In Brief

Sport shorts: Mourinho could replace Zidane at Real Madrid, Rugby World Cup begins in Japan, Laver tips Federer to play beyond 40

Ten things from the world of sport on Friday 20 September

1. £70m to sack Zidane

Spanish newspaper Sport reports that Real Madrid would need to fork out (€80m) £70.5m if they were to sack head coach Zinedine Zidane. 

Frenchman Zidane is under pressure at the Bernabeu after a difficult start to the season. 

In their opening four La Liga games Real have won two and drawn two, but in the Champions League on Wednesday they were beaten 3-0 by Paris Saint-Germain.

Sport says Zidane signed a three-and-a-half-year contract when he returned to the Real hot-seat in March and it would cost the club a gross payment of £70.5m to end the 47-year-old’s deal.

2. Mourinho back to Real? 

According to The Sun Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is ready to turn to Jose Mourinho as Zidane’s replacement. 

Former Manchester United manager Mourinho was previously in charge at Real before getting sacked in 2013. The Sun says he is “laying the groundwork” to make a sensational return to the Spanish capital. 

3. Verstappen fastest in first practice

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen recorded the fastest time in the first practice session at the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix today. 

Verstappen set the pace with a best lap of 1:40.259 and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was second fastest. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas crashed out. 

4. Laver: Federer could play past 40

Tennis legend Rod Laver believes that 20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer could continue playing tennis beyond the age of 40. 

Australian Laver told Sky Sports: “He feels he can play on for a few years. In fact, one time, two or three years ago he said he thought he could play until he’s 40. 

“At the moment he’s 38. And playing as well as pretty much - you saw the Wimbledon final, where they played for four-and-a-half hours against [Novak] Djokovic, and he had match points. I feel like he can make them until he’s 40. He may go beyond that.”

Federer is playing in the Laver Cup for Team Europe this weekend.

5. Archer gets Test and white ball ECB contracts

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced the central contracts for the 2019-20 season. ECB selectors have awarded ten Test contracts and 12 white ball contracts.

Sussex fast bowler Jofra Archer receives a Test and a white ball contract for the first time.

  • Test match: James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire) 
  • One-day and Twenty20: Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Joe Denly (Kent), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham) 
  • Incremental: Tom Curran (Surrey), Jack Leach (Somerset)

6. Japan welcomes the world

The 2019 Rugby World Cup has started today with an incredible opening ceremony in Tokyo. Host nation Japan play Russia in the first match.

Tomorrow Australia take on Fiji in pool D in Sapporo (5.45am), France face pool C rivals Argentina in Tokyo (8.15am) and holders New Zealand have a huge pool B clash against South Africa in Yokohama (10.45am). 

On Sunday Italy face Namibia in pool B in Osaka (6.15am), Scotland and Ireland go head-to-head in Yokohama in pool A (8.45am) and England take on Tonga in pool C in Sapporo (11.15am). 

The pool D clash between Wales and Georgia (11.15am) is the only match on Monday.

7. Beckham eyes City star Silva

It is reported that David Beckham wants to make Manchester City star David Silva his first high-profile signing at Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami.

Spaniard Silva will leave City at the end of the season but the Manchester Evening News says the playmaker has denied the MLS rumours.

8. Ronaldo offers fast food workers dinner 

Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is to have a reunion with the fast-food workers who used to give him free leftover hamburgers when he was a child player growing up in Portugal. 

The Juventus star said he would like to invite a McDonald’s employee called Edna and two other women who worked alongside her to have dinner with him.

9. Gunners target Meunier 

Although Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are still working their way back from injury, the Arsenal defence needs reinforcing. It’s reported that the Gunners could make a move for Paris Saint-Germain right-back Thomas Meunier in January’s transfer window.

Thomas Meunier in, Shkodran Mustafi out at the Emirates?

10. Teenage kicks in Europa League

Mason Greenwood, 17, scored the winning goal as Manchester United opened their Europa League group L campaign with a 1-0 victory over FC Astana.

Greenwood was not the only youngster starring in last night’s Europa League matches. Arsenal’s 18-year-old academy graduate Bukayo Saka scored one goal and set up two in their 3-0 away win at Eintracht Frankfurt in group F.

Today’s back pages: Mason Greenwood is Man Utd’s ‘baby ace assassin’

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