and Adam Yates.
9. Cricket stars hit the fairways
England cricketers Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jos Buttler swapped bats for clubs as they took part in the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am at Wentworth yesterday. The BMW PGA Championship European Tour event started this morning and continues until Sunday.
10. Farewell to Fernando
Newspapers in Scotland pay tribute to former Rangers Football Club captain Fernando Ricksen on their front pages today.
The Dutchman, who was 43, died yesterday after a six-year battle with motor neurone disease.
The Herald’s headline calls Ricksen “a true warrior” while the Daily Record says the Rangers legend was “a father, footballer and fighter to the end”.