Well, all the ridiculous specualtion can finally end: LeBron James is returning to Cleveland to once again play for the Cavaliers. He made the announcement in an essay published on Sports Illustrated’s website. LeBron writes:
Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.
I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking: He and Erik Spoelstra didn’t get along. … He and Riles didn’t get along. … The Heat couldn’t put the right team together. That’s absolutely not true.
I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.
When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.
But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.
In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.
Shortly after the SI story went live, LeBron made a more social media-friendly announcement via Instagram:
The ex-Barcelona coach was hospitalised following a drastic downturn in his health which required emergency surgery, but was tragically unable to survive his battle with cancer.
The ex-central midfielder was admitted to hospital on Thursday following a downturn in his health which required an operation on his stomach on Thursday, with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirming the trainer was “fighting” for his life.
However, Vilanova, whose post-playing career has been tragically plagued by cancer, was unable to battle any longer and passed away on Friday afternoon.
Vilanova’s public health problems began during his final season as Pep Guardiola’s assistant when he was diagnosed with cancer of the parotid gland.
He took over from his long-time friend for the 2012-13 season but suffered a relapse just six months into his tenure as head coach.
He underwent surgery in December 2012, with Jordi Roura taking his place on the bench while he recovered in New York, before returning in March 2013 to see out the rest of the reason and guide Barca to La Liga victory.
However, his continued health problems saw his step down as coach of the Catalans last summer, with Gerardo Martino taking the reins in his place.
Vilanova has largely – and understandably – been out of the spotlight since he left his position at Camp Nou but rumours of his ill health have sadly been revealed to be true. He is survived by a wife and two children.
Following confirmation of his death, Barcelona president Bartomeu said in a statement: “Tito will be reference as a man and in terms of football for Barcelona forever. We thank him for everything he taught us. Rest in peace.”
The Catalans, whom he worked under for years before being promoted from within to head coach in 2012, also sent their condolences to the family of Vilanova.
“The club wishes to express its most heartfelt sympathy to his family, who are being joined in these moments of mourning by Barcelona members and fans all around the world, as well as the rest of the footballing and sporting world.
“The Vilanova family has asked for respect for their desire for the strictest intimacy in the moments after his death.”
He has been in a medically induced coma for over a month, but former Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher’s sedation is being reduced to start the “waking up process,” his agent said Thursday.
Schumacher suffered severe head trauma in a skiing accident at the French Alps resort of Meribel on December 29.
The announcement marks a key change to Schumacher’s condition, which has been routinely described as “stable” by agent Sabine Kehm in recent weeks.
“Michael’s sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking up process which may take a long time,” she said in a statement on Thursday.
“For the protection of the family, it was originally agreed by the interested parties to communicate this information only once this process was consolidated.
“Please note that no further updates will be given.”
Kehm went on to repeat previous requests for the media to respect the privacy of Schumacher’s family.
“The family of Michael Schumacher is again requesting to respect its privacy and the medical secret, and to not disturb the doctors treating Michael in their work. At the same time, the family wishes to express sincere appreciation for the worldwide sympathy.”
A seven-time world champion whose F1 career ended in 2012, Schumacher has been treated in Grenoble since his accident.
Neurosurgeons there operated twice to remove blood clots on the brain and reduce swelling, the reason he has been kept asleep since the surgery.
The German has been inundated with support from around the world during his stay, with his former stable Mercedes running the message “Keep Fighting Michael” on its silver livery when they revealed their new car for testing on Monday.
The Ferrari team, who Schumacher raced for between 1996 and 2006, also showed their support for their five-time world champion this week in the Spanish city Jerez, where teams are conducting winter testing ahead of the new F1 season.
On the eve of the first day of testing, the team’s crew posed with a pit board showing the message “Forza Michael” while the new F14-T scarlet racer made its track debut with the same words of encouragement.
On Tuesday, the team published a note from Niki Lauda, who won two world championships for Ferrari in the 1970s, which read: “Michael, every day I follow your improvements and every day I am close to you. I hope I can speak to you very, very soon!”
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso told CNN that F1 was “still in shock” over Schumacher’s accident and condition.
“The day that I received the news I could not believe it to be honest,” Alonso, who was speaking in Madrid on Wednesday at an exhibition that charts the course of the driver’s career.
“He was the man that can beat anything and can win any race and can do anything without any worries, so to see him and to see the accident …
“We’re all hoping every day to have some good news coming from the hospital,” added Alonso.
In early January, a French prosecutor investigating the accident said that speed was not a reason for Schumacher’s fall.
His investigative team believe the experienced skier hit a rock hidden beneath the snow, while traversing an area between two marked pistes, which catapulted him face first onto another rock.
Schumacher ended up 9 meters (30 feet) from the edge of the piste, said prosecutor Patrick Quincy.
Footage filmed on a small camera attached to Schumacher’s helmet has been used to help the investigators’ analysis.
The last line of defense has terminated his contract with Cypriot top flight club Doxa and has joined the Turkish second-tier side
Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson has cut ties with Doxa Katokopia and has signed for Turkish side Balikesirspor.
The veteran shot-stopper capitalised on a clause in his contract to move on after the Cypriot top flight sidedenied an initial offer from the Turkish second-tier club.
“I am glad to be back in my second home which is Turkey after seven years. Balikesirspor is a great club and I am ready to sweat to help them to succeed,” Kingson said after sealing the deal.
“It is a club with a very high ambition.”
The 36-year-old manned the post for the Black Stars in their two previous World Cup appearances. He joined Doxa in 2013 after going clubless for almost two years and made 10 appearances for them earning him a Ghana recall during the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Zambia.
The Ghana international has previously played for Galatasaray, Sakaryaspor , Goztepe, Antalyaspor, Elazıgspor, Ankaraspor, Blackpool and Wigan.
The dawn of January 1, 2014 brought with it a new day, a new year, and the opening of the transfer window.
The year, quite incidentally, is one that would see the Fifa World Cup organised and hosted, and with Ghana having been handed such a tough group in the tournament’s draw, most Ghanaians would hope the country’s key players use the freshly opened window to prepare themselves adequately for the task that awaits in the summer.
Strikers Majeed Waris and Jordan Ayew have already switched clubs in search of better prospects. The fact that both deals are of a short-term sort that would last only till the season’s end seem to suggest that they were negotiated with a place in Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah’s final World Cup squad in mind.
Goal looks at five other Ghana internationals who ought to capitalise on the opportunity to make similar moves in order to put themselves in better stead for consideration.
FATAU DAUDA – Orlando Pirates
The shot-stopper took over as Ghana’s safest pair of hands at the Africa Cup of Nations last year but a move to Orlando Pirates that followed has seen him while time away on the bench and is yet to make a single appearance for the South African side. His lack of action at club level appears to have affected his performances for the national team and the former Ashgold man is clearly in danger of losing his position as main man between the posts for the Black Stars. Dauda recently commented on his situation, alluding to the fact there are other custodians in the fold who could step up to replace him, but it would still be surprising if the 28-year-old would not look for a move that could bring him more time on the field and keep him in goal when the 2010 World Cup quarter-finalists face USA in the country’s Group G opener.
ANTHONY ANNAN – Schalke 04
A key member of the Stars side that placed third at the 2008 Afcon, Annan is another who has lost his place in the national team in recent times due to difficulties at club level. The diminutive midfielder tried to revive his career with a loan move to Osasuna, but after an unsuccessful spell with the Spanish outfit, Annan, who has now returned to Schalke, will be hoping to find a solution which will put him back in the reckoning for a place in the presently congested Stars midfield.
DEREK BOATENG – Fulham
One of a few players who were present during both of Ghana’s previous World Cup campaigns, Derek Boateng’s summer move to Fulham looks like it could prevent him from appearing at a third-straight Mundial. Since joining the London club, the dreadlocked midifelder has played a meagre total of 235 minutes of competitive football in five months and thus seeks an immediate remedy to his travails while he still can to boost his chances of making it to Brazil.
MICHAEL ESSIEN – Chelsea
The ‘Bison’- who proved crucial in helping Ghana qualify for a maiden World Cup outing in 2006 and featured heavily at the tournament itself – also risks missing out on the country’s World Cup fortunes this time as in 2010. Essien’s hopes of making the squad for the 2014 event seem to depend on whether he can play more often in the coming months, a probability which appears unlikely if he opts to remain with his beloved Chelsea. Rumours are that the midfielder is set to leave the Blues – with a destination being the only lingering uncertainty – and it apparently might not be long before we see Essien switch clubs in a bid to make it to this year’s Mundial.
*SAMUEL INKOOM – Dnipro (Platanias)
Young right-back Samuel Inkoom’s career for club and country seem to have stalled after his move from Basel to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Inkoom has had long inactive spells in the last couple of years, making just four appearances for FC Bastia after joining them on loan in January 2013 and rarely featuring at all on his return to his Ukrainian employers. Inkoom would know that a continued period of dormancy will really weaken his chances of making it into the final World Cup squad.
*It comes as a good news that the defender signed a six-month loan deal with Greek side Platanias a few days ago.
What do you think, though?
Should these and other national team players move at all? Would you have them in the final squad for the tournament if they got more playing time at their respective clubs?
Story By Joshua Ansah
Do leave your comments below.
Sulley Muntari is the new Xzibit.
Ghanian international Muntari has opened the doors to his new 4fk Motorsport garage in Milan where rich Italians can go to pimp their rides.
Several AC Milan players have already been to visit Muntari’s new business over the past few months, and on Thursday it was the turn of AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli to make an appearance at the shop.
Muntari updated his Instagram page with the message: Crazy but amazing guy #mario #balotelli visit @4fkmotorsport @sup_edo @eddymaz #appreciated
Pictures of Mario Balotelli’s visit to Sulley Muntari’s brand new car pimping business can be seen below, together with other snaps of AC Milan players visiting Muntari’s second job.