June 10 will forever be remembered as a famous day in Italian football, as it marks the first time the Azzurri conquered the world and Europe.

It is also a date on which Al Geiberger made history on the PGA Tour and Sebastian Coe set an 800m world record that went unbroken for 16 years.

Many French Open tennis finals have been held on this day, but the battle between Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe in 1984 stands out.

This was also the date on which the first University Boat Race, one of the oldest annual sporting events in the world, was held in London.

 

1829 - Oxford win first University Boat Race

The University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, England's most prestigious higher-education bodies, has been held annually on the Thames since 1856. The only exceptions were caused by the First and Second World Wars (no races took place from 1915-19 and 1940-45) and in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic intervened.

The very first such event took place back on June 10, 1829. Oxford triumphed by nearly two lengths in around 14 minutes and 30 seconds.

Cambridge got revenge at the second race, seven years later, and they still lead the overall standings 84-80.

 

1934 - Italy win home World Cup

The second football World Cup took place in Italy 86 years ago, under the shadow of Benito Mussolini's fascist regime.

The host nation triumphed after a 2-1 victory over Czechoslovakia in scorching temperatures in Rome, Angelo Schiavo scoring the decisive goal in a 2-1 win.

Italy tasted more success at a home tournament on this date in 1968, winning their only European Championship to date with a 2-0 defeat of Yugoslavia, a match also played in Rome.

That fixture was a replay after the teams had battled out a 1-1 draw two days earlier at the same Stadio Olimpico venue.

 

1977 - Al Geiberger cards sub-60 round

Geiberger claimed 30 professional wins in his career including the PGA Championship in 1966, but he is widely remembered for becoming the first player in history to card a score of 59 in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event.

His bogey-free second round helped him to win the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic in 1977, even though it was the only round where he shot under 70.

That round of 59 has been equalled nine times since and beaten only once: Jim Furyk carded a 58 final round at the 2016 Travelers Championship.

 

1981 - Sebastian Coe sets 800m world record

Coe produced a run for the ages in the 800 metres on June 10, 1981 in Florence.

His world record of one minute and 41.73 seconds lasted for 16 years until Wilson Kipketer twice recorded lower times in 1997, and it was not until August 2010 that David Rudisha went even faster.

Coe remains the joint-third fastest man to run the distance in history – Nijel Amos equalled his time at the 2012 Olympics in London. That run by Amos was only good enough for silver, since Rudisha took the gold with a world record of 1:40.91, which still stands.

 

1984 - Lendl defeats McEnroe in Paris

McEnroe had the chance to silence those who questioned whether he could cut it on clay when he reached his first French Open final in 1984.

He took the first two sets against Ivan Lendl, who had lost all four of his previous major finals, but things unravelled as McEnroe's famous short temper got the better of him.

Lendl triumphed 3-6 2-6 6-4 7-5 7-5 for his first of eight grand slam singles titles, three of which came in Paris. McEnroe never made a Roland Garros final again, although he did win at Wimbledon and the US Open – his last major victories – later in the year.

The master working as an assistant to the apprentice sounds like a strange fit but, in appointing Juanma Lillo as Pep Guardiola's number two, Manchester City have flipped the traditional order.

Of course, in terms of footballing success in the 21st century, there are few who can rank above Guardiola – whose innovative tactics have helped to inspire a generation of coaches, with his Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City piling up the trophies.

By contrast, Lillo, whose post in Manchester will be his 21st role in a nomadic coaching career that has taken him from his native Spain to Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Japan and China, has never lifted a major honour.

This, however, is largely irrelevant to the City boss, who earlier this year stated it gave a "bad, bad message" to judge coaches simply on the trophies they win.

It was hard not to imagine he was referring in part to Lillo – a tactician he holds in the highest regard.

"Juanma Lillo has played a significant role in Guardiola's career," wrote Marti Perarnau in his book, Pep Guardiola: The Evolution. "Johan Cruyff gave Pep his opportunity as a player and eventually promoted him to captain Barcelona, but it was Juanma Lillo who guided him through his transition from player to coach."

It is significant that Guardiola's biographer, who enjoyed inside access to his entire Bayern tenure, should rank anyone close to the great Cruyff in the prepping of Pep.

"You hear all these people saying, 'Oh Pep, what a good manager he is'. Forget about it. Cruyff was the best, by far," Guardiola told the Guardian in 2016. Lillo is in rarefied company in the City manager's affections.

AS JUANMA USED TO SAY...

A little known figure in English football overall, it is likely City's first-team squad are well aware of the man whose hands-on approach will soon be helping to hone their efforts on the training ground.

"Hardly a day passes without Pep making reference to the ideas of one of his two great mentors," Perarnau said of Guardiola's time at Bayern, much of which hinged – as did his early days at City – upon the ability to implement his methods outside of Barcelona's Cruyffian temple.

"At work, much of his conversation starts with, 'As Juanma used to say…'."

Now City's players will get to hear first hand such pearls of wisdom as: "The faster the ball goes, the faster it comes ball" – a snappy Lillo phrase Guardiola repurposed to persuade Bayern's players to invest in his playing style.

"They'd say, 'Who cares! Get it up the pitch right away, hit the ball long'," Guardiola told Perarnau. "It was a f****** pain in the neck to get it over to them and I had to explain it over and over again, as no doubt I'll have to in England as well."

As City were transformed from a trophy-less outfit limping to third in Guardiola's first season to the 100-point 2017-18 machine, it is impossible to imagine their players did not become well-versed in the teachings of Juanma Lillo.

MEXICAN SEND-OFF

This is the pair's first professional union since Guardiola opted to end his playing career in the unlikely location of Culiacan, Mexico, where he travelled to play under Lillo – a coach who become LaLiga's youngest at just 29 with Salamanca in 1995 and one he had long admired.

"There's only one thing that gives or takes away order in a game and that's the ball itself, so I like my players to be in lots of different partnerships but also strung across different areas of the field," Lillo told Perarnau when explaining his preferred playing style.

"If their passing is good, then we'll be moving our rivals all over the pitch and then you’re going to find free men easily because they'll either be forced to break up playing partnerships or string themselves out across the pitch.

"If the players don’t take time to construct play it will be difficult to get the ball to the right places up the pitch and then dominate the opposition."

Sound familiar? Lillo's approach basically amounts to an undiluted and entirely uncompromising version of Guardiola's juego de posicion.

It would be unfair to cast a man of such experience and strong opinions as a 'yes man', but Guardiola is essentially going to his tactical Rosetta Stone for the next phase and possibly last phase of his City career. The 2020-21 season will be the final year of his current contract and the first time he has ever started a fifth consecutive season at the same club.

DOUBLING DOWN FOR GLORY?

Vincent Kompany and Xabi Alonso were two of the names linked with the position of number two before Lillo's arrival. There was a common thread to be spotted between those two esteemed players of the modern era and Mikel Arteta, who left City to take the top job at Arsenal in December.

Lillo certainly represents a departure from that thinking. Any younger man appointed would have been lumbered with talk of being "Pep's heir". Does the apparent lack of succession planning suggest Guardiola putting down roots or clearing the ground for a tidy exit? The length of Lillo's contract was not disclosed, but he never tends to hang around anywhere too long.

It also feels like a move in step with the major pivot points in Guardiola's career, which circumstances suggest we have reached. City are set to have their recent domestic dominance ended by a formidable Liverpool team, as they also appeal against a two-year Champions League ban and look at how that might impact any squad refit.

When he took one point from his first two matches in charge of Barcelona, Guardiola was buoyed by Cruyff's blessing and pressed on with a blueprint that secured a LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble in 2008-09.

When Bayern's players persuaded their coach to take a more direct approach, only to be picked off and humiliated by Real Madrid in the 2014 Champions League semi-final, he swore 'never again'.

Mocked as a man who did not coach tackles as mid-season hammerings derailed 2016-17 at City, Guardiola played and pressed and passed some more until English football danced to his tune.

In adversity, he tends to double down. In the face of Liverpool's awesome opposition, Lillo's appointment suggests Guardiola's answer is to go Full Pep.

June 9 is a momentous sporting date that Maria Sharapova and her fans will not forget in a hurry.

Eight years ago on this day, the Russian achieved a career landmark that few tennis players can even dream of with her triumph at the French Open.

This date also represents the 35-year anniversary of a famous day in NBA history, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set a mark that still has not been beaten.

We look back at some of the top moments to occur on June 9 in the world of sport.

 

2012 - Sharapova achieves career Grand Slam

After winning her first grand slam in 2004, Sharapova had triumphed at two of the four majors by 2006 and won three by 2008.

The Russian had to wait until 2012 before finally getting her hands on the French Open and sealing an emotional career Grand Slam.

Having made a long recovery from shoulder surgery and lost major finals at Wimbledon and in Melbourne over the previous 12 months, Sharapova was not to be denied in Paris.

She became the 10th woman to complete a career Grand Slam with an easy 6-3 6-2 win in the final against Italian Sara Errani and only dropped one set in the whole tournament.

Sharapova lifted the trophy once more in 2014, which proved to be her last major title in a conclusion to her career that was clouded by injury woes and a positive test for meldonium in 2016.

 

1990 - Seles becomes youngest French Open champion

Teen sensation Monica Seles became the youngest French Open singles champion in 1990 when she won the title at the age of 16 years and six months.

The title was sealed in style with success over world number one Steffi Graf in the final, Seles saving four set points to win a dramatic first set 7-6 (8-6), before claiming the second 6-4. 

Seemingly undaunted by the pressure, she had also won her semi in straight sets against Jennifer Capriati.

Seles went on to triumph at Roland Garros again in 1991 and 1992, with her three consecutive crowns representing a tournament record in the Open Era that was later equalled by Justine Henin.

She did not win the French Open again after recovering from being stabbed on court in Hamburg in 1993, going closest in 1998 before losing a deciding set in the final against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

Her final tally of grand slam titles was nine.

 

1985 - Kareem is NBA Finals' oldest MVP

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated fierce rivals the Boston Celtics 111-100 on the road in Game 6 to seal a 4-2 series victory in the NBA Finals.

Abdul-Jabbar was named the Finals MVP at the age of 38, making him the oldest winner of the honour in a record that still stands.

The veteran was the Lakers' leading scorer in four of the six contests, including Game 6 when he went for 29 points and Magic Johnson contributed 14 assists.

Abdul-Jabbar's award came 14 years after his other NBA Finals MVP accolade, which he collected after leading the Milwaukee Bucks to their first and only championship in 1971.

The Lakers made eight of the 10 NBA Finals that took place in the 1980s, winning five, and the remarkable Abdul-Jabbar was still playing when they tasted success in 1987 and 1988.

For the first time in a while, there is a genuine and understandable enthusiasm around Manchester United's midfield options.

Bruno Fernandes settled exceptionally quickly following his January move from Sporting CP, Fred has established himself in the team and produced a string of positive performances, Scott McTominay continues to improve and speculation relating to Paul Pogba has gone quiet.

Now there is reportedly increasing confidence of being able to sign Ajax star Donny van de Beek, a key figure in the Dutch side's march to the Champions League semi-finals last year.

The Netherlands international had been heavily linked with Real Madrid, with claims a deal had already been agreed between the club and player, but those reports have since cooled.

There's little doubt Van de Beek would be a fine addition at Old Trafford, but would the fans' ideal midfield trio comprising of Pogba, Fernandes and the 23-year-old be too unbalanced?

More responsibility, greater productivity

One of Van de Beek's biggest strengths is his well-rounded style of play, and it is especially relevant when looking at the roles he has played across the past two seasons.

Last term he was regularly deployed in an attack-minded position ahead of Frenkie de Jong, whereas in 2019-20 he was largely used in a deeper role, helping to fill the void left by his international colleague's departure to Barcelona.

Therefore, if we accept Pogba and Fernandes would automatically fill the first two midfield spots at United, it is likely Van de Beek would be asked to play a deep-lying role if he was to move to Old Trafford.

This certainly did not negatively impact his influence for Ajax in 2019-20, however, even with respect to his attacking output.

Across all competitions, he averaged more touches of the ball (53.5 to 46.7) per game this season, while his touches in the opposition's penalty area also increased from 5.9 to 6.9.

The fact Van de Beek saw more of the ball reflects in his higher passing frequency (up to 38.8 per match from 33.1), and the accuracy of that distribution was 81 per cent, having been at 79 last term.

Understandably he did not average as many shots per game (down from 2.1 to 1.9), but his chance creation increased to 1.8 from 1.6 in 2018-19.

While these were mostly slight changes, it does highlight a suitability for the position – the fact his attacking productivity generally increased, even from a deeper role, speaks volumes for his influence, particularly given Ajax were widely accepted to have been less impressive collectively this term.

The best option for a defensive role?

From a defensive perspective, there were not major changes to Van de Beek's contributions in 2019-20. He still averaged five recoveries, one interception and two tackles per game, while his participation in duels (from 8.0 to 8.4) and duels won (from 4.2 to 4.4) were up slightly in all competitions.

But it is worth remembering Ajax were generally a dominant force in matches – they spent more time with the ball than without it, and Van de Beek's influence was most felt when they were on the attack.

Fred and Nemanja Matic – who also enjoyed something of a resurgence before the season's suspension – would likely be those most threatened by Van de Beek's arrival.

But both can claim a better frequency of interceptions, with Matic averaging 1.2 per Premier League game and Fred 1.4, while they also complete more passes per match – 46 and 53, respectively.

And although Van de Beek's all-action approach serves him well, Matic and Fred both out-do him with respect to average duels; the Serbian is involved in 10 per top-flight game, the Brazilian 12.

While neither boast Van de Beek's effectiveness in attack, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could argue that is not their job if occupying a deep position.

A replacement for Pogba?

While Van de Beek's game was not hurt by operating in a deeper role this term, he is clearly at his most useful when in possession, and he has also been praised for his clinical nature in front of goal.

After all, in the Eredivisie this season his expected goals (xG) was 5.5 but he scored eight times. Similarly, in the Champions League, he got a pair of goals despite his xG being 1.3.

Were United to sign Van de Beek as a deep-lying midfielder whom the defensive burden was on, there is a strong chance the Premier League would not see the best of him. It would be bold to expect a similar attacking output from him in England's top flight if he was also tasked with protecting the defence.

But if he was to be seen as a long-term replacement for Pogba, there is an equally arguable case that United's overall midfield unit could improve with his box-to-box capabilities.

Pogba – who has missed the majority of the 2019-20 season through injury – averaged 1.3 tackles and 0.5 interceptions in his 35 Premier League games last term, which is fewer than Van de Beek. And while people might be correct to point out the World Cup winner is more known for his creativity than his work off the ball, Van de Beek's average chance creation of 1.8 is also better than Pogba's 1.6 in 2018-19.

Either way, it seems likely Van de Beek would be a solid acquisition if United were able to snatch him from the grasp of Madrid – but his well-rounded game could see him pigeonholed and his influence limited.

June 8 is likely to be a date forever remembered fondly by Rafael Nadal, who secured two of his historic 12 French Open titles on this day.

Serena Williams also twice had reason to celebrate on the clay of Roland Garros on this date, although one final was tinged with the regret of having beaten her sister.

The Golden State Warriors tasted glory once again in 2018, while there was truly a shock for the ages when Argentina faced Cameroon at the World Cup in 1990.

Going back nearly 60 years, there was also a moment of baseball history for the Milwaukee Braves.

 

1961 - Milwaukee Braves hit home-run record

There were six teams scrambling for top spot in the National League when the Braves met the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field.

In front of a sparse crowd of just over 5,000 fans - many seem to have been exhausted by three previous night games in the series - the Reds claimed a 10-8 victory.

The Braves did at least make history with four consecutive home runs through Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas in the seventh inning.

 

1990 - Argentina shocked by Cameroon

Perhaps the biggest World Cup upset in history, the reigning champions were beaten 1-0 by Cameroon at Italia 90.

A solitary goal from Francois Omam-Biyik was enough for the Indomitable Lions to defeat Diego Maradona's Argentina at San Siro.

Cameroon progressed as group winners and reached the quarter-finals, where they lost to England. Argentina made it to the final again but were beaten by West Germany.

 

2002 - Serena wins all-Williams final in Paris

The first of Serena's three French Open singles titles came 18 years ago when she defeated sister Venus 7-5 6-3.

It was the first step in the American's path to winning all four majors in a row, which would become known as the 'Serena Slam'; she claimed Wimbledon and the US Open later that year before winning the 2003 Australian Open, defeating her sister in each of those finals.

Twelve years later, Serena would achieve the feat a second time.

This date also marks seven years since Serena beat Maria Sharapova in the final at Roland Garros.

 

2008 - Nadal equals Borg record with Federer thrashing

Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg to win four French Open singles titles in a row when he defeated Roger Federer in the 2008 final.

The Spaniard, a 12-time champion at Roland Garros, triumphed 6-1 6-3 6-0 in a decidedly one-sided contest against his long-time rival.

Six years later, Nadal won French Open number nine on the same date, defeating Novak Djokovic 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 to draw level with Pete Sampras on 14 major singles titles. He has won a further five since.

 

2018 - Warriors claim third title in four years

Inspired by NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, the Warriors claimed their third NBA championship in four seasons on this day two years ago.

Golden State completed a 4-0 sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 108-85 win at what was then known as Quicken Loans Arena.

It was the second time in his career that LeBron James suffered the ignominy of a Finals sweep, having also endured it against the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.

Roger Federer enjoyed a history-making day back on June 7, 2009 as he finally won the French Open.

The Swiss great overcame Robin Soderling, the man who had earlier in the tournament dealt Rafael Nadal his first ever defeat at Roland Garros, in the final.

Federer's 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 triumph saw him complete the career Grand Slam and in the aftermath he described it as his "greatest victory".

Given the 20-time major winner's laundry list of achievements, that claim may seem dubious.

Here we look at the statistical context around his success in Paris to examine whether – 11 years on – it is worthy of the title bestowed upon it by Federer.

SHOCKS, COMEBACKS KEY TO CAUSE

Federer faced zero of the other three members of the big four in winning the title. Nadal's loss to Soderling was obviously key, while Novak Djokovic was beaten by Philipp Kohlschreiber in the round of 32 and Andy Murray came up short against Fernando Gonzalez in the quarter-finals.

His route to the final proved an arduous one. Federer endured three matches that lasted over three hours and came through two five-setters. 

He recovered from two sets and a break down to beat Tommy Haas in the last 16 and turned around a two sets to one deficit against Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-final.

The recovery against Haas was a remarkable Houdini act. Haas was two games away from victory and had break point at 7-6 7-5 4-3, but a clean winner from Federer turned the tide.

Recalling the match recently for Roland Garros' official website, Haas said: "I looked at that as a match point because he hadn't broken me up until that point I believe and I was serving well.

"I could see him running around that inside-out forehand... he was preparing for it. And he just hits it inside the line for a clean winner. It's almost like the Rocky IV movie. It's almost like I start bleeding after that game. And he cut me and got the momentum and never looked back."


MARATHON MAN FEDERER DOMINATES ON SERVE

Federer's trio of epics contributed to him spending a total of 18 hours and 35 minutes on court across his seven matches.

He needed such powers of longevity despite dominating on his serve.

Indeed, Federer served 80 aces, the most of any player to reach the last eight and won 78.9 per cent of points on his first serve.

Among quarter-final participants, only Del Potro was superior in that regard.

Federer also had the unenviable task of facing two French players en route to the final. He defeated Paul Henri Mathieu and Gael Monfils while surrendering just one set.

The home crowd may not have backed Federer in those contests, but they were roaring in approval come his performance in the final.


SODERLING SQUASHED

The final lasted just one hour and 55 minutes, Federer's second-fastest match of the tournament.

He needed only 23 minutes to wrap up the first set and there was to be no surprise comeback from Soderling despite a tight second.

Federer sent down 16 aces and won 84.6 per cent of his points on first serve, saving the only two break points he faced.

The win came in his 11th appearance at Roland Garros and his fourth final, Federer having lost his previous three appearances in the showpiece to Nadal.

Only once has he reached the final in Paris since, losing to Nadal in 2011.

Federer became the sixth man to achieve the career Grand Slam, with Nadal and Djokovic later following in his footsteps.

By defeating Soderling, Federer tied Peter Sampras with his 14th major title, reaching that total in 40 grand slam appearances, 12 fewer than Sampras (52). He would take sole ownership of the record 28 days later with a five-set win over Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final.


IS IT HIS GREATEST?

"I just think it's an unbelievable achievement. I'm very proud of my career, obviously. I achieved more than I ever thought I would," said Federer afterwards.

"My dream as a boy was to win Wimbledon one day. I won that five times. To get [the Roland Garros title] at the end, as the last remaining grand slam, it's an incredible feeling.

"The waiting and the age definitely has a big impact on how important and how nice this victory actually is. It's been a long time coming and I'm happy I got it today. I'm very proud."

Federer will have felt an extra significance to the win given the scale of achievement it brought up and his previous issues getting over the line against Nadal.

The lack of a big-four opponent probably prevents it from being considered Federer's greatest slam triumph, with the victories against Nadal in the final of Wimbledon in 2007 and the Australian Open in 2017 among those that stand out from the pack.

Between his dominance of serve, the speed with which he swatted aside a dangerous opponent in Soderling, and the powers of recovery he showed against a player in Del Potro who would defeat him in the US Open final later in the year, it stands as one of the more underrated glories of his incredible career.

'Next Generation' is a series focusing on the young players tipped to establish themselves as the elite in the 2020s.

 

Fuerte Apache, Buenos Aires is an imposing sight. Like a skyrise jungle domineering over the run-down surroundings of small shops and bars, it holds a certain aura that is probably not helped by its reputation.

Ejercito de los Andes, to give its original name, received its more familiar moniker after a shootout in the estate was broadcast live on the news. The 1981 film 'Fort Apache, The Bronx' is where the nickname came from, and it stuck.

Carlos Tevez is the barrio's most famous son. The former Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus and Argentina star's face is prominent in numerous places around the estate, with several murals dedicated to him.

While the biggest – and most iconic – piece in tribute to the forward can be seen on the north edge, facing away from the estate, there is another deep inside Fuerte Apache.

Here, fittingly, Tevez looks out over the football pitch of Roger 'Didi' Ruiz, the coach who discovered him, and where Argentina's next great hope crafted his skills.

First there was Tevez, now Fuerte Apache expects of Thiago Almada.

From Tevez's patch to Velez

As early as four years old, Almada – like Tevez before him – was playing with Club Santa Clara in Fuerte Apache. By five he was signed up by Velez Sarsfield, but he continued to represent his local side as well.

For Almada, a silky attacking midfielder, football has offered a legitimate route to a better life. Even though he accepts the area isn't quite as dangerous as it was in Tevez's time, trouble was still frequent in his youth.

"In the neighbourhood, there are a lot of people who chose the wrong path. It is one way or the other, and I also chose," he told Diario Clarin in 2017, when he was still a part of Velez's youth setup.

But he wouldn't be for much longer. A little over a year later, in August 2018, Almada made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old, appearing for 26 minutes in the 2018-19 Superliga opener against Newell's Old Boys.

He went on to play a total of 16 league matches that season under the tutelage of Gabriel Heinze, generally operating through the middle or off the left, but such prominence at a young age in Argentina does not go unnoticed by bigger European clubs, and it caused fractions.

Velez were understandably concerned about Almada being poached and, with his contract set to expire in June 2020, for a period it seemed realistic he could leave for pittance.

The situation led to speculation claiming Heinze had grown frustrated with Almada, though the coach furiously denied this in a news conference last year, saying: "Tell that journalist that he is a liar and he is absolutely wrong. There are two people here, it's me and it's Thiago. I tell him that they have a lying journalist and the information is a lie. My relationship with Thiago remains the same."

"All the goals were scored by him"

In September, Velez finally tied Almada down to a new four-year contract. As much as anything, it provided the Liniers club with greater financial security, increasing his release clause from a reported €14million to a figure that will reportedly reach €25m after August 31. Directors could breathe a sigh of relief.

Man City had been lurking. With reports of Almada's agent travelling to Europe for talks with other clubs, a feeling of deja vu would have been justifiable for Velez, who lost Benjamin Garre – a former youth-team colleague of Almada – to the Premier League giants for a nominal fee in 2016.

While Almada's rise has been impressive – he has played 22 times in the Superliga this term – it cannot be said that no one saw it coming.

Turu Flores, a former Velez player, spent five years on the coaching staff of the club's senior side, including a 12-month stint as head coach. In that time, watching the youth teams was a regular occurrence for him, and one kid always seemed to stand out.

"I've known Thiago since he was a child," Flores told Stats Perform News. "He is a friend of my son and already had an incredible impact when he was 14 years old. I remember him when he was 12, 13 or 14 years old. At that time I was working for Velez and I used to go and see him playing. He used to start as a central midfielder, but the matches would finish 3-0 or 4-0 and all the goals were scored by him. So, you could already envisage that he has the potential to make important things in football."

'Welcome to Manchester', part two?

A wonderful technician, it's easy to see why City might see Almada as a long-term replacement for David Silva, even if they already possess Phil Foden. But having missed out on him last year, there's reportedly growing interest from elsewhere – United, Inter and Atletico Madrid have all been mentioned as admirers.

It remains to be seen if Almada emulates Tevez and causes another tug-of-war between the Manchester giants, but whoever manages to prise him away from Velez will potentially get themselves a generational talent.

"He is very young and has a long journey ahead of him, a lot to learn, but he has incredible conditions," Flores adds. "He's got a great shot and amazing vision. His vision is not common anymore, you don't see it, or we haven't seen it for a long time. This kind of player comes from the playground, how he controls the ball, how he hits the ball. He is one of the last players that grew up in the street playgrounds."

That style of play is also reflected by his idolising of Juan Roman Riquelme, who invited him to a barbecue after seeing him play earlier this season. "He got my number, texted me and invited me. He is my idol – I could not believe it," Almada told Infobae in October.

Like Riquelme at Boca Juniors in the 1990s, Almada is already a significant influence at Velez despite being a teenager, even if only 10 of his league appearances this term have come as a starter.

With nine goals since making his debut, he is – remarkably – Velez's top-scorer, and only five players have featured more regularly than him.

In terms of chance creation, he's laid on 54 key passes since August 2018, the second most of Velez players, and his dribbling excellence is also quantifiable.

He has attempted 121 take-ons in senior football, completing 60 per cent – of Velez players, only Gaston Gimenez (67 per cent) has a better completion rate than Almada.

Explosive, technically outstanding and creative, there is much to like about his game. More dynamic than Riquelme and arguably a greater natural talent than Tevez, Almada's future looks exciting.

Tevez may have blazed a trail out of Fuerte Apache for Almada to follow, potentially even to Manchester, but there's every chance the teenager could one day be held in even higher regard than Carlitos.

Conor McGregor says he has retired from the fight game but there is more than a sense of deja vu about the announcement.

The Irishman, who has a 22-4 MMA record, took to Twitter following UFC 250 to declare that he is stepping away from combat sports.

McGregor's comments have, understandably, been met with a degree of scepticism given this marks the third time in the space of four years the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion has said he is calling it quits.

Below, we take a look at the context surrounding each of his retirement announcements.


April 2016: "I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese."

It was over four years ago that McGregor, then aged 27, first hinted he was done with fighting when he tweeted: "I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese."

On that occasion it took just two days for McGregor to clarify he had not actually retired but had fallen out with UFC bosses over promotional work.

"I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote. I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting," he explained.

"There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop."

McGregor was pulled from UFC 200 that year where he was slated for a rematch with Nick Diaz, with president Dana White saying:  "I respect Conor as a fighter and I like him as a person, but you can't decide not to show up to these things.

McGregor would eventually avenge his Diaz defeat at UFC 202.
 

March 2019: "I've decided to retire from the sport formally known as 'Mixed Martial Art.'"

After reneging on his first retirement, McGregor went on to become UFC's first dual-weight champion by defeating Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight title.

A sign of his power to really transcend the fight game was his lucrative boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather in August 2017 but things became a little ugly when he returned to the Octagon to face Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

Bad blood in the build-up, which included McGregor attacking a bus carrying Khabib and other athletes, spilled over into fight night when, after Khabib scored a submission victory, the two camps were involved in an ugly post-bout fracas.

Five months later, McGregor said he was stepping away, writing on Twitter: "Hey guys quick announcement, I've decided to retire from the sport formally known as 'Mixed Martial Art' today.

"I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!"

High-profile incidents away from the ring plagued McGregor and his decision came two weeks after he was charged for allegedly smashing and stealing a man's phone in Miami – charges that were later dropped dropped over inconsistencies in the victim's testimony.

In the meantime, McGregor launched his 'Proper Twelve' whiskey brand, leading White to say: "He's retiring from fighting, not from working. The whiskey will keep him busy and I'm sure he has other things he's working on."

But once again McGregor would reverse his decision…


June 2020: " Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it's been!"

More issues away from MMA followed McGregor and in November last year he was fined €1,000 after pleading guilty to an assault of a man at a pub in Dublin.

But a refocused McGregor was booked to fight Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone, a contest he wrapped up emphatically in the first round in January, and he spoke of his desire to fight three times in 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected those plans, while the direction of a talent-heavy lightweight division remains unclear.

Yet, the timing of McGregor's latest retirement announcement is perhaps the most surprising yet.

After UFC 250, he wrote on Twitter: "Hey guys I've decided to retire from fighting.

"Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it's been! Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my World title wins!

"Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you! Whatever you desire it's yours."

Responding to the latest proclamtion, White said: "We're in a pandemic, the world is a crazy place right now. 

"If these guys want to sit out and retire right now, or if anybody feels uncomfortable in any shape or form about what's going on, you don't have to fight – it's all good. 

"So if that's what's Conor's feeling right now, Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal, I feel you."

The smart thing to do right now would be to watch this space…

Conor McGregor's retirement announcements are becoming so frequent they should be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt.

The big-talking Irishman has twice previously said he is calling it quits from the fight game, once in 2016 and also in March last year, which came five months after his UFC 229 loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

Such a decision now appears strange given McGregor returned to the Octagon in January with a devastating first-round defeat of Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone and expressed plans to fight three times this year.

The coronavirus pandemic has likely scuppered that scenario but McGregor – who made his declaration on Twitter following UFC 250 – has still been vocal in baiting his rivals.

Still, if we are to take the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion at his word and this really is goodbye to an MMA legend, now is a good opportunity to look back at some of McGregor's most withering put downs of his opponents.

 

I RUN THIS WHOLE SHIP!

Ahead of his scrap with Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt at UFC 205 in November 2016, McGregor had some choice words for those who felt he received preferential treatment from president Dana White.

"I run this whole thing. I run New York. I run this whole ship. Without me none of this happens. I run this whole s***. Everyone in this game does what they're f****** told except for me and rightly f****** so. If I say you're on the prelims, you're on the f****** prelims. If I say main event, it's the f****** main event."

HIS WIFE AND KIDS WON'T RECOGNISE HIM!

Alvarez himself did not escape McGregor's ire, with the Irishman making some pretty gruesome promises.

"I'm going to toy with this man. I will rearrange his facial structure. His wife and kids won't recognise him again. His friends will know he's not the same after this contest. You're never, ever going to be the same. Your kids are going to beg, 'Daddy, please don't go again!'"

WHO THE F*** IS THAT GUY?!

When McGregor was asked prior to facing Alvarez who his biggest rival is, Jeremy Stephens called out: "Right here, the real hardest-hitting 145-pounder, right here." McGregor replied with a brutally simple six-word put-down.

"Who the f*** is that guy?!"

I'D LIKE TO APOLOGISE…TO ABSOLUTELY NOBODY!

McGregor kept his word to defeat Alvarez and become the first UFC fighter to hold belts in two divisions at the same time. His post-fight interview produced this absolute gem.

"I've ridiculed everyone on the roster, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, I'd like to take this chance to apologise…to absolutely nobody!"

I CAN MAKE YOU RICH, I'LL CHANGE YOUR BUM LIFE!

Back in September 2015 at a 'Go Big' news conference, McGregor launched one of his most famous tirades. Replying to comments from Rafael dos Anjos, who was promoting a fight with Cerrone, he bragged about the attention he brings to UFC.

"I can make you rich. I'll change your bum life. You fight me, it's a celebration. When you sign to fight me, it's a celebration. You ring back home, you ring your wife, 'Baby, we've done it. We're rich baby. Conor McGregor made us rich. Break out the red panties.'”

YOU'RE STIFF AS A BOARD!

At the same media event, McGregor replied to Cerrone's assertion he could not cut it at 155lbs.

"You're too slow and you're too stiff. You're stiff as a board and I'd snap you in half, and that's it. I see stiffness when I look in the 155-pound division...slow, stiff, I feel like they're stuck in the mud almost. Yee-haw!"

I COULD BUY AND SELL YOU A HUNDRED TIMES OVER

The bad blood between McGregor and Nate Diaz drew some of the most heated comments from the Irishman.

"My socks are worth more than the suit you had on, you little bum. You're a broke b****. I could buy and sell you a hundred times over."

THE KING IS BACK!

After avenging his loss to Diaz by winning the rematch at UFC 202, McGregor had a simple message for his detractors.

"Surprise, surprise, motherf******! The king is back!”

I NEED TO FEED EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU IN THE GAME

McGregor was named Fighter of the Year for 2015. He was typically…let's say gracious...with his speech when accepting the award.

"I need to feed all you bums. I need to feed every single one of you in the game so I've got to keep working. Because you bums don't work."

KHABIB YOU ABSOLUTE EMBARRASSMENT!

Only last month, McGregor was calling out his lightweight rivals on social media with a brutal rant. Justin Gaethje, who sensationally defeated Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, and Khabib were his targets.

"Justin, there is no danger in a man that hugs legs, we all know. Try and dance around what the real threat is here all you want. I am going to f****** butcher you. Your teeth. I'm going to put them on a f****** necklace. Speak on my skills as a father? You are f****** dead."

"Khabib you absolute embarrassment. Scurrying, hiding rat as usual. As I have said many times. As has been seen many times."

'Next Generation' is a series focusing on the young players tipped to establish themselves as the elite in the 2020s.

 

Fuerte Apache, Buenos Aires is an imposing sight. Like a skyrise jungle domineering over the run-down surroundings of small shops and bars, it holds a certain aura that is probably not helped by its reputation.

Ejercito de los Andes, to give its original name, received its more familiar moniker after a shootout in the estate was broadcast live on the news. The 1981 film 'Fort Apache, The Bronx' is where the nickname came from, and it stuck.

Carlos Tevez is the barrio's most famous son. The former Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus and Argentina star's face is prominent in numerous places around the estate, with several murals dedicated to him.

While the biggest – and most iconic – piece in tribute to the forward can be seen on the north edge, facing away from the estate, there is another deep inside Fuerte Apache.

Here, fittingly, Tevez looks out over the football pitch of Roger 'Didi' Ruiz, the coach who discovered him, and where Argentina's next great hope crafted his skills.

First there was Tevez, now Fuerte Apache expects of Thiago Almada.

From Tevez's patch to Velez

As early as four years old, Almada – like Tevez before him – was playing with Club Santa Clara in Fuerte Apache. By five he was signed up by Velez Sarsfield, but he continued to represent his local side as well.

For Almada, a silky attacking midfielder, football has offered a legitimate route to a better life. Even though he accepts the area isn't quite as dangerous as it was in Tevez's time, trouble was still frequent in his youth.

"In the neighbourhood, there are a lot of people who chose the wrong path. It is one way or the other, and I also chose," he told Diario Clarin in 2017, when he was still a part of Velez's youth setup.

But he wouldn't be for much longer. A little over a year later, in August 2018, Almada made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old, appearing for 26 minutes in the 2018-19 Superliga opener against Newell's Old Boys.

He went on to play a total of 16 league matches that season under the tutelage of Gabriel Heinze, generally operating through the middle or off the left, but such prominence at a young age in Argentina does not go unnoticed by bigger European clubs, and it caused fractions.

Velez were understandably concerned about Almada being poached and, with his contract set to expire in June 2020, for a period it seemed realistic he could leave for pittance.

The situation led to speculation claiming Heinze had grown frustrated with Almada, though the coach furiously denied this in a news conference last year, saying: "Tell that journalist that he is a liar and he is absolutely wrong. There are two people here, it's me and it's Thiago. I tell him that they have a lying journalist and the information is a lie. My relationship with Thiago remains the same."

"All the goals were scored by him"

In September, Velez finally tied Almada down to a new four-year contract. As much as anything, it provided the Liniers club with greater financial security, increasing his release clause from a reported €14million to a figure that will reportedly reach €25m after August 31. Directors could breathe a sigh of relief.

Man City had been lurking. With reports of Almada's agent travelling to Europe for talks with other clubs, a feeling of deja vu would have been justifiable for Velez, who lost Benjamin Garre – a former youth-team colleague of Almada – to the Premier League giants for a nominal fee in 2016.

While Almada's rise has been impressive – he has played 22 times in the Superliga this term – it cannot be said that no one saw it coming.

Turu Flores, a former Velez player, spent five years on the coaching staff of the club's senior side, including a 12-month stint as head coach. In that time, watching the youth teams was a regular occurrence for him, and one kid always seemed to stand out.

"I've known Thiago since he was a child," Flores told Stats Perform News. "He is a friend of my son and already had an incredible impact when he was 14 years old. I remember him when he was 12, 13 or 14 years old. At that time I was working for Velez and I used to go and see him playing. He used to start as a central midfielder, but the matches would finish 3-0 or 4-0 and all the goals were scored by him. So, you could already envisage that he has the potential to make important things in football."

'Welcome to Manchester', part two?

A wonderful technician, it's easy to see why City might see Almada as a long-term replacement for David Silva, even if they already possess Phil Foden. But having missed out on him last year, there's reportedly growing interest from elsewhere – United, Inter and Atletico Madrid have all been mentioned as admirers.

It remains to be seen if Almada emulates Tevez and causes another tug-of-war between the Manchester giants, but whoever manages to prise him away from Velez will potentially get themselves a generational talent.

"He is very young and has a long journey ahead of him, a lot to learn, but he has incredible conditions," Flores adds. "He's got a great shot and amazing vision. His vision is not common anymore, you don't see it, or we haven't seen it for a long time. This kind of player comes from the playground, how he controls the ball, how he hits the ball. He is one of the last players that grew up in the street playgrounds."

That style of play is also reflected by his idolising of Juan Roman Riquelme, who invited him to a barbecue after seeing him play earlier this season. "He got my number, texted me and invited me. He is my idol – I could not believe it," Almada told Infobae in October.

Like Riquelme at Boca Juniors in the 1990s, Almada is already a significant influence at Velez despite being a teenager, even if only 10 of his league appearances this term have come as a starter.

With nine goals since making his debut, he is – remarkably – Velez's top-scorer, and only five players have featured more regularly than him.

In terms of chance creation, he's laid on 54 key passes since August 2018, the second most of Velez players, and his dribbling excellence is also quantifiable.

He has attempted 121 take-ons in senior football, completing 60 per cent – of Velez players, only Gaston Gimenez (67 per cent) has a better completion rate than Almada.

Explosive, technically outstanding and creative, there is much to like about his game. More dynamic than Riquelme and arguably a greater natural talent than Tevez, Almada's future looks exciting.

Tevez may have blazed a trail out of Fuerte Apache for Almada to follow, potentially even to Manchester, but there's every chance the teenager could one day be held in even higher regard than Carlitos.

June 7, 2009 was the date Roger Federer finally reigned at Roland Garros.

The Swiss completed his grand slam collection when beating Robin Soderling in the French Open final and, in doing so, equalled a record held by Pete Sampras.

This was also the date when 'The Last Dance' Chicago Bulls shut down the Utah Jazz in emphatic fashion in 1998.

Take a look at events that previously happened on this date through the years.

 

1996 - Chavez's century ends in defeat

Julio Cesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya were both multi-weight world champions during their careers and a fight between the two was highly anticipated in 1996.

De La Hoya, who owned a 21-0 record heading into the bout, was 10 years younger and facing an opponent who was fighting for the 100th time, Chavez having won 97 of the previous 99.

However, the light-welterweight contest was short-lived, falling way short of the hype as Chavez suffered a serious cut in the opening round and eventually succumbed to a barrage in the fourth, unable to continue after De La Hoya's left hook broke his nose.

Chavez would fight for another seven years, however, finishing with a 107-6-2 record, while De La Hoya retired in 2008 following losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao.

 

1998 - Jazz fail to hit the right notes as Bulls gain Finals advantage

The series was finely poised at 1-1 when the Bulls and Jazz tipped off in Game 3 of the 1998 NBA Finals.

What followed was the most dominant victory in Finals history as the Bulls won by 42 points, 96-54, as Utah scored what was at the time the lowest total in an NBA game since the inception of the shot clock.

Despite Karl Malone's 22 points, the Jazz went 13-of-59 from the floor as Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen and the rest of Chicago's defense delivered a performance that swung the series in their favour.

Chicago would go on to win the Finals 4-2, delivering a second three-peat to end a glorious run in the Windy City for Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson.

2009 - Finally for Federer

Having already triumphed at the other three slams, a French Open title had evaded Federer, thanks mainly due to the presence of Rafael Nadal.

However, in 2009 the Spaniard was suddenly out of the picture after a shock fourth-round loss to Soderling, who would go on to set up a final against Federer.

The showdown proved a mismatch; Federer eased to a 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 triumph in under two hours to win his 14th grand slam title.

In doing so he equalled Sampras' all-time record, with Federer eclipsing the American's haul with victory at Wimbledon later that year when he overcame Andy Roddick in an epic encounter.

Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller reached personal milestones as Bayern Munich broke Bundesliga records in a 4-2 defeat of Bayer Leverkusen.

This was the most difficult remaining game on paper this term for the league leaders, who went into the contest with a seven-point lead over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table.

It proved as much in the first half when Lucas Alario's clever finish past Manuel Neuer secured a 1-0 lead for Leverkusen, who were without star man Kai Havertz due to injury.

The advantage was short-lived, though, as Hansi Flick's record-breaking side struck three times before the break through Kingsley Coman, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry.

Coman's precise finish was Bayern's 62nd goal in just 20 Bundesliga matches under Flick, a number beyond that of any previous coach in the history of the competition.

Muller teed up Goretzka to make it 2-1 and reach 19 league assists for the season, which became 20 in the second half when he crossed for Lewandowski to head in the fourth.

Muller is the first player to reach that number of assists in Europe's top-five leagues since Kevin De Bruyne for Wolfsburg in 2014-15. One more for the Bayern's number 25 will see him move beyond De Bruyne's division record.

As for Lewandowski, his emphatic header brought up 30 league goals for 2019-20 and took him to a remarkable 44 in 39 games in all competitions. It is the most the Poland striker has ever scored in a single season.

Lewandowski's goal took Bayern's tally for this Bundesliga campaign to 90, a league record for a team after 30 matches, as they stretched their winning run to nine consecutive games.

Barcelona great Xavi bade farewell in style on this day five years ago as he claimed a fourth Champions League title.

Elsewhere on June 6, Brian Lara set the cricket record books alight in the midst of a phenomenal 1994 purple patch, while an icon of the tennis world has great memories of this day in 1999.

Here we look back on those and some other landmark sporting moments.

 

1994 - Lara racks up 501

West Indies batsman Lara apparently did not satisfy his unquenchable thirst for runs when scoring a Test record 375 against England in Antigua.

On English soil two months later, he scored 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham, surpassing Hanif Mohammad's 499.

It could have been very different as Lara made an uncertain start – bowled off a no ball on 12 and then dropped by wicketkeeper Chris Scott.

The Durham gloveman's error proved unfathomably costly as Lara smashed 62 fours and 10 sixes to reach his still unsurpassed milestone from 427 deliveries. Starting with the 375, it was his seventh century in eight first-class innings.

 

1997 - Rose finally blooms

Considering his breakout performance as a teenager at the Open Championship came in 1998, Justin Rose had to bide his time when it came to waiting for first PGA Tour title.

However, he took the opportunity in style when his moment came at the 2010 Memorial Tournament.

Four strokes off the lead at the start of the final day, Rose shot an imperious 66 to finish on 18 under and win by three strokes from Rickie Fowler.

In 2013, the Englishman claimed his maiden major triumph at the U.S. Open.

 

1999 - Agassi completes career Grand Slam

Andre Agassi's designs on completing tennis' career Grand Slam appeared to be slipping through his fingers when he fell two sets behind to Ukraine's Andrei Medvedev in the final of the 1999 French Open.

But he stormed back to complete a 1-6 2-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 triumph, converting a fourth match point in the decider. It made Agassi the first man in 30 years to win all four grand slams.

"It's been a lot of years since I've had this opportunity and I never thought I would see this day," he said, having won Wimbledon in 1992, the 1994 US Open and the 1995 Australian Open.

That Roland Garros triumph sparked a late career surge from Agassi, who lost the Wimbledon final to Pete Sampras and won a second US Open later that year, preceding a trio of Australian crowns in 2000, 2001 and 2003.

 

2001 - Iverson steps over Lee

In 2001, Iverson produced one of the greatest moments in NBA Finals history.

With less than a minute of overtime remaining, Philadelphia 76ers star Iverson made a 16-foot jump shot that Tyronn Lue of the Los Angeles Lakers leant in to contest.

As the ball dropped through the hoop, Lue lost his footing and Iverson mockingly stepped over him in celebration – an iconic image that sits uneasily with its main protagonist.

“I don’t like it [people making fun of Lue] because I love him," Iverson told ESPN in 2016. "I don’t like people joking on him and all that, because that’s my man."

The Lakers collectively had the last laugh, storming back from their opening night reverse to take the series 4-1. Iverson top scored for the 76ers in each game and ended the Finals with 178 points – a record for a five-game series.

 

2015 - Barca complete 'MSN' treble

Luis Enrique's fabulous Barcelona side – inspired by the MSN forward line of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar – completed their 2014-15 treble with a 3-1 Champions League final win over Juventus in Berlin.

Ivan Rakitic gave the Catalan club an early lead but Alvaro Morata levelled for Juve 10 minutes after the interval.

Suarez restored the advantage midway through the second half before Neymar made sure of victory deep into stoppage time.

For Xavi, it amounted to the perfect farewell at his boyhood club, having also lifted the Champions League in 2006, 2009 and 2011.

The NBA may be coming back next month, but Vince Carter will likely not be returning to the court again.

Only the 22 teams with the best records will recommence the 2019-20 season in Florida, with the campaign now officially over for eight clubs, including Carter's Atlanta Hawks.

The 43-year-old became the first man to play an NBA game in four different decades earlier this year, but he had also confirmed this would be his final season before retirement.

Though 'Vinsanity' will not be afforded the farewell many of his peers received, we take a look at the eight-time All-Star's brilliant career using Stats Perform News numbers.

 

LONGEVITY

Carter entered the league in 1998 having been drafted fifth overall and he played in 50 games for the Toronto Raptors during a lockout-shortened campaign, during which he won Rookie of the Year.

Incredibly, the guard has barely missed any significant time over the past 22 years - only sitting out the final 22 games of the 2001-02 season and the start of the following term due to injury - and he started all 82 games for the New Jersey Nets in 2006-07.

In all, Carter has played 1,541 games - third-most of all time - a total only Robert Parish and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can better, and he was only 20 appearances away from moving up to second on the list.

The honour of playing in the most NBA seasons does belong to Carter, though, as this campaign was his 22nd, one more than Parish, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Willis.

 

JOURNEYMAN

Unlike Dallas Mavericks icon Nowitzki - the NBA's ultimate one-team man - and Garnett, who represented only three clubs, Carter has called almost a third of the NBA home at one point or another.

After lengthy spells with the Raptors and Nets, Carter played for the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings before arriving in Atlanta in 2018.

Of those to have played for eight NBA teams, Carter's 25,728 points are 6,314 more than anyone else, with Jamal Crawford next on that list ahead of Otis Thorpe and Willis.

Carter has played at least 50 games per season at each of those eight stops, another record he holds along with others such as Crawford and Matt Barnes.

 

POINTS

Naturally given such longevity, it is no surprise to see Carter flying high on all-time points lists too.

His 25,728 points are the 19th-most of all time, more than notable names such as Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley.

Moreover, Carter is a top-five scorer for two different franchises - the Nets (where he has the third-most points ever) and the Raptors (where he has the fourth-most). Others to own that distinction include Chris Bosh (the Raptors and Miami Heat) and LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers and Heat).

Carter's accuracy from beyond the arc certainly helped his numbers, as he drained 2,290 three-pointers - sixth-most of all time - from 6,168 attempts - fifth-most of all time.

He may not get the rapturous send-off his career deserves, but Carter's impact on the NBA over the past two-and-a-bit decades has certainly been felt.

It is 15 years since Rafael Nadal lay sprawled on his beloved red clay with a look of disbelief on his face after winning his first French Open title.

The fresh-faced teenager had realised his dream just two days after turning 19, beating an unseeded Mariano Puerta 6–7 (6–8) 6–3 6–1 7–5 under grey Paris skies.

King Juan Carlos of Spain was among those fortune enough to see the Mallorca native win his first grand slam final on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Little did the beaming monarch know he had witnessed the start of a dynasty as he embraced his compatriot, wearing a green vest and long white shorts.

With long hair flowing like a rock star and the bulging biceps of a boxer, Nadal may not have resembled a future royal back in 2005, but his incredible exploits since have ensured he will forever be known as the 'King of Clay'.

Puerta told the media after that showdown a decade and a half ago: "When I went off the court, I knew I had lost against the best player in the world on clay. What could I do?"

That is a question so many have tried and failed to find an answer to.

With phenomenal athleticism, a powerful serve, blistering groundstrokes, deft lobs and drop shots, the domineering left-hander was too good for Argentine Puerta.

Nadal was not at his brilliant best, though, and there were some ominous words from his coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, after his maiden grand slam triumph.

"In every facet of the game he can be better," he said. "And, boy, if he works, and masters more of his game. Then and only then we can win several of these.

"He doesn't work just to win matches, but to be the best, to be number one."

Fifteen years on, Nadal this week celebrated his 34th birthday with a record 12 French Open titles to his name and 19 majors in total, one shy of Roger Federer's haul.

Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic are the only players to have beaten the legendary Spaniard in his 95 matches at Roland Garros.

You have to go back to 2015 since his last loss in his favourite major, at the hands of Djokovic, and the world number two has lifted the La Coupe des Mousquetaires in each of the last three years.

The coronavirus pandemic prevented Nadal from adding to his tally this month, but he may get the opportunity to continue one of the most astonishing sporting runs of dominance in September.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and provided he stays fit, the irrepressible Nadal's love affair with Paris is far from over.

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